Tarondor’s Guide to the Pathfinder Transmuter Wizard


Advice

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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Wand of Cheetah Sprint, Expeditios retreat >> horseshoes of speed.

I'm not certain what this statement is advocating, but I note that cheetah's sprint is not a wizard spell.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Crystal balls: Blow. Red. They are too expensive. There are gloves at 1/10 the cost - not to mention step into image spells, majestic image.

I disagree. I think crystal balls are a good investment and do more than

enter image.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Enlarge Person is no good for a finesse build due to loss of dex.

Agreed. But it's a fine spell for other builds.

Perfect Tommy wrote:

Considering Familiars (Improved).

The ability to buff is huge: as such staples such as sprites, lyrakien azatas etc. Cannot. be overstated.

Agreed.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
the best, however, is ratling, especially for puppetmaster. Combine with mnemonic vestments. However, not PFS legal.

Thanks for the tip. I'll take a look.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Interesting to note that poison using can be boosted via human eye for talent.

Hmm. Okay, I'll check that out.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Also note that if you polymorph into a a form with poison the dc is boosted to dc of the spell. Which requires an entire reanalysis of poison builds.

Since I mentioned that many times, I don't think it needs any re-analysis. I'm aware that many players think more of poisons than I do.

Perfect Tommy wrote:

Traits: Balanced Education? Considering that you could have Wayang, Find your kin, Magical Lineage, Eastern Mysteries, Outlander, Find your kin? No way.

You'll have to expand on your idea here to convince me. I think Balanced Education is one of the best traits I've seen in a while. The existence of Magical Lineage and others doesn't negate the coolness of Balanced Education.

I'm not familiar with Find your Kin, Eastern Mysteries or Outlander, but I'll be sure to take a look. Care to say why you like them?


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Perception. Blue. Always keep this maximized. You are inconsistent btw - when you later put a feat that gives +4 perception you rate it blue.

I disagree. Feats and traits are not directly correlated to skills. Perception is undoubtedly an important skill, but it doesn't have to be a priority for a wizard, who has so many skills in which he needs to invest. Other party members can pick up that slack.

As for inconsistencies. Yeah, they're unavoidable. I'm human.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Magic Item. Consider a Lore Needle.

Thanks, I'll take a look!

Perfect Tommy wrote:
There was a pfs blog entry IIRC that said that tiny familiars can get the benefit of weapon finess and so can swap out the feat.

I'll search for it, but if you can link to it, that'd be great.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
As previously mentioned - you're not using boon companion correctly.

Yup. Changed in the new version I'm working on.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Windy escape single handedly makes slyphs blue, for a transmogrify build.

Or would, if windy escape were limited to sylphs. It should be, but isn't.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Emergency Force Sphere is mandatory for any wizard.

I missed this one. Thanks!

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Defending bone is a good choice.

It's not bad.

Perfect Tommy wrote:

Callback. Red. No way.

GreatCallBack. Greater Red.

For most wizards, I'd agree. But for a Puppet Master, whose whole schtick is the familiar? I don't agree.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Baleful Polymorph: Meh.

Wow. I don't think I could disagree more strongly. In forty years of GMing it feels to me as though more major bad guys were lost to baleful polymorph than any other spell.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Vanish.

Yes?

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Duplicate Familiar: Mandatory in any puppetmaster build.

I agree. That's why I rated it blue. Am I missing something or are you just agreeing with me?

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Spells to consider: Tons of druid/paladin/ranger 1/2 level spells. Barkskin, magic fang, strongjaw, lockjaw, longstrider.

All good spells, but given that this is a guide for Transmuter wizards, why am I considering them?

Thanks for all you contributions, by the way. I appreciate the heck out of them even when I disagree.


I think you're missing a couple of pretty decent options that combine to be simply amazing at high levels:

The first is the feat False Focus. Cast spells with a 100 gp cost or less for free? Sure, why not? All sorts of nice things you can do with that. Continual Flame, Persistent Image, and similar for free are all great. Plus, if you hang a holy symbol around your neck when polymorphed, you don't need a component pouch.

The second is Transfiguring Touch, a 6th-level spell that has some interesting utility (plus, it really has some awesome thematics). You can make literal tons of iron with the spell (no, seriously. At minimum caster level, you can make up to 5,400 pounds of iron), and has no "cannot be crafted" clause. (In any case, that much iron is worth 540 gp going by the Trade Goods table in UE) So that's a nice little source of income. At 19th level, you can also make precious metals. While it's not the most efficient use of the spell, you can still make up to 100 gp/casting using False Focus while transmuting something into precious metals. And the visual of paying a hireling with an acorn or something that turns to gold as you hand it to them is kind of priceless. But yeah, by then you're making up to 933 gp per casting if you make iron, so it's a tradeoff.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Euryale: CR 20, XP 307,200: Something seems intuitively wrong that Monstrous Physique III would let you get this . . . .

They are medium so MP1 will give you the basic form and its natural attacks. You need MP3 for the poison.


Tarondor wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Oops, Edit timer expired:

Also, rate Polymorphic Pouch higher -- unless you have Eschew Materials, you are going to want to be able to get at your spell components when polymorphed.

Will you, though? When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type (but not the monstrous humanoid, giant or undead type), all of your gear melds into your body. As an animal, elemental, magical beast, plant or vermin I'm not going to be casting spells. So really I only see the pouch as useful when you're casting form of the dragon.

You can totally cast spells as an elemental! They're capable of speech, and they can be humanoid enough to use weapons, so the verbal and somatic components aren't a problem. All you have to do is keep your material components in a polymorphic pouch - or for that matter, just drop them on the ground and pick them up again as soon as you change form.

