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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default the Conjurer's Handbook

    Originally Posted on WOTC forums on Sep 05, 2007 by Echodork
    edited and expanded upon by Bullet06320

    This oft linked to but missing from many other handbooks has now been rescued from the wayback machine and is being posted here so it can live on and be expanded upon.

    The Conjurer’s Handbook


    Index:

    Introduction
    What is Conjuration?
    Specializing in Conjuration
    Feats
    Spells
    Prestige Classes and Builds
    References

    Introduction

    What is this Handbook?

    This is the Conjurer’s Handbook, a guide to the care and feeding of your specialist Wizard. This Handbook will discuss the different aspects of building and playing a Conjurer, including attributes, alternate class features, feats, magic items, and prestige classes. We’ll also dive into the spell list, highlighting important or interesting Conjuration spells.


    What is this Handbook Not?

    This is not a Wizard Handbook. I assume that you are already familiar with how a Wizard is played. I invite you to read Dictum Mortuum’s Wizard Handbook and The Logic Ninja’s Guide to Being Batman and Treantmonklvl20's A guide to Wizards: Playing a GOD if you haven’t already.

    Playing a Wizard, even a Focused Conjurer, is about more than simply casting Conjuration spells. Spells like contingency, greater invisibility, polymorph, shapechange, dominate person, and even fireball and magic missile have their place in a Wizard’s repertoire. It’s up to you to figure out how to combine the information found in this guide with the useful spells and strategies inherent in the other schools of magic. That’s what being a Wizard is all about!

    This Handbook is also not a guide to divine magic. For the sake of my own sanity, I’ve limited the crunchy bits in this Handbook to those available to Wizards and specialist Wizards. Sorcerers will find lots of useful information here, and Clerics and Druids may find useful tidbits where their own spell lists converge with the Wizard’s.

    I will admit up front, my knowledge of the environment books (Frostburn, Shipwrack, Dungeonscape, etc.) is somewhat lacking. I have never been in a play group that used these books. I’ll include what I know, and I’ll do my best to maintain the guide with information provided by other posters.

    What is Conjuration?

    Conjuration is a diverse school of magic that summons or conjures effects into existence or moves them from one place to another. You can conjure up walls, creatures, toxic fog, grand banquets, mundane items, even extra-dimensional mansions. Conjuration also deals with the elemental planes, conjuring pockets of elemental energy which can be used for various offensive effects. You can even use Conjuration to move yourself, your allies, or your enemies from one place to another through teleportation magic.

    The Subschools

    Conjuration spells come in five basic flavors. They are:

    Calling: Calling spells transport a creature to your side from another plane of existence, usually to perform some service for you. Calling spells summon real, discrete creatures who do not return to their native plane if they die while in your service (if you die in Canada, you die for real). Gate and Planar binding are calling spells.

    Creation: Creation spells create objects or creatures from nothingness. Some creation spells, such as grease, have a duration, which means the item disappears when the spell ends. Other creation spells, like wall of stone, are instantaneous. These spells conjure real items which last indefinitely.

    Healing: Healing spells restore life and cure ailments. Many of the iconic Cleric healing spells fall into the healing subschool, such as remove disease, restoration, and all of the cure spells. By default, Wizards do not get access to Conjuration (Healing) spells, though there are several ways to add them to your spell list.

    Summoning: Like calling spells, summoning spells will bring a creature or object to the place you desire. Unlike calling spells, all summoning spells have a duration, and the creature or object summoned will return to its place of origin when the spell ends. If the creature dies or the object is destroyed during the course of the spell, it will reform 24 hours later at the location it was summoned from. Summon monster I-IX and summon swarm are summoning spells.

    Teleportation: Teleportation spells instantly transport creatures or objects from one place to another. Many teleportation spells, such as dimension door, simply move you around on the same plane. Some of the more powerful spells, like plane shift, can move you across planar boundaries. Teleportation effects are both instantaneous and permanent, meaning that you are not held in your new location by magic, and the effect cannot be reversed or dispelled.


    Conjuration Spell Types

    What can you do as a Conjurer? The trite, cliché answer is “anything you want,” but that is also the most complete and most truthful answer. Conjuration is a very broad and versatile school of magic, and it enables a wide variety of combat strategies and tactics. Note also that this is by no means an exhaustive list of your combat options, this list simply enumerates the strengths of the Conjuration school. Depending on your chosen prohibited schools (if you choose to specialize), there are many other roles you could fulfill in addition to the ones listed here. A Conjurer who retains use of his Evocation school can Shotgun Mage with the best of them!

    I do want to be clear about the purpose of this section. This section of the Handbook is not a list of character archetypes. I’m not trying to encourage you to play a “Disabler” or a “Summoner.” You certainly can if you want, but just because your character enjoys commanding a vast army of fiendish rodents, don’t forget that you can also control the battlefield, disable enemies, contribute damage, and teleport your allies around! Wizards (even Conjurers and Focused Conjurers) are powerful because of their versatility. You’ll likely find more success playing a pretty good all-around Conjurer than you will playing a heavily maximized Battlefield Controller or Summoner.

    Battlefield Controls: These spells dictate the pace and flow of combat by altering the state of the battlefield. Walls block (or trap) your foes, separating them so they can be handled individually. Your cloud spells can slow movement, offer concealment, deal damage, and block line of sight. Short-range teleportation spells like dimension hop can move your allies and enemies around the battlefield, allowing you to create tactically advantageous situations.

    Battlefield controls require very little optimization in order to function well. For example, wall of iron creates a permanent wall which can separate a tough enemy from his allies. Wall of iron just works… there is no save against it, it doesn’t succumb to spell resistance, and it isn’t gimped if you have a low caster level. It just works. Likewise, solid fog slows the movement of all creatures inside the area of effect, as well as blocking their line of sight. No save, no SR, and a long enough duration that a low caster level doesn’t cripple the effect.

    For this reason, battlefield control spells are appealing to Conjurers who want to multiclass or experiment with prestige classes that offer less than full spell progression. Dual-spell list classes like the Ultimate Magus or Mystic Theurge can work very well with battlefield control spells. See the section on Prestige Classes for more information.

    Disables: Disabling spells (also known as “debuffs” hamper your enemy’s combat ability through the use of negative conditions. Many disabling spells offer a saving throw, and failure usually means disaster for your target. Your spells can sicken or nauseate foes, knock them prone, grapple them, blind them, slow them to a crawl, or entangle them. You can send enemies packing with maze, or bind their life force with trap the soul.

    To disable efficiently, you want to push your spell save DC as high as possible. That means absolutely cranking your Intelligence through stat boosts, items, and racial bonuses, and you’ll want Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus: Conjuration. Caster level is important, though less so than spell save DC. Caster level will govern the duration of your disables, though you’ll seldom need them to last more than a couple rounds.

    As you level up, your disables can benefit greatly from metamagic. There are some key disabling spells found in the low and mid spell levels, while the majority of the high level Conjuration spells in the game are calling and summoning. This means that if your character advances into the teen levels, you’ll have the option of metamagicking your disables to increase their effect.

    Finally, it’s important to know how to pick and choose your disables. Conjuration has spells which attack every saving throw, so if your character has information about the monster you’re fighting, you can choose a spell that attacks its weaknesses. For example, viscid glob cripples those with low Reflex saves, while black tentacles is excellent against casters with low grapple checks. Knowledge checks and Divination spells can help you decide how best to plan your attack.

    Summoning/Calling: The dragon turns his steely gaze in your direction, only to be met with the unblinking stare of an Earth Monolith. Summon spells bring a variety of powerful and interesting creatures to the battlefield to fight, heal, provide support, and absorb damage for the party. Summoners have a bevy of options available to them, so I humbly offer you the Summoning Handbook, which expertly details this area of Conjuration better than I could possibly hope to.

