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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Low Saves on a Wizard

    I'm building a level 16 Wizard (Actually Wiz/Mage of the Arcane Order/Master Specialist/Archmage) and I've finally managed to choose all the equipment and spells needed. I'm rather satisfied with my build but there is one thing I'm not happy about:

    At level 16, my Wizard only has a Fort +11 Ref +8 Will +16, and his AC is around a 17. This seems extremely low for his level and I'm wondering if I did something terribly wrong. Here is his build:

    Level 16 CN Human Wizard 5/Mage of the Arcane Order 7/Master Specialist3/Archmage 1

    Str 8
    Dex 14
    Con 16 -> 20 (with items)
    Int 22 -> 28 (with items) [All Stat Upgrades went here]
    Wis 8
    Cha 14

    Fort: +11 Ref: +8 Will: +16
    AC: 17 FF: 15 Touch: 12

    Items (had WBL for a 16 level character)
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    Headband of Conscious Effort of Intellect +6
    Amulet of Second Chances, Health +4
    +1 Deathward, Twilight Mithral Chain Shirt
    Cloak of Displacement, Minor
    Ring of Enduring Arcana
    Ring of Freedom of Movement
    Boots of Temporal Acceleration
    Vest of Resistance +3
    Healing Belt

    Heward's Handy Haversack
    Lesser Rod of Metamagic-Extend
    Lesser Rod of Metamagic - Quicken
    Heward's Fortifying Bedroll
    Boccob's Blessed Book
    Random assortment of mundane items, totaling to 290 gp.


    Is there anything I can change to shore up my defenses? Or is it fine the way it is?
    Last edited by JKTrickster; 2011-02-26 at 11:47 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    pinballchico's Avatar

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    The feat "insightful Reflexes" (I'm pretty sure that's what its called) will let you add INT to reflex saves instead of DEX...probably a big jump here
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    If you have access to the superior resistance spell, you can probably skip the vest of resistance. This spell grants +6 resistance bonus to all saves and lasts all day.

    Steadfast determination would let you use con for will saves instead of wis, you are easily looking at +6will.

    You can also use heroics to nab martial study for those diamond mind maneuvers (tome of battle) which let you make a con check in place of fort/reflex or will save.

    Though at this lv, you are looking more at blanket immunities and less of saves. For example, mindblank does away with the need to make a will save (more or less).

    For AC, use spells which negate hits altogether, such as greater mirror image+displacement.
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Suggestion: Resistance, Superior is a 6th level spell that gives +6 saves (Resistance bonus) for 24 hours.

    Use it instead of your vest, or keep the vest around as backup. They don't stack.

    I'll keep poking around, may come back with more.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Greater Heroism grants (amongst other things) +4 morale bonus to saves, and for when you really need high saves, Protection From spells, +8 resistance bonus (stacks with GH), costs 500gp to cast though.
    Total +12 to saves. Costs a 6th and an 8th level spell slot.
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    What is your specialization? What feats do you have? What is your alignment?

    EDIT: A Spellstrike weapon (Magic Item Compendium) with Greater Magic Weapon on it can provide a very easy way to boost your saves regardless of the above factors.
    Last edited by Ernir; 2011-02-26 at 09:13 AM.
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    The Arctic template in Dragon #306 will give you +2 CON and -2 CHA and a couple other kind of useless little things with no level adjustment.
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Quote Originally Posted by [CLASSIFIED] View Post
    The Arctic template in Dragon #306 will give you +2 CON and -2 CHA and a couple other kind of useless little things with no level adjustment.
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    You didn't invest in any AC items or save-boosters beyond the very basic, and your save booster is below the standard for your level (level 16 wealth can easily cover a +5 Resistance item.) Of course you have low AC and saves- unless you build specifically for them, those numbers mostly come from gear, and you chose not to get that gear.

    Spells to think about:
    Superior Resistance (+6 Res to saves, 24 hour duration)
    Elemental Body (immune to poison, paralysis, stunning, critical hits, perfect Fly speed if you choose Air, 1 hour/level)
    Greater Mirror Image (regenerative Mirror Images, Immediate action cast)
    Greater Mage Armor (+6 Armor bonus, hour/level; still won't make a real difference, but it's 1 better than your shirt and it's a very small cost at your level.)
    Heart of Water (can be discharged as an Immediate action to get Freedom of Movement, some other minor benefits. 1 hour/level; depending on how paranoid you are about FoM effects, you may be able to use this instead of paying for the Ring.)

