Guide to the Arcanist


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Although I agree that Potent Magic is well worth it for most Arcanists, I do not agree that it is needed.

I feel that Quick Study is a crutch. I would much rather have a different exploit, choose my spells wisely, and get a collection of scrolls for the rarely needed stuff.

MetaMagic Knowledge is usually worth it because there is bound to be at least one meta-magic you will regularly use.

You need to look at the whole picture when choosing traits, feats, and exploits. Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning is a lot more useful on an Occultist Arcanist than a Brown Fur Transmuter Arcanist.


Unless you start casting polymorph spells on your summoned creatures.


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No.

It is a standard action for a Occultist to summon. They will get much more benefit from Augment Summoning than a Brown Fur Transmuter because the later takes a full round to summon.

There are certain combinations that are better on one archetype than others. That doesn't mean that those traits, feats, or exploits become useless on the other archetypes.


Use Experimental Caster to grab the summoning Words of Power(Servitor) every level or so. They're standard action, but poor at flooding the field.


Sorry for the delayed update everyone I've been busy with national turkey death day, and the trampling of the grandmothers Friday. But now I back and should have more time to update stuff.

UnArcaneElection: I didn't even think about the errata possibility of things, will definitely change how I prioritize things, ty.

Letric: Base isn't bad at all, it's a solid tier 1 or 2 class. However some archetypes push the class firmly into tier 1 (I'm assuming you're talking about my comment on the archetype section.)

Some Other Guy: I'd say Potent Magic and Quick Study are needed. They push the arcanist in league with the sorcerer and wizard and give the arcanist they're own special feel among them. Dimensional Slide and the others are just really good utility/survivability stuff.

BretI: Definitly agree. Picking you're spells wisely is more important for the arcanist than wizard or sorcerer (since arcanists get the least of both worlds.) Quick study is for those "OH S*%$!" moments where something completely comes from left field at the party (like Cloud being in SSB4.)

Azten: That would hugely depend on if your DM allows Wordcasting, but if he does, Servitor and Undeath are definitely great options for the non-occultist arcanist.


Also what do you guys want to see updated first? What do you want to be in the guide?


Perhaps a selection of spells that are particularly good for a Samsaran Arcanist to snag from other lists?


I feel like I need to study the class more before giving a certain answer (although I have a lot easier time wrapping my head around Arcanist than Shaman), but I would lean towards updating the Archetypes section.

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Separately from this, I just had a thought while at work today: If you dipped 1 level of Bloodrager(*) before going into Arcanist (you probably want the Blade Adept archetype for this), and then took the Bloodline Development Exploit, would this Exploit build on your Bloodrager Bloodline instead of advancing the Sorcerer Bloodline of the same name like it normally would? This would let you go more Gish (Bloodrager Bloodlines seem more made for this), or if you picked Draconic for your Bloodline, you could go Dragon Disciple.

(*)Of course, as soon as you could afford the feat, you would want Mad Magic to allow you to cast spells while in Rage. You would probably want to pick up some Extra Rage later as well; not sure if you can use the Rage spell to extend your Bloodrage, but I'm pretty sure that being friends with a Skald would do the trick.


I think you need to revise Archetypes, not because they're not clear enough, but you need to be more clear about what you get.

Base Arcanist good and IMO it works better on low level campaigns 1-10. You get access to Exploits every odd level and you can actually use them if you take an Archetype (like School Savant) you only get 1 of them and you don't really taste the real power of the class.

Also Twilight Sage has some prerequisites:
- creature can't be dead
- it needs certain HDs
- needs to be a living thing, not construct, undead (I guess) and others, it might be subject to DM bias, not considering the whole I suck life from people like a vampire and evil corruption

Races
Ratfolk, a great starting point would be Guide is a great race, +2 to INT/DEX -2 STR, if we're optimizing is a good race. You can also get Scent for free but get a -2 penalty to Perception using Sight.

Exploits
Dimensional Slide IMO is green. If you get grappled/pinned it doesn't work. It's part of a Move Action and you actually need to step inside the portal you have created. The situations where you could actually benefit the most from it don't work.

Consume Magic Item > for 75GP you get 1 point (5 charges from a 750GP wand). A +2 DC is not worth 75GP? IMO it is. Yes, you're limited on your CHA mod, but if you consider a 14 CHA mod that means you get 2 from this exploit and 2 from the base ability. That's +4 points for 4 spells that could be given a +2 DC.
If you're in a campaign where you have a downtime you can easily get a Staff investing some gold and you get points equal to the highest level spell that can be cast for 1 charge. Staff of Minor Arcana (8k GP) gives 1 point each time you use it, it holds Magic Missile and Shield, spells you could easily use while adventuring and when you have downtime you can recharge it.
This means if you really want you could be dropping lots of spells with +2DC/CL on harder encounters, I don't think it's something to ignore.

As a general suggestion, I would add that depending on your archetype you don't get a lot of early exploits.
School Savant takes 1-3-7, which only leaves you with 5-9, and basically 80% of the time you'll probably get Potent Magic and Quick Study. Good suggestion would be that at level 5-7-9 you can now take Extra Exploit feat for the Metamagic Knowledge exploit.

IMO Metamixing can be good if you actually have several of those feats. I'm not really sold on this one.

Also, there should be a note saying that using Rods make casting Full Round, some people might forget about it.


Regarding my post above about dipping Bloodrager before becoming a Blade Adept Arcanist with Bloodline Development (progressing your Bloodrager Bloodline, if this works) and Mad Magic, and then casting Rage on yourself to extend your Bloodrage by 1 round per Arcanist level (you can't get the benefit of the Concentration part of the duration): I re-read the description of hte Rage Spell and Skald's Inspired Rage (Raging Song):

Rage (the spell) has a very short description that says that it is (except for value of bonuses/penalties and lack of Fatigue afterwards) identical to a Barbarian's Rage; it doesn't let you use your own bonuses/penalties.

Inspired Rage says that it lets you use your own Rage or Bloodrage bonuses and penalties, but not Rage-activated other abilities.

So this sounds like it should work now, but I expect that Rage (the spell) may get Errata'd eventually to work like Inspired Rage (to keep you from activating your Rage/Bloodrage abilities, which would be a nerf, even though being able to use your own bonuses/penalties would be a buff).

Edit: It might be tempting to dip 2 levels of Bloodrager to get Uncanny Dodge, but then you really need the Magical Knack trait, and the loss of 2 levels of spellcasting progression really hurts; if you instead just dip 1 level and get the Defensive Strategist trait and eat 1 level of caster level loss and just 1 level of spellcasting progression, this is probably better (assuming that you can get Defensive Strategist, which requires you to worship Torage).

Grand Lodge

Dawar wrote:
Letric: Base isn't bad at all, it's a solid tier 1 or 2 class. However some archetypes push the class firmly into tier 1 (I'm assuming you're talking about my comment on the archetype section.)

Arcanist is always Tier 1. By definition, all 9-level prepared casters are tier 1, but that has nothing to do with how good or bad they are.

Quote:
I'd say Potent Magic and Quick Study are needed. They push the arcanist in league with the sorcerer and wizard and give the arcanist they're own special feel among them. Dimensional Slide and the others are just really good utility/survivability stuff.

But they aren't needed. Both are very good, but saying they are needed is doesn't make sense to me. In the case of potent magic, it's a simple 5% chance for the opponent to fail their save or an extra d6 on your blast. I can certainly "be in league with a sorcerer" without those small numbers simply due to the fact that I prepare spells and have the same number of spell slots per day. Quick study is completely dependent on the game. If you either can't obtain spells in your spellbook easily or have combats last 2 rounds, then it is not useful at all. I've been in many games where both of those were the case and quick study had no value at all. I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't take it, I just have an issue when people say things are "needed" when they aren't.


More Blade Adept (and Bloodline Development, and Bloodrager dipping) thoughts:

The Magus Arcana sub-section of this archetype says that you treat your Arcanist level as your Magus level when determining the effects of Magus Arcana and when you qualify for them. It DOESN'T say that this property is limited to only the small list of Magus Arcana that it qualifies you for, or not applied to Magus Arcana that you gain from a source other than this class.

VMC Magus doesn't limit you to a small list of Magus Arcana, but it also doesn't give you an effective Magus level for determining their effects, thereby making Magus Arcana like Maneuver Mastery unusable.

