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Author Topic: Treantmonk's Guide to Pathfinder Wizards: Being a God  (Read 23810 times)
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Treantmonklvl20
Curious George
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« on: November 24, 2009, 10:45:51 PM »

I have completed some Pathfinder Guides.  They are available at the Pathfinder SRD under custom content "Treantmonk's lab"

The Guides are made with a Google Document, which is really, I've discovered, the best way to do a handbook.  Doing handbooks on Forums like this one require long periods of dealing with the various tags (which, if you are unlucky enough to be on Gleemax - change).

With a Google Doc, you just make the Handbook like a Word Processor, making it easier to work with images, sizes, colour and fonts.
For those reasons, I'm just going to post a link:

Treantmonk's Guide to Pathfinder Wizards: Being a God

Feel free to post comments or responses here, I will check in regularly.
If you wish to discuss the merits or pitfalls of Pathfinder, I would be happy to do so, but please keep this thread for comments/questions regarding Pathfinder Wizard optimization.  Thanks!

Treantmonk
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A Man In Black
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 04:47:42 AM »

Did we really need three separate threads pointing offsite to guides for a different game system?

Anyway, salient complaining.

  • Mounted Combat is great in any game where you can ride a horse. You rated Longstrider as great for rangers, and riding a horse is just plain better. Unlike other classes, it conveniently doesn't go obsolete for wizards.
  • Improved Familiar means you get familiars with hands and skill points. Can we abuse that? YES WE CAN.
  • Toughness is not a blue feat. What the hell are you thinking? Did 3.5 clerics take Improved Toughness? Because PF wizards are just as tough. No, no, no, no, no.
  • Loremaster isn't that hot since you lose HP, at least three feats, and some specialist mojo to get...maybe four feats and a crappy feat equivalent. Wooooo.
  • Eldritch Knight is bad for gish wizards. It's bad for pretty much everyone.
  • You host your shit on the PFRPG site, why do you not link to it.
  • Riding dogs are beasts from Summon Monster II. Riding dogs are inexplicably under-CR, and this goes for the summoning lists. SNA2 and SM2 are all about the tripping attack dogs from hell (possibly literally, in the case of SM2).
  • Fog Cloud is completely useless. When would you want Fog Cloud instead of Web?
  • Locate Object is a Bonded Item winner. Super situational but exceedingly handy when you need it. Also decent as a scroll.
  • Flaming Sphere isn't a blast; it's a 5' wide Wall of Flame. Use it to control the battlefield, not just burn a dude.
  • Gust of Wind is Win Fight Against Swarms. Just sayin'.
  • Make Whole and Knock are Bonded Item winners as well. Tongues is another Bonded Item winner. As is Water Breathing.
  • Keep in mind that Blink's disadvantages go away under the same circumstances as Invisibility's; you can summon, buff, BFC, etc. with no risk. Shame about nerfing Blinking rogues.
  • Globe of Lesser Invulnerability turns off buffs and debuffs, which are rarely top-level. You're seriously underrating it.
  • Confusion isn't as good as you rate it. How many enemies can you fit into a 15' burst? You'll only have a 1/4 chance of one of those enemies getting the attack confusion, and then they need a confused ally to be the nearest person. This is situationally useful, but Fear is better if you want AOE will-save-or-lose at this level, and Stinking Cloud and Black Tentacles are better if you want "Those guys waste about two turns making fools of themselves."
  • Illusory Wall is an illusion you can leave behind, and an utterly believable one. It's situational, yeah, but even if you're not going to make a get-away with it, it's a one-way mirror, since you can't see through it even if you disbelieve. It has in-combat uses and out-of-combat uses.
  • Rogues would beg to differ that Greater Invisibility is not an upgrade. Definitely not a red spell for them after the Blink nerf.
  • Divine casters, melee folks, and many rogues appreciate being enlarged. That's enough to justify Mass Enlarge.
  • Break Enchantment is another Bonded Item winner...
  • "Then the combat use of lifting someone in the air, turning them backwards, and letting the party rogue at them (they get a will save to avoid this)." Or the combat use of snapping all the necks of your opponents with Telekinesis. Or maybe we shouldn't just make BS up and instead use the spell as written.
  • Permanent Magic Fang is worthless because Greater Magic Fang is hours/level and even the ranger can cast that at level 10 and have it last most, if not all, of an adventuring day.
  • Forceful Hand is crazy bad. Like seriously what are you thinking. Anything that would actually want to close to you can bull rush it 10 or 15 feet easily. (Except that it doesn't have a printed CMD to bull rush it back, seriously WTF.) +20 CMB is pretty lame, when you realize that CMDs at this level range from 33 (on foes with plenty of ranged mojo) to 49(!!!). It only gets worse as you level up.
  • Create Undead is crazy useless because "created undead are not automatically under the control of their animator." Create Greater Undead sucks for the same reason.
  • Disintegrate is "Polymorph Obstacle into Dust" and it does that job Really Well. Its failing as a combat spell doesn't really enter into it.
  • Stone to Flesh is grisly, not grizzly.
  • Statue is great, what are you talking about. Turning back and forth is an unlimited free action, and effects that are currently working on the statue are not suspended. So you step out of statue form, hit a dude or cast whatever, then turn into a statue. So this is hour/level hardness 8 for anyone who doesn't mind not making AoOs.
  • Dominate Monster is a permanent free cohort of whatever can't make a will save against you. You're rating it as a save-or-die, but it's not that. It's save-or-join-the-party-forever-or-until-we-replace-you.
  • Shapechange is crap. The only utility it offers over Dragon Shape III is the ability to switch element types, or to dumpster dive for whatever goofy regeneration abilities Paizo accidentally gives to a giant, dragon, or plant. Right now, that's nearly worthless.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 06:16:57 AM by A Man In Black » Logged
Treantmonklvl20
Curious George
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 03:18:53 PM »

OK - this response took quite awhile.  I do appreciate the time you took for your response A.M.I.B.

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Did we really need three separate threads pointing offsite to guides for a different game system?
I was originally going to put them in a single thread, but I wanted to keep responses for each class seperate for easier response.

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Anyway, salient complaining.
After looking at your comments - a lot of stuff you bring up we are in agreement on.  The stuff we aren't, we'll call "difference of opinion" OK?

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Mounted Combat is great in any game where you can ride a horse. You rated Longstrider as great for rangers, and riding a horse is just plain better. Unlike other classes, it conveniently doesn't go obsolete for wizards.
I think you answered your own question (why I recommend this for Wizards, not Rangers).  Generally I don't like mounted combat because horses can't follow you half the places you go.  Phantom steed doesn't have that problem.  This is also why I recommended Mounted Combat for Bards.  Mounted Combat + Phantom Steed is a good combo.
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Improved Familiar means you get familiars with hands and skill points. Can we abuse that? YES WE CAN.
Wow.  I had an entire thread discussion regarding the various use of familiars (and improved familiars), and never updated the guide.  Thanks for the headsup!

