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Author Topic: A guide to Wizards: Playing a GOD  (Read 279113 times)
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Dan2
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« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2008, 10:55:50 PM »

Level 7

Waves of Exhaustion (PHB): (Debuff): Evil Laugh  Like cone of fatigue except the creatures are exhausted (nice increase) and the cone is 60’ long (very nice). So nasty debuff over large area with no save. Yep, this is nice.

Avasculate (SpC): (Dual threat: Blast/Debuff): Plotting You must make a ranged touch attack, and if it hits, the opponent is reduced to ½ its current HP with no save (not big on blasts – but that’s very good), and it makes a Fort save or is stunned for a round (yawn). One of the better blast spells around.

Evil Glare (SpC): (Debuff): Plotting Nice. For 1 round/level you get an effect that paralyzes a target for 1d8 rounds (on a failed Will save). Assuming you are a 13th level caster – that’s 13 spell effects for the price of one. The big restriction is that you can’t target the same creature twice – so only use this in big battles.

Kiss of the Vampire (SpC): (Self buff)   Basically you turn yourself into a vampire for 1 round/level. You get DR 10/magic, enervation (touch), vampiric touch (touch), charm person and gaseous form. As undead you can be turned, heal from negative energy – etc. For a Gish build this might be OK – but touch attacks make me nervous. It’s unclear whether the abilities granted would work with Spectral Hand – if so, you get an enervation spell 1 round for the duration, which is pretty decent.

Control Undead (PHB): (Save or die...basically):  Mass Dominate Person for undead but with a crappy duration. Once again, this is circumstantial (undead only), but against multiple undead foes this should end the fight if you have a good DC.

Necrotic Curse (CM): (Utility):  Turns positive energy into negative energy in a 20 ft radius emanation for 1 hr/level. This could be devastating to anyone healing injured comrades in the area, but remains quite circumstantial. Nevertheless, at super-high levels, when heal spells are thrown around like candy, this could be devastating to an unsuspecting opponent. I recommend one of the skill tricks that will prevent spellcraft rolls to know what you cast.

Barghest’s Feast (SpC): (Utility): Sad  Prevent resurrection of a corpse by destroying it utterly – for 5000gp! Hugely circumstantial, though lower level than imprisonment I suppose (though easier to circumvent).

Finger of Death (PHB): (Save or die): Sad  The most basic save or die possible. Opponent in close range makes a Fort save, if they succeed, they take minor damage, if they fail, they die. If you like save or dies, this is the staple. For me, save or die is not my thing.

Symbol of Weakness (PHB): Sad  See symbol of pain above.

Arrow of Bone (SpC): (Save or Die): Sad  So you cast this on a projectile or thrown weapon which then gets a +4 enhancement bonus for one attack (yawn), costs 50gp material component (I hate those, even though 50gp isn’t much for the level), and creates a save (Fort) or die if it hits. The only advantage of this spell that I can see is with a 1 hr/level duration, you can have other party members launch these while you cast other spells in combat.

Energy Ebb (SpC): (Debuff): Sad  Supposedly a one-up on Enervation, but what a disappointment. Hit the target with a Ray and they gain one negative level. On followup rounds (one per level) the target makes a Fort save or takes another negative level. One successful Fort save ends the effect. So basically, expect one or maybe 2 negative levels from this spell.

Sword of Darkness (SpC): (Debuff): Sad  I have the same problem with this that I have with Sword of Deception (see evocation guide). The Base to hit is your CL (no attribute bonuses, or any other to hit bonuses) and you have to make a hit against the opponents full AC (you can’t even flank) so expect to miss – fairly consistently. If you could hit consistently – this spell would be pretty good – however – instead it blows.

Retributive Enervation (CM): (Debuff): Sad  Like Abjuration all over again. A basically defensive spell that is a self buff only, standard action casting, and one round/level. Skip it.

Seed of Undeath, Greater (CM): (Utility): Bang Head Ugh! I question the “greater” designation of this spell that requires a 5000gp material component to make it an area spell rather than targeted. Really not worth it, even for someone concentrating on Undead horde creations.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:49:48 PM by Dan2 » Logged

Dan2
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« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:01 PM »

Level 8

Avascular Mass (SpC): (Triple threat Blast/Debuff/BC): Plotting Basically this spell is avasculate (see level 7 spells) with a quickened/heightened web attached. You strike the original target and a web of writhing blood vessels (cool visual) attach to opposing points and entangle those within (like a web). The secondary effect lasts one round per level. Is attaching what is in effect a 2nd level spell to a 7th level spell make it worth it as an 8th level spell? I would say circumstantially yes, though many creatures will have freedom of movement or teleportation options by this level.

Blackfire (SpC): (Debuff): Thumb  Hit opponent with Ray and they Make Fort save every round or lose 1d3 Con and are nauseated. If they make their save they are only sickened that round. Those adjacent to victim make Ref saves or the spell effect spreads to them. It is the spreading feature that makes this spell decent.

Horrid Wilting (PHB): (Blast): Thumb  As I’ve made clear before, I’m not big on single threat blasts (as this is), but as far as single threat blasts go – this is the best you can get. Nearly limitless foes can be struck, it maxes at 20d6, it won’t hit your allies, and it strikes long range, and isn’t energy damage. Basically it’s everything you could want from a single threat blast (except perhaps low level!). Fort save for half will likely be made by many, but at least mettle is rare.

Veil of Undeath (SpC): (Self Buff): Thumb  Give yourself the various immunities of the undead for 10 min/level. Immunity to mind affecting spells is child’s play by this level, but immunity to level drain, ability drain, paralysis, fatigue, exhaustion, death from massive damage, critical hits, stunning, death effects – it adds up. A decent self buff even for the level.

Clone (PHB): (Utility):  Resurrection for Wizards. Needs to be prepared ahead of time, otherwise it works alot like resurrection (including the negative level) except it’s a bit cheaper (and a higher level spell). Does not hold a candle to Greater Resurrection. There may be some circumstantial advantages to the way the spell works (for example, it gets you out of harms way right away) as well as some disadvantages.

Create Greater Undead (PHB): (Utility):  As the other create undead spells except now you have a variety of incorporeal creatures available. For utility purposes, such a creature could be handy, though most won’t be much use in combat at this point.

Symbol of death (PHB): Sad  see the other symbol spells.

Heart of Stone (SpC): (Buff): Sad  Buff yourself for a year with a minor DR and resistances (nothing earth shattering here) – costs 500 xp and 5000 gp. The bonuses are too small to be worth much, they will be easily overshadowed by other self buffs despite the impressive duration on this.

Greater Bestow Curse (SpC): (Debuff): Sad  Like Bestow Curse except the penalties are greater. The things that actually needed improved with Bestow Curse (Touch attack, Will negates) are not. Why this is a level 8 spell is beyond me.

Skeletal Guard (SpC): (Utility): Bang Head Could be called Animate Dead, Mass. You make lots of human warrior skeletons with one standard action. Wow, and at this level (15th and up) human warrior skeletons are SO impressive too! Your enemies will shudder, “Don’t sick the skeletons on me...please!!!!”
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:50:19 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:11 PM »

Level 9

Wail of the Banshee (PHB): (Save or die):  Creatures in a 40 foot radius spread (max 1 per level) make a Fort save or die. Save or die isn’t my thing, but mass save or die I'll say is worth 9th level designation.

Enervating Breath (SpC): (Debuff):  Basically a double strength enervation attached to your breath weapon. Of course you need a breath weapon for this to be of any use to you, if you have one, it is just better than energy drain due to the mass effect.

Soul Bind (PHB): (Utility): Sad  Like imprisonment for Necromancy except the subject must already be dead. This spell basically prevents resurrection – which may be completely useless or a godsend depending on your DM’s style. In the majority of my campaigns, it would tend towards the useless end of the spectrum.

Astral Projection (PHB): (Utility): Sad  Basically this is a Plane shift spell except that: a) the travel is not instantaneous, and b) if you die you return to your own body – fit as a fiddle. This spell has been 9th level right since 1E, and since 1E I’ve been unable to reason why it remains a 9th level spell. Seems underpowered to me for the level.

Energy Drain (PHB): (Debuff): Sad  Like enervation except it does 2d4 negative levels (rather than 1d4) and the effect lasts longer (which likely will never come into play). Keep in mind a split ray enervation would be only level 6, that makes this spell a total turkey. When we reach 9th level spells – the standard is much higher than this.

Plague of Undead (SpC): (Utility): Bang Head Mass animate dead except the zombies or skeletons have maximum HP for their HD, yes, I said zombies and skeletons – with a 9th level spell. Basically, you will raise a creature that will be CR 8 if you are lucky. Greater Planar Binding can get you a Pit Fiend by the way, and it’s level 8.


Final Thoughts: Yep, necromancy is good at debuffing. Yep, not many BC's or Buffs there (though there are some - even some good ones). I find that necromancy swells around the middle (Check out level 5 - Three spells of YES!) - but is sparce at the ends (not a single necromancy 9th level spell I think is great, and at first level, Ray of enfeeblement is the only spell worth getting excited over).

I'm just not sure I would specialize in necromancy now except as a flavor thing. Very narrow field - and not alot of spells (I pretty much included every necromancy spell in this guide) - and lots of turkeys.

