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Wizard troubles...

Discussion in 'Neverwinter Nights (Classic)' started by Faraaz, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Faraaz Gems: 26/31
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    I've got a lvl 27 Wizard I'm taking through Tomb of Horrors solo.

    1) I chose the Automatic Quicken Spell (I-III) feats for her, but she can't cast Isaac's Greater Missile Storm as a lvl 6 spell, or Quickened Horrid Wilting as a lvl 8 spell.

    What gives? Am I getting something wrong here? How does the Automatic Metamagic feat system work? I'd appreciate it if someone could give me a complete breakdown of how it works exactly.

    2) I'm having a tough time deciding between Wizards and Sorcs for this module. Sorcs are way more powerful due to the spontaneous casting option, but Wizards are a lot more versatile and they get the bonus feats. Which would you personally recommend and why?

    3) Wizards can also be multiclassed with Rogue, Assassin etc for awesome bonuses, whereas Sorcs only make half decent RDD's...Can someone suggest some nice multiclasses with the Caster levels being a HUGE majority? (>30) I'd want some for both Sorcerer and Wizard.

    4) What use is there for Empower Spell when I have Maximise spell, especially once I'm past the lvl 21 mark? Are the two different? For example, does Max. spell give you 12 dmg per missile for IGMS, with Empower spell giving you 9? Or does Empower Spell give you extra missiles as well? I'd appreciate a rundown of this as well...

    5) Can you name your top three spells for spell lvls 6-9? Are the Bigby line of spells any good? I'm afraid I'm at a loss to use the HoTU spells effectively, and I still use my standard spell selection from the NWN OC.

    6) Pointers to an FAQ or Guide which has microanalysed and compared the arcane and/or divine spells would also be really welcome!

    Phew...that's quite a lot, but I really need some help with all this.

    Cheers.
     
  2. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    4) The main use for Empower Spell is that it occupies only 2 slots higher, rather than 3 slots for Maximise, so you might be sacrificing a less powerful spell. Empower multiplies the normal outcome by 1.5, whereas Maximise takes the maximum roll under the normal spell. Empower is therefore a bit of a gamble because you still have to roll the dice
     
  3. Colthrun

    Colthrun Walk first in the forest and last in the bog Veteran

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    [​IMG] I think can help you with your first question.

    IIRC, Automatic Quicken Spell works automatically. There is no need to choose any spell using the "Quicken Spell" feat, as you had to do with standard quickened spells.

    Taking the Automatic Quicken Spell feat once will allow your spellcaster to cast the first spell of level 3 or lower of every round as if it had been prepared with the quickened spell feat. The second spell of that same round will not be affected. But the next 3rd level (or lower) spell you cast the following round will be quickened.

    Taking the feat a second time, will also affect spells of 6 or lower level. Taking it a third time it will affect all spell levels.
     
  4. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Correct with Automatic Quicken Spell. The trouble with it is that it does not stack with Haste, making it utterly useless. Even if you do not have access to a parma-haste item, such as boots of speed, your 3rd level spells are too weak to affect enemies in any significant way anymore, and Haste is lasting quite a while at those levels, even if it's just round/level. For a few slots of 3rd level spell, you're saving 3 epic feats. If these two effects would stack, it would make them absolutely needed.

    2)
    Myself, i prefer Wizards by far. I do not know the module, though, so if it's completely hack&slash, sorcerers are probably a better choice, due to being a living bomb. Wizards, though, get a lot more of skill points, making them useful in other areas. Rogue is the natural choice here and there. Of course, beyond second level there's really nothing you want from a rogue, so there's that. Decide how much spellcasting power you're willing to sacrifice for rogue levels, to keep the edge in roguish skills. I dont recommend any more than 5 at most, though. 2 is best, but cant really be expected of a solo player going from 1 to 40.

    3)
    If you want to go for Automatic Still Spell, you'd want to take a warrior level for proficencies. Rogue, being the obvious secondary class for a wizard, and a Paladin for Good sorcerers. Both secondary classes left at minimum, you want to retain your caster level as high as possible.

