The Atomic Blaster- AKA, how to do more damage than an atomic bomb


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


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This is just a little Sorcerer build that I thought of spontaneously, and it's too fantastic not to share. It's a level 20 build, so I'll be going off of that assumption, however, the basic concepts of the build still apply from level 6 onward.

So, with the release of Chronicle of Legends, we got a whole lot of new toys to play with. The most obvious of which is, of course, the new capstones. However, that's not what we're focusing on today. No, we're looking at the wonderful feat Magic Trick (fireball). The main features that we want to pay attention to are Cluster Bomb (throw multiple mini-fireballs, with no maximum to the number) and Concentrated Fire (reduce the area of the fireball to deal more damage). Now, we can combine these two applications of the feat together to throw a whole bunch of 5-foot radius fireballs that each deal 3d6 points of damage. If you point them at all the same square (which you can do), whoever is in that little area is about to have a very bad day, taking 30d6 points of damage straight to the face. However, we're only just getting started.

Concentrated Fire, as one of it's prerequisites, requires you to have either Selective Spell or Widen Spell, with the obvious implication that they considered that you could concentrate your Widened Fireball to deal an extra 4d6 points of damage, which seems like a pretty suboptimal trade all told. However, things get a bit crazier when you also throw in Cluster Bomb. Suddenly, each of those 10 mini-fireballs deals 5d6 points of damage, and you can stack them all into the same space to deal 50d6 points of damage to our unfortunate victim.

But, oh no, we're not done yet. We're far from done. We, of course, take Spell Perfection (fireball), meaning all our lovely Widened Fireballs still only take a level 3 slot to use. Naturally, we also have Arcane Lineage and Wayang Spellhunter (fireball), meaning we have two more spell levels that we can use. How about... we Empower it.
Our fireball is now dealing 50d6+Empowered points of damage with a level 3 spell slot. We could also use a level 4 spell slot to Maximize it instead, dealing a nice, even 300 points of damage. But why stop there? So long as we have Spell Focus (evocation), we can apply Blood Havoc to the spell, upping our damage to 50d6+50+empowered. Then, since we're 20th level, let's just say we're Crossblooded Orc/Dragon, so our bloodline arcana, combined with blood havoc gives our tiny fireball now 50d6+150+empowered damage, or 450 damage if we Maximize.

But Magic Trick, Spell focus (evocation), Widen Spell, Empower Spell, Maximize Spell and Spell Perfection are only 6 feats. We're also taking Quicken Spell, of course, because that's just what you do. However, we have at least 10 feats, so we have, at minimum, 3 more feats to play with. We can do better. We use two of those feats on Spell Specialization (fireball, of course) and Varisian Tattoo, which nets us a +6 caster level when combined with spell perfection, meaning we get three more mini fireballs, and means we can add on an extra 15d6+45 damage to our total.

We are now dealing 65d6+195 damage (I'm just going to ignore maximized/empowered for a while now).

We even have a feat left over! Or more, rather, once you count Bloodline Feats and potential race bonus feats. That said, you'll probably want something along the lines of Elemental Spell, so you aren't completely helpless when fighting a red dragon, but you have metamagic rods for that.

But we still aren't quite done. Because, as a level 20 sorcerer, it is our right to get a capstone. And here, we are presented with a choice. Unique Bloodline is definitely the best option, as neither the Draconic nor Orc bloodline capstones are that spectacular for us. However, you know what is? Getting a new bloodline arcana. And this is where the choice manifests. Do you want to take the Primal Elemental bloodline, and deal an extra +1 damage per dice on your fireballs, bringing your total to 65d6+260 damage, or do you go with the Phoenix bloodline, and get the capability to heal up to four people obscene amounts of health each round? For this, we'll say you go for extra damage, but you can be more than a 1-trick pony if you choose (granted, it's only one more trick, but still).

But, now you're throwing fireballs that essentially deal an average of 601.25 damage with a 3rd level spell. Or, if you want to use a 4th level spell, 650 damage exactly. If you want to use a 6th level spell slot, well, that would be an average of 763.75 damage.

For reference, according to the Technology Guide, an exploding fission reactor (a literal atomic bomb) deals 20d10 bludgeoning and 20d10 fire damage (plus severe radiation), which is an average of 220 damage.
Your fireballs are 10 feet across, and are three times as destructive as an atomic bomb.

