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    Default Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    During my time on the forums, I've heard the following (possibly contentious) advice given out many times:

    1) Because of the way beguilers, warmages, and dread necromancers learn their spells (they know every spell on their list), Versatile Spellcaster lets them cast spells one level higher than they can normally access.

    2) Because of the vagueness of Versatile Spellcaster's text, a multiclass spontaneous caster X/any other caster Y can sacrifice two spells from their X repertoire to cast a spell from their Y repertoire, allowing a sorcerer/wizard to cast any spell from his spellbook (because a wizard's spells "known" are those in his spellbook) or a sorcerer 3/beguiler 3 to sacrifice 2 1st level sorcerer spells to cast a 2nd-level beguiler spell (because as in part 1 above, he "knows" 2nd level beguiler spells already).

    My first question is how airtight those two points are by RAW. I've seen some debate on the first point, mostly about when exactly a full-list caster gains access to each level of spells, and less debate on the second, and wanted to see what the Playground thinks about that.

    My second question: If we make the assumption that those two points are correct, that you can sac spells from one class to cast off another list and that the full-list casters can cast spells from levels they don't have access to yet, would it be possible to build a, say, beguiler 9/warmage 1/dread necromancer 1 and use Versatile Spellcaster to sacrifice beguiler spell slots to cast up to level 5 warmage and dread necromancer spells? It seems shaky to me, and quite a bit cheesy, but it seems to follow from the initial two premises.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2010-11-18 at 04:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    As a DM I wouldn't allow either of those to work.

    1) Though you know the spells, you can't actually cast those spells yet. Allowing that feat to grant you quicker spell-level access is definitely going against RAI, and possibly the RAW. Don't know exactly as I'm AFB.

    2) So...allowing a Wizard to spontaneously cast from their spellbook? Yeah, that's also against the RAI of the feat.

    Again, can't say for RAW, but I wouldn't allow either of these tricks.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2010-11-18 at 04:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    I'm looking for an opinion from a rules perspective, not a "what would I allow" perspective, as the latter will differ and wouldn't necessarily influence the DM for whose game I'd be making a character using these interpretations. For instance, Alacritous Cogitation and Uncanny Forethought let you spontaneously cast from a spellbook, so letting Versatile Spellcaster do that with two level X-1 prepared slots instead of one level X slot left open isn't that egregious. Thanks for the input, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    The wording of the feat says you can sacrifice spells to cast any spell that you know. There's a fairly solid RAW argument that you do not, in fact, know any spells of higher level than you can actually cast, even though they are on your class list for future use.

    I've also seen it argued that by RAW for the Versatile Spellcaster trick to allow a 1st level Beguiler to cast 2nd level Beguiler spells, you need to throw Heighten Spell into the mix.

    It's all a little murky, and not particularly clear cut. Even if it can be wrangled by RAW, it's going to be one of those TO tricks that almost no DM is going to allow in an actual game.

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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Okay, back at my books. Doesn't look like it works for the Beguiler in terms of RAW.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB II, pg6
    Spells:A beguiler casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the beguiler spell list on page 11. When you gain access to a new level of spells, you automatically know all the spells for that level on the beguiler spell list. You can cast any spell you know without preparing it ahead of time. Essentially, your spell list is the same as your spells known list.
    I figure that's the relevant text. The second bolded part supports your idea, but the first bolded part works against it. If you are a 6th level beguiler you haven't gained access to 4th level spells and thus you haven't learned all the spells for that level. So until you actually gain access to that higher level of spells you do not know them.

    How's that sound?
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    For reference, here's the relevant text of Versatile Spellcaster:
    You can use two spell slots of the same level to cast a spell you know that is one level higher. For example, a sorcerer with this feat can expend two 2nd-level spell slots to cast any 3rd-level spell he knows.

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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Sounds good, guys; didn't think it would work, but it was a nice thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane
    I've also seen it argued that by RAW for the Versatile Spellcaster trick to allow a 1st level Beguiler to cast 2nd level Beguiler spells, you need to throw Heighten Spell into the mix.
    If a beguiler 1 had Versatile Spellcaster and Heighten Spell, would you let them cast a 2nd level beguiler spell? That is, since you can cast actual 2nd level spells that way, would you consider that "gaining access"? Same question to Chambers, if you don't mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    If a beguiler 1 had Versatile Spellcaster and Heighten Spell, would you let them cast a 2nd level beguiler spell? That is, since you can cast actual 2nd level spells that way, would you consider that "gaining access"? Same question to Chambers, if you don't mind.
    Nope. Versatile Spellcaster might in effect give you the 2nd level spell slot, but you still don't actually know any 2nd level spells.

