View Full Version : Elven High Mage - worth it?

2010-06-18, 04:36 AM
I've long since been fascinated with Sun Elven Wizards from FR (since is aw a thread on the old WOTC forum asking what would you be if you lived in the FR and someone said a Sun Elven Wizard). I've been doing some research, reading the FR books, and i've come across the Elven High Mage class several times. It's an Epic progression class with very nice flavor (storywise the Eun Elves from Evermeet are vastly supperior to any other caster oriented races).

Well Sun Elf has been considered a sub-par race as far as Wizard optimisation is concerned, due to the -2 CON. But at Epic levels does that really matter? What of the High Mage PrC itself? Any better options for an Epic level caster?

2010-06-18, 05:01 AM
It would be nice, if mitigating epic spells wasn't so easy anyway. But seriously, you're an epic spellcaster, only a notch below pun-pun. You don't need more power, you've already won everything.

2010-06-18, 08:52 AM
Wait so you are basically saying there is no point in optimizing your Wizard past lvl 20 because he auto wins every encounter?

2010-06-18, 09:02 AM
No. The difficulty of the encounters you'll face in any campaign will be decided by the DM, and scaled up or down accordingly. Whether you're going to "auto-win" an encounter has nothing to do with your class.

The problem is that epic-level balance is so wonky that it's very hard to evaluate epic-level classes. D&D's balance is already creaking and groaning by the time you hit the 17-20 level band - by the time you reach level 21+ it breaks down completely and becomes dependent on a DM's setting and houserules. Asking whether an epic-level spellcasting class is better or worse than the alternatives is kind of like arguing about whether the Hulk can beat up Superman, ie entertaining but completely pointless. :)

2010-06-18, 09:04 AM
It's not so much that a wizard needs no optimization, nor that he auto-wins every encounter. But it's true that with effective optimization, a wizard tilts the scale heavily in his party's favor in level-appropriate encounters. And as level increases, the tilt becomes more obvious. At epic the tilt is so pronounced that it's effectively an auto-win. The only thing that rebalances the scale is if the opposition also includes optimized casters. So by epic, basically the only thing an epic wizard fears is another epic wizard.

2010-06-18, 09:17 AM
There is, however, another, less popular school of thought. Belial_the_Leveler was a big fan of it on these forums, and got up a few high epic games - that, sadly - never got very far.

The basic premise is that the higher in epic you go, the more balanced things get. The gulf between a 21st level wizard and a 21st level rogue is immense, but say, at level 70, all the wizard is getting is a higher caster level, unless he blows all his feats in Expanded Spell Capacity. And in that case all he's getting is spell slots. He already has access to all the worthwhile spells, and while he can metamagic the hell out of them, there are a limited number of metamagic feats he can apply. In addition, spell DCs fall swiftly behind the saving throw modifiers another 70th level character can get.

This is presuming just pure level 70 in a single class. With prestige classes, multiclassing and wealth, the rogue can get numerous immunities, undetectable hiding, improved mettle and evasion, etc. etc. With high wealth it also becomes significantly easier to penetrate the various defences of a say, wizard.

I don't fully agree with this myself - the wizard still has numerous advantages, and I've purposefully avoided mentioning epic spells, but I think there's a point lurking somewhere in there.

EDIT: Slightly off-topic here, in response to Saph.

Specific source for Elven High Mage?

2010-06-18, 09:35 AM
Epic level classes without caster levles are still only "swing hard, jump high" for the most part. I ageree, Epic Spellcasting breaks the game completely.

I was just asking for an uber Elven spellcaster build, to fit in with the theme - Sun Elves being masters of The Art. You know, digits to go with my RPing? Hence asking about the PRC. I personally am not familiar with PRCs for Epic chars and which ones are worth it.

2010-06-18, 09:38 AM
EDIT: Slightly off-topic here, in response to Saph.

Specific source for Elven High Mage?

It's from Races of Faerun.

2010-06-18, 09:47 AM
Ultimate power comes in a lot of flavors. And there's no need to overcomplicate.

Cloistered Cleric 1 (Unearthed Arcana)
Elven Wizard 6 (Races of the Wild, substitution levels)
Dweomerkeeper 10 (Complete Divine, Web Enhancement)
Ruathar 3 (Races of the Wild)

EDIT - and don't forget, since you're not a specialist wizard, pick a Domain Wizard variant (Unearthed Arcana) for an extra spell per level. If nothing else, it's more fuel for Dweomerkeeper's Mantle of Spells.

That takes you to 20. And by that point, you've used supernatural (0 XP) versions of Embrace/Shun the Dark Chaos to convert all your useless feats into pure wizardly power. (4 racial weapon feats, misc feats from 1 level of cleric dip, any fantastic-location feats you've picked up, etc, etc) Plus used supernatural versions of Wishes to add +4 inherent to all your stats.

Now you're ready for epic. And as soon as you qualify, you can convert your older metamagic feats into the ones that give you epic quickened magic and things like Master Staff (so you never have to worry about spell selection again).

2010-06-18, 09:57 AM
To answer the original question... no, I don't think the Elven High Mage is worth it. It takes two epic feats to enter, and even though the class abilities make epic spells cheaper to develop and easier to cast, there are better ways to pull that off. It also doesn't fully advance your caster level.

Funny that you should post this today. I read the class for the first time only the day before yesterday, and had never heard of it before. :smalltongue: