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    Default Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    So, a while ago I became obsessed with the idea of creating a spontaneous arcane D&D spellcaster that would have the same versatility as a wizard. This is the only solution I could find within the constraints I pose. I now ask you:

    1) Does this, in fact, work?
    2) Can I do something similar along any other ways?
    3) Is it actually useful in practice?
    4) If it works, how can it be improved?

    Constraints:

    1) Any WotC D&D material is allowed. Preferably 3.5 to 3.0. Some Dragon magazine material may be allowed, as well as web articles, but not third party material with the specific exceptions of the Book of Erotic Fantasy and D20 Testament.

    2) The character build should be able to, given some days to prepare, call on any sorcerer/wizard magic. Specifically, I am bothered by the idea of a sorcerer BBEG whose problems could be solved by a low-level arcane spell that simply is not among her spells known. The solution to this problem must not cost XP.

    3) The character build must not rely on being a kobold or on maintaining an exalted good alignment.

    4) The character build must not rely on any divine magic. Assume this is Forgotten Realms where all divine spellcasters need a specific patron deity, also assume the deities are meddling bastards willing and able to revoke divine spell alotment if they dislike the colour of your robes.

    5) The solution should not rely on problematic readings of the rules. This is, of course, a matter of definition, but acquiring a ring of infinite wishes via a Candle of Invocations would be considered a problematic reading.

    6) For that matter, the solution should not rely on magic items. Assume any item can be taken away; if you cannot craft it quickly again at no XP cost, it is insufficient.

    One potential solution:

    Human, pick two flaws.
    Starting feats: Able learner, City-slicker, Heighten spell, Versatile Spellcaster.
    Sorcerer 5 levels. Cooperative Spell feat.
    Chameleon 2 levels. Arcane preparation feat.
    Mage of the Arcane Order 7 levels. Other full-casting PRCs 6 levels. Free choice of feats.

    What this gives you:

    1) Chameleon 1 grants some prepared arcane or divine spellcasting of 0-2 level spells. These are merely a bonus, though they allow unlimited low-level spell flexibility.

    2) Chameleon 2 gives you a bonus feat that you can change each day. This means that you can have a single Extra Spell feat available each day, granting you a single spell known at a level one less than the highest one you can cast. This is the central piece of versatility, but it is just one spell.

    - NOTE that this only works for Sorcerer, Assassin or other classes with a Spells Known table, at least according to Sage Advice - classes that know all spells on their list cannot benefit from the Extra Spell feat. This is a pity, as I REALLY would like to do this with Beguiler. It would make sense to houserule that Extra Spell works as Advanced Learning, but for this purpose, I would like to avoid house rules as far as possible. Sorcerer also has the largest and most varied spell list of all classes with a Spells Known table.
    - IF YOU KNOW some feat that allows an arcane spellcaster to add spells to her class spell list without relying on divine favour, please tell me - that WOULD allow Beguiler entry, so...

    3) Arcane Preparation allows you to prepare any number of "spells you know" "as a wizard does", and "once prepared, the slots can't be used for anything else until the prepared spell is cast". The SRD says: "Once a wizard prepares a spell, it remains in her mind as a nearly cast spell until she uses the prescribed components to complete and trigger it or until she abandons it. Certain other events, such as the effects of magic items or special attacks from monsters, can wipe a prepared spell from a character’s mind." If this is done "as a wizard" with "spells you know", then a character with this option can choose a new Extra Spell each day, prepare one or more copies of it, and then keep those spells prepared until she uses or abandons them. Effectively, this lets the sorcerer behave like a cleric using the sorcerer spell list, but who can prepare only multiple copies of a single unique spell each day. You can prepare for anything, but it takes several days to do so.

    4) Except... Extra Spell allows only up to one level lower than the highest spell you can cast. I think it was an official Q&A post that stated that Versatile Spellcaster lets you use two spells of your highest level to cast a spell metamagicked to the next higher level, even though you normally cannot cast spells of that level. Heighten Spell specifically states that a spell heightened counts as a spell of its effective level. Thus, with Versatile + Heighten, you can cast spells one higher than your class levels allow, meaning that your highest "regular" level of spells become legal Extra Spell choices. The limit is that heighten cannot go above ninth level, so at level 20 this build has ninth-level spells, but cannot swap in new spells. If you reach epic, however, there is a feat that grants two additional spells of any level.