So the idea is: If you are a Blade Adept Arcanist and go VMC Magus, you get access to all the Magus Arcana and get to have their full effects for each of them (minus 1 or 2 levels if you dipped Bloodrager as posted above, but for Maneuver Mastery that doesn't matter since Bloodrager is full BAB; on the other hand, the Bloodrager dip is a lot less necessary if you get to benefit from Maneuver Mastery, even though it is still nice if you can somehow afford the feat Mad Magic on a VMC build). VMC Magus also frees up most of your Arcanist Exploits for their normal purpose, although you probably want to take Spellstrike early to get it online before VMC Magus does, and then retrain it when VMC Magus Spellstrike comes online at character level 11. VMC Magus also gets you its own Arcane Pool so that you don't have to use Arcane Reservoir points for your Blade Adept Black Blade features.

By the way, in case anybody didn't notice, I like Gishes. :-)

* * * * * * * *

Edit #1: Also re-read the Bloodline Development Arcanist Exploit, and (if I understand correctly) it looks like if you have a Bloodline from another source, the stacking of Arcanist levels with the other source, even to the point of letting you get the capstone (level 20 Bloodline Power (assuming that you make it to character level 20 and don't dip in anything that doesn't advance your Bloodline). Note that VMC Sorcerer awards Bloodline Powers (and never the capstone) at set points that are late by variable (usually large) numbers of levels, so it can't stack with the Bloodline Development Arcanist Exploit -- if Paizo had wanted them to stack, they would have had to write at least one of them differently, and it wouldn't be easy to figure out how to write them that way without potentially breaking something else.

* * * * * * * *

Edit #2: Re-reading the Skald guide on the Zenith Games blog (which, by the way, is an awesome guide even though it claims to be a "Pseudo-Guide"), and even though Skald's Inspired Rage doesn't let you use your own Rage/Bloodrage powers (unless the Skald is >=20th level), it's still pretty good for you if you are a Gish Arcanist (or anything else) with Mad Magic.

Edit #3: (Off-topic but inspired by the above) And now, all of a sudden I find myself wanting a Skald archetype that is a remix with the Bloodrager, although Demon Dancer sort of does this for Abyssal.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Tier 1? Tier 2? Tier n? Whazzat?


^You'll have to get somebody else to fill in the details (I saw the details on another thread in this forum but can't remember the title or a unique Search string for it), but basically the "Tier" system is a categorization of classes according to how effective they are considered to be, with lower numbers being considered better. The common ratings put Wizard at the top of "Tier 1" (not saying I agree with this, but it is the common view) and Classic Rogue (that is, before Pathfinder Unchained) at the bottom of "Tier 5" (due to several other classes being able to do most of the Classic Rogue's job better; the Unchained Rogue is considered no longer at the bottom of "Tier 5" and is considered to be at least usable without requiring exceptional system mastery, but is still considered to have a way to go).


Tier is how much/how many options you have and how good you are at them. 9th casting auto makes you tier 1. Spells can do anything, need to get somewhere? Windwalk, teleport, etc. Need to know something? Divinations and asking deities.

Fighter basically can only hit things, but they do that well, tier4.
Core monk and rogue, can only hit things and they can't do it well tier5.


^I'm assuming that Core Monk here refers to the Core Rulebook Monk without all the archetypes and other additions that came out in between the Core Rulebook and Pathfinder Unchained. Reportedly, some of them make the Classic Monk quite effective, and you can't use any of the Classic Monk archetypes with Monk Unchained (maybe 1 exception?), so Classic Monk is still in demand. (Also, Monk Unchained no longer has all good Saves -- not a total killer, but it hurts)

* * * * * * * *

Back on topic, I wonder if I am reading Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development wrong for my posts above. Seems awfully powerful, often (not in 100% of cases) better than the Blood Arcanist archetype if you dipped in Sorcerer or Bloodrager to activate the last part of the Bloodline Development text. Sounds too good to be true . . . I am going to have to do more research on this.


Some Other Guy wrote:
In the case of potent magic, it's a simple 5% chance for the opponent to fail their save or an extra d6 on your blast. I can certainly "be in league with a sorcerer" without those small numbers simply due to the fact that I prepare spells and have the same number of spell slots per day. Quick study is completely dependent on the game. If you either can't obtain spells in your spellbook easily or have combats last 2 rounds, then it is not useful at all. I've been in many games where both of those were the case and quick study had no value at all. I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't take it, I just have an issue when people say things are "needed" when they aren't.

Having the option to increase Caster level is just as important if not more so than increasing the DC. Boiling down a caster level boost to "just an extra d6" is missing out on so much else that a caster level boost gets you. Remember essentially every numeric variable on spells other than DC is tied directly to caster level. Spell resistance becomes a big problem at the later levels as its one of the most closely controlled variables when it comes to scaling with players (I.E. you usually have around a 50% chance to penetrate CR with level appropriate encounters, often times less).

In my opinion two of the most important spells for a party to have access to are dispel magic and greater dispel magic and a +2 CL boost on these spells is often the difference between a wasted turn (and wasted spell slot) and the end of an encounter.

Planar binding is dependent on Caster level, Simulacrum is dependent on caster level, Animate dead/Create undead (and greater) are dependent on caster level, many of the best divinations are dependent on caster level, etc. These are very powerful, and in some people's opinions, game breaking spells and having the option to increase their caster level by 2 is significant.

The feat spell specialization also increases the caster level of a spell by two but it only works for one spell and requires you to already have spell focus for the school that the spell belongs to and is still one of the most selected feats by spell-casters. Potent magic is at the same time better than spell specialization with less investment and is more versatile in that it can be applied to any spell that the arcanist casts. When talking about the class in the vein of optimization, potent magic is definitely needed.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Back on topic, I wonder if I am reading Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development wrong for my posts above. Seems awfully powerful, often (not in 100% of cases) better than the Blood Arcanist archetype if you dipped in Sorcerer or Bloodrager to activate the last part of the Bloodline Development text. Sounds too good to be true . . . I am going to have to do more research on this.

yes, 1 level of sorcerer and the exploit gives you a full bloodline just like the archetype. The issue is it does give up a caster level and a level of spell progression along with class abilities. Guess they feel that it's a big enough trade off for the archetype.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
^I'm assuming that Core Monk here refers to the Core Rulebook Monk without all the archetypes and other additions that came out in between the Core Rulebook and Pathfinder Unchained. Reportedly, some of them make the Classic Monk quite effective, and you can't use any of the Classic Monk archetypes with Monk Unchained (maybe 1 exception?), so Classic Monk is still in demand. (Also, Monk Unchained no longer has all good Saves -- not a total killer, but it hurts)

Yes, that is true. One archetype in particular is considered baseline for chained Monk. Unchained has had one archetype (Monk of the Mantis) call out how to change for him.

The Unchained Monk is far easier to use. Way, way easier to make a good build with, but some system mastery with the chained Monk makes it a million times better for multiclass builds and cheese.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^You'll have to get somebody else to fill in the details (I saw the details on another thread in this forum but can't remember the title or a unique Search string for it), but basically the "Tier" system is a categorization of classes according to how effective they are considered to be, with lower numbers being considered better. The common ratings put Wizard at the top of "Tier 1" (not saying I agree with this, but it is the common view) and Classic Rogue (that is, before Pathfinder Unchained) at the bottom of "Tier 5" (due to several other classes being able to do most of the Classic Rogue's job better; the Unchained Rogue is considered no longer at the bottom of "Tier 5" and is considered to be at least usable without requiring exceptional system mastery, but is still considered to have a way to go).

Oh, yeah, I remember now. Probably the main thing I dislike about classes in general. Although, come to think of it, at least with classes, if somebody says "that's a bad choice, you should have picked another class" you can blame the game designers, where if say everything is a skill and you can mix and match to your heart's content, you have only yourself to blame if your character ends up sucking. :-)


Chess Pwn wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Back on topic, I wonder if I am reading Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development wrong for my posts above. Seems awfully powerful, often (not in 100% of cases) better than the Blood Arcanist archetype if you dipped in Sorcerer or Bloodrager to activate the last part of the Bloodline Development text. Sounds too good to be true . . . I am going to have to do more research on this.
yes, 1 level of sorcerer and the exploit gives you a full bloodline just like the archetype. The issue is it does give up a caster level and a level of spell progression along with class abilities. Guess they feel that it's a big enough trade off for the archetype.