    Now, I might allow a 1st level Beguiler to cast a Heightened 1st level spell, using Versatile Spellcaster to give you the 2nd level spell slot. This might be useful if you wanted a longer duration for a summoned creature, or just a longer duration in general. Used in this way, I think it'd be a neat thing to do - but as a DM I'd be wary of any abuses and wouldn't allow this trick to qualify as any kind of early entry method.
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    Now, I might allow a 1st level Beguiler to cast a Heightened 1st level spell, using Versatile Spellcaster to give you the 2nd level spell slot. This might be useful if you wanted a longer duration for a summoned creature, or just a longer duration in general. Used in this way, I think it'd be a neat thing to do - but as a DM I'd be wary of any abuses and wouldn't allow this trick to qualify as any kind of early entry method.
    Aside from the fact that the spell level doesn't affect duration, caster level does (), why wouldn't you allow it for early entry? It's an actual 2nd level spell, just like if a sorcerer or any other non-full-list spontaneous caster used it with Heighten. I think Heighten letting you qualify for level X spells because it makes the spell actually become a spell of that level is fairly watertight; I'm not seeing why that wouldn't count in your view.

    Not saying you're wrong about it, just trying to see where you're coming from because the 2nd-level-beguiler-spell scenario works on similar reasoning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Just ask your DM; as you pointed out in the third post, what we think really doesn't matter.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Aside from the fact that the spell level doesn't affect duration, caster level does (), why wouldn't you allow it for early entry? It's an actual 2nd level spell, just like if a sorcerer or any other non-full-list spontaneous caster used it with Heighten. I think Heighten letting you qualify for level X spells because it makes the spell actually become a spell of that level is fairly watertight; I'm not seeing why that wouldn't count in your view.

    Not saying you're wrong about it, just trying to see where you're coming from because the 2nd-level-beguiler-spell scenario works on similar reasoning.
    Yeah, I just realized what I had written and did a facepalm. Anyway...

    As for the early entry stuff - it's both a personal preference and because I don't think it works according to RAW (for this situation). I would've allowed the Heighten Spell + Versatile Spellcaster for a boosted 1st level spell because that would be a cool thing for a character to do - but the same 1st level beguiler still doesn't know any 2nd level spells - he's just casting a 1st level spell as a 2nd level spell.

    It's a wonky area of the rules and I'm not a fan of Heighten / Precocious Apprentice type early entry stuff in general, though I think the consensus on the RAW of the PA is that it works.

    ---

    Edit:

    I don't like the spellcasting early entry because casters already have the nicest things in the game and giving them early access to the more powerful nice things does not nice things to the fragile game balance.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2010-11-18 at 08:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Just ask your DM; as you pointed out in the third post, what we think really doesn't matter.
    He generally runs things by RAW as much as he can; I asked him what he thought, he said "What do the rules say?", I said it was vague, he said to ask the interwebz. Plus, the RAW would be good to know for future characters with different DMs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I don't like the spellcasting early entry because casters already have the nicest things in the game and giving them early access to the more powerful nice things does not nice things to the fragile game balance.
    Granted, but "It doesn't work" and "Wizards don't need the help" are phantom steeds of entirely different colors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    I disagree with chambers, on the issue of list-spellcasters not getting access to higher level spells, using Versatile Spellcaster.

    By my reading it grants you a 2nd level slot (for the sake of my example), a beguiler automatically knows his spell list, the moment they would be able to cast them (normally level 4); but with Versatile spellcaster they get a second level slot ergo they are able to cast a second level spell-> they know all second level spells.

    This is my personal interpretation, and reading might be against the probable RAI, but RAW (to me at least) it works.

