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The Thinktank => Min/Max It! => Topic started by: Endarire on August 11, 2009, 05:41:49 AM

Title: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Endarire on August 11, 2009, 05:41:49 AM
This is a thread about the theoretical and practical implementations of metamagic.

I enjoy playing casters.  Wizards are typically my favorite since they are power and high-level wizards are nerds who go around PWNing the jocks who teased them for being a d4, 1/2 BAB class.

Class preference aside, I find it very annoying that I spend feats on metamagic as prerequisites or because I have a spare feat, but often I never use them.  My three main beefs with metamagic for prepared casters:

Items and special abilities aside, I must spend a feat on an ability that nearly always costs me a higher-level spell slot or extra feats/abilities to reduce the slot cost.  Oh, and prepared casters can't normally spontaneously apply metamagic.  I realize balance is a concern, but there's also the matter of full casters, even core-only full casters, being tier 1 and non-casters not being tier 1, typically tier 3 and below.

I've concluded that while there may be balance problems with cheapening metamagic, no sane man ever pays full price when he can reasonably get a discount.  Incantatrix and Divine Metamagic are the primary means of using metamagic- Metamagic School Focus, Easy Metamagic, and metamagic rods are others- and all these have one primary function:  To allow someone who's paid for metamagic via a feat or rod to actually use it!  That doesn't seem so wrong!

A cleric1 who chose the Planning domain for Extend Spell and took a flaw or two to get Divine Metamagic: Persistent Spell and maybe Extra Turning to persist 1 spell per day is probably paying a high price to actually use that nifty metamagic feat.  Someone who took Wild Talent (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicFeats.htm#wildTalent), Midnight Metamagic (Magic of Incarnum 39), and Psycarnum Infusion (Magic of Incarnum 40) is probably having fun with metamagic (Quicken, Persist, whatever) when it's useful, meaning when there's no level increase.  Many characters will never get more than 4 feats in their entire careers.  Why must they spend them and possibly more to be able to use a spiffy metamagic feat, even once per day?

Invisible Spell (Cityscape) is widely regarded as uber.  It requires 1 metamagic feat, but it can turn any spell effect invisible for no slot adjustment.  Invisible summonlings from level 1 are spiffy, but don't think too hard about what happens if you use Invisible Spell with invisibility.

Why does WotC demand people pay so much for metamagic when we get so little from it?  Extend Spell is handy, in theory, but at wizard3, I'd typically rather prepare 2 mage armor spells in level 1 slots than an extended mage armor in a level 2 slot.  I may be dispelled or I may want to use mage armor on two targets.  Extending or persisting spells with expensive costs is an obvious use, but I want to be able to use.  Certainly, at higher levels I can cast an extended mage armor to last all day and all night- but if I have this kind of resources, why am I spending them on keeping mage armor up 24/7?

Quicken at +4 spell levels and Persistent at +6 spell levels are often regarded as among the best pricey metamagic feats.  Even if I could apply them spontaneously, I'd be hard-pressed to regularly use these with spells I could cast 8 or 12 character levels ago.  If I need to prepare every Quickened spell, I may as well break down and buy a rod or just skip the notion entirely.  If I need to prepare every spell to Persist, then at level 13 when I can plane shift, reverse gravity and bind genies to give me wish loops, I can make shield or lesser vigor last all day.  Too bad greater dispel magic became available 2 levels ago and is probably common now.  To top it off, spell DCs typically don't use the increased slot level, worsening the deal.