Did a big search for "Arcanist Bloodline Development", and while I couldn't find an official ruling beyond quotes of the Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development, the general consensus seems to be that it does indeed work this way, although opinion seems to be somewhat divided about whether the Dragon Disciple's Blood of Dragons ability can activate the last clause of the Bloodline Development text without having an actual level of Sorcerer. Opinions also seem to be divided about whether Dragon Disciple can progress a Bloodrager Draconic Bloodline, or even progresses both Bloodrager and Sorcerer Draconic Bloodlines if you have both. Opinions also seem to be divided about whether the Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development works with a Bloodrager Bloodline. I found these last two largely after doing a search for "Arcanist Bloodline Development" (which pulled up my posts above as a large fraction of the first results page).

With respect to balance, part of the problem is that Sorcerer and to a lesser extent Bloodrager Bloodlinens have extreme variability in quality of Bloodline Powers (and Arcana for Sorcerer Bloodlines), so one Bloodline might be not worth the expenditure of an Arcanist Exploit let alone a delay in spellcasting and caster level progression, while another might be extremely well worth it. (We really need a Sorcerer Unchained.)

Anyway, the big Advanced Class Guide errata pack is still pretty recent history, so the likelihood of Bloodline Development getting Errata-Nerfed is probably less than at your average randomly-picked time to give guide input. So here goes my rating of Bloodrager Bloodlines to take with the Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development, Mad Magic, and optional VMC Magus (caution: delays Mad Magic to character level 5) on a Blade Adept Arcanist that first dips in Bloodrager (1 or maybe 2 levels), and I am probably only going out on a limb (and with only mild risk) for Bloodline Development working with a Bloodrager Bloodline (using your color scheme but adding Brilliant Blue at the top):

* * * * Bloodrager Dipping for Blade Adept Arcanists with Bloodline Development * * * *

Aberrant (rate Blue/Brilliant Blue): Staggering Strike isn't so great because you will have a hard time confirming Criticals due to 1/2 BAB (if you can find a way around this problem, this Bloodline's rating moves up to Brilliant Blue), but this won't be so bad in the low levels, so it will help you get along until you can get Mad Magic online. Abnormal Reach is what you really want this for, since Blade Adept limits you to non-Reach weapons unless you sink a ton of feats into a Whip build. Aberrant Fortitude, Unusual Anatomy, Aberrant Resistance, and Aberrant Form all do a great deal to keep you in the fight.

Abyssal (rate Red/Orange/Green): Claws don't really work for you, because they don't synergize with your Bound Blade, so if you want Abyssal powers, you are better off being a Blood Arcanist (not a Blade Adept) with the Abyssal (Sorcerer) Bloodline and no Bloodrager dip. That said, Demonic Bulk provides you with a similar benefit to Abnormal Reach (above), but with a Strength bonus, but at the cost of being easier to hit and having trouble fitting into tight spaces; if you are not a Humanoid and therefore unable to cast Enlarge Person on yourself, this bumps the overall rating of this Bloodline by 1 step. Demonic Resistances are nice but not anything to write home about. Abyssal Bloodrage is nice because it improves your Bloodrage even though you have only 1 or 2 levels of actual Bloodrager. Demonic Aura, on the other hand, isn't so great, because you run the risk of immolating your friends, while Fire is commonly resisted -- although if your friends have enough Fire resistance and your enemies DON'T, this could bump the rating of this Bloodline up by 1 step. Demonic Immunities are nice but nothing to write home about at 20th level.

Arcane (rate Orange): Disruptive Bloodrage is pretty good, although you won't be able to get the Disruptive feat to make it really good. Arcane Bloodrage and its Greater version help with your survivability and/or movement, so that's good Caster's Scourge is good, but since you need the Spellbreaker feat (which in turn requires the Disruptive feat) or to get to 20th level Arcanist to make it really good, and you can't get Spellbreaker unless you somehow manage to jam in 10 levels of Fighter, it is merely good, not great. True Arcane Bloodrage doesn't synergize well with our abilities, because either you temporarily lose access to your Bound Blade or you temporarily lose spellcasting ability (even with Mad Magic), which might not be absolutely terrible for an actual Bloodrager, but for you as a 9/9 spellcaster, is really bad. Caster's Bane finally makes Caster's Scourge have its full value, and even works when you are not in Bloodrage or Rage, so it's an excellent capstone, but being a capstone, you have to wait forever to get it.

Black Blood (rate Orange) (this Bloodline is weird because it corresponds roughly to the Oracle's Curse built into Black-Blooded Oracle, but not to any Sorcerer Bloodline): Black Blood isn't so great, because the most common benefit that it gives requires you to get hit, which as a d6 HD class, is not something that you want to do Abnormal Reach is excellent just as Abnormal Reach is in the Aberrant Bloodline. Black Blood Resistance improves your survivability against enough things to make it better than your average "Resistance" Bloodline Power. Retributive Spray has the same problem as Black Blood. Black Blood Transfusion is good for an actual Bloodrager but not for you, because due to 1/2 BAB, you will have trouble confirming Criticals. Black Blood Immunity is a nice survivability improvement.

Celestial (rate Blue): Angelic Attacks are free penetration against DR/Good and free Bane starting right out of the gate, so this is great Celestial Resistances are nice but nothing to write home about. Conviction gives you an ability check, skill check, or saving throw reroll once per Bloodrage, so this is pretty good. Wings of Heaven gets you in the air without needing to expend a spell from your limited supply, so this is good -- just make sure that you keep Feather Fall ready to go or (better yet) have a Ring of Feather Falling, in case you lose power. Angelic Protection considerably improves your survivability and resistance to mind-control; the only downside is how long you have to wait for it. Ascension improves your survivability enough over the average "Resistances" Bloodline Power that is not too shabby even for a capstone.

Destined (rate Orange): Destined Strike gives you an occasional bonus to attack rolls -- not terrible, but considering the limited uses per day (not per Bloodrage), not great. Fated Bloodrager improves your survivability, and is okay Certain Strike gives you one attack roll reroll per Bloodrage, and thus is more like what Destined Strike should have been -- it would have been excellent as your first level power, but as it is, is just good. Defy Death improves your survability, although the limitation of once per day hurts it. Unstoppable both improves your survivability and lets you confirm Criticals even though you are a 1/2 BAB character, so this is good. Victory or Death improves your survivability enough over the average "Resistances" Bloodline Power that is not too shabby even for a capstone, although the Celestial capstone is better.

Draconic (rate Orange): Claws have the same problem that it has with the Abyssal Bloodline -- it doesn't synergize with your Bound Blade, so if you want Draconic powers, you are better off being a type of Arcanist other than Blade Adept, although if you want to become a Dragon Disciple you will need 1 level of a true spontaneous spellcasting class (Arcanist hybrid spellcasting does not count, because Arcanists must still prepare spells), so the situation is different from that for getting Abyssal powers. Draconic Resistance improves your survivability, but is nothing to write home about. Breath Weapon is lacklustre, as a once per day (later twice and then thrice per day) blast that you can't modify with Metamagic. Dragon Wings gets you in the air without needing to expend a spell from your limited supply, so this is good -- just make sure that you keep Feather Fall ready to go or (better yet) have a Ring of Feather Falling, in case you lose power. Dragon Form is good for an actual Bloodrager but bad for you, because it makes you temporarily lose your Bound Blade. Power of Wyrms improves your survivability and gives you free Blindsense, so this is decent but not great, considering how long you have to wait for it.

Elemental (rate Red/Orange): Elemental Strikes has a crippling limit of uses per day until you get all the way to 20th level, and the amount of damage does not scale with level. Elemental Resistance gives you more Resistance than the average "Resistances" power, although it is narrower in scope, so this is okay. Elemental Movement can be good, although the usefulness of the version for water depends a LOT upon the campaign -- great for Skull & Shackles, but nearly unusable in the greater part of an awful lot of campaigns. Power of the Elements helps you overcome Energy Resistance and Energy Immunity, but the downside is that it only works with your Elemental Strikes, not your spells, and by the time you get this, your Elemental Strikes are pretty weak. Elemental Form could be good, but the limit of 1 use per day (not per Bloodrage) really hurts, and just how good it is depends upon whether your GM rules that you can still cast spells when you turn into an Elemental. Elemental Body gives you a decent survivability boost.

