[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Treantmonk's Guide to Abjuration: God's Tools[/FONT]
Treantmonk’s rant about defensive spells: After completing evaluation of spell after spell that is a defensive self buff with a standard action casting time and 1 round/level duration I feel I need to vent a bit - so here it is:
I’ve got nothing against a good defence – honestly. However – generally speaking – I think the first round of combat for a wizard should involve laying the smack down.
This should be done with a heavy summoning, battlefield control, or buff/debuff. In most party’s the wizard is at the back of the action – this is no mistake. You’ve got lousy HP and are squishy as hell.
Yes – you can get that AC and defensive walls up to incredible heights – but if you’re spending even the first two rounds on that – the rest of the party should kill you for taking a share of the treasure when you are a complete waste of skin. (The sad thing is, I don't believe I'm overstating here)
If the Big Stupid Fighter lets you down and you find yourself looking at the kneecaps of the BBEG – then of course defensive action should be taken – otherwise – I’ve got a real problem with casting spells on yourself at the beginning of combat “Just in case”. This will be reflected in some of my evaluations.
That said, defensive spells that effect the whole party at the beginning of combat (like a mass energy resistance: Acid when you see the black dragon) are a Buff – which is just good tactics.
Basics of Abjuration: Abjuration is a very specialized school. For God, you are mostly looking at Buff/Debuff though there is a bit of Battlefield Control in there as well.
The point of looking at each school individually is to find some gems in each school. Overall - I ended up a little dissapointed with Abjuration, which, although is not completely absent of rocking spells, is definitely light on them.
Completing the Evocation Guide turned into a pleasant surprise as I found spell after spell that were excellent - and that ended up being a strong motivator to complete the guide.
This time I found abjuration ended up pretty much where I expected. A few spells you don't want to be without - and a lot of repetition. This is part of the reason it took so long to complete this guide. It ended up more of a chore and less of a pleasure.
To the readers: If there's a spell you think I should look at - post it and I'll include it in my guide - though be pre-warned - I do not guarantee I will hold the same opinion as you.
Sources: I use PHB, PHB II, Complete Series, and SpC (these are both the books I own, as well as those allowed in the campaigns in which I play) - so all the spells listed are from those sources. (these guides are not completely unselfish - I reference them periodically with my own characters)
There are lots of gems in various other sources - but I've found there are lots of good spells to round out your spellbook in the sources used. By all means, if you would like to highlight a spell from another source - post it in a reply (along with the source and the specs) for the readers to reference.
Kinds of Spells: This is how I break down the types of spells...
BC: Battlefield Control. This is the spells that involve impeding movement of your opponents - aiding movement of your allies, or in any other way treating the world as your own personal chessboard.
Debuff: Debuffing is anything you cast on an enemy to impede his ability mechanically. Lowering of attributes, Blinding, Sickening, or scaring the living crap out of. Debuffing - as the name would indicate - also includes removing any buffs your enemy might have.
Buff: Buffing is improving the abilities of your allies mechanically. Whether it be through giving them extra attacks, better AC, or merely providing them a flanker. The nice thing about buffs is they likely won't involve saving throws.
Blast: A Blast is a spell that does HP damage to your opponent. Blasts are a pretty basic part of any Wizard's toolbelt - but IMO make a poor central focus to any Wizard. My suggestion is to cast Blast spells when you have nothing really useful to do.
Utility: These are those spells that have uses that aren't necessarily related to combat. Often utility spells can be useful in combat - but more circumstantially.
Save or Lose/Die: These spells give you a saving throw - or you're dead (or effectively dead). Personally, I don't like these spells - since they tend to target Fort - and are higher level then spells which can give you the win without avoiding the fun. You are usually better with a debuff if you like this style of spell.
Multiple Threat: A spell that covers more than one of the above at a time is a multiple threat spell. For example - a spell that does damage as well as impede the enemies movement would be a double threat (BC + Blast), while a spell that does damage, impedes the movement of the enemy, gives them mechanical penalties, and gives your allies bonuses would be a Quadruple threat (BC + Blast + Debuff + Buff). By the way - if you know of a Quadruple threat spell - let me know!!!
[b]Rating the spells:[/b]
After breaking down the spells, I will self-righteously give them either the Treantmonk stamp of approval - or the stamp of the foot, oversimplifying the use of each.
