Pathfinder - Enchanter Wizard Handbook
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I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
The Wizard sits at the top of the class tier list, and the Enchanter is perhaps the most powerful of the wizard schools. Boasting excellent buffs and debuffs, and many of the scariest save-or-suck spells, an Enchanter is a terrifying force to behold.
The Enchanter is the ultimate save-or-suck caster. Every spell you cast should have immediate and dramatic results, and will very often end a fight with a word and gesture.
Wizard Class Features
Hit Points: d6 hit points leaves you pretty squishy.
Base Attack Bonus: Fortunately, you'll almost never need to make an actual attack. Touch AC scales very little from level 1 to level 20, going from an average of 11.6 on CR 1 monsters to 12.7 on CR 20 monsters.
Saves: Well, at least you have decent will. Mind controlling a wizard is your job, and we don't want anyone else doing your job.
Proficiencies: Wizards get very little in the way of proficiencies, but beyond very early levels you won't need them. If you're not an Elf, a light crossbow is an excellent backup weapon for an Enchanter.
Skills: Wizards only get 2+ skills, but you get every knowledge skill as a class skill, and your absurd intelligence will give you plenty of skill points to throw around. Remember that permanently increasing your intelligence will give you additional skill points retroactively, which will be nice when you hit levels 8 and 16.
Arcane Bond (Ex or Sp): You have the option of a familiar or a bonded item, and both options have their merits.
- Familiar: Always a solid choice, the familiar is an ever-present and ever-useful companion. Familiars can serve as scouts, assassins, couriers, assistants, and even meat shields in a pinch. Their passive bonuses to the wizard are roughly equal to a feat, and the provide the benefits of Alertness when they are adjacent. Effectively, a familiar gives you two feats and a cool pet.
- amulet: Jewelry is nice an safe. It doesn't take up a hand, it's hard to take from you in combat, and it's a good option for enchanting.
- ring: The ring is really the gold standard of bonded items. It's incredibly small, it's easy to hide under a glove or on your person, it's a very difficult target for sundering, and you can enchant is as per Enchant Ring without the feat. Magic rings have a lot of great options, but Enchant Ring is rarely worth the feat, so this gives you some options to save some money.
- staff: If you like to use magic Staves, staff might be a good option. If you only want one magic staff, this will save you a feat. If you don't enjoy magic staves, you have a big, obvious stick which people can either take from you or destroy.
- wand: Wands are generally only good for low level spells which you plan to cast frequently, like Cure Light Wounds. Wizards have very few options which can justify being on a wand, and a wand is very easy to disarm/steal/sunder.
- weapon: A wizard should know better. An enchanter should never be using a weapon enough to justify actually carrying it around.
Arcane School: You picked Enchantment. For information on other schools, see the Wizard School Breakdown. For information on the Enchantment school specifically, see below.
Cantrips: Cantrips are amazing at every level. Prestidigitation is often called "minor wish", and Detect Magic will never stop being helpful. At low levels, Acid Splash provides easy, realiable damage.
Scribe Scroll: Scrolls are great for wizards, and giving you the feat for free is nice. Use it to prepare scrolls of spells that you need infrequently so that you can cover all of your bases.
Bonus Feats: 4 extra feats over the course of 20 levels isn't game-breaking, but the Wizard would still be king if he didn't get any of these. The addition of Arcane Discoveries gives wizards a handful of unique and incredibly powerful options in place of metamagic and item crafting feats.
Spells: You have the best spell list in the game, and every new book makes it better. Spells are why you play a wizard.
Enchanting Smile (Su): A bonus to social skills is weird for a wizard. If you expend resources to be a face, this might actually be useful. But most likely, you won't be doing a lot of Bluffing. The level 20 ability is fantastic, but won't see a lot of use.
Dazing Touch (Sp): Dazed is a great status condition and this power has no saving throws, but this is a melee touch attack, which you will be terrible at, and it only affects things with your hit dice of fewer, which is generally only going to NPCs or things with a CR lower than your level. Your familiar can't deliver the attack since it's not a spell. It can be situationally useful if you get grappled or if you ambush someone, but it's not going to be your go-to options.
