If he ends up pulling fly from the pool, does that mean that he's using the Thrush Jet? And if he pulls jump, that's the Thrush Coil, and if he pulls water breathing, it's the Thrush Marine!
Originally Posted by ThrushThrush, Slayer Mage
The bandits stood in a rough semicircle across the road, having taken advantage of the rough wooden buildings of the secluded desert outpost to get the drop on him. Not one of them moved, the dry wind rustling hair and banging a distant shutter closed. One by one, Thrush locked eyes with each of them as he approached. They were after the bounty, he knew it, but they underestimated him. They always did. Over his shoulder, he called softly to the priest standing in the door of the small temple (probably Fharlanghn, maybe Pelor, didn't matter). "Get three diamonds ready." He flicked the cloak back into place over his shoulder as the ruffians tossed various derisive comments in his direction.
He came to a slow stop in front of the would-be heroes, shifting his stub pipe in his teeth before reaching up to grab it and stow it in a pocket. "Now look here, boys-" he started before they cut him off.
"No, you look here! We know who you are, Thrush, and your tricks won't work on us! You're coming along, one way or another. Even if it's in a bag!"
"That's not very hospitable, there's not much air in a bag of holding."
"No you idiot, a bodybag!" They were getting riled up, but Thrush couldn't help himself. It always did amuse him when their string were so easy to tug on.
"I don't think so, fellas. I'll be going my own way now, so if you'll kindly let me through..." He knew it wouldn't be that easy. It was open desert out there, and they'd track him until he slept and get him then. He still had to give them a chance to back down at least. And so he took a step forward.
Like the catch being released on a crossbow, his step forward set everything loose. All three of the bandits reached for wands, but they only got them halfway into the air by the time Thrush gave his quick chant and a flick of the wrist. All three of them grew suddenly vacant eyes as a series of soft thumps reverberated through the street, followed by another series as they all hit the dirt. After a slight pause, Thrush glanced over his shoulder and barked a single word, snapping his fingers, causing the fourth companion who had been sneaking up behind him with a blade to fall similarly lifeless to the ground. With a sigh, he reached back into his pocket and withdrew his stub pipe and a tindertwig to light it. As he casually sauntered past the temple, he offered an apologetic amendment to the slackjawed priest:
"My mistake. Four diamonds."
Spoiler: The BuildShowRace: Silverbrow Human
Benefits: Dragonblood subtype, bonus feat, Feather Fall 1/day (2/day at level 5), and Disguise Aptitude.
16 CHA (level 4 boost)
Level Class BaseAttack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Sorcerer 1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Kn: Arcana, Spellcraft, Concentration, Craft: Painting 4 Fell Drain, Cooperative Spell Metamagic Specialist 2nd Sorcerer 2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Kn: Arcana, Spellcraft, Concentration, Craft: Painting 5 3rd Sorcerer 3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Kn: Arcana, Spellcraft, Concentration, Craft: Painting 6 Arcane Preparation 4th Sorcerer 4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Kn: Arcana, Spellcraft, Concentration, Craft: Painting 7 5th Sorcerer 5 +2 +1 +1 +4 Kn: Arcana, Spellcraft, Concentration, Craft: Painting 8 6th Mage of the Arcane Order 1 +2 +1 +1 +6 Kn: Arcana, Spellcraft, Concentration, Craft: Painting 9 Arcane Thesis: Magic Missile Guild Member, Spellpool I
- Practical Metamagic: Fell Drain
- Invisible Spell
- Twin Spell
- Invisible Needle
- Practical Metamagic: Twin Spell
- Repeat Spell
- Practical Metamagic: Repeat Spell
- Sanctum Spell
- Arcane Thesis: Sonic Snap
- Quicken Spell
0: Sonic Snap, Disrupt Undead, +5
1: Magic Missile, Shield, +2
2: Deflect, Web
3: Greater Mage Armor
Spoiler: The RundownShowThis build simply plays like a generic Sorcerer up until it hits level 6, then everything clicks. Let's break this down ability by ability:
Metamagic Specialist: Replacing our familiar, this will do us more good. Despite the Arcane Preparation that we will soon pick up, we will often find ourselves needing to put together a combo on the fly.
Fell Drain: We can't use it for several levels yet (starting at level 4 with Sonic Snap, then 6 with Magic Missile), but we need it later and we need a metamagic feat now, so here it is. [Prereq: none]
Cooperative Spell: Feat tax for MotAO. Still, it is a metamagic feat and does include a clause for how it affects the level of the spell it is applied to, meaning it helps our combo. [Prereq: One metamagic feat (Fell Drain). Gained as Human bonus feat.]
Arcane Preparation: This lets us more efficiently use our metamagic combos that we want to be using in combat. We know we'll need them anyway. Taken at level 3, but at level 4 we can prepare a Fell Drain Sonic Snap. [Prereq: Ability to cast arcane spells without preparation (Sorcerer)]
Mage of the Arcane Order: [Prereq: Kn: Arcana 8, Cooperative Spell, one metamagic feat (Fell Drain), able to prepare and cast 2nd level arcane spells (Arcane Preparation), guild fees]
Guild Member: More obligations and expenses than benefits, but such is the price we pay for the Spellpool.
Spellpool 1: Ah, here we go. For up to 3 levels of spells per day, we can spend a full round to bring any sorcerer/wizard spell to mind, where it lingers for a full six minutes before fading. We can do this for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level spells. Aside from cantrips, that's any spell we could conceivably cast. The versatility this provides us... I'm not even going to list various ways to use this, as the whole point of it here is to cover the things we haven't thought of and aren't prepared for.
