How to makw an effective martial out of a 1 / 2 BAB wizard?


Advice


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am currently playing a 7th-level human wizard (exploiter wizard) with a penchant for transmutation. I want to be able to turn into big beasts and tear my enemies apart. Sadly, playing a class with half base attack bonus makes that extremely difficult.

How might I optimize this moving forward so that it remains effective throughout my adventuring career?

(If it helps, I'm playing in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, and so armies of weak minions and tremendously powerful dragons are going to be fairly common place.)


I'm surprised you're asking this RD. I know you have at least one polymorph specialist in your character emporium. You're probably as good as anyone on these forums to optimise this character.

Anyway, not really my speciality, but I had a quick look. None of the better BAB options for wizards seem all that exciting. You could use EK to boost your bab but at the cost of two caster levels, which probably isn't worth it (you would get access to better polymorph spells if you just stay wiz.) If there is some way of getting martial proficiency without a dip, a loss of one CL might be worth it. Transformation is a very poor spell too, but might be situationally useful if you need a quick 1/2 level boost to hit. Given you don't need iteratives as a polymorphed creature, I think staying pure wizard and simply boosting your strength with a belt, and possibly wearing an amulet of mighty fists, is probably your best bet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

My polymorph specialist build only works in mythic games unfortunately, which this is not. Doing it it well without mythic rules is...difficult. Maybe impossible.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Raving has clearly been hackedpossessed and the perpetratorwitch has foolishly forgotten to log off the accountrelease her hold on them before posting this.

BURN THE WITCH!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

My first thought would be to ensure you have an Amulet of Mighty Fists, as it will apply to all your natural attacks and depending on how you spec it can offset some of your 1/2 BAB penalties. My second recommendation is that you focus on transformations with a large number of natural attacks, claws, bites, tails, wing buffets, tentacles, since you won't be gaining any iterative attacks anyway the more primary natural attacks you have will help average out your to hit. Associated with that would be the multiattack feat for any secondary natural attacks you may have, again taking the -2 compared to the -5 puts you on average back on par with the fighter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've asked the GM for permission to switch out the Desperate Resolve trait for the Magical Knack trait. If he allows it, that will help lessen the caster level hit.

I think I want to take an 8th-level of wizard, since the base attack bonus goes up at that level anyways. 9th-level will likely be something like barbarian (urban barbarian) or bloodrager (urban bloodrager) so that I can tack on rage on top of my polymorph and other spell buffs. After that, it will pretty much be Eldritch Knight the rest of the way. By the time I'm 19th-level, I will effectively have 3/4 base attack bonus. I will be two levels behind in spellcasting, but I will still have a full caster level and will retain my ability to cast 9th-level spells some day.

Advice? Thoughts?


Have you had a look at how the BAB compares to the lost spell level? You may gain relatively more from having access to a level higher in polymorph spells.

On top of this, I get the impression polymorphing will get worse as you continue to gain more levels, to the point where you will regret multiclassing as you are eventually forced into a more stereotypical wizard role but at a spell level behind.

Ultimately the EK is only giving you roughly +5 to hit by level 20, which doesn't seem like a particularly fantastic tradeoff to me given you don't care about iteratives anyway.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
I've asked the GM for permission to switch out the Desperate Resolve trait for the Magical Knack trait. If he allows it, that will help lessen the caster level hit.

This has just been approved by the GM.

Blakmane wrote:

Have you had a look at how the BAB compares to the lost spell level? You may gain relatively more from having access to a level higher in polymorph spells.

On top of this, I get the impression polymorphing will get worse as you continue to gain more levels, to the point where you will regret multiclassing as you are eventually forced into a more stereotypical wizard role but at a spell level behind.

Ultimately the EK is only giving you roughly +5 to hit by level 20, which doesn't seem like a particularly fantastic tradeoff to me given you don't care about iteratives anyway.

The difference in a single spell level in polymorph spell is usually +2 to the ability scores (+4 Strength vs +6 Strength, for example) and a few minor racial abilities.

That's not worth losing 5 points of base attack bonus. I may not get iterative attacks (with some forms), but I need to do anything I can to keep the accuracy up. Getting 8 natural attacks is worthless if none of them can regularly land. More so, if they don't deal halfway decent damage.

Sure, I can get an amulet of mighty fists, but why not up my base attack bonus AND find other ways like that to increase accuracy and damage?

That's one of the reasons why I'm building the character up for Combat Maneuvers too. In the scenarios where sustained DPR just isn't efficient, I can rely on trip, grapple and other disabling maneuvers to better allow my fellow party members to win the day.


