Help me make a wizzard able to survive


Advice

Sovereign Court

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We're about to start a level 3 campaign and I'm going to use a wizzard for the first time. The problem is that my gm sometimes spends a little and puts creatures too powerful, so I thought "if im going to use a wizzard the best is the one who keep alive in order to be able to throw his spells".
Mage armor, false life, levitate, mirror image and expeditious retreat are my friends here but if i can i dont want to use them all as my goal is to use the spells out of combat too when they are needed.

What members does my group will have:
We have been talking about this and so far the party is something like this:
Hunter / Cleric: He is not the type of person to use clerics to heal... you cant depend on him to receive healing, buffs or any help but the guy knows how to hit hard and has good perceptions.

Inquisitor (melee): As far as it suits you can count on him.

Paladin: Whoever rolls it is something.. special. I do not expect much from him.

My plan: Use utility spells off-combat, cast mage armor and use one or two (as much) spells in combat, saving them for truly hard problems. One more thing: Im not trying to be the wizzard to trhow some optimiced spells and destroys everithing, i love them but the party and the gm tend to dislike this.

I been thinking on 3 builds... tell me what you think:

1)
Elf wizzard (Spell Sage archetype). Arcane bond is a double edged sword... Focused Spells (Su) gives me the chance of use mage armor at caster level 7, so 7 hours of +4 to ac and less spell waste using over and over the same spell.
Spell Study helps the team with the lack of a real cleric or druid if the spell is absolutely necesary.
Arcane school: Transmutation (+1 put to dex)
Stats: 20 point build:
Str: 10
Dex: 17 (20 with +2 racial +1 transmutation arcane school)
Con: 12
Int: 18
Wis: 7
Cha: 7
Feats:
Toughness
Dodge/ Improved initiative
Traits: Focused mind and reactionary (+2 initiative and concentration)
Total ac would be 16 (+5 dex and +1 dodge) and 20 with mage armor.
In combat it would use gravity bow and abuse the long bow, if the enemy seems powerfull maybe expeditious retreat, mirror image or levitate.

2)
Half orc wizzard:
Same archetype.
Free diehard, plus falchion or greataxe.
Universalist school for hand of the apprentice and use the greataxe to jedi-like smash things at range.
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con: 16
Int: 17
Wis: 7
Cha: 7
Feats:
Thoughness
Dodge/ Improved initiative
Traits: Focused mind and reactionary (+2 initiative and concentration)

3) Human
Same as the others but with wood elemental arcane school (+1 to one ability and splinter spear), good int and one more feat to use.

Any suggestion? what would you priorize, Ac or life total? feats?


I'm all for dumping charisma, but dumping Wisdom instead of Strength for your Elf/Human builds isn't optimal. I'd value the +2 to Wisdom/Perception more than Carrying Capacity/CMD.

I assume this isn't for PFS and you're rolling your HP. If so, you can ask your GM if you could retrain your HP. Getting your full Hit Dice in HP per level would raise your survivability noticeably.


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Remember that you can carry scrolls to cover spells you won't need very often or to bring up a bunch of extra buffs when you need them. I've seen fights where you get time to prepare, which leads to casting shield, blur, mirror image, false life, and many other fun things ahead of time.


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Take a lizzard for your familiar, eat lots of gizzards for your health.


Focus on having awesome and hard spells to not get hit with. If you have a DC 19 glitterdust at lv1(it's possible) then whatever is wanting to fight you is now ready to be killed.

Wizards win by deciding how the fight happens and by saying that don't get a chance to be attacked. NOT by building to take attacks, they can't really win that race.


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Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Take a lizzard for your familiar, eat lots of gizzards for your health.

Don't forget to buy Endure Elements, so you can survive a blizzard.


I suggest you learn "Infernal Healing" because that's good for healing. (as well as Mage Armor and shield for early-level AC)

Other than that, basically what they said, and don't be in front.

The Exchange

If you can loose a level of wizard maybe think about the Evangelist PRC for the Half-orc.

More hitpoints, better BAB, some specials and more weapons.


Make your familiar a Protector +50% hit points after level 5. And some additional AC.


