Author Topic: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard  (Read 12327 times)

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DerWille

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Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« on: November 07, 2009, 12:17:33 PM »
 There's a bit of story to this. My friends and I were going to play a game of 3.5 and I was told that it going to be SRD + Completes and anything else I had to run through the DM. That was fair and I knew my friends were the easily shocked and annoyed by hardcore min/maxing so I went with a fear based Wizard. Nothing over powered. If you want, I can show you the build. Anyways, he walks in the door and I'm told "Core only" and forced to make a character in 5 minutes. Here's what I came up with:

28 Point Buy
Specialist Conjurer 1
Banned Schools: Evocation and Enchatment

Str: 8
Dex: 12 (+4)
Con: 14 (+6)
Int: 18 (+16)
Wis: 8
Cha: 10 (+2)

Feats:
Scribe Scroll
Spell Focus: Conjuration
Greater Spell Focus: Conjuration

Spell Book:
Level 1

Conj:
Grease
Obscuring Mist
Mage Armor

Illus:
Color Spray
Silent Image

Trans:
Enlarge Person

Necro:
Ray of Enfeeblement

 Where do you guys suggest I go from here? The only two PrCs open to me it looks like are Archmage and Loremaster. My party mates consist of a Cleric and a Rogue/Fighter and we just leveled up to level 2. What two new spells do you recommend?


Tshern

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 12:22:40 PM »
Depending on your DM, Shield might be good. I have faced a lot of Magic missile mages at low levels in my online games, so I'd consider that if your DM tends to bomb you with MM.

Protection from X is also a good, good choice.

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DerWille

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 12:32:02 PM »
Yeah, those are looking like good spell choices. I'll be sure to take them for my next level. Shield could definitely protect the Rogue/Fighter.

 Also, I was looking through the DMG and saw the Red Wizard prestige class. I was thinking of going for it. I can retrain out GSF: Conj for Tattoo Focus: Conj then for my 3rd level feat get Extend Spell and 5th level get Heighten spell. Then I can enter the PrC and pick up GSF: Conj again at level 6. Does that seem like a good idea?

Alastar

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 12:41:53 PM »
Circle magic is abusive.  If not however, I'd ask wether the increased caster level on conjuration spells is worth the additional school loss...

If you were going for something that really gives out a bang on caster levels, like evocation (and even then...)  then I'D say yes.  But now, aside from evard's black tentacles, not a lot of your spells will benefit from increased CL

Your evards black tentacles would be awesome though!!!

Tshern

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 12:47:44 PM »
Shield is personal actually...

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DerWille

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 01:01:36 PM »
What piqued my interest in Red Wizard was the extra DC from Tattoo focus and the few Spell Powers to increase the duration of my battlefield control and summons. If the battles last night were any indication (It took us 14 turns to kill a zombie bug bear because the Cleric dropped in a single hit and the Rogue kept rolling six's) I might need the most badass Evard's Black Tentacles I can get my hands on.

Right now it seems like the three best options

1) Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/Archmage 5
2) Wizard 5/Loremaster 10/Archmage 5
3) Wizard 5/Red Wizard 5/Loremaster 5/Archmage 5

 I would go for Thaumaturgist, but I can't get a hold of Lesser Planar Ally.

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Alastar

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2009, 01:16:31 PM »
Loremaster is decent, but you need level 7 for it.

DerWille

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2009, 01:31:06 PM »
Ah, I forgot the skill points. Another good catch.

That's what I'm sort of frustrated with. There only seems to be a bunch of decent options. The min/maxer in me cries a little.

Aliment

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 02:20:44 PM »
I have a hard time simpathizing when the most powerful class is told "Core Only".  If you were a Bard or Fighter or Especially *shiver* a Monk, than this might have some difficulty.

Just make sure to back enough Summon Monsters/Battlefield control spells and you'll be fine.  I'd be surprised if the DM let you play a Red Wizard due to the campaign specificness, and Archmage drains your higher level spell slots so it's only worth a few levels.  Plus your not a Sorc, you do gain feats (Yeah I know that means "Whee! I can now use metamagic on my weakest spells!" but whatever).

Sorry to sound so dismissive, but com'on your a Wizard for pete's sake! Just survive the tough times of HP<10 and you'll be fine.
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DerWille

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2009, 02:43:34 PM »
Normally, I'd agree, but I think there's two things behind it. The first is that he believes "core only" is balanced. The second, it feels like a jab at me. Before we started yesterday I specifically told him exactly what I wanted to do, "I want to play with fear effects." I told him exactly what I wanted from the two books I requested, he even said ok to the two books I requested. Hell, he thought one of my ideas was cool. Then when he walks through the door he completely changes his mind? Sorry, I get annoyed when people do that to me. If he was up front about it, that'd be a different story.

 Also, I totally agree on the Fighter, Bard, and Monk thing. That's why I didn't pick them. They'd only be good for a couple of levels then drop off. My very first D&D game was a core only game where I was a monk. I felt useless real fast.

 You're right on the Red Wizard though, I might not get it, but I'll talk to him about it.

I'm at 9 HP right now, I rolled yet another 1 when I did my hp last night.

Alastar

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2009, 02:47:30 PM »
Why are you rolling hp, but using point buy?