I greatly object to paying for something I simply can't use and may never use, short of a prereq.  It's like the conundrum about hot dogs.  Hot dogs, at least in the US, typically come in packs of 6.  Hot dog buns come in packs of 8.  Regardless, you're paying too much for buns or too little for hot dogs.  If I have a metamagic feat, I'd like to be able to use it at least once per day for free with additional uses costing the listed amount.  Alternatively, allow me to swap metamagic feats like a warblade swaps Weapon Focus and similar feats.  Most simply, ditch the feats and make metamagic effects on items only.  Perhaps then metamagic will be useful.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: SorO_Lost on August 11, 2009, 06:51:51 AM
WotC shares your concern with metamagic costs. Just look at Arcane Spellsurge, Arcane Fusion, Arcane Thesis, or the two feats printed in their last spellcaster book. WotC cought(sp again, I hate this damn word) on to metamagic costing too much but at the same time they also knew if it was cheapened it would be too powerful so they tried other ways than all metamagic costs are reduced. The real problem isn't the costs or feats to reduce it. It's the fact right now it's a binary system. For example either you are persisting spells or your not. If you are then you can obviously persist the bigger spells like Bite of the Werebear or Necromantic Empowerment, but if you're not going to persist those spells then your not going to persist anything.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Brainpiercing on August 11, 2009, 07:37:40 AM
That's a pretty good rant, and the reason why every wizard in his right mind SHOULD be in incantatrix, at least for three levels.

So... yeah, I tend to agree. You only ever use it if it's free, so why not make it free in the first place? Feat count is the only balance point anyway, so basically IF you have to pay for it, it should be in feats:

Like Metamagic feat (useless balancing feat slot), followed up by FREE metamagic for that feat, i.e. DMM for everyone. I would totally give DMM to everyone anyway, simply because once it's in  the game, either you have it, or you suck.

Edit: On another note, as a sensible houserule:

How about getting rid of normal MM altogether, and making ALL of the Sudden-MM 3/day, and you can take them multiple times?
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: KellKheraptis on August 11, 2009, 10:49:21 AM
If you're in the neighborhood of house rules, the Arcane Evolved system is pretty elegant about it.  Instead of adding a level adjustment to the spell,it uses more slots (termed laden) of that level (namely one for all of them in that book, though Persistent Spell would most likely be either one of higher level or two of the same level).  Their wizards though work for the most part like ToB initators/sorcerer hybrids, in that they ready a set of spells from their spells known (potentially infinite, just like a wizard), and cast from those, and can swap them out given a little downtime between encounters.  Gives most if not all spellcasters a very Merlin feel.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: PlzBreakMyCampaign on August 11, 2009, 11:02:06 AM
The reason is simple. Magic wins all in DnD. Do casters really need to be able to do it faster, longer, and bigger for free too? Honestly...
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Brainpiercing on August 11, 2009, 11:07:32 AM
The reason is simple. Magic wins all in DnD. Do casters really need to be able to do it faster, longer, and bigger for free too? Honestly...
Yes, but it's like having Monks above level 2, or Fighters above level 8: They are there, but noone ever uses them. Which is sort of pointless, isn't it?
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: KellKheraptis on August 11, 2009, 11:19:56 AM
It might only be slightly related, but the builds on this thread could fling just about any metamagic you wanted (granted, most likely through DMM, but meh), while losing nothing in the way of versatility, and most likely wouldn't notice the lost slots.

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1224262
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Nachofan99 on August 11, 2009, 01:13:06 PM
Hotdogs and hotdog buns have been coming in packages of 8 for 10+ years now.

I'm wondering if you would prefer all the metamagic feats to work like the "sudden" metamagic line.  As in if you purchase Metamagic Empower, it's essentially Sudden Empower so you will always be getting the benefit 1/day.  Thoughts?
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: KellKheraptis on August 11, 2009, 02:44:32 PM
Also don't forget the Spell Point variant if it's in play/available, as one of the two ways it works is 3/day free use.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on August 11, 2009, 03:14:14 PM
I'm so glad my current wizard is allowed to exploit all the rules :P

Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: KellKheraptis on August 11, 2009, 03:21:33 PM
I'm so glad my current wizard is allowed to exploit all the rules :P



Spellpoint Domain Wizard with flaws and DM houserule allowing Immediate Magic to work with DW ftw :)

For the record though, at the heart of the metamagic cost is it's impact upon action economy, I think.  Chain means one spell, many targets, for good or for ill, Persistent means less slots wasted, adding efficiency, and Quicken straight up adds actions per round (and that's not even counting tampering with time with all of those and Delay Spell).  As such, I think on some small level the designers anticipated people like us taking full advantage of that, though probably not to the level of free metamagic usable pretty much at will. 