Aura of Despair (Su): The 30 foot range is problematic, and the duration is fairly limited, but a -2 to saves against everything affected is brutal, The debuff matches the Shaken condition and stacks with it. If you can make a target Shaken, they're looking at a total -4 penalty on saves against your absurd spell DCs. Sickened adds another -2.
Force of Will (Su): You give up charming smile for the ability to communicate with your charmed/dominated targets telepathically. This is great for communicating with subjects which don't speak common, and lets you boss things around without revealing that they're charmed/dominated. You could even use Charm Person on your party members to set up a cheap telepathic communication system.
Irresistible Demand (Sp): This is strictly worse than Dominate Monster, the duration is extremely limited, the save is average, and you have to concentrate as a standard action to maintain the effect. However, it's Dominate Monster at 8th level. With careful application, this is a really fantastic way to mimic a 9th level spell for a few rounds.
Beguiling Touch (Sp): You trade in the mediocre Dazing Touch for the considerably worse Beguiling Touch. Beguiling touch allows a save, has a very short duration, and doesn't work in combat or on hostile creatures. If you really need to charm something, cast Charm Person or Charm Monster. You're an enchanter, so you're really good at those.
Shape Emotions (Sp): You can now use your aura to give your party a +4 bonus on saves against fear, or your can give enemies a -2 penalty on saves against mind-affecting spells and effects. The bonus against feat can be replaced with Remove Fear, the -2 penalty is worse than the save penalty from Aura of Despair, and Aura of Despair applies penalties to attacks, ability checks, and skill checks.
- Abjuration: Anjuration includes most protective spells. If you don't plan to enchant protective items and your party has another support caster, you can work without Abjuration.
- Conjuration: Conjuration is one of the best schools. In addition to summoning effects, it includes teleportation spells.
- Divination: Divination includes a huge number of utility spells like Detect Magic and Scry.
- Evocation: When you need damage, mind control something that does damage.
- Illusion: Illusions are fun and can do a lot of creative things, but they don't really provide a lot of utility.
- Necromancy: Necromancy has very little that we need. You don't need corpses to make minions, and Enchantment has plenty of save-or-suck spells to give up the instant death spells.
- Transmutation: Transmutation contains many of the offensive buff spells. If you plan to enchant items, Transmutation is very important.
Str: Dump to 7. Make the fighter do the lifting.
Dex: Important for saves, and for the occasional touch attack.
Con: Your hit points are garbage, and fortitude saves will be a problem for you.
Int: You get magic, skills, and a bonus to knowledge skills (which you will have a ton of). Max at start, boost early, boost often.
Wis: You get high will saves, but with no other real ability dependencies, bumping wisdom to at least 12 for additional saves is wise.
Cha: If you're trying to be a face (which you totally can), don't dump charisma too hard. Otherwise, dump to 7 and keep your mouth shut until its time to throw some spells around.
|25 Point Buy||20 Point Buy||Elite Array||25 Point Buy||20 Point Buy||Elite Array|
In addition to normal ability considerations, Wizards can also make excellent use of the aging rules. Being middle-aged gives you a -1 penalty to your physical abilities, but gets you a pleasant +1 to your mental ability scores. However, this can be a problem for your already low reflex and fortitude saves.
|25 Point Buy||20 Point Buy||Elite Arrray||25 Point Buy||20 Point Buy||Elite Arrray|
Bonuses to Intelligence are key, and other bonuses to spellcastinh are nice.
Dwarf: Dwarves are an interesting choice for wizards. Bonus Constitution and Wisdom make them very durable, a +2 on saves against spells is fantastic, and Darkvision is always helpful until you cast the spell. However, they don't bring anything useful to Enchanters offensively, so they're not a great option.
