This build is aimed at new players who want to learn how to play arcane casters on Higher ground. Not only that, this build is also capable of fulfilling "Rogue" duties in any area currently in the game, which entails a bunch of skills and abilities which allow you to gain more loot over the course of a run. Since arcane casters are the de-facto heavy artilery class, a mage like this is excellent for both soloing and party play, contributing damage, kills, support aspects and rogue abilities.
Wizards receive a large amount of skill points due to being intelligence based. As a result, you can afford the vast amount of skill points required to maximise both mage and rogue style skills. Wizards are also "future proof" - unlike Sorcerers, they are not forced to pick only a few spells. As a Wizard, you can have them all! This means that you can experiment with the entire arcane spellbook and find out what works against mobs - and what works for you, as a player.
The key rogue skills of Disable Trap, Search and Open Lock are used in order to retrieve certain boss loot piles; often a treasure chest will be locked and have a hidden trap attached to it. You will need to detect the trap (using Search skill), disable it (with, you guessed it, Disable Trap skill) and then pick the lock (Open Lock skill). Certain areas can also have hidden secret tokens - these can be retrieved by passing a high dc search check.
Elves on Higher Ground make truly excellent splashed Wizards; elves can raise any class skill of a splashed class to maximum ranks during Legendary levels - it just costs more skill points to do so. For a Wizard, who has skill points almost to spare, this is a great boon.
Wizards have to prepare their spellbook in advance, which means they are less versatile casters than a Sorcerer. However, if you know the area you are going to play in, you can usually set a book which is good enough whereby it won't matter.
Most Wizards on Higher Ground also have poor saves, and this build is no exception. Part of learning to play a mage is learning how to position and avoid any possible threats which you may face, as well as keeping your powerful magical protections up.
Higher Ground Class Edits
Firstly, If you want to know more about Wizards, you can find all the custom changes on Higher Ground here.
For more information about your Wizard spells, check here.
Custom Epic Spells
To know more about the Higher Ground Custom Epic Spells, check here.
To access all of the Wizard custom spells, you will need to download a small hak pack. This is completely optional, but is highly reccomended to enhance your enjoyment for this, and any other builds you make on Higher Ground, as it will open up many new spells and abilities which you can use.
The following quests (which can be obtained by talking to the NPC's in the two Tavern's in the Ascension Docks) can be a fun and rewarding way to gain experience for your character.
Defeating certain enemies while you start your quest to immortality and beyond can earn you accomplishment tags, which provide you with some permanent character bonuses which will serve you well from pre epic levels through to legendary levels and beyond.
There's so much to consider!
Don't worry if this seems like a lot of information to take in. There's nothing to stop you jumping straight in and starting your Wizard on his or her path towards immortality and beyond right away; if you have any questions, need hints or tips, or aren't quite sure what to do next, you will find plenty of helpful and friendly people to provide guidance via the !newbie channel.
Finally, you triumphed in your quest for immortality! However, immortality is just the first step towards further greatness. Onwards to Legendary levels, even greater rewards, and even greater dangers.....
[Please note, Great Intelligence feats were taken as soon as possible in order to maximise skill points. Taking them out of order will result in less skill points by level 60.]
The following stats are what you will be able to achieve with optimal gear. If you manage to conquer the Nine Hells, you can actually exceed these stats - ask if you're curious!
You will not be able to achieve these stats immediately due to gearing constraints, but the more you persevere, the more items you will accrue, and the stronger you will grow. Hard work and persistance will see you rewarded with greater power!
Appraise- Used to reduce prices charges by various merchants on Higher ground. Also Increases the price which you can get when you sell items to merchants. This is an excellent skill to both save money when you buy, and earn more when you sell.
Concentration - Higher concentration lowers the risk of having spells disrupted by taking damage.
Disable Trap - Used to remove traps. On Higher ground, important boss loot may be trapped - the traps must be rmeoved before the loot can be taken! One of three essential "Rogue" skills.
