Monday, October 24, 2011

Spelling it Out: Low-level Spell Combos for Wizards/Sorcerers

Ask most people what kind of character is the most powerful in 3.5 DnD and they are likely to say "Cleric" or "Wizard". The cleric was even stated to be the most powerful class by Mike Mearls and Jesse Decker. I'm going to be a bit nicer here and just say that by the by, spellcasters in general seem to be the most powerful archetype. Versatility is the key here, not to mention damage output which far exceeds the possibilities of even the most twinked out barbarian or rogue.

Regarding that versatility, there are a lot of spells which just work well together, and we're going to take a quick look at some of the lower level combos for wizards and sorcerers.

The Unbreakable Object
Spells Involved: Shield, Mage Armor, Protection from Evil, False Life.

You're a level 3 wizard out for a stroll in a bad neighborhood, with a d4 for hit points you'd be likely to worry...except that nothing here can hit you anyway. As a wizard you probably have a decent Dex, let's say 14. That's a +2 to AC off the bat for AC 12, add in Shield and Mage Armor and you're up to 20...and if you are up against evil creatures you can use Protection from Evil to bump it up to 22. Even if something gets through that defense (which is equal to +1 Full Plate, a 12 Dex and a Light shield for the fighters out there) it still has to contend with the 13 temp hit points provided by your False Life spell.

The best part about this combo is that Mage Armor can easily be replaced by and item like Black Widow Bracers or liberal use of a Wand of Mage Armor (which has a duration of 4 minutes).

Spells Involved: Grease, Fire Trap

I like to set this one up before I aggro my opponents with hurled spells. While the enemy is still unaware of you drop a Grease in between you and them. Then place a Fire Trap spell in the dead center of the grease. Then feel free to assault your enemies with arcane fury. When they rush you...and they will...that grease will trip them up or not. If it doesn't then the fire trap will at least go off, burning them for some instant damage and then catching the grease on fire for an additional bit of fire damage.

It isn't enough to fell most creatures as an initial attack. Yet if your opponent is already weakened by your assault this little trick will usually finish them off before they can lay a hand on you.

Stay Right There, No Really
Spells Involved: Hypnotism, Electric Loop

Hypnotism is a fun little spell, it stops opponents with weak will saves in their tracks as they stare stupidly at you, remaining slack jawed until you jar them with damage.

So why follow it up with an Electric Loop? Because a side effect of Hypnotism is a -3 penalty to Will saves regardless of whether the opponent made a save against hypnotism or not. As you may know Electric Loop is a damaging spell with the benefit of dazing an opponent on a failed Will save. After your finished with this one two punch you can go ahead and beat the crap out of the opponent, because daze doesn't end after sustaining damage.


  1. Clerics are the 2nd most powerful class in tabletop. beaten only by, you guessed it, the Artificer :D

    neat combos, if i ever decide to make a sorcerer or a wizard ill give em a try

  2. ...frickin artificers. I swear, those guys are so ridiculous. I still say clerics are the most powerful class, but if you allow warforged, and have one in your group, well, just give up an artificer will break your game.

  3. haha, even without warforged they're op. they have more options available to them than even clerics, what with the ability to fake any spell for crafting items, theyre crazy

  4. You should add Blur to your Unbreakable Object.

    Also, you should add another Hypno Combo. Hypno + Charm Person. While Electric Loop can do good damage at lower levels, Hypno-Charm Person never gets old. If you can keep your Enchantment Spells high, this is a cost-efficient way to take out groups of people.

    You forgot your Rogue-lite setup: Resist Energy+Jump+False Life. You can get through almost all traps with these handy spells.

  5. Nice additions man. I thought about adding things to the Unbreakable Object, like Blur and Stoneskin (though I would have had to alter my description for the latter) but four spells was already a lot to take for just one thing. Course, not getting hit is an important thing to focus on. So if you have to focus, not dying is a good place to do so.

    As for the rogue-lite, I'm saving that and other tips for how to be rogue-lite for a future article.

    And Bryzen, just, fricken artificers, *sighs*