Author Topic: The Meh-Gus  (Read 815 times)

Offline Sleven

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The Meh-Gus
« on: April 24, 2018, 09:03:14 PM »
Been lurking on brilliant gameologists and minmax since way back. Now that I'm playing 3.5 somewhat regularly again, I saw this thread and all the sorcerer love it has and thought I would add a build of my own (both in honor of "famous" builds famously utilizing murky/dubious rules interpretations and of sorcerers in general). Hopefully I'll be able to put it up later on tonight when I have a few minutes to write it up and do the formatting.

As an aside: even though this thread appears to be mostly tongue-in-cheek I could not agree more with this thread's criticism of the mailman build. As someone who's been playing blast + control sorcerers for years, spell selection is everything. The mailman simply does not pick the right tools for the job. If a DM says no to the amount of damage scaling present in the omnielemental build, a great control feat when dishing out multiple elemental damage types is Energy Gestalt and (of course) Born of the Three Thunders.

Offline Sleven

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 11:38:27 PM »

Ultimate Meh-gus
I pretend to have found an infinite caster level loop.
(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 07:10:19 PM by Sleven »

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 10:40:43 AM »
What does the math say?
I can help with that, it doesn't say you apply Master Spelltheif multiple times like you think it does. You only solve each part of it once.

The order is highly important through.
Quote
Your spellthief and arcane spellcaster levels also stack when determining your caster level for all arcane spells.
Notice the fact it doesn't at all say your caster level equals your caster level? You expressly combine your Class Levels to determine your CL. For example a Wizard 5 / Spelltheif 2 / With an Orange Ioun Stone has five levels of Wizard and two levels of Spelltheif giving him a base CL of 7 which is then modified by the item for a total of 8. Trying to apply the Orange Ioun Stone to Wizard before hand does nothing because Master Spelltheif doesn't actually check the Wizard's CL, but your levels in Wizard. Sublime Chord, how this trick was originally posted, works the same way since it counts levels.

Knight of the Weave is a little different.
Quote
Your caster level for your knight spells is equal to your knight class level plus any other arcane caster levels you may have.
Since it does reference CL again you could, maybe, try to get away with some CL shenanigans if you completely overlook intended context. However you'll notice it only changes your CL with Knight.

Take for example a Wizard 5 / Spelltheif 5 / Knight 5. If you apply MS after Knight then MS says everyone's CL is 15 because your total Spellcasting Levels is only 15 no matter what you claim your CL could be.  The potential CL abuse is if you apply Knight after MS. In this way when MS checks things you have fifteen Arcane Spellcasting Levels setting your Arcane CLs to 15. But now you apply KotW which reads the 15 CL in Wizard & the 15CL in Spelltheif, combines them into 30, and then adds his Spellcasting Levels, resulting in a total CL of 35 for his Knight-Only Spells.

This doesn't theoretically create an infinite loop, rather attempting to count something more than once creates an infinite loop. Like if you thought MS counted CLs and applied it before and after the Knight you'd obtain a much larger value. But the only difference between doing that and say counting the first level of Wizard several times, is one of these things uses a higher level of complexity to distract you away from noticing it attempts to count the same thing more than once.

***

Now if you really wanted to get abusive on language.
Quote from: UA19
Include the character’s bloodline level when calculating any character ability based on his class levels (such as caster level for spellcasting characters, or save DCs for characters with special abilities whose DCs are based on class level). The character doesn’t gain any abilities, spells known, or spells per day from the addition of his bloodline levels, though—only the calculations of his level-based abilities are affected. If a character has levels in two or more classes in addition to his bloodline levels, each class gains the benefit of adding the bloodline levels when calculating abilities.
If exploited, a Sorcerer 1 / Warmage 1 / Beguiler 1 / Dread Necrmancer 1 / Spelltheif 4 / Bloodline 3 has a total of 19 Class Levels that can be calculated out. This is because your calculated Sorcerer level is it's base level plus the three Bloodline levels, and it's the same for Warmage since the Bloodline expressly is applied to each Class which results in a calculated four levels as well, and so on. While Master Spelltheif technically doesn't use a calculation, if taken so then it sets your Arcane CLs to 19 giving the Knight five sets of CL19 to add together.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 05:02:34 PM by SorO_Lost »
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Offline Sleven

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2018, 07:06:08 PM »
Y'know, at first (when I couldn't find my posts) I thought I got banned. Not sure why they got moved here, where they're out of context. Guess the title of the "Famous Optimized" builds thread should be changed to "SorO's build thread" (upon further examination).

If we're taking this build seriously I'll go a little more in-depth on the logic behind the build and calculations:

First of all, I intentionally left out Bloodlines as they can be added to pretty much anything to make it better. I wanted to show something interesting/powerful without them.