    5) Mage of the Arcane Order gives one or two spells each day from the spellpool.

    6) Rings of Theurgy and Spellstoring allows additional spells stored during downtime for whenever it turns out you need them.

    7) By swapping in the Craft Contingent Spell feat, you can get up to your HD personal-affecting spells triggered by mental command words.

    8) Icing on the cake includes being able to swap in different Arcane Thesis feats, different Reserve feats or Craft feats each day. However, as you can only get a single feat each day, any such feat that requires a spell would require you to prepare that at least a day in advance.

    ... and that is basically it. I repeat my questions:

    1) Does this, in fact, work?
    2) Can I do something similar along any other ways?
    3) Is it actually useful in practice?
    4) If it works, how can it be improved?

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Will admit I havent' read the full opening post but: spirit shaman; spontanilously cast spell chosen at begining of day; refluff and roll out.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Sorcerer/Cleric/Dweomerkeeper - (Su) Wish for Psychic Reformation everyday. There you have it.

    (They call it the Dweomercheater for a reason, after all)
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analysis View Post
    Specifically, I am bothered by the idea of a sorcerer BBEG whose problems could be solved by a low-level arcane spell that simply is not among her spells known.
    Low level scrolls are cheap. Just like every good wizard should have lots, sorcs should too. Neither class should bother preparing or learning these rarely used spells. Problem solved.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-11-27 at 05:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Will admit I havent' read the full opening post but: spirit shaman; spontanilously cast spell chosen at begining of day; refluff and roll out.
    Assuming I am allowed that refluff, yes. Strictly speaking that is divine casting, and at least in the Forgotten Realms you might have to be on good terms with your patron deity to be allowed it. I guess technically you could use Alternate Spell Source to cast the spells as arcane spells, but the rules for that do not state that they circumvent the limitations of the class giving you the spell slots, so...

    Sorcerer/Cleric/Dweomerkeeper - (Su) Wish for Psychic Reformation everyday. There you have it.

    (They call it the Dweomercheater for a reason, after all)
    Same problem here: Mystra can decide to withdraw your Dweomerkeeper and Cleric abilities. Not an issue in most games, but does not work under the constraints I mentioned.

    Low level scrolls are cheap. Just like every good wizard should have lots, sorcs should too. Neither class should bother preparing or learning these rarely used spells. Problem solved.
    Assuming you can find someone willing to sell them. Again, in most games you probably can, but if your sorcerer is stuck in an empty demiplane somewhere (or whatever), this will not help. Thank you nevertheless.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Will the Ultimate Magus give you want you want? You can enter it as a Sorcerer 2/Wizard 3 and will exit it with 11th level Sorcerer casting and 11th level Wizard casting (at level 15). It's not amazing, but you will have a large number of both prepared and spontaneous spell slots.

    Also, your method seems only useful for preparing single, specific spells. If you wanted to memorize half a dozen spells (such as a bunch of cold spells to go fight a red dragon), your character would be out for a week in preparation.

    Remember that you can just load up on wands, scrolls, and staffs with the missing spells in them. Most wizards who run into a locked door don't go home and prepare Knock; they pull out their Wand of Knock and open the door right there. Able Learner (Use Magic Device) can be a big help, as not only will you be able to use divine items as well, but it runs off your already high CHA.

    Wait, no. Able Learner doesn't make it a class skill. What's the feat that can turn any one skill into a class skill?

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analysis View Post
    1) Does this, in fact, work?
    Yes, it does, and rather well. I did pretty much the same thing with a sorcerer/favored soul BBEG a while back.

    2) Can I do something similar along any other ways?
    Well, aside from the cheesy stuff like Dweomerkeeper, you can get multiple extra feats in a day, but it breaks the "No XP cost" requirement: Cast heroics to get a bonus fighter feat and use the Dark Chaos Feat Swap to turn it into whatever feat you need at the moment. Sure, it goes away after 10 min/level, and it's fairly costly XP-wise, but when you absolutely positively must know a spell by yesterday, it works.