Some thoughts:

I don't know what your plan is spells wise, but I'd suggest diversifying outside of beast shape.

Also, I'd avoid the grouped polymorph spells. They're great for sorcerers and not so much for wizards. They also cap out to the next lowest level of the spells they pack together to gain their versatility and maintain balance.

Transformation could help make your forms even more terrifying, especially the dragon ones. Plan/hope for a quicken rod and turn it into one heck of a one round surprise.

Ask your GM to trade out Multimorph as well. Use your scribing of scrolls to make up for surprise scenarios. Managing large numbers of scrolls isn't hard if you want to avoid the Handy Haversack. Yuelral's Blessing might be nice since you're touching a lot of druid-y spells.


Idealize might be a decent discovery to pick up, increasing the ability score bonuses by 2. Note it doesn't say pick one ability bonus.


It also depends on playstyle. I wouldn't charge in like a crazy barbarian with this character, rather use (Improved) Invisibility to sneak upon vulnerable targets and wait till someone else gets the opponents' attention. In the meantime you might be able to (invisibly) cast True Strike, that's at least one (pretty much) guaranteed hit.

Summon Monster can be good for flanking purposes, but you can also try to cooperate with your fellow party members when it comes to this. For the moment, you should be better off with the playstyle of a rogue.


Trample doesn't care about an attack or CMB roll, so change into things with Beast Shape III(in a few levels) and wreck havoc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay, I've actually put a lot of thought into this problem, and I've found that the only effective solution is just massive boosts to hit. Perhaps this is obvious, but what I'm saying is that if something doesn't give you at least +4 to hit, it is a waste of resources. Also if you need to dedicate all your resourses to just be effective it is also not worth it as then you barely function as a wizard, and barely function as a martial. Dipping is a bad idea, it is a trap. IMO you really should stay full wizard.

The nice thing is that you are starting at level 7, which actually gets past some very awkward levels. The first thing I would do is retrain into VMC magus. You get the arcane pool class feature -2. THis is a lot of points as you (as a wizard) will have a huge int. Next at level 7 you get one Magus arcana. Pick arcane accuracy. Retrain a feat (probably 5th level) to extra arcane pool, it's not much, but arcane accuracy burns the stuff like crazy. Next buy a ring of arcane mastery, this increases your pool by 4 effectively, so long as you don't go all out two days in a row, and gives you a couple of mediocre arcanas. Read it carefully you can use your own arcanas with the ring's pool. When you get spellstrike, you may or may not find it useful. Take arcane strike. Don't use bracers of armor. It's ridiculous but you don't keep the armor bonus when you polymorph. It's stupid but it's a technicality that was never corrected. Use mage armor, it's decent enough and it's not expensive resource wise. Remember you actually have the arcane pool and magus arcana class features, so you can buy extra arcanas with feats, if you want. If you want to go the amulet of natual armor route all the more power to you, but keep in mind that you probably should steer clear of any abilities, just get enhancewment bonuses, you need the to hit, and you need the damage.

There are two ways for you to get enhancement bonuses other than an amulet. First permanency a few greater magic fangs with the highest cl you possibly can. Oddly enough each one will cost less than or at least close to 10000gp. The other way is to spend your arcane pool, you can combine all of these if you like.

Now if that isn't enough to hit for you there are other options if you have a familiar and are a bit creative. Pack flanking and paired opportunists are good, you may need an animal companion to really make use of these, but that's not too hard, especially if you don't care too much about it's effective level. There is also a something that increases your flanking bonus to +4. I sould note that if you will be using your familiar to fight, use the mauler archetype.

edit the feat I was looking for was outflank.


Why are you playing a wizard if you want to be a martial?
Also I feel sorcerers do this better with DD and crossblooded with Orc or Abyssal.
Polymorph into things with lots of natural attacks, like a dragon, so you have more chances to hit.


Ravingdork wrote:

I am currently playing a 7th-level human wizard (exploiter wizard) with a penchant for transmutation. I want to be able to turn into big beasts and tear my enemies apart. Sadly, playing a class with half base attack bonus makes that extremely difficult.

How might I optimize this moving forward so that it remains effective throughout my adventuring career?

(If it helps, I'm playing in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, and so armies of weak minions and tremendously powerful dragons are going to be fairly common place.)

