View Full Version : Preparing Spells

2007-04-22, 12:16 AM
Ok, so I've finally stopped shuffling character ideas around and have settled on a character to play: a wizard. Now, I've looked through the boards extensively (i.e. at least a quarter of the pages that come up when I search) and I have found plenty of material as to which spells should be on my spell list.

Complication: A wizard gets only so many spells per day. There is next to NOTHING on these boards that talks about how to use these valuable spell slots to best effect. So, to get to the point, I'm looking for help regarding what spells to prepare and how to figure out which spells to prepare out of the (possibly) hundreds of spells I have at my disposal. Sorry, don't have the spell compendium, so if you say anything about a spell in there, I will have no clue what you're talking about.

Tor the Fallen
2007-04-22, 12:18 AM
What's your caster level?
What will you likely be fighting?

Bears With Lasers
2007-04-22, 12:21 AM
Indeed, what's your wizard level?

Have you seen the (famous 'round these parts) Guide to Wizards? It details which spells at each level are the "best" ones, which cuts the list down from "hundreds" to much fewer.

2007-04-22, 12:23 AM
No, I haven't. Can you link to it?

Our party is starting at level 7 in Eberron. My DM is devious, and will not hesitate to throw us as many curve balls as possible, and then a fastball just for fun.

2007-04-22, 12:26 AM
Offhand, you will probably want a combination of these: Fly, Slow, Haste, Solid Fog, Black Tentacles, Shatter, and Dispel Magic.

2007-04-22, 12:26 AM
Which books do you have available?

In Core, you'll likely want Enervation, Confusion, Slow, Stinking Cloud and Prestidigitation.

Out of Core, try getting Shadowspray, Greater Disrupt Undead (if it will get any use) and maybe Phantasmal Assailants.

2007-04-22, 12:33 AM
Type in these words in google:

guide to wizards being batman

it should be the first result you get, that should be a start.

2007-04-22, 12:33 AM
One other thing that helps is to look at what spell(s) you find are the most essential and picking up a Wand charged with them. As a wizard I've found that having a wand on hand makes it so that I can afford to diversify my spells a bit more and I'm not a sitting duck if the group sees more combat in a day than I prepared for. Wands do get expensive at low levels though, but I'd keep wands in mind as an option. Others in the group are likly to help contribute towards a wand cost since the party wizard is pivotal in a tough fight.

2007-04-22, 12:37 AM
Thats another thing. Having a wand of scorching ray, and a wand of orb of force are a lot better than using those slots to prep damage spells. Often these spells will be sub optimial choices to prep in your "every day slots"

Yet sometimes you just need to do damage, thus use these two items. Now you can do damage and you can do battlefield control, save or lose, or general I cast a spell and now you suck (such as enervation).

Tor the Fallen
2007-04-22, 12:39 AM
Type in these words in google:

guide to wizards being batman

it should be the first result you get, that should be a start.

I don't know why the mods don't copy and paste that to a new thread, lock and sticky it.

2007-04-22, 12:44 AM
Not sure how much it'd help, but consider leaving one or two spells open and fill them in later as the situation demands.

Also, consider items that allow you to stretch your spell slots. Rings of spell storing and wizardry might be too expensive, however pearls of power are cheaper and can allow you to use potent spells multiple times yet only taking up one spell per day slot.

however I second Prestidigitation. Gotta keep the robes clean afterall.

Bears With Lasers
2007-04-22, 12:53 AM
Because the mods aren't here to sticky popular threads? The guide is great, and I agree with it and all, but it's hardly objective and uncontested.

I hestitate to provide the link because people should learn to search for things, but oh well--here's the Guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500).

Do you have access to the Complete Arcane, or just the books in your sig?

Tor the Fallen
2007-04-22, 02:02 AM
Because the mods aren't here to sticky popular threads? The guide is great, and I agree with it and all, but it's hardly objective and uncontested.

It's useful, with generally universally accepted truisms for wizardy.

2007-04-22, 02:51 AM
From core.
Dimension door is a good escape hatch that can be used while grapping or pinned (if they don't think to keep you from speaking) with a simple concentration check, and you can take a couple of people with you, remember though that using it automatically ends your turn. It's outright saved my wizards life on two occasions and saved him significant risk on many others.

Scortching ray is an exellent damage dealer, by replacing the save with a ranged touch attack you up the damage but are required to have a decent attack roll to hit especially if you're shooting into melee or through cover. I once critted with 2 out of 3 rays (the third simply hit) with a wizard using a lesser metamagic rod of empower and point blank shot and took off 90% or so of a rhemoraz's HP. Many creatures are resistant to fire and since scortching ray deals damage in 4d6 chunks it can be a problem but having 1,2,or 3 rays rather than a single can allow you to target multiple weaker creatures if you want.

Since your'e playing on Ebberon Dispell magic moves from a very good spell to a "need to have" spell in my opinion, too many ways in which this can be extreemly usefull. When fighting a group against one or two powerful enemy spellcasters counterspelling can be a very valid tactic, as can buff stripping when engaging a cleric with a targeted dispell.

Good old magic missile is such a good spell for many reasons listed before but I'll re-iterate, auto hit, no save, force effect allows you to bypass resistances and damage reduction AND hit incoporeal or otherwise non-physical creatures. Only spell resistance and the shield spell ever gives it any troubles.

