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 Post subject: Wizard Strategy Guide
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:22 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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Pretty awsome book. Interesting conclusions that show how d20 differs from older versions of D&D.

It might be noted that those who plan to make heavy use of summoning magic should have access to the invisibility spell as it is only offensive spell that is explicitly given as not disrupting the invisibility spell.

I have a request for two addenda or "web enhancements":

1) What is the "powergamer"'s choices for the polymorph spell. It is listed under the good spells for the support specialist and is supposedly an interesting form of buff spell, but what is the really good stuff to turn allies and yourself into? You do not get all the abilities of the creature but you do not suffer from the level penalties as a trade off. I have heard hear-say that there is nothing to prevent the caster from granting super-human attributes but nothing really official or their limits. I would like to hear if there is a powergamer optimum choice for this for both warriors and wizards of various levels.

2) What are the optimum choices for the various summon monter spells? Especially for doing the supporting flanking help for the warriors?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:19 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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That's a good call about the invisibility spell. It's a very useful trick, but I wouldn't make it my primary tactic as a mage. At low levels, it eats through your spells very quickly and at high levels, it would often eat up your first round of combat with an action that doesn't help your party. Ideally, you'd have invisibility active before you run into combat, but with the min/level duration, that's hardly guaranteed.

To the second suggestion, polymorph is a pretty tough spell to optimize because there are a lot of variables, both in how it is interpreted and how it can function. It probably merits a chapter of its own:

The biggest variables are probably the following:
A. Is it subject to the size restrictions from Alter Self? If not, hydra, athach, and remorhaz are quite attractive (for a variety of reasons). If so, they generally won't be available.

B. What level are the caster and recipient? Troll is a good form that's available at low levesl, annis hag and green hag are available by 10th level or so, and stone giant kicks in at 15th level. So, you need to pick your form from the forms available to you.

C. What does your DM think constitutes familiarity with a creature? Is it enough to have read about it in a book, have a knowledge rank that covers the creature, or have met it, or is it necessary to have more than one or long exposure to the creature.

D. What does your DM think about equipment resizing and reshaping to fit the body? If you polymorph into a gargoyle, do you keep your cloak of charisma and/or headband of intellect? If you lose them, it's almost always a bad idea. Similarly, it the fighter loses his armor and strength belt by transforming into a stone giant, it's not as good a tactic as it might otherwise be.

E. What do you want to do with the form? This is probably the biggest question. A hydra is a good trick that, with some interpretations of the rules can give a rogue 1 sneak attack per head per round. But for a fighter, it's much less impressive, and it makes the rogue quite vulnerable. A green hag is a good form for armor class and strength if you get to keep equipment when polymorphed into a form of the same size. But, it's not got the same kind of durability as a troll gets from its massive constitution.

3. The optimum choices for various summon monster spells is a misleading question because the optimum choice will always depend upon the circumstances. For instance, the celestial bison is a good choice for a meatshield at summon monster III, as is the fiendish centipede, but if you want to be able to fly or a high armor class is better than hit points, the fiendish dire bat is a good choice. Similarly, the celestial black bear can be quite effective if your party packs a lot of party buffing spells like prayer and bardsong. At summon monster IV, the fiendish dire wolf has a good attack and some staying power, but the lantern archon continues to be useful at later levels because its attacks are touch attacks and bypass DR entirely. The high level summon monsters offer a lot of creatures who can be summoned for spell-like abilities. For instance, the avoral guardinal from Summon monster VII offers some good healing ability and the celestial giant stag beetle from summon monster V offers trample--very good for hordes of low-reflex save or non-evading foes without magic weapons, but not as impressive against were-rat rogues.

Though I haven't looked into it much, I imagine some creatures benefit noticably more (or in different ways) from augment summoning. For intstance, the avoral becomes a better healer since its lay on hands ability is equal to its hit points but the bralani eladrin doesn't improve its healing ability at all. Because of this, optimal summoning lists will vary not only by purpose and situation, but also by whether or not your character has augment summoning.

Bruce wrote:
Pretty awsome book. Interesting conclusions that show how d20 differs from older versions of D&D.