Chthulu has 774 HP. Pazuzu has 752. They both have fire resistance, but you are still nearly one-shotting demigods with a 6th level spell slot. If he weren't immune to fire damage, you're killing Godzilla with a pair of 3rd-level fireball spells and some wither lucky dice rolls or bad saves.

In summary? Magic Trick (fireball) lets you nearly one-shot demigods with a 3rd-level spell slot, with a hefty 65d6+260 damage (plus Empowering).

So... yeah. Do I win the DPR olympics now?


I think you forgot intensify spell in there somewhere with all your caster level boosts. But yes, concentrated fire ups the max damage of a fireball.

IIRC the DPR olympics was last won by someone who'd managed to get their mean damage up to infinity by means of free action repositions after successful attacks, and attacks generated by those. Before that it was up over a thousand damage though admittedly it was nonlethal damage. Those were level 12 builds.

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You could also read Concentrated Fire to increase the total damage of the spell by 1d6 per increment, not 1d6 per ball of fire. Something similar to the Evoker's bonus damage only applying to one instance of damage when spells have multiple sets of damage rolls. That would cut your damage down a few ticks, to something like 28d6+things instead of 65d6+things. Not going to redo your math, but pretty sure you can't choose Primal Bloodline with Unique Bloodline. Per the Wildblooded FAQ "No. These powers only exist for the archetypes that grant them." Since Crossblooded also modifies your bloodline, you can't have both. I could see the argument that you are getting all of those class features extra that it wouldn't matter because there is no conflict, but the FAQ says that the bloodline doesn't even exist for you unless you are the archetype.

Your spell DC is still only that of a 3rd level spell, so using the DPR olympics thread as the base for stats (so putting the 15 before race into Cha), and all 5 level ups, and buying a +5 tome (or wish), and a +6 item, you should have a Cha of 33 (17+5+5+6) so +11 from ability score to the DC. 3 for spell level, +1 Spell Focus (x2 Spell Spec) = DC 26. Cthulhu saves on a 2... and that's even if he is taking a -4 to his save for no reason. Not to mention you don't have Spell Penetration meaning you need to roll 15 to get through his SR... and resist 30 fire and 50% to just ignore the attack... Basically takes zero damage on average. Not to mention the swift action Feeblemind, but I get what you were trying to say. Lots of damage in a vacuum. That is pretty much completely shut down by a Resist Energy by an 11th level caster.

(Pazuzu also saves on a 2 even with a -7 penalty, FR 30, SR 41, and likely just wins initiative, quickened dominate if it fails casts time stop, casts wish to know your name, sets the wind in a 1200 diameter cylinder to a tornado and greater teleports a little less then a mile away, then on his next turn after time stop possesses you as a swift action DC 43 and has you fireball yourself and voluntarily chooses to fail the saving throw)

Now, against a Solar (only CR 23), you would have a much better chance. Lets say your orginal build stands as is, 6th level slot for 764 fire damage (13 damage rolls, 59ish damage each, 29 on a save) Only SR 34, so you need to roll an 8 (so 35% 'damage reduction' on average), it needs a 12 to save (45% of the time) for half damage (unless you are evil, then it needs an 8). It has Fire Resist 10... but it also has Resist Energy SLA at-will as a 20th level caster so there is no reason it doesn't have resist 30 all. We're talking 5 rounds to buff every 3.3 hours after all. And Commune SLA at will so no reason its not prepared, a simple decision tree of 'will I be attacked in the next day'/etc will cover its bases. If it saves, it takes no damage, if it fails it takes effectively half (29) over its FR. So it roughly takes 135ish of the 763 damage(about 17%) on your turn, leaving it with ~228. It has things it can do, Mass Heal/etc... actually it has Protective Aura, which 'otherwise functions' as a Lesser Globe of Invulnerability, which means it takes zero damage since you didn't Heighten the Fireball to at least 4th. Sorry, bad example, but I typed it all up so I am going to post it anyway.

You can push your CL higher with things like the Orange Prism Ioun Stone socketed, but you were posting the OP without items it looked like.


So, let me just rattle out a 'standard' Battering Blast sorcerer build to compare.

Orc Blooded with Blood Havoc and Blood Intensity. Which means +2 damage per dice, and 5 uses of Blood Intensity that adds +11d6 to the level cap of a damaging spell.