    3) Is it actually useful in practice?
    Quite. As mentioned above, I've used something similar before; while it doesn't work as well for the PCs, since they can't always know a few days in advance what they'll be going up against, it still adds quite a bit of versatility.

    4) If it works, how can it be improved?
    You've pretty much hit the highlights.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analysis View Post
    1) Does this, in fact, work?
    2) Can I do something similar along any other ways?
    3) Is it actually useful in practice?
    4) If it works, how can it be improved?
    1) I'm not sure, your arcane preparation trick seem a little flimsy but I can't find any fault in your reasoning.
    2) Yes, using an obsur Prc from the dragonlance book Bestiary of Krynn. The ambiance tempest (p134) at first level you gain the ability to once per week exchange any one spell he know two level lower than the maximum he can cast.
    At second level he gain an ambient secret, one ambient secret that can be chosen remove the level limitation.
    (They're probably other way too but this one I'm sure about.)
    3) Yes, if you gain advance information on an enemy i imagine it could be very useful.
    4) No idea.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    To the op's first paragraph: Wasn't there an alternate class feature for Wizards in a Dragon magazine called Eidetic Spellcaster? Trade in something like Familiar + Scribe Scroll feat to be able to cast spells spontaneously?
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analysis View Post
    Same problem here: Mystra can decide to withdraw your Dweomerkeeper and Cleric abilities. Not an issue in most games, but does not work under the constraints I mentioned.
    That makes sense, didn't think of it. :p
    But, in my defense, Mystra can pretty 'withdraw' your sorcerer/wizard abilities as well. As far as I'm concerned, she can cut people off the weave.
    (I do hate the fact that there's no Mystic, such as in Dragonlance, or other class fluffed to spontaneously cast Divine Spells without begging to a god. When refluff isn't allowed, this cripples a lot of concepts)
    Last edited by FinalJustice; 2009-11-27 at 06:09 PM.
    In two seconds I will hit the ground
    A moment stretched out over years
    And my eyes will flicker and then something has changed
    An empty cage, a crimson bud, a street of blood
    A city rose sprung out to greet the rain


    PoS: Enter Rain

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    But, in my defense, Mystra can pretty 'withdraw' your sorcerer/wizard abilities as well. As far as I'm concerned, she can cut people off the weave.
    (I do hate the fact that there's no Mystic, such as in Dragonlance, or other class fluffed to spontaneously cast Divine Spells without begging to a god. When refluff isn't allowed, this cripples a lot of concepts)
    You are of course right about Mystra and the Weave, but I feel less strongly about that as it seems you basically have to be Karsus of Netheril for it to happen. There is technically the Ur-Priest (though not Forgotten Realms), but that has its own problems.

    To the op's first paragraph: Wasn't there an alternate class feature for Wizards in a Dragon magazine called Eidetic Spellcaster? Trade in something like Familiar + Scribe Scroll feat to be able to cast spells spontaneously?
    It lets you prepare spells without a spellbook, but not cast them spontaneously. Of course, you can combine that with Spontaneous Divination to cast any divination spell spontaneously, preparing the rest. (If only that ACF had been written so that it made every spell mastered as per Spell Mastery, then the Magelord PRC could spontaneously cast them all... )

    2) Yes, using an obsur Prc from the dragonlance book Bestiary of Krynn. The ambiance tempest (p134) at first level you gain the ability to once per week exchange any one spell he know two level lower than the maximum he can cast.
    At second level he gain an ambient secret, one ambient secret that can be chosen remove the level limitation.
    (They're probably other way too but this one I'm sure about.)
    Thank you; I will have a look at that, though Dragonlance is (more or less) third party. Combine that with Eldritch Corruption from Heroes of Horror (though that uses the taint variant system) and you can heighten up to two levels higher than you can cast normally, thus being able to swap your highest spells known.

    Wait, no. Able Learner doesn't make it a class skill. What's the feat that can turn any one skill into a class skill?
    FRCS Cosmopolitan or some Chaos version of Exalted feats from a Dragon magazine.