If you are going with Unseen Seer or Arcane trickster (Glass cannon) this is definitely a school to keep though.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:50:48 PM by Dan2 » Logged

Dan2
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« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:24 PM »

Treantmonk's Guide to Wizard Spells: God's Tools - Part 5: Conjuration

In this thread I will break down conjuration spells spell by spell - which are underrated, which are overrated (All IMO - this isn't Gospel - only the Gospel according to Treantmonk)

There is already a guide to conjurers - that breaks down the school by spells (as well as feats, skills, Prc's etc.) It is a good guide worthy of your attention - but the repetition here is largely to satisfy my format for school breakdown. Hey - and a bit of repetition is good right? (never mind a second opinion)

More threads will come - detailing spells from the various schools of magic. However, there is no timeline (nor will I likely continue once 4E hits the shelves). At this time I still plan an illusion and enchantment guide (transmuation and divination having been completed by other board members). Expect each of those guides to be reasonably small (which I will explain)

To the readers: If there's a spell you think I should look at - post it and I'll include it in my guide - though be pre-warned - I do not guarantee I will hold the same opinion as you.

Sources: I use PHB, PHB II, Complete Series, and SpC (these are both the books I own, as well as those allowed in the campaigns in which I play) - so all the spells listed are from those sources. (these guides are not completely unselfish - I reference them periodically with my own characters)

There are lots of gems in various other sources - but I've found there are lots of good spells to round out your spellbook in the sources used. By all means, if you would like to highlight a spell from another source - post it in a reply (along with the source and the specs) for the readers to reference.

Kinds of Spells: This is how I break down the types of spells...

Summoning: This is a new category of spells that is more prevalent for conjuration. A “Summoning” could refer to a spell with the “Summoning” subtype or the “Calling” subtype – but in either case will call a creature to do your bidding. Summoned creatures can be used for attack (blast), grapple (debuff), Blocking the enemy (BC), aiding another (Buff), or for SLA or skills (Utility). However, they often require a full round action to summon, and with that versatility comes reduced effectiveness at each of those tasks. I like summoning because versatility is power – however, consider carefully, because a summons not up to the task you give them is a wasted spell.

BC: Battlefield Control. This is the spells that involve impeding movement of your opponents - aiding movement of your allies, or in any other way treating the world as your own personal chessboard.

Debuff: Debuffing is anything you cast on an enemy to impede his ability mechanically. Lowering of attributes, Blinding, Sickening, or scaring the living crap out of. Debuffing - as the name would indicate - also includes removing any buffs your enemy might have.

Buff: Buffing is improving the abilities of your allies mechanically. Whether it be through giving them extra attacks, better AC, or merely providing them a flanker. The nice thing about buffs is they likely won't involve saving throws.

Blast: A Blast is a spell that does HP damage to your opponent. Blasts are a pretty basic part of any Wizard's toolbelt - but IMO make a poor central focus to any Wizard. My suggestion is to cast Blast spells when you have nothing really useful to do.

Utility: These are those spells that have uses that aren't necessarily related to combat. Often utility spells can be useful in combat - but more circumstantially.

Save or Die: These spells give you a saving throw - or you're dead (or effectively dead). Personally, I don't like these spells - since they tend to target Fort - and are higher level then spells which can give you the win without avoiding the fun. You are usually better with a debuff if you like this style of spell.

Multiple Threat: A spell that covers more than one of the above at a time is a multiple threat spell. For example - a spell that does damage as well as impede the enemies movement would be a double threat (BC + Blast), while a spell that does damage, impedes the movement of the enemy, gives them mechanical penalties, and gives your allies bonuses would be a Quadruple threat (BC + Blast + Debuff + Buff). By the way - if you know of a Quadruple threat spell - let me know!!!

Rating the spells:

After breaking down the spells, I will self-righteously give them either the Treantmonk stamp of approval - or the stamp of the foot, oversimplifying the use of each.

 Bang Head: This spell's a Turkey. Not worth having in your spellbook at all.

 Sad : Not all bad, but not good enough for me to recommend

  : Run of the mill. It's OK, but nothing special

 Thumb : The spell is solid. I recommend it

 Plotting: This spell is highly recommended

 Evil Laugh : YES!!!!!

Part 5: Conjuration



Conjuration is one of the two schools they say: "Never drop", but why? Well, there are 2 answers. First reason is Battlefield control. Conjuration is your best school for this wizard pursuit. Second reason is the pure quantity of spells. Only Transmutation boasts more spells overall.

Is Conjuration the best school?

This is a tough question to answer but an easy one to simplify. The simple question is this: Which is better, Transmutation or Conjuration? Once you’ve answered that question – you know what the most powerful school is.

My conclusion is this: it depends. Yes, I realize that is a wishy-washy answer – so let me qualify it with some more provocative answers for which I’m better known.

From spell levels 1-3, Conjuration is the best. Transmuation comes in a strong second – but from those levels Conjuration sees an unparalleled strength in Battlefield control and debuffs (with a couple more minor buffs and utility thrown in). Transmutation just doesn’t measure up IMO.

Spell level 4 is more complicated. Conjuration has some very good spells, but Transmutation has the ever-broken polymorph. However, being that I don’t condone the use of the spell that WotC gave up trying to fix – once you take polymorph out of the equation – I’m still putting conjuration on top.

Spell levels 5 and 6 are tough. Both schools are very strong in these levels – and I would consider it a toss up.

Spell levels 7 and 8 I believe Conjuration is still a good school – but now takes a back seat to Transmutation, that is really coming into its own. The big thing here is that Battlefield Controls are starting to become obsolete. Enemies more and more often have multiple movements, teleportation, and freedom of movement options. This severely weakens the conjuration school that relies on these spells for the majority of its strength.

Spell level 9 is a total wipeout. Transmutation sees its apex of power, while conjuration is at its all time low. I would not even rank conjuration 2nd best at this level (though not the worst by any means).

So it depends. For me, most of the campaigns I play in begin at low level – and will end anywhere between mid level to high level. Therefore, more often than not I’m playing a character between levels 1 and 15. For me, that means Conjuration is the best choice. However, if you find yourself playing more high level games (or epic play), then you should consider transmutation as your best choice.

So with no further ado – these are:
Conjuration Spells you should consider for your wizard, and those you should pretend don't exist:
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:54:21 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:36 PM »

Level 1:

Grease (PHB): (BC): Evil Laugh  Close range opponents in a 10’ square make Ref saves or fall prone. Furthermore, they must make Balance checks to get up, or to move (even if Ref is made).

Benign Transposition (SpC): (BC): Evil Laugh  Close range spell that teleports 2 allies switching their position. This spell does not have the “Must be on the ground” restriction of baleful transposition – so you can cast this on the ally about to be swallowed whole and the summoned dire rat. Heh heh. It also can be used to get you out of a sticky situation, replacing you with the big stupid fighter. (check with DM on legality - IMO it is OK by RAW but there may be different view on their part)

Wall of Smoke (SpC): (BC): Evil Laugh  Do not be deceived by the name. This “wall” is 10’ thick and you can place it over your enemies. It is your “fog” spell of choice for 1st level spells since the wall also includes a Fort save or be nauseated for a round as an added bonus.

Resinous Tar (CM): (BC): Plotting This spell is the “anti-grease” spell – creating a similar area of “stickiness”. Overall, at low levels, grease is better because of the chance to fall prone. However, Resinous tar doubles movement rates through it with no save which is nice. Also, casting this on a creatures clothing makes them more vulnerable to grapple attempts (-5 to resist or escape grapple or -5 to escape pin)

Mage Armor (PHB): (Buff): Thumb  One hour/level +4 armor bonus. This spell makes Braciers of Armor completely obsolete. The +4 can be improved with PrC dips (Paragnostic apostle is the easiest for a +6).

Mount (PHB): (Utility): Thumb  Summoning spell that is a standard action and 1 hr/level. The obvious use of this spell is for travel, however, it is also useful as a quick getaway, or even to throw 4 squares of meat between you and BBEG (The horse won’t fight – but it does take up space).

Blockade (CS): (BC): Thumb  Swift action spell that puts a 5’x5’x5’ block of wood in close range for 3 rounds. The effect isn’t that impressive – but can block charges, prevent flanking, block line of effect and other small controls. For a swift casting, it has its uses.

Hail of Stone (SpC): (Blast): Thumb  5’ radius blast that does 1d4 dam/level (max 5d4). The downside is that it is a full round casting and that it is 5gp per casting. The good point is that it grants no save. Area blasts with no save are pretty good for first level.

Summon Monster I (PHB): (Summoning): Thumb  The combat applications for this spell are extremely limited. 1 round/level duration and full round casting limit this spell for combat, beyond that you can get a small monstrous spider to entangle one medium sized opponent per round on a ranged touch – and that’s pretty much it (unless you are aquatic – celestial dolphins are very tough for the level). However, for utility this is a great spell. Use celestial monkeys to trigger possible traps, use Dolphins for 100’ blindsight, use spiders for tremorsense.

