Weekly (?) Optimization Showcase: Holy Fire

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The name's more for legacy, at this point, I'm afraid, as this is more likely to be a sporadic thing than a regular feature. In this case, I just happened to have a mostly-finished writeup ready and happened to be discussing this very problem with another player, so I figured, why not put something new(ish) up?

 

As usual for the showcase, these builds are intended to spur discussion and perhaps inspire a few people in the spirit of the old CO boards. They come from members of my gaming group - me, Radical Taoist, DisposableHero_, Andarious, Sionnis, and Seishi - and I'll always identify who wrote the build at the start, so do not assume I'm the guy behind all of them (because I'm not!).

Unless otherwise noted, showcase builds use 28 point-buy, and have their snapshots evaluated using fractional base attack / saves (because it simplifies the math). None of them actually rely on fractional to be built, though. The format I use showcases their progression at key levels rather than just presenting the build and showing off a few tricks at level 20; most of these are capable of being played 1-20 if you so choose.

 

With that out of the way, let's get started. This week, we’re getting one of mine. 

 

EDIT: The first stab at this had two pretty serious errors, which I'm fixing now. Thanks to Scraggled for catching them. In all honesty, I like this version better.

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HOLY FIRE

Just getting warmed up!


Required Books: Eberron Campaign Setting, Five Nations, PHB2, Complete Divine, Complete Champion, Spell Compendium, Races of the Dragon, and Complete Mage. Most of these only hold one or two spells, or one feat, required to pull this off.
Unearthed Arcana used: None!

 

Background: This started out as a simple challenge: Could I take the classic “fire mage” archetype and make it not suck? It turned out to be more interesting than I thought.

 

We’re all familiar (or should be familiar!) with the Mailman, the archetype for a direct-damage sorcerer. (If you haven’t read it, read it now; consider this showcase a tutorial on how to build a mailman using different design priorities. I'm just giving credit where credit is due!) The higher levels here are similar in terms of spell strategy. However, the Mailman had a weakness in that Force damage, while hard to resist, is actually pretty easy to outright block (Forceward from the Spell Compendium). Granted, a good Mailman can properly knock that defense down (one of many reasons you pack Dispels), but doing so takes time, and even then there’s rare creatures that are completely immune to force to begin with (thankfully, these are very rare, but it does mean there's still a few places that the mailman cannot Deliver The Mail).

 

This build, on the other hand, made one key observation: Once you get past the resistance / immunity issue, several fire spells are actually quite good at what they do (example: even the Mailman uses Combust, and of the Orb of X spells, fire has the best rider effect), and there’s a few ways to boost fire spells specifically (probably because they are so commonly resisted). The trick then is to find an inexpensive way to make the energy damage even more irresistible than Force damage. One way of doing this is to simply change the spells’ damage type to something that basically nothing resists - and the only damage type I know of that has this property is divine damage (think Flame Strike). In fact, I only know of a single ability open to non-deities that can block it (and it belongs to an obscure, semi-setting-specific, and not-all-that-amazing prestige class from the Planar Handbook), without delving into “total immunity to all damage” realms. There’s at least three ways I know of to convert half of your fire damage into divine damage already (and some allow 100% divine damage), so it’s not like this is an impossible goal.

 

Of course, you still need some method of dealing with incorporeality (a key benefit to Force spells), but this also has a statistical observation: The overwhelming majority of incorporeal foes are also undead. (In the SRD, all of the incorporeals are undead.) Thus, if you’re packing an anti-undead ability that bypasses their incorporeal miss chance, you’re set against incorporeality in all but the most rare of cases (and when we see a gap that rare cases can squeeze through in D&D, we usually plug that gap with equipment). We’ll still pack a small number of Force effects as they remain good choices in general, but you don’t need to go for broke on them if your main worry is relatively rare non-undead incorporeal miss chances.

 

Finally, we have a personal observation: I think the Incantrix is stupidly powerful, and consider its use unsporting. I’ve also seen it flat-out banned in a few places, probably also for its immense power boosts. For this reason, it’s worth trying to assemble a blaster without Incantrix. (We’re also using Eberron material, and I’d rather not mix settings if a single-setting solution exists.)

 

Put these three observations together, and a new build idea practically writes itself. It’s just a matter of tuning from that idea, and then presenting the results.

 

The basics of the build involve classic Mailman action-economy / defense-breaching tactics, but with all of the damage being all but completely irresistible divine damage, with the option of switching (either completely or halfway) back to fire on the fly if your foe isn’t immune and you want a few extra fire-specific synergies to kick in. It also attacks foes’ actions while it does this, but that’s not its main goal.


The Basics

 

•      Race: Silverbrow Human. You need the Dragonblood subtype and a bonus feat. On a fluff note, this at least keeps the slight affinity between dragons and sorcerers that the game seems to love, although you might need to get creative given how dragons work in Eberron.

•       Ability Scores: 8/8/14/14/14/16 with 28PB is our starting point. Sadly I couldn’t make this work with less than 13 Intelligence, due to skill requirements (and the lack of bonus skill points), and with that requirement we may as well go to 14. The requirements aren't too demanding and at least you have a use for that Intelligence otherwise: you need a 13 for your organization, and Metamagic Specialist is fueled by Int. The low Dex will hurt your ray casting early on, but at least you're aiming at touch AC.

•      Alignment: Lawful Good. You also need to belong to the Paragnostic Assembly (Int 13, 3 ranks in two Knowledge skills – plus you need to set a place for it in Eberron. I’d suggest the Twelve or the Library of Korranberg), worship the Silver Flame, and have the sanction from your church. Pretty much all of this is pretty consistent with a smart Silver Pyromancer’s stock flavor. The Silver Pyromancer itself also has a mild code of conduct that bars deliberate Evil actions.

 

Skill Notes: Your first skill points go to Spellcraft (max it, until at least 12 ranks) and to Knowledge skills: 5 in Arcana, 5 in The Planes, and 8 in Religion. Once you become a paragnostic apostle, put 5 more ranks in The Planes (and eventually squeeze 2 more into Arcana). Once you hit the Knowledge requirements, the rest of the skill points go to Concentration; Spellcraft and Knowledge can be boosted to taste. After this, your skills are more or less open, although you might want to consider pumping Tumble cross-class, especially if you adventure in close quarters (again, the classic dungeon crawl).

 

Basic Equipment: It's hard to get less equipment-dependent than the Sorcerer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re decked to the nines or wearing a fig leaf so long as you’ve got at least one component pouch. That said, once you can turn undead, definitely invest in a Flametouched Iron holy symbol; it’s dirt cheap and the extra turning level helps.

 

Magical Gear Goals: Typical for a blaster: Initiative gear, vision effects (especially at lower levels), CL boosts, metamagic rods, Runestaves, Rings of Wizardry, etc. are all good. Typical for Mailman-styled builds include a tumble booster and spell knowledge expanders, such as a Drake Helm (or, if Dragon material is available, Knowstones). Unique to this build: The Phylactery of Undead Turning actually packs a surprising wallop for its cost (along with several other +Turning Level items, although you don’t want to invest too much in this).


EDIT: My first stab at this build had one extra 1st level spell, which originally held Nerveskitter (an excellent initiative booster). However, since it generally won't be cast more than once per encounter anyway, and has no CL-dependent abilities, it's a prime candidate for the magic item treatment, along with other initiative gear. You can plug it all together on a single hand, actually: the Gauntlet of I Go First (a +1 Eager Warning gauntlet, with a wand chamber slotted with Nerveskitter - remember that activating a wand of an immediate spell is an immediate action, and the gauntlet is always 'wielded' so the wand is always 'in-hand'), perhaps combined with Drow of the Underdark's Ring of Anticipation, gives you +12 Initiative and the better of two d20 rolls for it, for the bargain price of about 25k (purchaseable in components if you'd like).

 

You have access to the entire paladin spell list as well as the (surprisingly good, but not standout) Exorcism domain through magic items, so you may want to invest in a staff or a few wands. There are three paladin spells in particular you'll want to buy: Lesser Restoration (it's a damn useful spell and a mere 1st level paladin spell), Favored of the Martyr (you need this if you want to unleash your full power late game; thankfully, the need to set this up acts as a natural leash, preventing you from breaking the action economy all willy-nilly), and, surprisingly, Turn Anathema (if you invest in +Turning gear anyway, that wand allows you to turn [Evil] creatures as if they were undead. This is noteworthy in that undead tend to have higher HD than their CR, while most [Evil] creatures, such as outsiders, tend to have HD comparable to their CR (and they lack turn resistance), in effect being much easier to turn.). None of the wands are terribly critical to the core strategies, but can add some cost savings or unique options to the build’s actual gameplay.

 


The Build.
Build Stub: Sorcerer 6 / Paragnostic Apostle 3 / Sacred Exorcist 6 / Silver Pyromancer 5.


1 – Sorcerer – (Metamagic Specialist) (Education, Arcane Disciple: Exorcism) (Magic Missile, Sleep)

*
Sleep is the usual long-range game-ender spell at level 1. Magic Missile is more for the Medium range than for anything else, and it still helps to have at least some force damage available when dealing with ethereal targets in particular, and all things considered you could do worse, especially early on. This is still a spell you can drop if you don’t like it.

 

Originally I opened with Lesser Orb of Fire, which brings the fire mage theme online sooner, but the change to a lower Dexterity score makes that less reliable at this point. Plus, it's kind of poetic opening up with the standard PHB sorcerer starting package spells, don't you think?

2 – Sorcerer

 

3 – Sorcerer – (Empower Spell) (Lesser Orb of Fire)

*
You can take this at 1 if you'd like, particularly if higher point-buy is on the table and you can get your Dexterity up there. The only reason to do so otherwise is if you want a fire spell at level 1. 

4 – Sorcerer – (Scorching Ray)

*
Early on, Scorching Ray packs a decent punch and metamagic fodder; late-game you’ll be using it as tracer rounds to test for SR or fire resistances on several targets.

5 – Sorcerer – (Combust, Raging Flame)

*
Raging Flame is an example of those nifty fire-only synergy effects: it causes your fire spells to deal +1 damage per die, and doubles the damage from being lit on fire. This little boost is enough to make a Raging-Flame Empowered 1d6/level fire spell deal more damage as a non-Raging-Flame Maximized 1d6/level fire spell, and it’s a 1st level spell slot (meaning it can easily be squeezed into an Arcane Fusion later on) with a duration (meaning once it’s up it boosts each fire spell you sling). Noteworthy, it alters Fire-descriptor spells, not fire damage – a crucial distinction later on. Sadly, it’s an area effect and not a buff, so it works best in tight quarters.

 

Combust was picked as a very powerful metamagic seed in the original Mailman for a reason (a 2nd level spell that deals a lot of dice of damage with no save or SR is just begging for metamagic); here it just gets more support from fire effects, such as Raging Flame (A single touch isn’t all that impressive with Raging Flame, but its effect compounds as your spell-slinging efficiency improves.) Remember that you can deliver the touch attack for a melee touch spell at any point during the round you cast it, rather than simply as part of the casting itself.

6 – Sorcerer – (Practical Metamagic: Empower Spell) (Body Blaze OR Fireball, True Strike (replaces Sleep))

*
A +1 level Empower is kickass for a blaster, and True Strike goes a long way to making sure one of your killer rays doesn't fall victim to a bad roll or high touch AC. (It's a swap at this point because you'll probably lack the spare spell slots to cast it before this - but now that 3rd level spells are available, your 1sts are free to serve as support.)

 

Body Blaze was picked over typical long-range damage choices because, in my experience, tight spaces and shorter ranges (i.e. dungeon rooms) are more likely to see combat than wide-open spaces, and if you’re in a place where you can’t fly, you’ll need as much help as you can get.  Sadly, it’s mostly flat-damage instead of dice-damage, and it’s technically a buff, so none of your spell support effects really synergize with it directly, which prevents it from being an obvious choice.

 

That said, it has its advantages and indirect synergy: curiously for an AoE effect, the damage it deals is no-save and SR: No, and it expands freely as you move (allowing you to “kite” monsters through tight spaces as you move and sling other spells, or deal damage with your move action (i.e. tumbling through enemy spaces).  Tactically, your other spells support this, as you’re tumbling between targets (close-range rays and Combust) and this blankets the area between them with DoT effects.

 

If you're in a large, open campaign instead of a common traditional dungeon crawl, though, you'll want a long-range spell, which is the only real reason Fireball's considered at all. It's also a spread, so if you are in a dungeon, it can technically reach around corners, even pulling 180-degree turns if need be. However, since it allows SR and an Evasion-compatible save, it's a backup choice most of the time. 

7 – Paragnostic Apostle – (Holy Texts, Lore, Manifest Ethos: Good) (Dispel Magic, Glitterdust, True Casting) 

*
Blaster builds tend to have a "slow start" problem - during the early mid-level game (i.e. around now), hit points expand beyond what damage can reasonably deal in one spell, and you lack the spell slots and high-level spells needed to compensate. More to the point, this is also when resistances start coming online. That's where Manifest Ethos comes in. Against any evil target, your fire spells deal half divine damage at no extra cost to you. This is also the same level where clerics start tossing around flame strikes, for what it's worth. Furthermore, these spells all retain the [Fire] descriptor, so they'll still work with Raging Flame.

