View Full Version : [3.5] Feat/Spell Selection advice

2010-10-06, 02:31 AM
Greetings playground,

I have a wizard in a D&D 3.5 FR game who might be reaching 6th level sooner than I thought he would. I need feat/spell advice given the following information:

- The best replies *just* give me advice on good feats and spells to take at 6th level, instead of bashing my DM's style (he's great) or my build (there's no retraining; believe me, I regret a couple things, no need to remind me)
- I've read the wizard guides of TLN, DM and Treantmonk, so no need to link me to them.
- Acceptable cheese is in the Abrupt Jaunt level, not in the Incantatrix level or higher.
- For story reasons, magic items are both illiquid and hard to obtain at the moment, but that will probably change after this story arc (don't ask me how long that will take, as I don't know); for your purposes items are random endowments from the DM, so no fretting about them
- Many encounters are event-based, which mostly nixes the 15 minute work day
- Combats tend to run longer (in rounds) than I'm used to. For instance, I used 10 spells in one long, epic encounter a couple sessions ago, and I was essentially crossbow-bound for the rest of the day. Because of this, endurance-related abilities get a boost.

Anyway, here's the character as is:
Human Wizard 3/Master Specialist 2, focused specialist conjurer barring Evoc/Ench/Abj (we *had* a cleric in the party)
Str 7, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 13, Cha 10
Abrupt Jaunt ACF
Feats: Improved Initiative, Collegiate Wizard, Spell Focus: Conjuration, Alacritous Cogitation, Sculpt Spell, Metamagic School Focus: Conjuration, Skill Focus: Spellcraft
Flaws: Noncombatant, Vulnerable
Skills: Spellcraft, Concentration, various Knowledges
Items of note: Standard adventuring gear, alchemical stuff, Ring of Prot +2, Tome of Clear Thought +1, Crossbow +3
Once again note the items are all illiquid at the moment, so I'm just reading the tome and holding on to the crossbow until we can sell it.

1st: Mage Armor, Ray of Enfeeblement, Ray of Clumsiness, Enlarge Person, Grease, Nerveskitter, Silent Image, Benign Transposition, Identify, True Strike, True Casting, Disguise Self, Magic Aura
2nd: Web, Glitterdust, Cloud of Bewilderment, Alter Self, Spymaster's Coin, False Life, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Rope Trick
3rd: Sleet Storm, Summon Monster III, Melf’s Unicorn Arrow, Haste
The rest of the party looks like this:
Druid 5, I get the feeling he holds back on Wildshape unless the feces hits the wind blowing unit
PsyWar2/Warblade 3, our primary damage dealer
Bard 5, mostly social with some good support spells
Halfling Rogue 8, he's been playing this character way longer than any of us have been in the game, and it's not hurting party balance or group fun, so it's not a big deal; anyway, think 2e thief
And finally, what I'm thinking of doing...
Spellbook additions: Fly, Heart of Water, Acid Breath (see feats), Unluck
Other spells I was thinking of: Tongues, Arcane Sight, Slow, Shrink Item, Halt, Ray of Exhaustion
Feat: Acidic Splatter (remember my endurance problem)
Other feats I was thinking of: Spell Focus: Transmutation, Cloudy Conjuration, Split Ray

Also, I was going to go Master Specialist all the way to 10, but you can try to talk me out of that as long as you remember I can't retrain. I also do not want to lose caster levels.
So, what do you think? Have I forgotten some key information? Thanks for all your help.

Keld Denar
2010-10-06, 10:22 AM
Don't get Unluck. Its BADBADBADBADBADBADBADBAD!!! It really is. Its a total waste of your action as a wizard. I've written essays on this, I'll see if I can dig one up. Get Slow instead. Its a MUCH more solid debuff. and it comes pre-chained. Heart of Water is solid though. One more get-out-of-jail-free card when Abrupt Jaunt just won't cut it.