It might be noted that those who plan to make heavy use of summoning magic should have access to the invisibility spell as it is only offensive spell that is explicitly given as not disrupting the invisibility spell.

I have a request for two addenda or "web enhancements":

1) What is the "powergamer"'s choices for the polymorph spell. It is listed under the good spells for the support specialist and is supposedly an interesting form of buff spell, but what is the really good stuff to turn allies and yourself into? You do not get all the abilities of the creature but you do not suffer from the level penalties as a trade off. I have heard hear-say that there is nothing to prevent the caster from granting super-human attributes but nothing really official or their limits. I would like to hear if there is a powergamer optimum choice for this for both warriors and wizards of various levels.

2) What are the optimum choices for the various summon monter spells? Especially for doing the supporting flanking help for the warriors?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:15 pm 
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Not trying to be a pain, I am enjoying the book a lot so far, I was reading the comments in the Halfling writeup on pg. 13 ending with "... a rogue/wizard is a potential multiclass option discussed in detail in the multiclassing section of Chapter 3: Classes" I was super thrilled as I'm playing such a combo (do you realize how amazing the 1st level spell Ray of Frost is? 1d3 + 2d6 sneak atk cold damage) but when I go looking for this info I find that:

1) Chapter 3 is Skills not classes, and that

2) I'm not seeing anything in the chapter on classes that deals with this at all. (chapter 5 in this case)

I've been through most of the book and still haven't found anything on multiclassing except for little bits in amongst other topics. :cry: Was this section never written? Was it cut? if so is there any chance of a separate pdf or text download?

Not trying to be a downer, I'm enjoying the book a lot, bugged my local store to get it for me as I have loved the Warriors guide (and now own 2 copies of it) was just disappointed and figured I'd ask.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:59 am 
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cnath.rm wrote:
1) Chapter 3 is Skills not classes, and that


Yup. You're correct on this. I missed that... We changed the Chapter breakdown a few times as we updated content for the guide, but I glossed over this reference.

cnath.rm wrote:
2) I'm not seeing anything in the chapter on classes that deals with this at all. (chapter 5 in this case)

I've been through most of the book and still haven't found anything on multiclassing except for little bits in amongst other topics. :cry: Was this section never written? Was it cut? if so is there any chance of a separate pdf or text download?


Good catch! I'm a bit embarrassed I let that slip by while I was editing the book. When I was notified about your post, I went through my notes and files to see what the real deal was with this information. I recall several discussions of what we should include regarding multi-classing...

This was one of the areas we discussed developing further, but decided it was too far afield of the core focus for the book and opted not to commit space to exploring that one facet. A mage/rogue is a great multiclassing combo, but since currently the only references available via the Power Gamers Guide series are Mages & Warriors, adding enough context to fully define the benefits and develop an advancement plan for a multiclass character would simply have taken too much space from our precious (and limited) word count.

The bottom line? The reference should have been removed. I can assure you we did not leave content out that was part of the final plan -- if the Power Gamer series is popular and warrants writing a book for rogues, we can include the information there.

Sorry for the confusion, and for getting your hopes up!

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Crypt of the Devil Lich, Dungeon Interludes, The Mask of Death, Adventure Begins, Vault of the Dragon Kings, the Power Gamers Wizard Strategy Guide, The Adventure Continues, Palace in the Wastes and PhoenixCrawl Open


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:26 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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ynnen wrote:
The bottom line? The reference should have been removed. I can assure you we did not leave content out that was part of the final plan -- if the Power Gamer series is popular and warrants writing a book for rogues, we can include the information there.

Sorry for the confusion, and for getting your hopes up!


Such is life, thanks for letting me know. What is the word on popularity offhand? I'm guessing that Warriers sold well enough to merit another entry for the line, any early news you can share on how the Wizard's guide is selling?

-cnath.rm


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 3:22 pm 
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Gongfarmer

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Thanks cnath.rm.
You asked one question I had. Now, for the other questions.

After two readings, I am some what unclear about skills. You have information about the best skills in both the Races and the Skills chapter. I think I understand that Knowledge (aracana), Spellcraft and Concentration must be kept at maximum for a wizard; I am unsure about a sorceror. I think Spot and Listen are best for an elf (hopefully grey) and a tallfellow halfing because of racial bonuses.

I also have a power-gaming multiclassing idea I want to run by you.
What do you think of 1 or 2 (at most) levels of the npc class Expert for a wizard?
At 1st level, you get 6 hit points, simple weapons, light armor, and 32 skill points (with an INT of 15's +2 bonus). YOU also get to choose any10 skills! One or two can even be exclusive to another class. I do not know if this would be a good deal for sorcerors but it might be for wizards. (Although, sorcerors have a poor skill selection.) I think you could max out important skills and still get many one-hit-wonders and one-point-knowledge skills.

Of course, which skills to pick are the question. So...

If you were a 1st level expert and were going to become a wizard, what ten skills would you select? What skills would you then buy? Would there be any differences depending on the race you chose?

Thanks, in advance.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 5:54 pm 
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First off, let me say I love this book so far. I look forward to the rogue/bard book and the cleric/druid book. I'd also be happy to lobby WotC to let you guys do a Power Gamre Guide to the Complete books, if someone will tell me who to bug. :)

But...

I take it the first row on p.22's Empower/Maximize comparison chart should read 18.75 across the board? Burning Hands uses a d4, not a d6.

And in general, can you give me an idea about the math behind some of the tables? How are tables listing damage that includes crits or attack penalties calculated? In particular, how were the numbers in the Power Attack table figured? I'm not sure I understand how you get the steep curve of "Lvl 14 Normal".

I also notice that a search-and-replace must have gone awry given the recurrentce of "feInt" in the text. :)

Still, rock on. I will buy any and all of this series.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 5:15 am 
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Jason has the Excel files with all the calculations. I'll let him answer your question on Power Attack.

I got one more question via email, which I thought I'd post here as part of the unofficial errata thread:

Quote:
Hello, I just bought the "Powergamer's 3.5 Wizard" book. I was reading about some of the skills and I came across the write up concerning the Knowledge geography listing. It says there and I quote, This can be useful for finding your location after a teleport mishap or for identifying the location of an enemy you are scrying......

Now under the scrying spell in the PHB (pg.274) the only thing you can scry is a creature and ONLY 10 ft. in all directions around it. How can I use a knowledge geography to learn the location if I can only see 10 ft. of an area ? What if the creature is in a room or a small cavern or for that matter flying in the air 50 ft. high ? You might want to write an errata download for this book. I haven't completed reading it as yet though and if this is the only fallacy I see then maybe not worth your effort but if there's more I will let you know.

I been playing D & D since 1976 and DMing since 1980. I played with Mr. Arneson,Ernie,and Frank years ago when this D & D craze started.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:34 pm 
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Just thought of some ideas on subjects that are on the border of powergaming and rules lawyering. You will need to practice your real world Diplomacy, Knowledge and Bluff checks against your DM if you want to avoid the DM just Rule 0 against you.

It is very important to look at the 3.5 D20 rules (which can be found at various "SRD" web sites) as it has details that are completely different from the 3.0 version. Some of these differences surprised me.

-----

Regarding the question of Scrying, the actual wording of the rules is: "If the save fails, you can see and hear the subject and the subject’s immediate surroundings (approximately 10 feet in all directions of the subject). If the subject moves, the sensor follows at a speed of up to 150 feet."

This makes it very subjective on on how good your can get a bearing on the target's location regarding "immediate surroundings". As an example, if the target is in a latrine, it might be impossible to figure out where the target is based on the interior of the room. On the other hand, if the target happens to be next to an identifiable landmark/building/sign then it would make sense to be able to figure out the location that way with corresponding penalties or bonuses.

-----

Templates and Alter Self/Polymorph

There is an open question on what the real limits of Alter Self and Polymorph are with regard to Templates. This was a thought inspired after looking at the "Book of Templates". In previous versions, you could use Alter Self to stick wings or gills on yourself without necessarily turning yourself into sea elf or some official winged humanoid race in a manner as if the spell slapped a temporary free-form limited template on yourself within certain limits.

