My sorcerer/seeking advice,

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Hello everyone, the thread title is self explanatory so I'll get right to the character stats:

Lukas Aran, Suel Human Sorcerer7/Fatespinner1,

HP 47

STR 12
DEX 14
CON 16 (+2 Amulet)
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 19 (+2 Cloak)

Fort: 9
Ref: 6
Will: 9 (Rat Familiar for +2, Vest of Resistance +2)

AC 16, 12 Touch, 14 Flat Footed, (Mage Armor is used here)

Initiative +2 or +7 (Nerveskitter baby!)

Grapple +4 (BAB 3, STR 1), +8 to resist/escape grapples due to a favor,

Skills:
Concentration: 14 (11 ranks)
Knowledge Arcana: 10 ranks
Spellcraft: 7 ranks
Profession Gambler: 5 Ranks
Listen/Spot: +2

Feats: (in order)
Infernal Sorcerer Heritage (PHB2, +1 vs fire/poison per infernal feat, +1 to evil critter summon spell caster level)
Empower Spell
Infernal Sorcerer Howl (Sonic/Fort Save Draconic Breath cone equivalent. It's very handy, especially against swarms and outsiders.)
Energy Substitution Acid

Spells Known:
0th: (6/day)
Disrupt Undead
Mage Hand
Acid Splash
Light
Detect Magic
Read Magic
Caltrops

1st: (7/day + Level 1 Memento)
Grease
Magic Missile,
Orb of Cold, Lesser
Mage Armor
Nerveskitter

2nd:
Glitterdust,
False Life,
See Invisibility,

3rd:
Fireball
Haste

4th:
Wall of Ice (There are worse spells and I can't change it now.)

Equipment:
Everburning Torch, various mundane items and a number of scrolls,
Artificer's Monocle,
Anklet of Translocation,
Vest of Resistance +2,
Cloak of Charisma +2,
Amulet of Con +2,
Lesser Rod of Extend Spell,
Level 1 Memento Magicka
Wand of Cure Light (45 Charges)
Wand of Baleful Transposition (5 Charges, only had 10 to start)
Wand of Comp Languages (5 Charges, also started with 10 charges)
Gold on hand: ~1600gp

Before you ask, this character died once to a scythe crit (cheap resurrection via overcap) and was level drained once as well, which added a useful amount of extra gold. Though I'd rather not go through either again.

Current Tactics Include: Daily Buffing with Mage Armor and False Life. (Don't mock it. Lukas has lived more than once because of both. The scythe crit would not have confirmed had he been buffed with Mage Armor.)
Battle Tactics can be boiled down to "Haste the Party, blast the enemy, check spell list for best spell to apply or use the Howl."

If he has a second level slot left at the end of the day, he buffs with an extended False Life over night.


Current Advice Wanted:

Feat Choice at level 9:

I WAS going to take Rapid Metamagic, but I had to sink points into Knowledge Arcana to get into Fatespinner. So that will be a level 12 feat option.

Feats I have looked at seriously are:
Nonlethal Substitution: Greyhawk and Hostages be Damned, Nonlethal damage on Fireball is handy.
Sculpt Spell: Options in targeting the spell can help
Energy Substitution: A third option for my damage spells would be nice.
Arcane Mastery: Spell Resistance has been a problem. But a sorcerer's ability to use metamagic on the fly is very handy too.
Extra Spell: More Spells = More options.
Transdimensional Spell: Ghostkiller, nuff said.

I am open to other feats, especially metamagic feats. I'd also like to know what other players would use in my place.

More advice currently wanted
Spell Choices for 9th level:


I'm almost 100% sure that the second level spell gained will be "Burning Sword" (Or Sonic Weapon). Knock is tempting, but adding damage to archers and/or melee characters is looking very good to me.

For 3rd level spells, Fly, Protection From Energy, Dispel Magic, Greater Mage Armor and Undulant Innards (Lords of Madness) come to mind. They all have their uses. (Extra Spell would get Lukas a 3rd level spell, which wouldn't hurt.) Undulant Innards Grants bonuses versus several different effects, makes all falls do minimum damage to the faller and can negate a single critical hit. Lukas has a favor that makes x4 weapons automatically crit. He got this "favor" AFTER dying to the scythe crit.

For 4th level spells, Dim Door, Greater Invisibility, Wall of Sand, Wall of Fire and Evard's Black Tentacles come to mind. NOTE: I might swap out Wall of Ice for a different Wall spell if Wall of Ice proves less than useful.

I'm open to suggestions for 3rd and 4th level spells.

Thanks in advance,
Hariman
Hello everyone, the thread title is self explanatory so I'll get right to the character stats:

Lukas Aran, Suel Human Sorcerer7/Fatespinner1,

I really hate to say this, but Fatespinner has a prereq of "able to cast L4 arcane spells". Did you have some nifty way to meet that with a L7 sorcerer, or is it an error?

Feats: (in order)
Infernal Sorcerer Heritage (PHB2, +1 vs fire/poison per infernal feat, +1 to evil critter summon spell caster level)
Empower Spell
Infernal Sorcerer Howl (Sonic/Fort Save Draconic Breath cone equivalent. It's very handy, especially against swarms and outsiders.)
Energy Substitution Acid

Yeah, I was kind of surprised by how useful Draconic Breath turned out to be, on my currently-L10 sorcerer. Feats look good.

Feats I have looked at seriously are:
Nonlethal Substitution: Greyhawk and Hostages be Damned, Nonlethal damage on Fireball is handy.
Sculpt Spell: Options in targeting the spell can help
Energy Substitution: A third option for my damage spells would be nice.
Arcane Mastery: Spell Resistance has been a problem. But a sorcerer's ability to use metamagic on the fly is very handy too.
Extra Spell: More Spells = More options.
Transdimensional Spell: Ghostkiller, nuff said.

Sculpt Spell looks nice for you, with Grease + Glitterdust + Fireball. I don't think I'd take Transdim unless your area is very incorporeal-heavy: you don't have that much BC to apply it to, and you do have the option of spamming empowered magic missiles. On the other hand, if you pick up Web as a L2 spell, this looks a lot more attractive.

You already have fire + cold + acid covered with energy spells - fire and acid in area versions, cold and acid in single-target no-reflex-save - I doubt you'd get that much use out of another energy sub, although I guess it would be nice to convert to electricity vs devils. Nonlethal Sub is definitely an interesting option, but if you primarily want it to avoid innocents, I think Sculpt is probably a better choice, as it lets you sculpt your fireballs around hostages while also allowing the cheese that is sculpted grease and glitterdust.

I am open to other feats, especially metamagic feats. I'd also like to know what other players would use in my place.

Twin Spell is sometimes a good mid-high-level feat, if you want to blast things. Not sure if it's worth it for your build though. Chain Spell is nice with Nerveskitter and Rapid Metamagic, but you don't really have anything else it affects and it's pointless without RM anyway.

I'm almost 100% sure that the second level spell gained will be "Burning Sword" (Or Sonic Weapon). Knock is tempting, but adding damage to archers and/or melee characters is looking very good to me.

For 3rd level spells, Fly, Protection From Energy, Dispel Magic, Greater Mage Armor and Undulant Innards (Lords of Madness) come to mind. They all have their uses. (Extra Spell would get Lukas a 3rd level spell, which wouldn't hurt.) Undulant Innards Grants bonuses versus several different effects, makes all falls do minimum damage to the faller and can negate a single critical hit. Lukas has a favor that makes x4 weapons automatically crit. He got this "favor" AFTER dying to the scythe crit.

For 4th level spells, Dim Door, Greater Invisibility, Wall of Sand, Wall of Fire and Evard's Black Tentacles come to mind. NOTE: I might swap out Wall of Ice for a different Wall spell if Wall of Ice proves less than useful.

I'm open to suggestions for 3rd and 4th level spells.

What L5 spell are you planning to take next level? I ask because if it's Mass Fly / Teleport, that means you probably shouldn't take Fly / D-Door now. If you are NOT taking Mass Fly at L10-11, I would take Fly now: you're getting into the level range where the authors will assume the party has a way to fly. If you are taking Mass Fly soon, Protection from Energy is nice on a spontaneous caster - I happen to prefer Resist Energy, but you may not have the spare L2 slot. At L9, I suspect you'll get a few levels of use out of Dispel Magic before it becomes largely obsolete - like prot energy, it's a nice spell for a spontcaster, as you can spam it until it works. I can't remember the duration on Undulant Innards: if it's 10 minutes / level for longer this might be good, but if it's short duration, again, think about what actions you're likely to be taking in combat. I don't think GMA is worth the L3 slot for a L9 sorcerer, unless you're very focused on playing tank/cork for the party.

For other L3 spells... you may want to consider GMW at L12+, but that's a few levels away yet. Phantom Steed is an amazing sorcerer mobility spell, but best at higher levels where the steeds can airwalk and fly. I'd consider Battlemagic Perception if you get access, but since you need to take a dispel as well to make it work properly, that's more of a high-level option.

Evard's Black Tentacles and Solid Fog are excellent L4 battlefield control spells. D-Door is good for shuttling party members around the battlefield and escaping grapples and enemy BC, but I see you already have anklets and it sounds like you don't want your sorc in melee range of big nasties. Greater Invis is a nice spell, but its best use is usually to buff the rogue, and you need to think about how often it will be worth a combat action relative to your other standard-action options.

For L2 spells, I'd look at Scorching Ray at some point: with Energy Sub and Empower, you're set up reasonably well to blast (and even more so if you retrain a feat to Quicken after you get Rapid Metamagic). It gets really good (significantly better than lesser orb of cold) at L11. Web combines very well with Transdimensional Spell.

I think overall what I'd do in your situation is take Evard's Black Tentacles (assuming your region is okay with it) and Sculpt Spell. That way you immediately pick up sculpted grease + glitterdust + (acid) fireball, and next level you can do sculpted evards - this level you have two types of top-tier battlefield control that work well in different circumstances.

I would probably plan to retrain a feat to Quicken after picking up Rapid Metamagic. Spontaneous Quicken is just amazing.
I really hate to say this, but Fatespinner has a prereq of "able to cast L4 arcane spells". Did you have some nifty way to meet that with a L7 sorcerer, or is it an error?

I think it's an error. That means I have to adjust Lukas' saves a little.

Correction: Oops. +1 to BAB, -1 to will save, +1 Hit die for the familiar and -Spin Fate. Not much of a difference there.

Yeah, I was kind of surprised by how useful Draconic Breath turned out to be, on my currently-L10 sorcerer. Feats look good.

It's actually more useful than a Draconic Breath for 2 reasons. 1: It's sonic damage. That lets it bypass a lot of resistances and immunities that the breath feats have to deal with. 2: It's a fort save. Which means I use my spells on BDFs and brutes and the Howl on rogues and arcane casters.

