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Author Topic: A guide to Wizards: Playing a GOD  (Read 279129 times)
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Honorary Moderator
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Posts: 1024


« on: May 26, 2008, 10:47:35 PM »

Alright guys, this is a compilation of Treantmonklvl20's guide to wizards and the subsequent spell handbooks.

A quick link to a part of the guide.

Treantmonklvl20's guide to Wizards: Being a God

Treantmonk's Guide to Wizard Spells: God's Tools - Part 1: Evocation

Treantmonk's Guide to Abjuration: God's Tools


Treantmonk's Guide to Wizard Spells: God's Tools - Part 4: Necromancy

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

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

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

CantripN's Guide to Transmutation Spells

Any changes in formatting were either due to necessity or error.
(If you suspect a format change was an error, please PM me so I may fix it.  Thanks.)


Treantmonklvl20: Wrote the wizard guide, and wrote most of the spell guides.

Tsuyoshikentsu:  Wrote the Divination spell guide.

CantripN:  Wrote the Transmutation spell guide.

malaspina:  Thanks go out to him for reformatting after the wotc boards change.

Thanks to all for your patience.

EDIT: The first font that I tried to use for the titles used to work here, but doesn't, so I found the font that Treantmonk used, and started using it.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:35:27 PM by Dan2 » Logged

Honorary Moderator
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Posts: 1024


« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2008, 10:47:55 PM »

Treantmonk's Guide to Wizards: Being a God

 Merriam-Webster: God: ...one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

Introduction: Yeah, before you tell me, I know, there are already Wizard threads out there for referencing. These are the primary 2 for the 3.5 rules:

Logicninja's guide to Wizards: Being Batman (By Logicninja)

If you didn't get it from the title - Logicninja's thread is the inspiration for this one. I agree with Logicninja on a lot of things and disagree on a lot of other things. The intention of this thread is for players to get different perspectives and opinions on the class from two different optimizers who play a lot of wizards. Wizards are great in that they give a lot of choice. My choices aren't always right for everyone - but they will likely be right for some.

I also really like Logicninja's style. I've emulated it to some degree here. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all.

The Wizard's Handbook (by Dictum Mortuum)

For those who don't know this - Dictum Mortuum is probably the busiest fellow on the OP boards. I've lost track of how many Handbooks he's maintaining (including the "Making Handbooks" handbook - no kidding). His handbooks present lots of options - and try to keep out personal opinion. Very useful for reference. However - Dictum Mortuum keeps it very broad and open - which is great - but different then you will get on this thread.

The Conjurer's Handbook by Echodork

This is a very specialized look at conjuration. Echodork said this - which has served as a starting point for defining roles in a party (I wanted to give credit):

Benign Transposition: Two willing subjects switch places. Like, the big, stupid Fighter and the handsome Conjurer who finds himself grappled. No somatic component. Unconscious creatures are always considered “willing targets,” even if they wouldn’t be willing if they knew what they were signing up for.
These are the CO boards - and the Wizard is generally accepted as one of the top 5 in power levels. I've read through both Logicninja's and Dictum Mortuum's threads (which offer different perspectives already) and think there's more perspective that can be given those looking for more options for the class. I wouldn't waste my time writing a long thread like this one if I didn't think I had something different to add to the conversation.

Options are good. That's the one (and only) point I'll make on this entire thread that I will claim is indisputable. The rest is all based on perspective and opinion and can all be questioned and debated. Feel free to disagree with me - you won't be alone. Long as you understand that you are wrong  Smile (just kidding). So without further ado - let’s get into it.

A little side note about style Be prepared for me presenting a black-and-white D&D world. These are opinions - and I'm presenting them strongly, intentionally. Really no point in presenting what is essentially an opinion paper and being wishy-washy.

What do you mean God?

We've all heard that the standard party in D&D revolves around 4 iconic roles. For those who have spent the last 25+ years of their life NOT playing D&D those roles are: Meleer, Healbot, Arcane caster and Skillmonkey. The rest of us knew that already.

In other words - if you go back to Basic D&D there were 4 human classes. Thief (now we call them rogues to be politically correct), Magic User (now we call them Wizards since it sounds less boring), Clerics and Fighters.

However, rules have changed and party roles have changed. A party with the 4 iconic roles should do just fine - but I would define the roles differently.

Out of combat you have 4 roles:

Social ("The Fop"): This guy thinks he's the leader. Whatever - he does the talking well everyone else lets him.

Sneak ("The Corpse"): This guy sneaks ahead to scout the enemy's lair and finds and disarms traps for the group. Why do I call him the "Corpse"? - reread what he does again.

Healbot ("The Gimp"): Anyone who spends his character's resources for healing is clearly the party Gimp. That said - you want a party gimp. Preferably - not you. (though it can be done with Arcane Disciple)

Utility Caster ("Everything Else"): The party transporter, the party Diviner. One way or another - this is the casters' role - in other words - this is you.

That's it - everyone else is just taking up space. You should have all those bases covered - but let’s face it - D&D is primarily about combat. No matter which of the above your character is good at, if he can't contribute in a fight - your character is a liability to your party.

In combat there are also 4 roles - these are the roles that get filled:

The Big Stupid Fighter: This role involves two things: Doing HP damage to BBEG, forcing BBEG to attack you with his viscous weaponry. The Big Stupid Fighter is not always a fighter (though stereotypically he is). He may be a Barbarian, a Summoned Critter, or a Druid. In order to qualify as a Big Stupid Fighter he should be any character that actively tries to be the target of enemy attacks. For those who wonder why I would label this character as "stupid" regardless of their INT score - reread the previous sentence.

The Glass Cannon: This role involves one thing: Doing HP damage to BBEG. The Glass Cannon is like the Big Stupid Fighter except he does not want to take damage. Usually this is not due to superior intelligence - but instead due to inferior HP or AC (or in most cases - both). The Glass Cannon is often a Rogue (Or Rouge for our 13 year old readers), a Gish, an Archer, or a Blaster (the inferior wizard).

God: When reality would entail the above two meeting a rather messy end - someone will need to make some adjustments to said reality in order for the above two to instead meet glorious victory. What other label could such a force be labelled as than "God"? Well - how about "Primary Caster" One label or another - this guy needs to make Reality his Witch (replace the "W" in your head.) in order to do his job effectively.

The Waste of Space: This is the character of the player who thought a Bard/Monk/Sorcerer multiclass was an excellent idea - or who thought healing was a good "combat" role. This character just doesn't fill any of the above roles well enough to be anything but a liability to the group. You probably have had one in your group. Heck, you probably have one in your current group. Don't sweat it - as long as it isn't you.

* Why isn't the Healer useful in combat? Good question. There are two ways you can live your "pretend" life - reactively or proactively. God will alter reality to prevent damage, a healer will try to do "damage control" (pun intended) after the damage has been taken. Simple truth: The mechanics of the game make preventing damage more efficient then healing damage after the fact. That's not to say a well placed "Heal" or even "CLW" never has use in combat - but if you're doing your job - it should never be required as a primary role.

How Wizard's fill the 8 roles:

As a wizard, you can technically fill any 4 of the non-combat roles, as well as any 4 of the combat roles. You just can't fill ALL those roles Despite what you may have read elsewhere - a wizard has limited memorizations and castings per day - no matter the size of his spell book.

In other words - it's not the SIZE of the spell book that counts - it's how you use it. Though let’s face facts - the SIZE is still pretty important...

The Fop: Charm person, Suggestion - you can fill this role if you are willing to waste...um, I mean "invest" the spells to do it. Personally - I would let anyone else willing to fill this role do so.

The Corpse: Invisibility, Summon Dead Celestial Monkey (SM I), Fly (move silently), Divination (for scouting) - yeah you can do this too - but honestly - this is a last resort - let anyone else fill this role first if it would involve any risk to your person. After all - look at the NAME! Also - if you find yourself spending a lot of spells to fill this role, and chose not to play a Beguiler - you may not be an idiot, but let’s face it - you aren't brilliant either.

The Healbot: The only way you can fill this role is with Arcane Disciple (healing). If you do get delegated this position - I can say with authority - "ASSUME THE POSITION". Save your crying for after the others are asleep. At least make sure the wands of CLW are bought with party funds or you can change "GIMP" to "CHUMP"

The Utility Caster: Occasionally the Cleric can fill this role - but usually it will be you. Conjuration, Divination and Transmutation spells will usually be the ones required. Your speciality will be "Party Taxi" - but all the other stuff gets filled in here too.

The Big Stupid Fighter:

You can never PERSONALLY be the Big Stupid Fighter - but you can summon one. If your party lacks the BSF and you want to know how to fill the niche with your Wizard - you should scroll down until you get to my sig and click on "Mastering the Malconvoker" and I will guide you through the build of this wizard.

The Glass Cannon:

The Gish build and the Blaster both fill this role in very different ways. Personally - I'm not big on playing Glass Cannons - and will let others explain how to make a most excellent GISH build. It's amazing how many people on these boards drool over Gishes. "Oh please - can I use godlike power to become one of the pathetic grunts who get all dirty and bloody and risk death every battle?" The popularity is puzzling to me. Yeah - Gishes make great Glass Cannons - but I just don't see the appeal in NOT being God...

The Waste of Space:

Yeah - it happens. Give your wizard too many roles and he will run out of spells and be a waste of space before you can say "I suck". Multiclass your wizard and expect to fill this role until you get a few levels of your "Hybrid" PrC. Or skip the Hybrid PrC altogether and just suck forever. As in the above illustration - Drow wizard's really rock - well, at least they suck them.


This is the role this thread is based upon. Three kinds of wizards alter reality so that the Glass Cannon and the Big Stupid Fighter think they are better than they are. Those three wizards are Battlefield Controllers, Buffers, and Debuffers. Your best bet is to do a bit of all of them - but you can make wizards exclusive to each role as well without sucking.

Three Ways to Play God:

Battlefield Control:

In order to be an effective battlefield controller - you should consider your primary goal to line up your enemies flanked by your Glass Cannon and Big Stupid Fighter one at a time and backwards, all while standing on their heads. This will make the BSF and the GC win the combat with little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they" won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals have their victory.


In order to be an effective Debuffer - you should consider your primary goal to have your BBEG standing in front of your GC and BSF dazed, stunned, nauseated, STR = 1, Dex = 1, Level = 1, and Blind for good measure. This will make the BSF and the GC win the combat with little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they" won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals have their victory.

(Note to readers: Debuffing can more literally be termed as reducing attributes or levels of opponents - I extend the term to be anything that impairs or damages the abilities of the enemy - which is why I include things like "blinding" to be a debuff)


In order to be effective at buffing - you turn your Big Stupid Fighter into a Colossal, Stupid Fighter on crack, and your Glass Cannon into an Adamantium Chain Gun. This will make the BSF and the GC win the combat with little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they" won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals have their victory.

Which is better? It depends. They all rock - but Debuffing tends to be better against a single BBEG, while Battlefield Control tends to work better against multiple foes with my experience. Buffing is more of a tertiary role for GOD.

Which should you concentrate on? Depends on your stats - which is what we'll get into next.

What STATS does GOD have anyways?

Unfortunately - no matter how close to God you become - your DM is closer. The point-buy, Random Roll and Elite Array are the most common methods of attribute determination:

Any way you slice it - here's the simple rules I follow when making my God. Highest stat goes to INT - no exception. My CON is always at least 14. Whatever else I can afford goes into DEX. This is before Racial modifiers.

Random Roll: Put your highest roll into INT. Dex and Con should have your second and third highest roll, and the other stats get the dump. If your 3rd highest stat is at least 14, put your second highest stat into DEX, otherwise, your second highest stat should go to CON.

Elite Array: This one sucks. Best you can do is put the 15 into INT, the 14 into CON and the 13 into DEX. Might as well put the 12 into CHA, the 10 into WIS and the 8 into STR. Stupid elite array...

Point Buy (15): Ouch - Put 8 points into INT (15), 6 points into CON (14), and one point into DEX (9) and dump the rest.

Point Buy (22): Put 16 points into INT (18), 6 points into CON (14) and you're done. This one fits wizard to a "T"

Point Buy (28): Put 16 points into INT (18), 6 points into Con (14), and 6 points into DEX (14).

Point Buy (32): Put 16 points into INT (18), 6 points into Con (14), and 10 points into DEX (16).