The 3.5 Alter Self has a rather intriguing addition compared to previous versions: "Physical qualities include natural size, mundane movement capabilities (such as burrowing, climbing, walking, swimming, and flight with wings, to a maximum speed of 120 feet for flying or 60 feet for nonflying movement), natural armor bonus, natural weapons (such as claws, bite, and so on), racial skill bonuses, racial bonus feats, and any gross physical qualities (presence or absence of wings, number of extremities, and so forth)."

On the other hand, there is this limitation:"Your creature type and subtype (if any) remain the same regardless of your new form. You cannot take the form of any creature with a template, even if that template doesn’t change the creature type or subtype." So you have to very careful on getting the appropriate form that does not quite cross the border into an actual template. This would raise the question of whether or not you can become a "sub-race" of elf and if so whether you could change into any form of "sub-race" like a "super sub-race".

The question comes down to whether you can research (or make up) to essentially come up with a form that gives you game busting racial skill bonuses and feats that can be argued as being "physical qualities" (arguing brain structure and brain chemistry would be difficult). On the other hand, would be whether you could get a physically powerful form that would otherwise suffer extreme mental penalties that you can ignore due to them not counting as "physical qualities". This would require a great deal of skill to push the limits of the spell and persuade your DM to accept them.

Next is the 3.5 Polymorph spell, which contains this interesting additional line: "This spell functions like alter self, except that you change the willing subject into another form of living creature." It has a number of other additional benefits that go beyond the Alter Self including this line, "The subject’s creature type and subtype (if any) change to match the new form." This could be interpreted as allowing actual templates and if the Alter Self rules rolling into Polymorph, one might be able to stick in all sorts of racial skill bonuses, racial feats and some Extraordinary (attacks) abilities as long as it fits the "physical qualities".

From a DM's point of view, to keep from these spells being used as a kind of Marvel comics gamma ray spell to turn into temporary Captain Americas and Hulks, there is a question on whether there is knowledge limits or research quirements (Spellchecks?) or when the racial bonuses start crossing into Extraordinary abilities (which is not allowed by Alter Self) and Supernatural (the limit for Polymorph).

Then there is the Polymorph Any Object spell. In addition to the above, you even get to add mental changes too. This raises the question on whether racial skill bonuses and racial feats of mental nature also can be added. While this could be useful for changing mice into high sub-race of horses to use or sell, there is the question of whether you can use them to basically add a super template onto PCs using the ideas in the Polymorph spell to turn all the entire party into borderline epic characters with whatever is allowed for racial skill bonuses, racial feats and even super intelligence ("Unlike polymorph, polymorph any object does grant the creature the Intelligence score of its new form.").

-----

Polymorph's relative, Stone to Flesh

The 3.5 Stone to Flesh spell has an interesting note: "The spell also can convert a mass of stone into a fleshy substance. Such flesh is inert and lacking a vital life force unless a life force or magical energy is available. (For example, this spell would turn a stone golem into a flesh golem, but an ordinary statue would become a corpse.) You can affect an object that fits within a cylinder from 1 foot to 3 feet in diameter and up to 10 feet long or a cylinder of up to those dimensions in a larger mass of stone."

This raises the questions that could impact on economies and other things when used along with the Fabricate spell. As an example, does using it on a Fabricated statue of a chicken result in a completely ordinary dead chicken, along with feathers and bones? Can you use to make dead cows, within the size limits, for making meat and raw material for leather goods? What about making bodies for the Animate Dead spell? Presumably the "inert" part prevents making dead unicorns and phoenixes for making magical ingredients. Still, there is the thought of whether you could make dead narwhales and similar creatures for their ivory and other high cost parts. Also consider whether dead huge versions of creatures with ink sacs can be made to harvest their high price body parts. It might be worth considering whether the spell could be used to make fresh and tasty meat for feeding others, with a bit of preparation. With the Fabricate spell, it might be possible to choose what meat you want like a giant chicken / turkey / pig / goose / cow / fish / etc. A strange idea might be to have a cooking establishment use the idea to make theme ingredient dishes around this in a manner similar to the Iron Chef television show.

