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Basically, what title says. To be specific, there are some points to define what is considered "best" here:

  • 2-3 spell level

    • becomes available more or less early;
    • daze effect still lasts more than 'till the beginning of your next turn', freeing some of your turns for things other then 'I cast Dazing X spell!';
    • relatively high number of spell slots (if nothing else, you may always apply Heighten Spell, if you need a level to be higher for some reason);
    • lesser metamagic rods are applicable here.
  • Allows a save, no attack rolls, no SR (reflex is the best, will or no save are a close second)

    • in the end, your combination will allow a save in any case, so it is better, if initial spell allows a save, than if it allows spell resistance or if it requires an attack roll.
    • reflex save is usually a lowest one, and fortitude is highest (enormously high or even akin to immunity sometimes).
  • Affects as many targets as possible

    • area effect is probably better than multi-target spell, because of vision and duplicates and etc;
    • if it is an area effect, instantaneous duration is probably the best (thanks to Selective Spell feat);
    • ... or, you may consider something like Incendiary Cloud, which may affect additional targets over time, not sure if it is worth it.
  • Reliable damage type

    • force and untyed are certainly best types;
    • I'm not sure what is better between commonly resisted types, like physical and energy attacks (still, my guess, sonic is the best here).

Those are my thoughts. If you see, I'm wrong somewhere, you are encouraged to let me know it in your answer.

And, if you are interested, this is for my real game. For now, I play an Arcanist class and use Stone Call, but I think I will have hard time beating through damage reduction somewhere along next module. So I seek an alternative. My initial plan was to add Havoc of Society to my Stone Call, but now I see, I should read descriptions better. As I am an Arcanist, I am generally interested in spells, present on Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. But bonus points for pointing out proper spells for other classes, as I am interested in general solution as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you care which classes can cast the spell? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben S.
    Jun 16 at 22:21
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Foreword: Check with your GM!

Dazing Spell reads:

Benefit: You can modify a spell to daze a creature damaged by the spell. When a creature takes damage from this spell, they become dazed for a number of rounds equal to the original level of the spell. If the spell allows a saving throw, a successful save negates the daze effect. If the spell does not allow a save, the target can make a Will save to negate the daze effect. If the spell effect also causes the creature to become dazed, the duration of this metamagic effect is added to the duration of the spell. (emphasis added)

As we'll see, the meanings of these two phrases aren't as obvious as they might appear. See these two questions for discussion of how some other Metamagic Feats apply to various spells and what counts as "damage from a spell". Different GMs are likely to interpret these rules differently; one GM's "creative use of the rules" is another's "obvious cheating". If possible, I recommend discussing specific spells with your GM ahead of time to determine how Dazing Spell affects them at your table.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

I don't think you're going to find a single "best" Dazing Spell that works best in all situations. For example, sometimes you'll want a Dazing Spell that targets Fort saves and sometimes you'll want one that targets Will saves. So rather than trying to identify a single "best" spell, I'm going to highlight a few spells that have properties that combine particularly well with Dazing Spell.

Spells

Acid Pit

Pros:

  • No attack roll.
  • Medium range.
  • Bypasses SR.
  • The acid deals damage every round, so it could daze your enemy repeatedly. Since they're dazed, they can't climb out of the acid and keep taking damage.
  • Arguably, the save that determines whether the enemy is dazed is the Reflex save to avoid falling in the pit. That is, since the spell normally doesn't have a save against the acid damage on subsequent rounds, you could argue that once someone falls in the acid, they're stuck getting repeatedly dazed with no save. (While I think this is a reasonable RAW interpretation, I probably wouldn't rule that way as a GM myself).
  • Even if your DM allows a save every round, the pit is hard to climb out of. They could easily fall while climbing and have to save again.

Cons:

  • 4th-level spell.
  • Doesn't affect flying creatures.

Other:

  • The acid can damage the enemy's gear, which is good while they have it but bad for claiming it as treasure.

Flame Strike

Pros:

  • No attack roll.
  • Medium range.
  • Half of the damage is "divine", making it very difficult to avoid.

Cons:

  • Not normally a wizard spell.
  • 4th- or 5th-level spell.
  • Doesn't bypass SR.

Ice Spears

Pros:

  • 3rd-level spell.
  • No attack roll.
  • Bypasses SR.
  • Deals both cold and piercing damage, so it can affect most creatures.
  • Can also knock opponents prone, making them easier to hit in melee while they're dazed.
  • -2 save penalty in cold areas.

Cons:

  • Close range.
  • Flying enemies may be out of reach.

Other:

  • The spears remain until they melt and may create cover.

Ice Storm

Pros:

  • No attack roll.
  • Long range.
  • Deals both cold and bludgeoning damage, so it can affect most creatures.

Cons:

  • 4th-level spell.
  • Doesn't bypass SR.

Other:

  • Creates difficult terrain.

Sheet Lightning

Pros:

  • 3rd-level spell.
  • No attack roll.
  • Medium range.
  • Fort save (there seem to be relatively few options that require Fort saves).
  • -2 save penalty if wearing metal armor.

Cons:

  • Low damage.
  • Doesn't bypass SR.

Thorny Entanglement

Pros:

  • 3rd-level spell.
  • No attack roll for enemies inside the main area of effect.
  • Long range and large area of effect.
  • Bypasses SR.
  • Several chances to daze an enemy, since it fires every round.

Cons:

  • Not normally a wizard spell.
  • Uses attack rolls for enemies in the secondary AoE.
  • Can't select out allies.
  • Deals piercing damage, may not penetrate DR.
  • Like entangle, only works in areas with vegetation.

Other:

  • It's not clear whether the save would be Ref or Will. There's a Ref save to avoid being entangled, but the damage works differently.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you please add more spells that are good for dazing people? I don't think that those two will suffice \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17 at 19:20
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I have used dazing Bursts of radiance and it is great!

Pluses:

  • lvl 2 spell
  • 10-ft.-radius burst area of effect
  • instantaneous duration
  • reflex save
  • deals untyped damage

Minuses:

  • only 10-ft radius
  • allows spell resistance
  • doesn't work against non-evil foes

I was playing an oracle and it was a "good vs evil" campaign where the need to be evil to take the damage was actually an advantage since it let me include allies in the area of effect (they still could be blinded though). If yours is less Manichean you may prefer another spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I upvoted this as an interesting variant, but it is stiil too situational. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27 at 21:03
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Flurry of Snowballs

Pros:

  • 2nd-level spell
  • no attack roll
  • no SR
  • Reflex save
  • 30ft cone

Cons:

  • close range
  • Cold damage

Sonic Scream

Pros:

  • 2nd-level spell
  • no attack roll
  • Reflex save
  • Sonic damage
  • 3 chances to daze, as it fires 3 times

Cons:

  • SR
  • small area of effect (15ft cone)
  • close range

Grease

Note: This spell usually doesn't deal any damage, but if you add the Alchemical Power Component "Acid" you can make it deal 1 acid damage per round; this works as a material component to the spell and one dose costs 10gp. Adding the component "Alchemical Grease" (5gp) increases the spell's DC by +1.

Pros:

  • 1st-level spell
  • no attack roll
  • no SR
  • Reflex save
  • Acid damage
  • 1min/caster level duration

Cons:

  • small area of effect (10ft square)
  • close range
  • requires expensive material components (10 gp) to cast
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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sonic Scream is pretty interesting. Since all three blasts come from one casting, I think it only uses one charge of a Metamagic Rod. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben S.
    Aug 13 at 15:03

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