Both stats and hp rolling are randomised methods of deciding stats that are crucial to your character throughout his whole career, and should never be submitted to the fickle hands of fate.  Also, both the methods are disparate and can cause friction between players since one player will inadvertadly roll better than the rest for his stats.  Or hP, resulting in the elven wizard having more hp than the dwarf barbarian, sometimes.


Take the suggested average of 2.5 for a d4, in the players handbook.


DerWille

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2009, 02:55:48 PM »
Because that's how we're doing it? I honestly don't mind rolling for hp.

 I understand your point about creating a disparity between of hp between characters, but this group doesn't seem to care about it all that much. And I definitely agree about rolling for stats. It can cause some real friction when one character's highest stat is 12 and other has 3 18's. I typically prefer 32 point buys and a custom stat array.

Alastar

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2009, 03:03:35 PM »
alright, it's just, it sucks when you have a good character that is taken out of the game by rolling low on hp all the time.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2009, 03:30:51 PM »
It looks like a decent start. I'd have take Improved Initiative over GSF, but different strokes for different folks. And yeah, I can understand your frustration with the DMs fickleness, but you're still a wizard in a core only game. You should have no problem dominating.

I'd have suggested going with a gnome, and getting a riding dog for a mount, also. The extra Con and small size are awesome, and the +1 DC on Illusions doesn't hurt, either.
[spoiler]
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Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
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[/spoiler]

Midnight_v

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2009, 05:17:40 PM »
Quote from: PhaedrusXY link
It looks like a decent start. I'd have take Improved Initiative over GSF, but different strokes for different folks. And yeah, I can understand your frustration with the DMs fickleness, but you're still a wizard in a core only game. You should have no problem dominating.

I'd have suggested going with a gnome, and getting a riding dog for a mount, also. The extra Con and small size are awesome, and the +1 DC on Illusions doesn't hurt, either.
Yeah... regardless of anything else I think improved initiative would be better.
What I'm worrying about is that this dm is going to cheat on his saves. He... he is fucking over you. People are saying "oh its cool, you're a wizard" which is true but... there's a hint of "kick the optimizer" lingering there, and you know it.
I don't know if you're stuck with it but... I have a feeling you should do something interesting like not where wizard robes I mean dress like a monk or a rouge or whatever. So when he starts targeting "the mage" constantly its not you that's getting shot... reasonably.
There's some other stuff too... but yeah improved init, if its not to late, plus it maybe time to consider the metagame. "Kill the wizard!"
You're spell selection is good, though so good luck with that.
Hey is everyone using the same "core only" rule?
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DerWille

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2009, 05:48:36 PM »
PhaedrusXY: The extra con would be nice and the illusion DCs would be awesome if I could Shadowcraft Mage/Nightmare Spinner it. It's just that... I hate gnomes. It's entirely taste driven. Instead of a riding dog, would a light horse work just as well? It's a large creature, but it's 1x2 instead of 2x2.

Mightnight_V: I don't think he's that vindictive. There is a hint of kick the optimizer, but he doesn't fudge saves. Every single spell last night connected.
I think that he's scared that anything outside of core is going to horrifically destroy his game, which I can understand. And yes, everyone is core only.

 Hmm, is improved Initiative better early on or later? I'm not sure if I can change it now, but I was thinking of getting it after I max my DCs as much as I can. So it'd be either level 3 or 9.

ninjarabbit

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2009, 10:07:32 PM »
There's only 3 feats a core wizard needs: improved initative, empower spell, and quicken spell

wizard10/loremaster5/archmage5 is about as good as it gets. Just take tke Spell-like ability arcana for a good 4th or 5th level spell like polymorph and take quicken spell-like ability as your 18th level feat.

Treantmonklvl20

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2009, 10:32:34 PM »
The most broken stuff for Wizards is all in Core, so I don't think your DM is going to achieve what he's hoping for.

Agreed about Improved Initiative, it's a winner

You've got SF Conjuration, so Augment Summoning is a no brainer too.

Loremaster is an OK prestige class, but nothing special.  Red Wizard is a double edged sword, but you could probably live without Necromancy.

You should have no problem finding good spells in Core.  If the core spells had appeared in any splatbook, it would be known as the splatbook that broke the game.

Evard's
Wish
Time Stop
Glitterdust
Solid Fog

anyways, you'll do fine...
If at first you don't succeed - maybe failure is your style.

Havok4

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2009, 11:39:59 PM »
Don't forget solid fog and the various image spells.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Optimizing a Core Only Wizard
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2009, 12:04:22 AM »
PhaedrusXY: The extra con would be nice and the illusion DCs would be awesome if I could Shadowcraft Mage/Nightmare Spinner it. It's just that... I hate gnomes. It's entirely taste driven. Instead of a riding dog, would a light horse work just as well? It's a large creature, but it's 1x2 instead of 2x2.
It's better for transportation, but worse in every other way. A war trained riding dog is cheaper than a warhorse, and has a trip attack like a wolf. The barding for it is cheaper, also. And it can eat things you kill. ;)

Flavor is mutable. Not every gnome is a crazy tinker. The forest gnome in the MM1 is 10 lbs of kick ass in a 1 lb package, and has quite different flavor than normal gnomes, also.

Quote
Hmm, is improved Initiative better early on or later? I'm not sure if I can change it now, but I was thinking of getting it after I max my DCs as much as I can. So it'd be either level 3 or 9.
It's always better. :P
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]