View Full Version : Spell Focus...Necromancy or Transmutation?

2010-12-29, 01:21 PM
I'll be playing a conjurer with a focus on battlefield control and ray casting (halfling, high DEX) and I plan on taking Archmage levels eventually. Since I'll already have Spell Focus:Conjuration as a Master Specialist prereq, I only need one other for Archmage, and I'm leaning towards Necromancy or Transmutation, but haven't been able to decide on which. Any thoughts?

2010-12-29, 01:27 PM
Neither school has that many spells with saves, but transmutation has more I think so I'd put spell focus in transmutation... even though for actual spells you pick I was going to recommend things like [empowered] ray of enfeeblement, a necromancy spell. Or even if you favor both schools you might want to find a 3rd school that you still use often and has a lot of spells with saves.

2010-12-29, 01:35 PM
Well, I'm banning evocation and enchantment, so as far as schools with lots of saves, that leaves illusion, which I plan on using more for passive defense (invisibility, mirror image, displacement, etc.) although spell focus could be useful if I use the image spells to any extent.

2010-12-29, 01:40 PM
Well mass debuff transmutation spells like slow and pyrotechnics are good and those have saves. But yeah necromancy is really short on spells with saves, and of the few that do like ray of exhaustion many still have a decent effect even when they pass the saves.

And what are you using archmage for if you're banning evocation? The SLA? Shaping and energy substituting your empowered maximized fireballs is one of the best uses of archmage. That way they don't get resisted, don't hit allies and hit several enemies clustered around your allies so that the total damage among them is enough to kill one 2-3 times over. Then next round you do it again or your allies start damaging them and they drop like flies. Even if they're passing their saves that's a lot of damage when you hit so many targets. Fights can end in 2-3 rounds this way.

2010-12-29, 02:14 PM
I am leaning towards Transmutation; you're quite right about Necromancy.

As far as Archmage, I'll be using Mastery of Shaping for my area debuffs (various fog and cloud spells, black tentacles, etc.) possibly in conjunction with Sculpt Spell at times. Mastery of Elements will be used with some of those as well (e.g. Freezing Fog) but more so for the various "Orb of" spells, particularly Fire. Arcane Reach will be used on touch spells and I might take a fourth level for Spell Power or SLA depending on how things play out.

Keld Denar
2010-12-29, 02:29 PM
I have a high level BF/debuff Conjourer in a PbP game over on plothook, and I have AM levels. I took Spell Power 2 times, and between that, (Extended) Craft Magic Tattoo, an Orange IWIN Stone, and a Ring of Arcane Might, he's sitting on CL20 at level 15. Thats pretty awesome.

Anyway, my Conjourer took Necromancy as his 2nd school. Sure, Enervation and Ray of Enfeeblement don't have saves, but Ray of Exhaustion does, and I've recently descovered the joys of Fleshshiver, a non-evil non-[Death] save vs royally screwed, but still screws you anyway even if you save. I don't even think I pack any Transmutations with saves any more, since I don't have Heighten Spell to mix with Slow, and the DC for Slow is just too low anymore. If you don't have compunctions about casting [Evil] spells, Avasculate is another winner in the 7th level range. Its a save vs stun, and regardless of save does a LOT of damage, equal to 50% of the creatures remaining HP. There are a couple other nice higher level Necromancy spells with saves as well, but the problem is that most of the higher level ones have the [Evil] tag.

I'd make more use of Reverse Gravity (a nice Transmutation that sometimes has a save), but so far EVERYTHING we've faught since level 11 either has flight or is in an enclosed space with enough reach to melee from the ceiling. If you think you can get good use out of RG and Slow, by all means, go with Transmutation. If you don't, Necromancy is probably your better bet.

EDIT: Don't discount Illusion though. There are some nasties there. Illusionary Pit is pretty rediculous vs things that don't fly, and it comes automatically sculpted like Reverse Gravity. Solipsism is a pretty decent single target will save or die as well, and used creatively could even be used for interogating a foe. It is [Mind Affecting], but unlike Dominate doesn't exhibit ongoing control so it isn't blocked by Circle vs Evil. It simply puts the target in a state where they believe nothing is real. From there, its a simple matter to convince your foe that telling you all their battle plans won't matter, since you yourself are simply a figment of their imagination. Its fun for the whole family!

2010-12-29, 03:05 PM
Ah I see your style. Ya, transmutation all the way for the multi-debuffs to add to your list of conjuration area debuffs. Even the high level necromancies that do have saves tend to be single target. Not only is that a less efficient use of your time it doesn't fit your style as much I think. Since you don't have to worry about allies and since many conjurations have small areas (or at least smaller than a room) you might want to consider widen spell. I've never seen it used and it is +3, so it may be a gamble. But whenever I'm reading a spell with a small area I'm thinking, hmm that'd be better if only it were wider. It'd be cool to hear about it via PM if it does work.

Illusions are great but even with the images if the foes don't interact with them they don't get a save, and if they get proof that the illusion is false they ruin it even if they failed their save. So spell focus still isn't as useful even if you get into some illusions.

Ya reverse gravity is a great spell if you're outdoors or have a high ceiling.