    There are a number of feats, alternate class features, and prestige classes dedicated to summoning. So many, in fact, that it’s easy to get caught up in optimizing your summoning ability to the detriment of your other spells. That’s not to say that you can’t make an excellent Summoning Conjurer, because you certainly can. However, as useful as summoning is, it has its limitations, and a Wizard who lacks versatility in his feats and abilities will suffer when the situation calls for finesse over simple quantity of attacks.

    For Treantmonklvl20:
    If you're thinking about playing a summon-focused character, should you play a Druid or a Conjurer? If your DM allows Greenbound Summoning (a feat from Lost Empires of Faerun), then Druid is the clear choice from level 1 through about level 13. If Greenbound Summoning isn't available in your campaign, or you're playing after level 14, a Conjurer with levels in Malconvoker comes out ahead. Once you get access to planar binding and higher level summon monster spells, the Malconvoker can break a battle wide open with gigantic, nasty critters.

    Either way, it’s important to note that summoned monsters are balanced against the level at which they first come available. For example, summon monster IV is approximately balanced for challenges appropriate to a 7th level character. For this reason, characters interested in using summoning magic will generally want to avoid prestige classes that offer anything less than full casting progression. If your spells fall too far behind the power curve, you may find that even your most powerful summoned creatures get squished by the monsters you face. On the flipside, spell save DC is entirely irrelevant for summon spells, and caster level only determines the duration of your summoning spells. If you choose to specialize in summoning, you can skimp on your Intelligence and caster level somewhat and still be effective.

    Taxi Service: Help the Fighter climb the 50’ sheer rock wall with dimension door, or set up a teleportation circle to help your party return to town. Conjuration offers unparalleled mobility, allowing you to move freely through the dungeon, the world, and the multiverse.

    By and large, teleportation spells are usually beneficial spells you’ll use to help your allies move around. This can include tactical repositioning in combat with benign transposition, or it could mean world-spanning travel via greater teleport. For these spells, caster level usually determines the distance you can travel, but you can get great use out of them with no optimization at all.

    A small number of your “battlefield rearranging” spells can also affect foes in combat. Any time you attempt to teleport an enemy against his will, he’ll get a saving throw to resist the effect. In order to make best use of battlefield rearranging spells such as transposition trick, you’ll want to make sure you have a high spell save DC.

    Utility Damage: There are a number of very worthwhile damage spells available in Conjuration that can help you reduce a foe’s hit points to zero. Conjuration gets fewer damage options than Evocation, but the spells we do get are much more difficult to resist and often have secondary disabling effects. Your orb spells are single-target elemental blasts that bypass SR and offer no saving throw. Likewise, many of your higher-level clouds (such as acid fog) deal some damage each round without allowing for SR or a save. Icelance not only does damage, but has a chance to stun your target, which helps it stay useful for a long time.

    If you plan to capitalize on your damage spells, caster level is important. Your blasts will typically do 1d6/level (up to 10d6 or 15d6, depending on the spell), which means that a high caster level equals more damage. Your damage spells, particuarly the orbs, also metamagic well. This can keep them somewhat useful after you’ve reached the damage cap. You can also use reserve feats to turn the blasts you have memorized into a source of renewable damage.

    There are not enough damage spells in Conjuration to turn yourself into a full-time Warmage, however. Remember that damage is just one of the things you can do to be useful to the party. Many times, a well-timed disable can far outweigh a couple points of damage.
    Last edited by Bullet06320; 2016-08-29 at 12:21 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: the Conjurer's Handbook

    Specializing in Conjuration

    Specialization: Shooting Peter to pay Paul

    Now, before we start talking about specialization, it should be said that you can play a perfectly respectable Conjurer as a generalist Wizard. You can take Spell Focus: Conjuration and play Controller/Disabler with walls and clouds, or you can take Augment Summoning and command a legion of Fiendish Dire Badgers.

    However, specializing opens up a lot of doors. You get access to Master Specialist for one, which is an excellent prestige class with lots of useful, unique benefits. You also gain access to the Unearthed Arcana Conjurer variants, all of which are extremely useful. For the sake of this handbook, let’s assume that you’ve chosen to specialize in Conjuration. That means forbidding access to two schools.


    Forbidden Schools

    What two schools should you give up in return for your Conjurer specialization? Well, let’s see what’s out there.

    Abjuration: Dispel magic, stoneskin, mind blank. Three good reasons not to give up Abjuration. Abjuration has a lot of good protection spells, and you want someone in the party to have access to them. If there is another caster in the group who can take care of the defensive magic, then you might be able to forbid Abjuration. If you’re the sole arcane caster, you’ll probably want to hang onto this one.
    Editor's note: if you plan on specializing on Summoning, you will need this school for magic circle and dimensional lock for planar binding spells

    Divination: You don’t get to forbid Divination. Skip Williams gets a Canadian Nickel every time someone casts a Divination spell.

    Enchantment: Enchantment carries a lot of save-or-suffer spells, like hold person and dominate monster. These are useful, but save-or-suffer spells exist in several different schools, making Enchantment largely redundant. Many Enchantment spells are mind-affecting, which means that nonliving creatures (undead, constructs, oozes, and plants) are immune to them completely. And here’s some world-class metagaming for you: there are fewer Enchantment spells in the Spell Compendium than any other school (and there are no 5th or 6th level spells). With that in mind, Enchantment seems like an excellent candidate to forbid.
    Editor's note: If you plan on specializing on Summoning a number of spells here are useful when negotiating with extraplanar beings for planar binding and Gate spells

    Evocation: Evocation has long been the favorite first choice of schools to dump by Wizards everywhere. Evocation is your blasty school, full of spells that let you roll lots of d6s. Don’t get me wrong, I love rolling d6s, but you’ve got guys for that already. And there are two spells in Illusion (shadow evocation and greater shadow evocation) that allow you to emulate any Evocation spell you want of sixth level or lower (including the ubiquitous contingency). Evocation is a perfectly legitimate choice for a forbidden school. You do lose wall of force… but seriously, you’re a Conjurer, what do you care?

    Illusion: Illusion is an excellent school, with lots of potential for battlefield control through misdirection. There are some very good protective spells in here, like mirror image and greater invisibility. Illusion also has shadow evocation, which allows you to emulate Evocation spells (including contingency), even if you’ve forbidden Evocation. I think Illusion’s a keeper.

    Necromancy: Necromancy has some great debuffs, starting with ray of enfeeblement and moving up through enervation and energy drain. Necro is where many of the save-or-die spells reside, and there’s a lot of ability damage to be had. If you’re good-aligned (and wish to stay that way), the [Evil] descriptor may prevent you from casting some of the better Necromancy spells, and this becomes an appealing school to forbid. If you’re already evil or alignment is not a concern, I think there are better choices.

    Transmutation: No. Just, no. Transmutation has the most spells of any school by far, and many of them are quite excellent. This is where your polymorph is, your haste, and your attribute buffs. Transmutation also offers the celerity line, which is one of the best spell series ever printed. And even if you don’t take one single other damage spell, Transmutation offers disintegrate, which is awesome in its own right.

    My choices are Enchantment and Evocation. Neither school is critical, and both schools are easily replaced by spells from other schools. Never forbid Transmutation.
    Editor's Note: Usually my banned schools are evocation, illusion and necromancy if going focused specialist

    Alternate Class Features

    Dude, Where’s My Familiar?

    As a level 1 Conjurer, you have some choices. There are lots of fantastic options available to you as alternate class features.

    Enhanced SummoningUA: Enhanced Summoning gives you variant abilities at level 1, 5, and 10. If you opt to accept this variant, you must accept all three abilities, you can’t pick and choose.

    At level 1, you gain Augment Summoning and give up Scribe Scroll. If you plan to act as a Summoner, this is as easy as falling out of bed. Augment Summoning is a keystone feat for Summoners, as it buffs your summoned monsters at no additional cost to you. If you don’t plan on making summoned monsters a central part of your combat strategy, you may want to hang onto Scribe Scroll.

