Author Topic: [Archive] ... Odd optimization project: minimizing caster levels  (Read 1660 times)

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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[Archive] ... Odd optimization project: minimizing caster levels
« on: September 24, 2015, 05:15:00 PM »
by JulesCarv
I think I can fit this into 1 post, but maybe not, so wait a smidge ...

**

Minimizing caster level: why would anyone want to do such a thing? The idea is that an artificer's item-creation abilities are caster-level based. As such, an artificer who goes by the minimum caster level of a cleric can't scribe a scroll of miracle until level 15 -- but going by other classes, they might get it sooner. Here's what I've come up with so far.

Cleric spells -- accessible to an ur-priest. Caster level = spell level, if the ur-priest has no spellcasting before entering the prestige class, or cleric spellcasting. (5th level spells have minimum caster level 5, etc).

Domain spells -- accessible to a divine crusader. One again, Caster level = spell level.

Sorcerer/Wizard spells -- here, things get a bit more confusing. There are two ways of getting high spell-level/low caster-level spells here.

A bard/sublime chord gets accelerated casting. Since this is a silly theoretical optimization exercise, we might as well push it as far as we can: let's take an illumian bard 1/rogue 9 with precocious apprentice and improved sigil (krau). She becomes a bard 1/rogue 9/sublime chord 1, able to cast 4th and 5th level bard and sorcerer spells with a caster level of two. From then on, progression is a bit more normal: 6th level spells require a caster level of 4, 7th require 6, 8th require 8, and 9th require 10.

Level 2 sorcerer/wizard spells also are accessible with a CL of 1, via precocious apprentice.

Level 3 sor/wiz spells still require a caster level of 5, as far as I can tell. It's a bit odd: you can cast level 0, 1, and 2 arcane spells at CL 1, then you need CL 5 to cast level 3 arcane spells, then you go back down to CL 2 to cast 4th and 5th level arcane spells.

Bard spells -- well, I think this is mostly covered by the bard/sublime chord combination for bard spells of level 4 or higher. Bard has another weird "hump" in CL: level 0 spells have minimum CL 1, level 1 spells have minimum CL 2, then level 2 spells go back to minimum CL 1 thanks to precocious apprentice. Spell level 3 -- well, the best I can come up with is CL 6, which is barely better than the default of CL 7. That's the caster level at which a chameleon can cast level 3 arcane spells.

Depending on whether aptitude focuses are usable for item creation, the chameleon provides a bit of help for both arcane and divine spellcasting CL minimization for level 2 spells: they can cast them at chameleon level 1 with a CL of 2. From then on, chameleon spellcasting quickly becomes a worse and worse deal for CL minimization: level 3 spells at CL 6, level 4 spells at CL 10, level 5 spells at CL 14, and level 6 spells at CL 18.

The blighter could be addressed, but in truth, I don't feel like bothering. Its spell list is so thoroughly mediocre that the divine crusader, ur-priest, bard/sublime chord, and such probably make it completely obsolete.

So... for an artificer, this means that 9th level cleric and domain spells can be scribed onto scrolls at level 7, since artificers can meet item creation prerequisites two caster levels higher than they are, and can scribe 9th level sorcerer/wizard spells at level 8. Furthermore, polymorph is available at level 1 for an artificer.

**

julesCarv ---
Update: I failed to take into account the feats Mage Slayer, Pierce Magical Concealment, and Pierce Magical Protection. With those, every spell, I believe, is accessible with a caster level of 1, when combined with other tricks (ur-priests, etc).


xaktsaroth ---
Not sure if I'm popping a bubble here, but you do realize that when your crafting an item, you can set the CL to your current CL or anything lower, right?


T_G ---
Actually I think CustServ said if you don't have the minimum caster level to normally cast the spell you can't... I would seek a verification of this statement though because it's coming out my random memory bank.


aDMg ---
Commoner 1 Proxies are casting Domain spells at caster level 11, and that's even on the 7s 8s and 9s.
Presumably an item of X can be made from said castings.
Efreet and Noble Djinn are spell-like-ing Wish at caster level 12.

Ardent 2 / Caster 1 with tricks / Cerebremancer or Psychic Theurge 10,
with Psiotheurgist feat from Dragon #349, gets 3rd level powers at 3rd, 4s at 4th, etc.
but then you take ExpandedKnowledge and pick a power that is not part of the Psiotheurgist double count, and EK works with any power and 'surprise' your manifester level on that power is just your Ardent manifester level.
EK at 6th level would give you a 5th level power, but only 5ML if it's not on the Psiotheurgist feat.

