Didn't see this discussed & wanted to throw it out mainly for the discussion. In my "splashing" of the SM hybrids I've been using Monk for the boost in AC, better base saves, deflect arrows, Monk Speed & Still Mind (benefits over all other splashers), and of course Evasion (benefit shared with Rog & SD). Mostly I noticed that my survivability went up due to the AC increase actually ..
I guess my point is, why would I play your build instead of a wizard? A wizard would get full spell pen, DCs that were relevant (so you could actually Bigby or Wail things or whatever), probably be able to fit in another epic spell (or two, while you're at it) if one were so inclined, and would pay I think 5% concealment for it. In addition, you would be more sure to cast those meteors undisrupted in combat (Imp Combat Casting).
The other end is why, if the party had a dedicated caster, would I prefer your build over mine? Especially since yours has such bad saves. I mean, it looks like your build could be tweaked, but I guess I'm just not really seeing the point of a wizard who sounds like it spends more time taking Improved Critical than it actually spends in combat, or a staffmaster that needs a wall built around it.
Its a very versatile character, and the versatility is a strength. It has decent AC and gets an excellent EV concealment. It can tank frontline quite well, and can deal a lot of damage with offensive spells. Overall, its not as good as a pure class at either, but it can do both. Yes, the saves are a problem, so, a suggestion of mine: 1st lvl, take luck of heroes, then focus in daggers. It will prevent the need to take martweapons, or exotic weapons, and with the LL save feat leg luck, you can get a total +4 to all saves, It won't eliminate the problem, but its a start. Just my thoughts T1K
Saves are not a problem, in so far as my experience has been leveling to 60. The only place I have had problems has been crossing the river in avernus.
Set, bro, I don't think you get point of this build. I will simply say this, Its not supposed to be a caster, Just being able to wipe a map with spells is a nice bonus. Contingency is nice, really nice. Nothing better than if you are typing or otherwise not paying attention and you die, and Oh well your fully buffed and at 1K HP again.
Set, I really think you should see this character before you start ripping it a new one. I've partied with this toon a number of times, from early immo stages up to a DB and thids run the other night when he was level 59. It was quite impressive indeed. As DC said, it's not meant to be a caster. Having the balor is really just a bonus, because getting epic focus in enchant also gives +16 GMW. As he said, a balor on the ssithy bridge is the ONLY way to fly there.
He does not rely on the transmute wall - actually, I never saw him use it once on thids or DB, because it wasn't required. If you go on a Pyramid run, however (and hells, from what I've seen in pics and talked to people who have been many times), the transmute wall is a MUST. And if you can't find a true caster to go with you on a Pyramid run, now you have a tank who can also cast that wall (not to mention keep a balor with him in the wall).
What is your build exactly, that makes it a better SM than this? (other than the fact that it uses a staff - DC you really need to change this name ) Need a BBoD in beholders? Got it. When you die, is it easy to get going again? In an area like DB or the desert with arrows flying towards you? In a small group? If things go badly, can you drop a TS to help rez teammates? You probably do more damage, which is definitely a good thing. But having a high conceal + decent AC is better than just high conceal. Need a lev ring in desert or DB? Not this guy. Your saves may be better, but you could tweak this build to have most of the same saving feats you took probably. Oh, and SR is a HUGE bonus. Disspelled regularly? Not with 70 SR. And you can add a breach or mord's ring and have nearly all disspells covered, whereas a "regular" SM can't easily.
The low DC doesn't matter, because you're really not casting offensive spells. You might get away with some Meteors, but it's just a bonus. Tenser's works the same for both builds, so they're really pretty similar in regards to attacks. But you also get more castings of each spell with this than you do a "normal" SM. Run out of Tenser's, or have it disspelled? Cast some more. And you have extras, where as a normal SM will run out before too long.
This build could probably be improved or at least tweaked to suit your needs (don't need the wall? Don't take it, and use 3 feats for saving throws). I also agree that it could use more CON probably. And I'm certainly not ripping your SM build, having never seen it. I'm just saying that maybe you should see it in action before you discount it. Maybe you two could hit a practice dummy to compare damage and AB, and/or try some PvP or take turns fighting baddies to compare and contrast. Maybe hit ssithrack's one at a time, or maze, or something like that.
I just don't like seeing a build I know works (from having partied with him) so looked down on by someone who hasn't even seen it yet. I built a "normal" SM (medium sized, staff-wielding, 24 WM/15 Wiz/1 Monk), and wouldn't do it again. I am waiting on either a large UR subrace (mino doesn't really cut it), or going with one such as this.
