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Thread: Practiced Spellcaster feat
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 12:34 AM #1
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Ý Block Methos of Aundair
Practiced Spellcaster feat
The Practiced Spellcaster feat in The Complete Divine (page 82) came up in a thread and when I read up on the feat I realized how unbalanced it was in my opinion. Out of curiosity I emailed my players and asked them and they all agreed. I was curious what the readers on this board thought. First off, this feat is useless towards any non-multiclassed spellcaster, so remember I am talking about multiclassed characters since this would be the only one capable of using it. Also, please read the feat description before posting, if you would like (and itís legal) I can post the feat on this thread.
Using a character out of my personal campaign Iím running (Rog4/Wiz5/Arcane Trickster3) who just reached 12th level and chose Spell Penetration as his feat. Spell Penetration grants a caster a +2 on his checks to defeat an opponents SR. If at 12th he would have instead taken the Practiced Spellcaster feat it would have granted him a bonus of +4 caster level (not effecting spells cast per day or known, but effecting checks versus SR) which is basically as if he had received a doubled Spell Penetration feat at the cost of a single feat! That seems way too much. Feats shouldnít exist that allow you to take one and receive the benefits of two others. And what is worse is the player could still choose to take Spell Penetration and the Greater version at a later level and they would all stack.
Also, for some reason Iíve noticed a lot of players who play fighters like to take one level of sorcerer so they can cast shield and mage armor. So letís use a Ftr5/Sor1 (with minimum charisma required, so a Cha11) as an example. Without the Practiced Spellcaster feat this character can cast his mage armor up to 3 times a day at an hour apiece, or for a total of 3hours a day if he uses all his spells for mage armor. At 6th level this character takes the Practiced Spellcaster feat which allows him to cast his spells as if he were 4 levels higher (purposes of duration, range, effect only). So now he can still only cast mage armor 3/day but the duration of each casting is 5 hours apiece, or a total of 15 hours a day! A single feat just quintupled his duration. At this rate why would a multiclassed spellcaster ever need to take the extend spell feat.
Now that I have brought up the Extend Spell feat, in a way isnít the Practiced Spellcaster feat basically affecting the Extend Spell feat the same way the Haste spell was towards Quicken Spell in 3rd edition? There are a lot of ways to use the Quicken spell feat but I heard a lot of ďwhy take that feat when I can just cast haste?Ē This same approach can be taken in regards to the Extend Spell feat and Practiced Spellcaster for a multiclassed character. The Extend Spell feat allows you to cast a spell with its duration doubled if you memorize the spell at one level higher than its actual level. With the Practiced Spellcaster feat you automatically cast it at 4 levels higher for duration, range, damage, and all effects related to caster level, and still being able to cast it at its current level. In a way this takes away from several of the metamagic feats, not just the Extend Spell feat.
When I asked my players about what they thought of this feat this was one of the responses I got from them, and I quote:
ďSince the advent of 3.5 WotC has been trying to take away most of the disadvantages of multiclassing through feats (like this one), prestige classes (Mystic Theurge) and other rule changes. I think it's completely ridiculous and over-powered. Multiclassing is SUPPOSED to have disadvantages to offset the advantages of greater versatility. This is especially important for spellcasting classes, where multiclassing in two or more gives you a MUCH wider range of spells and more spells per day (though of a lower level). In my opinion it's driven by the company's (mostly correct) assumption that players seeking new and better advantages for their characters drive a large portion of the sales, so each new edition, book, etc. has something slightly MORE powerful or slightly MORE advantageous than everything that's come before to tempt people into buying. Ē
I think he says it very well.
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Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 01:02 AM #2
Novice (Lvl 1)
I too, think he said it very well.
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 01:07 AM #3
I'll repost my response to this on your other thread
Of course the feat only works if you are lacking in levels of caster. doing any sort of multiclassing really destroys the abilities of a caster.
In order to make use of the feat you have to give up several levels of spellcaster, the primary loss of which is spell levels. This feat does nothing for that.
Vs the primary caster the person with this feat is one feat down just to maybe be caught up in spell penetration and pick up some other benefits, all of which could be gained by the necklace of prayer beads without needing to give up a feat or levels.
I think it is pretty strong, but the stronger it gets then the weaker caster you are to begin with. A feat to let your single level of whatever caster be able to actually be useful at higher levels sounds good. Being able to get mage armor to last longer is pretty much a nonissue though, there are many ways around this that are cheaper than spending a feat.
Anyway though, here is another thread you may find interesting.