    4)
    If you did not take Empower spell pre-epic, dont take it now. As much as i've build wizards, they're usualy left with 2 feats after the most useful ones are taken, pre-epic. There's toughness, empower and Extend spell feats that immediately come to mind. It's a matter of taste. After lvl20, though, feats are way too scarce to use them on a non-epic feat.
    Spellcaster needs his spells to work, so he must be good enough to break through any defences his opponents are allowed against his spells. First is Spell Resistance, but beyond Spell Penetration string, there's nothing else but caster level. Second layer of defence are saving throws. Those are calculated like this: 10 + spell level + int/cha/wis modifier + Spell Focus feats.
    So, you'll want to take Epic spell penetration and Epic Spell Focus into prefered schools (Evocation, illusion and necromany, usualy). What feats are left are best all spent on Great Intelligence. Well made wizard ends with maximum int possible, wiithout really losing anything. 18 at start, +10 from levels and +10 from Great Intelligence. Then there's bonus limit of +12, including any effect other than natural ability (anything that adds green color to a stat). In the end, you have 50 intelligence, more spellslots you know what to do with and ridiculous spells DC. That's what a wizard should do :grin:


    5)
    Bigby's spells rock, everyone of them. As long as the critter isnt immune to paralysation. Offering no saving throw, they really do offer a feeling of reliability. Other than that, your main weapon should be Isaac's greater missile storm. Normal and maximised. 240 damage with no saving throw. Also, being a magical damage type, most of your enemies wont have any resistance, like it's too often with elemental types. Unfortunately, the spell's overwhelming power is well known, so some builders may have included some magical damage reduction in their modules. Most of your lvl9 direct damage spell slots should be filled with this. Also, an elder elemental, fully buffed with everything you can cast is also quite a tank, if you're without a henchman. There's also Wail of Banshee and Weird, excelent spells for weeding out minions under a boss. Both should be augmented by Greater spell focus, and later epic spell focus. 7th level - Shadow shield, Finger of Death come to mind. 8th level, there's not much use beyond that one that does up to 25d8 magical damage, but for the world of it, i cant remember the name right now. Also a 8th lvl Bigby one.

    Well, shot away if you want to know anything else :)
     
  5. Faraaz Gems: 26/31
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    Thanks everyone...that really cleared it up. Just to make sure though...if I take Automatic Still Spell I-III feats, then I can cast spells as normal while wearing full plate mail and tower shield with NO arcane spell failure? Awesome...I can think of a low dex, high AC build with this.

    I was doing some testing last night...and found a few interesting points about Empower Spell.

    -An empowered Fireball does more damage than a Maximised Fireball! The latter does 60 damage, whereas the Empowered fireball did 70-odd damage at one point!

    -An empowered Greater Missile Storm does more damage per missile...i.e an Empowered IGMS' missile can do 14-15 damage, whereas a Maximised IGMS missile does 12 damage only. Of course, Empowered GMS does less damage on average because the other missiles have to be rolled and those are usually less than 12.

    -An Empowered Spell Mantle gives you the same, if not MORE benefit of a Greater Spell Mantle! Maximised Spell Mantle does not!

    Can anyone think of any other applications for the two feats? Extend Spell, Empower Spell and Maximise Spell are rocking so far!

    @Gothmog: What do you mean Bigby spell have no saving throw? The ones on lvl 7,8,9 do have a saving throw...it says partial fortitude in the spell description. I can see how they can be good for boss fights and mages, but it wouldn't make sense to memorise them during a normal dungeon crawl.

    Also, another question...do Endure Elements, Protection from Elements, Elemental Shield, Energy Buffer, Resist Elements ALL stack? It would be WICKED if I could stack them all, then create a MASSIVE kill zone with Acid Fog, Cloudkill, Incendiary Cloud etc...I'll be able to avoid most of it with Evasion and Boots of Reflexes +X, and what I do take, my buffs will protect me from...whereas the critters BURN!! :evil:
     
  6. Colthrun

    Colthrun Walk first in the forest and last in the bog Veteran

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    A good, simple use of feats like "Silent Spell" (the standard version) is to be able to cast more instances of the same spell if needed, by sacrificing a higher spell level slot. An example: When fighting undead, the only level 2 spells that I use are Bull's Strength and Flame Blade for my henchperson. The rest of available slots are normally used with Silent versions of Magic Missile or Burning Hands.

    I think the "only the first spell of each round" rule counts for any Automatic feat.

    IIRC, elemental protections do not stack in NWN. Only the highest protection is considered.
     
  7. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I think Still spell makes every spell automaticaly castable with armor check penality. I cant say i've really tried heavy AC wizard, might be worth a try.