Sculpt Spell looks nice for you, with Grease + Glitterdust + Fireball. I don't think I'd take Transdim unless your area is very incorporeal-heavy: you don't have that much BC to apply it to, and you do have the option of spamming empowered magic missiles. On the other hand, if you pick up Web as a L2 spell, this looks a lot more attractive.

You already have fire + cold + acid covered with energy spells - fire and acid in area versions, cold and acid in single-target no-reflex-save - I doubt you'd get that much use out of another energy sub, although I guess it would be nice to convert to electricity vs devils. Nonlethal Sub is definitely an interesting option, but if you primarily want it to avoid innocents, I think Sculpt is probably a better choice, as it lets you sculpt your fireballs around hostages while also allowing the cheese that is sculpted grease and glitterdust.

Sculpt would be a good feat. Especially since my greatest problem, short of spell resistance, has been placing spells. Fun thing is, I can turn Wall of Ice into wall of acid.

Twin Spell is sometimes a good mid-high-level feat, if you want to blast things. Not sure if it's worth it for your build though. Chain Spell is nice with Nerveskitter and Rapid Metamagic, but you don't really have anything else it affects and it's pointless without RM anyway.

Chain Spell + Undulant Innards would be amazing. See below for why. (It's a level 12 option.)

What L5 spell are you planning to take next level? I ask because if it's Mass Fly / Teleport, that means you probably shouldn't take Fly / D-Door now. If you are NOT taking Mass Fly at L10-11, I would take Fly now: you're getting into the level range where the authors will assume the party has a way to fly. If you are taking Mass Fly soon, Protection from Energy is nice on a spontaneous caster - I happen to prefer Resist Energy, but you may not have the spare L2 slot. At L9, I suspect you'll get a few levels of use out of Dispel Magic before it becomes largely obsolete - like prot energy, it's a nice spell for a spontcaster, as you can spam it until it works. I can't remember the duration on Undulant Innards: if it's 10 minutes / level for longer this might be good, but if it's short duration, again, think about what actions you're likely to be taking in combat. I don't think GMA is worth the L3 slot for a L9 sorcerer, unless you're very focused on playing tank/cork for the party.

Undulant Innards is 1 ROUND a level, but it grants immunity to crits/sneak attack, minimum damage if you fall, and a +4 enhancement bonus to saves vs poison, disease and paralysis.

I was seriously considering Arc of Lightning as a 5th level spell. The greatest problem with that is that it needs two enemies and is only close range.

Firebrand (spell compendium) is a L5 option that I have access to, but it has it's own flaws. Being an SR: Yes spell is the worst among them. Capping at 10d6 (but doing extra damage the next round) is another

For other L3 spells... you may want to consider GMW at L12+, but that's a few levels away yet. Phantom Steed is an amazing sorcerer mobility spell, but best at higher levels where the steeds can airwalk and fly. I'd consider Battlemagic Perception if you get access, but since you need to take a dispel as well to make it work properly, that's more of a high-level option.

Evard's Black Tentacles and Solid Fog are excellent L4 battlefield control spells. D-Door is good for shuttling party members around the battlefield and escaping grapples and enemy BC, but I see you already have anklets and it sounds like you don't want your sorc in melee range of big nasties. Greater Invis is a nice spell, but its best use is usually to buff the rogue, and you need to think about how often it will be worth a combat action relative to your other standard-action options.

Solid Fog's main flaw is that I already have Wall of Ice. Actually, that's it's only flaw that I can see. I might just take Solid Fog and swap out Wall of Ice at level 10. Or take Solid Fog at level 9 then swap Wall of Ice for something else at level 10. It's time consuming, but solid fog might be that good.

Dim Door is also very useful. I've seen it carry most of the party around a battlefield and past a scythe trap.

You called it right that I don't like my sorc being near big nasties. But I'd rather have an escape option than not.

For L2 spells, I'd look at Scorching Ray at some point: with Energy Sub and Empower, you're set up reasonably well to blast (and even more so if you retrain a feat to Quicken after you get Rapid Metamagic). It gets really good (significantly better than lesser orb of cold) at L11. Web combines very well with Transdimensional Spell.

I never mentioned my ability to miss with ranged touch attack rolls. I have actually managed to miss RTAs so much that it's damn near a running gag.

But it's an option for higher levels.

I think overall what I'd do in your situation is take Evard's Black Tentacles (assuming your region is okay with it) and Sculpt Spell. That way you immediately pick up sculpted grease + glitterdust + (acid) fireball, and next level you can do sculpted evards - this level you have two types of top-tier battlefield control that work well in different circumstances.

I would probably plan to retrain a feat to Quicken after picking up Rapid Metamagic. Spontaneous Quicken is just amazing.

Keoland frowns on Evard's. And with only 14 TUs left, I can't afford to get arrested for casting an illegal spell. Though retraining once won't hurt.

The hard part is choosing what to retrain to Quicken Spell.

I'm leaning toward Fly, Dim Door and Resist Energy. Burning Sword would be nice to get right now, but Resist Energy is very good. Especially if I can get a BDF to accept Resist Energy to provide a second target for Arc of Lightning.


I forgot to ask this earlier, but is there any equipment that you'd recommend? I know I have the basics covered, but there's probably something that I'm missing.

Hariman
Not much of a Sorc player myself so I'll just say that from an equipment stand point you seem to have it covered, if you don't have super special access that your looking at, my next step would be upgrading your attribute boosters.
It's actually more useful than a Draconic Breath for 2 reasons. 1: It's sonic damage. That lets it bypass a lot of resistances and immunities that the breath feats have to deal with. 2: It's a fort save. Which means I use my spells on BDFs and brutes and the Howl on rogues and arcane casters.

I've seen both in action - I tend to think Infernal Howl is a little stronger because of its damage type, but both have their advantages (of course, almost all my sorc's offensive spells target fort/will, so I like the fact that draconic breath is ref-save-based). I believe Infernal Howl also has the advantage of only affecting enemies?

Chain Spell + Undulant Innards would be amazing. See below for why. (It's a level 12 option.)

Yeah, that's not bad, albeit situational. Good way to break rogues-with-blindsight encounters

Firebrand (spell compendium) is a L5 option that I have access to, but it has it's own flaws. Being an SR: Yes spell is the worst among them. Capping at 10d6 (but doing extra damage the next round) is another

Sounds like you need Assay SR. I've seen it a couple of times, but not in current mods, as far as I can remember... good luck. Empowered (Acid) Fireball is a pretty decent L5 damage spell - Firebrand seems to overlap with it a fair bit.

You called it right that I don't like my sorc being near big nasties. But I'd rather have an escape option than not.

Fair enough. D-Door is certainly a useful spell (I took it as my mid-level sorc's new L4 spell at L9, actually, but she's pretty tough and also does a lot of scouting, so I wanted it for different reasons).

Keoland frowns on Evard's. And with only 14 TUs left, I can't afford to get arrested for casting an illegal spell.

Right, I wasn't sure - I thought I remembered you were from Keoland, but you did mention Evards as among your spell options.

I'm leaning toward Fly, Dim Door and Resist Energy. Burning Sword would be nice to get right now, but Resist Energy is very good. Especially if I can get a BDF to accept Resist Energy to provide a second target for Arc of Lightning.

That seems like a fine plan.

I forgot to ask this earlier, but is there any equipment that you'd recommend? I know I have the basics covered, but there's probably something that I'm missing.

Without knowing your access it's hard to say. You have the basics covered, and as TriezeK said, upgrading that cloak is a good next step. If you don't take Sculpt Spell this level, grab rods of sculpting if you come across them. The bigger rods of energy substitution are also great. A mithral buckler would give you a bit more AC, padded thistledown armor allows you to use nice armor enhancements like deathward. I like having a wide array of scrolls with my sorcerers. There are lots of useful MIC items - circlets of rapid casting and/or belts of battle can replace Quicken reasonably well. Normally I'd suggest a Heward's Handy Haversack, but you paid for Str 12 so you may not have the usual arcanist carrying-capacity issues.
I've seen both in action - I tend to think Infernal Howl is a little stronger because of its damage type, but both have their advantages (of course, almost all my sorc's offensive spells target fort/will, so I like the fact that draconic breath is ref-save-based). I believe Infernal Howl also has the advantage of only affecting enemies?

Not with the DMs in my area. But it's still very handy.

Yeah, that's not bad, albeit situational. Good way to break rogues-with-blindsight encounters

And it's a good buff to protect against keen falchion wielding barbarian orcs.

Sounds like you need Assay SR. I've seen it a couple of times, but not in current mods, as far as I can remember... good luck. Empowered (Acid) Fireball is a pretty decent L5 damage spell - Firebrand seems to overlap with it a fair bit.

Assay Spell Resistance would be very nice. And I do have fireball (and will have sculpt) so it is redundant.

Energy Sub Acid served me very well during the mod I played today. The ability to use Acidballs underwater as opposed to making the caster level check for a normal Fireball really helped while we were underwater. It also bypassed the bard's Resist Energy (Fire) 20.

Speaking of access, I've gotten access to Stone Body, but Undulant Innards can do the same job for a 3rd level slot instead of a 6th level slot. Though not for long nor would it cover some of the other problems that Stone Body covers. I might end up with both Undulant Innards and Stone Body, as they are both really useful.

Fair enough. D-Door is certainly a useful spell (I took it as my mid-level sorc's new L4 spell at L9, actually, but she's pretty tough and also does a lot of scouting, so I wanted it for different reasons).

Pretty tough? I'm gonna guess a 16 starting con on a gnome or more defensive spells than what I have for my sorcerer.

Right, I wasn't sure - I thought I remembered you were from Keoland, but you did mention Evards as among your spell options.

Evard's is nice, but I can get almost as much out of Solid Fog. Although if it weren't for the keoland laws, I would take Evard's in a heartbeat.

That seems like a fine plan.

True. It's not set in stone though, so I'll keep my eyes and options open.

Without knowing your access it's hard to say. You have the basics covered, and as Timlagor said, upgrading that cloak is a good next step. If you don't take Sculpt Spell this level, grab rods of sculpting if you come across them. The bigger rods of energy substitution are also great. A mithral buckler would give you a bit more AC, padded thistledown armor allows you to use nice armor enhancements like deathward. I like having a wide array of scrolls with my sorcerers. There are lots of useful MIC items - circlets of rapid casting and/or belts of battle can replace Quicken reasonably well. Normally I'd suggest a Heward's Handy Haversack, but you paid for Str 12 so you may not have the usual arcanist carrying-capacity issues.