    Items:
    A +1 Defending Spellstriking weapon with Greater Magic Weapon, allowing you to allocate the bonus to either AC or saves.
    Luckstone- +1 luck bonus to saves/skill checks/ability checks. Stacks with pretty much everything, 20k.
    Pale Green Ioun Stone- +1 competence bonus to saves/attacks/skill/ability. Again, stacks with nearly everything. 30k (The luckstone/ioun stone combo is relatively expensive if used just as a save booster, but it's pretty good value if you need some of the other categories boosted as well.)
    Edit:
    +1 Mithril Buckler with desired properties and a Lesser Crystal of Arrow Deflection, used instead of the chain shirt. Greater Mage Armor covers the Armor bonus, a Mithril Buckler has no penalties already so you save a +equivalent on Twilight, the Crystal gives you a very cheap extra 5 AC against ranged attacks. Wear one anyway even if you keep the armor- it's about as cheap as you're going to find a +1 AC, it doesn't interfere with any of your abilities, and it provides another target for Magic Vestments if you have somebody around who can cast that for you.
    Last edited by tyckspoon; 2011-02-26 at 11:13 AM.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    I'm Conjuration Focused Specialist if that helps.

    Would you recommend me dropping some of my items and going for more saves/AC boosters? Any items that you would recommend me dropping?

    I think I'll drop the Chain Shirt and the Vest - that nets me another 19k to spend on various items to help myself out. I think I'll pick up the Superior Resistance spell and the buckler maybe, but what else should I focus on?

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    I would actually go the opposite direction. Drop EVERYTHING, then start purchasing defensive gear until you're satisfied with your AC and saves. Then purchase items that grant blanket immunities. Finally, spend the remainder on items that enhance your spellcasting or give you more spell slots.

    Buy up the + on that mithril buckler. AC gained from enhancement bonuses to your shield is some of the cheapest magic AC you can buy. Get yourself a deflection bonus to AC. You can use a ring of protection if nothing better comes to mind.

    For me, the star defensive spells are:
    • stone body or elemental body: immune to most effects requiring a Fort save
    • freedom of movement or heart of water: immune to most effects other than damage that require a Reflex save
    • mind blank: immune to most effects requiring a Will save
    • superior resistance: best improvement to all saves
    • resist energy 30 (all): makes Reflex saves against damage less important
    • greater mage armor: single best long-duration AC boost you can get
    • greater mirror image: single best miss chance you can get
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-02-26 at 12:27 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    But wouldn't having all those make me drop my defensive gear anyway? E.g. getting superior resistance means no need for a vest/cloak of resistance at all.

    Or is it that type of thinking that got me here in the first place

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Eck, darn keyboard entering only what I type, and not what I think. We've got to get some telepathic keyboards around here.

    A better process might be something like this:

    1. Select spells that grant defensive buffs
    2. Select spells that grant immunities
    3. Select gear that grants defensive buffs
    4. Select gear that grants immunities
    5. Select gear that grants unique abilities not reproduceable through spells (e.g. boccob's blessed book, heward's handy haversack)
    6. Select gear that augments spellcasting or grants extra spell slots
    7. Select any other gear


    In general, never pay gold for anything you can get through a spell. Items that reproduce spells are generally extremely inefficient, although exceptions to the rule do exist.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-02-26 at 01:14 PM.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    I do need a better way for Freedom of Movement though (Heart of Water kind of does it, but I'm not sure if that's enough).

    In that case it would be grabbing all the nice defensive spells everyone mentioned, than NOT dropping the armor, grabbing the buckler, and then move onto other items? I think with Superior Resistance and the various other spells I don't need to worry about anything on the saves side.

    I should probably drop those boots. They're rather expensive for an ability I'll get next level anyway....

    EDIT: Also I don't think I'll have to worry about extra spell slots. I get 16 extra "spell levels" to use however I see fit (e.g. 2 8th level spells to 16 1st level spells). I might need a better boost to my caster level, but I'm more worried about my defenses for now.

    EDIT: Where is the Resist Energy 30 (all) spell located?
    Last edited by JKTrickster; 2011-02-26 at 01:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Personally, I'd lean against the armor, but that deathward benefit is tasty. Depending on a variety of factors, you could go either way. For example, if you have a low initiative, and if you don't have access to spells like ruin delver's fortune, celerity, contingency, wings of cover, and swift etherealness, your need for death ward goes up because your ability to layer defenses on top of one another is limited.

    Edit: Resist energy 30 (all) is obtained by casting resist energy on yourself five times, selecting a different energy type each time. It is spell-slot intensive. If you have insufficient spell slots, you can grant yourself resistance to only those energy types you expect your opponents to use, or you can use pearls of power to gain additional 2nd-level slots. If you expect a cleric in your party, you can encourage the cleric to cast mass resist energy (which is only a 3rd-level spell for clerics) a couple of times, which reduce the number of energy types that you need to personally protect yourself from.

    Edit: my general philosophy is to spend 50-60% of my spell slots on defense and self-protection. Most high-level casters could never hope to cast all of their spells per day during their daily encounters, so it makes sense to turn those unused spell slots to good use by using them to cast long-duration buffs.