Discipline - There are many discipline checks on Higher ground, varying from knockdown checks to other nasty special attacks that can shred your armour! A must for any build.
Lore - Provides a damage boost to many elemental based damage spells.
Open lock - Allows you to pick locks, both on doors which may bar your way, or treasure chests which may contrain treasure. One of three essential "Rogue" skills.
Parry - Reduces the amount of damage taken from critical hits.
Search - Used to find hidden objects - these might be hidden entrances, hidden loot of hidden traps.One of three essential "Rogue" skills.
Set Trap - Taking 5 ranks in Set Trap provides a +2 synergy bonus to your Disable Trap skill.
Spellcraft - Required for counterspelling.
Tumble - Increases your armour class and prevents attacks of opportunity when you move around in combat.
+ 2 Armour Class with a +17 ac deflection item and an improved ac caster shield = 114ac
+ 1 Armour class with +14 stat items to Dexterity = 115ac
*Note: BUR class caster shields are much higher ac than their UR counterparts. A standard, un-nerfed, un-boosted BUR caster shield will add +14 ac rather than +7, as with the UR shield, which is a huge improvement assuming you manage to acquire one.
Fortitude: 48 Reflex: 50 Will: 53
+1 to all saves with +14 stat gear (Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom) = 49F, 51R, 54W saves
Miscellaneous Character Enhancements:
When you achieve level 41+ you will be permitted to use a Spell Tome, which will grant you a free Epic Spell Focus. For this build, you should use an ESF: Transmutation book, as this will grant you access to the Transmute Barrier epic spell, and also boost the dc of some useful spells. You must read this book before you can take Legendary Spell Focus: Transmutaiton at level 57. Spell Tomes can be found on the Ssithrakh run, which is a Legendary area.
Higher Ground is notorious for the many powerful Dragons scattered around throughout it's many areas. These can be found as early as pre-epic, and as late as the Nine Hells and Elysium! Some of these dragons will drop their blood when you kill them. Open subraces can drink the blood to add useful feats or ameliorate certain penalties - for this Wizard, a useful choice might be the blood which grants the Dodge feat. This may seem an odd choice, but it's pretty much the best option of a bad bunch, as the other feats you can gain via dragon blood (cleave and combat casting) nothing and nearly nothing to this build, respectively. However, Dragon blood also has another, more useful purpose which you can utilise to enhance your character, if you can find two of the same type. If you're curious about this mysterious process, ask in-game about Dragon blood and its uses.
There are a number of artifacts which can be applied to your character which provide a number of beneficial effects. These can be rather hard to come by, and many builds do not have one - even level 60's! The reccomended artifact for this build is the Intelligence artifact, which provides confusion immunity and +2 to Intelligence. It also grants you the ability to dominate a non mind immune monster, with no save, once per day. They are sometimes sold in the auction chests on the servers, which you can browse here (along with other potentially useful gear), so start saving your pennies! It would also be possible to farm Intelligence artifacts with a group of friends, as they drop in the Beholders run, a Legendary area for level 55+ characters. Stat artifacts can be used at level 55+. However, do not worry if you cannot get one - these are to be considered a luxury, not a requirement.
General Gearing Guidelines:
It's somewhat pointless giving a shopping list of items to wear, because how you gear your Wizard will depend greatly upon what you can find/buy/beg/borrow/steal. In general though you should try to maximise your main stats (Intelligence, Dexterity and Constitution are your three primary stats as a Wizard with rogue skills, to maximise DC, AC, health points, saves and skills) as well as your secondary ones (Strength and Wisdom, to maximise your carrying capacity and will save). Maximising stats becomes easier as you gain in levels and find better gear.
You will also want to wear items with ac as high as possible in the following categories: Deflect (Helm, Cloak, Belt, Bracer), Armour (Armour, Bracer), Natural (Amulet), Dodge (Boots) and Shield (Shield). This will ensure your armour class is as high as possible with your available gear.