In addition to that though, your players response the multiclassed character is paying for the extra power, with a feat. They get some extra range, some more penetration, and other such things.. but they have to just keep on paying.
For the theurge he might have to spend two feats simply to get his spells up to the penetrating level that the primary caster has anyway. So again he has to just keep on paying just to keep up in some ways. He is still behind in spell levels though and that is the huge cost that they continue to suffer.
Last edited by Scion; Tuesday, 20th July, 2004 at 01:11 AM.
Until the next horizon
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 01:11 AM #4
Defender (Lvl 8)
The thing is that the wider range of spells just doesn't compensate for what you're losing.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
A Cleric8/Wizard8 is casting Cure Critical Wounds and Dimension Door. A Clr16 is casting Mass Cure Critical Wounds and Earthquake. A Wiz16 is casting Polymorph Any Object and Greater Teleport.
Compare that to a multiclassed non-caster. A Ftr8/Rog8 or Bbn8/Rgr8 isn't really any weaker than a straight-classed non-caster.
Multiclassing a caster using the PHB only doesn't give advantages commensurate with the loss of both caster levels and spell levels. The Theurge, Eldritch Knight, and Arcane Trickster help, Practised Spellcaster helps, to redress this.
Comparing PS to Spell Penetration doesn't really apply.
Let's say I have a halfling rogue, 8 Strength, 16 Dex. I take Weapon Finesse.
My attack bonus with finessable weapons just jumped 4 points! That's four times the bonus Weapon Focus gives... twice as much as if I had Greater Weapon Focus as well, a high-level Fighter feat! Does that make Weapon Finesse overpowered?
Well, let's see. Third level rogue - BAB +2. Weapon Finesse, +3. Size bonus, +1. Total, +6.
Compare that to the fighter. BAB +3. Weapon Focus, +1. Str bonus, +3. Total +6.
So the rogue's attack bonus is not unbalanced for his level.
The Practised Spellcaster may gain a +4 bonus to his Spell Penetration checks... but only if his Spell Penetration bonus was already at least 4 less than a straight-class caster. For a character of his level, his Spell Penetration check is not unbalanced.
Sure, it's better than a straight-PHB multiclassed caster. But he's still not casting Trap the Soul, and that's the true advantage of the straight-class caster.
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 01:24 AM #5
Novice (Lvl 1)
However, as it is intended solely to help ease the expense of being a multiclass spellcaster, compariosn to single-class casters is still relevant.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
It may seemlike it, but it's not. You are essentially, sans practised spellcaster, already 4 points behind everyone else in terms of penetrating SR - as well as in terms of dispelling others' spells, and resisting their attempts to dispel your spells.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
All this, on top of the loss of spells-per-day and maximum spell level - in the case of yoru example, that character can only cast spells of 4th level or lower, while his peers are casting fifth and sixth level spells- and they get more of the 1st-through-4th level spells per day than you do, besides.
Compare your Roge/Wizard/Twinkster with Practised Spellcaster ... to a Wizard(12) with Spell Penetration (the "other" choice for 12th level, in your example). The single-class wizard has two extra levels of spells, an extra Wizard bonus feat, a much better familiar, and rolls 1d20+14 to penetrate spell resistance. Further, he has slightly more spells of 1st to 4th level to playwith, as well. Meanwhile, the multiclass Twinkster gives those higher spell levels up in return for some sneak attack, uncanny dodge, and evasion; he rolls 1d20+12 to penetrate SR.
Practised Spellcaster is meant to be useful to multiclassed spellcasters; it's one of several options available to allow GMs to make playing a multiclassed spellcaster more tenable/viable.
One is to allow such Prestige Classes as the Mystic Theurge, Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster, and so on.
A second option is to use the Magic Rating rules from Unearthed Arcana.
The third option is to permit the Practised Spellcaster feat.
And IMO, no GM should ever allow multiple solutions from the above list to be taken. Pick one, and onlyone, and stick with it for your campaign.
Okay, so for three or more feats, such a character can merely equal what takes the single-classed spellcaster only two feats to accomplish. And they're still down in spells-per-day and maximum spell level castable.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
My response to this is ... so what? And that's all well and good for mage armor, but you claimed the multiclass selection occurred so that the character could cast shield, not mage armor.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
Only with such abysmally low innate casterlevels. At caster level 4 (pre-feat), you get the same benefit on X/level duration spells. At caster level 10, you get much less.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
That occurred only because Quicken's cost is greater than the un-metamagicked spell level of Haste. IF haste were an 8th level spell ro such, you'd've seen far fewer people prefer haste to Quicken. Similarly, if quicken had cost only +2. *shrug*Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
And most multiclassed spellcasters that care about their spellcasting, will take both the metamagics and the Practised Spellcaster feat.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
The problem with this assumption is this: Base Attack Bonus.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
A Fighter who multiclasses into Rogue gets to stack their base attack bonus. Fighter(8)/Rogue(12) doesn't have a lot of "disadvantages" associated with it.
