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#21 SConrad

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 07:16 PM

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#22 Bluenose

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 10:35 AM

There have been a few new character options introduced since the original NWN2 game, with most of these appearing in the ?Mask of the Betrayer? expansion.

Mask of the Betrayer introduced two new base classes, the Favoured Soul and the Spirit Shaman. They are spontaneous divine casters, able to cast more spells than a cleric or druid but from a limited selection, and could be considered conceptually to have a similar relationship to the cleric/druid as a sorcerer does to a wizard.

The Favoured Soul is the cleric-alternative class. They pick spells from those available to clerics, and they also benefit from superior fighting skills. Their main characteristic for spellcasting is Charisma, which determines the level of spells they can learn and the number of bonus spells they get. However, Wisdom determines how hard the spells are to resist. They gain proficiency with their deities preferred weapon (or rather type of weapon ? a favoured soul of Tempus gains proficiency with all martial weapons, not just the battleaxe) at 1st level, Weapon Focus at 3rd level, and Weapon Specialisation at 12th level. While this makes a warrior-cleric seem quite sensible, they don?t get proficiency with heavy armour by default, although if they obtain it later it won?t interfere with their spellcasting. They do not gain the ability to turn undead, which reduces their overall effectiveness in the original NWN2 campaign and means they can?t utilise the Divine feats available to clerics and paladins. Also, they don?t have the ability to select domains, which means they have a slightly less broad selection of spells to select from than a cleric and won?t gain any of the domain powers. They do get a certain amount of energy resistance, at high levels they gain the ability to cast haste and a significant amount of damage reduction, and their saving throws are excellent.

With a favoured soul character you are probably looking at someone who acts as a front line warrior more than anything else is. Your limited range of spells is less of a problem, but depending on Charisma for what you can cast and Wisdom for how hard the spells are to resist means you?ll often see spells fail to fully affect their target. It?s probably more useful to concentrate on spells to help yourself and other party characters, and here the extra spells you can cast compared to a cleric mean that you can repeatedly use spells such as Divine Favour and Bless to increase your effectiveness. For a LG favoured soul multi-classing into paladin is a very effective way to increase the characters effectiveness. A favoured soul has to have high charisma, which helps with the paladin?s ability to smite evil, lay on hands, and divine grace, while the paladin gives proficiency with heavy armour and with enough levels turn undead. Some of the same abilities are available to (evil) Blackguards, while Fighter or Divine Champion is also possible. Warpriest is another effective option, and increases the character?s spellcasting as well as their fighting prowess.

The Spirit Shaman is an alternative to the druid, but with very different special abilities. They pick spells from those available to druids. Their main characteristic for spellcasting is Wisdom, which determines the level of spells they can learn and the number of bonus spells they get. However, Charisma determines how hard the spells are to resist. Unlike druids they don?t gain the ability to transform into various types of animal, though their combat skills in human form are very similar. They do gain numerous abilities related to spirits, of which the ability to Chastise Spirits can damage a wide range of creatures quickly if they are of the right type. Their other special abilities can be useful, including an equivalent to Raise Dead at 11th level. Their saving throws and skills are nearly identical to druids.

A spirit shaman is probably best suited to supporting other characters as a spellcaster. The druid spell list contains numerous damage-dealing spells which the spirit shaman can use effectively, though they probably won?t be fully effective quite as often. Alternatively it?s possible to make a character who functions primarily by summoning creatures to aid the party, or to cast buffing spells, though the variety to do this effectively is somewhat lacking. Since a Spirit Shaman is most effective as a spellcaster, multi-classing is of limited effectiveness unless the class you move into has full or nearly full spellcasting abilities.



New prestige classes

There are five prestige classes added in the MotB expansion, one of which was cut from the original game. Three of these give full spellcasting abilities and one of the others has eight levels in a ten level class. This helps fix one of the main complaints about the original game, the lack of good prestige classes for spellcasters, although clerics aren't well served and warlocks still lack anything. Only one of the classes is intended for non-casters.

The Arcane Scholar of Candlekeep is a prestige class intended for wizards, sorcerers and perhaps bards. Hit points, saving throws and skills are very similar to those of a wizard, and you advance your spellcasting as if you remained a member of your original class. You gain two free metamagic feats (Maximise Spell at 1st, Quicken Spell at 5th), improve the saving throws of party members against spells, and gradually become able to use your metamagic feats with less effort. At 3rd level you gain improved empower spell, which makes your empowered spells use up a spell slot only one level higher than the spells actual level rather than two, and you make similar improvements to Maximised and Quickened spells. While these are powerful abilities which are certainly superior to those of a wizard or sorcerer of the same level, you pay for them in the requirements to enter the class. Empower Spell is a feat most arcane casters will probably want to learn, but Skill Focus in both Concentration and Spellcraft is much less useful.

