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Resource & Handbook Submission / Special Materials Index
« on: June 27, 2017, 06:44:01 AM »
Originally posted by terronus on 21 Dec, 2008 on the WOTC boards, and can also be found on GitP

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originally posted by TC X0 Lt 0X on minmax on November 09, 2011
Author's Disclaimer: I am not an exact expert at the rules of D&D, particularly in the finer details, and this Guide is likely full of many errors and I may very well be spouting nonsense and have no idea what I am talking about. I decided to make this guide in my spare time as a means to understand the potential of one of the character I am currently playing in a orderly fashion, and as a way to share my findings to those unaware of the potential of scrolls. Feel free to point out any mistakes I’ve made, as I certainly won’t see them, and I don’t want to be putting out false information to the masses.

Papyrus & Ink:
A Player's Guide to Scrolls for the Aspiring Spell Scribe

"Thats no wand, its a Metamagic Rod! And who says he's a Dwarf? Clearly a larger then average Gnome!"


As a player I have always noticed that scrolls have always been considered a backup item, used for emergency situations where specific spells, otherwise rarely prepared, are necessary to progress or survive. In always bothered me that while many classes have Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat, it almost always goes unused except in a once in a great while, when it can be used instead to generate resources daily for minimum investment, especially at lower levels when for most spellcasters have few spells a day. And always, they took backseat to Wands and Potions at lower levels, and staffs at higher levels, some for more obvious reasons, others not so much.
With this guide I plan to show the player base how to utilize their Scribe Scroll feat and Scrolls to the fullest extent, as well as how to become a Master Spell Scribe, able to produce Scrolls that cast spells more efficiently than actual spellcasters with the same spell.

Scrolls 101

Scrolls are different from Wands and Staffs. Unlike them, which have charges, Scrolls are one time use. Generally speaking, Player’s get scrolls as random loot or from shops for situational spells needed only once in a while.
The Scroll’s greatest rival is the Wand. Each has its Advantages and Disadvantages, which I will list below

Spell Completion Item  Spell Trigger Item
Can have spells of up to 9th levelCan have spells of up to 4th level
Single use per spell on scroll50 charges (uses) per wand
Can hold different kinds of spellsCan hold one spell
DC 20 + Caster Level to activate with UMDDC 20 to activate with UMD
Potential for Scroll MishapsNo Mishaps
25 x level of spell x level of caster in GP750 x level of spell x level of caster in GP (or 15 x level of spell x level per charge)
Bonus Feat for Multiple Classes at 1st levelRequires Caster Level 5th
Provokes an Attack of OpportunityDoes not provoke an Attack of Opportunity
Little support from Feats and ItemsGreat support from Feats and Items

So Scrolls have a greater power potential then Wands, and craftable from 1st Level, however harder and more dangerous to use then Wands. Scrolls cost more than Wands per use, but generally speaking players are not going to need 50 copies of the same spell on an item. If they needed that many of the same spell, they would prepare it or put it on their spell lists. Only spells like Lesser Vigor and the like are placed on Wands by the average party. And as will be shown, it is possible to make Scrolls much cheaper than Wands with dedication, eventually becoming free.

With access to higher level spells the powers of Scrolls over Wands is obvious in most situations. Scrolls may have a more difficult time with Blasting then wands, given that wands have lots of support which allow multiple wands to activate at once, and stacking Metamagic is easier as well with Metamagic Spell Trigger (for Artificers), but Scrolls do have access to extra spell levels for Metamagic with lower level spells, and they do have the similar Metamagic Spell Completion, which while only usable a certain amount of times per day, does bridge the gap. And unlike Wands, Scrolls are not as wasteful with such optimizations (or at all if you are crafting at 100% cost reduction).

Another Advantage of Scrolls over Wands is the ability to have multiple spells on a single scroll, while a Wand can only have its base spell. The DMG states a Scroll can be a “collection of spells”. The DMG does not directly specify how many spells can be on a single scroll, which potentially means it can be limitless. To be fair however, the Random Treasure Tables for Scrolls list 3 types of Scrolls, ‘Minor’, ‘Medium’, and ‘Major’. The Major scroll can have 1d6 spells total, or in other words, 6 spells maximum. As far as I know, this example shows the highest number of spells on a scroll printed, so I am to assume this is an acceptable maximum. But still, this means a character does not need to be pulling out new scrolls every round.

One Major obstacle for a Scroll user is that you can only make 1 scroll a day at best, unless you are using one of the magical items that lets you otherwise. With the above on how a scroll can have multiple spells however, it is clear that making a scroll a day does not necessarily mean a spell a day. It does get a bit hazy though, as the crafting rules for scrolls list the cost as ‘1/2 x 25 x level of spell x level of caster’. This does not account for the possibility of creating a scroll with multiple spells. I think the best assumption to go with here is you calculate each spell to be put on the scroll separately, then add the final numbers together for the final price of the scroll. With this we can craft 6 Spell Scrolls each day (assuming the base price does not exceed 1000gp). If this does not seem right to you however, then going with the idea of 1 spell a day for a scroll should also be fine.

To be fair, Let’s compare the Scroll to the two other expendable Magic Items in the SRD, Potions/Oils and Staffs.

   Spell Trigger Item
Can have spells of up to 3rd levelCan have spells of up to 9th level
Single Use Item50 charges (uses) per Staff
Can hold one spellCan hold multiple spells
Can be used by any characterDC 20 to activate with UMD
No Mishaps   No Mishaps
50 x level of spell x level of caster in GP    300 + 750 x level of highest level spell x level of caster + Other Potential costs in GP
Requires Caster Level 3rdRequires Caster Level 12th   
Provokes an Attack of Opportunity   Does not provoke an Attack of Opportunity
Can use Users Stats for DC   
Little support from Feats and ItemsLittle support from Feats and Items

Potions/Oils have an advantage in being able to be used by anyone, but have the lowest max spell level and cannot be used for offensive spells. It also costs more than other items per use. Generally Potions are for characters unable to use the other options available, and when you craft them, you are generally crafting them for other players, not yourself.
Staffs are by far the most powerful item of the bunch, essentially Wands+. It has essentially the same price as wands, can hold multiple spells by increasing the price, can use 9th level spells, and most importantly can have DCs higher than the Base DC of the spell. When it comes to no Save Spells, it is pretty evenly matched to scrolls, though potentially either cheaper or more expensive in use. It can use some support that Wands have also being a Spell Trigger item, but it falls short of some of the best ones. In the average users hands, Staves are superior, but Scrolls come out to be superior in the hands of a dedicated Spell Scribe, being the most cost efficient of any of the items when crafted by them.

Making Scrolls

"Spell Scribe hard at work on a Scroll."

When making scrolls there are three things you need. The Feat to make them (Scribe Scroll), the spell to be put on the scroll, and the costs.
It is entirely possible for multiple characters to work on an item and add the necessary requirements, and this is suggested, as it is a way to get spells not normally on your list onto a scroll. Even Artificers benefit from this, letting them skip the need to make a UMD check while crafting.
One character has to be designated the creator when crafting an item. Generally speaking you want to be the creator, as you will have be able to lower the cost requirements (and as far as I remember, the creator must have the feat and provide the XP).

For prepared casters, you must expend the spell being used for crafting for that day. This may come out as a disadvantage, but it is not much of one when you consider the following. On off days you will not need to worry about spells unless you are ambushed for instance. Also, while you may lose a spell for that day, you get the spell back and keep the spell for as long as you need to until you use it. If you are using some method of crafting while adventuring, if you had one day prior for crafting, you should have 1 scroll. The next day when you craft, you expend a spell, but have the scroll to fill in the gap. There is a decent chance you will never even use all our spells at mid levels, so the loss of a spell is  no big deal, and if you do get to that point, the scroll will cover the loss for the day. If not, you get to keep the scroll for the following day and get an extra scroll to add to your pool as well. On that day you will actually have more spells then usual. And there is always the possibility you will have an extra spell unused at the end of the day as well, and you can use that spell with a Quill of Scribing or similar to craft while you sleep. So generally speaking, it is almost always worth it to craft a scroll each day as a prepared caster.