But Fighter(8)/Wizard(12) is an emasculated waste of time; can't fight very well, can't cast offensive spells worth diddly, and generally isn't worth the levels. Seriously.
Give him Practised Spellcaster - even twice - and he's still not going to be casting the high-end attack spells the Wizard(20) can pull off. But at least his lower-end spells ar as likely to connect despite SR, and at least his lower-level buffs and protective spells won't wear off in just over half the time of the dedicated spellcaster.
Trade 7th through 9th level spells for a big BAB increase, more hitpoints, and muchbetter weapon proficiency options? Heck, yeah - if my spellcasting will still matter, and if multiclassing is the way I want to go with the character.
But if doing so makes my ability to cast spells pointless ... no, I'd never take that route. Period. End of story.
Ten, twenty, or even FIFTY second-level spells won't equal a SINGLE eighth or ninth level spell, whencompounded by a six-or-more point disadvantage in penetrating SR.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
Sure, sure, a Cleric(3)/Wizard(3)/Theurge(5) has a LOT more first-level spells than either the Cleric(11) or Wizard(11). But he doesn't have 5th or 6th level spells, and is 3 points behind on SR rolls for both "flavors" of magic, as well as having slightly lower per-spell healing potential, slightly less damage per offensive spell (8d6 per fireball, instead of 10d6 (11d6 with the right feat, in fact).
Also keep in mind, IMO, the Theurge class should not be allowed in the same campaign as Practised Spellcaster. Disregarding that, however, Spell Penetration woudl STILL be the preferable spell for them to select ... since it'd benefit BOTH spellcasting classes, where Practised Spellcaster would benefit only one.
And I disagree - at least as regards the Practised Spellcaster feat.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 03:10 AM #6
Novice (Lvl 1)
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Ý Block Methos of Aundair
First off, let me apologize for starting this thread without first searching to see if there was one already started. I am new to this board and failed to think of this. My apologies.
Secondly, in regards to not being able to cast the higher level spells as a multiclassed character, I would think that at the time of character creation the player would have thought of this beforehand. Letís say I want to make a multiclassed character and go the route of Arcane Trickster, Bladesinger, Spellsword, or whatever. My main focus isnít primarily spells, granted Iím not saying I donít want access to the higher level spells, but when I created the character I should have known or realized I may never have access to them due to my choice of multiclassing. The fact that I may never cast Wish, Permanency, Heal, and the other high level spells shouldnít be considered as a penalty to being multiclassed, the player should know that when he/she made their choice to play a multiclassed character. That was the playersí choice. And typically when a player multiclassed it is usually for the versatility of spellcasting they wish to add to their character. Such as a ftr/wiz, rog/sor, clr/ftr, and so on. Usually their primary focus isnít spellcasting, though this isnít always the case.
Take for instance the Arcane Trickster in my campaign that I have already mentioned. His primary focus is the accumulation of wealth, in whatever means, and he tends to use his spellcasting abilities to benefit this goal. That is not to say he doesnít use his spells offensively, this is the case versus opponents he doesnít wish to move into melee with or when there is a lot of lesser opponents he can blast. He doesnít complain about his lesser casting ability, it doesnít seem to bother him. Lack of more gold though does.
ď but you claimed the multiclass selection occurred so that the character could cast shield, not mage armor. ď
Reread what you quoted me as saying, it specifically says they take one level of sorcerer so they can cast shield and mage armor, no where did I say they could only cast shield.
Though your make a good point with your Weapon Finesse example, it isnít the same. The Practiced Spellcasting feat gives a lot more bonuses than just the +4 to SR. It adjusts damage, duration, range, and other effects related to caster level. Using your example in comparison would be like saying Weapon Finesse also changes the damage of the weapon, BAB, and size. The Practiced Spellcaster feat has benefits that resemble Spell Penetration, Extend Spell, Heighten Spell, Enlarge Spell, and probably a few others I canít think of right now. Weapon Finesse deals only in which ability you use, not multiple benefits that could be gained by several other feats. This one feat grants the player benefits in multiple ways, and that is way too much in my opinion.