A mithral buckler is an option that I have considered. My sorcerer's current AC is 16 after buffing. The extra one or two and the opportunity to add shield based enchantments wouldn't hurt.

I have two different favors that grant me 20% off a single magic item. (One they let me sell the items for 75% of it's normal value instead of 50%. One is only armor, a shield or a weapon, but it's a +1 equivalent ability so I could get a light fortification buckler.) Those will help with future purchases.

A Heward's would be nice, but it's not vital yet.

As for access: Nothing really jumps out at me now that I've checked. Although I do have access to a thistledown suit and thistledown padded. And the access to a mithral buckler.

I'm actually going to buy the mithral buckler now. The bump to AC will provide a little help. Heck, having Mage Armor up saved my character's booty today. The barbarian/fighter got confused and then didn't roll higher than 15 to hit my sorcerer.

Hariman

PS: OK, so one favor does jump out at me now that I think about it.

I have access to the +1 tomes and books that provide inherent bonuses. And I can buy two different tomes. Combining a Tome with a favor that reduces a magic item's cost by 20%, I'd pay 21.800 GP for a +1 to a stat of my choice.

The only downside is that Lukas' stats aren't quite right for that. I'd end up with an odd ability score (and wasted money) unless I could afford 2 of the tomes.
as Timlagor said..

Sorry but I don't have anywhere near as many posts as Timlagor
The only downside is that Lukas' stats aren't quite right for that. I'd end up with an odd ability score (and wasted money) unless I could afford 2 of the tomes.

Save yourself the trouble. Named bonuses of the same type don't stack. Inherent+1 plus Inherent +1 = Inherent +1.
Sorry but I don't have anywhere near as many posts as Timlagor

Oops! Sorry! Edited.
Not with the DMs in my area. But it's still very handy.

I'm curious as to their justification for that? Reading the feat, the flavor text says it "blasts your enemies with sonic power", and the benefit says "All opponents within the cone take 2d6 points of damage per level of the spell slot expended". It seems pretty clear to me that it only hurts foes.

And I do have fireball (and will have sculpt) so it is redundant.

Yeah, that was precisely my point - sorry if it wasn't clear. I tend to think that the best reason to take Empower and Energy Sub on a sorcerer is to cover more bases with less cost in spells-known (and the same for Maximize, Twin, etc) - Empower lets you boost your low-level spells-known to the point where they're still powerful at higher levels, Energy Sub effectively doubles your energy-damage-dealing spells known, etc. If you then go ahead and take higher-level spells-known that do essentially what your metamagicked spells do already, then it's a bit of a waste.

Pretty tough? I'm gonna guess a 16 starting con on a gnome or more defensive spells than what I have for my sorcerer.

Hmmm... this got kind of long, so is spoiler-blocked for those who don't want to hear about my sorcerers (not really to the point of the thread).

Show
Both, actually. My first sorcerer (Azrien) started as a Con-12 Dex-16 human who initially specialized in ranged touch attacks (she was going to be an elf, but the bonus feat and skill points were worth more than the saved stat points) and at high levels developed a focus on mobility magic. She has been extremely effective at all levels of play (and is my favorite character by a large margin). Her defences against melee monsters have always been "not being there", "not letting them get to me", or "killing them first" - she was walking around with Con 12 and AC 13 at L11 - and that's worked really well for her, but when I made a second sorcerer somewhat later to play with the new feats and PrCs that had come out, I didn't want to just replicate Azrien's style.

My second sorcerer, Min, is currently a gnome sorcerer 6 / ruathar 2 / shadowcraft mage 2. She started with Con 16, and due in part to all the arguments I'd heard (on these boards and elsewhere) that every two points in Con makes a HUGE difference to survivability, I was initially rather cavalier about staying near the frontlines with her.

The thing is, a Con-16 sorcerer is like a Con-12 cleric or a Con-10 fighter, as far as hit points go. If you want to be anywhere near the melee monsters, you need more investment than starting Con 16. This became very clearly apparent to Min around L5-6, when she had two extremely-near-death experiences in quick succession (with the same GM, but he wasn't doing anything unfair - curse you and your dice, solbergb :P) She also picked up an item from Undermountain that lets her force save rerolls, but only within 30ft, so that was another good reason to invest in some passive defences that work in melee.

Min currently has Con 18 (+2 amulet), and Dragonskin, False Life and Mage Armor as known spells, with a lesser rod of extend meaning Dragonskin is usually up for every combat. She also owns a +1 mithral buckler, and her first action in combat is usually to cast Haste. Thus, at L10, which she just reached, she walks around with 82 + 1d10 HP and usually has AC 25 (10 +1 size + 2 Dex + 4 armor + 5 natural +2 shield +1 haste) in combat. Buffs from the rest of the party regularly get her AC up to around 30 (last mod she had a cleric giving out recitation and extended shields of faith, game before that there was a warweaver who supplied Greater Mage Armor and Protection from Evil). At L9 her AC was the same and she had 74+1d10 HP, which was quite enough to tank (in the "soaking attacks" sense, not the "doing melee damage" sense) when playing down. As for scouting, she currently has a take-10 Hide check of 37 and a take-10 Move Silently check of 30 (and a Spot check around +20, 90ft darkvision, invisibility to darkvision, Superior Low-Light Vision, a lantern that radiates 60ft magical shadowy illumination, and permanent concealment when not in daylight... so she can usually notice things before they notice her).

She doesn't have Mirror Image for the same reason Azi didn't: she can't justify spending standard actions in combat on a buff that only benefits her. Her typical combat actions are to buff the party with haste and/or mass fly, d-door fighters into full-attack range if they're powerful enough to make it worthwhile, use sculpted glitterdust / shadowspray / grease to incapacitate multiple opponents, or use a heightened shadow well + forced reroll to take a particularly threatening enemy out of the combat. Her acid breath weapon gets used against swarms, spell-resistant creatures where grease/glitterdust aren't optimal for some reason, or large numbers of weak mooks. Next level, her battlefield control will pick up a lot (at present it's pretty much just sculpted grease) when she gets Shadow Illusion.

The only downside is that Lukas' stats aren't quite right for that. I'd end up with an odd ability score (and wasted money) unless I could afford 2 of the tomes.

Right - and if you wanted to buy two, the way to do it would be to buy one for charisma, put your L12 stat-bump in something else, and buy a second book to bump the "something else" (since inherent bonuses don't stack). I don't suppose you have access to high-bonus gal-ralan? Having an odd Con can actually be useful there ;)
Just a note on Sculpt:

I as a GM rule that the 10 foot cubes need to at least touch on the Apex. I find that to be the intent of the spell, to change the SHAPE rather than to SPLIT the effects.

This is an opinion backed by most GMs I know, so just a heads up. (not trying to start an arguement here)

I don't see the intent of the spell to allow say, 4 seperate cubes of the same spell affecting various areas on the opposite side of the battlemat. (especially when one considers boreal wind)
I'm curious as to their justification for that? Reading the feat, the flavor text says it "blasts your enemies with sonic power", and the benefit says "All opponents within the cone take 2d6 points of damage per level of the spell slot expended". It seems pretty clear to me that it only hurts foes.

Well, the basic response from the DM who runs most of the mods I play was to give me a "You've got to be kidding me" look and to tell me that opponents doesn't let me choose who it strikes in the cone. It's not something I like, but it's the DMs ruling and I won't be able to change his mind.

Really, it's a good feat without striking only opponents. With striking only your enemies, it puts all of the Draconic Breath feats to shame. Unless your target has a good fort save.

Yeah, that was precisely my point - sorry if it wasn't clear. I tend to think that the best reason to take Empower and Energy Sub on a sorcerer is to cover more bases with less cost in spells-known (and the same for Maximize, Twin, etc) - Empower lets you boost your low-level spells-known to the point where they're still powerful at higher levels, Energy Sub effectively doubles your energy-damage-dealing spells known, etc. If you then go ahead and take higher-level spells-known that do essentially what your metamagicked spells do already, then it's a bit of a waste.

You were clear on the point. I was just being redundant in my last post. I COULD swap fireball for Lightning Bolt when I hit level 10 and take Firebrand anyway. That wouldn't hurt my elemental variety any. It would only hurt my attack range.

Hmmm... this got kind of long, so is spoiler-blocked for those who don't want to hear about my sorcerers (not really to the point of the thread).

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Both, actually. My first sorcerer (Azrien) started as a Con-12 Dex-16 human who initially specialized in ranged touch attacks (she was going to be an elf, but the bonus feat and skill points were worth more than the saved stat points) and at high levels developed a focus on mobility magic. She has been extremely effective at all levels of play (and is my favorite character by a large margin). Her defences against melee monsters have always been "not being there", "not letting them get to me", or "killing them first" - she was walking around with Con 12 and AC 13 at L11 - and that's worked really well for her, but when I made a second sorcerer somewhat later to play with the new feats and PrCs that had come out, I didn't want to just replicate Azrien's style.

My second sorcerer, Min, is currently a gnome sorcerer 6 / ruathar 2 / shadowcraft mage 2. She started with Con 16, and due in part to all the arguments I'd heard (on these boards and elsewhere) that every two points in Con makes a HUGE difference to survivability, I was initially rather cavalier about staying near the frontlines with her.

The thing is, a Con-16 sorcerer is like a Con-12 cleric or a Con-10 fighter, as far as hit points go. If you want to be anywhere near the melee monsters, you need more investment than starting Con 16. This became very clearly apparent to Min around L5-6, when she had two extremely-near-death experiences in quick succession (with the same GM, but he wasn't doing anything unfair - curse you and your dice, solbergb :P) She also picked up an item from Undermountain that lets her force save rerolls, but only within 30ft, so that was another good reason to invest in some passive defences that work in melee.

Min currently has Con 18 (+2 amulet), and Dragonskin, False Life and Mage Armor as known spells, with a lesser rod of extend meaning Dragonskin is usually up for every combat. She also owns a +1 mithral buckler, and her first action in combat is usually to cast Haste. Thus, at L10, which she just reached, she walks around with 82 + 1d10 HP and usually has AC 25 (10 +1 size + 2 Dex + 4 armor + 5 natural +2 shield +1 haste) in combat. Buffs from the rest of the party regularly get her AC up to around 30 (last mod she had a cleric giving out recitation and extended shields of faith, game before that there was a warweaver who supplied Greater Mage Armor and Protection from Evil). At L9 her AC was the same and she had 74+1d10 HP, which was quite enough to tank (in the "soaking attacks" sense, not the "doing melee damage" sense) when playing down. As for scouting, she currently has a take-10 Hide check of 37 and a take-10 Move Silently check of 30 (and a Spot check around +20, 90ft darkvision, invisibility to darkvision, Superior Low-Light Vision, a lantern that radiates 60ft magical shadowy illumination, and permanent concealment when not in daylight... so she can usually notice things before they notice her).