The Invisible Blade is the only prestige class in this expansion not intended mostly for spellcasters. It adds a certain amount of combat prowess to for rogues and ?light? fighters, with the character operating most effectively with no armour and wielding weapons such as daggers or kukris. There?s a reasonable range of class skills, though not comparable to a rogues, but the class is designed to enhance your ability to use the Feint feat in combat. It might be an interesting option for a character aiming for the Duellist prestige class, or for a multi-classed fighter/rogue.

The Red Wizard is the second arcane prestige class in the expansion. Like the Arcane Scholar it is very similar to a wizard in terms of skills, saving throws, etc. You are required to be a non-good specialist wizard to enter the class. You gain full spellcasting progression, two bonus Metamagic or Item Creation feats, and several enhancements to your spellcasting abilities both with your specialist spells and in general terms. This is certainly better than a wizard of comparable level would gain. As with the Arcane Scholar the greatest drawbacks are the entry requirements. Specialist wizards are at a slight disadvantage anyway, you have to be human, non-good, able to cast 3rd level spells, you have to have an item creation or metamagic feat and the feats Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration. The spell penetration feats are no use a lot of the time, only really coming into play when particular types of enemy are around, and only then if you cast spells directly at them. You also lose access to another school of magic, which can hurt a lot depending on which it is. It's particularly bad for Illusionists and Enchanters, who lose access to the Abjuration school. You do retain any spells from that school that you already know, which makes it worthwhile waiting a few levels to enter the presitge class if there are particular spells you want.

The Sacred Fist seems to have been intended for the original game, since files remained in the game that covered the class. It?s an interesting hybrid of monk and cleric (druid, favoured soul, or spirit shaman). You gain eight levels of spellcasting from the ten level class and also several abilities that help you fight better while unarmoured or lightly armoured and unarmed. An interesting alternative would be a monk/paladin combination, gaining some interesting abilities at various levels. A Favoured Soul with an appropriate deity (such as Ilmater) would also be able to enter the class, and might not want to take the monk levels.

The Stormlord is a prestige class intended for divine spellcasters. It?s probably best suited to clerics or favoured souls, though druids and spirit shamans could also take it. In Faerun the class is restricted to clerics of Talos, but the game makes no such restriction. The requirements include the ability to cast 3rd level spells and the feats Toughness, Great Fortitude, and Weapon Focus (spear, throwing axe, dart or shuriken). Hit points, skills, and BAB are similar to a clerics, and the class gains full spellcasting progression in their previous class. The primary benefits apart from the spellcasting are resistance to electricity, several powerful enhancements to your weapon if you use a spear or thrown weapon, and one bonus spell at 10th level. The biggest weakness is that a spear is a two-handed weapon which doesn?t do as much damage as most others and thrown weapons are not usually as effective for a character with a low dexterity, which is true for most clerics.



Other new character options.

There are six new races in MotB. The Wild Elf is tougher but less intelligent than other elves, and is effective in most classes other than wizard. The half-drow is mechanically almost identical to a normal half-elf, but has some in-game reactions to their race. The Genasi are planetouched beings like aasimars and tieflings, but instead of beings from the upper or lower planes have elemental beings in their ancestry. Air Genasi are good as rogues, wizards, and fighters. Earth Genasi are excellent fighters and barbarians, and can also make better than average monks. Fire Genasi are suited to most classes that don?t require high charisma but are perhaps best as wizards. Water Genasi are tougher than most races and solid in most classes not requiring high charisma.

There are a few other new abilities available for characters too, including a few spells, warlock invocations and clerical domains. Of the spells the most useful are some of the Mass version of various spells, most of which relate to buff spells (Mass Bull?s Strength, etc.); there's also the Vigor series of spells which are actually more effective as healing spells than the cure spells of the same levels; while all spellcasting classes have picked up a few useful spells. There are nine new cleric domains: Chaos, Cold, Darkness, Dream, Law, Luck, Time, Undeath and War.

Probably the largest part of the new material is the epic level extension. All I can really say is it looks balanced, though there's quite a few differences from the PnP version.

Back from the brink.

Like RPGs? Like Star Wars? Think combining the two would be fun? Read Darths and Droids, and discover the line "Jar Jar, you're a genius".

