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Post by daveyeisley on Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:11 pm

So I was recently invited to join a Pathfinder RPG tabletop game, and I made myself an elven wizard PC (whuddya mean, "Dave made a wizard?! Noe Wayz!"). I wanted to play a blaster.

I was poking through the main book and the advanced players guide, trying to come up with a build that would be nasty. I found the Spell Perfection feat. I said to myself, "Now, there is a feat to make a build around!"

The DM is letting me start at 4th level. 15 point buy, so I went with:

STR 7
DEX 14
CON 12 (10)
INT 18 (20)
WIS 12
CHA 7

So, I went with an Evocation specialist. Extra slots for evocation blasting spells, and the spell school specialization abilities are nice, too, especially Intense Spells. However, I took the Focus school Evocation: Admixture for the Versatile Evocation ability so that I would have more flexibility in energy types. Havent really designed any combos for the 8th level Energy Manipulation ability yet, other than maybe using the Energy Immunity spell, and then manipulating a different energy type to also become the type that I, and/or my party, is immune to.

I opted for a bonded object (I picked a silver ring) instead of a familliar because I have always despised needing to keep a familliar alive because they are so squishy. So, I get to cast one unprepared spell that I know per day, but cant add any metamagic. Not bad, will be wonderful for those utility spells I know that the party needs, but I didn't have the slot to memorize.

For my first feat, I went with Improved Initiative to complement the decent DEX, and it combines nicely with the Elven Racial trait Warrior of Old, for a starting initiative bonus of +8! That's as good as most rogues! Smile

Next feat was Spell Focus [Evocation].

My second Racial trait was Gifted Adept, for which I chose the Magic Missile spell just to give myself a +1 caster level boost so I could get 3 missiles instead of 2. 3d4+3 damage per cast is pretty good at 4th level, but even better when you add the +2 from the Intense Spells ability, for a damage range of 8 - 17 damage with a 1st level spell slot at level 4 Smile

I also love how the 0th level cantrips are re-usable at will, because it allows me to memorize one Ray of Frost, and recast it as often as I like. because I took the alternate Elven Wizard Favored Class ability, I can use my Versatile Evocation ability 10 times per day, rather than 8 that I would normally get. And this means that 10 of my Rays of Frost can be Rays of Acid, Fire, or Shock at my whim... and instead of doing 1d3 damage, the Intense Spells ability makes them do 1d3+2, which is nice for an unlimited ability.

The eventual plan is to get Greater Spell Focus [Evocation], Elemental Focus ([Fire] or maybe [Acid], not 100% decided), Greater Elemental Focus, Heighten Spell, Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, Intensified Spell, Preferred Spell (probably take this one twice, once for Fireball, the other for Dimension Door), Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, and lastly Spell Perfection [Fireball].

When the character finally reaches 17th level and gains a 9th level spell slot, he would be able to pull off this combo:

1. Start with a normal, 3rd level fireball spell. Because this is one of the Preferred spells, it need not be memorized, it can be cast spontaneously by sacrificing a spell slot or prepared spell of the appropriate level. Because we are going to metamagic it, this will not be a 3rd level slot.

2. Apply the Intensified spell feat to raise the maximum damage dice from 10d6 to 15d6. Now the fireball would need a 4th level slot.

3. Now apply the Empower Spell feat to increased the spell's damage by 50%. This makes it a 6th level slot.

4. Now, using the Spell Perfection feat, we can apply the Maximize Spell feat for free without increasing the level of slot needed, nor affecting casting time. This would normally mean it would require a 9th level slot (which you must have access to for this to work, you just dont need to actually use a 9th level slot for it), so we are still using a 6th level slot.

5. Now, the Fireball's damage is 90 + .5(15d6) + 8, for an average damage of 124, reflex save for half.

6. The reflex save DC would normally be 10 + spell level of 3 + 2 for Greater Spell Focus [Evocation] + 2 for Elemental Focus [Fire] + 10 from INT mod (which, with +6 from gear by 17th level and level up points, INT should be 30 or so meaning +10 modifer) This totals out to a DC 27 reflex save. This is where the secondary benefit of the Spell Perfection feat pays off - for each feat that grants a set, numerical bonus to any aspect of the spell, that bonus is doubled, meaning the DC bonuses from Greater Spell Focus and Elemental Focus go from +2 to +4 each. This puts our DC at a very respectable 31. Not bad at all for a 3rd level spell, eh? A case could even be made to double the bonus from Intensified spell because it is a set bonus of +5 to the maximum damage dice. That would make the base damage 17d6 (and could go up to 20d6 when the character gets to 20th level!) and make it hit even harder.

Compared to a 9th level Meteor Swarm, which tops out at 32d6 +8(Intense Spells ability) damage if all 4 meteors physically impact a target with the touch attack, the damage of which would average only 120 damage, reflex save for half (albeit at a -4 penalty from being struck by the meteors), and the DC would be 10 + spell level 9 + 2 for Spell Focus Evocation + 2 for Elemental Focus Fire + 10 for INT mod, totalling DC 33.

So, we can achieve higher and much more reliable average damage and lose only 2 points on DC by going with the spontaneously castable, highly metamagically modular, Perfected Fireball in a 6th level slot over the 9th level slot used for Meteor Swarm.