She doesn't have Mirror Image for the same reason Azi didn't: she can't justify spending standard actions in combat on a buff that only benefits her. Her typical combat actions are to buff the party with haste and/or mass fly, d-door fighters into full-attack range if they're powerful enough to make it worthwhile, use sculpted glitterdust / shadowspray / grease to incapacitate multiple opponents, or use a heightened shadow well + forced reroll to take a particularly threatening enemy out of the combat. Her acid breath weapon gets used against swarms, spell-resistant creatures where grease/glitterdust aren't optimal for some reason, or large numbers of weak mooks. Next level, her battlefield control will pick up a lot (at present it's pretty much just sculpted grease) when she gets Shadow Illusion.

Lukas sides with Azrien on how to survive melee. (Don't be there.) And I agree that +2 con = more survivability. (Con is arguably THE most important ability score in the game.) Min has an AC that is very respectable for a sorcerer. Actually, it's quite impressive. And Lukas leans toward the school of "Put Damage On The Target.".

Learning from my mistakes with my rogue/wizard and becoming a better player over the last 6 months to a year has balanced out some of the bad luck that I've had. And I won't deny that I've had a decent bit of good luck as well.

I have an odd question: Have Azrien and Min ever died? And if so, under what circumstances?

Right - and if you wanted to buy two, the way to do it would be to buy one for charisma, put your L12 stat-bump in something else, and buy a second book to bump the "something else" (since inherent bonuses don't stack). I don't suppose you have access to high-bonus gal-ralan? Having an odd Con can actually be useful there ;)

Howie: I know. Sorry I wasn't clear, but the favor limits you to two different books or tomes.

If I ever get access to a high bonus Gal Ralan, I will probably do just that. It would free up the "body" equipment slot and I don't currently have anything for Lukas' glove/wrist slot. It's a higher level option, but it's a good option for adding extra stats/survivability. I would probably buy the con booster and add the stat point to Con.

Hariman

PS: Lukas just got a +1 light spiked mithral steel shield. Same benefits as the buckler AND it discourages grapples. I'll probably save up the 4800gp (6000gp -20% thanks to a previously mentioned favor.) for Light Fortification. Those crits and sneak attacks hurt.
Just a note on Sculpt:

I as a GM rule that the 10 foot cubes need to at least touch on the Apex. I find that to be the intent of the spell, to change the SHAPE rather than to SPLIT the effects.

This is an opinion backed by most GMs I know, so just a heads up. (not trying to start an arguement here)

I don't see the intent of the spell to allow say, 4 seperate cubes of the same spell affecting various areas on the opposite side of the battlemat. (especially when one considers boreal wind)

Just a note: are you familiar with the advice in Complete Mage (p.14 and p.25, maybe other places as well) advising arcanists to take Sculpt Spell because it "permits you to create four isolated 10-foot cubes anywhere within range of your spell"?

The advice in Complete Mage isn't an LG-binding rules source, but it's a pretty clear indication of how WotC thinks the feat should work, and it seems like most of the arguments against separating the cubes were based on perceived intent. I know I've seen a lot less table variation on this issue since CM came out with that wording - in fact, I've never had a GM rule the cubes can't be separated after pointing out that text to them, and I've seen several change their previous ruling (not saying the former can't happen, just that I haven't seen it).

Lukas sides with Azrien on how to survive melee. (Don't be there.)

He should take Phantom Steed at L11 then - it's Az's very favorite "don't be there" spell, and you can give it to your friends too for great party mobility

I have an odd question: Have Azrien and Min ever died? And if so, under what circumstances?

Azrien has died once at L15, attempting to solo an EL 20 optional encounter against a creature she considered to be an "enemy of magic" after the rest of her party decided not to try it. (We'd just come out of an extremely challenging APL 16 two-rounder with a slightly underpowered convention table: I can entirely understand why the others didn't want to take on the extended play option. The GM offered to run the encounter for me solo, and Azi has Wis 8 and delusions of invincibility, so I gave it a try ;) ) She did pretty well, given the situation: she lasted five rounds (until she rolled a 3 against one of the multiple DC-36 save-or-dies it was spamming every round - up until that point my rolls had been insanely good), took off about 3/4 of the monster's hit points, used up all its reroll abilities, and bounced one of its DC 36 save-or-dies back at it - it passed (needed a 1 to fail), but it was still pretty cool It didn't even really put any dents in her self-confidence, since she got rescued and resurrected for free, and it took her all of two mods to bounce back to L15 ;)

Min has never died. There were two occasions where she came close, both around L5-6 - L7 was when she picked up Dragonskin + False Life + Mage Armor. See spoilerblock for details.

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The first time, she was fighting a bunch of shadar-kai rogues and beguilers (with hide in plain sight). She'd been spending the fight spamming glitterdusts, using her cat familiar's scent ability to tell her where the bad guys were, so her cat was out in the open. One of the beguilers colorsprayed her, her riding dog, and her cat: she passed the save, but her animals both failed. She retaliated with glitterdust and attempted a fast dismount to get off her dog - when she succeeded, since she had a move action left, she used it to pick up her stunned cat (fearing that some of the glitterdusted-but-not-blinded rogues would retaliate against the cat).

Now, at this point I thought we'd glitterdusted all the shadar-kai, but I'd miscounted There was still a hiding rogue around, and as it turned out, he was standing 10ft away from where Min landed after getting off her dog. Picking up her cat provoked an AoO (with sneak attack), which he took As soon as he appeared, I could see what was going to happen next: he would hide in plain sight and sneak attack her again, then his glitterdusted-but-not-blind buddy would come over for the flank and sneak attack her - and each of those, if they hit, would do about 20 damage, and those two rogues were acting next in the init order. She had about 40 HP and had just lost 20 to the first sneak. The first guy did what I'd expected, and left her on 3 HP. If the last guy connected, she was going to die unless the GM rolled extremely low on his d6s. Fortunately, the elves who'd been fighting the shadar-kai when we showed up were still around, and one of them ran in and heroically grappled the second rogue (the rogues didn't have combat reflexes, and were NOT expecting the elf to try that, because you know, grappling in close proximity to enemy rogues is usually a BAD idea). So Min survived, but was pretty shaken.

In her second near-death experience, she fought a large-earth-elemental + large-air-elemental pair. Their tactics were for the air elemental to sweep up the party in its whirlwind and then drop them in front of the earth elemental, hopefully leaving them prone and damaged for its full attack. In my party, Min was the ONLY one to fail the reflex save, so she ended up being dropped ALONE in front of the earth elemental. Fortunately, she had readied a glitterdust on her turn for "if an elemental swings at a party member" (we weren't initially sure if they were hostile) - she hadn't expected to be the one in the line of fire, but the ready still went off. She needed to use her reroll item to get the earth elemental to fail its save, but it did fail, so only connected with one of its two slam attacks, and she could move away without provoking an AoO on the next round. Still, again, it was a disquieting experience, and one that strongly influenced her L7 spell selection.
Just a note: are you familiar with the advice in Complete Mage (p.14 and p.25, maybe other places as well) advising arcanists to take Sculpt Spell because it "permits you to create four isolated 10-foot cubes anywhere within range of your spell"?

The advice in Complete Mage isn't an LG-binding rules source, but it's a pretty clear indication of how WotC thinks the feat should work, and it seems like most of the arguments against separating the cubes were based on perceived intent. I know I've seen a lot less table variation on this issue since CM came out with that wording - in fact, I've never had a GM rule the cubes can't be separated after pointing out that text to them, and I've seen several change their previous ruling (not saying the former can't happen, just that I haven't seen it).

Yes I am, and as complete mage isn't binding most of the Gms in my area don't approve.

I view split/repeat spell as being needed for that effect.

However, I was just letting him know there was such table variation exist. A lot of people view scuplt spell as a stupid metamagic feat, and we have a lot of people who have strong opinions.

you'd notice that I let you do it when I DMed you last with glitterdust btw)

I just feel that it goes against the idea of scuplting spells.
Yes I am, and as complete mage isn't binding most of the Gms in my area don't approve.

I view split/repeat spell as being needed for that effect.

However, I was just letting him know there was such table variation exist. A lot of people view scuplt spell as a stupid metamagic feat, and we have a lot of people who have strong opinions.

you'd notice that I let you do it when I DMed you last with glitterdust btw)

I just feel that it goes against the idea of scuplting spells.

I have the feat, and I think there are arguments for both sides that are pretty solid. When a DM lets me sculpt the cubes separately I look at as gravy. I need to find that quote in the CM and start showing it to my DMs though! Maybe I'll get a pass.
Just a note: are you familiar with the advice in Complete Mage (p.14 and p.25, maybe other places as well) advising arcanists to take Sculpt Spell because it "permits you to create four isolated 10-foot cubes anywhere within range of your spell"?

The advice in Complete Mage isn't an LG-binding rules source, but it's a pretty clear indication of how WotC thinks the feat should work, and it seems like most of the arguments against separating the cubes were based on perceived intent. I know I've seen a lot less table variation on this issue since CM came out with that wording - in fact, I've never had a GM rule the cubes can't be separated after pointing out that text to them, and I've seen several change their previous ruling (not saying the former can't happen, just that I haven't seen it).

I'll have to check with my local DMs about that. And I'll take Complete Mage along just in case.

He should take Phantom Steed at L11 then - it's Az's very favorite "don't be there" spell, and you can give it to your friends too for great party mobility

Yeah, that's almost as good as Fly, better in some ways.

Azrien has died once at L15, attempting to solo an EL 20 optional encounter against a creature she considered to be an "enemy of magic" after the rest of her party decided not to try it. (We'd just come out of an extremely challenging APL 16 two-rounder with a slightly underpowered convention table: I can entirely understand why the others didn't want to take on the extended play option. The GM offered to run the encounter for me solo, and Azi has Wis 8 and delusions of invincibility, so I gave it a try ;) ) She did pretty well, given the situation: she lasted five rounds (until she rolled a 3 against one of the multiple DC-36 save-or-dies it was spamming every round - up until that point my rolls had been insanely good), took off about 3/4 of the monster's hit points, used up all its reroll abilities, and bounced one of its DC 36 save-or-dies back at it - it passed (needed a 1 to fail), but it was still pretty cool It didn't even really put any dents in her self-confidence, since she got rescued and resurrected for free, and it took her all of two mods to bounce back to L15 ;)

Min has never died. There were two occasions where she came close, both around L5-6 - L7 was when she picked up Dragonskin + False Life + Mage Armor. See spoilerblock for details.