Yeah - Familiar + Speech + UMD = "Fun" - potentially you can have fun with Ravens and Wands too - but there's a bit of DM consideration as to what a Raven can carry in its claws there (Personally, I would think a wand while flying should be OK)
I've updated the Feat rating - take a look, sound better?
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Toughness is not a blue feat. What the hell are you thinking? Did 3.5 clerics take Improved Toughness? Because PF wizards are just as tough. No, no, no, no, no.
You can't compare 3.5 to Pathfinder.  Pathfinder Wizards aren't as tough as Pathfinder Clerics.  Extra HP are always a good.  Which feats would you recommend above Toughness that I haven't already rated blue?  I don't think all that many feats are awesome Wizard options that I haven't already recommended.
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Loremaster isn't that hot since you lose HP, at least three feats, and some specialist mojo to get...maybe four feats and a crappy feat equivalent. Wooooo.
We either completely agree, or nearly agree depending on whether you think Loremaster is slightly better than straight wizard, or slightly worse.  Personally, I think it is marginally better.  If you read the text beside the PrC in the guide, I'm hardly giving it a glowing recommendation ("It's not fantastic, but probably better than straight wizard")
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Eldritch Knight is bad for gish wizards. It's bad for pretty much everyone.
I wasn't actually rating it as a Gish option, but as a "God Wizard" option - as in I don't generally recommend it.  My statement that it was a Gish PrC wasn't intended to recommend it for Gish's, but instead make it clear that is what the PrC is supposed to be for - as in, not for non-gish wizards.
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You host your shit on the PFRPG site, why do you not link to it.
I think you are mistaken - the link goes to: www.d20pfsrd.com/extras/community-creations/treatmonks-lab/test.  That should be the right place.
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Riding dogs are beasts from Summon Monster II. Riding dogs are inexplicably under-CR, and this goes for the summoning lists. SNA2 and SM2 are all about the tripping attack dogs from hell (possibly literally, in the case of SM2).
They are on Summon Monster I actually, and I agree they are by far the toughest creatures on that list (better than pretty much the whole SMII list for straight combat).  I'll mention that in the guide. 
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Fog Cloud is completely useless. When would you want Fog Cloud instead of Web?
That would require an entire thread.  I've gotten great milage from fog cloud in 3.5, and it should work just as well using the Pathfinder rules IMO.  That said, I like Web a lot too - though it got nerfed.
I guess the main difference off the top of my head is the requirement of anchor points that is the biggest Web drawback.
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Locate Object is a Bonded Item winner. Super situational but exceedingly handy when you need it. Also decent as a scroll.
I'll talk to all the "bonded item winner" comments together.  If your Wizard gets the opportunity to fill books with every spell in the game, then every spell you don't memorize is a bonded item winner.  However, although you will fill your spellbook with every spell you can, when you get to pick which spells to add, you should pick the spells that you occassionally do want to memorize IMO.  The situationally useful spells are definitely better to have in the spellbook than not to have them at all, or as scrolls - but getting them in that spellbook is not going to be a high priority unless you think it's a circumstance that has a reasonable likleyhood to occur...IMO.
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Flaming Sphere isn't a blast; it's a 5' wide Wall of Flame. Use it to control the battlefield, not just burn a dude.
If they don't just walk through it anyways.  Not a wall of flame fan for the same reason.  If you use it to "burn a dude" he takes 3d6 damage.  If you use it to "block a dude", if he gets tactical advantage by doing so, he walks through and takes...3d6 damage.
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Gust of Wind is Win Fight Against Swarms. Just sayin'.
I had missed that.  I put a note under the spell.
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Keep in mind that Blink's disadvantages go away under the same circumstances as Invisibility's; you can summon, buff, BFC, etc. with no risk. Shame about nerfing Blinking rogues.
I'm not sure I read that spell the same way.  The wording seems to me that you have a 20% chance to summon/buff/BFC etc in the ethereal plane, which has no effect on the prime material plane - where you need it to have effect.
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Globe of Lesser Invulnerability turns off buffs and debuffs, which are rarely top-level. You're seriously underrating it.
You're discussing buffs of enemies in melee with you?  Or the buffs of your allies who moved in trying to protect you from that enemy?  It screws up both.  Also, I do have a hate-on for the 1 round/level standard action defensive buffs.  Long standing.
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Confusion isn't as good as you rate it. How many enemies can you fit into a 15' burst? You'll only have a 1/4 chance of one of those enemies getting the attack confusion, and then they need a confused ally to be the nearest person. This is situationally useful, but Fear is better if you want AOE will-save-or-lose at this level, and Stinking Cloud and Black Tentacles are better if you want "Those guys waste about two turns making fools of themselves."
The goody about confusion is that the enemies end up fighting each other.  If you have 2 enemies under the effect, if either of them gets the "attack nearest ally" result, they will both exclusively attack each other for the rest of the spell duration.  We have a Beguiler in our 3.5 group, level 16, and he still uses that spell to good effect.  The burst radius is unchanged in Pathfinder.
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Illusory Wall is an illusion you can leave behind, and an utterly believable one. It's situational, yeah, but even if you're not going to make a get-away with it, it's a one-way mirror, since you can't see through it even if you disbelieve. It has in-combat uses and out-of-combat uses.
I'll agree that in the correct situation it can be better than Silent Image - but not enough situations to warrant 3 higher spell levels IMO.  Since I've rated silent image a "must have" spell - illusionary wall becomes a bit redundant doesn't it?  Maybe a scroll?
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Rogues would beg to differ that Greater Invisibility is not an upgrade. Definitely not a red spell for them after the Blink nerf.
If you have a rogue in your party, and they have trouble getting into sneak attack position, it deserves more consideration.  Someone brought that up at Paizo too.  I guess I should add that to the comments for the spell.  Very well, will do.  I still can't recommend the spell IMO - with the viscous duration slash - I don't think it's a better spell overall than invisibility - which is 2nd level.
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Divine casters, melee folks, and many rogues appreciate being enlarged. That's enough to justify Mass Enlarge.
Got to disagree on the number of party members who are going to get milage out of enlarge.  Most rogues I've seen would consider enlarge a debuff not a buff.
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"Then the combat use of lifting someone in the air, turning them backwards, and letting the party rogue at them (they get a will save to avoid this)." Or the combat use of snapping all the necks of your opponents with Telekinesis. Or maybe we shouldn't just make BS up and instead use the spell as written.
Actually, your example "snapping all the necks..." works too.  Damage would be 1d3 + Int bonus per round, lethal damage (but it would require the grapple use of the spell).  The point was eggagerated admittedly (see the beginning of the guide: "A note on style"), but if you get caught in Telekinisis - you're pretty much dead.
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Permanent Magic Fang is worthless because Greater Magic Fang is hours/level and even the ranger can cast that at level 10 and have it last most, if not all, of an adventuring day.
I don't think you've made a strong case for "useless" IMO.
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Forceful Hand is crazy bad. Like seriously what are you thinking. Anything that would actually want to close to you can bull rush it 10 or 15 feet easily. (Except that it doesn't have a printed CMD to bull rush it back, seriously WTF.) +20 CMB is pretty lame, when you realize that CMDs at this level range from 33 (on foes with plenty of ranged mojo) to 49(!!!). It only gets worse as you level up.
I would assume CMD would be CMB+10 since they don't specify a Dex modifier.  The Elder Elementals are a bit out of whack with other creatures of similar CR (and they all show up on the CR 11 list). 
If you take Elder Elementals off the list, the CMB's range from 29-38, with 33 being the most common score.  Almost none of those creatures is as scary at range as close up IMO.
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Create Undead is crazy useless because "created undead are not automatically under the control of their animator." Create Greater Undead sucks for the same reason.
Good call.  Both are now red.
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Disintegrate is "Polymorph Obstacle into Dust" and it does that job Really Well. Its failing as a combat spell doesn't really enter into it.
Except there are so many ways to deal with obsticles by this level...
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Stone to Flesh is grisly, not grizzly.
It could be "grizzly" if there was a bear...yeah.  Spelling and Grammar...sigh.  Fine, fixed it.
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and effects that are currently working on the statue are not suspended
Do you have a source for that?  I assumed a flying wizard (which I'm sure you will be by that level) who takes statue form is going to come crashing down messily. 
I notice Statue is not a Polymorph, so when all your equipment switches over with you, is it still active? 
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Dominate Monster is a permanent free cohort of whatever can't make a will save against you. You're rating it as a save-or-die, but it's not that. It's save-or-join-the-party-forever-or-until-we-replace-you.
My main problem with the "dominate" line is one phrase in the spell description, "any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus."  This wording is vague enough that I would rely on the "join-the-party forever..." thing, depending on how strict your DM is in regards to the creatures "nature". 
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Shapechange is crap. The only utility it offers over Dragon Shape III is the ability to switch element types, or to dumpster dive for whatever goofy regeneration abilities Paizo accidentally gives to a giant, dragon, or plant. Right now, that's nearly worthless.
yep, switch element types, switch to troll for regen, 10 times duration...that's pretty much it.  I don't think it's great, but it is better than DSIII.
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A Man In Black
Ring-Tailed Lemur
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 10:28:35 PM »