    Moreover, as a battlefield controller, you have the luxury of often being able to solve an encounter with one or two spells, so there's little need for a large offensive spell load. Plus, as you mentioned, you seem to have some nice bonus spell perks.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-02-26 at 01:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    I would suggest trying to retrain your first level only feat for the Keen Intellect feat from Dragon Magazine 318. With the feat, you may use your Intelligence modifier instead of your Wisdom modifier for Will saves, as well as Heal, Sense Motive, Spot and Survivial checks.

    Unless of course you took Able Learner at first level, in which case messing with skill ranks might be bothersome.

    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////

    You should also look at using Charcater Traits to balance out your saves. The most you need for this is three.

    Hardy = +1 Fortitude saves & -1 Reflex saves
    Passionate = +1 Fortitude saves & -1 Will Saves

    Detached = +1 Will saves & -1 Reflex saves
    Plucky = +1 Will saves & -1 Fortitude saves

    Nervous* = +1 Reflex saves & -1 Will Saves
    Delicate* = +1 Reflex saves & -1 Fortitude saves

    *From Legends of the Twins

    You could gain the Iron Will feat from the Otyugh Hole (Complete Scoundrel 151) and then try getting the Hardy, Nervous traits (and possibly the Passionate trait) to get +1 to Fortitude and Reflex Saves and -2 to Will saves which is balanced out by the feat.
    Last edited by Andion Isurand; 2011-02-26 at 01:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Another option is you can add the greater agility (+5 reflex) property to a chest piece for 8k. This is out of the MIC. It also has lesser versions (+1 for 500, +3 for 4k) and a similar setup for Fort and Will saves at the same price. The Will save enchantment goes on the head piece though.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    That wouldn't work since Superior Resistance grants the same type of bonus, but at a +6 to all saves. So I think I'll grab that instead.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions? I ended up keeping the armor, buying the shield, and dropping the vests, boots, and Ring for FoM. So now I have a good 63k worth of gold left over. What should I do with it?

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    If you can afford a feat, martial study any of the diamond mind counters to use a concentration check for a save. I assume you've maxed out concentration (and skill-boost items on top of that are cheap). It's only 1/encounter, but that's often enough.

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Put +1 Defending Armor Spikes on your armor, and use Greater Magic Weapon on them and always have the Enhancement bonus contributing to AC. Get a light shield instead of a buckler, and make it also a +1 Defending weapon (magic weapon costs on a shield are tracked separately from magic armor costs on it, neither affects the other), and again use GMW and put it toward AC. Wear a gauntlet on your shield hand, make it +1 Defending, you should see where this is going.
    Last edited by Biffoniacus_Furiou; 2011-02-26 at 03:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Quote Originally Posted by JKTrickster View Post
    That wouldn't work since Superior Resistance grants the same type of bonus, but at a +6 to all saves. So I think I'll grab that instead.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions? I ended up keeping the armor, buying the shield, and dropping the vests, boots, and Ring for FoM. So now I have a good 63k worth of gold left over. What should I do with it?
    Drop the Healing Belt for a Belt of Battle (12k). Get a +1 Eager Defending/+1 Warning Spellstrike quarterstaff (36.6k), or a weapon or shield spikes with one set of the enhancements and armor spikes with the other . Get a lesser Metamagic Rod of Chaining.

    Use the chaining rod to augment both ends of the quarterstaff, and transfer the enhancement bonuses to your saves and to your AC.

    You now have +9 to your Initiative, +4 AC, +4 on saves vs. spells, can take the extra actions provided by the Belt of Battle, and the Fighter loves you because you shared the Greater Magic Weapon with him too. Cost: 61.85k GP (if you sold the healing belt and used a quarterstaff), one third-level spell slot for Greater Magic Weapon.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    I'm confused but how are you putting those bonuses to AC?

    EDIT: Nevermind, missed the Defending enchantment
    Last edited by JKTrickster; 2011-02-26 at 04:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Low Saves on a Wizard

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    Drop the Healing Belt for a Belt of Battle (12k). Get a +1 Eager Defending/+1 Warning Spellstrike quarterstaff (36.6k), or a weapon or shield spikes with one set of the enhancements and armor spikes with the other . Get a lesser Metamagic Rod of Chaining.

    Use the chaining rod to augment both ends of the quarterstaff, and transfer the enhancement bonuses to your saves and to your AC.

    You now have +9 to your Initiative, +4 AC, +4 on saves vs. spells, can take the extra actions provided by the Belt of Battle, and the Fighter loves you because you shared the Greater Magic Weapon with him too. Cost: 61.85k GP (if you sold the healing belt and used a quarterstaff), one third-level spell slot for Greater Magic Weapon.
    Legion's Greater Magic Weapon (MoE) is also an alternative if you don't have the rod.

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