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Quark's thoughts on the Mesmerist

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Quark

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Great Adventurer
Great Adventurer
I was going to do a big examination of the Mesmerist spell list, but then I thought: This is actually quite a nifty class, and there (currently) aren't that many options to do. So why not make it more of a guide? So here we are.


We'll start with basic class features:

Attacks and defences: You're very much like a rogue for the purposes of attacking. Middle attack bonuses, simple weapons and light armour. You have a good will save as well, which is nice.

Skills: You get lots, which is always nice for a character that likes charisma. Bluff is an especially good one because of Consummate Liar.

Spells: See further down, because this is big. Importantly, you're a psychic caster, so you have T and E components instead of V and S. Also, most of your spells are spells that weaken enemies with some supports. Damage spells are very rare. You're spontaneous as well, so you should pick your spells carefully (you end up having 6 at each spell level)

Hypnotic Stare: This is a characteristic ability. Stare at someone as a swift action to reduce their will saves. Importantly, at low levels this makes you especially good at magic.

Painful Stare: A nice little addition to Hypnotic Stare. You can almost consider this to be a once-per-round sneak attack that's easier to get off. Even if you don't hit, it will still work if other people do.

Mesmerist Tricks: See further down, because this is a bigger list that I'll examine. In essence, these are one-off abilities that provide a little bonus in the right situation.

Towering Ego: Get a bonus on will saves equal to your charisma modifier. Not as nice as a Paladin's saves, but extremely nice regardless.

Bold Stare: Inflict extra penalties to hypnotic stare. There are a couple of these, so there'll be another list at the end.

Touch Treatment: Remove negative conditions. It's helpful to get rid of some of those nastier conditions. Somewhat stupidly, while you can use it on yourself as a swift action, most of the conditions don't allow you to take other actions. That said, it can still be helpful on other people.

Manifold Tricks: Have more tricks active at once. Makes them substantially more useful, at least until you reach the number of people in your party.

Mental Potency: Increase the number of HD you hit with enchantment or illusion spells. Unfortunately, while this does make them more useful, it still doesn't make them awe-inspiring (although multiclassing into heavens oracle might not be a bad idea...)

Glib Lie: You can now beat lie detectors, usually. Yay.

Rule minds: Your capstone at level 20. Permanently dominate creatures.

Suggested Spells



0th level spells


Detect Magic: It's a magic heavy game, so being able to do stuff with magic is helpful
Detect Psychic Significance: Also known as detect plot. Or just interesting item.
Prestidigitation: Does basically all the minor things you want
Read Magic: Saves you literally an hour trying to read scrolls and things.
Light: You're a psychic caster, so you can actually hold a torch. That said, this is amazingly useful anyway.
Daze: While terrible, since you have actually pretty DCs at low level thanks to your stare, this is worth considering for a while


1st level spells


Burst of Adrenaline/Insight: Immediate action +8 to a physical/mental ability score for a single roll. Perfect for buffing saves or pretty much anything.
Faerie Fire: Nifty anti-invisibility spell.
Hideous Laughter: Stops things from acting for a few rounds.
Mental Block: Prevents use of Spells, activated feats and extraordinary, supernatural or spell-like abilities
Silent Image: Your basic illusions. Practically always useful
Colour Spray/Sleep: Mass Monster Control for low levels.


2nd level spells


Babble: Make one creature effectively useless and possibly the creatures around it, too.
False Life: Bonus hp that last a long while
Hold Person: Stops a person acting and they can be coup de grace'd
Mirror Image: Basically immunity to physical attacks for a while. You should have this up regularly.
Suggestion: If they fail, take them out of the fight for good.
Lesser Restoration: Removes ability damage or penalties. Combine it with touch treatment and you can get rid of most things (eventually)
Glitterdust: Area effect blindness and concealment negation


3rd level spells


Analyse Aura: Multipurpose divination. Detects all magic, emotions, alignment and general state of being
Charm Monster: Make something your friend for ages
Confusion: Make a bunch of things useless most of the time (or better yet, attack each other)
Dispel Magic: Make that pesky magic disappear
Bestow Curse: Do horrible things to something forever
Node of Blasting: Finally a spell that actually does damage. Even if it doesn't scale. Makes a nice trap if nothing else.
Spite: When a creature hits you, cast a touch range spell on it. Expensive, but nice.
Vampiric Touch: The other damage spell on the list so far. While it's not large damage, it does heal you a touch.
Synaptic Pulse: Panic Button. Stuns everything nearby.
Sending: Communicate with anyone in the Universe. Slow, but marginally better than my old internet. Also, you get this pleasantly early.


