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Loremaster vs. Olin Gisir

   
Loremaster vs. Olin Gisir

So I'm playing a sun elf wizard in a Forgotten Realms game. I'm super attached to the character (put in way more backstory effort with him than with other characters, even made info about his family members/lineage). Right now he's level 9 (with 4 levels of Harper Mage). He originally intended to become a Spellguard of Silverymoon but story reasons (and me just changing my mind) changed that path.

Going forward I'm torn about what else to take (we're only allowed up to 2 PrCs). I'm thinking either Loremaster or Olin Gisir (which is an elf-specific Loremaster found in Lost Empires of Faerun book). The two are functionally almost identical (and I kind of wonder if one or the other served as the template for the other which presumably came later).

The basic differences are prereqs and some class features. Both can be entered by level 8 (irrelevant for me); Olin Gisir's feat requirements are Iron Will and two metamagic feats (while Loremaster is 3 MM or item creation feats).

The Olin Gisir does not get the Lore, Greater Lore or True Lore abilities, instead getting "Ancient Knowledge" (scaling bonuses to Knowledge Arcana and History, UMD checks and bardic lore checks if you already have that ability). However, Olin Gisir does get the ability to cast Augury 3/day as an SLA and also adds either Dispel Evil, Good, Chaos or Law and Holy Word, Dictum, or Word of Chaos to his spellbook.

He also gets 1 less Loremaster secret (total of 4), but he has a somewhat different Secret list that is more specific (+4 to search checks, +2 to AC and saves from evil outsider attacks, SR 20 vs. enchantment, Trap Sense +2, an item creation feat and a metamagic feat are the interesting ones)

Both OG and Loremaster have the same HD, BAB and saves (same as wizard). The biggest knock against OG for me is fewer skill points (2/level instead of Loremaster's 4/level) and shorter skill list (same as wizard). Pros of OG I think are some more interesting secrets and the expanded casting, while Loremaster gets better divination abilities (and stacks for bardic lore).

Role-wise they're basically the same, but I like OG for fluff reasons because they're specifically elves who want to keep dark things away from the world (particularly from fallen elven empires).

Anyone have any thoughts between the two? I'm kind of 50/50 right now.

Well, in the spirit of being helpful with advice... let's analyze the mechanics...

COSTS:

OG- Requires Iron Will and Two MM feats
vs
LM- Requires 3 MM or IC feats plus skill focus You missed a requirement

Iron Will is one of the worst feats in the game (skill focus isn't much better), but wizards get an Item Creation feat for free in the form of Create Scroll which nullifies part of the Loremaster's cost.

So 3 feat tax (one of which is terrible) vs 4 feat tax (one of which is terrible, but one you get for free). Pretty much dead even here. Loremaster (barely) wins because of (slightly) greater versatility for applicable feats.

FEATURES:

OG- Secret, Ancient Knowledge, Augury, Dispel Alignment, Holy Word/Dictum/Chaos, 4 Secrets
vs
LM- Secret, Lore (all versions), 5 Secrets

Both: Secret. Really, the only Secret worth the price of admission is "Applicable Knowledge" which grants a bonus feat. In essence reducing the feat tax of Loremaster to 3 (or 2) feats. If OG has that, then you can ignore this. The other stuff is lackluster at best.

Lore loses to Ancient Knowledge until you get to the capstone ability to use Legend Lore and Analyze Dweomer... but by that time, any wizard who wants those spells has them, already. Though due to not actually casting the spells, simply gaining the effects, you don't have to pay for the components or foci.

Similarly... Augury can be grabbed by any wizard at lvl 3... well before you can hope to qualify for OG at all. It's not a strong spell at all when you get it via OG- though if OG bypasses the material costs, that's kinda nice.

Dispel Evil and Holy Word (or equivalents), on the other hand, are kinda awesome. If you can rely on your enemies to be a particular alignment (aka- evil), then these spells are both versatile and powerful even after you've gotten higher level spells. Plus they're not things you normally see in a wizard's spellbook. Only problem is you've gotta get pretty close to the enemy to make them matter, and that's a bad scene for a wizard who's not built around it.

Still... winner by a landslide: Olin Gisir.


Skill points probably aren't a big problem for a wizard, who's going to sink everything he has into Int, and thus reliably has 6+ skills per level. Plus spells that make most skills superfluous at best. But point goes to Loremaster, even if it's a minor one.