Elf: Bonus intelligence is great, and the bonus to dexterity and penalty to constitution are roughly equal for our purposes. The +2 bonus to penetrate spell resistance is equivalent to (and stacks with) Spell Penetration. The other benefits are highly situational, but certainly welcome. Since you're dumping strength, don't make the mistake of trying to use a bow.
Gnome: Bonus Constitution and Charisma are nice, but that's really all gnomes have to offer the Enchanter. Save gnomes for Illusionists.
Half-Elf: The flexible ability bonus goes right into Intelligence, but that's really all you get. You won't be multiclassing, and skill focus won't really matter to you. Some of the Half-Elf's alternate racial traits help a bit, but they don't offer anything particularly helpful for a Wizard. Humans are strictly better. The Half-Elf favored class bonus extends the duration of Enchantment spells, but it scales very slowly and most Enchantment spells will have plenty of duration.
Half-Orc: Ability bonus to intelligence. If you want to be a face, that +2 to intimidate might be nice, and darkvision is still fantastic, but half-orcs don't bring anything else of interest.
Halfling: Bonus to dexterity helps with a bad save, and the +1 racial bonus to all saves is nice, but that's really all we get from halflings.
Human: What's that you say? A bonus to intelligence? Madness. The bonus feat is great on literally any character, and the bonus skill points don't hurt our already impressive pool of skill points.
- Dedicated Defender (Combat): +1 to overcome spell resistance is nice, but one of your team mates needs to be knocked out next to you first. If your team is dying, you shouldn't be next to them.
- Deft Dodger (Combat): +1 to one of your bad saves.
- Reactionary (Combat): Go first. If you're particularly good, no one else will need to take a turn.
- Resilient (Combat): +1 to one of your bad saves.
- Caretaker (Faith): Your wisdom isn't awful, and Heal is a great skill in the absence of abundant magical healing.
- Ease of Faith (Faith): +1 to Diplomacy, and Diplomacy is a class skill. With your school bonus to diplomacy and passable charisma, Diplomacy isn't an awful choice for Enchanters.
- Focused Disciple (Faith): +2 on saves against your favorite tricks.
- History of Heresy (Faith): +1 against divine spells. Cute, but situational.
- Indomitable Faith (Faith): +1 to your best save.
- Inspired (Faith): Reroll one of your already fantastic skills, like Intelligence.
- Oathbound (Faith): Similar to Focused Disciple.
- Omen (Faith): +1 to Intimidate, and it becomes a class skill. Good for a conversational Enchanter, and it allows you to demoralize once per day as a swift action. The Shaken condition applies a -2 save penalty, which makes targets more susceptible to your Enchantment spells.
- Arcane Temper (Magic): Bonuses to Concentration are hard to come by, and the bonus initiative doesn't hurt either.
- Dangerously Curious (Magic): UMD is a great skill, and you may not have dumped your charisma. You're at least as good with it as a rogue.
- Desperate Resolve (Magic): If you're grappled, you have made a very unfortunate series of mistakes.
- Focused Mind (Magic): +2 to concentration checks is great considering how hard it is to find concentration check bonuses.
- Gifted Adept (Magic): Caster Level doesn't do much for Enchanters, and you don't have a specific spell that you're going to be using for your whole career.
- Hedge Magician (Magic): If you plan on doing any crafting, this is a solid choice.
- Magic Crafter (Magic): Appraise is fairly useless, and your Spellcraft checks will be amazing already.
- Magical Lineage (Magic): This is a reasonable choice with Dominate Monster.
- Outcast's Intuition (Magic): Cast Detect Thoughts instead.
- Pragmatic Activator (Magic): Your intelligence is likely greater than the total +4 bonus you would get from Dangerously Curious, so this is the way to go if you want to use UMD.
- Precise Treatment (Magic): If you're investing in Heal, this is a good choice.
- Shrouded Casting (Magic): Pick Enchanting and save yourself a feat. Or your can just buy a spell component pouch.
- Adopted (Social): Several of the racial traits are excellent, and duplicate the effects of traits in categories where you might want to pick two.