For spontaneous casters, scrolls are not much of a hindrance to create but are also not as useful. You don't need to spend a daily spell to crate a scroll, so you can have a scroll made everyday with no drawback. But Spontaneous Caster always have access to all there known spells, and have plenty of spell slots to boot. for the spontaneous caster, crafting a scroll is all about having more spells of your highest level available. For instance, instead of starting everyday with four 4th level spells, with a Scribe Scroll you can have five 4th level spells a day. If you don't use that scroll, you will have six 4th level spells the next day. So when the day comes when you have exausted all your spells, you can potentially have an extra set of spells to almost just as powerful as your actual spells. So generally speaking, it is almost always worth it to craft a scroll each day as a spontaneous caster.

Scrolls & You

What scrolls are to you as a player is different based on your occupation in the party and your goals as a character.

Character with UMD (such as a Rogue or Factotum):
An extra tool to get a job done and to add versatility and power to your character.

Character with Scribe Scroll (Such as an Archivist, Artificer, or Wizard)
A means to produce extra resources or prepare a tool for out of combat or situational circumstances.
With investment into a Quill of Scribing, 1 to 6 extra prepared spells a day (depending on spell level) which you can keep until they are used, which cost a small amount of GP and an unnoticeable amount of XP.

Aspiring Spell Scribe (Character with one or more levels into Unbound Scroll)
A weapon and tool you can build with any situation in mind, and keep in hand until that situation presents itself, be it today, or 10 years from now. All for either cheap or free. Each day (or 4). Anything unused is saved for a later date, and there is no limit to the amount you can save.


"... Racism."

If you are not dedicating yourself to the Ways of the Quill, this section is not for you.
For the dedicated Spell Scribe, you have two options. Gnome and Gnome.

I mean Changeling with Racial Emulation, if you don’t want to be all Gnomey (Who wouldn’t want to be a Gnome though). Still, you’ll have to look like a Gnome regardless anyways, so again, your options are Gnome and Gnome.
Reason being is you must have the Mark of Scribing to get into Unbound Scroll, which is exclusive to Gnomes.
Here is a list of Gnomish Races, for you to choose your preferred choice.
There is an option available HERE which allows other races to have Dragonmarks not normally available to them (look at side bar 'Reincarnation in Eberron'). With this it is possible to be, for instance, a Human Unbound Scroll. If you manage to convince your DM to let you be Reincarnated, then I suggest going with the preferred race for your class. Not all DMs will let you use this obscure options though, so be ready to get all Gnomey.

Rock Gnomes {SRD}
Standard Gnome, and nothing to amazing. For some reason you can talk to animals that are burrowing mammals 1/day, but with a scroll you can talk to any animal. Weird regardless.

Forest Gnomes {SRD}
Similar to Rock Gnomes overall, but are far stealthier. Instead of being able to talk with burrowing mammals once a day they have Pass without Trace at will on themselves, making them virtually untrackable. They also have a +4 to Hide (or a +8 in forests) so your average Forest Gnome is better at hiding then most Human Rogues, once you account their Size. Oh, and they hate reptiles. Get a Lizard as a Familiar!

Deep Gnomes – Svirfneblin {SRD}
Bigger, badder Gnomes whom live in the Underdark. They have some strong bonuses to losts of their defenses and come with the usual Gnome fair of Racial Abilities, but their racial ability modifiers are really bad, with a -4 Charisma being the worst, making it extremely difficult to use Scrolls as Artificers. And they have a LA +3 on top of it all. Unless you are playing in a game where You get levels to LA or are actually forced to play a Svirfneblin, skip this and NEVER look back.

Aquatic Gnomes {SRD}
Like their rock cousins, but have bonuses to two social skills in place of listen and Alchemy. They also have a Swim speed, a +8 bonus to Swim, Aquatic Subtype, and Aquan as a bonus language. Descent for an Aquatic/Seafaing Campaign, but I must wonder what will become of scrolls in water, or how they are made under the waves for that matter…

Arctic Gnomes {SRD}
Rock Gnomes, but suck at Alchemy and are better at seeing through lies. They also have Fortitude bonuses against cold weather and such. Okay if you are stuck in the snow.

Desert Gnomes {SRD}
As Rock Gnomes but have social skills instead of Alchemy and Listen, and Fortitude bonuses against Hot Weather. If you are going for a more social character, this is superior to the standard.

Jungle Gnomes {SRD}
Gnomes that Don’t hate Giants? WHAT? Instead of the usual skill bonuses, you get four other skill bonuses; two semi useful physical skills and two useless skills. Not really worth it overall.

Air Gnomes {SRD}
Instead of hating Kobolds, Goblins and Giants, you hate the Earth Subtype. Slightly more broader I suppose, but you also take a -2 penalty to Saving Throws against them as well so it is not all good. Instead of a +2 to Con, you have a +2 to Dex, which means you are not as hardy but harder to hit. But the best racial ability is being Breathless, making you immune to suffocation and effects that require you to breath. Overall very worth it.

Arcane Gnomes {D#291}
Ho ho ho. Same as Rock Gnomes, but get this, UMD is ALWAYS a class skill for them. They also have a +2 to Int and a -2 to WIS in addition to the standard racial modifiers of Rock Gnomes. All they lose is Speak with Animals, which is utterly useless. Being from Dragon Mag though means some DMs won’t allow it. But otherwise, this is one of the best Subraces for any Spell Scribe who is not a cleric (and there are like no Spell Scribe Clerics), and even for them, UMD is priceless.

River Gnomes {D#291}
Rock Gnomes, but they can talk to ducks instead of burrowing mammals (okay, any river dwelling animals). They also have a Swim Speed, +8 bonus to swim checks, take 10s on Swim Checks, and can hold their breath much longer than usual (Avg of about 4mins/40 rounds). Also a cool +1 to Initative. They lose a Gnomes other usual Spell-Likes though, but whatever they can be replaced with Scrolls. Overall I’d say a bit better then Aquatic Gnomes in Water based Campaigns. Hmm, scrolls in water… How does that work…

Ice Gnomes {FB}
Lose Ghost Sound 1/day and the ability to speak with burrowing mammals once per day and be able to use Ray of Frost 1/day and Speak with Artic Mammals 1/day. No bonuses against cold environments as far as I see as well. (-_-) Ghost Sound is actually useful and I can use a Crossbow to do better damage then a Ray of Frost. Also, if my Logic is correct many Artic Mammals (not all, but many) burrow anyways right? What am I saying, we can make a scroll to talk with any animal. Skip this really hard.

Whisper Gnome {RoS}
The crown jewel of Gnomish Evolution. On top of most of the usual Rock Gnome traits, it has Darkvision 60, and a +4 bonus to hide and Move Silently (rivaling Forest Gnomes in stealth), a +2 to Spot, Ghost Sound, Mage Hand, and Message 1/day each (instead of the usual Spell-Likes), SILENCE 1/day (Don’t even need that bonus to Move Silently), and the most unique part for not only Gnomes but Small races in general? 30ft Movement Speed. Godly. It does have a +2 to Dex and -2 to Cha though, so UMD is slightly harder, but overall a great chassis for your Spell Scribe. 

Chaos Gnomes {RoS}
The usual for Gnomes and then some. Have +2 to Dex and Cha in addition to the usual (which helps with UMD), a slightly different Spell-Likes list, a +1 bonus to Caster Level with spells with the Chaos descriptor, as well as Immunity to Confusion Effects (probably because these poor souls are already confused). And most importantly, the ability to Reroll a dice roll 1/day. With that Artificers have a real easy time with this race for crafting and using UMD. There is one thing though. LA+1. This makes it less than optimal. But if you are playing in a game where LA buyoff is allowed, this is probably one of your best choices.

Tinker Gnomes {DLCS}
A little different from the Standard Gnome, but has its own merits. These Gnome do not hate anyone, so no racial bonuses against Kobolds, Goblins or Giants. No Con bonus, but a +2 to Dex and Int to a -2 Str and Wis. Bonuses to either all Craft, Profession, or Knowledge checks, (chosen when making your character), and a bonus to Will Saves. It is actually great overall, getting rid of the situational and easily emulated stuff for decent bonuses. I hate Krynn and Dragonlance with a burning passion, but I would play one of these over a Rock Gnome if I had the choice.

Mad Gnome {DLCS}
Same as the Tinkers above, but lose the +2 to Int and -2 to Wis, the guild affiliation, as well as the Will bonus for a bonus to Open Lock and Disable Device as well as the ability to use those skills untrained. Overall bad. Not actually Mad in the normal sense, just Mad in the Tinker Gnome sense. It’s too bad everything in Krynn is so Damn Retarded.