 

The ability to start ignoring all resistances at this early point in the build is a huge benefit, even if it is somewhat limited at the moment (only to evil targets). On the positive side, the most deadly foe type that's completely immune to fire would be demons and devils - beings which always fall victim to Manifest Ethos.

 

Later on, you'll get the Sacred Flame ability, which does everything this does except against all targets. Manifest Ethos will remain useful only if you're planning on using non-Fire energy spells, which is a corner case. If you can retrain or rebuild at all after that point, replace this with Energy Supremacy (Fire).

 

Oh, and Glitterdust? You can switch it for See Invisibility depending on your opponents or personal preferences. I like Glitter since it works on guys who are merely hiding, but against truly invisibile targets, See Invis is better.

8 – Paragnostic Apostle – (See Through The Veil) (Dismissal)

*
The closest you're getting to a "dead level".

 

You're getting Dismissal through the Exorcism domain, which is why the build has 14 Wisdom - you can't cast Dismissal without it. You won't actually be casting Dismissal for its intended purpose - it's a dead weight prerequisite used to get the real prestige classes online early enough. Curiously, it appears that if you picked up a staff containing Dismissal, you'd be able to cast it using your Charisma (as it is a sorcerer spell, just a higher level one).  Such a staff may also contain other spells from the Exorcism domain which you might consider useful as well - they're usually not top-shelf picks, but most of them are pretty darn good on their own (and in some cases, such as getting Magic Circle as a 2nd level spell, you're getting a bargain.)

 

Also, See Through the Veil might be a weird choice now, but check back in two levels.

9 – Sacred Exorcist – (Turn Undead, Exorcism) (Rapid Metamagic) (Orb of Fire, Energy Vulnerability, Dimension Hop)

*
POW. Rapid Metamagic is practically a must-have for you (I assume it can NOT be used if you choose, just like most other feats; if your DM disagrees, you’ll want a different feat instead, possibly Invisible Spell or Ocular Spell). It also brings online your main workhorse damage spell (no save / no SR straightforward damage that also happens to daze if your target happens to fail a save).

 

Energy Vulnerability is another of those unusual fire-damage-synergy effects (although, sadly, it has a lot of targeting/save issues, so while it gives you a lot of damage when it works, it also becomes harder to employ as levels go up). Vulnerabilities are interesting in that they multiply damage, but they do so in a way that causes everything, including bonus dice and per-die bonuses like Raging Flame, to multiply normally, unlike standard D&D damage multiplication (i.e. against a vulnerable target, normal spells deal 150%, Empowered spells deal 225%, and Empowered Smiting spells (see below) deal 300% damage, and that's after all other modifications to damage dealt are applied). Vulnerabilities also cancel out immunities, which can be quite useful (particularly against non-Evil targets at the moment, but also later on, if you plan on using Smiting Spell against fire-immunes). 

 

EDIT: If your DM disagrees with me on Rapid Metamagic (and thus you can't use it to squeeze metamagic spells into Arcane Fusion or monkey with spell timing during Arcane Spellsurge), you have a much better option for making your enemies vulnerable to fire available to you here. Use the feat on Extra Spell: Creaking Cacophony (it's a bard 3 / druid 3 spell in the Spell Compendium). Medium range, 40' radius, everyone inside has to make Concentration checks to cast spells (keep your Concentration score up if you need to cast Cacophony in close quarters)... and, most importantly, everyone in the area becomes vulnerable to Sonic damage, no-save (it allows SR, but can easily be boosted via True Cast). If you cast it with a super-cheap Lesser Rod of Substitution (MIC), you can switch that over to a Fire vulnerability. If you take this route, you can replace Energy Vulnerability with Alter Fortune, Fly, or another useful 3rd to taste. I think Rapid Metamagic is more flexible, but this route is just too good to not mention.


The traditional Mailman build could not exploit energy vulnerabilities, but we can. If you can take the time during a big encounter to set up a vulnerability, do it - not only does it dramatically increase your damage output, it also saves you spells. You need fewer spells to dish out the same damage, which also means that the battle ends a few spells early. Don't do this all the time, but if you need a really big gun and you think you can get your vulnerability set up, do it.

 

Dimension Hop is not entirely necessary here; you can pick a different 2nd if you wish. It's just my favorite standby among the second-level sorcerer spells.

10 – Silver Pyromancer – (Pyromancer, Purge Undead)  

*
Purge Undead is deceptively potent if combined with +turning, +arcane levels (like more Sacred Exorcist), in effect becoming an AoE, +2d6/level, +1 DC/level uncapped blast with selective targeting against undead and ignoring undead incorporeal miss chances (and unusually for AoE damage effects, that saving throw type is Will, so Evasion does nothing, unlike, say, Wings of Flurry).  Remember that observation that most incorporeals are undead? This is what lets you fry them with ease. If you’re fighting lots of undead early on, this is why you took See Through The Veil earlier. The biggest problem with Purge Undead later on is that it’s a separate standard action instead of something you can metamagic and squeeze into an Arcane Fusion, so once the action economy enhancers kick in you might have to do some juggling to pull it off.

 

Experienced optimizers might wonder why I’m taking Silver Pyromancer instead of Sanctified One of Kord if the goal is to deal divine damage with fire spells, as Sanctified One of Kord can pull that off with a one-level dip and is much easier to qualify for. It’s because of other synergies in the Silver Pyromancer, including Purge Undead, the free boosts from Smiting Spell, and the ability to use paladin wands without UMD.

11 – Silver Pyromancer – (Sacred Flame (half)) (Arcane Fusion)

*
This is an absolutely essential spell, and an absolutely essential ability, online at the same time. Fusion can be used to squeeze out True Strike, Raging Flame, or True Cast along with Orb of Fire, Energy Vulnerability, Body Blaze, Empowered Scorching Ray (three rays at this point thanks to the Pyromancer ability), or Empowered Combust, all as a single standard action. Half of that fire damage is now pretty much unblockable (even against non-Evil targets now!), but it retains the [Fire] descriptor, meaning effects that alter fire spells (such as Raging Flame) remain useful, while things that specifically alter fire damage does not.

 

While I’m almost certain vulnerabilities fall in the second category, a bit of legal jujitsu might argue the reverse (as the description for vulnerability mentions energy effects, not specifically energy damage). If your DM rules this way, keep the Vulnerability spell in mind, otherwise, now is about the right time to shelve it unless you have nothing better to do.

 

At this point, Manifest Ethos is worthless to you unless you decide to use an energy spell that isn't fire-related. A few of them are listed below (in the variants section). If that's not up your alley, do what you can to switch around the paragnostic apostle's choices. Energy Supremacy (Fire) is a great fallback, and you did meet the requirements back when you entered the class.

12 – Silver Pyromancer – (Smiting Spell) (Twin Spell) (Firebrand, Celerity, Chain Missile, Spectral Hand)

*
There’s a lot going on; let’s take it in order.

 

Smiting Spell is a free, stackable Empower (limited to your fire spells, but it’s not like you’d want to empower anything else), along with a few other sundry benefits. You can double up on its effect by using it to alter a Twinned fire spell, or by adding it on to another Empowered effect.

 

Firebrand was picked to give some useful longer-range AoE damage, as it scales rather efficiently and has some truly spectacular targeting for a nuke spell. It does allow a save (and it’s an Evasion-enabled save too) and SR, though, so you’ll probably want to combine it with a Truecast (carried over from a Fusion Orb / Truecast on the previous round) and generally only use it against weaker targets. (It deals damage – with a separate save – on the following round as well, which lets it double as a minor area deterrent. Interestingly, a handful of your effects, such as Smiting Spell, add a rider effect to a failed save (note: any failed save, even if an Evasion effect kicks in), and since Firebrand forces two saves, it gives two chances for such effects to take hold.)

 

Celerity is of obvious use here. Use your standard to cast Arcane Fusion, link Celerity to some other spell, and then within the Celerity toss out another standard action (possibly even another Arcane Fusion, which can itself contain another Celerity, and so on). While technically you can do chain Fusion/Celerity effects like this until your slots run dry and only get dazed once (at the end of the chain), in my experience it’s much more useful to be able to throttle down and toss these spells out as needed without having to press the “nova” button. That's where the Pyromancer's other well-known ability kicks in: pull out a paladin wand of Favored of the Martyr. Among other benefits, that spell renders you immune to Daze.

 

Chain Missile is a natural evolution from your Magic Missile, and will be used in largely the same manner (since it's also long-range, no-save, and Force-typed, capable of hitting those rare non-undead incorporeals). You're kind of lacking for good long-range damage, and this spell fits in like a charm. With Rapid Metamagic it can also be Empowered and chucked out of an Arcane Fusion, so if you detect a target at long range with less than 70 HP or so, you can down it with a barrage of force missiles as a single standard action without caring about aiming your rays. Once you get closer, though, your fire abilities will outstrip it.

 

(The build's first stab used Vortex of Teeth, as per the original Mailman; Chain Missile was a very, very good substitution from none other than that build's author, DeAnno.)

 

 As you might have gathered, I didn’t have a lot of amazing options for 2nds. Spectral Hand is perhaps your best choice, even though you don't have a lot of touch effects. It lets you deliver Combust (your strongest single-target blast) and Dimension Hop (on your allies) at up to Medium range (so Combust now out-ranges Orb of Fire), and it lasts for quite a long time. It also appears to operate off of actual spell level instead of metamagic slot level, so you can use your metamagic freely on that Combust. (If your DM says that it works like Arcane Fusion, and looks at final slot level instead, you're fine: you can still deliver Empowered Combusts via a spectral hand.) Notably, this does NOT drain your actions, once you have the hand up: you simply touch with it as if it were you. If you're enjoying this, you should also look into magic items with other touch spells - the dragon-slaying Shivering Touch is the usual preference here.

 

Basically, Spectral Hand lets you pull off a different flavor of Ocular Spell hijinks on the cheap. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.

 

My original choice (and a passable fallback in some games) was Ray of Stupidity. Use it against targets that have immense hit points but relatively low intelligence and no immunity to Int damage; it will either roflstomp targets or be all but useless. (It can be barrels of fun if your enemy is mounted but didn’t properly defend their mount.) 

13 – Silver Pyromancer – (Persistent Fire) (Greater Dispel Magic)

*
Persistent Fire is largely a cosmetic ability that can be forgotten about, but I’m bringing it up here because at all because it actually synergizes with Raging Flame, which you’re probably already using for other reasons, and with Firebrand (since it forces two separate saves for each target). That said, ignition damage isn’t altered by Sacred Flame, nor is it actually spell damage, so the best it’ll get is 2d6, unmodified – and unlike most ignition sources, it extinguishes itself automatically, so it won’t even have a real chance to hinder their actions. You’ll appreciate this ability if your enemy lacks fire resistance (i.e. if your Energy Vulnerability spell worked), but otherwise it’s just a bookkeeping thing.

14 – Silver Pyromancer – (Smiting Spell (Blind) 3/day, Sacred Flame (full)) (True Seeing, Teleport, Dimensional Anchor)

*
Full divine damage (plus Raging Flame – it looks to the descriptor, not the damage type) on all of your workhorse spells (which are nearing their caps), plus a huge host of useful support spells. I’m honestly surprised the original Mailman didn’t mention Dimensional Anchor – I know there’s a lot of good 4ths out there, but the ability to flat-out deny emergency exits without a save certainly merits a mention, especially if you’re already fighting using ray spells. It seems that every single high-CR opponent, particularly among the evil outsiders that you happen to be really good at fighting, has such a teleport available, so being able to shut them down with a single spell (and a spell that you can throw out through either of your Fusion spells, at that) is quite valuable.

 

If you're not getting Dimensional Anchor, my preferred fallback would be Enervation. 

 

Also, curiously, this is one of those levels where having a spell that allows a save is better than having spells that don’t. The blinding effect from Smiting Spell ONLY applies if the target fails a save against the base spell; if you throw out a Smiting Combust, for instance, the target won’t be blinded. Orb of Fire has a save (to avoid the daze effect, not to avoid the damage), as does Firebrand (against multiple targets, and it actually forces a save twice, giving you two opportunities to blind, potentially against different targets as people move around.)

15 – Paragnostic Apostle – (Penetrating Insight) (Practical Metamagic: Twin Spell) (Arcane Spellsurge)

*
More textbook Mailman stunts, especially if Rapid Metamagic can be turned “off” (compare to Spellsurge itself in this regard; spellsurge obviously can’t be deactivated while its duration lasts). Unlike the standard Mailman you don’t have Invisible Spell to alter your support spells to standard actions, which changes the dynamic of gameplay a bit – however, you can use Twin Spell on Arcane Fusion itself, which allows it to be tossed out as either your swift or your standard while Spellsurge is up.

 

 Paragnostic also double-stacks for Purge Undead, which should be dealing damage on par with Disintegrate at this point without any real equipment.

 

Finally, Penetrating Insight helps punch through SR just a little more (even on non-Fire spells), and as a nice bonus augments all your dispels. Check with your DM - as I'm reading this, it modifies the dispel check even if you're hitting the CL cap (i.e. Dispel Magic could dispel at 1d20+6).

