Essential Spells for Arcane Spellcasters

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Essential Spells for Arcane Spellcasters

Post by daveyeisley on Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:53 am

NOTE: Most of info here is up to date, however some spell changes, and the addition of the Aenean Epic Magic System do affect the validity of some of the opinions herein. Please feel free to post details regarding such situations and I will endeavor to correct the info in this post. Thanks, - Dave.

Handing out my trade secrets here. I and others have been doing that for a while, so I guess more is better Smile

NWNWikki has some general spell info available, I don't agree with all of it, but its a worthwhile read.
Check it out.

Some brief summaries of various important spells for Arcane Casters:

Arcane Caster Essential Protectives:

1. Shadow Shield. One of the most robust protections spells available. It gives you 5 Natural Armor, and 10/ 3 damage reeuction which is powerful by itself.

In addition, you are invulnerable to necromancy spells (such as enervation, Energy Drain, finger of death, wail of the banshee, glacius' hypothermia, horrid wilting, cleave health, harm, destruction, and slay living, or any of the inflict wounds spells.) You ALSO become 100% immune to negative energy damage.

The drawback to this spell is that it is "breachable". That means that the "breaching" spells, lesser spell breach, greater spell breach, and Mordenkainen's Disjunction will always automatically be able to remove Shadow Shield, without a caster level check. There is a list of breachable spells, and these breaching spells go down the list in order removing spells from highlest level to lowest. Each spell has a limit to how many breachable protections it can remove, when it fulfills that quota, the remaining breachable spells remain until another breaching spell is cast on that target.

2. Tempest's Protective Gale. This spell is a no brainer when facing off against archers. 100% miss chance due to the extremely powerful winds. Note the very short duration however, 1 round per 2 caster levels. If you want this one to last a bit, you *need* to use Extend Spell. Also, this spell is one of the best AC boosting spells for a caster. 1 deflection bonus per 3 caster levels... so at level 39, you are gaining a whopping 13 deflection. Nothing else in game can give deflection that high!

3. Energy Buffer. The strongest elemental damage protection available. 40/- resistance to ALL elements is very powerful. Watch out for the limit of 60 damage absorbed for any type, however. If you are up against a threat that has significant elemental damage output of one type, be prepared to recast this multiple times during the fight. Still, all in all, this spell is basically free hit points, which an arcane caster sorely needs. It is also the best tactical response to being the target of a hellball... combine it with Tempest's Stormshield (see below) and you wont even be touched by the tac-nuke... who needs evasion!? Razz

4. Lesser Spell Mantle, Spell Mantle, and Greater Spell Mantle. These spells' tactical applications are complex enough that they probably deserve to be covered in their own post. The basic gist of it is, when you need to not get blasted by incoming spells, you throw one of these up. They are all "breachable" and can be easily dispelled by another arcane caster, regardless of caster level, but that makes the enemy caster waste time and an action dispelling rather than nuking you.

In spell combat, proper use of these spells in combination with other spells such as Haste, Greater Sanctuary, Mordenkainen's Disjunction, Greater Spell Breach, True Sight, Energy Buffer, and Shadow Shield will decide the fate of any caster. My best advice is: getting a mantle up should be your 1st defensive priority in spell battle, as it protects you from all non-epic spells, and will force your opponent to use an action to dispel it rather than open up with offensive magic. If you have a mantle up, and your opponent does not dispel it first thing, then your options of response open up nicely... all depending on the disposition of your opponent at that time.

Situational awareness is absolutely *critical* in spell battle (aka Cert'Amen). If you dont know exactly what is going on with yourself, your opponent, and your environment, you will invariably make a mistake... and lose.

5. Haste. This spell is a compact and efficient combination of defense and offense. Properly used, this spell can enable a less powerful caster to defeat a more powerful one. The 4 dodge AC is a wonderful perk, and an Arcane caster who is going to melee damn well better cast this spell first. The extra attack per round at your *full* lead attack bonus is another reason this spell is invaluable for melee. The duration is only 1 round per level, but trust me when I say that the lack of permahaste items in Aenea makes an *extended* Haste one of the most beautiful things there is Smile

However, the true power of this spell in NWN (and D&D 3.0) is in its ability to allow a second spell to be cast in each round. It also affects counterspells. A non-hasted caster cannot counterspell a hasted caster (theres a good bit more to it, thats just a one line summary). And Imagine if you will, the endless cycle of "Caster A dispels caster B with Mords.... Caster B immediately spell Mantles. Caster A dispels Caster B again.... Caster B remantles." If you get a haste up, and your opponent does not.... you get your dispell off AND a chance to attack before he remantles... or alternately, you get a chance to mantle yourself AND dispel your opponent.

Due to this factor alone, Haste is your second most important priority in Spell Battle (arguably more important than spell mantle, but I disagree... being hasted doesnt help at all if your opponents first move is to smack you with a Bigby's Grasping Hand, taking you out of the fight in round 1).

Lastly, movement speed. There are inevitably going to be times when your spells arent right for the situation, and your opponent has you where he wants you... and the only way to survive is to MOVE!... haste can help you do that to escape AoE's and also to avoid the melee threat of certain Bards who like to sing the Most Boring Song (ie. Mundane Melody).