On a more peculiar note is whether Stone to Flesh can be used to make raw material for Flesh Golems to allow making a Flesh Golem without looking for dead that have irate friends and relatives, and by making them all identical looking the resulting golem might possiblly be made to just look like a normal human with perhaps some unusual scars instead of the distorted patchwork appearance.

On a similar idea could be whether various undead that would otherwise require feeding on humans (such as a vampire's need for blood), could get it from simply using the Stone to Flesh spell to make a body with the appropriate substance.

-----

Shadow Spells

The various Shadow spells (including Shadow Evocation and Shades) could have great potential for those like sorcerors and some wizards. The one question is whether one actually needs to research an appropriate spell of the Evocation or Conjuration school to actually emulate it with the corresponding shadow spell. Another is whether you can research or take an appropriate spell "on-the-fly" of the appropriate spell level at the limits of a given shadow spell. To give an idea example, imagine a sorceror that uses Shadow Evocation to emulate a hypothetical Greater Continual Flame (4th spell level). Getting the emulated improved spells to the limits of the shadow spells is something that would be particularily important for sorcerors that might try to go this route. This can still be good for wizards, as an emulated spell has no material component cost such as when emulating Continual Flame. The important aspect for the improved emulate spells to focus on are those where you ignore the material components, have long or permanent durations, or can distract the target enough to allow the warriors in your party to get full attacks and flanking bonuses.

-----

Permanency campaign effects

The Permanency spell is something that can have a great effect for the use of empires and large governments that can change the nature of a campaign. These are somewhat outside of powergamer's interest as background material.

Back in the warrior comments, there is the effect of the use of permanent Symbols on plates carried by fast moving, mobile and hard-to-hit characters. Keep in mind that the Symbol spells can be "attuned" to those that it does not affect. In a war or battle, these along with some other spells and magic items to allow the Symbol bearers to quickly make passes against opposing armies against their rear and flanks would large groupings of most soldiers to be quickly rendered dead or useless.

Using them with Teleportation Circles can be used to make the magical equivalent of airports. You could have the capital city with a central teleport building that sends people and goods to various "outpost" teleport government buildings that each only have a permanent Teleport Circle heading back to the main capital building at a designated incoming area. While there are limits on what can be sent through at any given instant and the "incoming" and "outgoing" areas would need to be guarded, this is something that any major government that considers magic to be important would quickly become an incredibly powerful economic nation. This would impact on pirates and others that make money on attacking trade paths at locations far from government control. Navies are more likely to focus on reconnaisance and coastal defence. The rapid transmission of information, goods, people and services could have a great impact on government and society. As an example, areas with a lot of ice and fresh water can sell those to areas that are dry or lacking in drinkable water. Roads and cargo would be designed for moving goods that allows for fitting onto a teleportation circle with a person moving the cart around.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:52 am 
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Quote:
What about making bodies for the Animate Dead spell? Presumably the "inert" part prevents making dead unicorns and phoenixes for making magical ingredients. Still, there is the thought of whether you could make dead narwhales and similar creatures for their ivory and other high cost parts. Also consider whether dead huge versions of creatures with ink sacs can be made to harvest their high price body parts.

As far as mundane valuable body parts, it seems like the cost of a statue would be prohibitive. A stone Narwhal would certainly cost more than the ivory of its horn would be worth. Though, for all the spell indicates, you would probably just get a mushy, flesh horn that is completely worthless.
As far as coming up with magical parts, that is ludicrous at best.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 6:01 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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Quote:
PCs using the ideas in the Polymorph spell to turn all the entire party into borderline epic characters with whatever is allowed for racial skill bonuses, racial feats and even super intelligence

Any wizard that can throw 4 to 6 8th level spells out the window just to turn his/her party into a bunch of Elder Brains or something for 10 minutes is going to be borderline epic already!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:23 am 
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GrimStaff wrote:
Quote:
What about making bodies for the Animate Dead spell? Presumably the "inert" part prevents making dead unicorns and phoenixes for making magical ingredients. Still, there is the thought of whether you could make dead narwhales and similar creatures for their ivory and other high cost parts. Also consider whether dead huge versions of creatures with ink sacs can be made to harvest their high price body parts.