16 – Sacred Exorcist – (Detect Evil, Resist Possession) (Limited Wish, Contingency, Wall of Force)

*
Read up on the Mailman for the proper use of these again; you can use Surge of Fortune with Limited Wish, Contingency is amazeballs with any sort of proper planning (your team should have some method of scrying ahead at this level), and Wall of Force is a surprisingly useful battlefield control spell for those times when your blasting simply won’t work.

 

Interestingly, Contingency: Arcane Fusion does not require you to specify in advance the spells you’ll cast through the Fusion, making it a very compelling choice. Pick the right trigger and you can trigger any two Fusion-compatible spells you wish on the fly without costing you an action, even if the spells you put in the Fusion aren’t normally compatible with Contingency.

17 – Sacred Exorcist – (Chosen Foe +1) (Greater Arcane Fusion)

 

18 – Sacred Exorcist – (Dispel Evil 1/wk) (Ocular Spell) (Moment of Prescience, Forcecage)

*
Noteworthy in that Greater Arcane Fusion can be used to toss out a Dimensional Anchor and a Forcecage at the same time, which is one hell of a shut-up-and-sit-down combo against the right targets. Its expensive material component prevents it from being overused.

 

Ocular Spell can be kind of bizarre, though it certainly helps with a blaster for obvious reasons, in particular its free-action trigger (which can be “cheated” on to metamagic spells if you load your eyes up while under the effect of Arcane Spellsurge; Rapid Metamagic probably works here too, but Spellsurge has fewer arguments) and ability to deploy just about any spell at a distance (notably Combust on the straightforward front, or nearly any spell via Limited Wish.).  At this level the demand on your actions is intense, so Ocular’s ability to unload a double-barreled doom gaze as a free action make it an outstanding choice.

 

A possible alternative is Transdimensional Spell, but the foes you’d want to use it against (enemy mages that employ ethereal jaunts for tactical reasons) would need to be common enough to justify the feat choice over an equipment choice (i.e. a runestaff with Ethereal Jaunt, in this case). Ocular’s more of a generalist pick.

19 – Sacred Exorcist – (Consecrated Presence) (Foresight)

 

20 – Sacred Exorcist – (Chosen Foe +2) (Mage's Disjunction, Greater Celerity)

*
Disjunction is both a natural development of your dispels and a useful way to even the playing field at the high levels - though at the range you prefer to operate, it's also a bit risky for you!

 

 

Sorcerer spells known

1.    Magic Missile, Lesser Orb of Fire, True Strike, Raging Flame, True Casting

2.    Scorching Ray, Combust, Glitterdust, Dimension Hop, Spectral Hand

3.    Body Blaze OR Fireball, Dispel Magic, Energy Vulnerability, Chain Missile

4.    Dismissal, Orb of Fire, Celerity, Dimensional Anchor

5.    Arcane Fusion, Firebrand, Teleport, Wall of Force

6.    Greater Dispel Magic, True Seeing, Contingency

7.    Arcane Spellsurge, Limited Wish, Forcecage

8.    Greater Arcane Fusion, Moment of Prescience, Greater Celerity

9.    Foresight, Mage's Disjunction

 

Plus, as mentioned above, anything you can find on a Drake Helm, Knowstone, Runestaff, or wand (including paladin wands and anything on the Exorcism domain).

 


Snapshot: Armed only with +6 items on Cha, Con, and Dex, with +5 Cha, +4 Con, and +4 Dex tomes, we’re looking at 208 HP, +11 base attack (+15 starting point with rays), and saves of +12/+9/+16 for the skeleton, and CL 19 (20 for fire spells (or 21, if you managed to swap in Energy Suprmacy), with Penetrating Insight / Chosen Foe / Smiting Spell / True Cast / etc. to take out SR), and DC 20+level sorcerer casting (6/9/9/8/8/8/8/7/7/5 base spell slots). With a flametouched iron holy symbol (mundane, 750gp), there’s also a 31d6, Will DC 25 AoE Purge Undead effect over a dozen times a day; reasonably inexpensive gear can get that much stronger (anything that boosts your caster level (on your shopping list already) or your turning level (quite cheap for what it does, i.e. 9k for +3) - CL will increase the damage, turning level increases the damage and the DC).

 

With a +1 cost Empower, a +2 cost Ocular, and a +3 cost Twin to employ with Rapid Metamagic, plus (Greater) Celerity (and the ability to bypass daze immunity if you need to go nova) and several other spells based around action economy ((Greater) Arcane Fusion, Arcane Spellsurge, Contingency, Moment of Prescience) and specific support for fire spells (Raging Flame, Manifest Ethos (early on, too!), Energy Vulnerability, Smiting Spell, Persistent Fire, and of course Sacred Flame), this build has quite a lot of support for its fire blasting. The main workhorses have no save or SR (Combust and Orb of Fire; Body Blaze shares these properties but is largely for show lategame) as well as bypass all immunities and resistances short of universal damage immunity, and occasionally have action-economy effects that usually don’t show up on a classical Mailman ‘for free’ (example: Orb of Fire may also daze the target (or blind a target through Smiting Spell), although that’s not the main reason you’re using that spell).

 

Finally, to combat your more exotic foes (including several evil outsiders, dark mages, and intelligent undead), you've also got some pretty powerful dispels (standard, greater, and Disjunction, with Penetrating Insight - this appears to actually raise the check even if it's capped out) and a few spells designed to take out foes capable of teleportation or planar travel (Dimensional Anchor, Wall of Force, Forcecage), plus a few longer-range unavoidable Force blasts (Magic Missile and Chain Missile) to help you tag incorporeal or ethereal foes - or to simply add a bit of variety to the game.

 


Overall Strengths: On top of the typical “actually able to deliver damage regardless of AC, saves, or SR” aspect of a Mailman blaster? The damage output is higher (a large part of this is how Raging Flame and, more rarely, Vulnerability interacts with Empower and Smiting Spell), and the spells often carry special effects at no real cost to you (Dazing, Blinding, Igniting (also augmented, but largely cosmetic), and so on). The major PrC lifting comes from Sacred Exorcist as well, which offers a much better (cleric-based) skeleton than your typical (wizard-based) PrC choices, on top of superfast scaling of Purge Undead and a few sundry class features.

 

Also, interestingly, virtually all of the fire support here isn’t actually a “buff” in the traditional sense (the only buffs are Favored of the Martyr, which is only needed if you're pulling out all the stops on a sustained massive nova strike, and Arcane Spellsurge, which is in the same broad category). You could be hit with a Disjunction and you’d still blast more or less as powerfully as I’m describing here. Thus, you don’t need to be quite so paranoid about incoming dispels, as realistically they'd only hit your equipment and/or Spellsurge.

 

Plus, come on. Fire mages capture the imagination, and it’s downright painful to see how hard they usually suck in standard gameplay. This one actually works. And even the secondary effects all fit well together.

 

Overall Weaknesses: The revised approach (with Manifest Ethos) really helps with the slow start to the early mid-level game discussed earlier. It's not a total solution (as this only helps with resistance or immunity, not raw damage, and even then only against evil targets), but it's a definite leg-up on the traditional blaster approaches.

 

More to the point, there's a dearth of long-range spells here (basically, just Chain Missile and possibly Fireball). It was designed for dungeon crawling, not for long-range army-levelling artillery. The reliance on Favored of the Martyr to bypass Celerity's daze effects is a little annoying as well, particularly in the very late game (although I would be tempted to view this as a gentlemen's agreement of sorts: being able to bust open the action economy like that is something that you don't want to take lightly.)

 

I’m also deliberately holding back in some ways, as I’m not using Incantrix or some of the more obscure methods of making metamagic cheaper, and there’s no +0 slot universal metamagic available to monkey with casting times during Spellsurge (I assume Rapid Metamagic can be not used if you choose, but a DM is very much within his authority to rule otherwise!). Enervation is also missing, despite being a useful debuff.

 

There’s also a hidden weakness in the Silver Pyromancer, in that it loses its class features and needs to atone for any deliberate evil acts you may perform. This isn’t usually that much of a drawback (just think of yourself as an arcane paladin with a much more lax code of conduct and no grim trigger), but it did impact some spell choices. Notably, Avasculate is missing. It’s a spectacular spell for dealing with immense walls of hit points as a blaster (often capable of axing away hundreds of hit points without any arguments, and possibly also hitting their actions), but it’s also an [Evil] spell.  (Then again, one could argue that if any foe has enough HP to endure more than one, or at most two, rounds from a team with a Mailman-styled blaster even without Avasculate, you should probably be fighting it using something other than HP damage anyway. This is why there’s the Greater Fusion (Dimensional Anchor / Forcecage) stunt – it lets you “seal away” evil for a while.)

Variants:  There’s a lot of flex in the 2nd level spell choices, and the 4th level ones are tight to begin with (I opted for Dimensional Anchor rather than Enervation, for instance, as even though Enervation is an awesome spell, Dimensional Anchor prevents them from escaping, meaning it's you, not them, who sets the time of their death), and they can largely be tailored around as you see fit. I also didn’t really exploit the paladin or Exorcism domain spells: you might want to actually learn Favored of the Martyr as a spell known yourself, so you won't rely on wands. You don't really want Daze immunity until level 12 (when Celerity shows up), and that's also the same level you can start casting Favored if you can squeeze it in to a spell known, Drake Helm, or wand.

 

There's also a feat modification if you're playing at a level where Spellsurge is possible but your DM disagrees with me on Rapid Metamagic. Look at level 9 for the details: You can use Extra Spell to find a way to make a huge area vulnerable to fire damage, with no save.

 

EDIT: DeAnno (the author of the original Mailman) made a few interesting spell suggestions downthread for those who are interested in Energy Substitution (either as a feat or as a metamagic rod) or if you're wanting to make use of Manifest Ethos outside of your fire specialization. Even if you're sticking to the main build, these should be considered with equipment. The most interesting one to me is Boreal Wind (5th, natively cold - but it deals 15d4 damage per round to everything within long range, forces a save every round (meaning it's a natural fit for Smiting Spell if you're energy subbing it), and includes a few other fun effects lifted rom Gust of Wind). Two others are teleport/damage hybrids (Lightning Leap (which would be subbed) and Firestride Exhalation); either one might be worth replacing either Teleport or Wall of Force depending on equipment availability and campaign combat demands. (I find the main build's spells to be a more strategic choice than these tactical spells, but there's something to be said for options, especially if you disagree with me on Rapid Metamagic.)

 

 

If flaws are on the table, you can freely switch around your race into anything else with the Dragonblood subtype that can hit the ability score requirements (i.e. Spellscale). In some cases, this might be liberating fluff-wise: a dragonborn lesser aasimar dedicated to Bahamut and wielding platinum-laced celestial dragonfire against the dark forces of Tiamat would work perfectly here, rather than being a militant arcane templar and exorcist of the Silver Flame.

 

 

 

There you have it. A fire mage archetype brought to life in a way that, I think, doesn't suck and doesn't rely on Incantrix. I'm curious what you all think.

 

 

More of these writups to come, as I finish them (read: find time during procrastination / waiting-for-simulations-to-finish to put these together.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest, I may be misremembering, but isn't there a feat in Sandstorm that bypasses fire immunity to cause half damage? I'm assuming it would stack with any other half damage feat, meaning you wouldn't need to take the pyromancer all the way through.

..which frees up levels for upping raw damage.

 

What you really want is some feat that adds +x/die, so your metamagic multiplies higher. Raging Flame is one of those effects. Acid Sheathe altered to fire is another one.

 

I can't think of any feats off the top of my head that add +x/die. I know there's a feat that adds +2/Spell level, so its a smaller bonus.

 

Note that there's two anti-evil/undead feats out there, both from Exalted Deeds.  ONe is a +1 level stacking Empower against undead (Energize Spell?), the other is a +1 One Die Size Bigger against Evil outsiders (purified or consecrated, I forget). Now, that might not seem much, but combine it with a Maximize, and you're doing 8 pts/die+ other bonuses, which is QUITE respectable. I believe the Exalted wizard PrC gets enough feats to grab both of these.

 

Just throwing out nuggets for you.

 

==Aelryinth

 

 

Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you

There are two Sandstorm feats: Fiery Spell and Searing Spell. Fiery Spell adds +1/die damage. Searing Spell makes the spell ignore resistance entirely and half of immunity. Both are +1 slot level.

 

I'd prefer to avoid the whole thing entirely: Just take advantage of the fact that the Silver Pyromancer's ability is worded thus:

 

Beginning at 2nd level, you can lace your fire spells with sacred energy that is not subject to ... Half the damage your fire spells deal results from this sacred energy, ...

 

So sacred energy. Energy, got that? It's a type of energy. Since that's what it's #DEFINEd as, just use Elven Spell Lore and be done with it. Not losing a caster level seems a good thing to me.

Except the energy types, according to the DMG, are clearly acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic, and every other instance of divine damage simply says "power", not "energy". I imagine you'd have a harder time getting that to fly with any given DM than you'd have getting the DM to approve the Incantrix - and the Incantrix' cheese is already so strong that I went out of my way to avoid it.

