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The Thinktank => Min/Max It! => Topic started by: jameswilliamogle on February 11, 2009, 04:24:19 PM

Title: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 11, 2009, 04:24:19 PM
I couldn't find anything in the Surrealdex, but the idea looked promising to me.  After all, 9th level casting in 9 levels is what all the cool kids do, right?

[spoiler=advantages and disadvantages]Blighter Advantages:
Blighter Disadvantages:

Main Prerequisites
:
So, there's not much we can do about a lot of this.  One way to help it, though, is to keep the minimum number of Druid levels and actual Blighter levels (as deforestation is based on Blighter levels).  Of course, this also hurts the caster level issue, but there's ways around that (although a bit convoluted).[/spoiler]

[spoiler=Spell List]
Just to take a closer look at the spell list, here's some that I thought noteworthy.  The main thing here is to keep an eye out for self-buffing and no-SR spells, since the caster level is going to suck:So, you can see that there's duds and awesomeness.  If you can trick up your caster level, or have Assay Spell Resistance, for example, its quite reasonable to focus on some of the save or sucks on the list.  Most of the spells require a save and/or SR.

One thing to keep in mind: not only to Blighters get both Desecrate AND Animate Dead (and Create Undead), but they also have a built-in no material component Animation ability for animals.  So, they make decent (if not the most prolific) necro-masters.

The spell list, other than the very few gems that I've "blued", is very weak.  I think its necessary to add spells to it to leverage some advantage out of the fast advancement, or to use / exploit Versatile Spellcasting to cross-class cast spells in theurgic builds.  [/spoiler]


[spoiler=Early Entry Tricks to Minimize Lost Druid Levels]Early Entry Tricks for the latter prerequisite:[/spoiler]

[spoiler=Building Up Casting]
Ways to Help Out the limited spell list:
Building Casting rapidly: (to overcome the lost Druid casting)[/spoiler]

Builds
Illumian (Naenhoon)
Druid 1 / Dread Necromancer 8 / Blighter 1 / Mystic Theurge 10.
Gets 9th level Blighter Spells, 9th level DN spells, and the cooler abilities of the DN.  Also, feels flavorful (if I could fit in the Undead Wildshape in, that would be totally awesome, but I think I lose too much then).

Anklebite - not race-specific:
Dread Necromancer 6 / Druid 1 / Blighter 1 / Mystic Theurge 10 / any that advances arcane 2.
    Using Versatile Spellcaster and Heighten Spell, a DN can spend 2 second level slots to cast any "3rd level spell they know".  Since a Druid knows all the spells on their spell list, and they have Heighten spell, they can cast a 3rd level Druid spell.

Variant on Anklebite's idea
:
Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 2 / Mystic Theurge 3 / Sublime Chord 1 / Mystic Theurge +7 / Sublime Chord +2
    Gets lots of goodies :).  Tough to do, skill-wise (mainly b/c of SC).  Also, some may not be OK with switching the MT advanced classes midway (I don't know if that's RAW or not).

Straw-Man's Divine Bard suggestion led me to:
Divine Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 4 / Contemplative 10
    Great for low-point buy games!  One stat casting, L9 Blighter spells and L8 Bard spells, and lots of extra domains to add to your Blighter spell list.

Bardic Musings also led me to:
Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 4 / Nar Demonbinder 1 / Mystic Theurge 6 / anything 4 (Sublime Chord???)
    This one feels cool, to me.  Kind of a singing monster of doom.  Full Blighter casting, full Nar Demonbinder casting, and 4(!) free levels to do anything with.  Still, two stat dependent, but otherwise it feels like a really nice build!

I'll keep this post updated.

Anybody have thoughts on this?
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Tshern on February 11, 2009, 04:35:47 PM
Blighter specifically needs 3rd level Druid spells, so any random spellcasting won't do. Would that mean you can cast a Druid spell or two that just happen to be on your list?
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Anklebite on February 11, 2009, 04:37:08 PM
  • Heighten + Earth Spell + Sanctum Spell - turns a L1 spell into a L3 spell
doesn't work with first levels, you have to heighten a zero level spell once (knocking it up to second level, via earth spell), and then sactum it.  the reason why, is that you don't have the second level slots to hieghten first levels with.
works better with versatile spellcaster instead of sanctum, because then you spend two 1st level slots to cast a once hightened (and thus 3rd level) spell.

of course, if you have flaws.... you can chuck sanctum onto it for fourth level spells at level one.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 11, 2009, 05:20:50 PM
Blighter specifically needs 3rd level Druid spells, so any random spellcasting won't do. Would that mean you can cast a Druid spell or two that just happen to be on your list?
I don't know the answer to that question (its under the "Archivist" idea).  I'd like to know, but I haven't the energy.