Unseen Servant (PHB): (Utility):  1 hour/level telekinisis. Use it to carry your stuff and hand it to you at need. Can completely replace Tenser’s floating disk.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:54:38 PM by Dan2 » Logged

Dan2
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« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:46 PM »

Level 2

Web (PHB): (BC): Evil Laugh  This spell’s only downside is the requiring of opposite anchor points – otherwise it rocks. There is a Ref saving throw, but succeeding that saving throw does you almost no good at all. You remain entangled – facing concealment all around, and severely hindered movement. This spell remains near-broken even at mid levels. Yes – I even like web more than glitterdust.

Glitterdust (PHB): (Debuff): Evil Laugh  You’ve all heard how great this spell is. 10’ spread that blinds all within, outlines invisible creatures and creates a -40 penalty to hide checks. A successful will save negates the blindness. Yes – this is awesome.


Create Magic Tattoo (SpC): (Buff): Plotting This creates a 24 hour buff on a creature touched. The buffs available are level dependant. Most are pretty minor, and likely eclipsed by your magic items (small resistance bonuses to saves, enhancement bonuses to attributes, deflection bonuses to AC). The superstar here is the +1 CL buff (available at CL 13). Also note that there is no reason you can’t buff some secondary attributes that you might not normally buy items for. Note that you must have a relevant craft skill to use this spell, with a DC check based on the level of buff used, also note that you can have a maximum of 3 magic tattoos at a time. However, despite that, this is an excellent buff – that levels well. However, there is a 100 gp material cost - I recommend for the one time splurge of an eternal wand to pay up front. Otherwise - make sure to use your lesser extend rod!

Fog Cloud (PHB): (BC): Plotting 20’ burst that grants concealment, totally messes up enemy archers (no save no SR). The range is decent (Med), as is the duration (10 min/level). There are going to be countless “Fog” spells available – but the original has a beautiful simplicity.

Cloud of Bewilderment (SpC): (Debuff/BC): Plotting 10’ spread nauseates those within (on failed fort save) until they leave the cloud at which point they are still nauseated for 1d4+1 rounds afterwards. The cloud also offers concealment. This is basically stinking cloud, mini. Decent spell – but the area is small (yes it can be shaped though).

Dimension Hop (PHB II): (BC): Thumb  Teleport the subject of the spell up to 5’ per 2 CL’s. Will negates, so this is best used on an ally as a short range dimension door. The caster can also teleport themselves a short distance with this spell as well. Range is touch.

Baleful Transposition (SpC): (BC):  Have 2 subjects switch place. The subjects can be friendly or unfriendly (or you). There are some downsides of this spell compared to benign transposition though. The subjects must both be connected (via the ground usually) and a will save by any of the subjects negates this spell. Overall, I’m less impressed with this spell than benign transposition – but it still has value to bring squishy bad guy up close, while sending a Big Stupid Fighter into the midst of the enemy.

Summon Monster II (PHB): (Summoning): Sad  Not impressive for combat, and no better for utility than SM I. For most wizards, I suggest skipping this inferior summons.

Melf’s Acid Arrow (PHB): (Blast): Bang Head I do not like this spell, no it doesn’t give a save or SR, but it is a single threat blast that does unimpressive damage extended out over rounds. Even a 5 acid resistance makes this spell completely worthless.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:54:50 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2008, 10:56:57 PM »

Level 3

Sleet Storm (PHB): (BC): Evil Laugh  This spell has a 1 round/level duration – but has many improvements over Fog Cloud as a BC spell. First, vision is completely blocked within (instead of 5’). Secondly, the range is long. Thirdly, it’s HUGE (40’ radius). Fourthly, it hinders movement. Finally – it can’t be dispersed with a gust of wind. Very solid BC.

Dimension Step (PHBII): (BC): Evil Laugh  Do you enjoy chess? If so you will love this spell – rearrange your pieces to create the best battlefield possible. Give multiple allies a short range teleport to flank foes – evade enemy battlefield controls – escape grapples – whatever.

Stinking Cloud (PHB): (Debuff/BC): Evil Laugh  As cloud of Bewilderment but 20’ radius spread. That is a vastly improved area making this a very solid spell. The Fort save negation means that unless you can target multiple weaker opponents with this – you shouldn’t bother.

Summon Monster III (PHB): (Summon): Evil Laugh  One of the best combat-based summoning. You want to summon either the Celestial Bison or the Fiendish Ape. These two summons are very solid for the level of spell – good HP, decent To Hit, Nice damage. If mixing with Haste – the Bison is the better summons, otherwise I lean towards the ape for the extra attacks. Note that the Fiendish Dire Bat is large enough to carry a rider – which can give a short duration flight.

Phantom Steed (PHB): (Summoning): Evil Laugh  1 hour/level summons that carries you at 20’/CL with 240’ maximum (yes – you read correctly – it is FAST). As your CL increases, so does the movement options of the steed – right up to unlimited flight at CL 14. Yes – that’s 240’ flight for 1 hour/level. The only downside is that the Phantom Steed is rather squishy, and you best have a feather fall ready should it get blasted while you are up high.

Mage armor, Greater (SpC): (Buff): Plotting Like mage armor except the base armor bonus is +6. This means that it can be easily made +8 with a one level Paragnostic Apostle dip (which you should do). That’s a pretty good 1 hour/level armor bonus for a wizard I must say. Good enough to make the party Monk approach not sucking.

Melf’s Unicorn Arrow (PHBII): (Blast/BC): Thumb  A decent dual threat – this spell does 1d8+8 damage and bull rushes the target with a DC 21 to resist. You get additional arrows for every 3 levels over 5th (up to 5 arrows). Decent dual threat – very evocation in its flavour (dual threat damage – push backwards)

Caustic Smoke (CM): (BC/Debuff/Blast): Thumb  Barely a blast (1d6 damage), this simulates a Fog Cloud, but those within make a Fort save or suffer a -5 spot/search and to hit rolls (we don’t really care about the spot and search – but -5 to hit is a fantastic debuff). This lasts for 2 rounds after they leave the smoke. Furthermore – anyone who takes acid damage from any other effect (acid breath?) while in the cloud makes a Fort save or is blinded for a round. Solid multi-threat spell for the level. The 5 round duration is sufficient.

Grasping wall (CS): (Debuff): Thumb  A wall adjacent to your enemies sprouts hands that entangle them unless they make a Ref save. In most ways this spell is inferior to Web – which entangles even those who make their Ref save, however a couple of advantages here: 1) You do not need the anchor points that web needs, 2) Your allies are not hindered by this spell. These advantages make this a not bad spell (entanglement is a decent debuff)

Bands of Steel (SpC): (BC): Thumb  Opponent makes a Ref save or they are immobilized. I’m not big on single target spells that are negated with a successful save, but the Ref being targeted makes this spell decent. Note that if a target becomes immobilized, they can use a Full Round Action to attempt to break free (which still gets them out of your hair for a full round at least – not bad). Edit: Please note that creatures over medium size are not affected by this spell.

Scattering Trap (PHBII): (BC): Thumb  A very interesting spell – trap 1 5’ square per 2 CL’s with a “teleportation trap” If anyone enters the square – they make a Ref save or are teleported 1d6 squares in a random direction. This can totally mess up enemy tactics – and the multiple spell effects is a nice feature.

Corpse Candle (SpC): (Utility):  Why this spell is not a divination is beyond me. 1 min/level “candle” that illuminates hidden/ethereal/and invisible beings and items in a 5’ radius. The small radius is limiting for combat purposes – but given time to search a room – the candle should find everything.

Acid Breath (SpC): (Blast):  A conjurer’s answer to fireball. 15’ foot cone that does 1d6 acid damage per level (Max 10d6) with a Ref save for half. Acid damage is less commonly resisted than fire, but the range and AOE are significantly worse than fireball (which is an average spell at best). However – for a conjuration spell – it’s not a terrible blast.

Servant horde (SpC): (Utility):  Mass Unseen Servant. Unless there is a flavour reason for this spell, I would suggest that a regular unseen servant probably fits your needs. One possible use is the making of multiple items quickly available to you or your companions at need.

Regal Procession (SpC): (Utility):  Basically this is the Mount spell on a mass enhancement. By this time, mount is probably not your best/only fast retreat – but your party may benefit from this spell if a quick retreat is called for. Otherwise, this is base utility – providing the characters with faster movement during travelling.

Mage armor, Mass (SpC): (Buff):  Mage armor to multiple targets. This is actually pretty circumstantial, since usually most of your party does not benefit from this spell. Perhaps combined with summoning this could be handy – but generally, I would think your mage armor needs more easily and effectively taken care of with the base version of this spell, or the greater version.

Luminous Assasin, Lesser (PHBII): (Summoning): Bang Head Inferior to Summon Monster in almost every way – please notice the “almost”. This spell is a standard action summoning – and the first attack the luminous assassin makes treats the foe as flat footed. Otherwise – summon monster is comprehensively superior to this spell. With 7 hp – this summon will perish with one hit, reducing the amount of times it can attack and miss your foe, failing to do the lousy damage it does.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:55:05 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2008, 10:57:09 PM »

Level 4

Evard’s Black Tentacles (PHB): (BC): Evil Laugh  Creates a 20’ radius spread of tentacles that grapple those within. The grapple check is your CL +8 which isn’t bad and allows it to improve as you level (though note that at high levels not much will be grappled by this spell). There is no saving throw (other than your grapple check) or SR. Creatures not successfully grappled still have impeded movement. Technically, the tentacles do damage to grappled creatures on subsequent rounds, but the damage is lousy (1d6+4). Nice BC.