    At level 5, your get a +2 bonus to the opposed caster level check when someone tries to dispel your summoned critters. This costs you your Wizard bonus feat. This is relatively weak, but you’re forced into it if you chose the Enhanced Summoning variant.
    At level 10, your summoned creatures get a bonus to Str and Con. At level 20, the bonuses increase. You won’t be a straight Wizard at level 10, so this is irrelevant.

    Note that if you prestige out of Wizard, you don’t gain any Wizard bonus feats and thus the 5th and 10th level abilities may not apply to you.

    Focused SpecialistPHB2: Focused Specialist will make you a Super-Conjurer. You trade one spell slot from each of your spell levels for two extra Conjuration bonus slots. Thus, a level 1 Wizard with 16 Int would normally have 2 spells per day of his choice. A level 1 Conjurer with 16 Int would have 2 spells per day of his choice, plus 1 bonus Conjuration spell. A level 1 Focused Conjurer would have 1 spell per day of his choice, plus 3 bonus Conjuration spells. This gives you more total spells per day, but makes you hyper-focused on the Conjuration spell school. Lucky for us, Conjuration is an excellent all-around school, and is one of the best (if not THE best) school for Focused Specializing.

    Focused Specialist will give you a simply ridiculous number of spells per day. If you choose to become a Focused Conjurer, you’ll have the freedom to really let loose with your spells. Reserve feats become largely unnecessary, even at very low levels.

    Focused Specialist requires you to forbid a third school of magic. If you didn’t forbid Evocation or Enchantment, now’s a good time to do that. If you did, you’ll need to take stock of your party mates in order to make a decision. If you have someone who can dispel and protect, Abjuration is an acceptable choice. If not, your options are Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation. Of the three, Necromancy seems to be the best choice. Transmutation is simply too good to pass up, and Illusion gives you access to many of the Evocation spells as will through Shadow Evocation.

    Immediate Magic (Abrupt Jaunt)PHB2: A number of times per day equal to your Int bonus, you may teleport 10’ in a direction of your choice as an immediate action. You need not have line of sight to your intended destination. You must give up your familiar for this variant, which makes it a very difficult choice if you’re also interested in Rapid Summoning. The longer you think about this, the more awesome it gets.

    Simply put, Abrupt Jaunt saves your ass. For example, if you find yourself on the edge of a fireball, you can simply step out of it. During your turn, you can move, cast a spell, and then Jaunt 10’ in any direction. Teleport through a door without using a spell, and if you get attacked on the other side, Jaunt again as an immediate action to get back to safety. Because Abrupt Jaunt has no somatic component, you can even use it to escape a grapple. Lots of neat little tricks.

    You can also use Abrupt Jaunt to avoid getting pasted with melee attacks. First of all, if a creature starts its turn threatening you, you can avoid suffering a full attack if you can escape its threat range with Abrupt Jaunt. That’s pretty huge. If a creature charges you, you can theoretically use Abrupt Jaunt after its movement but before its attack in order to avoid being hit (since immediate actions can be used “at any time”. Likewise, if you’re in the path of a trample or bull rush, you can hop out of the way. If a creature moves its full movement to get you in range, you can Jaunt away to avoid its attack. I’m not sure how this works with ranged attacks, but it seems possible (but very, very cheesy) that you could Jaunt after a projectile has been fired but before it hits you, thus automatically avoiding the attack (and wasting the attacker’s action). If anyone has information on rulings about Abrupt Jaunt, please post them.

    See how much more awesome this is now than it was three minutes ago?

    Rapid SummoningUA: Summon monster spells take a standard action to cast rather than a full round. You sacrifice your familiar for this variant, which makes it mutually exclusive with Abrupt Jaunt. If you’re thinking about playing a Summoner, or you want to use summoned monsters as a regular part of your combat strategy, this is an incredible variant to take. Shortening the casting time of your summon spells to a standard action eliminates the risk of taking damage while you cast and losing the spell. You can also Quicken your summon spells, either via the metamagic feat or through class abilities such as the Master Specialist’s Major Spell Esoterica. Rapid Summoning is the equivalent of a +1 level metamagic feat (Rapid Spell) for all of your summoning spells, for free.

    Spontaneous SummoningUA: By “losing” a spell of your choice, you can cast any summon monster spell of a lower level. So by sacrificing a 4th level spell, you may cast summon monster I-III. You give up your specialist Wizard bonus spells for this variant. This variant is just awful. If you’re playing as a Summoner, you probably don’t want to be dropping your best spells for lower-level summons. And if you’re not playing a summon-focused character, you’re better off with the bonus spells.

    Conjurer Feats

    Throughout the splatbooks, there are a number of feats which apply specifically to Conjurers or Conjuration spells. This is not an exhaustive list of feats that are good for Wizards, these are just the feats that showcase Conjuration spells or abilities.

    General Feats

    Core Feats

    Augment Summoning: A no-brainer feat for Summoners, Augment Summoning buffs all of your summoned creatures at no cost. You can get Augment Summoning for free with the Enhanced Summoning alternate class feature, and it comes free with Thaumaturgist 2.

    Improved Initiative: Honestly, not terrible. As I’ve said, if you act first, you can shape the battlefield or disable groups of enemies before the fight even starts.

    Skill Focus: Concentration: Situationally useful for Summoners in core games where you’re not able to take Rapid Summoning. Much better than Combat Casting, as Combat Casting does nothing to help you if you get tagged during the round you spend casting a summon spell.

    Spell Focus: Conjuration: Good for disabling and blasting with Conjuration spells, and a necessary pre-req to several good feats and prestige classes. Not all that useful if you’re playing core, though you’ll need to take it if you want Augment Summoning.

    Spell Penetration: Much less essential for Conjurers than it is for most other Wizards. Many cloud spells ignore spell resistance, as do your orb and summon monster spells. Spell Penetration is for Evokers and Enchanters.


    Non-Core Feats

    Arcane DiscipleCD: Choose the Summoning domain, and this feat adds lesser planar ally to your spell list and allows you to qualify for Thaumaturgist. Choosing the Healing domain will open up Touch of Healing. Note that you need Wis 10+spell level to memorize or cast these domain spells, which may be prohibitive.

    Arcane ThesisPHB2: I love me some Arcane Thesis, but it’s not really a Conjurer feat. However, if you take Arcane Thesis late in the game and choose summon elemental monolith, then you can apply Extend, Imbue, and Rapid to it at no cost. The PHB2 errata fixes the stupid FAQ ruling, but there really isn't just one spell that you're going to focus your career on. Your rockstar mojo comes from your flexibility, and Arcane Thesis is better for a one-trick pony mage (like a Polymorpher).

    Cloudy ConjurationCM: Creates a cloud which sickens enemies when you cast a Conjuration spell. Because the effect ends as soon as a creature leaves the cloud, this is actually not terribly useful. It’s a way to reduce a monster’s saving throws by 2, and it might be functional if you can pin a monster inside the area of effect. But generally speaking, there are better feats.

    Craft Contingent SpellCArc: Yep, still broken. For a mere 50gp and 2xp, “Next time I get grappled, benign transposition targeting me and my nearest ally.” You can craft contingent summons, and have them appear at will without requiring a full round to cast. Infinite uses.

    Extra SpellCArc: No. Per the FAQ, Extra Spell requires you to select a spell that is already on your spell list, so no cheesing lesser planar ally to qualify for Thaumaturgist or anything like that. Extra Spell isn’t useful for Wizards, it essentially lets you put an extra Wizard spell into your spellbook as if you had scribed it from a scroll.

    Extraordinary ConcentrationCAdv: Lets you concentrate as a move action rather than a standard action. You can’t cast another spell while concentrating, but you can activate spell trigger items using your standard action.

    Extraordinary Spell AimCAdv: Nice. Open a hole in one of your area or cloud spells for the Fighter, allowing him to remain unaffected. For cloudkill and other clouds that move, you’ll need to talk to your DM about whether someone in the hole can stay in the hole as the cloud moves. RAW it’s tricky, because the cloud moves on your turn.