Arcane Thesis: Magic Missile. Also gained at level 6, with this feat we lay the foundation for all our growing feast of metamagic goodness. With this, our Fell Drain Magic Missile is only a level 2 spell that can apply 2 negative levels to up to 4 or 5 targets. [Prereq: Kn: Arcana 9, ability to cast arcane spells]
Practical Metamagic: Fell Drain. With this, applying Fell Drain to our Magic Missile no longer increases the spell level thanks to Arcane Thesis. [Prereq: Spellcraft 8, able to spontaneously cast 3rd level arcane spells, any metamagic feat (Fell Drain), Dragonblood subtype (Silverbrow Human)]
Twin Spell: Magic Missile is a 1st level spell, +2 from Fell Drain, +4 from Twin Spell, +0 from Cooperative Spell, -3 from Arcane Thesis, -1 from Practical Metamagic. With a 3rd level slot we can apply 4 negative levels to each of 4 or 5 targets. [Prereq: Any metamagic feat]
Invisible Spell: Okay, yes, this is here to cheese the spell level lower via Arcane Thesis. But it also means he flicks his hand and people die with no apparent cause, and if you don't think that's the most awesome thing ever then good day to you sir. [Prereq: Any metamagic feat (several)]
Invisible Needle: Maximum 3d4 damage at 15ft, but spammable. As a bonus, we finally hit Caster Level 9 for our Magic Missile, maxing out at 5 missiles. [Prereq: Ability to cast 3rd level spells]
Practical Metamagic: Twin Spell. Our combo is now only a 1st level slot. Can't lie, that's pretty sweet.
Repeat Spell: A new toy! Practical FD +1, Practical Twin +3, Repeat +3, Invisible +0, Cooperative +0, Arcane Thesis -5. Not only do we hit 5 targets for 4 negative levels each, they all take 4 more (or 2 if the DM sides with the lame interpretation of the repeat not twinning) on the next turn, provided they don't move more than 30ft. And with our Web spell that shouldn't be too hard to arrange. [Prereq: Any metamagic feat (several)]
Practical Metamagic: Repeat Spell. Get that spell level back down so we get more per day. Total metamagic combo results in +1 slot level on a Thesis spell. [Prereq: as above]
Sanctum Spell: Reduce our Thesis combos to +0, finally. I considered Energy Substitution and City Magic, but this eventually won out due to applying to our daily favorite, Magic Missile. Sadly, neither of the others does. [Prereq: Any metamagic feat (several)]
Arcane Thesis: Sonic Snap. Ah, didn't think we'd take it yet again, did you? Well now an Invisible Cooperative Sanctum Twin Repeating Fell Drain Sonic Snap can drop up to 8 negative levels on a target from a cantrip slot, across 2 rounds. [Prereq: as above]
Quicken Spell: Just as icing on the cake, you can now do the above combo with a 3rd level slot as a swift action. Have a particularly tough foe? If your usual combo isn't having enough effect, pop this off and let it do it's thing. [Prereq: none]
Final combo: Sanctum +0, Invisible +0, Cooperative +0, Practical Fell Drain +1, Practical Twin +3, Practical Repeat +2, Arcane Thesis -6; total +0. Quicken Spell only really works with Sonic Snap, at +3 because of AT. Caster level 6, +2 for each Arcane Thesis spell, +1 for each Force spell. Our defensive spells get a duration boost, and our Magic Missile hits CL9, enough for all five missiles.
For a more offensive build, some of the defensive spells may be swapped out for offensive ones. In particular, Greater Mage Armor might be swapped for Fireball. In this event, Invisible Needles is much less useful to us and should be swapped for Arcane Thesis on the Fireball. This will put us down by 1 caster level and leave us 1 missile shy, so we should find a way to boost that back up. We keep disrupt undead on hand in case we have to encounter them, because our negative levels do not mix with undead. In an undead heavy campaign, consider prioritizing this spell for Arcane Thesis. The spontaneous equivalent of pearls of power are going to help us get the most use out of our third level slots.
For stats, we prioritized Cha just far enough to get a bonus spell of each level, and Dex as far as we could without being super expensive. Int 14 gets us a couple extra skills (Painting being very useful for a magic user) and extra uses of our Metamagic Specialist ability. Con 14 because we are a fragile fleshbag and like to keep all our internal organs internal. This should net us 5d4+16 HP, or 28.5 on average.
For our strategy, we like to keep our greater mage armor going, then unleash all hell in the first round. If we need to prolong the fight we can throw up a shield and wade into the fray with our invisible needles, or stay back and drop a web to keep foes contained. Even our cantrips can be effective ways to eliminate foes thanks to our sonic snap combo, so every spell slot is useful to us, not just our highest level ones. Should we ever encounter a situation we don't have the right spell for, the Spellpool has our back, and since we're a Sorcerer paying it back is easy as pi.
Alright, yeah I know metamagic reduction is nothing original or clever. But it's darn sure fun to use, and I hope I presented it in an engaging way. I originally wanted to build a Force Missile Mage but came just shy of being able to qualify. What can I say? I take great satisfaction in slaying foes with low level spells.
Spoiler: The SourcesShowMage of the Arcane Order, Arcane Preparation, Cooperative Spell, Twin Spell, Repeat Spell, Sanctum Spell: Complete Arcane
Invisible Needle: Complete Mage
Invisible Spell: CityScape
Silverbrow Human: Dragon Magic
Practical Metamagic: Races of the Dragon
Fell Drain: Libris Mortis
Metamagic Specialist, Arcane Thesis, Deflect: PHBII
Sonic Snap, Greater Mage Armor: Spell Compendium