In other news, you seem to have left the sewer troll out of your alter self options, and it looks like it edges out the tabaxi as the best combat form for the level. You lose out on ten feet of speed, but you gain increased bite damage, low-light vision, and a very nice 10-ft. reach with your claws. Also, isn't the tabaxi third party?

Oh, and one more thing: for a poison-based combat form available with a 5th level spell, consider taking another look at the weedwhip. As you mention, they have three poisonous tentacle attacks. But rather than chipping away at your enemies' ability scores, the weedwhip's poison will nauseate them, an absolutely nasty condition that will almost entirely incapacitate them until they make two consecutive saves. Not only that, but gaining the plant's amazing 15-ft. reach without the languid whips restriction means that you'll have plenty of chances to make poisonous attacks of opportunity, potentially nauseating your opponents in the middle of their turns. Sure, the ten foot movement speed is annoying, but dealing with that is as simple as getting overland flight up at the beginning of the day.


Tarondor wrote:

Thank you for the edit suggestions. I'll go through them one by one and consider each. I appreciate the line editing as well as the substantive opinions.

Perfect Tommy: You have quite a few opinions contrary to mine. In some places you have given reasons for your disagreement, which is helpful. I haven't used every single spell or tried every combination and am always willing to consider an opposing position. But when you just say a certain feat or spell should be rated differently, it doesn't help me to understand why you think so.

I should note that not only do I read every word and consider whether it changes my opinion, but also my opinion has in fact been changed by many of the comments I've read.

I do know that I need to re-do the familiar section. I'm working on it. The currently-published guide is the unchanged original. When I've completely digested and re-thought what I've read, I'll publish a new updated version. Probably in a few days time.

Finally, I need to comment on this:

Perfect Tommy wrote:
But I think you should give credit to the polymorph guide.
Giving credit where it is due is very important to me. It's part of being intellectually honest. I believe that I have credited every resource I used. See the last page of my guide. If it appears I missed giving credit to a resource I used, please indicate which one with more specificity and I will correct it.

Yeah, I made a *very* long post - and paizo ate it. So the reposts were kind of short hand to try to regurgitate as much as I could before I forgot it.

If you have a question or a comment or something - ask me to clarify, and I'll tell you why I think the way I do.

By the way, you might be right about familiar feats. There's this:

Quote:


Special: Feats that are meant for familiars can be switched out for a familiar’s default feats (as listed in the familiar’s statistics) if the familiar meets the prerequisites. Such feat replacements must be made when the PC first acquires a new familiar, and-like all new feats from supplemental sources-the new feats should be approved by the GM before being integrated into play.

From Animal Archive. And familiar focus is pathfinder legal. So this *should* be pfs legit.

Also this:
. Second, a familiar may exchange one of its feats for the Extra Item Slot feat.
From the Additional Resources Guide


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Wand of Cheetah Sprint, Expeditios retreat >> horseshoes of speed.

I'm not certain what this statement is advocating, but I note that cheetah's sprint is not a wizard spell.

Sure. But by the time you can afford horsehoes of speed you can afford a wand of cheetah sprint. First level spell.

I guess what I'm advocating is including more non-wizard spells in your analysis, via scrolls and wands, especially for your puppetmaster.

Quote:


Perfect Tommy wrote:
Crystal balls: Blow. Red. They are too expensive. There are gloves at 1/10 the cost - not to mention step into image spells, majestic image.

I disagree. I think crystal balls are a good investment and do more than

enter image.

The cheapest crystal ball is 42000. Others are going to set you back 70,000. This is your WBL all the way up to like 9th level, and your advanced crstal ball is 10.5

You simply have FAR more pressing needs and uses. Besides which, for example even if you were to cast Clairaudience via wand adventure - you'd be at 1/4 the cost of a crystal ball.

Its simply not worth it.

Quote:


Perfect Tommy wrote:
Enlarge Person is no good for a finesse build due to loss of dex.

Agreed. But it's a fine spell for other builds.

Yeah, but you have it in your finesse build, which is why I mentioned it = ).

Quote:


Perfect Tommy wrote:

Considering Familiars (Improved).

The ability to buff is huge: as such staples such as sprites, lyrakien azatas etc. Cannot. be overstated.

Agreed.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
the best, however, is ratling, especially for puppetmaster. Combine with mnemonic vestments. However, not PFS legal.

Thanks for the tip. I'll take a look.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Interesting to note that poison using can be boosted via human eye for talent.

Hmm. Okay, I'll check that out.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Also note that if you polymorph into a a form with poison the dc is boosted to dc of the spell. Which requires an entire reanalysis of poison builds.

Since I mentioned that many times, I don't think it needs any re-analysis. I'm aware that many players think more of poisons than I do.

Perfect Tommy wrote:

Traits: Balanced Education? Considering that you could have Wayang, Find your kin, Magical Lineage, Eastern Mysteries, Outlander, Find your kin? No way.

You'll have to expand on your idea here to convince me. I think Balanced Education is one of the best traits I've seen in a while. The existence of Magical Lineage and others doesn't negate the coolness of Balanced Education.

I'm not familiar with Find your Kin, Eastern Mysteries or Outlander, but I'll be sure to take a look. Care...

Find your kin = extra hp and skill point per level.

Eastern Mysteries= +2 DC 1/d

Outlander Loreseeker:

Quote:


Lore Seeker

The secrets of ancient fallen civilizations intrigue you, particularly magical traditions. You’ve studied magic intensely, and hope to increase that knowledge by adding lost lore. You’ve come to pursue that study, and chose this place as your base because it was out of the way of bigger cities—meaning less competition to study the ancient monuments in the region, you hope!