I think you answered your own question (why I recommend this for Wizards, not Rangers).  Generally I don't like mounted combat because horses can't follow you half the places you go.  Phantom steed doesn't have that problem.  This is also why I recommended Mounted Combat for Bards.  Mounted Combat + Phantom Steed is a good combo.

My point is that it's worth taking even before Phantom Steed kicks in.

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You can't compare 3.5 to Pathfinder.  Pathfinder Wizards aren't as tough as Pathfinder Clerics.  Extra HP are always a good.  Which feats would you recommend above Toughness that I haven't already rated blue?  I don't think all that many feats are awesome Wizard options that I haven't already recommended.

All of your blue feats, almost all of the green feats, and some of the orange ones.

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You host your shit on the PFRPG site, why do you not link to it.
I think you are mistaken - the link goes to: www.d20pfsrd.com/extras/community-creations/treatmonks-lab/test.  That should be the right place.

All of your spell/feat/etc. links are to the Paizo PRD instead of PFSRD.

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Riding dogs are beasts from Summon Monster II. Riding dogs are inexplicably under-CR, and this goes for the summoning lists. SNA2 and SM2 are all about the tripping attack dogs from hell (possibly literally, in the case of SM2).
They are on Summon Monster I actually, and I agree they are by far the toughest creatures on that list (better than pretty much the whole SMII list for straight combat).  I'll mention that in the guide.  

SMI is useless because one- or two-round durations are terrible. However, d3 tripping hell dogs is a great second-level spell.

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Fog Cloud is completely useless. When would you want Fog Cloud instead of Web?
That would require an entire thread.  I've gotten great milage from fog cloud in 3.5, and it should work just as well using the Pathfinder rules IMO.  That said, I like Web a lot too - though it got nerfed.
I guess the main difference off the top of my head is the requirement of anchor points that is the biggest Web drawback.

For some reason I thought PF removed the anchor points. Disregard.

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Globe of Lesser Invulnerability turns off buffs and debuffs, which are rarely top-level. You're seriously underrating it.
You're discussing buffs of enemies in melee with you?  Or the buffs of your allies who moved in trying to protect you from that enemy?  It screws up both.  Also, I do have a hate-on for the 1 round/level standard action defensive buffs.  Long standing.

Charm Person and Charm Monster turn off, for example. It's not for caster versus caster fights, but de-mojo-fying many level-appropriate caster-ish creatures, particularly outsiders. No-save immunity to succubi is more than a red, for example.

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Confusion isn't as good as you rate it. How many enemies can you fit into a 15' burst? You'll only have a 1/4 chance of one of those enemies getting the attack confusion, and then they need a confused ally to be the nearest person. This is situationally useful, but Fear is better if you want AOE will-save-or-lose at this level, and Stinking Cloud and Black Tentacles are better if you want "Those guys waste about two turns making fools of themselves."
The goody about confusion is that the enemies end up fighting each other.  If you have 2 enemies under the effect, if either of them gets the "attack nearest ally" result, they will both exclusively attack each other for the rest of the spell duration.  We have a Beguiler in our 3.5 group, level 16, and he still uses that spell to good effect.  The burst radius is unchanged in Pathfinder.

There's a fairly low chance that they end up fighting each other, unless they're hopeless goobers or such a large swarm that they can't be anything but hopeless goobers. Sleet Storm, Stinking Cloud, Fear, and Black Tentacles all do this job much more effectively, just less hilariously.

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Illusory Wall is an illusion you can leave behind, and an utterly believable one. It's situational, yeah, but even if you're not going to make a get-away with it, it's a one-way mirror, since you can't see through it even if you disbelieve. It has in-combat uses and out-of-combat uses.
I'll agree that in the correct situation it can be better than Silent Image - but not enough situations to warrant 3 higher spell levels IMO.  Since I've rated silent image a "must have" spell - illusionary wall becomes a bit redundant doesn't it?  Maybe a scroll?

A silent image requires that you stand there and concentrate. An illusory wall at worst is a one-way mirror you drop in front of yourself and cast through, while your opponent can't attack back even if they disbelieve.

It's still opaque for everyone but you when disbelieved.

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Rogues would beg to differ that Greater Invisibility is not an upgrade. Definitely not a red spell for them after the Blink nerf.
If you have a rogue in your party, and they have trouble getting into sneak attack position, it deserves more consideration.  Someone brought that up at Paizo too.  I guess I should add that to the comments for the spell.  Very well, will do.  I still can't recommend the spell IMO - with the viscous duration slash - I don't think it's a better spell overall than invisibility - which is 2nd level.

It's not about getting the sneak attack alone. It's about getting the sneak attack from range and making him very difficult to be attacked back.

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Divine casters, melee folks, and many rogues appreciate being enlarged. That's enough to justify Mass Enlarge.
Got to disagree on the number of party members who are going to get milage out of enlarge.  Most rogues I've seen would consider enlarge a debuff not a buff.

