The Artificer - Easy Wizard Crafter/Necromancer - Wizard 39/Bard 1

Post your builds here.
Post Reply
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:32 pm

The Artificer - Easy Wizard Crafter/Necromancer - Wizard 39/Bard 1

Post by Dyndrilliac »

So a couple years back when I first started playing on this server I set out to make a Wizard that was viable solo from 1 to 40 but could also craft end-game gear for my other toons. It seems this crafter building topic comes up every so often but there are still relatively few published builds so I will go ahead and add my two cents.

First let me give you an idea of my play style, since that is what this build is designed to support. My main function is crafting, obviously, but how do I handle combat when I'm not crafting? Easy! Listed in order of usefulness:
  1. Minions/Buffs
  2. Necromancy
  3. Direct Damage Evocation and Debuffs
Minions early on will typically be of the "Summon Creature" or "Animate Dead" variety, or your own familiar (or even both). This will work okay until about levels 10-20. This is when you should start working towards building a Golem. My first Golem's weapon was just trash I bought from the Marvale merchant. You can always get a refund on your current golem and craft a new one. By level 24 you might have either Dragon Knight or Mummy Dust to supplement your Golem, and can easily handle much of the pre-40 late-game content. Once you have the minion(s), buff the minion(s)! DR (Stoneskin/Greater Ss/Premonition), Flame Weapon, Enhancement Bonus (Greater Magic Weapon), Improved Invisibility (concealment), and Haste are all examples of desirable buffs to put on your minions.

Next is Necromancy. My go-to spells in this category include: Horrid Wilting, Finger of Death, Undeath To Death. Horrid Wilting is good for classic AoE nuke situations. Finger of Death and U2D are insta-kill options depending on how much undead you are fighting.

Finally we have Direct Damage spells. Usually these are trash, but there are a select few instances when Flame Arrow or Isaac's Greater Missile Storm are good options (use metamagic though: Empower or Maximize!). Definitely use low level slots' equivalents of these to pull mobs (Magic Missile, Melf's Acid Arrow, etc) like you might using a bow. If you are in a raid and not purely on support (healing/applying Bigby's), this is pretty much the only way you can meaningfully contribute to DPS because your Golem and Mummy will go down very quickly no matter how good they are at keeping you alive and sustaining DPS in solo content. I would usually put a dedicated section on debuffs, but honestly the only ones I ever use are the Bigby's variants. Most don't allow a save, and they are best in class at locking down troublesome enemies. Interposing (prevent something from hitting you) and Grasping (prevent something from chasing you) are my two personal favorites.

The Bard dip at the end is primarily for dumping skill points saved during levelling from 1-39 to avoid cross-class skill costs. We are not actually using Bard Song to boost skills, as one might expect (because you need a minimum of 6 Bard levels to get a +skills benefit from Bard Song, and that hurts our Golem too much) .

Classes: Wizard 39 / Bard 1
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral (pretty sure the only thing this really affects is what Familiars are available to you to choose from)
Race: Airlou (-1 STR for +2 INT and some inherent SR - good trade)
School: General (If you can live without Divination spells - basically True Sight, Premonition, Find Traps, and Identify - then Necromancy is worth picking IMHO but I wanted maximum spell choice for making wands/scrolls/potions. Note that Knock and Ultravision are Transmutation, baby! Woohoo!)

Relevant Stats:

Stat: Naked (Buffed and with my current gear which is WIP)

Str: 7 (15)
Dex: 10 (13)
Con: 10 (14)
Int: 35 (46)
Wis: 8 (20)
Cha: 16 (25)

Note that the only stat that is really important here is Intelligence. The others you can play around with but Int must be as high as you can get it to start and every point received while levelling to improve must go there.