You will notice that DEX is the most fluid stat. This will determine how much your character will rely on Ranged Touch spells. If you end up dumping DEX you will want to avoid these spells (don't worry - there are lots of solid spells that don't require to hit rolls) - if you mananaged to maintain at least 14 points of DEX, they can be quite good and should find a spot on your spell memorization slots.

The "To Hit" rolls are common for Debuffing spells - so if your DEX sucks, you are more of a Battlefield Controller/Buffer - that's OK, these are still solid options. Directly Debuffing is nice for a power trip though.

Easy enough?

What Race is GOD?

Your Best Choices are:

Human: Not your best choice, but always a decent choice, and human is ALWAYS listed first. The human benefits from a bonus feat (which is huge) and bonus skill points. There are no attribute or size modifiers - which makes the Human work best with low point buys (15 or 22) or Random Rolls that force you to dump DEX. The Human will work on other ways to maximize defence than AC and work on other ways to play GOD than "to hit" roll spells.

Strongheart Halfling: Gets the Bonus Feat (Still huge), a stat penalty to a dump stat, a bonus to DEX, and small size (which is good for both "TO Hit" and AC). This is pretty much just superior to a Human - but you will feel a little cheesy taking this race. If you are going the “Metamagic powered debuffing Ray spell” route – this is the race for you.

Whisper Gnome: Gets 2 stat penalties to two dump stats, gets 2 stat bonuses to two good stats. Gets Small Size (for To Hit and AC), 30 foot movement, and some other goodies too. You will feel a lot cheesy taking this race - but it is undoubtedly the best race for builds that concentrate on DEX. Also excellent for Ray casters.

Elf (Grey, Fire, and Sun - the INT elves): They all get +2 to INT without level adjustments, but they all get minuses to CON which is bad. You also give up the bonus feat - and are working with Medium size. The +2 INT is the best Stat increase you can get - but there are some heavy drawbacks to consider. This Race is for the builds that will be using Targeted spells that provide saving throws.

Halflings, Gnomes and Dwarves: These all get stat bonuses to a good stat, and stat minuses to a dump stat - but they also all have 20' movement without providing as many advantages as the above races. These aren't terrible choices - but they aren't your best choice either.

Other Races: Keep in mind that anything with an INT penalty or a Level Adjustment is bad (especially the latter). Nothing is as good as the Races above, but if you avoid INT penalties and Level Adjustments you can still be half decent.

What Alternate Class Features would GOD take?

Domain Wizard (UA Variant): If your DM is stupid enough to allow this - always take it. The best is either the Conjuration or Transmutation domains (big surprise) that contain almost without exception solid spells. Domain wizard basically will give you the benefit of specialization (1 extra casting per level of spell) without the drawback (no lost schools), oh yeah - you also cast your Domain spells at +1 level and you get to add them to your spell book for free. You are not limited in the number of times you can memorize your domain spells. So basically it is in every way superior to a generalist, and in most ways superior to a specialist. Your DM won't allow this unless he's a moron. If you don't take it when it's allowed - then you're the moron.

Specialist: Get one extra casting per level of spell and give up one or two schools that are full of lousy spells you didn't want to memorize anyways. This is an easy choice. Specialize in Conjuration or Transmutation to be the most effective GOD.

Focused Specialist: I like this option - you get to play GOD for longer than other wizards - and playing GOD is what it is all about. It does however further limit your range (so you can't fill as many of the non-combat roles - yawn.) Find a school to which you want to memorize lots of spells. I'll make it easy - they rhyme with Ronjuration or Ransmutation. When you are focusing your memorizations - you will want to think about this when picking feats - which I will touch on later.

Here's my thread on Focused Specialists and why I like them so much.

Immediate Magic: Mostly, they suck. However, familiars can also be a mixed blessing. Here's how GOD chooses. If GOD is a Conjurer - he takes this (Conjuration Immediate Magic is great - like conjuration wasn't good enough already). If GOD is a Transmuter - he skips this.

UA Variants:
Fighter Feats: To me, giving up Scribe Scroll for Improved Initiative is a good deal.
Conjurer variants: Enhanced Summoning is Scribe Scroll for Augment Summoning. For a conjurer - who will do at least a little summoning - this is a good choice. Rapid Summoning - this would be good except you already took Abrupt Jaunt. Rapid Summoning is more for the dedicated summoner anyways - that's not you.
Transmuter variants: Spell Versatility - this is good - especially for focused specialists. Transmutable Memory - This is phenomenal cosmic power right here. However, the price is very high. Consider carefully.

Spontaneous Divination: I always want to take this - but there's always something else I want to do with my level 5 bonus feat - and by level 10 I'm PrC'ing. It looks darned good though.

Granted Domain Power: This is one of those things I often end up doing with my level 5 feat. Why settle for a bonus feat when you can do so many other things. Some domains grant class skills (which can be good for PrC requirements), some domains grant bonuses to certain spells or spell types (Inquisition, Evil, Good etc), and hey - some grant bonus feats - but not restricted to just metamagic.

Other Stuff: Nothing else grabs me as overly important for GOD.

GOD created stinky FEAT:
 ("Stop Treantmonk!!! - our ribs are breaking from the laughter")

Your Options:

Flaws: If your DM allows you to take a flaw, take one. If he allows you to take 5, take 5. These are always worth it – and naive DM’s still think they are “well-balanced”.

The Metamagic focused Route: Take Arcane Thesis on at least one spell you plan to cast a lot and take a bunch of metamagic feats to apply to it. (For example - Arcane Thesis (Enervation), Split Ray, Twin Spell, Empower Spell, Maximize spell pretty much effectively debuffs anything). This route is practically made for Incantatrix's and Ultimate Magi. Does pigeonhole you a lot though - and is feat intensive.

The School focused Route: I like this option better, and therefore it is the option you should take. Take feats that apply to your specialized school, and maybe one or two metamagic feats to go with Metamagic School Focus. This option works especially well with Focused Specialists.

The "I want my familiar to be GOD too" route: It's amazing how many feats you can take that make your familiar better. Take them all and your familiar will be better than you. The question is whether it's because your familiar is so great, or because you aren't. Dictum Mortuum loves familiars - check out his Familiar Handbook thread for more information (no kidding - I told you he has a handbook for everything)

The "I think Metamagic is better than it actually is" Route:
This is an all too common route where the character ends up with a ton of metamagic it can't afford to apply to its spells. Mostly this is just a waste of a ton of feats. The thing to realize is that although Metamagic can be good - it also adds levels to your spell - and even mid level wizards will be casting primarily low level spells. Metamagic is good if you have a trick to make it cheaper - otherwise it's strictly an "OK" option.

The "I wish I could be a lower level than the rest of the party" route: This is also an all too common route based on craft skills. Hint: crafting charged items (Wands, Staves, Scrolls and Potions) is the best way to lose XP without a lasting benefit.

Here's my suggestions for the Routes I would actually consider taking:

The Metamagic Focused Route: (Or - the slightly inferior but not terrible route)

Arcane Thesis: The basis for this strategy. Apply it to spells that benefit greatly from metamagic and that you plan to cast ALOT. Ray spells are a good choice. If going this route - you should take this multiple times - on different level spells. You probably can't afford to take it more than 2-3 times though - or you won't have enough feats left for the metamagic.

Split Ray: Basically a twin spell for half the cost but applicable only to Rays. Rays tend to be the best Debuff spells - so this is a good way to go.

Empower Spell: Proven over and over to be a mechanically better choice than Maximize most of the time. +2 levels for +50% to random results.

Maximize Spell: Although considered inferior to Empower - when you're piling on the metamagic - it is a good secondary choice after empower.

Twin Spell: When all the above are added to a Ray, and then you twin - well - that's a lot of Debuff.

Heighten Spell: An unfortunate necessity since Globes of Invulnerability can be of great distress for this build

The School Focused Route: (Or - I don't just want to be GOD - I want to be an AWSOME GOD route)

The Focused Specialist Conjurer:

Cloudy Conjuration: The first feat you should take. With the "Adjacent to caster" option you can place it between you and your enemy for full concealment until your next turn. It can also be used as minor battlefield control, and a small debuff. Is activated for free every time you cast a conjuration spell (even a cantrip)

Spell Focus/Greater Spell Focus: Lots of Conjuration spells do not offer saves, but many of the best spells of the school do. +2 DC is nothing to sneeze at - it makes a tangible difference to the chance of the enemy to succeed on that saving throw. The cost of 2 feats for that +2 may be high though. +1 with Spell Focus is almost a no-brainer though. It will help you qualify for Archmage, Master Specialist as well.

Sculpt Spell: Turn your 10' square Grease spell into 4 10' squares, or a 20' spread - or a 40' Cone - for +1 level metamagic.

Metamagic School Focus: Use Sculpt Spell for free on 3 spells per day. Grease, Cloud of Bewilderment, and any of the Fog spells are good choices.

Acidic Splatter: Not a bad choice for a conjurer since they have so many acid spells. Not hugely effective - but something to use when you run out of spells. Of more use at low levels - consider retraining later on.

Summon Elemental: Not a bad utility feat. This thing is way to wimpy to be of significant use to you in combat - but can be used to spring traps, do some minor scouting (like find out what's on the other side of the wall), set fire to things if you are a pyromaniac, put out fires if someone else is a pyromaniac. Not a bad feat selection at all.

Improved Initiative: Lay down your Battlefield Control before the enemy goes, prevent being flat-footed when the enemy goes. This is just a good option - no matter what the naysayers say.

The Focused Specialist Transmuter:

Spell Focus/Greater Spell Focus: Good for the same reasons it's good for Conjurer's. Maybe even more so.

Toughening Transmutation: This is very good at low levels - at higher levels you need another form of DR to "stack" this with. Preferably a X/- DR. Otherwise the x/magic will render it pretty useless.

Extend Spell: Lots of transmutation spells have long durations, and it's especially sweet to make long lasting spells last especially long with this Metamagic Feat. Note that Extend Spell makes the Rope Trick - trick useful a great deal earlier.

Metamagic School Focus: Pick three transmutation spells on your list and extend them for free. How about 3 hr/level spells? (Rope Trick, Greater Magic Weapon and Overland Flight come to mind immediately)

Improved Initiative: Good for the same reason it's good for the Conjurer. Maybe slightly less so.

Ability Enhancer: This is from Dragon magazine - so basically is added as a footnote - but adds +2 to any ability enhancements offered by Transmutation spells. Um - how about Animalistic Power?

Other Feats that GOD will enjoy:

Minor Shapeshift: Basically you add your HD in temporary HP every round as a swift action. Later on you will be using Swift Actions for other things quite often - but this is still pretty sweet. You can choose some other options - but nothing as good as the HP.

Alacritous Cogitation: Basically spontaneous casting on one spell slot. When you consider the spells that you can potentially have in your spell book - this puts Sorcerer spontaneous casting to shame. I never have room for this feat - but someday...

Arcane Disciple: Add some non-wizard spells to your list. This isn't quite as good as it sounds since the spells are cast off of Wisdom. However - by adding the spells to your list, you also allow yourself the ability to use spell trigger items for that spell - even if your Wisdom sucks.

Knowledge Devotion: This isn't quite as good for Wizards as it is for Archivists - but the + to hit is good for Ray spells, the + to damage... - well, the + to hit is decent anyways.

Insightful Reflexes: If you ended up Dumping Dex - then your Ref Save is worse than bad. Ref is also the save most useful for avoiding HP damage (and you are squishy). This will help quite a bit in that regard.

Spell Penetration/Greater Spell Penetration: Lots of creatures have SR - and as you go up in levels - they become the norm. You just can't have enough Assay Spell Resistance spells for all of them. Spell Penetration is pretty much a must. GSP is a nice to have.

Craft Contingency Spell: No pesky “one at a time” limitation contingency. Contingency is one of those spells you feel a little bad about losing along with evocation. Just take this feat instead. Use it with 1st level spells (Hello Benign Transposition) for cheap contingencies.

There are lots of other good feats out there - but you MUST be out of choices by now anyways.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 10:50:35 AM by Dan2 » Logged

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Posts: 1024


« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2008, 10:48:14 PM »

Spells and GOD - phenomenal cosmic power:

Save Or Die - Not as good as you've been told:

Yes, Save or Die is powerful - however, it is overrated. This is why:

Lots of enemies: You take down one and do little else to help your Big Stupid Fighter and Glass Cannon. You spent a high level spell doing so. Congratulations - you've been demoted from God to Glass Cannon. Ouch!