-2 to hit for +2 damage and reach. It's not a great spell but most parties have a full three people who want it, so it's worth a prep for a specced transmuter. (Especially since the alternatives are situational or near-useless.)

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Permanent Magic Fang is worthless because Greater Magic Fang is hours/level and even the ranger can cast that at level 10 and have it last most, if not all, of an adventuring day.
I don't think you've made a strong case for "useless" IMO.

It's redundant with a buff that both of the pet-using classes can cast and have it last all day on one cast. It's not worth paying money for.

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Forceful Hand is crazy bad. Like seriously what are you thinking. Anything that would actually want to close to you can bull rush it 10 or 15 feet easily. (Except that it doesn't have a printed CMD to bull rush it back, seriously WTF.) +20 CMB is pretty lame, when you realize that CMDs at this level range from 33 (on foes with plenty of ranged mojo) to 49(!!!). It only gets worse as you level up.
I would assume CMD would be CMB+10 since they don't specify a Dex modifier.  The Elder Elementals are a bit out of whack with other creatures of similar CR (and they all show up on the CR 11 list).  
If you take Elder Elementals off the list, the CMB's range from 29-38, with 33 being the most common score.  Almost none of those creatures is as scary at range as close up IMO.
An average bull rush from nearly anything at that level pushes the hand back 15', and the hand usually just bounces off of most level-appropriate foes. It does keep things from attacking you, but don't you hate rounds/level defenses of yourself only? It is unlikely to do much for the rest of the party.

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and effects that are currently working on the statue are not suspended
Do you have a source for that?  I assumed a flying wizard (which I'm sure you will be by that level) who takes statue form is going to come crashing down messily.  
I notice Statue is not a Polymorph, so when all your equipment switches over with you, is it still active?

I wouldn't recommend using it on someone using gear to fly, no, but there's nothing about Overland Flight or Air Walk that would stop working.

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Dominate Monster is a permanent free cohort of whatever can't make a will save against you. You're rating it as a save-or-die, but it's not that. It's save-or-join-the-party-forever-or-until-we-replace-you.
My main problem with the "dominate" line is one phrase in the spell description, "any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus."  This wording is vague enough that I would rely on the "join-the-party forever..." thing, depending on how strict your DM is in regards to the creatures "nature".

The first command is "Tell me what I can best do to make you a happy member of our team."

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Shapechange is crap. The only utility it offers over Dragon Shape III is the ability to switch element types, or to dumpster dive for whatever goofy regeneration abilities Paizo accidentally gives to a giant, dragon, or plant. Right now, that's nearly worthless.
yep, switch element types, switch to troll for regen, 10 times duration...that's pretty much it.  I don't think it's great, but it is better than DSIII.
At 17th level, how often are you going to switch, though? Enough to justify using a 9th-level spell when you could use a lower-level spell? Especially when Resist Energy lasts for more than three hours? Is that a green spell?
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Treantmonklvl20
Curious George
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2009, 08:33:05 AM »

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My point is that it's worth taking even before Phantom Steed kicks in.
I would agree to the point that if the campaign appears to primarily taking place in areas you can bring a horse.  If you're dungeon crawling - you're better off with something else.

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All of your blue feats, almost all of the green feats, and some of the orange ones.
I think we'll need to chalk this up to difference of opinion.  If my opinion changes through increased Pathfinder xp - I'll change the rating.

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All of your spell/feat/etc. links are to the Paizo PRD instead of PFSRD.
OK, I understand you now.  The reason is because I was invited to move my guides to the PFSRD after they were completed.  I'll be switching over the spell links - but it's going to be a tedious job - so probably bit by bit.

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SMI is useless because one- or two-round durations are terrible. However, d3 tripping hell dogs is a great second-level spell.
I'll take a single fiendish/celestial ant drone personally...if I'm using SMII.  Like the Riding dog at level 1, it sticks out for being significantly better than the others at the same level.

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Charm Person and Charm Monster turn off, for example. It's not for caster versus caster fights, but de-mojo-fying many level-appropriate caster-ish creatures, particularly outsiders. No-save immunity to succubi is more than a red, for example.
I realize prot from evil is nerfed - but it's still a reasonable protection against succubi or any other form of compulsion spell/ability.  It's also a cheap wand.  It's also a more level appropriate spell for dealing with a CR 7 creatures SLA.  If that doesn't work - then maybe...

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There's a fairly low chance that they end up fighting each other, unless they're hopeless goobers or such a large swarm that they can't be anything but hopeless goobers. Sleet Storm, Stinking Cloud, Fear, and Black Tentacles all do this job much more effectively, just less hilariously.
25% they attack the nearest person.  However, if that nearest person was acting normally, then "Any confused character who is attacked automatically attacks its attackers on its next turn" kicks in and the next round they attack back - then the two are in an infinite attack each other loop.
If you don't get an "attack nearest" result - there is a 2/3 chance that they either stand there and babble or hit themselves in the head.  (and yes, hilarious).
However, the way it works out is that they may not all attack each other on round 1, but by round 3 you're pulling out the popcorn.
In 3.5 you could use confusion/friend to foe which did the job for you...but it's good even without that combo.
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A silent image requires that you stand there and concentrate. An illusory wall at worst is a one-way mirror you drop in front of yourself and cast through, while your opponent can't attack back even if they disbelieve.
Good points, I'll reconsider the spell.

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It's not about getting the sneak attack alone. It's about getting the sneak attack from range and making him very difficult to be attacked back.
raven familiar+UMD+Silent image wand.  Standard tactic - throws up an illusionary obscuring mist - rogue knows beforehand that it's a silent image wand.
Or you cast major image, same deal.
He's now attacking at range with sneak attack, very difficult to be attacked back.  You get the benifit as well.  See invis doesn't help.
I guess my point is that there are ways of achieving a similar effect at lower level.  In order to make this spell shiny, they needed to add some duration.

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-2 to hit for +2 damage and reach. It's not a great spell but most parties have a full three people who want it, so it's worth a prep for a specced transmuter. (Especially since the alternatives are situational or near-useless.)
I guess my personal experience is different from yours.  I'm in 2 campaigns right now, and in neither can I think of more than 1 character who would benifit from enlarge person (actually, in one campaign there's nobody - but the BSF is a goliath so can't be enlarged)

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It's redundant with a buff that both of the pet-using classes can cast and have it last all day on one cast. It's not worth paying money for.
an extra spell per day.  Nothing big - but I did rate the spell orange.  You have convinced me to alter the wording.

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An average bull rush from nearly anything at that level pushes the hand back 15', and the hand usually just bounces off of most level-appropriate foes.
If the creature is using it's attack to bull rush a spell effect, then I have trouble seeing how the spell isn't doing its job - even if it does get pushed back.

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I wouldn't recommend using it on someone using gear to fly, no, but there's nothing about Overland Flight or Air Walk that would stop working.
I will re-evaluate.  Perhaps I did rate too low.  Not sure I'm going to highly recommend it though.