"Wizard in the process of casting Fireburst from a scroll."

Base Classes
These classes are the preferred and best users of Scrolls, and if you want to at least be making effective scrolls everyday, these are for you.

The unrivaled king of crafting. Not much of a spellcaster on its own, but it does get just about every crafting feat in core (and then some) and has the ability to utilize spells from any list for crafting. And it gets Scribe Scroll at 1st level. There is a reason I generally assume you are a Artificer. They can make any spell from any list into a spell, and has access to those spells at least 2 levels sooner than the actual class does, and manipulate them with Metamagic far easier. It can even craft 2nd level Scrolls at 1st level, though you probably won’t have the gold for making such scrolls at that level so it is no big deal. The only problem you will face is the possibility of failure in both crafting scrolls and using them, sense they rely on UMD checks with DCs of 20+ to do either. It takes some investment to make them effective at what they do, but again, they are the best. Unless Campaign Specific Material is banned, always choose Artificer.

The iconic Spellcaster. Wizard gets Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat 1st level, so right out the gates is able to make scrolls. It also has a massive spell list full of the best spells in the game. Gathering all the spells will be tough for one, of course, but once you have a decent library of scrolls available to you they will become a great help.

Cleric w/ Rune Domain
Clerics can make scrolls too, and with the Rune Domain can get Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat. Scrolls are particularly useful for cleric with good Domain Spells, letting them utilize the spell more than once per day. Also with the Spell and Magic Domains, Clerics can craft and utilize Arcane spells to a limited degree. And with their d8 HD and ¾ BAB, they are decent fighters too. They have no access to Unbound Scroll being Divine Casters though, unless they have the Spell Domain or another ability to Prepare Arcane Spells, but even if they did, they won’t be able to progress their spellcasting.

The Divine equivalents of Wizards, these bad boys not only have access to the Cleric Spell list, but ALL divine Spell lists, including Domains, and per usual get Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat. Able to have any divine spell at its lowest possible level, they are in a great position for scribing a library of scrolls. With some trickery they can even get access to Arcane Spell Lists. They have the same problem Wizards in the need to gather spells, only it is much more difficult for them. The only downfall to this class is it is Divine, and can’t get access to Unbound Scroll without trickery, and even then do not get all the benefits. Still, great Class.

Caster-lite basically, they have access to a few abilities but never run out. They also have UMD as a Class Skill, and Charisma is in many builds one of their primary stats. At 4th level they also get Deceive Item which lets them take 10 on UMD checks, so activating Scrolls is not much of a problem. They can’t do much in crafting until 12th level, when they get Imbue Item, which is essentially the Artificer’s Class Feature for emulating spells, but at a much lower DC. With this they can make any item as long as they have the proper Item Creation Feat. They can also potentially craft items with minimum caster levels much higher than 12th by getting boosts to their CL, able to craft 9th level Scrolls once they get Imbue Item if they increase their CL by 5. They don’t need Scrolls for blasting as they are already good at that, but they benefit the most from scrolls, second only to the Artificer himself, sense Warlocks don’t have a real Spell List and don’t have the versatility that comes with it. You won’t be able to make it into Unbound Scroll with this though, unless you somewhere picked up the ability to prepare 3rd level Arcane spells.

With access to Astaroth you can gain access to any crafting Feat. There are two problems with the Binder overall though. A) He still needs access to a spell he needs for crafting, and will need to borrow a party wizard or cleric or find a willing NPC to help him with crafting, and B) He does not have access to UMD, and the one bind normally used with Astaroth can only let the Binder use Spell Trigger items, like wands, not Spell Completion Items like a scroll. If you desire you can probably take Leadership to get access to spells with a cohort, but then you might as well make your Cohort an Artificer at that point. This is doable with Anima Mage and a Arcane Spellcasting class, which will help get access to Unbound Scroll.

Prestige Classes

Unbound Scroll
Indeed, this prestige class gets a section all its own, being key to reaching 100% Crafting Efficiency (along with Legacy Champion) and able to essentially make seven 2nd level Scrolls a day as it’s capstone ability, or even better. Simply Great.

Entry Requirements
Skills: Profession (Scribe) 4 ranks.       
Relatively valueless skill, but cost only a few ranks which you will most likely have available anyway. You could also use it to get a few extra gold a week at lower levels during downtime, sense you will be penny pinching for scrolls until later in your career.
Feats: Least Dragonmark (Mark of Scribing-Arcane Mark), Scribe Scroll.
One is essential for the profession and easy to acquire, and the other while useless at lower levels fuels are class features.
Spellcasting: Ability to prepare 3rd-Level Arcane Spells or Imbue 3rd-Level Infusions.       
In other words, you need to be 5th level. Do to some of the specific wording, Spontaneous Casters are a no go unless you take the feats necessary to allow them to.
Special: Must have performed a task specified by the Viceroy of the Ninth College   
A Flavor/RP requirement that can be met in character background, or ignored entirely in non Eberron Games if your DM is not a total rules Nazi.

Class Features
You continue progressing your spellcasting ability each level except 3rd. The fact you lose a caster level means slow your progression to be able to create higher level scrolls, but this really does not bother the Artificer at all, and the Wizard can live with it. Better than half progression at least.

Heir’s Mark
Utterly useless. You don’t need your Arcane Mark at a higher caster level (or really at all beyond it uses/day). It does not hamper you  at all though, luckily.

Master Scribe (Ex)
The more you invest into Unbound Scroll, the cheaper Scrolls are for you to make. If you go Legacy Champion after your 5 levels and take the Artisian Feats, you can be crafting at 10% Gold Cost and XP Cost. Also if you take note in the Resources section of Unbound Scroll, it states you can reduce the GP/XP Cost by an additional 10% which stack with both Artisan Feats and Master Scribe, reducing the cost of scrolls down to 100%. Because who doesn’t want to craft Wish Scrolls for no cost? If only this reduced crafting time, your only nemesis.

Scroll Mastery (Ex)
This is more or less directed at Artificers, and makes it that much easier to activate scrolls, almost eliminating any chance of failing your check. Great.

Improved Arcane Mark (Ex)
Gain additional uses of your Arcane mark a day equal to your class level? Sounds worthless, but don’t forget half this class features are fueled by Dragonmark uses. At higher levels this essentially becomes Free 2nd level or lower scrolls equal to your class level a day, so this is gold.

Strong Words (Su)
Potentially helpful for spells with CL dependent effects, like Orb Spells. You have to use a Swift Action to activate However, so only viable in combat if you for some reason have no use for a Swift Action in the round, which is unlikely. Still, Great out of Combat.

Metamagic Scroll (Su)
Applying a Metamagic to a scroll adds great versatility. But really this should only be used on your high level scrolls sense you can create Metamagiced Scrolls of lower spells anyways. In combat it is superior to Metamagic Scroll Infusion, which takes a minute to use comparable to a swift action for this, but like Strong Words you will want to be using your Swift Action for other things in combat most of the time. It doesn’t stack with Metamagic Scroll Infusion or similar, but still, it is a useful option out of combat to, for instance, extend a spell from a scroll.

Charged Words (Su)
Not useful at all. You shouldn’t be using scrolls with DCs anyways, and at best this will increase a scroll to average DCs of the spells level cast by your average caster. Only useful as a kicker in obscure circumstances when you may as well do so. Don’t even consider it an option.

Ghost Writing (Su)
Second only to Master Scribe itself, this Class Feature essentially makes your Arcane Mark/day into free 2nd level Scrolls/day. Note that it has no time duration, allowing you to activate one day, and potentially use the effect sessions into the future. It even appears you can stack Ghost Write on the same scroll multiple times, so you gain massive resources in downtime. This Class Feature Alone makes getting the Lesser and Greater Dragonmark Feats worth it.

Other Prestige Classes

Legacy Champion {WoL}
This class is mentioned as not only is it great class, offering a d8 HD to beef up squishy Casters as well as ¾ BAB and a decent amount of skill points and extra skills, but when combined with Unbound Scroll lets us obtain 100% Crafting efficiency with Scrolls. If you are going Unbound Scroll, you want to go Legacy Champion. And it is assumed that you will, for most characters, because there is little reason not to unless you cannot meet the qualifications.