    Empowered spells can be more effective, but it's not consistent. Maximized spell you can rely on to do a set amount of damage, whereas empower is more of a wild card. Now, if only there was Luck in NwN as in IWD games... then it might be really cool.
    Empower spell usualy comes handy when you have a spell you want to augment, but 3 spell levels higher is another spell you want to have memorized many times. Which is pretty often with a wizard, when you know your enemy. For example there's a cold vulnerable monster somewhere. Ice storm is the best cold spell, so normal and maximised would be memorized, but it might not be enough. Arcane lvl7 spell doesnt have any cold damage i can think of right now, so empower would be handy.

    Extend spell on Spell mantles and other round/level protection really makes them longlasting for a 40 wizard. Some AoE spells also have duration, so those could be extended as well. I've never really bothered with persistent AoE spells, too low a damage, and the creep flies off it in the first round.


    For the Area of Death idea, you have some good stuff there. Usualy it's done with a high con wizard, protected by anything possible and Death armor, Elemental Shield and Mestil's Acid Sheats on. Literaly chunks fly off melee monsters trying to hack at you. It's also extremely risky, since when your protections wear off, you can be dead in half a second. Unfortunately, the only worthwhile protection that does not rely on your level is Etheral something. And it only has +3 DR. Anything beyond +3 goes right through it. Stoneskin, Greater stoneskin and Premonition all have caster level limits to the amount of DR it can take. It's also rightdown useless in a very high magic worlds, where normal monsters posses weapons of +6 or more enchantments. Usualy also extreme saving throws.

    So, yes, that tactics does work. AoE spells around you are another extra. Try to find if those stack, casting a few Incendiary clouds at a same spot. I know quite a few of best Druid spells do and it's awsome. Then you cast Elemental Shield, which raises your fire resistance to 50%. Damage resistance is calculated before damage reduction. So, your Energy buffer will only have to endure half the fire damage per round. Have a few memorized and cast them while in that zone. There's really nothing else you need to do with shields up besides healing yourself when needed and protecting against your zone.
    Unless someone comes with Gust of wind and blows your whole zone to dust. :p


    Checked the Bigby's spells. 8th level variant has a fortitude save against stun, otherwise it still does damage normaly. I dont know why Crushing (9th) says it offers a fortitude saving throw, when it in fact does not.
    As i understand it, it's magical source of a physical attack. So the way to resist it would be simple brutaly high strenght to counter bull rushes?
    I've only seen monsters shrug it off when it went past Spell resistance and the enemy had no Paralyse immunity. I do think immunity to mind spells also renders you immune to daze effect 8th and 6th variants of Bigby's spells have.
     
  8. Chimera Gems: 5/31
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    The most popular way to multiclass a sorcerer is to take 1 level of paladin for the huge saving throw boost. The RDD is useful for fighter classess (classic being the fighter/ bard / 10 RDD).

    There is not that much difference in power because many spells are overpowered and so are the casters (IGMS, Bigby's, Harm and Heal leading the way).
     
  9. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I'm also a fan of the Arcane Archer as a multiclass for both Wizards and Sorcerers, but especially wizards who tend to run out of offensive spells more quickly so can really benefit from some back up from their bow. The fireball arrow is especially cool because it doesn't seem to count as a 'spell' so bypasses that ever-annoying spell resistance that so many enemies have.
     
  10. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    The problem with casters is that they're pretty dead set about their strenghts. There's little else than level to increase your spell power. Just about any other class benefits more from items than wizard/sorcerer. The only "need" items are the ones that increase int/cha and offer parma-haste. Sure, all the others are very handy to have, but a wizard without items will not lose nearly as much as, say a fighter. Even monks rely heavily on items for the most part. AB, elemental damage, AC,...

    So, when you get into a world with +12 items lying all around, you're more or less screwed. As soon as saving throws exceed 35, you'll affect them only half the time, even if provided you're at your best, with a full 50 in casting attribute and casting a lvl9 spell with epic spell focus (10+20+9+6=45DC)
    And that's the limit you cant exceed.
     
  11. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Gothmog, can you explain the second paragraph of your last post? I don't understand what you are talking about. Are you saying that Wizards are screwed?
     
  12. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    I think he was saying that wizards are kind of limited at high levels (especially in a world with high magic items). Thing is, the DC of your spells can't increase high enough so you beat (consistently) the saving throws of other creatures.

    You can see that in the HotU, too. Any decent opponent will have saves high enough that using spells like fireball or chain lightning is useless. So most people will rely on high damage, no saves spells, like IGMS.

    About that business with damage from Empowered spells having the potential of dealing more damage than maximized: that actually is more likely to happen for low level spells like Magic missile or fireball. It will happen very rarely for IGMS or chain lightning.
     