Also, for the record on action economy: assuming a divine variant of the Swiftblade, imagine an Ur-Factoblade with two extra standard or move actions per round, who then persists his haste and adds a schism to boot (end drooling).
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: The Lurker on August 11, 2009, 03:36:57 PM
Also, for the record on action economy: assuming a divine variant of the Swiftblade, imagine an Ur-Factoblade with two extra standard or move actions per round, who then persists his haste and adds a schism to boot (end drooling).
Factotums pay for each action.  No need to waste levels in swiftblade when you could just take more font of inspiration.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Akalsaris on August 11, 2009, 03:42:21 PM
In core, I think the only metamagic worth taking is Extend and Quicken.  Extend's duration doubling is very handy at the mid-levels to ensure that a buff stays up all day or for a few hours, which is sometimes worth it for me.  At 5th level, for example, I'd extend a Rope Trick and pay the cost, and at 8th I'd extend a GMW for my party fighters so they have it all day.  Quicken, meanwhile, is the only way to get swift actions in core, which means that it's well worth the +4 LA that it has in my book.  It's pretty much my 9th or 12th level feat on every core caster.

Other core feats like widen are ridiculously over-valued, unfortunately, and here I agree with you.  

Outside of core, I think Persistent Spell is a problem, because nobody is going to pay +7 LA, but if you can get free (not discounted like Arcane Thesis, but free) metamagic (anima mage, incantatrix, ultimate magus, DMM, etc), then suddenly Persistent Spell is your first pick, and it can really break the game depending on the spells persisted.  So any game where metamagic is made easier has the 700pd gorilla persistent spell waiting in the corner.

what I dislike are the large number of metamagic feats that require a metamagic feat to take, like Invisible Spell and Sculpt Spell.  Those are both feats that I want to use at 1st or 3rd level, but I often can't fit them into builds until 6th or later because of that requirement.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Anklebite on August 11, 2009, 04:07:38 PM
IMO, metamagic spells are fine as is. the trick is to think about how you are going to use it. lets assume a 12-th level wizard with extend(+1), persist, quicken, sculpt and invisible spell metamagicks with NO metamagic cost reducers.  lets make it an abrupt jaunt focused human conjurer with enchantment, evocation and necromancy banned. int of 18+3(levels)+6(item)=27(+8) and a pretty well loaded boccab's blessed book. pearls of power are: 1xlvl1, 2xlvl2, 2xlvl3, and 1xlvl4 (this was chosen pretty much at random).  he also has the alcrious cogitation feat.

spells per day are [0:3+3/1:5+3/2:5+3/3:5+3/4:5+3/5:3+3/6:2+3]

a typical "spells prepared" list would be something like this: [metamagic] (C)onjurer spec

ZERO- [invisible] caltropsx2(c); [invisible] acid splash(c); launch item; silent portal; mage hand;
FIRST- [sculpted] [invisible] caltrops(c); [invisible] begneign transposition(c); [invisible] grease(c); silent image; feather fall; [invisible] enlarge person; [invisible] blood wind; [invisible] orb of sound;
SECOND- [extended][invisible] mage armor(c); [sculpted][invisible] grease(c); glitterdust(c); chain of eyes; ghoul glyphx2; [invisible] web; [invisible] invisibility;
THIRD- [invisible] sleet storm(c); [invisible] stinking cloud(c); [invisible] bands of steel(c); unluck; [invisible] girallion's blessing; [invisible] mass snake's swiftness; dispel magic; haste;
FOURTH- [invisible] evard's black tentacles(c); dimension door(c); [invisible] orb of fire(c); [invisible] greater invisibility; hallucitory terrain; [extended] greater magic weapon; polymorph; [invisible] enervation;
FIFTH- [sculpted] [invisible] black tentacles(c); [quickened] [invisible] grease(c); [invisible] wall of stone; [quickened] begneign transposition; contact other plane;
SIXTH- freezing fog(c); [quickened] [sculpted] grease(c); [invisible] freezing fog(c); disintigrate; illusory pit;

other gear of note: scroll of true seeing.


this was done only using PHB and SpC.  as you can see, all the metamagicks other than persist see alot of use. that is because at the moment, all we can do is persist prestidigitation(and it is better just to buy an unslotted ring of it, if you are going to use it that much).  included in this package of spells is a ton of BC and a few buffs and debuffs, along with some utility. and yes, those are [invisible] invis and greater invisibility.... because we can.  oh, and by the way, never underestimate a quickened sculpted grease.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: KellKheraptis on August 11, 2009, 04:08:55 PM
Also, for the record on action economy: assuming a divine variant of the Swiftblade, imagine an Ur-Factoblade with two extra standard or move actions per round, who then persists his haste and adds a schism to boot (end drooling).
Factotums pay for each action.  No need to waste levels in swiftblade when you could just take more font of inspiration.