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The first time, she was fighting a bunch of shadar-kai rogues and beguilers (with hide in plain sight). She'd been spending the fight spamming glitterdusts, using her cat familiar's scent ability to tell her where the bad guys were, so her cat was out in the open. One of the beguilers colorsprayed her, her riding dog, and her cat: she passed the save, but her animals both failed. She retaliated with glitterdust and attempted a fast dismount to get off her dog - when she succeeded, since she had a move action left, she used it to pick up her stunned cat (fearing that some of the glitterdusted-but-not-blinded rogues would retaliate against the cat).

Now, at this point I thought we'd glitterdusted all the shadar-kai, but I'd miscounted There was still a hiding rogue around, and as it turned out, he was standing 10ft away from where Min landed after getting off her dog. Picking up her cat provoked an AoO (with sneak attack), which he took As soon as he appeared, I could see what was going to happen next: he would hide in plain sight and sneak attack her again, then his glitterdusted-but-not-blind buddy would come over for the flank and sneak attack her - and each of those, if they hit, would do about 20 damage, and those two rogues were acting next in the init order. She had about 40 HP and had just lost 20 to the first sneak. The first guy did what I'd expected, and left her on 3 HP. If the last guy connected, she was going to die unless the GM rolled extremely low on his d6s. Fortunately, the elves who'd been fighting the shadar-kai when we showed up were still around, and one of them ran in and heroically grappled the second rogue (the rogues didn't have combat reflexes, and were NOT expecting the elf to try that, because you know, grappling in close proximity to enemy rogues is usually a BAD idea). So Min survived, but was pretty shaken.

In her second near-death experience, she fought a large-earth-elemental + large-air-elemental pair. Their tactics were for the air elemental to sweep up the party in its whirlwind and then drop them in front of the earth elemental, hopefully leaving them prone and damaged for its full attack. In my party, Min was the ONLY one to fail the reflex save, so she ended up being dropped ALONE in front of the earth elemental. Fortunately, she had readied a glitterdust on her turn for "if an elemental swings at a party member" (we weren't initially sure if they were hostile) - she hadn't expected to be the one in the line of fire, but the ready still went off. She needed to use her reroll item to get the earth elemental to fail its save, but it did fail, so only connected with one of its two slam attacks, and she could move away without provoking an AoO on the next round. Still, again, it was a disquieting experience, and one that strongly influenced her L7 spell selection.

You've had some of the same kind of luck that I've had. And I mean the good luck generated by planning ahead and learning from your mistakes. That, and the luck of the DM rolling low at the right time. ;)
Quick question on Phantom Steed, they have HP but no listed saves do they auto fail saving throws or do they not have to make them, at my last table the DM ruled they auto made the saves but were still affected by the 1/2 of say fireball. When our party(all given CL 16 Phantoms by me) was hit by a prismadtic spray we had Quasi-real horses droping right and left also the slightly confusing "semi-real horse gets turned to stone". That the time I wasn't paying much attenion to the plight of the horses as I was digging in my ARs trying to find a favor to save me from turning to a statue myself (I failed btw).
Just a note on Sculpt:

I as a GM rule that the 10 foot cubes need to at least touch on the Apex. I find that to be the intent of the spell, to change the SHAPE rather than to SPLIT the effects.

This is an opinion backed by most GMs I know, so just a heads up. (not trying to start an arguement here)

I don't see the intent of the spell to allow say, 4 seperate cubes of the same spell affecting various areas on the opposite side of the battlemat. (especially when one considers boreal wind)

Beyond your perception of 'intent' do you have any backing for this?

Likewise do you believe that the 'intent' of sculpt is not to crop the shapes because of the range of the spell? That is say a sculpted burning hands into a 120' line would be able to go more than 15'?

I've heard this argument before.. but beyond the 'I want it to be this way' I haven't seen support for it. I'd be interested in seeing if there was any anywhere.

-James
Beyond your perception of 'intent' do you have any backing for this?

Likewise do you believe that the 'intent' of sculpt is not to crop the shapes because of the range of the spell? That is say a sculpted burning hands into a 120' line would be able to go more than 15'?

I've heard this argument before.. but beyond the 'I want it to be this way' I haven't seen support for it. I'd be interested in seeing if there was any anywhere.

-James

Well I'm in favor of the more liberal interpretation of the cubes, but I really think that the range thing is correct. Spells cannot exist outside of their range, and nothing in the description of sculpt changes that. If you target a fireball at the maximum of the range, you're not going to get the full 20 foot radius out of it. Why would a +1 metamagic feat give a spell 105' of range in addition to changing its shape?
Sculpt refers to a single area.
Beyond your perception of 'intent' do you have any backing for this?

Likewise do you believe that the 'intent' of sculpt is not to crop the shapes because of the range of the spell? That is say a sculpted burning hands into a 120' line would be able to go more than 15'?

I've heard this argument before.. but beyond the 'I want it to be this way' I haven't seen support for it. I'd be interested in seeing if there was any anywhere.

-James

1. Sculpt refers to a single area.
2. Its only a +1 metamagic feat whilst split/etc are more
3. What does the word SCULPT mean?

I view the advice in Complete mage as one interpretation of one author of scuplt spell and not a binding rules source from the original book. We all know that occasionally idiots write things that don't make sense based on what they think at first glance. (See the FAQ)

That is what I am basing it on. I am happy for you to make a spell mutable with scuplt spell - clearly the intent, but splitting a fireball so the bead flies off and explodes in four seperate areas is a bit much, the same with a glitterdust. I do not view that as the spell's intent, and If I knew the authors of complete mage I would ask them what the hell they were thinking.

That is just one interpretation. Unfortunately it was encoded in a printed splatbook without thought, as is typical of WoTc products. FORTUNATELY we do not use that interpretation, and like the way we used to view polymorph, it makes more sense.

Where, reading the original sculpt spell are you getting the idea that you can have 4 independent effects? 4 ten foot cubes does not mean four independent cubes asfaik.. that is a leap of the imagination for a better effect, rather than thinking about it rationally as a SCULPT.

1. "The sculpted spell works normall in ALL areas except for its SHAPE" Independent effects are not a matter of shape...

2. "You modifiy an area spell by changing its shape"

3. "four ten foot cubes" = You can choose how to place them at the time, but its still an area effect, and they in my ruling, need to at least be touching at the apex IMHO.

Thats where I am getting it from. The original feat, not some random interpretation of it by some other authors later on.
Well, I'm going to bypass the sculpt spell argument, which probably deserves it's own thread elsewhere.

Getting back to the OP, here's my take on it.

1) Extra spell is a complete waste of a feat.
2) Knock is a complete waste of a spell known.

And that's because a sorceror spell list is an incredibly difficult thing to build. You want to make sure you have things which will be useful (like false life and mage armor) ALL the time. Your spells should also work with your meta-magic feats, and hopefully, convey a sense of style too.

So, Buy a scroll of knock, and take it out if you need it. Rarely will you need more than one in a mod, and that's not even every mod. Likewise, you can get by with a short spell list, if you're careful with it.

3) Wall of Ice was my first 4th level spell, and I LOVE it. LOVE. And I'm a fire savant too. It's offense, it's defense, it's buy yourself some time.

4) In a lot of ways, sculpt spell and non-lethal spell both allow you a way around the hostage/civilian situation. Hit the bad guys, without killing the good guys. So, either one could be taken. I like sculpt a bit more, but it requires a certain amount of area spells to really make best use of it. You've got grease, glitterdust, and fireball, but that's it. Another one might be useful, like, I don't know, darkness? web? whatever.

5) Transdimensional spell has two benefits, as far as I can tell. One is that you'll have more than empowered magic missiles when the dread wraiths come. But the other, is that, should you be on the ethereal plane, you can fire back at the material plane at will.

I recommend this one, with the level five spell -Improved Blink-. Seriously, read what this does, and then think about the possibilities. It's worth buying a brooch of shielding, or taking shield as a 1st level spell. Or, a ring of counterspells with an orb of force, to stop the really mean spell.

6) For spells in the future, I'd think of the following.

Third level: Displacement, Phantom Steed, SMIII (use that heritage!) or Dispel Magic

Fourth level: Dimension Door, Phantasmal Killer, Dimension Door, Orb of something that isn't acid, or Dimension Door.
Transdimensional Spell (like force effects) does not work from the Ethreal to the Material.
Well, I'm going to bypass the sculpt spell argument, which probably deserves it's own thread elsewhere.

Getting back to the OP, here's my take on it.

1) Extra spell is a complete waste of a feat.
2) Knock is a complete waste of a spell known.

And that's because a sorceror spell list is an incredibly difficult thing to build. You want to make sure you have things which will be useful (like false life and mage armor) ALL the time. Your spells should also work with your meta-magic feats, and hopefully, convey a sense of style too.

So, Buy a scroll of knock, and take it out if you need it. Rarely will you need more than one in a mod, and that's not even every mod. Likewise, you can get by with a short spell list, if you're careful with it.

3) Wall of Ice was my first 4th level spell, and I LOVE it. LOVE. And I'm a fire savant too. It's offense, it's defense, it's buy yourself some time.

4) In a lot of ways, sculpt spell and non-lethal spell both allow you a way around the hostage/civilian situation. Hit the bad guys, without killing the good guys. So, either one could be taken. I like sculpt a bit more, but it requires a certain amount of area spells to really make best use of it. You've got grease, glitterdust, and fireball, but that's it. Another one might be useful, like, I don't know, darkness? web? whatever.

5) Transdimensional spell has two benefits, as far as I can tell. One is that you'll have more than empowered magic missiles when the dread wraiths come. But the other, is that, should you be on the ethereal plane, you can fire back at the material plane at will.

I recommend this one, with the level five spell -Improved Blink-. Seriously, read what this does, and then think about the possibilities. It's worth buying a brooch of shielding, or taking shield as a 1st level spell. Or, a ring of counterspells with an orb of force, to stop the really mean spell.

6) For spells in the future, I'd think of the following.

Third level: Displacement, Phantom Steed, SMIII (use that heritage!) or Dispel Magic

Fourth level: Dimension Door, Phantasmal Killer, Dimension Door, Orb of something that isn't acid, or Dimension Door.

I see that you like Dim Door. It's on the short list of 4th level spells for my sorcerer to take. And Improved (or was that Greater) Blink occurred to me too.

I haven't really considered summoning spells all that much. But it is an option. Summon Monster 4 is more interesting as there are a LOT of 3rd level spells that I'd like to take.

It's not QUITE that hard to build an effective sorcerer spell list. But it isn't easy either. And it does take a decent bit of thought to make sure you've got a decent number of bases covered.
Well, for a sorceror, a summon spell gives a lot of versatility. SM IV allows one fourth level, or 1-3 3rd level, or 2-5 2nd level.

I believe you can empower it, as well, and get 50% more critters.