Feats: Heighten Spell, Spell Focus(evocation). Spell Specialization (battering blast), varisian tatoo (evocation), Empower Spell, Intensify Spell, Preferred Spell(battering blast), Quicken Spell, Maximize Spell, Spell Penetration(evocation), Spell Perfection(battering blast).

Blood Feat: Widen Spell, Toughness, Great Fortitude.

Traits: the usual suspects.

Grabbing the CHA from Firebug's post: 33 (+11 mod)

CL: 26 without items. If you can find 4 more levels in items that would make a huge difference. But lets stick with 26 for a 'fair' comparison.

26 means 5 battering blasts. Using Intensify Spell you can exceed the damage by 5 CLs, which increases it to 7d6. Not great. But if you use Blood Intensity instead you can up the damage dice by your cha or str mod (+11), which maxes out at 16d6...but you only have enough levels for 13d6. Oh well! So we'll use the 5 uses per day ability that doesn't modify the spell's level.

For damage we'll pile on Empower Spell (+2), Maximize Spell (perfection), and traits (-2 metamagic level)...for a net 0 change in spell level. We really can't use more feats to pump the damage any higher. Its actually possible to pump another +4 in metamagic mods into this.

So 13d6+26 x 1.5= 19.5d6+39 is an empowered blast. Maxamized is 156 per ball, x5 balls = 780.

And its force damage. and its touch with no save to reduce damage. And this can be comboed with either quicken or dazing.

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It's a neat trick, but fire resistance really cuts the rug out from under it as you're stacking multiple instances of relatively small damage. Each "mini fireball" does 5d6+20, which is only 50 even if maximized. So fire resistance 30 means they take 20 damage per ball, or nothing if they make the save - which many super tough opponents will. Obviously 260 against someone who fails the save is not nothing, but you're not really going to be one-shotting CR27-30 demon lords with this trick.


In regards to Intensify Spell- there’s no point. Each mini fireball deals a fixed amount of damage, that doesn’t scale with level. What does scale is how many fireballs you throw, and that has no cap.

For energy resistance- the Feat does suggest that the damage stacks, as you only make a single save against everything.

For wild blooded, yeah, I recognize that’s a valid (if disappointing) ruling, which is why I also mentioned the Phoenix bloodline as an alternative. You deal 65 fewer points of damage, but can also heal your allies something like 300 hp in a round or so.

And I wasn’t suggesting that this would actually be the ultimate way to take on demigods- Fire immunity is way too common for that- I was more using them as a baseline to show how much damage you can deal with a 3rd level spell slot, and a very flavorful and iconic one too.


Dαedαlus wrote:

In regards to Intensify Spell- there’s no point. Each mini fireball deals a fixed amount of damage, that doesn’t scale with level. What does scale is how many fireballs you throw, and that has no cap.

For energy resistance- the Feat does suggest that the damage stacks, as you only make a single save against everything.

You don't get to eat your cake and have it too. If you cut the fireball up into smaller fireballs you don't get to pile up the bits and say "its one lump". You cut it up to gain an advantage, deal with the accompanying disadvantage. Nothing about the feat says you should be able to add the damage of overlapping fireballs. Meteor Swarm has specific language to say all the damage is additive, the feat mentions nothing like that so it should lack that advantage.


Meirril wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:

In regards to Intensify Spell- there’s no point. Each mini fireball deals a fixed amount of damage, that doesn’t scale with level. What does scale is how many fireballs you throw, and that has no cap.

For energy resistance- the Feat does suggest that the damage stacks, as you only make a single save against everything.

You don't get to eat your cake and have it too. If you cut the fireball up into smaller fireballs you don't get to pile up the bits and say "its one lump". You cut it up to gain an advantage, deal with the accompanying disadvantage. Nothing about the feat says you should be able to add the damage of overlapping fireballs. Meteor Swarm has specific language to say all the damage is additive, the feat mentions nothing like that so it should lack that advantage.

So does cluster bomb actually

cluster bomb trick wrote:
If a creature is in the area of multiple blasts, it attempts a single Reflex save against the combined damage.


That's very different from the language used by Meteor Swarm:

Quote:
If a creature is within the area of more than one sphere, it must save separately against each. Despite stemming from separate spheres, all of the fire damage is added together after the saves have been made, and fire resistance is applied only once.