One Big Enemy: You either do nothing or everything. The Big Stupid Fighter and Glass Cannon are either in lots of trouble or are feeling useless. This is like the chess player who is addicted to using his queen - ends up losing it, and then sucks for the rest of the game. Use your lesser pieces (That's the big stupid fighter and the glass cannon - your peons) to your advantage - let them do the dirty work - your job is to make it easy for them, not to take their place. Try to take their place your spells will run out fast.

By Yourself: Now in this rare circumstance - save or dies are actually quite good. However - avoid this situation like the plague. If there is no Big Stupid Fighter, then YOU are the Big Stupid Fighter, except you aren't Big, and you're not a fighter (but you are stupid if you had any chance to avoid this ugly situation).

Treantmonk's Guide to Conjuration Spellls: God's Tools

CantripN's guide to Transmuation spells

Tsuyoshi's Guide to Divination: God's Eyes

Treantmonk's Guide to Abjuration: God's Tools

Treantmonk's Guide to Evocation: God's Tools

Treantmonk's Guide to Necromancy: God's Tools

Treantmonk's Guide to Enchantment: God's Tools

Treantmonk's Guide to Illusion: God's Tools

« Last Edit: May 26, 2008, 11:09:38 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2008, 10:48:29 PM »

Prestige Classes for GOD - when just being GOD isn't good enough:

* Decent Choice
** Good Choice
*** Great Choice

DMG PrC’s:

Archmage ***: This is a great choice for a specialist or focused specialist since you already have Spell Focus (or should) for your chosen school. It will take you a whole one level of Master Specialist (see Complete Mage PrC’s) to get the Skill Focus (Spellcraft), so you only need Spell Focus in one more school to qualify.
Archmage is not a PrC you need to take all 5 levels of – but it certainly is a decent choice for 5 levels. Here’s a breakdown of the High Arcana abilities:
Arcane Fire: Skip this garbage. Yuck.
Arcane Reach: This is normally +2 level metamagic. Take it once – twice probably isn’t worth it.
Mastery of Counterspelling: I hate counterspelling – have them counterspell you.
Mastery of Elements: Unlike Energy Substitution metamagic – you can switch energy to sonic. Very few creatures are immune to sonic. This actually makes Acid Fog a decent spell. This is a good choice – but not a must have.
Mastery of Shaping: Must have. If you go Archmage and don’t take this – I will be very disappointed in you. This will have the appropriate holes/hallways in your solid fog spells – which makes me in love with this ability.
Spell Power: Adds CL to your spells. This is decent (also helps with Spell Penetration) – but not necessarily huge.
Spell Like Ability: A good choice for 9th level spells that you cast often. That’s it.

Basically – for 5 levels of Archmage I would suggest (in this order) Mastery of Shaping, Arcane Reach, Mastery of Elements, Spell Like Ability (shapechange or time stop), Spell Power

Also – use “specialist” slots to power the high arcane – never give up generalist slots.

Loremaster *: You need one useless feat for entrance and can get as much as 5 secrets in 10 levels - one of which replaces said useless feat. The other secrets are OK but not great.

Complete Arcane:

Fatespinner **: Levels 1-4 are great and easy to qualify for. Level 5 isn’t worth it. The abilities are all limited in use – but still, you are basically “The Fortune’s Friend” without the lost caster levels.

Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil *: Yes – I acknowledge the abilities of this PrC are impressive, however, it is a pain to qualify for (SF and GSF abjuration??? WTF?) It also requires extensive level investment to pay off. It is a good choice – but it already gets too much love on these boards and there are lots of other great options for GOD.

Mage of the Arcane Order ***: Tired of being told that Focused Specialists lack spell versatility? Very well, take 7 levels of this and sacrifice “specialist” slots for casting spellpool spells. Problem solved. I’m in love with this PrC due to spellpool being so incredibly versatile and wonderful. One crappy feat required for entrance.

Wayfairer guide *: For a conjurer this is a very easy one level dip for some moderate teleportation bonuses with no drawback.

Complete Divine:

Sacred Exorcist *: Level one gives Turn Undead (yeah – you can’t use DMM, but there are a million divine feats out there that are now of use to you. (Divine Vigor, Glorious weapons). The second level gives detect evil at will if that is of interest to you.

Complete Mage:

Master Specialist **: Specialists should qualify automatically by level 4. However – waiting until level 6 to enter is wise (to take advantage of Granted Domain power or other 5th level granted alternate class features for wizard). You can use this PrC to get Greater Spell Focus as a bonus feat at level 3. The Skill Focus (Spellcraft) will help you qualify for Archmage. This PrC is a great 3 level dip – or in the case of Conjurers – decent for 10 levels (the 10th level ability is really good for Conjurers – if you can wait out all 10 levels).

Ultimate Magus *: This one is for the Metamagic Focused Route only – and even then consider the loss of caster levels. However – it is certainly worth consideration if you are going that route. If you do decide to go Ultimate Magus – use Beguiler as your other class. The skills rock, it gets as many castings as a sorcerer, and it uses INT as its primary stat. Don’t worry if you aren’t a fan of the spell list – the majority of your spell slots will go to power metamagic anyways.

Complete Scoundrel:

Malconvoker: (Sad can't rate this) Well – I love this PrC, but it’s not for GOD, it’s for Wizards who want to create Big Stupid Fighters. Deserved special mention anyways. The level 5 power is basically free twin on summon monster spells.

Complete Champion:

Paragnostic Apostle **: Easy, easy qualifier. Nepence once said to me that the first time he saw this PrC he vowed “To come back and check it every time I make a caster to see what it could add.” (I’m paraphrasing from memory). Nepence is a smart guy. This is an easy dip – go for one level or all 5 – either way it’s good. Knowledge is power abilities to consider:
Accurate Retort: +1 to hit with Ray Spells against creatures with NA. So basically +1 to hit. Not bad.
Backhanded Attack: OK – but very specific in use. If you love orb spells – this is worth considering
Call of Worlds: Decent for summoners – for you – not so much.
Discern Weakness: Take only in campaigns where you fight a lot of one type of creature
Divine Understanding: Skip me.
Energy Supremacy: Yawn. Might be OK for blasters – but not GOD.
Manifest Ethos: Great for blasters – for GOD, well, not terrible anyways.
Mind over body: Yawn
Mind over Matter: Take this. Greater Mage armor now gives the protection of full plate. (Preplan for the skill requirement – Knowledge (architecture) is not normally taken)
Mortal Coil: Yawn
Noble Presence: Yawn
Penetrating Insight: +1 spell penetration that stacks with spell penetration. Good choice.
See through the veil: Yuck
Spatial Awareness: Decent choice

If you go all 5 levels – I would suggest (in order): Mind over matter, Penetrating Insight, Spatial awareness, Manifest Ethos, Accurate Retort.

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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2008, 10:48:41 PM »

Building GOD:

The Focused Specialist Conjurer Battlefield Controller: - The Versatility specialist

This build is a Focused Specialist that will have lost little versatility over a generalist while gaining all those extra spell memorizations:

Stats: See my 22 point build suggestions. Increase INT for levels 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20.

Race: Strongheart Halfling (cheesy - but not as cheesy as a whisper gnome)

Alternate Class abilities: Level 1 (Fighter feats, Immediate magic). Level 5 (Domain granted power - Magic Domain - now you can use spell trigger items from any school)

1: Conjurer (1)(Cloudy Conjuraton, Improved Initiative, Cooperative Spell)
2: Conjurer (2)
3: Conjurer (3)(Sculpt Spell)
4: Conjurer (4)
5: Conjurer (5)
6: Mage of the Arcane Order (1)(Metamagic School: Conjuration)
7: Mage of the Arcane Order (2)(Extend Spell)
8: Mage of the Arcane Order (3)
9: Mage of the Arcane Order (4)(Spell Focus: Conjuration)
10: Mage of the Arcane Order (5)
11: Mage of the Arcane Order (6)
12: Mage of the Arcane Order (7)(Augment Summoning)
13: Master Specialist (1) (Skill Focus: Spellcraft)
14: Master Specialist (2)
15: Master Specialist (3) (Rapid Spell, Spell focus - transmutation)
16: Archmage (1) Mastery of Shaping
17: Archmage (2) Spell Like Ability: Timestop
18: Archmage (3) Arcane Reach (Spell Penetration)
19: Archmage (4) Mastery of Elements
20: Archmage (5) Spell Power

What this build has going for it:

It's save DC's for Conjuration spells will be very high. It will have lots of castings per day - and can switch out conjuration spells for spellpool spells from non-conjuration schools.

It can also use spell trigger items from any school of magic due to the "Magic Domain" granted power.

The Focused Specialist Transmuter Buffer/Debuffer: - The DC specialist

This build focuses less on maintaining versatility and jumps right into a Buffing/Debuffing specialty. This build is made so DC's will be high - but has lots of Buffing spells to fall back on when the opponent has ridiculous saves or SR. In most combats he should start with a buff (maybe a haste) and then start debuffing come round 2.

Alternate class abilities: Focused Specialist (Transmuter), Fighter feats, Domain Granted Ability (level 5)

Race: Grey Elf

Stats (32 point buy): Int 20 (16 points), Con 12 (6 points), Dex 16 (6 points), Cha 12 (4 points)

1: Transmuter 1(Spell Focus: Transmuation, Improved Initiative)
2: Transmuter 2
3: Transmuter 3 (Spell Penetration)
4: Transmuter 4
5: Trasmuter 5 (Family Domain)
6: Master Specialist 1 (Toughening Transmutation, Skill focus: Spellcraft)
7: Master Specialist 2
8: Fatespinner 1
9: Fatespinner 2 (Minor Shapeshift)
10: Fatespinner 3
11: Fatespinner 4
12: Sacred Exorcist 1 (Divine Ward – Glorious Weapons)
13: Master Specialist 4 (Greater Spell Focus: Transmutation)
14: Paragnostic Apostle 1
15: Paragnostic Apostle 2 (Spell Focus: Conjuration)
16: Archmage 1
17: Archmage 2
18: Archmage 3 (Greater Spell Penetration)
19: Archmage 4
20: Archmage 5

This God uses Slow and Call of Stone as high DC debuffs while using Haste or Mass Snake's swiftness to basically give their own party 10:1 attack ratio (or therabouts - maybe not quite that much )

Advantage of this build: This build will rely more on buffing than the previous Conjuration build. As such the Divine Ward feat will be of exceptional advantage – allowing allies to be targeted with touch spells at range. Later on – Archmage will allow basically the same thing – at which point you will want to retrain your Divine Ward feat for Glorious Weapons (basically mass align weapon).

The domain granted power will give a nice party-buff of +4 Dodge to AC to all allies around you as a free-action 1/day. This keeps the BSF's where they should be - around you as a shield.

The slightly higher CHA is to optimize the eventual Turning ability granted through Sacred Exorcist so it is usable more times/day.

Enemies will have a difficult time with the Tranmuter’s debuffs when the saving throw is altered through Fatespinner (and even worse when they make their save and the Transmuter forces a reroll). The increased initial INT score through the racial choice will also make DC's higher.

This character will focus on Haste or Snake’s Swiftness along with Polymorph for Buffing – the 3 free extends can be used for Greater Magic Weapons, Rope Trick (at low levels), or Overland Flights.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 10:52:53 AM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2008, 10:48:55 PM »

Magic Items:


Here's the straight goods on wands - generally - they aren't great. You are stuck with a lousy caster level, they're charged, and if you want a decent level spell they are hideously expensive.

The requirements of a good wand are as follows: Level 1 spell, Level 1 caster level, Spell gives no saving throw, doesn't grant Spell Resistance, and the spell is useful enough to use often despite the requirements. Then you are talking about a wand that is cheap (750 gp) and good. For those who like math - that's 25gp per charge.

Pretty restricted stuff - but not impossible - here's some examples of wands that are actually a good deal. You might want these as a wand instead of having them in your spellbook.

Benign Transposition: No save 1st level spell that you will have use for on multiple occassions. The wand restricts your range somewhat - but is well worth 750 gp.

Protection from X: An excellent wand - keep it for when you travel the Abyss or somewhere else where outsiders will have dominate person as a SLA at will.

Silent Image: Useful utility wand. I use mine if I run out of Wall of Stone spells. It does grant a save - the idea is to use it when the opponent is not likely to try to save.

Enlarge Person: A buff spell that should last through the combat.