Benefit You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks, and Knowledge (arcana) is a class skill for you. If you cast arcane spells, pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.


Crap. Another post eaten.

Um... at this point have you considered:

Familiar spell metamagic rod. (Deep purple)

Protector familiar with a regenerating familiar (shield other tied to inevitable arbiter or nosoi)

Aether elemental with or without carnivalist / eldritch guardian dips.
(Aether elemental invis always; 2 levels carnivalist gives it sneak attack). Eldritch guardian lets you use masters feats. Combine with shadow dancer and accomplished sneak attacker. And/or bows. Lots of sneak dice.

Page of spell knowledge for faerie dragons


Perfect Tommy wrote:
Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Wand of Cheetah Sprint, Expeditios retreat >> horseshoes of speed.

I'm not certain what this statement is advocating, but I note that cheetah's sprint is not a wizard spell.

Sure. But by the time you can afford horsehoes of speed you can afford a wand of cheetah sprint. First level spell.

I guess what I'm advocating is including more non-wizard spells in your analysis, via scrolls and wands, especially for your puppetmaster.

It's not clear that a wand can be activated as a swift action, even if the spell it's made from is a swift action to cast.

I'd agree with the principle though except that there are huge numbers of PF spells out there. Tarondor is going just off the AoN wizard list which doesn't include every source (but is long already!), and covering every possible list would take forever IMO.


Tarondor wrote:

{. . .}

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Arcane Discovery Opposition Research: Should get earlier mention.
Where, exactly? I mention it for Warlocks, but think that Master Transmogrifists and Puppet Masters will be using their feats in other ways.

Any time that a Master Transmogrifist or Puppet Master needs a spell that is in an Opposition School, when the Opposition School only gets the good stuff at later levels.

By the way, what did you think of the Nature Soul --> Animal Ally --> Boon Companion route for Puppet Master? Feat-intensive, but if you want a Combat Pet, this might still be worth it.

Tarondor wrote:
{. . .}
Perfect Tommy wrote:


Vanish.
Yes? {. . .}

For when you need to disappear for a short time, especially at low levels.

Dαedαlus wrote:

I think you're missing a couple of pretty decent options that combine to be simply amazing at high levels:

The first is the feat False Focus. {. . .}

The second is Transfiguring Touch, a 6th-level spell that has some interesting utility (plus, it really has some awesome thematics). You can make literal tons of iron with the spell (no, seriously. At minimum caster level, you can make up to 5,400 pounds of iron), and has no "cannot be crafted" clause. (In any case, that much iron is worth 540 gp going by the Trade Goods table in UE) So that's a nice little source of income. At 19th level, you can also make precious metals. While it's not the most efficient use of the spell, you can still make up to 100 gp/casting using False Focus while transmuting something into precious metals. And the visual of paying a hireling with an acorn or something that turns to gold as you hand it to them is kind of priceless. But yeah, by then you're making up to 933 gp per casting if you make iron, so it's a tradeoff.

Part of me dies inside when I see something broken like this. Part of me has Negative Energy Affinity . . . .

@Perfect Tommy: Before pressing Preview or Submit Post, I always Select All and Copy (unless it's super-short), just in case something fries (I can paste it all back in and try again; if it repeatedly fails, I can paste it into a text document.

Edit: Familiar Guide that you may find useful.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Potential Alternative for Puppetmaster Transmuters

Very cool idea. I'll certainly include it as an alternate build or build idea.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Non-Wizard alternative to this (add to your section of other non-Wizard alternatives): Sylvan Sorcerer (saves you the Nature Soul and Animal Ally feats).

That's a good one.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
By the way, I would give Evolved Familiar a bump up in rating, especially for when your Familiar ISN'T in combat. Skill Monkey, anyone?

Yeah. After learning what I have about familiars since I finished writing my first version, I agree.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Error in Reach Warlock Build (#2): Eldritch Heritage (Aberrant) requires Skill Focus (Knowledge (Dungeoneering)).

Thanks for the catch.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Archetypes for Warlocks: You need to distinguish between 2 very different Pact Wizard archetypes.

Will do. I didn't know there was more than one.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
You left off the Figment archtype. The ability to be evolved can be useful on a puppetmaster build.

Yeah, but the 1/4 hit points means it's probably gone in 2 rounds. I'm putting in a whole new section on familiars and I think figments may work better as combat assistants for Master Transmogrifists than as direct combatants working for a Puppet Master. Your mileage may vary.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
The valet archetype lets shares his masters teamwork feats. As such there are entire builds built on this concept.

Agreed. It will be mentioned, but I doubt I'll list all (or possibly even any) of those builds. There's just too many!

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Dodge. RED. RED. RED. I can't emphasize how red this is. Spending a feat to get +1 AC, when you can get a spell to do much, much better?

You're probably right that I rated it too highly, but I don't think anything that raises AC is red for this build.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Same way don't spend a feat to gain a 1/day use. You have way more important things to do with your feats.

Which feat are you thinking of?

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Should give a mention to metamagic gems.

I've never heard of Metamagic gems, but after looking them up I do think they're cool. But don't you think they're too expensive for anything but an emergency?

Perfect Tommy wrote:

Consider:

Mauler's Endurance for puppetmaster builds.

Already in the new guide.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Shield Companion

In the original guide. Listed as Green and as one of the Puppet Master's 6th level picks.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Dupicate Familiar

In the original guide. Listed as Blue.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Polymorph Familiar

Yep! It's in there! I listed it as Orange.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Familiar Image (even better than magic image!!)

