Magic Missile Stormer (3.5e Optimized Character Build)
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Legend holds that during the First War of Fate the dark lord Karpi engineered a number of powerful mutants to serve in his armies. These creatures resisted nearly all physical attacks because of their incredibly thick armored hides and resisted nearly all magic attacks thanks to their impressive Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throws. Only magic missile could reliably harm them since the missiles strike unerringly, but the damage dealt by a single magic missile would barely even tickle these mighty mutants. Karpi's opposition responded by ordering their best and brightest warmagi to perform research and development on magic missile.
The warmagi trained and studied quickly; barely pausing to eat or sleep. Then, one devised what he thought was a winning formula against the mutants. Finally, after months of training, the warmagi Kei'Shen showed that his technique could change the tide of the war. He led a small force to engage a larger Karpi mutant leading an orc battalion. Upon seeing the opponents, to everyone's surprise, Kei'Shen ordered his soldiers to throw down their weapons and just watch the encounter. His soldiers were confused, but obeyed Kei'Shen's command. Starting the confrontation alone, he singlehandedly charged the mutant and orcs with nothing but his bare hands. As soon as they were within magic missile's range he unleashed a flurry of magical energy missiles. In the space of a few seconds, dozens of magic missiles flew from his fingertips: cutting down waves of orcs with incredible speed. Soon only the mutant was left. Even the soldiers who were just watching became afraid and some even started running from the mutant. Kei'Shen, though, continued with his onslaught of magic missiles. When the energy blasts hit the mutant, the soldiers saw fear enter a mutant's eyes for the first time. In desperation, the mutant charged forward as Kei'Shen continued blasting him with magic missiles. A few of the soldiers picked up their weapons and starting rushing into the fray to help Kei'Shen but, before they had arrived, the final magic missile struck the mutant and he stumbled forward and fell down dead before Kei'Shen's feet. Word quickly spread about Kei'Shen's mighty technique. The warmagi, desperate and running out of time, trained their bodies until they could handle the method's rigors and change the tide of battle against Karpi's armies.
While those warmagi are but ancient legend, copies of what are believed to be their journals have been found in many arcane libraries across the world. Warmagi from nearly every army are eager to study their secrets and unlock the powerful technique of the Magic Missile Stormer Optimization. The Magic Missile Stormer Optimized Character Build treats magic missiles like a volley of arrows storming down on their targets.
Player's Handbook, Player's Handbook II, Complete Arcane, Complete Mage, Dragon Magazine #323 (additional force spells), Dragon #328 (the force missile mage was originally published here), Dragon Compendium, Unearthed Arcana
Game Rule Components
You will need to take two flaws to get the feats that you need. Make sure that your dungeon master accepts flaws in the campaign. If your dungeon master does not accept flaws in the campaign, see below. Choose flaws which make as much sense as possible for your character. For example, do not select a flaw which hinders your spellcasting.
You will need to get 9 ranks in Concentration and 12 ranks in Spellcraft and Knowledge (arcana) as soon as possible since these become prerequisites that must be met at later levels. Concentration and 9 ranks in Spellcraft, though, are required before the 12 ranks in Spellcraft and Knowledge (arcana) are.
No items are strictly required in order to pull this off, but there are a few that can certainly help. Charisma-boosting items will make magic missiles more dangerous. Intelligence-boosting items will increase the damage you deal through your warmage edge. Constitution-boosting items will enable you to react more forcefully to unexpected situations.
Are you not packing enough of a punch? Buy a few greater metamagic rods of maximize and you can chew right through a great wyrm dragon.
Still have cash left over? Buy some defensive items to make sure that you remain around long enough to pack your punch.
Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): Irrelevant of the method with which you get your ability scores, you'll want to stick your highest stat in Charisma, your second-highest in Intelligence, then focus on your combat with investments in Constitution. Investments in Strength and Dexterity are more important than Wisdom, and like all your ability scores take your time when assigning them scores. If you're buying ability scores make sure Charisma is 18. At every 4th level increase your Charisma to help you deal with spell resistance.
Race (Templates): Human is your best choice because of the extra feat that they get.
Starting Racial Traits:
- Humanoid (Human)
- Medium: As Medium creatures, humans have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Human base land speed is 30 feet.
- 1 extra feat at 1st level.
- 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level.
- Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Any (other than secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Speak Language skill.