Bloodlines {SRD}
Not actually a Prestige Class, but regardless I will put it here. Bloodlines count towards abilities that calculate based off of Class Level, like Caster Level and the like. As far as I can see, this will progress the Artificers maximum CL for crafting, as well as Master Scribe and other Unbound Scroll abilities. It won't progress spells/infusions, but with the Artificer it does not matter anyways. If you don't go Legacy Champion, this a is a decent alternative, at least for Artificers. Fey, Djinni, or Efreeti are probably best, but any Major Bloodline will do.

Maester {CAd}
Proof that Gnomes are the best crafters ever. Probably. Anyways, the reason to consider this class if for the Quick Crafting class feature, which will increase you’re crafting to 2000gp/day. Essentially doubling the amount of Spells you can put on Scrolls. Do to losing a caster level I would not suggest this until you get your 9th level spells. Otherwise it’s requirements are pretty easy (the other crafting feat is probably Craft Contingent Spell, the best crafting feat for spellcasters ever). You also get a bonus crafting feat, which can be a legitimate crafting feat or one of the Artisans. Consider it if you have a spot open for it.

Chameleon {RoD}
Chameleons have access to all Divine and Arcane spells of up to 6th level, and have feats which can be changed each day. More for the non caster, as it would be better to stick to your usual casting as a caster to get higher level spells. Overall it has great versatility options and able to capitalize on downtime with crafting items such as scrolls, and remain completely combat effective otherwise. Only available to Humans, Doppelgangers, and human blooded individuals with either the feat or variant rule in place.

Geometer {CAr}
With a 1 level dip all your scrolls will have Silent Spell for a 25gp extra price. Just don't use the Spellglyph with spells that have costly material components or else the price will skyrocket. For a 2nd level dip, you can scribe spells into your spellbook on 1 page regardless of the spell level, which will save space and gold in the process. Only useful to Wizards though, but Wizards are pretty much the only casters that qualify to enter this Prestige class so meh. Weird skill requirements for getting in though, so you might have a problem with those.


"Wait a minute (-_-) ..."

Scribe Scroll {SRD}
Unless you are a rogue utilizing UMD and have no interest in Crafting Spells yourself, this feat is essential for any Spell Scribe. This feat is necessary for crafting Scrolls, and is a prerequisite for Unbound Scroll. But you probably have it as a Bonus Feat anyways, so lets move on.

Least Dragonmark [Mark of Scribing – Arcane Mark] {ECS}
A prerequisite for Unbound Scroll and powers half its class features. If you are going US, you are taking this. If not, it is useless, never consider it.

Lesser Dragonmark [Mark of Scribing] {ECS}
If you want more powerful versions of US class features, this will help. Only 1/day for any of them though, and beyond powering US all your choices are relatively useless. If you are going this route, you need to boost the uses/day in some fashion to make it effective.

Greater Dragonmark [Mark of Scribing] {ECS}
Like above, but requires even more dedication to access. Also like above, your choices are not great and you only get 1/day use. Increase your uses/day ASAP if you get this. But even so, it is effectively a feat that lets you make an additional 6th level scroll a day so it has its uses.

Magic in the Blood {PGtF}
Dragonmarks are described as innate spell-like abilities, and otherwise appears to be racial. This will get you +2/day uses of your Lesser and Greater Dragonmark. Best deal for increasing their quantity. As a bonus it also increase your Gnomish Spell-Likes. Your a Gnome right?

Dragonmark Prodigy/Adept/Visionary {DrMk}
Essentially grants you 3 more uses/day of Least or Lesser Dragonmarks, or 2 uses/day of a Greater Dragonmark, respectivily. If taken with Magic in the Blood, you get 4 uses/day for a Dragonmark. Visionary is preferred, being the feat associated with Greater Dragonmarks.

Skill Focus [Use Magical Device] {SRD}
A simple +3 to UMD. Makes it easier for Artificers to craft and use Scrolls. Great. I prefer Shape Soulmeld though for its extra +1 and bonus to other skills, but this is untyped and potentially better at higher levels.

Quill of Sivis {DrMk}
Gives a +2 to UMD checks with scrolls, as well as letting you reroll a Decipher Script or Forgery check, and making you unable to trigger a small list of spells including Explosive Runes according to the level of Dragonmark you possess. Overall Skill Focus is better, but if you already took that and Shape Soulmeld is inaccessible, this can help bring up your UMD checks. Wish that reroll was to UMD checks though…

Shape Soulmeld [Mage Spectacles/Elder Spirit] {MoI/DM}
Grants a +4 Insight bonus to UMD checks, as well to 2 other skills, and use them untrained. Mage Spectacles are more thematic, but Elder Spirit is overall superior, especially if you are going the Legacy Champion route.

Item Familiar {SRD}
Grants godly bonuses to you, such as 10% BONUS XP, and bonuses to skills of your choice (cough cough UMD). It can also grant you a bonus spell slot, the Alertness Feat, and can gain abilities from a list. It also makes the item sentient. Obviously you cannot make a scroll into an item familiar. Any qualifying item the character has will do, but I personally suggest an Infinite Scrollcase. The only thing of note is that you must never lose the item, as you will lose the benefits of this feat as well as anything you invested into it. More the reason to make your Infinite Scrollcase the Item Familiar, because if you lose your scrolls you are done for anyways. Great flavor synergy with Legacy Items too.

Exceptional/Extraordinary/Legendary/Magical Artisan {ECS/PGtF}
Reduce the crafting costs (Time/GP/XP) for crafting Items. Extraordinary and Legendary are both necessary for reaching 100% cost reduction before epic levels. Exceptional is not all that useful sense Scroll can be made quite quickly anyway (only useful for Scrolls with six 9th Level spells, for example), but the reduction is not much. Magical Artisan applies to a specific Crafting Feat and applies to all costs, great for Wizards which normally only have Scribe Scroll anyways, but do not it does not directly stack with the other Artisan Feats or USs Master Scribe ability (though you do get to calculate cost reduction of 75% the normal cost of the item). Useful at lower levels but should be retrained once you hit 100% efficiency.

Chameleon Crafting {D#349}
If you are going a caster/manifester route, this feat is quite acceptable. In essence, it lets you put psionic powers you know on magic crafting feats and vice versa. The Psionic powers cannot be augmented, and you need 1st lv casting and 1st lv manifesting to get it, as well as knowing the power. It has limited uses, but there are some nice powers you may want on a scroll just in case. If you are capable of taking this feat and have room, go for it. Otherwise, you are not missing out on much.

Twin/Quicken/Chain/Repeat Spell/Split Ray {SRD/CAr}
Anything to increase the amount of spells you cast a round. You can craft these in or use one of the abilities that let you add in Metamagic on the fly. It all depends on the situation at hand and what options you have available. The First two are best, but the others can come in handy too.

Extend/Persistent Spell {SRD/Car}
With Ghost Writing you can use Metamagic Scroll (CF or Inf) or Metamagic Spell Completion to buff yourself daily without necessarily wasting any resources. And Extend can be crafted into Scrolls so they last the entire day and still be Ghost Writable.

Alternate Spell Source {D#}
This feat is a great way to change your Divine Spells into Arcane Scrolls and vice versa. this is beneficial for getting around some of the limits of each and getting some of the advantages of each, or for spells that have different effects based on the type of spell it is. It does lower the CL by 1 but this is not a huge problem, and if you can benefit from this then go for it. Also as a side not this feat will allow Clerics and Archivists to enter Unbound Scroll, but note that they will not be able to progress their spellcasting if they do.

Craft Contingent Spell {Car}
Best crafting feat ever, and useful for any occasion. Don’t think, just take it.

Other Crafting Feats
Scribe Scroll is a bonus feat for quite a few classes and usually it is not a choice to have it. For most, other crafting feats have to be chosen over other options and might weaken the build overall, for both Spell Scribes and general Spellcasters. If you need the feat, then take it. If not them skip it. Of course Artificers get most crafting feats for free so they don’t count in this.

Other Metamagic
For specific builds other Metamagic might be necessary for them to function. As long as you have space for them and they are useful, go for it.

Originally posted on the WOTC boards by Griff on Dec 03, 2006
Continued by Bullet06320 and GitP Community posted here
and now also on minmax

Ever wished you had a certain skill on your class list?

Here is a compiled list of feats, domains and other stuff that grant you class skills from various official sources

(click to show/hide)

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Resources & Handbooks / Mastering the Malconvoker
« on: June 19, 2017, 05:40:28 AM »
Credit goes to Treantmonklvl20 for creating it, and Dan2 for reposting it on BG, and Libertad for reposting on minmax
Mastering the Malconvoker
Or "the ends justify the means!"