One could argue that Cluster Bomb's wording is simply the streamlined version of Meteor Swarm. Meteor Swarm, is, after all, one of the oldest spells in the game- they've had a decade of practice writing spells in concise, accurate ways (plus, many different writers) so it's quite reasonable to assume (in my view) that they are meant to be treated the same way, that Magic Trick (fireball) is meant to do exactly that- give you a lesser meteor swarm, if you will.


Matthew Downie wrote:

That's very different from the language used by Meteor Swarm:

Quote:
If a creature is within the area of more than one sphere, it must save separately against each. Despite stemming from separate spheres, all of the fire damage is added together after the saves have been made, and fire resistance is applied only once.

The words mean the exact same thing though.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

That's very different from the language used by Meteor Swarm:

Quote:
If a creature is within the area of more than one sphere, it must save separately against each. Despite stemming from separate spheres, all of the fire damage is added together after the saves have been made, and fire resistance is applied only once.
The words mean the exact same thing though.

Strange, I read them as exactly opposite. Meteor Swarm says multiple saves, but exception to rules: 1 damage roll. Cluster Bomb says single save with no exception to the rules, so multiple damage rolls, multiple tests vs resistance.

Take the classic Magic Missile. You can direct multiple missiles (compare to cluster bombs) at a single target, but they do in fact get Force Resistance (if they have any) vs each individual missile and an Evoker Wizard would only add 1 instance of intense spells to a single missile, not every missile. This is because there is nothing in either ability that makes an exception to the rule that resistance applies per damage roll that meteor swarm does.


except saves occur before resistance is applied and you save against the COMBINED damage.

1)Roll all damage
2)Combine damage
3)Reflex save against the combined damage
4)apply resistances

Also nothing about magic missile says anything about combining the damage, how it functions is irrelevant to this particular case.


I see your Atomic Blaster and raise you an Atomic Adept.


Thanks god you don't annex the mythic archimage to the equation, mythic fireball + channel power


So for the capstone, Solar bloodline would work adding +1 per dice roll with fire descriptor spells.

Since you are level 20, you can cast time stop and use delayed fireball; This gives you at most 5 fireballs at full power and 6 quicken fireballs. Ignoring thecquicken fireballs and using the 650 value, that's a maximum of 2,600 fire damage. Using Benthic Spell, that value changes to 3,250 fire and 3,250 bludgeoning.
(This has only increased the spell level by 2 so it would cast as a 6th level spell.)
With Flumefire Rage you can add an extra +1/die (+2 when affected by rage). An extra 65 (130) before empowered.

some calculations:

* I didnt apply Intensify or Intensity to simplify things, also not sure on the final spell level.

Applying empowered last, the max value then becomes: 97d6+485 (582) = 1,164 fire damage.
Maximum after time stop using only full power: 5,820 fire damage (or 2,910 fire & 2,910 bludgenoning).

************
Yes, battering blast is better considering you are using way less feats for similar damage. However, it's about the principle of the thing, how much actual damage is done is just a bonus.


As a random compeltely sidenote.
i'd love to play a Pathfindier Chronicler buddy. Who just writes about this.
But also spends turns giving Standard Actions, or Move Actions as needed to "adjust the story" in a more narritively awesome way.


Can you apply the same feat twice on a single action?

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Huh, some things in here I never thought stacked, more fool me I suppose.

I read the magic trick as giving access to all the abilities you meet prerequisite for, I just read it as being able to apply one at any time not every trick to the spell.

I thought things like wayang spell hunter and magic lineage didn’t stack. I’m not sure why.

Same with the +1 to damage per die abilities. So orc bloodline and draconic, both add the +1 (orc to all damaging, draconic to fire) but I just assumed the effect didn’t stack. So that cross blooded sorcerer but got +1 on any damaging spells, not +2 per die to fire spells that deal damage. The latte just seemed silly from the get go.

My answer to this of course is a simple question...why?


Nord: It depends on the feat. Power attack? No. But the Magic Trick feat says that your cluster fireballs are indeed Fireballs, and Concentrated Fire says you can reduce the radius of your fireballs to increase damage. So, they should both be able to apply.

Cat-thulu: My answer to that is, why not? One of the main things that sets PF apart from its peers is the lack of a cap. So, it can be fun to push the system as far as you can. This build will almost certainly never, ever see play. However, it could exist, and that's the point. Pathfinder may be a fairly robust system, but it's always fun to pull at the seams.

As for what stacks... basically anything, so long as they don't share a type bonus, can stack. All of these, fortunately, are untyped bonuses, which do stack.

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