Items with spellslot gear can be useful in giving you more casting stamina between rests. You can find items with spellslots on many runs, but most notably:
The Maze of the Ancients (Level 41+)
Myconids (Level 40+)
Pit of Moliation (Level 55+)
Avernus (Level 55+)
Finally, damage reduction/immunity/soak can all help increase your character survivability. These three types of damage decreasing properties all stack with eachother, so if you wear all three, your character will benefit in terms of survivability. Many items have these properties on them, especially once you get to Legendary levels. It should be notied that damage immunity % DOES stack on multiple items, so the more you can fit, the better. Damage resistance and damage soak/reduction do NOT stack with other instances of the same type; for example an item with 10/- to all physical damage, and a second item with 15/- to all physical damage would not stack with one another - only the highest (15/-) woud apply. Likewise, +15/10 soak would not stack with +15/20 soak - only the +15/20 would apply, even if you wore both.
Highest DC possible on Evocation, Transmutation, Necromancy and Illusion spells:
This build achieves the highest possible dc (on an open race character) in four powerful schools.
Full Rogue Skills:
This Wizard is fully capable of fulfilling the role of a Rogue in party when it comes to looting. It is capable of detecting and disabling any trap, finding any secret and picking any lock on the server, provided you have sufficiently powerful thieves tools. It also has maximum appraise skill, which means you can sell any items you loot for a much better price - as well as saving you money if you have to buy shop gear.
This build boasts four epic spells. You can find more information on these spells, and others later in this guide.
Future Proof Spellbook:
As a Wizard, you have the potential to know every single Arcane spell it is possible to know. This means you won't have to worry about which spells to pick on your build - you can swap them in and out of your book any time you need to rest. This is doubly important if you are new to Arcane play, as it will let you experiment with any spell you wish.
Playing a Wizard will require you to become acquainted with the Wizard spellbook. Below is a list of some of the Wizard's most useful spells. This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are many other useful spells, some of which can be fairly niche and used only in certain situations, or on certain monsters. Improvise and experiment!
Endure Elements: 9% elemental immunity (10% if pure): keep at least 2 for yourself in your book, a few extra for party members if they need.
Expeditious Retreat: Increases your run speed - very handy for staying out of melee range.
Grease: - Used to reduce movement speed of enemies. Can also cause a knockdown effect.
Ghostly Visage: Your number one escape spell - provides 5 rounds of etherealness (just like greater sanctuary) with 59 caster levels and Lsf: Illusion. Has no cooldown timer, so it's great for escaping and repositioning to a position of advantage. Can be extended, which increases the duration to 10 rounds, or one minute.
Flame/Shock Weapon: - Used to buff your allies weapons and increase their Fire/electric damage respectively.
Clarity: Provides mind immunity for the duration of the spell, also removes any mind effects the target is currently suffering, such as a daze or stun effect. Also used to remove the Berserk status, which causes allies to charge headlong into battle whether it's wise to do so or not!
Displacement: Grants 55% concealment (with legendary spell focus Illusion) - ask your party who would like this. Generally those who will request it will be clerics, strength tanks and other classes who do not receive their own conceal or benefit greatly from Mass Camouflage.
Gust of Wind: A spell capable of auto dispelling any persistent aoe's - both friendly and hostile ones. Also capable of knocking down enemies who fail a fortitude check.
Keen Edge: Applies the keen property to slashing weapons, which increased their critical threat range, making them crit more often and thus increasing party damage. Also works on non slashing weapons with Greater Spell Focus: Transmutation, or higher.
Negative Energy Burst: Your main source of area of effect negative damage; also lowers the strength stat of enemies not immune to ability drain. Best cast empowered if you intend to use it for damage purposes.
Bestow Curse: -11 Spell Resistence on enemies (-12 if pure). Also drop their abilities score.
Evards Black Tentacles: A persistent area of effect spell which deals large amountf of bludgeoning damage to enemies which are hit.
