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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default The Stutter caster

    The Stutter can make essentially any L4- spell (save yes, SR Yes, attack yes) spell hit. This build shares similarity in goals with the mailman, but is radically more comprehensive, offering many different tactics than direct damage.

    Further discussion on minmaxboards.

    Core elements:
    Archivist from Heroes of Horror
    Twin Spell from Complete Arcane
    Supernatural Spell from Dweomer Keeper
    Arcane Thesis from PHBII
    Alternate Source Spell from Dragon 325
    Easy Metamagic from Dragon 325

    The baseline build uses nothing setting specific, and no flaws to increase feats.

    Assumptions:
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    I assume that all arcane spells can be had in divine variants using Alternate Source Spell and (if necessary) Arcane Preparation.

    I assume a prestige class with a domain requirement can be qualified for using the Substitute Domain spell.

    I assume nightsticks don't stack, because that makes persistomancy too easy.

    I assume that you can Wish for a spell with metamagic at the adjusted metamagic level.

    I assume Anyspell can be memorized like any domain spell by an archivist, but when cast it allows storing an L2- arcane spell only in a 3rd level domain slot. I assume that the 1 spell slot/level allowed for domain spells by a prepared caster acquiring a domain counts as a domain slot.

    I assume that a sorcerer spell scribed as a divine spell using Alternate Source Spell and Arcane Preparation then learned by an Archivist remains a Sorcerer spell for the purpose of casting via Arcane Fusion.


    An example build is:
    LG Human Archivist 3/Church Inquisitor 2/Dweomer Keeper 3/Sacred Exorcist 1/Dk 1/Contemplative 1/Lore master 1/DK 6/Human Paragon 2

    For a 32 point buy, I'd go with:
    8 Str
    10 Dex
    14 Con
    18 Int
    14 Wis
    10 Chr

    The classes have complex interactions:
    1. An Archivist can cast any Divine spell including Anyspell which allows casting an L2- arcane spell, as required for Dweomer Keeper.
    2. Church Inquisitor grants the inquisition domain, which we can Substitute Domain to Magic as required for Dweomer Keeper.
    3. Dweomer Keeper grants Supernatural Spell, Mantle, and a Metamagic Reducer, all of which are used heavily.
    4. Sacred Exorcist grants Turn Undead which fuels DMM.
    5. Contemplative grants the magic domain on a permanent basis, preventing Dispel magic from wiping out class abilities. Substitute domain can be used for the Planning domain.
    6. Lore Master grants a bonus feat for those with high Int. In general, we are feat starved.
    7. Human Paragon 2 grants another bonus feat. It's taken at the end so spell progression is not crimped.


    Feats:
    1 Invisible Spell --- We need a metamagic for Twin's prereq and this one is almost always useful.
    Human Twin Spell --- The only metamagic we really require.
    Archivist Scribe Scroll --- Required for Dweomer Keeper
    3 Easy Metamagic[Twin Spell] --- Not useful yet, but soon.
    6 Alternate Source Spell --- Multiple uses, not quite yet.
    9 Arcane Thesis[Arcane Fusion] --- Acquire with Alternate Source Spell
    12 Persistent Spell --- Extend Spell from Substitute Domain[Planning]
    Frog God's Fane: Skill Focus[Knowledge[Religion]] --- For Lore Master
    Lore master DMM[Persistent Spell] --- Required for divine casters, right?
    15 Arcane Thesis[Greater Arcane Fusion] --- Another Alternate Source Spell
    18 Arcane Thesis[Wish] --- This one, we can Alternate Source ourselves.
    Human Paragon Arcane Thesis[Limited Wish] --- Another Alternate source.

    How to be a better Mailman:
    Spoiler
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    Generally, Stutter beats Mailman at the Mailman's game at all levels except L8, essentially because Twin Spell is a more efficient metamagic multiplier.

    The opening levels have similar damage output. At level 5-6 Flesh Ripper (BoVD) is a divine spell that is marginally more efficient than what is available to a sorcerer. At level 7-8, Twin Orb is effective.

    Level 9 is the first real departure: Twin Arcane Fusion(Sound lance, Orb) does an expected 135 damage if the save fails. For all future levels, Stutter can deal far more damage than any opposition is likely to be able to absorb.

    Legality is tricky here: Twin is +4. Easy Metamagic[Twin] makes it +3. Arcane Thesis subtracts 1 for Twin, 1 for Easy MM[T], and 1 for Alternate Spell Source, making Twin +0.

    At level 13, divine Avasculate + arcane Twin Arcane Fusion (Greater Orb, Orb) for an expected 286 damage. Here, we take advantage of Arcane Spell Surge which makes the arcane spell swift.