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The first command is "Tell me what I can best do to make you a happy member of our team."
"Come join our party, we're rich and powerful - you could be too!"
That is the jist of a recommendation for me to use on a Suggestion spell.  Suggestion is a level 3 wizard spell.  If the suggestion is reasonable, then the opponent gets a penalty to the saving throw.  Duration isn't days/level, but it is 1 hr/level, surely lasting long enough for your new friend to go to sleep after a hard days adventuring...
You see why I brought that up?  If you're cow-towing to them anyways - what's with the high level?

[/quote]At 17th level, how often are you going to switch, though? Enough to justify using a 9th-level spell when you could use a lower-level spell? Especially when Resist Energy lasts for more than three hours? Is that a green spell?[/quote]
I don't know how often you are going to switch to be honest.  Probably once per battle, then once after each battle I would guess.  (Appropriate dragon form for energy type and size, then troll to regenerate as needed).
The primary advantage of Shapechange over Form of the Dragon III (which is level 8 and I rated blue) is the 10x duration.  You can use a rod of greater extend, and you are still getting 5x the duration from shapechange.
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 01:10:10 AM »

I would agree [about Mounted Combat] to the point that if the campaign appears to primarily taking place in areas you can bring a horse.  If you're dungeon crawling - you're better off with something else.

Say that in the guiiiiiiiiiide.

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I'll take a single fiendish/celestial ant drone personally...if I'm using SMII.  Like the Riding dog at level 1, it sticks out for being significantly better than the others at the same level.

It's a pretty obvious errata issue, since soldier ants are in SM3. Looks like they got flipped.

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25% they attack the nearest person.  However, if that nearest person was acting normally, then "Any confused character who is attacked automatically attacks its attackers on its next turn" kicks in and the next round they attack back - then the two are in an infinite attack each other loop.
If you don't get an "attack nearest" result - there is a 2/3 chance that they either stand there and babble or hit themselves in the head.  (and yes, hilarious).
However, the way it works out is that they may not all attack each other on round 1, but by round 3 you're pulling out the popcorn.
In 3.5 you could use confusion/friend to foe which did the job for you...but it's good even without that combo.

So it's X% to save, times 75% chance to not act, less the 25% chance of attacking nearest target when that target is a friend... Or casting "Save or don't act at all, suckers."

Why is Confusion better than Fear again? The super-situational chance of having two of them hitting each other isn't worth it.

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raven familiar+UMD+Silent image wand.  Standard tactic - throws up an illusionary obscuring mist - rogue knows beforehand that it's a silent image wand.
Or you cast major image, same deal.

Most GMs won't let that nonsense fly; Silent Image as a free blindness on all foes generally doesn't last more than once in most games. "Obscure combo involving your familiar maintaining a spell for free" does not generally obviate spells that don't require ridiculous goofy support.

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I guess my personal experience is different from yours.  I'm in 2 campaigns right now, and in neither can I think of more than 1 character who would benifit from enlarge person (actually, in one campaign there's nobody - but the BSF is a goliath so can't be enlarged)

Who's in the party?

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an extra spell per day.  Nothing big - but I did rate the spell orange.  You have convinced me to alter the wording.

An extra third-level spell to a 11th-level druid? And rangers get crap for their third-level spells. This is like arguing that a +2 weapon is a good idea when you can cast GMW, I thought this was basic CO agreement since, like, 3.0.

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If the creature is using it's attack to bull rush a spell effect, then I have trouble seeing how the spell isn't doing its job - even if it does get pushed back.

But it doesn't need to push the hand back to go about its business. It's a round/level spell that protects only you. Moreover, it doesn't protect you very well because level-appropriate foes can quickly remove or move the hand if they need to. It's a personal defense buff worse than Mirror Image, three spell levels higher.

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"Come join our party, we're rich and powerful - you could be too!"
That is the jist of a recommendation for me to use on a Suggestion spell.  Suggestion is a level 3 wizard spell.  If the suggestion is reasonable, then the opponent gets a penalty to the saving throw.  Duration isn't days/level, but it is 1 hr/level, surely lasting long enough for your new friend to go to sleep after a hard days adventuring...
You see why I brought that up?  If you're cow-towing to them anyways - what's with the high level?

Wait, I don't get it. So Dominate's useless because an extremely permissive GM will let Suggestion do the same thing, but it's also useless because an extremely strict GM won't let it do anything.

You Dominate them and force them to tell you what the GM's landmines are. After that, you'll get all the benefit of the spell, even from any by the absolute most contrary GM possible. Yes, an extremely permissive GM will let Suggestion do that, and yes, an extremely contrary GM won't let it do anything. Considering an extremely contrary GM is already screwing you seven ways to Sunday and an extremely permissive GM already lets you get away with murder, I don't think those are reasons to rate absolutely perfect mind control you can cast in combat down.

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I don't know how often you are going to switch [using Shapechange] to be honest.  Probably once per battle, then once after each battle I would guess.  (Appropriate dragon form for energy type and size, then troll to regenerate as needed).
The primary advantage of Shapechange over Form of the Dragon III (which is level 8 and I rated blue) is the 10x duration.  You can use a rod of greater extend, and you are still getting 5x the duration from shapechange.

Meh. I just don't see it as a green spell any more. The benefits are situational and small.
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 08:22:23 AM »

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Say that in the guiiiiiiiiiide.
OK

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So it's X% to save, times 75% chance to not act, less the 25% chance of attacking nearest target when that target is a friend... Or casting "Save or don't act at all, suckers."
Look past round 1.  Bob, Doug, Tim and Horton are confused and act in that order on initiative.  On round 1 Bob hits Horton, Doug babbles incoherantly, Tim hits himself over the head, and Horton acts normally and charges the PC's.
Except Horton got hit by Bob - so he doesn't act randomly at all - instead he hit's Bob on round 1.
On round 2, Horton and Bob engage in fight to the death - random actions gone.  Now Doug and Tim roll randomly.  If either of them attack the other - they too are in a death battle.

In my experience - a Confusion spell usually means more than half of those effected will end up fighting each other to the death.

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Most GMs won't let that nonsense fly; Silent Image as a free blindness on all foes generally doesn't last more than once in most games. "Obscure combo involving your familiar maintaining a spell for free" does not generally obviate spells that don't require ridiculous goofy support.
It is a circumstantial solution for a circumstantial situation.  Usually the party rogue isn't relying on ranged attacks in combat.  It's too inconvenient to hide - attack - hide - attack.
If the rogue is made specifically under the idea that you are going to have and cast improved invis on him every combat - that could be an OK combo - but really that would be very campaign specific - and I don't think a particularly wonderful combo either.  I don't want my wizard's first action every combat to be casting the same single target buff.

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Who's in the party?
In a 3.5 campaign (16th level) where I have a Malconvoker/IotSV, and the other party members are a whisper gnome beguiler, a Goliath fighter, and a human cleric (waste of space)
In a new Pathfinder campaign (4th level) where I have an Elf Bard (archer), and the other party members are a Half-Orc Barbarian, a human Cleric (caster - not melee), and a TWF rogue (I think a halfling - can't remember).