  13. Faraaz Gems: 26/31
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    @Khaavern: Yep, that's because Maximised spells give you a constant value, whereas with Empowered spells, you still have to roll, so you could roll maybe 10d6 maximised for 60 dmg whereas empowered fireball would be 15d6 rolled...which gives you a theoretical max of 90 dmg...

    Hmm...I wish there were more spell protection/removal spells such as Spell Turning, Spell Trap and other goodies like Project Image, Simulacrum etc in NWN.

    The magic system feels so basic...

    Okay...I've got another doubt.

    I want to build the HIGHEST AC wizard possible. I'm pretty sure this involves Epic Mage Armor, Epic Warding and buffing.

    My doubt however...should I go for high Dex build with items and then buff with spells, or should I go for Heavy Plate Mail with Tower Shield in conjunction with Auto-still feats?

    And if so, in both scenarios...what is the HIGHEST AC build for Wizard possible? Does Palemaster lvl 10 help with this?
     
  14. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    When you're into AC, you'll have to make a sacrifice between wizardly power and AC. There's a topic a little bit down about Pale masters, linking to another dating a while back. The idea is great, but your wizard is left with practicaly incompetent spellcasting in the end.
    About the Death armor + Elemental shield + Acid Sheath strategy, pale master 10 would help a lot by protecting you from critical hits. It's not worth 10 levels solely for that, though, since you can cast Shapeshift (9th lvl) to change into an iron golem with critical immunity.

    Sadly, none of the standard prestige classes help a wizard in what matters - spellcasting. RDD is unstuitable for wizards and adds only flavour to sorcerers.

    Dex way probably isnt the right, since you lose your dex bonus when flat-footed, and i'm pretty sure you are when you're casting spells. Theoreticaly, if you were to go this way you'd have a max of: +5 from 20 starting dex from halfling/elf. +6 from max 12 bonus to dexterity from items and magic. You wouldnt want to increase dexterity on level-ups.

    Full plate with tower shield offers a far less stat-intensive solution. Full plate with tower shield and 12 dexterity (8 starting + Cat's Grace) gives a clean +12 to AC. Being armor, you wont lose it to anything but touch attacks, which are rare anyway. Then there's natural AC which you get +5 from Shadow Shield.
    From there on, it's a matter of the world you're playing in. There's dodge and deflection types left to fill in with items, as much as you can. Naturaly, two AC bonuses of the same type do not stack.
     
  15. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
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    Re: High AC mages...

    I used to play on an NWN PVP server called Bastions of War. There were some crazy high-AC mage builds over there. It was a bit of a competition to see who could come up with the highest.

    I made a little gnome wizard/pale master/monk that had pretty insane AC. Monk was for the tumble (40 ranks gives you +8 AC). I had to take all three armor proficiency feats and shield proficiency and I think he only had 13 wizard levels.

    "Does 10 Pale Master help?" Are you kidding?? You get +1 natural AC for ever 4 Pale Master levels, so the more PM levels the better. So take 28 Pale Master levels, take all three Auto Still feats. Wear full plate and a tower shield (making DEX pretty moot, by the way) and take Epic Mage Armor. Epic Warding is nice but doesn't boost AC at all.

    Anyway, a build like that can exceed 100 AC. Of course your spell penetration will suck as will the damage dice of most of your spells. My little gnome build mentioned above stuck with IGMS, empowered and maximized magic missiles and whatever else had no save.

    A silly build to be sure, but pretty fun to play on an epic PVP server over-run with RDDs with scimitars and 70 AB.
     
  16. Faraaz Gems: 26/31
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    Quick question regarding Spell DCs...

    Does it matter what my Wizard lvl is if I have all the (Greater) Spell Focus and Epic Spell Focus feats, as well as the (Greater) Spell Penetration and Epic Spell Penetration feats? Do caster levels affect spell DCs?

    Also...can I be a worthwhile full time caster at lvl 27-29? If my feat selection is proper, but the other 11 lvls are utilised in a multiclass? Say Wiz 29/Rog 1/SD 10?

    I'm still testing out the AC builds...so I'll be posting later about that.
     
  17. khaavern Gems: 14/31
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    AFAIK, caster level does not affect spell DC, only your chance to to beat the spell resistance of other creatures.
    This is why in my opinion is not worth to go to very high wizard levels (25 or 27 should be okay).