Effective Bardic Lore... it will never catch up to your level anyway, so mostly useless.


The question ultimately comes down to "would I trade a feat and two skill points for Holy Word?" The answer is 'maybe'. Certainly if you're building your mage to be a front line combatant, Olin Gisir is the superior class (though there are better), and if you're building to be a backline skillmonkey, then Loremaster is superior.

Depending on what the OG's Secrets look like. I don't have the book, but if you aren't getting a bonus feat from OG... well, Holy Word and Dispel Evil might be worth one feat, but there's no way in hell they're worth two.

The problem with UMD is it's a heavily GM-dependent option. If you have the sort of campaign world where street vendors sell lvl 5 scrolls, then it's insanely powerful. Otherwise... not so much...

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of skills like that- and I think they're all rogue skills- but the difference is that people *know* rogues are there to be sneaky and bypass traps, so adventures are designed to give them something to do... while even a lot of published adventures never gives UMD a chance to be relevant.

The only magic items you can be sure you'll have access to are ones you make yourself, and if you can make it, you already qualify for using it. Except for some fringe cases like magic horseshoes.

To be honest, it's largely a wash. Olin Gisir has a more specific flavour and so long as that fits your character it feels more interesting and less generic than Loremaster, and I'd probably make my final decision based on that seeing as, mechanically, they are quite similar.

The Olin Gisir has the edge over prereqs (LM can use item creation feats instead of metamagic but the OG only needs two and gets to enter with Iron Will rather than Skill Focus). However for a Wizard this is a wash since you (normally) get Scribe Scroll for free at L1. Skill point prereqs are a teeny bit worse, but there's no requirement to learn a whole bunch of divination spells (but as a Wizard, that hardly matters either). For other non-Wizard classes I'd definitely give this to OG but it's less of a deal here.

The Loremaster gets more secrets but, well, most of these aren't that great. You're probably looking at a feat, +1 to AC, and +2 to all saves. Lore is pretty eh given that you've likely maxed most (all?) of your Knowledges, Bonus Language is super-useful, Greater Lore is probably useful (but comes online quite late), likewise True Lore is a free SLA so doesn't hurt, but don't write home over it.

The main place it wins is the skills - 2 extra per level and a better list (including UMD).

Olin Gisir gets Ancient Knowledge which I like - but is less useful without UMD as a class skill - and free Augury 3/day. Nice. The bonus spells are kind of underwhelming. Holy Word can be very nice in some situations but, again, I don't think it's really enough to settle the decision. You only get four secrets and you can't pick any feat, but the flip-side is that you can get two feats. One item creation, one metamagic, and then... what, +2 to Will and Fort? Or maybe +4 to Search? If you actually want an item creation and a metamagic, this looks better than Loremaster even with it getting more secrets. Otherwise, use the flexible feat.

Interestingly with OG, you may plausibly meet the prereqs anyway in which case taking 1-2 levels is not a big burden and gives you a fair deal of stuff.

I dunno... for a limited-list (e.g. spontaneous) caster, especially one who already has UMD as a class skill, OG looks way more attractive... but for a Wizard, I don't see that there's much in it.

From a glance, I like the Olin Gsir's flavor more, and it interacts nicely with Harper Mage's Harper Knowledge. That's rather like having ranks in Knowledge skills, so the skill point difference is probably a wash. Further, if your GM allows it, you can buy Iron Will for 2,500gp as a Magical Location effect. Some don't, but, it's a great option to lower the feat tax entry if you can.

Plus, it shortens to OG which is just gravy.

IIRC it's 3k, but it's still super-cheap if it's allowed (it almost always isn't though, in my experience, for obvious reasons). But Iron Will is still a better prereq - it's probably more useful than a bonus to a Knowledge skill and it's a prereq for more other things (such as Reserves of Strength and other PrCs). There's excellent synergy both thematically and mechanically with Incantrix, for example.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. I think I'll go with Olin Gisir, mostly for the flavor, considering he is an elf from an old family and who has gotten involved in lots of Olin Gisir-ish stuff anyway. And I like the sort of holy flavor with the additional spells. The loss of the (Greater/True) Lore and some skill advancement kinda sucks but I think the tradeoff (cool spells added, some more interesting Secrets) is worth it.








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