Get some friends. It's really nice to have someone else stand between you and the enemy waving lots of sharp metal around...


My Self wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Take a lizzard for your familiar, eat lots of gizzards for your health.
Don't forget to buy Endure Elements, so you can survive a blizzard.

Not funny.

I'm not a native English speaker either and I wouldn't like to be mocked because my English is not perfect.
He's probably trying his best.


I don't think he's being mocked. Just having fun giving advice that used the word izzard.

Sovereign Court

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Kileanna wrote:
My Self wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Take a lizzard for your familiar, eat lots of gizzards for your health.
Don't forget to buy Endure Elements, so you can survive a blizzard.

Not funny.

I'm not a native English speaker either and I wouldn't like to be mocked because my English is not perfect.
He's probably trying his best.

I am a native (American) English speaker, and I just figured that the OP and the responder were both Disk World fans and this was in reference to the Wizzard Rincewind... which I found amusing.

How does Rincewind survive? By being a "Race-ist" as in 100 meter dash

Rincewind - "The fact that he's still alive and running is explained in that, although he was born with a wizard's spirit, he has the body of a long-distance sprinter. Rincewind is also reputed as being able to solve minor problems by turning them into major disasters."


I am assuming you are considering HP and AC for the rare times that something gets behind the front line and gets to take a shot at your wizard. From my experience, how you play a wized plays a much bigger role in the wizard's survivability than what stat / spell you decided to prioritize. For example: you point out the fact that the half-orc has use of the falchion or great axe. That tends to leed me to think that you intend to engage in melee or you wouldn't have consider this an attribute at all.

Another thing to consider when talking about survivability is the fact that there are numerous forms of attacks in pathfinder. So many in fact that even a defensive focused front-liner has a hard time keeping up with all the variable forms of attack. CMD, AC, Touch Attack, and Saving Throws are only a few of the more common things to consider. The best form of defense for a wizard is to avoid up close and personal confrontation. In this case, spells that detour attacks, along with a high DC save against your spells, is what keeps the bad guys away. Color spray, Obscuring Mist, Grease, etc. For personal defense I would consider armor spell in combination with shield spell for early levels. Keep in mind that these spells will quickly become inadequate as the attack bonus of the creatures scale quickly, and you cant enchant a protective spell like you can armor or a shield. As stated Blur, displacement, or any ability to teleport you out of danger helps.

If I had to chose between your two options, I would select the elf. I would consider armor spell / shield spell. and possibly focus on range touch attack rays for dealing damage, seeing your dex is already high. Ranged feats would be point blank shot and precise shot. Ac would be (+3 Dex +4 armor +4 shield spell = 21 AC) not to bad at low levels. Extra HP is nice when you can get them. If something is dead set on engaging you, use a five foot adjustment to get out of melee, cast obscuring mist, then retreat the following round. You can use your rays / bow from the edges of the mist, which gives you some concealment vs. ranged attack.

Sovereign Court

Thanks for the advice guys (at least the constructive ones), i´ll keep the elf in the end.

Silver Crusade

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I've played many wizards (and similar spell casters) in may systems over the many years of role-playing (and roll-playing!), and there have been too many times to count that I've not taken a single point of damage in a combat situation.

The best advice I can give relates to tonyz "Get some friends..." - try to cast spells that help control the combat, or help your allies do so. Agree with one other post as well: "NOT by building to take attacks... can't really win that race".

Most important - have fun!

Game on!


another option for you might be to go psychic or psychich bloodline sorcerer, they can wear armor and cast with no penalty, they only get penalty if they need to cast defensively.

occultist/magus are classes that can cast arcane spells and get to wear armor, the occultist can get free fullplate at lv1.

Liberty's Edge

(1) Be a sorcerer. You are actually more versatile. I know wizard devotees say wizards are more versatile, but they are only this when they rely on metagame knowledge. In actuality, a sorcerer is more versatile because you can memorize your defensive spells and cast as many of them as you want to.

(2) Have high CON. Dump STR and INT. Get belts of CON.

(3) Choose defensive spells from lvl 2+. Don't worry about AC. Your AC sucks. Any attempt to make your AC not suck will cripple your character. (You are maxing CHA and CON at startup, are you not?)