@Anklebite:
OK, thanks!  Maybe Precocious Apprentice + Heighten + Earth spell, then?  I'm not trying to get into Blighter ASAP, so flaws aren't really necessary.  I'd have to time the Blighter entry such that I don't gain another 2nd level slot until after I'm in the class...

ie, take Heighten and Earth Spell, wait until 5th level, take the Druid Level at 6th and precocious Apprentice, then Blighter, then whatever afterwards, or the same thing later, to gain a level where I gain a feat as the same level that I take Druid - DN 8 / Druid 1 / Blighter 1 / MT 9 / any 1 works for this pretty well, I think.
<- I don't think this works... oh well...

I totally forgot about the Versatile Spellcasting trick... that's very good!  So...

Any Spontaneous Caster 6 / Druid 1 / Blighter X
works with the Versatile Spellcaster and Heighten spells.

Could also work with Bard, too, I bet...
Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter X
Ooooo.... I like that...

Going to update the first post.  Versatile Spellcaster also makes all theurgic builds better, so that's a great suggestion!
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Straw_Man on February 11, 2009, 09:13:54 PM

  Does Blighter take away all Divine casting or just Druid casting? Divine Bard maybe an option and eases your MAD a bit.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 11, 2009, 09:29:19 PM

  Does Blighter take away all Divine casting or just Druid casting? Divine Bard maybe an option and eases your MAD a bit.
Just Druid.  Great suggestion!  Thanks! 

EDIT: This does mess with the Sublime Chord styled build a bit...  The 3rd level arcane casting requirement in particular. 

Still, a low point-buy game might work well with Divine Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 4 / Contemplative 10 or some-such (L10 Blighter casting, L8 Bard casting, and lots of bonus domains to add to the Blighter list).  Essentially a 1-stat character (for its primary stuff).  Should use the Versatile Spellcasting trick for entry.  A much simpler build, too.  Too bad there isn't a Ultimate Magus for divine casting... oh well...

This might allow for a ND build, though:
Divine Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 4 / Nar Demonbinder 1 / Mystic Theurge 6 / anything 4 (Sublime Chord???)
That could be very interesting, imo...
Use Versatile Spellcaster and Heighten Spell first to qualify for Blighter's 3rd level druid requirements. 
Spellcasting: 4th level Bard, 10th level Blighter (9th level spells), 7th level ND (8th level spells), 4th level SC (6th level spells, optional).  This doesn't have to use Divine Bard, either, and there isn't much point if ND is used.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Straw_Man on February 11, 2009, 10:00:36 PM

  Southern Magician feat to get arcane spells? That should allow Sublime chord though I dig your ND build as is.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 11, 2009, 10:29:26 PM

  Southern Magician feat to get arcane spells? That should allow Sublime chord though I dig your ND build as is.
Good idea; Sublime Chord uses Charisma anyways, though.  The Divine Bard works great for low-pb games, though, and I've put that in the first post (crediting you, of course).

A couple of Pact Magic based builds:
Binder 2 / Druid 1 / Anima Mage (Divine Adaptation) 4 / Blighter 1 / Anima Mage +6 / Tenebrous Apostate 4 / anything 2
    This one doesn't use any fancy early entry tricks, but does get full Blighter casting and 15 EBL.  The last two levels I'd take Contemplative for the extra feats, or Bloodline levels (each adds +4 EBL).

Binder 1 / Sorcerer 2 / Anima Mage (Normal Version) 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 1 / MT 9 / AM +2
    Uses Versatile Spellcaster / Heighten for early entry.  Gets full Blighter casting, EBL 7, L17 Sorcererous casting (so close!).

Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 1 / Binder 2 / Anima Mage (divine adaptation) 9 / Bloodline 3
    Uses Versatile Spellcaster + Heighten Spell before 5th level.  Also gets EBL 17, 3 free metamagics per day, full Blighter casting, better caster level than the other builds (CL 20).  Contemplative would be a good substitution for a bloodline level, but the bloodlines add so much.