Fey (rate Orange): Confusing Critical, as the name implies, requires you to confirm a Critical, which is not so good on a 1/2 BAB character, and it only lasts for 1 round; still, it might help you get through the early levels before you get Mad Magic online. Leaping Charger lets you ignore difficult terrain when charging, but not at other times, so this is lacklustre. Blurred Movement helps you improve your survivability, and as a character that is less likely to be making iterative attacks than an actual Bloodrager, this is decent. Quickling Bloodrager gives you free self-haste, so this is good, although you are more likely than an actual Bloodrager to cast Haste so as to benefit the rest of your party; still, this is good if you are not in a position to receive the benefits of a Haste spell at the same time as they are. One with Nature's protection against Animals and Plants is only okay, but it also gives you Tree Stride 3 times per day, which could be situationally quite useful. Fury of the Fey gives you an adaptive Bane, although the extra damage isn't great for 20th level.

Infernal (rate Orange): Hellfire Strike is another weak damage boost that is usable only a limited number of times per day, although at least this one scales a little bit. Infernal Resistance gives a decent survivability boost. Diabolical Arrogance gives a decent boost against mind-control, useful in case your Protection from Evil (or Circle thereof) gets dispelled. Dark Wings gets you in the air without needing to expend a spell from your limited supply, so this is good -- just make sure that you keep Feather Fall ready to go or (better yet) have a Ring of Feather Falling, in case you lose power. Hellfire Charge boosts your lacklustre first level power to be just slightly less lacklustre. Fiend of the Pit gets you a decent survivability boost and See in Darkness, although this is not great by the time you have waited until 20th level.

Kyton (rate Red/Orange): Painful Strike requires you to confirm a Critical, which is not so good on a 1/2 BAB character, and while it lasts for more than 1 round, it does't provide a very strong debuff against most opponents; still, it might help you get through the early levels before you get Mad Magic online, and if you go up against enemy spellcasters, the debuff actually gets pretty good. Grasping Chains is not terrible for a low-to-mid-level Bloodrager, but for you, a 9/9 arcane spellcaster, it is not very exciting. Armor of Chains provides a decent survivability boost. Agony's Embrace requires you to get hit by a Critical, which is not good for you with your d6 HD and arguably bad even for an actual Bloodrager. Unnerving Gaze would have been decent earlier, but by the time you get it will be nothing to write home about, and an awful lot of things will be outright immune to it. Kyton Immunities are a survivability boost, but not very exciting.

Undead (rate Green): Frightful Charger is better overall than Painful Strike, (Kyton Bloodline, above) because it will usually be easier for you to hit a target when you charge than to confirm a Critical, thereby enabling this ability to remain useful for much longer, although on the downside it has no extra effect against enemy spellcasters, and the debuff does not last as long. Ghost Strike is what you want this Bloodline for -- free Ghost Touch isn't something you need every day, but when you need it, you need it really bad. Death's Gift is a decent survivability boost. Frightful Strikes is good to stack on top of Frightful Charger to strengthen the debuff. Incorporeal Bloodrager would be pretty good except that the limit of once per day hurts it. One Foot in the Grave is a pretty good survivability boost, although note that unless you somehow manage to substitute for an actual Bloodrager's Damage Reduction (which is gained starting at actual Bloodrager level 7 -- way beyond your Bloodrager dip), the Damage Reduction boost won't kick in.

Might as well also do Bloodrager archetypes for your dip levels:

Blood Conduit (Blue/Brilliant Blue): At 1st level, for the cost of Fast Movement (which you can compensate for later with spells), you get an Improved Combat Maneuver feat without needing to take the useless prerequisite feat. Sign me up! This would be amazing if you also take the VMC Magus option (get the Magus Arcana Maneuver Mastery as soon as you can -- unfortunately, you have to wait until character level 7 for this, because it is not on the list of Magus Arcana allowed by Blade Adept Arcanist). Do note that this archetype traces out Uncanny Dodge (2nd level Bloodrager) for its 5th level ability, so only dip 1 level in this.

Bloodrider (rated Red/Orange): If you somehow get a mount that won't evaporate when an enemy sneezes at it, this helps you make your mount better. Note that the way you would probably get a mount is at least somewhat feat-intensive, so not to be used with the VMC Magus option. Animal Companion route: Nature Soul, Animal Ally, Boon Companion. Summoning route: Spell Focus (Conjuration), Augment Summoning, acquire any spell that conjures an animal that you can ride. Do note that many Bloodline Powers will not synergize very well with being mounted, and you will need to invest in additional feats to be able to cast spells reliably while riding, and in many cases mounts (even ordinary ones) will have trouble fitting into places you need to go. Then you will gain the ability to fly, and make all of that obsolete.

Crossblooded Rager, Primalist (unratable for now): These do not work, because these are archetypes that modify the Bloodline Powers (this is incompatible with Bloodline Development, which specifies that it can only be used with a Bloodline that has not been altered by an archetype).

Greenrager, Metamagic Rager, Rageshaper, Untouchable Rager (unratable): Irrelevant, because these do not do anything in the first 2 levels (and dipping more than 2 levels of Bloodrager would be a bad idea).

Spelleater (rated Orange): At 2nd level, this trades out Uncanny Dodge for Fast Healing 1. The amount of damage healed is going to be small enough that it probably is not worth losing the ability to act in the Surprise Round, which is what you would really want to dip 2 levels of Bloodrager for (if you couldn't get the Defensive Strategist trait in the first place, and even if you have both Defensive Strategist and Magical Knack, it probably isn't worth the delay in your spellcasting progression).

Steelblood (rated Red): This doesn't work for you, because Heavy Armor still gives you Arcane Spell Failure (and Arcane Armor Training is just bad), because you are an Arcanist that just dipped 1 or 2 levels in Bloodrager. The bonus on combat maneuvers is nice, but if you want that, instead dip Blood Conduit Bloodrager and go VMC Magus (see above).


(Addendum to the abov -- I see that I missed 4 Bloodrager archetypes to dip in.)

Ancestral Harbinger (rated Red): This doesn't make a difference at 1st level, but at 2nd level this trades out Uncanny Dodge for Spiritual Weapon (and only once per day) that you aren't going to scale up because you aren't going to take any more Bloodrager levels, and as an Arcanist (possibly with some prestige class that progresses your 9/9 spellcasting) for the rest of your levels, you are going to have far more awesome spells than that real soon.

Bloody Knuckled Rowdy (rated Red/Orange): The only thing this would do for you at 1st level is trade out Fast Movement for Improved Unarmed Strike, which you could also get with Blood Conduit, and which doesn't synergize very well with your Bound Blade without a lot of feat investment (Two Weapon Fighting chain), and at 2nd level the only thing this does for you is trade out Uncanny Dodge for a Combat Style feat. If for some reason you really want Improved Unarmed Strike and a Combat Style feat and can't make the feats fit in otherwise, this is barely acceptable; otherwise pass, no further questions asked.

Id Rager (unratable due to being not a valid choice): This replaces Bloodline and everything about it, so it won't work with the Arcanist Exploit Bloodline Development. Too bad, too, because this archetype is what Bloodrager gets instead of an actual Psychic Bloodrager Bloodline, which would have been awesome -- maybe too awesome, so it may have been written this way specifically to prevent the kind of power boost that would otherwise be possible.

Urban Bloodrager (rated Orange/Green): This makes your Bloodrage less effective (and takes away the Shield proficiency that you aren't going to use anyway, but on the plus side you get no AC penalty) in exchange for allowing you to use Charisma-, Dexterity-, and Intelligence- based skills while in (Controlled) Bloodrage; it will not affect your spellcasting, which is going to depend upon Mad Magic. How good this archetype is will depend upon whether you can fit Extra Rage into your build, because to benefit from it, you will need to depend upon the Rage spell and/or Skald's Inspired Rage less and depend more upon your own (Controlled) Bloodrage, so it's probably not good for a build that includes VMC Magus, which consumes half of your feats, although it might still be workable if you are Human and didn't trade out your Bonus feat to help with your MADness.


It's great to see another Arcanist Guide taking shape, since the only other one I know if has been awaiting update for nearly a year (such is life). I'm playing an Arcanist in a Pathfinder-ized Eberron Campaign and the Guide rings pretty true to my experience.

