Balance[edit source]

This class compares pretty poorly with a flask Rogue or Fire Mage. The limited number of effects, lack of consistent AoE, and capped damage make it look more like a rogue level class than a wizard level class despite getting some decent powers (since they're all single target). There's a lot of potential here though, it just needs some of its restrictions pulled to bring it up to wizard. I'd probably start by letting them recover things more quickly, so that they were always packing serious level appropriate single target things. This looks like a really solid candidate for some sort of per encounter spell balancing. - TarkisFlux 18:45, May 8, 2010 (UTC)

I'd disagree; some examples of spells that this class gets that are wizard-level include Hideous Laughter, Fear, Slow, Solid Fog, Phantasmal Killer, Enervate, Dominate Person, Hold Monster, Flesh to Stone, Forcecage, Finger of Death, Mage's Disjunction, and Dominate Monster. IMO, those spells shouldn't show up on a regular basis in rogue-level games, and though many of them might be single-target, they still have the potential to decide encounters from round one. --Ghostwheel 18:51, May 8, 2010 (UTC)
Looks like it's SGT time again... --Quantumboost 20:01, May 8, 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your input guys. Quantumboost, I think the SGT for this class would be difficult because it's meant for single combat, and it has limited effects against multiple opponents. Maybe the class is Wizard level against single opponents and Rogue level against groups? I'll playtest this a little more. Critique is always welcome. --Johnnya4344 20:07, May 8, 2010 (UTC)
You fundamentally misunderstand the SGT. It's a statistical analysis over the *full spectrum* of challenges; that includes both single-opponent combats and multiple-opponent combatss. "Wizard level against some opponents and Rogue level against others" is utter meaningless tripe. If it does roughly 50% against the SGT as a whole, it is Rogue-level. If it does significantly greater than 50% against the SGT as a whole, it is Wizard-level. That is what those balance points mean. --Quantumboost 20:39, May 8, 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. I've started and it seems to be about 60/40 at level 10, but I haven't gotten far. There's still a long way to go. --Johnnya4344 21:11, May 8, 2010 (UTC)

SGT[edit source]

  • A hallway filled with magical runes.
Likely loss. There are no class features that assist with this encounter, except UMD. As it is possible that he's carrying a wand or scroll or something that gets him through it there's a chance, but it's not a good one unless he's already optimized or expecting it.
Highly disputed - Dispel Magic is on the spell list, and can be used 18 times before ability bonus is added in. Just keep dispelling the runes. Easy enough to see them with Detect Magic or even a Permanencied Arcane Sight at that level. --Ghostwheel 07:55, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
So, he can use gear through UMD like I said, or he can have bought a permanented spell which counts as purchased gear that I explicitly don't test with. I didn't actually consider the multi-dispel trick though, and the wand of detect is cheap as free at that level, so that's actually a pretty good call. This is probably a toss-up then, since the first rune could be a sepia snake sigil or something similarly encounter ending and he probably needs to survive the first sigil before applying wand charges that he may not even have. - TarkisFlux 17:17, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
After more thought, you're right that this is probably a likely win. We let wizards skip it with DD, so it's reasonable to assume that you'd have warning. In which case you pretty much win if you have a cheap as free item to use with your UMD class skill and there are fewer sigils than you have dispels. - TarkisFlux 19:15, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
Sure win. Solid fog followed by colding it to death. The solid fog here is pretty weak because of it's new limitations, but it is a "no-save, effectively blind at range" effect. So start with that so that it can't boulder you with your crappy AC since you have to be in its range to do stuff, and then just move so it can't even attempt to target you anymore.
Likely win. If it burrows up from beneath you and does something nasty like grapple you're screwed since you can't really break free and it can just breath on you until you're crispy since you probably won't be able to get anything off. If it attempts to kite you you can do the solid fog blind trick on it and then pick it off. If you're optimized at all it's also likely to fail saves against your spells, which helps.
Likely loss. You have spot as a class skill, so you might see it waiting in ambush for you. If you do, which is basically impossible without gear and investment, you can probably take it (solid fog ftw!). If you don't see it you have escape artist as a class skill and might get away, though again basically impossible without gear, leaving you a slim chance against it's movement, reach, and poison. It's not a good fight for you though.
Disputed - Since both Listen and Spot are class skills, I'd say you'd have a decent chance of spotting it. After that, use Hold Monster and a round or two later it's dead. 50/50 on this one. --Ghostwheel 07:55, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
You are better at listening than spotting in this case, but only if it's attempting to move silently. If you walk within range without it having to move, which isn't particularly difficult, that never even comes up. But yes, if it has to move, it's move silent bonus is on par with your pre-gear listen bonus and about 50/50. I just don't agree that the situation comes up enough to boost this to 50/50. - TarkisFlux 17:17, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
Toss-up. If you had concentration as a class skill you could probably deal with the spores. But you don't. So if it gets initiative and gets to teleport adjacent and spore you, and since you can't move faster than it does or cast a spell without provoking an AoO, you probably can't cast anything and die. If you win init and it's within range you can do your solid fog trick again and win.
Even without Concentration on the skill list a spellcaster's going to invest in it. Hold Monster and it's down--I'd call it 50/50.
It's not as relevant now that he has it on the list, but cross-class concentration means you don't do even 50% on getting your highest level spells off defensively (without gear). Still, you disagreed with me to give it the same result :-p - TarkisFlux 17:17, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
  • A tag team of Mind Flayers.
Likely win. You're likely to win against their mind blasts, though you don't actually have any special protection against them. As long as you do, they are fairly easy to take out with your spell attacks and Explosive Spellslinging.
Toss up. Since he has zombies with him from animate dead, you actually have a few things to deal with here. You can probably rapid / explosive spellsling his zombies in a round though, so as long as you survive the first round it's your multi attack spells against his wider selection and 1 round head start. I think that's too close to call.
Sure loss. You can probably rapid / explosive spellsling a few of them down, but once they close with you you're done because you can't cast defensively and you can't escape their reach / movement.
Multiple Solid Fog on this one allows you to crowd-control enough to break the trolls up, allowing you to take em one-on-one as make sure that only one can escape the cloud per round. If you're being surrounded, solid fog centered on yourself and get out. And you completely didn't mention Fear, which can send half the trolls running for the next 10 rounds. --Ghostwheel 07:55, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
I admit it was getting late and I forgot to explode fear or hold or slow or 'solid fog' on them. But you really need to go read the spellslinging changes though, especially the solid fog ones, because it doesn't do what you think it does here. It only covers their eyes and blinds them past 5'. It's no-save, which is nice, but it doesn't do the regular movement restricting things here. And you can't center anything on yourself since it's all ray stuff that you can only make into bursts centered on target with use of per day limited abilities. You don't want to burst anything near you ever since you can't exclude yourself from the effects. If you can keep them out of range, or enough of them out of range since you have concentration now, you can win this. It's probably up to a toss up now, since you're unlikely to get all of them with your two bursts in round 1. - TarkisFlux 17:17, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
Sure loss. You have a crappy touch AC and can only take 5 hits (assuming a very generous STR and average damage, you can likely only take more like 3 or 4). So even though you have force damage and can affect them, it's pretty unlikely you'd be able to take them out before they overwhelmed you.