True Strike: Grant yourself a +20 to hit next attack. Can be useful at low-mid levels for Ray spells you don't want to miss.

True Casting (CM): Grant yourself a +10 on your next spell penetration roll. It's a standard action - but a half-decent substitute for Assay Spell Resistance.

Get the idea?

(Note: There are a million-and-one ways to optimize wand use and to waste charges on Wands at a truly astonishing rate. The Rod of Many Wands, Metamagic Wand Grips, Dual Wand Caster are a few things that come to mind. If you really like charged items - and love depleting charged items as fast as possible - you are reading the wrong thread. In fact, Dictum Mortuum has a handbook for wand users that will give you all the methods to spend your money faster than you could ever hope to recover it - no kidding!)


I hate scrolls - they are a one-shot item which (with my miserly ways) means I'll be too cheap to ever use any I have. They just sit there - declining in value to me as I level - makes me boil to think about it.

Also - a scroll for a spell you might cast only once in a blue moon is also often worth the dough.

Here's some examples of spells that make good scrolls:

Corpse Candle: You won't use it often - but sometimes you will really need it

Ethereal Jaunt: Again - a once in awhile useful spell

Get the idea?


Staves are very powerful - they are also ridiculously expensive and charged. The more spells your staff has - the worse the deal is (since extra spells add to the value of a staff but not to the charges). Generally - I don't recommend staves unless it is a spell you cast very inconsistantly (you might cast it 4 times one day - 0 the next. The kind of spell you either need or is useless). In that case - have the staff specially made - with just that spell on it. Never get a staff with less than a 4th level spell (5th is better) - or you are paying for caster levels that you didn't need.

It's pretty restrictive - but here's a staff I would consider at high level:

Teleport: Spell I use often - but not everday. I always hate the slot this takes up on the memorization list - because when I need it - I NEED IT, but somedays I'll need it more than once, others I won't need it at all.


Repeat after me: "Potions suck"


Tend to be horribly overpriced. The ring of sustenance does not do what you may have heard. For a ring to be worth it - it either needs to be a minor effect (so not super-expensive) or a stupendous one.

Rings to consider:

Feather Fall: I like to use Phantom Steed as a long-duration super-fast fly spell at mid-high levels (Mid because you can get your CL boosted with other means than just levels). If you do this - this ring is a good investment - trust me.

Invisibility: Super expensive - but worth it once you can afford it.

Ring of Enduring Arcana: Not too expensive (6,000) and your spells are 20% harder to dispel.

Spellguard Rings: Tend to be of more use in groups where there are is one primary Big Stupid Fighter. In that case - very worthwhile. Cloudkill away!!!

Miscellaneous Items:

I love items that I can use over and over (I'm sure you've figured that out.) Here's some gems to consider:

(Note: I don't have MiC and I'm not getting it now with 4.0 just around the corner. Use these examples of a guide for how to pick the right magic item for your wizard when you look through the MiC)

Pearls of Power: These are EXPENSIVE - hey wait - 1st level pearls of power are cheap! Worthy to pick up a few 1st level pearls so you can keep casting and casting and casting.

Headband of Intellect: Get this ASAP - then upgrade it whenever you can afford to do so. It will grant you some extra spell castings and raise your DC on spells. (Later on - the Tome of Clear thought as well naturally)

Amulet of Health: Less important than the INT bonus - but being a little tougher doesn't hurt.

Cloak of Resistance: Good for any character - you too. +1 is cheap.

Heward's Handy Haversack: Also a must for any character - especially one with a variety of wands, scrolls and wands!

Heward's Fortifying bedroll: Super cheap - super good.

Armor and Shields:

It's expensive, but you can get armor and shield (bucklers) that have 0% arcane spell failure. You can then enhance them to give yourself a great AC. Personally - I tend to concentrate on the defensive spells - but Dictum Mortuum analyzes this option in his wizard's thread (see my link at the beginning of post)


I love Rods as a way to get metamagic without wasting all my feats. I especially love the lesser varieties as I am cheap (as if you couldn't tell). Preplan though, when you pick a metamagic rod make sure you've already answered this question: "Which spell will I use this rod on?"

Extend, Lesser: Great for your all-day buffs (Mage armor, Greater Mage Armor, Create Magic Tattoo), Great for all-day utility (Rope Trick). One is great - two might even be worthwhile.

Enlarge, Lesser: Cheap way for double range. Definitely not worth taking the feat - but as a Rod - this could definitely be worth it based on circumstance. Keep it in your Haversack for Move Action readiness.

Silent, Lesser: Save for a rainy day (by rainy day I mean for when you have silence cast on you or you need to be vewy-vewy qwiet)

Quicken, Lesser: Painfully expensive but extremely powerful. You've spent all this investment on getting lots of spell memorizations - now find ways to burn them all off as fast as you can! This is not a rod to rush into - but pick it up at high levels instead.

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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008, 10:49:10 PM »

Filling your memorization slots:

Despite what you may have read elsewhere - wizards do not have every spell they need whenever they need it. The goal of building your Wizard with Focused Specialist and Maxing out Int is to have as many as possible.

The next trick is to have the right spells in your slots. You can keep open slots which you can fill later in the day if you want - that comes down to personal play style. I tend to fill all my slots right away so they can be cast on a moments notice.

I'll give some examples of memorizations for a the Versitile Caster/Focused Specialist conjurer example above. I'll use a few different levels (5th, 10th, 15th) to give perspective.

5th level: Slots: 0: 6, 1: 7, 2: 5, 3: 4

0: Caltropsx3, Detect Magic, Light, Mage Hand
1: Mage Armor, Wall of Smoke, Grease x2, Expeditious Retreat (swift), Targeting Ray, Silent Image
2: Web, Glitterdust, Cloud of Bewilderment, Rope Trick, Invisibility
3: Stinking Cloud, Glitterdust (Sculpt spell meta), Bands of Steel, Haste

Recommended Magic Items: Rod of Extend (lesser), Wand of Benign Transposition, Cloak of Resistance (+1), Headband of Intellect (Totals 8750gp) (The Rod is probably your first priority here - the Cloak of Resistance is the most expendable)

Recommended Strategy: You aren't high enough level to just blow all your spells yet. Start each battle with one of your 3rd level memorizations and then assess your situation. If it should be easy going from here on, then cast down some caltrops and make use of your cloudy conjuration feat for minor battlefield control. If things are tough - go into 2nd and 1st level spells in following rounds. Keep at least 1 Glitterdust or Cloud of Bewilderment in reserve in case there are more combats than you expected.

10th Level: Memorizations: 0: 6, 1: 8, 2: 8, 3: 7, 4: 6, 5: 5

0: As level 5 example
1: Mage Armor, Wall of Smoke, Grease, Expeditious Retreat (swift), Targeting Ray, Silent Image, Blockade x2
2: Web, Glitterdust x2, Cloud of Bewilderment (sculpt metamagic for free), Rope Trick, Invisibility, Create Magic Tattoo, Fog Cloud
3: Bands of Steel, Haste x2, Corpse Candle, Stinking Cloud, Dimension step, Mage Armor (greater)
4: Dimension Door, Solid Fog, Bloodstar, Wall of Sand, Assay Spell Resistance, Celerity
5: Teleport, Cloudkill, Wall of Stone (Sculpt metamagic for free), Overland Flight (extend for free), Wall of Good

Recommended magic items: Rod of extend (lesser), Headband of Intellect (+4), Pearls of power - level 1 (x 5), Rod of silent spell (lesser), Heward's handy haversack, Heward's fortifying bedroll, Amulet of health (+2), Cloak of Resistance (+2), Wand of True Casting (Total gp value: 39,750 - leaves some extra room for incedentals)

Recommended strategy: You now have a lot more spells. Use your rod of extend on your greater mage armor and your Create Magic Tattoo at the beginning of the day.

Cast blockades or swift expeditious whenever they're helpful and recover them with pearls of power. Start battles with a 4th or 5th level spell. Follow it up with 1st or 2nd level spells in following rounds. Use cloudy conjuration for defense (place in front of you). You stillcan't just waste spells or you will still run out - but you can nova at need without completely draining yourself.

You also have spellpool to swap out spells as required. Use it.

15th Level: Memorizations: 0: 6, 1: 8, 2: 8, 3: 8, 4: 8, 5: 8, 6: 6, 7: 5, 8: 4

0: As level 5 example
1: Wall of Smoke, Grease, Expeditious Retreat (swift)x2, Targeting Ray, Silent Image, Blockade x2
2: Web, Glitterdust x2, Cloud of Bewilderment (sculpt metamagic for free), Rope Trick, Invisibility, Create Magic Tattoo, Fog Cloud
3: Haste x2, Corpse Candle, Stinking Cloud, Dimension step, Mage Armor (greater), Phantom Steed x2
4: Dimension Door, Solid Fog, Bloodstar, Wall of Sand, Assay Spell Resistance x2, Celerity x2
5: Teleport, Cloudkill, Wall of Stone, Wall of Good, Friend to Foe, Evacuation Rune, Shadow Evocation, Transmute Rock to Mud
6: Freezing Fog x2 (One enhanced with sculpt spell), Tunnel Swallow, True Seeing, Antimagic Field, Dispel Magic (Greater)
7: Stun Ray (Extend for free), Choking Cobwebs (CS) (Sculpt Spell for free), Summon Monster VII, Brilliant Aura, Reverse Gravity
8: Maze, Plane Shift (Greater), Deadly Lahar (CS - huge cone slow effect), Chain Dispel

Recommended magic items: Ring of Feather Fall, Ring of Enduring Arcana, Headband of Intellect (+6), Amulet of health (+4), Metamagic Rod of Quicken (lesser), Metamagic Rod of Extend (lesser), Metamagic rod of Silent Spell (lesser), Heward's handy haversack, Heward's fortifying bedroll, and treat yourself to a nice metamagic rod as well. Should have lots left over for whatever else you like.

Recommended strategy: You are now flying at 240' on your phantom steed all day. The second is in case the first goes down. There are more spells on the list that simply enhance other spells (Celerity, Assay spell resistance) - since you can now afford more castings of these type of spells. There are lots of Battlefield controls, Buffs and Debuffs on the list. Use mid level spells for most battles - plus you can afford a high level spell for every battle with some left for reserve.

Freezing Fog + Sculpt spell just makes me smile.

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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2008, 10:49:23 PM »

Treantmonk's Guide to Wizard Spells: God's Tools - Part 1: Evocation

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

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)

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 1: Evocation

In two separate threads I’ve clearly made the case that Evocation should be the first school you should drop when you specialize. I stand by that from an optimizers viewpoint.

The reason for that is because Evocation is known for Blasting – and I think blasting should be secondary with arcane casters (especially wizards) since there is so much more effective stuff they can do (Buff, Debuff, Battlefield control). Not that a wizard should completely disregard all blast spells – only that they probably shouldn’t be the #1 purpose of your wizard.

The “non-blast” spells of Evocation can by-and-large be duplicated or at least reasonably substituted with a variety of spells from the conjuration and illusion schools. However – just because they can be substituted does not necessarily make them bad.

Recent focus on the Warmage (and the level of its “suckage”) also makes me consider Evocation as well. Eclectic learning is considered “THE” choice for warmages – but what could you do with advanced learning if you kept it in its original form? Surely there are some decent Evocation spells of the appropriate levels to keep the ability worthwhile as written.

However, more specifically – recently I’ve given thought to “What if I decided to specialize in Evocation”. As a believer in Practical Optimization – it is worthy of a look. One thing I hate is accepting the Status Quo without question. When it appears that I’ve contributed to that status quo – it is doubly worth a double –check

So with no further ado – these are:
Evocation Spells that warrant closer inspection:

Level 1:

Dawnburst (CM)(Warmage suggested!): (Double Threat Debuff + Blast Thumb) It does a bit of damage to undead and light sensitive creatures (not too bad for a 1st level spell – 1d6 + 1/level), and provides torchlight – but the real selling feature of this spell is it reveals invisible creatures for the duration (1 round/level). Glitterdust is a way better spell – but this gives you a no-save reveal invisible spell that will only fill a 1st level slot which makes it viable at higher levels.

Persistant Blade (SC): (Double threat: Blast + BC Thumb) the damage isn’t impressive – but this spell can be used to flank an opponent. Kind of similar to a summon spell since it can be used to flank – except that the blade cannot be damaged (which has the positive that it won’t be destroyed but the negative that it doesn’t provoke attacks from the enemy). Seems like it could be a really nice BC to pair with a party rogue.