 

 

 

Aelryinth: 

 

I considered Firey Spell for a while, but ultimately having Raging Flame do the same effect but not much up metamagic slot costs or spellcasting timing turned out much better. It's generally not worth it as a +1 level, and anything that lowers metamagic to +0 would trip my cheese radar. Energy Subbed Acid Sheath was suggested as well, but it proved difficult to squeeze it in; it'd be prime drake helm + metarod material though. (All of these are examples of support for fire spells that's hard to find in other spell types: +1 damage per die is rather uncommon, except among psionic powers.)

 

Searing Spell likewise raises metamagic costs to avoid just a bit of immunities, when I'm interested in free modifications. That's why I avoided any extra metamagic that didn't actually amplify output dramatically; a decent damage spell becomes a lot less decent at +1 metamagic, hence why so many of the feats are Practical Metamagic.

 

There are other half-divine-half-fire effects out there (eg. Manifest Ethos on the Paragnostic Apostle; its only because of the prerequisites in assorted skills that I didn't do this), and even one very-likely-misprinted full conversion ability (Sanctified One of Kord), but I opted for the pyromancer because of the incorporeality issue (namely, if you can fry undead, you can handle most of the incorporeals you'll ever face) and for other little goodies (Smiting Spell adding more to save effects, for instance, plus being a free stackable Empower).

 

Regarding the other goodies: Turns out +1 per die often pushes Empower to be better than Maximize. Consider Orb of Fire: 10d6 (35) by default. Empowered orbs deal 10d6*1.5 (52.5); maximized orbs do 60. But, if they're used with Raging Flame, Empowered orbs do (10d6+10)*1.5 (67.5), while maximized orbs do 70. One extra spell level for +3.5 damage is piddly - and that's just with one +1/die effect added on there.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I hope your cheese radar ignores Metamagic School focus as an exception. Actually even Arcane Thesis while it allows you to do some insane stuff is pretty easily circumvented by making oneself immune to the spell directly rather than attempting to circumvent the energy damage it's causing. Speaking of cheese radar, wow Nail, that interperitation of Elven Spell Lore? Classy.

Hmm. I know that Orb of Fire is kind of the gold standard for a reason, but since you're already using RotD, what about Wings of Flurry + Energy Substitution (Fire)? Uncapped damage in a sizable area with a daze rider and no friendly fire concerns is pretty nice.

Evasion. Plus Energy Sub only works on spells with energy descriptors, and Force is no more an energy descriptor than Fear. And since most incorporeals are undead, in most cases, Purge Undead is actually much better (Will, so no Evasion; 2d6/level with any casting/turning class (better than Empower) and is also uncapped; DC increases with CL and turning level, no SR, and only a friendly fire risk if you have undead on your team... Plus tuning level is dirt cheap to enhance after you've got the usual CL booster gear). I do like Wings of Flurry, but 4ths are very tight here (in part because Sacred Exorcist needs Dismissal).

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

Except the energy types, according to the DMG, are clearly acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic, and every other instance of divine damage simply says "power", not "energy". I imagine you'd have a harder time getting that to fly with any given DM than you'd have getting the DM to approve the Incantrix - and the Incantrix' cheese is already so strong that I went out of my way to avoid it.

 

Depends. The type of DM who would be likely to rule against ESL letting you choose sacred energy is likely to be in that same category of DM who would reject getting free celerity from Mark of the Dauntless. On the other hand, I've seen DMs approve things or interpret rules without anything like consistency. My brother's DM denied healing belts but allowed Manyshot to work as an attack-replacer (as in, a new Manyshot on each iterative attack).

 

But anyway, doing it all through class levels and without using wonky feats like ESL is a worthy challenge.

NineInchNall wrote:
Depends. The type of DM who would be likely to rule against ESL letting you choose sacred energy is likely to be in that same category of DM who would reject getting free celerity from Mark of the Dauntless.

True, I suppose; honestly, this is the first build in which I seriously played around with action-economy-breakers, since I typically consider them unsporting, and I'm not exactly a restrictive DM. (Our group still won't touch Polymorph with an eleven-foot pole though.)

 

The Quick Recovery method is possible as well, although it monkeys with the feat timing (i.e. you'd have to grab Empower and/or Twin long before you have any business actually using Empower and/or Twin) and isn't quite as finessable in terms of the nova throttle (due to the unusual way Arcane Fusion's spells resolve, you can squeeze a Fusion into a Celerity, and cast both spells before the dazing. If one of those two spells is itself another Celerity, you can take a different standard action, perhaps tossing out another Fusion, and so on and so forth until you run out of useful actions to take. Then, all of the dazings come at once. If you're hit with five or six separate "You're dazed for 1 round" effects, you're still only dazed for 1 round). 

 

Fluffwise, I think I'm actually more drawn to the dragonborn variant at the end than the dragonmark/dauntless version, even though this requires Favored of the Martyr. On the plus side, this is one of the few Celerity builds that can actually cast Favored of the Martyr without resorting to UMD or custom/artificer items (probably relegating Dimensional Anchor to a runestaff or drake helm or similar).

 

 

(Aside: Arcane Fusion is one of the few places where errata actually did something sane. Until I noticed that, I was terrified of the thought of using Sanctum Spell with this build, turning Arcane Fusion into a 4th level spell and going recursive: Yo dawg, I heard you like fusion, so we put a fusion in your fusion so you can cast while you cast and all that.)

 

But anyway, doing it all through class levels and without using wonky feats like ESL is a worthy challenge.

That's kind of a running theme with several of our builds, you might notice. RT's in particular never rely on oddball feats or any equipment (occasionally to their detriment), and Andarious' usually use no more than two or three books including the PHB (often, it's me adding complexities to them during tuning). 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

You can also qualify with Dispel Evil, which can come from the Good domain through 1 of 2 ways: Arcane Disciple: (any good deity) or the first level of Rainbow Servant from the same book (CD).  There are probably other ways to get it, but those are the 2 off of the top of my head.

New-Shadow wrote:

You can also qualify with Dispel Evil, which can come from the Good domain through 1 of 2 ways: Arcane Disciple: (any good deity) or the first level of Rainbow Servant from the same book (CD).  There are probably other ways to get it, but those are the 2 off of the top of my head.

It's also 5th level, and since you need the exorcist's Turn Undead to get into Silver Pyromancer... at that point I'd just bask in the cheese and use Sanctified One, giving up on Pyromancer altogether. (I did consider this, although I liked the interconnection between this build's design goals and the Pyromancer's class features.)

 

It's unorthodox, but my first stab at this emphasized the "holy" part and actually used the domain access CChampion variant. Turns out the Exorcism domain gives access to Dismissal as a 4th as well as a few other cleric-y goodies along the way (including Magic Circle as a 2nd level spell, which is surprisingly potent; while not an absolute standout, it's not bad as far as domain spell lists go, particularly if you're dealing with evil outsiders as your villains), plus it's a perfect thematic fit. However, it proved to be cumbersome in that it stole *way* too many spells known, and for some bizarre reason the exorcism domain ability and the sacred exorcist's exorcism ability are completely independent. Overall, it wasn't worth it.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I do really like this build Tempest, it's just a slight shame Sanctified one gets you the same ability for a one level dip. I'm considering doing a Sanctified one with Holy scourge and the Warmage prc in Age of Mortals. 

Still I see the synergy in the abilities and the silver pyromancer abilities do mean you need less in the way of spell longevity in undead heavy situations. Certainly solid and looks like good fun too

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

True, I suppose; honestly, this is the first build in which I seriously played around with action-economy-breakers, since I typically consider them unsporting, and I'm not exactly a restrictive DM. (Our group still won't touch Polymorph with an eleven-foot pole though.)

 

Heh, I'm about as unrestrictive as they come, myself. The party I'm currently running through the Age of Worms includes some rather silly things like a half-ogre half-minotaur and four unseelie fey.

 

The Quick Recovery method is possible as well, although it monkeys with the feat timing (i.e. you'd have to grab Empower and/or Twin long before you have any business actually using Empower and/or Twin) and isn't quite as finessable in terms of the nova throttle (due to the unusual way Arcane Fusion's spells resolve, you can squeeze a Fusion into a Celerity, and cast both spells before the dazing. If one of those two spells is itself another Celerity, you can take a different standard action, perhaps tossing out another Fusion, and so on and so forth until you run out of useful actions to take. Then, all of the dazings come at once. If you're hit with five or six separate "You're dazed for 1 round" effects, you're still only dazed for 1 round). 

 

The Quick Recovery method all but forces you to go nova, and it is thus worse for the game than the dragonmark method. The funny thing is that it is probably more likely to be accepted by the average DM, since it still has a "drawback." The dragonmark version of the build progresses much more naturally and doesn't have the unwholesome incentive thing to contend with.

 

Fluffwise, I think I'm actually more drawn to the dragonborn variant at the end than the dragonmark/dauntless version, even though this requires Favored of the Martyr. On the plus side, this is one of the few Celerity builds that can actually cast Favored of the Martyr without resorting to UMD or custom/artificer items (probably relegating Dimensional Anchor to a runestaff or drake helm or similar).

 

Favor of the martyr is ... I think it's actually more on the iffy side. After all, it does say that the subject is immune to any effect that would daze. Celerity is the effect that would daze, so ... Yeah. Overall, the dragonmark version is preferable. For many, many reasons.

 

Every time I see Mark of the Dauntless, though, I can't help but be tempted to go nab Born of the Three Thunders, too. It's a +0 slot level effect, too, and adding prone+stunned to every spell is pretty awesome. It is, unfortunately, incompatible with the fiery design goal of this build. You'd need to pick up Energy Sub(electricity) qualify, and Energy Sub(fire) to change the spell back to fire so it could be used with the Pyromancer ability. Far too much of a feat investment, which makes me sad.

 

(Aside: Arcane Fusion is one of the few places where errata actually did something sane. Until I noticed that, I was terrified of the thought of using Sanctum Spell with this build, turning Arcane Fusion into a 4th level spell and going recursive: Yo dawg, I heard you like fusion, so we put a fusion in your fusion so you can cast while you cast and all that.)

 

I don't see how the erratum fixes that for a character who has Rapid Metamagic, unfortunately. Unless you mean that "adjusted spell level" prevents it.

 

That's kind of a running theme with several of our builds, you might notice. RT's in particular never rely on oddball feats or any equipment (occasionally to their detriment), and Andarious' usually use no more than two or three books including the PHB (often, it's me adding complexities to them during tuning). 

 

Yeah, it's trivial to come up with effective builds relying on equipment, paying NPCs to do the DCFS for you, or abusing the level loss difference engine. The most elegant builds use the fewest possible sources, and they're also the ones least likely to send the DM's BS detector into the red. As you stack source onto source, most DMs' tolerance wears thin. Three non-core books is probably the practical limit for getting things approved.

I don't think the "drawback != good for the game" observation gets enough publicity, but this example shows it perfectly.

NineInchNall wrote:
Every time I see Mark of the Dauntless, though, I can't help but be tempted to go nab Born of the Three Thunders, too. It's a +0 slot level effect, too, and adding prone+stunned to every spell is pretty awesome. It is, unfortunately, incompatible with the fiery design goal of this build. You'd need to pick up Energy Sub(electricity) qualify, and Energy Sub(fire) to change the spell back to fire so it could be used with the Pyromancer ability. Far too much of a feat investment, which makes me sad.

To be perfectly honest, the build that got me thinking about this was one of DisposableHero_'s, doing a lightning/thunder mage concept for a quick-fire game designed to let us try out a huge number of characters in rapid succession rather than committing to just one. (My thought was, "He's doing lightning, why don't I take fire?" which led to the concept at the start of the build.) His thunder mage does, in fact, use Mark of the Dauntless / Born of Three Thunders (with the base dragonmark, poetically, being the Mark of Storm) - and, interestingly, he mixed it in with Energy Gestalt. That feat is one of those that makes you go "whaaaaaaa...?", but look what happens when you can spam-cast Electricity-admixed cold spells of Three Thunders with that feat: it adds a slow effect (or fatigue effect, if they save - friendly reminder that two fatigues give exhaustion, which is particularly nasty on anything that relies on its physique, and that there's no save to prevent the fatigue) and a free Empower (of all damage, not just of one energy type; vulnerability effects can amplify one of them further. This is on top of the damage increase from Admixture - the cost of which can be mitigated somewhat via Arcane Thesis etc...) to every spell after the first, along with the prone / stun from Three Thunders and whatever else the spell itself happens to bring along. It's kind of feat intensive, but when you're trying to work with novelty damage-based mage characters, them's the breaks.

 

(EDIT: Despite the feat intensity, I didn't mention that his build did not use flaws (rather, he was rather creative with dipping to "snipe" feats wherever he could while keeping his casting going). With them, it could probably pull the whole thing off by... about the same time Holy Fire gets its divine damage.)

 

I've seen him use Mark of the Dauntless on a wilder, which is similar in theme to this except the dazing is less common and it takes fewer feats to pull off. (He used the remaining feats for a Link Power trick that could easily be altered into "Wild Surge nearly any power twice" if we didn't consider that an obvious bug.) Since said wilder prefers electricity on his energy stuns as well, I can't help but think this is where he got the idea from.

