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    Question [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Caster levels are precious. It's been said that many PrCs that should lose caster levels don't. Dweomerkeeper, Shadowcraft Mage, Incantatrix, Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil, and Planar Shepherd are probably the most powerful caster PrCs, yet all are full casting. Prereqs vary from the easy (Planar Shepherd) to the taxing (Veil). If built properly, you can even enter Dweomerkeeper as a full (Cloistered) Cleric!

    I'm very hesitant to lose caster levels. One of the main reasons I play D&D is the hope of high-level "tech." I like my simulacrums, my contingencys, my plane shifts, my teleports, my time stops, and so on, and what class features gained through lost caster levels can make up for that without turning me (nearly) infinite?
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Love. That is worth caster levels.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Anything that you think will make for a good character, dont let some spells stop a good idea from happening.
    Last edited by Leon; 2010-10-29 at 09:22 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    In most games, spellcasters are sufficiently powerful that losing a spellcaster level or two is far from crippling. At the same time, shooting yourself in the foot needlessly isn't fun either, even if you can afford it.

    Generally, most classes that are worth giving up a spellcaster level for allow you to cast spells better, and often focus on a specialty. Case in point: the Malconvoker (Complete Scoundrel). If you aren't a hard-core specialized monster summoner, Malconvoker is not even remotely worth it. If summoning monsters is what you do, however, Malconvoker is unquestionably the way to do it: you lose a spellcasting level at 1st, but you gain an effective +5 metamagic effect (Extend Spell + Twin Spell) for free every time you cast a Summon Monster spell to summon an evil creature (which is not a very serious restriction, especially considering the fact that you're still free to summon good creatures if you need one, it just doesn't get the bonuses). That's worth a spellcasting level.

    Another is the Recaster (Races of Eberron). You again lose a spellcasting level at 1st, but you gain the ability to apply Still or Silent spell effects for free 1/day/level (up to 5/day), Quicken for "free" (reduces duration to 1 round, but no spell level increase) 3/day, Reach or Sculpt or double the number of creatures affected by certain spells 5/day, and you get 2 spells from any spell list, and you can apply your choice of two from Empower, Enlarge, Extend, Maximize, or Widen for free 1/day/level. Altogether, this is an incredible amount of free metamagic that you're getting. Worth a spellcasting level.

    A third "you're not getting better spells but you are casting the spells you know better" class is the War Weaver (Heroes of Battle). At 1st levle, the War Weaver gains the ability to cast buff spells on all of his allies at once as one action, but also loses a spellcasting level. Maybe worth it, maybe, but what comes next seals it: the War Weaver gets to store his spells ahead of time, so that up to four of them may be "released" as a move action, giving your entire party a ton of buffs as soon as you get your turn each battle. This is patently awesome.

    For a different tack, the Sandshaper (Sandstorm) loses spellcasting at 1st, but gains forty-six spells known and a +1 to Caster Level at the same level, making it ridiculously good for classes with limited spells known (Bard, Sorcerer, etc). As a bonus, a few of those spells become known to you at a lower level than they ordinarily would, which is also excellent.


    Quote Originally Posted by kryan View Post
    I can't believe I forgot to mention gishes. Gishes can afford to lose spellcasting levels more than a pure arcanist. Eldritch Knight is not worth it, but Jade Phoenix Mage, Ruby Knight Vindicator, and Swiftblade definitely are. Swiftblade probably has the record for most spellcasting levels lost while still being worth it.

    I'm going to edit this in to my previous post.
    Yeah, this is worth mentioning here. The Swiftblade (Wizards.com) is pure awesome, being dedicated to the use of a really good spell (Haste), and getting really good bonuses out of it - including an Ex Time Stop at high levels. It's awesome.

    Jade Phoenix Mage and Ruby Knight Vindicator (both Tome of Battle) are both good because you get martial maneuvers, which are awesome, on top of your spells, and their class features are really solid, too.