Bloodwind (SpC): (Buff Thumb) Turn an ally's natural attacks into ranged weapons as a swift action - this is a 1 round buff - however - this could still be a decent spell to cast at high levels (and through a rod of lesser extend). Swift action buffs are useful. At low levels - I can't see it being worth a cast though.

Magic Missile (PHB): (Blast  ) Simple spell - we all know it well (“I cast magic missile at the darkness”). It’s not overly impressive for damage – but it always hits, ignores incorporeal, does not provide energy resistance, and scales up to caster level 9 making it a decent spell for a blast spell.

Tenser’s Floating Disk (PHB): (Utility  ) A rare Evocation utility spell. Overall it’s not too impressive, but if you are creative it can have its uses. I remember a wizard who had a fly spell used Tenser’s to piggy back the party archer over water on a “ship at sea” adventure. Otherwise – it is a long duration “packhorse” spell.

Kelgore’s Fire Bolt (PHB II): (Blast  ) 1d6 per level damage is pretty good for a first level spell. The “partial damage through SR” feature is pretty lame.

Bigby’s Tripping Hand (PHB II): (BC  Sad ) Creates a chance to trip one opponent if they fail their Reflex Save. Grease trumps this spell in every way except for range.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:34:14 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2008, 10:49:34 PM »

Level 2:

Seeking Ray (PHB II): (Double Threat: Blast + Buff Evil Laugh) OK – let me get this straight. A 3rd level caster casts seeking ray and: 1) He ignores firing into melee penalties 2) He ignores Concealment and cover (except total) 3) he does 4d6 electricity damage 5) He gets +4 to hit with all Rays for 1 round/CL. Opponent gets no save. Wow. Up to 6th level this spell completely trumps scorching ray – it doesn’t scale with level as well however.

Bigby’s Warding Hand (PHB II): (BC Plotting) Slow an opponent to ½ movement for 1 round/level. This spell has a few really nice features: 1) No save – instead they they do a str check difficulty 12+your key ability modifier. 2) You can change targets during the spell with a move action.

Frost Breath (SpC): (Double Threat: Blast + Debuff Plotting) Opponents caught in the 30 foot cone that take damage and fail their Ref save are Dazed for a round (Daze is one of the good ones). The damage is lousy (1d4 for every 2 caster levels) - but it just needs to be enough to do 1 hp of damage for the daze effect. Remember you have to get close to work cones - but this spell would work well with Sculpt spell.

Gust of Wind (PHB): (BC Plotting) This spell doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. It is situational – but against small (and tiny) opponents it rocks. Against medium opponents it’s pretty decent as well (especially flying ones). Opponents who can’t move forward are basically out of the action while they watch helplessly as their allies are slaughtered. This spell begs for Extend Spell.

Ray of Ice (SC): (Triple threat: Blast+BC+Debuff Plotting) A triple threat spell that targets Ref. If the save is made you do the humble damage – nothing great, but if they fail you immobolize them and give a -2 attack penalty. The opponent is stuck until they free themselves by damaging the ice or making a DC 18 Str check. Nice triple threat here.

Slapping Hand (SC): (Buff Plotting) Basically, unless the target makes a DC 20 concentration check, it provokes an immediate attack of opportunity from those who threaten it. It’s like a poor-man’s mass snake’s swiftness. It’s better in the fact that it does stack with Haste, it is worse in the fact it uses an attack of opportunity from your allies and does not provoke ranged attacks, and can be negated with the concentration check. This spell is made for those encounters where your party is surrounding the opponent who is a non-caster. DC 20 concentration is hard to make untrained even with a good Con score.

Scorching Ray (PHB): (Blast Thumb) People LOVE this spell – so much that I’ve seen people suggest that Evocation should not be banned because of this spell. If you love Scorching Ray, I suggest you take a look at Seeking Ray – it’s just better up to level 6. However – at level 11 this spell is doing 12d6 damage with no save. However – it’s not quite as good as it sounds – since Energy Resistance will apply 3 times to that (Hey – don’t worry – who has energy resistance to Fire anyways?) My overall impression is that this spell is good – but overrated.

Shatter (PHB): (Debuff or utility Thumb) Blow up your opponents weapon – or their armor, or their spell component pouch, or their Divine Focus. A very useful spell despite the humbling fact that Warlocks can get it with infinite use at level 1.

Battering Ram (SC): (Double Threat: Blast + BC Thumb) the damage blows, but the Bull’s Rush effect is pretty decent since it gives you a +10 check off the bat (which is pretty good at low levels). This spell doesn’t scale – so in the long run you are better off with Bigby’s Striking Fist, but at low levels – except for range, this spell is just better. I’m not a huge fan of bull rush – but combined with a wall of fire for example – it has its uses. Against Medium or smaller creatures – a gust of wind spell is likely better.

Force Ladder (SC): (Utility Thumb) This is a rare evocation utility spell. You create a ladder of force that lasts 1 min/level and can be up to 60 feet long. Follows the same line of utility as levitate or spiderclimb except it is less versatile but can be used by multiple party members. Overall – circumstantially good.

Bigby’s Striking Fist (PHB II): (Double Threat: Blast + BC Thumb) Battering Ram and this spell are very similar (Light damage + Bull rush attempt) – this spell has better range (medium) and scales with level. That said – before 10th level Battering Ram is probably your better choice. Afterwards this spell is.

Electric Loop (SC): (Double threat: Blast + Debuff  ) The damage is less than impressive, but all creatures hit must make a Ref save for half, those that fail make a will save or be stunned for 1 round. Unfortunately, the secondary ability targets a stronger save.

Luminous Swarm (CM): (Double Threat: Blast + Debuff  ) This spell obscures an enemies vision giving a 20% miss chance for the duration - and some damage that is poor enough it is barely worth mentioning. I can't help but think that there are spells that blind at this level - but the 20% miss chance does not provide a saving throw - so the spell gets a "not bad" rating.

Fireburst (SpC): (Blast  Sad ) Does 1d8 damage (max 5d8) in a burst centered on you. I tend not to be big on spells that eminate from you (you should avoid being surrounded by enemies - and should you find yourself in that position - your energies should be at getting out of that position - not blasting unless you believe you can take down all those creatures around you.)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:36:00 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2008, 10:49:47 PM »

Level 3:

Great Thunderclap (SpC): (Double threat BC + Debuff Evil Laugh) This is the kind of spell that made blast spells less than impressive. Make a Will, Fort and Ref save - the Fort isn't such a big deal (deaf for a minute), but both the will (Stun for a round), and the Ref (Fall prone) have a nice effect. Again - a prime candidate for sculpting.

Manyjaws (SpC): (Blast Plotting) A pretty cool blast spell. 1d6 damage per/level of force damage (ref save for half) basically split however you want between your enemies and repeating for 3 rounds (concentration). This spell begs for extending, and also begs for sonorous hum. This spell is just better than Fireball if you don't have a large quantity of foes huddled close together.

Blacklight (SC): (BC Plotting) The Evoker’s answer to Fog spells. Blacklight is actually better than Fog Cloud since your opponents can’t even see 5’ through it – but you can. You can also have it move with you (or cast it on a crossbow bolt and fire it for stupendous range). Casting it on the enemy is another option that I find less fantastic due to the Saving throw and the SR applied. You want to play God? This spell does the job perfectly.

Ray of the Python (PHB II): (Debuff Plotting) An evokers Slow. In most ways it’s not as good (Requires a to hit roll, opponent can move + attack), in other ways it’s actually better (No save on the first round, targets Reflex). Overall – I like it quite a bit.

Flashburst (SpC): (Debuff Thumb) Blinds creatures in the effect for 2d8 rounds (which is not as good as Glitterdust - a 2nd level spell) but Flasburst has a larger area, effects those not within the effect, has long range, and can dazzle those who make their save. I would think this might be dangerous for your allies since it will be pretty impossible to have them not require the save as well which is a serious drawback. Basically a spell to cast in a pre-prepared tactical environment.

Wind Wall (PHB): (Buff Thumb) Complete arrow immunity for 1 round/level. Unfortunately your own archers are similarly screwed. It is situational – but in the right situation – indispensible.

Ghost Lantern (CM)(Warmage suggested): (Buff Thumb) Creates a light spell that only you and your allies can see. Basically it’s Mass Darkvision except level 3. Unfortunately – the duration is significantly worse (10 min/level) so not ideal for long dungeon crawls like the aforementioned.

Capricious Zephyr (SC): (BC Thumb) Certainly puts the boots to Battering Ram of the previous level. This spell gets a bull rush every round for 1 round/level (here’s the gravy) knocks the opponent prone if they fail a Ref save. This spell has an Achilles heel though. The Bull rush is a less than impressive +6 that does not scale with level.

Prismatic Mist (PHB II): (Random – either Debuff or crappy blast Thumb) The area of this spell is impressive (30’ radius) – and if you tend to roll high on d8’s can be effective. Basically 1’s, 2’s and 3’s are pretty much useless (nearly insignificant damage) – but 4’s and above are all good varied effects. This really is only good if cast on a group of creatures – thus messing up formation and tactics of the enemy.

Glowing Orb (SC):
(Utility Thumb) Yet another light spell – except this one is permanent. The Glowing Orb can also shed light up to 60 feet maximum. As a sorcerer or warmage you should never take this spell – but as a page in the spellbook – not a bad choice for a wizard. Definitely superior to the everburning torch.

Sonorous Hum (SC): (Self Buff Thumb) Maintains concentration on a spell for you – even allows you to cast other spells. It’s almost like the Spirit Shaman’s spirit guide in a spell. The drawback is the short duration (1 min/level) and it’s a standard action to cast, which means this spell is good – but not quite as good as some might have you believe.

Sound Lance (SpC): (Blast  ) Does sonic damage to a single target. Fort save for half. Manyjaws is a far more versitile blast (and has duration) as a 3rd level spell IMO - so I would recommend memorizing that instead if you want a blast spell memorized. This was advertised to me as "The evoker's counterspell" - but I don't really see why it is any better than any other sonic or force blast in this function.

Fireball (PHB): (Blast  ) Oh how fireball has fallen from the mighty heights of 1E and 2E. However – it is not as Sucktastic as some would have you believe. 1d6/level is OK damage – but the key here is the 20’ radius spread which means you can do 1d6/level damage to a large number of foes. Unfortunately they save for half, and it does fire damage which is a common resistance. It’s not terrible – but not great either.

Shatterfloor (SC): (Double Threat: Blast + BC  ) 1d4/level sonic damage in a 15’ radius spread and makes the floor difficult terrain. It’s situational – but occasionally useful – and the damage is OK for a double threat spell (and sonic which is a bonus).

Bigby’s Disrupting Hand (PHB II): (Debuff  Bang Head ) This spell is problematic. The big problem is that the target is effectively getting a saving throw using their Concentration skill modifier – which is likely going to beat the heck out of any and all saving throw modifiers they have. The math just doesn’t work out for this one.

Level 4:

Ice Storm (PHB): (Double threat: Blast + BC Plotting) Most double threat spells are poor in one area or the other – this one is pretty good for both. The damage is 5d6 with no save (but applied as split Bludgeoning/Cold which means you could have the damage sucked up with DR/Resistances), and it ½’s movement, and remains for a round that discourages movement into the area. Yet another evocation spell that would do will with an extend effect.

Crushing grip (PHB II): (Double Threat Debuff + BC Plotting) : This spell is pretty cool. It is basically a standard action spell and a full round casting spell in one. Slow your opponents move and give it -2 to basically everything with NO SAVE immediately – then have a chance to Paralyze at the beginning of your next turn. With a 3 round duration – this spell seems hungry for extend spell metamagic.

Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere (PHB):
(BC Plotting) An excellent all round spell. Two main uses of this spell are: 1) Save or lose against opponent – removing him from the action while you slaughter his pals. 2) Protect from death – cast around yourself or an ally who is near death for protection. Very handy spell to have in reserve.

Defenestrating Sphere (SC): (Double threat: Blast + BC Plotting) The Bigger,meaner brother of Capricious Zephyr – following the various list of evocation spells that knock enemies around and prone. Fort is not the best save for this spell to target – and it offers 2 saves against the total effect – however, the total effect is pretty impressive (thrown 1d6x10 feet and knocked prone + take 3d6 damage). As a single effect – it is not up to snuff for a 4th level spell – but as a 1 round/level effect – this is a combat-long spell effect making it an excellent spell.