(4) Choose spells that help you. Beyond level 1, these are:
* Mirror Image
* Flight
* Blink

Cast these spells whenever you need to,

(5) Emergency Force Sphere is a nice spell. If you are a sorcerer, you can cast it whenever you want.

(6) Reminder, but max CON after CHA.

(7) So you have your headbands of alluring CHA and belts of CON? Get a wayfinder plus clear spindle ioun stone ASAP. Also, don't forget Irrepressible that lets you substitute CHA for WIS in the most common will saving group.

If you follow these rules, you will only die if the GM has it out for you. And if they do, you should say GOODBYE and plan your own gaming group!

(8) Just remember, 90% of wizard superiority is metagame knowledge that they should not have. If you are just showing up for the scenario of the day, sorcerer will be better. Learn mostly defensive spells with enough offensive spells to get you by. Practically speaking, this means about 1 offensive spell per level.


Kileanna wrote:
My Self wrote:
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Take a lizzard for your familiar, eat lots of gizzards for your health.
Don't forget to buy Endure Elements, so you can survive a blizzard.

Not funny.

I'm not a native English speaker either and I wouldn't like to be mocked because my English is not perfect.
He's probably trying his best.

Who do you consider funny? Eddie Izzard?

Sczarni

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I prefer to play cockroach wizards and have been doing so for the majority of my D&D and Pathfinder career and so far have only had one Conjurer die (to be raised after the fight). Here's what I've learned in my time.

First, know your GM. Know how they run. Are they strict RAW enthusiasts or do they take liberty with the rules? Do they prefer to play it loose to tell a story or do they stick to the books? How do they run their NPCs? Do they play their thugs as opportunistic or not? Do their villains target "soft targets" like Wizards and Alchemists first over the more tanky fighters and clerics? If so, invest in Mock Armor. Deception is your friend as a Wizard.

Survivability as a Wizard depends on you being prepared. Survivability as a Wizard with a long career depends on you being paranoid. The Handy Haversack is worth it's weight in platinum.

Always, and I mean **always** have at least a second Spell Component Pouch, if not three or four.

You will *never* win the AC war. Don't even pretend you will. Instead consider every possible way you can prevent your opponents from hitting you in the first place by stacking forms of Concealment and Miss Chances. In this regard, do not waste your time with spells that operate on Rounds Per Level but rather Minutes Per Level or even better Hours Per Level. You want your defenses up as often and for as long as you possibly can. If you're spending the first two or more rounds in an encounter buffing yourself, you're as good as dead. This doesn't even take into consideration situations in which you have lost surprise.

That said, always have Mage Armor up. Some AC is better than no AC. And as an hour per level spell, it's cheap to have up. If you don't want to waste your valuable spell slots on it, wands of Mage Armor are a better investment than scrolls.

Consider your Opposition Schools carefully, but since we're playing Pathfinder and not D&D and finally have the choice of which schools we want to drop, DO. NOT. DROP. ILLUSION. Some of the best defensive spells exist in that school. I would also strongly discourage dropping Necromancy as False Life and Greater False Life are incredibly valuable. Surprisingly, I've found Divination is actually quite useful to drop. Unlike previous editions, you aren't prohibited form casting opposition school spells, it's just more costly to prepare. With the exception of True Strike, nearly every divination spell is just as useful cast from a scroll. Enchantment is also worth dropping as it tends to rely on you specializing in it and having a good Charisma.

On the topic of False Life/Greater False Life, you will technically have more hit points than the average wizard, and everyone "knows" how squishy spellcasters are. Consider diverting some of your skill points to Bluff. Playing dead is a valid option.

Stay at range. Spectral Hand is a valuable tool for accomplishing this and doesn't cost you a Feat slot for Reach Metamagic. Precise Shot is not a bad option if you prefer rays.

Summoning is also a good option, especially when combined with Invisibility, Silent Spell and any feats or traits that reduce the casting time of a summons. Remember, you can cast any spell that doesn't directly harm a target up to and including Summon X and not break invisibility. Silent Spell just helps prevent your opponents from knowing who/what is causing the creatures to appear.