As for Transdimensional spell, I feel like it is transitive, does work the way I think it does, and I'll just agree to disagree.

For the spell list, I've played with some really bad sorcerors. Some people can do it, and others can't.
Well, for a sorceror, a summon spell gives a lot of versatility. SM IV allows one fourth level, or 1-3 3rd level, or 2-5 2nd level.

I believe you can empower it, as well, and get 50% more critters.

As for Transdimensional spell, I feel like it is transitive, does work the way I think it does, and I'll just agree to disagree.

For the spell list, I've played with some really bad sorcerors. Some people can do it, and others can't.

That's why I'm here asking for advice. I want to make sure that I do it right, chiefly because I want to play an effective character and because my prior primary character was trash. My rogue wizard was so bad that other players have said things like "I'm glad you stopped playing him." and I agree with them. It took me far too long to admit that.
Good advice so far. Few comments.

1. Wall of ice is a good versatile spell, but my rap on it is that if you cast it too close to an enemy, he can disrupt it with a reflex save. I do like it on a build with fireball...you can fireball your own wall of ice to make a fog cloud for a little extra synergy.

2. Sculpt spell and the 4 cubes. I am one of those who used to rule they had to be contiguous. I am known for holding fairly strong opinions once I've made up my mind. However I found the CM entry fairly conclusive for intent, and I found the CA entry inconclusive (as in...it is perfectly valid to read it either way, so I'm left to try to guess author intent). So I changed, and now allow separated cubes. Where I play, this opinion is by far the majority opinion now, whereas before CM it was about a 50/50 split. As a player I don't care. If told I can't do it, my sorceress will cope. She played most of her career with her player not using that tactic because he thought it was illegal, even if the GM allowed it

3. Your list is weak on mobility spells. By level 9-12, an arcane caster is supposed to have a way to move the party. This can be either teleport or fly or some variation that is similar in effect. By 12, they're usually expected to have both a strategic travel option and a tactical option option.

Examples of strategic movement are teleport, shadow walk, phantom steed and for the divine casters or someone who somehow got it as a domain spell...wind walk.

Examples of tactical movement are benign or baleful transposition, fly, dim door, mass fly and (if used properly) oddball things like feather fall, tenser disk, servant horde, TK violent thrust, summoning an air elemental to sweep up the party or polymorphing your familiar into a size large dragon to carry people places....

My sorceress really didn't get the combination of feats and spells to do that right until level 11, before that she limped along with swift-fly, servant horde and tenser's disks...which worked but were awkward. Although she COULD do movement oriented things with those spells that vanilla sorcerers who took fly and/or dim door couldn't dream of doing. (like the time she transported an entire platoon of archers at light warhorse speeds to a battlefield via repeated tenser's disk castings...by riding her horse and trailing a lot of disks, each carrying two archers...)
In that case, I'd look at the spell list from the other side of the microscope...


Can you...

Target all three saves?
Do direct damage
Control the battlefield
Be mobile
Do ability damage
Deal with SR
Deal with high AC opponents
Deal with energy resistances/immunities
Deal with a civilian situation
Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?
Buff your comrades?

------------------------------------------------------------------
That's my list, and it's helped me immensely. Some of these things, I notice you're already good at, and some will do.

Glitterdust, for example, can be used on crowds of civilians because it doesn't kill anyone. A blind civilian isn't really at much of a disadvantage, the assassin/hill giant/half-dragon stirge was going to be able to hit them anyway.

Wall of ice and grease are good battlefield control (as is SM IV, in a different kind of way).

However, you don't have anything like bestow curse or ray of enfeeblement or even reduce person to penalize your foes. Dispel also can work here, targetting weapons/armor/glowing crystal skulls can help.
Good advice so far. Few comments.

1. Wall of ice is a good versatile spell, but my rap on it is that if you cast it too close to an enemy, he can disrupt it with a reflex save. I do like it on a build with fireball...you can fireball your own wall of ice to make a fog cloud for a little extra synergy.

3. Your list is weak on mobility spells. By level 9-12, an arcane caster is supposed to have a way to move the party. This can be either teleport or fly or some variation that is similar in effect. By 12, they're usually expected to have both a strategic travel option and a tactical option option.

Examples of strategic movement are teleport, shadow walk, phantom steed and for the divine casters or someone who somehow got it as a domain spell...wind walk.

Examples of tactical movement are benign or baleful transposition, fly, dim door, mass fly and (if used properly) oddball things like feather fall, tenser disk, servant horde, TK violent thrust, summoning an air elemental to sweep up the party or polymorphing your familiar into a size large dragon to carry people places....

My sorceress really didn't get the combination of feats and spells to do that right until level 11, before that she limped along with swift-fly, servant horde and tenser's disks...which worked but were awkward. Although she COULD do movement oriented things with those spells that vanilla sorcerers who took fly and/or dim door couldn't dream of doing. (like the time she transported an entire platoon of archers at light warhorse speeds to a battlefield via repeated tenser's disk castings...by riding her horse and trailing a lot of disks, each carrying two archers...)

Lack of mobility is a problem that I'm working on. I'll at least take either Dim Door or Fly come level 9, if not both. Although Phantom Steed is tempting, I'll hold off on it until later, when it gets a few more goodies.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to Baleful or Benign Transposition. I have a wand of Baleful Transposition, but it only has 5 charges left.

In that case, I'd look at the spell list from the other side of the microscope...

Can you...

1: Target all three saves?
2: Do direct damage
3: Control the battlefield
4: Be mobile
5: Do ability damage
6: Deal with SR
7: Deal with high AC opponents
8: Deal with energy resistances/immunities
9: Deal with a civilian situation
10: Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?
11: Buff your comrades?

Going down the list:

1: Yes, though my attacks against fort and will saves are slightly limited
2: Oh hell yes!
3: Grease and Wall of Ice can do a good job, provided the barbarian doesn't run past the wall. (Long story, the barb lived, but it was close.)
4: Not so much. Haste and an Anklet of Translocation are the best I've got right now. I've noticed that having fly could help out greatly.
5: Not yet. I'll have to look into that.
6: Yes. I have multiple SR: No spells and the Howl is Supernatural.
7: Yes, if only by applying #2 repeatedly ;)
8: Yes and Yes.
9: Currently, I'm limited. Sculpt at level 9 will help a lot here.
10: No. I can only slam him with the spells I've got.
11: Haste has proven very useful.

------------------------------------------------------------------
That's my list, and it's helped me immensely. Some of these things, I notice you're already good at, and some will do.

Glitterdust, for example, can be used on crowds of civilians because it doesn't kill anyone. A blind civilian isn't really at much of a disadvantage, the assassin/hill giant/half-dragon stirge was going to be able to hit them anyway.

Wall of ice and grease are good battlefield control (as is SM IV, in a different kind of way).

However, you don't have anything like bestow curse or ray of enfeeblement or even reduce person to penalize your foes. Dispel also can work here, targetting weapons/armor/glowing crystal skulls can help.

So far my sorcerer has been very good at direct damage. Mobility, Debuffing and Ability Damage seem to be the greatest holes right now.
UMiskatonic's list looks pretty good, but just a couple of notes on it...

Target all three saves?

I think a better way to put it is "do you have an option for opponents with ungodly high fort/ref/will" (spells with no save at all are often very good - the thing to avoid is having a wide array of spells that all target the same save and can be negated by a save or evasion). Azrien's only fort-save spell is Disintegrate I think, and she would never use that as a damage spell, because she has no-save spells that do more damage than disintegrate even if they fail the save. I've never really missed the option to have my spells negated on a fort save ;)

Do ability damage

I don't think you need to be able to do ability damage to be a good sorcerer. Debuffing is good, but this is too specific. Spells that do actual ability damage are very few and far between, and afaik all the Open ones are negated on a successful save. Negative levels, ability penalties and nasty status conditions work just about as well ;)

Deal with high AC opponents

Yeah - and add "deal with high touch AC and/or grappling opponents" to this.

Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?

Note that this doesn't have to be dispelling. I know Brad's sorcerer and Azrien both made it happily to L15 without any form of dispelling magic. It's very hard to be immune to all a well-built mid-high-level sorcerer's tricks.

A few other things (some more specific than others):
- Kill Mirror Images (Quickened Whirling Blade is usually the best option if you have it, Quickened Magic Missile probably the second-best) - it's a common and annoying buff spell that other PCs often have trouble with
- Cope with enemies with Freedom of Movement and Magic Circle vs X - these protections are long-lasting and tend to shut down huge swathes of spells if you can't dispel them, so you either need to be good at dispelling or have a wide variety of options (I prefer the latter approach tbh - dispelling is pretty swingy for a high-level combat action, unless you invest a lot in it)
- Cope with undead, and other enemies immune to mind-affecting and death effects
- Deal with (lesser) globes of invulnerability (the problem with having all your high-level spells as utility and relying on metamagicked low-level spells for offence)
- Deal with monsters with ALL high saves and/or resistance to all elements (except sonic - sonic resist is very rare)
- Fight at Long range OR defend the whole party against attacks from Long range OR be able to get the whole party into Close-Medium range quickly
- Fight swarms and large groups of mooks
- Get yourself out of a grapple
- Reveal invisible creatures
- Deal with incorporeals

Having some divination abilities is also really nice. You can be a very effective sorc without them, but they're still nice. You don't need a lot of the things on my list above, but I've seen those situations come up often enough that it's good to have a plan for them.
UMiskatonic's list looks pretty good, but just a couple of notes on it...

I think a better way to put it is "do you have an option for opponents with ungodly high fort/ref/will" (spells with no save at all are often very good - the thing to avoid is having a wide array of spells that all target the same save and can be negated by a save or evasion). Azrien's only fort-save spell is Disintegrate I think, and she would never use that as a damage spell, because she has no-save spells that do more damage than disintegrate even if they fail the save. I've never really missed the option to have my spells negated on a fort save ;)

I don't think you need to be able to do ability damage to be a good sorcerer. Debuffing is good, but this is too specific. Spells that do actual ability damage are very few and far between, and afaik all the Open ones are negated on a successful save. Negative levels, ability penalties and nasty status conditions work just about as well ;)

Yeah - and add "deal with high touch AC and/or grappling opponents" to this.



Note that this doesn't have to be dispelling. I know Brad's sorcerer and Azrien both made it happily to L15 without any form of dispelling magic. It's very hard to be immune to all a well-built mid-high-level sorcerer's tricks.