Remove Curse: Another type of malus which can cause you problems from pre epic levels to the very endgame - this spell will remove curse effects, from cursed items which cannot be removed by other means, to calling you back from entrapment in a maze spell!
Energy Buffer: Useful self buff that gives resistence to all elements.
Lesser Mind Blank: Similar to Clarity, however has a longer duration and provides a one time only immunity to some nasty mind effects which normally ignore mind immunity. Does not remove berserk status, as with clarity.
Lesser Spell Mantle: Your main defense against spells - while this buff is up, you will be immune to direct spell damage or effects. The more spells your mantle soaks thoughm the sooner it will drop, so be ready to recast it.
Wall of fire: At caster level 20, creates a physical barrier which you can use tactically to block monsters in place.
Vitriolic Sphere: An area of effect spell which deals acid damage. This should be empowered - your main source of acid damage.
Chain Lightning: Area of effect damage spell, which deals large amounts of electric damage to all enemies in the vicinity. Your main source of electric damage. Good to empower.
Circle of Death: Area of effect death magic spell, faster acting and with a longer range than Wail of the Banshee, which can be to your advantage in some scenarios.
Disintegrate: A powerful instant kill which does not respect death immunity. Some targets may be immune to the spell itself.
Ethereal Visage A bard/mage's number one defensive buff. Provides concealment against attacks, damage soak and spell immunity dependant upon caster level. Also grants extra conceal based upon illusion foci. This build receives 80% conceal and level 6 spell immunity at level 60 (85% conceal if you're lucky to find an item which increases your caster level by +1). You can also play smart and increase your caster level to 60 with energy drain - and then cast any buff you like at caster level 60 over the next minute.
Eyebite: This spell redeuces damage rolls, skill checks, and saving throws on the enemy you target it upon - in effect the same function as a Cleric's prayer spell. Has the advantage of having a long ranger, unlike prayer, although it is single target. Cast this on hard to reach enemies, or if you have no partymates capable of using prayer.
Flesh to Stone: Petrifies enemies, rendering them harmless and effectively all but dead. Some enemies will be immune to petrification.
Freezing Sphere: An area of effect spell which deals large amounts of cold damage. Your main source of cold damage. Good to empower.
Globe of Invulnerability: Once Caster level 50 is achieved, this will render you immune to lvl 7 and below spells. A very powerful defensive spell.
Legend Lore: Grants a large bonus to your Lore skill.
Tensers's Transformation Grants a boost to your Strength, Dexterity and Costitution stats, which can be useful when levelling or if struggling for gear, and more importantly boosts natural armour class up to a maximum of 20 ac, along with a large temporary health points buffer. A great buff to use - memorise three or four, extended preferably. Also, cast this buff after draining a caster level with energy drain to achieve the maximum ac boost (+20).
Banishment: In effect, an instakill spell for summoned enemies. These are more common in the endgame parts of Higher ground.
Delayed Blast Fireball: An interesting spell, which can be cast as a direct damage spell, which deals lots of area fire damage, or set as a "trap", which detonates and deals area fire damage when enemies run over it. Your main source of fire damage.
Finger of Death: A single target death magic spell, that also deals large amounts of negative damage even to death immune enemies. Your main source of negative damage.
Great Thunderclap: A great utiity spell, which deals large amounts of sonic area damage, and forces enemies to save versus knockdown, stun and deafness. Your main source of sonic damage. Good to empower.
Prismatic Spray: Your main source of area of effect positive damage.
Rebuke: Another instakill, which is good to target at enemies lacking mindspell and confusion immunity. Also deals a large amount of magic damage, even to those immune to the instakill component - your main source of single target magic damage, which can be empowered.
Bigby's Clenched Fist: Inflicts huge amounts of bludgeoning damage if it hits. Note, enemies with high conceal will take reduced damage from this spell.
Greater Planar Binding: Summons a powerful Outsider, based upon your alignment, to fight for you.
Greater Sanctuary: Your number one escape spell - cast this if you need to escape! Note: This spell has a cooldown.
