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I've already asked this question for 3.5e, but it seems to be very different in Pathfinder, as many of the feats, prestige classes, and even the base class abilities of wizard and sorcerer have changed. So I am asking this again, but specifically focusing on pathfinder only material.

'Blasting' in Pathfinder, dealing damage using spells, is seen as inferior to battlefield control, buffing, and debuffing - in that it uses up more spell slots for less effect, takes longer to work, and is resisted by more types of monsters and enemies.

I know why this is, and that isn't the focus of this question.

I'd like to know what some builds, combinations of feats, classes, spells and magic items are that make blasting competitive with other spellcasters focused on things other than damage. Specifically looking for builds that;

  • Overcome the weaknesses inherent to blasting (low damage, resistances, immunities, SR, touch AC)
  • Maintain a degree of utility and aren't 'one trick ponies'
  • Directly do damage with spells, aimed at taking enemies out of combat as fast as possible, as many times per day as possible
  • Are playable from as low level as possible
  • Have some degree of 'flair' or 'theme' in their design

Both complete builds and simple suggestions or lists of usable/competitive elements for a 'blaster' spellcaster are both acceptable as answers. The one non-negotiable factor is that the suggestions or build must be competitive with relatively unoptimized spellcasters who are not blasters in terms of effectiveness.

Assume for the purposes of this question that no 3.5e material is allowed, and that paizo material is superior to 3rd party material.

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1 Answer 1

My favorite themed blaster I made was based off Grey from Fairy Tale. He was a crossblooded sorcerer with Draconic(White) and Elemental(Water) bloodlines. This meant that I could make every spell into an ice spell and Draconic added more damage as well as some more resistances to cold. (Since Grey loves to rip his shirt off in battle)

  • Overcoming weaknesses: The best way to do this is to focus on a singular spell and spell type. Spell Specialization feat line and School focus allow you to improve a spell with a metamagic without increasing the level slot. You also improve upon the SR with focusing on a particular school. Force or Acid are both good schools that can help bypass most SR and immunities if you don't want to do the standard Fire.
  • Utility: In the case of this character I went with the ice build because of the metamagic Rime Spell. There is also the possibility of multi-classing for Oracle's Wave domain and getting Freezing Spell. These will either entangle or slow respectively. On top of that you really need to learn 2-4 blasting spells and the rest of your spells can be utility
  • Killing people as fast as possible is quite easy once you hit 15+. You will have spell specialization feat line and be able to easily cast 2 blasts a turn. Early on you will want to focus on Intensified or Empowered to boost your damage. I prefer to use AOE spells for my blasters, some of the best blasting spells are already AOE which helps ensure you at least kill 1 enemy
  • Low level there are a few key things that will help... Magical Lineage is a trait that gives you caster level applied to a specific spell and can be changed later. Assigning this to burning hands or magic missile will help make blasting early easier.
  • As for theme the character I played allowed me to make every spell into an ice spell, this allowed me to use the Rime metamagic to entangle my enemies in ice. Taking bloodline abilities for resist cold gave my character the ability to tear off his shirt whenever he wanted and never be chilly! Plus what is cooler than summoning a ice dragon to destroy your enemies?

As for end game spells, there are a few viable options. Fire Snake is a popular blaster spell because it lets you choose the aoe shape and has a very solid 1d6/level damage amount. Add in Empower for another 1d6/2 levels, Magical Lineage for another 3d6 (until level 18) Plus 1 per die from Draconic Bloodline and 1 per die from Orc Bloodline (if you take it) the numbers become very respectable very quickly.

I can expand on this some more when I get home and have the sheet in front of me. I am sure there are small quirks that I missed.

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