It is for Ex miss chance, Ex time stop, free skirmish you can use with ease, and two extra standard actions.  And there's nothing stopping you from loading up on Font of Inspiration either...also bear in mind you have full access to IF abuse, and if you recall from reading the skill, unarmed strikes may be used with IF (in fact they are in the example of martial artists using their hands to break objects).  IF in a polymorphed form with extra actions every encounter and 9th level spells @ 20 BAB?  Sounds like WIN to me :)

Back on topic, I for the most part agree with the assessment of core metamagic, with the possible exception of Empower for blasters.  In 3.0 I'd say otherwise, as all the stat boosters were a numeric variable, but in 3.5 it's just not the case.  Other metamagic to look into would be Sanctum Spell for basically one level of free metamagic (handy with the Profession trick for spontaneous wizardry), Sculpt Spell (cheap and super handy...basically 4 times the usual area on a grease for example), and of course the perrenial favorites Invisible Spell and Occular Spell.

DISCLAIMER : This dinosaur doesn't run firefox well, so my spellchecker is nonexistent.  As such, being rather tired, there may be grammatical errors.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Endarire on August 11, 2009, 05:39:02 PM
The problem isn't at level 15+ where a wizard is already a demigod.  There are plenty of ways to lessen the costs.  A human wizard/incantatrix/halruaan elder with Metamagic School Focus and perhaps Easy Metamagic: Quicken can get 3 'free' quickens per day, but that requires a large part of a build to get to work.  For most people, it's hard not to be at least competent in one thing at level 20, be it tripping, accuracy, saves, or looking feeble while your friends kill stuff.

My complaint is at low levels- especially levels 1 to 5- where Extend Spell would be handy were it not so expensive.  I'd like to be able to cast an extended mirror image at level 3 when I'd benefit greatly from it.  I'd like to be able to cast an extended shield or an extended mage armor at level 1 for the same reasons.  By the current rules, I need to spend more resources than I'd like- and this is a big point- to make use of an otherwise useless feat.  Even Skill Focus: Concentration or Alertness or Toughness, while generally considered poor feats, have more immediate use, not requiring additional feats.

There's another matter of spell preps.  Are you so deprived of worthy level 5 and 6 spells that you'd regularly rather prepare a quickened grease or quickened glitterdust than a(n) teleport or acid fog or contingency or flesh to stone, assuming we're core-only?

I am of the stern belief that feats should be things people want to take that significantly increase the user's power.  If as a melee guy you took feats to increase your accuracy, damage, HP, AC, and number of attacks per action, you'd be building in a sensical direction.  Each feat would noticeably improve your ability in some dimension.  Medium and heavy armor should also have a place in optimization besides as a bad idea the vast majority of the time.  I also whole-heartedly reject the notion of requiring crap feats as prereqs to good stuff most the time.

Likewise, you as a caster should want to take metamagic feats since these feats should significantly aid you right now, not in 2 or 8 or 12 levels where you may never reach.  Magic is already powerful, but I'm talking especially at levels where even optimized (not cheesy) casters are spending a significant portion of their resources every day just so Joe NPC Warrior doesn't one shot them because he rolled a 5 for accuracy and average damage.  (Even worse is if Joe NPC Warrior rolls even average damage on a critical.  Sayonara, God wannabe!)  The majority of arcane casters shouldn't have to choose between going incantatrix or avoiding metamagic feats, just because metamagic in general is overpriced.