Horrid Wilting: Deals high amounts of magic damage to enemies in an area of effect. Your main source of aoe magic damage. Note, this spell will not work on undead.
Premonition: Your number two defensive buff, this provides a large amount of physical damage soak. To get the most out of this spell, buff it after draining one caster level with energy drain, granting you caster level 60 for a full +15 soak.
Sunburst: Use this spell to blind your enemies, or to instakill or deal positive damage to Undead.
Bigby's Crushing Hand: An effective crowd control spell which grapples a target in place, holding them in place, and also paralysing them if they are not immune.
Energy Drain: A truly excellent debuff, which lowers enemies saves and skills on a failed save. If you land it enough times, you can drain enemies not immune to negative levels to death. Also provises 1 free caster (up to+3) for a minute for level for each level you drain!
Meteor Swarm: Deals large amounts of divine damage to all enemies in a huge area of effect.
Wail of the Banshee: The ultimate in death magic, this forces enemies in a huge range to make a save versus death magic effects or be slain.
Weird: A large instakill spell which respects mind immunity, rather than death immunity. Has a very high dc, making this a great offensive spell.
Custom Epic Spells:
Death of Magic:
Casting this epic spell will render all magic used by your enemied completely useless. This may include offensive spells, defensive buffs and even heal potions. It is therefore a spell which can grant a great tactical advantage; using before spawning enemies which self buff after spawning can render them very vulnerable. If your party is being bombarded by offensive spells, this can save a lot of incoming damage. Or, you may use it when a miniboss/boss with heal potion(s) is about to become badly wounded, rendering it's heals useless. A very powerful and useful epic.
Directs a huge area of effect which deals a lot of magic damage to all enemies, and knocks them down if they are not knockdown immune. Even enemies with a high amount of magic immunity will be damaged by this spell, as it inflicts a large magic damage vulnerability when it is cast for a short time. Use this to damage a large group of enemies, or to knock down a threatening enemy or enemies.
An excellent spell for soloing, the transmute barrier erects an impenetrable ring of stone around your mage, giving you free reign to cast from relative safety, at least from melee. A few notes of warning - ranged monsters will still be able to damage you, as will spell casters; any loot breakers you cast can break your wall, which can be disastrous; finally some monsters will break through your wall after a time, particularly bosses, so don't waste too much time!
One of the least powerful epic spells available, this spell is pretty much reduced to being used when you have a single target available which takes good magic damage. There are, however, a few enemies spread throughout the game which are particularly vulnerable to magic damage, and this spell can be a great help for killing them. Be wary of using this against monsters with a lot of kickback (reciprocal damage which you receive each time you damage that monster) - it can quite easily to lead to your death, or worse, a party wipe if the kickback is area wide (which means your partymates receive the kickback damage too!).
You can find plenty of vital supplies for sale in the town of Ascension. If you can't find one or more of these, ask for help! These include:
Healing potions of varying strengths, from Cure Light Wounds to full power Heals. Essential.
Negative Protection Potions - 100% immunity to negeative energy damage! Very useful around undead and various spellcasters.
Clarity Packs - Useful for quickly making yourself immune to mind spells if you can't fit it on gear.
Rez Packs - Handy for when your partymates meet their doom! Essential.
Saint's Blood Pearls - 10 charges of Restoration, great for curing yourself of various deblitating ailments such as strength decrease or blindness.
Stoneeater's Ring - Useful to restore petrified partymates.
Teleport gems - These can be used to return to Ascension from most other areas of the module. Also required in your inventory in order to acces a certain pre Legendary area of the module. Pack lots!
Playertool 2/Assist player - This comes for free on every character you will ever make! It can be selected from the radial menu. Quickslot this to help pick up knocked-down party members - a real life saver!
Build Evolution: An Open Race Wizard's Guide to Self Improvement
As you progress on Higher Ground, the chances are you will come across potential ways in which you can improve your character build - namely subrace improvements. Thankfully, due to the reincarnation system, you won't be forced into starting your character from scratch (although you might decide that would be fun to do!). These can come from a potential number of sources:
Secret Subraces - As the name implies, the means of obtaining these is a secret! However, ask in game for guidance.