Regarding these Binder builds, they feel unfocused, too diluted... I don't think it'd be a good idea to work Binder into Blighter.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: woodenbandman on February 12, 2009, 01:23:05 AM
Could have potential if used with another fast casting class and Geomancer, though TBH, you will never optimize this class.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Akalsaris on February 12, 2009, 04:58:57 AM

Here's another dual-caster:
Scout 3/Druid 1/Dread Necro 4/Blighter 2/Arcane Hierophant 10
Scout gets trackless step for the hierophant, since I think druid will lose it when you become an ex-druid.  Not a very good build actually :P

Ex-Druid 5/Blighter 9 might be better than straight druid in a mid-level 1-shot game (or at least a game between 12th and 17th level) where you focus on spell-casting.  9th level spells compared to 7th is pretty solid, and you get access to huge wildshape forms one level sooner than a druid.  For the ex-druid levels, you could trade wildshape for the UA variant on pg. 58 to get some low-level benefits like favored enemy and track, to keep you going until you drop your druid levels at 6th.

I like Blightfire too...at 7th level you get a 5d6 fire attack (compared to 4d6 at that level for a warlock) usable all day long, and it's an aoe around you.  Pretty sweet as a tanking ability to get attention, and starting fires is always fun.

Here's an idea:
pair the Blighter with an Uttercold Necromancer.  Give the Blighter the Tomb-tainted soul feat, and as long as he's in undead wild shape, he's immune to cold damage just as a skeleton is, and healed by the negative energy half of the necromancer's spells.  Then the necromancer casts blast spells, while the blighter runs around as a skeletal dire bear.  It'd make a good cohort for a necromancer character at least.  And if they run into a frost-immune monster, there's always blightfire...

Really, I think the blighter might be best as a bodyguard melee tank character, using her spells to keep foes focused on her and away from the casters.  Stinking Cloud, wall of fire, rock to mud, waves of fatigue, antilife shell, repel metal or stone, repulsion, and Earthquake are all either good at limiting movement or keeping people away from the caster's area.

Really basic Sample build:
1st hmn: Improved Unarmed Strike
1st bonus: Imp. Grapple
3rd char: Tomb-tainted Soul
6th char: Natural Spell (assuming the feat works with undead wild shape)
9th char: Practiced Spellcaster (Blighter)
12th char: Quicken Spell
15th char: Extraordinary Spell Aim
18th char: ??

Honestly, I'd play one...they look like a lot of fun with the right preparation.  They generally aren't going to be as powerful as a straight druid, but then again, who is?
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: RobbyPants on February 12, 2009, 09:35:06 AM
Where is Versatile Spellcaster found?

I'm assuming it lets you cast druid spells from your dread necro (or other class) slots, or something similar?

I have to admit: I always hated the blighter class.  I understood the benifit of getting 9 spell levels in 9 class levels, but I also hated losing 5 druid levels like that.  Tricking the entry requirements is quite tasty...  :smirk

Edit:
I found Versatile Spellcaster.  Neat trick.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 09:42:43 AM
Versatile Spellcaster is in RotD.  It requires spontaneous casting (but not a spontaneous casting base class), and lets you sac 2 spell slots of a lower level to cast a spell "you know" of one level higher (I think it requires a full-round action to do so). 

Normally, this would suck, as there's enough low-level spells that are good enough that you wouldn't want such an inefficient tradeoff.

BUT theurgic builds have tons of low-level slots and not as many high level slots.  And the feat doesn't specify that you need to sac the lower level slots and cast in the same class.  So that's the trick: you get both early entry as well as the ability to cross-cast (albeit at a slightly higher price, but I think its worth it as you only have so many actions per encounter and its really tough to blow through all those spell slots).

edit: I see you found it.

Nice idea about the Uttercold Wizard and AH; I was thinking about AH, but had forgotten that Scout got the ability.  Not sure if I'd go that exact build, though (I like having maximum spellcasting in multiple classes, b/c the spell list sucks :))...  Maybe it'd work in the ND build.

Like,
Scout 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 3 / Wizard 1 / ND 1 / AH 6 / any 4
Gets full ND and L9 Blighter casting, better Wildshape.  The Wizard level is in there just for Summon Creature; if there's a way around that, I'd be very happy. 
<-doesn't work.  Needs Versatile Spellcaster earlier.

