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Thread: Question on Prestige Class

  1. #1
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Question on Prestige Class

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    This weekend we will likely finish one of our quests. Five of us are assaulting a demonic citadel on the prime plane that is rumored to have a permanent gate to the Abyss in its sub-dungeon. We occupy the surface level and have set up magical defenses. We took the basement twice, but both times we were eventually beaten back. Now that we know how they rush us, we know we can take it and hold it in our next attack.

    We saw the gate on the lower level once, but were not able to hit it with dispel magic. We figure once we take the basement, in our next attack we'll be able to get close the gate, dispel it from a distance, take it out with a rod of cancellation, then clean up the mess.

    That being said, once we finish our task I should be able to raise my 21st level wizard to 23rd level. Plus, the DM said that I would be allowed to retroactively change my 21st level to 1st level of of archmage. That would give me 3 levels of archmage. The retro change is a one time deal, because until now prestige classes were not allowed. And 21st level stinks for a wizard.

    So my question is... has anyone here run an archmage? How do wizards and archmages gain spells after 20th level? How exactly does high arcana work?

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    i have... archmage is one of the better PrC's out there.

    As for gaining new spells, your daily capacity for spells does not improve past 20th level unless you gain the Improved Spell Capacity feat from the Epic Level Handbook, although your caster level does increase normally, and new spells can be learned & recored into your spellbook.

    High Arcana powers all have a trade off- you sacrifice a spell slot (each power causes you to lose one spell of a certain level) to gain use of a innate power.
    For example, a archmage who selects Arcane Reach as his High Arcana power can now deliver all touch spells at a range of 30'. The trade off is that he permanently loses 1 7th level spell slot (that is, he now can memorize & cast 1 less 7th level spell that he should be able to at his level)

    Hope that cleared it up for you

  3. #3
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealmsDM View Post
    As for gaining new spells, your daily capacity for spells does not improve past 20th level unless you gain the Improved Spell Capacity feat from the Epic Level Handbook, although your caster level does increase normally, and new spells can be learned & recored into your spellbook.
    That's pretty much how we interpreted it, and the DM and I both agree that it is pretty lame. We're looking at a couple of (home brew) options for granting Wizards more spells after 20th level. Having the option of selecting a feat every few levels that grants one spell is nothing. Here are two options that I have proposed for our campaign:

    1) Spell progression by level advancement goes 1-22-333-4(forever) [Players Handbook, bottom P-55]. I proposed changing the entire list to 1(x1)-2(x2)-3(x3)-4(x4)-5(x5)-6(x6)-etc progression by level advancement. This way a 21st level wizard would have 7(L0), 6(L1), 6(L2), 6(L3), 5(L4), 5(L5), 4(L6), 4(L7), 3(L8), 3(L9) spells. It would reduce the number of higher level spells, but give more at the lower levels.

    2) The simpler solution would be to give 20th plus level wizards additional spell levels equal to their new level. At 21st level a wizard would get 21 additional spell levels. Each new spell level would be treated as level+1. A 9th level spell would be 10 spell levels, a level-0 cantrip would be 1 spell level. This follows extremely close to the existing progression in the Handbook.

    Do you or anyone else have any suggestions or comments?

    Quote Originally Posted by RealmsDM View Post
    High Arcana powers all have a trade off- you sacrifice a spell slot (each power causes you to lose one spell of a certain level) to gain use of a innate power.

    For example, a archmage who selects Arcane Reach as his High Arcana power can now deliver all touch spells at a range of 30'. The trade off is that he permanently loses 1 7th level spell slot (that is, he now can memorize & cast 1 less 7th level spell that he should be able to at his level).
    Exactly. Not only do you not gain more spells, but you sacrifice some that you already have. If we went with the second option above, then perhaps we should limit the archmage to one high arcana per level.

