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I'm making a Beguiler 1/Wizard 4/Ultimate Magus X. Using the practiced spellcaster feat, I can make sure that levels 1 and 4 of UM count towards my wizard class. However, at level 7 of UM, the increase in class spells would need to be used on the beguiler class. So, instead of going Beguiler 1/Wizard 4/Ultimate Magus 7, I'm thinking of going Beguiler 1/Wizard 4/Ultimate Magus 6/Beguiler +1. That way, when I take Ultimate Magus 7, I can apply it to my wizard side.

My question is, if I do that, does that mean I would be increasing my Beguiler class level to 2 (gaining cloaked casting and surprise casting), but would be gaining the spells equivalent to Beguiler 6?


In-depth description of how Practiced Spellcaster and ultimate magus interact

Since there seems to be some confusion on this point:

Practiced Spellcaster “tricks” ultimate magus into advancing the class you don’t take it in, even if that class would otherwise have more advanced spellcasting.

Normally, ultimate magus advances the class with the lower level at 1st, 4th, and 7th. But “lower level” is defined by caster level, rather than your effective level in that class for spellcasting, which means that even though you are a Beguiler 1/Wizard 3, your beguiler caster level is 4th, higher than wizard’s 3rd, when you choose to take your first level of ultimate magus. Therefore, it advances your wizard spellcasting, even though wizard spellcasting is mostly more advanced.

This means Practiced Spellcaster does affect maximum spell level, spells per day, and spells known for an ultimate magus.

After taking that level of ultimate magus, which advances wizard spellcasting but not beguiler spellcasting (but grants a +1 caster level bonus to both), your caster level for beguiler is 6th (1 class level, +4 from Practiced Spellcaster, +1 from Arcane Spell Power), and your caster level for wizard is also 6th (3 class levels, +1 from ultimate magus level, +1 from Arcane Spell Power). They remain even until Ultimate Magus 4, at which point (because the caster levels are even) you get to choose. You choose wizard, so it pulls ahead.

So by the time we we go to apply the 7th level of ultimate magus, we have the spellcasting of a 9th-level wizard at caster level 11th, and the spellcasting of a 7th-level beguiler at caster level 10th. Therefore, ultimate magus would “pick” beguiler for us.

The question is, since ultimate magus would “pick” beguiler anyway, is it better to take another level of beguiler at this point, getting its class features, and then ultimate magus can advance wizard spellcasting instead?

And if I do this, which beguiler class features do I get, those of Beguiler 2 but with the spellcasting of Beguiler 6?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @c-square There seemed to be some confusion over how Practiced Spellcaster and ultimate magus interact for answerers here, but you seemed to understand this so it made more sense to me to “clarify” the question than to explain what you already know in an answer, so I edited that in. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 25 '15 at 12:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you define "better" (ie., how important are Cloaked Casting and Surprise Casting, and keeping up Beguiler spellcasting, vs. maximizing Wiz spellcasting)? \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Jul 25 '15 at 21:11
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Bottom line up front: there are many options here, but I don’t think a second level of beguiler is the best of them.

The best answer, undoubtedly, is to be an illumian with Power Sigil (Krau), which gives another 2 caster levels’ worth of a “Practiced Spellcaster”-like effect for beguiler, allowing you to continue advancing wizard spellcasting with all levels of ultimate magus.

Barring that, we’re looking at what beguiler 2nd offers versus other options that yield the same spellcasting.

If you took another level of beguiler, you would get the class features of beguiler 2nd (cloaked casting, surprise casting), and it would progress your beguiler spellcasting (so if you took it after those levels of ultimate magus, just before UM 7th, that would be the spellcasting of a 6th-level beguiler, yes).

Then ultimate magus 7th could (and would) advance wizard spellcasting, so you end up missing only two wizard spellcasting levels, for the two beguiler levels, which is the same as if you had just gone straight forward with ultimate magus (since ultimate magus 7th would have advanced beguiler anyway, barring Power Sigil [Krau]).

Assuming some wizard-advancing prestige class X, the comparison is this:

1st-level beguiler/4th-level wizard/10th-level ultimate magus 10/1st-level X

With the spellcasting of a 14th-level wizard and a 12th-level beguiler

vs.

2nd-level beguiler/4th-level wizard/10th-level ultimate magus

With the spellcasting of a 14th-level wizard and a 12th-level beguiler

Since the spellcasting is even, the question really becomes: is what you get from X 1st better than what you get from beguiler 2nd? Cloaked casting and surprise casting are not that impressive, so for many values of X, the answer is yes: X 1st is better than another level of beguiler.

You could have your cake and eat it too, to an extent, by entering as a 2nd-level beguiler/3rd-level wizard to begin with, but this means your wizard spellcasting is behind when it doesn’t have to be, even though it evens out with the other options at ECL 12th. If you were starting that high, or very close to it, that might be worth it. You can also go with 1st-level beguiler/3rd-level wizard/1st-level X as entry, where X doesn’t advance either of them. You give up a level of beguiler spellcasting (but in the end that is the difference between the spellcasting of an 8th-level beguiler and a 9th-level beguiler; no big deal), but you can pick up all kinds of juicy things with a level (cloistered cleric is probably best, because domains are amazing).

The other option is to cut your losses, and just stay a 1st-level beguiler/4th-level wizard/6th-level ultimate magus, with all additional class levels being in prestige classes that advance wizard spellcasting. The spellcasting of a 5th-level beguiler isn’t really worth a lost level of wizard spellcasting, though.

Finally, just perhaps worth mentioning: Nar demonbinder is a prestige class with its own spontaneous spellcasting, of 4th to 8th level spells. It can also include your wizard levels as part of its caster level, giving it a huge built-in buff to caster level that, with Practiced Spellcaster, means that all ultimate magus levels advance wizard spellcasting. This is a pretty sweet class for an ultimate magus, but massively different flavor and only comes into its own at high level. And it relies on Charisma, while the beguiler/wizard is Int-SAD.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – c-square Jul 26 '15 at 4:30

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