Casterfights


Advice


Has anyone experienced a casterfight? what happens when high level wizards duel?
This seems the right place to post it.
So, what are fights between highlevel wizards like. What have you experienced?
The more detail the better


Opening moves are typically targeted Dispels, Greater Dispels, Disjunctions, and/or Time Stops, followed by smart uses of Quickened buffs for allies and readied actions to counterspell.

While the casters attempt to cancel each other out the martial guys duke it out, at least at higher levels.

The Exchange

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He who wins initiative wins?

Bigby's grasping hand + quickened cloudkill?

Familiar uses ill omen(UMD)on opposing caster, followed

Dazing persistent spell perfection chain lightning(using metamagic rod persistent)/staff of the master dazing chain lightning.

Please have see invisibility permanently on. Buy a goz mask and a necklace of adaptation.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My highish level caster experience is a pc with mythic tiers. So 24 hr FoM, often has true seeing (no cost), heightened sanctuary, life bubble, deathless, circle of protection from evil, stone skin, a few other buffs, a druid cohort often in tiny bird or small elemental form wth more buffs.

Mythic blade barrier is nice. (It can move)


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High level casters don't directly fight each other. Seriously they don't. Especially high level arcane casters, because they have learned over the years the one true tactic that allowed them to become high level. Cowardice.

In truth when high level casters have disagreements they sit down to coffee/tea/lunch each brings a plan with various offensive options and defensive options, discuss them with each other and then mutually declare a winner and walk away alive perhaps with new insight in magical tactics. If that isn't enough they fight proxy wars through adventurers, constructs, undead, dominated minions, or have the fight while in astral projection. Anything that would avoid getting your soul trapped or utterly consumed leaving your backup mortality plan in jeopardy.

Regards,
DRS


Great answers everyone!


Really high level arcane casters will try to avoid a fair fight at all costs, because of things like this:

Someone somehow wins initiative
Standard action: Disjunction
Swift action: Quickened persistent (metamagic rod) feeblemind

It's kind of rocket tag at that point, only it's not hp damage that is in the rocket. The reason high level fights aren't like this always is because it is not 1v1 casters almost ever. The system is designed with the party in mind. If the big bad does that to the party wizard, well the cleric will remove the effect on his turn (or try) and the skill and tank will move in to engage if they haven't already.


Paul S Kemp's spiderqueen novel (the only one of the series worth reading IMO) has a great archmage duel in it. It starts with them and their minions spying and researching each other's usual buffs and tactics and gear, heated surveillance and counters during and after morning memorizations, and flurries of counters and quickened spells, full of the extra broken Faerun spells.


There are some options you can use here;

One is opposed caster level + spellcasting attribute checks if you want to make the fight's mechanics abstract but descriptively awesome;

Another is to ban frontal assaults (no direct damage spells/effects) and defeat the other person through debuffs and minions;

Then there is the idea of spell duels as detailed in Ultimate Magic that have their own host of rules. Of course, you can modify these rules to fit what the participants want to do.


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So at one point my friend and I made 40th-level wizards just to duel them.

It took two rounds.

The issue is that once you can start throwing around Maximized Time Stops, or summon multiple solar angels with a single casting of Gate, the battle really speeds up. In the end, I expect most high-level casters can deal so much damage, and have so little health, that any given fight will take no more than about half a minute in-game.


DRS3 wrote:
In truth when high level casters have disagreements they sit down to coffee/tea/lunch each brings a plan with various offensive options and defensive options, discuss them with each other and then mutually declare a winner and walk away alive perhaps with new insight in magical tactics. If that isn't enough they fight proxy wars through adventurers, constructs, undead, dominated minions, or have the fight while in astral projection. Anything that would avoid getting your soul trapped or utterly consumed leaving your backup mortality plan in jeopardy.

Welp. If I ever run a game, I think there's going to be an official debate arena where wizards settle their disputes in this way. Proxy wars can happen for those disagreements that are best left outside the public eye. After all, if a high level wizard is found guilty of abusing their power, what's to stop them from becoming the next BBEG?

Now, I wonder how a mid-level wizard duel would play out...