 

Also, it says a lot that this level of feat intensity is downright painful on a wizard... but anyone doing a non-ToB melee build is conditioned to accept about this same degree of feat dependency. This is the nasty converse of the other bit of melee/casting feat conditioning, where melee sees +2 damage as an acceptable prerequisite feat while wizards see "roughly quadruple the number of spells compatible with your build" in the same light.

 

I don't see how the erratum fixes that for a character who has Rapid Metamagic, unfortunately. Unless you mean that "adjusted spell level" prevents it.

I was referring to the adjusted spell level - a sanctum Arcane Fusion still takes up a 5th level slot, even if it resolves as a 4th level spell, and thus you can't use Fusion to cast a second Fusion, even with Rapid Metamagic. When I first looked at it, it seemed like you could - which would allow a single 5th level slot to be used to cast a functionally unlimited number of 1st level spells (suck on it, Force Missile Mage), or a single 8th level slot to cast a functionally unlimited number of 4th level spells (infinite Celerity, ho!), and that metamagic could be applied to the spells contained in the Fusion with wild abandon (a twin Celerity is still a 4th level spell). Adjusted spell level thankfully slaps this back to merely "abusable" instead of "patently broken at face value".

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Ah, I thought that's what you meant, but the errata said "spell level" so I thought I should check. I really, really wish that the 3.x authors had taken the time to be clear about spell level vs. slot level. It would have resolved sooooo many confusions regarding metamagic interactions. I feel like more than half of the rules disputes that come up during game time are due to lazy writing like this.

 

Or from when they decided to write some parts of the game as though for total beginners, eschewing precise game terms (e.g., animal companion hit die advancement). Or when they felt the need to recap some rule when introducing a new one (e.g., invocation casting time). Or when they did the spell inheritance "as X but blah" without being clear which parts were overridden (e.g., the alter self chain).

 

Tempest wrote:
Also, it says a lot that this level of feat intensity is downright painful on a wizard... but anyone doing a non-ToB melee build is conditioned to accept about this same degree of feat dependency. This is the nasty converse of the other bit of melee/casting feat conditioning, where melee sees +2 damage as an acceptable prerequisite feat while wizards see "roughly quadruple the number of spells compatible with your build" in the same light.

 

Mos def. It's the natural result of separating classes by some criterion and comparing only within those groups. Warrior types are compared only to warrior types, skillmonkeys to skillmonkeys, and casters to casters. What can you really expect from that methodology?

IT LIVES

 

Quite a nice build. The classe mesh well with the flavor which is extra nice for themed builds.

 

 I really like how you use Turn Undead (well, Purge Undead but it's fueled by TU) to actually fight undead instead of using it to fuel DMM or something .  

Kudos.  This is a wonderful twist on my old build and I agree with a lot of the things you said here; crippling overspecialization tends to be a weakness of most common Mailman builds (a good reason to either avoid Arcane Thesis or take it twice) and you handle that pretty well with some intruiging backup options (Purge Undead , who would've thought?).  Problems of area vs single target, differing ranges, and other problems or boons with various spells really make the selection of actual blasts much more difficult than typical Battlefield Control specialists would guess.  Working without the Incantatrix and only in the Ebberon setting instead of Faerun is interesting; Mark of the Dauntless is definitely cleaner than the Rapid Recovery dance I popularized, and iirc I mostly avoided it at the time due to a reluctance to mix campaign settings (that, and being a Kobold already ingame). 

 

Forceward and similar is most certainly a pain, and while I often relied on a non-Force attack for such situations, the difficulty in pre-detection of Forceward is a complex problem convolved with the low duration and general obnoxious limitations of Greater Arcane Sight.  Holy Fire is much more difficult for a paranoid or prepared enemy to no-sell and doesn't beg quite as loudly for an inefficient Dispel or Disjunction off the bat simply to remove the possibility.  Ray Deflection however is still a giant pain, and puts you in the same kind of situation with Orb of Fire (though ironically, the close range instead of medium means you can at least consistently rely on Greater Arcane Sight if you want with it).

 

Looking at your spell loadout, you have a lot of goodies but you are hurting for range quite a bit, relying on Firebrand, Magic Missile, and nothing else serious at Medium and out of luck for Long.  No enlarge either means you're fairly constrained to operate in close and hot, never as a sniper.  That can be just fine, but it might be something to look at in the future (one of the reasons one might tolerate the mediocrity that is Fireball is the Range).  Another thing to watch out for on Orb of Fire aside from the range is that sometimes the save effect can be a detriment, since a successful save allows a creature with Mettle to no-sell all your damage as well in a similar manner to Evasion.

 

On the topic of 9ths, I have fallen out of love with Time Stop and Vortex of Teeth types of shenanigans lately.  Mordenkainen's Disjunction is disproportionately useful since most casters with large buff stacks who do not wish to be displelled will be very difficult to beat with Dispel checks due to asymetrical investment of gear, and on a 20th level battlefield those hard Dispel checks can be life and death rolls, rolls you do not have to make with Disjunction.  The gear destruction is unfortunate, but often the types of people you will be using it on have very high will saves in any case.  Even if one should be lucky enough to pick up a 3rd 9th, I'm actually a little enamored of the utility of the non-calling functions of Gate.  It's a glamourous taxi and a one-way 20 foot diameter wall all in one!  Using it as a wall in battle probably requires the investment of Sonorus Hum at 3rd, but that also has utility in supporting a free action 1/turn Telekinesis maneuver habit (maybe switching for Teleport, with Gate covering transportation).  I know, Gate is often the type of spell that makes a build sort of irrelevant, but using it just for its non-XP draining functions can be a fun inversion.

 

Back on a more practical topic, the slow start heavy blaster builds have has always been an irritation for me, and I'm glad you mentioned that issue too.  War Mage out of the quasi-3rd-party Age of Mortals is worth mentioning in this vein, simply because it is a fairly reasonable PRC to sell that happens to be especially proficient at blasting; many DM's allowing Mark of the Dauntless could probably let it into their hearts.  Force Missile Mage is another quick money option, though that has significant problems with punch; if you can lawyer the excellent spell Chain Missile to work with FMM it becomes an interestingly servicable, if probably overspecialized, idea (you might look into including Chain Missile in this build in place of VoT actually, it solves your range and Force issues combined.)

 

Anyways, this was a fun thread to read, and I hope to see more like it in the future to bring back to mind the old glory days of the 3.5e physics engine.

The Direct Damage Sorcerer of 3.5e: The Mailman

123456789blaaa wrote:

IT LIVES

 

Quite a nice build. The classe mesh well with the flavor which is extra nice for themed builds.

 

 I really like how you use Turn Undead (well, Purge Undead but it's fueled by TU) to actually fight undead instead of using it to fuel DMM or something .  

Glad you like it! This turned out to be fun to build as well. It'd be a bit slicker (and have a tighter integration with the Paragnostic Apostle) if Education/Knowledge Devotion were worked in there somehow, I think, but the rest is just alarmingly well-connected. 

 

And as for Purge, RadicalTaoist observed that pyromancers effectively change it from turn undead into burn undead, fittingly. I was also pleasantly surprised that the Sacred Exorcist I was already using to enter Pyromancer happened to double-stack for this ability, and came with a better class chassis - probably the only case I've ever had where I pick a class for a niche ability and it turns out to be pretty much the perfect fit for almost a majority of the build's open levels.

 

Interestingly, it's also the only time in an optimization context that I've seen Silver Pyromancer used for its clearly-intended purpose instead of as a way to assimilate the paladin spell list into more powerful casters (the arcane equivalent to the Prestige Paladin). There's even a legit reason to do so: if you're fine with buff rounds, Favored of the Martyr allows this build to work without Mark of the Dauntless (which you honestly don't need until Celerity comes online), and thus allows it to work with any race that can still hit the skill requirements. This effect also allows Turn Anathema to work, which is kind of odd if you have a reasonably high turning level (which you're probably boosting for Purge anyway, since doing so is rather inexpensive; it's natively 10 without any gear): evil outsiders, unlike undead, tend to have HD more in line with their CR and lack anything resembling turn resistance (example: CR 17 Nightcrawlers have 25 HD and an anti-turning aura; CR 20 Pit Fiends have 18 HD and, while they have several defenses against magic (i.e. Unholy Aura's laundry list of defenses), none of them work against turning), so you might actually be able to scare some devils into submission with a basic turn attempt. (I did look for other spells that interacted with turning for this reason, but only Turn Anathema was interesting. There is a paladin spell that lets them turn undead at a much higher level, but it's specifically referencing paladin level instead of caster or character level, so it won't work here.) And this is on a build that wasn't intended to optimize Turn Undead in any case!

DeAnno wrote:

Kudos.  This is a wonderful twist on my old build and I agree with a lot of the things you said here; crippling overspecialization tends to be a weakness of most common Mailman builds (a good reason to either avoid Arcane Thesis or take it twice) and you handle that pretty well with some intruiging backup options (Purge Undead , who would've thought?).  Problems of area vs single target, differing ranges, and other problems or boons with various spells really make the selection of actual blasts much more difficult than typical Battlefield Control specialists would guess.  Working without the Incantatrix and only in the Ebberon setting instead of Faerun is interesting; Mark of the Dauntless is definitely cleaner than the Rapid Recovery dance I popularized, and iirc I mostly avoided it at the time due to a reluctance to mix campaign settings (that, and being a Kobold already ingame).

Well, this is a pleasant surprise! Haven't heard from you in ages. (Although part of that is me: I didn't relocate to any other more active forum.)

 

What really startled me about this is just how much of a surprise Smiting Spell was, in the context of your usual game against evil foes. A Smiting Firebrand has the DC of a 9th level spell, punches through SR at CL+14 (with the aid of a True Cast (which you'd want against multiple foes, instead of Assay, in this case) and nothing else; considering how native SR averages about CR+10, this is pretty reliable), hits everyone you initially blast with it twice, hits everyone who moves through its area before your next turn again, and blinds just about anyone it hits even before you consider the free Empower (on a spell that caps at 15d6, no less). Evasion will negate the damage, but won't protect against the blinding. It's not spectacular (especially since, oddly, you can't use it unless you're doing half fire and half divine), but for a blast effect, that's still enough to turn heads.

 

Similarly, working with fire had the fun little advantage of nicely solving the usual empower/maximize arguments, since there's at least three separate ways of getting +1 damage per die on your fire spells (I'm using Raging Flame for all kinds of reasons, but Firey Spell and an energy-subbed Acid Sheath are quite possible with equipment). Normally, even blasters would look over these tiny effects, but even one of them is enough to make Empower nearly as good as Maximize and a whole level cheaper, while two of them puts the average Empower significantly above Maximize. (This is not to knock the Mailman's favoring of reliability with Maximize's fixed value; just an interesting observation.)

 

Forceward and similar is most certainly a pain, and while I often relied on a non-Force attack for such situations, the difficulty in pre-detection of Forceward is a complex problem convolved with the low duration and general obnoxious limitations of Greater Arcane Sight.  Holy Fire is much more difficult for a paranoid or prepared enemy to no-sell and doesn't beg quite as loudly for an inefficient Dispel or Disjunction off the bat simply to remove the possibility.  Ray Deflection however is still a giant pain, and puts you in the same kind of situation with Orb of Fire (though ironically, the close range instead of medium means you can at least consistently rely on Greater Arcane Sight if you want with it).

There's also the minor but significant point that Forceward allows a caster to protect their allies, if they clump up, but otherwise I don't know what else to add to this. In terms of immunity, the number of creatures actually immune to Force are largely CR You-Won't-Be-Fighting-This-Ever, which functionally isn't much larger than the number of enemies with levels in Defiant (the only place I've ever seen immunity to divine damage) or enemies employing stunts that result in total immunity to all damage, 

Looking at your spell loadout, you have a lot of goodies but you are hurting for range quite a bit, relying on Firebrand, Magic Missile, and nothing else serious at Medium and out of luck for Long.  No enlarge either means you're fairly constrained to operate in close and hot, never as a sniper.  That can be just fine, but it might be something to look at in the future (one of the reasons one might tolerate the mediocrity that is Fireball is the Range).  Another thing to watch out for on Orb of Fire aside from the range is that sometimes the save effect can be a detriment, since a successful save allows a creature with Mettle to no-sell all your damage as well in a similar manner to Evasion.

Like the original kobold mailman, I was sort of game-limited when I developed this: It was originally pitched for a procedurally-generated game we were trying out (as in, random map layout, populated on the fly with the random dungeon tables in the DMG and MIC, with only the barest of excuse plots to string it together and a rotating cast of characters (which may, themselves, be chosen randomly)). As a result, there's less of a need for long-range spells; even medium-range ones tend to hit blind corners before their range advantage is all that advantageous. This is also why I opted for Body Blaze instead of Fireball (as even though Body Blaze bypasses saves and SR, it really doesn't synergize with Empower or Raging Flame or similar, and gets its big advantage in tight spaces; there's also the possibility of tumble-dancing with it active if you want to be flashy). 

