I played The Confirmation yesterday, and it was a rather interesting experience. Our party consisted of:

  • 2 Arcanists with Grease and Color Spray prepared and Quick-Study (my friend and me)
  • A party face Sorcerer with Charm Person and Color Spray (it was the player's choice to play with this spell set)
  • A Summoner with Augment Summoning and Cha 20
  • A pregen Ranger
  • An Arcanist with Spell Specialization (Burning Hands) and Potent Magic, dealing 5d4 points of damage with BH, DC 17 to half.

This question contains spoilers about the said scenario. Continue reading at your own discretion.

The first encounter was against

two Spider Swarms, which are immune to weapon damage.

A friendly NPC gave us

one bottle of Alchemist's Fire, but the only member of our party who could do meaningful damage was the BH Arcanist.

Yes, my friend and me could Quick Study BH too, but it would cost us a lot of resources, so we decided to conserve our resources and just watch our blaster burning the enemies.

The third encounter were

Zombies, also immune to mind-affecting spells.

Again, I couldn't do much against them. This time, our Summoner used their Eidolon, I used some Grease, and the blaster did some damage again.

By the final encounter,

the Minotaur,

our blaster was out of spells (or has cast one spell left, don't remember). I still had spell slots, and have cast Grease and Color Spray. The Summoner summonned an Eagle who immediately started full attacking. However...

...being a 5 HD creature, the Minotaur was only stunned for 1 round by my Color Spray, and it was also pretty good at resisting my DC 17 Grease, though it fell once. The Eagle was doing OK, though.

Also, our party was partially out of spell slots by the end of this, and there was actually supposed to be one more encounter against


which we skipped. I guess, that's the only situation where Color Spray would've worked.

During the previous sessions, the encounters were mainly against goblins, who are easily affected by Color Spray or Grease. However, I am now very confused if my build is actually viable, and if it is likely to stay viable. Unspecialized blasting is very weak, so I clearly need to find something to do when my enemies are immune to mind-affecting spells and/or have high HD. My GM told us "you have not seen oozes yet", meaning that our party would likely lose to one.

I just got to level 2 after this session, and I am using slow progression to let my friends keep up with me. However, I am interested in answers that touch later levels too.

Note that I don't feel useless out of combat or when facing enemies who are affected by Color Spray or Sleep.

Actually blasting

The best I can get is Burning Hands for 1d4 fire damage per CL, DC 16 to half. I can boost my CL from 2 to 3, or DC to 17. This is probably the only thing I can do against swarms and oozes, please correct me if I am wrong.


I am considering that as a backup, but it's very short-lasting at the early levels. The best I can get from a spell slot (if spending Arcane Reservoir at 1st level) is 6 attacks at +3 to hit and d4+1 to damage (from smiting). This is a lot better single-target damage than my Burning Hands, but still not much, and doesn't work against swarms. However, it does work against the undead.

Bufffing allies

Again, not much I can do here. I can give an ally Mage Armor, which doesn't help against swarms, and I can cast Resistance. That's it, pretty much.

Save or die

Creatures with high HD are immune to or weakly affected by low-level spells, and low-level save or die spells are also mind-affecting.

So, what can I use to be useful in battles against (1) swarms, (2) enemies with a lot of HD and (3) those immune to mind-affecting effects?


Use gear to add versatility

A pathfinder character should always have multiple options of things to do. Spellcasters, in particular, are very good at being versatile, thanks mainly to their ability to use spell trigger and spell commpletion items to supplement their built-in character abilities, at a cost in gold. Scrolls and wands of spells allow you to add limited-uses of spells you did not want to use constantly for your character.

For an offensive caster, like your own build, you could easily buy a few scrolls of Burning Hands or some other blasting-type spell to supplement your normal spells, at a cost of 25gp per scroll. Even at character creation, you are likely to be able to purchase one or two of these. This is also comparable to the 20gp per alchemist fire flask, and easier for you to get better results out of.

In addition, in Pathfinder Society, you will generally be receiving 1 or 2 Prestige per successful scenario. You can spend 2 prestige to purchase a wand of a first level spell. This would allow you to purchase a wand of Burning Hands or Magic Missile, potentially after your first scenario. Burning Hands is a decent low-level damage option, but will be good against swarms for many levels. Magic Missile won't harm a swarm, but will do full damage to a number of enemy types that others have troubles hurting at low levels (such as Incorporeal creatures), and can often be used to finish off a wounded enemy.

Specifically for dealing with Swarms, area effects also deal an extra 50% damage to them. Swarms are also immune to single-target effects, even if not immune to mind-effecting spells, meaning a non-blasting caster will likely have no other practical way to harm a swarm of creatures immune to weapon damage.

Lastly, note that the Confirmation is intended to be a learning scenario. Swarms are difficult to deal with if you are not prepared to do so, but are not an uncommon creature type. Swarms are encountered maybe 1 in 4 or 5 scenarios. In a similar fashion, Undead and constructs are a commonly encountered creature type immune to mind-affecting spells.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. A Wand of BH deals 2.5 damage if the target fails its save. It is actually worth it? Are Swarms that common? I thought, such a low amount of damage will become redundant really quickly. Also, you didn't touch upon creatures who are not swarms, like the Minotaur from the said scenario. \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Feb 13 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy Area effects also deal an extra 50% damage against swarms. And there is exactly no other way to hurt swarms. Still better than nothing. And, yeah, swarms are encountered maybe 1 in 4 or 5 scenarios. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Feb 14 at 0:31

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