SanKeshun, that sounds amazing. what exactly happened


I imagine high level caster duels being like samurai duels in many movies. The two casters just stare at each other for minutes on end, planning, counter-planning, like the final fight between Holmes and Moriarity in RDJ's movie.

Have it end up being opposed Spellcraft checks with the highest roll winning the duel. At that point, either the loser surrenders, cut-scene the snot out of it, or have it out.


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A fight between wizards, impromptu, is probably going to end very badly for the wizard that goes second.

Although there are so many contingencies, clones, simulacra, and other nonsense involved when high level wizards start getting into it that god knows what happens when someone so much as glares at one.

As someone else said, there's probably a lot of spy vs spy stuff going on before two casters duke it out for realsies. Each will try to hyper-specialize to counter the other and effortlessly shut them down ASAP, but magic is so silly this is easier said than done. I imagine some of them might decide to take the safe, cowardly option, whip up a horrifying proxy army, allow their opponent to do the same, and then each retires to his own demiplane to sip margaritas while watching the armies duke it out to determine who won.

Which is still better than when two CLERICS get in a fight.

Dark Archive

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Link Warning: If you are reading Order of the Stick and aren't caught up, don't click those links. I don't wanna spoil anyone.

Well, in my experience, if one of them has access to Time Stop they use it and automatically win unless their enemy has a Contingency they can activate as an immediate action that the Time Stop caster can't prevent or deal with. Once you reach the high levels people have access to stuff like multiple Delayed Blast Fireballs + Wall of Suppression + some form of Bull Rush. Or Clashing Rocks (especially if it crits). Or Implosion with a high DC. Or Disjunction. Or any number of I Win buttons. High-level casterfights are aptly-described as rocket tag because the first person to get something to stick wins. And here's one more caster fight just to finish the post off with a bang (or is it a crunch?).


Pathfinder is a game of non-symetric sides. The PC's have superior player intelligence and mobile deployment. The NPC's have endless resources and basically locked deployment.

The purpose of the game is to provide story, challenge and advancement to PC's with NPC's as the motivators/fodder.

PC vs. NPC high level wizard battles are mechanically designed to favor the party, unless the party makes common player mistakes.

PC vs. PC wizard battles are largely mental exercizes in who predicted who the best.

I've rolled out several arena battles for fun. The most interesting outcome was a generalist wizard vs. a summoning wizard. The generalist killed the summoner with spell tricks and was in turn slain by the angry summons. Phenomenal cosmic powers...itty bitty fighting space.


so, oots aside, what does happen when two clerics get to fight?


If only one of the clerics is caster focused, they likely win.

Otherwise...

It depends if one of the clerics is a necromancer and how close their alignments are. Channel daze, miracle and a smattering of Planar Allies. Opposed alignments are when the fancy RP stuff happens; like you both gate to your god's court and then the big boys/girls come out to play.


customizing till the end wrote:
SanKeshun, that sounds amazing. what exactly happened

Sorry it took me so long to notice this!

The fight was even further exacerbated by a temporary house rule that you get two actions per turn - these can be standard actions, move actions, or whatall or whatnot, allowing each of us to cast two spells per turn.

I don't have my notes anymore, but I know I won initiative and opened with a maximized time stop. During this I put up a wall of stone in a large U around my friend, open towards me. Into this U I cast maximized cloudkill (the wall of stone prevents the cloudkill from billowing away). I also gated in two solar angels (my friend chose to be CE). I think I cast protection from spells on myself, and probably spell turning. Also greater invisibility, and a wall of force right in front of me. So I'm still missing three spells from during the time stop, and whatever I cast for my second action that round.
Anyway, when the time stop ended and the solar angels were done their full attacks, my friend was at about half health. He started throwing maximized meteor swarms around, which didn't do much due to my wall of force, and the fact that he couldn't see out of the cloudkill.
Second round he died.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
customizing till the end wrote:
so, oots aside, what does happen when two clerics get to fight?

My Winter Oracle threw the Cavalier and Brawler at his counterpart, and made sure they stayed healthy and able to do their thing.


TriOmegaZero- like, literally threw? How?

Sankeshun: So Controller trumps blaster

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Nah, figuratively.

My sorcerer literally throws the martials with Telekinetic Charge.

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