4th level spells


Battlemind Link: Get rerolls on initiative, melee attacks and ranged attacks when you help an ally. Also good if you target the same creature with spells
Dimension Door: Teleport! Zhip!
Dominate Person: Control someone completely for several days
Enervation: Weaken anything significantly on a touch attack
Mindwipe: Weaken anything (particularly spellcasters) with a save to negate
Modify Memory: A personal favourite. Does what it says on the can.
Synapse Overload: The best damage spell on your list.


5th level spells


Feeblemind: Make most casters useless
Mind fog: You've got an awful lot of mind-affecting spells, and this makes it much easier for them to work.


6th level spells


Dream Travel: This is your sort of risky plane shift/great teleport spell.
Irresistable Dance: Make someone useless for one round, guaranteed
Overwhelming Presence: Everyone worships you. Until your friends kill them all. 9th level spell for other classes, so you can revel in this spell
Demand: I love this spell. Suggestion with unlimited range.


Mesmerist Trick Analysis
The best ones I'll put in bold, with other notable ones in italics. Mostly things don't allow saves, and they specifically say if they do, so keep that in mind.

Astounding Avoidance: Evasion or stalwart vs a single attack. Gets better at 12th level. Since it's single use, while it's a nice prevention, there are better ones.

Compel Alacrity: Let someone move out of reach as a free action that doesn't provoke. This is a nice little defensive thing, since it so nicely prevents full attacks and is guaranteed to work.

Chain of Eyes: Nifty little spying thing. Shame about it being only medium range. Still useful if you have a trained rat or something though.

False Flanker: Guaranteed flank for one person for their turn. While it's nice if you've got a roguish friend and they haven't got anyone to help them, it's otherwise not that useful, since you could simply do this yourself.

Fearsome Guise: This is potentially a permanent disguise self. You can discharge it to make a free intimidate check, which is a nice little add on. Sure, it's cheap to buy a hat of disguise, but this frees up a slot for something nicer (say, a cap of the free thinker). Or if nothing else, a spell slot.

Fleet in shadows: Move faster when you're in dim or darker light for a round. Right. Next.

Gift of Will: Target uses your Will saving throw modifier instead of its own. Since you have especially good will saving throws, this is extremely useful for your weak-willed friends or characters that would be particularly dangerous if turned against you.

Levitation Buffer: Make it easier to move opponents around or push everything nearby away. Compel alacrity is usually a better choice since it always works.

Linked Reaction: If one of you gets to act in the surprise round, so does the other. Very dependent on how many surprise rounds you get or how likely you are to fail to act.

Mask Misery: Temporarily suppress nasty conditions such as dazed or confused. Best when it hits level 6 so moderate touch treatments apply.

Meek Façade: Force something to attack only the target for one round, and give the target a bonus to AC. It's better for the AC buff than the forced attack.

Mesmeric Mirror: Mirror image is a great spell, and now you can put it on characters that don't get it.

Mesmeric Pantomime: Target uses your modifier or gets a bonus on a strength or charisma based skill check, whichever results in the best modifier. Shame that's not many skills. And that mostly you could just aid another, or let someone else do that.

Misdirection: You can feint as part of an attack, even a non-melee attack. Nifty for, say, enervation, but mostly useless.

Psychosomatic surge: Gives temporary hp. Very good choice at low levels, but astonishingly bad quite quickly.

Reflect Fear: Suppresses a fear condition and maybe scares the person creating the effect. Mask Misery is much better.

Reflection of Weakness: Reduces ability damage/drain(!?)/bleed by 2 points and inflicter must make a save or take 2 points of ability damage of your choice. Or gives the attacker a condition of your choice if they inflict a condition. Reducing drain makes this worthwhile, although mask misery is better for the conditions aspect.

See in Darkness: Lets someone see in the dark. So cast light on them. Durr.

Shadow Splinter: Reduces damage by some small amount and inflicts in on a nearby creature. If it fails a save, it thinks that the attacker hit it, with all the fun complications that might bring :P

Slip Bonds: Get out of jail free. Negates to a restraining effect such as grapples or manacles.