I'm only seeing one character in either party who benifits from an enlarge person spell (the half-orc barbarian).
I guess the Human Cleric in party 1 would also benifit - but it's really not worth a spell.

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An extra third-level spell to a 11th-level druid? And rangers get crap for their third-level spells. This is like arguing that a +2 weapon is a good idea when you can cast GMW, I thought this was basic CO agreement since, like, 3.0.
I've removed the suggestion.

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But it doesn't need to push the hand back to go about its business.
If it wants to close with the party it does.
[/quote] It's a round/level spell that protects only you.[/quote]
Only if the rest of the party is on the other side of the hand.
[/quote] Moreover, it doesn't protect you very well because level-appropriate foes can quickly remove or move the hand if they need to.[/quote]
how are they removing the hand?
[/quote] It's a personal defense buff worse than Mirror Image, three spell levels higher.[/quote]
it provides a very different kind of defense than mirror image, and does not just protect the caster.

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You Dominate them and force them to tell you what the GM's landmines are. After that, you'll get all the benefit of the spell, even from any by the absolute most contrary GM possible. Yes, an extremely permissive GM will let Suggestion do that, and yes, an extremely contrary GM won't let it do anything. Considering an extremely contrary GM is already screwing you seven ways to Sunday and an extremely permissive GM already lets you get away with murder, I don't think those are reasons to rate absolutely perfect mind control you can cast in combat down.
I'm not sure you need an "extremely permissive" DM to allow the suggestion example I gave.  It is a reasonable suggestion, and by the wording of the rules - may even provide a penalty to saving throw.
Word for word I will take Dominate over Suggestion, but I don't think there's anywhere near 6 levels worth of increase in value there.
If you don't like coming up with suggestions - then there is always Charm + Diplomacy up to helpful.

Dominate is a redundant spell that doesn't bring anything really new to the table.  If they want to rate it 6 levels higher than Suggestion, and 5 levels higher than Charm Monster, it should not include Caveats where you can't get the dominated creature to do what it normally wouldn't do.

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Meh. I just don't see it as a green spell any more. The benefits are situational and small.
Anymore?  Surely you would agree that Shapechange (3.5) was a blue spell...
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 09:43:35 AM »

Treantmonk,
Assuming one is playing a wizard from 1st level through 20th level, which schools do you recommend selecting as prohibited? I don't recall seeing that in your guide.

BTW, thanks for your PF guides. My group is switching to PF, and there are a lot of changes to take into account.
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Treantmonklvl20
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2009, 03:43:01 PM »

Treantmonk,
Assuming one is playing a wizard from 1st level through 20th level, which schools do you recommend selecting as prohibited? I don't recall seeing that in your guide.

BTW, thanks for your PF guides. My group is switching to PF, and there are a lot of changes to take into account.

The question isn't quite as important as it was in 3.5, because non-combat spells that are cast in off time (like contingency) can be cast from banned schools easy enough.

In general - for a God Wizard, I would consider the only Must have school is Conjuration.  Illusion is actually a much easier dump in Pathfinder since the best spells are low level (and thus easier to get in wands and the like).  Enchantment is a common school to dump in 3.5, and I expect for the same reasons it's a prime candidate for Pathfinder as well.  Necromancy as well for the same reasons.

Evocation is a common dump school - but actually it does have a fair number of nice spells, so at least consider carefully before you dump it.

I don't know if Transmutation qualifies as a "never dump" school anymore - it's certainly not as shiny as it was in 3.5.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 04:53:02 PM »

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So it's X% to save, times 75% chance to not act, less the 25% chance of attacking nearest target when that target is a friend... Or casting "Save or don't act at all, suckers."
Look past round 1.  Bob, Doug, Tim and Horton are confused and act in that order on initiative.  On round 1 Bob hits Horton, Doug babbles incoherantly, Tim hits himself over the head, and Horton acts normally and charges the PC's.

How are you getting four guys in a 15' burst? That's my point. You're more likely to get 2-3, tops, and if you're getting 2-3 then they're Black Tentacle bait.

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Most GMs won't let that nonsense fly; Silent Image as a free blindness on all foes generally doesn't last more than once in most games. "Obscure combo involving your familiar maintaining a spell for free" does not generally obviate spells that don't require ridiculous goofy support.
It is a circumstantial solution for a circumstantial situation.  Usually the party rogue isn't relying on ranged attacks in combat.  It's too inconvenient to hide - attack - hide - attack.
If the rogue is made specifically under the idea that you are going to have and cast improved invis on him every combat - that could be an OK combo - but really that would be very campaign specific - and I don't think a particularly wonderful combo either.  I don't want my wizard's first action every combat to be casting the same single target buff.

He doesn't need to be specifically made to take advantage of Greater Invisibility. All he needs is a bow.

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Who's in the party?
In a 3.5 campaign (16th level) where I have a Malconvoker/IotSV, and the other party members are a whisper gnome beguiler, a Goliath fighter, and a human cleric (waste of space)
In a new Pathfinder campaign (4th level) where I have an Elf Bard (archer), and the other party members are a Half-Orc Barbarian, a human Cleric (caster - not melee), and a TWF rogue (I think a halfling - can't remember).

In the PF game, you have three people who can benefit from Enlarge (not your fault the cleric is playing suboptimally). Just sayin'.

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But it doesn't need to push the hand back to go about its business.
If it wants to close with the party it does.

Is the party all hugging you and attacking from range? Because looking at your sample parties, that means half or more of the party is sitting on their thumbs.

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Meh. I just don't see it as a green spell any more. The benefits are situational and small.
Anymore?  Surely you would agree that Shapechange (3.5) was a blue spell...
Well yeah. Ignore "any more" there.
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 07:16:49 PM »

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How are you getting four guys in a 15' burst?
15' burst covers over 20 squares

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He doesn't need to be specifically made to take advantage of Greater Invisibility. All he needs is a bow.
if he's normally a twf flanker - then all you are really doing is buffing one characters defense and lowering his offense...with a standard action and a mid level spell.  It's not a terrible use of a cast, but I don't think it's up there with your other options.

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In the PF game, you have three people who can benefit from Enlarge (not your fault the cleric is playing suboptimally). Just sayin'.
The barbarian obviously.
The cleric if he was played differently.  
Who's the 3rd?  The halfling rogue who gets -1 to hit and AC and doesn't get reach because you took away his small size advantage to make him medium sized, or me, the archer who also gets -1 to hit and AC and doesn't benifit from reach?

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Is the party all hugging you and attacking from range? Because looking at your sample parties, that means half or more of the party is sitting on their thumbs.
No, the character's who want to melee can do so, while the characters who don't want to don't have to.
In my level appropriate party - the Goliath would be up by the hand bashing away at whatever creature it was, while the Beguiler would be back behind the hand benifiting along side my character (and his warmage cohort - which I forgot to mention - he has leadership).  The enemy can either attack the Goliath (which we are fine with - and so is he), or one of my summoned creatures (which we are ecstatic about - even if the summoned creature isn't), or bull rush the hand.  All those options are better for us than the opponent charging one of the casters.