    Metamagic School FocusCM: Here’s a way to get your +1 metamagics for free three times a day without futzing around with prestige classes. I love this feat, it lets you Sculpt your highest level spells right out of the box. You can also use it to cast three summon monster spells a day with Rapid Spell or Imbued Summoning.

    Mobile SpellcastingCAdv: Strangely worded, this feat lets you double move and still cast a spell. There’s a Concentration check, and you probably have Abrupt Jaunt, so you can move-cast-jaunt as needed anyway.

    Vatic GazePHB2: Not terrible. You can use detect magic at will, and you can determine whether a foe has spellcasting ability (and how much). Can help you put just the right save-or-lose spell on a deserving target.


    Reserve Feats

    Acidic SplatterCM: One of the two good damaging reserve feats for Conjurers, because you get lots of useful acid spells. Good for a little extra damage at low levels, especially if you forbade Evocation. Outshadowed later on when you have enough spells per day to cast something useful every round. Skippable feat.

    Dimensional JauntCM: Lets you teleport a short distance, and gives you +1 CL on teleportation spells. It’s like Abrupt Jaunt (which is good), but as a standard action (which is bad). Gets you out of grapples, so it’s situationally useful if you didn’t take Abrupt Jaunt.

    Dimensional ReachCM: Lets you pull small, unattended objects into your hand and gives you +1 CL on summoning spells. Skip this, unless you can think of some fantastic out-of-combat use for it. Bonus caster levels aren’t that useful for summoning spells.

    Fiery BurstCM: The other good damage reserve feat. Fiery Burst is nice because it affects a 10x10' area, although it allows a Reflex save. Orb of fire is the best fourth level Orb spell for you to memorize, which syncs up nicely with this feat during the mid levels.

    Summon ElementalCM: Summons a small elemental for a couple rounds and gives you +1 CL on summoning spells. The short duration and small size limit the elemental’s combat ability, but he’s great as a scout, trap springer, or flanker. Take it if you can squeeze it in, but it’s not a must-have.

    Touch of HealingCC: If you can get a Conjuration (Healing) spell of at least 2nd level onto your spell list (via Arcane Disciple, the Recaster ability, or other means), you can use Touch of Healing. This is a crafty trick if your party is short on healing, but isn’t worth the trouble in a well-rounded party. This would be a fantastic gimmick in a solo campaign.


    Metamagic Feats

    Metamagic works a little different for Conjurers than it does for many other spellcasters. Many of the classic metamagics are simply worthless for us... you won't get much mileage out of Empower, Maximize, Chain, or Twin Spell Likewise, you've got almost nothing to Persist. But don't get all glum, there are lots of useful metamagic feats for Conjurers, you just have to find them. Extend Spell is a good start, and Widen Spell is great for making big clouds bigger. And then there's Sculpt Spell, which gives you unparalleled control over how you place your burst, spread, and cloud spells. And Enlarge Spell... I know! Enlarge! It's actually not bad.

    Remember though, there are so many battlefield control, disabling, and summoning spells available that it's often better to just cast a higher level spell than to use a low level spell with metamagic. You also never want to use metamagic on a summon monster spell if it means increasing the spell level, because you want the beefiest monsters you can get.


    Core Feats

    Enlarge Spell: What? Who takes Enlarge? Well, you’ve got a lot of teleportation spells with relatively short ranges, like the dimensional shuffle spell line. Enlarging them can put more of the battlefield under your control.

    Extend Spell: Applicable to most of your spells, Extend is probably the best core metamagic feat for Conjurers. If you take it, I guarantee you'll find a use for it.

    Maximize Spell: Great for using a high level summon monster spell to summon tons of little creatures. Still, the level adjustment makes Maximize unplayable, unless you have a way to apply it for free.

    Silent Spell: Silent dimension door is a great escape option in core D&D. In non-core, you have Abrupt Jaunt, which requires no verbal or somatic components, so Silent becomes less necessary.

    Widen Spell: Situationally useful for cloud spells. You can fill a damn big room with a widened solid fog. +3 level adjustment is a big hurdle, but again, there are ways in non-core to apply it for free.


    Non-Core Feats

    Imbued SummoningPHB2: The +1 level adjustment kills it. Summoning a big creature is better than summoning a little creature with a buff. Skip this.

    Persistent SpellCArc: Persistent Spell has no special uses for Conjurers, since very few Conjuration spells qualify for it. Even so, Persistent Spell is absolutely broken if you can apply it to Transmutation buffs for free.

    Rapid SpellCD: Allows you to cast your one-round spells as a standard action, at a cost of +1 spell level. For summon spells especially, this isn’t worth the level adjustment.

    Sculpt SpellCArc: Probably the BEST metamagic feat for Conjurers, because of the control it affords you over your area spells. You can sculpt your incendiary cloud into 10’ cubes to avoid your allies, or you can fill a long, narrow hallway with 120’ worth of acid fog. There are lots of amazing things you can do with Sculpt Spell, because so many of your spells are bursts and spreads.

    Sudden XCArc: Once/day is kind of lame, but here’s one way to apply those expensive metamagics without the level adjustment. Sudden Maximize can help your horde spells spit out more useless creatures than usual, and Sudden Silent turns one of your teleportation spells into an emergency “zero component” escape spell. Sudden Widen turns one of your cloud spells into a monster, and Sudden Widen has no pre-requisites, which makes it an excellent gateway feat into Sculpt or Sudden Maximize.
    Last edited by Bullet06320; 2016-08-29 at 12:51 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: the Conjurer's Handbook

    Spells

    Following is a list of Conjuration spells that I think are particuarly neat, interesting, and/or useful. Many of these spells are combat-based, though there are some campaign spells included in the list as well (campaign spells are spells which help you progress through the campaign… overland transportation, item creation, interaction, and the like). I have pulled spells from the SRD, the Spell Compendium, and Complete Mage. Spells from other sources are not included (but I’ll happily add spells if other posters want to make suggestions). I assume you have the source books mentioned, and I will not be describing the effect of each spell.

    Summon monster spells are not included in the list. For a guide to selecting and using summoned creatures, please visit Faithless the Wonder Boy’s guide, entitled Mastering the Summoned Monster. In general, summon monster spells tend to get worse as you level up, because the monsters available for summoning get weaker relative to the challenges you face. For example, most of the creatures available via summon monster IX are CR 9-11, and will be underpowered against the CR 17-20 challenges you face at that level.

    In cases where the PHB and SRD differ in regards to a spell’s name (such as evard’s black tentacles vs. black tentacles), I use the SRD version.


    First Level Spells

    First level has a number of utility spells that will stay with you through your Conjuring career. Grease is always a fan favorite, and it’s almost always worth keeping a benign transposition memorized, in case you need to escape on the cheap.

    Core

    Grease: Excellent. Cast it under a monster, even if he makes his Reflex save, he’s flat-footed unless he has at least 5 ranks in Balance. Great at low levels, still applicable later on. Grease is an absolutely fantastic spell to Sculpt, because you can quadruple its area of effect (four 10x10' areas instead of one).
    Mage Armor: +4 armor bonus to AC. Use it. Love it.
    Mount: Summons a horse with a stupidly long duration. Use it for overland travel, or for carrying your phat lewts back to town.
    Obscuring Mist: Provides concealment, blocks line of sight. Great for keeping you safe and hidden while your summoned hordes do your dirty deeds. A first-level spell that blocks line of sight is great at high levels.

    Non-Core

    Benign TranspositionSC: Two willing subjects switch places. Like, the big, stupid Fighter and the handsome Conjurer who finds himself grappled. No somatic component. Unconscious creatures are always considered “willing targets,” even if they wouldn’t be willing if they knew what they were signing up for.
    Buzzing BeeSC: Grants a -10 penalty to a target’s Move Silently checks. Also imposes a Concentration check on any spell the target casts, which is great at low levels. The bee sees invisible or hidden foes, helping you target your spells if the pesky enemy Rogue tries to hide.
    Lesser Orb of WhateverSC: It does damage, it doesn’t offer a save. A last resort, more or less.
    Resinous TarCM: It’s like the reverse grease. Sticky tar slows movement and makes it hard to stand up. Also makes creatures easier to grapple, and provides some protection against disarm attempts if used on a weapon.
    StandPHB2: As an immediate action, you or a nearby ally stand up from prone. Destroys trippers like it’s nothing, and stays good as you level up.
    Wall of SmokeSC: Obscures vision and nauseates anyone who passes through. Absolutely fantastic at level 1, as the saving throw will be difficult for most monsters to make.