- Bruising Intellect (Social): If you want to use intimidate, this will get you more than the +4 bonus from Omen, but you won't be able to demoralize as a swift action. If you combine the two, you will be very good at intimidation.
- Bully (Social): Take Bruising Intellect instead. Same category, bigger bonus.
- Charming (Social): Sex appeal. Many of your spells are language-dependant, which can make this a very powerful trait.
- Destined Diplomat (Social): Ease of Faith and Friend in Every Town are both better.
- Fast Talker (Social): +1 to bluff and make it a class skill. Good on a conversational Enchanter.
- Friend in Every Town (Social): Good for a conversational enchanter, and you get a bonus to both Diplomacy and Knowledge (local). If you just want Diplomacy and trait category doesn't matter, this is better than Ease of Faith.
- Influence (Social): Useful if you're having trouble getting one of the other conversation skills that you want.
- Life of Toil (Social): +1 to a bad save.
- Seeker (Social): Perception is always good.
- Suspicious (Social): Cast Detect Thoughts instead.
- Tireless Logic (Social): You have a lot of intelligence-based skills.
- Trustworthy (Social): Good for a conversational enchanter. Adds Diplomacy as a class skill, and you get bonuses to both Diplomacy and Bluff. One of the best ways to get Diplomacy.
- Unpredictable (Social): Identical to Fast Talker.
- Warrior of Old (Elf Racial): +2 initiative, and doesn't take up a more versatile trait category.
- Elven Reflexes (Half-Elf Racial): +2 initiative, and doesn't take up a more versatile trait category.
- Well-Informed (Halfling Racial): Bonus to Diplomacy and Knowledge (local), you can get Deplomacy, and doesn't take up a more versatile trait category.
- Brute (Half-Orc Racial): Gets you intimidate, and doesn't take up a more versatile trait category.
- World Traveler (Human Racial): Can get you Diplomacy, Knowledge (local), or Sense Motive.
Between traits and our 2+int skill ranks, we have lots of fantastic options.
- Appraise (Int): Potentially worth a rank to appraise gems, but anything really worth appraising will require Spellcraft.
- Fly (Dex): One rank is plenty.
- Knowledge (Arcana) (Int): Identify constructrs, dragons, and magical beats. Fairly few classes get access to this, so you need to step up here.
- Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int): Identify abberations and oozes. If you spend any time underground or in dungeons, this is worth maxing. Otherwise, spend one rank and ride your intelligence bonus.
- Knowledge (Engineering) (Int): One rank maybe.
- Knowledge (Geography) (Int): One rank maybe.
- Knowledge (History) (Int): This may as well be Knowledge (Plot) in some campaigns. If anyone should know history, it's a wizard.
- Knowledge (Local) (Int): Definitely worth a rank, maybe more if you don't have a rogue putting ranks in this.
- Knowledge (Nature) (Int): Identify animals. Unless you have a druid or ranger, you may be the only one in the party with this skill.
- Knowledge (Nobility) (Int): Sometimes you need to know who the king is. Definitely worth a rank, maybe more depending on your campaign.
- Knowledge (Planes) (Int): Identify outsiders. Outsiders are diverse and strange, and knowing stuff about them will help your survival greatly.
- Knowledge (Religion) (Int): Identify undead. More easily available than Knowledge (Arcana), but still very useful, especially since your cleric probably dumped intelligence.
- Linguistics (Int): Cast Tongues.
- Spellcraft (Int): Craft items and identify spells and magic effects. Max this every time.
- Bluff (Cha): You get a bonus to bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate for being an Enchanter, which can make you passable with conversation skills. If your party doesn't have a face, step up and put that silver tongue to use.
- Diplomacy (Cha): See bluff.
- Intimidate (Cha): See bluff.
- Perception (Wis): Your wisdom isn't terrible, and you might have a familiar to give you Alertness. If your party needs extra eyes, this is worth a few ranks, even if it's not a class skill.