Edit edit: maybe there is...  Delay the Blighter / Druid until entry into ND.
spontaneous spellcaster 6 / Nar Demonbinder 1 / Druid 1 / Blighter 3 / theurgic class 7
This might be a record on ND entry... not sure...  Versatile Spellcaster helps out a LOT with that class.

Bard 8 / Druid 1 / Blighter 1 / SC 1 / Mystic Theurge 9
HAH!  Double 9th level spells!  Funny.

With skill points and (likely) flaws (this needs > 15 Int as human w/ a stat bump to Int at L4 AND 2 feats before L6 for the early entry trick AND 2 feats for evasion before L12 AND probably Able Learner too):
Bard 4 / Druid 1 / Blighter 2 / anything 3 / SC 1 / Fochlucan Lyricist 9
BAB +13 to +16 plus spells as above.
I think this one is slick -> first you use Versatile Spellcaster / Heighten with Bard spells to cross-cast 3rd level Druid spells to get efficient entry into Blighter, THEN you use Versatile Spellcaster / Heighten with Blighter spells to cross-cast 3rd level Bard spells to get efficient entry into Sublime Chord.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: ksbsnowowl on February 12, 2009, 10:30:09 AM
Blighter requires 3rd level druid spells.  Spirit Shaman cast druid spells (at least, their spell list is the druid spell list...)

Wouldn't an ex-Druid 1/Spirit Shaman 5 qualify for Blighter, and then not lose it's spirit shaman casting?

I'm surprised no one has suggested it yet. Is there some reason it won't work that I'm not seeing?  It conveniently also qualifies for versatile spellcaster, and gains 3rd level spells at 5th level, rather than 6th, if Spirit Shaman doesn't meet the spell requirement on its own.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 11:53:14 AM
Blighter requires 3rd level druid spells.  Spirit Shaman cast druid spells (at least, their spell list is the druid spell list...)

Wouldn't an ex-Druid 1/Spirit Shaman 5 qualify for Blighter, and then not lose it's spirit shaman casting?

I'm surprised no one has suggested it yet. Is there some reason it won't work that I'm not seeing?  It conveniently also qualifies for versatile spellcaster, and gains 3rd level spells at 5th level, rather than 6th, if Spirit Shaman doesn't meet the spell requirement on its own.
Yes, that's a great idea; thanks!  It could be DM dependent.  I'll put it in the first post later today.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: RobbyPants on February 12, 2009, 12:04:14 PM
Minor nitpick (AFB right now), but doesn't a Spirit Shaman follow the same casting progression as a Sorcerer?  Wounldn't they gain access to 3rd level spells at 6th level rather than 5th?

edit:
Nevermind.  Ksbsnowowl answered my question and I assumed wrong.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 12:52:37 PM
Minor nitpick (AFB right now), but doesn't a Spirit Shaman follow the same casting progression as a Sorcerer?  Wounldn't they gain access to 3rd level spells at 6th level rather than 5th?

edit:
Nevermind.  Ksbsnowowl answered my question and I assumed wrong.
Not only that, but the Spirit Shaman only needs to cast 2nd level spells if they do use Versatile Spellcasting + Heighten.

The thing about the Blighter that appeals to me is that you can get full spellcasting advancement and have quite a few free levels to play around with (although it seems that those levels invariably need to have spellcasting).
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: RobbyPants on February 12, 2009, 01:15:39 PM
Not only that, but the Spirit Shaman only needs to cast 2nd level spells if they do use Versatile Spellcasting + Heighten.
So, you could pull it off with just three levels of Spirit Shaman and one of Druid, although you'd need another level in there to hit any skill ranks: 8 requirements?

The thing about the Blighter that appeals to me is that you can get full spellcasting advancement and have quite a few free levels to play around with (although it seems that those levels invariably need to have spellcasting).
But it does make dual progressions more attractive.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 03:26:46 PM
Not only that, but the Spirit Shaman only needs to cast 2nd level spells if they do use Versatile Spellcasting + Heighten.
So, you could pull it off with just three levels of Spirit Shaman and one of Druid, although you'd need another level in there to hit any skill ranks: 8 requirements?
Yes, I believe so, but it would also need to hit the BAB requirement of +3 (a level of Hexblade, maybe?).  This is the basis for the Bard 4 / x builds.