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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    First of all, according to the first result in this search, which no longer exists and sadly is not available in a cached link, explains that the official opinion on Versatile Spellcaster is that it can indeed allow a character to cast spells of higher level than they would otherwise have access to. The example given at the no-longer-existent link is of a 1st level Sorcerer spending two 1st level spell slots to cast an Extended version of a 1st level spell. He essentially is casting what may as well be a 2nd level spell via this feat, before he gains access to 2nd level spell slots. I have no idea when the "Ask Wizards" archive was taken down, or why it's not saved anywhere, but I've referenced this article before with regards to this type of discussion.

    1) It comes down to theoretically capable vs practically capable. A Wizard 5 gains 3rd level spell slots, but if the new spells he learns at that level are only 2nd level and lower, he cannot practically cast 3rd level spells despite being able to theoretically cast them. Similarly, a Wizard 5/ PrC X in which the PrC has the ability to cast 3rd level spells as a prerequisite, uses up all of his 3rd level and higher spells for the day. He can no longer practically meet that PrC's prerequisites that day, but he does not lose access to its class features because theoretically, if that character was allowed to rest and prepare his spells for the next day, he would once again meet that prerequisite, though none of that is guaranteed to happen. That character may never again be able to demonstrate his ability to meet that PrC's prerequisites, but he does not lose access to its class features due to not being practically capable of doing so, because he is still theoretically capable of meeting those prerequisites.

    Similarly, we have the following: "When you gain access to a new level of spells, you automatically know the spells for that level on the beguiler's spell list." Some will say that Versatile Spellcaster alone does not accomplish this, because you cannot use the feat to cast a spell of that level unless you already know a spell of that level. This is a practical capability rather than a theoretical capability, it is no different from the Wizard 5 who does not learn any 3rd level spells. Similarly, one a Beguiler gains spell slots of the next level, he does not yet know any spells of that level and thus does not yet have access to that level of spells due to an identical inability to cast them, thus he will never learn any more spells above 1st level unless he takes Heighten Spell.

    RAW I would say that yes, you can indeed gain access to the next higher level of spells via this feat. As far as game balance goes, you have a class which normally is a level behind on access to the next level of spells, and this switches them to being one level ahead on access to the next level of spells. This is hardly game breaking. That they have to spend two of their current highest level spell slots just to cast one spell of the next higher level means that at the odd numbered levels, a cleric or specialist wizard actually has more resources and access to the exact same level of spells. On the even numbered levels, Versatile Spellcaster puts them at a slight advantage, on the odd numbered levels they have equal spell levels, fewer resources, but better versatility. It moves the classes up one tier IMO, which should not cause any problems if your party is all at about the same power level.

    2) The example given in Versatile Spellcaster specifically says that, "a sorcerer with this feat can expend two 2nd-level spell slots to cast any 3rd-level spell he knows." If that example character is a Cleric 5/ Sorcerer 4, he could expend two 2nd-level spell slots to cast Remove Disease. It is not specified at what level a Cleric, Druid, Ranger, Paladin, etc. learns a given level of spells from their class list, but the liberal presumption is that they automatically know their entire class spell list (once they hit 4th level in the case of a Ranger or Paladin).

    Whenever I make a Druid character I always include a +1 Competence bonus on Knowledge: Nature checks, a +1 Competence bonus on Spot checks, and resistance to fire 3, via knowledge of the spells Call of the Twilight Defender, Vision of the Omniscient Eye, and Haze of Smoldering Stone, all from Dragon Magic. The character can cast spells from that class spell list, and nothing says the character lacks knowledge of any level of those spells at any time. It must be presumed that characters of such classes must automatically know every spell on their class list, since you can only cast spells that you know.

    Even if characters of those classes only know the spells of whatever levels they can cast, Versatile Spellcaster would enable them to cast and thus know a given level of spells. Versatile Spellcaster grants versatility in both use of spell slots for what level of spells they can cast, and what list those spell slots can be used to cast from. The name of the feat is versatility, and that is exactly what it gives you.

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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    Dusk Eclipse/Biffoniacus_Furiou

    Nope.