- Favored Class: Any. When determining whether a multiclass human takes an experience point penalty, his or her highest-level class does not count.
|1st||Warmage 1||+0||+0||+0||+2||Combat Casting, Quicken Spell, Repeat Spell, Twin Spell||Armored Mage (Light), Warmage Edge||Choose flaws which make as much sense as possible for your character. Unless you're starting at a high level, you won't be able to use most of the feats right away.|
|3rd||Warmage 3||+1||+1||+1||+3||Easy Metamagic (Quicken Spell)||Advanced Learning|
|6th||Warmage 6||+3||+2||+2||+5||Easy Metamagic (Repeat Spell)||Advanced Learning|
|7th||Warmage 7||+3||+2||+2||+5||—||Sudden Empower|
|8th||Warmage 8||+4||+2||+2||+6||—||Armored Mage (Medium)|
|9th||Warmage 9||+4||+3||+3||+6||Easy Metamagic (Twin Spell)||—|
|10th||Warmage 10||+5||+3||+3||+7||—||Sudden Enlarge|
|11th||Warmage 11||+5||+3||+3||+7||—||Advanced Learning||Make sure that you are considering the prerequisites you must meet.|
|12th||Warmage 12||+6||+4||+4||+8||Extra Edge||—|
|15th||Warmage 14, Force Missile Mage 1||+7||+4||+4||+11||Rapid Metamagic||Bonus Missile, Still Missile|
|16th||Warmage 14, Force Missile Mage 2||+8||+4||+4||+12||—||Energy Missile, Swift Shield|
|17th||Warmage 14, Force Missile Mage 3||+8||+5||+5||+12||—||Overpowering Missile||Make sure that you are considering the prerequisites you must meet.|
|18th||Warmage 14, Force Missile Mage 4||+9||+5||+5||+13||Arcane Thesis (Magic Missile)||Reflective Shield|
|19th||Warmage 14, Force Missile Mage 5||+9||+5||+5||+13||—||Bonus Missile|
|20th||Warmage 14, Force Missile Mage 5, Argent Savant 1||+9||+5||+5||+15||—||Force Specialization|
Your attack consists of a magic missile spell enhanced by the quicken, repeat, and twin metamagics. Each of these metamagics are, in turn, enhanced by their own Easy Metamagic feats: reducing their spell level costs by 1. The magic missile spell gets the Arcane Thesis feat too: reducing the cost of its metamagically enhanced forms by a further spell level. Thus, a quickened twinned repeating magic missile (normally a 12th-level spell) will only use up an 8th-level spell slot! You may quicken spontaneous spells thanks to your Rapid Metamagic feat.
On your round casting a quickened repeating twinned magic missile is a free action, so you can cast magic missile again. Cast a twinned repeating magic missile next. With your force missile mage levels each magic missile spell fires 7 missiles. Thus, you fire an impressive 28 missiles on your first round.
On your next round both of the twinned magic missiles you cast last turn will repeat themselves. In addition to these missiles, add another quickened repeating twinned magic missile and another twinned repeating magic missile. This combat technique means that on your second round, and every turn that you keep magic missiles storming down on their targets thereafter, 56 missiles will dart forth from your fingertips.
Each missile deals +1 bonus damage from your argent savant level. That's 56d4+112 damage per round: not even counting the fact that one missile per volley of 7 will deal a large amount of extra damage thanks to your warmage edge. The 7th missile has variable damage depending on how much Intelligence you have. Remember, magic missiles strike unerringly, and with your overpowering missile class feature not even a shield spell or a brooch of shielding is a surefire defense against you. Your missiles can also change their descriptors to deal specific damage types, so you can do even more damage to creatures with energy vulnerabilities!
For extra fun blow all your money on greater metamagic rods of maximize so you can turn the 56d4+112 into a flat 336!
Will your dungeon master allow you to take even more flaws? If he does, take the Fiery Spell feat from Sandstorm and combine it with your energy missile class feature for another +56 damage per round.
For an alternative experience, try replacing the warmage levels with wizard levels. Although you'll have less spells per day and you'll lose the warmage edge, you won't need to take Rapid Metamagic, and you'll get two bonus metamagic feats. In this way, you can still attempt this build even if your dungeon master won't allow you to take flaws. Use your two wizard bonus feats to take Rapid Spell and Twin Spell, then instead of Rapid Metamagic you can take Delay Spell. Use a delayed twinned repeating magic missile in conjunction with time stop for some really insane bursts! You'll also have Scribe Scroll from your wizard levels so you can create backup scrolls in case you run out of spells while firing missiles.
You will burn through spell slots very quickly when using this technique. Think about how damage needs to be dealt throughout the encounter and what else you may still encounter through the day to make your party as effective as possible.
Unfortunately, your epic progression is tentative. You may want to continue with the argent savant. Alternatively, you can ask your dungeon master if he would allow you to continue the 5-level force missile mage and make agreements on how its progression continues. If you find that your combat-prowess is a little lacking it may make sense to continue progressing as a warmage.
- Magic missile may ignore AC and saving throws, but it doesn't ignore spell resistance. Toss some monsters with a high spell resistance or even spell immunity their way.
- Like any caster, this build will have poor defenses and very little Strength. Try to get him in a grapple.
- This character is not very versatile. Magic missile storming is pretty much his only trick so use obstacles, puzzles, and challenges that can't simply be blasted through.