Pathfinder Arcanist vs Spellresistance

Arcanists have a class feature named Arcane Reservoir

Points from the arcanist reservoir are used to fuel many of the arcanist’s powers. In addition, the arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir as a free action whenever she casts an arcanist spell. If she does, she can choose to increase the caster level by 1 or increase the spell’s DC by 1. She can expend no more than 1 point from her reservoir on a given spell in this way.

As you can see from this line

she can choose to increase the caster level by 1

my question now is does this increase in caster level for the spell also increase the caster level bonus for rolls against spell resistance.

Arcanist Dimensional Slide usage specific cases!

So here it goes.

Description says that:

The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to create a dimensional crack that she can step through to reach another location. This ability is used as part of a move action or withdraw action, allowing her to move up to 10 feet per arcanist level to any location she can see. This counts as 5 feet of movement. She can only use this ability once per round. She does not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving in this way, but any other movement she attempts as part of her move action provokes as normal.

Here’s what is not specified (and what causes my GM to question my way of using this skill):

a) If I can use it anytime movement action is possible can I use it while sitting (to teleport from chair to chair for example) or when lying on the ground?

b) Can I decide whether DS is first or last part of my movement? So for example use it to escape melee combat (avoid AoO) and teleport behind my team? Or do I have to do other movement first (thus inducing AoO) and DS last?

c) Can I open the crack below me so I just fall into it?

d) Can DS be the only movement that I make?

Arcanist Dimensional Slide usage specific cases!

So here it goes.

Description says that:

The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to create a dimensional crack that she can step through to reach another location. This ability is used as part of a move action or withdraw action, allowing her to move up to 10 feet per arcanist level to any location she can see. This counts as 5 feet of movement. She can only use this ability once per round. She does not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving in this way, but any other movement she attempts as part of her move action provokes as normal.

Here’s what is not specified (and what causes my GM to question my way of using this skill):

a) If I can use it anytime movement action is possible can I use it while sitting (to teleport from chair to chair for example) or when lying on the ground?

b) Can I decide whether DS is first or last part of my movement? So for example use it to escape melee combat (avoid AoO) and teleport behind my team? Or do I have to do other movement first (thus inducing AoO) and DS last?

c) Can I open the crack below me so I just fall into it?

d) Can DS be the only movement that I make?

Arcanist Dimensional Slide usage specific cases!

So here it goes.

Description says that:

The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to create a dimensional crack that she can step through to reach another location. This ability is used as part of a move action or withdraw action, allowing her to move up to 10 feet per arcanist level to any location she can see. This counts as 5 feet of movement. She can only use this ability once per round. She does not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving in this way, but any other movement she attempts as part of her move action provokes as normal.

Here’s what is not specified (and what causes my GM to question my way of using this skill):

a) If I can use it anytime movement action is possible can I use it while sitting (to teleport from chair to chair for example) or when lying on the ground?

b) Can I decide whether DS is first or last part of my movement? So for example use it to escape melee combat (avoid AoO) and teleport behind my team? Or do I have to do other movement first (thus inducing AoO) and DS last?

c) Can I open the crack below me so I just fall into it?

d) Can DS be the only movement that I make?

Which spells or tactics allow a low-level non-blaster Arcanist to deal with creatures immune to mind-affecting spells or who have a lot of HD?

I played The Confirmation yesterday, and it was a rather interesting experience. Our party consisted of:

  • 2 Arcanists with Grease and Color Spray prepared and Quick-Study (my friend and me)
  • A party face Sorcerer with Charm Person and Color Spray (it was the player’s choice to play with this spell set)
  • A Summoner with Augment Summoning and Cha 20
  • A pregen Ranger
  • An Arcanist with Spell Specialization (Burning Hands) and Potent Magic, dealing 5d4 points of damage with BH, DC 17 to half.

This question contains spoilers about the said scenario. Continue reading at your own discretion.

The first encounter was against

A friendly NPC gave us

Yes, my friend and me could Quick Study BH too, but it would cost us a lot of resources, so we decided to conserve our resources and just watch our blaster burn the enemies.

The third encounter was against

Again, I couldn’t do much against them. This time, our Summoner used their Eidolon, I used some Grease, and the blaster did some damage again.

By the final encounter,

our blaster was out of spells (or has cast one spell left, don’t remember). I still had spell slots, and have cast Grease and Color Spray. The Summoner summoned an Eagle who immediately started full attacking. However…

Also, our party was partially out of spell slots by the end of this, and there was actually supposed to be one more encounter against

which we skipped. I guess, that’s the only situation where Color Spray would’ve worked.

During the previous sessions, the encounters were mainly against goblins, who are easily affected by Color Spray or Grease. However, I am now very confused if my build is actually viable, and if it is likely to stay viable. Unspecialized blasting is very weak, so I clearly need to find something to do when my enemies are immune to mind-affecting spells and/or have high HD. My GM told us “you have not seen oozes yet”, meaning that our party would likely lose to one.

I just got to level 2 after this session, and I am using slow progression to let my friends keep up with me. However, I am interested in answers that touch later levels too.

Note that I don’t feel useless out of combat or when facing enemies who are affected by Color Spray or Sleep.

Actually blasting

The best I can get is Burning Hands for 1d4 fire damage per CL, DC 16 to half. I can boost my CL from 2 to 3, or DC to 17. This is probably the only thing I can do against swarms and oozes, please correct me if I am wrong.