: This spell's a Turkey. Not worth having in your spellbook at all.
:thumbsdow : Not all bad, but not good enough for me to recommend
Protection From X (PHB): (Buff)::evillaugh +2 deflection AC (this is the good one – adds to touch AC), and +2 resistance bonus on saves against spells/attacks of creatures of creatures of the alignment specified by the spell. At low levels this is quite good – mid to high levels – these bonuses are already provided through Rings of Protection and Cloak of Resistance. However – this spell also prevents contact by summoned creatures (only creatures of one alignment are immune to the effect) and totally gimps any enchantment by enemies irregardless of alignment. This makes this an excellent buff at any level (and a killer wand).
Karmic Aura (CM): (Debuff): Swift action spell that makes opponents that attack you make a will save or be fatigued for 3 rounds. It only lasts 1 round/level. One selling feature is it affects creatures to attack you with ranged attacks or spells as well. At higher levels this becomes a strong use of a swift action.
Shield (PHB): (Self Buff): Grants you a +4 shield bonus to AC. Mage armor is better in most respects except that this spell is far more stackable with other AC granting effects. (And of course Mage Armor and this spell stack with each other)
Alarm (PHB): (Utility):* Alerts you of any unauthorized creatures entering a given space. The alarm can be either silent or audible (generally audible is so your companions can also be alerted). The duration is good – but this spell is generally inferior for campsite protection then a Rope Trick. However – there are other utility uses for this spell.
Hold Portal (PHB): (Utility):* Hold a door shut for 1 min/level. This spell is far from infallible – but has moderate use defensively or to cover retreat.
Nightshield (SpC): (Self Buff)::thumbsdow Minor resistance bonus to saves and immunity to magic missile for short duration. Overall this is worse than Protection from X by quite a bit.
Arcane Turmoil (CM): (Debuff)::evillaugh Works as a targeted dispel magic and it also removes a prepared spell from the target. This spell is second level – making it superior to using an actual targeted dispel under most circumstances.
Resist Energy (PHB): (Buff): Various energy protections are a dime a dozen, but this one is very low level and provides 10 resistance vs a particular energy. This resistance increases with CL (up to 30 and 11th level). Overall – one of the better energy protection spells.
Protection From Arrows (PHB): (Buff):* Grants damage reduction 10/magic vs arrows until it has prevented 10xCL of damage. The “magic” designation is very limiting – though at low levels it can be very good in certain situations.
Earth Lock (SpC): (BC):* Constricts a small section of natural tunnel preventing enemies from passing through it. The duration is permanent which is nice, but the effect is so-so. If you lack other battlefield controls though – this one is situationally useful.
Arcane Lock (PHB): (Utility):* Locks any door or latch. It also makes the latch harder to break (+10 to DC to do so) however, dispel magic or knock also opens the door. Purely utility.
Obscure Object (PHB): (Utility):* Protects an object from being discovered through divination effects. This spell has an 8 hour duration which limits its very situational effect.
Dissonant Chant (SpC): (Debuff)::thumbsdow Causes creatures in the effect radius to have difficulty on concentration rolls and require concentration rolls to cast spells. The problem is that the difficulty of the concentration check should be relatively easy for most spellcasters. Possibly worthwhile if you can target multiple casters in the effect.
Scintillating Scales (SpC): (Buff): :thumbsdow Turn your natural armor bonus into a deflection armor bonus. This would seem most useful if you have natural armor bonuses through multiple sources – making them stackable. Very situational (Deflection bonuses are not that rare) – the duration isn’t all that impressive either.
Distracting Ray (SpC): (Debuff): Basically a really crappy counterspell. The spell requires the caster being targeted to make a single really easy concentration check to cast the spell. Furthermore – this spell requires being used as a counterspell (ready your action – hope the enemy makes a casting action). It’s like Dissonant chant except it restricts your actions, only works on one target (once) and requires a to hit roll. It also requires you to surrender your pride and self respect.