RD, I'm with Blakmane as to why? As someone who <3s to make wizard tanks, because they're awesome, I'll look into L7-12 (L = level) wizard builds that tank and blast as good if not better than fighters. Are you cool with multiclassing into a prestige class that gives a +arcane spellcaster level? Are you playing in a homebrew or PFS legal setting? *I f'ing hate 3rd party material and will not be using that*


Spoiler:
Bookmark of Deception (1500g)

This bookmark alters the book that holds it so that it appears to be another book entirely, even upon a thorough reading. The apparent book is determined when the bookmark is crafted, and is usually an especially boring or commonplace book such as a legal or religious text. The bookmark also protects itself and the book with nondetection.

- My GM might be more evil than yours -

Notable Magical Items:
Cracked Ioun stone (dusty rose prism) (500g) - +1 competence bonus to initiative

Sandals of quick reaction (4,000g) (Can Act in Surprise Round Characters – can both move and attack in surprise round – only thing I know that can do this – if you like your group, get Horn of battle clarity)

Shifters Headband +2 (4,500g) - +2 to a mental stat and +1 CL to polymorph spells

Jingasa of the fortunate soldier (5,000g) - +1 luck bonus to ac, negate 1 critical hit or sneak attack per day

Deliquescent gloves (8,000g) - add 1d6 acid damage to attacks

Polymorphic pouch (5,000g) - bag of holding that does not merge with body when polymorphed / wild shaped into certain types of critters

Mount (spell) - best trap detection in game for wizards. It walks about 30 feet in front of you.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Look at possessing a meat shield type monster via magic jar, possession, or suggestion+marionette possession (doable at your level). Then you can use your transmutation buffs to make the possessed creature even better. Your half BAB matters less when you are running around in a Hill Giant's body with 25 base strength (before your buffs).

Grand Lodge

This is my Transmutation-specialized caster.

I went Tengu for the Bite/Claws for Weapon Focus -> Feral Combat Training with Dragon Style and Dragon Ferocity for pumping up damage when you hit.

From there, standard Strength build since most (if not all) Medium or greater shapechanges give +Strength, not +Dex.

Undead Anatomy in particular gives you access to the Mudra Skeleton from Carrion Crown which is a four clawed skeleton, giving you four attacks while transformed.

At my particular level (level 9), shape-shifting into the Mudra gives me four claws at +13 to hit with 1d6+14 on the first hit and 1d6+11 on the second through fourth attacks.

Average AC for a monster at CR 9 is 23, so I have a 50% chance to hit, thus I am doing around 2d6+23 per round without any other buffs. If I can, Greater Invisibility will let me hit against Flat-Footed AC with another +2 to hit, moving my hit chance even higher.

If something is ranged, then I blast it with Snowballs and Magic Missiles.

I don't know if any of this helps, but that is basically the build I use for this type of character! Good luck! It is definitely a challenge.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MichaelCullen wrote:
Look at possessing a meat shield type monster via magic jar, possession, or suggestion+marionette possession (doable at your level). Then you can use your transmutation buffs to make the possessed creature even better. Your half BAB matters less when you are running around in a Hill Giant's body with 25 base strength (before your buffs).

I've run a magic jar focused character with this GM before. I don't think he's going to let me pull those hijinks again.

Chess Pwn wrote:

Why are you playing a wizard if you want to be a martial?

Also I feel sorcerers do this better with DD and crossblooded with Orc or Abyssal.

Polymorph into things with lots of natural attacks, like a dragon, so you have more chances to hit.

Since half of this group is new to roleplaying, I've specifically been asked by the GM to "not steal the show." Due to the campaign setting, there are a lot of other restrictions as well, such as no spontaneous casting (it literally hasn't been "invented" yet in this Age of Dragonlance).


Siphon might is currently one of my favourite spells for my sorcerer-paladin. I have used it as a simultaneous buff/debuff, and I have also used it on willing targets who willingly fail their saves to literally lend me their strength. Considering you can get up to +11 enhancement bonus to strength, this would be a substantial boost to you to-hit and damage.

The bloodrage spell is also another nice spell. Assuming you have relatively decent hit points to tank the damage, you can get a substantial boost out of this spell as you take damage on the front lines.

Finally, if you have a decent miss chance or AC, you might be able to get some good mileage out of the anticipate thoughts spell. +2 insight bonus to AC against a single target, and you also get it to attack and damage rolls if the target fails the save. The bonus increases by 1 to a maximum of 5 each time the target misses you. Not bad at all. Combined with bloodrage (the spell), your enemy makes you tougher each time he attacks you, whether he hits or misses. If he hits, bloodrage becomes stronger. If he misses, anticipate thoughts becomes stronger. =)


You could take the Idealize discovery at 10th level, so if you cast a transmutation spell which provides an enhancement bonus to an ability score, that bonus is raised by a further +2 (or by +4 at 20th level).
And take the Werewolf Shape discovery at level 15.