"Take him my slaves! Drag his soul back to your dark masters!"-Argyll Te'Shea, servant of Pelor and malconvoker
Quote from Complete Scoundrel

THE MALCONVOKER is a prestige class from Complete Scoundrel that specializes in Summon Monster spells and Planar Binding spells.

Entry requirements:
Alignment: Any non-evil.
Skills: Bluff 4 ranks, Knowledge (The planes) 4 ranks.
Languages: Celestial, Infernal
Feats: Augment Summoning, Spell Focus (Conjuration)
Special: Ability to cast Summon Monster III

The standard concept of the perpetual war between good and evil is cliched to some: a black-and-white vision of reality, suitable only for religious sermonizing. A few who understand the complexity of the battles that rage throughout the planes have taken up a dangerous path, entering into powerful pacts with the foulest abominations of the Lower Planes to turn evil against evil. These daring Summoners are Malconvokers, and they bargain with their lives.

- Complete Scoundrel

First all Malconvokers should check out these threads:

Legal 3.5 Summonable Monster List - This thread breaks down Summon Monster spells, unlike this one, non-core summons are examined and critiqued.

Summoning Handbook : A general guide for Summoners of all types. Be adviced not all general summoning advice applies to Malconvokers.

I would like to aknowledge this thread : Mastering the Summoned Monster, by Faithless the Wonder Boy - You won't find much in this thread I haven't covered here. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The Conjurer’s Handbook - not a summoner's thread - but if you are entering Malconvoker through the Conjurer, this can give you a nice guide of spells available and feats to consider.

Second: Why should I play a Malconvoker?

Consider looking through your new splatbook. You see a PrC for casters that looses a caster level. Already you think "This better have some great class abilities.", you are ready to turn the page.

The first level ability has a +1 metamagic added to spells for free. You think "That's not enough to make this worthwhile" - if you weren't bored you would have already gone to the next PrC.

The fourth level ability effectively doubles one of your specialty feats. You now think "Still not enough."

The fifth level ability then adds +4 Metamagic to spells for free (thats +5 levels of metamagic for free). You read it again - yes - thats +5 metamagic levels to spells free.

You must have been reading the Malconvoker.

There are many advantages to playing a Summoner, but if you are willing to focus completely on summoning - nothing beats a Malconvoker. You may not have the best HP, BAB, AC, or be as good at the other spells - but when it comes to Summoning - you will be king.

Up to the time I looked at the Malconvoker I was of the opinion that you should never consider a PrC that reduces your spellcasting level. The Malconvoker does this at level 1.

However, level one of the Malconvoker gives an extend spell effect on all Summon Monster spells where you summon evil creatures as long as you beat their sense motive with a bluff (free action bluff)

The fourth level of the Malconvoker gives a +2 to damage on all attacks and +2 HP/HD to any evil creatures which were summoned with the first level ability.

The fifth level of Malconvoker adds an extra creature when you summon an evil creature. That's basically a free Twin Spell. If you use a Summon Monster to summon lesser level creatures, it works out closer to an empower spell (still very good).

If you are a Wizard/Cleric who pops off the occasional Summon Monster spell � this isn�t a worthy trade. If you are a Wizard/Cleric who specializes in Summon Monster spells this is just too good to pass up.

Third: How many levels should I take?

The Malconvoker is a 9 level PrC. The first 5 levels will focus primarily on Summon Monster spells, the final 4 levels focus more on Planar Binding spells. It is a decent choice for full 9 level progression but there are options.

The best ability the Malconvoker gets is Infernal Legion at level 5, this makes level 5 an ideal breaking point if you want to pick up some different PrC levels.

Level 6 gives you (IMO) the best Planar Binding ability with Deceitful Bargaining. This gives a decent break point with lots of Summon Monster specialization, and decent boost to Planar Binding.

Levels 7-9 are decent - nothing spectacular, but you aren't losing spellcasting levels either - so it's still solid.

Fourth: Which class should I qualify with?

Which class to choose for qualifying for the Malconvoker:

Red: Very strong choice
Blue: Good choice
Green: Fair choice

Cleric: Not a bad choice if you start with the Summoning domain. You will give up the wizard�s alternate class features in exchange for a better AC and BAB. Take this if Summoning isn�t your only focus. (Actually, one tactic that can be excellent for Cleric/Malconvokers is to use Twin Spell or Repeat Spell metamagic along with Divine Metamagic for extra conjurations. It is a feat hungry build - but by high levels this can add up to quite a few creatures - at least comparable with the Master Specialist 10 option for Conjurers - thank you Sigfried for the suggestion)

Also - there is an alternate class ability in the Planar Handbook for Clerics at level 4 that allows turning of summoned creatures (which could be handy for failed bluff rolls) at a penalty of -3 levs for turning undead. This seems to me like an easy choice.

Wizard: This is my favourite option. Especially when using the various alternate class features which can improve Summon Monster spells. Obviously, you should specialize as a Conjurer. If your DM does not allow the Rapid Summoning alternate class feature from UA � go with Cleric or Archivist instead. It is that one option that makes the Wizard shine as a Malconvoker.

Wizard Class Variants to take/not to take:

Focused Specialist: I would not recommend this for most wizards going into high level campaigns, but since you will be memorizing at least 3 Summon Monster spells per level - this is actually a no-brainer. You do have to give up one more spell school (which hurts) - but alternate casting is the secondary purpose of your character.

Enhanced Summoning: You get Augment Summoning as a free feat at first level instead of Scribe Scroll. This is a no-brainer. If you continue Conjurer to level 5, your summons are harder to dispel (+2 caster level check). If you continue to level 10, your Augment Summoning bonuses improve to +6/+6. Feel free to jump ship early on. The first level ability is the best.

Rapid Summoning: This is a must have. Yes, you must sacrifice Immediate Magic (which hurts), but you have no choice. You are a summoner first and foremost. Standard action Summon Monster spells are what makes the Conjurer Summoner better than the Cleric summoner.

Spontaneous Summoning: This is a bad option. No need for spontaneous summoning - just memorize it. Your spells lose a whole level by using this variant - definitely not worth it at any level.

Archivist: This is a pretty strong entry choice. You will be able to cast both Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally (of course none of your Malconvoker abilities will extend to Summon Nature's ally - but your Summoning feats/items will). You will need to take one of the other methods to make your summoning rapid (Feats/magic items). This just means more options when summoning - and options are always good. Dark Knowledge has excellent Synergy with Summoned Creatures.

I think flavor-wise this is also a good option. A very nice mix with Malconvoker.

Wu Jen: Not a bad option. You are looking at less spells to cast then a specialist wizard, and there's no Rapid Spell variant, however, your DM might consider allowing Rapid Spell as an applicable spell secret since it's a 1 level metamagic enhancement. This would have to be houseruled though - because in the RAW it isn't offered.

The most attractive part of the Wu Jen would be the ability to reroll initiative rolls. That can be a big boost for a Summoner. (only if you are using Rapid Metamagic though)

Sorcerer: Cant qualify until level 7, and since you will be casting the same spell most of the time spontaneous casting is less of an advantage. (you will actually have less castings than a focused specialist conjurer as well). However, Bluff is a class skill, and CHA will be high which is an advantage to Bluff and to Planar Binding spells. (Bonzai also points out that Sorcerers can get the summoning domain with a 5th level substitution level in CC. This gives all the spells of the domain and the +2 CL for Conjuration (Summoning) spells). The thing to think about with the sorcerer/wizard choice is this: Do I want the CHA, or the Rapid Summoning? My personal preference is for the standard action castings - but there is definitely a counter-argument to be had.

Other Options: Some other options exist in the Splatbooks (such as favoured soul) none are particularly better suited than the above.
If you choose one of the non-conjurer options, or your DM does not allow Unearthed Arcana material (Rapid summoning variant in particular). Then take the Rapid spell feat, use Metamagic School Focus (Conjuration) to power it 3 times/day. At higher levels, Arcane Thesis can give you unlimited uses with SM IX and VIII for example.

What NOT to take
(Just because you "can" doesn't mean you "should")

Bard: Yep, the Bard can qualify by level 7. However, you won't get many summon spells per day, you will get lower level summon spells, and you will never get access to Summon Monster VII, VIII, or IX. Buffing abilities aside, this makes the Bard a sub-par summoner.