Dispel Magic (PHB): (Debuff)::evillaugh To those regular to CO, this is obviously THE staple of abjuration. Uses include debuffing the DMM Cleric, or casting it over an area to remove a hoard of summoned creatures or remove buffs from multiple opponents. You can also use Dispel Magic to counterspell – of course – you should never counterspell – so that’s kind of useless (If you must counterspell – ready a good hard blast spell instead). There are many ways to improve your dispel roll – so this can become quite the focus for your character – don’t forget that this spell is reactive though. (Being proactive tends to be better in most situations)
Anticipate Teleportation (SpC): (Battlefield Control)::evillaugh OK, this is just a very nice spell. Enemy teleporters basically are screwed – extra bonus if the enemy attempts teleportation-style battlefield controls (Like benign transposition). The 500gp focus is well worth the cost. With a 24 hour duration – I would be casting this consistently by 10th level.
Magic Circle against X (PHB): (Buff or debuff): My favourite use of this spell is using it as a prop for my Planar Binding spells (excuse me while I wipe drool from the corner of my mouth). In combination with Planar Binding and with spellcraft “Fortification” is the only use of “focusing inwards” I can really imagine. Otherwise, this is a nice buff spell. It grants the bonuses of Protection from X with a radius spread. Note that the deflection bonus will not stack with rings of protection, so don’t count on the AC bonus being a big advantage.
Karmic Backlash (CM): (Debuff): As Karmic Aura except now you are exhausting the attacker. Again - it is the swift action casting time that makes this spell attractive.
Disobedience (CS): (Buff): For 1 hr/level the subject is immune to mental control including charm/compulsion effects. The real candy here IMO is that the caster attempting the mind control has to make a will save or believe their mind control attempt was successful, and the subject of the spell is aware of any commands given. With a little bluff, this could really mess up the enemy.
Tenacious Dispelling (CM): (Debuff):* Very similar to dispel magic, but the first time you cast it must be targeted. The second time you cast (if before the end of your next turn) it can be targeted or area, with a +2 on the check. There are other ways to get dispel bonuses, and the loss of versatility here (as well as pigeonholing future actions) makes this spell lesser to dispel magic.
Explosive Runes (PHB): (Blast)::thumbsdow 6d6 blast damage, possible Ref save for half. I’ve seen time and time again the reference to the strategy of casting this spell many times and then triggering it next to an enemy by casting a dispel magic and intentionally failing the roll. Personally, I don’t know of any rules allowing you to purposely botch a dispel magic roll (and normally dispel on your own spells always succeeds without a roll) – so if there is a rule that allows this – let me know – either way, I would expect DM’s will not allow this strategy due to the stink of it (and shame on you to those players that try it). Otherwise, as for the intended use of the spell – it probably won’t come up when you need to injure your enemies – so I’m not so big on it.
Earthen Grace (SpC): (Buff)::thumbsdow Make damage from earth or stone nonlethal. Note that after the creature takes it’s HP in nonlethal damage the spell ends (and further damage is lethal) so this spell will NOT allow you to fall ridiculous heights and survive. In actuality, this spell is highly situational (and 1 min/level duration means you need to cast reactively) – probably a better scroll than something to actually have in your spell selection.
Repelling Shield (CM): (Double threat: Buff+BC): Once again, a spell that is only good if you are attacked (melee attack by adjacent foe no less). In which case, there is a moderately decent BC of moving your opponent if they fail a Ref save. Lets be clear here – avoid all situations where you could be in melee like the plague. Spells like this should not give you false confidence. Leave being a Big Stupid Fighter to those who are Big, Stupid and Fighters.
Dimensional Anchor (PHB): (Debuff): A ranged touch attack that makes teleportation and etherealness, either by spell or spell-like ability, not work. SR works, but otherwise there is no saving throw. It is situational, but against an opponent you know is capable of such actions (like a demon or devil for example), this can be an excellent debuff.
Wall of X (SpC): (Battlefield Control) A pretty good battlefield control. It prohibits summoned creature of described alignment (note that this restriction is more specific than protection spells) and requires will saves of any creature of the prescribed alignment to pass through. The size is good as is the duration. One nice feature above other battlefield controls is that your party members should be unaffected (or they have some explaining to do!). There is a 25gp material component – which is pretty cheap, but I’m always loathe to pay.
