Author Topic: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge  (Read 7932 times)

Offline Power

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[Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« on: January 05, 2021, 04:25:26 PM »
Welp. Here's a thread to tackle the question of "How much further can we take Paragon Surge?" Enjoy.

As a point of reference, here is the Paragon Surge spell:
Quote
PARAGON SURGE
Source Advanced Race Guide pg. 48
School transmutation (polymorph); Level alchemist 3, arcanist 3, bloodrager 3, cleric 3, investigator 3, magus 4, medium 3, oracle 3, paladin 4, red mantis assassin 3, sorcerer 3, warpriest 3, witch 3, wizard 3 (half-elf)
CASTING
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
EFFECT
Range personal (half-elf only)
Target you
Duration 1 minute/level
DESCRIPTION
You surge with ancestral power, temporarily embodying all the strengths of both elvenkind and humankind simultaneously, and transforming into a paragon of both races, something greater than elf or human alone. Unlike with most polymorph effects, your basic form does not change, so you keep all extraordinary and supernatural abilities of your half-elven form as well as all of your gear.

For the duration of the spell, you receive a +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity and Intelligence and are treated as if you possessed any one feat for which you meet the prerequisites, chosen when you cast this spell. The first time each day that you cast this spell, you must select a feat and make all the associated choices that come with it. Once that choice is made, it is set for the day and additional castings must make the exact same decisions.

Now, Paragon Surge has an unfortunate nerf that we can only have one feat all day. We need to remedy that, and Emergency Attunement is just the feat to expend on fixing that:
Quote
EMERGENCY ATTUNEMENT
Source Pathfinder Society Primer pg. 13
You can adapt your defenses to any situation.

Prerequisites: Spellcraft 7 ranks.

Benefit: As a standard action, you can alter one of your ongoing abjuration or transmutation spells. It must be currently affecting you and must grant a choice of options when cast. You change its benefit to a different one from the same list. In order to accomplish this, you must make a successful Spellcraft check (DC equal to 10 + the level of the spell to be altered). The duration of the spell is reduced to half of the spell’s remaining duration. For example, a 7th-level wizard could change her resist energy (fire) spell with 50 minutes of its duration remaining into resist energy (cold), but the new duration would be 25 minutes. This ability does not change the benefit for any other creatures targeted by the original spell.
So now we get to have our flexible Paragon Surge spell again, letting us change our day's feat with one standard action, at the cost of halving our spell's duration. The pity of it is that if you cast Paragon Surge in combat and use Emergency Attunement to change the feat you are burning a standard action on top of the spellcast (which can be quickened with a lesser metamagic rod, at least), which is pretty expensive in actions (on top of the feat it already cost you), so you are better off making your changes post-combat since most combats won't last long enough to make Paragon Surge with its 1 minute/level duration expire anyway and then you have your last choice on a new spellcast. But Paragon Surge's duration also happens to be just perfect to improve with the Shapechanger bloodline:
Quote
Mutable Flesh (Su): At 3rd level, once per day when you cast a transmutation spell with a duration of 1 minute per level that affects only you, you can increase its duration to 10 minutes per level. At 9th level, you can increase the duration to 1 hour per level.
That's a pretty good ability, and you can even get it with Improved Eldritch Heritage (at 11th level). If you have 9th level Shapechanger bloodline you can pretty much cast Paragon Surge spell out of combat and halve the duration a lot of times (especially if you use Extend Spell metamagic) before it runs out. This gets pretty wild. But that's not good enough for us. Let's make the duration even better. Now that we have a 10 minutes/lvl duration or bigger, we can throw throw in a fun Ring of Continuation (56k gp):
Quote
RING OF CONTINUATION
Price 56,000 gp; Slot ring; CL 7th; Weight —; Aura moderate transmutation
Source Ultimate Equipment pg. 168