- Sense Motive (Wis): Cast Detect Thoughts.
- Use Magic Device (Cha): You may not have dumped charisma, and this one of the most versatile skills in the game. But honestly, if you need to cast a divine spell, Dominate Person a cleric.
Enchanters certainly aren't feat starved, which leaves a lot of room for dipping into metamagic, item crafting, and other fun things. This section does not cover metamagic feats or item creation feats feats.
- Additional Traits: If you can't get all of the skills you need to be a Face for the party, Additional Traits can get you some more.
- Combat Casting: A +4 bonus to your concentration checks when casting defensively is tempting, but you should not be casting defensively often enough to justify spending a feat on it. Optimizing Concentration is very easy, and you can do it with traits and items instead of wasting a feat.
- Eschew Materials: Not a lot of spells have material components which are covered by this feat, and you can buy a spell component pouch for the rest.
- Cosmopolitan: The bonus languages are useless, but you get two new class skills based on intelligence, wisdom, or charisma. You can use this to get additional conversation skills, but Additional Traits is probably better since Traits also usually come with a +1 bonus to the skill.
- Eschew Materials: Not a lot of spells have material components which are covered by this feat, and you can buy a spell component pouch for the rest.
- Improved Familiar: If you take a familiar, Improved Familiar can get you some interesting options.
- Improved Initiative: Go first, and get control of the combat early.
- Preferred Spell: You have enough options that you shouldn't need to fall back on one specific spell. However, Dominate Person wouldn't be a bad choice
Spell Focus: You're a specialist, and you need this
feat like you need a spellbook.
- Greater Spell Focus: Another +1 to your DCs means you are 5% better at every spell you cast.
- Spell Perfection: Quicken Dominate Person without affecting the effective spell level, and it doubles the bonus DC increase from Spell Focus. With Greater Spell Focus, you get a +4 bonus to the DC.
Spell Penetration: Late in the game, a lot of
monsters will have Spell Resistance. You will need this feat at some point.
- Greater Spell Penetration: Spell Penetration is likely plenty, but another +2 never hurts if you have a free feat.
Spell Specialization: Caster level doesn't get you
much as an Enchanter.
- Greater Spell Specialization: Preferred Spell is better for you since it doesn't require a second feat.
Wizards can take an Arcane Discovery in place of a regular feat or Wizard bonus feat.
- Arcane Builder: Crafting high level items takes an insanely long amount of time. If this is a problem, grab this discovery.
- Fast Study: If time to prepare your spells is frequently a problem, something is very seriously wrong in your campaign.
- Feral Speech (Su): Why would a wizard ever want to talk to an animal when he can summon demons?
- Golem Constructor: Why have golems when you can just Dominate people?
- Immortality (Ex): Live forever. Not really a game effect, but very cool flavor-wise, and it lets you live forever without becoming a lich.
- Multimorph (Su): You are not a transmuter.
- Opposition Research: By level 9, spending two slots to cast an opposition school spell isn't going to cripple you. If you really need a spell from an opposition school, two spell slots is likely worth less than a feat slot.
- Split Slot: Since so many of enchantment spells are going to be save-or suck, your high level spell slots are likely more productive. However, don't underestimate the value of low levels buffs.
- True Name (Sp): Planar Binding is a good spell, and this effectively lets you use it at will as a move action.
- Staff-Like Wand: If you like wands, this is a worthwhile discovery. However, you can't get it until level 11 when you are casting 6th level spells, and wands only go up to 4th level spells.
Stop. Put that down. You're going to hurt yourself.
- Dagger: Carry one or two for utility purposes, but don't plan to pull them out in combat.
- Light Crossbow: Better range than acid splash, fairly cheap, and doesn't rely on your garbage Strength score. Carry one at early levels, then dump it when you have enough spells to get through the day.
If you need AC, you're doing something wrong. Still, it doesn't hurt to get some cheap protection. Keep in mind that Mage Armor is generally your best bet when you need AC, but Mage Armor isn't always on.