    At level 15, divine Greater Arcane Fusion (Avasculate, Greater Orb) + arcane Twin Greater Arcane Fusion (Avasculate, Greater Orb) does an expected 735.

    At level 17, shapechange allows Chronotryrn letting you cast the above twice, increasing damage to 6615.

    At level 18, you can add a Twin Wish or Wish Twin to each spell, cranking expected damage to 687960.


    How to be a better Persistomancer:
    Spoiler
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    Although persistent spells aren't required to benefit from the Stutter, they are helpful. Persistent magic benefits in 3 ways here:
    1. The DK capstone reduces cost by 1.
    2. Stutter has access to all the best spells of essentially all lists.


    Getting an appropriately high number of turns is always tricky. Middle aged (+1) + Nixie's Grace (+8 enhance) +5 inherent +4 Sacred (Inner Beauty) +4 Morale (Snowsong) provides 11+3=14 turns. Add a nightstick (+4) and a Reliquary holy symbol to reach 20, adequate for 3 persistent spells.

    Using an appropriate metamagic rod of Extend, the duration can be doubled allowing you to keep 6 spells persisted at all times. The shortlist I have is:

    1. Choose Destiny, Domain 9, Races of Man. Probability of save fail is .25%.
    2. Arcane Spell Surge, Wizard 7, Dragon Magic. Reduces arcane spell casting time.
    3. Holy Star, Cleric 7, Spell Compendium. Instead of a reserve feat.
    4. Friendly Fire, Wizard 4, Exemplars of Evil. Supernatural for mailman invulnerability.
    5. Favor of the Martyr, Paladin 4, Spell Compendium. Immune daze for celerity abuse + immune nonlethal for damage immunity in a regenerating form.
    6. Permeable Form, Wizard 3, Aberrations. Incorporeal.



    Fun strategies:
    Spoiler
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    It is helpful to abbreviate things as the combinations become complex.
    T = Twin
    A = Arcane Fusion
    G = Greater Arcane Fusion
    L = Limited Wish
    W = Wish
    S = Supernatural

    1. Time Stop at level 12. Use T A[Celerity, L1] from level 12+ to exchange a standard action for two standard actions. Note that persisted Favor of the Martyr prevents daze. This is the same level that a Ruby Knight Windicator build kicks in.
    2. Unavoidable damage. S T W T G[Force Missiles, T L T A[Force Missiles, L1]] = 560 points of force damage that never misses.
    3. Chchchcharm. Divine Disjunction + arcane S T W T G[Charm Monster, T L T A[Charm Monster, L1]] forces 20 saves to avoid being charmed on a stripped-defenseless opponent.
    4. The giant sucking sound. S T W T G[Enervate, T L T A[Enervate, L1]] drains an expected 50 levels.
    5. S L Permanency = free undispellable permanent spells.
    6. The pesky +5. Dweomer Keeper offers only 4 Supernatural spells, but you need 5 wishes cast in a row to max the inherent bonus on stats. S T W ["Stat X would increase in a cumulative fashion"] eliminates that pesky limitation.
    7. Instant resurrection. One limitation of Supernatural spell is that it only applies to standard action or shorter spells. Arcane Spell Surge helps, but the expensive spells we want to cast that are free under Supernatural spell typically require more time. However, when Wish or Limited Wish imitate a spell, the casting time of that spell is one standard action. Hello Awaken, Permanency, Energy Transformation Field, Simulacrum, Resurrection, Symbol, etc...

    I'm sure there are many other strategies as well. It is important to recall that only Sorcerer spells can be cast within G or A and divine spells are more limited by level within W or L.


    Getting around SR/Saves/to-hit:
    Spoiler
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    Spell resistance is is directly eliminated by Supernatural Spell 4/day. Via an appropriate choice of persistent attack spell (Holy star, Unearthly beauty, etc...) this can function all day.

    To-hit issues can be eliminated using Surge of Fortune. This is straight forward, except that it is important to note that this works with recursive Twin. From Twin Spell:
    Any variable characteristics (including attack rolls) or decisions you would make about the spell (including target and area), are applied to both spells...
    Hence A Twin Wish Twin Greater Arcane Fusion [Enervation, Twin Limited Wish Twin Arcane Fusion [Orb, Enervation] ] requires only 3 attack rolls. The First Enervation hits 4 times, while the Orb and second Enervation hit 16 times each.

    From Surge of Fortune:
    The result of the next attack roll ... is treated as a natural 20.
    Since we can resolve (Greater) Arcane Fusion in either order, we can ensure that the enervation hitting 16 times hits with a natural 20, inducing 40 negative levels.

