Author Topic: Spellcaster builds  (Read 732 times)

Legacy_Rich J

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Spellcaster builds
« on: July 18, 2010, 02:59:27 am »


               Hey everyone!

I've been playing NWN1 online for about 7 years now. Started out with full Clerics only, then went to Sorc, then Wiz, then Druid, and now, believe it or not, I'm back to Cleric. I know what many of you are thinking---what a boring character! Well, after playing the other "standard" spellcaster classes, I have to say that the Cleric class seems to be by far the best all-around of the standard casters. The base hp of d8 is certainly decent, compared to the mages of d4.
 
I think there should be two types of cleric builds (both straight on all the way to level 40). The type you build depends on the module. In the most recent module I'm playing, there is no option to take the two different domains, so I had to simply pick one of the standard domain mixes (Elementalist, Generalist, Champion of Torm, etc.). The Elementalist or Battle Priest ones are probably the best, because with either of them you get stoneskin. However, in these types of "restricted" modules, a Cleric's offensive spellcasting ability is significantly decreased, as will be explained below. So...it's best to go "melee-based" with this type of Cleric. Focus on melee weapons and melee feats, do 18 WIS and 14 STR go begin with, add 1-2 WIS points later, and the rest should go to STR. This is because for Overwhelming Critical and Devastating Critical, the base STR needs to be 23 and 25, respectively. Once you get to that point, you will basically have a fighter/spellcaster in one class---how can you beat that package? The best offensive spells are 4th: Hammer of the Gods, 6th: Blade Barrier, and 9th (the best of all 9th level spells): Storm of Vengeance. Remember that you can pick the Metamagic Feats Empower Spell and Maximize Spell, to help overcome the crappy offensive spell selection for Clerics.

For either Cleric build, focus on the skills of Concentration, Spellcraft, Tumble, and Discipline, in that order. Spellcraft is important in getting Epic Spells, such as Epic Mage Armor, Hellball, and Epic Warding, all three of which should be taken as epic feats (if your AC is over 50, Epic Mage Armor may not help much). I tried the Dwarven Defender Prestige class with a Cleric, and was not impressed at all. It's basically just more HP, something you can easily obtain with any other character, by boosting your CON with various enhancements found in most modules.

For the other "spell-based" Cleric build, I would strongly recommend the Air and Magic Domains. With the Magic Domain, you get Melf's Acid Arrow and Stoneskin, both of which are very helpful. With the Air Domain, you get one of the most powerful and underrated spells of all: Call Lightning (as well as Chain Lightning later). Call Lightning is a humble 3rd level spell normally reserved for Druids. It's by far the most powerful 3rd level spell, and often more powerful than many higher-level spells, which means you should take the Metamagic Feats of Empower Spell and Maximize Spell for Call Lightning and other offensive spells. Call Lightning has a huge area of effect, and with about 34 WIZ, and level 25 Cleric, I've been able to do 350 HP of damage to many different kinds of monsters, often killing 10 at a time, with a simple, straight 3rd level spell. This is what I was referring to in the previous paragraph---the first type of Cleric build doesn't get the lightning spells, which REALLY help offensive spell capabilities. With this 2nd build, get Zen Archery for your missle weapon (crossbow or bow), point-blank shot, rapid reload if you choose a crossbow, weapon focus, etc. I'd forget about melee weapons---you are going to be a very powerful caster that can also shoot at your opponents. By level 26 you are really going to be kicking some butt. Don't forget to raise your Spellcraft skill high enough to take Hellball and Epic Warding.
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The Druid class has many drawbacks. It seems like a great class due to the polymorph abilities, but the problem is that if you have any enhancement to your WIS score (by rings, etc.), those extra spell slots disappear when you polymorph into a monster. This is a real pain, because losing even 1-2 spell slots for most of your spell levels kind of defeats the purpose of picking a spellcaster to begin with. Also, you can't use heal potions or spells while you are polymorphed, and don't even ask me how many times I've polymorphed, fought monsters until my hp are low, run away from the monsters, hitting "cancel polymorph", and getting a few seconds of lag, after which I'm dead. Not fun! Last but not least, the weapons that a druid can use absolutely suck, especially the missile weapons. I thought that the Druid may also be better than a Cleric because it had more offensive spells, but as you will read below, the Cleric can get around this problem in a couple different ways.