Technically, your build is illegal. You have Sculpt Spell. Sculpt requires 1 other MM feat be known. You don't know any other MM feats. This is bad. I don't know how you feel about this, or if you got the alimighty hand-wave of DMship, but yea, just pointing it out.

Your current spell selection is solid. There really isn't much there I'd recommend to change (not that you can) so...good job!

Acid Breath/Acidic Splatter is ok, but with firing into melee and cover, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a -8 penalty often enough when firing from the back row. You'd actually probably be better served with Fiery Burst simply because your RTA will be miserable because of that.

I'd recommend Quicken Spell. Honestly, you are only 1 level away from MMSFed Quickened Benign Transposition. Its very effective. If you don't have a pouncer, you can Haste everyone, run up to a bad guy, then BT you and your meleer to put him in full attack range in the opening round of combat. Its a good thing.

As promised:

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike Unluck? It absolutely fails as a debuff. Contrast with Slow, another non-[Mind-Affecting] 3rd level save vs suck. 90% of the purpose of Unluck is to set up a 1-2 punch save vs suck combo, but it fails at that. In actuality, you should just cast the same debuff twice. A) it allows a save. If you fail the save vs Unluck, you would have failed the save vs the first save vs suck and you wouldn't need a second casting. If you make the save vs Unluck, the 2nd spell would be cast without any adjustments, the same as if they had made the save vs the initial save vs suck. B) it takes a standard action. This ties into the above. If you are gonna debuff someone with Unluck and spend your precious spell slot AND a standard action, you'd be best off just casting the same save vs suck twice. Plus, even if they fail the save vs Unluck, they could still get lucky and roll 2 really high saves on the follow-up save vs suck, at which point you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't cast Slow for both actions.

Plus, to poor salt on the wound, Slow is a multitarget spell, while Unluck is single target.

Its my opinion that Unluck should either have no save (still SR), OR be a swift action casting time to make it more like Assay Spell Resistance for saves. As it stands, its pretty crappy.

2010-10-06, 01:42 PM
I concur with Fiery Burst, it target the Ref saves, and many build have this saves as their lowest. The problem is that you have no 3rd lvl fire spell. When you'll reach 4th lvl, the ord of fire will be perfect.

2010-10-06, 03:24 PM
Ouch, missing the sculpt pre-req is a pretty bad oversight on my part. Did I mention I had very hastily put this character's mechanics together? Thanks for pointing that out. I guess I have a sheepish email to write to my DM... I haven't actually used Alacritous yet, so I might talk to him about ret-con qualifying for it by slotting a MM feat in there instead.

If, say, the DM forgave this oversight and allowed me to swap in Quicken Spell for Alacritous to qualify for Sculpt Spell, would it be a good idea to nab Alacritous at 6th, or would I instead go fiery burst?

I see what you mean with Unluck, though just because something is worse than Slow doesn't mean it's terrible. You could cast Unluck to debuff the enemy's saves for your cleric buddy, or just let Unluck be its own debuff against the attacks of a melee monster or an archer. I'd say you're right, Slow is generally better (and I'm taking it instead), but a diviner might still take Unluck in his 3rd level slot.

One last thing; you're saying Quickened Benign Transposition is worth preparing in the face of all the awesome fourth level spells I'll (eventually) be preparing? We're comparing it to some combination of Black Tentacles, Solid Fog, Dimension Door, Enervation, Heart of Earth, Assay Resistance, Greater Invisibility, Greater Mirror Image and Fear in all likelihood. Throw in Polymorph and Celerity if I feel saucy.

Keld Denar
2010-10-06, 03:40 PM
Yea, thats kinda the problem with 4th level spells. They are just SOOOO good. That is honestly the hardest level of spells for me to pick for a sorcerer. Especially right when you get them, EBT is a boss spell. It singlehandedly wins lots of types of encounters. Its just that good. So yea, maybe QBT wouldn't be THAT good, but its still pretty darned skippy.