Even Divine Metamagic: Persistent requires 18 CHA or 10 CHA with Extra Turning/a Nightstick to use even once per day.  Unless you load up on Extra Turning, Nightsticks, or classes that grant turning, you shouldn't be able to persist every spell you want on demand.  Assuming our friendly neighborhood cleric starts with 10 CHA (and later 20 CHA from items) and 3 feats plus Extend Spell or Extra Turning from a domain, and spends every general general feat on Extra Turning, and can only benefit from 1 Nightstick per day, and doesn't multiclass or use metamagic cost reducers besides DMM, then at cleric20 he will have 41 turn or rebuke undead attempts, enough to fuel 5 DMM: Persists.  (If he never boosts his CHA beyond 10, he'll instead have 31 attempts, or enough for 4 DMM: Persists.)  Considering how common dispels are at that level, and how many resources the character to devoted to it, he should be able to do his thing!

From an incantatrix's perspective, you lack quick access but you potentially catch up quickly.  Let's assume a gray elf conjurer4/master conjurer1/incantatrix3.  If you're worth your smarts, your L1 base INT is 20 and your L8 base INT is 22.  You should have at least a +2 INT item (+1 Spellcraft) or reserve a fox's cunning casting (+2 Spellcraft).  You should have a masterwork tool (+2 Spellcraft) and of course, Skill Focus gets you +3.  You have +2 SC from Knowledge (arcana) synergy.and of course, 11 ranks.  Assuming 24 INT, you have +25 or 'merely' 35 if you take 10.

Why do I say 'merely?'  You probably went Ix so you could persist any spell of any level you could cast.  How unfortunate that you couldn't even make resistance last 24 hours.  (You'd need a result of 36 for that.)  No matter.  That's where skill boosting items come in.  An ECL8 character is expected to have about 27,000 gold worth of items.  Even assuming you spent no more than half this on a Spellcraft booster, you could get +12 for a total of 47 when taking 10.  That's pretty good, actually.  You can persist level 3 spells, or make level 2 spells last 48 hours, assuming you used persist then extend.  With only +1 more, you could persist level 4 spells.  You can do this to spells you or others cast 10 times per day, and you can do this to allied casters another 10 times per day.

At level 9 when you get that 1 more rank for a 48 result, you could spend s'more money (still no more than half your total) to get +1 more for 49.  If you instead splurged and spent every cent of the 9K you should expect to gain, you'd instead get a +15 item.  Your SC would then be 51.  This guarantees you can persist any spell of level 5 or less, which should be exactly what you can cast.  With 3 more Spellcraft, you can persist the next higher level spell or extend and persist the current spell level.  With 6 more, you can make the next spell level's spells last 48 hours.  Continue as desired.

Extrapolating this trend, at level 10, you could make any persistable spell you could cast last 48 hours and make your party light up with buffs like a Christmas tree.  This gets powerful faster with the Mercantile Background feat.

Again, this notion of binary metamagic annoys me.  Either you can apply it to your best spells for (near-)full effect, or you tend to avoid it.

And technically, feather fall is a core spell requiring an immediate action, if you use Spell Compendium's errata.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 11, 2009, 06:10:00 PM
Sculpt spell scales nicely across all levels.  
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Anklebite on August 11, 2009, 06:11:50 PM
a quickened grease/caltrops can work wonders in alot of situations.  true, you get that quickened sculpted grease at the cost of an acid fog, but if you cast both in the same turn, you can disable an entire army's assault.  metamagic is certainly not underpowered, as most of the spells you will use it on are already overpowered.  for example, grease. no reflex save, just a balance check.  2/3rds of class archtypes don't even have that on their list.  that one spell can disable several opponents completely, and trivialize many encounters.

now, take grease, then sculpt and quicken it. sure, it's a 6th level slot, but as a SWIFT ACTION, you can end an encounter. you get more than one 6th slot.  lets say you drop both acid fog AND our grease spell in the same round. the battle is now over: the opponent is unable to move.

in addition, a quickened grease is easy to toss out while running away or teleporting in.  quickening spells is well worth it when using scry-n-die, because it allows you to teleport in, AND drop a mass disable on the same turn.  and as for extend, there are some buffs that become something entirely different when thier duration is doubled.  the same is true of persist.