Sorcerers are fun, and it's nice to always be able to cast a spell that you don't have to memorize the night before. For example, if you are a Wizard, you may have one slot for Improved Invisibility. Once you attack something, that invisibility is gone, and you have to rest before it comes again. If you need it again after a battle, a Sorc can simply click on it again, as long as there are available spells for that level. This can be very handy. Also, a Sorc's number of spells, as mentioned in the NWN manual, accumulates faster than a Wiz, and also "peaks out" earlier, around levels 22-26, which means that you can add a prestige class for 10-20 levels without sacrificing much spellcasting ability. The prestige class I would recommend would be the Red Dragon Disciple, if only for the extra ability increases in Strength, Con, and Cha. The breath weapon is not very good at all, and plus by the time you get a decent weapon out of it, you are going to be doing a lot more spell damage anyway.

I would not recommend the Arcane Archer prestige class to mix with the mage classes. You get a +1 attack bonus/level, and with the AA class, you get one every two levels, in addition. So, it's 25% more of an attack bonus total, which is nice, but actually overrated in reality. A lot of monsters are hard to hit if you are simply a spellcaster with an AA class added on, so the extra attack bonus may not really help you hit them anyway. The imbue arrows with the spell Fireball (I assume level 5) is nice for a 2nd level AA, but it's really a base fireball spell from your bow. Interesting, and kinda fun, but on a practical level, it's not significant past (total class) level 20. It only causes an avg. of 15 HP damage. The rest of the AA class perks are not even worth mentioning, especially the mass arrows/number of monsters, since they cause only 5-10 hp damage/arrow. Pretty lame after taking several prestige levels.

For Wizards, I think that the Pale Master prestige class may be the way to go. The first time I tried it, I was disappointed because the paralyzing or death touch arm hardly ever worked (the high HD monsters you fight at higher levels have too high of a saving throw). However, it is nice to get extra HP for a mage (always need that), as well as extra spell slots every other Pale Master level. Also, summoning extra undead is nice, although most of these monsters are not really much more powerful than the standard summon monster I-IX spells. They will die too eventually, and die quickly against strong opponents. They are kind of like a free feat, like Mummy Dust, for example. I would not suggest doing melee with a Pale Master build, even though the manual hints at it. I mean, if you want to do melee, don't pick a mage class, no matter what prestige class you add on to it. Mages are for spellcasting, some missile activity, then running away. Any other action is grounds for dying quickly, unless you have Epic Warding. I've seen in the other forum, that people recommend either 26 WIZ / 14 Pale Master, or 10 WIZ / 30 Pale Master. Probably the first combo is better---I have yet to do either, but I always want to make sure I get good Epic Spells with the WIZ class---after all, what good is being a mage if you can't cast the best spells in NWN?
               
               

               
            

Legacy_pkpeachykeen

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Spellcaster builds
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 04:12:32 am »


               A build I've generally found to be quite powerful is the Ranger/Sorcerer cross. Take a level or two in Ranger to start with, mostly for the 24 HP by level 2 (with average stats). You also get martial weapon proficiency and the ability to use armor if need be.

Now, for the next 8 or so levels, take Sorcerer. Put most of your stat points into Cha to start with, a few into Dex. When you hit level 10, you'll have on average of 60 HP, simple and martial weapons, light armor, and 4-6 fireballs without resting.



Now, at the moment I'm playing one of the funnest characters I have yet to play, both in roleplaying and butt-kicking. She's a slight half-elf, pale skin and dark hair. 10 levels in Ranger, 8 in Sorcerer, 8 in Pale Master. 170 HP, 7 fireballs without resting, 3 graft-touch (I don't remember the name of it), improved criticals for longsword, epic poison resistance. Doesn't need armor (hp and pale master abilities take care of that), with a standard longsword on-hand and Leech dagger off-hand, she gets 17/12/7 and 22/17 attack bonuses. AC of something like 26 nude, saves of 18/15/16, if I remember right. All in all, can walk through quite a few things.