 

That's a good observation on Orb of Fire - I actually forgot the wording on Mettle for this! Thankfully, Mettle itself is only available on a small list of sources - and all of them, I think, are PC class abilities (with only the crusader being common - and let's be honest, if you're trying to kill a crusader with damage, you're in for a fight anyway). Rings of Evasion exist; rings of Mettle do not (to my knowledge).

 

On the topic of 9ths, I have fallen out of love with Time Stop and Vortex of Teeth types of shenanigans lately.  Mordenkainen's Disjunction is disproportionately useful since most casters with large buff stacks who do not wish to be displelled will be very difficult to beat with Dispel checks due to asymetrical investment of gear, and on a 20th level battlefield those hard Dispel checks can be life and death rolls, rolls you do not have to make with Disjunction.  The gear destruction is unfortunate, but often the types of people you will be using it on have very high will saves in any case.  Even if one should be lucky enough to pick up a 3rd 9th, I'm actually a little enamored of the utility of the non-calling functions of Gate.  It's a glamourous taxi and a one-way 20 foot diameter wall all in one!  Using it as a wall in battle probably requires the investment of Sonorus Hum at 3rd, but that also has utility in supporting a free action 1/turn Telekinesis maneuver habit (maybe switching for Teleport, with Gate covering transportation).  I know, Gate is often the type of spell that makes a build sort of irrelevant, but using it just for its non-XP draining functions can be a fun inversion.

The only concern I have with this is that I was already cautious about cheese with the Incantrix. Disjunction is one of those spells that our group tends to politely forget exists (along with Polymorph, Wish, and similar), simply because it rips the game a new one. That said, there's plenty of room for it if you're in a game that demands constant Disjunctions, and the build's reasonably gear-independent (and almost entirely buff-independent: if you want to stop this guy in his tracks, you need to blow away his spell slots). 

 

Gate literally rips the game a new one, but all of that tends to be its summoning ability; as a portal I agree with you it's rather interesting. (The size helps a lot.)

 

Back on a more practical topic, the slow start heavy blaster builds have has always been an irritation for me, and I'm glad you mentioned that issue too.  War Mage out of the quasi-3rd-party Age of Mortals is worth mentioning in this vein, simply because it is a fairly reasonable PRC to sell that happens to be especially proficient at blasting; many DM's allowing Mark of the Dauntless could probably let it into their hearts.  Force Missile Mage is another quick money option, though that has significant problems with punch; if you can lawyer the excellent spell Chain Missile to work with FMM it becomes an interestingly servicable, if probably overspecialized, idea (you might look into including Chain Missile in this build in place of VoT actually, it solves your range and Force issues combined.)

This is another area where I think the Education or Knowledge Devotion approach would be perhaps more optimal, since that would not only allow entry to Paragnostic Apostle (and its better abilities) one level earlier, but would also allow access to Manifest Ethos (Good) around level 6, giving you half divine damage on your fire spells against evil targets to tide you over until the pyromancer's class features kick in. This might also allow a better stat point distribution, as I don't think you'd need 14 Intelligence to pull this off anymore (even though pumping Cha any higher is hellishly expensive in limited PB formats). Sadly, I don't think I can do this without using flaws (or a buff round for Favored of the Martyr), but if you are using flaws, fire away!

 

My first stab at this build was an extension of an earlier low-level trick I'd been using involving Firey Burst (which due to sorcerer spell level progressions is almost as awkwardly timed relative to feat slots as Psionic Meditation is!), until I settled on the divine damage approach and realized that higher level fire spells were eating space that could be occupied by valuable support. It turned out to be nearly impossible to pull off, timing-wise, anyway, so it's probably for the best. (It's a feat I really want to like, and think could be actually useful in really low-level or casual formats, but there always turns out to be so much against it in secondary costs that it just never works out for me.)

 

I hadn't heard of War Mage, but now that I look it up, it does look like an interesting little package. Shame about it requiring three reasonably useless feats to enter and having ability score synergy that rewards sorcerer-style casting (when I see requirements like that, I naturally think duskblade, but that's Int-based), but that's not entirely unworkable - and it also grants a rather spectacular +3 damage per die over five levels. I'm kind of curious now and might play around a bit.

 

As for Chain Missile, that's a good observation. I honestly hadn't noticed it - spelldiving is not my idea of a good time, so I often miss things like that - and think it'd be a much better fit, overall, than Vortex of Teeth. I'll make the relevant change and credit shortly. 

 

 EDIT: In it goes. It'll need a bit of extra support to be a mainstay (as even empowered, it only dishes out a little over 50 damage or so at levels when critters usually average around 200), but it does fit a lot nicer than flying force fish on both a theme and a power front.

 

Anyways, this was a fun thread to read, and I hope to see more like it in the future to bring back to mind the old glory days of the 3.5e physics engine.

Glad you enjoyed it! There will be a couple more at least in the future, but in the meantime, you might want to click the link in my signature if you haven't already. There's 35 other builds in this style (admittedly, most are more warrior-oriented, but that's largely because of our group preferences), plus a few other one-off articles on other stunts.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

There was errata on the war mage that limited how much you could use the +x/die of damage ability. You might want to look it up. nerfed it hard for blaster builds, as I recall.

 

==Aelryinth

Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:
That's a good observation on Orb of Fire - I actually forgot the wording on Mettle for this! Thankfully, Mettle itself is only available on a small list of sources - and all of them, I think, are PC class abilities (with only the crusader being common - and let's be honest, if you're trying to kill a crusader with damage, you're in for a fight anyway). Rings of Evasion exist; rings of Mettle do not (to my knowledge).

 

For better or for worse... Tabard of Valor, Complete Champion p142.  For 16k and a torso slot, you get Mettle, but only when at half hp or less.  IT's pretty specialized because of that restriction, but still, it's threatening.  Complete Champion, well, that was certainly a book alright.

 

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:
I hadn't heard of War Mage, but now that I look it up, it does look like an interesting little package. Shame about it requiring three reasonably useless feats to enter and having ability score synergy that rewards sorcerer-style casting (when I see requirements like that, I naturally think duskblade, but that's Int-based), but that's not entirely unworkable - and it also grants a rather spectacular +3 damage per die over five levels. I'm kind of curious now and might play around a bit.

 

I actually think War Mage is balanced largely due to the high feat tax on entry.  You get a wonderful damage bonus, 2 of the feats back as MM, and the interesting ally defense effect all in the space of 5 levels with no lost CLs. It's also nice to have a good excuse to take Eschew Materials, which means you can function after being completely stripped of gear (unlike 95% of other characters). It also is impossible to fit in both Incantrix 10 and Warmage 5 on the same Sorcerer, which is nice since it sort of makes you choose (Sorc 6/War Mage 5/Swiftblade 9 is legit though).

 

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:
As for Chain Missile, that's a good observation. I honestly hadn't noticed it - spelldiving is not my idea of a good time, so I often miss things like that - and think it'd be a much better fit, overall, than Vortex of Teeth. I'll make the relevant change and credit shortly.

 

One other spell that I remembered you might be interested in (I made a habit of book diving so a lot of this stuff is buried in my head) is Firestride Exhalation (Dragon Magic, 4th), which has some bad issues but is very action efficient getting teleportation and damage together.  Typically I prefer Lightning Leap (Complete Mage, 5th) in that role but the natural fire typing of Firestride Exalation is better here.  I'm not sure if you really have space, but it seemed worth mentioning for Knowstones or Runestaffs if nothing else.

 

For someone willing to invest in Energy Substitution and higher level damage spells, Boreal Wind (Frostburn, 5th) is a strategic scale nuclear weapon which will be greatly improved by the save DC enchancer here, and as always Lightning Ring (Spell Compendium, 8th) is tempting with its free action speed but disasterously inefficient in terms of spell levels and damage.

 

aelryinth wrote:
There was errata on the war mage that limited how much you could use the +x/die of damage ability. You might want to look it up. nerfed it hard for blaster builds, as I recall.

 

*searches internet* *thinks*

 

Lalala, Towers of High Sorcery, I can't hear you, because you aren't on the wizards errata page!  I'm aware this is a little hypocritical.

The Direct Damage Sorcerer of 3.5e: The Mailman

DeAnno wrote:

 

aelryinth wrote:
There was errata on the war mage that limited how much you could use the +x/die of damage ability. You might want to look it up. nerfed it hard for blaster builds, as I recall.

 

*searches internet* *thinks*

 

Lalala, Towers of High Sorcery, I can't hear you, because you aren't on the wizards errata page!  I'm aware this is a little hypocritical.

I feel kind of the same about Elder Evils and the Thrall of Juiblex; sure polymorphing at will is cool, but I really wanted to be able to summon more pudding.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.

Cool build. I'll look it over in more detail after the solstice.

Wow, this is pretty interesting.

 

I will say, though, that it strikes me as a bit out of the way. It's really cool, but isn't Searing Blistering Fiery easier than the PrC-hopping? I admit it becomes a bit more difficult without flaws, Incantatrix, and/or metamagic storm, but maxed, searing, blistering, fiery orb of fire seems easier and has higher damage, unless I'm missing something. Unless it's carriers you're going for, in which case isn't the Stormcaster abusing descriptor-changers easier?

 

Finally, on empower vs maximize, isn't maximize superior? As I understand it, Empower with Raging Flame is (Xd6 x 1.5) + X, as the +X is not a variable numeric. Thus, as best I can tell, maximize is strictly superior.

 

Either way, it's quite cool. I've never seen anyone work with Silver Pyromancer like this before.

Luna_Trigger wrote:

Wow, this is pretty interesting.

 

I will say, though, that it strikes me as a bit out of the way. It's really cool, but isn't Searing Blistering Fiery easier than the PrC-hopping? I admit it becomes a bit more difficult without flaws, Incantatrix, and/or metamagic storm, but maxed, searing, blistering, fiery orb of fire seems easier and has higher damage, unless I'm missing something. Unless it's carriers you're going for, in which case isn't the Stormcaster abusing descriptor-changers easier?

 

If I were doing this in theory instead of intending to field it at a table, I might have done something like this (and all of those feats were considered at different points). As it stands, metamagic storms are DM-dependent (as are most wondrous locations, really), and without Incantrix (which I find unsporting, to put it mildly) you can't simply ignore metamagic costs in feats or spell levels. One of my design principles for practical builds is "Costs exist for a reason - pay them, and if you're not cheating your way around metamagic costs, there's a huge difference in both build space and spell levels between the two propositions. (Seriously, setting aside how I feel about it at the game table, I think Incantrix spoils some optimizers, and the resulting builds are kind of lazy.)

 

Plus, look at the variants - if flaws are allowed (or if you are willing to drop Mark of the Dauntless, and thus are free to switch around the initial feat spent on the dragonmark itself), the build uses Education, which can get the half divine online as early as level 7 with . Honestly, I think this is more "optimal", but it depends on flaws (or giving up Mark of the Dauntless, which I'm not quite willing to do as a main build).

 

Finally, on empower vs maximize, isn't maximize superior? As I understand it, Empower with Raging Flame is (Xd6 x 1.5) + X, as the +X is not a variable numeric. Thus, as best I can tell, maximize is strictly superior.

From the PHB (part of the explanatory text left out of the SRD):

 

For example, an empowered magic missile deals 1-1/2 times its normal damage (roll 1d4+1 and multiply the result by 1-1/2 for each missile).

 

The flat damage modifier is multiplied. It's not (Xd6)*1.5 + X, it's (Xd6+X)*1.5. (Or, if you prefer it old-school, in the Magic Missile example above, the random numeric result from a Magic Missile is from 2-5.) With that in mind, check the math - with +1/die, Empower's biggest gap relative to Maximize on an Xd6 spell is a whole 5 points of damage (at 20d6; most damage spells cap long before this, where the gap is even smaller), assuming average rolls. While Maximize is slightly better at every point, it's not "one entire spell level" better at any point - particularly because I'm getting the +1/die from Raging Flame (a single level 1 spell that applies to all fire spells aimed in the area, easily cast from an Arcane Fusion) rather than Firey Spell (an extra +1 spell level per casting). (Remember the context: I was designing this guy for a dungeon crawl.)

 

Things get even sicker if there's other tricks used (i.e. Acid Sheath + Energy Substitution for direct +X, or vulnerabilities from Energy Vulnerability (or Creaking Cacophony + Energy Sub, which is better but hard to squeeze in to a build like this)). Since Empower is a multiplier instead of a die-fixer, it continues to get stronger if you happen to get these "would be nice" effects, while Maximize doesn't. (Little quirks like this are well-known to fans of psionics, oddly enough, since per-die modifiers with flexible die numbers are kind of the order of the day there.)

 

Maximize is a great feat in general, but here, the ability to save a spell level without draining extra feats was worth more. 

 

Either way, it's quite cool. I've never seen anyone work with Silver Pyromancer like this before.

Honestly this is what tickled me the most about it. Most optimizers look at it as a way to steal the paladin spell list, when the class is clearly intended (fluffwise in particular) to be used as a fire blaster. Actually making a functional fire blaster was kind of the point of this exercise, which forces you to look at options a little differently.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

 

Luna_Trigger wrote:

Wow, this is pretty interesting.

