Greg the Ogre (Advanced Race Guide) has been working on leveling up so that he has an easier time of eating passing adventurers. That being said, while he isn't struggling too much eating the odd fighter that comes through, Wizards are really causing him a bit of trouble.

During his last meal, Greg picked up a scroll of Antimagic Field, and had a brilliant idea to beat the wizards!

Greg's heard that there is another Wizard coming up his mountain, and he's preparing his ambush. He's managed to, in addition to the scroll, put together about 50,000 gold coins to purchase any items he needs from the ogre caravan over the hill.

Greg has full control over his retraining, with the following caveats:

  • Greg is at level 14, and unable to put more then 3 levels into any class with less then Full BAB Progression
  • Greg's levels in Fighter have already been designed and developed, though he is open to retraining feats.
  • Greg has a 25 point Stat Buy, and 3 level based ASI's to allocate to his stat pool, though a high STR is important.
  • Greg's levels in Fighter give him 3 skill points per level. Greg can only pick 3 skills for these points to be used in.

What can Greg buy or retrain to ensure that he can successfully cast this scroll? (He know's he's unlikely to pass a CL check with only 3 levels in an arcane class, but is open to the possibility)

  • \$\begingroup\$ What counts as increasing the chance of casting? Do you just mean the UMD check or also being able to use the scroll before dying and having access to it at that time etc. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 9:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this, like, code golf? That is, should answers strive to find the smallest investment that will permit Greg to employ a scroll of antimagic field? Or is this just a roundabout way of asking What are all the ways to gain a bonus to Use Magic Device skill checks? or something? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 10:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Smallest possible investment to successfully cast the scroll is exactly what I'm after. Greg could retrain to Bard and easily pass a UMD check, but he'd rather not for one scroll. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nyoze
    Dec 10 '17 at 10:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ So "3 levels in any other class" is not a resource available to those considering an answer? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 10:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It does! Thank you. So the task is, if I may summarize, Design Greg, a 25-point-buy level 14 ogre that possesses at least 11 levels of fighter that can employ consistently and successfully a scroll of antimagic field. No more than 50,000 gp can be spent to aid the Greg in this task, but the less spent, the better. Is that about right? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 10:47

Generally speaking, the ogre is going to have a hard time. Frankly, anyone is going to have a hard time with a scroll of antimagic field except a spellcaster that has it on his or her list. The Use Magic Device check is just too colossal for someone to just attach to a random character. Sure, a high-Charisma character that focuses on it can manage it, but scrolls aren’t really intended to be used by fighters.

The best bet is probably to take a level of wizard, or other class that gets antimagic field as a spell. Actually, for a variety of reasons, cleric would be better: that list has antimagic field, being a divine spellcaster lets you use prayer beads, and you can get the luck domain to get a “roll twice, use better” on any d20—that could be your caster level check for this scroll. Plus cleric has slightly better stats than wizard.

Note, however, that for this to work it means Greg must have a divine scroll of antimagic field, and that means it will have to be scribed by a cleric. And since the caster level of the scroll is going to matter a whole lot and we want it as low as possible, we want that cleric to have had the magic or protection domain, so they could scribe the scroll of antimagic field as a 6th-level spell with caster level 11th.

So, once you have at least one level of cleric, you no longer need Use Magic Device at all to activate the scroll. What you need instead is a DC 12 caster level check. Greg’s caster level is only 1st, so this would require a roll of 11—not great, particularly for combat, but we can do things about that.

  • The bit of luck ability of the luck domain is worth, approximately, +5. We can determine the precise value of it once we figure out what our final bonus will be.
  • A prayer bead of karma (found on a regular strand of prayer beads, 22,900 gp) gives a +4 bonus to caster level. Note that technically this bonus only applies to casting spells, so this requires some fudging.
  • The Magical Knack trait gives Greg a +2 bonus to caster level.
  • An orange prism ioun stone gives a +1 bonus to caster level. Can be flawed (25,000 gp) without causing any problems.
    • With a wayfinder, and similar fudging as with the prayer bead of karma, Greg could get a 1d4−2 bonus—statistically worthwhile (expected value of +0.5), but probably not worth the extra variability, not to mention the gold.
  • If you take the arcane domain, the arcane beacon ability gives a +1 bonus to caster level, again only for casting spells. Fudging this to apply to the caster level check to activate a scroll would allow it to apply.
  • The Meditation Master feat could allow Greg to meditate for an hour to add a +1 bonus to any d20 check within the next 24 hours.

That is, with fudging, +9 on this check, so Greg fails only on a natural-1. The odds of a natural-1 when rolling twice and taking the better result is 1 in 400. Without fudging, we lose +5 worth of bonus (and save 22,900 gp, on the other hand), so we fail on a roll of 6 or less (30% chance). Rolling twice, that’s a 9% chance of failure (so the bit of luck is worth 21 percentage points, or approximately a +4 bonus).

Note that per the question parameters, you could take three levels of cleric to get another 2 caster level, guaranteeing success (when fudging) and eliminating the need for both the luck domain and the orange prism ioun stone. Personally, I would be willing to spend 25,000 gp to save two levels but that’s up to you. Also improves our non-fudging result so that it fails only on a 4 or less—20% chance on a single roll, 4% chance on a double-roll (at 16 percentage points, the bit of luck is worth approximately +3).