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Well yeah. Ignore "any more" there.
Well, at least we're in agreement on that Wink  (I take nothing for granted anymore.  I had a multiple posters on another forum debate me on 3.5 Polymorph "sucking")  I always figured it was a given that it was broken...thought they were being sarcastic at first.
The Pathfinder Shapechange is nowhere near the power of the 3.5 shapechange, but there is value in Dragon forms (Energy immunity, Faster fly that isn't dependant on a low HP phantom steed, blindsense, a nice AC bonus, 4 hp/level, frightful presence etc.
Yeah you can get those same benifits with a level 8 spell, but you get them for 1/10th the time.  This is like "Greater" dragonform for the duration boost.
Getting regeneration between combats, earth glide, swim etc - these aren't the primary advantage of the spell - they are just some minor add ons.
It's no time stop - but it's not a blue spell.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 07:18:29 PM by Treantmonklvl20 » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2009, 08:04:57 PM »

15' burst covers over 20 squares

You're still needing four guys roughly clustered together, and Fear, Stinking Cloud, Black Tentacles, etc. are all more effective against them, and either have a decisive You Don't Act This Turn Suckers effect or a lingering You Shall Not Pass AOE. Also, keep in mind that Confusion is completely useless if you want to beat on the guys you're targeting. They'll just hit you back, more or less ignoring the Confusion.

I know it's hilarious to have two guys hitting each other to death, but Fear/Stinking Cloud/Evard's are all a lot more reliable and effective.

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Who's the 3rd?  The halfling rogue who gets -1 to hit and AC and doesn't get reach because you took away his small size advantage to make him medium sized, or me, the archer who also gets -1 to hit and AC and doesn't benifit from reach?

Oh right, halfling. Archers get a damage increase out of Enlarge, at least, and weren't you going on that archers need damage wherever they can? Yeah, pretty weak, I know.

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Well, at least we're in agreement on that [Shapechange] Wink  (I take nothing for granted anymore.  I had a multiple posters on another forum debate me on 3.5 Polymorph "sucking")  I always figured it was a given that it was broken...thought they were being sarcastic at first.

They were right. In 3.5, Polymorph was probably the weakest of the chain, and if you're allowed the dumpster-diving to make it worth casting you're probably allowed to do better things with your time than cast Polymorph. It was a really good sorcerer spell because it did 79 million different things, but as a wizard prep there are better fight-winners, and nearly all of its problem-solving uses were nicely covered by lower-level spells.

It was a highly overrated spell, but that's an argument for another place and time.

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The Pathfinder Shapechange is nowhere near the power of the 3.5 shapechange, but there is value in Dragon forms (Energy immunity, Faster fly that isn't dependant on a low HP phantom steed, blindsense, a nice AC bonus, 4 hp/level, frightful presence etc.
Yeah you can get those same benifits with a level 8 spell, but you get them for 1/10th the time.  This is like "Greater" dragonform for the duration boost.
Getting regeneration between combats, earth glide, swim etc - these aren't the primary advantage of the spell - they are just some minor add ons.
It's no time stop - but it's not a blue spell.

It's simpler, sure, but earth glide, healing, swimming...those are all spell effects you got 10 levels ago. You've got plenty of slots to cover that utility.
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2009, 11:03:30 PM »

Argh.  I'm supposed to be roleplaying right now, but we had a big snowstorm and the roads were shit.  After spending 2 hours pushing cars until the traffic got moving again, the GM called and said that it was too late to start, so he cancelled and I had to turn around and come home.

So - my mood ain't great, but I'll try to keep that out of my posts.

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You're still needing four guys roughly clustered together, and Fear, Stinking Cloud, Black Tentacles, etc. are all more effective against them
I think BT is a better spell than confusion, but there are some creatures that are more likely to fail a will save than fail the grapple check, so in some situations the confusion is still better.  The main advantage of BT over Confusion IMO is it is slightly larger area.
I'll take Confusion over fear more often than not.  With confusion I don't have to chase anyone to mop up.
Stinking Cloud is a Fort save - so you want that for the guys who you think have better Will saves than fort saves.  If it's the other way around - Confusion is better.
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Also, keep in mind that Confusion is completely useless if you want to beat on the guys you're targeting.

As you pointed out, some may make their saving throw, and others may act naturally.  While half of them are beating each other up or beating themselves up - you take out the rest.  Then you mop up the stragglers.
We have used confusion to excellent effect many, many times.  In actual gameplay. Honest.  It's like the Beguiler's favorite spell after Charm Monster.

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Oh right, halfling. Archers get a damage increase out of Enlarge, at least, and weren't you going on that archers need damage wherever they can? Yeah, pretty weak, I know.
Yeah - 'cause in this case we're talking -1 to hit for +1 damage...and at low level.
If you have lots of clobberrers (my new made up word) in your group I could see the advantage.  I just don't think (at least in my experience) that most groups have more than one or two characters that are really going to shine with Enlarge.

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that's an argument for another place and time.
Thank you.  However, at some point we can have the argument.  There are a number of things you can do with polymorph that cannot be replaced by equal or lower level spells - but they do admittedly require some shameless dumpster diving.

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It's simpler, sure, but earth glide, healing, swimming...those are all spell effects you got 10 levels ago. You've got plenty of slots to cover that utility.
Absolutely - which is why I call them minor add ons.
If Shapechange was called "Greater Form of the Dragon III" and it was identical to Form of the Dragon III with 10 times duration that allowed you to switch between dragon forms at will through that duration....I would still have rated it green.
The other stuff is worth mentioning - because I would rather have it than not have it, but it is not significant enough to change the spells rating IMO.
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2009, 03:55:55 AM »

]I think BT is a better spell than confusion, but there are some creatures that are more likely to fail a will save than fail the grapple check, so in some situations the confusion is still better.

F E A R. If they're fast, they're out of the combat forever. If they're slow, corner/surround them and they are essentially stunned. (They stand there taking total defense but since they're flatfooted for cowering, they lose the dodge bonus. XD) Confusion is hilarious but it's super situational. It has no business being rated blue and it has no business being rated higher than Fear, considering Fear is a larger AOE, takes 100% of the targets that fail their saves out of combat, has a rider that kicks in even if they make their save, and keeps working even if you beat the targets to death while they are affected.

The only advantage of Confusion is the two-way brawl, and that only works if they roll the attack-nearest AND if the nearest guy isn't an ally that made their save AND if the nearest guy wasn't someone who wasn't in the AOE AND if the nearest guy isn't on Team Player Character. These complications mean the two-way brawl doesn't happen a lot unless you're making hash of low-will-save goons, and making hash of low-will-save goons is not a difficult or important task. It's a job you traditionally leave to the BSF because it's not so hard that he can't use his infinite uses of Hit A Guy In The Effing Face to handle it.

If it's not immune to fear or mind-affecting effects (and in the latter case Confusion is no good), casting Fear on it is almost never a bad play, because best cast You Win and worst case it gets -2 to everything. That's huge for a wizard spell.