Dimension Door (PHB): (Utility): Evil Laugh  Teleport a short distance with verbal component only. Very solid short range teleport. The big advantages of this spell over lower level teleportations are: You can take others with you, it’s core.

Solid Fog (PHB): (BC): Evil Laugh  No save fog spell that restricts movement within to 5’ round. That effect is huge, but note that this spell is dispersed easily with wind, and freedom of movement of course will ruin your day as well. However, at those mid levels (before Freedom of Movement is often seen) – this spell can be invaluable for separating enemies.

Wall of Sand (SpC): (BC): Plotting Your first semi-solid wall spell. Please note this spell is a significant step down from Wall of Stone, it can be moved through (though movement is impeded), must be straight and only lasts Concentration + 1 round/level – however, it still blocks line of sight, line of effect, missile attacks – etc. Considering this is a level 4 wall spell – it is not at all bad.

Summon Monster IV (PHB): (Summon): Plotting For straight combat – SM III is probably better for the level – but I’ve found Fiendish Dire Wolves to be fantastic trippers. Combined with the fact they are your best combat summons in other respects for this spell as well – this adds a bit more BC on the spell.

Orb of Fire (SpC): (Blast/Debuff): Thumb  My favourite orb spell. First, lets get this over with – Orbs hit only one target (and require a to-hit roll to hit even the main target) and therefore have disadvantages when compared to many other blasts. The damage is decent but not immense – but this Orb includes a save-or-be-stunned for a round that targets Fort. They will probably save – but its an added effect that can screw them if they don’t save – and if they do – they still take the damage. Not amazing – but the addition of the dual threat makes it decent.

Wall of Water (SpC): (BC):   The advantages of this spell over Wall of Sand are an improved duration and range (as well as some minor circumstantial stuff). The disadvantages are pretty severe. The wall is pretty easily moved through, doesn’t block line of sight, and is much easier to move through.

Translocation Trick (SpC): (BC):   You and one other creature switch places and appearances (as disguise self spells on each). If the other creature makes a Will save the spell is negated. The obvious use is to switch places with opposing BBEG and let their minions kill them while you laugh. I don’t recommend that option since the single Will save can make this a wasted cast. Instead consider switches with your own party members. Let the BBEG attempt to avoid you so they can get at the Big Stupid Fighter for a change. Beware though that this spell puts you out of position (and a good position that is) and should only really be used if your defences are about to get breached. Verbal component only.

Bloodstar (SpC): (Debuff): Sad  Cast this spell and the “bloodstar” hovers above your foe, and each time they take damage in combat, they make a Fort save or lose a Con point (damage). Everything (except for the Fort save) about this spell screams to me that I should like it. However, I’ve had opportunity to use this spell multiple times and find the way it works makes it exceedingly circumstantial. The combat needs to last several rounds, and need to fail at least a few Fort saves for this to work. This means they need to be struck several times. Of course a creature that can survive several attacks probably has a wicked Fort save. It’s hard to explain mechanically why this spell isn’t all that effective, only explain that in my experience it just isn’t.

Leomund’s Secure Shelter (PHB): (Utility): Sad  Creates a 2 hour/level shelter for you to rest in. Generally speaking – I find Rope Trick to be even more secure than this spell and it’s only 2nd level. However, this spell could have use for housing larger groups (but why not multiple rope tricks then?). Ultimately, it comes down to not that this spell is bad – but rope trick is so good it makes this spell largely obsolete.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:55:20 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2008, 10:57:22 PM »

Level 5

Planar Binding, Lesser (PHB): (Summoning): Evil Laugh  The Planar Binding spells are cast in conjunction with Magic Circle spells to bring an extraplanar being into this plane and then bargaining with it to serve you. SR applies, and there is an opposed CHA check involved – but since the task can be up to 1 day/level, the spell can be cast in downtime. DM’s beware – allowing template creatures to be called with this spell is a big mistake. It is very tough anyways. The DM should attempt to find loopholes in the bargain or have allies of the extraplanar creature consider revenge or something or this spell (and its more powerful incarnations at higher levels) can get out of control. Consider a Planar Bound Nightmare gives you effectively “Astral Spell” (9th level spell) as well as a really cool mount, there needs to be a real downside to this or your wizards will have a legion of bearded devils as their personal bodyguard.

Teleport (PHB): (Utility): Evil Laugh  Travel 100 miles/CL and bring friends. The ultimate travel spell. Teleporting places you are not all that familiar with can put you slightly off the mark (and potentially even cause damage), but assure your comrades that’s “precisely where I intended for us to appear – for reasons your intellect couldn’t possibly absorb.” This spell is fantastic – and makes certain adventure types completely obsolete to your party as your spells reach phenomenal cosmic power.

Wall of Stone (PHB): (BC): Evil Laugh  So here’s real BC for you. Make a wall of stone anywhere you like in combat and shape it anyway you like. It’s stone – blocking movement, sight, spells, attacks etc. It can be broken – but not easily. It’s also permanent giving it a very real utility use as well (insta-bridge, insta repair-wall etc.) Attempting to trap creatures within a stone dome gives them a Ref save to avoid the effect. The limitation of this spell is that it must be connected to existing stone – for dungeons though – this means it can be used basically anywhere.

Viscid Glob (SpC): (Debuff): Plotting Very similar to Bands of Steel, viscid glob requires you make a ranged touch attack and the opponent makes a Ref save or is stuck in place. As with Bands of Steel they can use a full round action to attempt to break free. Unlike bands of steel – other enemies who come in contact with the spell effect get stuck themselves. Large (or larger) creatures can be prevented from moving with this spell but can otherwise act normally. The Ref targeting is a weak save to target at this level – though I try to avoid single target “save negates” spells by this point.

Dimension Jumper (CM): (BC): Plotting Teleport yourself up to 30’ once per round as a move action. This spell is a swift action to cast which is nice, and can be used to teleport back and forth past your own BC’s which can provide you an effective defence without requiring a standard action.

Evacuation Rune (CS): (Utility): Plotting A bit like Gemjump of the next level – Evacuation rune is a preselected teleportation location precast. There are some notable differences though. Evacuation rune is a 24 hour cast – so although it can be cast at the beginning of the day (or the end if you save an open slot), it must be repeatedly cast. It also teleports only you. There are 2 very nice attributes of this spell that are rather unique though. First, it is a swift action to activate – and second – the preselected location can be moved (so the rogue could take it with him while he scouts ahead for example) meaning there are more uses for this than just retreating.

Dimension Shuffle (PHB II): (BC): Plotting Pretty much the ultimate “rearrange the battlefield” spell as you teleport enemies and allies alike. The enemies can make Will saves to avoid the effect – but in the end – you will get a pretty conclusive rearrangement of the battlefield to your liking.

Cloudkill (PHB): (Debuff/BC): Plotting The next type of “fog” spell. This is unlike the others in that it moves 10’ per round away from you (this is a severely limiting factor). Creatures within the cloud suffer effects based on their HD and Fort save. The big deal here is a high HD creature that makes its save STILL takes Con damage (1d4/2) every round they are within the cloud. This spell does pretty good when you first get it, but does not scale well with level. Also – you need to mix it with Solid Fog or Evard’s to get maximum effect, otherwise the Con loss is just too small.

Summon Monster V (PHB): (Summoning) Thumb  an average SM spell. Note that the Fiendish Giant Crocodile is Huge and has Improved Grab with a +21 grapple score. That is probably a higher grapple than Evard’s when you first get this spell – and it does and takes damage as well. However, you are still using a full round to summon, and targeting only one opponent with it. Situationally it is your best grappling spell from 9th to 10th level.

Phantasmal Thief (SpC): (Debuff):   This unseen servant-like apparition can steal from your opponents and bring the booty to you. The problem is that you can’t steal anything they are wearing or holding (otherwise I would suggest stealing spell component pouches!) – and it can only steal one item at a time (or I would suggest stealing the contents of a spell component pouch). It can attempt to disarm a held item, but the disarm check is equal to your CL (which isn’t very good for a disarm). There are still some nice uses for this spell – and it essentially gives you a free debuff every round – but the limitations are severe.

Call Zelekhut (SpC): (Summons):   Call a Zelekhut to perform a task for you that cannot last longer than 1 hour. Zelekhut’s are pretty tough for this level of spell – but you need to spend 100 xp to cast this spell (readers of my guides know how I love Material and XP costs to spells). Lesser Planar Binding provides a more versatile selection of creatures without the xp cost.

Leomund’s Secret Chest (PHB): (Utility):   Send a 5,000 gp chest (up to 1 cubic foot/CL) to the ethereal plane for up to 60 days, and retrieve at any time. The utility “RAI” would make this spell a fairly expensive, but reliable way to store your spellbook away from dangerous conditions – to be retrieved to rememorize and then sent out again. However, there is an abusive use to this spell – I will only bring up to point out you shouldn’t do it. Many opponents will fit in the chest – and using a baleful transposition or similar spell you could get them in that chest (or with a translocation trick – in the chest and nobody would know) – then send the chest away and the opponent is gone with no save for 60 days (or forever if you don’t mind losing the 5,000gp chest.) Its a “trick” and you are better than that.