As far as mundane valuable body parts, it seems like the cost of a statue would be prohibitive. A stone Narwhal would certainly cost more than the ivory of its horn would be worth. Though, for all the spell indicates, you would probably just get a mushy, flesh horn that is completely worthless.
As far as coming up with magical parts, that is ludicrous at best.


If one was to make a statue by hand, then it would be expensive which is why you would to make the statue with Fabricate on a sufficiently large boulder or a mountain that can be a free source of statue raw material.

Regarding the "fleshy horn", re-read the 3.5 description that notes: "an ordinary statue would become a corpse". This is why you would want to first try out making a chicken first (to see if making a "corpse" includes bones and/or feathers). If it just forms solid meat in the shape of a chicken, then the spell caster can then check to see if it at least can be changed to the appropriate flavor of the shape (chicken, beef, pork, etc.). Either way, it can be pretty useful. Even if it just makes solid meat, it can be sold or used as a food source where one casting can feed a really large amount of people.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:49 pm 
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I'm having gruesome visions of vaguely chicken-shaped lumps of SPAM.. :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:12 pm 
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GrimStaff wrote:
I'm having gruesome visions of vaguely chicken-shaped lumps of SPAM.. :lol:


That is one possibility. Keep in mind that if shape does not affect what is produced this would mean that it would be better to just for volume. Instead of needing a doing Craft checks with the Fabricate spell, you could just get away with using a Stone Shape to make a solid cylinder to the limits of the Stone to Flesh spell. If the DM rules that the flesh is SPAM, that is actually pretty good for base material for survival food and for saving the stereotyped village suffering from famine scenario, or other feed the poor situation.

Just to help reduce the possibly high DC Craft check, the wizard might want the experiment to use the Fabricate to first form a nice large fish as it it will not require as much preparation for the cooking and tasting. Whether or not shape does determine the flesh, various fishes can be tried out to see if taste can be affecte like trout compared to tuna compared to salmon. Even if it is just solid meat, experimenting if flavor can be changed can be quite useful as it could affect how much you could sell the meat for as well as making the travel food have more variety in tastes.

On a similar note, underground civilizations that have an interest in magic would probably regard this way of making fresh edible meat as being vital to support their food supply.

I wonder if there are any monsters out there that converts rocks into meat for food as it bores through "underdark". Maybe like a magical earthworm. It could be valuable creature for supporting ecosystems.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 8:44 pm 
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GrimStaff wrote:
Quote:
PCs using the ideas in the Polymorph spell to turn all the entire party into borderline epic characters with whatever is allowed for racial skill bonuses, racial feats and even super intelligence

Any wizard that can throw 4 to 6 8th level spells out the window just to turn his/her party into a bunch of Elder Brains or something for 10 minutes is going to be borderline epic already!


Possibly true, though in practice it will depend on how much you can get away with the details of the spell versus the other buff spells, in parcticular the racial skill bonuses and the racial feats.

For the more powerful wizards and sorcerors, they would probably be looking more closely at the Polymorph Any Object spell since if you can use it more like a super template adder, then the spell could be pushed into the "permanent" duration category. This would have the advantage of just needing to cast it before actually going out on the adventure and by using it as template adder one could just make the subject not look like something that other adventurers would attack on sight. Sort of like a Captain America serum spell to really buff the subject.

Wizards might want to research the matter further and maybe even make specialized variant spells. Think of how much vain rich nobles would pay to be hit with a permanent spell that makes them look like super-models.

Going back to the powergamer use, one would have to wonder if one can use the Polymorph Any Object spell to make fresh heavy labor-capable animals. As an example, imagine keeping a bit of fur of a camel (and other simlar work animals handy) and alternating using Polymorph Any Object and Dispel Magic for creating "fresh" pack animals for crossing deserts and other situations so you do not need food, water or rest for the animals.