This band of braided copper wires throbs ever so slightly in harmony with its wearer’s heartbeat. Whenever the wearer of this ring casts a spell with a range of personal and a duration of 10 minutes per level or greater, that spell remains in effect for 24 hours or until the wearer casts another spell with a range of personal (whichever comes first). Spells that usually only affect one specific action (such as making a particular attack) are expended after that action. This does not reduce the duration of spells that normally last longer than 24 hours. Casting a new spell does not eliminate a previous spell if its normal duration is such that it would still be in effect. However, attempts to dispel or otherwise eliminate a spell kept active by the ring work normally and, if successful, remove the spell from the ring, causing the wearer to lose all benefits from that spell.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Cost 28,000 gp
Forge Ring, mnemonic enhancer

Neat, now we have 24 hour long Paragon Surge. Also, notice that the Ring of Continuation clearly keeps the spell in effect for 24 hours as an effect of the magic ring, side-stepping the spell's own duration, even if the spell's duration would have expired. Which goes well with our Emergency Attunement feat above.

Yep, now you get Paragon Surge lasting for 24 hours and can use standard actions at will to change its options! What's not to like?

The only concern here is dispelling, but we can equip a Ring of Counterspells or two (with a Hand of Glory necklace for the 3rd ring slot) to instantly counter dispel magic (or greater dispel magic, but that's rare). I'd also consider using the Paragon Surge to give yourself a Sorcerous Bloodstrike (if you are doing this as a Sorcerer) so that you can cast Paragon Surge this way twice, and maybe use feats/traits/etc to raise the spell's caster level or DC vs dispel attempts (Tenacious Transmutation feat and Tenacious Spell metamagic work for this, and there are a lot of traits to boost caster level or DC vs dispels too). That will pretty much make dispelling this a nightmare. If you really want you can even use Crossblooded to obtain the Protean arcana for +4 to dispel DCs or even use the Daemon bloodline to Fireball a bunch of rats or chickens you buffed with Mass Fox's Cunning for the occasion so you can cast Paragon Surge with a very high CL.

That said, the Ring of Continuation is probably (expensive) overkill when you already have hours/level duration and presumably Extend Spell + Sorcerous Bloodstrike. But at least you can make this ring for half price if you make the ring your arcane bond, and you can pay +5 DC to craft it without having Mnemonic Enhancer (see here: "The DC to create a magic item increases by +5 for each prerequisite the caster does not meet.").

Fun fact: This build is PFS legal too.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2023, 06:05:20 PM by Power »

Offline zook1shoe

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2021, 04:48:53 PM »
nice!
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Offline Keldar

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2021, 07:11:57 AM »
Side orders:
Quote from: Tactical Adaptation
Source Adventurer's Guide pg. 27
School transmutation
Level magus 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a gold and sapphire ring worth 500 gp, which the caster must wear for the spell's duration)
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 minute/level
Description
This spell was developed by an Aldori Academy student after several weeks of observing (and occasionally joining) Restov barroom brawls. You draw on your mind’s hidden reserves, instantaneously mastering advanced combat techniques. When you cast this spell, choose a combat feat. You must meet all prerequisites for this feat, treating your magus level as your base attack bonus for this purpose. For the duration of this spell, you are treated as if you had the chosen feat. Once you cast this spell, you cannot change the chosen feat (or any decisions related to that feat) for additional castings of this spell on the same day.

A creature can benefit from only one tactical adaptation spell at a time.
Flagged PFS.  For the non-half-elf Magus.
Quote from: Shared Training
Source Blood of the Ancients pg. 13
School divination [mind-affecting]
Level arcanist 3, bard 2, cleric 3, hunter 2, inquisitor 2, magus 2, oracle 3, paladin 2, psychic 3, ranger 2, skald 2, sorcerer 3, warpriest 3, wizard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets you plus one willing creature per 3 levels, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 10 minutes/level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
Description
Select one teamwork feat you have. You can grant this feat to allies within range for the duration of the spell. Allies do not need to meet the prerequisites of this teamwork feat. At caster level 9th, you can grant two teamwork feats you have to your allies. At caster level 13th, you can grant three teamwork feats, and at caster level 17th, you can grant up to four teamwork feats.
Teamwork feats are generally Combat feats. Not flagged PFS legal.

Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2021, 07:27:11 AM »
Shared Training cannot be used with Ring of Continuation, Shapechanger bloodline, or Emergency Attunement. And I think PFS banned it for being a strictly better version of Coordinated Effort, but no one casts Coordinated Effort anyway, which is why they wrote Shared Training. Reminds me of all those items which were meant to count as unarmed strikes while being able to be enchanted only for the FAQ squad to nerf each of them and break them. But that's paizo for you.

Tactical Adaptation works though, although it's almost strictly inferior to Paragon Surge, if not for the fact that the Magus gets Paragon Surge at 4th level (as does the Paladin, for some mystifying reason). Also, if you can get the Self-Realization subdomain (it's a subdomain of both Liberation and Strength, requires the Acolyte of Apocrypha faith trait too), you can get Paragon Surge at 4th level, and it will always match your own race. The Wizard and Arcanist can also make use of that through the Faith Magic discovery (Arcanists access it through the Arcane Discovery exploit). It is also possible to access the Faith Magic discovery on any character at 15th level by playing a variant multiclass (Wizard).
« Last Edit: October 12, 2022, 09:32:14 PM by Power »

Offline Endarire

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2021, 12:22:01 AM »
Thankee!

This combo makes paragon surge even better for swapping in Craft feats (Wondrous Item, Rods, etc.) during off-times!

Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2021, 09:05:56 AM »
If you're going to craft, make sure to have a Ring of Sustenance (which is a popular spellcaster item as is) so you can cram in 5 4-hour crafting sessions (for a cost of +5, you can make a normal 8 hour crafting session's progress in 4 hours - see here) per day and so make 5k gp of progress. If you have a familiar with the Valet archetype you can have it assist you and double your crafting progress too. Now you make 10k gp crafting progress per day, assuming your GM is fine with more than 8 hours of crafting per day, which is technically not allowed, but in my experience GMs tend to consider that a reasonable approach to improving crafting times when they're not banning crafting feats.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 02:06:19 PM by Power »

Offline zook1shoe

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2021, 02:10:08 PM »
Portable Artificer's Lab gives you 3 hours of crafting in normal 4 hour sessions at -5

The Last Azlanti's Analects spellbook lets you use magic crafting rules for mundane casting

then focus on crafting mundane jewelry for 50% cost and can be sold at full price.
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Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2021, 02:34:19 PM »
Portable Artificer's Lab is garbage. You're better off setting up a proper secured crafting lab (if adventuring, usually inside a Rope Trick or Sylvan Hideaway) and doing a full 4 hour crafting session at -5 for the regular 8 hour session's worth of labor. You don't use the crafting on the road rules except when making scrolls or potions of low level stuff. Even when you're on the road, you'd rather set up a secured full-on proper crafting lab for any real crafting so you can avoid those hideous penalties. Get a Traveler's Any-Tool and a whole slew of objects you might need for regular crafting (anvil, forge, coals, bucket, table, etc.) which you bring inside your Bag of Holding or whatever so you can do full-on crafting.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 02:39:55 PM by Power »

Offline zook1shoe

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2021, 04:22:31 PM »
where are the rules for a normal crafting lab itself?
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Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2021, 05:14:25 PM »
There are no concrete rules, so you have to play it by ear. Fun, innit? Basically expend enough effort and bring enough items until you have a satisfactory crafting workshop for advanced purposes. The Any-Tool helps a lot for filling in the role of specialist tools (maybe bring two), so you can just relegate yourself to the bigger devices that are a must.

For Brew Potion an alchemist's lab should do the trick at least. Other than that, I think the workstation (300gp) from the downtime rules should do the trick for any crafting lab. Presumably you can also make entire smithies and whatnot with a Lyre of Building.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 09:13:59 AM by Power »

Offline Annabeth

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2022, 01:30:59 PM »
Sorry for necroposting.

If your party has a level 12 sorcerer with the Shapechanger Bloodline (possibly through Ampoule of False Blood), she can use the Create Sanguine Elixir feat to grant the Mutable Flesh ability to anyone who wishes. It is an elixir making it a suitable target for use with the Alchemical Allocation spell for multiple uses throughout the day.

Instead of Emergency Attunement feat, wizard can use Multimorph Arcane Discoveries.

Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2022, 09:21:40 AM »
There's no problem at all with necroing threads. If you want to liven up an old thread with new feedback, be my guest. I honestly don't understand why some forums have rules against thread necro, since many old threads are good ones and there's nothing wrong with the conversation picking up again where it left off, and I feel like those forums tend to have moderators who feel obligated to create rules and enforce them just so they can feel like they're moderators. Not to mention it's just a pain when you're websearching for information on some topic and you find a forum thread that's useful but just old enough to be missing a lot of newer material or insights and no one was willing to post the newer stuff to that thread because that would be "thread necro" so now you have less helpful threads to look through and get to hope that maybe there is another thread that does have the information you want.

Using the multimorph discovery is a pretty good option, but then you need to obtain the Shapechanger bloodline as a Wizard (or be a 10th level Blood Arcanist using the Arcane Discovery exploit), which means either you went MAD and took enough charisma (perhaps using a pink and green sphere ioun stone), you are playing an old age or even venerable Wizard (and thus dumped charisma to 7 which became 9 or 10 with age modifier) and decided to wear a +6 Headband of Mental Prowess to qualify, or you are playing a Human Wizard with the Draconic Heritage and Focused Study alternate race traits so you could take the Eldritch Heritage feats without the charisma prerequisite and then used an Ampoule of False Blood to convert it into a Shapechanger bloodline. You can also obtain the Shapechanger bloodline with Bloatmage 10 (but this would require having a creature with the shapechanger subtype on hand, which could be yourself if you're playing a Kitsune with the Keen Kitsune alternate race trait or Skinwalker with the Werebat or Wererat subrace) or by entering Dragon Disciple (using an Arcane Bond to satisfy the prerequisite of being able to cast 1st level spells without preparation) and using an Ampoule of False Blood again to swap all the bloodline powers for Shapechanger ones (but you will want the Favored Prestige Class and Prestigious Spellcaster feats to cover dead levels). Honestly, Dragon Disciple with Prestigious Spellcaster is a pretty solid PrC for Wizards, since it gives free AC, a d12 hit die, and a free +2 to constitution and int at higher levels. If you play an Exploiter Wizard you can also use the Bloodline Development exploit to stack Wizard levels with your Dragon Disciple levels for bloodline powers, but you will either need an Eldritch Heritage (Arcane) to qualify (which will also get overridden by Ampoule of False Blood, causing a bit of a rules mess unless you decide to simply keep the Draconic bloodline, which is really only appealing if you are perhaps using Bloodline Familiars, Bloodline Mutations, and expanded draconic options to replace the energy resistance perk with limited DR, but that means you don't have the Shapechanger bloodline...) or have to wait until you dip a level of Loremaster for Secret of Magical Discipline to fulfill the prerequisite by letting you cast 1st level spells without preparation.

Performing the Paragon Surge stunt as a Wizard opens up some unusual options in the form of picking up Preferred Spell (or extra Spell Specialization feats while you have a Greater Spell Specialization feat, but that limits you to schools you have Spell Focus in) to spontaneously cast a spell of your choosing. Then there's the usual Spell Perfection and Additional Traits (Wayang Spellhunter and Magical Lineage). The Additional Traits trick can actually be used on prepared casters with partial spell preparation (Quick Preparation feat and/or Fast Study discovery may come in handy if you are doing this loads) to repeatedly prepare slots with 1 or 2 levels' worth of free metamagic then exchange your bonus feat for something else while the spells remain prepared at discounted levels. (For instance, you can give all your spells Silent Spell for invisible casting or Still Spell for armored casting - or even shapeshifted casting provided you use a method to obtain the ability to cast Beastspeak, like the Magaambyan Arcanist PrC.) Similarly, you can take metamagic feats, prepare the metamagicked spells, then switch out the feat. It's also possible to just use leave it in the form of humbler feats like Improved Initiative or Skill Focus (Perception), of course.