Spectral Smoke: Illusionary fog cloud when target is attacked. Not a bad defence, especially if you can see through it.

Umbral Shield: Ignore harmful effects of bright light or sunlight. Are you or a friend a vampire? No? Then don't bother.

Unwitting Messenger: Target doesn't know it, but they're going to give someone a message. But they don't know who or what the message is until they find them. And then they forget it once they've delivered it. It's cool and thematic, but not useful for the most part.

Vanish Arrow: Steal an arrow mid flight and keep it. Funny, but since archers get so many arrows anyway...

Masterful Tricks

Allay Pain: DR 15/- vs one non-lethal damage attack. And how often does that happen? Never. Skip.

Avian Escape: Turns someone into a tiny bird when attacked. Funny, but not especially good.

Concealing Veil: nondetection for a short time. Slightly cheaper than actually casting it. If you're that concerned, just learn the spell or something.

Cursed Sanction: Give a creature that attacks -4 to attack rolls, saves, ability checks and skill checks, Will negates.

Faked Death: When attacked, the subject seems to die, but instead becomes invisible. Since there are no saves, this can be a nice escape route (provided no one has see invisibility)

Free in body: Freedom of movement for a minute when something stops it moving properly.

Greater Mask Misery: Remove even more nasty conditions.

Mental Fallback: When a charm or compulsion hits the target, treat it as if you'd cast the spell instead. You get to order them around or let them ignore penalties.

Shadow Blend: Increase miss chance for a subject in dim or darker light. While this is nice, a 0th level spell basically kills it. Skip.

Spacial Switch: Swap positions with someone. It's a nice escape route if someone's badly injured.

Spell Anticipation: Contingency, but better. Seriously, this is extremely good.

Umbral Transformation: Become incorporeal for a round as shadow body. Terrible. Skip.

Vision of Blood: Stun a creature attacked. If it's a critical, it gets no save. Very nice.

Willful ignorance: Make one lie really hard to spot by magic. Wow. Good job.


Bold stare Analysis
As the mesmerist tricks, good ones are in italics and excellent ones are in bold.

Allure: Better pre-combat or out of combat, but not very good regardless. Reduce initiative and perception slightly.

Disorientation: Penalty to attack rolls. Almost always useful

Disquiet: Target's shaken in areas of total darkness. So, remind me what you're doing again? Looking at them. In total darkness. Right. Unless you have both darkvision and a reliable way of making darkness, this is terrible.

Infiltration: Penalty to perception and CMD. Your fighters will love you, maybe.

Lethality: Penalty to saves vs poison and disease. Very nice if you use it, but disease is rare and so many poisons suck. Well, much less so if you take it, but they're still expensive then.

Nightblindness: Reduce range of darkvision by 10 feet. Yay?

Nightmare: Roll twice and take lowest on saves vs fear. You've got lots of fear effects, and your stare is awesome for this anyway.

Oscillation: Distant enemies have concealment, except for you. What a great way to get ranged things to attack you. Nothing else even cares. Of course, this might still work out pretty well.

Psychic Inception: You can target mindless things or things otherwise immune to mind-affecting effects. They have a 50% chance each round of ignoring it, but hitting it at all is worth it.

Restriction: Dim or darker light is difficult terrain. Yay?

Sabotage: Penalty to diplomacy and intimidate checks. How useful. Next.

Sapped Magic: Reduces save DCs of spells and spell-likes they cast, as well as reducing their SR. Very nice indeed!

Sluggishness: Becomes slightly slower and penalty to reflex saves. While you might not benefit from this, your more wizardly friends will love you.

Susceptibility: Useful out of combat. Makes it easier to lie to things intimidate them or diplomacise them.

Timidity: Penalty to damage rolls. While not being hit at all is better, reducing damage is nice too.

Devilbane Gazes: These are especially good against outsiders (not just devils, despite the name), and the hypnotic stare penalty applies doubly when used on an outsider (for that gaze effect)


  • Binding: Penalty to charisma checks and SR in Planar Binding. If you're going to be doing this, it's amazing.