On a similar note, wizards and sorcerors might want to keep samples of various monsters that are defeated as using Polymorph Any Object on them to "form" the original monster could be useful for selling to those who want "weakened" (depending on the creature) examples in zoos or just having them be used to distract enemies. I think there was a published adventure somewhere where the spell was used by a pimp with arcane spellcasting ability to make disease free "products" by using hair and nail clippings from a barber and beauty shop.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:44 pm 
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hmm... that reminds me of the D&D 2.0 Gorgon's description; uses stone to flesh to make food for itself when there aren't any adventurer's around to kill

so, assumably, the meat is edible, if dead

i would rule that different types of stone make for different types of meat
(say, likestone or chalk for bones, shale for hair and nails, marble for eyes, and so on) using all common stones, to be sure, but a body would ahve to be a remarkably complex aggregation of various stones...(not to mention various nessesary empty spaces, like the sinuses, throat and lungs)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:44 am 
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Sorry it took so long to reply to these -- I lost 'em amidst the discussions on polymorph, stone to flesh and all the other quirky chit-chat.

buzz wrote:
I take it the first row on p.22's Empower/Maximize comparison chart should read 18.75 across the board? Burning Hands uses a d4, not a d6.


Correct. It appears that the line for Burning Hands (whihc uses d4s for damage) was incorrectly copied over with the information for Shocking Grasp (which uses d6s for damage). The correct Empowered damage for Burning Hands across the board is 18.75 (12.5 normal average, 6.25 empowered average).

This mistake also appears on the first line of the maximized row of data. The Maximized Burning Hands would be 5d4 or 20 damage, not 30 damage as printed. Sorry for this mistakes -- I should have caught these during proofing.

buzz wrote:
How are tables listing damage that includes crits or attack penalties calculated? In particular, how were the numbers in the Power Attack table figured? I'm not sure I understand how you get the steep curve of "Lvl 14 Normal".


Spell damage on the charts in the Wizard Guide (such as on page 22 or ps 51-52) does NOT take into account the chances for a critical hit for weaponlike/attack roll spells (like scorching ray). For the warrior book, weapon stats are more consistent (threat range, critical multiplier, then break those factors down by BAB and AC in a series of charts), whereas the Wizard Guide would need to include BAB/AC, threat range, multiplier, caster level, metamagic feats applied, etc.

So for spells like scorching ray, the average damage will be slightly higher -- but exactly how much higher depends on the individual mage... does he have a high Dex/BAB for ranged touch attacks? Did he take improved critical (rays)? However it's not nearly as significant an impact on overall spell performance as the weapon comparison is to warriors.

Hope that answers your questions!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:41 pm 
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cnath.rm wrote:
I've been through most of the book and still haven't found anything on multiclassing except for little bits in amongst other topics. :cry: Was this section never written? Was it cut? if so is there any chance of a separate pdf or text download?


I haven't read the print version of the book yet because my author's copies have been sent by a somewhat slow boat (poke, poke Joseph), but I can tell you that I did write a multiclassing section and, if it was cut, Joseph will have to decide about making it available as a separate pdf or download.

The gist of my take on multiclassing is that:
1. You give up a lot of your primary ability for it so it should dramatically change the focus of your character.
2. It's only really viable in conjunction with prestige classes (eldritch knight, mystic theurge, arcane trickster) except for the possibility of a rogue/wizard who could do rog 1/wizard the rest of the way or wizard 4/rogue the rest of the way. I don't really count the figher/barbarian/sorcerer/dragon disciple because the strength of that combination is not in spells but in the ability bonuses.
3. Did I mention that it changes your character's focus. Even if you only give up two spellcasting levels in the course of your multiclassing (say Ftr 1/Wiz 6/Eldritch Knight 10), you'll only be a second or third rate spellcaster if you try to fill the traditional roles. So, you'd better be able to carve a new role out for yourself. Things like scorching ray and ray of frost sneak attacks examples of niches you'll want to carve out. A self-buffing warrior is another niche that can work. But you need to be focused on your goal and not dilute it by trying to compete with real mages if you multiclass.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:15 pm 
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buzz wrote:
And in general, can you give me an idea about the math behind some of the tables? How are tables listing damage that includes crits or attack penalties calculated? In particular, how were the numbers in the Power Attack table figured? I'm not sure I understand how you get the steep curve of "Lvl 14 Normal".


