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Wild Magic, a Wild Mage class feature (Complete Arcane, p69) states

She reduces her caster level by 3 for all spells she casts from now on. However, every time she casts a spell, her use of wild magic adds 1d6 to her adjusted caster level.

Practiced Spellcaster (Complete Arcane, p82) states

Your caster level for the chosen spellcasting class increases by 4. This benefit can't increase your caster level to higher than your Hit Dice. However, even if you can't benefit from the full bonus immediately, if you later gain Hit Dice in levels of nonspellcasting classes, you might be able to apply the rest of the bonus.

So, my question is, as the title: How do these two mechanics interact?

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As far as I know, this specific question has not been addressed directly through any official channel, so if someone has better information, I'll come back and remove this.

First, let's be clear on what the Wild Magic class feature does. Your caster level when casting Wild Magic, assuming your default caster level would be CL, is CL-2 to CL+3. In other words, a 6th-level Wild Mage could cast a spell as if he were a 4th caster or a 9th level caster, averaging out at between 6th and 7th level caster. This mechanic is clearly designed to give Wild Mage's caster levels that averaged out to close to the same level as their actual caster level, while still introducing a sense of randomness to it, and it even favors the Wild Mage slightly.

Practiced Spellcaster is clearly, through how it is written, designed for multi-classing, so that a character taking it could recover some casting power lost when multi-classing.

If I were a DM faced with this problem, I would assert that the Practiced Spellcaster feat gets applied first, including its Hit Dice limit, then the Wild Magic drop. In other words, a pure Wild Magic spellcaster would get no benefit from the feat. A Wild Mage with a level of fighter, could take this feat to regain the lost caster level, and could take up to four levels of fighter before he started to lag behind in caster level.

I would not allow a pure Wild Magic spellcaster to get a +3 caster level boost to negate the Wild Magic decrease. They already, just by virtue of being a Wild Mage, cast spells 50% of the time as if a higher level than other casters with the same experience. The cost of a Feat for a +1d6+3 caster level increase to all spells seems like something that would break most games.

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The rules are very clear that bonuses and penalties are applied in whatever order is most beneficial to the person who has them. Thus, yes, a wild mage with Practiced Spellcaster can use Practiced Spellcaster to partially undo bad rolls.

I say partially, because this is still a case where a major class feature that you have gone out of your way to get is doing nothing for you. In fact, it’s hurting you, because you had to spend a feat to protect yourself from it. Your own class feature.

Let us be clear: a feat is a huge cost. To give up a feat is a very big deal. The typical character gets seven of them. And the wild mage has given up one to get in (Magical Aptitude is very nearly worthless), and another to protect himself from his own class feature. Far from being overpowered, this is quite underpowered.

Was it intended by the authors? That’s anyone’s guess; they may have been attempting to “reward cleverness and system mastery,” which at least one author claimed was a thing they intentionally tried to do in 3.5. Or it may have simply been an egregious oversight, seeing as both class and feat were printed in the same book.

But it in the end it all works out... well enough. Wild mage still isn’t a great option, but it’s not a complete trap. Without the option of Practiced Spellcaster, however, it becomes an awful choice, and a heavy penalty on the poor player who wants the flavor and therefore feels obligated to take the class. A better option, if you dislike the combination so much, would be to simply ban the class, and potentially find or write a better one. Or simply allow someone to write similar flavor into their character’s backstory and personality, rather than requiring a class on their character sheet. The wild mage is a poorly-designed class and no great loss.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My 3.5 is very rusty, can you point out where I can find the "always applied in most beneficial order" rule? And if that's right, wouldn't that let the feat negate the -3, so that you'd just be adding the 1d6 directly on top of your full CL? CL -3 +4(capped to CL) +1d6 == CL +1d6 \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Mar 19 '15 at 5:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 For the former question, I'll find it latter. For the later, no. Wild Magic adds 1d6-3 as a single entity, not a 1d6 bonus and -3 penalty separately. You can't split therm up. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 19 '15 at 13:01

protected by Oblivious Sage Sep 8 '15 at 0:20

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