 

I will say, though, that it strikes me as a bit out of the way. It's really cool, but isn't Searing Blistering Fiery easier than the PrC-hopping? I admit it becomes a bit more difficult without flaws, Incantatrix, and/or metamagic storm, but maxed, searing, blistering, fiery orb of fire seems easier and has higher damage, unless I'm missing something. Unless it's carriers you're going for, in which case isn't the Stormcaster abusing descriptor-changers easier?

 

If I were doing this in theory instead of intending to field it at a table, I might have done something like this (and all of those feats were considered at different points). As it stands, metamagic storms are DM-dependent (as are most wondrous locations, really), and without Incantrix (which I find unsporting, to put it mildly) you can't simply ignore metamagic costs in feats or spell levels. One of my design principles for practical builds is "Costs exist for a reason - pay them, and if you're not cheating your way around metamagic costs, there's a huge difference in both build space and spell levels between the two propositions. (Seriously, setting aside how I feel about it at the game table, I think Incantrix spoils some optimizers, and the resulting builds are kind of lazy.)

The issue with that idea is that some metamagics are ludicrously overpriced. Also, maybe my views are odd, but I think both Arcane Thesis and Practical Metamagic are specific and/or expensive to be generally okay.

Plus, look at the variants - if flaws are allowed (or if you are willing to drop Mark of the Dauntless, and thus are free to switch around the initial feat spent on the dragonmark itself), the build uses Education, which can get the half divine online as early as level 7 with . Honestly, I think this is more "optimal", but it depends on flaws (or giving up Mark of the Dauntless, which I'm not quite willing to do as a main build).
Personally, I'd drop the Mark. Between a Belt of Battle, which nobody should be without, and celerity, that's three spells you can vomit out, more if Ocular is on the table. If you didn't nuke it to death in that time, you're probably SoL anyways.

 

Also, I'd, rather than argue that it spoils optimizers, I'd say that it helps compensate for the horrid design of the Sorcerer, even if it does go a bit too far in that direction.

The flat damage modifier is multiplied. It's not (Xd6)*1.5 + X, it's (Xd6+X)*1.5. Check the math on this - with +1/die, Empower's biggest gap relative to Maximize on an Xd6 spell is a whole 5 points of damage (at 20d6), assuming average rolls. While Maximize is slightly better at every point, it's not "one entire spell level" better at any point - particularly because I'm getting the +1/die from Raging Flame (a single level 1 spell that applies to all fire spells aimed in the area, easily cast from an Arcane Fusion) rather than Firey Spell (an extra +1 spell level per casting). (Remember the context: I was designing this guy for a dungeon crawl.)
I'd totally missed that. Now I'm going to need to recheck all of my damage builds.

 

Thing is, though, Raging Flame and Fiery/Blistering Spell stack

Things get even sicker if there's other tricks used (i.e. Acid Sheath + Energy Substitution for direct +X, or vulnerabilities from Energy Vulnerability (or Creaking Cacophony + Energy Sub, which is better but hard to squeeze in to a build like this)). Since Empower is a multiplier instead of a die-fixer, it continues to get stronger if you happen to get these "would be nice" effects, while Maximize doesn't.
Those feats are generally included in the standard stormcaster, aren't they? Load up on all the descriptor-check spells and items with  and force them to eat +bajillion damage per die and half a dozen save-or-sucks.

Honestly this is what tickled me the most about it. Most optimizers look at it as a way to steal the paladin spell list, when the class is clearly intended (fluffwise in particular) to be used as a fire blaster. Actually making a functional fire blaster was kind of the point of this exercise, which forces you to look at options a little differently.
Yeah, it's cool. I've seen(And made) quite a few odd blasters, but this is a first. Beyond the lack of Arcane Thesis, the build looks fantastic.

I'm with DeAnno (and you) in that I think Arcane Thesis is narrow and encourages overspecialization. On a Mailman build (the classic one or this one), which single spell would be worth the Arcane Thesis? Also, Thesis is more useful with multiple metamagics, and blaster builds are a little starved on that front (especially without Incantrix).

 

(The rest of your reply I largely agree with. I was trying something different from your typical stormcaster (see reply 14). I concur about stacking other +/die effects, but others can be squeezed in with equipment in all likelihood. And I'm actually more fond of the Education variant than I am of the main build, but I prefer writing these articles for lowest-common-denominator (which is why there's only barest-of-the-bare, only-numeric equipment present in the snapshots).)

 

As for my remark about 'laziness', I tend to gravitate towards Tier Three as a balance point preference - an intelligent group of players with a team of characters that conform to tier 3's expectations will never be lacking (on their own or as a team) unless the DM sucker-punches them (which realistically should happen occasionally, if only to keep up narrative tension), and won't encourage the kind of arms-race madness that Tier One tends towards. Incantrix - particularly with the Otyugh Hole in play - is so powerful that its use is more or less exclusive of this power level preference. If incantrix is allowed, its use is almost a no-brainer, and if you're using it, you tend to ignore all the sublter, more delicate interactions that it would steamroll. Example from here: You can look at this build and go "wow, that's interesting, I didn't expect that" in regard to the Pyromancer or, to a lesser extent, the Exorcist levels. Or, if Incantrix is allowed, you can just go "Nope, MORE METAMAGIC" and wind up both more powerful and less interesting. 

 

I see limitations on your materials to be true fuel of the fires of creativity. There's no excuse for not knowing what's possible with a full set of tools, but if you limit yourself to actually using only a smaller set of methods, you'll find yourself getting creative. That's why I almost always prefer practical over theoretical builds, and why I'm honestly more fond of the Iron Chef builds on giant than I am of some of the "textbook" builds here. Boring Yet Practical is, well, boring - I prefer keeping things interesting as practical.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

I'm with DeAnno (and you) in that I think Arcane Thesis is narrow and encourages overspecialization. On a Mailman build (the classic one or this one), which single spell would be worth the Arcane Thesis? Also, Thesis is more useful with multiple metamagics, and blaster builds are a little starved on that front (especially without Incantrix).

I dunno, I really like Arcane Thesis(Orb of Fire),

As for my remark about 'laziness', I tend to gravitate towards Tier Three as a balance point preference - an intelligent group of players with a team of characters that conform to tier 3's expectations will never be lacking (on their own or as a team) unless the DM sucker-punches them (which realistically should happen occasionally, if only to keep up narrative tension), and won't encourage the kind of arms-race madness that Tier One tends towards. Incantrix - particularly with the Otyugh Hole in play - is so powerful that its use is more or less exclusive of this power level preference. If incantrix is allowed, its use is almost a no-brainer, and if you're using it, you tend to ignore all the sublter, more delicate interactions that it would steamroll. Example from here: You can look at this build and go "wow, that's interesting, I didn't expect that" in regard to the Pyromancer or, to a lesser extent, the Exorcist levels. Or, if Incantrix is allowed, you can just go "Nope, MORE METAMAGIC" and wind up both more powerful and less interesting.
To be fair, my favorite Incantatrix-using build involves only 3 levels. Incantatrix's availability doesn't necessarily mean "lolmoarincantatrixlevels!"

I see limitations on your materials to be true fuel of the fires of creativity. There's no excuse for not knowing what's possible with a full set of tools, but if you limit yourself to actually using only a smaller set of methods, you'll find yourself getting creative. That's why I almost always prefer practical over theoretical builds, and why I'm honestly more fond of the Iron Chef builds on giant than I am of some of the "textbook" builds here. Boring Yet Practical is, well, boring - I prefer keeping things interesting as practical.
I've got to at least partially disagree. While limiting blatant no-brainers like Incantatrix can be good, ham-fisted limitation(Such as restricting books) is rather destructive towards creativity because it limits both fun combinations from various books and more limited options, in my experience, just leads to fewer combos and more vanilla builds.

Luna_Trigger wrote:
To be fair, my favorite Incantatrix-using build involves only 3 levels. Incantatrix's availability doesn't necessarily mean "lolmoarincantatrixlevels!"

You've got me curious. Usually, incantrix is a gift that keeps on giving, and lends itself to fallacious sunk-cost thinking over the Iron Will requirement (to say nothing of the Otyugh Hole).

 

I've got to at least partially disagree. While limiting blatant no-brainers like Incantatrix can be good, ham-fisted limitation(Such as restricting books) is rather destructive towards creativity because it limits both fun combinations from various books and more limited options, in my experience, just leads to fewer combos and more vanilla builds.

I suppose I was a little sanctimonious there: I don't generally like book banning either (though I do tend to shake my head a bit at Complete Champion). At the same time, there are legitimate cases of at least partial bans (i.e. "We're in Eberron, so Faerun material is by default not allowed" - emphasis on "by default" - or "We're only playing from books we own"), and I do see build requests rather frequently that include more irrational restrictions. Practical builds that only the CO crowd can use are by definition less practical (or, if you prefer, less "optimal") for the audience as a whole.

 

It's the subtle, yet important, distinction between having every tool, and using every tool.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:
You've got me curious. Usually, incantrix is a gift that keeps on giving, and lends itself to fallacious sunk-cost thinking over the Iron Will requirement (to say nothing of the Otyugh Hole).
My personal favorite wizard build looks something like Wizard 5/Mindbender 1/Incantatrix 3/ScM 3 or 5/Divine Oracle 3-4/Some other advancement X, depending on my mood. With spontaneous divination, of course.

 

Now, it may not have the dumb, raw power of a straight Incantatrix, but Incantatrix 3 gives you what you really need, being free persists. Everything beyond that is gravy, albeit incredibly delicious gravy. Mindbender for Mindsight because Mindsight is so useful I don't think it needs any introduction. ScM makes up for some of the raw power your forfeiting, as well as adding versatility. Divine Oracle has some nice toys, but you're really here for the rerolls on CoP, and can be cut if you don't feel it.

 

Basically, the idea behind this build is to do everything better and with incredible flexibility. Metamagic Effect lets you Extend/Persist every buff, so you have a rotating buff routine and have a more flexible list. Depending on your mood, you can choose AbjChamp, Sacred Exorcist, Master Specialist, or really anything else, including more Incantatrix if you feel so inclined, although I don't think it's worth it at this stage.

 

It's worth noting that I like the adaptions of ScM, just because I have a personal distaste for gnomes, but it doesn't really matter.

It's the subtle, yet important, distinction between having every tool, and using every tool.
Fair enough.

A note that Maximize Spell works better when you increase the die size/type. For instance, Consecrate or Blessed or Sacred (?) Spell increases your die size against Evil Outsiders. In effect, it's +1/die of damage. With Maximize, however, that's +2 per die over a d6 spell, which is substantial once you start stacking dice up.

 

For Magic Missile, however, Maximize loses -2/die, and is literally .25 hp/die better then Empower, which is to say, not at all.

 

Also, for undead killing love, another 'sacred Meta' (Consecrate (?) Spell) is a free Empower for spells, that does NOT have Empower's "I don't work with Maximize" language, so it's a straight out +50% buff for +1 Metacost.

 

==Aelryinth

Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

<snip>

That's why I almost always prefer practical over theoretical builds, and why I'm honestly more fond of the Iron Chef builds on giant than I am of some of the "textbook" builds here. Boring Yet Practical is, well, boring - I prefer keeping things interesting as practical.

 

Oh? So you've checked IC out? Awesome . Any particular favorites?

 

And yeah, I agree with that whole post. Classes like Abjurant Champion and Druid aren't my preferred bases for optimization at all.

 

Wonderful to see these back again (and congratulations on being cancer-free~)!

 

I really like the focus of this build; I had a Sorcerer metamagic-abusing Firebrand a while back, but it fell into the "Yeah, it'll kill anything in one shot, but it's boring..." trap. I like this far more! 

Gazzien wrote:

Wonderful to see these back again (and congratulations on being cancer-free~)!

 

I really like the focus of this build; I had a Sorcerer metamagic-abusing Firebrand a while back, but it fell into the "Yeah, it'll kill anything in one shot, but it's boring..." trap. I like this far more! 

Been cancer-free for quite some time (there's always a risk of it re-appearing, so technically I should say "remission" instead of "free", but mine was one of the easier ones to treat).

 

Firebrand has a few surprises here beyond its amazing targeting. It's pretty bland on face value (SR: Yes, Reflex Half, fire damage, the trifecta of "nonono"), but when you look at it as a Smiting Spell, it can hypothetically blind the people it hits as well as anyone who moves through the area you hit between now and your next turn; these people are also likely to be set on fire (augmented by Raging Flame - I sincerely wish Persistent Fire wasn't 1-round limited, as this would allow fire spells to continue to drain HP until the target took an action to put the fires out, but I digress) as well. Adding on other metamagic only makes this harsher (Twin is even better than most here).

 

DeAnno's suggestion of considering Boreal Wind via Energy Substitution is another interesting one, particularly if you're alone against a number of foes. Consider casting that from a staff (so it benefits from everything you've got) with a metamagic rod (switching it to fire) and set it up just before combat. This'll not only dish out pretty impressive divine damage (a literal divine wind, if you will) but will also interfere with all forms of mundane movement (it's a sustained gust of wind, which is equivalent to a severe wind, which checks (blocks) the movement of all Medium-sized creatures and knocks down all Small creatures) and, if you set it as a Smiting Spell, will also continually attempt to blind them every round. If you're using Holy Fire as a BBEG-styled fight (Eberron can easily use misguided Lawful Good types as villains), this is going to be an interesting hurdle.