Wear a Cold Iron Spiked Gauntlet but do not invest in any feats/traits to be proficient in it. The goal isn't to fight with it, but rather to always threaten the spaces around you without giving up your hands for spellcasting and wand/potion use.

Sure, the optimizers will tell you it's okay to dump Strength. On paper, they're probably right. In practice, those Wizards end up Fatigued, ill prepared and ***DEAD***. There are vastly more creatures that can dish out ability damage or drain to Strength than to Charisma. Don't be yet another Wizard that got strength-drained into the ranks of the undead. Those guys are an embarrassment.

If I can think of any other advice later, I'll include it.


MrRetsej wrote:
Wear a Cold Iron Spiked Gauntlet but do not invest in any feats/traits to be proficient in it. The goal isn't to fight with it, but rather to always threaten the spaces around you without giving up your hands for spellcasting and wand/potion use.

A Cestus has the same damage, same weight, same cost, same proficiencies, but twice the threat value and does B/P instead of just P damage. Wear the Cestus.

Sczarni

Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
MrRetsej wrote:
Wear a Cold Iron Spiked Gauntlet but do not invest in any feats/traits to be proficient in it. The goal isn't to fight with it, but rather to always threaten the spaces around you without giving up your hands for spellcasting and wand/potion use.
A Cestus has the same damage, same weight, same cost, same proficiencies, but twice the threat value and does B/P instead of just P damage. Wear the Cestus.

All good points that are in favor of the Cestus, however, the majority of GMs I've encountered are all too happy to point out the following bit of information you forgot to mention;

"When using a cestus, your fingers are mostly exposed, allowing you to wield or carry items in that hand, but the constriction of the weapon at your knuckles gives you a –2 penalty on all precision-based tasks involving that hand (such as opening locks)."

It is commonly argued that spellcasting with somatic components is a "precision-based task". Since the point of wearing a gauntlet/cestus as a Wizard is just to be able to threaten and keep your hands free, penalizing your primary schtick with a -2 is not worth added threat range and a damage type you will rarely if ever benefit from.


A quick search of these forums finds that it is indeed commonly argued but rarely persuaded that spellcasting with somatic components is hindered by a Cestus. I can't really see how the -2 would apply. A reduction of your attack roll with rays?

Anyway, check with your GM.


gamerdork wrote:

I've played many wizards (and similar spell casters) in may systems over the many years of role-playing (and roll-playing!), and there have been too many times to count that I've not taken a single point of damage in a combat situation.

The best advice I can give relates to tonyz "Get some friends..." - try to cast spells that help control the combat, or help your allies do so. Agree with one other post as well: "NOT by building to take attacks... can't really win that race".

Most important - have fun!

Game on!

And if you don't have enough friends, summon some more.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My advice is similar to MrRetsej.

Know your enemy. Know the campaign, the setting, how 'gritty', the power level and so forth.

Is your party a close-knit team (the X-Men) or every man for himself (Justice League)? How others support you will make a huge difference in survival.

If you are on your own, you will die. At 3rd all it takes is one single lucky crit...or if the GM is playing with the CR rules, just one fight or one critter too many.

That said things that will help:

Learn the Total Defense and Withdrawl actions. Use accordingly.
Acrobatics is your friend.
Knowledge skills: identify what you are facing. what their special attacks/weaknesses are.

Spells:
L1
Infernal Healing-> won't save you in combat, but a wand will help out of combat recovery.
Mage Armor. Have this spell on, as often as you can.
Vanish. Invisibility's little brother. Useful when you need to get away NOW.

L2
Invisibility. Granted many ways to foil this, BUT not everyone has them, (unless your GM is of course gaming the system.)

Also suggested: Conjuration. Summon Monsters and keep them between you and your foes. Spells like Obscuring Mist, Glitterdust grant concealment which can be a huge lifesaver.

Items:
If your GM allows crafting...Craft Wondrous Item. Make Pearls of Power. 500 gp a 1st level POP, means you can drop your Mage Armor and get that spell back. There are so many Wondrous Items you can also make...even if you don't know the spell (+5 DC to the check). This also effectively doubles your wealth.
Alchemical items.
Smokesticks. Cheap concealment.
Tanglefoot bags. Touch AC is by far the easiest to hit. And even if the foe saved they are still entangled.