    I have a question regarding the High Arcana: Spell-Like Ability [DMG P-178,9]. Selecting the ability costs a 5th level slot, that much is clear. If I want to have Greater Dispel Magic (L6) as my spell-like ability, it would cost me an additional 6th level spell slot, and I could cast the spell as natural ability rather than as a memorized spell. That much also seems clear.

    Now comes the foggy part. Meta-magic feats aside, if I chose to use a 7th level slot for that L6 spell, could I cast it twice per day as a spell-like ability? Or three times with an 8th level slot, or four times with a 9th level slot? That appears to be what the book says, and I use Dispel alot.

    Thanks, your input is appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    That's pretty much how we interpreted it, and the DM and I both agree that it is pretty lame. We're looking at a couple of (home brew) options for granting Wizards more spells after 20th level ...

    Do you or anyone else have any suggestions or comments?
    Ed, my first suggestion would be to avoid any changes to spell progression that land the wizard with less high level spells. At high levels, low level spells with saves have a hard time being effective because their DCs are significantly lower.

    My second suggestion would be to be very conservative and mindful of any progression you add to the epic game. One of the reasons your wizard doesn't have spell progression in the epic game is because such a progression does not scale well in the aggregate. The epic rules are as they are to support the creation of theoretically infinite levels of characters.

    Even without adding more spell slots to your arsenal, your epic advancement does have some effect on your potency. The most crucial will be your ability to overcome SR with your caster level checks, but several spells do have some post-20 damage progression - like Polar Ray, which maxes out at 25d6 at 25th level.

    With improved spell slot, you can also start piling on the meta magic feats, which will also vastly improve your damage output. Empowered-Maximized Polar Ray will surely strike some fear into your opponents when you're pegging them with 225 points of damage with no saving throw and all you need is to make a ranged touch attack.

    Additionally, as your character progresses into the epic levels, he's probably going to make some monumental leaps in his intelligence score down the road, which will net you increases in your spells per day all on its own. Anyway, it is something to think about. There are other avenues to increase your potency besides just increasing the sheer volume of spells you can cast.

    Exactly. Not only do you not gain more spells, but you sacrifice some that you already have. If we went with the second option above, then perhaps we should limit the archmage to one high arcana per level.
    Unless I am mistaken, the Archmage is already limited to taking only one High Arcana ability per level.

    Now comes the foggy part. Meta-magic feats aside, if I chose to use a 7th level slot for that L6 spell, could I cast it twice per day as a spell-like ability? Or three times with an 8th level slot, or four times with a 9th level slot? That appears to be what the book says, and I use Dispel alot.

    Thanks, your input is appreciated.
    According to the d20 SRD, "The archmage may use an available higher-level spell slot in order to use the spell-like ability more often. Using a slot three levels higher than the chosen spell allows her to use the spell-like ability four times per day, and a slot six levels higher lets her use it six times per day." So, not quite the progression you were talking about, but yes, you could definitely add more castings per day.

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    ok so for the 1st part of your reply-

    wizards are pretty powerful at high level & epic level, so giving them unlimited progression in spells would be overkill IMO. The improved spell capacity feat does give you one spell plus your INT bonus at one level higher than your current spell level- thus 10th level spells here we come!
    By 20+ level, your caster should (i hope) have a damn good INT score, so he'll have the ability to cast super meta-magiced high level spells!

    And for part 2-

    the spell like ability power right off the bat, costs you one of your 5th level slots. Then if you choose Greater Dispel (L6) you lose a 6th level slot to use that spell 2xday. By sacrificing a slot 3 levels higher than its true level, thus sacrificing a 9th level spell, you may use greater dispel 4xday as a spell like ability

    I for one think that Mastery of Elements & Mastery of Shaping are the best two High Arcana powers....