One last time, I do not feel that not having access to the higher level spells is a penalty to a multiclassed character, that is a choice the player had to make during character creation. If the player sought access to higher level spells (7th-9th) than a pure spellcasting class should have been a more viable option.
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 03:38 AM #7
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
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Ý Block Caliban
I've seen multi-classed casters without the feat. They are pretty nifty up until about 7th level or so. After that, they become less and less enjoyable to play, because you simply cannot pull your weight in most dungeon crawling/combat situations. Outside of combat they can still be effective, if they are built correctly, but often not even then.
The practised spellcaster feat looks powerful on paper, but in practice it is not. It simply makes multi-classed spellcasters playable at higher levels, instead of underpowered.
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 03:54 AM #8
Defender (Lvl 8)
Let's say I take a Commoner all the way through to level 15.Originally Posted by Methos of Aundair
It's pretty much a given that I'll be weaker than the Wiz15, the Ftr15, and the Rog15.
Now let's say we create a feat that grants +3 to BAB and to all saves.
This is obviously supremely overpowered.
But let's say we give it a prerequisite of "15th level Commoner".
Even with that feat, the character still has a lower BAB and lower saves than a 15th level monk... and lower hit dice... and no class features... etc, etc.
Sure, it grants the equivalent (and better) of the Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, and Great Fortitude feats. It's better than Greater Weapon Focus with all weapons.
Nevertheless, with the prerequisite, it still results in a 15th level character who'll get his ass kicked by any other 15th level PC in town.
But hey... I chose to be a Commoner, so that's not a penalty.
Allowing a Fighter to take this feat would be lunacy. But he can't.
Allowing a straight-class caster to take a feat for +4 caster levels would be crazy. But he can't. Practised Spellcaster doesn't give him the equivalent of Spell Penetration, Extend Spell, Widen Spell, Empower Spell, etc, etc. It gives him nothing.
It only provides a benefit to a character who is otherwise weak. Just like my hypothetical SuperCommoner feat.
Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 07:18 AM #9
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
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Ý Block (Psi)SeveredHead
I'd love to know what this feat is doing in a game where the Eldritch Knight can be found in a core book.
This takes away most of the only real disadvantage of being an eldritch knight. Did they think it was too weak? Wasn't that something that should have been discovered when they playtested the eldritch knight?
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Tuesday, 20th July, 2004, 07:48 AM #10
Defender (Lvl 8)
The only multiclass spellcasters who are "weak" are those who expect to have the benefits of levels in some other class and still perform as well in spell combat as a single classed caster.Originally Posted by Hypersmurf
Most multiclass casters I've seen use their spellcasting abilities to enhance the abilities of their primary class, NOT as direct attacks. Used that way, their spell abilities are exactly where they should be. The one level sorcerer casting Mage Armor and Shield is a good example. So is the Wizard/Rogue casting Mage Armor, Shield, Cat's Grace and Invisibility. A Wiz3/Rog7 is much better at Rogueish stuff than a 10th level Wizard and much better at powering himself up with spells than a 10th level Rogue, but he's not as good at Rogue stuff as a 10th level Rogue and he's not as good at spellcasting as a 10th level Wizard. Guess what? That's the way it's SUPPOSED to be! Specialization = Power and Generlization = Flexibility. It's supposed to be a trade-off. Any multiclass caster who expects to be performing just as well (or nearly as well) as a single class caster in straight up spell combat vs. a creature with SR is asking to have his cake and eat it too.
Complaining that a Wiz/Rog isn't as good at overcoming SR as a straight Wiz is like complaining that a Ftr/Rog doesn't have as high a BAB as a straight Ftr or a Clr/Ftr isn't as good at turning undead as a straight Clr. Of course they aren't, you have to give up SOMETHING when you get sneak attack, evasion, uncanny dodge. You have to give up SOMETHING when you're getting extra feats, extra HP and martial weapon proficiencies.
If this feat is balanced, then the next Rogue book should contain a feat giving a +4 bonus to all Rogue class skills for multiclass Rogues. The next Fighter book should contain a feat giving a +2 BAB for multiclass Fighters. The next Druid book should contain a feat giving a +4 equivalent class level for determining the HD of animal companions for multiclass Druids.
If the goal is to take away the drawbacks to multi-classing, let's at least be thorough.
Last edited by Ourph; Tuesday, 20th July, 2004 at 07:50 AM.