I don't think Alacritous Cognition is THAT good. You are a FS Conjourer. Everything you touch is diamonds. The odds of you NOT having the tool you need, and NOT having 24 hours to sleep on it is pretty slim. Its not that good in combat, and out of combat you can often get by with scrolls or waiting. Not worth a feat slot, IMO.

And no, Unluck is bad. Its never good. Not even then. Not worth a standard action, ever. Why set up a 1-2 punch combo with the cleric when you can both cast more effective kill spells and have 2 chances to win, instead of 1.5 chances to win (which is essentially what Unluck gives you). Its a waste of a spell slot, even for a Diviner. I'd rather take Extended See Invis in my 3rd level slot than Unluck, or ANYTHING. Heck, its not even a good BARD spell, because its competing with Haste, Fear, Confusion, and Glibness. If you set up the bard by casting Fear, and then the bard casts Fear, even if the foe MAKES both saves, they are still frightened. If he leads your Fear with Unluck and the bad guy makes both saves? Only shaken. LAME. Its not just worse than Slow...its SO MUCH worse than slow. I'd put money that its probably one of THE worst 3rd level spells printed. EVAR. You could probably find better spells in the BoEF...The only time I'd ever even consider casting it is if I just wanted to screw with someone, and even then, Prestedigitation or Silent Image + imagination works better. Its BAD.

2010-10-06, 05:23 PM
I see Alacritous as a poor man's spontaneous divination (for someone who forgot you could do that). Also I can't buy scrolls right now.

2010-10-06, 05:52 PM
I just notice, Summon Monster can be a Fire spell. So you can use it to feed Fiery Burst.

2010-10-06, 07:38 PM
Hm, I did not notice that. I guess that officially kills Acidic Splatter, as Fiery Burst would both save a spellbook entry and let me have a better spell prepared in that third level slot.

Now the choice is between Fiery Burst, Alacritous Cogitation, one of the feats I was considering before*, and some feat I haven't thought of, noting that my DM very kindly let me swap out Alacritous Cogitation for Quicken Spell on the spot. At the moment I'm leaning towards Fiery Burst.

*SF: Transmutation (would be for Archmage entry, which is ambitious to say the least)
Cloudy Conjuration (Treantmonk loves this, but it seems eh at this point)
Split Ray (preparing for Enervation shenanigans at mid levels).

Keld Denar
2010-10-06, 08:02 PM
If you are really having endurance issues, you'd probably be best served by Fiery Burst. Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of Alacritous Cognition. Leaving that slot empty...most of the time you probably won't ever use it. Trust me.

Split Ray is solid though. You can even start using it nowish. Split Ray of Enfeeblement cripples 2 bad guys, and Split Ray of Clumsiness makes 2 bad guys more vulnerable to power attacks.

2010-10-06, 08:46 PM
Hm, I did not notice that. I guess that officially kills Acidic Splatter, as Fiery Burst would both save a spellbook entry and let me have a better spell prepared in that third level slot.

Ok, i'm sorry. I just ask ont the RAW thread and i got this answer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9497582&postcount=1364).

The Summon Monster trick doesn't work.

2010-10-06, 08:47 PM
Whoops! Are there any [Fire] Conjurations at third level?

Keld Denar
2010-10-07, 01:15 AM
Haven't found any Conjourations, but Weapon of Energy (SpC 237) is a Transmutation. It has a descriptor, but doesn't apear to gain the specific element until you cast it. I dunno...

2010-10-07, 01:42 AM
I think Weapon of Energy has the same problems Summon Monster III has, but RAW thread folks came up with Flame Arrow and Control Temperature (which, oddly enough, might actually find use every once in a while in this campaign). One of those would be prepped instead of Slow (or Heart of Water) to power Fiery Burst. Seems like a large cost, but Heart of Water isn't as useful until later, and sculpted Glitterdust with GSF: Conjuration does most of the job Slow would do...

2010-10-07, 09:54 AM
If the rogue or the bard are using ranged weapons, Flame Arrow could be actually useful.