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#23 Lord Ernie

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 02:28 AM

Your descriptions of the Favoured Soul and the Spirit Shaman are solid, except that the FS has a bug in it; both bonus spells and cast DC's are determined by Charisma, so that you can build a perfectly working FS with 11 Wisdom to start with (I recommend an 18 or 20 in Charisma, depending on your race), boost it up to 19 with a +8 item, and cackle gleefully at your woefully overpowered character, capable of casting 9th level spells at their highest DC. Cheezy, I know :).

As for the Prestige Classes, I'd like to add the following:

The Arcane Scholar is simply amazing, especially for Sorcerers, since IMO they gain the most from metamagic (spontaneous casting is nice). The requirements are steep, true, but the Scholar packs better skills (diplomacy as a main skill is great for the OC), and the two nearly useless feats (the Skill Focuses) get given back to you by the free metamagic feats (albeit Quicken Spell isn't all that great) and the saving throw bonuses. The best thing, though, is being able to fling Improved Empowered Horrid Wiltings (1.5 * 25d6? Yes, please) and Improved Maximized Delayed Blast Fireballs and Spell Mantles.

The Invisible Blade: I haven't tried one as of yet, but when I review the class description, I just can't seem to see the use of it. Feint as implemented just isn't all that hot, and 5 levels of IB means a -3d6 for a minor bonus on base attack and a few questionable abilities. The AC bonus might be relevant for a high-int rogue, but even then I'd say it's just not worth it.

The Sacred Fist is very, very good. I played it with an Aasimar Monk/Cleric/SF (in hindsight, human would've been better because of the XP penalties), who rarely if ever got hit (AC 60+ tends to do that), let alone hurt (time domain -> Premonition), and whose Sacred Flames ability added a whopping 20+ damage to each unarmed attack.

The Storm Lord I haven't really tried, but it sounds very good for a warrior/cleric, and gives you an option of either going melee (spear), or ranged (throwing weapons); full spell progression classes are always interesting.

Edited by Lord Ernie, 07 November 2007 - 02:29 AM.

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#24 Bluenose

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 02:57 AM

Your descriptions of the Favoured Soul and the Spirit Shaman are solid, except that the FS has a bug in it; both bonus spells and cast DC's are determined by Charisma, so that you can build a perfectly working FS with 11 Wisdom to start with (I recommend an 18 or 20 in Charisma, depending on your race), boost it up to 19 with a +8 item, and cackle gleefully at your woefully overpowered character, capable of casting 9th level spells at their highest DC. Cheezy, I know :).

As for the Prestige Classes, I'd like to add the following:

The Arcane Scholar is simply amazing, especially for Sorcerers, since IMO they gain the most from metamagic (spontaneous casting is nice). The requirements are steep, true, but the Scholar packs better skills (diplomacy as a main skill is great for the OC), and the two nearly useless feats (the Skill Focuses) get given back to you by the free metamagic feats (albeit Quicken Spell isn't all that great) and the saving throw bonuses. The best thing, though, is being able to fling Improved Empowered Horrid Wiltings (1.5 * 25d6? Yes, please) and Improved Maximized Delayed Blast Fireballs and Spell Mantles.

The Invisible Blade: I haven't tried one as of yet, but when I review the class description, I just can't seem to see the use of it. Feint as implemented just isn't all that hot, and 5 levels of IB means a -3d6 for a minor bonus on base attack and a few questionable abilities. The AC bonus might be relevant for a high-int rogue, but even then I'd say it's just not worth it.

The Sacred Fist is very, very good. I played it with an Aasimar Monk/Cleric/SF (in hindsight, human would've been better because of the XP penalties), who rarely if ever got hit (AC 60+ tends to do that), let alone hurt (time domain -> Premonition), and whose Sacred Flames ability added a whopping 20+ damage to each unarmed attack.

The Storm Lord I haven't really tried, but it sounds very good for a warrior/cleric, and gives you an option of either going melee (spear), or ranged (throwing weapons); full spell progression classes are always interesting.


Ah, when I tried the Favoured Soul I didn't really look at the offensive spellcasting, so I didn't notice the bug. I really should have, but I was looking at the class mostly as a warrior-priest option and not using offensive spells. Since I'm running through the Pools of Radiance mod with one I'll have to take a look.

Arcane Scholar certainly looks like an excellent option for Sorcerers, but I'm not convinced it's much help for a wizard. Diplomacy is excellent, in fact all the interpersonal skills can be very useful, but it's too hard for a wizard to get them at a high level - though taking one level of perhaps Rogue and the Able Learner feat makes it more practical. But with a wizard at least you'll get two bonus feats over the ten levels anyway, and I think there's better options than Quicken Spell and Maximise Spell.