My character's mostly functioning as a battlefield control and party buffer (amusingly, the Oracle is our Blaster) and Potent Magic has been really useful in that regard, while Quick Study has gotten us through a couple of sticky situations. It's nice to be able to prep a good mix of combat spells, knowing that I can swap in a needed non-combat spell if I need to. (I took Extra Reservoir since I was warned about the Consume Items nerf, so I'm not too worried about running out of pool).

So far, the biggest problem has been managing castings per day; I really need to have a couple of wands I can fall back on.


It's awesome to see a lot of great discussion going on in this thread. Also sorry for my lack of updates, I've been super busy. Don't expect anything major to change until after December.

Azten: Definitely, I'll get around to it sometime. Though it won't be much different the usual stealing from the summoner spell list strategy.

UnArcaneElection: It's awesome to see how much thought you put into this. All of your reviews of the bloodlines and archetypes are spot on. Though I'm not really sure how much I like the bloodrager route with the blade adept. Yes, you still get a bloodline progression, but your BAB still suffers unless you go into eldritch knight, at which point taking bloodline development is somewhat a waste. Not to mention being exploit starved (which turns into being even more feat starved.)

I'm trying to figure out how to make the blade adept a gish of it's own right. Something that feels different to the Magus, because if it doesn't then why play a blade adept? There's always the argument that at higher levels the blade adept wins out because of 7th+ level spells, but that's by virtue of being a better spellcaster, not a better gish. If a blade adept is built that way then it just plays like a gimped spellcaster rather than a true sword and sorcery character. That's the problem I've been trying to solve for the blade adept section, and why it's not done yet.

Sorry for the rambling

Letric: Now this is the type of feedback I'm looking for! Thank you.

Base arcanist is definitely powerful, though I do think some archetypes can hold their own at lower levels. The School Savant's extra spell prepared is a solid boon at lower levels. The Twilight Sages ability can be harsh, especially in a campaign with all undead or constructs. Though in most campaigns there usually have to be some living creatures, and if the player is particularly evil they can consume the good living creatures, crazy scientist style (HD permitting.) I'll add a note into the guide about it.

I'll give prof. Q's guide another look over, of the races section particularly. Sadly I made the new races section in a hurry, so it's not as thorough as it should be.

Even though dimensional slide doesn't get you out of grapple/pin, it's still very powerful. It only takes a move action and at higher level's it can move you away a pretty far distance for only 1 reservoir point and it doesn't provoke AoO's.

It costs 75GP if using the Scribe Scroll feat. So the exploit would require a feat slot and an exploit slot to keep it that cheap (albeit a feat that's useful.) And it can only be used a number of times equal to the charisma modifier (though I'm not sure why you would need it more than 1 or 2 times a day.) Charisma arcanists might want to consider this, but giving up a spell slot for more points is usually the better decision (and doesn't require an exploit for.) Though I do like the staff of minor arcana plan.

Also using metamagic rods is only a full-round action for spontaneous casters, the arcanist is not spontaneous.

Some other Guy: True, but think of potent magic as weapon focus for a fighter, 9/10 they take it immediately. Arcanists are going to be using the +1 DC and CL alot and this just makes it better.
And Quick Study could still be useful in campaigns where combat only last's 2 rounds, it's just not for every fight. It's for the end boss or sub bosses with different combat mechanics that the players might not have accounted for.

Ed Reppert wrote:
Tier 1? Tier 2? Tier n? Whazzat?

Yup

CharlieIAM: Yeah that's one of the reasons why I started this guide. I still consider Thelemic Noun’s Arcanist guide a great resource and a lot of his/her ratings informed my own.

I'm glad to hear someone out there is still playing in Eberron, one of the most underrated D&D settings (right after Planescape.) And from the sound of it, you're doing exactly what the arcanist does best. I'm assuming said Oracle is an Ancient Lorekeeper?


Dawar: Actually, the Oracle is a Kitsune Spirit Guide who has been using a Flame Spirit; it's kind of an oddball group. My Arcanist is a Samsaran with Mystic Past Life, but the DM thought using the Summoner list was just too much cheese and I kind of had to agree, so he's got a selection of Bard spells (I ♥ Gallant Inspiration). He's also a School Savant (Teleportation) which is a bit rough at the lower levels but started to shine at 5th.


Dawar wrote:

{. . .}

UnArcaneElection: It's awesome to see how much thought you put into this. All of your reviews of the bloodlines and archetypes are spot on. Though I'm not really sure how much I like the bloodrager route with the blade adept. Yes, you still get a bloodline progression, but your BAB still suffers unless you go into eldritch knight, at which point taking bloodline development is somewhat a waste. Not to mention being exploit starved (which turns into being even more feat starved.) [/b]

That's what I posted about VMC Magus for, so that you can actually use Maneuver Mastery. Normally Maneuver Mastery doesn't work with VMC Magus, because it doesn't give you any effective Magus levels to determine the effect (just to determine qualification), but it does let you select Maneuver Mastery; while Blade Adept makes your Arcanist level into your effective Magus level for determining the effects of Magus Arcana, but doesn't let you select Maneuver Mastery. Combine these, and you can select Maneuver Mastery and have it actually work. Get this, and you use your Arcanist levels as your effective BAB for Combat Maneuvers; the fact that your Arcanist progression is delayed 1 or 2 levels by your Bloodrager dip doesn't matter for this, because that is full BAB anyway.

The rest of VMC Magus doesn't go to waste, either -- since you are always going to be short on Arcane Reservoir from your Arcanist class, you'd rather use the Arcane Pool that you get from VMC Magus (at character level 3). As noted above, the first Magus Arcana that you get with VMC Magus (at character level 7) is Maneuver Mastery; Spellstrike that you get with VMC Magus (at character level 11) absolves you of the need to get Spellstrike as an Exploit (or lets you retrain it to a different Exploit if you got it earlier); the next Magus Arcana that you get with VMC Magus (at character level 15) is Broad Study (that you also can't select with Blade Adept by itself, and that you probably want because out of the box, both versions of Spellstrike only work with spells on the Magus spell list); you can probably come up with 1 more useful Magus Arcana (that you get with VMC Magus at character level 19) that is not on the list that Blade Adept can select by itself.

Dawar wrote:

I'm trying to figure out how to make the blade adept a gish of it's own right. Something that feels different to the Magus, because if it doesn't then why play a blade adept? There's always the argument that at higher levels the blade adept wins out because of 7th+ level spells, but that's by virtue of being a better spellcaster, not a better gish. If a blade adept is built that way then it just plays like a gimped spellcaster rather than a true sword and sorcery character. That's the problem I've been trying to solve for the blade adept section, and why it's not done yet.

{. . .}

You wouldn't want to try to emulate a Magus in most respects (even though you get Spellstrike, possibly even earlier than when VMC Magus gives it to you) -- instead you would want to be a battlefield controller and to a lesser extent a Bad Touch Arcanist. A Magus (especially Hexcrafter) can be built to do this, but you will have a better selection of battlefield control spells than the Magus (although Hexcrafter does narrow the gap with respect to Bad Touch spells). You want Reach -- from the Aberrant Bloodline, a Whip as your Bound Blade (a Whip is the only One-Handed Reach Slashing weapon unless you count Scorpion Whip separately, but that requires an extra feat anyway, and as it is, you probably have to be Human), or even the Abyssal Bloodline if you have the good luck to be in a party that can soak the collateral damage without harm. And thanks to Maneuver Mastery, you won't need to go into Eldritch Knight, unlike the Reach Eldritch Knight that I posted elsewhere.

I would like to put together an actual build some time, but I don't have time to do it now (and may have to wait until I get back into town on December 19).


No time to do a build yet, but I did determine that NO WAY are you becoming a Whip Gish with any build that uses VMC unless you are a single-classed Bloodrager or Magus or dip a lot of levels in Fighter, even if you are Human or Half-Orc -- it just takes too many feats, and the upper level Whip Mastery feats need a LOT of BAB for you to qualify. So to get Reach, you are going to have to get it from Longarm and/or Enlarge Person and/or the equivalent Aberrant or Abyssal Bloodline Powers, since your weapon cannot be a Two-Handed weapon and still work with Blade Adept Arcanist.


Just a few notes on feats

guide wrote:
Combat Expertise: It’s strange, I’ve never once seen this suggested as optimisation for spellcasters, but since you’re never attacking (or at least you shouldn’t be) this feat translates into a raw AC bonus with no negatives. So unless I’m missing something, I think this is at least a decent choice.

