View Full Version : Enable other Archmage High Arcana choices

10-23-2010, 12:01 PM
The Archmage PRE, while nifty, is only going to see some use by a few people exploring it. Other wizards will remain generalists, or spec Pale Master. This isn't a statement about Pale Master being super great - it's just the best option Wizards have and until now was the only one. Archmage is not challenging that position. In PNP, Archmage had a valuable position. There are a few key features that made it ALWAYS useful and a few that were largely gimicky and ignored. I appreciate the attempt, but from an optimization standpoint Archmage is, I think, a miss.

The key is to remember what the good choices from High Arcana were in the first place and attempt to translate that. With it being a 5 level PRE you can enter early and not one that you truly only reach at the cap, I can appreciate the increased focus on lower-levels spells. That's fine.


Arcane Fire - Gimicky, not taken by any serious optmizer and a flavor choice. However, DDO has this option.
- We have this, sadly.

Arcane Reach - Very popular in touch-spell builds. A great choice instead of Spectral Hand. NOT INCLUDED IN DDO.
- I'm not sure how possible this would be to code, but this was a big value for Archmage.

Master of Counterspelling - Counterspelling isn't/wasn't super useful in PNP and only a few niche builds did it. NOT INCLUDED IN DDO.
- Could be included as SR that rose in tiers; SR would need to remain competitive and better than the effective cleric casting to remain useful.

Mastery of Elements - Largely not taken once Energy Substitution was an option, but in games where it wasn'(those run with a restricted book list) this was how you got your scorching ray to be sonic, or whatever. NOT INCLUDED IN DDO.
- I think there are plenty of other threads talking about elemental substitution and I suspect this may be difficult to code being so open-ended.

Mastery of Shaping - I imagine this is impossible for you to code well. More often used to change one spell to a different kind so you could then toss a twin or other metamagic on it. Ray-casters for instance, used this plenty. NOT INCLUDED IN DDO
- Probably impossible to code in DDO.

Spell Power - Caster level increase. Honestly, this is the primary reason most people took Archmage. In a core-only game this gave Archmage the ability to be pretty serious in the abjuration and other departments which simply lack. It also improved their spell penetration. NOT IMPLEMENTED IN DDO
- This was the primary reason most optimized builds took Archmage. Touch folks took reach, some took shaper and a few dipped for the SLA, but THIS IS THE REASON PEOPLE SERIOUSLY TOOK THE PRC. I'd love to see this as an option on the PRE.
- This isn't just a spell-pen statement, but also on spells with CL checks and a reason Archmages were seriously bad-dudes in Abjuration.
- You could implement it with just specific schools, and maybe not a full option of 5 caster levels if you think that may unbalance parts of the game (so each tier you could select a +1 CL in your school, but not a general +1 CL increase).

Spell-Like Ability - The other reason people took the class, but lets remember the perspective. Optimizers took the SLA on (a) things they use constantly (b) things with annoying or expensive components (c) things they snagged through other means like Arcane Disciple with a use-limitation (like Divine Power). KINDA SORTA IMPLEMENTED IN DDO
- When I looked at it with my PNP-bias goggles on, only Stoneskin jumped out at me initially as meeting that criteria. I sighed. There's a serious direct-interaction bent to most of them and synergistically, few seem that useful.
- While the boost to DCs and such using metamagic are nice on the SLAs, the list itself is poor. I understand an open-ended list would probably be very painful and difficult to code, and that's fair. Perhaps a shift towards SLAs that represent spells most used at the various levels?

ABJURATION: List doesn't honestly look too horrible, but you're taking it for free Stoneskin and a few other buffs that don't cost much. If you really wanted to be an Abjurer YOU NEED CASTER LEVEL INCREASES to make Dispel Magic and Dismisal/Banishment stick. Remember that those do NOT go on spell penetration; just caster level checks. Drop at least some of the SLAs and instead give an Abjuration caster level option there. Dismissal for one, possibly Resist and/or Protect and Shield.
- Tier 1: drop shield CL +1 for abjurations
- Tier 3: drop protect (since it is useless ultimately) for DC +1 on abjurations
- Tier 5: drop dismissal for another CL +1 for abjurations

CONJURATION: While I like Stinking Cloud and Cloudkill, Conjurers do not worry with such. The movement theme of the others is nice, and I could see keeping that as it is unique. Conjurers, however, summon. So, what does the master of time and space get?
- Drop Cloudkill and Stinking Cloud.
- Tier 3 - Enlarge Spell, for free, or a reduction in the SP required for both Enlarge Spell and Extend Spell to zero or near-zero. Master of time and space.
- Provide a non-summoning summons similar to the Pale Master skellies. Perhaps a force-based ... maybe Mage's Hound (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magesFaithfulHound.htm).