while we would all like for spellcasters to freely chuck around metamagic, it would be even more horrendously unbalanced than casters already are.  a complaint noted is that you have to make an entire BUILD around metamagic, but look closer. isn't the "metamagic abuser" incantatrix extremely overpowered? doesn't he/she blow through every encounter like a minigun through ricepaper?  imagine if an initiate of the sevenfold veil could do that too!
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: sonofzeal on August 11, 2009, 06:21:46 PM
Metamagic is more balanced for blasters.  Take Fireball/Lightning - short of a Disintegrate, there's very few higher level options that are really all that much better.  You're generally still doing CLd6, or less, with little to recommend the other blasting options.  Metamagic lets you fill out your spell tree with improved versions of Fireball/Lightning, letting you pass that CLd6 limit or making the spells more useful in a variety of ways.  Compare an Empowered Fireball to a Cone of Cold, or a Maximized Lightning with a Chain Lightning, or a Widened Empowered Fireball with a Polar Ray.

Now, all of that's pretty well rendered moot once you assume that blasting is a suboptimal strategy.  But I believe that's what they were thinking when they designed it.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Anklebite on August 11, 2009, 06:24:26 PM
whatever do you mean sub-optimal? blasting works fine! you just gotta pick evocation as one of your banned schools, and speciallize in either conjuration or illusion.... ScM, for example, is a great blasting PrC!  :lmao
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: KellKheraptis on August 11, 2009, 06:30:42 PM
Here's an extension of the metamagic utility this thread is debating : a list of metaspells.  I'm talking Arcane Spellsurge, Arcane Fusion, Mnemonic Enhancer, Mage's Lubrication, Spectral Hand, the spells that emulate or simulate metamagic, and those are just off the top of my head.  Take my warsnake for example : who needs reach spell when all my touch spells just became ranged touch with Spectral Hand?  That's massive utility, and suddenly persisting it (with aid or not) is really useful.  I need a bunch of spells out fast?  Drop that ASS with a GAF and AF inside it (pun intended).  All touch spells?  Sweet, poor bastard ain't gonna get a save against the lot of em since I persisted Spectral Hand.  And if it's not a possible candidate, there are ways around that.  4 total feats to uber-rape just about anything with ephemeral tentacle hands sounds pretty decent, and all of them will scale well (Extend, Persist, Ocular, Invisible, well maybe 5, to enter said PrC).  I guess ultimately this amounts to another action economy rant, but I would think it applies universally.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Endarire on August 11, 2009, 09:43:43 PM
While I may be able to end an encounter with a metamagicked low level spell, I can probably also end said encounter with a spell of equal or lower level.  Why acid fog foes when I can cloudkill or Evard's black tentacles or even glitterdust or slow?

There's also the matter of how quickly I pump out spells.  I may be able to solo a fight if I cast 2 spells in the first round- or 3 if I use my contingency- but I don't want my friends to leave me because I'm doing everything -for- them.

Regardless, if I'm spending more than 3 spells per fight not counting long-term buffs, something is amiss.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Aliment on August 11, 2009, 10:14:55 PM
I've never played in a game with Persist so I would have no idea how often you get dispelled (really DMM:Persist is one of the easiest styles to counter).  When it comes to metamagic I think the best use of it is on those spells that take it really well.  Really we should have a list of spells that are good candidates for Arcane Thesis due to their easily metamagiked nature.

Something like:
-Magic Missile
-Scorching Ray
-Enervate
-Divine Power
-Fireball
-Etc

Really blasty spells get the most Metamagic built for them.  Buffs only get Extend and Persist.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Anklebite on August 12, 2009, 01:00:56 AM
[spoiler]
While I may be able to end an encounter with a metamagicked low level spell, I can probably also end said encounter with a spell of equal or lower level.  Why acid fog foes when I can cloudkill or Evard's black tentacles or even glitterdust or slow?

There's also the matter of how quickly I pump out spells.  I may be able to solo a fight if I cast 2 spells in the first round- or 3 if I use my contingency- but I don't want my friends to leave me because I'm doing everything -for- them.