Chasing T_G's statement:
This may have bearing over here ---> linky {dead link}
Now, I know it's CustServ , but they do have Caelic in their corner.

so I clicked the link, myself.
The concensus, led by Mommy Was An Orc, seems to be :
Example True Strike - makes no reference to caster level in it's entry, hence it works.
Example Fireball - references caster level, hence 4d6 or 3d6 or even 1d6 fireballs BUT spell fails at 0 caster level.


ed209 ---
Sublime Chord has access to the entirety of the Sorcerer/Wizard and Bard spell lists, not just spells of 4th level and above. Such a character is allowed to add lower level spells (0-3) to his known list with something as simple as Extra Spell, and just requires caster level 3. Some other useful low level lists that occur to me (not sure if they add anything useful) are Nar Demonbonder, Suel Arcanamach, Holy Liberator(mostly Paladin), Pious Templar(Paladin or Blackguard), and Consecrated Harrier(Ranger). Anyone got one for Druid?


callix ---
The trick here with Mage Slayer is that it is possible to cast almost any spell with a caster level no higher than 5. (Ur-priest 9 with no cleric and Mage Slayer). Thus a 3rd level artificer can create any spell-dependent magic item, because he can create any item that requires a CL of 5 or less. Since the item could be created by a reverse-optimised character of CL 5, he can make it. Cubic Gates anyone?


aDMg ---
I was perusing CPsi and found
"Dimension Door, Psionic" has two negative augments. This allows a 4th level power to be -fested at 3pp.
Githzerai get "Plane Shift, Psionic" at 11th level; it's a 6th level power at 6 ML.
This establishes that Psionic powers can be manifested at a lower ML/pp than standard.

Just reread the Thrallherd.
It discounts Psi-Charm way below it's original cost, all the way down to 1pp.
So psionic powers can be manifested for a lower pp cost than what's listed.
It just takes more machinations, than those cheesy Wizards and Clerics take.


crimsondeath {not sure who he quotes}
   let's take an illumian bard 1/rogue 9 with precocious apprentice and improved sigil (krau). She becomes a bard 1/rogue 9/sublime chord 1
No, she doesn't. An Illumian Bard 1 with Improved Sigil Krau knows four cantrips, which her Improved Krau Sigil can Heighten to level 1 spells. You need either another level of Bard, or a level of pretty much any other arcane spellcasting class.


archerpwr ---
bard 1/ wizard 1/ XX 8/ SC 1 could have a CL of two though, right?


crimsondeath ---
Actually, even that wouldn't work because you need level 3 spells to become a Sublime Chord.


archerpwr ---
prec. apprentice (wizard) + improved sigil krau?


crimsondeath ---
That would work.


aDMg ---
Druid spells can now be treated as Arcane.
P.30 of Dragons of Eberron, has a dragon religion called Child of Eberron.
It adds Druid spells to the arcane list, for the dragon.
For everybody else:
Locate said dragon ; Charm said dragon ; You start making a scroll ; The dragon supplies the spell.
Then stick it through JulesCARV's loop.

What makes it ... s ... l ... o ... w ... ,
is which-ever dragon only knows a Sorcerer's # of spells,
so the total known Druid=arcane spells,
will be limited one dragon, to one other dragon, to the next dragon, etc.

Magic of Eberron has the feat Psychic Rush.
For 1 action point, it reduces the cost of a power by d6 powerpoints.
Combined with Psiotheurgist, and a very specific build,
that reduces the cost of all up to 8th level powers to 1 pp.

Limited Wish, Wish, and Miracle open up any power up to 7th level
to non-psi for just 1 pp; so that's about the same ball park.

Metapower and Midnight Augmentation combined with Psychic Rush (above)
would reduce augmentation costs to 1pp for any augment up to (8+PowerLevel of PP)pp total cost.
The CPsi powerstone nerf could be two-wayed. First to make a cheap powerstone.
Then use it, via the 3 feats above for augmenting, to make a new powerstone, with the cheapened augmentation.

Lastly, Chameleon Crafting feat in Dragon #349 can make psi powers into an arcane or divine item; and vice versa.
All for the cost of *1.5 exp of normal.
Scrolls of Psi powers can be made, and then Wizards or Archivists can run them through the loop.
That feat is totally borkny.

conclusion:
Psionics is hard to do this way, but all in all, every spell and power can be 1 CL or ML.
Psi-powers can also be augmented by bunches for just 1 more pp.