Dispelling Screen (SpC): (Multiple Threat – Debuff/BC): This spell is kind of interesting. You can create a wall or sphere (or hemisphere) that does a targeted dispel on any creature or object that goes through it. Even more interesting is that it does not allow any spell effects through it – period (“Spell effects not operating on objects or creatures cannot pass through the screen). Of course this restriction affects the caster too – but it gives this spell definite possibilities. Casting a hemisphere around the party fighter for example – will have him immune to targeted magic from outside the sphere – if he isn’t moving alot – this could be quite useful.
Resist Energy, Mass (SpC): (Buff) Basically a chained Resist Energy spell. The duration could use a boost to 1hr/level which it does not receive however. Situational – but worth keeping in reserve as a mass buff.
Globe of Inv., Lesser (PHB): (Debuff):* Protects area against spells of 3rd level or less. Same reaction/duration problem. However – this spell screams for contingency. This spell can also seriously cramp the style of those who rely on quicken spell – or massive metamagic scorching ray casters and their ilk.
Resistance, Greater (SpC): (Buff):* Provides +3 resistance to saves. Unlike Resistance, this buff is good for 24 hours. Although this spell does NOT stack with a cloak of resistance (and most characters should have at least a +1 cloak by mid levels) – the +3 may be more than the cloak around the level this spell is received – and it frees up the cloak position for other magic items. The bonus is a little low for the level of spell IMO – but not bad.
Stoneskin (PHB): (Buff)::thumbsdow Does this spell get love or what? Personally, I see 250gp material component cost and I’m done. 10/adamantium? Nah, I’ll just avoid getting hit and save my money.
Otiluke’s Suppressing Field (CM): (utility): Create a 20 foot emanation around you that suppresses one subtype of magic. No, it’s not like antimagic field since the caster gets to make a CL check to bypass your field. Oh yeah, full round to cast. Way to situational – and not all that wonderful even in those situations. Pretty much useless unless you know the specifics regarding the magical capabilities of your opponent.
Fire Trap (PHB): (Blast) like explosive runes except it has a 25gp material cost, does less damage, does fire damage (easily avoided), is a higher level, and is triggered by opening instead of reading. Faces the same drawback as explosive runes (does HP damage when you don’t need it). Unless used as part of an ambush – I don’t see a lot of use to this spell.
Refusal (SpC): (Battlefield Control/Utility) Very interesting spell – does not allow passage into area by spellcasters or users of Spell like abilities. The will save to defeat seems weak at first, but there is a penalty to the save equal to the level of the highest spell or SLA available to the creature. Additionally, the caster can set conditions to bypass the ward (alignment, passwords, etc). In the end – that makes this a very nice spell for BC. If you are going to the Abyss – take 3 of these.
Spell Theft (CS): (Double threat: Debuff/Self Buff): Use a targeted dispel on an enemy and remove the spells from them and grant them to yourself. There is a spellcraft roll necessary for each spell. Also note that the maximum CL is +15, making it a halfway point between dispel/greater dispel.
Wall of Dispel Magic (SpC): (Debuff/Utility):* Make an invisible barrier – those that pass through are treated as if a targeted dispel had been cast on them. It has no effect on spells cast through the wall – and the wall must be straight – which makes me a much bigger fan of dispelling screen despite the visible effect.
Break Enchantment (PHB): (Utility):* Similar to Remove Curse, break enchantment can reverse magical enchantments/transmutations of spells 5th level or lower. The one minute casting time ensures that this spell is not usable in combat. Purely utility – and in that matter – I would probably never have it memorized unless I knew I needed it, though it is probably worth a spot in the spell book or a scroll.
Dismissal (PHB): (Save or lose):* Send an extraplanar creature back to its plane of origin if it fails a Will Save. Big problem here is that Extraplanar creatures often have excellent will saves. This is basically a save or die spell in disguise. Its situational, and in the right situation, it’s OK, but not fantastic.
Contingent Energy Resistance (SpC): (Buff):* I liked this spell until I read the description. Contingent Energy Resistance basically sounds perfect. Here’s the problems though – 1) duration is 1 hour/level – hardly worthy of being labelled “Contingent”, 2) The energy resistance provided is 10, and does not scale with CL. That’s a big problem.