  6. #6
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealmsDM View Post
    Wizards are pretty powerful at high level & epic level, so giving them unlimited progression in spells would be overkill IMO. The improved spell capacity feat does give you one spell plus your INT bonus at one level higher than your current spell level- thus 10th level spells here we come!
    Yes wizards are very powerful, but they are also very vulnerable. If a wizard is grappled and can't cast spells, he is toast. But what does a wizard gain after 20th level? There are the increases in caster level for opposing SR, a tougher DC, and better saves. He should not be going into melee with anything he is opposing, that would be suicide, so the AB and HP increase are not that useful.

    Compare what a fighter gets... he gets better attacks, more HP, and a feat every other level. That is what the fighter lives for. If my 16th level fighter ever got within 10 feet of any wizard, it would be lucky to survive the second round.

    I am still under the impression that higher level wizards should be getting more spells. But hey, that's just my opinion based on the threats I've seen in the higher level campaigns that I've been involved in.

    Quote Originally Posted by RealmsDM View Post
    I for one think that Mastery of Elements & Mastery of Shaping are the best two High Arcana powers....
    Yes... I would no longer have to consider memorizing 'coldball', 'acidball', or 'cone of electricity'. It would free me up use fireballs on devils and lightning bolts on demons. Hmmm... chain lightning as a sonic echo chamber?
    Last edited by Ed Zachary; 02-23-2007 at 04:06 PM.

  7. #7
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Ed, my first suggestion would be to avoid any changes to spell progression that land the wizard with less high level spells. At high levels, low level spells with saves have a hard time being effective because their DCs are significantly lower.
    Yes, with the DC=10 + Spell Level + Int Bonus, I don't fail many saves any more.

    But it was frustrating to have an Ogre Magi Sorcerer make two saves in a row against my two Dominate Monster (L9) spells (DC=30).

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    My second suggestion would be to be very conservative and mindful of any progression you add to the epic game. One of the reasons your wizard doesn't have spell progression in the epic game is because such a progression does not scale well in the aggregate. The epic rules are as they are to support the creation of theoretically infinite levels of characters.
    The more I think about it, the more I like the increase in spell level option. In each of the first three gaming sessions in this campaign, I ran out of spells and started to run my magic items out of charges. I only have four magic wands and one staff... I've seen characters with as many as 20 wands that could cast almost every spell imaginable. If I only had another Wall of Force, Greater Dispel Magic, and Sunburst, we could've easily held the basement last week. Me and the Sorceress (Yuan-Ti Halfblood) ran out of spells, and that left the Barbarian (Centaur), Rogue (Svirfneblin) and Priestess (Aasimar) alone, and they were almost killed. It was their own stupidity, they pressed to far ahead while assuming they would have spell support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Even without adding more spell slots to your arsenal, your epic advancement does have some effect on your potency. The most crucial will be your ability to overcome SR with your caster level checks, but several spells do have some post-20 damage progression - like Polar Ray, which maxes out at 25d6 at 25th level.
    Regarding feats... I chose Spell Penetration five times. I know what types of enemies I'll need to be toughest against.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    With improved spell slot, you can also start piling on the meta magic feats, which will also vastly improve your damage output. Empowered-Maximized Polar Ray will surely strike some fear into your opponents when you're pegging them with 225 points of damage with no saving throw and all you need is to make a ranged touch attack.
    [taking notes] That's a good one... I haven't tried that yet!

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Additionally, as your character progresses into the epic levels, he's probably going to make some monumental leaps in his intelligence score down the road, which will net you increases in your spells per day all on its own. Anyway, it is something to think about. There are other avenues to increase your potency besides just increasing the sheer volume of spells you can cast.
    Right now it is 32, which is ungodly high. My previous DM did not want us making magic items, he wanted us to acquire them by taking them from their previous owners. I liked that rule, and as a DM I would not give away any really good items that a character would want unless they earned them in battle. And what wizard would want to sell his best items... like a Cloak of Shapechanging?
    Last edited by Ed Zachary; 02-23-2007 at 04:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    With improved spell slot, you can also start piling on the meta magic feats, which will also vastly improve your damage output. Empowered-Maximized Polar Ray will surely strike some fear into your opponents when you're pegging them with 225 points of damage with no saving throw and all you need is to make a ranged touch attack.
    Polar Ray (L=8), Maximized (L+3), Empowered (L+2).