HP: 202 (282)
AC: 18 (55)
BAB: 20 (+22/+17)
SR: 10 (20)
Fort Save: 16 (38)
Will Save: 21 (44)
Refl Save: 16 (36)

Appraise: 40 (46)
Concentration: 43 (45)
Craft Armor: 68 (74)
Craft Weapon: 68 (74)
Heal: 42 (48)
Listen: 42 (48) [as an aside, combined with True Sight, you will also have a final rank of 55 in Spot)
Lore: 56 (62)
Spellcraft: 55 (61)
Tumble: 43 (43)
Use Magic Device: 46 (50)

Note that this gets us to 74 in Craft Armor and Craft Weapon, just 6 shy of the popular 80 breakpoint. We can make up for this in a couple of ways. The easiest is with Izu's Hammer of Fabrication. Get two and dual-wield them to reach the breakpoint. You might notice in the progression below I don't devote a feat selection to Martial Weapon proficiency, needed to use the hammers. I managed to find a pair of gloves which grants the feat that I keep in a magic bag along with the hammers so I can equip them. Worst case scenario, you can just swap out Toughness/Combat Casting (or some other less desirable feat not critical to the build).

My Finger of Death and Horrid Wilting Fort Save DC gets up to 41 which is enough to kill outright 99% of champ/hero type mobs in the level 30-40 areas, and makes gathering bounties very easy. You can also one-shot Umga Mages with Horrid Wilting if you either (1) sneak up on them before they buff up or (2) hit them with Mordenkainen's Disjunction first to strip their wards because they will fail to get save to halve damage fairly often when unprotected. HW, despite having the death descriptor, doesn't count as death magic for the purposes of immunity to death magic.


Lvl 01 - Combat Casting, Toughness
Lvl 03 - Extend Spell
Lvl 05 - Spell Penetration
Lvl 06 - Empower Spell
Lvl 09 - Greater Spell Penetration
Lvl 10 - Maximize Spell
Lvl 12 - Skill Focus (Craft Weapon)
Lvl 15 - Skill Focus (Craft Armor), Spell Focus (Necromancy)
Lvl 18 - Brew Potion
Lvl 20 - Craft Wand
Lvl 21 - Epic Spell (Dragon Knight)
Lvl 23 - Greater Spell Focus (Necromancy)
Lvl 24 - Great Intelligence I
Lvl 26 - Epic Spell Focus (Necromancy)
Lvl 27 - Great Intelligence II
Lvl 29 - Epic Spell Penetration
Lvl 30 - Great Intelligence III
Lvl 32 - Great Intelligence IV
Lvl 33 - Epic Skill Focus (Craft Weapon)
Lvl 35 - Great Intelligence V
Lvl 36 - Epic Skill Focus (Craft Armor)
Lvl 38 - Great Intelligence VI
Lvl 39 - Epic Spell (Mummy Dust)

Note that the level you take Dragon Knight and Mummy Dust are interchangeable depending on what you need most. I use DK as basically an "emergency" summon if things are not going well. I chose to hold off on Mummy because my Golem was more than enough for most challenges. But there is an action economy advantage and so ultimately it makes it worth it to have two quality long-term minions (Golem + Mummy) as your entourage wailing away on things, and break out DK if stuff starts to go sideways on you. Swap out Combat Casting and Toughness for other stuff as you prefer (like the aforementioned Martial Weapon proficiency).

You can find additional advice of mine on spell choice in this reply: viewtopic.php?p=38172#p38172
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2021 2:32 pm

Re: The Artificer - Easy Wizard Crafter/Necromancer - Wizard 39/Bard 1

Post by Dyndrilliac »

Alright, while I stand by everything in the above post, I did recently rebirth my Wizard for the first time since he reached 40 to make some changes and optimizations. Firstly, I have changed from Generalist specialty to Necromancy specialty. I did this mainly because I really want to build and use the Book of Necromancy, which is exclusive to evil wizards that specialize in Necromancy. This means I have lost spells from the Divination school. I make up for this a bit by using magic items. For example, I have 3 Gems of Seeing which each allow me to cast True Seeing at CL9 once per day. Similarly I have an item called the Eye of Intent which has charges and allows casting Premonition. Also have a Book of Identify, etc. So while this is somewhat of a negative, I'm both mitigating the weakness as much as possible with magic items, and also making up for it by again being able to craft the Book of Necromancy and also it has a small benefit of one extra spell slot per day at each spell level above zero (so all spell levels except cantrips).

