I'm playing a gish - a character who combines spellcasting and martial combat - and due to the heavy multiclassing I've done to fit in all the class features I want, the calculation of my caster level has become a confusing mess.
My class level split is:
Duskblade 5/Abjurant Champion 4/Warrior Skald 1/Sublime Chord 1/Abjurant Champion +1/Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 2/Legacy Champion 6
The first four levels of Abjurant Champion advance my Duskblade casting (giving me a total of 9 effective levels of Duskblade casting), while the final level advances my Sublime Chord casting. All of my Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil levels advance my Sublime Chord casting, and all of my Legacy Champion levels advance my Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil class features (which advance my Sublime Chord casting), giving me a total of 9 effective levels of Sublime Chord casting.
I have Practiced Spellcaster (Sublime Chord) as a feat.
Both Sublime Chord and Abjurant Champion have class features that might affect my caster level.
Abjurant Champion's Martial Arcanist feature reads:
From this point on, your caster level in a chosen arcane spellcasting class is equal to your base attack bonus (unless it would otherwise be higher). For example, a 7th-level fighter/1st-level wizard/5th-level abjurant champion has a base attack bonus of +12 (and thus a caster level of 12th). You can apply this benefit to only one arcane class to which you have added spellcasting levels by your advancement as an abjurant champion.
My BAB is 16.
Sublime Chord's Spells per Day feature says:
A sublime chord's caster level for both her sublime chord spells and the spells she gains from other arcane spellcasting classes is determined by adding her sublime chord level to her level in another arcane spellcasting class. If she had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a sublime chord, she must choose to which class to add her sublime chord levels for the purpose of determining her sublime chord spellcaster level.
Note that this refers to her "level in another arcane spellcasting class," which leads me to be uncertain whether this includes levels in prestige classes that advance spellcasting (e.g., Abjurant Champion levels for my Duskblade casting).
My question: How do I calculate my caster level, for both Duskblade and Sublime Chord spells?
Possibilities I can think of include:
- My caster level for Sublime Chord spells is 20, and my caster level for Duskblade spells is 18. This is determined by adding my effective Sublime Chord level (9) to my effective Duskblade level (also 9), then applying Practiced Spellcaster to bring my Sublime Chord casting up to the level cap. This is the most generous interpretation, including prestige class advancement in both my Duskblade and Sublime Chord levels when adding them together via Sublime Chord's Spells per Day calculation.
- My caster level for Sublime Chord spells is 20, and my caster level for Duskblade spells is 14. This is determined by adding my number of Sublime Chord levels (1) to my number of Abjurant Champion levels (5), per Sublime Chord's Spells per Day wording, then adding the number of prestige class levels that advance my Sublime Chord casting (8), but not those that advance Abjurant Champion. Subsequently, I replace this level with my BAB (16) per the Martial Arcanist feature, then add +4 for Practiced Spellcaster.
- My caster level for Sublime Chord is 20, and my caster level for Duskblade spells is 6. This is determined via the reasoning in the above option, but assuming that Sublime Chord's caster level calculation wording (adding your Sublime Chord class levels to your class levels in another arcane spellcasting class) takes precedence over any caster level advancement by prestige classes.
- My caster level for Sublime Chord is 16, and my caster level for Duskblade spells is 6. As above, but assuming that features that set your caster level to a given number take precedence over any bonuses (under this interepretation, Practiced Spellcaster doesn't do anything, so I would choose a different feat)
If, as I suspect, the answer to this is partially "RAW doesn't specify, because order of application bonuses was never officially clarified," I would welcome well-supported thoughts on what the most reasonable way to rule on this as a DM would be.