  • Dampening: Reduce energy resistance to one energy type. Yay.
  • Dismissal: halves duration of summoning spells. I think this applies every round, so this can be brutally effective.
  • Impediment: Target needs to make a low DC concentration check to cast spell-likes. Yay?
  • Mundanity: Reduce SR, but doesn't stack with Magic Sapping. Reducing SR by up to 6 is sweet. Magic sapping's a better choice overall, but if you know you've got lots of outsiders...
  • Withering: Penalty to attack and damage, but penalty's not doubled and doesn't hit non-outsiders. Long term, not worth it.




Archetypes:

Cult Master: You're better at diplomacy instead of lying. You can buff friends slightly instead of making things hurt. You get access to four new tricks only one of which is okay and not useless/redundant. You get free leadership in place of a bold stare, which is nice, and can give temporary hp instead of touch treatment, which is also a decent trade. It's really easy to but enchantments on your followers and cohorts, if you want to for some reason. As your capstone, you get to take over your cohort's body when you die, becoming almost invincible. It's not a bad trade-off all up, but losing painful stare hurts.

Spirit Walker: You get access to couple of undead affecting spells (and fairly nice ones that I hadn't paid attention to before). You can affect undead very easily with mind-affecting and your stares, and as early as 5th level they're treated as normal creatures (in exchange for losing consummate liar and mental potency. Oh no.). You lose touch treatment to be able to instantly make creatures that die while you're staring at them your pets as dominate person/monster temporarily and the Command Undead feat. Rule minds hits undead instead. This is a very solid archetype and almost good enough to take over the standard mesmerist every time, even if you can't actually make undead. You can steal other people's though.

Toxitician: Stare becomes a weird psychic poison that takes 1 hour to make a bunch of and requires a melee touch to deliver. You only get one 'bold stare' improvement on your poison (until lvl 11 when you get a 2nd) and it requires a save, but the effects are notably better. Touch treatment becomes little vials that anyone can use as a standard action. You're better at slight of hand but much worse at lying. Overall, the archetype isn't that great, but it can do some awesome things (-8 penalty to Con at 11th level is brutal).

Umbral Mesmerist: Lose tricks to summon illusory monsters, and towering ego instead become a penalty for things to not realise those creatures aren't real. You get to be invisible towards the target of your stare. This is terrible. Why not just be a summoner to do the same thing but better?

Vexing Daredevil: In exchange for touch treatment you get a bunch of feinting feats and a stare feat. You lose out on bold stare in exchange for some terrible bonuses when you feint. Glib Liar becomes an ability that gives your blur vs the target of your stare if you move. You also get a martial weapon proficiency of your choice. While the feats are nice, the bold stare replacement is horrible, and makes it not worth it.


Feat Suggestions:

There are a couple of stare feats that cause Bleed, more damage, Shaken (Will negates, one round), Fatigue (fort negates, one round) and Sickened (Fort negates, one round). You can only apply one of those unless you have Compounded Pain. Frankly, it's mostly the bleed that's are good; the others just don't last long enough. If you want to scare people with your stare, it's much better to use [url="http://www.archivesofnethys.com/FeatDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Intimidating Glance"]Intimidating Glance[/url], even though there's a swift action to do it. In a similar vein, [url="http://www.archivesofnethys.com/FeatDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Extended Stare"]Extended Stare[/url] lets you stare from further away. [url="http://www.archivesofnethys.com/FeatDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Mesmerizing Feint"]Mesmerizing Feint[/url] and its [url="http://www.archivesofnethys.com/FeatDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Greater Mesmerizing Feint"]Greater[/url] cousin are nice if you're intending to feint a lot, which is something you can do easily. [url="http://www.archivesofnethys.com/FeatDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Ready for Battle"]Ready for Battle[/url] gives a nice little bonus to initiative to people who have tricks, so this is nice if you're the sort of person who takes improved initiative.
Otherwise if you want to play off your focuses, Spell Focus in Enchantment or Illusion are nice. The various feinting feats can work well. Metamagics like Bouncing, Persistent, Coaxing or occasionally Lingering work well. Otherwise, just focus in on a combat style you like and go for it.


Thus concludes my guide! I hope that's helpful for you. It certainly was for me, looking over all of those things.



Last edited by Quark on Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Post on Thu Mar 17, 2016 3:52 pm by Quark

I gave this a bit of an update to just cover the entire class because why not. There's not that much to it.

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