    Just curious... how do I cast a 13th level spell?

    The Improved Spell Capacity feat (DMG P-210) would only allow me to cast a 10th level spell. Would I have to select that feat four times?

    I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I'm still learning about the finer points of high level 3.5 edition spell casting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    Regarding feats... I chose Spell Penetration five times. I know what types of enemies I'll need to be toughest against.
    Spell Penetration does not stack with itself. At maximimum, you could take Spell Penetration and the Greater Spell Penetration, which would give you a total of +4 to your caster level check.

    Right now it is 32, which is ungodly high.
    That's probably about right for your level. One of my players at the moment is a 14th level paladin and he's already up to a 27 charisma with just his equipment and no other buffs.

    Just curious... how do I cast a 13th level spell?

    The Improved Spell Capacity feat (DMG P-210) would only allow me to cast a 10th level spell. Would I have to select that feat four times?
    Each time you take Improved Spell Capacity, you may add the capacity to cast a spell one level higher than what you can already cast. So, if you can cast 9th, you can add a 10th slot... If you can cast 10th, you can add an 11th, and so on.

    I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I'm still learning about the finer points of high level 3.5 edition spell casting.
    No problem at all. Sorting through rules and helping each other out is part of what this forum is for. this forum is about.


  10. #10
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Spell Penetration does not stack with itself. At maximimum, you could take Spell Penetration and the Greater Spell Penetration, which would give you a total of +4 to your caster level check.
    The PHB doesn't say whether they do or don't stack. But Standard is usually followed by Improved, which is sometimes followed by Greater. We just added some new adjectives to create our own feats. Another example is that my wizard has Greater Counterspell (not in book).

    My 16th level fighter has three Weapon Focus feats (only two in book), and two Weapon Specializations with the great sword. Once he makes the 20th level prerequisite, he'll take a third 'Greater Yet' Weapon Specialization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    That's probably about right for your level. One of my players at the moment is a 14th level paladin and he's already up to a 27 charisma with just his equipment and no other buffs.
    Good, I'm glad I'm not out in left field on this. I don't like campaigns that are too generous, they present no challenge. And campaigns that are too stingy lack the fantasy role playing appeal. But hey, that's just my opinion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Each time you take Improved Spell Capacity, you may add the capacity to cast a spell one level higher than what you can already cast. So, if you can cast 9th, you can add a 10th slot... If you can cast 10th, you can add an 11th, and so on.
    That's what I figured... that I would need to take that feat four times!

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    No problem at all. Sorting through rules and helping each other out is part of what this forum is for. this forum is about.
    Good, because I really appreciate the help. I'm also interested in other campaigns. That's why I was asking some others about their really high level characters. I wanted to know how they got that high, and what type of challenges they faced along the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    The PHB doesn't say whether they do or don't stack. But Standard is usually followed by Improved, which is sometimes followed by Greater. We just added some new adjectives to create our own feats. Another example is that my wizard has Greater Counterspell (not in book).
    Unless otherwise stated, you cannot take a feat more than once to cumulatively gain its affects. For instance, you couldn't take Skill Focus ad nausium. You must take special care when adding feats that stack with others as to the effect or you may end up with something that is a bit unbalanced. In the case of your Spell Penetration x5, that means that you have a caster level +10 to overcome SR. Even before you add on something like the Assay Resistance spell, you have drastically devalued the Spell Resistance special quality. SR is an important part of what defines a creatures challenging rating.


    That's what I figured... that I would need to take that feat four times!
    But, it its so worth it. You could also go the epic spell route instead and end up with a pretty damned potent arsenal as well. Personally though, I've always found process of building epic spells to be kludgy at best.