My particular character also has a soft-spot for those who aren't touched by the undead, although she has an odd way of showing it. A missionary of Helm once offered a blessing, saying they helped ease the minds of those suffering the Wailing Death. She quipped that the it didn't really matter once they died, he replied that the blessings offered comfort while dying. She warmly smiled and suggested he learn what he meant, reached her grafted arm out, touched his shoulder and paralyzed him, then ran him through with her sword. In her mind, it was an act of kindness, educating the poor man. A bit of a twisted char, but loads of fun to play. '<img'>
               
               

               
            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 08:18:10 am »


               7 years and you just now came to the conclusion that clerics rule all?  Ill pray for you man!  LOL



On a more serious note, we are looking at moving the old Epic Characters Guild soon, just in case bioware deletes it.  With almost 2000 builds to choose from (if we can get the search engine working!!).  



btw, you cannot have epic warding, epic mage armor with clerics, regardless of the spellcraft score.  Your advice is ok, but not very good for a true cleric.  A cleric is all about power and playing to the strengths of the class.  The cleric, while it has offensive magic, is actually a much better meleer than ANY of the full BAB classes.  How on earth can i say that?  Divine Power.  While having a 20 bab (4 attacks per round) is nice, it works like this 20/15/10/5.  I much prefer the power of a 15bab (at lv 20) cleric with Divine Power giving 20/15/10/20.  See, 20>5!  Figure that in with the strength of a Cleric26/bard4/RDD10 and you get some crazy damage potential (or Dev crit for that matter).



In truth, the very best Domain is Trickery for so many reasons, but Improved Invis is why it is the most popular.  The "spell" domains are ok, but ill tell you, having played every class, but mostly Clerics since 2004 (and i do mean mostly) focusing on wisdom higher than 20 (well, 19 actually) is a collossal waste of stat points.  The cleric is a melee machine and should use spells to SUPPORT that, not as the main theme.



WHat do i mean?  Against constructs, which are crit immune, you can bash away forever and feel like you are getting nowhere, yet with a few Storm of Vengence and FIrestorm properly placed, you are flying through.  I routinely took on 15 at a time and would be done in 2 mins on my previous home server (the Mountain!!).  VS undeads, everyones favs, Mass Heal works amazing.  You also have Undead to death which, using empower, silence, Max spell feats, you can stack in your book for undead areas.  



Having Divine Power with Divine Favor (at lv 15+ gives +5 ab AND +5 damage), battletide, prayer, aid, with Greater magic weapon and 2 Magical Vestments (one on shield and ONE on armor - you must open inventory screen to get them both when casting and click the item).  Not to mention Darkfire..  you get to the +20 AB cap in no time (something that full BAB boys and girls cannot do).  



There is so much more to the cleric.  On the old forums in ECB i did a guide on how to play a power cleric.  



I really hope that, once we get the Epic Character builders guild reformed in a stable place, you come and join us.  There is a WEALTH of info there and we are always looking for new people.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_qaerinju

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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 09:41:50 am »


               

avado wrote...

you get to the +20 AB cap in no time (something that full BAB boys and girls cannot do). 


That ofc is environment dependent, it is true though that in most low to mid magic environments Clerics rock and are extremely easy to play whether you go melee or caster/ranged.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2010, 05:25:39 pm »


               

qaerinju wrote...

avado wrote...

you get to the +20 AB cap in no time (something that full BAB boys and girls cannot do). 


That ofc is environment dependent, it is true though that in most low to mid magic environments Clerics rock and are extremely easy to play whether you go melee or caster/ranged.


Not sure how you figure its environment dependant.  I guess there are some who nerf the cleric, but why would a clerical player play there??

What do I mean?  Well, assume at 20 we have BAB of 15 (20 cleric lvls).  DIv power +5, div favor +5, with a mundane weapon we cast GMW and we now have +5 = +15 ab.  Battletide +2, prayer +1 aid +1 bless +1 = +20 cap.   I played on a pw that had +10 wpns so i only needed div power and div fav.  AND you get fire damage on weapon as well! 

What other class can do the same with AC?  Well, almost!  With mundane FP and Tower, we make +5 shield AND +5 armor.  +5 deflection AC (with the lv 1 spell, forget its name at the moment) = +15 AC.