I assume you mean the True Strike and Power Attack chart.

I used the following characters--relatively unbuffed but still reasonable approximations of what characters could do:

Level 5: Fighter 1/Wizard 4 with a 14 strength, Weapon Focus, and +1 greatsword
Atk +7 for 2d6+4

Level 7: Ftr 1/Wiz 6/Eldritch Knight 2 with a 14 strength (16 with gauntlets of ogre power), +2 greatsword, and Weapon Focus
Atk +12/+7 for 2d6+6

Level 14: Ftr 1/Wiz 6/Eldritch Knight 7 with 14 strength (18 with belt of giant strength, +3 greatsword, and Weapon Focus

As I noted in the side legend, the figures don't include crits so the math was pretty simple:

Normal meant: charge in round 1 followed by a full attack
True Strike+Power Attack meant casting true strike in the first round and charging with full power attack in the second.

The basic formula I used is: average damage=chance to hitxaverage damage per hit
I then repeated this as necessary to account for all of the attacks.

For normal, I also played around with the attack and damage numbers a bit until I came up with a reasonably advantageous amount of Power Attack--after all, the character in question has Power Attack, so it's silly to figure his average damage without it when he's not casting true strike.

There are a some questions that could be raised about the assumptions behind the table--for instance, what if the level 14 character uses quickened true strikes? Or what if the character casts true strike and moves up to the target in round 1 and then uses a full attack in round 2 instead of charging? That was one of the reasons I opted for a chart instead of a table. It's not supposed to show the exact break point where a given character's damage will improve when he casts true strike and charges the next round. Instead, it's supposed to illustrate the point that simply attacking a low-mid AC enemy twice normally is likely to do more damage than using true strike one round and attacking the next.


For tables that did include crits, I generally started with % chance to hit x average damage per hit and added %chance to threaten x % chance to confirm x average extra damage per hit to it. So it could be simplified to (Chance to hit)(average damage per hit + (chance to confirm)(average extra damage per crit)). On 20/ x2 weapons like most spells, that could be further simplified to (1.05)(chance to hit)(average damage per hit). That, of course ignores some corner cases, but yields a generally accurate result.

For spell damage, the general formula is: Average damage= (chance to save)(average damage on successful save) + (Chance to fail save)( average damage on a failed save). If Spell Resistance is included, then that changes to (1-chance to resist spell)(((chance to save)(average damage on successful save) + (Chance to fail save)( average damage on a failed save)). Evasion obviously simplifies matters a lot.

On charts where I compared specific spells--for instance the Empower Spell vs. Higher Level spell chart, I started with an assumed base character--for instance, that chart assumed an 11th level wizard with a 21 int, greater spell focus in any relevant school, and greater spell penetration. After all, if you're comparing how blasters might fare with a different strategies, you should make sure that the basis of your comparison is similar to the typical or recommended blaster.

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Still, rock on. I will buy any and all of this series.
I'm glad to hear it. I'm hoping Joseph invites me on for the cleric book next myself, but rogue/bard sounds good too.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 4:38 am 
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Reader Chris Evans pointed out the following error in the Wizard Strategy Guide on p. 22:

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I noticed that you list a Maximized Vampiric Touch spell as only doing 30 damage up to level 20. The spell description says that Vampiric Touch "deals 1d6 points of damage per two caster levels (maximum 10d6)." Is there something I'm missing about that spell (or that combination of spell and feat) that doesn't let the damage go higher than 30, or is it just a typo?

Seems like that row should read 30, 36, 36, 42, 42, 48, 48, 54, 54, 60. Right?


Chris is correct - the spell damage listed in the book is a typo. The row for maximized vampiric touch incorrectly shows 30 points across the entire row. As he points out, the damage by level should be:

Lvl 11: 30
Lvl 12: 36
Lvl 13: 36
Lvl 14: 42
Lvl 15: 42
Lvl 16: 48
Lvl 17: 48
Lvl 18: 54
Lvl 19: 54
Lvl 20: 60

Sorry for the error, but thanks for pointing that out for us, Chris!

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