View Full Version : Drow Utility Generalist Wizard Optimization

Raenir Salazar
2009-02-27, 04:28 PM
I'm creating a Drow wizard for one of my games and could use some pointers to optimize it. http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/view.php?id=108571

so Basically for determining Bonus spells/slots I have 22 Int.

Not sure where to go from here, I know what my NWN2 build is which involes some feats to increase spellslots, and some metamagic feats, but that was more of a solo'ing hordes of monsters kind of stitch, so Ild rather be more versatiles if possible.

So Ild like to be a jack of all trades, able to save the party in any situation, but hopefully nothing too cheesy.

2009-02-27, 04:50 PM
Is the +2 LA going to affect you? If so, you may wish to reconsider your selection of Drow, or at least understand that your casting won't be as powerful as it could be.

It would also be helpful to know what books you have access to. Spell focus is always helpful as well as necessary for archmage. I would choose transmutation (slow, disintegrate, most debuffs) and conjuration (glitterdust, web, glitterdust. Seriously, for a level 2 spell slot, glitterdust is insanely good, esp. with a rogue in the party). Extra spell slot feats aren't worth it, imo, since you get lots of slots, and metamagic isn't that useful until higher levels when you can actually use it.

The biggest problem with being a wizard, I've found in actual game experience, as both a player and a DM, is that even though you could do anything, you can't always do it twice. That, and the variance of a d20 is quite high- just because you succeed on a ten doesn't mean you can't fail. Putting wealth into pearls of power is worth it, as it lets you adapt your utility belt on the fly. For instance, to really succeed at debuffing all the time, you need more than one dispel magic prepared. Every monster you want to one-shot requires a spell slot, which is one fewer dispel magic, knock, haste, etc.

In general, I would say prepare more buffs/control spells than outright kill spells. Most kill spells have a chance of failure, while solid fog almost always gives your team two additional rounds to act (or four, if your DM is a really nice guy), haste gives the rogue, fighter, and cleric more ac, and another attack. Improved invis on the rogue means oodles more d6. Wall spells can really control the battlefield to your advantage, creating chokes where you can take monsters one at a time. Fly, mount, and phantom steed all offer great utility, as does levitate, dimension door, and teleport. These are spells that you can use to brute force yourself past most challenges. While they may not end a combat by killing everything, the ability to travel 1,000 miles in less than six seconds or teleport perfectly to any location within 800 feet is pretty sweet.

Keld Denar
2009-02-27, 05:22 PM
Do you have the Spell Compendium? Use it if you can. Its good. Lots of tasty spells in there.

Will your DM let you buy off your +2 LA? If not, I would STRONGLY urge you not to play Drow, or, if you REALLY want to, see if you can use one of the +0 LA varients (check Players Guide to Faerun or the wizards website). You could have 2nd level spells, but instead you don't because of the LA. This will hold you back from being as arcanely awesome as you possibly can.

Drow are elves, so they SHOULD be able to qualify for the Elven Generalist alt class feature in Races of the Wild. Do it. Its really good. It basically gives you a bonus spell slot of the highest level you can cast, and there are no drawbacks. The 3rd level sub also doubles the bonus you get for your familar. As a generalist, you should probably keep your familar, as there aren't any alt class features that are worth it for a generalist wizard. See if you can get a hummingbird familiar from a Dragon Mag (#230, IIRC). It gives you a +4 inititive, which doubles to +8 with the elf generalist ACF at 3.

As far as spells, I notice a distinct lack of Ray of Enfeeblement. Its good...really really really REALLY good. Take it. It stays good almost all the way to level 20. I'd swap Burning Hands for it. Let your party handle the damage, you should be debuffing. Also, swap Reduce Person for Enlarge Person. Enlarge your friends and watch them crush your foes. Reduce just isn't very useful except in a few select circumstances. Also, you can always pick up Feather Fall later, Grease would be a ton more useful to you now.

If you do have Spell Compendium, check out Lesser Orb of Acid to replace Magic Missile. It doesn't allow SR and does similar damage. It doesn't autohit like MM does, but as a ranged touch, you shouldn't have much trouble hitting. Also look into picking up Benign Transposition. It switches the position of 2 friendly characters. Thus you could run up near an enemy, then BT you and a melee friend so that he can 5' step and full attack. At higher levels its still useful if you Quicken it.

As far as building goes...you could stay straight wizard, but there really isn't a whole lot of incentive to do so past about level 5. Divine Oracle, Loremaster, Archmage, Fatespinner, Initiate of 7fold Veils and probably a dozen other PrCs are pretty worthwhile after wizard5. If you think of a build, post it and we'll critique it for great justice!

Hope this helps!

PS, search this site for "Being Batman: The Logic Ninja's Guide to Wizards". Its not only entertaining, but great info on how to be a utility wizard. Also do a google search for Treantmonk20's guide to being GOD over on the Character Optimization forums attached to the wizards website. Its a rather similar guide to the Batman one and also rather humerous. There are also some pretty good magic school guides over there which breakdown level by level some of the best and worst spells for each of the schools of magic. Lots of info there for picking spells.