Greater Dimension Door (SpC) : (BC): Sad  Like dimension door except that you can’t go as far (close range), but you can repeat the process every round for 1 round/2 levels as a move action. Situationally useful, but usually wasteful. The spell is still a standard action to cast.

Vitriolic Sphere (SpC): (Blast): Bang Head Beefed up Melf’s Acid Arrow. In the end the damage just isn’t all that impressive, and if the save is made the damage is horrible. There is no dual threat here.

Luminous Assassin (PHBII): (Summoning): Bang Head This faces the same advantages/disadvantages as the rest of the Luminous assassin line. The standard action summoning is nice – but the 3rd level assassin this summons is simply nothing compared to what you could summon with a SM V. For that matter – it is nothing compared to a Fiendish Dire Wolf summoned with a rapid summon monster IV...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:55:44 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2008, 10:57:33 PM »

Level 6

Planar binding (PHB): (Utility): Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh  Potentially broken for the same reason as Lesser Planar Binding but worse because for a mere one level advancement in spell level you can call a creature with double the HD. Theoretically you can bind an Efreeti and get 1 wish/round for 1 day/level. Theoretically the DM could never invite you to play in his group again as well (or merely severely misinterpret every wish you make – “Raze your intelligence? Of course master...”. This spell is easily abused – so play nice and you won’t force your DM to figure out ways to make his campaign playable again.

Freezing Fog (SpC): (Triple threat BC/Blast/Debuff): Evil Laugh  Basically this is solid fog with a quickened/heightened/widened grease spell added on. There’s some inconsequential cold damage merely for flavour. Mixing two good spells like Solid Fog and Grease (that are naturally synergetic) makes this a very good spell. This remains my favorite conjuration spell for the strong triple threat and synergy of the BC/Debuff aspects.

Gemjump (SpC): (Utility): Evil Laugh  Greater Teleport – only the location must be predetermined at the casting of the spell. The best part is that this is cast earlier – and lasts indefinitely (until you need it) meaning that in some ways, it’s even superior to greater teleport. Very solid spell.

Tunnel Swallow (SpC): (BC/Blast): Plotting This is a circumstantial spell in that it only works in tunnels (including worked tunnels/natural tunnels/corridors), but the effect is great. 1 d6/CL damage and move the opponents up to 50’ in either direction. Ref save for half damage – and get this – half movement (most spells would have the save negate the movement portion of the spell). A decent blast – a decent BC, mixed into a nice dual threat.

Summon Monster VI (PHB): (Summoning):   Bralani Eladrin have a number of interesting abilities including a cure serious wounds 2/day. As a secondary emergency heal – this could be useful to you. For combat – this is one of the weaker SM spells.

Tactical Teleportation (CM): (BC): Sad  Like Dimension Step except they decided to make it level 6 instead of level 3. Yes, there is a small increase to distance your allies can reposition themselves – but nothing that would make this spell worth even 2 levels higher.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:55:56 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2008, 10:57:42 PM »

Level 7

Choking cobwebs (CM): (BC/Debuff): Plotting With a single casting, you basically get web with a chance to sicken those inside (with a failed fort save). A second casting of the same spell however is pretty severe. Movement becomes much more hindered – and those within make Fort save every round or are nauseated and take 1d4 Con damage (unlike cloudkill – no immunity to poison immune to the effect). Naturally, you want to keep throwing up movement inhibitors after this – summoning/evard’s whatever will keep them there until their con drains to 0. With a 1 min/level duration – you have time.

Greater Teleport (PHB): (Utility): Thumb  Like Teleport except there is no requirement to study the location you are teleporting to, and range is no longer a factor – period. Teleport a million miles if you like.

Summon Monster VII (PHB): (Summons): Thumb  The Avoral has a huge variety of utlity abilities including true seeing, every knowledge in existence at +12, and others. Huge elementals make pretty good combatants at this level (including some useful combat feats).

Stun Ray (SpC): (Debuff): Thumb  Hit the opponent with this Ray and they make a Fort save. If they fail, they are stunned for 1d4 + 1 rounds, if they succeed – they are stunned for 1 round. So this spell means automatic stun – end of story. However, keep in mind it is a single target, and duration isn’t impressive. The spell is a solid debuff – but not game breaking.

Plane Shift (PHB): (Utility)   You and your companions travel planes. Purely utility, and usually campaign dependant. However, can be an invaluable resource in those campaigns.

Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion (PHB): (Utility): Sad  Now this is like Rope Trick except the inside is huge, fancy, and filled with unseen servants. The only reason to use this rather than the former is pride – but you’re a wizard, is a little pride so undeserved? Mechanically however, I can’t recommend it.

Call Kolyarut (SpC): (Summoning): Sad  Summon a Kolyarut. Like Zelekhut but tougher. Now the XP cost is 250 – that’s significant. It’s not like you dont’ have other options either (many creatures Planar Bound at this point will even be tougher than a Kolyarut) I should point out however that Kolyarut gets enervation at will. I can’t justify the xp cost – but make your own mind up.

Dragon Ally (SpC): (Summoning): Bang Head Makes the call inevitable spells seem cheap. I include only this one spell (though they line up with the call inevitable spells exactly). The XP costs are the same – but now you can give them all your gold as well (minimum 50gp per HD of dragon). This is basically the wizard’s answer to the Planar Ally spells. However, the wizard didn’t NEED an answer to those spells. Not recommended for prohibitive costs.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:56:11 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2008, 10:57:51 PM »

Level 8

Planar Binding Greater (PHB): (Utility): Evil Laugh  Potentially bind a Pit Fiend, or a Formian Queen, or a Planetar. Once again – play nice – this spell is easily breakable.

Maze (PHB): (BC): Plotting Pick an opponent – remove them from combat with no save. They can return (depending on their Int score for duration), but you get that time to clean up their allies and put a forcecage in their square (or worse).

Summon Monster VIII (PHB): (Summoning):   The Colossal Fiendish Monstrous Centipede actually is a pretty decent BC. Basically an immense wall of HP that moves on your command. However, we’re talking 8th level spells here – this one is average for the level at best.

Greater Plane Shift (PHB): (Utility):   Like Plane Shift except you appear exactly where you want. Again, this spell is purely utility and campaign dependant.

Deadly Lahar (CM): (Blast/Debuff): Sad  Large cone does so-so damage and slows creatures who fail their Ref save. A slow effect that targets Ref is nice – as is the large area of the spell – but for an 8th level spell – the effect isn’t strong enough.

Fierce Pride of the Beastlands (SpC): (Summoning): Bang Head Summon 2d4 celestial lions and 1d4 celestial dire lions to attack and miss your foes an incomprehensible amount of times. These creatures are far too weak for the level.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:56:28 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: May 26, 2008, 10:58:02 PM »

Level 9

Summon Elemental Monolith (SpC): (Summoning): Plotting Summon an Elemental Monolith for concentration (up to 1 round/level). The drawbacks are that concentration is required and you still have the 1 round casting time – but Elemental Monoliths are quite tough and have a plethora of feats. For a 9th level spell it’s not earthshattering (though an earth elemental monolith can literally do that I suppose) – but a fairly solid summoning for the level.

Towering Thunderhead (CM): (BC): Thumb  Create a 40’ spread mass of dark clouds (concealment as fog cloud) that provide a wind wall and hinder movement. Your movement is not hindered, and any sonic or electricity spell of 7th level or lower cast within is empowered for free. This spell is only going to be useful to you if you have some decent electricity or sonic spells to cast (or your allies do). That will likely require you casting spells out of school (probably evocation).

Teleportation Circle (PHB): (Utility):   Teleport theoretically near infinite targets theoretically infinite distance. Circumstantial – but impressive nonetheless (teleport an entire army with this). Most of the time – Greater Teleport will serve you and your immediate group just as well as this spell.

Obedient Avalanche (SpC): (Triple threat Blast/BC/Debuff):   Huge area spell that does so-so damage, but can bury creatures in 20’ radius spread who fail their Ref save (good save to target, but teleport/freedom of movement is common by this level). Creatures outside the 20’ radius spread, but inside the 40’ radius spread take less damage and are bull-rushed outwards. Not bad, but not “9th level impressive” type spell.

Gate (PHB): (Summoning): Sad  Call in a creature way tougher than you or your opponent and have it lay waste. Threads on these boards would suggest you should cast this every combat – but the 1000xp cost makes me disagree. It is a huge effect with a huge cost. Personally, I would consider having it in reserve for emergencies – but no way I would use it repeatedly. There you go Gate-maniacs – I don’t recommend this spell – flame away!

Summon Monster IX (PHB): (Summoning): Bang Head The worst SM for its level. Few options, and nothing really impressive for this level. An Elemental Monolith would lay waste to anything you can summon here – and the versatility factor isn’t that impressive since the SLA’s and the like tend towards the weak side.

Abyssal Army (SpC): (Summoning): Bang Head Cast this spell and summon 2d4 dretches (useless), 1d4 babau demons (basically useless) and 1 vrock demon (marginally useful at best). They get maximum HP per HD, which for all but the Vrock – isn’t much. Maybe the babau demons and dretches can “aid another” or something – but this spell just doesn’t cut 9th level.