A few other things (some more specific than others):
- Kill Mirror Images (Quickened Whirling Blade is usually the best option if you have it, Quickened Magic Missile probably the second-best) - it's a common and annoying buff spell that other PCs often have trouble with
- Cope with enemies with Freedom of Movement and Magic Circle vs X - these protections are long-lasting and tend to shut down huge swathes of spells if you can't dispel them, so you either need to be good at dispelling or have a wide variety of options (I prefer the latter approach tbh - dispelling is pretty swingy for a high-level combat action, unless you invest a lot in it)
- Cope with undead, and other enemies immune to mind-affecting and death effects
- Deal with (lesser) globes of invulnerability (the problem with having all your high-level spells as utility and relying on metamagicked low-level spells for offence)
- Deal with monsters with ALL high saves and/or resistance to all elements (except sonic - sonic resist is very rare)
- Fight at Long range OR defend the whole party against attacks from Long range OR be able to get the whole party into Close-Medium range quickly
- Fight swarms and large groups of mooks
- Get yourself out of a grapple
- Reveal invisible creatures
- Deal with incorporeals

Having some divination abilities is also really nice. You can be a very effective sorc without them, but they're still nice. You don't need a lot of the things on my list above, but I've seen those situations come up often enough that it's good to have a plan for them.

Oddly enough, for my sorcerer, a number of those problems boil down to "Spam damage spells on them until they die." That works especially well against swarms and mooks.

Other problems are already covered by equipment and spells known for Lukas. (See Invis + Glitterdust. The Anklet.)

But that is a good "Beyond the basics, there's more to consider." list. I'll be keeping both lists in mind as my sorcerer levels up.
Note that this doesn't have to be dispelling. I know Brad's sorcerer and Azrien both made it happily to L15 without any form of dispelling magic. It's very hard to be immune to all a well-built mid-high-level sorcerer's tricks.

Dispelling is way to unreliable for an arcane. We don't have the stuff clerics have, like a domain that gives +4 to the check, beads of karma etc. Barring a feat investment (Arcane mastery, mostly and a bard cohort tuned to crank caster level) and an equipment investment (cranking caster levels) it's not as good an action as just killing the guy with 84 buffs spells on him.

I find that 15 enchanted size large greatswords to the face combined with stripping mirror images with quickened whirling blade puts a cramp in most spellcasters style. Yeah the defenses help, but often not enough. Certainly I can interrupt their spellcasting...


==========================================
A few other things (some more specific than others):
- Kill Mirror Images (Quickened Whirling Blade is usually the best option if you have it, Quickened Magic Missile probably the second-best) - it's a common and annoying buff spell that other PCs often have trouble with

And the arcane is the guy people look to to solve this problem. Either be able to kill the guy or incapacitate him without the images causing you an issue or have a low-opportunity-cost way of stripping the images.

==========================================
- Cope with enemies with Freedom of Movement and Magic Circle vs X -

This is spell dependent. Sorcerers with a decent direct damage component are rarely bothered by this. Those that rely on debuffs have a harder time. Some battlefield control is not affected by FoM. Have one of those on your list. (eg...wall of ice qualifies. solid fog at least still blocks vision so partially qualifies. Evards doesn't qualify, FoM will laugh at it)


==========================================
- Cope with undead, and other enemies immune to mind-affecting and death effects

Again, even if you normally like debuffs most sorcerers have a direct damage spell or two that can be used


- Deal with (lesser) globes of invulnerability (the problem with having all your high-level spells as utility and relying on metamagicked low-level spells for offence)

Hm...never had that as a problem. Encountered only a couple across all chars.

- Deal with monsters with ALL high saves and/or resistance to all elements (except sonic - sonic resist is very rare)

Yeah. Many high level monsters "bad" save is still huge, due to huge hit dice.

- Fight at Long range OR defend the whole party against attacks from Long range OR be able to get the whole party into Close-Medium range quickly

Yup

- Fight swarms and large groups of mooks
- Get yourself out of a grapple

or cope with it. Olivia can now cast most of her spell list while grappled in a silence field...

- Reveal invisible creatures

or kill them for the party if you have a general idea where they are. Although it is usually easier to pack a scroll of glitterdust and let the party **** the invisible target


- Deal with incorporeals

Again, this is usually direct damage, sometimes mobility. Not always force...sufficient alternate direct damage spammed will get the job done eventually, while the melee types focus on what you missed. If you do more than 2x what you're doing with force effects, use your bigger effect unless the smaller force one will finish off a critter.
- Cope with enemies with Freedom of Movement and Magic Circle vs X -

This is spell dependent. Sorcerers with a decent direct damage component are rarely bothered by this. Those that rely on debuffs have a harder time. Some battlefield control is not affected by FoM. Have one of those on your list. (eg...wall of ice qualifies. solid fog at least still blocks vision so partially qualifies. Evards doesn't qualify, FoM will laugh at it)

Yup. Everything on that list is trivial for some sorcerer builds. Any build with versatile direct damage options is going to laugh at a bunch of these, and any build focused on battlefield control is going to laugh at others (energy resistances and high saves? my evard's and solid fog don't care...)

The point of my list is to think about how your sorcerer build will deal with these situations, whether your normal tactics will work and if not what you need to replace them with, and whether it's worth adding spells to your list specifically to deal with such situations. (e.g. FoM is a good reason to have some walls in your battlefield control)

Thinking about stuff like this does tend to lead to the conclusion that having an array of direct damage options that let you hurt almost anything is a good idea, for when your more sophisticated options just don't work. I don't think that's a bad conclusion for sorc builds to come to - and if they instead choose to rely on just 1-2 direct damage spells with some notable weaknesses (like, say, TK and Whirling Blade ;) ), then it's good to think about what else you would do in situations where another sorc might just spam direct damage. (I know Olivia took Gust of Wind for dealing with swarms, for example, where a more vanilla sorc would drop Fireballs.)

- Deal with (lesser) globes of invulnerability (the problem with having all your high-level spells as utility and relying on metamagicked low-level spells for offence)

Hm...never had that as a problem. Encountered only a couple across all chars.

It's come up a couple of times for me - and Olivia doesn't rely on metamagicked offence nearly as much as Az does. Az's preferred tactic for a while was to overlap a spiritwall bubble on their globe of invulnerability, so they couldn't stand inside and shoot out. Now she has (Frosty, Empowered) Moonbow, she's not worried any more ;)

Deal with monsters with ALL high saves and/or resistance to all elements (except sonic - sonic resist is very rare)

Yeah. Many high level monsters "bad" save is still huge, due to huge hit dice.

The common ways to handle this are:
- Spam no-save / sonic / force direct damage (why orb of force is popular)
- Shoot them with saveless debuffs so your melees can engage them safely (split enervation, empowered ray of enfeeblement, empowered ray of clumsiness, etc)
- Use battlefield control to make sure you're only fighting one at a time
- Use mobility magic to keep squishies out of their threat range

- Get yourself out of a grapple

or cope with it. Olivia can now cast most of her spell list while grappled in a silence field...

Okay, sure, or be Olivia, with Silent Spell + Still Spell + Rapid Metamagic ;) Generically, it's easier to have anklets or take a dimensional travel spell ;)

- Reveal invisible creatures

or kill them for the party if you have a general idea where they are. Although it is usually easier to pack a scroll of glitterdust and let the party **** the invisible target

Yep, true. If you run into a fight where everything is invisible, though, I'd personally want a way to get the rest of the party into action - trying to solo fights gets you targeted and burns spells quite fast. Scroll of Glitterdust + familiar with scent works okay in a pinch: see invis or blindsensing familiar + sculpted glitterdust is better.

- Deal with incorporeals

Again, this is usually direct damage, sometimes mobility. Not always force...sufficient alternate direct damage spammed will get the job done eventually, while the melee types focus on what you missed. If you do more than 2x what you're doing with force effects, use your bigger effect unless the smaller force one will finish off a critter.

Direct damage is often not a very satisfactory solution on powerful incorps, especially at higher levels - you spam it because you don't have anything better to do, and eventually they go down, but they can inflict a lot of pain (Str damage, Con drain, etc) in the meantime. I may overemphasise this because I had a looooong run of mods with advanced dread wraith encounters (touch AC in the mid-30s, con-drain DC in the mid-30s) a few months back - I think it was six mods in a row that had dread wraith encounters. Transdimensional Spell is really the only good Open solution that I'm aware of, so you can trap them in transdimensional webs and stop their spring-attacking. Status effects that work on incorporeals (slow, daze, etc) can also be good, as those don't suffer the 50% avoidance chance - unfortunately they're mostly will-save-based. (Greater) Blink lets you deal with ghosts (but not other incorps) on the ethereal, where they are subject to battlefield control.

"I spam direct damage" is a perfectly reasonable answer here - if you rarely fight incorporeals, there's not much point in spending a feat or a lot of spells on being able to shine in those encounters - but if that's your answer, then you're going to be mostly relying on other party members if you want to kill big incorporeals quickly. If you're the L10 sorcerer with a focus on battlefield control and necromancy debuffs that don't work on undead (or creatures with Str -), whose sole damage spell is Magic Missile, then you will not be very useful at all in a lot of incorporeal encounters. I think it's a good thing to be aware of weaknesses in advance.
Oddly enough, for my sorcerer, a number of those problems boil down to "Spam damage spells on them until they die." That works especially well against swarms and mooks.

Sure, I expect the generic reply to "kill swarms and mooks" to be "FIREBALL!" However, while the most common way to make an ineffective sorcerer is probably to focus on direct damage above all else, it is also possible to make a utility / battlefield control / debuff sorcerer (maybe with Magic Missile) who is entirely ineffective in many common combat situations. The list I've posted is basically a list of common situations my PCs have been in where the arcanist just couldn't do very much, for one reason or another (I was playing the arcane for some of these, not for others).

Other problems are already covered by equipment and spells known for Lukas. (See Invis + Glitterdust. The Anklet.)

But that is a good "Beyond the basics, there's more to consider." list. I'll be keeping both lists in mind as my sorcerer levels up.

Sure - that wasn't a list of "stuff Lukas doesn't do" ;) It was a list of "combat situations I think about when designing my sorc spell lists, either because they come up frequently or because they're crippling when they do come up".
Target all three saves?
Do direct damage
Control the battlefield
Be mobile
Do ability damage
Deal with SR
Deal with high AC opponents
Deal with energy resistances/immunities
Deal with a civilian situation
Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?
Buff your comrades?

For fun, here's the results for my sorcerers.