When forced to choose between mage armor and shield I buy a wand of mage armor and memorize one shield. Honestly if you play smart you don't have to worry too much about your armor class, it's still nice to have a high AC though.

Alter self is abuseable in many of the ways that Polymorph is but as a low level spell it's very versatile which makes it great for both sorcerors and wizards.

Enlarge person will keep the fighter/damage dealers happy and is argueably better than bulls strength despite the dex/ac reduction with all the size bonuses.

I dislike slow because I prefer spells that have some effect whether they save or not but slow can be devastating if the save is failed, for a similar but more flexable spell consider Suggestion which has out of combat uses and a longer duration, but you have to be very careful with the wording of the suggestion.

2007-04-22, 03:27 AM
General spell preparation strategy for a wizard:

#1. If a spell is useful only rarely, but when it is useful it's vitally valuable, put it on a scroll.

#2. Have a wand or two with some kind of straight-up blasting magic, as something to fall back on when you're out of prepared slots. Magic missile is a good one for this--virtually nothing is immune to it, and it's only first level, so a wand of it is cheap.

#3. Specialize! Yes, it limits your options, but the extra spell slot per day at each level is worth it and then some. Divination is a favorite, since there are actually quite a few good divination spells out there and you only have to drop one school to get it. Abjuration is good if you're aiming for Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil. If you have the PHB2 and your DM is foolish enough to let you take the "immediate magic" variant, Conjuration gives you a bunch of immediate teleports every day.

#4. When choosing spells to prepare, concentrate primarily on battlefield control, buffs, and multi-target debuffs with lots of versatility, so you can use them in any situation. Haste is an excellent buff and your whole party will love you for it. Glitterdust is an area-effect blinding spell that requires a Will save, so almost nothing is immune to it, and the big tough monsters with high Fort saves can't shrug it off. It even shows up invisible monsters as a bonus. Dimension door can get you out of the maw of a grappling monster (verbal component only, so you can cast it in a grapple), or it can bail your whole party out of an onrushing TPK. Slow is a vicious debuff that screws over just about any monster. Grease is beautiful battlefield control for a mere 1st-level slot.

#5. In your lower-level slots, it's often wise to put a few non-combat utility spells like levitate, knock, and so on. How many of these you prepare will depend on whether your party has a skill-monkey and how good that skill-monkey is at tasks like climbing walls and picking locks. You should reserve your high-level slots for combat magic unless you know in advance you'll need a particular utility spell.

#6. Having filled up most of your slots with these "general-purpose" and utility spells, you can round out your selection with a few spells that are slightly less versatile but higher-powered. Enervation is the debuff of debuffs; it doesn't work on undead or constructs, and it only targets a single creature, but there's no save and it screws up the target both defensively (reducing its saves) and offensively (reducing its attack bonus and caster level). Charm monster is a great way to neutralize an enemy and gain an ally at the same time. Dispel magic is only really useful against enemy casters, but oh man is it useful against them, especially ones who buff heavily before combat.

#7. All this assumes you're picking a "general-purpose" spell array to face unknown opposition. If at all possible, try to avoid that situation. The more you know in the morning about what you're going to be facing that day, the better you can tailor your spells to meet it. Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of different monster types. Undead are immune to everything under the sun as far as debuffs go, but they don't have a lot of hit points and are usually vulnerable to fire, so you may want to break the cardinal rule of wizardry and actually prep some fireballs if you're going to be facing a lot of undead. Goblinoids and giants usually have heavy-duty Fortitude saves but lousy Will, so charm-type magic is good against them. Conversely, casters have first-rate Will saves but are shaky on Fortitude, so necromancy and poison screw them over, as does dispel magic. Outsiders often have Spell Resistance, so concentrate on buffs for your own party and conjurations that ignore SR. Trap-heavy dungeons call for extensive use of levitate, fly, knock, and so forth.

#8. As soon as you're high enough level, you should always have at least one teleport and/or dimension door prepped every day. The ability to bail your party--or, failing that, yourself--out of a dire situation is critical.

#9. Conserve your spells! I can't tell you how often I've seen wizards tossing off valuable spells just to be doing something, when they ought to have been holding them in reserve for later. As soon as the situation is clearly under control, you should switch to your blasting wand, break out your crossbow, or even just step back and watch the other PCs mop up. Above all, don't burn all your high-level spells in one encounter unless you're dead sure there won't be another encounter that day.

This is not to say you should never cast your spells; just maintain a sense of perspective. Don't throw enervation at a dire rat just because you're out of magic missiles. In fact, most of the time you shouldn't even be throwing magic missiles at a dire rat. That rat won't do any damage to speak of, and the party fighter can demolish it with a single hit, so why waste magic on it?

There are cases, of course, where you throw caution to the winds and just unleash your most powerful magic; these cases usually involve a party member about to die, or a really tough fight where you pretty much have to "go nova" just to carry the group through it. When fighting the BBEG, expect to burn most of your spells... but even then it's wise to hold a last spell or two in reserve, because BBEGs have an unfortunate habit of turning out to be the dummy minions that the real BBEG sent out to soften up the party for the kill.

2007-04-22, 02:03 PM
#7. All this assumes you're picking a "general-purpose" spell array to face unknown opposition. If at all possible, try to avoid that situation. The more you know in the morning about what you're going to be facing that day, the better you can tailor your spells to meet it.

This is exactly why I specialize in divination.