What you're missing is that unless you make an attack you don't get the bonus of the feat. The same with fighting defensively. Can't find the reference just now, but I know I've seen it.

guide wrote:
Enlarge Spell: Hitting from further away is a valuable tool for you, though the use of a valuable high spell slot hurts.

You haven't rated the Reach Spell feat, so I assume you haven't seen it. Take a look, do the math, now try to justify ever taking Enlarge Spell ever again.

Another feat you didn't mention was Merciful Spell which I have found to be useful - not so much in a dungeon crawl maybe, but a +0 metamagic which you can apply spontaneously is handy for taking prisoners or for dropping a fireball when you have to hit your friends. Green maybe, orange in said crawl.

Selective Spell is the superior way of dropping a fireball (or, better, an area debuff) around your friends of course, but only at/after 10th level. Green to blue.

Unrated but on your list are Rime Spell and Piercing Spell. Rime Spell is a very easy to apply debuff, it applies if they take damage rather than if they fail a save. Still not enough to make it better than green due to the limited actual effect. Piercing Spell is potentially very nice to have but early you won't have it and late I prefer to use magic items. High orange IMO.


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Build thoughts:

Human Blood Conduit Bloodrager (Aberrant) 1/Blade Adept Arcanist n

15 point buy (Human, dumping unavoidable): Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 15 + 2 = 17, Wis 10, Cha 7
20 point buy (Human, no dumping): Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 15 + 2 = 17, Wis 10, Cha 11
25 point buy (Human, Charisma Arcanist enabled): Str 15, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 15 + 2 = 17, Wis 10, Cha 14

Ability score increases go to Str, Dex, and all the rest to Int.

Favored class bonus goes to Hit Points.

Traits = Defensive Strategist (essentially Uncanny Dodge in a trait) and a Campaign Trait (note: Magical Knack is probably not worth it to compensate for just 1 caster level loss)

1. Blood Conduit Bloodrager (Aberrant 1): Confers Abyssal Bloodline and Level 1 Bloodrager power = Staggering Strike; Level 1 Human Bonus Feat = Mad Magic (this doesn't actually take effect until 2nd level); Level 1 Blood Conduit Bloodrager Bonus Feat (prereq-free) = Improved Trip; Level 1 character feat = Combat Reflexes.
2. Blade Adept Arcanist 1: Confers spellcasting (hence the Mad Magic at the previous level), Arcane Reservoir, Consume Spells, and Sword Bond (replaces 1st level Arcane Exploit)
3. Blade Adept Arcanist 2: Level 3 character feat = VMC Magus I (Arcane Pool -- partially relieves shortage of Arcane Reservoir points)
4. Blade Adept Arcanist 3: Confers Sentient Sword (replaces 3rd level Arcane Exploit)
5. Blade Adept Arcanist 4: Level 5 character feat = Combat Casting
6. Blade Adept Arcanist 5: 5th level Arcane Exploit = Bloodline Development (stacks with your Bloodrager Bloodline, activating your higher level powers, starting with Abnormal Reach)
7. Blade Adept Arcanist 6: Level 7 character feat = VMC Magus II (Magus Arcana Maneuver Mastery -- no more worrying about your 1/2 BAB hurting your Combat Maneuvers; normally this wouldn't work in VMC, but your Arcanist levels count as effective Magus levels for determining the effects of Magus Arcana)
8. Blade Adept Arcanist 7: 7th level Arcane Exploit = Quick Study
9. Blade Adept Arcanist 8: Level 9 character feat = whatever you want to customize the build (for instance, Intensify Spell)
10. Blade Adept Arcanist 9: (Sword Bond replaces 9th level Arcane Exploit)
11. Blade Adept Arcanist 10: Level 11 character feat = VMC Magus III (Spellstrike)
12. Blade Adept Arcanist 11: 11th level Arcane Exploit = whatever you want to customize the build (for instance, Metamagic Knowledge Dazing Spell)
13. Blade Adept Arcanist 12: Level 13 character feat = whatever you want to customize the build (for instance, Spell Penetration)
14. Blade Adept Arcanist 13: 13th level Arcane Exploit = whatever you want to customize the build (for instance, Metamixing)
15. Blade Adept Arcanist 14: level 15 character feat = VMC Magus IV (Magus Arcana Broad Study, which you can't select with Blade Adept by itself)

After this point, everything is whatever you want to customize the build.


Additions to the above:

For spell selection, no great restrictions, but make sure to take advantage of your greater selection of battlefield control spells compared to a Magus, and keep in mind that only spells that are on the Magus spell list can go through Spellstrike until you get Broad Study. If you are willing to continue with the latter restriction (which isn't terrible), you could replace the Broad Study Magus Arcana with something else.
.
For weapon, you probably want one with the Trip property (while still being One-Handed (not Light) slashing or piercing) -- Ankus fits the bill, and has th Disarm property and decent although not outstanding base damage. If you want a better Critical range to work with Staggering Strike, a Cutlass, Rapier, or Scimitar will work (although this isn't optimal, due to 1/2 BAB) -- get your weapon to be Keen as soon as you can, but these do not have Trip; these also let you go Dex-based (see Urban Bloodrager below) instead of Str-based.

Gave Urban Bloodrager another look: Although it generally makes your Bloodrage less effective, it would be good for builds that you want to make Dexterity-based instead of Strength-based, because you can apply your Controlled Bloodrage bonus to Dexterity instead of Strength, and you can combine it with Blood Conduit, so this archetype gets upgraded to Orange/Green/Blue, although in a VMC build, this will make you be not just starved for feats, but dehydrated and anoxic as well. Just to cram in Weapon Finesse, you will need to dip 1 level of Swashbuckler (for Scimitar, using the Whirling Dervish archetype) as well as 1 level of Blood Conduit Urban Bloodrager, and you will still need another feat (Dervish Dance, Fencing Grace, or Slashing Grace) to get Dex-to-Damage; good luck cramming it into the build above at a reasonably early point. With this, you will be 2 caster levels behind, so the trait Magical Knack changes from questionable to a must-have.

If your GM is nice and lets you move your better Bloodrager hit die to the front of your hit dice instead of leaving you stuck with a small Arcanist hit die if you started Arcanist, OR if you are really crazy and going Dex-based as noted above (make your Swashbuckler dip be your 1st level), you could rearrange the above build so as to get your Combat Casting going first, and move your Bloodrager dip and Mad Magic to 5th level.

Finally, in the upper levels, if you get all done with Arcane Exploits, you can go Eldritch Knight to get better hit points and BAB for your normal attacks (thanks to Maneuver Mastery, Combat Maneuvers will remain the same at already equivalent to full BAB), as well as some Bonus Combat Feats to improve your Gishing, although you probably shouldn't do this on a Dex-based build (you don't want to lose *3* spellcasting levels), and again Magical Knack goes from questionable to a must-have.


For me Urban is great and an upgrade for your rage.
The con boost you get while raging goes away when you stop, thus it's never really that useful. While the urban rage still gives you all the Str you were wanting, you also don't take any AC penalty to do it.


^True enough, except that the Constitution boost during normal Bloodrage is very welcome for boosting your Fortitude Saves, which start out good but are going to get bad as you advance in Arcanist levels.

Although I ahve to say that for the same reasons you give, if you are going to go the Urban Bloodrager (preferably with Blood Conduit) dip route, it would be very good to be friends with an Urban Skald to rock out with (and the Urban Skald gets some nice other benefits, too).

* * * * * * * *

More weapon thoughts: Since you are going to have difficulty making hits and confirming Criticals to go with staggering Critical due to having 1/2 BAB, you are also going to want to get a way to put the Brilliant Energy property on your weapon temporarily (NOT permanently, or it will be useless against Constructs and Undead). But I can't think of a way to do this off the top of my head. More practically, weapons with narrow but deep Critical ranges are better for you than wide but shallow Critical ranges, assuming that they meet the other requirements (Simple or Martial, One-Handed but NOT Light, Piercing or Slashing, preferably with the Trip property). With that in mind (and the alternative of just improving weapon base damage), add (for Str-based builds only except as noted) Battleaxe, Gandasa, Nine-Ring Broadsword (Eastern), and Sibat (Eastern; gives AoO-free Grapple when you confirm a Critical, and is also designed to be hurled for short distances).