Sphere of Ultimate Destruction (SpC): (Blast): Bang Head Very similar to black Blade of Disaster except you don’t need to concentrate – but you can only move it at 30’ round (and the range is longer). It suffers for the same reason.

Black Blade of Disaster (SpC): (Blast): Bang Head Get a disintegrate 1/round for 1 round/CL as long as you maintain concentration within close range. If the target saves –(Fort save) they take 5d6 damage. This last part kills this spell in my eyes.

Heavenly Host (SpC): (Summoning): Bang Head Like Abyssal Army except you get 2d4 lantern archons and 1d4 hound archons – and none of the summons is even halfway good. Maximum HP lantern archons and Hound Archons aren’t very good at this level.

Greater Dimension jumper (CM): (Utility): Bang Head Like Dimension jumper except the range is now 60’ feet (instead of 30’), and it requires a swift action (rather than a move action) and it’s 9th level rather than 5th. Did you see 4 levels worth of improvements? Me neither.

Final Thoughts: Yep - there you go, notice lots of  Evil Laugh  early on and lots of  Bang Head later? However - as a whole - the school rocks.

My suggestion for those who travel the conjuration school to high level is to prepare. Summon Elemental Monolith is a decent spell - but you can make it more effective through Rapid Spell/Metamagic school (conjuration) as well as Augment Summoning. A ring of Mighty Summons is also recommended.

After learning my lesson with Necromancy - I've decided that just because Enchantment and Illusion are smaller schools - I won't include all the spells - but merely highlight those I feel are worthy of a second look. Smaller schools mean less great spells - that's just reality, but those schools still have gems for us to find.

(I know there is an enchantment school breakdown already. However, not one with my current format - so a bit of repetition is likely - just like this guide and Echodork's Conjurer's Guide)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:56:46 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: May 26, 2008, 10:58:14 PM »

Treantmonk's Guide to Wizard Spells: God's Tools - Part 6: Illusion

In this thread I will break down illusion spells spell by spell - which are underrated, which are overrated (All IMO - this isn't Gospel - only the Gospel according to Treantmonk)

This is the 2nd last thread for schools of magic (enchantment will come later today) - however, I intend 2 more guides for players wishing to play "god". One will rate PrC's from various sources - the other will rate alternate classes you may wish to consider for your "god" character. I intend to use a similar format to these spell guides, with my standard  Evil Laugh   Plotting  Thumb     Sad   Bang Head Though I may abbriviate it somewhat...

To the readers: If there's a spell you think I should look at - post it and I'll include it in my guide - though be pre-warned - I do not guarantee I will hold the same opinion as you.

Sources: I use PHB, PHB II, Complete Series, and SpC (these are both the books I own, as well as those allowed in the campaigns in which I play) - so all the spells listed are from those sources. (these guides are not completely unselfish - I reference them periodically with my own characters)

There are lots of gems in various other sources - but I've found there are lots of good spells to round out your spellbook in the sources used. By all means, if you would like to highlight a spell from another source - post it in a reply (along with the source and the specs) for the readers to reference.

Kinds of Spells: This is how I break down the types of spells...

BC: Battlefield Control. This is the spells that involve impeding movement of your opponents - aiding movement of your allies, or in any other way treating the world as your own personal chessboard.

Debuff: Debuffing is anything you cast on an enemy to impede his ability mechanically. Lowering of attributes, Blinding, Sickening, or scaring the living crap out of. Debuffing - as the name would indicate - also includes removing any buffs your enemy might have.

Buff: Buffing is improving the abilities of your allies mechanically. Whether it be through giving them extra attacks, better AC, or merely providing them a flanker. The nice thing about buffs is they likely won't involve saving throws.

Blast: A Blast is a spell that does HP damage to your opponent. Blasts are a pretty basic part of any Wizard's toolbelt - but IMO make a poor central focus to any Wizard. My suggestion is to cast Blast spells when you have nothing really useful to do.

Utility: These are those spells that have uses that aren't necessarily related to combat. Often utility spells can be useful in combat - but more circumstantially.

Save or Die: These spells give you a saving throw - or you're dead (or effectively dead). Personally, I don't like these spells - since they tend to target Fort - and are higher level then spells which can give you the win without avoiding the fun. You are usually better with a debuff if you like this style of spell.

Multiple Threat: A spell that covers more than one of the above at a time is a multiple threat spell. For example - a spell that does damage as well as impede the enemies movement would be a double threat (BC + Blast), while a spell that does damage, impedes the movement of the enemy, gives them mechanical penalties, and gives your allies bonuses would be a Quadruple threat (BC + Blast + Debuff + Buff). By the way - if you know of a Quadruple threat spell - let me know!!!

Rating the spells:

After breaking down the spells, I will self-righteously give them either the Treantmonk stamp of approval - or the stamp of the foot, oversimplifying the use of each.

 Bang Head: This spell's a Turkey. Not worth having in your spellbook at all.

 Sad : Not all bad, but not good enough for me to recommend

  : Run of the mill. It's OK, but nothing special

 Thumb : The spell is solid. I recommend it

 Plotting: This spell is highly recommended

 Evil Laugh : YES!!!!!

Part 6: Illusion



To the reader of past guides: You will notice that the illusion guide is small. Much smaller than past guides. Your eyes do not decieve you - there are various reasons for this:

1) I discovered through the abjuration/necromancy thread that just because a school has less spells doesn't mean you should include more of the "should ignore" spells into the guide. It gives the guide a negative feel without really adding any useful information. If I don't include a spell in the guide - it probably means I'm not a big fan of it.

2) Illusion is a difficult school to rate. Of all the schools - how do you rate a spell with the versatility of "Shadow conjuration" or even worse "major image"? The effectiveness of these spells is limited mainly by the imagination of the user - so please take that into account.

3) Illusion is an interesting school in that it has a few spells that are awsome standouts, and a lot of spells that are garbage compared to those few spells.

Note that the enchantment guide will be even smaller - much smaller - but for slightly different reasons.

Finally - illusion creates alot of debate. Can you use an illusion to create an illusionary pit in a floor? Can you use Shadow Conjuration to emulate an effect and choose to not make a saving throw to disbelieve? People have their minds set so completely on these areas that nothing is going to change it - but before you make up yours - I do like the take on illusions that Skip Williams has - check the links below for more information:

All about illusions (part 1)

All about illusions (part 2)

All about illusions (part 3)

All about illusions (part 4)

So without further ado: Here's the illusion spells your wizard should take a second look at:
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:58:14 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: May 26, 2008, 10:58:26 PM »

Level 1:

Silent Image (PHB) (BC or Utility): Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh  Very likely the best first level spell in the game. Yes, better than grease, ray of enfeeblement, sleep and the rest. This spell allows you to create pretty much anything – and the opponent only gets a save if they interact with it. Your imagination is the limit – though generally I suggest imitating other spells (higher level spells) with it. This spell is still useful at high levels.

Color Spray (PHB) (Debuff): Plotting Creates a small cone that targets will save of those within. At low levels – if they miss their save they lose. Later on it becomes a more minor debuff – but continues to be decent through the mid levels. It does require you getting uncomfortably close though.

Disguise Self (PHB) (Utility):   Useful utility spell – though easily replicated with a ridiculously cheap magic item permanently.

Net of Shadows (SpC) (BC):   A more specific and controlled version of obscuring mist. You choose targets who essentially have the same modifiers as if they were in an obscuring mist. Enemies get a will save to avoid the effects. Not bad – though somewhat circumstantial.

Level 2:

Invisibility (PHB) (Buff): Evil Laugh  Make yourself or an ally invisible for 1 min/level. Although attacking reveals the invisible creature, keep in mind that indirect stuff (so basically anything a God would normally do) does not.

Blinding Color Surge (PHB II) (Double threat Buff/debuff): Evil Laugh  Opponent makes a will save or is blinded for a round. Regardless of their save result, you turn invisible for 1 round/level. The multithreat is somewhat redundant, but will benifit your allies for the cost of reducing the duration of your invisibility - this is a decent trade.

Mirror Image (PHB) (Buff): Plotting Beautiful self buff that makes you extremely hard to hurt. Up to 8 additional images – that have an equal chance of being hurt by an attack as you do. Very tough for an opponent to beat.

Minor Image (PHB) (BC or Utility): Thumb  The next step up from Silent Image. Basically the same spell except you can add some sound to this one. Frankly – still a good spell, but it doesn’t add a lot on silent image so you should usually use that one.

Delusions of Grandeur (SpC) (Debuff): Thumb  A debuff that targets will. Basically the standard -2 on just about everything. The nice thing is that this will stack with all those other similar debuffs (sickened, fatigued, shaken etc)

Phantom Foe (SpC) (Buff): Thumb  Basically give an ally a single mirror image which flanks his melee foe. Should work well with a glass cannon who gets separated from the BSF.

Vertigo (PHB II) (BC):   Debuff that targets will. For 1 round/level if the opponent fails a will save, they must make a DC 10 balance check or they can't take a move action (and fall prone if missed by 5 or more). The weaknesses of this spell are: 1) single opponent saves and the spell is wasted, 2) If they have balance, or a decent dex, this spell won't accomplish much.