Your anecdotal evidence with a Beguiler is a tad beside the point because:
  • Beguilers don't get Fear
  • Beguilers are more likely to invest in SF(Ench) than wizards
  • Beguilers can make use of their situational spells more easily because they cast spontaneously
  • Your group has specifically adapted their tactics and composition to take advantage of Confusion, something you don't have to do to get results from Fear

Fear is seriously the best AOE save-or-lose wizards get in Pathfinder. It's that good.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2009, 04:10:24 AM by A Man In Black » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2009, 08:52:14 AM »

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it has no business being rated higher than Fear, considering Fear is a larger AOE, takes 100% of the targets that fail their saves out of combat, has a rider that kicks in even if they make their save, and keeps working even if you beat the targets to death while they are affected.

I think hitting multiple opponents with Fear or Confusion is effective.  I would agree that Fear is going to be the better choice when you are given the choice, though I don't think it's as dramatically better as you claim.  The partial-effect on a failed save is definitely nice, I will 100% agree with that.  For those who fail, I think there are advantages and disadvantages to each.  Yeah, fear is awesome if they run into a corner and cower - but confusion is awesome if they all just attack each other too.  However, in neither case does it always turn out that way.

We however disagree on how much easier it is to place a fear spell.  Which is the reason I think confusion is the better spell.

First of all (and the more minor of my two points) - by my count, Fear does not have a bigger AoE.  Yes, the 30 vs 15 may have it appear to be bigger, but if you check your templates - you'll see that cones are smaller - remember with a burst we are discussing "radius" not diameter.  A 30' cone and 15' foot burst should each cover 24 squares - so size is the same.  Shapes a bit different, but I wouldn't say a cone shape is necessarily any better in general than a burst shape.  Confusion isn't better in this respect, but you are saying it's worse - and that seems like incorrect information to me.

Secondly, and more importantly, a 30' cone puts you right into the action.  If you want to take advantage all 24 squares - you need to be right there, and definitely not behind the BSF - where you want to be. (unless you are an arcane archer - but Arcane Archer changes spell ratings).  With confusion you can put the burst origin anywhere in line of effect within medium range - this is a significant advantage.

You will find this consistant with my spell ratings.  Cones in general are rated lower.  They are harder to place than bursts and harder to use effectively - especially if you are behind a BSF.
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2009, 08:24:22 PM »

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it has no business being rated higher than Fear, considering Fear is a larger AOE, takes 100% of the targets that fail their saves out of combat, has a rider that kicks in even if they make their save, and keeps working even if you beat the targets to death while they are affected.

I think hitting multiple opponents with Fear or Confusion is effective.  I would agree that Fear is going to be the better choice when you are given the choice, though I don't think it's as dramatically better as you claim.  The partial-effect on a failed save is definitely nice, I will 100% agree with that.  For those who fail, I think there are advantages and disadvantages to each.  Yeah, fear is awesome if they run into a corner and cower - but confusion is awesome if they all just attack each other too.  However, in neither case does it always turn out that way.

But Fear is always a good result. Having them run far away is almost never a bad thing, especially when you can cast Confusion, have all the enemies fail their spells, then have nothing at all happen to them. Fear always works. Confusion only works if they fail the save, and even then might not doing anything productive at all.

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First of all (and the more minor of my two points) - by my count, Fear does not have a bigger AoE.  Yes, the 30 vs 15 may have it appear to be bigger, but if you check your templates - you'll see that cones are smaller - remember with a burst we are discussing "radius" not diameter.  A 30' cone and 15' foot burst should each cover 24 squares - so size is the same.  Shapes a bit different, but I wouldn't say a cone shape is necessarily any better in general than a burst shape.  Confusion isn't better in this respect, but you are saying it's worse - and that seems like incorrect information to me.

Confusion is much harder to weave between allies while still covering a useful area of the battlefield. Which reminds me, Fear can be cast, if carefully, once melee is engaged, whereas Confusing an enemy next to an ally isn't terribly useful. Also, it's easier to stack up fear resistance or immunity, so you can just drop Fear right on top of the paladin if you want.

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Secondly, and more importantly, a 30' cone puts you right into the action.  If you want to take advantage all 24 squares - you need to be right there, and definitely not behind the BSF - where you want to be. (unless you are an arcane archer - but Arcane Archer changes spell ratings).  With confusion you can put the burst origin anywhere in line of effect within medium range - this is a significant advantage.

But it's an AOE anti-mook spell. The BSF can't hold down crowds of dudes anyway; that's your job. So they're passing him anyway if there's any significant number of them, so it's in your best interest to cast an AOE that clears the whole crowd effectively, rather than a spell so unreliable it doesn't always work even when they fail the save.

Did I mention that Fear works synergistically with other fear-based strategies? I don't think I did.
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Treantmonklvl20
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« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2009, 09:21:10 PM »

We're not going to agree on this.

you cannot convince me that a 30' cone that originates from the caster is anywhere near as tactically advantageous as a 15' burst ranged spell.  You may as well try to convince me that touch spells are tactically superior to ranged spells, that task would only be slightly more difficult.

My experience all leads the other direction, and in my opinion, conclusively so.
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« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2009, 11:16:59 PM »

you cannot convince me that a 30' cone that originates from the caster is anywhere near as tactically advantageous as a 15' burst ranged spell.  You may as well try to convince me that touch spells are tactically superior to ranged spells, that task would only be slightly more difficult.

Well, let's set aside Fear then. Confusion is a spell that might do nothing even if the targets fail their saves, does not remove the targets from combat, and is useless on a single target. Plus, it's mind-affecting, so it suffers from a ton of immunities. There are no less than three similar spells in its niche, all of which share only some or none of these disadvantages.

Why is that a blue spell?
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2009, 11:44:17 PM »

you cannot convince me that a 30' cone that originates from the caster is anywhere near as tactically advantageous as a 15' burst ranged spell.  You may as well try to convince me that touch spells are tactically superior to ranged spells, that task would only be slightly more difficult.

Well, let's set aside Fear then. Confusion is a spell that might do nothing even if the targets fail their saves, does not remove the targets from combat, and is useless on a single target. Plus, it's mind-affecting, so it suffers from a ton of immunities. There are no less than three similar spells in its niche, all of which share only some or none of these disadvantages.

Why is that a blue spell?

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here, going off simply what I know of the spell in general across all versions of it, and say the selling points here are AoE at range, with the chance to divert and/or deny actions.  Anything that fucks with the action economy can't be bad, and if it can actually turn an ally into a friend for even a single round, for that round you did your job without wasting a spell slot.  Also, centered on the BBEG (who's probably immune) amid his mooks (who're probably not) means at least a few will fail their saves and go batshit.  And right by the commander is not a good place for batshit troops.
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« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2009, 01:52:30 AM »

An enemy attacking another enemy is absolutely better than an enemy running away, especially if your DM offers less XP for enemies that run from battle instead of being killed (and chasing down a bunch of enemies that are running away from you at full speed is a huge hassle, unless your entire party is on Phantom Steeds or something).
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