Beguiler/True Necromancer/Warmage etc: This applies to any arcane caster that does not have Summon Monster III on their casting list. The "trick" of course is to take Arcane Disciple feat with the Summoning Domain which will give access to SM III. Of course you won't get access to SM VI, VIII, or IX - and the rest you can only cast once per day. Always a terrible option.

Fifth: Should I go into another PrC?

What other PrCs mesh nicely with Malconvoker?
The answer is any that boost Summon Monster/Conjuration/Planar binding.

Thaumaturgist(DMG): Extend spell metamagic on all Summon Monster spells for free is nice (but not huge at high levels)

Master Specialist(CM): The 4th level grants your caster level to HP of summoned creatures, level 10 allows you to quicken 3 standard action spells/day. If you have the Rapid Spell conjurer variant thats your Summon Monster spells

Paragnostic Apostle(CC): Can give all your summons Fast Healing

Fatespinner (CA): Have your summoned creature reroll its Sense Motive with "fickle finger of fate", or you could just reroll your Bluff with "resist fate"- or, if necessary, both. Works for opposed CHA rolls for Planar Binding spells too. Furthermore - you can add spin to your Bluff checks too. Break at level 4 for maximum synergy.

Archmage (DMG): Originally I didn't think so - then I thought of using every High Arcana to switch the Malconvoker's highest spell slots for Summon Monster SLA's. With 2 uses per day each - that's a whole lot more SM VIII's and IX's. Qualifying for the PrC is easy enough. A dip into MS gets you Skill Focus (Spellcraft), you already have Spell Focus (Conjuration)...

Sacred Exorcist (CD): Too easy to qualify for, irregardless of base class. A nice scaling unnamed bonus to various rolls against evil outsiders that includes BLUFF. First level gives you Turn Undead - allowing the non-clerics to take the various divine feats and such. Some other nice features too. Worthy for a 1 level dip - or a 10 level marathon swim.

Not as good as it sounds:

Nar Demonbinder (UE): Unfortunately, although the flavor of this class is perfect, the mechanics for spellcasting hurt you too badly to be worth it. You will give up 9th level spells completely, and you will get 1 casting of an 8th level spell. When you go back to your previous class - you are building on your spellcasting from before you took the PrC - making 15th level your best spellcaster progression. Ouch!

Ultimate Magus (CM): You can actually combine Ultimate Magus with Nar Demonbinder to make a half decent summoning build. I've actually charted out the spellcasting for this build - and although it holds its own - it isn't your best bet. If you are in love with the Ultimate Magus (many are) - it is do-able.

Never take:
Alienist: You just removed all evil Summons from your Summon Monster list. Now you suck.

Also avoid any PrCs that remove additional spellcasting levels (youve already lost one).

Sixth: What race should I be?

Race Choices:
Rather than listing all the good races that could work, let me give you a few guidelines:

Good: Anything with bonus feats, bonuses to Int, bonuses to Cha, bonuses to Con

Bad: Anything with a level adjustment. Or minuses to the above stats without a bonus to another of the above stats.

Easy enough?

(Reneshat points out that an illumian has up to two levels of "practiced spellcaster" type effect for free - so might save a feat later, also a +2 to CHA checks is good for Bluff checks for your deceptive summons ability..)

Seventh: What skills should I take?

Skill Choices:

Bluff: Obviously. Get enough to qualify for Malconvoker then Max it out.

Languages: Infernal and Abyssal, plus Ignan, Terran, Auran, Aquan and Celestial. Languages are important for communicating with your summoned creatures. You will get Infernal and Celestial to qualify for Malconvoker - but I would suggest adding Abyssal and Terran as an absolute minimum. If you have a high INT build - get all the extraplanar languages.

Knowledges: The Planes and Arcana. A bit of knowledge in what you do.

Spellcraft: Good for any caster. Especially for you - it fortifies your Magic Circle for planar binding spells.

Concentration: Also good for any caster. If you dont have the Wizard rapid spell variant then this is twice as important.

Eighth: What Feats should I take?

Feat Choices:
See the Summoning Handbook thread above. In addition:

Summon Elemental (CM): Any summoner should take this Reserve feat as soon as it's available (CM). This grants a standard action Elemental Summoning. The Elemental will be Small, Medium or Large depending on the level of the summoning spell you use to power it - and will last 1 round/level per level of the spell used to power. See my "Fun with Summon Elemental" rant at the beginning of the Summon Monster section.

Improved Initiative (PHB): is nice to have in conjunction with Rapid Summoning. It gives your boys a better chance to hit the enemy flat footed.

Practiced Spellcaster (CA): Get that spellcasting level you lost back

Cloudy Conjuration (CM): Nice ability - summon the creature beside the opponent and cover your opponent in sickening smoke for free. Keep in mind that you just granted them concealment (though the right summons ignore that).

Demon Mastery (FC I): Gives +1 CL for summoning demons and +2 on the CHA check on Planar Binding spells. By RAW the +2 should apply to all Planar Bindings whether they be demon or not - but best make sure your DM understands that before you take the feat. (Thanks to Sir Agenon for the suggestion and to Nanshork for pointing out the +2 bonus is good for any Planar Binding by RAW)

Fiendish Summoning Specialist (PH): Allows you to add one evil creature per level to your summon monster spells. It will require you to be of non-good alignment though (restricting you to the neutral alignments). (Planar Handbook) - (thanks to Roccu for this suggestion - very good!)

Item Familiar (UA): This feat is a variant from Unearthed Arcana. It allows you to "invest" 3 skill points into a magic item, in return the item grants a +1 unnamed bonus to any skill you choose (How about "Bluff"?). You can keep increasing the bonus up to your actual rank in the skill - so that can create a HUGE bluff score if you are willing to sacrifice your other skills. (Thanks Neomikelch for this suggestion)

Divine Metamagic (CD): If you are a Cleric - and combine this with Twin or Repeat spell - (or potentially both) you can get alot of summoned creatures onto the board. If your DM allows Nightsticks - this is easily as good as the other DMM/Nightstick abuses. Without nightsticks - it is still viable on a lesser level. An Archavist could qualify if Sacred Excorsist levels are taken.

Divine Accuracy (LM): Any Cleric or Malconvoker that has multiclassed with Sacred Excorcist can easily qualify for this very impressive feat that will allow you to exchange a turn attempt for re-rolls on missed attacks by you and your allies. Since summoned creatures sometimes have a decent miss chance - and you have multiples on the map - this becomes exceedingly good.

Chain Spell: Can't be used for summoning - but can be used for Buffs - an Archivist might consider chaining a Magic Fang spell for example.

Rapid Spell: (CD) If you don't have Rapid Summoning - this is the way to get Standard Action castings. You will need to combine it with DMM or Metamagic School or some other trick to be used without decreasing spell level though.

Metamagic School: (CM): Reduce the cost of Metamagic to conjuration spells by one three times/day. No minimum level increase - so works with Rapid Spell. However - also useful with extend at low levels.

Ninth: Aren't Spirit Shamans and Druids better summoners?

The belief comes from the comparison of Summon Monster vs Summon Nature's Ally.

The two spell chains have different strengths:

Summon Natures Ally: Most offense and HP as soon as possible

Summon Monster: More defense (DR/resistances), more INT, more SLA creatures, more choices.

You will see many creatures on the Summon Nature's Ally list show up on the next level of Summon Monster (For example - the wolf appears on the Summon Natures Ally I list, but on the Summon Monster II list). The only difference is that the Fiendish/Celestial template is added.

This template adds to neither TO HIT or to DAMAGE which means that in combat - well - you do the math.

It does add to INT however (makes INT 0, 1 or 2 animals/vermin into INT 3 magical beasts). This means the creature can understand the summoner (by RAW they understand common)- allowing the summoner to issue direct commands; "Attack that guy", "Grapple", "Grab that weapon off the ground", or "Come defend me."

Animals from Summon Natures Ally can be directed with "Animal Handling", but this requires a skill check, doesn't occur until the next round, and has a limited list available. Even with Speak With Animals, it is likely the DM will restrict you to the normal actions an animal can be directed to do, though you should be able to avoid the skill check.

However, if you go to the higher level spells - this ceases to happen. In fact - you will see Summon Nature's Ally lists become smaller and smaller.