Summoning

I am considering that as a backup, but it’s very short-lasting at the early levels. The best I can get from a spell slot (if spending Arcane Reservoir at 1st level) is 6 attacks at +3 to hit and d4+1 to damage (from smiting). This is a lot better single-target damage than my Burning Hands, but still not much, and doesn’t work against swarms. However, it does work against the undead.

Bufffing allies

Again, not much I can do here. I can give an ally Mage Armor, which doesn’t help against swarms, and I can cast Resistance. That’s it, pretty much.

Save or die

Creatures with high HD are immune to or weakly affected by low-level spells, and low-level save or die spells are also mind-affecting.


So, what can I use to be useful in battles against (1) swarms, (2) enemies with a lot of HD and (3) those immune to mind-affecting effects?

How does the Quick Study exploit work for a School Savant Arcanist?

I have an arcanist character with the School Savant archetype, which allows me to prepare an extra spell per level of the chosen school (Air in my case) but requires two preparation slots for a spell of the opposing school (Earth for me).

I also have the Quick Study Arcanist Exploit which lets me swap a prepared spell for a different spell in my spellbook.

The interaction of quick study with these school spells are not exactly clear. For example:

  • If I choose to replace a specific Air school spell that I prepared, am I restricted to choose another Air school spell as a replacement?
  • Can I replace a normal spell with an Earth school spell, thus bypassing the need for 2 “preparation slots” (or do I need to replace 2 spells perhaps, or something else)

So how does replacing prepared spells with Quick Study work when both specific school spells from School Savant and other spells are involved?

If read strictly, can an arcanist get free spells from Greater Spell Specialization?

Greater Spell Specialization is a feat published in Ultimate Magic (2011), three years before the arcanist appeared in the Advanced Class Guide.

Unlike a wizard, an arcanist does not expend his prepared spells normally. However, with this feat…

By sacrificing a prepared spell of the same or higher level than your specialized spell, you may spontaneously cast your specialized spell

Can an arcanist get a few more spell slots per day using this feat, losing spells prepared (a bit of utility)? Is this a good choice for an optimized arcanist?

How does Exploiter Wizard compare with an Arcanist in Pathfinder Society Organized Play?


Preamble: min-maxing is OK

I have asked my PFS gamemaster if I am allowed to min-max, and they basically said that it’s OK, so for the purposes of this question I am seeking as much power as possible and allowed to use any PFS-legal sources.

My options

I usually play Sorcerers and don’t optimize too much, but this time I am not limited by anything, so I want to cheese as much power as possible, and I also want to try something new, too.

I am looking at two classes: the Arcanist and the Exploiter Wizard. They both have something from what I’m used to (spell list, spontaneous spellcasting, choosing the spells on the fly) and something I’d like to try (prepared spellcasting, choosing spells each day), but in different proportions.

The Exploiter Wizard

The Exploiter Wizard seems very nice due to faster spell progression. Character advancement isn’t going to be fast, so it’s going to be really nice to have Haste or Glitterdust a level earlier than a level later. Playing around once a week with that character, I will only reach level 6 in about five months.

Bonus feats are also nice.

An answer that prefers the Arcanist should say how that class can overcome the spell level delay and somehow comment on the following quote from Dawar’s Arcanist guide:

“But, Dawar” you may ask “What about the Exploiter Wizard?” to which I say …well

…I mean

…I guess

sh….SHUT UP! (no really, that Archetype makes a wizard better at what you do than you. But, you know, oh well)

The Arcanist

The Arcanist, on the other hand, gets more exploits, and some of them are really nice. I am not going to get a lot of those on my Wizard. What’s more, the Arcanist has Consume Spells, so Arcane Reservoir points are going to be less scarce.

The exploits

Some good exploits that I know of are:

  1. Quick Study: the point of being an Exploiter Wizard or Arcanist, ability to replace spells on the fly.
  2. Potent Magic: inrease caster level or save DCs of my spells better.
  3. Dimensional Slide: teleport as a part of your move action.

All can be got as Exploiter Wizard at level 9 (again, in a long time). In fact, I can even get them in this exact order. I was told that the Arcanist needs more exploits than those three.

Some other exploits that I consider:

  1. Metamagic exploits are mentioned as being cool ones in this guide, but they are not likely to kick in because I am not really going to play at high levels, and abusing metamagic is hence not a good option. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Anyway, as far as I know, Wizards are also good metamagic users. Are Arcanists any better? If yes, are they significantly better?

  2. Force Strike — basically, a better magic missile. Same expected damage as usually per level (1d6 and 1d4+1 both yield 3.5 on average), but no touch attack or saving throw.
  3. Counterspell
  4. Familiar — since we lose one when becoming an Exploiter Wizard or don’t get in the first place if Arcanist.

It should be noted that I am going to play in a group of friends, often attending sessions more often than them, so I might have to choose slow XP progression, if it’s of any importance.

All in all, would I like to know?

  1. What are the benefits and disadvantages of each of the classes (compared to each other) that I missed?
  2. How important are the pros and cons that I mentioned?
  3. Who is better at metamagic and how significantly? This is not a very important question, but still.
  4. How many exploits does each of them need?
  5. Which of the exploits that I mentioned are good and worth it?

Important notes

  • When speaking about the Arcanist, you can refer to archetypes too, as they are a part of the class. When speaking about the Exploiter Wizard, you can refer to archetypes that give similar spontaneous abilities or PFS-legal archetypes that stack.
  • I am going to play this character this weekend. I will be able to make some changes before I reach level 2, though.