But this is not a winning strategy.

A level, a feat, several magic items, careful planning, and burning a pricey scroll on every one of these ambushes makes this a very difficult, expensive strategy.

What does Greg out of it? A tiny sphere of magic nullification. That he is forced to be sitting in, i.e. any magic items he’s got are gone. Any wizard who lets a no-magic brute get that close doesn’t deserve the title, frankly, and even if it happens, Greg’s got a standard action at best. So he has to somehow get himself next to the wizard—who really ought to be flying anyway—and then do something to the wizard that will prevent the wizard from leaving. Maybe Greg can do that—but then Greg can probably do it better with magic in play.

Basically, antimagic field is a trap. It hurts the person casting it far, far more than it hurts anyone else. The only people who should ever use it are arcane archers and the like, who get the ability to cast it over there and thus not screw themselves over in the process.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "[B]urning a pricey scroll on every attempt" seems to imply the scroll is somehow wasted if the check fails. Unless Pathfinder changed things without looking, only failing the Wisdom check (DC 5) after failing the caster level checks almost guarantees the scroll's destruction. Otherwise, it's just try again (unless a 1's rolled on the UMD check and still failed). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I meant attempt at this kind of ambush, but sure, that is unclear. Will fix. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 10 '17 at 18:10

USE MAGIC DEVICE (pages 109-110, Core Rule Book) says

Use a Scroll: Normally, to cast a spell from a scroll, you must have the scroll’s spell on your class spell list. Use Magic Device allows you to use a scroll as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list. The DC is equal to 20 + the caster level of the spell you are trying to cast from the scroll. In addition, casting a spell from a scroll requires a minimum score (10 + spell level) in the appropriate ability. If you don’t have a sufficient score in that ability, you must emulate the ability score with a separate Use Magic Device check. This use of the skill also applies to other spell completion magic items

So DC to use most 9th level scrolls will be 37 (20 + CL 17)

USE MAGIC DEVICE (pages 109-110, Core Rule Book) says

Emulate an Ability Score: To cast a spell from a scroll, you need a high score in the appropriate ability (Intelligence for wizard spells, Wisdom for divine spells, or Charisma for sorcerer or bard spells). Your effective ability score (appropriate to the class you’re emulating when you try to cast the spell from the scroll) is your Use Magic Device check result minus 15. If you already have a high enough score in the appropriate ability, you don’t need to make this check.

So DC to emualte a 19 Stat is 34 (15 + 19)

My suggestion is pick up 3 levels of Rogue and dump all skill points acquired into Use Magic Device. This should get you at least 10 ranks, hopefully 14. Take skill focus Use Magic Device for another +6 (because you have 10 ranks) so even with an ogre's 3 charisma this gets us to a +19 UMD. 14 ranks + 3 Class + 6 Skill Focus -4 charisma. DC 37 - 19 Ogres Skill = 18 but skills don't auto fail on a one so we can take 1 less for 17.

Table 15–29: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values (Page 550, Core Rule Book) says

Skill bonus (competence) Bonus squared x 100 gp

So purchase a +17 competence bonus to use magic device (17x17x100) 28,900 gold. You can further reduce this by getting one that only ogres can use, getting a trait to get a bonus to UMD, I think Dangerously Curious fits the bill, and/or you can get bonus charisma items to require a lower UMD competence bonus from the item.

So to sum up 3 Levels of Rogue, Max Use Magic Device, Skill Focus(UMD) and a +17 competence bonus wondrous magic item for 28,900 gold (or less).

EDIT : (UMD ranks +14/18?, Dangerously Curious +1, Skill Focus +6, Proficiency +3, Wand Key Ring +10, for a total of +34) or 38 if you're 14 levels on top of your Ogre HD

Anitmagic Field 6th level require DC 20+11 = 31 Ability Score 16 + 15 = DC 31

STR 28+2=30 DEX 11+1=12 CON 16 INT 10 WIS 10 CHA 10

You can purchase a Wand Key Ring for 3,000 gold pieces for a +10 insight on UMD for scrolls and spell trigger devices linked to antimagic field.

If Wand Key Ring is not available 3rd Level Rogue also gives you access to Eldritch Conduit which will get you past the CL check with a second level or lower scroll. You'd still have to emulate an ability DC 31 needing a 7 or better.

  • \$\begingroup\$ (Fortunately, it's easier than this: antimagic field is typically a 6th-level spell.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even for a GM, a +17 competence bonus item is kind of absurd. This answer would be improved by noting how unlikely such an item is to fly. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 10 '17 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Greater Shadow on armor gives a +15 to stealth. +17 isn't too far off, plus if he took a headband of charisma +4 we could drop the requirement to +15 totally inline with other skill bonuses already in the game. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hey I Can Chan I always like planning for the worst case scenario since when I was in the middle of answering this he didn't have up his specific requirements for his ogre. And who wouldn't want an Ogre that can cast wish from a scroll? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's totally fair! But with the binds updated, I think going about this in this fashion is much less (ahem) absurd—for example, the typical ogre won't have less than Int and Cha 6, so 14 ranks in UMD is all but guaranteed with 3 levels of rogue (and don't forget the +3 proficiency bonus). And, with the spell as only a 6th-level spell, this becomes (almost) cake. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '17 at 21:40

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