    Another thing that came up in the thread are dual-progression classes. Most of these are not worth it. The Anima Mage (Tome of Magic), Soulcaster (Magic of Incarnum), and Ultimate Magus (Complete Mage) are, in my opinion, the only ones worth it without early entry tricks. Arcane Hierophant (Races of the Wild) is close, but I'm not convinced that it's worth the 3/3 entry. Noctumancer (Tome of Magic) is probably worth it from the Shadowcaster's perspective, but probably not from the spellcaster's side.
    Last edited by kryan; 2010-10-30 at 09:43 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by kryan View Post
    A third "you're not getting better spells but you are casting the spells you know better" class is the War Weaver (Heroes of Battle). At 1st levle, the War Weaver gains the ability to cast buff spells on all of his allies at once as one action, but also loses a spellcasting level. Maybe worth it, maybe, but what comes next seals it: the War Weaver gets to store his spells ahead of time, so that up to four of them may be "released" as a move action, giving your entire party a ton of buffs as soon as you get your turn each battle. This is patently awesome.
    Sounds like the old Spell Trigger and Spell Matrix spells.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Personally, I consider that the first 2-3 caster levels are far more expendable than later ones, *especially* if you're using the lost levels to help you fill your chosen party role better. The best for instance I have personal used is:

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Yes, but you're not using a bunch of higher-level spell slots to cast your lower-level spells this way with War Weaver, it's just a thing you can do. *shrug* You do raise a good point, spells may obsolesce the class features, at which point it comes down to whether or not a spellcasting level is worth a handful of spell slots.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    - Free metamagic (Malconvoker, Recaster)
    - Dual progression (various theurges)
    - A great character concept (any class that would fit your concept)*

    *that cannot be expressed via a full-casting PrC
    Last edited by Psyren; 2010-10-29 at 10:13 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    In comparison, there are classes NOT worth losing caster levels for. Case in point, the Dragonheart Mage loses a caster level at 1 and 6, in exchange for a total of four bonus Draconic feats, one of which is set (Draconic Breath) and scales upward in the damage it deals, the others.. well, by the time you qualify for Dragonheart Mage, you have most the good Draconic feats anyway. In terms of pure optimization, this class is never worth it.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Malconvoker(For a dedicated Summoner), War Weaver(For a dedicated
    buffer), Recaster

    NOT Worth it: Dual Progression PrCs, all except Anima Mage, (Ok, the others can become viable with early entry tricks. Divine spellcasting is worth one of your arcan caster levels, but 2 or more and it's not. The reverse is also true.), and pretty much every other single progression PrC every made.MAYBE something like Master of Many Forms could be worth it, because that class allows a lot of broken tricks, but at that optimization level, Casters rule the multi-verse as a standard action, so who cares?
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by aje8 View Post
    Malconvoker(For a dedicated Summoner), War Weaver(For a dedicated
    buffer), Recaster

    NOT Worth it: Dual Progression PrCs, all except Anima Mage, (Ok, the others can become viable with early entry tricks. Divine spellcasting is worth one of your arcan caster levels, but 2 or more and it's not. The reverse is also true.), and pretty much every other single progression PrC every made. MAYBE something like Master of Many Forms could be worth it, because that class allows a lot of broken tricks, but at that optimization level, Casters rule the multi-verse as a standard action, so who cares?
    Excepting the Full-Spellcasting-Progression, yeah. the PrCs for arcanists just aren't worth it compared to staying full wizard.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Unique abilities, case in point the swiftblade, to the best of my knowledge it is the only class that looses more than 3 CL that in CO is considered worthy (the class abilities are exelent and the chassis is quite good too)
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by aje8 View Post
    NOT Worth it: Dual Progression PrCs, all except Anima Mage
    Arcane Hierophant is *definitely* worth it, even without early entry. Maybe not as OP as other options, but worth it. It stacks for wildshaping, combines AC with familiar, gives channel plant/animal for messing with LoE/LoS more, and you can get double 9ths with a fairly logical entry.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    Arcane Hierophant is *definitely* worth it, even without early entry. Maybe not as OP as other options, but worth it. It stacks for wildshaping, combines AC with familiar, gives channel plant/animal for messing with LoE/LoS more, and you can get double 9ths with a fairly logical entry.
    Soulcaster and Noctumancer are worthwhile without early entry as well.
    Then of course there are the fast-progression casting PrCs, like Ur-Priest and Sublime Chord; those can also make theurges work without early entry.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Unique abilities, case in point the swiftblade, to the best of my knowledge it is the only class that looses more than 3 CL that in CO is considered worthy (the class abilities are exelent and the chassis is quite good too)
    This. If you're going homebrew, you need a "versatile" and "powerful" PrC to lose CLs for. Swiftblade is a perfect PrC in many ways.