So, the tally: 1 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 2. Which looks a little below rogue to me, even with his nasty single enemy encounter ending powers. Assuming that the lack of concentration was an oversight this actually gets a bit better, since the Vrock and Trolls were largely lost because you suck if people get in your face. And you can certainly optimize gear to bring it up, but it doesn't look wizard level on it's own yet.

The big win here was the no-save blind effect from the single target solid fog though, which I actually think is a bad call. Adding a save to it (or just replacing it entirely with blindness, since it does effectively the same thing) makes it not the best spell on your list before level 9, and that's probably a good thing.

I'd also consider adding more skill points. You have some really good skills that you need to make up for your lack of utility powers, but not enough skill points to actually invest in them (since you're a charisma caster). You actually need them for a couple of these encounters.

I have some thoughts on the individual spells and spellcasting mechanic (I actually really like the attack action casting btw, though I'm not sure you get enough attacks to make it worthwhile, TWF would be a nice bonus feat early on) as well but those will have to wait until later cause it's late now. - TarkisFlux 07:37, May 9, 2010 (UTC)

The group encounters, while much more difficult, can still be won even without high concentration. Using an explosive Hold Monster can easily take out the entire group, allowing the Spellslinger to pick them off one by one. Trolls have a piss poor Will save, and Shadows aren't much better, so the explosive effect could easily incapacitate at least half the group. And if he uses rapid spellsling that round, he still has two more spells to go, and if they save, he can just toss 2 more at the ones who made their saves. Also, he has Spellsling boost at 10th level, so even if only half the group is affected (looking at the shadow group here), it still does a decent amount of damage, since the shadows have very little hp. And from there he can just move back and fire a damaging spellsling at range. The Vrock and the Bebilith are more about initiative than anything; the Spellslinger can just toss 3 Rays of force in a round for 30d6-36d6 +3x Dex mod damage, which is enough to take out at least 80% of its health in one round, if not kill it outright. Tarkisflux, good call on increasing skill points to counter lack of utility, raising it to 6/level will help alleviate that problem. Concentration not being on the class skill list was actually a typo, and I feel extremely embarrassed about that. --Johnnya4344 10:44, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
You can't target shadows in the floor or walls. And trolls are large and unlikely to be clustered in such a way that you can get all of them in a round. But yeah, I was getting tired and sloppy, and you do a bit better on the trolls than I put in. Especially with concentration back. - TarkisFlux 17:17, May 9, 2010 (UTC)
Hey, no problem. I want to keep this wizard level so it will work with Tome material, and you guys really helped with that. I know its still on the low end of Wizard but there's always room for changes. If you get any other ideas let me know. I'll be happy to listen. --Johnnya4344 19:10, May 9, 2010 (UTC)

Reworking Spells[edit source]

Ok. Before I start babbling more, I should say that I'm only doing this because I think this is a great idea. I only complain / critique in this fashion because I want to see it hit wizard level more strongly. I want to be able to point, say "pew, pew", and blow on my finger at the end of a fight.