Raenir Salazar
2009-02-27, 07:53 PM
the LA +2 drow gives me 11 + CL Spell resistence which to my estimation is god mode in magic encounters.

I have 7 gigs of amazaon bought ebooks so yes I have access to nearly every book just not the time to go through each one for vague spells. Is it possible to go archmage at level 6? That would be hell ya.

Is Elven generalist a base class or a prc/multiclass thingy?

edit, if i take it at first level, does it mean im this class for 20 levels or can I go back to a normal wizard at second level for example? (lmy 5th level bonus feat is kinda eeeehhh, only archery feats at 5th level)

2009-02-27, 07:59 PM
Is Elven generalist a base class or a prc/multiclass thingy?

It's a racial substitution level from Races of the Wild, page 157. You give up the ability to specialize in a school (giving up nothing if you weren't going to specialize) for more free spells known at each level and a few more spells/day. You can take as many or as few racial substitution levels as you want, so if you get Elf Wizard 1 you don't have to take either of the other two substitution levels if you don't want to.

Read the Batman Wizard (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104002) guide.

Raenir Salazar
2009-02-27, 08:00 PM
ok nvm i can only take it at 1st, 3rd and 5th i think, so i can be 1st level elf generalist, and then x many levels of wizard after that.

Keld Denar
2009-02-27, 08:10 PM
SR from a Drow is bad as a PC. Most of the casters you fight will already be higher level than you, and the fact that you are 2 levels behind just to get it means that you'll only have about a 20-25% chance to resist, less if the caster takes Spell Penetration or is packing +CL bumps like an Orange IWIN Stone or similar, and even less if the caster drops an Assay Spell Resistance at the start of the fight. Plus, the fact that you'll have 6 HP at level 3 makes you a HUGE liability. A level 3 party could face a level 5 wizard which wouldn't even be considered a "challenging" encounter who would flatten your wizard with a Fireball even if you MADE the save.

Plus, LA is generally a BAD idea for casters. You are forsaking a whole level of spells for nearly trivial SR. You could have 2nd level spells (GLITTERDUST!!!!111one!!!), but you don't. When you are level 3, you could have 3rd level spells, but you don't. When you are level 5 and could have 4th level spells, you won't. And so on. Its TOTALLY not worth it. Spells > all.

Elven Wizard Generalist is a racial sub level. Its outlined in Races of the Wild pg. 157. Its a level you take instead your normal wizard level, and it swaps out some class features for others. In this case, you swap out the ability to specialize (which you weren't gonna anyway) to gain 1 extra spell slot at your highest level. At level 3, you double the bonus your familiar gives you, but then your familiar can't deliver touch spells (which it shouldn't do, because that is VERY dangerous!). So, 2 major boons for almost no drawbacks, other than the fact that you have to be an elf (which drow are).

Any other questions?

2009-02-27, 08:17 PM
Losing two caster levels, while a big bummer, isn't the end of the world. You're still a caster. The lack of hit points is a big deal, though, and I agree with Keld's sentiments of glitterdust. It's just that good.

Raenir Salazar
2009-02-27, 08:30 PM
Ild figure the 120" darkvision, +2 int and charisma, and the SR would sorta make the LA worth it.

Keld Denar
2009-02-27, 08:36 PM
Again, no. Grey Elf would get you +2 int and dex for no LA, which would be better since cha is arguably a dump stat for a straight wizard.

Similarly, a human would get a bonus feat, which could be spent on Spell Focus: X instead, resulting in a similar bump in spell DC for one school of spells, plus it would count as a prereq feat for various PrCs like Archmage.

Darkvision can be replicated by a spell (several in fact) and is not worth the loss of spell levels.

Seriously...anything with an LA is terribad for a wizard. Again I'll reiterate, spells > all and more spells > less spells.

If you really want to play a drow, see if you can play the Lesser Drow from Players Guide to Faerun. Same dark skin, 2 more spell levels! Mostly what you lose is the SR (which is crap) and a couple of the stat bonuses, but its WAY worth it.

Raenir Salazar
2009-02-27, 08:56 PM
what if I kill my party and raise em? theyld be my level again and weld be back to fighting level approbiate encounters :)

2009-10-10, 01:15 PM
I realize this post is horribly out of timing with the post dates, but I really have to respectfully disagree with all you drow-haters. :P

Consider this: SR 11+character level, +2 Dex, +2 Int, +2 Cha, +2 to against enchantments, an additional +2 to Will against spells and spell-like abilities, immunity to sleep, darkvision 120 ft, 3 spells (darkness, faerie fire, dancing lights), +2 to Search, Spot, and Listen, Autosearch ability, and martial weapon proficiencies.
All this for: Light blindness, +2 LA, -2 Con.