Now on to the meat of things:

The way I read the Master Spellthief feat is that you use your class levels for the level of which spells you can steal and your arcane spellcaster levels for the combined caster level (as the latter does not specify class levels in the caster level portion of the feat description, nor are class levels required to have an arcane spellcaster level in D&D). The reason why it says arcane spellcaster levels and then caster levels is precisely because you combine multiple spellcaster levels to create (and determine) your overall caster level for arcane spells.
Looking at the Player Handbook glossary, there is an entry for "caster level" and "spellcaster" but not "spellcaster level". Of particular importance is that the entry for "spellcaster" doesn't mention the need for, or a relation to, class levels and the entry for "caster level" mentions that it may be different than class levels. So I don't see where you have any rules grounds for making such a determination (particularly when one part of the feat explicitly mentions class levels and the other doesn't). To me, the way the feat reads, they were meant to be different due to the inclusion of class levels in the first half of the feat and the omission of class in the caster level portion of the feat. If looking for evidence of intent, the second half of the feat being worded intentionally differently is enough for me.

Regardless, it seems we both agree that Master Spellthief is added only once (not surprising at all, as that much seems obvious). That being said, both Magical Training and Knight of the Weave operate in a way that implies their caster level is capable of changing depending on adjustments to other caster levels. That's why I can see a TO argument for them being adjusted more than once. But essentially, because your Knight of the Weave caster level and wizard caster level from Magical Training are constantly going up in response to one another, you could "theoretically" go infinite for their respective CLs.

My suggested CL calculation assumes everything is added only once, while I realize I misworded my later suggestion (which should have read more like the preceding paragraph) in the haste in which I wrote everything for the build. That being said, adding everything only once isn't necessarily the "correct" way to calculate the final caster level, because there should technically be three final caster levels: a Master Spellthief CL, a Knight CL, and a wizard CL.

The base calculation for the respective caster levels looks something like this (without Arcane Spell Power):
18 (sorcerer) + 8+K (knight) + W (wizard) = M (master spellthief)
where K = other arcane caster levels (than Knight class-based CLs)
where W = arcane spellcaster level
where M = Spellthief levels + arcane caster levels

The problem with this is determining K, W, and M as K and W go up in response to any other increase, and would even technically go up again after the Master Spellthief caster level is calculated (although would obviously not be capable of affecting the Master Spellthief calculation more than once).

I don't think the wording on W supports adding all other arcane caster levels, but I do think it supports using a single arcane spellcaster level for its caster level. Which it should use could be a point of contention, but I think using the guidelines of "most beneficial", using the highest (aka Knight) caster level would be most in line with the rules information we're given.

The problem with this is the ping-pong effect we get in the equation:
8+18 = initial Knight CL
26 = initial wizard CL
but we still haven't added the wizard caster level to our Knight CL, so:
8+18+26 = new Knight CL
but then we need to increase our wizard CL again based on our adjusted Knight CL, as our arcane spellcaster level has gone up... etc. At least in theory.

To resolve this, we simply have the Knight of the Weave class add the wizard CL only once and have the wizard CL calculate itself only off of our sorcerer CL and never have either readjust themselves. Which looks something like this:

18 (sorcerer) + 18 (wizard) + 8+36 (knight) = 80+1 (master spellthief) + 4 (arcane spell power) = CL85

Of course, the problem with this calculation is that our Knight and wizard CL still don't include our "Spellthief" CL in their final calculation, but I still think it works fine by certain readings of the respective feats and class abilities to consider Master Spellthief as the final piece of glue for a single unified CL.

Anyways, in light of this explanation and my including of the relevant explanations in the build description (while removing all of my tongue-in-cheek side banter), I'd like to have it re-added to the optimized characters thread, as it really doesn't belong here.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2018, 09:23:26 PM »
Just fyi, SorO didn't move it.  The mods did.  Your build isn't a famous optimized build, that would be why it was moved.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2018, 10:59:55 PM »
Guess the title of the "Famous Optimized" builds thread should be changed to "SorO's build thread" (upon further examination).
Actually the mods yanked your post before I even seen it. I caught the chatter of them complaining about it in chat and you can even pop in there and see I somewhat defended it. If slapping a name on stupid stuff counts, then naming a common build theme/trick that were reposted a dozen times should count too. *shrugs*

Through I feel like you need to polish things. For example, Baugiler's thread didn't need a poor reading of MS, didn't use Bloodlines either, and still achieved a caster level of four hundred and eighty by using a few things that were never even mentioned in your post (like consumptive field and red wizard's circle magic). And this thread is a great place to discuss things about how to handle this build.
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Offline Sleven

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 10:01:42 PM »
Quote
Just fyi, SorO didn't move it.  The mods did.  Your build isn't a famous optimized build, that would be why it was moved.

I did not assume that SorO moved it. Furthermore, most of the builds in that thread are hardly famous nor optimized to their utmost capacity, but they do have interesting class, ability, and feat interactions that can make them a source for build inspiration (I mean, just look at Fumbles). That's what I enjoyed about the thread, so that was my intent here.

Getting a CL of 85+ without sacrificing the highest level spells you're able to cast (compared to a typical sorcerer progression) or dipping a bunch of irrelevant classes like Ur-Priest and Sublime Chord hasn't really been done before (from what I've seen), particularly in combination with the wizard + sorcerer spellbook synergy without actually taking a level in wizard (that I'm aware of). The build subverts the sorcerer's limited spells known, something that isn't necessarily hard to do, but is rarely done so efficiently.