Next, I have adjusted feats a bit. Now that I am rebirthing 1-40 and have maxed Concentration + Tumble, Combat Casting is no longer especially useful. Therefore I have opted to take Extend Spell at level 1. This frees up a spare feat. I am currently using it for Epic Spell: Epic Warding to increase my defensive capability, but other solid options are Epic Spell: Greater Ruin, Spell Focus: Evocation, or Quicken Spell. Speaking of feats, I am opting to adjust the order of the epic feat selection a bit. I am now prioritizing getting Great Intelligence 1-6 as early as possible to maximize skill points. Since I'm already at 40, getting stuff like Epic Skill Focus and Epic Spell Focus later is not a hassle. I was able to find a Belt of the Ancients which grants Spell Focus: Evocation, so that may be a reason to opt for a missing epic spell (epic warding or greater ruin) or a missing metamagic feat (still or quicken spell) with the spare feat.

Speaking of skills, I am still maximizing the following Wizard class skills 1-39 : Concentration, Craft Armor, Craft Weapon, Lore, and Spellcraft. I am saving the remaining points for the Bard dip at 40. when I take the dip, I am now doing the following:
  1. Maxing out Appraise, Listen, Tumble, and Use Magic Device.
  2. Putting 3 points each in Disable Trap, Open Lock, Perform, and Pick Pocket.
  3. Putting 1 point in Set Trap.
  4. Putting all remaining points in Search.
I have also adjusted subrace and base stats. I am no longer Airlou; the 10 SR is worthless at endgame (my gear provides better also), and the +2 to INT is counted as part of the global +12 cap to any individual ability score from all sources. So I am now a human with the following base ability scores at level 1:

Str: 10
Dex: 10
Con: 14
Int: 18
Wis: 8
Cha: 12

With gear and ability score improvements via feats (Great Intelligence 6) and levelling (devoting all points to Intelligence):

Str: 18 (10 base + 8 from gear)
Dex: 18 (10 base + 8 from gear)
Con: 18 (14 base + 4 from gear)
Int: 46 (34 base [18+10+6] + 12 from gear)
Wis: 16 (8 base + 8 from gear)
Cha: 21 (12 base + 9 from gear)

As far as ability score itemization goes, in general, I have 2 pieces of gear that each have +4 enchantments for a particular score:

Str: +4 from belt, +4 from ring1
Dex: +4 from robe, +4 from shield
Con: +4 from ring2
Int: +4 from gloves, +4 from necklace, +5 from staff (I'm currently using the Staff of Zaldronus) - note this is actually +13, but we are capped at +12
Wis: +4 from helmet, +4 from cloak
Cha: +4 from boots, +5 from staff (see above for Intelligence in regards to the Staff of Zaldronus)

Note that Bard gives us Shield proficiency, so use it! It is possible to either craft or find an Ironwood Small Shield with no arcane spell failure (seek me out in-game or on Discord if you wish to acquire this knowledge)! Also you can add +5 (again, up to the +12 cap) for each of the above my using a maximized version of the appropriate buff (Bear's Strength, Cat's Grace, Endurance, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom, Eagle's Splendor). You can add an additional +5 (again, respecting the cap) if you have an Ancient Spellbook that has castings of Greater Buff Spell (ex: Greater Fox's Cunning) because the non-greater and greater versions stack with each other. I keep a book of Greater Fox's Cunning 3x per day on me to use in conjunction with maximized Fox's Cunning when I am crafting to make up for the +9 Int I lose by removing my gloves and staff. I am still using a pair of gloves for crafting to get the Martial weapon proficiency needed to wield the two crafting hammers.

That serves as a good segue into spells. I gave some thoughts previously, and they mostly still stand. But I have refined some things as well. So here is a fairly accurate breakdown of the spells I pick. But first, note that I have a bunch of bonus spell slots from gear. Those are worth seeking out. The Staff of Zaldronus gives an extra 7th, 8th, and 9th level slot. Each Golden Band of Learning (rings) give an extra 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th level slot. I also have a Robe of the Ancients (bonus 6th), Headband of the Ancients (bonus 7th), Cloak of the Ancients (bonus 6th), and Boots of the Ancients (bonus 5th) where I got lucky and rolled some bonus spell slots. Some of these came from Dwarven Citadel bounties, others came from the Blackrose store (Blackrose is the open PvP area accessible from The Cauldron are in the Underdark; the store is in the very center North part of the map).