    Second Level Spells

    Second level is where your first area disable spells come into play. Cloud of bewilderment nauseates, glitterdust blinds, and web entangles. Just be aware that these spells all affect your party as well as your enemies, so place them carefully.

    You have two nauseate effects now, in wall of smoke and cloud of bewilderment. Nauseate is an excellent status effect, as it keeps affected foes from taking any actions except movement. Just be aware that nauseate doesn’t work on nonliving creatures, such as undead or constructs. Oozes and plants are also immune, and any monster immune to poison is also impervious to the effect. Make sure you keep a variety of disables on hand to deal with these possibilities.

    Core

    Fog Cloud: Like obscuring mist, but it doesn’t have to emanate from you, and it lasts ten times longer. Helps if your party wants to be sneaky,
    Glitterdust: Blinds all creatures within 10’ of you, and imposes a -40 Hide penalty to all affected creatures. Blind is a superb effect at low levels.
    Web: Entangles creatures, impedes spellcasters, and keeps enemies from escaping your damaging cloud spells. Also burns like kindling

    Non-Core

    Baleful TranspositionSC: As benign transposition, but the targets need not be willing. Swap your big dumb Fighter with the other team’s Wizard at the start of the fight, saving your guy a move and putting their guy in a world of ouch.
    Cloud of BewildermentSC: Creates a 10’ cube of fog that nauseates monsters inside it. The nausea lasts for several rounds after they leave the cloud, making this a save-or-die at low levels.
    Create Magic TattooSC: Doesn’t really bloom until much later. At 13th level, you can increase your caster level by 1 for 24 hours with a 2nd level spell slot and 100gp a day. That’s certainly not bad, if you have the necessary ranks in Craft. If you Extend it, you only have to spend the material component every other day.
    Dimension HopPHB2: Teleports a touched creature 5’ per two caster levels. Usable on friends or foes, though unwilling targets get a Will save. No somatic component, so you can de-grapple yourself.
    Ice KnifeSC: It’s a damage spell, but stay with me. It’s a damage spell with a 400’ minimum range, and it does some Dex damage. And even if you miss, it still hurts a little. Better than your average damage spell at 3rd level, but it doesn’t scale up as you level.
    Incendiary SlimeCM: It’s like grease, but flammable. Fire damage ignites it, dealing 4d6 damage to all in the area. Not bad for a second level spell.


    Third Level Spells

    Third level gets a little thin, but icelance is a fantastic spell that can help carry you through the early levels. Mass mage armor is also useful at these levels, before your Ranger and Rogue friends can afford their mithril armor. Third level has a lot of very good spells in other schools, which help balance the somewhat slim pickings in Conjuration.

    Core

    Phantom Steed: Insanely fast mount, moves 20’ per round per caster level. The steed can get you places in a hurry, long before you can teleport. At CL 14, the steed can fly, which is essentially the same as overland flight.
    Sepia Snake Sigil: Provides a permanent-duration trap for would-be spellbook thieves.
    Stinking Cloud: Functionally identical to cloud of bewilderment, except a larger radius and a longer range. Take it in core, use the lower level spell in non-core.


    Non-Core

    Acid BreathSC: Fireball, kinda. I mention it because sometimes you just need to spit acid.
    Corpse CandleSC: Reveals invisible and hidden creatures and objects. Presumably, that means the candle finds valuables hidden in a room, reveals treasure on or inside creatures, and reveals secret doors. It moves 50’ a round, which is a lot of territory to cover. Finally, revealed creatures don’t benefit from concealment, which synergizes well with your cloud spells.
    Dimension StepPHB2: One creature per 3 levels can teleport a distance equal to its base move, immediately. This allows your allies to move around during your turn, without taking any of their own movement. Helps to rearrange a tight battle, moving casters out of the line of fire.
    HaboobSand: Haboob is the first cloud spell you get that deals damage. When the damage maxes out (5d4 per round at caster level 10), haboob deals almost as much damage as incendiary cloud... but it's five spell levels lower, and the damage isn't elemental. Best part? Creatures who enter or remain within the cloud take their damage with no save. Scuplt it, Widen it, hell Maximize it if you can. (Thanks frasmage!)
    IcelanceSC: Another damage spell. This one deals 6d6 damage if you hit your ranged touch attack, and the target must save vs. Fort or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. Damage spells are typically not your bag, but 6d6 with a stun effect is fantastic at level 5-8. The damage from icelance doesn’t scale, but it will always be available as a low-level save-or-suffer.
    Mage Armor, GreaterSC: I mention this just to say skip it, use the 1st level spell. Another +2 AC isn’t worth a 3rd level spell slot.
    Mage Armor, MassSC: Mass mage armor can really help out a party if you have lots of friends in light (or no) armor. Plus, it benefits animal companions, familiars, and anything you’ve summoned. Not to mention, you.
    Regal ProcessionSC: Like mount, but one horse per level. 60’ overland speed for all your friends, and you can pick the colors of the horses!!
    VipergoutSC: Summons 1d4+3 celestial or fiendish medium vipers, though it takes a move action to spit one or a standard action to spit three. That’s more snakes than you’d get with summon monster III, but you can’t cast another spell with a verbal component until all the snakes are released. Only takes a standard action to cast, though. Good in the early rounds of combat before you need to start disabling, I suppose.


    Fourth Level Spells

    Fourth level adds two spells that can keep your opponents immobile for several rounds without offering a saving throw. Black tentacles is a very strong area-grapple effect, and solid fog simply reduces their movement to 5’ a round. Either way, once you have your enemies locked down, you can put the screws on them with ranged attacks or area damage spells

    Core

    Black Tentacles: Ridiculously good. I’ve banned this spell in the past. The tentacles grapple everything within range, with a grapple check of your CL+8. This spell is death-no-save for humanoid spellcasters who don’t have a grapple escape spell memorized, and it puts a hurt on a good number of monsters as well. One of the best spells around.
    Dimension Door: No somatic component, escapes grapples. Your first method of instant, medium-range travel.
    Secure Shelter: Low-risk overnight security. You can often get the same benefit from rope trick, once you’re high enough level to have it last all night.
    Solid Fog: Are you tired of hearing me talk about solid fog yet? Solid fog blocks line of sight, provides concealment, and slows all movement to 5’ a turn. No SR, no save. This spell lets you put a group of monsters completely out of your mind for several rounds, as they struggle to penetrate the perimeter of the fog. You can’t see monsters in the fog to target ranged attacks, but perhaps your Evoker friend could throw a fireball or two in there to liven things up.

    Non-Core

    Orb of FireSC: It’s a damage spell. No SR, no save. Ranged touch attack. Orb of fire has the best secondary effect of all the elemental orbs (daze). If you absolutely, positively, must play a Conjuration Blaster, slap Arcane Thesis on one of these and metamagic the hell out of it. The damage scales to 15d6, so you’ll grow out of these spells eventually.
    Translocation Trick(SC): You swap places with a target, and you assume each others’ appearances. The king of grapple escape spells (no somatic), because your grappler is likely to just keep on squeezing as long as he thinks he’s got you in his clutches


    Fifth Level Spells

    Fifth level has an abundance of excellent spells. You get long-range transport, cloud-area Con damage, a permanent wall, a fantastic called construct, a Reflex-or-lose spell, and a high-damage single target nuke, among other things. Fifth level is a Conjurer’s bonanza.