Do you mean familiar double? It's a 7th level Witch spell.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Defeniding bone.

I rated it orange in the original guide. I've seen it used to good effect in my Iron Gods game. But I think that bludgeoning comes up often enough to prevent it from being rated green.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Multimorph.. Meh. How many times are you really going to change forms that can't be solved by recasting. Better off nap stacking 9 times out of 10.

Maybe. I think you may be right. I certainly had that thought a few times. Still, I love the idea of being able to shift from form to form. Maybe I could rate it green.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Stone Skin: Very expensive.

I did say it was. Still, my wizards almost always carry a scroll of it for a dire emergency.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
I don't understand your range warlock spell choices, since you are doing very little to boost the save DC's. If you're not boosting the save DC's then chance of a wasted action is too high. Buff, instead.

He's got a decent Intelligence, Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus. His gear isn't part of the build, but I'm assuming he buys a level-appropriate headband of vast intelligence. What else were you thinking of?

Perfect Tommy wrote:
If you like folding plate (I don't) you might like the donning property.

It's more true to say that I think the Muscle Wizard needs a way to get armored up or die. But I do like the donning property. Thanks.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Improved nat armor. Yellow/Red. Not worth a feat.

I think armor could be very important for a combat familiar.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Multi-attack. I don't believe this is PFS legal.

Well I did rate it red. I'll look into whether it should also be rated magenta (PFS illegal).

Perfect Tommy wrote:
There are a lot of 1 level spells not on your list that you can umd. Longstrider, strongjaw, lockjaw, magic weapon, longstrider.

Examining every wizard spell took me months. Examining every non-wizard spell too may just give me a stroke! I'll consider a few 1st and 2nd-level non-wizard spells for wands at some point.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Scrollmaster archetype. No. Just no. The only use of this is to be able to use scrolls as shields and short swords. 10 levels of an addled build is not worth the capstone!

You might be right.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Race: Samsaran - the ability to have out of class spells on your spell list make this blue.

But they can't add divine spells to an arcane caster, so which spells are we thinking of here?

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Detect secret doors? If you know where the door is - why don't you just maximize your perception and take 20?...

No wizard can cover all the skill bases. But he -can- cover all the arcane spellcasting bases. Every wizard can have a scroll of detect secret doors even if he has chosen not to max out a non-class skill like Perception.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
At a lot of tables, liberating command is not going to work if you're grappled.

Why?

Perfect Tommy wrote:

Anything that requires a touch attack AND a saving throw SUCKS. (touch of gracelessness) Not to mention SR and a lot of immune types. No Whey.

More cheese. Touch of Idiocy.

I like 'em. Touch attacks are not hard to bring off.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Glitterdust is nerfed from 3.5 You're better off with see invis and a bag of flour.

Glitterdust lets everyone see the bad guy, not just the caster, and occasionally blinds the bad guy, too. Bags of flour are heavy.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Admonishing ray - yellow. The list of things immune to non-lethal damage is huge.

But not as huge as the list of things that aren't. :-)

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Ice slick: the purpose of this spell, like grease, is to enable the rogue to get sneak damage when they are denied dex. Yellow if you have a rogue.

Sure. I'll look at it again.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Full pouch. Great spell, probably better on a wand, used to duplicate alchemy items with costs over 91 gp.

Okay.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Dispel Magic. Better for a cleric. On a scroll.

Maybe. But this isn't a wizard-and-cleric guide. It's a staple spell and one it can be frustrating to be without.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Ice spears: stacks with spells that leave ice on the ground....

Probably worth mentioning. But I assume the reader can figure some of this out themselves.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Fireball: Iconic but meh, unless you're dazing. You're not a blaster. Ignore.

I devoted a whole paragraph to the idea that blasting spells are not good choices for a Transmuter. But if you -are- going to cast evocation spells, you can't ignore fireball.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Skin Send: DR/10. plus construct traits? Yes please! Stick your body in a rope trick.

I really think any of the "leave your body" spells are just begging the GM to go after your unprotected body. You'll note I rated them all somewhat low.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Paragon surge: Nerfed. But also you can take with other races with proper feat/trait selection.

Sure, but that level of granularity is beyond the scope of a guide that's already more than 250 pages. There are ways to get around almost every restriction, if you look hard enough.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Still, nicely done. But I think you should give credit to the polymorph guide

.

I did! Assuming we're talking about the same one.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dαedαlus wrote:

I think you're missing a couple of pretty decent options that combine to be simply amazing at high levels:

The first is the feat False Focus. Cast spells with a 100 gp cost or less for free? Sure, why not? All sorts of nice things you can do with that. Continual Flame, Persistent Image, and similar for free are all great. Plus, if you hang a holy symbol around your neck when polymorphed, you don't need a component pouch.

The second is Transfiguring Touch, a 6th-level spell that has some interesting utility (plus, it really has some awesome thematics). You can make literal tons of iron with the spell (no, seriously. At minimum caster level, you can make up to 5,400 pounds of iron), and has no "cannot be crafted" clause. (In any case, that much iron is worth 540 gp going by the Trade Goods table in UE) So that's a nice little source of income. At 19th level, you can also make precious metals. While it's not the most efficient use of the spell, you can still make up to 100 gp/casting using False Focus while transmuting something into precious metals. And the visual of paying a hireling with an acorn or something that turns to gold as you hand it to them is kind of priceless. But yeah, by then you're making up to 933 gp per casting if you make iron, so it's a tradeoff.

Thanks for pointing these out. I guess I missed Transfiguring Touch.

I'm not sure I could rate very highly a feat that just saves you money. Feats are too rare a commodity for wizards to spend that way.