If you can somehow get Exotic Weapon Proficiency free (like Half-Elf Ancestral Weapons) or get the following weapons treated as Martial, also add (again for Str-based build only except as noted): Bastard Sword (Martial for Two-Handed use; Exotic for One-Handed use; not deep Critical Range but higher base damage), Dwarven Waraxe or the double version thereof (both are Martial if you are a Dwarf), Estoc (can be used Two-Handed as Martial; Exotic Weapon Proficiency needed for One-Handed use, and also qualifies it for Weapon Finesse and Dex-based build; has wide and shallow Critical range but more base damage than Rapier), Hooked Axe (functions as Battleaxe with martial weapon proficiency -- Exotic Weapon Proficiency needed only to get Trip), Falcata (wide AND deep critical range), NOT Whip (as noted above, that is for a real Magus or martial class, not you -- even if you get free proficiency with it, it requires too many feats to make it good, and Greater Whip Mastery requires BAB +6, which means a LONG time waiting for it to come fully online).


(Cross-posting between this thread and the archtypes evaluation thread)

I wondered: If you dip in Bloodrager (or for that matter, Sorcerer) and take the Familiar Adept archetype, which replaces your 1st level Bloodline Power, and then go Arcanist or Exploiter Wizard with the Arcane Exploit Bloodline Development, which progresses your Bloodline with your Arcanist levels, shouldn't this Exploit also result in progression of your Familiar, thus letting you get a Familiar without consuming an Arcane Exploit?

Well, I re-read Bloodline Development (linked above), and the text explicitly says that it only can be used on a Bloodline that is not modified by an archetype. Familiar Adept, despite appearing in the Familiar archetype list and NOT in the archetype tables or listings of classes that have Bloodlines, is actually an archetype that modifies your Bloodline, so it prevents you from using Bloodline Development with your Bloodline.


I also wonder about the varisian tatoo feeat for +1 caster level from a single school.

+1 caster level can also mean longer duration for say 1 round/level summons.

Also wouldn't +1 caster level matter differently at differently levels. For blasting adding one more die rolled means more at level 4 than say 10.

Actually npc arcanasits would be scary for players to fight As they don't need to save spells for mulitple encounters.


Combat Feat Section wrote:

Combat Expertise: It’s strange, I’ve never once seen this suggested as optimisation for spellcasters, but since you’re never attacking (or at least you shouldn’t be) this feat translates into a raw AC bonus with no negatives. So unless I’m missing something, I think this is at least a decent choice.

What you're missing is that you need to make a melee attack to to get the AC boost from Combat Expertise. When is it ever a good idea for a squishy to be close enough to an enemy to do that?


Pulling this old stuff up to use in other threads, I just realized that:

I wrote:

{. . .}

More weapon thoughts: Since you are going to have difficulty making hits and confirming Criticals to go with staggering Critical due to having 1/2 BAB, you are also going to want to get a way to put the Brilliant Energy property on your weapon temporarily (NOT permanently, or it will be useless against Constructs and Undead). But I can't think of a way to do this off the top of my head. {. . .}

Not sure how I missed Ghost Blade. Has to be taken with one of the Magus Arcana awarded by VMC Magus, because it is not one of the choices that a Blade Adept Arcanist can take in place of an Arcane Exploit. Just when you take this would be determined by whether VMC Magus is considered to qualify you for Extra Arcana (current Rules As Written, yes, but I would expect this to get Errata'd eventually to make it consistent with VMC Oracle and VMC Witch, if the developers pay any further attention to VMC at all).


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BretI wrote:

Although I agree that Potent Magic is well worth it for most Arcanists, I do not agree that it is needed.

I feel that Quick Study is a crutch. I would much rather have a different exploit, choose my spells wisely, and get a collection of scrolls for the rarely needed stuff.

MetaMagic Knowledge is usually worth it because there is bound to be at least one meta-magic you will regularly use.

You need to look at the whole picture when choosing traits, feats, and exploits. Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning is a lot more useful on an Occultist Arcanist than a Brown Fur Transmuter Arcanist.

As with most casters: feats, traits, and exploits will be based on focus.

As for the other points:
A) Potent Magic is pretty much the Arcanist's niche, as far as I can tell. They don't have the versatility of a wizard, nor the spell slots of a sorcerer. So, they get the ability to make every spell count in exchange. That +2 DC will turn an optimized Color Spray, Charm Person, or Sleep at level 1 from a DC 17 to a DC 19 (Int20, SF), which many level 1 opponents can only save against on a nat20. Maybe it's not required at level 1, but at higher levels, it's very needed. That brings us to:

B) Quick Study is another exploit that is pretty much needed by the Arcanist. I wouldn't call it a crutch. Without it, the arcanist must walk into an encounter with a short sorcerer every-spell kind of list. It's extremely limiting, and "choos[ing] my spells wisely" doesn't really help when you have so few slots to fill with so many good things. A sorcerer can cover the buff/debuff/etc. bases, but the arcanist struggles to fill all of these roles with their relevant prepared slots (top 2 levels), even at high level play. Since they have to fill all of their prep slots at the beginning of the day, they can't even leave a slot open for situational spells. Scrolls are a thing, but Quick Study lets you use your caster level without paying out the nose for spells that need a high CL.


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hi everyone, new to the forums, but i figured id drop my 2 bits

most people agree that consume magic items is worthless, but i offer an exception,if your willing to grab craft staff (and retrain it after:)

with consume magic items, staves are not damaged, instead

"If used on a staff, it loses 1 charge and the arcanist gains a number of points to his arcane reservoir equal to the level of the highest-level spell the staff can cast using only 1 charge; if the staff has no spells that require only 1 charge, the arcanist cannot consume that staff ‘s magic. No more than 1 charge can be drawn from a staff each day in this way"

so you gain points equal to the highest ability, and there needs to be an ability that cost one charge, but that doesn't have to be the highest level ability

if you recall the crafting guideline for staves

(400 x highest level spell level x caster level) + (300 x next highest spell x caster level)

however as stated:If desired, a spell can be placed into the staff at less than the normal cost, but then activating that particular spell drains additional charges from the staff. Divide the cost of the spell by the number of charges it consumes to determine its final price.

so lets say we have level a level 12 arcanist, he can craft a staff with a level 1, and a level 6 ability, at caster level 12 as follows

(400 x 6 x 12)= 28800, which is already expensive, but what if that ability costs 10 charges? we divide by 10 for 2880 we unfortunately still need a 1 charge ability, and it needs to match the caster level, so (300 x 1 x 12)= 3600

3600+2880=6480 so for 6480 (cheaper with hedge magician, or spark of creation, or both :) ) (and cheaper still if the GM allows you to cut cost in half (as all the pre-designed staves are)

but assuming the worst, your have an arcane reservoir battery, usable once a day to gain 6 arcane pool points :) this can be used 10 days in a row without recharging (though i would recharging whenever you can)

as staves can be made as low as caster level 8, here are the costs of such staves, calculated for the lowest caster level of the highest level ability (thus how any points you gain in one charge)

base price:....................with hedge magician/spark of creation:

4=3680.........................4=3312
5=5000.........................5=4500
6=6480.........................6=5832
7=8120.........................7=7308
8=9920.........................8=8928
9=11880........................9=10692

if you cut the price in half:

4=1840.........................4=1656
5=2500.........................5=2250
6=3240.........................6=2916
7=4060.........................7=3654
8=4960.........................8=4464
9=5940.........................9=5346

so in short, when you only get 3+ half your level in arcane reservoir each morning, at level 12 you can double that with a little over 10000 gold, even if you dump charisma, (and if your gm lets you price like paizo, for little over 5000)

if you don't dump charisma (you can have a +6 modifier with a headband of mental prowess if you start with a 16) you can craft 6 of these, even the level 4 ones now offer 24 arcane pool points for 22080 (no discount)

in this case consume magic item is worth considering ;D


Geruvurrda wrote:

hi everyone, new to the forums, but i figured id drop my 2 bits

most people agree that consume magic items is worthless, but i offer an exception,if your willing to grab craft staff (and retrain it after:)...QUOTE TRUNCATED.

I think this is pretty clever (assuming all the rules and maths are correct). It may be illuminating to compare this to another, more straight forward option.