    By my reading it grants you a 2nd level slot (for the sake of my example), a beguiler automatically knows his spell list, the moment they would be able to cast them (normally level 4); but with Versatile spellcaster they get a second level slot ergo they are able to cast a second level spell-> they know all second level spells.
    There's an important distinction here and it's probably one of the main causes of our disagreement. It seems you are arguing that the Beguiler gains knowledge of his next level of spells as soon as he is able to cast a spell of that level. Is that a correct summation of your position? If that were true, then Versatile Spellcaster might allow a 1st level Beguiler to cast an actual 2nd level spell, going with the game rules check: (Due to VS I can cast a 2nd level spell; I can cast a 2nd level spell so now I know all the spells of my level)

    There's a couple problems though. You are saying that because the feat allows the Beguiler to cast a 2nd level spell he knows, this triggers the line in PHB II "When you gain access to a new level of spell..." and thus the Beguiler knows all the 2nd level spells and can cast one. I'm saying that the feat does not trigger that line. The feat does not say that you gain new knowledge of spells, or gain new spells known. It specifically allows you to cast a higher level spell that you know.

    The reason the 1st level Beguiler can't cast that 2nd level spell is because he doesn't know any. While a 20th level Beguiler has all the spells on the spell list as his spells known, the 1st level Beguiler only has the 1st level spells as his spells known. It is clear in the text that he does not know the other spells. VS requires that the character know the spell he is going to cast. Since VS does not trigger the line in PHB II, and thereby doesn't grant knowledge of the next level of spells, the 1st level Beguiler doesn't know any 2nd level spells that he could cast using the feat.


    Similarly, we have the following: "When you gain access to a new level of spells, you automatically know the spells for that level on the beguiler's spell list." Some will say that Versatile Spellcaster alone does not accomplish this, because you cannot use the feat to cast a spell of that level unless you already know a spell of that level. This is a practical capability rather than a theoretical capability, it is no different from the Wizard 5 who does not learn any 3rd level spells. Similarly, one a Beguiler gains spell slots of the next level, he does not yet know any spells of that level and thus does not yet have access to that level of spells due to an identical inability to cast them, thus he will never learn any more spells above 1st level unless he takes Heighten Spell.
    Bold Part
    No, there is a big difference. A 5th level Wizard who did not learn any 3rd level spells, instead choosing to learn more 1st or 2nd level spells, still has 3rd level spell slots. He can use them to cast meta-magicked versions of his lower level spells.

    Italicized Part
    Whut? It specifically states that when the Beguiler gains access to a new level of spells he automatically knows all the spells for that spell level on the Beguiler's spell list. What you said (the part I italicized) is pretty blatantly wrong.
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    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    I can't speak for beguilers. However, I have a pretty solid RAW argument for warmages being able to use VS to cast a spell above their highest spell level, AND legitimately use it for early entry into a PrC. If you're not in a reading mood, the points are neatly condensed (and better organized) at the bottom of this post.

    First, we are agreed that VS allows you to cast such a spell so long as it is a spell you /know/. Such is the wording of the description, and a 3.5 D&D FAQ published on wizards.com, has helpfully provided an example:

    Q: Can a sorcerer combine Versatile Spellcasting with a metamagic feat to cast a spell whose level is higher than the level of spells he’d normally be able to cast?

    A: This is possible. For example, a 1st-level sorcerer using the Versatile Spellcaster feat can give up two 1st-level spells to cast extended shield.
    So, it is possible for a spontaneous caster to use VS to cast a spell one level higher than she is normally able to, as long as she knows the spell.

    The opposition may point out that a regular 1st-level sorceress can use VS cast extended shield (a modified 1st-level spell she knows) but not a scorching ray (a 2nd-level spell she does not yet know, even if it's on her class spell list) - because VS only applies to spells already known to the caster. Casting a modified 2nd-level spell is not the same as having the ability to cast a 3rd-level spell, and so disqualifies VS for early entry. I have no strong RAW argument against that.

    However, warmages CAN use VS to cast a non-modified spell normally too high level for them to cast. Unlike sorcerers, warmages already know all the spells on their spell list. A warmage's class spell list is her spells known list.

    It is stated multiple times that a warmage knows every spell on her spell list, in words not used to describe beguilers:

    ... warmages are forced to... drill constantly with spells, most of which are too high in level to be cast by the student. This vigorous drilling instills the spells in a warmage’s unconscious mind, so... later in life, those spells become available for his use without his needing a spellbook.
    "Warmages access their magic peculiarly... A warmage selects his spells from a limited pool of knowledge that rarely changes. Early in their difficult training, warmages instill deep within themselves the knowledge of all the spells they will ever need." - CAr, p.11
    From the above, we can see that:

    1) Warmages learned magic very differently from typical spontaneous casters, in a way consistent with them having knowledge of spells they cannot yet cast.
    2) A warmage's knowledge of spells rarely increases (change), which naturally leads us to conclude...
    3) A warmage knows all the spells on her future spell list (all the spells she will ever need).