    Will the Ultimate Magus give you want you want? You can enter it as a Sorcerer 2/Wizard 3 and will exit it with 11th level Sorcerer casting and 11th level Wizard casting (at level 15). It's not amazing, but you will have a large number of both prepared and spontaneous spell slots.
    Strange as it sounds, that almost makes me too powerful. Basically, I've played so many dual-caster builds that I would like something simpler, as well as not having two distinct sets of spell slots, but still the ability to call upon any spell required if I do end up on that desert demiplane.

    Well, aside from the cheesy stuff like Dweomerkeeper, you can get multiple extra feats in a day, but it breaks the "No XP cost" requirement: Cast heroics to get a bonus fighter feat and use the Dark Chaos Feat Swap to turn it into whatever feat you need at the moment. Sure, it goes away after 10 min/level, and it's fairly costly XP-wise, but when you absolutely positively must know a spell by yesterday, it works.
    Ah, so heroics + embrace the dark chaos + shun the dark chaos? Interesting... but it does cost 500 XP, 2 8th-level spells and one 3rd-level spell, meaning it also only works at high enough level. Thank you anyhow.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Spell-to-Power Erudite.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    Spell-to-Power Erudite.
    Hold up buddy, he doesn't want to shatter the campaign into tiny fragments. Although I guess he could play Erudite with the brokenly weak read of the rules, rather than the brokenly strong ones.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by infinitypanda View Post
    Hold up buddy, he doesn't want to shatter the campaign into tiny fragments. Although I guess he could play Erudite with the brokenly weak read of the rules, rather than the brokenly strong ones.
    Yes, if your approach to playing a class is "how could I play this most optimally to ruin the game," you'll have some problems.

    But then, you'd also have that problem with 20 levels in commoner.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Myrmex View Post
    Yes, if your approach to playing a class is "how could I play this most optimally to ruin the game," you'll have some problems.

    But then, you'd also have that problem with 20 levels in commoner.
    There is no way to play that class that is usable in a game. You either have a broken(high) number of spells or a broken(low) number of spells. Either way it's not playable.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    There is no way to play that class that is usable in a game.
    I agree, there is no way to play a druid that is usable in a game.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Analysis View Post
    Assuming you can find someone willing to sell them. Again, in most games you probably can, but if your sorcerer is stuck in an empty demiplane somewhere (or whatever), this will not help. Thank you nevertheless.
    Buying stuff or finding oodles of scrolls on the bodies of your slain opponents is the norm not the exception. That's what standard NPC wealth is for. How do you think they get any of it?
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by FinalJustice View Post
    But, in my defense, Mystra can pretty 'withdraw' your sorcerer/wizard abilities as well. As far as I'm concerned, she can cut people off the weave.
    Or she can do even stupider things, like die and leave spellcasters crippled for any amount of time from a couple months to all eternity, depending on how bad the Weave gets in the mean time...

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Buying stuff or finding oodles of scrolls on the bodies of your slain opponents is the norm not the exception. That's what standard NPC wealth is for. How do you think they get any of it?
    And if you play according to that norm, more power to you. I agree there is less of a problem then. In the games I prefer, though, it would not be guaranteed. To each their own.

    Hold up buddy, he doesn't want to shatter the campaign into tiny fragments. Although I guess he could play Erudite with the brokenly weak read of the rules, rather than the brokenly strong ones.
    Unfortunately, I agree. Neither 12 nor 108 unique powers per day seems particularly OK; one is too few, one too many. The Dragon mag version would be more balanced, but that is technically superseded by the new one. The second issue is if psionics is set to mean something very different fluff-wise than arcane magic in the particular campaign.

    The Sha'ir from Al'Quadim, retooled in Dragon... 315? 325? almost works, but it isn't really a spontaneous caster and it seems you can cripple it by just killing or capturing her familiar.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Do Knowstones count?

    What about a Drake Helm, from Eberron? It has these crystals that are socketed into it to add new spells to your spells known. You can change the spell inside a crystal by casting a new one into it (or by having someone else cast it in, naturally.)

    Mage of the Arcane Order + Drake Helm. Any spell you want, you can grab from the spellpool, then cast into a crystal for your Drake Helm. Presto, problem solved.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Doing this is as simple as taking levels in Beholder Mage. It's a 10 level PrC that get's ninth level spontaneous arcane spells (same spells/day as a sorcerer) but has no limit on spells known, and doesn't even need a spellbook.