julesCARV --- {not sure who he quotes}
    No, she doesn't. An Illumian Bard 1 with Improved Sigil Krau knows four cantrips, which her Improved Krau Sigil can Heighten to level 1 spells. You need either another level of Bard, or a level of pretty much any other arcane spellcasting class.
Okay. It's been a while since I've looked at this thread, but I'm confused. Are you saying that the 2nd level spell slot from precocious apprentice doesn't count in terms of meeting prestige class prerequisites? If so, fair enough, but if so, you really need four bard levels, not just two, to be able to use improved sigil (krau) to heighten them to 3rd level spells as need for the sublime chord entry, and nor would a single level of another spellcasting class be sufficient: three wizard levels, for instance, would be necessary.
So where are you getting this "either one more bard level or one level of another arcane class like sorcerer or wizard is needed" stuff? Are you thinking that the sublime chord has a requirement of 2nd level spells, which could be acquired by krau-heightening a 1st level spell or something?


phaedrusXY --- {aDMg quote}
    D
    What makes it ... s ... l ... o ... w ... ,
    is which-ever dragon only knows a Sorcerer's # of spells,
    so the total known Druid=arcane spells,
    will be limited one dragon, to one other dragon, to the next dragon, etc.
Hi Mr. (charmed/dominated/otherwise enslaved) Dragon. Can I use Psychic Reformation on you? 25 XP per spell is not too bad.


PLZ ---
I'm glad you guys managed to prove it. I saw when this came out and I though, 'of course' and never read it [good job though awakened]


**

Now does it fit?
It fits.  Minor edits for format.
So post away, if so inclined.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 05:18:06 PM by awaken_D_M_golem »
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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: [Archive] ... Odd optimization project: minimizing caster levels
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 03:56:38 PM »
I remember this thread. The good old days.

Method A) Odd PrC CL setting, mostly fast casters. Queue even more DM hate for these type of PrCs.
Method B) CL Penalties like the mageslayer line.
Method C) Free CL 'reaches' like the artificer crafting "bonus." Also the thrallherd lesser PP abilities is this.

Method A simply needs a homebrew fixing a la dirty handbook tricks.

Method B doesn't get around the minimum CL enforcement which I can't seem to find in the SRD. Its similar to the "a spellcaster must be of high enough class level to be able to cast spells of a given spell level" restriction. EDIT: See the rules quote below

Method C still requires an artificer to spend gp as if the CL were higher. For all intents and purposes it is the same as using beads of karma when using a scroll. There's no "rule" that makes the "minimum CL" lower for that level of spell. It's just a fluke of UMD.

The thrallherd bonus is just like earthspell. You could already "reach" for higher powers if you could discount the pp ... assuming your DM agreed with that interprtation of "(you) can manifest any power that has a power point cost equal to or lower than his manifester level." What's the pp cost? The one on the power description or the "effective" number that you pay? :)

Offline faeryn

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Re: [Archive] ... Odd optimization project: minimizing caster levels
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2016, 05:17:49 PM »
The rules quote as requested

Quote from: SRD
Caster Level
A spell’s power often depends on its caster level, which for most spellcasting characters is equal to your class level in the class you’re using to cast the spell.

You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.

In the event that a class feature, domain granted power, or other special ability provides an adjustment to your caster level, that adjustment applies not only to effects based on caster level (such as range, duration, and damage dealt) but also to your caster level check to overcome your target’s spell resistance and to the caster level used in dispel checks (both the dispel check and the DC of the check).
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 05:19:26 PM by faeryn »

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: [Archive] ... Odd optimization project: minimizing caster levels
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2016, 05:50:07 PM »
Scrolls need a Caster Level check if your CL is too low.
Powerstones similarly get an ML check.

Elocator gets Psi Dim Door as an (su) with perhaps just 3 CL.
"Her manifester level for this effect is equal to her elocater level."
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Offline faeryn

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Re: [Archive] ... Odd optimization project: minimizing caster levels
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 12:54:48 AM »
I've been looking over the Artificer class abilities and item creation rules... particularly the Scribe Scroll rules since that's what you've presented as the purpose for this... and I'm not seeing anything that would make reducing CL have any baring on the CL requirements for the Artificer... Nor do I see any reason why they even should... he can create scrolls for any spell 2 levels earlier than any caster could even get said spell and he doesn't need to actually know the spell himself, he can litteraly scribe any spell he wishes so long as it's min CL is no more than 2 levels above his Artificer level... as the Artificer class feature even states, Fireball has a min CL of 5 but an Artificer can create a scroll of fireball at 3rd with a CL 3. However that CL3 Weak Fireball scroll has a creation cost equal to a normal CL 5 Fireball scroll.

The rules on scrolls even state the min CL for a scroll is equal to the spell level x2 - 1... Artificer's class feature is an explicit exception to this allowing them to create scrolls of no more than 2 CL lower than normal.


All that said... what point is there even left for reducing CL beyond ways to reduce an opponents CL to cripple them?