    In opposition, I can only argue that "having knowledge of a spell" is not "knowing a spell," but it's a meaningless argument if I don't have an RAW source stating how "having knowledge of a spell" is not just "knowing a spell" in passive voice. I can try to point out how warmages do need to prepare their spells each day by calling up "the knowledge from their unconscious minds" every day (CAr p.11) just as wizards need to study spell books every day - so maybe they don't consciously know their spells... Except wizards can only prepare spells they know in this comparable daily routine, which proves the opposite point.

    The D&D FAQ 3.5 published on wizards.com also took the pains to point out that their reason for why warmages can't benefit from the Extra Spell feat is because warmages already know all the spells they could learn from their class spell list. I can think of other reasons, but this is the one they picked.

    Q: Can the warmage (CAr) benefit from the Extra Spell feat?

    A: No... Since the warmage already knows all the spells on his class spell list, this feat has no effect. - wizards.com
    The heated arguing makes even less sense when we consider that wizards are never limited from knowing spells that too high-leveled for them to have a spell slot for, so there is no fundamental reason why it can't be done. Knowing a spell does not equal the ability to cast a spell, and VS' early entry trick would only be "early entry" for warmages who are already held back on spell progression and limited to mostly blasting damage. In fact, one might consider that warmages are only able to know all their spells due to their narrow, limited nature. Using VS to turn what is normally a special disadvantage into a special advantage is hardly cheap when amply supported by RAW - I should call it cheap to reject it out of hand with only ambiguous RAI reservations.

    To summarize:

    1. There is no universal rule stating that lower level characters cannot know higher level spells. They tend to be specific to how the spellcasting class is characterized in its magical studies (such as spontaneous casters who "intuit" their spell knowledge).

    2. This means it's possible for classes that learn differently to know spells of a higher level than they normally have spell slots for. (Even if they can't prepare these known spells due to a lack of appropriate spell slots)

    3. Through repeated drilling of a narrow range of spells too high for them to cast, a process peculiar to other spellcasters (CAr p.11), warmages know all the spells from their spell lists from early training, and is able to prepare them entirely from memory. This is amply supported by WotC sources.

    4. VS provides the appropriate spell slot with which warmages may prepare the known spells, granting them the ability to cast (real, un-modified) spells one-level higher than warmages normally can.

    6. VS provides warmages with an early entry method into PrCs requiring the ability to cast spells of a certain level.

    7. The above is not necessarily true for spontaneous casters who learn magic differently from warmages. It is built upon a specific disadvantage suffered by warmages, which balances the entry method.

    To ACTUALLY summarize:

    1. Warmages know all their spells of every level from 1st level through drilling from a narrow pool of magic, so says RAW.

    2. VS allows a 1st level warmage the ability to cast 2nd-level spells on their spell list. Because they know it, as they know all their spells.

    3. VS fulfills PrC prereqs for warmages. Fair shake since it's for the very reason they're not powerful/versatile spellcasters.

    4. I make no other conclusions as to VS' viability to grant higher-level spell-casting for any other class.


    What do you think? Compelling or no? Give me your thoughts.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    ganiseville GA
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    Male

    Default Re: Beguiler, Warmage, and Versatile Spellcaster

    I think it is worth noteing that RAW versitile spellcaster does not grant a higher slot, just the ability to cast a spell with two lower slots. This effects several things. First you can't double trade to spend 4 slots to cast a level+2 spell. Second, you don't gain a slot of a higher level even temporarily so you may or may not trigger the know all spells you can cast reading.

    I personaly allow a caster who casts from a fixed list with all spells known to cast spells from a higher level. Casters who cast from preperation or picked lists (like sorcerers) are out of luck as they don't know higher level spells.

    And you will very rapidly go to far if you let somebody use slots from one class to cast spells from another. Then you have a sorrcerer 19 / wizard 1 who uses his spellbook to store spells know to spontaniously cast as he can "know" all the spells he can get his hands on as scrolls regardless of level.

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