    Of course, that does depend on where you play. If all your opponents have spell resistance 50, well... Still, you can use some spells do decrease the spell resistance of other creatures (like Mordekainen's disjunction, or Greater Spell Breach). So a multiclass wariant would be a better choice. On the other hand, I never played at level 40 ...
     
  18. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Yea, there's not much after you get a few of lvl9 spells in terms of gain. New spells you can memorize from scrolls.
    The major advantage is not only SR, but also duration, damage,...

    A lot of spells are capped, though, so if the SR of enemies isnt too high, it's more practical to take other levels as well.
     
  19. Faraaz Gems: 26/31
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    Well...I've found that I can make a reasonable tradeoff between Wizard levels and other mix-in levels...this in fact makes Wizards OVERPOWERED!! A lot more than Sorcerers. Wizards with ShadowDancer levels are da bomb! They get ALL the bonus rogue feats, as well as uncanny dodge etc. They don't get sneak attacks, but WHO CARES? My BAB is not going to be worth swatting mosquitoes anyway...27-29 levels of Wizard rock. Especially because I get all the Epic Spells and Epic Wizard Feats I want by then.

    However...I've been looking at some more things, testing all aspects of this awesome class voraciously, and I have a couple more questions.

    1.) Is Epic Dodge worth it for a pure caster? It means losing out on a minimum of 11 levels in Epic levels. It also means buffing my Dexterity at the cost of Int. Is it honestly worth it when I have Improved Invisibility (50% concealment), Premonition, Epic Warding etc?

    2.) How can I boost my DCs apart from high Int and Spell Focuses? Does my spell school make a difference? Eg: Do evokers get bonuses to evocation spells? Enchanters get bonuses for enchantment spells?

    3.) If multiclassing with rogue, is it possible to get 3 attacks pre-epic? It is especially viable to go with a melee-mage by buffing to the gills with Bulls Strength, Cats Grace, Flame Weapon, Blackstaff, Greater Magic Weapon etc on a low magic world.

    3-A.) Does Blackstaff stack with other weapon enhancement spells?

    4.) I'm really tired of using Spell FOcus Evocation and Spell Focus Necromancy over and over and over again! Spell Focus Necromancy is worthless apart from Wail of the Banshee, Horrid Wilting and Finger of Death. Are there any other spells which make Necromancy worth the feats? How about Conjuration? Is that any good? Or Enchantment? Will it be useful? Also...Illusion...Gnomes get SF:Illusion for free...are Illusion spells good for offense?

    Basically, I'm looking for a second spell school to focus in apart from Evocation. Is Necromancy definitely second best? What makes it worth taking? What are the worthy alternatives?

    5.) Auto-Quicken III...yea or nay? To my understanding, it guarantees me an extra spell per round permanently. Hence...if I'm perma-hasted, I can cast 3 spells per round. Yes or no? If not...then Auto-Quicken is worthless and I might as well go for Great Int feats.

    6.) Is it worthwhile to boost INT over 30?

    Thing is if I take 3 metamagic feats, 3 Epic Automatic Feats (Still or Quicken), Epic Spell Focus in three schools (Evocation, Necromancy and Conjuration perhaps, or Enchantment), all the spell penetration line of feats etc AS WELL AS Dodge and Mobility (SD Pre-reqs), I'm not left with a lot of feats.

    This is even more so if I want Epic Spells. I doubt anything is worth it apart from Epic Warding, Epic Mage Armor (for low magic worlds), Epic Dragonknight.

    Not a lot of room there for Great Int, eh? Hence...if I want such a feature-filled Wizard, is the sacrifice of INT worth it? Like does +2,3 to my DC's from INT makes a difference?

    7.) Summons...Is the elemental you get from Summon Creature VIII more powerful or the Celestial Avenger? I need a summon from lvl 8, as 9 is full with other spells. If I fully buff them both, which is better?

    While I'm waiting for answers, I'm going to be doing some work with the spells. Generalist Wizards ROCK! :D
     
  20. Chimera Gems: 5/31
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    Well, as for overpowered multiclassing there are always the 1 Paladin/ 2 Blackguard/ 37 Sorcerer or 1 Paladin/ 1 Monk/ 38 Sorcerer with Auto Still, wearing full plate and tower shield. High saves, high AC and very high spell spamming capability.

    AutoQuicken does not stack with haste, so it's worhtless.

    With SF: Necromancy other good spells are empowered Undeath to Death, and, if you are looking for a meat shield - Control Undead.

    For testing out builds try a training module, like Novice to Epic Character Maker.
     
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