Floating Disk, Greater (SC): (Utility/Buff Thumb) The Evoker’s answer to Overland Flight. Floating Disk lasts 1 hr/level and can be used for 20’ (perfect) flight. Unlike Overland you can pass it between characters as needed (though it must stay within 15’ of the caster) – but offers a slower speed. Overall, I would suggest Overland Flight is probably the better spell (and given a high enough caster level – Phantom steed trumps them both) – but this spell does have some versatility advantages – and remains a decent alternative for an evocation specialist.

Wall of Ice (PHB): (BC Thumb) A lesser wall of stone. Wall of Ice is one of the first solid barriers you can put up to separate foes, block escapes, or encase yourself for protection (not as good as Otiluke’s for that – but works in a pinch). Avoid placing one adjacent to enemies – if you can’t avoid this – the spell is probably not worth casting.

Sword of deception (SpC): (Double threat: Blast + Debuff  ) When I read these spells I try to convert the mechanics in my head to how it would work in gameplay. Currently I'm playing a 9th level wizard in one of my campaigns, and an 11th in another. In neither case can I think of a combat where this sword would hit even reasonably often since it uses your CL as it's BAB with no bonuses (You can get some CL bonuses - but nothing that is going to come near a decent stat bonus). Most spells like this either give a stock Str bonus or let you use your casting stat as a bonus. Otherwise, this spell would've been pretty good.

Wall of Fire (PHB): (Blast  ) I just can't get too excited by this spell. It does pretty lousy damage to things near it (fire damage), and slightly less lousy damage to things that pass through it. If Undead pass through it the damage is all the way up to average. The "no-save" portion of the spell is attractive, as is the fact that it will stay in place for Concentration +1 round/level - but in the end the damage just isn't all that great - and fire damage is the worst (most common resistance in the game) Clever uses might have merit (use a Capricious Zephyr to bull rush opponents back and forth through the wall maybe).

Shout (PHB): (Blast  ) Crappy damage blast spell (though sonic damage is a plus). Basically it is an inferior spell except for the one bonus – no somantic component. This means you can cast it if you are held or grappled etc. Frankly – in those cases you are probably better to have a dimension door at the ready IMO though.

Forcewave (SC): (BC  ) Yet another “knock opponents back” spell. This one is special in that it is a swift action. It is similar to battering ram but effects all within 10’ of you. Extremely situational (and a situation you should avoid) – but the swift action casting is a real selling feature.

Wingbind (SC): (Debuff  ) This is basically a save or lose for fliers that targets Ref. Naturally – I can’t help but think of dragons who like to fly overhead and blast you with breath weapons at high speed. However – as a 4th level spell – this isn’t cheap – and remains very situational.

Channelled Pyroburst (PHB II): (Blast  ) Although I’m not a big blast fan, I do like the versatility of the “Channelled” spells. Can be cast as a swift, standard, full round, or 2 round spell – doing varying degrees of damage and area depending on time devoted. Overall, I like Orb spells better though.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:36:29 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2008, 10:50:00 PM »

Level 5:

Wall of Force (PHB): (BC Evil Laugh) Limited duration impervious wall. Personally – I prefer a wall of stone – but unlike the wall of stone – the wall of force can’t be busted through (and allows vision through). If you can find a spell that grants a gaze attack (I thought of eyebite – but it doesn’t officially seem to be gaze) this spell could be the *** .

Channelled Sonic Blast (CM): (Blast Plotting) This one is quite a bit better than Pyroburst (level 4). Firstly, it does Sonic damage, secondly – the AoE are a bit better, and finally, this spell really pays you off if you go the distance (2 rounds of casting) as the area becomes a 60’ radius burst (HUGE) and possibly deafens those within. Finally, this spell targets Fort – and lets face it, Mettle is rarer than evasion.

Bigby’s Interposing Hand (PHB):
(BC Thumb) Give yourself a nice cover bonus vs one opponent as well as slow their movement towards you no saving throw. I love how much detail this spell gives regarding destroying the hand. If you can get your opponent to waste his attacks on your spell effect – then it’s done its job. Frankly – I think Solid Fog is probably more effective overall.

Sending (PHB): (Utility Thumb) Send a 25 word message basically anywhere and get an equivalent response. Sounds more like a divination than an evocation to me – but here it is. For a FS this spell will definitely be a versatility tool.

Fire Shield, Mass (SC)(Warmage suggestion): (Buff Thumb) Mass resistance to Cold or Fire as well as the other rebuking effects of Fire Shield. Although I’m not a huge fan of fire shield – the ability to Mass it (to ALL allies in close range) as a 5th level spell seems like a bargain to me.

Sonic Shield (PHB II): (Triple threat: Buff + BC + Blast  ) Ooohhh- triple threat – but not as good as it sounds. It is a self buff for +4 deflection that lasts only 1 round/level. Creatures that hit you with a melee strike take a minimal amount of sonic damage and make a Fort save or are knocked back 5 feet. The knocking back 5 feet could actually be fairly useful to maintain mobility and casting without provoking attacks of opportunity – but shame on you for getting in that position. Moreso it’s the duration that irks me most. Basically, unless you get to prepare for a combat, this spell would steal your first casting which is a heavy price.

Cone of Cold (PHB): (Blast  ) Untastic and nonpressive – the Cone of Cold does the standard 1d6 damage/level. Cold damage is a common resistance by this level as well. However – look at a 60’ cone in the back of your DMG – that’s a lot of squares. Not a great spell – but for LOTS of lesser foes it could be very handy.

Cyclonic Blast (SC): (BC  Sad ) Yet another “knock the opponent back” evocation spell. (Wow –there are alot of these!) This one has a +12 on the check (does not scale) – and treats flying creatures as one size class smaller. Overall, this one seems less impressive for its level to me. By the time I can cast this – I will be almost as well off with a mere Bigby’s striking fist.

Greater Fireburst (SpC): (Blast :  Sad ): Has the drawbacks of the lower level Fireburst (2nd level) - it's a blast centered on you (not good), does fire damage (we are getting to levels in which fire damage becomes bad), and does damage but doesn't get you out of the situation of being surrounded by enemies and not allies. The damage is pretty good - but straight damage as a single instantaneous effect doesn't impress.

Level 6:

Howling Chain (SC): (Triple Threat: Blast + BC + Debuff Evil Laugh - TREANTMONK'S FAVORITE EVOCATION SPELL ) 15’ reach chain that will last through the battle – tripping opponents on every round (+15 on the opposed Str check!) then hitting them and leaving them shaken – plus it can make attacks of opportunity. Cast it 15’ in front of you for a defensive/offensive chain of awesome. Pay the 500 gp for the Arcane Focus and put this in your spellbook right now. Seriously - this is my favorite evocation spell - period.

Contingency (PHB): (Utility Evil Laugh) One of the best emergency spells in the game. However – the Craft Contingency feat duplicates it pretty well. Nevertheless – this one is XP free. I like having an Otiluke’s resilient sphere appearing around me if my HP fall below a certain threshold. However – the uses of this spell are only limited by your imagination.

Bigby’s Forceful Hand (PHB): (BC Thumb) Yet another “Bull Rush the opponent away from you spell”. The shining spots here are: 1) It lasts 1 round/level, 2) When not bull-rushing – it’s a Bigby’s interposing hand – which isn’t bad in itself.

Thunder Field (PHB II): (Double threat: BC + Blast Thumb) The Blast portion is pretty small (1d8) but may screw casters because the damage is taken on their turn. Ref save or fall prone every round for the duration of the spell. Basically – your opponents will need to save on round 1 or crawl out. That’s pretty good battlefield control. I think Freezing Fog is a little better since it has similar effects plus a Solid Fog effect, but Thunder Field is doing sonic damage on the opponents turn, and has a fall prone effect every round which freezing fog doesn’t so there are some advantages to this spell. Overall – pretty good (though slightly humbling that Bard’s get this spell as a 4th level spell).

Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere (PHB): (Double Threat: Blast + BC  ) Extremely situational – but if you have it when you are fighting on water – this can be a great spell. This spell has the ability to be held for up to 1 round/level and can be discharged during that time as a standard action. That sounds like something that could be optimized – but I can’t really think how. (Other than holding one as a battle begins in case you get silenced/grappled etc.)

Storm of fire and ice (CM): (Double threat: Blast + BC  Sad ) Other than a potential (and I do mean potential – It could quite easily do less damage) increase in damage – this spell is the same as the 5th level Ice Storm – and therefore – you would be better memorizing that one than this one. The extra level is definitely not paying off here.

Ray of Light (SC): (Debuff  Bang Head ) Ray spell that blinds the enemy for 1d4 rounds as a level 6 spell. The bonus here is the lack of a save – the downside is that blinding spells are available by level 2 (glitterdust) that can affect multiple foes with no to hit roll, for a longer duration. No save is good – but this spell should have been 4th level max.

Lingering flames (CM): (Blast  Bang Head ) This spell lost me at "This spell functions like fireball except the area remains filled with fire for the duration of the spell". Yawn. This is a level 6 spell - and we end up with a circular wall of fire with lousy duration. A combination with Solid Fog was mentioned - but the Solid Fog (which is an awsome spell of mere 4th level) is doing the real work of that combination.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:37:01 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 10:50:13 PM »

Level 7:

Bigby’s Grasping Hand (PHB): (BC Evil Laugh) Like the forceful hand except this one grapples. Also – the grapple modifier is high enough to grapple all but the Biggest, Baddest opponents (Its grapple check is your CL + your primary casting stat modifier, + 14). The way the spell is written it doesn’t look like it can pin – but this still is pretty useful – and strays from the normal “bull rush opponent” use of evocation BC spells. I should point out that this is the “best” Bigby’s hand spell IMO, and unfortunately the last good one.

Submerge Ship (SC): (Utility Thumb) The price tag of this spell is 2,500 gp – but I would suggest this should be a party-wide investment – and this is exactly the kind of thing that I envision a wizard accomplishing. Turn your ship into a magical submarine – classic.

Delayed Blast Fireball (PHB): (Blast  ) Not an impressive spell mechanically – but the roleplaying implications are fun. The Iconic scene in action movies where the hero walks away as the planned explosion carries out behind him can be recreated with this spell – to great personal satisfaction. The downside is when whatever got exploded behind you calls out “Is that all you got?” afterwards...

Forcecage (PHB): (BC  ) Near ultimate BC – this spell gets named again and again every time I dis evocation as a redeemer of the school. The spell offers no saving throw and basically offers a “get out of combat free” card against any creature that fits in the windowless cell – or a “Prepare for arrow death” against anything that can be held in the barred cage (preferably without firing anything back). Every time this gets mentioned I look up the spell and am sold until I see a 1500 gp price tag on every casting of this spell. 1500! I didn’t accidentally add a zero or anything! This falls into the eternal optimization trap that so many spells fall into (Like Maze) – it’s awesome in theory – but that price tag DOES add up in actual game play – and any spell with costs that involve 4 digits is simply not practical long term.

Prismatic Eye (SC): (Blast or Debuff  Sad ) So – for a level 7 spell you can cast a prismatic spray and affect your enemy with one random prismatic color – or summon a prismatic eye that will hit them with all 7 (eventually). There is no AoE – but this is still pretty solid. I like spells that keep pestering the enemy long after you cast them – and this is such a spell. The +6 to hit isn’t very good – but with touch attacks – it is probably enough for most enemies. Whoops - a set DC of 19 is horrible. At this level (we assume you are at level 13) nobody is failing a 19 saving throw. Now the "4" result will still cause 1d6 Con damage even on a successful save - but overall - expect this spell to do little else.

Level 8:

Otiluke’s Telekinetic Sphere (PHB): (Utility or BC  ) This spell looks so cool on paper but is very circumstantial. If you need transport through a hostile environment – this spell can do that for you. Encasing your opponent in this spell just doesn’t have all that much going for it that Otiliuke’s resilient sphere doesn’t – and is a much higher level. I can see circumstances where I would love this spell – but they are not circumstances that are likely to come up in the average gaming session.

Bigby’s Clenched Fist (PHB): (Triple Threat: BC + Blast + Debuff  Sad ) This variation on Bigby’s Interposing hand instead strikes the foe for moderate damage every round. The foe then saves vs stun or is stunned for 1 round. This ability is not even as good as Bigby’s Grasping Hand yet puzzlingly is a higher level spell.