Now, before people start thinking "Oh that's totally overpowered!" (probably too late), remember that this combo requires 10 feats to pull off:
1. Heighten Spell (required for Preferred Spell)
2. Preferred Spell
3. Empower Spell
4. Maximize Spell
5. Intensified Spell
6. Spell Focus
7. Greater Spell Focus
8. Elemental Focus
9. Greater Elemental Focus
10. Spell Perfection

I am pretty proud of this little design as my first build/combo for the Pathfinder system. I am certain there are much more powerful and heinous combos out there somewhere, but for being restricted to the content in the Core book and the Advanced Player's Guide, and aiming for a good "Blaster" concept and build, I think this one is pretty darn good.
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Post by Svair on Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:48 pm

I have never picked up Pathfinder (someday?), but it sure was interesting to read what you did there. I'm curious about future games and how well this build works out :-)
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Post by Gene on Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:02 pm

Might want to find a way to squeeze in persistent spell (probably via metamagic rod) and lingering spell (also likely via metamagic rod) for some additional punch. Lingering spell in particular is very nice for offensive wizards.

Both feats lend themselves more to save or die/suck throwers, but are fairly effective in the hands of blasty types as well.

Always been fond of the boomer mages, just a shame it takes until late game for them to really come into their own. Even then it's not quite has awesome as it should be considering how much you have to invest.
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Post by daveyeisley on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:10 pm

I may drop the Preferred Dimension Door, and go for Quicken Spell. With that, I can do an Intensified, Perfected, Quickened Fireball from a 4th level slot followed by my Intensified, Empowered, Perfected, Maximized Fireball from a 6th level slot. That one-two punch will leave a mark on almost anything.


Last edited by daveyeisley on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : maths, duh)
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Post by Gene on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:22 pm

A preferred dimension door is nice, but you could always obtain emergency D-Doors via contingencies.

Barring resistances I'm sure most things will feel it quite painfully. Most critters post CR 15 will likely survive (assuming resistances, saves on occasion, buffs, and whatnot) than the damage you'll be pushing out, but if the rest of your party is on the ball, cleanup should be a breeze.
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Post by daveyeisley on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:45 pm

On resistances, remember, I can switch energy types to bypass those if needed, all it takes is a successful knowledge check against a DC set by targets HD to know which resistances they dont have.

Improved evasion is what really kills the combo... but... because fireball will be a preferred spell, it will never need to be memorized, so I can memorize all anti-evasion spells instead.
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Post by Gene on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:48 pm

Oh I took that into account; just remember that a lot of higher CR stuff has spells and whatnot (or at least potions/scrolls) to pick up resistances and whatnot. Sadly, they're much more effective than in NWN, too. Still, if you force something to chug a potion or cast a spell, that's denying it an action to otherwise maim the party, which is good. Very Happy

But yeah, evasion is always painful to blasters. The ability can seriously cause troubles; especially at higher levels where critters have the excess loot lying around to spend on (obnoxious) rings of evasion.
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Post by daveyeisley on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:55 pm

Well, if they used consumables like scrolls or potions, then its all about Greater Arcane Sight and Greater Dispel Magic, and being a focused high level arcane caster. That eats their buffs, it does Smile
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Post by Gene on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:57 pm

Very true, but then they're taking your actions to dispel. Of course, quickened spells kinda turns that issue around as you can give 'em a face full of *insert elemental suffering here* in the same round to rip off their resistances. Very Happy
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Post by daveyeisley on Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:34 am

Exactly Smile

Even so, it is highly unlikely even a higher CR enemy will have resistances to all 4 of the main elements. Unless its a spellcaster, and then, well... I'm going to be dispelling something, whether its buffs, or counterspelling, in order to let the party take it down.

My main concern against enemy arcane casters is.... Minor Globe of Invulnerability.... because it totally nerfs my combo. However, I can sacrifice the empowered part of the combo in order to do a +2 Heighten spell... and that would make it a 5th level spell and punch through both versions of Globe. I just weep for my lost 50% damage Razz
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Post by Gene on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:38 am

Oh, yeah, globes of invulnerability will definitely be painful for you. Heighten will help, of course, but I wonder if there's another way around them.
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:41 am

Gene wrote:Oh, yeah, globes of invulnerability will definitely be painful for you. Heighten will help, of course, but I wonder if there's another way around them.
A dagger.

From behind.



Wielded by a kobold.


Razz

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Post by daveyeisley on Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:24 pm

Too bad they dont specifically have a "summon dagger-wielding kobold behind the enemy of your choice" spell...

Of course... if the spellcaster happens to have a globe up, but the combo kills or gravely injures all the allies around him, well, thats still good enough for me.
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Post by Elhanan on Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:47 pm

heh! I recall the days when my character would carry a few unique items:

* A mundane silver etched iron blade for upgrading as needed.
* Mundane arrows, or other ranged weapon or projectiles to get past Anti-Magic Shells.
* Mundane Mage robes for getting past specific foes via fear and intimidation.
* Pepper or ground spell components for use as sneezing/ blinding powders.
* Fake heraldry on gear to start rumors of a new, powerful champion that I was serving as a guard.

Then there was the time when the DM asked how our party was going to forge the river, and my ex (newbie player that she was) said she would use her boat. And she had one on her character sheet! Nothing quite as much fun as seeing certain DM's get surprised!
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:01 am

I've had characters with the old folding boat magic item before. Things like that (or a mage with access to the old shrink item (into cloth patch form) spell, or a robe of useful items) make for incredible utility objects.

I had a character once that was a powerful and inventive wizard, who researched many spells in his time (Phoenix). It was a campaign with two DMs that would switch off every week or two. One of the DMs added a persistent enemy spellcaster that constantly used a teleportation contingency to escape. My guy, who happened to have 1 level in fighter, took to carrying a non-magical adamantine greatsword...the plan was to drop an anti-magic shell on himself, walk up the the enemy, and just beat on him with the sword (the enemy was loaded up with magical items and spells).

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Post by daveyeisley on Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:09 am

Dimensional Anchor... or even better.... A Greater Rod of Quickening for a Quickened Dimensional Lock, followed by a Forcecage.

Quote:

"Leaving so soon? Why don't you stick around a bit? Take a load off, have a seat - Let me help you with that." *chuckle*
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