I've 3 feats I'm debating between for an 18th level feat (just a replan out of an arcanist as a guideline of what I'd take as I level up and this is the last feat) . . . Leadership, Dazing Spell or Reach Spell. Leadership has many uses but is often banned which is why it'd be the last I'd take. Dazing spell is powerful but this is very late in the game to be taking it, reach spell is less powerful than dazing but at this stage it'd probably have more uses moving touch spells to close and medium to long. If I had to take one right now I'd probably go with leadership, less likely to be allowed but a nice moving into retirement as the head of an arcane school/order for the character. However I figured I'd ask for advice, arcanist will be generally a buffer/debuffer/area controller and for this feat I'm honestly never expecting a game to go long enough to pick it just like to have a map for character progression I can modify for a specific game.
So thoughts which of these feats would people recommend? Bearing in mind I've arleady got quicken, spell pen, greater spell pen, eschew materials (personal taste), etc. All the usual suspects.
Improved familiar, familiar is a no brainer as an exploit pick. The strongest use is one that can use wands which is what improved familiar is for.
Aside from that they are great for RP, aiding with all your skills, abilities they may have and just being their own character. As an arcanist I sometimes split downtime errands between the PC and familiar, like acquiring spells.
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I'm not sure what the concern is for taking something too late in the game. It's equally late for all feats, unless you have prerequisites you have to take first.
Leadership is very different than Dazing Spell and Reach Spell, obviously. Dazing is powerful, but keep in mind that it relies on the enemies failing a saving throw. At late level, it's better applied to a spell that hits multiple targets at once to allow for a greater chance of failed saves. So, look at your known spells of 6th level or lower and consider what spells you'd use it with. Reach spell is kind of hard to assess without knowing what spells you'd use it with, but I feel like if you're mostly using blast spells, Dazing is the way to go.
Leadership is also very powerful. I see a lot of talk about its roleplay benefits -- which are fun and important! -- but it's big mechanical benefit is that you have, essentially, a second PC to come with you on your adventures... if the GM is okay with that. If not, the benefit could range anywhere from an NPC ally to come with you on your adventures to an NPC ally who is sometimes with you to and NPC who works in your interests as the GM interprets it. Talk with your GM about what you'd be able to do with your cohort (and also your followers). Depending on how they feel about the feat, it may make your decision easy.
if you have the greater metamagic knowledge exploit you dont need to mortifie for metamagic because whit just expending 1 arcane poin each day you prepare spell you can change the metamagic for other even if you dont haved learned, as long you meet the prerequisite of the metamagic.
as for leadership i prefere you go whit recruit this feat is more broken that leadership since it give you a number of cohort equal to half your lvl and 4 level below (intead of the -2 lvl from leadership), of course you can only take 1 in your adventure but its give you more variety in what type of follower you need in your next adventure
and aditionaly you can let your recruit to have this feat, the leadership feat or the squire feat for mor power in the game
Leadership is always about story... people aren't even normally allowed to build their own Cohort or followers, much less control any of them. The feat isn't broken, GM's just ban it so they don't have more BS to keep track of. I allow people to build their own cohorts/followers, and control them, because it is easier for me. Oh, another player in the party? Ok... I enjoy a target-rich environment. Lol.
Now, there's this ring, the Ring of the Ecclesiarch, that doubles the number of followers you get from the Leadership feat...
1st level: 270
2nd level: 26
3rd level: 14
4th level: 8
5th level: 4
6th level: 4
So ~326 followers, besides your actual cohort... that's an entire organization, at your disposal. You can sway elections, influence trade, start a kingdom...
If you are allowed to build your own Cohort, you could build them as a Cult Master Mesmerist or Instructor Wizard* or a Daring General Cavalier or Noble Scion [the prestige class]... now your Cohort gets Leaderhsip, and they can also wear their own Ring of the Ecclesiarch to have their own ~326 followers... which are kind of like your followers, since their "master" is your bottom b!tch. Lol.
*Instructor Wizards get a single Apprentice, not Leadership, but that Apprentice can be another Instructor Wizard!
Never heard of Imperial Knight and I thought Torch Bearer let you fight with a torch.
Prefer to avoid thins like ring of the Ecleisisarch simply because it requires you always be wearing that ring or half your followers suddenly leave one day.
Recruits is interesting but they're more limited than leadership because you can take a say 6th level wizard and have them crafting magic items for your order or whatever you wish. The recruits must always be training and are specifcially stated as not being able to do any non-training activity except act as a manager.
I still prefer Leadership to start a background organization... usually an Alchemy Shop or church/cult. And the ring helps get that well-established more quickly. That ring also buffs ALL your followers with a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects! The ring has other benefits, too. But, you're right... that's a lot riding on a single piece of jewelry.
Healing, man... peasants appreciate it. And you can both hear the whispers of the commoners and influence what they whisper about. You can rob them blind, and they thank you for it... I mean, providing such a vital service surely must be compensated. Lol.
From the power-gamer perspective that most people consider Leadership, where you essentially build yourself another playable character... as an Arcanist... a Magician Bard could be beneficial to you, perhaps. If you use spells or SLA's with attack rolls, or find yourself making concentration checks, or caster level checks. They are also decent at Counterspelling incoming spells.
I like Magician Bard VMC Cavalier for Order of the Staff... the target of their Challenge takes a penalty against spells and SLA's! Plus, they can use Spell Aid/Aid Another to give you a scaling boost on your next concentration check, dispel check, or caster level check... and it stacks with the bonus from the Magician's Dweomercraft performance. They get Tactician which can gift you Choral Support or Elemental Commixture or Allied Spellcaster [although it doesn't stack with Spell Aid/Aid Another's bonus].