Indomitability (SpC): (Buff)::thumbsdow Touch spell grants recipient the ability to survive one strike that would otherwise be deadly, merely lowering the recipients HP to 1. The duration is 1 min/level which means this is a buff that you would need to cast in combat. In most cases – I can’t see how this would save an otherwise doomed character for more than one round – and it really should be immediate. Oh yeah, it’s a touch spell too. Except in unique situations (intentionally setting off an otherwise deadly trap for example) – I can’t see much combat use in this spell.
Reciprocal Gyre (SpC): (Multiple threat – Blast/Debuff): Cast on a creature with Spells or SLA currently affecting it – it takes d12 damage/spell effect. If a will save is made, ½ damage is taken. If the will save is missed, the target gets a Fort save or be dazed 1d6 rounds. This does not dispel the magical effects or effect persistant spells. Where do I begin – hmm, how about with this spell sucks.
Resistance, Superior (SpC): (Buff): The apex of the Resistance spells. Like Greater Resistance, this spell is a 24 hour buff, unlike Greater Resistance, the resistance bonus is impressive (+6). This spell would be a prime candidate for Chain Spell if you can power metamagic
Antimagic Field (PHB): (Debuff): Suppresses all magic around you for 10min/level. This of course is very bad for you – but if your party is outmatched magically – this can still be a worthwhile sacrifice for you to make. The suppression ability is quite potent – however, keep in mind that summoned creatures with SR will need you to defeat that SR to suppress them.
Dispel Magic, Greater (PHB): (Debuff): A necessary bump up to dispel magic, that is good for the same reasons. I wouldn’t jump right to this one at level 11 necessarily though. By CL 15 or so, the old version won’t be very effective anymore.
Anticipate Teleportation, Greater (SpC): (Battlefield control): Like its predecessor, this is a very nice spell. The question is whether increasing the delay from 1 to 3 rounds and identifying the type of arriving creature is worth 3 extra spell levels. In my view, Anticipate Teleportation does the trick – but there is definitely an argument for using this version instead at high levels.
Karmic Retribution (CM): (Debuff) Like Karmic Aura except that creatures that attack you must make a will save or be stunned for a round. As with the other Karmic spells the Swift action casting is the selling feature. The question is whether Karmic Retribution is so much better than Karmic Backlash to deserve a 6th level spell slot. I'm not sure it does - however - it is still solid for the level.
Guards and Wards (PHB): (Utility):* A neat spell that you will always want to cast/use but many of us never will (except in “down” time). The 30 minute casting time ensures you won’t be using it in combat, but the effects are kind of neat (and make your stronghold very difficult to invade).
Ruby Ray of Reversal (SpC): (Utility):* Definitely an interesting spell. It has 5 different situational uses. It can spring traps at range, open things, create holes in walls of force, reverse polymorphs, and dispel magic jars. All the uses of this spell are situationally useful, but none come up enough for me to recommend this spell be memorized. It might be worthy of a scroll in your repoitoire though.
Repulsion (PHB): (BC)::thumbsdow Sigh. Standard action casting, 1 round/level duration. Sound familiar? Otherwise, this would be an awesome protection spell for a God.
Globe of Inv. (PHB): (Buff)::thumbsdow Call me a broken record. I hate standard action defense spells with 1 round/level durations. This is no exception. Complete immunity from spells levelled 1-4 is good – but setting up this spell is going to be a pain. Too high level to contingent - I'll pass on this.
Prismatic Aura (CM): (Buff) Sigh...Prismatic Aura suffers from all the drawbacks of the typical abjuration defense spell. First off, it has standard action casting/1 round/level duration which means you lose your first round casting this spell. Secondly – it only affects combatants who attack you in melee. If you find yourself in melee – don’t cast this spell – cast dimension door and get out of melee!!! This spell is in the same book as Karmic Retribution – which is swift action casting and affects all creatures that attack you, ranged, melee or magic. This is a turkey.
Energy Absorption (CM): (buff/healing!)::evillaugh Quite an interesting, if not odd spell. It is a hr/level buff that provides 10 energy resistance against all 5 energy types. This is a little weak on its own – but get this – you can (as an immediate action) expend the spell to absorb the energy of any energy based attack – and in addition to full immunity to any and all energy types used in the attack, the subject actually heals half of the damage the effect normally would have caused. Instantly in my head I consider the possibilities of intentional friendly fire (The fighter is getting low on HP – so you lob an area energy blast into his wake – damaging his enemies while healing him...)