- Mithral Buckler: For 1165gp, a mithral buckler is +1 ac with no ACP or spell failure. At high levels when gold falls out of your pockets like lint, this is a cheap way to boost your AC. You can even make it +1 for less than the cost of the base item.
- Haramaki: +1 AC, 1 pound, no ACP or spell failure. Way less cool than the Silken Ceremonial robes, but it's a quarter the weight and one tenth the price.
- Silken Ceremonial: +1 AC, 4 pounds, no ACP or spell failure. Plus, it's a sweet ceremonial robe.
Cross-Classing and Prestige Classes
The Wizard is the pinnacle of magical strength, and the Enchanter is first and foremost among Wizards. Why would you ever dilute yourself by stooping to pursue another class?
Example Build - The Silver Tongue
They always see things my way in the end.
While wizards lack the raw Charisma of Bards and Sorcerers, an Enchanter's magical abilities can make him an excellent conversationalist, and can allow him to either charm or dominate his way through any situation.
We will give up the Illusion and Necromancy schools. Sometimes you just need to throw a fireball.
We will use the middle-aged conversational 25-point buy abilities suggested above, but the other suggested abilities can also use this build without any problems. The Human racial bonus goes into intelligence, bringing our total intelligence to 21 (18, +2 for being human, +1 for being middle-aged).
In order to cover the skills we need to serve as a face, we're going to use Human for our race. Between the +2 intelligence and the bonus skill ranks, we will have more wiggle room.
With 21 starting intelligence, a bonus racial skill rank, and the favored class bonus will go into extra skill ranks, we will have 9 skill ranks per level. We'll max 8 skills, then use the extra rank to dip into other knowledge skills over several levels so that we can throw our intelligence bonus around.
- Intimidate (non-class)
- Knowledge (Arcana)
- Knowledge (Dungoeneering)
- Knowledge (Religion)
- Perception (non-class)
World Traveller (Diplomacy) and Fast Talker. This gives us a total of +4 bonuses on both skills, which will make us a highly effective conversationalist.
|Level||Feat(s)||Notes and Tactics||New Spells|
|1 - Wizard||
Arcane Bond (Ring): We won't benefit much from a familiar, and we probably won't be using a Staff.
Right off the bat, we're taking Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus. With 20 intelligence, your spell DCs are 17+spell level. For the first several levels, Sleep and Daze are you best spells. Sleep is your big encounter sweeper , and Daze is your single-target option. Daze remains startlingly useful until about level 5.
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (Nature))
|2 - Wizard||
2nd level is very boring.
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (Local))
|3 - Wizard||
Improved Initiative isn't terribly fun, but going first feels very good..
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (History))
|4 - Wizard||
4th level is also very boring. However, your intelligence hits 22, which gets us an extra skill rank per level (works retro-actively). Use it to max out Knowledge (Nature), then throw the one leftover rank into Knowledge (Architecvture).
Ability Score Increase: Intelligence (21 to 22)
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (Nobility))
|5 - Wizard||
3rd level spells are really scary. Deep Slumber is great for groups of lower level enemies, and Hold Person is basically an off switch for single enemies.
3rd level also brings Craft Wondrous Item, which lets us craft fun things like cloaks of resistance, and about 50% of all of the other magic items ever written.
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (Any))
|6 - Wizard||
Another fairly boring level.
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (Any))
|7 - Wizard||
Bounce Spell on Hold Person. You have a single target kill spell with a DC of 20, and if it fails you get to try on someone else.
Level 7 brings 4th level spells. In addition to the options provided by Bounce Spell (or whatever other metamagic you want to use), 4th level brings a lot of really fantastic Enchantment spells. Confusion is a brutal AOE debuff, and Lesser Geas can get you a long-term ally. Crushing Despair is a bit of a trap: The save penalty is nice, but it lacks the sheer power of Confusion.
Favored class bonus: 1 Extra Skill Point (Knowledge (Any))