Greater Shout (PHB): (Double Threat: Blast + Debuff  Bang Head ) Take the one advantage of shout (verbal as the only component) and remove it and you have greater shout. Wow – what are those “S”, and “F” doing in the components line? OK – this spell is absolutely crap-tivating me. Add the “Save or be stunned one round” just doesn’t impress much with 8 level spells. Heck – power word: Stun is an 8th level spell – provides no saving throw, has a multiple round duration, and is only a verbal component.

Level 9:

Instant Refuge (SC): (Utility Thumb) First off – getting access to teleportation through evocation is good in its own right. Second off – this spell is permanent. Third off – it can stack with contingency. Fourth off – it is more flexible in conditions than contingency. Downsides – first off – this is a 9th level spell that teleports you (and not your allies) – second off – there is an xp and gp cost to do it. Overall a good spell to have casted on yourself.

Detonate (PHB II): This double threat spell (Save or die, Blast Thumb) isn’t actually mechanically impressive for a 9th level spell – but the visual is cool enough that I could imagine giving one memorization slot to it. I mean - you make the subject explode!

Bigby’s Crushing Hand (PHB): (Double threat: Blast + BC  Sad ) A very slightly improved version of Bigby’s Grasping Hand. Certainly not worth 2 extra levels. Level 9 spells are supposed to be more impressive than this.

Reality Maelstrom (SpC): (BC  Sad ) Those in the primary area save or get sent to another plane. Since by this level greater planeshift is not going to be uncommon - I would call that a little short of save or die. Those in the secondary area get 2 saves to avoid the effect. Has an impressive visual (the picture in SpC is cool) - but the mechanics shouldn't be providing the save in the primary area. This is a 9th level spell afterall. My standards are high at this point - as these spells are in the same category as Shapechange, Timestop, Wish and Gate.

Final conclusions
Praise for evocation: Evocation contains several strong spells in the BC field as well as some nice Multiple Threat spells. The image as a “Blasting spells only” school is clearly a myth. Although there isn’t a lot of utility within the school – a few spells stand out as winners in the utility field (Force Ladder, Greater floating disk, Contingency, Sending).

Weaknesses of the school: I found very few spells of levels 8 or 9 I thought were worth the level, I also found a lot of redundancy (how many “push the opponent away” spells does a mage need at the ready?).

Evocation Specialists: Should be very playable. I would focus on BC’s – you will be pushing your opponents all over while your Big Stupid Fighter and Glass Cannon finish them off. You will be able to substitute Evocation for Conjuration for many BC type spells – Blacklight instead of Fog for example. Overall – I think you get a few more options with Conjuration – but the evoker should still remain quite viable.

Focused Specialists: My test for whether a school should be considered for FS is this: Can you think of 3 memorizations that you would want in that school for every level of spell? My answer as far as Evocation goes – yes up to 7th level spells. Therefore – I would consider an Evocation FS for a campaign up to level 14 – beyond that – you might find the Evocation School overly restrictive.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:37:28 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2008, 10:50:26 PM »

Treantmonk's Guide to Abjuration: God's Tools

Treantmonk’s rant about defensive spells: After completing evaluation of spell after spell that is a defensive self buff with a standard action casting time and 1 round/level duration I feel I need to vent a bit - so here it is:

I’ve got nothing against a good defence – honestly. However – generally speaking – I think the first round of combat for a wizard should involve laying the smack down.

This should be done with a heavy summoning, battlefield control, or buff/debuff. In most party’s the wizard is at the back of the action – this is no mistake. You’ve got lousy HP and are squishy as hell.

Yes – you can get that AC and defensive walls up to incredible heights – but if you’re spending even the first two rounds on that – the rest of the party should kill you for taking a share of the treasure when you are a complete waste of skin. (The sad thing is, I don't believe I'm overstating here)

If the Big Stupid Fighter lets you down and you find yourself looking at the kneecaps of the BBEG – then of course defensive action should be taken – otherwise – I’ve got a real problem with casting spells on yourself at the beginning of combat “Just in case”. This will be reflected in some of my evaluations.

That said, defensive spells that effect the whole party at the beginning of combat (like a mass energy resistance: Acid when you see the black dragon) are a Buff – which is just good tactics.

Basics of Abjuration: Abjuration is a very specialized school. For God, you are mostly looking at Buff/Debuff though there is a bit of Battlefield Control in there as well.

The point of looking at each school individually is to find some gems in each school. Overall - I ended up a little dissapointed with Abjuration, which, although is not completely absent of rocking spells, is definitely light on them.

Completing the Evocation Guide turned into a pleasant surprise as I found spell after spell that were excellent - and that ended up being a strong motivator to complete the guide.

This time I found abjuration ended up pretty much where I expected. A few spells you don't want to be without - and a lot of repetition. This is part of the reason it took so long to complete this guide. It ended up more of a chore and less of a pleasure.

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 Lose/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!!!!!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:38:01 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2008, 10:50:37 PM »

1st level spells

Protection From X (PHB): (Buff):Evil Laugh +2 deflection AC (this is the good one – adds to touch AC), and +2 resistance bonus on saves against spells/attacks of creatures of creatures of the alignment specified by the spell. At low levels this is quite good – mid to high levels – these bonuses are already provided through Rings of Protection and Cloak of Resistance. However – this spell also prevents contact by summoned creatures (only creatures of one alignment are immune to the effect) and totally gimps any enchantment by enemies irregardless of alignment. This makes this an excellent buff at any level (and a killer wand).

Karmic Aura (CM): (Debuff):Plotting Swift action spell that makes opponents that attack you make a will save or be fatigued for 3 rounds. It only lasts 1 round/level. One selling feature is it affects creatures to attack you with ranged attacks or spells as well. At higher levels this becomes a strong use of a swift action.

Shield (PHB): (Self Buff):Thumb Grants you a +4 shield bonus to AC. Mage armor is better in most respects except that this spell is far more stackable with other AC granting effects. (And of course Mage Armor and this spell stack with each other)

Alarm (PHB): (Utility):  Alerts you of any unauthorized creatures entering a given space. The alarm can be either silent or audible (generally audible is so your companions can also be alerted). The duration is good – but this spell is generally inferior for campsite protection then a Rope Trick. However – there are other utility uses for this spell.

Hold Portal (PHB): (Utility):  Hold a door shut for 1 min/level. This spell is far from infallible – but has moderate use defensively or to cover retreat.

Nightshield (SpC): (Self Buff): Sad  Minor resistance bonus to saves and immunity to magic missile for short duration. Overall this is worse than Protection from X by quite a bit.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:38:27 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 10:50:48 PM »

2nd level spells

Arcane Turmoil (CM): (Debuff): Evil Laugh  Works as a targeted dispel magic and it also removes a prepared spell from the target. This spell is second level – making it superior to using an actual targeted dispel under most circumstances.

Resist Energy (PHB): (Buff): Thumb  Various energy protections are a dime a dozen, but this one is very low level and provides 10 resistance vs a particular energy. This resistance increases with CL (up to 30 and 11th level). Overall – one of the better energy protection spells.

Protection From Arrows (PHB): (Buff):  Grants damage reduction 10/magic vs arrows until it has prevented 10xCL of damage. The “magic” designation is very limiting – though at low levels it can be very good in certain situations.

Earth Lock (SpC): (BC):  Constricts a small section of natural tunnel preventing enemies from passing through it. The duration is permanent which is nice, but the effect is so-so. If you lack other battlefield controls though – this one is situationally useful.

Arcane Lock (PHB): (Utility):  Locks any door or latch. It also makes the latch harder to break (+10 to DC to do so) however, dispel magic or knock also opens the door. Purely utility.

Obscure Object (PHB): (Utility):  Protects an object from being discovered through divination effects. This spell has an 8 hour duration which limits its very situational effect.

Dissonant Chant (SpC): (Debuff): Sad  Causes creatures in the effect radius to have difficulty on concentration rolls and require concentration rolls to cast spells. The problem is that the difficulty of the concentration check should be relatively easy for most spellcasters. Possibly worthwhile if you can target multiple casters in the effect.

Scintillating Scales (SpC): (Buff): Sad  Turn your natural armor bonus into a deflection armor bonus. This would seem most useful if you have natural armor bonuses through multiple sources – making them stackable. Very situational (Deflection bonuses are not that rare) – the duration isn’t all that impressive either.

Distracting Ray (SpC): (Debuff): Bang Head Basically a really crappy counterspell. The spell requires the caster being targeted to make a single really easy concentration check to cast the spell. Furthermore – this spell requires being used as a counterspell (ready your action – hope the enemy makes a casting action). It’s like Dissonant chant except it restricts your actions, only works on one target (once) and requires a to hit roll. It also requires you to surrender your pride and self respect.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:38:52 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2008, 10:50:59 PM »

3rd level spells

Dispel Magic (PHB): (Debuff): Evil Laugh  To those regular to CO, this is obviously THE staple of abjuration. Uses include debuffing the DMM Cleric, or casting it over an area to remove a hoard of summoned creatures or remove buffs from multiple opponents. You can also use Dispel Magic to counterspell – of course – you should never counterspell – so that’s kind of useless (If you must counterspell – ready a good hard blast spell instead). There are many ways to improve your dispel roll – so this can become quite the focus for your character – don’t forget that this spell is reactive though. (Being proactive tends to be better in most situations)

Anticipate Teleportation (SpC): (Battlefield Control): Evil Laugh  OK, this is just a very nice spell. Enemy teleporters basically are screwed – extra bonus if the enemy attempts teleportation-style battlefield controls (Like benign transposition). The 500gp focus is well worth the cost. With a 24 hour duration – I would be casting this consistently by 10th level.

Magic Circle against X (PHB): (Buff or debuff): Plotting My favourite use of this spell is using it as a prop for my Planar Binding spells (excuse me while I wipe drool from the corner of my mouth). In combination with Planar Binding and with spellcraft “Fortification” is the only use of “focusing inwards” I can really imagine. Otherwise, this is a nice buff spell. It grants the bonuses of Protection from X with a radius spread. Note that the deflection bonus will not stack with rings of protection, so don’t count on the AC bonus being a big advantage.

Karmic Backlash (CM): (Debuff): Plotting As Karmic Aura except now you are exhausting the attacker. Again - it is the swift action casting time that makes this spell attractive.

Disobedience (CS): (Buff): Plotting For 1 hr/level the subject is immune to mental control including charm/compulsion effects. The real candy here IMO is that the caster attempting the mind control has to make a will save or believe their mind control attempt was successful, and the subject of the spell is aware of any commands given. With a little bluff, this could really mess up the enemy.

Tenacious Dispelling (CM): (Debuff):  Very similar to dispel magic, but the first time you cast it must be targeted. The second time you cast (if before the end of your next turn) it can be targeted or area, with a +2 on the check. There are other ways to get dispel bonuses, and the loss of versatility here (as well as pigeonholing future actions) makes this spell lesser to dispel magic.

Explosive Runes (PHB): (Blast): Sad  6d6 blast damage, possible Ref save for half. I’ve seen time and time again the reference to the strategy of casting this spell many times and then triggering it next to an enemy by casting a dispel magic and intentionally failing the roll. Personally, I don’t know of any rules allowing you to purposely botch a dispel magic roll (and normally dispel on your own spells always succeeds without a roll) – so if there is a rule that allows this – let me know – either way, I would expect DM’s will not allow this strategy due to the stink of it (and shame on you to those players that try it). Otherwise, as for the intended use of the spell – it probably won’t come up when you need to injure your enemies – so I’m not so big on it.

Earthen Grace (SpC): (Buff): Sad  Make damage from earth or stone nonlethal. Note that after the creature takes it’s HP in nonlethal damage the spell ends (and further damage is lethal) so this spell will NOT allow you to fall ridiculous heights and survive. In actuality, this spell is highly situational (and 1 min/level duration means you need to cast reactively) – probably a better scroll than something to actually have in your spell selection.

Repelling Shield (CM): (Double threat: Buff+BC): Bang Head Once again, a spell that is only good if you are attacked (melee attack by adjacent foe no less). In which case, there is a moderately decent BC of moving your opponent if they fail a Ref save. Lets be clear here – avoid all situations where you could be in melee like the plague. Spells like this should not give you false confidence. Leave being a Big Stupid Fighter to those who are Big, Stupid and Fighters.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:39:15 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2008, 10:51:09 PM »

4th level spells

Dimensional Anchor (PHB): (Debuff): Plotting A ranged touch attack that makes teleportation and etherealness, either by spell or spell-like ability, not work. SR works, but otherwise there is no saving throw. It is situational, but against an opponent you know is capable of such actions (like a demon or devil for example), this can be an excellent debuff.