In either Eberron or FR (not greyhawk) there are also more feats available to enhance creatures summoned with Summon Natures Ally. Greenbound (FR) is especially potent at low levels - making animal summons much thougher than there Summon Monster counterparts.

At higher levels these feats become less of a factor. Greenbound only works with animals (there are less and less available at higher levels) and prevents some of the better buffs (such as Animal Growth).

Here's the basic truth behind Summoners: At low levels, Spirit Shamans and Druids are your best summoners. If you go Malconvoker though, at level 10 the Malconvoker build makes the better summoner.

My suggestion is that a Summon Monster specialist hold off on summoning until Summon Monster III is available, focusing more on their other spells. From levels 5-9, summoning will be good - but not great. At level 10, it will become great - and remain so for the rest of the campaign.

Of course with an Archivist you get the best of both worlds - as long as you can get the Summon Nature's Ally spells into your prayerbook.

So - if your campaign is going to level 9 and that's it - then you are better off focusing on Summon Nature's Ally - beyond that level - Summon Monster is where it's at.

As an added note - Fiendish creatures that previously had an INT score of 0 (vermin) recieve Feats and Skills. There is no set way to determine what these feats and skills should be. Ask your DM - they should probably choose those feats (if they let you pick - welcome to broken stinky cheese).

Tenth: What's so great about summoning anyways?

There are many reasons to play a malconvoker. First and foremost - maybe you like the flavor. I love the very idea of the Malconvoker - playing a dangerous game with dark forces of great power. But let's forget that - these are the Char Op boards. So in the context of that - this is why summoning (specifically with a Malconvoker) is great:

1. A Malconvoker can substitute for a party fighter-type: The casting should be a standard action - and then you have huge expendible blobs of HP blocking you and your precious caster allies from the baddies.

2. Malconvoker's are masters of Battefield control - Whether you want to Grapple, Bull Rush, Sunder, or Trip - there is a summoned monster that can do it. How's a grapple score of +52 sound to you? You can get this with a summoned monster - without any buffing at all. Oh yeah - and you get two of them.

3. A Malconvoker can substitute for the party scout: At mid to high levels - those low level Summon Monsters have to be good for something. You can summon creatures with excellent Hide/Move silently/Spot/Listen and search checks. Many also have tremorsense or blindsense for picking up invisible foes. Have them check stuff out for you - then report back. You've got great durations. Oh yeah - can your party scout glide through walls? You should have gotten the malconvoker to send an earth elemental through - have him come back and report.

4. A Malconvoker has spell versitility: Really you do. Check out the lists below for some of the Spell Like Abilities available to summoned monsters. Summon the one you need - and have it cast the spell for you. For example - how many Walls of Ice can a 14th level Conjurer cast? If you said 2/round for 15 rounds for a total of 30, you would be wrong (if that conjurer happens to be a Malconvoker)- because the Malconvoker does that with one SM VII (Ice Devilx2), and he has 3 memorized - so 90 would actually be the correct number.

Oh - wait - I forgot Deceptive Summons. Make that 180. That's without any magic item enhancements.

And the SLA's available are nearly endless - and since you don't have to pick which creature (S) you are summoning until you cast the spell - that's spell versitility.

5. A Malconvoker can check for traps: While the term "trapmonkey" is normally a metaphorical term - to you it's literal. Oh those poor celestial monkeys.

6. A Malconvoker saves the Cleric healing spells: There is no better way to get an opponents attention off you than to grapple him with a summoned creature. The enemy attacks the creature - and at the end of the combat - if the creature is still alive - you dismiss it.

7. A Malconvoker can do great damage to opponents: Check out the Fiendish tiger. Now pretend you summon 2 with Fiendish legion at level 10. Buff them both up with Augment/Infernal fury. Summon them on either side of your opponent - and have them both charge - gaining 5 attacks each (one with flanking bonus). Work out the damage. Yeah - it's huge. Next round they'll keep attacking and the damage will keep coming.

8. Malconvokers are good against all opponents: If the opponent is a flyer - summon 2 Giant Wasps, if the opponent is Aquatic, summon 2 giant sharks, if the opponent is burrowing, summon 2 Dire Weasels, If the opponent is a spellcaster, summon high SR creatures, etc etc etc. The Summon Monster list is big at all levels. Lots to choose from for any occassion.

The two main focuses of the Malconvoker:

Summon Monster Spells:

The Malconvokers abilities most strongly work to enhance these spells. Deceptive Summons at level 1, Infernal Fury at level 4, Infernal Legion at level 5, Resistance at level 7, and Safe Summoning at level 9.

Hint: When using Infernal Fury you can place both creatures anywhere in your range. Use them to flank your opponent and both full attack with flanking bonuses. Or even better have the critters on opposite sides of your opponent but have one of them 10 away. Have the one that is 10 away charge (getting charge and flanking bonuses) and the other just attack (with flank).

Obviously you should take all 9. Always have many of these spells memorized no spell is better for you than this one.

Because of the nature of the Malconvoker evil creatures tend to be your best summon. After 5 levels in Malconvoker Evil creatures will almost always be your best bet.

Planar Binding Spells:

These are great spells I would suggest that a Malconvoker use even if they break from the class at level 5.

However, there are some major considerations you must make. Especially if you are a Conjurer/Malconvoker:

You must have access to Abjuration in order to use Planar Binding spells (For Magic Circle against evil)

Enchantment school is very helpful (multiple spells will help you in your opposed CHA check - some might help you avoid it altogether)

Necromancy school has similar bonuses to Enchantment (although less so)

So if you play a Specialist wizard or a Focused specialist wizard - never give up Abjuration or Enchantment. Necromancy is less important, but still helpful.

Originally posted on MinMax by Eviltedzies on March 05, 2012
Wieldskill(PgtF) lets you count a single skill as trained and grants a +5 competence bonus. It can also grant proficiency with a single weapon or armor
also mirrored here

I am currently trying to find any spell that either duplicates/mimics feats and or spells that give bonuses to skills.
The criteria I am looking for in the spells is preferably flexibility and, in the case of skill points, spells that give bonuses to any skill.

Examples of spells I'm looking for include:

Psionic powers marked with an *

Spells/Powers that duplicate multiple feats:
Alter Self (Racial Feats)
Heroics (Extra Fighter Feat)
Mirror Move (Mimics a recently witnessed combat feat)
Polymorph Chain (Racial Feats)

Spells/Powers that duplicate specific feats:
Arrowstorm (Ranged Whirlwind Attack)
Beastland Ferocity (Diehard)
Bladestorm (Whirlwind Attack)
Blood Frenzy (Extra Rage)
Lion's Charge (Catfolk Pounce without the suck)
Master's Touch (Complete Adventurer, Spell Compendium) grants weapon proficiency with whatever weapon you are holding
Nerveskitter (Improved Initiative)
Sign (Cleric 1) +4 to initiative for 10 minutes/CL or until used. Replaces improved initiative
Wieldskill(PgtF) lets you count a single skill as trained and grants a +5 competence bonus. It can also grant proficiency with a single weapon or armor

Spells/Powers that give bonuses to any skill:
Crown of Glory (+4 morale bonus on all skill checks)
Divine Insight (+5 - +15 insight bonus to one skill check)
Dream Casting: Rage (+2 morale bonus to any skill used in attacking the casting?)
Extract Gift (FC1:HotA) can give a bonus to any skill
Focusing Chant (+1 circumstance bonus to all skill checks)
Greater Heroism (+4 morale bonus to all skills)
Greater Skill Knowledge* (+10 competence bonus to a single skill check)
Good Hope (+2 morale bonus to all skill checks)
Guidance (+1 competence bonus to all skill checks)
Guidance of the Avatar (+20 competence bonus to a single skill.)
Heroism (+2 morale bonus to all skills)
Improvisation (+2 luck bonus/level to selected checks or attack.)
Major Action* (Allows you to take 20 on a single skill check)
Master's Touch (Phb2) grants a +4 bonus to one skill check
Minor Action* (Allows you to take 10 on a single skill check)
Moment of Prescience (+1 to +25 insight bonus to attack, skill, opposed check, or AC vs single attack)
Prayer (+1 luck bonus on all skill checks)
Skill Knowledge* (+5 competence bonus to a single skill check)