"My" staffmaster is listed in this thread, I haven't seen it yet either because I just dropped the list in for comparison. It's a dual handaxe wielding pixie. It's right there.
Quick question, how do you get +16 GMW with ESF Enchant? Isn't that +13? Anyways having a strong GMW is nice but I think Tenser's will make +10 meet the attack cap anyways, and it still doesn't approach the issue of redundancy with dedicated casters around.
Okay, other spells. If you need BBoD, you can read a scroll. To my knowledge anyone with a wizard level can do this. Same for Time Stop (to be honest, I've seen Time Stop used for that like, twice, and it could just as easily have been GS really). With every staffmaster I've played I always prep as many Tenser's as possible, and if something goes very, very wrong, I am still able to use scrolls. If MS scrolls could break more things' spell pen checks, they would actually be better than the spells that build casts.
I don't think the saves could be tweaked without compromising the build even more. As far as I know you can't take saving throw feats with wizard bonus feats, and DC still has a few of them listed as "your choice," which still just looks odd to me on a build that's already feat starved.
To my knowledge staffmasters now have regular dispells covered because of the level=CL update. So far I haven't been wrecked by or seen a staffmaster wrecked by greater dispel since the update. Other than that, SR is nice I suppose, which is part of why I stuck with pixie for my comparative list instead of some more radical change that is probably possible but kind of beside the point here.
All I know is I see some numbers that don't look very good. Saves in the 40s? As far as I know, there are some things that +67 attack really won't let you hit as often as one would like. He doesn't have the epic attack feats listed, so as far as I know, my build's attack bonus is a full 10 points higher. Armor Skin is also not listed so it has 6 less AC than my build would.
And your "real" hp is like 500. This means if you buff up to 900 hp and then get hit, your heals only bring you back up to 500 until you die, use your contingency, get hit some more, and die again. This may not happen very often with good gear and such (though the desert was mentioned to be a painful place), but I can tell you it would happen less often if your real hp were (by my quick calculation) 863. That means your buffed hp would be like in the high 1100 or 1200s range, which is a bit more like a "real" tank's. And your hp would mean Tenser's bonus hp wouldn't be a life or death necessity.
In the end, DC's build looks "neat" but it really just doesn't look like something that would perform satisfactorily for my tastes. A dexer and a caster are two roles that in this case just do not meet in the middle. There's a lot you can get by with as long as you have high conceal to be sure, but I still just don't see why I wouldn't play a pixie wizard or something. And pixie wouldn't be my first choice for a wizard. I mean, and this is actually something that could be cool, couldn't you just as easily equip a Dachy staff and go around hitting things with that? I don't know that it would be that far behind, and as long as we're making melee builds around caster gear...
So yes, I guess I really just don't "get" the "point" of your build. If it's not supposed to be a caster, why does it have 50 wizard levels? And if it's supposed to wipe a map with spells, why doesn't it have any more than the minimum points in its casting modifier?
Anyways, as long as there are mages to be found on runs, if I were to make a dexer staffmaster, I have yet to see why I wouldn't go heavy on the WM levels. Or if we needed MSs, I don't see why I wouldn't just bring a real caster (and yes DC, I would race you with a level 60 wizard across the desert ). Maybe it's just me, and that my style is different from some other peoples', but I will continue to take the best builds I can find and rip them new ones no matter how much I like them. If I then analyze their strengths and come back disappointed then I've learned something about them that I wouldn't otherwise by going "it looks good enough" and leaving it at that. I really don't know how most other people go about their decisions because they usually don't talk about it, but this response isn't anything new to me, so it seems a logically upheld conclusion.
So if everything's working out for the rest of you with this build, don't let my arguments stop you.
First off, you're right, it is only +13 GMW, not +16. For some reason I keep getting that confused.
Second, by saying I've never seen your build, I meant just that: I've never witnessed it in person. Yes, the info is right there, but seeing numbers and seeing something in person can sometimes be quite different.
And I didn't just say "it looks good enough" - I know it's a good build because, as I said, I've witnessed (better verb?) it on the Dustbone and Illithids run. Granted, these are not the hells. And perhaps the saves will be a huge problem in the hells. But for specific runs such as those mentioned, it does work quite well. And DC did say he's been to the first level and the 2nd of the hells with little problem.
Is yours better? Is his? I don't know. Yours looks really good as well (the saves are especially nice). But to cast TS and BBoD, you'd have to have someone scribe those scrolls for you. Maybe go 17 wiz/20 wm to be able to scribe for yourself?