    Kinda like Archmage and Master of Many Forms (or Warshaper) in that actually. They're often used in CO, but are not clear-cut decisions above anything else.
    That is how a good PrC should be - great when used, but not necessary for "full power".
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    My favorite dual-progression PrC would have to be Ultimate Magus, due to the caster level trick to get 10/10 progression toward your primary class so you end up only losing one level of spellcasting. Beguiler 1/ Wizard 4/ UM 10 as an Illumian (Krau) with Practiced Spellcaster: Beguiler gets 10/10 UM toward Wizard, and can even take Able Learner to keep up those useful Beguiler skills. With Versatile Spellcaster it can spend two Beguiler spell slots of the same level to cast any spell it knows (including Wizard spells) of one level higher, so you'll get spontaneous access to every 1st-5th level Wizard spell you've ever learned. You end up at +4 caster level above your character level for your Wizard casting, and you get some nice alternate cost metamagic options as well. With Trapfinding and the Beguiler class skills this character is fully capable of filling the role of party trapmonkey without any additional effort. You'll still get access to most of the good Enchantment spells via your Beguiler casting and be able to dip Mindbender if you pick it as a prohibited school for Wizard. Definitely worth losing a level of spellcasting to get.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    War Weaver and Malconvoker were the classes I was seriously tempted to take, despite their losing a CL at L1.

    Jade Phoenix Mage and mostly full casting gish PrCs are worth it if that's your focus.

    Still, there's the matter of feasibility. If something's better than the lost caster level, it is awesome, pushing the limits of practical optimization. Otherwise, it's a waste and you're a sucker for taking it, mechanics-wise.

    My favorite use of Ultimate Magus is Wizard5/Ultimate Magus7/Full Casting1/Whatever. This gets me L9 spells at level 13, even before an Ur-Priest or Behold Mage would! Not that I've played one.
    Last edited by Endarire; 2010-10-30 at 02:38 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    My favorite use of Ultimate Magus is Wizard5/Ultimate Magus7/Full Casting1/Whatever. This gets me L9 spells at level 13, even before an Ur-Priest or Behold Mage would! Not that I've played one.
    how does wiz5/UM7/1/whatever gets l9 spells?
    beholder mage is an NPC class lol. uless probably you can convince your DM to allow you play a beholder...(no!PAO does not unlock this!)

    as for threat contribution i would like to add ordained champion , bone knight or both of them at the same time

    Also dreamcaster from ravenloft!
    Last edited by Raendyn; 2010-10-30 at 04:24 AM. Reason: dreamcaster

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Polymorph any object counts by RAW. I find it a clever spell use, but Beholder Mage probably won't happen for a PC.

    Ultimate Magus progresses spontaneous arcane classes and prepared arcane classes. A Wizard5 with Spontaneous Divination is both, meaning you get double benefit.
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    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Polymorph any object counts by RAW. I find it a clever spell use, but Beholder Mage probably won't happen for a PC.

    Ultimate Magus progresses spontaneous arcane classes and prepared arcane classes. A Wizard5 with Spontaneous Divination is both, meaning you get double benefit.
    PAO is a spell effect.Read DM's guide. you must qualify for PrC without any spell effect on you. even if it becomes permanent it is still a spell effect.so itdoes not help you...

    This UM "wanna be" trick you use... you understand that this is just in your mind ,isn't it?

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    @Raendyn
    You come across very confrontational, and you are wrong.
    You also happen to be wrong on both accounts.
    There are several ways to get spontaneous casting as a wizard, allowing you to qualify for both sides of UM with the same class.
    And the PAO trick is completely legal, if bordering TO. There is no rule like the one you cited in the DMG section about prestige classes.