    Core

    Cloudkill: Acts like fog cloud, except it kills small creatures within the area of effect and deals Con damage to creatures with more than 6 HD. Note that large creatures still take some Con damage even if they make their Fort save. Cloudkill is win/win. Actually, check that. Cloudkill is just win.
    Major Creation: Make yourself something nice. Or make a bunch of gems and sell them, destroying the economy of any city you visit. Just be sure you’re long gone when the gems vanish a couple hours later.
    Planar Binding, Lesser: I’m not a fan of this spell, but I would like to direct you to the Planar Ally/Binding thread started by tiluvias99. The normal and greater versions of this spell are much more useful.
    Secret Chest: If you need to hide something but good, this is your spell. Throw some horribly important plot item you were tasked to protect into the chest, and if unless your enemies mount a full-scale Ethereal investigation, it’s gone until you call it back.
    Teleport: Yes. I’ve said enough.
    Wall of Stone: The wall is created, not summoned, and it lasts forever. The “entrapment” clause is oddly written, if you attempt to “entrap” an enemy with wall of stone, he can Reflex his way out. However, it’s not clear what that means. Creating a stone circle 5’ in diameter around a creature should probably allow a save, but what if the circle is 20’? Or what if you cut a room in half, trapping a creature within? Depending on how your DM rules this, wall of stone is either a terrific no-SR-no-save way to isolate an enemy, or a much less useful utility spell.

    Non-Core

    Acid SheathSC: Deals CL*2 damage to anyone who hits you. Makes you a less appealing target, especially to low-Int creatures who are looking for food.
    Call ZelekhutSC: A summoning spell with an XP cost. If you can spare the 10 minutes it takes to cast this, the Zelekhut is worlds better than anything you can summon with summon monster V. He stays for up to an hour, or until his task is completed. Though the Zelekhut is lawful, the spell description doesn’t require you to make a particularly lawful or selfless request… “there’s a guy in there, beat his head in” and “help us clear this dungeon out” seem perfectly reasonable.
    Dimension JumperCM: Lets you teleport 30’ a round as a move action, and the spell itself is a swift action to cast. Essentially, this lets you maneuver around the battlefield without incurring AOOs. Good to keep around at high levels, when you aren’t using your 5th level slots for much else.
    Dimension Door, GreaterSC: Essentially the same as dimension jumper, except it works “as dimension door.” That means you can’t take actions after teleporting. I think WotC realized that they borked this spell, and that’s why they printed a usable version in Complete Mage. Ignore this, and take dimensional jumper instead.
    Dimension ShufflePHB2: The crown of the “rearrange the battlefield” line of spells, this lets you move friends and foes alike. No two targets can be more than 30’ apart, but you can completely reorganize a tight battle however you see fit. No somatic.
    Dragon Ally, LesserSC: Get a Zelekhut instead, he’s cheaper.
    Phantasmal ThiefSC: Hours of fun. “Hey, go steal his holy symbol.” “Hey, go steal his spell component pouch.” “I need more spells to scribe, go jack that guy’s spellbook.” Steal wands or potions, even disarm someone. Your dude can also pick up unattended objects, like that obviously trapped gem pulsing with unholy power over there.
    Viscid GlobSC: Save-or-lose that targets the Reflex save. Hit someone you know will fail the Reflex save, who also won’t be able to make the Strength check to escape. Someone like the enemy Wizard.
    Vitriolic SphereSC: This is basically the Conjurer’s disintegrate, with a small area of effect. Creatures in the area who fail their save take 18d6 damage over 3 rounds, which ain’t bad for level 9 when this spell becomes available. Long range, easily over 500’. Like so many other Conjurer damage spells, this spell doesn’t scale up, so use it while it’s good.


    Sixth Level Spells

    Sixth level grants you the best cloud spell in your arsenal with freezing fog. You also get two very useful walls and an emergency infinite-range teleportation spell. Finally, planar binding breaks D&D by allowing you to call creatures with fantastically powerful abilities and bind them to your will.

    Core


    Acid Fog: It’s solid fog with its own damage effect built in. Good all around, especially Sculpted or Widened to maximize the time creatures have to spend in it. Only lasts 1 round/level, unlike most of your fog spells.
    Planar Binding: Trap yourself an Efreet, get some free wishes. Win D&D.
    Wall of Iron: A straight, flat wall that’s very hard to get through. The rules say you can tip it over onto someone… but yeah, DC 40 Strength check.

    Non-Core

    Freezing FogSC: It’s like acid fog plus grease, and it lasts longer. Preferable to acid fog in almost every way, except the incidental damage is 1d6 instead of 2d6. Creatures trapped in freezing fog will take a looooong time to get out, especially if they have low Reflex saves and/or Balance checks. Your best cloud spell.
    GemjumpSC: This is essentially word of recall for Wizards. Set your anchor gem in the place you with to return to, and then hop back when necessary. What’s really cute about this is that you cast gemjump when you place the gem, and then you activate it at any time with a command word. This means you don’t have to keep gemjump memorized in order for it to be useful. You should always have at least one focus gem in a safe place, and you should probably set several.
    Steal SummoningCM: Lets you take control of another caster’s summons. However, you have to cast steal summoning as an immediate action when the creature is summoned, and you must maintain concentration. Not worth the trouble, just summon something big of your own.
    Tactical TeleportationCM: I don’t get it… they took dimension shuffle from the PHB2 and made it worse. Tactical teleportation affects fewer targets, affects willing targets only, includes a somatic component, and is a spell level higher. On the plus side, the targets don’t all have to be within 30’ of each other, but they must still all be within close range of you. I included this just to advise you to memorize the lower level spell instead, and Widen it if you must..
    Tunnel SwallowSC: Turns any hallway or corridor into a Sarlaac. It’s a cute effect, and it can move enemies away from (or towards) you in addition to the damage. No SR, which is nice.
    Wall of GearsSC: Very hard to break through, but unlike wall of iron, this one’s not permanent. It does damage to nearby creatures, though.


    Seventh Level Spells

    Seventh level is a little thin, but there are still some powerful abilities. The Kolyarut is a terrific creature to call, and his presence can turn difficult battles into free loot. You also get several important travel options, and stun ray is as an excellent save-or-lose that isn’t completely negated by a successful save.

    Core

    Plane Shift: An old standby. Go on vacation anywhere in the multiverse.
    Teleport, Greater: Used to be called teleport without error, but Wizards don’t like to admit that they sometimes make mistakes. Helps you get where you’re going without being splinched.
    Teleport Object: Sends stuff places. Note that it doesn’t say “unattended object,” so “that guy’s armor” is a valid target (though attended items get a save). Hell, stuff a bad guy into your bag of holding and teleport it somewhere nice (like outer space). There’s no such thing as baleful teleport (there should be!), but this one’s pretty close.

    Non-Core

    Call KolyarutSC: Like call zelekhut, but better. This guy is the Brute Squad. Your buddy can enervate at will, and its melee touches are vampiric touches. You pay an XP cost for the spell, but the Kolyarut brings a lot to the table. Call kolyarut is one of the landmark calling spells available to Conjurers.
    Choking CobwebsCM: If you cast choking cobwebs twice, it greatly slows creatures in the area of effect, nauseates them, and deals Con damage. However, if you overlap a solid fog and a cloudkill, you get much the same effect for a 4th level spell and a 5th level spell, instead of two 7th level spells.
    Dragon AllySC: More power than you need, more expensive than you can afford. If your options are “cast dragon ally or suffer complete, unrecoverable party wipe,” then your choice is clear. Anything short of that, and you’re better off saving your gold and calling the Kolyarut.
    Stun RaySC: Even if the target makes his Fort save, he’s stunned for a round. This is sort of a save-or-lose-more. Looking at what we’ve got on the list so far, you can probably get away with memming one or more of these.


    Eighth Level Spells

    Maze is your ultimate isolation spell. Greater planar binding is an excellent spell at the very least, and it has the potential to wreck entire campaigns without too much trouble.