Tarondor wrote:

{. . .}

Perfect Tommy wrote:


Dispel Magic. Better for a cleric. On a scroll.
Maybe. But this isn't a wizard-and-cleric guide. It's a staple spell and one it can be frustrating to be without.

Not only that, but what if the Cleric fails a Save against a disabling spell? Need to at least have it on a Scroll.

Tarondor wrote:

{. . .}

I'm not sure I could rate very highly a feat that just saves you money. Feats are too rare a commodity for wizards to spend that way.

Depends upon how often you need to save money. If you are casting something very frequently that needs a material component of up to 100 gp, this could be a real saver.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

First of all, thank you for reading my guide and offering suggestions.

Dαedαlus wrote:
The first is the feat False Focus. Cast spells with a 100 gp cost or less for free? Sure, why not? All sorts of nice things you can do with that. Continual Flame, Persistent Image, and similar for free are all great. Plus, if you hang a holy symbol around your neck when polymorphed, you don't need a component pouch.

I feel as though you'd be trading a feat for money. You do this with any crafting feat, but possibly to better effect? How much are you actually going to save?

Dαedαlus wrote:
The second is Transfiguring Touch, a 6th-level spell that has some interesting utility (plus, it really has some awesome thematics). You can make literal tons of iron with the spell

I've never been a fan of the various money-making schemes over the years. Who would go to the movies to see "Doctor Strange and the Ponzi Scheme?" or "Gandalf and the Very Big 401k?" :-)


Tarondor wrote:
Who would go to the movies to see "Doctor Strange and the Ponzi Scheme?"

I would totally go see that movie.


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Tarondor wrote:

First of all, thank you for reading my guide and offering suggestions.

Dαedαlus wrote:
The first is the feat False Focus. Cast spells with a 100 gp cost or less for free? Sure, why not? All sorts of nice things you can do with that. Continual Flame, Persistent Image, and similar for free are all great. Plus, if you hang a holy symbol around your neck when polymorphed, you don't need a component pouch.
I feel as though you'd be trading a feat for money. You do this with any crafting feat, but possibly to better effect? How much are you actually going to save?

Well, not just saved money, but also the chance to make a bit of money on the side. However, there's nothing wrong with reanimating low-HD undead for free, not needing to prep Light ever, and having a whole funhouse of illusions with your Programmed Images. If you want, you can think of it as Eschew Materials+. If you have a holy symbol handy, you have more or less the same effect, only better in some regards. Sure, you need an extra step to benefit while polymorphed (hang it around your neck or something once transformed), but you don't need to be able to have the dexterity to pull stuff out of it. Besides, there's a ton of different holy symbols out there. You could likely scrounge something up without too much difficulty.

Tarondor wrote:


Dαedαlus wrote:
The second is Transfiguring Touch, a 6th-level spell that has some interesting utility (plus, it really has some awesome thematics). You can make literal tons of iron with the spell
I've never been a fan of the various money-making schemes over the years. Who would go to the movies to see "Doctor Strange and the Ponzi Scheme?" or "Gandalf and the Very Big 401k?" :-)

A: I would totally watch those.

B: It's more like "Doctor Strange: Repairman" or "Doctor Strange: Archeological Artifact Restorer," as he uses his time abilities to either reverse damage to something or return something to brand-new condition.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Avoron wrote:
[Y]ou seem to have left the sewer troll out of your alter self options, and it looks like it edges out the tabaxi as the best combat form for the level.

Good catch. Surprising that it's a humanoid and not monstrous humanoid.

Avoron wrote:
Also, isn't the tabaxi third party?

Yep. That early on in the writing process I guess I wasn't checking for that. Thanks.

Avoron wrote:
Oh, and one more thing: for a poison-based combat form available with a 5th level spell, consider taking another look at the weedwhip.

I did include it. I'll add in some notes and also note it under plant shape II


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
I guess what I'm advocating is including more non-wizard spells in your analysis, via scrolls and wands, especially for your puppetmaster.

It's a good idea. Something I'll eventually get around to.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Enlarge Person is no good for a finesse build due to loss of dex.
Tarondor wrote:

Agreed. But it's a fine spell for other builds.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Yeah, but you have it in your finesse build, which is why I mentioned it = ).

It was for casting on the Transmuter's allies, who presumably still want to get big.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:

Um... at this point have you considered:

Familiar spell metamagic rod. (Deep purple)

Protector familiar with a regenerating familiar (shield other tied to inevitable arbiter or nosoi)

Aether elemental with or without carnivalist / eldritch guardian dips.
(Aether elemental invis always; 2 levels carnivalist gives it sneak attack). Eldritch guardian lets you use masters feats. Combine with shadow dancer and accomplished sneak attacker. And/or bows. Lots of sneak dice.

Page of spell knowledge for faerie dragons

I can honestly say "No, I haven't considered any of that."

I want to avoid making this a Guide to familiars, or attempting to catalog every possible variation. This thing is already 250+ pages and is intended as a guide, not a definitive treatise.

That's not to say that I don't want to hear this stuff. I'm happy to include alternatives if I can keep them short and sweet.


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Avoron wrote:
Tarondor wrote:
Who would go to the movies to see "Doctor Strange and the Ponzi Scheme?"
I would totally go see that movie.

I'd go if it was "Doctor Strange and the Fonzie Scheme."

Ayyyyyyy!