The main appeal of the Spirit Shaman entry is that you don't need Versatile Spellcaster, though.  If you are using SS for 5 levels then Druid then Blighter, then you don't need the feat trickery.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Tshern on February 12, 2009, 07:06:56 PM
Blighter specifically needs 3rd level Druid spells, so any random spellcasting won't do. Would that mean you can cast a Druid spell or two that just happen to be on your list?
I don't know the answer to that question (its under the "Archivist" idea).  I'd like to know, but I haven't the energy.
I believe that if you go by the absolute RAW, it is enough to cast SOME Druid spells of third level, at least two of them, and I am sure a Wizard qualifies. Archivist too, as you mentioned. Up to the DM like everything, but personally I'd let Blighter slide. For the purposes of the thread, I'd reject no option just to get more opinions flowing around. Right?
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 09:23:17 PM
Ah, I see... It doesn't specify "from the Druid spell list", so any spell that coincides with the Druid list would count.  Hrm... that does bring up some possibilities...
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: woodenbandman on February 12, 2009, 09:28:45 PM
Oh hey what about Druid1/Spirit Shaman 5? You cast spells using the druid spell list, AKA 3rd level druid spells.

I'd just like to point out that now matter how much you argue that casting "druid spells" means spells that happen to be on the druid spell list, every DM (and I) will still think you're wrong. Personally, I ban the blighter class. It's super weak.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 09:59:56 PM
The Spirit Shaman entry was mentioned; I haven't gotten around to updating the first post with it yet.  Ban the Blighter for weakness?  I bet you don't ban the Spellthief /nitpick/ just joshin ya :)
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Chemus on February 12, 2009, 10:06:13 PM
Blighter gives up a lot of spell choice to get 9th level spells at 15th level. Those 9ths aren't that great either. Ur Priest looks easier to use to me, but the blighter is passable. Plus, I'd have to say that the wording of the special requirement means to me that you'd have to get the 3rd casting as a druid somehow. Level drain is one method that might help, considering the wording.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 12, 2009, 10:16:38 PM
Blighter gives up a lot of spell choice to get 9th level spells at 15th level. Those 9ths aren't that great either. Ur Priest looks easier to use to me, but the blighter is passable.
I agree, but the Blighter entries are looking much easier to me.  Its not good if you want to "do everything" but it looks great if you can be a player that enjoys just having a lot of power in one particular area.  I definitley am not debating how much better Ur-Priest is; we all know its better.  I'm just trying to see how far I can go with and how optimized we can get with the Blighter (I've done similarly with Shadowcasters, Incarnates, and many others).  If there were an Ultimate Magus for divine spellcasters, though, look out!
Quote
Plus, I'd have to say that the wording of the special requirement means to me that you'd have to get the 3rd casting as a druid somehow.
It states "Must be an ex-druid previously capable of casting 3rd level druid spells."  Most DMs I know would interpret that as meaning spells from the Druid spell list, and we are capable of casting a 3rd level Druid spell in each of the builds I've put up so far, even with just 1 level of Druid.  We're meeting your interpretation, too.

Anyways, thanks for the commentary; this stuff needs to be (re)stated on occasion.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Surreal on February 13, 2009, 04:36:46 AM
I can almost see the flavour of Blighter working with a Void Disciple (another PrC which almost never sees the light of day). Whatever 5/Blighter 3/Void Disciple 12 isn't half bad.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: Chemus on February 13, 2009, 05:02:34 AM
The biggest difficulty I find with Blighter is getting +4 BAB with a casting class at early levels. It practically requires one class, or access to 2nd level druid spells and sanctum/earth spell, then adding in a full BAB class for one level or so.
Title: Re: Blighter Optimization?
Post by: jameswilliamogle on February 13, 2009, 09:51:05 AM
The biggest difficulty I find with Blighter is getting +4 BAB with a casting class at early levels. It practically requires one class, or access to 2nd level druid spells and sanctum/earth spell, then adding in a full BAB class for one level or so.
True.  If you use Versatile Spellcaster, you only need 2nd level spells on the other casting class and Heighten Spell, though.  That means going to as little as 3rd level w/ the other class for spellcasting.  Of course, that messes up the BAB for most classes, but 4th level Bard means only 1 full BAB class before Druid.