I can agree that, for wizards, +2 Cha and weapon proficiencies are dumps, but they do provide a minimal bonus. Bluff and Intimidate are +1 point easier (small I agree), and when spells do run out (and they will with a good DM) using rapier provides for better crits than a quarterstaff or dagger, with more damage as well. Granted, wizards should not melee, but it happens occasionally.

Sure a human can simulate the +1 spell DC with a feat, and vanilla elves can duplicate some stats, but drow have it all in 2 levels. There is mundane gear to cancel out Light Blindness, so that is a moot point. With that, drow get a +1 to ranged attacks, Reflex, Init, and AC (+2 Dex), 45% chance to ignore a magical effect of comparable ECL (even a 25% chance assuming the caster has BOTH Penetration feats), +4 against mental attacks (that bypass SR), +2 to Will saves that aren't mental attacks (that bypass SR), +1 to ALL spell DCs, +1 bonus spell, +1 language (for you ROLEplayers), and +1 skill (+2 Int), vision-based strategic advantages at night or underground, strategic spell-like abilities, +2 to perception skills, and no need to claim they are searching for secret doors. All this for 3-4 higher level spells, -1 hp/lvl and -1 Fort (-2 Con), and 1 feat over a human.

Our DM allows ECL buy down. What this means is that my drow Wiz15/AcM5 is now one level behind our epic Ranger, and that because he died when he went on a revenge streak against a vampire a few levels earlier. Even with him being behind the party, not a one of them will take him in a duel. Two were turned against him in The City of the Spider Queen. Our DM had separated us, had a greater doppleganger kill and assume the role of our Rog10/Shd10 tiefling (the PC did a superb job at remaining undetected) and had kidnapped our undead-slayer ranger (the now Epic one) and turned her (yes, my wife, who to this day apologizes for never telling me) into a revenant and forcing her against us with some new spell. My (weak, underpowered drow according to popular belief) character discovered them both (eventually) and killed them both as well.

I have played drow since before they became popular, back when Queen of the Spiders was brand new (not City of the Spider Queen, Queen of the Spiders - yeah, that really old classic). They were deadly then, and they are still deadly. The key to playing a drow well is roleplaying, not rollplaying.

2009-10-10, 02:07 PM
Tiefling is better than Drow

Thrice Dead Cat
2009-10-10, 02:13 PM
It's already been mentioned, but the LA buy-off rules (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm) will be crucial, if you actually decide to play a drow. As a wizard, there are, at most three stats you need to do your job. If you swing it, you can get by on one.

If you go Drow, I recommend going Necropolitan (Libris Mortis) so you can dump Con, but that will set you even further behind the rest of the party. Honestly, unless you do gigantic amounts of calling spells, the Cha bonus won't help you. Even if you do some planar binding shenanigans, there are easier ways to win opposed Cha checks... like spells.

The darkvision is nice, but there's a spell for that. Sadly, the SR could actually end up killing you. No one likes having to blow spells on you if they aren't going to effect you, and it's a standard action to drop SR. The spell-likes are cute, but actually being able to cast moar spells is better. I'd rather have even just a fireball than some of those SLAs.

As for actual spells, Treantmonk's got some pretty good advice on the subject. (http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Treantmonk%27s_guide_to_wizards:_Being_a_God) If you have access to them, Spell Compendium and Complete Mage will be of great boon to you, due to extra spell options and focused specialist.

Tiefling is better than Drow

Y'know, it actually is, especially if you have to bite on the LA.

This may sound incredibly silly, but, if you want to play a half-drow instead, but you still want the stat bonuses, I personally recommend slapping half-nymph (some Dragon magazine) onto a human and just calling it a Drow. Although, I would only do this with LA buy-off in play, either way.

EDIT: Feats to get, in no particular order: Improved Initiative, Extend Spell, Summon Elemental [Reserve], Sculpt Spell (if focused on battlefield control), Metamagic School Fcous (Also for battlefield control, but you've got to pick a school of magic. Helpful for "free" extends and sculpts), either metamagic feats galore with arcane thesis for things like enervation, summoning focused feats, Spell Focuses, and/or requirements for prestige classes.

2009-10-10, 03:22 PM
the LA +2 drow gives me 11 + CL Spell resistence which to my estimation is god mode in magic encounters.

Honestly it isn't. They can still hit you with a forcecage or evard's tentacles or summons or polymorph and stuff like that. Also their Caster level is higher than your hit dice (probably on the level of their HD +4), because CL boosters are extremely useful to wizards so they purchase them.

The only time Spell Resistance was of use to me was when I managed a caster level of 30 and I was fighting enemies with a CL lower than mine, so I had SR 42 and they could barely roll to penetrate it. Your SR 31 (36 with Daazix's vest) will be useful, but nowhere near God Mode. You're better off with CL boosters and the Spell Resistance spell.

Roland St. Jude
2009-10-10, 03:39 PM
I realize this post is horribly out of timing with the post dates, but I really have to respectfully disagree with all you drow-haters. :P...

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