Blur (PHB) (Buff):   Attacks miss 20% of the time for 1 round/level. Only mentioned to point out that this spell is often overrated. Way inferior to mirror image as a defensive buff IMO.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:58:28 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: May 26, 2008, 10:58:36 PM »

Level 3:

Phantasmal Strangler (CM) (Debuff/Blast): Evil Laugh  I’ve always been a fan of summoning for the purpose of grappling enemies – but this spell is just as good or better. The opponent gets a Will save, but if they fail, they are grappled – and taking damage every round until they are unconscious. Nice spell!

Vertigo Field (PHB II) (Debuff/BC): Plotting 20' radius spread of targets must make a FORT save (not will!) or be nauseated for 1 round. Terrain within the field is difficult and within there is a 20% miss chance (no save). One nice feature of this spell is you can exclude your allies from the nauseating effect.

Legion of Sentinels (PHB II) (BC): Thumb  Fill a 10' radius space with ghostly sentinels that flank and make attacks of opportunity on foes (you need to check errata to find they attack with your CL and do 1 bonus damage per 3 CL's (max +5)). It is best to think of this spell as a battlefield control, not a summoning spell.

Invisibility Sphere (PHB) (Buff): Thumb  When your whole party needs to travel invisibly, this spell will allow you to do that. It does require you huddle close – but this is still decent utility.

Mask of the Ideal (CM) (Buff):   Basically an eagles spender on speed that stacks with eagles spender. Increase Cha for Planar Bindings or Malconvoker’s bluff checks, as well as a circumstance bonus to bluff and diplomacy.

Hood of the Cobra (CM) (Debuff):   One creature makes a will save or is shaken. Then you make touch attacks for 1d6 con (fort negates). Not a big touch attack fan, otherwise this would be awesome.

Displacement(PHB) (Buff):   Like blur, but now the miss chance is 50%. You are still better off with mirror image (IMO), though this spell actually stacks decently with that if you get a chance to layer defences before a fight.

Shadow Binding (SpC) (BC):   Like Web except that you get a will save to ignore the effect (bad) – however, you don’t need anchor points like web (good).

Major Image (PHB) (BC, Utility):   The next step up the image spells. This one can now include smell and thermal effects. Once again – not a huge amount better than silent image – and in most cases, the first level spell will do the trick. This one can talk, which could possibly be useful in certain situations.

Level 4:

Greater Mirror Image (PHB II) (Self Buff): Evil Laugh  like mirror image but much better. Firstly, you add 1 image/round (max 8 ) meaning that as your opponents hit images they reappear. Most importantly however, this spell is an immediate action casting - this is a big, big deal.

Shadow Conjuration (PHB) (flexible threat): Evil Laugh  or  Thumb  Mimic any conjuration (Summoning or creation) spell of 3rd level or lower with 20% affect. The power of this spell varies greatly depending on whether you believe the saving throw is optional. If it is – this spell is great, if it doesn’t, this spell is good. Note that PrC options can improve this spell greatly.

Shadow Well (SpC) (BC): Thumb  Maze with a will save. That’s basically this spell – remove your opponent from combat while you finish off his allies/prepare for his return. The will save to ignore is bad – but otherwise, a decent spell.

Greater Invisibility (PHB) (Buff): Thumb  Like invisibility but you can attack. The duration now sucks. Still, for BSF this is a good buff. For yourself, stick to invisibility and indirect attacks.

Hallucinatory Terrain (PHB) (Utility):   Change the appearance of terrain. Actually, very circumstantial.

Phantasmal Killer (PHB) (Save or die):   This save or die grants 2 saving throws (Fort and Will), but if you love save or dies – this is a low level one.

Phantom Battle (PHB II) (Debuff):   Opponents in a 20' radius spread make a will save or they cannot make attacks of opportunity. Regardless of their save, they are considered flanked (hello rogues!). Unfortunately, leaving the affected area ends the effect.

Level 5:

Shadow Evocation (PHB) (flexible threat): Evil Laugh  or  Thumb  As Shadow Conjuration above except it can mimic any evocation spell of 4th level or lower. This is an extremely versatile spell, but again, much of the versatility is dependant on whether you believe that you can skip your save when you cast “shadow” contingency on yourself (which would make a huge effect on whether it works at all).

Friend to Foe (PHB II) (Debuff): Plotting This illusion could be easily labelled an enchantment spell. You make one creature per CL (can't be more than 30' apart - though you want them close anyways), make a will save or begin attacking his companions. I've seen this spell used to great effect.

Persistant Image (PHB) (BC): Thumb  Next in the line of image spells. This one works as major image – but requires no concentration – so you can have an illusion for 1 min/level. This is a decent improvement on the spell line – though still pales in comparison in power level (for the level of spell) to silent image IMO.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:58:43 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #56 on: May 26, 2008, 10:58:45 PM »

Level 6:

Permanent Image (PHB) (Utility): Plotting OK – now once again I’m impressed. Make an illusion that essentially has permanency on it (with a small material cost and no XP cost) – you can move the image by concentrating on it at any time. Nice.

Shadow Walk (PHB) (Utility): Thumb  An illusionists mass transport spell – probably inferior to teleport – but easily as good as a clerics wind walk. In addition, you can take unwilling subjects (if they fail their save) and “lose” them in the shadow plane.

Shadow Grappler (SpC) (BC): Bang Head Only mentioned in this guide so you don’t get it confused with Phantasmal Strangler – the 3rd level spell which is really good. This spell is worse than that one and level 6.

Level 7:

Project Image (PHB) (Buff): Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh  Kind of like Mirror Image except it doesn’t disappear when hit, and you don’t need to be visible at all, and your spells originate from it (which is probably the biggest feature), and you can see and hear from it. So basically – throw a projected image in the midst of your enemies and go to town. Absolutely game breaking (and frusturating for a DM!)

Greater Shadow Conjuration (PHB) (Utility): Evil Laugh  As Shadow Conjuration with a 60% reality and it can duplicate up to 6th level. Again, very versatile – and now fairly effective even if disbelieved.

Level 8:

Greater Shadow Evocation(PHB) (Utility): Evil Laugh  As Greater Shadow Conjuration but evocation spells up to 7th level. Still very versatile, and becoming more real – very solid spell.

Superior Invisibility (SpC) (Buff):   Like greater invisibility, but with improved duration and much harder to detect. Avoids tremorsense, blindsense, sent, see invisibility, invisibility purge – but does not evade true seeing. Against certain creatures – useful, against others, not so much (and true seeing isn’t that rare by this level).
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:59:00 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #57 on: May 26, 2008, 10:58:54 PM »

Level 9:

Shades (PHB)(Utility): Thumb  As shadow conjuration – but up to 8th level and 80% real. This actually is not quite as great as it appears, as the high level conjuration spells aren’t as impressive. Still a good spell – but not as great for the level as Greater Shadow Conjuration actually.

Final Thoughts: Overall – I’m pretty impressed with illusion. Lots of options besides the standard Silent Images and Shadow Conjuration/Evocations.

However, if you are going with a Focused Specialist illusionist – going with a Shadowcraft mage/Shadowcrafter seems to be a total no-brainer. However – I’m convinced that a Focused Specialist Illusionist who does not take this route could still be effective – however, be aware that you will be almost exclusively targeting Will – this reduces versatility and can be the worst save to target at high level.

Personally - the one thing I have against playing a dedicated illusionist is that you are going to hear the phrase "I Disbelieve!" over and over again. For those who don't know - the "word" disbelieve (verb) is ridiculous, and makes me want to gag. Just a personal response, as the "word" bugs me greatly - and always has.

The "Shadow" magic debate: So, those who have been following my conjuration guide responses may have discovered that it turned into a huge debate regarding "Shadow Conjuration" and the like spells.

The debate started with the suggestion that a Create Tattoo spell cast with Shadow Conjuration would achieve the same effect without the material component.

Then it was suggested that this was a bad alternative, since the spell would only have a 20% chance of working since the caster would obviously know that they were casting a "shadow" spell.

The debate moves on without resolution - it comes down to whether you believe that the caster can choose whether to save vs. the shadow spell or whether you believe that they automatically disbelieve. Better check with your DM...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:59:17 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: May 26, 2008, 10:59:10 PM »

Treantmonk's Guide to Wizard Spells: God's Tools - Part 7: Enchantment

THE SMALLEST ENCHANTMENT GUIDE EVER!!!!

Yes - this enchantment guide is small, wee, minute, and petite.

For those who haven't seen it - there is a very well written and maintained guide to enchantment already:
Enchanter Handbook

This handbook will list and rate every enchantment spell from pretty much every source you can imagine. Someone mentioned to me after my first guide, that an Enchantment guide would be redundant.

I agree with that sentiment. After all - I clearly am not the expert at enchantment as the OP of the guide. Although I do think they are overly enamored with enchantment spells - for rating the spells against each other - the guide works nicely.

However, there is something the enchanters handbook won't do for you, which should make this guide a decent companion to that one. It doesn't give a lot of detail on which spells to use to get around the rather large disadvantages associated with enchantment spells.

Enchantment is an interesting school - certainly unique amongst all spell schools. Should you face off against an enemy with a low will save – enchantment offers you a huge number of solid options; maybe you will make the enemy into your thrall, or perhaps just friends, or perhaps you will leave them a quivering mass on the floor your Big Stupid Fighter can slash into ribbons.