    @Topic
    Well, almost all the worthwhile things were already mentioned. Legacy Champion from Weapons of Legacy might be another one, if used to progress a class that doesn't have a further progression, like Hellfire Warlock or War Weaver.
    And if you don't have any, losing doesn't hurt, either. I like the mage slayer feats on psy-warriors
    Last edited by Aharon; 2010-10-30 at 06:49 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Unique abilities, case in point the swiftblade, to the best of my knowledge it is the only class that looses more than 3 CL that in CO is considered worthy (the class abilities are exelent and the chassis is quite good too)
    Thirded. We could probably say that excellent Miss Chance + Extra Actions is equal to just a bit less than 3 caster levels (with the remaining made up of "undispellable/unsupressible and buffed up spell effect").
    Last edited by Roc Ness; 2010-10-30 at 07:04 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    Love. That is worth caster levels.
    maybe.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by kryan View Post
    A third "you're not getting better spells but you are casting the spells you know better" class is the War Weaver (Heroes of Battle). At 1st levle, the War Weaver gains the ability to cast buff spells on all of his allies at once as one action, but also loses a spellcasting level. Maybe worth it, maybe, but what comes next seals it: the War Weaver gets to store his spells ahead of time, so that up to four of them may be "released" as a move action, giving your entire party a ton of buffs as soon as you get your turn each battle. This is patently awesome.
    I agree. That is pretty awesome.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    I can't believe I forgot to mention gishes. Gishes can afford to lose spellcasting levels more than a pure arcanist. Eldritch Knight is not worth it, but Jade Phoenix Mage, Ruby Knight Vindicator, and Swiftblade definitely are. Swiftblade probably has the record for most spellcasting levels lost while still being worth it.

    I'm going to edit this in to my previous post.

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by kryan View Post
    I can't believe I forgot to mention gishes. Gishes can afford to lose spellcasting levels more than a pure arcanist. Eldritch Knight is not worth it, but Jade Phoenix Mage, Ruby Knight Vindicator, and Swiftblade definitely are. Swiftblade probably has the record for most spellcasting levels lost while still being worth it.

    I'm going to edit this in to my previous post.
    "Skill gishes" too - Arcane Trickster, Unseen Seer, Spellwarp Sniper etc. (You usually have to lose CL to enter)

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    Love. That is worth caster levels.
    There's also money. You don't need to be a spellcaster; you just need to be able to deliver the magic. Staffs, scrolls, and various wondrous items can produce high-level spell effects if you've got enough Use Magic Device skill. (Alternatively, a single level dip into Cloistered Cleric with Magic domain will let you use wands, staffs, and scrolls covering all Cleric and Wizard spells.)

    Class abilities that let you consistently gain more gp than other characters at the same level are how you get there. Spellcasters need 8 hours of rest and 1 hour of preparation time every single day. If you're an Elven Rogue you need 4 hours of trance, leaving 5 extra hours daily in which to profit. 35 hours a week is basically time to earn a full extra income. You could burgle, bodyguard, or spy. Add Leadership and run your own commercial enterprise. Put the extra money into magical gear and consumables and you've got an alternate way to deliver spell power when you need it. Plus you can be more selective of the spells you acquire, without limit to any one class list.

    Skills are also (sometimes, anyway) better than spellcasting levels. I've already mentioned Use Magic Device, which will let you access spells from all classes. That's not the most useful skill, though. Spellcasters have to work very hard to avoid spells like True Seeing and Scrying. But a superior Hide check, and a way to Hide in Plain Sight pretty much anywhere, will foil both of these. Being hidden will also foil every single targeted spell in D&D (nearly 2000 spells).

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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Being hidden will also foil every single targeted spell in D&D (nearly 2000 spells).
    Yes, but remember that AoE's mean that a mage only really needs to your general position.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Spellcasters have to work very hard to avoid spells like True Seeing and Scrying. But a superior Hide check, and a way to Hide in Plain Sight pretty much anywhere, will foil both of these. Being hidden will also foil every single targeted spell in D&D (nearly 2000 spells).
    But you have the feat tax of Darkstalker if you ever want to sneak up on a dragon, and any caster with a level of Mindbender will know where you are anyway. Granted, in this case the caster has to spend a feat as well.

    Which makes me think that Mindbender should probably not advance caster level for the first level, but should on other levels.
    Last edited by ArcanistSupreme; 2010-10-30 at 11:17 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.P] What is worth losing a caster level for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raendyn View Post
    as for threat contribution i would like to add ordained champion , bone knight or both of them at the same time
    Knight of the Raven (Expedition to Castle Ravenloft) is a decent option instead of Bone Knight if you want to channel positive energy. The class features aren't hugely strong, but they are quite cool.
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