Regardless, if I'm spending more than 3 spells per fight not counting long-term buffs, something is amiss.
[/spoiler]

what do you do then when your opponents are not all on one side? how do you react when nausiated? what if, in order to escape from something horrible, you NEED to use the run action, and have to disable some enemies at the same time? like, oh, say, dealing with a force with a few infantry coming from one side, a line of archers behind them, and calvalry coming in from the flank? these things DO happen, you know. in that case, quickened grease stops the calvalry, and an acid fog stops the footmen and archers, allowing you to escape if need be. 
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: JaronK on August 12, 2009, 01:07:52 AM
I will say that I've occasionally used Extend Spell without reduction... but then again, it was to extend an already free persisted spell.  Extending your DMM Persisted spells gives you twice as many of them per day!

Otherwise though, it's tough, because metamagics are usually too weak without cost reducers, but if you make them actually good then you've just made the most powerful classes around even more powerful, and that's not a good plan.  So I'm not sure there's any good solution.

Meanwhile, I've also used metamagics a lot with a blaster Sorcerer... and yes, I used Evocation.  Wings of Flurry to be precise, of course.  I did have Arcane Thesis (Wings of Flurry) but still had the level go up from Maximize Spell, Empower Spell, and Twin Spell, and it was of course worth it... but that's one spell and a pretty special case (yay for uncapped rediculously powerful blast spells).

JaronK
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 12, 2009, 01:30:31 AM
[spoiler]
While I may be able to end an encounter with a metamagicked low level spell, I can probably also end said encounter with a spell of equal or lower level.  Why acid fog foes when I can cloudkill or Evard's black tentacles or even glitterdust or slow?

There's also the matter of how quickly I pump out spells.  I may be able to solo a fight if I cast 2 spells in the first round- or 3 if I use my contingency- but I don't want my friends to leave me because I'm doing everything -for- them.

Regardless, if I'm spending more than 3 spells per fight not counting long-term buffs, something is amiss.
[/spoiler]

what do you do then when your opponents are not all on one side? how do you react when nausiated? what if, in order to escape from something horrible, you NEED to use the run action, and have to disable some enemies at the same time? like, oh, say, dealing with a force with a few infantry coming from one side, a line of archers behind them, and calvalry coming in from the flank? these things DO happen, you know. in that case, quickened grease stops the calvalry, and an acid fog stops the footmen and archers, allowing you to escape if need be. 
Wall of stone.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: TheWordSlinger on August 12, 2009, 01:41:18 AM
[spoiler]
While I may be able to end an encounter with a metamagicked low level spell, I can probably also end said encounter with a spell of equal or lower level.  Why acid fog foes when I can cloudkill or Evard's black tentacles or even glitterdust or slow?

There's also the matter of how quickly I pump out spells.  I may be able to solo a fight if I cast 2 spells in the first round- or 3 if I use my contingency- but I don't want my friends to leave me because I'm doing everything -for- them.

Regardless, if I'm spending more than 3 spells per fight not counting long-term buffs, something is amiss.
[/spoiler]

what do you do then when your opponents are not all on one side? how do you react when nausiated? what if, in order to escape from something horrible, you NEED to use the run action, and have to disable some enemies at the same time? like, oh, say, dealing with a force with a few infantry coming from one side, a line of archers behind them, and calvalry coming in from the flank? these things DO happen, you know. in that case, quickened grease stops the calvalry, and an acid fog stops the footmen and archers, allowing you to escape if need be. 
Wall of stone.
Invisible Wall of Stone
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Anklebite on August 12, 2009, 01:54:10 AM
[spoiler]
While I may be able to end an encounter with a metamagicked low level spell, I can probably also end said encounter with a spell of equal or lower level.  Why acid fog foes when I can cloudkill or Evard's black tentacles or even glitterdust or slow?

There's also the matter of how quickly I pump out spells.  I may be able to solo a fight if I cast 2 spells in the first round- or 3 if I use my contingency- but I don't want my friends to leave me because I'm doing everything -for- them.