6. Improved Invisibility/Displacement. These two are inferior to Greater Sanctuary in one respect that if an enemy is close enough to see you, or has True Seeing, you can still be targeted by them. However, the reason they are still very important for melee is the 50% miss chance. Half of all incoming attacks will miss, buying you more time to do other things before you have to disengage or heal yourself. Improved Invisibility requires a higher level slot, but makes up for this with ten times the duration of displacement.

Two other important notes: Improved Invisibility is an invisibility spell and hence, can be dispelled by Invisibility Purge (including the 50%miss chance), while displacement cannot. Also, when you are relying on damage shield spells like Acid Sheath, Fire shield, Razorleaf Shield, and Death Armor to do the lion's share of your damage output, using this spell or other effects that make you harder to hit (like boosting your AC) can be inadvisable, as getting hit less means these spells inflict less damage. Against a mob of enemies who do very high melee damage (like Orc Destroyers), you may still want to at least consider the 50% miss chance, as without time to heal, you may wind up dead before your damage shield spells can do enough damage.

7. Tempest's Stormshield. A nice solid duration, and 100% electrical immunity are side benefits to this spell. The big advantage here is *immunity to Knockdown*, the Bane of Arcane Casters. Hellball, Knockdown, Improved Knockdown, Sphere of Denial, Bigby's Forceful Hand, Tempest's Microburst, Overpowering Shout, Quaking Chorus, Great ThunderClap, and others are all ways to put you on your backside and make you vulnerable at the worst possible moment. With this spell active, you need not fear such, and can respond to emergencies on the battlefield quickly.

8. Protection from Evil/Good/Law/Chaos. These 4 spells have a wonderful duration, are not breachable, and will protect your mind from all mind effects except those from True Neutral opponents (very rare). Since you probably arent going to use your gobs of first level slots for much else besides maybe magic missile, slotting these four can save you from using a higher level slot for Lesser Mind Blank.

9. Acid Sheath, Fire Shield, Flora's Razorleaf Shield, Death Armor. These are the great equalizers. Are you up against an enemy with spell immunities galore, high Spell Resistance, and a Melee barrage that will wear down your best protections very quickly? Give them something to think twice about with these spells. The more they hit you, the faster they will die, and chances are, unless they are hitting *extremely* hard (in 70 range) or have VERY high elemental resistances, these spells will cause them to take more damage from hitting you than they can deal with their weapon. NOTE: Fire Shield will also make the caster 50% immune to fire and cold damage.

End result, they will stop hitting you... either cuz they are smart and patient, or because they were stupid and now dead. I recommend extended versions of ALL of these spells.

Notes: Most of these are breachable, notably Acid Sheath and Fire Shield. Acid Sheath is the bread winner for damage, and VERY few things have the kind of Acid Resistance it takes to make the damage manageable. Also, if at all possible, if you can wear your opponent down to low Hps without using these spells, it is a wonderful and effective tactic to save them for last, when your wounded opponent finally believes they have a chance to beat on you... and then they get a nice suprise in the middle of their assault and wind up dead before they can react Smile Make sure you have improved combat casting, or enough concentration skill to avoid disruption or this trick doesnt work.

10. Epic Mage Armor. Praise be for making this spell work as was intended in the Epic Level Handbook. No garbage 5 bonuses of various types that wont stack with the stuff you already have. No... in Aenea this spell is actually worthy of being called an EPIC spell.

20 Armor bonus to AC.

The only things it wont stack with is Enhancement bonuses on Armor, or on Bracers. Combined with full plate thru the use of Automatic Still Spell III, or with -45% arcane failure on the armor(Chitin Armor works beautifully for this, sucks that you cant craft the appearance though), you can get a VERY high AC with this spell. 8 for full plate, 1 for Dex if you have at least 12 dex, and 20 for Epic Mage Armor. Thats a 39 AC wearing nothing but your full plate.

This spell cannot be stopped by spell failure, and cannot be dispelled. Nuff Said.

11. Epic Warding. The best source of Damage Reduction in the game. soaks 50 damage from every hit. The only weapon that will bypass it must be a 20 weapon. You will probably never see such a thing in Aenea. The only way to get something that high is to be an arcane caster with a 20 stat mod (meaning your casting stat must be 50 or higher), and use the Black Blade of Disaster Spell... which, considering the Black Blade's Attack bonus is only 27 on the lead attack... it will hit only 5% of the time, making it not a threat.

Everything else must resign itself to losing 50 physical damage from each of its strikes... and about the only things that can do 50 physical damage in a single strike(non-crit, mind you) are druids in Dragonform, or rogues with high sneak attack dice. Yes, a 70 Strength bestial Orc red Dragon Disciple with a 2hander can, too... but how much past 50 will he be doing? 60? 65?... well now, thanks to epic warding... he is doing 10 or 15... and god help him if you have your damage shields active, too. This spell cannot be stopped by spell failure, and cannot be dispelled. Nuff Said.
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