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dαedαlus wrote:


Well, not just saved money, but also the chance to make a bit of money on the side. However, there's nothing wrong with reanimating low-HD undead for free, not needing to prep Light ever, and having a whole funhouse of illusions with your Programmed Images. If you want, you can think of it as Eschew Materials+. If you have a holy symbol handy, you have more or less the same effect, only better in some regards. Sure, you need an extra step to benefit while polymorphed (hang it around your neck or something once transformed), but you don't need to be able to have the dexterity to pull stuff out of it. Besides, there's a ton of different holy symbols out there. You could likely scrounge something up without too much difficulty.

All joking aside, I do like the "use it when polymorphed" aspect. That's a neat little trick I'll definitely include.


Tarondor wrote:


UnArcaneElection wrote:
By the way, I would give Evolved Familiar a bump up in rating, especially for when your Familiar ISN'T in combat. Skill Monkey, anyone?

Yeah. After learning what I have about familiars since I finished writing my first version, I agree.

I rate it Blue to almost Purple. +8 UMD for a familiar with hands...


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
At a lot of tables, liberating command is not going to work if you're grappled.

Why?

I'm speaking from experience here. it has only worked about 1/3.

If you have them loaded in a wrist sheaths, it takes a swift to bring them in hand. You now can no longer *use* an immediate.

And, if you don't have the wand in hand and are grappled, many DMs will rule that you can't draw it. (else why the restrictions on somatic components in hand, weapons in hand, etc.)

Regarding dispel magic. I stand by my comments. Sure this is a situationally useful spell. But this is a far better spell for the clerics or /6 casters (or sorc) than it is a wizard. You need to specialize in things other party members can't do.

Regarding Fireball. I play wizards. Exhaustively. All the time.
Fireball is only a mechanism to deliver rime or daze. Playing a transmogrify or puppet master - I would ignore it every day. You're not leveraged to use it. Haste or a utility spell is a far better choice.

Regarding glitterdust:
Glitterdust only works if you can find the square the enemy is in. Which if you're playing a smart opponent - by the time you've found him he's already moved.

See invisible works all the time. A bag of flour is 1 lb and 2 copper pieces.

Regarding leaving your body spells: Stick your body in a bag of holding with a necklace of adaptation. Or there are far cheaper solutions.

But Skinsend is absolutely hard core for a transmog wizard. Its your first opportunity to act like a fighter. Construct type makes you *immune* to a lot of undead. Laugh at power word kill. Level drain, stat drain, mind affecting, poison, stunning, fatigue, non lethal dmg, things that require fort saves.. the lists goes on and on

And its an hour/level.


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
You left off the Figment archtype. The ability to be evolved can be useful on a puppetmaster build.

Yeah, but the 1/4 hit points means it's probably gone in 2 rounds. I'm putting in a whole new section on familiars and I think figments may work better as combat assistants for Master Transmogrifists than as direct combatants working for a Puppet Master. Your mileage may vary.

In which case, its return is just a napstack away...

It absolutely takes a dedicated build. I wouldn't propose to provide it in your guide. But mention it. And I agree with you that the easier build is the buffing assistant for the Master Trans.

Quote:

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Same way don't spend a feat to gain a 1/day use. You have way more important things to do with your feats.

Which feat are you thinking of?

meh. Don't recall it popped up a few times
Quote:

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Should give a mention to metamagic gems.
I've never heard of Metamagic gems, but after looking them up I do think they're cool. But don't you think they're too expensive for anything but an emergency?

. Yep. But a gem of maximized or empowered or reach...is a hell of a help in an emergency.

Quote:

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Shield Companion
In the original guide. Listed as Green and as one of the Puppet Master's 6th level picks.

True - but the interesting thing is that the spell has verbiage that adds it to any spell list. So its especially useful if you're dipping. I think its worth a note

Quote:


Perfect Tommy wrote:
Polymorph Familiar

Yep! It's in there! I listed it as Orange.

Yeah, the advantage of the spell is its castable at range, whereas the other more common require share spell, which some archtypes get rid of.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Familiar Image (even better than magic image!!)
Do you mean...

Sorry. Familiar Figment. 2nd level spell.

Spoiler:

You create an illusory duplicate of your familiar that moves erratically around your familiar’s space, frequently moving through the familiar’s body with a blurring effect that makes it indistinguishable from the real creature.

Attacks against your familiar have a 50% miss chance; attacks that miss instead target the familiar figment, which reacts as if damaged as appropriate to the attack but unlike a mirror image is not destroyed when struck. This spell does not grant your familiar concealment or prevent it from being targeted by spell effects that do not require an attack roll.

In addition, as a swift action, your familiar can direct the familiar figment to attempt a melee touch attack, using your base attack bonus and the familiar’s Dexterity modifier. If this attack hits, your familiar (but not other creatures) treats that target as flanked until the end of its turn.


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So.. have a figment familiar.. protected by a familiar figment. And mirror image.


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:

Um... at this point have you considered:

Familiar spell metamagic rod. (Deep purple)

Protector familiar with a regenerating familiar (shield other tied to inevitable arbiter or nosoi)

Aether elemental with or without carnivalist / eldritch guardian dips.
(Aether elemental invis always; 2 levels carnivalist gives it sneak attack). Eldritch guardian lets you use masters feats. Combine with shadow dancer and accomplished sneak attacker. And/or bows. Lots of sneak dice.

Page of spell knowledge for faerie dragons

I can honestly say "No, I haven't considered any of that."

I want to avoid making this a Guide to familiars, or attempting to catalog every possible variation. This thing is already 250+ pages and is intended as a guide, not a definitive treatise.

That's not to say that I don't want to hear this stuff. I'm happy to include alternatives if I can keep them short and sweet.

Sure, I get that.

But if your point is to talk about great puppetmaster builds - how can you ignore a familiar that is naturally invisible Thats *huge*
Even if you're talking just using it in combat - that +2 to hit and denying dex - and a 50% miss chance.