    Core

    Incendiary Cloud: Your most damaging cloud, but lacks the movement-stopping properties of solid fog and similar spells. Good spell to use if you’ve managed to wall one or more creatures into a small area. Really though, incendiary cloud should be a much lower-level spell. By level 15, you’re carving mountains and summoning outsiders. Dealing four dice of damage a round doesn’t really stack up.
    Maze: Tremendous spell. Removes an enemy from the combat for a while with no save, although SR still applies. Great on low-Int beefsticks with Fortitude saves high enough to ignore your other spells. You still have to mop up when the creature comes back, but by then, you should be ready for him.
    Planar Binding, Greater: Bind yourself a Planetar and enjoy free access to 9th level Cleric spells. Or why not a Pit Fiend?
    Trap the Soul: If you’re sitting on a king’s ransom, you have a week of prep time, and you feel the urge to subject someone to eternal imprisonment, this is your spell. SR doesn’t apply if you know the target’s name, which should be easy enough with low-level Divinations. This is more of a campaign spell than a combat spell, you’re probably not going to blow a 15,000gp gem just to trap some dude who’s beating on you in a dungeon.

    Non-Core

    Deadly LaharCM: A cone damage spell that also slows (as the spell) all creatures who fail the Reflex save. If you’re confident that you can use it on monsters who will fail their save (and who don’t have Improved Evasion), then let it fly. Unfortunately, monsters who make their Reflex saves take only 5d6 with no slow effect, making this spell somewhat mediocre.
    Fierce Pride of the BeastlandsSC: The good news is, you get a pack of celestial lions and dire lions. Even better, they stay with you a good long time. The bad news is, pretty much nobody you fight at level 15 is going to care much about your pack of 5 HD kittens. Still, I’m sure you can find uses for large size critters with 88 hp and resistance 10 to multiple elements.
    Plane Shift, GreaterSC: It’s everywhere you want to be.


    Ninth Level Spells

    I’m going to list all of the ninth level spells in the sourcebooks I’m using. Each one is worth talking about in its own right, and if you’re in a campaign that will play through to the high levels, you’ll probably want to know what your top tier options are.

    The vast majority of ninth level spells are summoning and calling. There are some absolutely fantastic options (Elemental Monoliths and Iron Golems are both ridiculously good), but there is an abundance of chaff. Specifically, none of the horde spells (spells that summon a large number of smaller creatures) are particularly useful, as the outsiders they summon are generally too small to be much good against the creatures you face at level 17+.

    Core

    Gate: Broken. For 1,000 XP, you bind the services of any outsider you want for 1 round/level. The obvious choice is a creature who grants or casts wish. Solar is a good choice, as he gets wish once per day and casts as a 20th level Cleric (mass heal and miracle are on his spell list). When your angel buddy is done making your fantasies come true and buffing your party, have him go crush some skulls until the spell ends.
    Teleport Circle: Used to set up long-term travel between two points. Good in a campaign sense, not much tactical use.

    Non-Core

    Abyssal ArmySC: See fierce pride of the beastlands. You get a bunch of cuddly little critters for 10 minutes/level. The neat part about abyssal army is that you can command your demon buddies to summon more demon buddies. It’s too bad that none of them do anything overly useful.
    Black Blade of DisasterSC: So this is basically what happens if you make spiritual weapon a 9th level spell. It’s pretty freakin’ sweet, until you read down a little further and discover that sphere of ultimate destruction is basically the same spell without the concentration requirement.
    Call MarutSC: I’m going to be honest with you. The Kolyarut is much more impressive at level 13 than this guy is at level 17. He’s still an order of magnitude better than anything you’re getting from summon monster IX, but there are so many calling and summoning spells at this level that this guy isn’t necessarily your best bet.
    Dimension Jumper, GreaterCM: Let’s you teleport 60’ a round as a swift action. Excellent battlefield manueverability, but by level 17, you’re probably using your swift action to cast Quickened spells. Some DMs houserule swift actions, allowing you to use move-equivalent or standard actions instead if you’ve already burned your swift. If your DM lets you take a move action to use your 60’ jump, this spell gets better.
    Genius LociCM: Creates a permanent Elder Elemental guardian for an item or location, which reforms after 24 hours if slain. Use it to protect your sanctum or other locations of importance. Nothing is stopping you from having more than one genius loci active in the same location, though the spell costs 3,000gp to cast.
    Heavenly HostSC: Like abyssal army, but with angels instead of demons. The worst of the horde spells, because the angels you summon are tiny and ineffectual. Lantern Archons have 1 HD, any given area damage spell will wipe them all off the board. Hound archons do nothing.
    Hellish HordeSC: Maybe the “best” of the horde spells, but you’re still summoning a bunch of 6-10 HD creatures. If you command all of your devils to summon Lemures, you’ll end up with a room full of them. And that’s good for something, right?
    Obedient AvalancheSC: Cute. It’s an area damage spell that deals 1d8+1d6 points per two caster levels, and it can bury creatures in the area of effect. Creatures a little further away from the center point take half damage and get bull rushed. You can use the bull rush effect to push creatures back into one of your existing cloud spells, or you can simply bury them in snow and blast them when they emerge. Great for hugging a room full of goblins. And when I say hugging, I mean killing. And when I say goblins, I mean giants.
    Sphere of Ultimate DestructionSC: It’s like a black blade of disaster, except it automatically hits its target and doesn’t require concentration. Sic this guy on a target and disintegrate it until it’s gone. Then give him a new target. Meanwhile, do other stuff. If you had an “ultimate damage spell,” this would be it.
    Summon Elemental MonolithSC: This is pretty much the biggest guy you can summon without an XP cost. He’s got 36 HD and is CR 17. The spell requires concentration, which prevents you from casting other spells. All of the Elemental Monoliths have a higher attack bonus and hit harder than the Marut or Iron Golem. Earth has the most hit points, the best attack bonus, and Earth Glide, but it also the slowest. Air is the fastest, it has Vortex, and its damage is just slightly less than Earth. Fire does the most damage per attack, but isn’t particularly special otherwise. Water is the clear winner if you’re underwater or at sea.
    Summon GolemPHB2: The Elemental Monoliths are stronger overall, but summon golem doesn’t require concentration. Iron Golems are also immune to all magic and magical effects, so these guys can put a hurt on powerful spellcasters.
    Towering ThunderheadCM: Worst spell ever written. Standard action to cast, lasts 3 rounds, empowers mid-level electricity and sonic spells for those inside it. Great if you’re leading an army of 13th level Evokers armed with chain lightning. Horrible in just about every other circumstance.
    Vile DeathSC: This spell isn’t really for you. It permanently applies the Fiendish template to one corporeal undead. Very useful if you’re a Vampire. Not very useful if you’re a Wizard.
    Last edited by Bullet06320; 2016-08-28 at 11:53 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: the Conjurer's Handbook

    Prestige Classes and Builds

    Conjurer Prestige Classes

    AlienistCArc: Don’t be fooled. The psuedonatural template isn’t particularly useful, nor is it any better than the celestial or fiendish templates you already have access to. The class features are mediocre, you get two bonus feats (which base Wizards would get anyway) in exchange for permanently crippling your ability to interact with people and nonpseudonatural creatures. You can do better than this.

    Archmage: Not all of the Archmage abilities are useful to you, but some are. Arcane Reach is typically considered the best ability, but Conjuration doesn’t have a lot of touch spells. We’re more interested in Mastery of Shaping, which lets you open holes in your area and cloud spells at a cost of one sixth level spell slot. Spell-Like Ability isn’t bad either, for spells that you know you’ll use often (freezing fog?) or for spells that are clearly the best choice in their spell level (like maze). If you do go five levels into Archmage, Arcane Fire will let you burn spell slots for fairly respectable damage when necessary. Remember that you can choose to eliminate your Conjuration bonus spell slots (rather than your universal spell slots) when choosing Archmage abilities. Also note that Master Specialist 1 gives you the Skill Focus (Spellcraft) feat that you need to get into Archmage.