It won't help you now but quickened metamagic will help you buff and still take other actions.

Shame it's wizard there's a sorc with a fun martial bend you could play with.


Edit: Taking a closer look at the char showed me you already have what I wanted to suggest, but for the possible benefit of other readers I'll keep the original post.

The discovery Knowledge is Power gives int to CMB and CMD (seemingly in addition to strength/dex) so taking this and going for combat maneuvers that can be done instead of an attack might work.


Ravingdork wrote:

I am currently playing a 7th-level human wizard (exploiter wizard) with a penchant for transmutation. I want to be able to turn into big beasts and tear my enemies apart. Sadly, playing a class with half base attack bonus makes that extremely difficult.

How might I optimize this moving forward so that it remains effective throughout my adventuring career?

(If it helps, I'm playing in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, and so armies of weak minions and tremendously powerful dragons are going to be fairly common place.)

Maybe a level or two dip into mutagen warrior?


Are you allowed to play an Arcanist? Brown-Fur Transmuter lets you increase the Enhancement bonus from Trans spells by 2. You can also cherry-pick some good exploits to help you in melee, like Bloodline Development for Aberrant Bloodline to get reach, and Dimensional Slide. Meanwhile, you can VMC into Barbarian for rounds of Rage (and pick up Moment of Clarity at level 11). Probably not as optimized as say going VMC Magus for Arcane Accuracy, but it seems pretty fun, and a lot of the Arcanist Exploits are very defensive, which will help you stay alive with that d6 HD.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Check out this thread.
It's a little bit older, but it should give you some ideas.

If you find that you're not using your swift actions, take Arcane Strike. It's basically what you'll need instead of power attack because you can't take the loss to hit. But if you're transmuting into things with a lot of natural attacks, you can still get respectable damage numbers while making up for your lack of iteratives.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The arcanist, being a spontaneous caster, is right out.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

How about a Strength Patron witch, possibly with the Synergist Archetype? You'd have access, Vermin Shape, Giant Shape, Alter Self, Transformation, and any additional bonuses from your familiar. You could also go with Divine Favor or Divine Power + Fates Favored to help overcome your low BAB, and then throw on a Righteous Might.


Item Creation Guide Part 2 of 4

This is part of a very big guide. While it is specific to item creation, it might help in terms of planning spell selection as you level.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As I said three years ago*, for a competent combat shapeshifter wizard you should go into the eldritch knight PrC. Since you are in a campaign with no spontaneous casting, take a level or two in fighter (savage warrior, perhaps) or ranger (Natural Weapon style to pick up Aspect of the Beast) to qualify.

*- since someone brought it up:

Goldmyr wrote:
Check out this thread.


IIRC, there is a way to recover spell casting levels from multiclassing via a guild trait from the Inner Sea Magic Guide, to make the EK less unpleasant(eclectic training IIRC, and another trait). Might eat up a few feats(Leadership for your guild & a trait feat to get the 2 you need, but depends on the DM if you can just roleplay into a grandmaster postion) and presumably a lot of gold for guild stuff and magical research. Given the trait chain also boots another class(+3 to one ECL, +1 to another), you should likely choose Bloodrager(assuming they get your other efficiencies).

That trait line in mind, a really solid Transmuter/Martial/EK build is doable without mythic. If that trait's off the table, there are a LOT of other ideas already in the tread, so I'm sure you'll figure out something.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

So accuracy can be a problem for a Transmuter wizard as you are dealing with not only having a lower strength at the expense of Intelligence, a lower BAB and losing accuracy from larger forms. I would suggest considering a different route.

Grab Weapon Finesse and focus on smaller forms rather than larger. This is less damage but better accuracy as you can gain both a boost to Dex to hit and size bonus to hit. Combined with an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists and you can turn your increased Dex, which benefits AC, to hit and reflex saves to damage as well.

I would also consider the Magaambyan Arcanist class to grab some druid spells. Specifically Barkskin, Greater Magic Fang and Freedom of Movement. These are all buffs that can greatly benefit your survival and combat ability.

You can find some awesome small/tiny size forms with animals and magical beasts that work really well with this type of design.

Using the spell tinker exploit plus extend spell you can easily make the polymorph spells last for 3 min/level which when combined with abilities that increase your caster level could make it so they last for 25 - 30 minutes at a time. That lets you buff and not lose action casting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Very interesting idea Taenia!