Regardless, if I'm spending more than 3 spells per fight not counting long-term buffs, something is amiss.
[/spoiler]

what do you do then when your opponents are not all on one side? how do you react when nausiated? what if, in order to escape from something horrible, you NEED to use the run action, and have to disable some enemies at the same time? like, oh, say, dealing with a force with a few infantry coming from one side, a line of archers behind them, and calvalry coming in from the flank? these things DO happen, you know. in that case, quickened grease stops the calvalry, and an acid fog stops the footmen and archers, allowing you to escape if need be. 
Wall of stone.
Invisible Wall of Stone
quickening a grease spell and sculpting it so that it is right in front of the wall of stone ensures hilarity. no matter what, you can always use a quickened grease. its like jello: there is always room for more jello.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: Hijax on August 17, 2009, 11:29:29 AM
[spoiler]
While I may be able to end an encounter with a metamagicked low level spell, I can probably also end said encounter with a spell of equal or lower level.  Why acid fog foes when I can cloudkill or Evard's black tentacles or even glitterdust or slow?

There's also the matter of how quickly I pump out spells.  I may be able to solo a fight if I cast 2 spells in the first round- or 3 if I use my contingency- but I don't want my friends to leave me because I'm doing everything -for- them.

Regardless, if I'm spending more than 3 spells per fight not counting long-term buffs, something is amiss.
[/spoiler]

what do you do then when your opponents are not all on one side? how do you react when nausiated? what if, in order to escape from something horrible, you NEED to use the run action, and have to disable some enemies at the same time? like, oh, say, dealing with a force with a few infantry coming from one side, a line of archers behind them, and calvalry coming in from the flank? these things DO happen, you know. in that case, quickened grease stops the calvalry, and an acid fog stops the footmen and archers, allowing you to escape if need be. 
Wall of stone.
Invisible Wall of Stone
quickening a grease spell and sculpting it so that it is right in front of the wall of stone ensures hilarity. no matter what, you can always use a quickened grease. its like jello: there is always room for more jello.
explosive grease spells ensure you never run out of lulz.
twin greater arcane fusion with twin explosive grease spells+quickened telekinesis=an opponent caught helplessly flying around until he makes his ref save.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: woodenbandman on August 17, 2009, 02:00:31 PM
Personally I like Bards as blasters.

Bard 8/Virtuoso2/Sublime Chord 2/Virtuoso +8.

There is a spell that gives creatures that aren't immune to sonic damage vulnerability to sonic damage. If I recall, there is no save. Cast that, then just go to town with orbs of sound.
Title: Re: Metamagic: I've got it. Why can't I use it?
Post by: pfooti on August 17, 2009, 02:24:04 PM
Frankly, I've got similar problems with metamagic. First, that it has this weird binary feel to it. If metamagic were free and strictly better, you'd use it for everything. As it is, it's neither free nor strictly better, so you avoid using it at all for the most part. When you don't actually pay for it (either via class features or magic items), metamagic can make things very interesting. Many of my casters, for example, carry around an empowered spellshard attuned to ray of enfeeblement. That's an encounter-bender right there (not strictly a breaker, but definitely a bender).

I think it stems mainly from the relatively broken magic system that 3.5 has in general. Despite the feel of it, there's no application of universal design principles. A well-designed magic system would do two things: first, it would better-quantify effects and correlate them to power levels. You should be able to "annoy" foes at this level, "disable" them at another level. Broken magic comes into 3.5 when you can get access to stuff early due to poorly-designed spells (I bet the designers thought of glitterdust as anti-hiding/invis magic, not an encounter-ending will-save or suck AoE at SECOND LEVEL), or when you can accelerate the power curve. Blasting might be an officially inefficient use of spells, but an arcane thesis'ed searing blistering flaming explosive empowered fireball can do quite a lot of "battlefield control" in a 20' radius (lots of corpses = difficult terrain).

Honestly, there's just not enough variables in play here, all we have are save DCs and spell slots. If it were more like psionics (power points and psionic focus), you could do a bit more. But imagine a system where a metamagicked fireball had a lower save DC. Or one where there was something else - you needed to make a spellcraft check or whatever, similar to truenaming but not stupid. The core system doesn't play well with metamagic because there's not enough ways to pay the price for using it.

What I've been seeing in practice is that people avoid metamagic in general, but definitely use it on the one or two spells they have as their "signature" move. The fire sorcerer has AT:Fireball, the dread necromancer has AT:vampiric touch, and so on. To be honest, this probably ends up working out okay. I wish wizard casting was a more elegant system, but I don't think we need to give them MORE power in the current environment.