Wall of X (SpC): (Battlefield Control): Plotting A pretty good battlefield control. It prohibits summoned creature of described alignment (note that this restriction is more specific than protection spells) and requires will saves of any creature of the prescribed alignment to pass through. The size is good as is the duration. One nice feature above other battlefield controls is that your party members should be unaffected (or they have some explaining to do!). There is a 25gp material component – which is pretty cheap, but I’m always loathe to pay.

Dispelling Screen (SpC): (Multiple Threat – Debuff/BC): Thumb  This spell is kind of interesting. You can create a wall or sphere (or hemisphere) that does a targeted dispel on any creature or object that goes through it. Even more interesting is that it does not allow any spell effects through it – period (“Spell effects not operating on objects or creatures cannot pass through the screen). Of course this restriction affects the caster too – but it gives this spell definite possibilities. Casting a hemisphere around the party fighter for example – will have him immune to targeted magic from outside the sphere – if he isn’t moving alot – this could be quite useful.

Resist Energy, Mass (SpC): (Buff): Thumb  Basically a chained Resist Energy spell. The duration could use a boost to 1hr/level which it does not receive however. Situational – but worth keeping in reserve as a mass buff.

Globe of Inv., Lesser (PHB): (Debuff):  Protects area against spells of 3rd level or less. Same reaction/duration problem. However – this spell screams for contingency. This spell can also seriously cramp the style of those who rely on quicken spell – or massive metamagic scorching ray casters and their ilk.

Resistance, Greater (SpC): (Buff):  Provides +3 resistance to saves. Unlike Resistance, this buff is good for 24 hours. Although this spell does NOT stack with a cloak of resistance (and most characters should have at least a +1 cloak by mid levels) – the +3 may be more than the cloak around the level this spell is received – and it frees up the cloak position for other magic items. The bonus is a little low for the level of spell IMO – but not bad.

Stoneskin (PHB): (Buff): Sad  Does this spell get love or what? Personally, I see 250gp material component cost and I’m done. 10/adamantium? Nah, I’ll just avoid getting hit and save my money.

Otiluke’s Suppressing Field (CM): (utility): Bang Head Create a 20 foot emanation around you that suppresses one subtype of magic. No, it’s not like antimagic field since the caster gets to make a CL check to bypass your field. Oh yeah, full round to cast. Way to situational – and not all that wonderful even in those situations. Pretty much useless unless you know the specifics regarding the magical capabilities of your opponent.

Fire Trap (PHB): (Blast) Bang Head like explosive runes except it has a 25gp material cost, does less damage, does fire damage (easily avoided), is a higher level, and is triggered by opening instead of reading. Faces the same drawback as explosive runes (does HP damage when you don’t need it). Unless used as part of an ambush – I don’t see a lot of use to this spell.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:39:35 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2008, 10:51:18 PM »

5th level spells

Refusal (SpC): (Battlefield Control/Utility) Plotting
Very interesting spell – does not allow passage into area by spellcasters or users of Spell like abilities. The will save to defeat seems weak at first, but there is a penalty to the save equal to the level of the highest spell or SLA available to the creature. Additionally, the caster can set conditions to bypass the ward (alignment, passwords, etc). In the end – that makes this a very nice spell for BC. If you are going to the Abyss – take 3 of these.

Spell Theft (CS): (Double threat: Debuff/Self Buff): Plotting Use a targeted dispel on an enemy and remove the spells from them and grant them to yourself. There is a spellcraft roll necessary for each spell. Also note that the maximum CL is +15, making it a halfway point between dispel/greater dispel.

Wall of Dispel Magic (SpC): (Debuff/Utility):  Make an invisible barrier – those that pass through are treated as if a targeted dispel had been cast on them. It has no effect on spells cast through the wall – and the wall must be straight – which makes me a much bigger fan of dispelling screen despite the visible effect.

Break Enchantment (PHB): (Utility):  Similar to Remove Curse, break enchantment can reverse magical enchantments/transmutations of spells 5th level or lower. The one minute casting time ensures that this spell is not usable in combat. Purely utility – and in that matter – I would probably never have it memorized unless I knew I needed it, though it is probably worth a spot in the spell book or a scroll.

Dismissal (PHB): (Save or lose):  Send an extraplanar creature back to its plane of origin if it fails a Will Save. Big problem here is that Extraplanar creatures often have excellent will saves. This is basically a save or die spell in disguise. Its situational, and in the right situation, it’s OK, but not fantastic.

Contingent Energy Resistance (SpC): (Buff):  I liked this spell until I read the description. Contingent Energy Resistance basically sounds perfect. Here’s the problems though – 1) duration is 1 hour/level – hardly worthy of being labelled “Contingent”, 2) The energy resistance provided is 10, and does not scale with CL. That’s a big problem.

Indomitability (SpC): (Buff): Sad  Touch spell grants recipient the ability to survive one strike that would otherwise be deadly, merely lowering the recipients HP to 1. The duration is 1 min/level which means this is a buff that you would need to cast in combat. In most cases – I can’t see how this would save an otherwise doomed character for more than one round – and it really should be immediate. Oh yeah, it’s a touch spell too. Except in unique situations (intentionally setting off an otherwise deadly trap for example) – I can’t see much combat use in this spell.

Reciprocal Gyre (SpC): (Multiple threat – Blast/Debuff): Bang Head Cast on a creature with Spells or SLA currently affecting it – it takes d12 damage/spell effect. If a will save is made, ½ damage is taken. If the will save is missed, the target gets a Fort save or be dazed 1d6 rounds. This does not dispel the magical effects or effect persistant spells. Where do I begin – hmm, how about with this spell sucks.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:39:46 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2008, 10:51:28 PM »

6th level spells

Resistance, Superior (SpC): (Buff): Plotting The apex of the Resistance spells. Like Greater Resistance, this spell is a 24 hour buff, unlike Greater Resistance, the resistance bonus is impressive (+6). This spell would be a prime candidate for Chain Spell if you can power metamagic

Antimagic Field (PHB): (Debuff): Plotting Suppresses all magic around you for 10min/level. This of course is very bad for you – but if your party is outmatched magically – this can still be a worthwhile sacrifice for you to make. The suppression ability is quite potent – however, keep in mind that summoned creatures with SR will need you to defeat that SR to suppress them.

Dispel Magic, Greater (PHB): (Debuff): Plotting A necessary bump up to dispel magic, that is good for the same reasons. I wouldn’t jump right to this one at level 11 necessarily though. By CL 15 or so, the old version won’t be very effective anymore.

Anticipate Teleportation, Greater (SpC): (Battlefield control): Plotting Like its predecessor, this is a very nice spell. The question is whether increasing the delay from 1 to 3 rounds and identifying the type of arriving creature is worth 3 extra spell levels. In my view, Anticipate Teleportation does the trick – but there is definitely an argument for using this version instead at high levels.

Karmic Retribution (CM): (Debuff) Thumb  Like Karmic Aura except that creatures that attack you must make a will save or be stunned for a round. As with the other Karmic spells the Swift action casting is the selling feature. The question is whether Karmic Retribution is so much better than Karmic Backlash to deserve a 6th level spell slot. I'm not sure it does - however - it is still solid for the level.

Guards and Wards (PHB): (Utility):  A neat spell that you will always want to cast/use but many of us never will (except in “down” time). The 30 minute casting time ensures you won’t be using it in combat, but the effects are kind of neat (and make your stronghold very difficult to invade).

Ruby Ray of Reversal (SpC): (Utility):  Definitely an interesting spell. It has 5 different situational uses. It can spring traps at range, open things, create holes in walls of force, reverse polymorphs, and dispel magic jars. All the uses of this spell are situationally useful, but none come up enough for me to recommend this spell be memorized. It might be worthy of a scroll in your repoitoire though.

Repulsion (PHB): (BC): Sad  Sigh. Standard action casting, 1 round/level duration. Sound familiar? Otherwise, this would be an awesome protection spell for a God.

Globe of Inv. (PHB): (Buff): Sad  Call me a broken record. I hate standard action defense spells with 1 round/level durations. This is no exception. Complete immunity from spells levelled 1-4 is good – but setting up this spell is going to be a pain. Too high level to contingent - I'll pass on this.

Prismatic Aura (CM): (Buff) Bang Head Sigh...Prismatic Aura suffers from all the drawbacks of the typical abjuration defense spell. First off, it has standard action casting/1 round/level duration which means you lose your first round casting this spell. Secondly – it only affects combatants who attack you in melee. If you find yourself in melee – don’t cast this spell – cast dimension door and get out of melee!!! This spell is in the same book as Karmic Retribution – which is swift action casting and affects all creatures that attack you, ranged, melee or magic. This is a turkey.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:40:03 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2008, 10:51:38 PM »

7th level spells

Energy Absorption (CM): (buff/healing!): Evil Laugh  Quite an interesting, if not odd spell. It is a hr/level buff that provides 10 energy resistance against all 5 energy types. This is a little weak on its own – but get this – you can (as an immediate action) expend the spell to absorb the energy of any energy based attack – and in addition to full immunity to any and all energy types used in the attack, the subject actually heals half of the damage the effect normally would have caused. Instantly in my head I consider the possibilities of intentional friendly fire (The fighter is getting low on HP – so you lob an area energy blast into his wake – damaging his enemies while healing him...)

Banishment (PHB): (Save or lose): Plotting The more potent version of dismissal. Banishment allows 2 HD of creatures to be banished per CL. The big draw here is that you can boost both your spells DC and your CL check to defeat SR by presenting the target with objects or substances with which the target is opposed, hates, fears etc. Should be easy enough for banishing evil outsiders...after all you’re a mage – how many charms depicting the holy symbols of good gods can you fit on one necklace? The point is that the DC/CL boosts are stackable.

Ironguard (SpC): (Buff): Thumb  The standard problem of 1 round/level standard casting defensive spell. This is a pretty good defensive spell though. Complete immunity to metal (magical or not) is a pretty good spell effect. What Big Stupid Fighter wouldn’t love this spell when going toe to toe with an Iron Golem? (or even 90% of enemy fighters). If the Big Stupid Fighter is in actuality, a Druid, his natural attacks can also bypass metal armor (though would be made useless against Iron Golems...)

Energy Immunity (SpC): (Buff): Thumb  100% immunity to one kind of energy for 24 hours. The long duration makes this a good choice, but at least consider Energy Absorption which is the same level, and probably a better spell overall with similar effect. This is your choice if you expect repeat high power attacks with a single energy type.

Greater Dispelling Screen (SpC): (BC): Thumb  Like dispelling screen except the CL bonus on the dispel check caps at +20. Frankly, the chief ability of the dispelling screen is the prevention of spells cast through it. This is unchanged with the greater version – making me sceptical whether the 3 extra levels give appropriate payback in spell power.

Antimagic Ray (SpC): (Debuff):  Screw an enemy caster. Beware though that the caster can still use his spell trigger items freely (my mages at this level always have some backup), as well they get the satisfying knowledge that you spent 100gp to cast this spell. If you miss on your ranged touch – the 100gp is lost forever – as well as your spell slot. If you’re facing a God Wizard, expect him to Abrupt Jaunt out of the way and laugh at you.

Sequester (PHB): (Utility)  Turns creatures and objects invisible and undetectable (except by items that provide true seeing effects), the duration is 1 day/level. However, creatures effected are in suspended animation until the spell wears off. This makes the spell highly situational.

Ghost Trap (SpC): (Debuff):  Turn incorporeal creatures corporeal. The benefit of such a debuff doesn’t require elaboration – but I should point out that most enemies are corporeal – making this spell highly situational. The short duration requires that you cast it during combat in most cases.

Spell Turning (PHB): (Self Buff): Sad  Turns back 1d4+6 levels of targeted spells back on their caster. The casting time is 1 standard action and the duration is 10 min/level. As such, I would think it would be pretty hard to be sure you are going to be targeted by spells (area spells and effect spells are not turned). This is a huge drawback. I’m not big on blowing 7th level spells because the BBEG in the next room “might” target me with a targeted spell.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 05:40:22 PM by Dan2 » Logged

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