ENCHANTMENT: As has been noted, a Pale Master can get as much Enchantment DC as an Archmage. This is a clas that doesn't need more spots and free spells anyway - it needs the ones it casts to land better.
- Drop tier 2 in favor of a spell pen bonus; resistable dance is a joke.
- Swap tier 3 with Suggestion.
- Drop tier 4 in favor of a DC +1 on enchantments
- Drop tier 5 in favor of Feeblemind or Dominate. No one is going to take tier 5 because by that time they are dropping heightened mass holds; this would give a different effect and not overlap so much. If not, another DC +1

EVOCATION: There really weren't lots of Evoker's running around in optimized PNP. If you want to deal direct damage in PNP, you kinda shouldn't be a wizard. Go look at Warmage at the lower levels, or Warlock. That said, the spell list isn't horrible. I'd probably only change a few things:
- Drop one tier for a DC boost or spell-pen boost. 1, 2 and 5 are the weakest and least used.
- Tier 2: +1 DC evocation
- Tier 5: Swap for Prismatic Spray

ILLUSION: Man, this has potential. If only there were actual spells out there that were illusion which you cared about having spell focus for ... Given the total lack of a decent illusion spell list, I'm not sure what to suggest other than those spells as SLAs are essentially the same as a few stacks of scrolls + a heavy feat investment. With disguise options in general non-existent in DDO and the lack of Color Spray, Mirror Image ... yeah, just don't know. Your DCs will only benefit PK and Hypnotic Pattern.
- Getting Invisibility at 1 is nice; that's a 2nd level spell. Still, only marginally useful.
- If we wanted to boost the sneaking capabilities of an Illusionist, it needs a move-silently buff as well.
- Drop tier 2 (Blur); replace with either (a) a move silently boosting capabilitiy (self only) to improve sneaking (b) a bluff/diplomacy/intimidate boosting capability to improve social or (c) a generic kinda-stacking miss chance like shadow fade or other to represent Mirror Image. All of these can be self-only.
- Consider dropping 2 (PK) for something similar. If move silently goes here, perhaps make this enhancement an always-on move/hide non-dispel-able buff for the shadow mages out there, otherwise a self-buff to CHA skills (short term) or a stacking miss chance (larger than tier 2).

NECROMANCY: Here you have to ask ... Why would I do this instead of Pale Master? Pale Master has forms and DCs. What can an Archmage bring to the table that would make me ever consider it instead?
- Keep 1 and 2; Pale Masters who want to be useful as generalists hate the spell-slot loss; the ability to have those always on as an Archmage is somewhat advantageous. PMs have a few levels they are spell-slot starved.
- Drop level 3 for a +1 DC on necromancy.
- Drop 5 for a DC or spell pen boost.

TRASMUTATION: Ok so physical movement and stone/flesh stuff. I get the idea here. It's no Enlarge Person or Alter Self. See, in PNP people who were into Transmutation more often than not were morphing themselves. This game though has no Polymorph option ... only we get some with Lich / Wraith / etc. Change/Alter self were used to either (a) grant combat abilities or (b) bypass hazards / conditions. That's what made them so useful - you could run fast, jump, breath water, ignore poisons/disease AND boost your combat ability
- Tier 1 - Let's give them their own capability here that acts as a jump, water breathing, merfolks blessing and expeditious retreat at the lowest level of benefit (so 10 for jump, etc.) and call it Alter Self.
- Tier 2 - Knock is handy and you don't have to memorize it; let's keep it.
- Tier 3 - Who doens't love haste? Sadly, this gives a Transmuter nothing. Give Ram's Might.
- Tier 4 - In PNP this is the land of Polymorph Self. This is a dominating transmutation. Let's give the Transmuter a combat form here. OPTION 1: Would be a toggle like Lich/Wraith form and would boost some stats but have some downsides (like decreased social skills, maybe a damage vulnerability). OPTION 2: Would be a basic straight modification of stats (boost only). Classic form here is a War Troll, though multiple forms would be nifty.
- Tier 5 - Fine with Flesh to Stone.

DIVINATION: I want my Unluck.

I think changes like this would make the various Archmages a viable consideration, many should not be too complex to create or too taxing on the devs but would create a world of flavor w/in the Wizard class.