    Eliminating saves is another application of recursive Twin.
    ... with affected creatures receiving all the effects of each spell individually (including getting two saving throws if applicable).
    implying Twin Wish Twin Greater Arcane Fusion [Charm Monster, Twin Limited Wish Twin Arcane Fusion [??, Charm Monster] ] imposes 20 saves. For a typical adversary, there is only a 36% chance that they save.

    At different levels, the number of distinct spells launchable by level is:
    L9 1 (any) or 2 Wish
    L8 2 (Sorcerer/Wizard) or 4 Greater Arcane Fusion
    L7 2 (any) or 4 (Sorcerer) or 8 Limited Wish
    L6 2 (any) or 8 (Sorcerer/Wizard)
    L5 8 (any) or 16 (Arcane Fusion)
    L4 8 (any) or 20 (Sorcerer)
    L3 16 (any) or 20 (Sorcerer)
    L2 16 (any) or 40 (Sorcerer)
    L1 16 (any) or 56 (Sorcerer)
    L0 16 (any) or 56 (Sorcerer)

    The probability of not rolling a one on a save are:
    1 spell: .95
    2 spells: 0.90
    4 spells: 0.81
    8 spells: 0.66
    16 spells: 0.44
    20 spells: 0.36
    40 spells: 0.13
    56 spells: 0.06

    Note that all of these techniques can be used simultaneously with sufficient preparation.


    Mantle spells are usually an afterthought for a Dweomer Keeper. But our choices are almost forced on us:
    1. Alter Fortune --- an optional one. L3- choices available.
    2. Arcane Fusion --- the big problem with Mantle is that it only works for selected spells. Problem gone.
    3. Limited Wish --- As AF
    4. Greater Arcane Fusion --- as LW
    5. Wish --- as GAF


    This provides sorcerer-class spell versatility, but with a much larger range of available spells. In some ways, this is better than even a Beholder Mage, since they can't cast Wish or Limited Wish for free. Combined with (possibly undispellable) Persistomancy for defense provides a sturdy versatile build that can easily switch roles from encounter to encounter.

    Comments/suggestions/doubts/thoughts welcome.
    Last edited by Anthrowhale; 2013-07-19 at 08:25 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Stutter

    Very interesting, very neat. I'm not particularly qualified to comment on the legality of it all, but your assumptions are laid out plainly (which is good).

    Good work based on a glance.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Stutter

    Being able to ignore SR and nuke enemy saves (do you have any methods besides Supernatural Limited Wish for doing this? I didn't see any while skimming through) doesn't seem terribly useful if all you've got to work with are 4th level spells, given that they usually target things that high-level enemies are immune to outright.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter

    I added a section discussing how to eliminate limitations explicitly. The short answer is:

    to-hit: Surge of Fortune
    SR: Supernatural Spell
    Save: Stacked Twin spell

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    You'd probably want to replace Ray Deflection with Friendly Fire. But that's sort of a side issue.

    I hadn't realized Alternate Source Spell was actually a metamagic feat. Treating it (and Easy MM) as +0 Arcane Thesis fodder is rather inspired.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    You'd probably want to replace Ray Deflection with Friendly Fire. But that's sort of a side issue.
    I thought about this, but Friendly Fire seems much more sketchy. What happens if the target that you designate doesn't stay within 30' all day long? What happens if the target also has Friendly Fire up?

    The advantage of Friendly Fire is that it works against nontouch ranged attacks. Most of those are countered by a Starmantle cloak + evasion which have many ancillary benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    I hadn't realized Alternate Source Spell was actually a metamagic feat. Treating it (and Easy MM) as +0 Arcane Thesis fodder is rather inspired.
    Thanks

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Squares are a valid target, therefore you can just target a square with friendly fire.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Quote Originally Posted by Carth View Post
    Squares are a valid target, therefore you can just target a square with friendly fire.
    Suppose you target the square next to you in your private demiplane, then leave to a new plane for a hard day's adventuring. On that day, when someone shoots an enervation ray at you, it hits the square in your demiplane? Or do you freely designate targets for each incoming attack at the time of the attack? Or something else?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Nothing in the spell text indicates that it requires you to maintain a particular redirect target. I don't feel like it's reasonable to assume that would be the case, to me the wording leans on the side of you choosing the redirect target each time you're targeted with something.

    For what it's worth, you should probably address your stance on anyspell. It specifically requires that you prepare arcane spells in domain slots, whereas your character appears to only have domains as far as I can tell.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Ok, I switched to Friendly Fire.