  12. #12
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Unless otherwise stated, you cannot take a feat more than once to cumulatively gain its affects. For instance, you couldn't take Skill Focus ad nausium. You must take special care when adding feats that stack with others as to the effect or you may end up with something that is a bit unbalanced. In the case of your Spell Penetration x5, that means that you have a caster level +10 to overcome SR. Even before you add on something like the Assay Resistance spell, you have drastically devalued the Spell Resistance special quality. SR is an important part of what defines a creatures challenging rating.
    With all due respect, I disagree. I have the access to the same number of feats as any other wizard of my level would have, maybe less because I get no racial feats. By choosing those five feats, there are five other feats that I could've chosen instead. So instead of only getting a +4 with two feats, I have a +10 from five feats. That would be the same effect as if I were six levels higher. But if I were six levels higher with the same ability to defeat SR, I'd have more feats, more HP, better attacks, better saves, and perhaps better stats and items.

    To do what I can do, I took a character of less levels and made sacrifices to be able to do what is most important to me. I'd rather have a character with pronounced strengths and some weaknesses, than a 50th level juggernaut with no weaknesses and can do everything equally perfect. In fact I run most of my characters with deliberate weakness, and chose to enhance role playing with those weaknesses. And those strengths that I've worked hard for, they're a source of pride, and I play to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    But, it its so worth it. You could also go the epic spell route instead and end up with a pretty damned potent arsenal as well. Personally though, I've always found process of building epic spells to be kludgy at best.
    As a 21st level wizard, I won't see four more feats until I hit 30th level. That's a long ways to go... and unfortunately I'm not a frequent player. I also hope to play some of my other three characters too, and perhaps start up some new ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    With all due respect, I disagree. I have the access to the same number of feats as any other wizard of my level would have, maybe less because I get no racial feats.
    "If a character has the same feat more than once, its benefits do not stack unless indicated otherwise in the description. In general, having a feat twice is the same as having it once." (Players Handbook v3.5 pg 89)

    Of course, your DM has the ultimate authority on how the game mechanics work in his world and is free to change anything he wants, but I would advise that whenever you make changes you be extremely mindful of the reasons "why" a rule was written as it was. There are very solid reasons that certain feats cannot stack.

  14. #14
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Of course, your DM has the ultimate authority on how the game mechanics work in his world and is free to change anything he wants, but I would advise that whenever you make changes you be extremely mindful of the reasons "why" a rule was written as it was. There are very solid reasons that certain feats cannot stack.
    Point taken... but I believe that we as players have been encouraged to create our own campaign settings, deities, spells, skills, feats, and planar cosmology. All of course, within reason.

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    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Well Farcaster, I did take your words to heart and made some adjustments. While the DM did not agree to limit the number of Spell Penetration feats, I chose to reallocate three of them, leaving me with just two (+4). We also agreed not to add any additional spells beyond 20th level. We are however considering giving the Additional Spell feat each level, as again all the spell casters ran out of spells again.

    We were successful in taking the dungeon, and I did shut it down with Dispel Magic. We destroyed the Balor Demon, the third Marilith, and over four sessions a few hundred other Demons. However the Aasimar Priestess was killed and her body taken into the Abyss by a minor Demon Lord who we failed to kill. We decided not to destroy the gate, but to look for that Demon and the dead Priestess.

    Our coterie was joined by a Dwarven Fighter (Duergar), and the player (inexperienced) who ran the Priestess will be allowed to run her twin sister. The DM said that this was a one time deal, because he pulled a nasty trick on a new player. Anyway, I think he's going to use the dead Priestess as an NPC for future plot lines. I would.

    I came up short of experience to make 23rd level, so I'm glad we're playing one more session. After this I want to introduce my other epic level character, and bring up two others to epic level. He wants to populate the campaign world with some semi-retired player characters who will also act as NPC power brokers under the control of the DM (with player input). We also talked about co-DMing, where myself and others could act as guest DMs, and he could play some of his characters. Our next adventure will be somewhere in the Underdark.

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