And if you're talking about a transmog build - he's a hard to tag familiar who can buff you.

Likewise, if you have a regenerating /cold iron familiar (nicar) - that regenerating will keep it alive unless its opponents have cold iron or +3 weapons - which almost never happens in mods.

Or it can just suck up *your* damage, with shield other. I've seen a familiar suck up 160 points of damage.... and emerge just fine.

Scarab Sages

Perfect Tommy wrote:

So.. have a figment familiar.. protected by a familiar figment. And mirror image.

Can a familiar cast familiar figment on itself? Like a faerie dragon with a scroll or wand? Or no, because the target is your Familiar? It’s rough on the action economy if you have to spend a standard casting a round/level spell just to protect your familiar. Unless your Familiar is more powerful than you. :)


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hey, Ferious Thune:

I’ve played several of your builds (my gunslinger/inquisitor is my favorite.) Just saying.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
But Skinsend is absolutely hard core for a transmog wizard. Its your first opportunity to act like a fighter. Construct type makes you *immune* to a lot of undead. Laugh at power word kill. Level drain, stat drain, mind affecting, poison, stunning, fatigue, non lethal dmg, things that require fort saves.. the lists goes on and on

I'll take another look. I admit to an anti-icky prejudice.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
In which case, its return is just a napstack away...

So true, and a neat trick, but I'd balk at setting up a trick that requires the presence of a divine caster before I could bring it off, especially if it was my main schtick.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
It absolutely takes a dedicated build. I wouldn't propose to provide it in your guide. But mention it.

Sure!

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Sorry. Familiar Figment. 2nd level...

Yep, that's pure awesome alright.


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
But Skinsend is absolutely hard core for a transmog wizard. Its your first opportunity to act like a fighter. Construct type makes you *immune* to a lot of undead. Laugh at power word kill. Level drain, stat drain, mind affecting, poison, stunning, fatigue, non lethal dmg, things that require fort saves.. the lists goes on and on
I'll take another look. I admit to an anti-icky prejudice.

Skinsend's impressive but it has some unwritten prerequisites. First you need a safe place to stash your body. Then you need something in case the skin doesn't come back. A scroll of heal and someone to use it, or possibly a pearly white spindle ioun stone though the line about regrowing limbs may preclude that. Then of course you need stuff you can do with your strength set to 3.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:

Um... at this point have you considered:

Familiar spell metamagic rod. (Deep purple)

Protector familiar with a regenerating familiar (shield other tied to inevitable arbiter or nosoi)

Aether elemental with or without carnivalist / eldritch guardian dips.
(Aether elemental invis always; 2 levels carnivalist gives it sneak attack). Eldritch guardian lets you use masters feats. Combine with shadow dancer and accomplished sneak attacker. And/or bows. Lots of sneak dice.

Page of spell knowledge for faerie dragons

I can honestly say "No, I haven't considered any of that."

I want to avoid making this a Guide to familiars, or attempting to catalog every possible variation. This thing is already 250+ pages and is intended as a guide, not a definitive treatise.

That's not to say that I don't want to hear this stuff. I'm happy to include alternatives if I can keep them short and sweet.

Sure, I get that.

But if your point is to talk about great puppetmaster builds - how can you ignore a familiar that is naturally invisible Thats *huge*
Even if you're talking just using it in combat - that +2 to hit and denying dex - and a 50% miss chance.

And if you're talking about a transmog build - he's a hard to tag familiar who can buff you.

Likewise, if you have a regenerating /cold iron familiar (nicar) - that regenerating will keep it alive unless its opponents have cold iron or +3 weapons - which almost never happens in mods.

Or it can just suck up *your* damage, with shield other. I've seen a familiar suck up 160 points of damage.... and emerge just fine.

You misunderstand me. I don't mean that it's not worth considering, just that I hadn't considered it yet. The Aether familiar seems pretty amazing.

In general, the idea of the Puppet Master was to use the familiar as the focus of polymorph spells like beast shape, but you seem to be advocating using the familiar as-is. Am I right?

Scarab Sages

Tarondor wrote:

Hey, Ferious Thune:

I’ve played several of your builds (my gunslinger/inquisitor is my favorite.) Just saying.

It's a powerful combo. Judgements/Bane on ranged touch attacks makes for a lot of damage.


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:

Um... at this point have you considered:

Familiar spell metamagic rod. (Deep purple)

Protector familiar with a regenerating familiar (shield other tied to inevitable arbiter or nosoi)

Aether elemental with or without carnivalist / eldritch guardian dips.
(Aether elemental invis always; 2 levels carnivalist gives it sneak attack). Eldritch guardian lets you use masters feats. Combine with shadow dancer and accomplished sneak attacker. And/or bows. Lots of sneak dice.

Page of spell knowledge for faerie dragons

I can honestly say "No, I haven't considered any of that."

I want to avoid making this a Guide to familiars, or attempting to catalog every possible variation. This thing is already 250+ pages and is intended as a guide, not a definitive treatise.

That's not to say that I don't want to hear this stuff. I'm happy to include alternatives if I can keep them short and sweet.

Sure, I get that.

But if your point is to talk about great puppetmaster builds - how can you ignore a familiar that is naturally invisible Thats *huge*
Even if you're talking just using it in combat - that +2 to hit and denying dex - and a 50% miss chance.

And if you're talking about a transmog build - he's a hard to tag familiar who can buff you.

Likewise, if you have a regenerating /cold iron familiar (nicar) - that regenerating will keep it alive unless its opponents have cold iron or +3 weapons - which almost never happens in mods.