    W.r.t. Anyspell, I assume Anyspell can be memorized like any domain spell by an archivist. When cast, however, it requires storing an L2- arcane spell only in a 3rd level domain slot. I assume that the 1 spell slot/level allowed for domain spells by a prepared caster acquiring a domain counts as a domain slot. Hence the inquisition magic domain provides the designated 3rd level domain spell slot.

    This seemed like the most reasonable interpretation to me, but I could see "a domain slot is any spell slot in which you can memorize a domain spell" and "no bonus domain slots means no anyspell". Under the last interpretation, I'd need to work in a level of Holt Warden, and/or acquire minimal arcane spellcasting by some other means.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    The level of spells that can't be saved against can be boosted further to L7 or L6 depending on your standards. Either squeeze in Repeat Spell via Flaw or a Psychic Reformation of Arcane Thesis (Arcane Fusion).

    A Twin Repeat spell has a +5 level modifier with Dweomer Keeper's capstone. For an Arcane thesis spell, a Twin Repeat Easy(Twin) Invisible Spell has a +0 modifier. Hence:

    Supernatural Twin Repeat Wish [Twin Repeat Greater Arcane Fusion [4-, Twin Repeat Limited Wish 6-]] casts a level 6- Sorcerer/Wizard spell 56 times which has at most a .06 chance of being resisted.

    Similarly a Supernatural Twin Repeat Wish [Twin Repeat Greater Arcane Fusion [4-, 7-]] casts a 7- Sorcerer/Wizard spell 16 times which has at most a 0.44 chance of being resisted.

    The primary difficulty with Repeat spell is that opponents tend to not hang out long enough for the repeats to take effect. This drawback is exacerbated by recursive use of Twin Repeat, because the spells take effect over more rounds. Nevertheless, it may be effective for some spells with short duration suck effects like Illusory Pit and Fleshshiver. A Supernatural Twin Repeat Wish [Twin Repeat Greater Arcane Fusion [4-, Twin Repeat Limited Wish 6-]] will cast the L6 spell:
    8 times in round 1
    24 times in round 2
    16 times in round 3
    8 times in rond 4

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Playing the devil's advocate, I suggest another assumption:

    Arcane Fusion, and its greater counterpart, works on an Archivist spell that the caster knows, instead of a Sorcerer spell that he/she knows. Because the RAW is a tad blurry, and an Archivist might not know any Sorcerer spells after all; since any of those spells that are scribed are just Archivist spells once you got them on your prayer book.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    I'm a fan of ExFighter, and this is a really neat sophomore work. Great job in bypassing the three defenses. It's complex, as it should be.

    Yay for nested metamagic!

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Quote Originally Posted by ben-zayb View Post
    Arcane Fusion, and its greater counterpart, works on an Archivist spell that the caster knows,
    This is a controversy that I was not aware of. If I understand correctly, a "sorcerer spell" could mean a spell on the sorcerer spell list, or it could mean a spell acquired as a sorcerer? My assumption was the first. Is there any support in the rules for the second?

    I'm not assuming that AF works on any archivist spell known---just those spells which also happen to be sorcerer spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    neat
    Thanks

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    This deserves more attention, perhaps you should bring it to minmaxboards.
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    I added an assumption on the use of learned divine sorcerer spells as a target for arcane fusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    This deserves more attention, perhaps you should bring it to minmaxboards.
    Thanks, I'll consider it. As far as I can tell, the build is relatively uncontroversial, unlike ExFighter.
    ExFighter: Immunity to Wizard
    Stutter Caster: Eliminate all spell defenses (SR, Save, AC).
    The Clockwork Wizard: All spells in no time.
    Piercing Immunities: Uncounterable Counters.
    Planar Soldiers of Mystra: Invincibility from planar traits.
    A Core Only Fighter 20 that kills things

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Stutter caster

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthrowhale View Post
    Thanks, I'll consider it. As far as I can tell, the build is relatively uncontroversial, unlike ExFighter.
    I think it's because there appears to be no particular agenda to it; it's merely a cool trick that builds on and improves existing TO/high PO tricks, and as such is relatively free from emotion. (In other words, it doesn't trigger the Someone is RONG on the Internet! response.)

    ExFighter, on the other hand, seems like the sort of thing someone might try to cite to support their position in a Monk/Fighter/Barbarian/other mundane vs Wizard/Sorcerer/Druid/Cleric/other caster thread, you know? That impression is very likely strengthened by the stated purpose of the earlier threads.

    Finally, of course, it does seem quite solid, given the stated assumptions. But I'm hardly a TO expert.
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