Sacred Fist does look excellent. What sort of split did you take between Monk and Cleric levels? And would you recommend it with Favoured Soul instead of Cleric? There's at least one diety (Ilmater) with unarmed combat as their favoured weapon, so FS would benefit from that.

Funnily enough when I was looking at Stormlord the thing that leapt out at me was a Mystran FS or perhaps Cleric using the Shuriken. While it doesn't do much damage by default, add feats like Rapid Shot and some of the divine spells that enhance combat for bonus damage, then combine with the Stormlord's energy enhancements for some really hard hitting missile power.

Back from the brink.

Like RPGs? Like Star Wars? Think combining the two would be fun? Read Darths and Droids, and discover the line "Jar Jar, you're a genius".

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.


#25 Lord Ernie

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 03:30 AM

Yeah, Arcane Scholar on wizards doesn't look all that great. They implemented it as a sort of weak Archmage class (IMO though, it resembles the Incantatrix, which I would've preferrred), hence the two skill focuses. I'm still going to try a Wizard / Red Wizard / Arcane Scholar build one day :).

The problem with my Aasimar build was that I couldn't break Cleric and Monk levels apart, since it would've given me an XP Penalty. I started out as a level 20 character (Monk 5 / Cleric 5 / Sacred Fist 10). It's very well possible to get your cleric levels high enough to get to 9th level spells (you'd need an extra 4 levels for that) or even CL 20 (extra note: take Practiced Spellcaster), or if you prefer hitting things, just boost your monk level to get to level 11 (improved Flurry of Blows). If you want both, you can get to Monk 11 / Cleric 9 / Sacred Fist 10 at level 30.

As for using a Favored Soul, I wouldn't recommend it, since the FS has Charisma as its primary statistic... hardly important for a Sacred Fist, and you miss out on the twice primary Wisdom goodness; what's more, you don't get any domains, which can hurt pretty badly. You could try a pure FS/SF build without monk levels, though... not sure if that'd be any good. I'm guessing they'd have more spellcasting going on (though at lower DC's), but they wouldn't hit quite as hard as a hybrid Cleric/Monk build (although Weapon Specialization(Unarmed) helps out a bit).
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#26 Bluenose

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 07:15 AM

Aasimar have Paladin as their favoured class, don't they? That does make it hard to use Cleric/Monk. Could you do something with Warpriest, perhaps? Something along the lines Cleric4/Monk4/SF10/WP2. You'd still have the same spellcasting but a better BAB and more hit points. I don't think the requirements would be too hard to reach.

Yes, a Monk/FS/SF was what I was thinking of. You're quite right though, you need really high charisma and good Wisdom, Constitution, Strength and Dexterity to make a really workable character, and that's probably impossible. And the loss of Turn Undead is bad because you have the Cha to make use of Divine Feats but no access to them. I suppose a straight FS/SF might work best. Very powerful spellcaster compared to a version with Monk, but not as much fighting power, which rather reduces the point of the Sacred Fist levels. A FS doesn't need to do this, they already fight better than most clerics anyway.

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Like RPGs? Like Star Wars? Think combining the two would be fun? Read Darths and Droids, and discover the line "Jar Jar, you're a genius".

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
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And took their wages and are dead.


#27 Tempest

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 08:07 AM

I'd like to offer my thoughts on something you didn't mention in your guide-the idea of favored enemies for rangers. The bonuses can really start to add up at higher levels, especially if you improve them with feats. What favored enemies you take really depends on what you're playing-if you're on a PvP server, taking races like humans and elves is a good call. For the OC, however, you should take Undead, Humans, and Outsiders, in that order. If you're mainly concerned about MotB, Fey is another strong option-maybe sub it for Outsiders. Outsider is generally a good favored enemy pick anyhow-they tend to show up in most modules and are usually pretty tough. Ditto for Elementals, which are another strong pick.

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#28 Bluenose

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 02:50 AM

I might go Humans first and Undead second for the OC, but that depends slightly on whether you want your benefit early or late.

For other modules or PWs Human, Undead and Outsiders are good choices, but there are others. Personally I like to take Giant early on. Ogres and trolls qualify, and they are often around from quite low levels. At high levels when the bonuses really begin to stack up it makes fighting true giants a lot easier. If the game is heading towards the Underdark I'd probably want Aberrations, but otherwise they aren't a common enemy. In a low level or wilderness based game Animals are a good choice. And certainly for PvP Human and Elf are far more likely to turn up.

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Like RPGs? Like Star Wars? Think combining the two would be fun? Read Darths and Droids, and discover the line "Jar Jar, you're a genius".

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.


#29 Kellen

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 08:19 AM

After seeing this I really want to make a Sacred Fist. And an Arcane Scholar.
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