Or it can just suck up *your* damage, with shield other. I've seen a familiar suck up 160 points of damage.... and emerge just fine.

You misunderstand me. I don't mean that it's not worth considering, just that I hadn't considered it yet. The Aether familiar seems pretty amazing.

In general, the idea of the Puppet Master was to use the familiar as the focus of polymorph spells like beast shape, but you seem to be advocating using the familiar...

Not a simple answer.

A puppet master is a transmuter wizard who uses his spells to turn his familiar into a combat monster --- I guess would be my understanding of the term.

It is true that an aether elemental is not, so much, a focus of beast shapes, and rather that he needs different buffs to be effective. But still very much what I would consider a combat familiar.

There are a lot of ways to buff that familiar - going the sneak route and pure combat. Or capitalizing on the electrical disturbance nature and going that route, to name two


avr wrote:
Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
But Skinsend is absolutely hard core for a transmog wizard. Its your first opportunity to act like a fighter. Construct type makes you *immune* to a lot of undead. Laugh at power word kill. Level drain, stat drain, mind affecting, poison, stunning, fatigue, non lethal dmg, things that require fort saves.. the lists goes on and on
I'll take another look. I admit to an anti-icky prejudice.
Skinsend's impressive but it has some unwritten prerequisites. First you need a safe place to stash your body. Then you need something in case the skin doesn't come back. A scroll of heal and someone to use it, or possibly a pearly white spindle ioun stone though the line about regrowing limbs may preclude that. Then of course you need stuff you can do with your strength set to 3.

Well, I did write some of the unwritten prerequisities =)

As for the Str 3 - it is truly amazing what you can do when you don't really *need* gear, and don't need to open doors (compressible).

The possibilities of this spell are.. damn near endless. Stick a hat of disguise on, and walk about town that way. If you really feel the need to carry things, a wand of anthaul solves your issues. How many wizards are walking around with more than a 9 str anyway? And False life helps for hp issues.

Similarly, consider Shadow projection for the same reasons. Just two tools in your shapechange toolbox... fairly low level and both very strong.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Opinions, please. The SRD says: "Use the familiar’s Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar’s melee attack bonus with natural weapons."

What happens when that familiar is polymorphed into a dire tiger? Can it still use its Dexterity to determine the new form's melee attack bonus? I think not, but I'm interested to hear any divergent opinions.


The odds are most people are going to rule no.

Arguments for no:
1. You lose class features tied to form when you polymorph.

Of course, that is shown to be false, because familiars still have 1/2 hp when they polymorph.

2. The feature of using str or dex is available to tiny creatures, but the familiar is no longer tiny.

True. But the usual answer for that is to adjust the stats of the familiar to medium, and then apply stat changes, not to remove the ability (to use either str or dex).


I'd go with the SRD being a simplification from the days before small+ familiars, and not considering polymorphed familiars. The line is now out of date.


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Version 2.0 of the Guide is up.


Just now reading this. Once again, I stopped (to avoid going too late at night) right where the spells began.

Just noticed that your Transmuter build #1 doesn't have proficiency with javelins. Yes, it is listed as a Simple Weapon, but Wizards don't get proficiency with all Simple Weapons. With Dexterity being only slightly above average, and a -4 nonproficiency penalty, this could be a problem. Also, you have javelin attack rolls keying off Strength, but thrown weapon attack rolls key off Dexterity unless you have a Belt of Mighty Hurling or something like that.

Master Transmogrifist Build #5 has 2 Initial Feats lines, of which the first is blank.

Warlock Build #3: Idealize requires Wizard 10, but you have it at level 5.

Snakebite Striker Brawler And Arcane Trickster: A good alternative to this is Vivisectionist Alchemist and Arcane Trickster -- not as good BAB or weapon proficiencies, but getting Brew Potion for free is nice, and the rest of Alchemy is nice if you're into that sort of thing, including the fact that it is good to know some 1st level extracts in case you need to patch yourself up, and Alchemy is Intelligence-dependent, so it doesn't make you any more MAD.


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Updated. Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Jinkies. Wish this had been around when I was playing Corvus. Well-written and thought-out, sir!


Viv is great, but not pfs.


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Richard D Bennett wrote:
Jinkies. Wish this had been around when I was playing Corvus. Well-written and thought-out, sir!

Corvus married the Trade Princess and brought down an ancient blue dragon. I think he did alright!

Nice to see you, Rich!


Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Viv is great, but not pfs.

Right you are, senor! I knew I forgot something!


Tarondor wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Viv is great, but not pfs.
Right you are, senor! I knew I forgot something!

Huh. You're right. Didn't notice that before. Well, Vivisectionist Alchemist does partially step on the Rogue's toes . . . .

Also worth noting about Vivisectionist Alchemist, if you are fortunate enough to be in a campaign in which it isn't banned: In addition to what I said above, it also retains the Alchemist version of Throw Anything (which is better than the feat of the same name), which good if you want to do stuff with alchemical weapons. AND it retains Mutagen. Note that the Mutagen bonus ISN'T an Enhancement Bonus, but an Alchemical Bonus, so you can stack it with your bonuses from your Transmuter Wizard Arcane School Powers or spells.


Thank you for this great guide !
A comprehensive transmuter guide was sorely missing.

A few suggestions :

Alternatively to a wizard, an arcanist with the archetype School savant (transmutation: shapechange) works really well as a master transmogrifist: with access to exploits letting him cast and switch forms while polymorphed it rocks.

For Magical Beast Shape: You might want to take a look at lesser bandersnatch,
Thrasfyr and Kokogiak. All nice huge combat options.

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