Anyway... being able to ray people for properly scaling <energy> damage isn't really the sort of thing that needs to be daily limited in a wizard level game. A flask rogue can throw touch attack acid flasks or alchemist fire or whatever all day for similar damage (they do half per, but they have twice as many through their better bab and twf) and nobody cares. The fire mage just does 1d6 per level as an attack action and nobody cares. You're in the same ballpark (at least up to level 10), you just have a per day and scaling level cap on it for some reason. It might be worth it to just give them 1d6 damage of any energy type per level as an attack action at level 1 and be done with it. You could probably put in d4 per level force damage as well if you wanted as well. That cleans out their low level spells though, but it's not hard to find new save or suck effects to fill those slots in (color spray, sleep, grease, web, glitterdust, etc.)

Which brings me to the rest of the spell list. The save or suck / die spells are probably the only ones that you want limited in any fashion, but if you strip out the damage stuff so it doesn't use spell slots that's all that you have left. While I actually think a per encounter setup would be a lot of fun for the class (and I generally don't like those for casters), I can't actually think of one that works, and sticking with spells per day isn't a bad call (reduced though, if they don't need those slots to power straight damage anymore). If the original spell was already a single target spell though, like Vampiric Touch or PK or Dominate Monster, you probably should keep those as standard actions or move them up a spell level. Trading AoE for attack action casting is fair, but just trading down casting time isn't (though there may be spells that suck at their level that are worthwhile with this change, like Horrid Wilting).

On a slightly related note, if you have specific ideas about how spellslinging interacts with feats like Rapid / Multi Shot and TWF (and their Tome equivalents), you should probably spell those out. Right now TWF would give you a bunch of attack actions with your off hand, and I'm not sure if you could use those for spells or not. And if there is no intended interaction, you could always steal from them as class abilities, like giving "multi-shot" as an ability (called Double Tap if you like) that let you double hit a guy as a standard action with -4 on each attack. - TarkisFlux 01:19, May 10, 2010 (UTC)

I really like those ideas. It will take a little reworking, but the issue with two weapon fighting and attack spells is one I completely overlooked. Also, bumping up single effect spells like PK and hold monster is fair, but I thought that having to hit with a ranged touch attack would balance that out. Now, Pk has 3 chances to fail, and each save effect has 2, and I thought that a second chance to fail, even if its pretty slim, was worth making it an attack action. Changing explosive and rapid spellsling to per encounter uses would work fine, and the scaling elemental damage works pretty well too, always leaving a decent attack option. I think limiting spells/day to 3 every level would even this out, that way they would really have to conserve their save effects. I was fairly lazy in finding extra spell effects since I only glanced through the Sor/Wiz spell list on the SRD, but I have access to all the expansions and I can definitely get some cool effects from there. Multi-shot/ wouldn't necessarily work well with rapid spellsling at high levels that way, unless it was used as a backup for long encounters when rapid ran out. I really like the idea, though, and I'll see if I can get a shotgun-like effect in there too (those were definitely staples of wild west firepower, and I want to try and include them somehow. Meteor swarm was a start, but that clearly isn't enough). I'll definitely find a way to make two weapon fighting work with this class, since we are basically treating his hands as pistols. Hopefully I'll be able to put in all these changes by the end of the week, but I have lots of AP tests, so try and be patient with me. Thanks for all the feedback and help, I really want to make this workable in a Tome campaign. --Johnnya4344 01:37, May 10, 2010 (UTC)
The touch attack trade casting time trade off might work if he had a lower attack bonus, but he has fighter bab with his spells so he's not going to miss touch attacks unless he's fighting something with a miss chance (which he actually sucks at dispelling since he has to hit it first). If you wanted to reduce him to moderate bab (and just give him full moderate bab overall for simplicity), that might work and be worth it for the weaker spells (like PK). And multi-shot is a standard action as opposed to the full action that rapid shot is. It would let him get two attacks on a guy and a move action in the same round, which you can't otherwise do. Your scatter shot stuff is basically shotgunning, and if you wanted to turn that into a class ability that required both hands that might work. - TarkisFlux 01:48, May 10, 2010 (UTC)
Not done yet, but it's a start. Let me know what you think. --Johnnya4344 10:40, May 10, 2010 (UTC)
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