Take craft Alchemy as a skill and make some yourself to extend your cash.

Hope this helps.

Cheers and good luck!

Sczarni

Rerednaw also brings up excellent points.

If crafting is allowed, a great combination is a Goz Mask or Fog-Cutting Lenses and Obscuring Mist (a wand is perfectly suitable in this case). Short of the enemy using something like a fireball, they won't be able to target you while you can target them. Fewer creatures can see through mist/smoke than invisibility and True Seeing is useless versus concealment.

I once nearly soloed a Very Old Umbral Dragon after the rest of the party had fled using three castings of Obscuring Mist from a wand, a Goz Mask and a combo of Spectral Hand and Calcific Touch, but the Cleric teleported me out before I could finish it off. If I had just rolled a 2 instead of a 1 on my last Calcific Touch, the thing would have been lawn art.


I had a somewhat similar thread going. you can find it here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2u0eo?Trying-To-Not-Get-Stabbed


use one of the wizard elemental schools


The spell Sage archetype trades Specialized School for Spell Study. This means you don’t get any school related abilities including the Transmutation bonus to physical stats at 1st level. This also means you don’t have any oppositions schools.


elemental mages give up school for element.

cast fire double slot for water....

look at that archtype though..... cheap way of trying to double as a healer

Liberty's Edge

One feat I suggest for a wizard is Avcadamae Graduate. Being able to summon monsters as a standard action (normally summoning is a full-round action) is very powerful.

If you choose to specialize in a school of magic, the conjuration school with the (teleport subschool) gives you some really nice abilities.

Liberty's Edge

As to the cestus, you can always hold a weapon in one hand while casting spells. Why should a cestus be any different?


Theconiel wrote:

One feat I suggest for a wizard is Avcadamae Graduate. Being able to summon monsters as a standard action (normally summoning is a full-round action) is very powerful.

If you choose to specialize in a school of magic, the conjuration school with the (teleport subschool) gives you some really nice abilities.

Yes. Thats' what you want:

Teleportation School
Associated School: Conjuration.

Replacement Power: The following school power replaces the acid dart power of the conjuration school.

Shift (Su): At 1st level, you can teleport to a nearby space as a swift action as if using dimension door. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. You must be able to see the space that you are moving into. You cannot take other creatures with you when you use this ability (except for familiars). You can move 5 feet for every two wizard levels you possess (minimum 5 feet). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.

This is beyond handy into lifesaving. Its SU, so it's hard to supress and it doesnt provoke. Nor do you need to worry about casting issues while being grappled.

Human wizard:
str8
dex 12
con 14
Int 17+2
ws 10
cha10

(I dont believe in dumping much with a 20 pt build, but you can take cha to 8 then wis to 12)

Heart of the Wilderness: Humans raised in the wild learn the hard way that only the strong survive. They gain a racial bonus equal to half their character level on Survival checks. They also gain a +5 racial bonus on Constitution checks to stabilize when dying and add half their character level to their Constitution score when determining the negative hit point total necessary to kill them. This racial trait replaces skilled.

Toughness.
Great Fort or Avcadamae Graduate
Defiant Luck
You can sometimes defiantly shrug off spells and attacks that would kill a lesser creature.
Prerequisite: Human.
Benefit: Once per day, after you roll a natural 1 on a saving throw or a critical hit is confirmed against you, you can either reroll that saving throw, or force the creature that confirmed the critical hit against you to reroll the critical confirmation roll. This does not stack with other effects that allow you to reroll a saving throw or an attack roll. You may only make one reroll.
Special: If you are using the optional hero point system, you can also spend 1 hero point when a critical hit is confirmed against you to have the opponent reroll the critical hit confirmation roll.

If you really want to use a sword, then take the Sword Binder archetype. If you can be talked out of this (you are a spellcaster, use spells!), then you want the Shadowcaster archetype.

Focused mind


If you dont wanna die, be diviner. Being able to act in surpriseround and getting huge bonuses on initiative is far superior to that teleport - even though the teleport is already amazing by itself.

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