The cost for Consume Magic Item-Staff for 6 arcanist points per day is 6480, an exploit, and a feat. Taking the feat Extra Reservoir twice also gives you 6 more points per day. I'd argue that a feat and an exploit are of similar value, so that aspect is a wash, and there is no monetary cost to just using the feats.

The Consume Magic Items strategy also requires the expenditure of spells to recharge it, and the use of a standard action some time in the day to use it. Then again, it allows for the creation of other staves and the consumption of other items. These are all minor things, IMO.

However, for those who need a great many arcanist points, the ability to use money to make staves instead of using more feats may indeed be a good idea. The Occultist archetype can always make use of more points. As I type this, I'm becoming more convinced.

It does seem that you are better off crafting multiple lower level staves than one high level, assuming your character can transport them.


Gah. I know what a feat is. I know what a trait is. What the hell is an exploit?

Too many rules. <Wanders off grumbling to himself.>


Eal Longwalker wrote:

Gah. I know what a feat is. I know what a trait is. What the hell is an exploit?

Too many rules. <Wanders off grumbling to himself.>

It is a core arcanitst ability, specific to the arcanist. Arcaninsts can choose a new exploit from a list of exploits every odd level.


Ah. When I hear "exploit" I think "way to get around the rules". I suppose I should have remembered the Arcanist usage, especially in this thread.


Couple of notes, the way I plan on using this is by getting an efficient quiver, which is fairly cheap (especially to craft) and I do have the craft wondrous item feat

This means I could place 6 staves in the main compartment, saving the others for rods, odds and ends :)

Also consume magic items is a move action, not a standard action, so you could move action consume staff, standard action cast a spell, and still have a Swift action :)


Overall the guide seems functional in the sense that it offers information and helps the reader make choices. However, criticism is more helpful than compliments, so here goes.

Images
Do you have a way to use word wrap or to resize the images? They look nice, but the larger ones take up a lot of room, and I feel like there is a lot of wasted space. While scrolling back and forth in the doc, they stop being cool and become an annoyance.

Guide Colors
I don't think purple is a good choice for unfinished sections, because purple is already a commonly used color in other guides. I suggest using another color - maybe black.

When to play an arcanist
Parts of this section is just rambling, and I thats not helpful. I think it would be better to set this up as a section comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the arcanist, wizard, and sorcerer. You are already kind of doing that. Might as well make it more official.

Prepared or Spontaneous
I see no reason for this section to exist. The class is obviously a prepared caster because he has to choose spells before using them. The inherent flexibility is a feature of the class - it doesn't change what kind of caster he is.

Arcane reservoir
The "note" is a good mention.

Consume spells
I see no reason to confuse people by talking about how a class feature worked in the past. It isn't relevant anymore.

Roles in the group
I see some contradiction here. In save or die, you say that he is mediocre and that he does it better than most classes. Which is it? If better than most, this should be a green choice. As a side note, save or die isn't a role. its a sub-category of spells IMHO under "debuffing" or "save or suck". You also say that your allies should be the ones doing the killing. If that is so, shouldn't buffer be a green choice too? The wizard spell list certainly has enough buff spells to take advantage of.

Stats
First off I really hate this term to describe ability scores. Stats are better uses to describe a creatures important combat numbers, such as attack bonus, damage, AC, movement, saving throws, etc. I strongly disagree with your assessment of Charisma. While it is unfortunate that the only Cha skill on his list is UMD, a Charisma governs many aspects of his exploits. Exploits are smaller class feature than his flexible spellcasting, but as a class feature it's certain more important than something like bravery or trap sense. I think choosing between 7 or 14 is short sighted. A GM doesn't need to be excessively harsh to use Strength to limit carrying capacity - the GM just needs to observe the existing rules, which fairly confers a hindrance to those who choose to dump their Strength score.

Greater exploits
You should reappraise your grading on these. Most are red, there are no green, and only one blue. This reflects your feelings on them, but it is not helpful to a player seeking advice on which exploits to choose. Consider giving another one the blue rating, and at least a few the green rating.


Geruvurrda wrote:

hi everyone, new to the forums, but i figured id drop my 2 bits

most people agree that consume magic items is worthless, but i offer an exception,if your willing to grab craft staff (and retrain it after:)

with consume magic items, staves are not damaged, instead

"If used on a staff, it loses 1 charge and the arcanist gains a number of points to his arcane reservoir equal to the level of the highest-level spell the staff can cast using only 1 charge; if the staff has no spells that require only 1 charge, the arcanist cannot consume that staff ‘s magic. No more than 1 charge can be drawn from a staff each day in this way"

so you gain points equal to the highest ability, and there needs to be an ability that cost one charge, but that doesn't have to be the highest level ability

if you recall the crafting guideline for staves

(400 x highest level spell level x caster level) + (300 x next highest spell x caster level)

however as stated:If desired, a spell can be placed into the staff at less than the normal cost, but then activating that particular spell drains additional charges from the staff. Divide the cost of the spell by the number of charges it consumes to determine its final price.

so lets say we have level a level 12 arcanist, he can craft a staff with a level 1, and a level 6 ability, at caster level 12 as follows

(400 x 6 x 12)= 28800, which is already expensive, but what if that ability costs 10 charges? we divide by 10 for 2880 we unfortunately still need a 1 charge ability, and it needs to match the caster level, so (300 x 1 x 12)= 3600

3600+2880=6480 so for 6480 (cheaper with hedge magician, or spark of creation, or both :) ) (and cheaper still if the GM allows you to cut cost in half (as all the pre-designed staves are)

but assuming the worst, your have an arcane reservoir battery, usable once a day to gain 6 arcane pool points :) this can be used 10 days in a row without recharging (though i would recharging whenever you can)

as staves can be made as low as...

I agree in that Consume Magic Items in conjunction with Staves is a great way to recharge Arcane Reservoir, like you said the Staff becomes a battery with possible spells that you were going to cast while adventuring.

But just some observations, first, as far as I know you can not take both Spark of Creation and Hedge Magician, because both of them belongs to the magic traits category, so you can only take one.

And second, why are you halving the cost? The formula of '400 x spell level x caster level' is already the cost of creation, not for market price.

I still think that Arcanists can benefit a lot from crafting staves, it allows them to compensate the fewer spells per day and spells prepared, and to have a battery with for extra arcane reservoir. I probably will so far as suggest just as a broad way that Arcanists take Scribe Scrolls, Craft Wondrous Items, Craft Rod, and Craft Staff.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Greater exploits

You should reappraise your grading on these. Most are red, there are no green, and only one blue. This reflects your feelings on them, but it is not helpful to a player seeking advice on which exploits to choose. Consider giving another one the blue rating, and at least a few the green rating.

I'm not the author of the guide, but greater exploits are really that bad, I understand what you are saying, but there isn't much to save greater exploits. Anyway, I don't think is such a big deal either, given that you can keep taking regular exploits past 10th level, which is most probably a better option, and I suppose the reason behind the author's rates.


The halved cost is for those gms that think it's more fair (the APG staves are priced this way, and most agree staves are overpriced, so that is a house rule, though a reasonable one, it is in no way official)

Good catch on the traits though, our gm doesn't mind, but that is another house rule,which I'd forgotten was a house rule :) sorry for any confusion

Even still if you don't dump charisma, you can as sapient said, just take multiple staves of lesser value, which is where the efficient quiver steps in... :)


Also, I don't think he's wrong to put the greater exploits as poor choices, because you can continue grabbing regular exploits, that are not mandatory, so if you have to choose between redirect spell, and quick study after level 11, this guide shoes you should still take quick study (though you really should have this before level 11)

That said I really like counter spell, greater counterspell, counter drain, and spell leech,

The combo allows you to counter up to level 9 reliably (with the use of items like otherworldly kimono), replenish reservoir, and prepare the spell you countered (with a +5 bonus to counter the spell again,


Which though you only temporarily prepare a spell with spell leech, it doesn't stop you from making a scroll to learn it permanently later ;)

In fact you may be able to copy it directly into your spell book, as long as you have the time and money before you prepare spells again :)

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I just skimmed the thread, and while i found useful information, i was looking for magic item suggestions. Anyone compiled a list of must-have/nice-to-have/avoid-at-all-cost magic items?

I would love to find something that would allow an arcanists to pull a given spell from his spellbook, like the wizard's arcane bond.

Anyone?

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