Banishment (PHB): (Save or lose): The more potent version of dismissal. Banishment allows 2 HD of creatures to be banished per CL. The big draw here is that you can boost both your spells DC and your CL check to defeat SR by presenting the target with objects or substances with which the target is opposed, hates, fears etc. Should be easy enough for banishing evil outsiders...after all you’re a mage – how many charms depicting the holy symbols of good gods can you fit on one necklace? The point is that the DC/CL boosts are stackable.
Ironguard (SpC): (Buff): The standard problem of 1 round/level standard casting defensive spell. This is a pretty good defensive spell though. Complete immunity to metal (magical or not) is a pretty good spell effect. What Big Stupid Fighter wouldn’t love this spell when going toe to toe with an Iron Golem? (or even 90% of enemy fighters). If the Big Stupid Fighter is in actuality, a Druid, his natural attacks can also bypass metal armor (though would be made useless against Iron Golems...)
Energy Immunity (SpC): (Buff): 100% immunity to one kind of energy for 24 hours. The long duration makes this a good choice, but at least consider Energy Absorption which is the same level, and probably a better spell overall with similar effect. This is your choice if you expect repeat high power attacks with a single energy type.
Greater Dispelling Screen (SpC): (BC): Like dispelling screen except the CL bonus on the dispel check caps at +20. Frankly, the chief ability of the dispelling screen is the prevention of spells cast through it. This is unchanged with the greater version – making me sceptical whether the 3 extra levels give appropriate payback in spell power.
Antimagic Ray (SpC): (Debuff):* Screw an enemy caster. Beware though that the caster can still use his spell trigger items freely (my mages at this level always have some backup), as well they get the satisfying knowledge that you spent 100gp to cast this spell. If you miss on your ranged touch – the 100gp is lost forever – as well as your spell slot. If you’re facing a God Wizard, expect him to Abrupt Jaunt out of the way and laugh at you.
Sequester (PHB): (Utility)* Turns creatures and objects invisible and undetectable (except by items that provide true seeing effects), the duration is 1 day/level. However, creatures effected are in suspended animation until the spell wears off. This makes the spell highly situational.
Ghost Trap (SpC): (Debuff):* Turn incorporeal creatures corporeal. The benefit of such a debuff doesn’t require elaboration – but I should point out that most enemies are corporeal – making this spell highly situational. The short duration requires that you cast it during combat in most cases.
Spell Turning (PHB): (Self Buff)::thumbsdow Turns back 1d4+6 levels of targeted spells back on their caster. The casting time is 1 standard action and the duration is 10 min/level. As such, I would think it would be pretty hard to be sure you are going to be targeted by spells (area spells and effect spells are not turned). This is a huge drawback. I’m not big on blowing 7th level spells because the BBEG in the next room “might” target me with a targeted spell.
Mind Blank (PHB): (Buff)::evillaugh 24 hour protection from divination (yawn) and any mind effecting spells or effects (BINGO!). Yes, that basically makes the entire enchantment school obsolete for 24 hours/day. Very solid buff.
Wall of Greater Dispel Magic (SpC): (utility):* Like wall of Dispel Magic except that you get the standard + to CL of Greater dispel on targeted dispel checks. Frankly – I think the Dispelling Screen spells are superior than the Wall of Dispel Magic spells due to the ability to automatically stop ranged/targeted spells going through the screen. Only the invisible effect makes this a situationally superior spell.
Dimensional Lock (PHB): (BC/Utility):* An area spell that restricts extradimensional travel. The duration is sick (1 day/level) which means you can use this to protect areas from extradimensional visitors indefinitely. Unfortunately, the spell is static – so it’s use in combat is pretty restrictive. Dimensional Anchor will serve instead.
Prismatic Wall (PHB): (Battlefield Control)::thumbsdow Basically a supped-up wall of force. The flat wall shape makes this spell significantly less potent than the 9th level sphere version. Make an absolutely impenetrable wall that your opponents absolutely must go around to get to you – sigh.
Protection from spells (PHB): (Buff): Take 6th level Superior Resistance – increase the effect to +8, make it only good against spells, gimp the duration, give it a 500gp material cost, a 1000gp focus cost. Yes, you can use it on multiple creatures (1/4 levels) but it is still an absolutely shameful waste of an 8th level spell slot.