Using Create Sanguine Elixir (which flat-out requires Sorcerer levels) with Alchemical Allocation is a pretty good stunt tbh, but getting Alchemical Allocation generally requires an Alchemist in the party, a dip into Pathfinder Savant or Daivrat (borrowing from the Antiquarian Investigator which is an arcane spellcaster using the Alchemist list), or a Ring of Spell Knowledge (probably providing the arcane version of Alchemical Allocation with a scroll or casting of Limited Wish, and remember you can UMD the ring to avoid level penalties), unless you feel like repeatedly casting Limited Wish for it. It's also possible to use the Sage (replace your shitty new 1st level bloodline power with the Arcane Bloodline Familiar) or Empyreal wildblooded bloodlines with Samsaran race for Mystic Past Life (Antiquarian Investigator in previous life), but then either your GM lets you combine with wildblooded with crossblooded (I would, frankly.) or you need to get 15 cha for Improved Eldritch Heritage (Shapechanger), but being an old (or venerable) Sage Sorcerer is both thematic and extra beneficial as it lets you start with 22 int (and therefore you can take 7 spells with Mystic Past Life, instead of the usual 6), although you'll need to fix your con score, maybe take a Toughness feat, and perhaps give your familiar the Protector archetype. Then again if you're a Sage Sorcerer you can also just use your bloodline feat for a prereq and aim for Loremaster so you can get the bonus feat immediately for Secret of Magical Discipline, which you can also use to fuel a Ring of Spell Knowledge (but you'll want the Pragmatic Activator magic trait or Clever Wordplay social trait to make UMD int-based if you want to UMD the ring).

Oh, and I should probably mention an oldie of a method for permanent Paragon Surge: Just use Paragon Surge inside a timeless demiplane you created with Create Greater Demiplane. The problem with this, of course, is that it requires 9th level spells.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2022, 07:28:52 AM by Power »

Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2022, 01:42:58 PM »
Thought I'd add another useful stunt here. If you go Crossblooded Sorcerer (or use Improved Eldritch Heritage to obtain the shapechanger bloodline power, ofc), you can get the Draconic bloodline (replace the 1st level power with a Bloodline Familiar that now gets free wings) and take the Esoteric Dragon variant. As long as you aren't capped on your Psychic spells known, you now have access to the entire Psychic spell list and can cast all of them as Psychic spells thanks to your ultimate Paragon Surge for extra spells known. So one thing we may want to do is cast Spell Immunity on ourselves (thankfully, not a Personal range spell, so does not remove Paragon Surge from the Ring of Continuation) for some lovely immunity to whatever troubles you, since.you can also change your spell immunities as a standard action with Emergency Attunement, as this is an abjuration spell.

Also, if we choose to lower the caster level of our Pragon Surge (You can always lower a spell's CL to a minimum of the caster level at which you gain access to that spell level.), we can use something like Protection from Arrows and other long-lasting buffs at full caster level to stay active and be the first thing to get dispelled as the highest CL buff on our person. Basically using them as anti-dispel shields. It's also important to wear a glove or something in order to block line of effect from the Ring of Continuation and prevent enemies from using Dispel Magic to directly suppress the ring, as that would cause the Paragon Surge spell to expire if its own duration has already finished. It also prevents people from sundering or disarming your Ring of Continuation, although to protect against sundering you may want to use a few Fortifying Stones on both your gloves (or gauntlets) and ring.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2022, 03:39:12 AM by Power »

Offline Gelinger

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2022, 07:43:05 AM »
If you're going to craft, make sure to have a Ring of Sustenance (which is a popular spellcaster item as is) so you can cram in 5 4-hour crafting sessions (for a cost of +5, you can make a normal 8 hour crafting session's progress in 4 hours - see here)
I dont think you can cram in more than two 4-hoursessions per day. As rules state:
"The caster can work for up to 8 hours each day. He cannot rush the process by working longer each day"

Offline Power

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Re: [Pathfinder] Ultimate Paragon Surge
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2022, 10:44:58 AM »
Which is why I followed it up by noting that your GM has to be okay with it and that this is technically not allowed. But it is good to quote the relevant rules text, yes. (For the curious, here are the relevant magic item creation rules.)

I guess I should've spelled out more explicitly that crafting more than 8 hours per day is in fact a houserule.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2022, 10:54:05 AM by Power »