    The only catch is you need to be a true beholder to qualify, which isn't hard to do if you have access to polymorph.

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    If you're ok with wasting a level on bard, there's also the option of Sublime Chord.

    Access to entire wizard/sorc/bard spell list, spontaneously.

    It doesn't really require any weird builds, or feats, though you will need to sink a few skill points into it. Shouldn't be that much of a hardship.

    You basically end up as a sorc one level behind in exchange for a ridiculous spell list, and as a side benefit, casting as a bard 1, if the extra cantrip slots are considered important. Bonus points if someone figures out how to get bardic music without wasting a level.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokiko Mima View Post
    Doing this is as simple as taking levels in Beholder Mage. It's a 10 level PrC that get's ninth level spontaneous arcane spells (same spells/day as a sorcerer) but has no limit on spells known, and doesn't even need a spellbook.

    The only catch is you need to be a true beholder to qualify, which isn't hard to do if you have access to polymorph.
    Does not work. Class requires giving up the use of the eyestalks and central eye in order to gain the spellcasting features of the class.

    These are not granted by polymorph or PoO due to them being Su.

    You have to somehow get your DM drunk, and convince him to let you start play as a true beholder.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Does not work. Class requires giving up the use of the eyestalks and central eye in order to gain the spellcasting features of the class.

    These are not granted by polymorph or PoO due to them being Su.

    You have to somehow get your DM drunk, and convince him to let you start play as a true beholder.
    That's correct, which is why IIRC the current build uses Assume Supernatural Ability.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    That's correct, which is why IIRC the current build uses Assume Supernatural Ability.
    That build relies on the questionable assumption that all ten eye stalks count as a single ability. Otherwise, you need ten feats for them all, which is pretty rough to satisfy without busting out chaos shuffles and dubious feat sources.

    Also, it has the slight problem that PaO sets your int, your casting stat, to that of the beholder, which is only 17. Thus, you're item dependent to cast eighth and ninth level spells, which is generally undesirable, and you've got the usual issues from having a weak casting stat.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    That build relies on the questionable assumption that all ten eye stalks count as a single ability. Otherwise, you need ten feats for them all, which is pretty rough to satisfy without busting out chaos shuffles and dubious feat sources.

    Also, it has the slight problem that PaO sets your int, your casting stat, to that of the beholder, which is only 17. Thus, you're item dependent to cast eighth and ninth level spells, which is generally undesirable, and you've got the usual issues from having a weak casting stat.
    You can do it fairly early(level 6) by WBL, and so you only end up 2 points behind what an optimized stat would be. You can still get items and level-ups.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    You can do it fairly early(level 6) by WBL, and so you only end up 2 points behind what an optimized stat would be. You can still get items and level-ups.
    You can. And what happens if...or more likely when you ever become targeted by a dispel?

    You're back in human form, with no way of ever regaining those stat boosts, since PoOing back into a Beholder to use those caster levels results in your int being reset to 17.

    Leaving off the obvious problems of your casting class being dispellable, the permanent damage to your build whenever you encounter such a commonly used spell is a huge problem.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Begin play as an Elan and be reincarnated as a Beholder?

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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    I'm not familiar with that method...is it something granted racially? I know the usual reincarnation list doesn't contain beholder.
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    Default Re: Vancian Sorcerer: Is this legit? Other ways?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    I'm not familiar with that method...is it something granted racially? I know the usual reincarnation list doesn't contain beholder.
    That woul be the Aberration type, which Elans are in rather than the Humanoid type that gets the usual list. Aberration is such an ill-defined type that it leads to nonsense things like these, but unlike PaO [but like alter self*], reincarnation officially operates on creature type.

    The problem lies in A) convincing your DM to include Beholders on the Aberration reincarnation list at all, since no such list is specified in RAW, and B) making that possibly-as-low-as-1-in-100 shot [and/or die-rinse-repeat until you do]

    *this is actually another avenue for the would-be Elan Beholder Mage - you explicitly keep your own ability scores for Alter Self. You also do for mental scores for Polymorph; what exactly was the specific reason PaO was needed?
    Last edited by Random832; 2009-11-29 at 03:53 AM.

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