In a Mythic campaign, should a wizard be a wizard or broaden their horizons?


Advice


I am talking about three things: The classic wizard, the Spell Sage archetype, and the Shapeshifting Mastery Path from the Archmage. I want to know which would be the best 'path' to go down for a campaign with Mythic Heroes.
I'm lucky enough to be part of one, although I've been having problems deciding on which of three paths I may go down during a potentially 2 year campaign.

The classic wizard is the first option. Can't really go wrong, you have a solution for most, if not all problems, and can pull perfect solutions out of a hat with Wild Arcana.

The Spell Sage suffers early on from more limited spell slots and resources (although it's more bearable with Wild Arcana), but makes up for it down the line with unparalleled versatility, having access to the cleric, bard, and druid spells (useful especially in a party that potentially lacks divine casters).

Lastly, the Shapeshifting Mastery path allows the wizard to fully use polymorph spells at their full potential, with full BAB and multiple natural attacks and such, but requires an investment in more 'fighter based' things like stats and feats to reach that potential.

I've been having trouble deciding which of these three options to utilize.
Should I build towards having a backup that can be a force in combat when it requires such a heavy investment in less wizardy things?
Would the versatility of spells at my disposal make up for the limited resources I'll have, especially early on?
Or should I specialize on the school I'll be using the most and focus only on my strengths?


Do you have any idea what others are planning? If there's three people planning to make melee beasts, a wizard is unlikely to have a lot of moments to shine as a shapeshifter.

Grand Lodge

The base wizard class is versatile enough to not strictly need to be able to shapeshift to get more physical. At the very worst, the wizard might be able to summon as a standard action without too much expenses. It's not to say a shapeshifting wizard never works, but that it requires a lot to do so.


avr wrote:
Do you have any idea what others are planning? If there's three people planning to make melee beasts, a wizard is unlikely to have a lot of moments to shine as a shapeshifter.

The other three players are a sort of gish magus build, a hit sponge fighter, and a psychic class that focuses on enchantment, with some tricks to get past the immunities.

However, I'm not sure if the magus has 'clicked' in yet, with a very low to hit modifier, so we might need another way to bring damage to the table.


I would gravitate toward the Spell Sage for incredible power and versatility at higher levels. It will give you one shot of high damage early on, but you may need more steady damage, from the sound of things. For now, is a really big damage bump once a day workable, or do you need less but steady? Fair warning, at very low levels, wizards are simply not the big damage class. If they expect you to pull major DPS duty, they're barking up the wrong tree until a you get a few levels under your belt. Even the classic wizard runs out of slots quickly.

Word to the wise - for those utility spells, scrolls are your best friend.


EldonGuyre wrote:

I would gravitate toward the Spell Sage for incredible power and versatility at higher levels. It will give you one shot of high damage early on, but you may need more steady damage, from the sound of things. For now, is a really big damage bump once a day workable, or do you need less but steady? Fair warning, at very low levels, wizards are simply not the big damage class. If they expect you to pull major DPS duty, they're barking up the wrong tree until a you get a few levels under your belt. Even the classic wizard runs out of slots quickly.

Word to the wise - for those utility spells, scrolls are your best friend.

Steady damage may be more necessary, and I've got plenty of scrolls for situational but useful spells.

The shapeshifter requires me to sacrifice a little bit of Int to get a decent strength score to do damage in the end (50-60 from 6 natural attacks), although again, I could just provide damage with focusing on summons.


I may be overly cautious, but it's more than Str you'll need if you're thinking about getting into melee. Wizards are terrible for it. Wizards are true glass cannons.

I definitely recommend against a 'melee' build.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
GreyKat wrote:
avr wrote:
Do you have any idea what others are planning? If there's three people planning to make melee beasts, a wizard is unlikely to have a lot of moments to shine as a shapeshifter.

The other three players are a sort of gish magus build, a hit sponge fighter, and a psychic class that focuses on enchantment, with some tricks to get past the immunities.

However, I'm not sure if the magus has 'clicked' in yet, with a very low to hit modifier, so we might need another way to bring damage to the table.

With that group, I'd be inclined (although I'll admit to being biased toward this type of character) to focus on ranged battlefield control and/or damage: [fighter or ranger]* 1/wizard** 6/eldritch knight 2/arcane archer 3/eldritch knight +8 (alternately, wizard 3/[fighter or ranger] 1/wizard +3/...; you may be more constrained in gaining proficiency with and being able to afford a bow at 1st level, though). With a high Dex, archery will be effective enough to give you a pretty good combat action every round (against minions or in minor fights), which lets you conserve your spell slots for the BBEG/major fights at low- to mid-level. On reaching arcane archer 2 (11th character level), Imbue Arrow gives you some pretty sweet options (especially after gaining 6th-level spells and antimagic shell at 14th character level [{Ftr or Rgr} 1/Wiz 6/EK 4/AA 3]; it can be Imbued!). At higher levels you will be strong at both archery and spellcasting (+17 BAB and spell progression as a 17th level wizard at 20th level).

Granted, the best of the "good stuff" doesn't come online until later, but you should still be effective without stepping on the other PCs' toes (as an eldritch archer magus might) before then. In play, you are pretty much the classic wizard that casts one or two key spells and then shoots arrows instead of using cantrips/low-level spells/wands/etc., unless needing to break out the heavy artillery. You should start with Magical Knack (Wizard) to keep your caster level from suffering too much (you'll be at -1 CL from HD from AA 1 on) and it will probably be beneficial to take Arcane Armor Training at 3rd or 5th level (wear a +1 mithral chain shirt, only 2,100 gp market price, for a better AC against most foes than mage armor; at about 12th character level, on gaining 5th-level spells, retrain it to Quicken Spell***).

*- depending on whether you want a bonus feat or Favored Enemy (if the campaign is focused on a certain type of opponent, or humanoid (human) is usually a good choice) and the ability to use wands of cure light wounds, barkskin, etc. without Use Magic Device checks; with this group, I'd probably prefer ranger to act as a back-up healer with wands

**- Evocation/Admixture if you want to be able to switch energy damage on the fly or Conjuration/Teleportation for mobility; bonded wizard might be a decent archetype for the Bonded Force ability

***- if you want to still wear armor, the Component Freedom archmage path ability will let you cast any spell without somatic components


The magus's attack bonus will almost certainly be fixed. The hit sponge fighter, eh, maybe. The psychic class sounds like a mesmerist, they're one of the worst 6-level spellcasters in melee but not totally incapable. I don't think the shapeshifter's needed in that group but the spell sage's versatility really is.

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