    IncantatrixPGtF: The Incantatrix’s applied metamagic ability allows him to apply metamagic to existing spell effects by making a difficult Spellcraft check. Most notably, you can Persist or Maximize Transmutation and Abjuration buffs (but that’s a bit outside the scope of this handbook). You don’t have many spells that can be Persisted (summons cannot be Persisted because they don’t have a “fixed range,” per the FAQ, page 68), but you can use Widen and Repeat Spell on your clouds to some effect. Just remember that using the applied metamagic ability in combat is a standard action, during which you could just cast another spell. Incantatrix is best used by buffers to keep powerful spells active all day (like vigor or wraithstrike). It’s not an ideal class for Conjurers.

    MalconvokerCS: I'm not terribly impressed with the Malconvoker. This class is your best bet if you want to specialize exclusively on summoning monsters, but you have so many other great options available to you that it seems counterproductive to narrow your focus with a one-dimensional prestige class. The main problem with Malconvoker is that the class abilities only apply to summon monster spells, which really narrows your focus as an arcane caster. You get a couple minor bonuses that apply to planar binding spells as well, but planar binding is plenty broken without prestiging into Malconvoker; these abilities aren’t worth taking the class for.

    Check out Treantmonklvl20's Mastering the Malconvoker for more information on this prestige class, including advice on creatures to summon and bind. We disagree on a number of points, but his guide is very solid for anyone who wants to play a summon-focused Conjurer.

    Master SpecialistCM: Excellent choice. It’s effortless to get into, offers full spell progression, and has a variety of useful features. You get a caster level boost, Greater Spell Focus as a bonus feat, a couple extra spells for your spellbook, and your summons get more hit points and are harder than normal to dispel. You also get Skill Focus (Spellcraft) which is a pre-req for Archmage if you want to go that way, and you gain the ability to Quicken your Conjuration spells 3 times per day for free. Master Specialist is a good all-around prestige class with virtually no drawbacks.
    Editor's Note: Seriously one of the easiest prestige classes to get into, as a specialist wizard of any type, why wouldn't you take at least a couple levels in it. and if you do stay for the full ten levels, you only need 1 feat to enter right into Arcmage.

    RecasterRoE: Recaster is a 4/5 spell progression class with very lenient pre-reqs. You must be a Changeling, which is kind of a bummer (Changeling racial abilities are virtually nonexistent), but you gain several free metamagic abilities. You get Eschew Materials for free, Silent or Still 1/day per class level (even if you don’t have the feats), and you can pick two other metamagic feats (core feats only, no Persist!) you know and apply them spontaneously 1/day per class level as well. You get a limited form of Quicken 3/day, though it lowers the duration of the spell to 1 round. Perhaps best of all, you get shaping abilities 5/day which let you Sculpt your spells, insert holes similar to Extraordinary Spell Aim, use touch attacks at range, or turn burst buffs into chain buffs. Finally, you get to add two non-Wizard spells to your spell list, including lesser planar ally if you’re aiming for Thaumaturgist. A very good five-level class, and probably worth the lost level of progression.

    Thaumaturgist: A respectable class for Conjurers, Thaumaturgist automatically Extends all your summons (not just summon monster spells), and you get Augment Summoning for free. The ability to cast contingent summon spells is not all that useful, as the spell level of the contingent spell is very low (1/3 your caster level). However, the planar cohort is absolutely fantastic… at level 18, you can hire a Planetar who casts spells as a 17th level Cleric. If your DM disallows cohorts, then Thaumaturgist is a very bland prestige class.

    Ultimate MagusCM: Not an effective choice for a Conjurer. You lose caster levels (2 if you use the Practiced Spellcaster trick, 4 if not), which precludes you from being an effective Summoner. The Ultimate Magus’s best class feature is the ability to spontaneously apply metamagic to his spells, but excessive metamagic is not really your forte.


    Conjurer Builds

    Changeling Basic
    Focused Conjurer 3 > Master Specialist 4 > Recaster 5 > Thaumaturgist 5 > Archmage 3
    Forbidden Schools: Enchantment, Evocation, Necromancy
    Alternate Class Feature: Immediate Magic (Abrupt Jaunt)

    This is probably my favorite long-term Conjurer build, as it provides a diverse blend of class abilities which enhance all aspects of Conjuration. Your summons benefit from the Minor Spell Esoterica ability at Master Specialist 4, and they get the Thaumaturgist bonuses. You get free metamagics through Recaster, a planar cohort, and three useful Archmage abilities. This is a 19/20 progression build, with the missing level coming at Recaster 1 (character level 8).


    Non-Changeling Basic
    Focused Conjurer 3 > Master Specialist 7 > Thaumaturgist 5 > Master Specialist (8-10) > Archmage 2
    Forbidden Schools: Enchantment, Evocation, Necromancy
    Alternate Class Feature: Immediate Magic (Abrupt Jaunt)

    The build above, but for non-Changelings. You lose the metamagics in Recaster, but you gain Sudden Quicken and the caster level boosts from Master Specialist, and you retain full 20/20 spell progression with better racial bonuses. This is the route my own Conjurer plans to take. To get into Thaumaturgist, you need to take Arcane Disciple before level 10.


    Summoned Monster Specialist
    Conjurer 3 > Master Specialist 2 > Malconvoker 5 > Master Specialist 3-7 > Thaumaturgist 5
    Forbidden Schools: Enchantment, Evocation
    Alternate Class Features: Enhanced Summoning, Rapid Summoning

    This is my choice of builds for a Conjurer who wishes to focus on casting summon monster and planar binding spells. If you use summon monster to summon an evil-aligned creature, you summon two creatures instead of one, and the creatures get +2 damage per attack, +4 Str/Con, +2 Will save, and bonus hit points equal to your caster level +2 hit points per HD of the creature. The spell’s duration is tripled automatically, and the your caster level for determining dispel attempts is 7 higher than normal (2 from Malconvoker, and 5 from Master Specialist). You also get the bonus to calling creatures with planar binding, and Thaumaturgist 5 gives you the planar cohort. This is also a 19/20 progression build, with the missing level coming at Malconvoker 1 (character level 8). This build is not ideal for epic play, as summon monster doesn’t scale up into epic levels.
    Last edited by Bullet06320; 2016-08-29 at 01:04 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: the Conjurer's Handbook

    References

    Guides used in the research and creation of this Handbook (in alphabetical order):

    Best Uses of Planar Ally/Binding?, a Character Optimzation board thread started by tiluvias99
    The Logic Ninja’s Guide to Being Batman
    Mastering the Malconvoker
    Mastering the Summoned Monster, by Faithless the Wonder Boy
    Summoning Handbook
    Dictum Mortuum’s Wizard Handbook
    Treantmonklvl20's A guide to Wizards: Playing a GOD

    Still trying to locate the other two links above

    Other usefull links mostly for Summonors
    Legal 3.5 Summonable Monster List
    The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5]
    Practical Demonkeeping (A Summoner's Guide to the Lower Planes)
    Being Everything: Eggynack's Comprehensive Druid Handbook for Druid summoning and everything Druid related
    Teach-me-how-to-summon-well
    Which-is-better-Planar-Ally-or-Planar-Binding
    Ways-to-boost-Summon-Elemental
    Planar-Binding-and-You-(Bonus-Stories-Included)
    Last edited by Bullet06320; 2017-11-28 at 03:03 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: the Conjurer's Handbook

    Hey, I'm building a COnjurer for 3.5 and I think this will definitely help, so thanks! I just wanted to ask: is there a reason you didn't include the Domain Wizard from Unearthed Arcana?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Nerdomancer in the Playground Moderator
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Colorado, USA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: the Conjurer's Handbook

    The Mod Life Crisis:Summon Thread Necromancy is counterspelled.
    Spoiler: Medals & Current Characters
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    I mean, I have been assuming Jdizzlean looks like Nathan Fillion this whole time to start with...
    The Mod Life Crisis If you need me to address a thread as a Moderator, please include a link

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