Level 0: x4 Ray of Frost
Level 1: 1x Extended Light, 1x Extended Resistance, 8x Magic Missile
Level 2: 1x Extended Mage Armor, 1x Extended Ironguts, 1x Extended Shield, 1x Continual Flame, 6x Cloud of Bewilderment
Level 3: 1x Extended Death Armor, 2x Extended Flame Weapon, 1x Extended Stone Bones, 1x Extended Ultravision, 4x Extended Cloud of Bewilderment
Level 4: 2x Extended Greater Magic Weapon, 1x Extended Magic Circle Against Alignment, 1x Extended Protection from Elements, 5x Isaac's Lesser Missile Storm
Level 5: 1x Extended Elemental Shield, 1x Extended Improved Invisibility, 1x Maximized Bear's Strength, 1x Maximized Cat's Grace, 1x Maximized Endurance, 1x Maximized Fox's Cunning, 1x Maximized Owl's Wisdom, 1x Maximized Eagle's Splendor, 2x Bigby's Interposing Hand
Level 6: 1x Extended Energy Buffer, 1x Extended Lesser Mind Blank, 1x Extended Mestil's Acid Sheath, 10x Maximized Flame Arrow
Level 7: 1x Extended Globe of Invulnerability, 1x Extended Greater Stoneskin, 10x Finger of Death (or Empowered Cone of Cold, or Maximized Ice Storm)
Level 8: 1x Extended Protection from Spell, 1x Extended Shadow Shield, 9x Extended Bigby's Grasping Hand (or Empowered Isaac's Greater Missile Storm)
Level 9: 1x Empowered Spell Mantle, 3x Time Stop, 7x Wail of the Banshee (or Maximized Isaac's Greater Missile Storm, or Maximized Undeath to Death)

I also utilize lots of Ancient Spellbooks and other magic items to make up for spells I like but don't have slots to devote. I make a lot of wands and scribe a lot of scrolls in my downtime. I have a book of Control Undead 3x per day, Horrid Wilting 3x per day, Undeath's Eternal Foe 3x per day, and Greater Sanctuary 3x per day. My belt gives a casting of Create Greater Undead 1x per day. You get the idea (also see above near the top for how I'm making up for the loss of Divination spells)! I also keep a bunch of arcane banners in my bags. Minimum three but no more than six. Also for the vast majority of the buffs (everything except what is meant for my minions, and Magic Circle Against Alignment) in my loadout I'm casting them with the fast buff wand which now respects meta-magic. Greater Magic Weapon, Flame Weapon, and Stone Bones are buffs I use on my minions: golem + mummy. Stone Bones is specifically for mummy in the late game, but in the early game is also good early game while still using Animate Dead. Magic Circle is the only one I use on myself which doesn't seem to work well with the fast buff wand. Snort drops the fast buff wand, by the way! He's the Minotaur quest boss on the way to Oasis.

One thing I want to say about alignment and familiars. I went Chaotic Evil, and of the familiars I could choose, I feel like the Pixie is probably the best. It seems to have the highest Search skill (36) of all the familiars which can come in handy in very rare circumstances.

Lastly I want to talk golems. Previously I believed the most powerful golem this build could support is level 39. However, based on a tip from another player, I have found through my own experimentation that this build can actually command a level 40 golem. So don't hold back on your golem! I'm not sure if it is the UMD or what, but welcome news nonetheless.

Final Stats at 40 with all buffs and gear:

Str: 22
Dex: 22
Con: 23
Int: 46
Wis: 20
Cha: 24

HP: 442
AC: 64
BAB: 20
SR: 20
Fort Save: 41
Will Save: 46
Refl Save: 41

Appraise: 61
Concentration: 49
Craft Armor: 74
Craft Weapon: 74
Disable Trap: 21
Heal: 6
Listen: 48
Lore: 62
Open Lock: 9
Perform: 10
Pick Pocket: 8
Search: 26
Set Trap: 6
Spellcraft: 61
Spot: 55
Tumble: 48
Use Magic Device: 50
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:25 am

Re: The Artificer - Easy Wizard Crafter/Necromancer - Wizard 39/Bard 1

Post by Ozmiz »

Thank you for taking the time for such an insightful, detailed posting of your Necro Crafter.

Are you aware of any information in game, or on the forums that details information on how to obtain a golem? I have seen them in game, but never knew where to start.
I know your post is about crafting, but in a way, I see how the Golem is integral to the build, so I suppose it's not too far off topic.
Post Reply