Author Topic: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.  (Read 3999 times)

Offline Aetharan

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Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« on: May 07, 2014, 01:42:22 PM »
Obviously (the forum this is being posted in should make this clear), this isn't intended to be used in any game and any DM who allows it is insane, but if I'm reading the rules correctly this should work.  If I'm not, please point out where I am wrong.

The trick involves using the 1st-level-Commoner method of Pun Pun ascension:  Summon Pazuzu to get a Candle of Invocation, haul a Sarrukh into your presence and force it to grant you Manipulate Form, and go wild.  The character doing this must have at least one level in a casting class, but the remaining levels can be anything else desired as long as Practiced Spellcaster is taken at level 3.

Manipulate Form will now be used to grant the ability Bonus Feat (Ex) from the Human Paragon class repeatedly, which can be used to take any feat for which you currently qualify.  Take Heighten Spell, Earth Sense, Earth Spell, and Sanctum Spell.  At this point, even with only one level in Archivist, the character can Heighten an orison into a first-level spell, which thanks to Earth Spell is treated as second-level, and gets bumped again to third by Sanctum Spell.  This means that he can, for purposes of qualifying for feats, cast a third-level spell.

Now it's time for the real fun!

Manipulate Form in a few more Bonus Feats, in the form of Extra Slot and Extra Spell, to taste.  Extra Slot can be used to grant yourself up to a second-level spell slot, and the moment you've given it to yourself, you're capable of casting fourth-level spells, which means that you qualify to use Extra Slot to add third-level slots.  Extra Spell ensures that we're continually adding spells of the highest level that we actually have slots for, because we can always cast spells two levels higher than that, and the feat lets us learn any spell up to one level lower than the highest we can cast.

As the character starts gaining spell levels of questionable height, his ability to actually cast the spells within them comes into question.  Is his main spellcasting stat high enough to make use of the slots in question?  No problem!  Human Paragon also has the Ability Boost (Ex) class feature, which we can Manipulate Form in to raise whatever ability we desire by 2 points, as often as is necessary.  Thus, it's assured that the character retains the ability to cast any level of spell for which a slot is obtained.

For bonus points, you can do this to any 4 spellcasting classes (granting extra copies of Practiced Spellcaster where necessary) and follow up by taking 16 levels of a random full-BAB class, giving a quad-9 Gish (4x iterative attacks at 20).  If using UA's partial BAB and Save gains, then you have a minimum of +2 BAB at level 4, +3 at 6, etc, so you can fit in more spellcasting classes before you have to switch over to a full-BAB class for the rest of your career.

As a side-note, this could be considered an alternate way to bost part of Pun Pun himself, as I've not seen Human Paragon's Ability Boost used in the theoretical builds for him, though it seems to be the least round-about method for improving his abilities without having a handy snake at his side.  Since Pun Pun is capable of granting himself a free level at any time he likes, he can gain one level of any spellcasting class, use this method to grant himself as many spell-slots as he likes in said class along with a CL equal to his current HD, and make sure that he knows all of the spells legitimately, rather than granting them to himself as SLAs.  (As if Pun Pun needs NI spell slots to go with everything else.)
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Offline TuggyNE

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 08:21:54 PM »
If you're using Pun-Pun's basic method but the result is nowhere near Pun-Pun, something has gone wrong.  :eh
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Offline Aetharan

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 12:13:40 AM »
The intent of the trick is to prove that even in the theoretical situation of "It's only allowed because I've promised the DM specifically that I won't use it to become Pun Pun," the Manipulate Form ability can still be used to some horrifyingly game-breaking effect.  Turning one class level into all the power of a level 20 in a T-1 class through doing no more than granting yourself a bunch of bonus feats seems (at least to me) to fit the bill.
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Offline linklord231

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2014, 01:56:02 AM »
Manipulate Form is the reason I bought Serpent Kingdoms when I found it in my local 2nd hand bookstore.  That, and Venomfire. 

I know what the text says, but having it in print, in my hands, to show my gaming group is well worth the $8 I spent on it. 
I'm not arguing, I'm explaining why I'm right.

Offline vaz

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2014, 03:43:48 AM »
Why not just give himself the Spellcasting ability of a 20th level wizard? As it stands this is nothing more than the Dark Chaos Shuffle Trick, which is possible from level 1 (partially charged Wall of Salt bought with Mercantile Background feat).
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 03:45:28 AM by vaz »

Offline Aetharan

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2014, 07:17:27 AM »
It has nothing to do with Dark Chaos Shuffle at all, excepting that the trick could be used to help pull this off.