Dark Archive

Taenia wrote:


Grab Weapon Finesse and focus on smaller forms rather than larger. This is less damage but better accuracy as you can gain both a boost to Dex to hit and size bonus to hit. Combined with an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists and you can turn your increased Dex, which benefits AC, to hit and reflex saves to damage as well.

I think this is definitely the way to go, focus entirely on being as small and deadly as possible (a spellcasting version of the Songbird of Doom essentially).

Bear in mind being tiny will provoke AoOs for moving into enemies squares, making Snake Fang incredibly useful if you can find some way to get it easily (though all I can think of thus far involves dipping which obviously isn't ideal). Stack as much static damage as possible onto attacks and it should mostly cancel out the disadvantage of low dice damage. Whilst I have no idea if being thematic is required, mechanically a level of Swashbuckler with the Mouser archetype will be amazing for this, possibly Urban Barbarian for Dex whe raging, a level or two of Monk with Master of Many Styles could also help a lot (especially for Snake Fang).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Consider also lepidstadt shifter and extra reservoir so you can cast while shapechanged. Grab Frostbite or Produce flame from druid list or use chill touch or elemental touch from wizard list.

Come in shapeshifted, round 1 cast touch spell, move in an deliver, next round make a full attack dealing normal damage plus deliver the spell with each attack. At 7th with a 22 dex (16 base, 2 belt, 4 form), arcane strike and Frostbite you can be doing with a tiny cat 1d3 + 6 (dex) + 2 (arcane strike) + 1d6+7 (nonlethal cold, Frostbite) 3x per round, for 7 attacks.

At low levels you will probably play a more buff centered Transmuter but as you get to alter self and beast shapes work better.

Feats are a bit of a problem, Weapon Finesse, Scholar, Spell Mastery (Wizard spell discovery) extra reservoir and useful. I wouldnt worry about extra exploit, spell tinker and lepidstadt shifter are the most important though Potent Magic is nice for increasing level and duration of spells.
I would only take level in Magaambyan when you get new spell levels, so 1 at 6th (get frostbite or produce flame) 1 at 7 (barkskin) 1 at 9 (greater magic fang) 1 at 11 (freedom of movement).

Grab Transmuter of Korada Trait (+1 transmutation spells) Spell Focus Trans (in PFS its instead of scribe scroll) and Tattoo Focus and all your Transmutation Spells will be +2 caster level. In cat form you could have an AC of 30 (Base 10 + Dex 6 + Armor 4 + Size 2 + Def 1 (Ring) + Insight 1 (Dusty Rose Prism) + 1 Luck (Jingasa) + 1 Natural (Beast Shape 2) + 4 (Barkskin))


The extend spell metamagic feat is quite helpful. Also, you may steal the spot light, but a whole bunch of quickened true strikes could help. Many magic items allow you to change forms and help out. Definitely get a magic belt to boost strength.


I'd take the shift caster exploit first of all, since it'll help you cast some quickened buffs.

Only take Idealize if you plan on using Transformation, since for anything else that +2 will pretty much be swallowed in your items. Transformation can actually be made viable with Contingency. Give a condition of "I turn into a motherflippin dragon" or something of the kind and get the polymorph and half your level to hit at once.

As for Knowledge is Power, I'd probably go for tripping. If you turn into a creature with trip and knock the enemy prone, the -4 pretty much offsets the ways behind in term of BAB, as well as helping the less experienced players shine. In general if you need to shy from the limelight you should use a large portion of your attacks on combat maneuvers.
I have more ideas, but it's late in my part of the globe, and I can't remember them, so as a few final notes:
-You have to get an AoMF, because you'll have pretty much no other way to bypass DR without it.
-Remember that the save DCs of all your new shape's abilities is the save for the polymorph spell, so a lot of meh monster abilities become great for you.
-Multimorph is meh.
-Unlike stated by one of the above, bracers of armor do keep working. Not saying you should get them, just that you can.
-Multimorph is great for many things, but if you want to go combat you should probably drop it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Lepidstat shifter looks awesome!

It was my understanding, though, that AoMF didn't help you bypass DR.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

AoMF provides an enhancement bonus to your attacks like any magical weapon. It does not have the caveat like greater magic fang or greater magic weapon.


Depending if you are allowed to convert/rework gods for the dragonlance setting purposess and if so the ever wonderful evangelist of the so wonderful inner sea gods might be a nice boost for a one caster level drop. Have to find a God and so on but could be fun. Boosts bab, hp and gives a truck of other things.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / How to makw an effective martial out of a 1 / 2 BAB wizard? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.