Spells/Powers that give bonuses to individual and or some skills:
Alter Self (Racial and size bonuses to skills)
Appraising Touch (+10 insight bonus to Appraise)
Balancing Lorecall (+4 insight bonus to Balance)
Bears Endurance (+2 enhancement bonus to Constitution based skills)
Bulls Strength (+2 enhancement bonus to Strength based skills)
Cats Grace (+2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity based skills)
Eagles Splendor (+2 enhancement bonus to Charisma based skills)
Find Traps (Insight bonus to search and find traps like a rogue)
Find Traps* (2 or higher bonus to Search checks and can locate traps untrained)
Foxes Cunning (+2 enhancement bonus to Intelligence based skills)
Glibness (+30 unnamed bonus to Bluff for purpose of lying)
Gutsnake (Can use Balance and Climb skill of giant constrictor)
Invisibility (+20 to Hide checks)
Jump (+10 to jump checks)
Magecraft gives you a +5 to a single craft check for a days worth of work. (Eberron Sor/Wiz 1st lvl spell)
Microkinesis* (Replaces need for tools for Open Lock and Disable Device. Also give minor untyped bonus to said skills for boosting the power.)
Polymorph spell chain (Racial and size bonus to skills)
Owls Wisdom (+2 enhancement bonus to Wisdom based skills)
Sirine's Grace (+8 unnamed bonus to Perform; also gives +4 Cha and Dex)
Snipers Eye (+10 competence bonus to Spot)
Spiritual Advisor (+4 divine bonus on Knowledge checks; may make checks untrained)
Surge of Fortune (+2 luck bonus to attack and damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks,  ability checks, AC, spell penatration checks AND take an automatic 20 once during duration.)
Voice of the Dragon (+10 bonus to Diplomacy)
Wieldskill(PgtF) lets you count a single skill as trained and grants a +5 competence bonus. It can also grant proficiency with a single weapon or armor

Spells/Powers that negate the need for a skill completely:
Alarm situationally (Spot or Listen vs Hide or Move Silently)
Alter Self (Racial and size bonuses to skills)
Eyebite (Intimidate)
Fly (Jump checks)
Freedom of Movement (Escape Artist checks or opposed grapple check)
Glitterdust situationally (Spot vs invisible)
Iron Silence (Removed Hide/Move Silently penalty from armor)
Knock (Open Lock)
Silence (Move Silently checks)
Spider climb (climb)
Tongues (Speak langauge skill)
Tree Shape (Makes you look like a tree, replaces hide, spot cannot see, detect magic reveals faint transmutation)
True Seeing (Eliminates need for certain Spot and Sense Motive checks)

Special Comments:
*Shapechange to become a Midguard Dwarf grants Forge Ring, Craft Magic Arms & Armor, and Craft Wondrous Item as bonus Feats.

*The Charm/Dominate Person/Monster spell line can arguably also replace Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate. Suggestion as well, albeit more limited in application

*Warp Wood/Wood Shape/Stone Shape (Assists in craft)

If you know of any other's please let me know. I want to see how cheap a character can afford to be when choosing feats and or skills.  :D

Resources & Handbooks / Summoning Handbook
« on: June 15, 2017, 02:22:00 AM »
Ported over to Brilliant Gameologists from 339, by chaos_redefined on February 26, 2011 and now moved over to GitP
Summoning Handbook and also at enworld

Summoners Guide

This guide is designed to help people create a caster focused on summoning creatures to aid them both in combat and in social situations. I do appreciate that the best casters are generally good at lots of things, and focusing on one is suboptimal. However, focusing on one can be more enjoyable. Also, there are a large number of guides about which monster to summon. Because there are several different spells that can be used to summon, I will include links to some previous links, but will not be including them myself. This guide is intended to be useful regardless of your summonable creatures.

What has Come Before?

There have been several works on summoning done, but these have had most of the focus on the Summon Monster list. This guide focuses on other aspects, such as feats, prestige classes, tactics, etc

Ready to Summon Monsters - A list of all the Summon Monster creatures, and all their statistics.
The Comprehensive Summoning Thread - Rather good, but also thoroughly outdated.
the 3.5 summon monster list - a list of popular creatures on the Summon Monster list.
The Summoner's Desk Reference [D&D 3.5] - a comprehensive guide - a detailed listing of creatures that can be summoned with summon monster, and the reason that you may consider summoning them.
Best uses of Planar Ally/Binding? - As the title says, its a list of what can be summoned with planar ally and planar binding. Didnt get too far, unfortunately.
Druid Handbook Revived - The only link that I have found that examines anything from the Summon Natures Ally list.
Being Everything: Eggynack's Comprehensive Druid Handbook for Druid summoning and everything Druid related
Mastering the Malconvoker - Looks into the Malconvoker prestige class, which is a nice summoning prestige class.
The Conjurers Handbook - not specifically about summoning, but if conjurers are up there in the list of best summoners, and the occasional fog spell or what not can really help you out.
Legal 3.5 Summonable Monster List - List of all summonable creatures from MMIII, MMIV, MMV, and a bucket load of other books. 
Ways-to-boost-Summon-Elemental - A list of uses for the summon elemental reserve feat, covering both in-combat and out-of-combat use. This feat is a major boost to your versatility, and is definitely worth looking at.
Dictum Mortuums Wizard Handbook
The Logic Ninjas Guide to Being Batman

editors note: still working on all the links to makes sure they are correct

Well, the main reason you might consider summoning is because you think its cool. If this isn’t the case, then summoning isn’t the best option for you. But obviously, summoning has to offer some advantage over other spells, right? Well, here are some:
  • Summoned creatures almost always work. There is no concern about saving throws, spell resistance, hitting allies, etc… You summon, and the creature starts bashing. Or whatever else it wishes to do.
  • Summoned creatures can take the hits your allies would be taking instead.  This means that your healer is less strained; your tanks are less in danger, and so on.
  • Summoned creatures can die, and you won’t care that much. This means that you can send them to scout for traps and the like, and, if they die, you can summon another one.
  • Summoned creatures offer versatility. Depending on your opponent, different creatures might be helpful in different situations. For example, if your opponent flies, you would most likely summon an air elemental rather than an earth elemental, even though the air elemental is physically weaker. Also, there are a large number of spell-like abilities, even of the same level as the summon spell. The versatility available through this is very potent.
There are a variety of options available for where you pull your spell lists from. I probably haven’t touched upon all of them here. But, in no particular order, the most common options for summoning include:
  • Wizard PHB: The wizard has a large number of variant class features available to it, allowing it to summon as a standard action, gaining augment summoning for free, etc…
  • Cleric PHB: The cleric is physically stronger than the wizard, and can wear armor. Since summoning is a full-round action, the ability to avoid some hits is exceptionally useful.
  • Druid PHB: The druid has natural spell + wildshape to help avoid being hit, spontaneous casting of summoning spells, allowing the preparation of other spells, and better summons, due to the greenbound feat. The druid is often considered the best summoner available.
  • Psion XPH: The psion is often considered a rather good summoner, comparable to the druid. While I consider the druid to be better, the psion is still rather effective. Unless requested, I am omitting psion-based feats and prestige classes from this guide.
  • Sorcerer PHB: Spontaneous version of a wizard. Doesn’t get the substitute levels to make it viable, except for some at high levels, but at this point, you are better prestiging out.
  • Favoured Soul CD: Spontaneous version of a cleric. Doesn’t get domains or anything similar, but it does still get the ability to wear armor. Domains don’t make that big a difference at higher levels, so this is a viable option for those who like spontaneous casting. However, at level 1, a cleric can get +3 to CL, which means an extra 3 rounds.
  • Spirit Shaman CD: Spontaneous version of a druid. Druids already get spontaneous casting of the summoning spells, but the spirit shaman also gets the spirit guide, who can focus on the concentration-based spells while you cast more. There is some belief that spirit shamans are better summoners than druids, based on the larger amounts of spells that can be cast per day, and the spirit guide’s ability to concentrate on spells. At the very least, it is a better caster.
  • Archivist HoH: Archivists have the option of learning any divine spell. So they can make use of spells like summon monster, planar ally spells, summon natures ally spells, etc. They dont get any other class features, but SNA is good for the lower levels, and SM/planar ally is good at the higher levels.
  • Dread Necromancer HoH: Dread Necromancers make good summoners at the lower levels, due to the summon undead chain, however, since this chain stops at Summon Undead 5, they arent as effective at later levels.
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