When it comes to mind-affecting/will targeting magic – enchantment is the best school, with tons of effective spells – but, dare I say it? The school becomes redundant, and the weaknesses become difficult to circumvent. The school ends up being very specialized.

The conventional wisdom of course is this: Should you come across an enemy immune to mind-effecting magic, or with a great will save – have your thralls attack him. Use non-enchantment spells to back them up.

However, if you are considering enchantment as a speciality school – this probably isn’t enough. At low levels, you probably don’t have thralls yet – and if you are a FS, your spells will be mostly enchantment. So in this guide I will be focusing on enchantment spells that fit at least one of these two requirements.

1) not mind affecting
2) does not grant a Will save


This ended up reducing the size of this guide more than I ever expected. Firstly, ALL enchantment spells are mind-affecting. I suspected as much, but I can now confirm it completely (at least in the sourcebooks I use).

Secondly, if an enchantment spell offers a save - it's Will. Again, I suspected as much, but can now confirm it (though a respectable number offer no save).

Thirdly, enchantment is small. I mean small! I never noticed that my spell compendium offered NO enchantment spells of 5th or 6th level. Hundreds of spells offered to wizards at that level - but not a single one is enchantment. That is how small this school is. It is likely the smallest school in the game.

This should then be a useful tool for those specializing in enchantment to add versatility to their spell list – and with enchantment – this is an important and difficult task.

Technically, buffs such as heroism are mind affecting and grant a Will save – but since it’s a buff, those factors become irrelevant.

Sources: I use PHB, PHB II, Complete Series, and SpC (these are both the books I own, as well as those allowed in the campaigns in which I play) - so all the spells listed are from those sources. (these guides are not completely unselfish - I reference them periodically with my own characters)

There are lots of gems in various other sources - but I've found there are lots of good spells to round out your spellbook in the sources used. By all means, if you would like to highlight a spell from another source - post it in a reply (along with the source and the specs) for the readers to reference.

Kinds of Spells: This is how I break down the types of spells...

BC: Battlefield Control. This is the spells that involve impeding movement of your opponents - aiding movement of your allies, or in any other way treating the world as your own personal chessboard.

Debuff: Debuffing is anything you cast on an enemy to impede his ability mechanically. Lowering of attributes, Blinding, Sickening, or scaring the living crap out of. Debuffing - as the name would indicate - also includes removing any buffs your enemy might have.

Buff: Buffing is improving the abilities of your allies mechanically. Whether it be through giving them extra attacks, better AC, or merely providing them a flanker. The nice thing about buffs is they likely won't involve saving throws.

Blast: A Blast is a spell that does HP damage to your opponent. Blasts are a pretty basic part of any Wizard's toolbelt - but IMO make a poor central focus to any Wizard. My suggestion is to cast Blast spells when you have nothing really useful to do.

Utility: These are those spells that have uses that aren't necessarily related to combat. Often utility spells can be useful in combat - but more circumstantially.

Save or Die: These spells give you a saving throw - or you're dead (or effectively dead). Personally, I don't like these spells - since they tend to target Fort - and are higher level then spells which can give you the win without avoiding the fun. You are usually better with a debuff if you like this style of spell.

Multiple Threat: A spell that covers more than one of the above at a time is a multiple threat spell. For example - a spell that does damage as well as impede the enemies movement would be a double threat (BC + Blast), while a spell that does damage, impedes the movement of the enemy, gives them mechanical penalties, and gives your allies bonuses would be a Quadruple threat (BC + Blast + Debuff + Buff). By the way - if you know of a Quadruple threat spell - let me know!!!

Rating the spells:

After breaking down the spells, I will self-righteously give them either the Treantmonk stamp of approval - or the stamp of the foot, oversimplifying the use of each.

Bang Head: This spell's a Turkey. Not worth having in your spellbook at all.

 Sad : Not all bad, but not good enough for me to recommend

  : Run of the mill. It's OK, but nothing special

 Thumb : The spell is solid. I recommend it

 Plotting: This spell is highly recommended

 Evil Laugh : YES!!!!!


Part 7: Enchantment

« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 06:01:11 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #59 on: May 26, 2008, 10:59:25 PM »

Level 1

Shock and awe (SpC):   Mind affecting but no save. This spell can only be cast in a surprise round (circumstantial) to give your opponents a -10 to their initiative.

Rouse (PHB II): Sad  Wake up your allies quickly. This spell is intended as a reaction to your party being hit with a sleep spell. This makes it horribly circumstantial.

Level 2

Ray of stupidity (SpC): Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh   Evil Laugh  Mind affecting, subject takes 1d4 +1 Int DAMAGE no save. Very nice, you CAN drop an opponent to 0 with this spell, you can hit opponents with this multiple times. The obvious (but wrong) target with this are wizards. Personally, when my 4th level party gets attacked by a T-Rex - I will drop it with a single spell, no save. Treantmonk’s FAVORITE enchantment spell right here!

Touch of idiocy (PHB): (Debuff)   Mind affecting, but no save. This spell gives the target a 1d6 penalty to all its mental stats (Int, Wis and Cha). This amounts to quite a bit of penalties – but to stats are only circumstantially useful to your enemy (and seldom all of them). The touch spell factor is also limiting.

Mechanus Mind (SpC): (Buff) Sad  Mind affecting buff. This spell gives the target a +4 will save vs mind affecting spells and abilities. They also receive a +2 bonus on Int based checks and a -2 on Cha based checks. The 3rd level spell disobedience (complete scoundrel) will make this spell obsolete.

Level 3

Ray of dizziness (SpC): Evil Laugh  Basically slow on one target with no saving throw. Awesome!!!

Heroism: (PHB): (Buff) Thumb  This buff gives the target creature a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, saves and skill checks. A far cry from Haste or Mass Snakes Swiftness – but a decent buff nonetheless, and with 10 min/level duration – it lasts much longer.

Rage: (PHB): (Buff)   Give allies the benifits of rage - but wait, not really. You actually give 1/2 the benifits of rage and all the drawbacks (except the fatigue at the end). You can affect multiple allies (1 / 3 levels) which is the only reason this spell avoids "non-recommendation" status. Thanks to Trednis for pointing out this spell affected willing targets only...

Level 4

Battle Hymn (SpC): (Buff)   Allies within 30ft can reroll will saves if they are missed. A little circumstantial – but not bad as a buff.

Vecna’s malevolent whisper (CM): (Blast)   Put any target with 10 HP or less to -9 with no save. A decent “finishing touch” for the high AC monsters.

Level 5

Nothing – not a single non-mind affecting or non-will save spell I could find. This was the first time I noticed that the Spell Compendium lists no spells for enchantment of 5th or 6th level.

Level 6

Greater Heroism: (PHB) (Buff): Thumb  Much like heroism except double the bonuses (+4) and add temporary HP equal to your CL and immunity to fear. Note however that the duration reduces to 1 min/level.

Freezing Glance: (Frost) (Debuff): Evil Laugh  Please note the source (which is not a standard sourcebook), but this spell is too good not to mention. Although it does target will - it is not mind-affecting, so mind affecting immunity will not help you. For one round/level, you gain a gaze attack that targets one opponent. That opponent makes a will save or is frozen in place (unable to do anything at all - worse than paralyzation) for 1 min/level. Attacking them grants an additional saving throw. So a 11th level caster is basically getting 11 "spells" from this. (Thanks CantripN for pointing out this spell)

Level 7

Power Word: Blind: (PHB) (Debuff):   You blind one opponent with no saving throw. Note however that SR still works, there is a maximum HP allowed or the spell fails (200 hp), and assuming the creature has over 100 HP, the duration is small (1d4 +1 rounds).

Level 8

Otto’s irresistible dance: (PHB) (Debuff): Evil Laugh  This spell turns your subject into a useless capering idiot for 1d4+1 rounds with no saving throw. Note that it is still mind-affecting and allows SR. However, barring immunity or resistance – the subject of this spell is toast as long as you can finish them off during the duration (they also have a -4 AC and a -10 to Ref saves, but I can’t think of any Ref targeting save or dies off the top of my head).

Power word: Stun: (PHB) (Debuff): Sad  Like power word blind, except the HP limit is reduced (yes, reduced) to 150, and the duration is worse (expect 1d4 rounds for most opponents). Stun is a nice effect – but you are much better off with the stun ray from SpC (conjuration level 7), as it also results in a minimum of 1 round of stunning regardless of save, and has no HP limit.

Level 9


Power word: Kill (PHB) (Debuff???):   Like the other power words except now the HP limit sucks (100 hp), however, the duration is much improved (you’re dead). Assume most of your enemies begin with too many HP for this to work – you need some method of divining HP, or take your best guess and pray.

Final Thoughts: Again, enchantment is a small school - and a specialized school. There are however, a number of very strong "no save" spells. I was surprised and impressed with Rage. Ray of Stupidity and Ray of dizziness were less of a suprise, but each extremely effective.

In the end, I've come to a conclusion that a FS enchanter has an acceptable number of options to use against creatures with a high will save. However, the lack of options against creatures immune to mind-effects is a vulnerability that will only be overcome with non-enchantment spells.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 06:00:05 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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