Quote
Actually the mods yanked your post before I even seen it. I caught the chatter of them complaining about it in chat and you can even pop in there and see I somewhat defended it. If slapping a name on stupid stuff counts, then naming a common build theme/trick that were reposted a dozen times should count too. *shrugs*

I tend to be tongue-in-cheek about most things and figured some off-handed ribbing was in order given that it actually took me a few minutes to realize what was going on (I didn't even get a message about what had happened). You just happened to be the example because your builds were the most abundant and got a pass (despite not being that well known).

I was hoping what the build does as the sum of its parts was somewhat unique (as almost everything taken synergizes with something else in the build and still leaves room for customization). I wholeheartedly agree that CL boosting is quite a tired subject, but this hopefully takes a fresh "theoretical" approach to it (even if you disagree with the theoretical component) while getting the most out of every feat and class chosen.

Quote
Through I feel like you need to polish things. For example, Baugiler's thread didn't need a poor reading of MS, didn't use Bloodlines either, and still achieved a caster level of four hundred and eighty by using a few things that were never even mentioned in your post (like consumptive field and red wizard's circle magic).

Funny that you should mention those, as the original draft did say, "without circle magic or consumptive field," in a few places, but I seem to have since removed those in my sweeping edits. I was intentionally staying away from consumptive field and circle magic as they're too obvious and easy. And as mentioned previously, I was also staying away from Nar Demonbinder, Sublime Chord, Ur-Priest, etc. to make a build that actually felt playable from 1-20 and had classes and features that synergized with one another (e.g. one of my arcane caster levels comes from a feat that also gives me a spellbook while Knight of the Weave has a spell slot for every possible level of metamagic). It also showed a potentially new interaction.

To make sure we're talking about the same thing, a quick google search turned up this:
https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/45421/how-are-caster-levels-determined-in-concert-with-the-feat-master-spellthief
thread which referenced this:
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=9983
thread (that I was able to find on waybackmachine)

Looking at the thread it seems that Bauglir used the same interpretation of Master Spellthief I do:
Quote
How you interpret "arcane spellcasting levels" can lead to some different interpretations of how this feat is to work, but the common interpretation is to simply assume that your caster level in all arcane spellcasting classes other than spellthief get added to your level in spellthief.
The evidence that this is the interpretation Bauglir used to come to CL480 is thus:
The example uses 4 classes with Sublime Chord and Circle Magic meaning 4*40=160. It then seems he just added 160 again for Knight of the Weave for 320 and then added 320 to 160 for a Master Spellthief CL of 480. The only way to get here (at a glance) is under the "common" Master Spellthief interpretation.

The stackexchange response seems to agree:
Quote
It's worth noting that there are two ways to read this. One (the one CO likes) is that 'spellcaster level' is referring to 'caster level', and indeed, this is actually the way the game parses it in other abilities.

If consumptive field and circle magic are in play (particularly under the FRCS, Underdark, etc. books saying it's used by spellcasters other than Red Wizards and Hathrans throughout Faerun) then this build is still competitive with builds in Bauglir's thread.

40 (sorcerer) + 40 (wizard) + 8+80 (knight) =

If we add consumptive field here:
40+39 (sorcerer) + 40+39 (wizard) + 8+158+165 (knight) = 489+1 (master spellthief) + 4 (arcane spell power) = CL494
we're coming out ahead of Bauglir's 480 without having the dead Sublime Chord level or ridiculous skill point expenditure. That also doesn't include the potential infinity that is Greater Consumptive Field + Consumptive Field--yet another reason why I felt it should remain out of the build. The build was about simplicity and creating a chassis for other customization options.

Quote
And this thread is a great place to discuss things about how to handle this build.

That's fair. I agree that having discussion threads like these is a good thing.

Anyways, you're free to disagree, but I think the build accomplished its goals while showcasing some more universal sorcerer optimization tricks. If consumptive field and circle magic feel relevant, I can always copy and paste those into the build description as an option. It's not like this chassis has any problem getting either of those.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 11:48:58 PM »
I don't have any input on the build itself, but I think it's funny that you call Soro's builds "not that well known" when he's been a part of this board through all three of its iterations which means we've been looking at his builds for over ten years.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 10:44:49 AM »
Pretty much, but I've never really been one to post builds too much outside of falling into suggestion trends.

Some of this stuff is older than dirt and has fallen into obscurity because of it. Like I'm not claiming any dibs on the Mirror Mephit trick but googling Erbin site:http://minmaxforum.com turns up four hits, two from me and two from Soundwave back in 2011. It was a thing that ran around pre-Gleemax and you can still get a hundreds of hits from people misusing Mirror Mephit, but not the Deity used to complete it. I felt like we needed a nice post on it because I'm not above trying to updated/validate old tricks & builds.
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Offline Tshern

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Re: The Meh-Gus
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2018, 09:04:40 PM »
Reserves of Strength removes the cap of what? Your caster level, yes. Spell level, no.
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