Ultrarare Subraces - these drop in legendary areas as subrace books.
Beyond Ultrarare Subraces - as with Ultrarare subraces, but these only drop in level 55+ endgame areas, notably the Nine Hells, the five visitable layers of the Abyss, Elysium, Aboleths and Rona.
As a Wizard, you have several options available to you in each tier of subrace - most notably:
Illithid: - Secret Subrace, any race. Must be Elf to be a loot mage. FC: Wizard, BC: rogue; - STR -1, CON -1, INT +5, free feat: Iron Will, free feat: Slippery Mind, speaks Undercommon, speaks Illithid, speaks Psionic
Stargazer: - UltraRare Subrace, Elf. FCs: Wizard, Cleric; INT +4, WIS +4, CHA -2, free feat: Spell Focus - Divination, free feat: Defensive Roll
Genie: - BeyondUltraRare Subrace, Any race. Must be Elf to be a loot mage. - FC: Wizard - DEX +2, CON +2, INT +6, free feat: Spell Penetration, free feat: Greater Spell Penetration, able to walk on quicksand, speaks Auran, speaks Celestial, speaks Ignan; able to change Appearance to that of their base race using the PC Scry (the change is one way and irreversible)
Each of these subraces would provide significant upgrades to your character. In each case, the build would have to be altered to be optimum. However, feel free to post a request in this thread for a modified build for any of the listed races, or any other race which you feel might be a good match for a Wizard. I will be happy to post an upgraded build for a different subrace, provided it is a sensible choice of race.
Mages are some of the most powerful, fun and demanding builds to play on Higher Ground. As a Wizard, you are capable of dishing out large amounts of each elemental and exotic damage type, as well as having several sources of bludgeoning damage; you are also capable of utilising some very effective instant kill spells. In short, mages are the masters of offense. You also have plenty of disabling spells, along with some useful debuffs to boot.
On the flip side, mages are also probably the weakest class you can play in terms of defense. You have to learn quickly how to evade your enemies attacks, including ranged, melee and magical. The good news is, mages are equipped with several tools that allows them to do so, if you play smart! The learning curve may be steep at first, but experience is the best teacher.
Mage may well be the class for you if you are keen on playing a responsible and complicated role, which grants you the power to inflict massive amounts of damage and kills on almost any run you go on - or to disable and debuff your enemies, and perform support duties such as counterspelling so the rest of your party can finish them off more efficiently. The choice is yours!
This is one of a series of builds co designed by Xiayu and Excruciator, designed around a strong party backbone, including all "core" roles. Cores are classes which form the spine of a party, and, while it's not essential to have them all, you will normally have two or three of the four core classes in any party going to the Hells or beyond. Before that party requirements are a lot more loose, but it's good practice to realise the importance of core classes as early as possible.
The following links detail some other builds we liked to fit common and often requested party roles. They are all open race builds - take a look and see what you like!
Great formatting, guide, and build (again). In LL areas a splash wizard has all the power (if not more) than a pure wizard. You lose some spell pen and conceal and gain AC and utilities. It really is a good trade off and you can use this sort of a build anywhere in the mod. It depends on what you are going for. There are a lot of pure caster believers out there but you can be very effective as a splash. This would be a great first character and will get players excited about the mod. Making use of able learner is a nice touch and displays this unique HG feature to new players
Hi CJ, There are a few places around where some scrolls drop, but I would imagine a few timely chats with people in game will sort you out as anyone who has a wizard can make the vast majority of scrolls.
Definitely learn Undeath to Death as you level up as the scroll cannot be made by another wizard. Nor can the HG Enhanced spells, so pick any of those you need on level up.
Remember you can always reincarnate if you get it wrong - and you can make a scroll of every standard spell you know before you reincarnate... if you'll excuse my meta gaming hint