The specific idea I'm focused on is that via combining Earth Spell with Sanctum Spell, the highest-level spell you can cast is always two above the highest-level slot you have available, which means that if you can find a way to obtain an ungodly number of free feats to use (in the original post, using Manipulate Form to gain bonus feats at will) then all you need is a single level in the class, but at least CL 4, to gain spell slots of one level higher than your current best slot.

A 1st-level Wizard / 3rd-level anything else, for instance, could go spend a year in an Otyugh Hole with a Ring of Sustenance on and, assuming that he had a method for DCSing the bonus feat once a week without burning more experience than he earns killing whatever came in to eat him, would have earned 52 bonus feats.  (As a side-note, the value listed on the magical location is a guide for DMs so they know how much treasure not to put into the campaign later on as compensation, not a cost to be paid by the character, so he can go in broke and still get the benefits for however many weeks he can endure it.)  36 of those feats would give him the spell slots of a 20th-level generalist, while another 4 (on top of the assumed Practiced Spellcaster already taken) ensure that your CL keeps up with your HD until 21.  Yet another set of 4 and you've even thrown in the Wizard's bonus feats, if you really feel like it, so for a total cost of 45 feats (including the first Practiced Spellcaster), you've given yourself every benefit of being a Wizard except for the familiar while retaining 19 levels with which to do whatever else you want, however broken or mundane it may be.

To reiterate:  Whatever method you use to gain a ton of cheap feat slots, you can effectively buy a ghost level in a T1 class for slightly under 2.5 feats, assuming that you've already obtained first level in the class you're buying, are a fourth-level spellcaster, and have access to both Sanctum Spell and Earth Spell.  The price/level goes up if you want to learn spells to go with it (1 feat/spell added to your spell book or spells known), but the point is made.  Sanctum Spell and Earth Spell effectively turn Extra Slot [General] (highest level you can cast -1) into Improved Spell Capacity [Epic] (highest level you can cast +1).

It may not be the most broken trick out there, but in the right (wrong?) hands, it has the potential to make your cheddar just a little bit sharper, especially if you're already manufacturing free feats out the wazoo but not necessarily producing random class abilities at will.

(Edit:  Passing an Int check every 10 minutes in a Frog God's Fane works better, if you have a way to DCS without paying experience prices, since its bonus feats are also permanent.  Neither of these locations actually states that you can't benefit from it multiple times by performing the activation action repeatedly, and neither has a recharge time.)

(Edit Again:  Please forgive me if I seem defensive, or am not articulating my point correctly for the mechanical nature of the board.  I've simply noted that virtually every time I see either Sanctum Spell or Earth Spell mentioned, it's in the context of using one or the other as an early-entry method into a prestige class, when (if I am reading the wording correctly), their combination allows a player to treat a mediocre feat as its more powerful Epic cousin.  It was an observation that I felt needed to be shared, in the event that it might actually prove useful to somebody out there who hadn't spotted it.  How it can be abused is up to debate.  Am I at least reading correctly that, RAW, Earth Spell + Sanctum Spell + Extra Slot = Improved Spell Capacity?)
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 07:55:15 AM by Aetharan »
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Offline vaz

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2014, 05:04:45 PM »
I know that the trick has nothing to do with using the Dark Chaos Shuffle. What I'm asking is what's so important about using Pun-Pun to achieve it as opposed to the Dark Chaos Shuffle.

The Wizard doesn't need to go into the Otyugh Hole, it just needs it's Familiar. Admittedly, it costs Abrupt Jaunt to do so. But if you're doing Pun-Pun, why bother? Why not just grant yourself the casting ability of a 20th level Wizard. Or if that doesn't work, the spellcasting of a Black Ethergaunt/Great Wyrm Steel Dragon just shunted onto it via Pun Pun - neither of which actually require a caster base level.

Coming to a water gun fight, and then coming with an M4, but only firing "blanks" (those blanks, still outclass a normal character, of course, but comparative to other M4's) seems a bit of a waste of that power, especially when it comes to breaking and buying it.

Offline JohnnyMayHymn

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Re: Spell slots of a max-level caster at level 4.
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2014, 10:39:45 PM »
there is no "max-level"

also this, but good on ya, restrictions often foster creativity
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 10:50:03 PM by JohnnyMayHymn »
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