The update to disspell does make a difference, but this was posted long before that. Sort of like saying "why didn't use this BUR for this build?" for something that was written a year ago. So when I ran my SM with DC's, I would get disspelled regularly while he just laughed it off. But that's somewhat moot now.
Your stats are pre-pixie, if you are using pixie as you indicated. So con will actually be 14, still a marked improvement over 10 though.
So it's really a matter of personal taste I guess. DC's would do better at Ssithrack's I think, for the bridge at least. And he could do the Pyramid with a smaller group potentially, because he's bringing the wall and a tank at the same time. Same goes for parts of the Hells, that also go faster with a transmute wall. I think part of the point is more self-sufficiency, not trying to get a Hells run going and finding out you have no casters, etc. Granted it's not often a problem, but for those that play at odd hours it certainly could be.
Lastly, DC, do NOT take him up on that offer of racing a 60 wiz across the desert. I've seen Halo there too many times...
Actually I've never seen this toon at the desert to know how effective MS's are there with 10 fewer caster levels than is possible, so I'll shut up now.
Well, your support argument just now mentioned the spell resistance, so it's more like if we both had the BUR and you were still using an old argument. It does change the reasoning for making a pixie build as per the date of the original post, but that's part of the variant races issue anyways which isn't as important as level structure.
Yes, I did intentionally post the stats pre-subrace, to show the point allocation. With 14 total base con and the shift to WM as control class (if I remember the quick calculation) you net a total of like 330 HP.
Regarding scrolls, if you have another high level caster character you can just scribe all the scrolls you'd ever need, give them to someone else (or an alt character) and log in with your finely tuned staffmaster that has comparatively fewer caster levels and functionally superior relevant ability scores, and you're good to go.
I suppose some of it could be personal taste, but in my eyes it's mostly just math. This is a complicated system with a lot of variables, but you can still boil down the primary issues to simple arithmetic.
I guess to me what it comes down to is, in a perfect group where you have a Halfling Death and a 60 caster, you're probably better off than with 2 of DC's characters. If you're unable to find that 60 caster, or the dexer tank, then two of these toons can fill those roles to pretty good extent.
This toon stood toe-to-toe very well on DB and Illithids (and would on Sssithracks and the maze, etc), just as yours would. But his build with the Balor would help much more than your build on the bridge of ssithy, and his transmute wall would help immensely in the Pyramid.
Which build is better at tanking in level 9 of the hells? Probably yours. Which one is more flexible throughout the entire HG world? I'd say it's this one pretty convincingly. And some people love flexibility, because they like helping others do runs that they need help to complete. Adding your build to a group of dexer builds adds.....another dexer. Adding this one to the same group adds some more flexibility.
I'm definitely not saying it's perfect. And I do really like your build, and think maybe you should submit it as its own post so that others may provide feedback.
I never said I would race a level 60 WIZARD across the desert, I said make your version of this build, that you posted earlier in this thread, and I would race THAT build across the desert.
Phal pretty much nailed it on the head, If I wanted the perfect dexer I woulda just made the halfling death. I didn't I wanted a build that could do good anywhere, Solo, Small group or, large group.
I am really done arguing with ya Set. You seem to want to convince me and others that my build sucks. As I said, your entitled to your opinion, but too many peeps have seen and asked me about this build in person (Including on the Hells run!!! )
BTW Phal, to let ya know about the MS, they average between 150 and 200 damage on stingers and most other critters, Much more if they roll a 1 on their save. AFAIK there are no scrolled MS that provide that sort of damage.
Also to any other who were wondering, this build was pretty difficult up until level 48 or so, then just got smoother and smoother and smoother. Now my biggest problem is carrying enough rezzes around cause quite often I am the only one left alive.
To another point for those interested, TS and rez is much better than GS because it allows casters to GS themselves before mobs start killing them again, AS well as having your teamates stand up in the middle of the TS and help you rez the entire party rather than Rez somebody, they die while you try to rez somebody else, ect till somebody Autos, of your GS runs out and your toasted. Just some tactics there for all you aspiring builders.
And one last point, about your build Set, I did take AS in my LL, SO your build would have MAYBE 1 more point of AC than mine cause I get Thids bracers, you know, that crappy "Caster gear" that gives you a +18 Armor bonus, a FULL +4 more than the best Dexer robe out there, hawklights?
I also took 2 Spell pen feats in LL,(to be able to smack anything short of 80 SR) Epic prowess, and EWF Daggers(handaxes for this build) Fort save feat, Armor Skin, and 1 GD.