In his Design & Development column: Reads Good, Plays Bad, Dave Noonan discussed the DMG's mystic theurge, a prestige class offering divine and arcane spellcasting advancement. Creighton Broadhurst followed up with his advice on the mystic theurge, offering ways to play this prestige class more effectively.
At the end of the article, we asked for your suggestions and input (as well as quizzing you on the origins of the sample mystic theurge "Deggum"--a challenge which remains unsolved!). Here are your takes on the mystic theurge: the strategies, spells and feats employed to optimize this already potent spellcasting prestige class!
It's a Poor Spellcaster Who Doesn't Practice
Many folks wrote in about the one feat they advocated as an absolute must for any mystic theurge: Practiced Spellcaster (see Complete Divine pg. 82). Other feats and advice included the following:
"Any mystic theurge worth his weight should take the feat Practiced Spellcaster at least once. It doesn't bring the caster up to the same number of spells as a pure wizard (but who needs that when you have two spellcasting classes!) or cleric but does give them the extra power that the character lost by multiclassing. If the caster is human then I would even consider taking the feat twice."
"I've found that the Practiced Spellcaster feat to be invaluable. Also, if the theurge has access to the Magic domain, staffs become nasty weapons because half the cleric level stacks with the wizard level."
"I just love taking the feats Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning when playing a mystic theurge. I usually end up summoning high AC creatures that fill in the flanking spaces to help out the fighters and rogues. It is usually possible to keep one around as a bodyguard for my caster."
"It's true that mystic theurges can cast lots of spells, but once combat starts, they can only cast one spell per round. And they will have to make hard choices between healing/buffing the party, and harming the opposition. Quicken Spell can help, but even then their lack of higher spell slots compared to other casters will limit them."
Prerequisites for the Job
Creighton's article also focused on taking cleric/wizard or cleric/sorcerer as the fastest means to qualify for the mystic theurge prestige class. However, folks wrote in for other class prerequisite combos they preferred:
"You only listed the cleric as a divine perquisite, but that's not all. A favored soul/sorcerer combo is effective in a way."
"I think that the combination of shugenja and sorcerer for the mystic theurge is a pretty good character option. Both of the base classes have a large amount of daily spells and, when combined with the theurge, enhances the volume even more."
"As for an interesting combination, I like favored soul/warmage/mystic theurge. This is especially appropriate for a martial deity that focuses on strategy rather than physical combat."
"If you multiclass archivist and wizard you don't need to worry about Wisdom. That, plus a lore master, would just make an interesting class combination."
"The munchkin combo for mystic theurge is not wizard/cleric, it is wizard/archivist (see Heroes of Horror pg. 82). First of all you can (eventually and slowly) learn every spell in the game."
It All Comes Down to the Spells
And finally, there were a number of other strategies and spells recommended:
"Progression: one of the big problems for mystic theurges are on the odd levels--a cleric 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge X is casting spells two levels below their counterparts. Specialization is a good way to overcome the poor number of spells in the early going."
"One thing I find helpful is creating scrolls for commonly used spells; they are cheap to make, don't use a lot of XP, and then my spell slots are left for more useful things in combat, like sleep, doom, and cause fear. One thing about having a level of wizard is that you can scribe clerical scrolls as well, and do not have to use a feat slot to do that."
"Spectral hand can be a useful spell to heal or buff your allies with both your clerical and arcane spells if you're planning on staying back during combat. Then false life and aid combined can give you the temporary hit points you'd need to wade into combat for a turn or two."
"The mystic theurge can take multiple ebon eyes (Spell Compendium pg. 77) as 1st level wizard and/or cleric spells, enough to cast on all your party's melee characters. Then cast either net of shadows (Spell Compendium pg. 147) as a 1st level wizard spell, or darkness (PHB pg. 216) as a 2nd level wizard or cleric. The result is that your enemies have a 20% miss chance and your melee fighters have no miss chance. All done with 1st (or at worst some 1st and some 2nd) level spells. Great tactic, and with a cheap two-wand combo, you can use it in every (lengthy) battle."
In the mystic theurge article, we solicited your feedback on playing this prestige class. This time we wanted to know which prestige classes you would like to see covered in future articles. Just let us know, at: firstname.lastname@example.org -- and also be sure to tell us if there's a prestige class from 3.0 (or even a 2nd edition kit) you would like to see converted to 3.5 as well!
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