123456789blaaa wrote:

Oh? So you've checked IC out? Awesome . Any particular favorites?

They're bloody hard to navigate since the contests are usually just identified by number and the winners by character name. I'd prefer it if the index threads that listed the secret ingredients also linked to the winners, and if the winners' signatures named the ingredient in question. But they do show what I consider to be some of the best in the spirit of optimization out there - taking a pre-chosen concept (here, mechanical elements) and spinning straw into gold. 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I've got a couple of questions about the build. How do you get Dismissal as a 4th level Sorcerer spell? Also: How do you qualify for Practical Metamagic without the Dragonblood subtype?

Scraggled wrote:

I've got a couple of questions about the build. How do you get Dismissal as a 4th level Sorcerer spell? Also: How do you qualify for Practical Metamagic without the Dragonblood subtype?

Er, whoops. That's a pretty big slip-up on my part.

 

The first version of this used Domain Access (from Complete Champion) to get the Exorcism domain, which has Dismissal as a 4th. (It also brought a few other cleric-style effects to the table, which are nice, but since that ACF, for some reason, completely locks in your first spell choice of each spell level, it really ate into spells known late-game, which is why I ended up dropping it). It looks like when I dropped it, I didn't correct for dismissal's level change. 

 

As for the Practical Metamagic bit, that's a literal slip-up on my part. I've been working off of my notes, and I didn't write down that this required dragonblood.

 

EDIT: This table will be the corrected build. It uses Silverbrow Human (dragonblood + bonus feat), and needs 14 Wisdom. It drops the dragonmark (use a wand of Favored of the Martyr; you'll be able to activate it without any checks by the time Celerity is available) in exchange for Arcane Disciple (lowers the spell level on Dismissal) and an extra level of Paragnostic Apostle (which gives you half divine damage against evil targets much earlier, which should really help with the slow start DeAnno and I discuss above.)

 

Sadly, the lack of a bonus skill point also means that it still requires 14 Intelligence to have enough skill points to hit the requirements on time, which either means that Dexterity drops to 8 (on a ray blaster - this is painful early on) or the point-buy increases.

 

On a positive note, the narrative gets even more coherent, and the Exorcism domain is surprisingly good in terms of what spells you gain (time to shop for a staff). The spell progression is identical (except for Mage's Disjunction; it's problematic but it really is the best choice both mechanically and thematically), so the altered writeup will be almost unchanged.

 

 

1 Sorcerer Metamagic Specialist Education, Arcane Disciple (Exorcism) 1. Lesser Orb of Fire
1. Sleep
0x4
2 Sorcerer     0. _
3 Sorcerer   Empower Spell 1. Magic Missile
4 Sorcerer     2. Scorching Ray
1. True Strike
0.
5 Sorcerer     1. Raging Flame
2. Combust
6 Sorcerer   Practical Metamagic (Empower Spell) 3. Body Blaze
1. Nerveskitter (swap Sleep)
0.
7 Paragnostic Apostle Holy Texts, Lore, Manifest Ethos (Good)   3. Dispel Magic
2. Glitterdust
1. True Casting
8 Paragnostic Apostle See Through The Veil   4. Dismissal (Exorcism domain)
0.
9 Sacred Exorcist Turn Undead, Exorcism Rapid Metamagic 4. Orb of Fire
3. Energy Vulnerability
2. Dimension Hop
10 Silver Pyromancer Pyromancer, Purge Undead   --
11 Silver Pyromancer Sacred Flame (half)   5. Arcane Fusion
0.
12 Silver Pyromancer Smiting Spell 1/day Twin Spell 5. Firebrand
4. Celerity
3. Chain Missile
2. Ray of Stupidity
13 Silver Pyromancer Persistent Fire   6. Greater Dispel Magic
14 Silver Pyromancer Smiting Spell (Blind) 3/day, Sacred Flame (full)   6. True Seeing
5. Teleport
4. Dimensional Anchor
15 Paragnostic Apostle Penetrating Insight Practical Metamagic (Twin Spell) 7. Arcane Spellsurge
16 Sacred Exorcist Detect Evil, Resist Possession   7. Limited Wish
6. Contingency
5. Wall of Force
17 Sacred Exorcist Chosen Foe +1   8. Greater Arcane Fusion
18 Sacred Exorcist Dispel Evil 1/wk Ocular Spell 8. Moment of Prescience
7. Forcecage
19 Sacred Exorcist Consecrated Presence   9. Foresight
20 Sacred Exorcist Chosen Foe +2   9. Disjunction
8. Greater Celerity

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Another little thing that I noticed: Rapid Recovery, mentioned in the Variants section, isn't the feat you're looking for, I don't think. Rapid recovery lets you use Vestige abilities slightly more often. The feat you're looking for is Quick Recovery, ff I'm not mistaken, from Lords of Madness.

 

Sorry to poke mostly-meaningless holes in things, but I'm a stickler, and had a helluva time trying to find a "Rapid Recovery" that did what was advertised.

 

Edit: I do, however, really like the build. It's refreshing to see a working fire mage, something that I'd been messing around with recently myself. I was going with Sanctified One, but I much, much prefer this build, and the flavor that comes along with it.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

 

123456789blaaa wrote:

Oh? So you've checked IC out? Awesome . Any particular favorites?

They're bloody hard to navigate since the contests are usually just identified by number and the winners by character name. I'd prefer it if the index threads that listed the secret ingredients also linked to the winners, and if the winners' signatures named the ingredient in question. But they do show what I consider to be some of the best in the spirit of optimization out there - taking a pre-chosen concept (here, mechanical elements) and spinning straw into gold.

 

Some of them do, some of them don't. The inconsistancy is the result of having multiple Chairmen. Luckily the esteemed Mr.Ponies ,master of spreadsheets and lover of equines, is working on exactly what you want.  First post links to the winners of the contests in a nice table format. The rest link to all the builds of the various contests in nice table formats.

Scraggled wrote:

Another little thing that I noticed: Rapid Recovery, mentioned in the Variants section, isn't the feat you're looking for, I don't think. Rapid recovery lets you use Vestige abilities slightly more often. The feat you're looking for is Quick Recovery, ff I'm not mistaken, from Lords of Madness.

 

Sorry to poke mostly-meaningless holes in things, but I'm a stickler, and had a helluva time trying to find a "Rapid Recovery" that did what was advertised.

 

Edit: I do, however, really like the build. It's refreshing to see a working fire mage, something that I'd been messing around with recently myself. I was going with Sanctified One, but I much, much prefer this build, and the flavor that comes along with it.

 

By all means, poke away! If any mistakes slipped through, I'd love to fix them. (I view criticism as constructive, most of the time.) Plus, I don't want to mislead people - good example on the Rapid / Quick Recovery thing. (I forgot that "rapid recovery" was a separate feat - and my team can tell you that I'm notoriously bad with names.)

 

Also, your feedback has allowed me to figure out a way to correct the build - I've edited the table in my previous reply to show how it worked out. It gives up the dragonmark in exchange for being Silverbrow Human, but it also manages to keep the original spell progression and work in an extra level of Paragnostic Apostle earlier, meaning access to half divine damage (against evil foes) at level 7 (and an extra turning level, which boosts Purge just a little more). That should help with the blasters' slow start quite nicely. (And I sincerely hope DeAnno sees that.)

 

The main post has been updated to account for this. I really like how it's been tweaked, by the way.

 

123456789blaaa wrote:
Some of them do, some of them don't. The inconsistancy is the result of having multiple Chairmen. Luckily the esteemed Mr.Ponies ,master of spreadsheets and lover of equines, is working on exactly what you want.  First post links to the winners of the contests in a nice table format. The rest link to all the builds of the various contests in nice table formats.

Thanks, that really does help.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Some of these nitpicks are things I should have seen, sorry about that.  In particular the whole racial tangle is an annoying dance I've danced before, with no real good solution to simultaneously wanting Dragonmarks and the Dragonblood subtype (in theory a Silverbrow Human could be Dragonmarked but it stretches the rules uncomfortably.)

 

I always found Arcane Disciple to just be unbelievably painful.  Casting off wis, not getting known spells, only getting the stupid spells once per day, etc etc.  Maybe consider Axiomatic or Celestial bloodline from Dragon Magazine Compendium?  You still get Dismissal as a 5th, but don't have to learn it and get a bunch of other spells known too, and they both fit with the fluff.  I know Dragon Mag is always ugh but I view the Compendium as a cut above. 

 

Axiomatic is particularly awesome actually, with Dismissal, True Seeing, Forcecage, and Discern Location all lined up just like that for the taking.  Most of my castle in the sky Sorcerers these days take a DMC Bloodline feat, if only because the low amount of Sorcerer spells known in 3.5 is pretty punitive. (Air Bloodline is 75% of the reason I am so excited in general by the whole Telekinesis/Sonorous Hum thing, especially because it also comes with an option on Summon Monster VIII/Summon Elemental Reserve feat).  It does cause a delay in Sacred Exorcist but really Arcane Disciple of all things is a huge amount of pain to go through for early entry by 2 levels, even with the whole ponderous slow blasting build problem.  Taking Dismissal as your first actual 4th level spell is toxic enough to those middle levels anyway in my opinion, making the speeding ahead thing even less palatable.

 

EDIT: Some stealth editing happened while you were quoting, where I mainly moaned some more about Dismissal and gushed about Axiomatic Bloodline.

 

And yeah, Boreal Wind is insane.  It's balanced sort of due to not being great at symmetric warfare, but still.

The Direct Damage Sorcerer of 3.5e: The Mailman

DeAnno wrote:

Some of these nitpicks are things I should have seen, sorry about that.  In particular the whole racial tangle is an annoying dance I've danced before, with no real good solution to simultaneously wanting Dragonmarks and the Dragonblood subtype (in theory a Silverbrow Human could be Dragonmarked but it stretches the rules uncomfortably.)

 

I always found Arcane Disciple to just be unbelievably painful.  Casting off wis, not getting known spells, only getting the stupid spells once per day, etc etc.  Maybe consider Axiomatic or Celestial bloodline from Dragon Magazine Compendium?  You still get Dismissal as a 5th, but don't have to learn it and get a bunch of other spells known too, and they both fit with the fluff.  I know Dragon Mag is always ugh but I view the Compendium as a cut above.  Axiomatic is particularly awesome actually, with Dismissal, True Seeing, Forcecage, and Discern Location all lined up just like that for the taking.  Most of my castle in the sky Sorcerers these days take a DMC Bloodline feat, if only because the low amount of Sorcerer spells known in 3.5 is pretty punitive.

I don't use Dragon wherever possible, and as painful as Arcane Disciple is, it's not like we're actually casting Dismissal. (It does hurt in that Dex had to be lowered to fit in a 28-PB environment, but aiming at touch ACs and having True Strikes help.) My first stab at getting in used Domain Access, which doesn't cost a feat or Wisdom, but does cost nine spells known; most definitely not worth it.

 

Still, I'll look into them for interest's sake.

 

Also, the main post has been updated. Dropping the dragonmark (using Favored of the Martyr whenever daze immunity is needed - I'd view this as a gentleman's agreement not to break the action economy open unless your team is in waaaay over their heads) opened way to getting an extra Paragnostic Apostle level, and getting it in earlier. This enables Manifest Ethos at 7th level - in other words, you get the ability to deal half divine damage with your fire spells against all evil targets (read: devils and demons, particularly) right around the same time that damage builds tend to slow down. (It also solves the fluff problem of why a marked heir would be this heavily involved with the clergy instead of with house business.) Later on, once Sacred Flame comes online, you can either argue to retrain that to Energy Supremacy (Fire), or you can continue to use Manifest Ethos on other energy spells from a staff (such as Boreal Wind - great suggestion, by the way). And as sweetener, that's an extra turning level.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:

 

 

By all means, poke away! If any mistakes slipped through, I'd love to fix them. (I view criticism as constructive, most of the time.) Plus, I don't want to mislead people - good example on the Rapid / Quick Recovery thing. (I forgot that "rapid recovery" was a separate feat - and my team can tell you that I'm notoriously bad with names.)

 

Also, your feedback has allowed me to figure out a way to correct the build - I've edited the table in my previous reply to show how it worked out. It gives up the dragonmark in exchange for being Silverbrow Human, but it also manages to keep the original spell progression and work in an extra level of Paragnostic Apostle earlier, meaning access to half divine damage (against evil foes) at level 7 (and an extra turning level, which boosts Purge just a little more). That should help with the blasters' slow start quite nicely. (And I sincerely hope DeAnno sees that.)

 

The main post has been updated to account for this. I really like how it's been tweaked, by the way.

 

 

Well then, in that case, I'm glad I could help. I rather like that tweak, as well. It's a smoother start for a rough style, and I wasn't too keen on Celerity Spam. Not that it's not good, but it's a bit much for my group, so I was trying to think of things to replace Mark of the Dauntless and the dragonmark, anyway.

 

Edit:
Unless I'm mistaken, you've got 1 too many 1st level spells known. I might be missing something, but a Sorcerer only ever gets 5 spells known for 1st level.