Spell Engine (SpC): (Utility): Spell allows you to switch out all your prepared spells for others from your spellbook. By RAW a focused specialist can potentially switch his focused school spells for spells of non-specialist school as long as the spell is within his spellbook (interpreting the spell this way stinks to high heaven though – and Treantmonk does not suggest being cheesy). This spell sounds great doesn’t it? Look again. This spell requires a 500gp material component, and if that wasn’t enough, 250 xp. Treantmonk says that if you are worried about preparing the wrong spells – buy some scrolls for backup.
Maw of Chaos (SpC): (Double threat: Debuff + Blast):evillaugh ohhh – an abjuration blast spell. This one is pretty good too (even worth a 9th level slot). Cast this on the enemy group and they are in trouble. First off – they take d6/caster level damage (untyped and no limit) – and they make a save (Will) or are dazed. The next round – anyone who is still in the AoE takes the damage and makes the save again. And so on for the duration of the spell. Dazed characters cannot move – so will stay and continually take damage. Also – any enemy wanting to use a spell or spell like ability better have a decent Concentration score (not all SLA creatures do) or they won’t be able to use them. This spell lasts 1 round/level.
Absorption (SpC): (Buff) It’s a selfish spell – but a pretty decent one. It works a lot like spell turning – but instead of turning the spell – you absorb it – and you can use those spell levels to cast one of your spells without losing the memorization slot. Also – if a spell cannot be completely absorbed – you can partially absorb it – reducing its effect (which is something spell turning doesn’t do). With a 10 min/level duration – you can often have this pre-cast when entering combat – which is a definite selling feature.
Reaving Dispel (SpC): (Double threat: Debuff + Buff) A greater dispel magic spell that allows you to take the spells you dispelled (on a targeted dispel) and reassign them to yourself. Could be huge against say, a Cheater of Mystra (or any DMM cleric). I can’t help but immediately think that my party Cleric might have some cool DMM persisted personal spells that he could cast twice – I reave the first set, and he keeps the second. Anyone see a reason that wouldn’t work (Besides a stingy Cleric)?
Prismatic Sphere (PHB): (Battlefield Control):* The ultimate protection spell – it protects you against everything. Unfortunately – you need to leave the sphere to be doing anything yourself. This spell could be decent for emergency regrouping – or mixed with a Heward’s fortifying bedroll – even to regain spells. However, it too – unfortunately, is not going to be used in the average combat.
Imprisonment (PHB): (Save or Die)::thumbsdow This spell is a touch-save or die (and unlike most death in D&D – this guy is a lot further than a resurrection from walking and talking again). The point of this spell (since save or die that targets will as a 9th level spell BLOWS) is that the creature cannot be brought back. However, constantly resurrecting bad guys is a pretty rare problem – so this spell becomes circumstantial – which is bad for 9th level spells.
Mordenkainen’s Disjunction (PHB): (Debuff):thumbsdow The ultimate Dispel. MD will totally nuke all spells and possibly magic items too (they get a will save). You can potentially save magic items in an Anti Magic Field. Frankly – MD is a bad spell to cast since D&D characters are LOOTERS and nuking all the magic items isn’t a good looting tactic. I can really only see this spell being used in emergencies. Once again it is circumstantial – which isn’t good for 9th level spells.
Magic Miasma (SpC): (Double threat: BC + Debuff):thumbsdow Creates a Solid Fog (as the spell) that also gives a minus to caster level and DC’s of spells to those within. Those who leave the area get a Will save in order to get the CL back. Solid Fog is level 4 – this just doesn’t scream to me “This is 5 spell levels better than that spell”. Giving CL and DC penalties to enemy casters with no save is pretty cool – but they get the save as soon as they leave the fog (and who has freedom of movement options at this level? Um – just about everyone.)
Effulgent Epuration (SpC): (Buff):thumbsdow Gives the caster or recipient (which can be changed in the middle of the spell) a bunch of spheres that block enemy casts directed at the recipient. It’s really, really good at what it does (lots of blocks – 100% chance of success) but the duration sucks and it’s purely defensive for 1 person at a time only. This means this spell is just the kind of spell you almost never should cast.