Azrien:
Show
Target all three saves?
Fort: Disintegrate (never used for this, though)
Will: Spiritwall, (Sculpted) Glitterdust
Reflex: Freezing Fog, Fireball (runestaff)
No save: most of the rest of her spell list

Do direct damage?
Moonbow, Wall of Fire, Orb of Force, Fireball, Scorching Ray, Rainbow Beam
Apply Sculpt, Empower, Split Ray, Quicken and Energy Substitution (Cold) to taste

Control the battlefield?
Disintegrate (Greater Open), Freezing Fog, (Sculpted) Evard's Black Tentacles, Spiritwall

Be mobile?
Mass Fly, Teleport, Phantom Steed, (Quickened) Benign Transposition

Do ability damage?
Per se, no. If you mean debuffs...
Enervation, Ray of Enfeeblement
Apply Split Ray, Empower and Quicken to taste

Deal with SR
Freezing Fog, Spiritwall, Assay SR, Orb of Force, Evard's Black Tentacles, Glitterdust
Apply Empower, Sculpt, Quicken to taste

Deal with high AC opponents
If it's not touch AC, it makes no difference to her. If it is touch AC, use area spells or battlefield control. If the problem is cover/concealment, use Guided Shot. If they're incorporeal, Ghost Trap :D

Deal with energy resistances/immunities
See above range of direct damage and battlefield control spells.

Deal with a civilian situation
Sculpted Glitterdust, Empowered Split Rays of Enfeeblement, Spiritwall (fear effect), and Tongues + Friendly Face for talking to people ;) (also Sculpted and ranged-touch-based offence for the bad guys)

Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?
Greater Dispel, Battlemagic Perception ("How did he get those 82 spells up in the first place?"), Sculpted LimWish: Antimagic Field if all else fails.

Buff your comrades?
Mass Fly, Greater Magic Weapon, Phantom Steed, Quickened Benign Transposition for shuttling people into full attacks, warweaver cohort ;)


Min:
Show
Target all three saves?
Fort: Sculpted Shadow Spray
Ref: Draconic Breath, Sculpted Grease
Will: Shadow Well, Sculpted Glitterdust, Silent Image
No save: Magic Missile

Do direct damage?
Draconic Breath (acid), Magic Missile.

Control the battlefield?
Sculpted Grease, Silent Image

Be mobile?
Mass Fly, Dimension Door, Swift Fly

Do ability damage?
Sculpted Shadow Spray

Deal with SR
Sculpted Glitterdust, Sculpted Grease, Draconic Breath

Deal with high AC opponents
AC? That would imply I was making attack rolls, right? ;) (none of her spells require attacks: it's a non-issue for her) For helping other people hit high-AC opponents, she has Sculpted Grease and Sculpted Glitterdust to blind and trip them.

Deal with energy resistances/immunities
Everything except possibly Draconic Breath (acid) still works fine.

Deal with a civilian situation
Sculpted Glitterdust, Sculpted Grease, Sculpted Shadow Spray, Silent Image, Shadow Well (works well for hostage rescue)

Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?
Trip them, blind them, send them to the Plane of Shadow for a cool-down...

Buff your comrades?
Mage Armor, Deeper Darkvision, Haste, Mass Fly, D-Door shuttle into full attack range

The spells not mentioned above are False Life and Dragonskin. They actually do add quite a bit to her party role.
Resilient Sphere can be a good solution to Incorporeals (and others) -even if there's only one of 'em making him hold still while you buff up and get everyone in position makes a big diifference (obviously getting to kill his pals first helps even more) ..you do need to make it fail a Ref Save though.
I've never seen a Sphered enemy be a significant challenge once it came down and mostly they've got trapped first time -which may be related to targetting choices but that's ok there are always other options.

It's also one of the very few RefSave-or-really-suffer spells (area damage being generally weak in the hands of PCs for one reason or another).
"I spam direct damage" is a perfectly reasonable answer here - if you rarely fight incorporeals, there's not much point in spending a feat or a lot of spells on being able to shine in those encounters - but if that's your answer, then you're going to be mostly relying on other party members if you want to kill big incorporeals quickly. If you're the L10 sorcerer with a focus on battlefield control and necromancy debuffs that don't work on undead (or creatures with Str -), whose sole damage spell is Magic Missile, then you will not be very useful at all in a lot of incorporeal encounters. I think it's a good thing to be aware of weaknesses in advance.

Yeh. My toolkit was:

magic missile in low levels
ottiluke's sphere and whirling blade with ghostblight in mid levels
wall of force, magic missile+quicken magic missile, disintegrate in higher levels.

(disintigrate for the spring attacker incorporeals. you can often guess where they are well enough for a 10x10 section of wall to vanish, much to the delight of your party full-attackers)

Resilient sphere is a defensive measure vs incorporeals. You cast it on the con, level or strength-drained guy, to keep him from becoming undead. Risking an action vs the reflex save of most incorporeals, especially an advanced one, is a lose. Olivia never EVER stuck it on an enemy....not even aberrations or clerics-without-FOM....enemies you'd think would be easy targets. She retrained it away eventually.

She's got cyclonic blast and lesser dragonshape (familiar) for area stuff now, if facing tons of weaker incorporeals and wanting to thin it out. Aside from dread wraiths, telekenesing 15 magic weapons tends to work pretty well on the undead too (and at APL15, she can hit AC25 a lot of the time too...so dread wraiths are back on the table). So what if 8 miss? The other 7 hit, and for more than magic missile+quicken magic missile.

Also mass fly or chain levitate often helps a ton in incorporeal encounters. yes, they can fly better than you usually, but they usually can't do that and spring attack to cover. I didn't fight as many advanced dread wraiths as Azzie, but Olivia's met her share, in all APL ranges from 8-16 and she usually found something useful to do.
(disintigrate for the spring attacker incorporeals. you can often guess where they are well enough for a 10x10 section of wall to vanish, much to the delight of your party full-attackers)

If you have some room to maneuver in, this works well with mass fly too: the further you can get from the walls, the less room they'll have to move after spring-attacking. In a small room, the tactic's effectiveness does depend pretty heavily on whether the GM anticipates it.

Risking an action vs the reflex save of most incorporeals, especially an advanced one, is a lose. Olivia never EVER stuck it on an enemy....not even aberrations or clerics-without-FOM....enemies you'd think would be easy targets.

Heh. I remember when Azi and Olivia were fighting an airwalking cleric, and he had a +3 Ref save, and he didn't fail a single save vs empowered fireballs or resilient spheres in the whole fight, the GM kept rolling 17+. It was sad...

Also mass fly or chain levitate often helps a ton in incorporeal encounters. yes, they can fly better than you usually, but they usually can't do that and spring attack to cover. I didn't fight as many advanced dread wraiths as Azzie, but Olivia's met her share, in all APL ranges from 8-16 and she usually found something useful to do.

I keep meeting them in small, confined spaces. Azi was starting to get a bit claustrophobic ;) Of course, she hasn't met any incorporeals at all since getting Ghost Trap... the next incorps she meets are going to discover the joys of grapple :D
and my results for my sorceress for that first list:

Show

Target all three saves? - as a rule I dislike save/xx spells on single targets
Fort: Gust Wind, Disintegrate (never used and not likeley to be used)
Will: telekenesis
Reflex: sculpted grease, cyclonic blast (at L15)
Grapple: evards, telekenesis
No save: the rest of her offensive spell list

Do direct damage?
magic missile, whirling blade, telekenesis violent thrust (and GMW'd ammo/weapons or normal splash weapons or light infantry+GMW bolts),
cyclonic blast (L15), lesser dragonshape(familiar, L15)

Control the battlefield?
sculpted grease, servant horde+smokesticks, evards tentacles, solid fog, wall of force, disintegrate, gust wind (to remove fog effects, including her own)

Be mobile?
tenser disk, various unseen servant variants (normal, servant horde, mass unseen servant, depending on level), swift fly, overland flight, aeriel alacraty, TK violent thrust on willing ally that doesn't weigh too much, (chain) levitate, phantom steed.

Do ability damage?
Why? Never needed to.

Deal with SR
She has exactly two offensive spells that notice SR (magic missile and cyclonic blast). When doing Demonweb Pits, she never even noticed that drow had SR.

Deal with high AC opponents
None of her battlefield control cares. Reduces direct damage to magic missile, her two L15 spells (cyclonic blast, lesser dragonshape). TK violent thrust splash weapons (no longer used much now that she has cyclonic blast but she keeps holy water around for DR reasons). Reduce enemy AC via grapple or "trip" (grease). Against most high AC enemies, she was able to set up the physical attackers well enough. She never saw this as a weakness, even though options are reduced. She's much more handicapped underwater, even with the (chain) swim spell on her list.

Deal with energy resistances/immunities
She doesn't use energy attacks, except TK violent thrust splash weapons in levels 11-14 and the lesser dragonshape breath weapon. She could do fire or acid then. But without also very high AC, she's usually just hitting enemies with physical weapons or untyped damage.

Deal with a civilian situation
Sculpted grease directly, wall force/solid fog to wall off attackers from squishies, chain levitate as another solution to rescue people, in a few levels ottiluke's sphere, TK in the "will save disarm" or "will save toss" mode to separate a hostage taker from his hostage (or ability to do lethal damage to hostage), TK in the "grapple/pin" maneuver to again take down a hostage-taker. TK grapple or whirling blade "-4 to do nonlethal" to deal with individuals or groups of hostile civilians. Also silent and still spell, backed by significant bluff + slight of hand to cast spells without it being obvious.

Power-down an opponent with 82 spells up?
Just kill them? Most buffs are irrelevant to her spells. Mirror image she strips on a whole line with a quickened action. If the buffs result in very high AC and flying she can still do enough damage with her various offensive tricks to interrupt spellcasting.

Buff your comrades?
phantom steed, greater magic weapon, some uses of servant horde (arming people, applying oils to weapons etc), tossing light infantry around with TK violent thrust, greater mage armor, tenser disk for slowpokes or balance-challenged people or hauling off loot.


Aside from above, her ability to use arcane sight pretty much whenever she wanted, and backed later by analyze dwoemer broke many plots and trivialized many encounters. Her only real self-defense spells were swift fly and false life, until very late when she took greater mage armor, mostly because she adventured with a light infantry type that drained an entire mage armor wand in 3 adaptable rounds, and it fit her theme.

I keep meeting them in small, confined spaces. Azi was starting to get a bit claustrophobic ;) Of course, she hasn't met any incorporeals at all since getting Ghost Trap... the next incorps she meets are going to discover the joys of grapple :D

That's the right envt for disintegrate. The fighters will likely be in full attack range.

Remember the incorporeal can't go deep into the wall. Blowing holes in the walls works less well after the first time as it gets cagier about where it might be, but each hole blown makes the room less claustrophobic

But yeh, ghost trap is much cooler.
until very late when she took greater mage armor, mostly because she adventured with a light infantry type that drained an entire mage armor wand in 3 adaptable rounds, and it fit her theme.

Ummm. How do you do a light infantry type that doesn't have at least a chain shirt, thereby negating any need for/benefit from mage armor?

Heck, my archer type was in a +1 mithral chain shirt before 6th level...