SO we have a class that, with mundane gear boosts its AB +20 and AC +15 without batting an eyelash.   THen you can really pile on the OTHER boni, imm to neg energy, freedom of movement, etc etc.   

My whole point is, WHY would you take a character like this and play it as a caster only? 

I played what i call a wisdom cleric or caster one time with PRC rules.  MY GOD!  I had high wis +10 DC to ALL spells (heirophant class) and I still struggled.  Made the exact same feat build with 19 wisdom and high strength and all those struggles fell away.  The major secret in nwn is to NOT play a caster cleric and play a melee based cleric (wis 19-20 and high str).  The truly insane thing is, you COULD do a high dex cleric as well, with all the bonus to damage, it could just pass!

btw, i am talking ALWAYS strictly of mundane gear with NO items assumed.  A habit of spending nearly 7 years in the Epic Character builders guild.

Sorry, forgot the ranged cleric!  Yes, i played a ranged caster too.  The thing with ranged is that the gmw does NOT apply to ranged gear.  This means you are capped at 15 plus bow enchant (assume mundane).  Now you use Zen archery and wisdom is high so spell DC are nice.  Funny, i never tried a bow (as i dislike them so) with my PRC caster...  maybe it could have helped!  

ANd the only thing that high magic does to a cleric is free up slots for more damage or what not!  Div power works exactly the same IF you have +20 from gear!  I mean that, yes, you wont get a bonus to AB (or will you?) BUT you will get the bonus ATTACK!  20/15/10/20 !  Which is still better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par avado, 18 juillet 2010 - 04:33 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_qaerinju

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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 06:18:20 pm »


               

avado wrote...

 I played on a pw that had +10 wpns   


Well there you go. Not too hard then to come up with a full BAB character that can buff to the cap.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Shadooow

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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2010, 06:24:26 pm »


               Its still hard, but with +10weapon, paladin20/bard8, or Paladin/CoT 5 lvl more could reach 20 by themselves
               
               

               


                     Modifié par ShaDoOoW, 18 juillet 2010 - 05:24 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2010, 06:35:02 pm »


               

qaerinju wrote...

avado wrote...

 I played on a pw that had +10 wpns   


Well there you go. Not too hard then to come up with a full BAB character that can buff to the cap.


So what you mean is (assume +20 cap is reached by 20 bab boost class and 15 bab cleric) 40/25/30/25 is better than 40/35/30/40?  So, for every round your build swings at ONE full bab, while the gimped cleric gets 2 FULL BAB swings?    Hey, you are correct though.  Pals have like 3 div favs and 2 div powers, compared to when i had my cleric with 15 div favs (normal and extended/silent as you cant extend it.. just spellbook management) and 6 div powers with 80 round duration EACH (they were extended with lv 40 caster), but i can see how your point. 

Yes, there are other classes that can boost AB.  None though, can even come close to matching the cleric over time.  Now, you add in high strength and dev crit...   and it becomes rather silly.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Rich J

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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2010, 01:33:26 am »


               I didn't realize that Divine Power helped after a character has a base 18 strength. And I like the Cleric 26 / Bard 4 / RDD 10 build. I just recently did a Wiz 29 / Sorc 1 / RDD 10 build and it was pretty good. I'm wondering if the Cleric 29 / Sorc 1 / RDD 10 would be as good.
However...I'm running into a little bit of a problem playing Clerics lately. I recently got Windows Vista operating system, and I can't do any of the modules with the CEP add-on. In fact, even the ones that don't have the CEP (usually 2.3) requirement don't have all of the Cleric domain choices, they just have the standard type and 4 others, with the Champion of Torm package. I don't like any of these packages, and I really prefer the Air and Magic domains playing a Cleric.
I started a Cleric with these domains on a module called classic Diablo, and it "saved" them even on Vista, but now if I make a Cleric again on the same server, I can't make it the same way with the same domains I had in the previous character. Any way I can get the CEP downloads or full Cleric domain choices on Windows Vista for NWN1?
               
               

               
            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2010, 12:09:46 am »


               

qaerinju wrote...

avado wrote...

 I played on a pw that had +10 wpns   


Well there you go. Not too hard then to come up with a full BAB character that can buff to the cap.


I am not sure what this means...  i think its pure ignorance on clerics, as per the usual with this class. 

Assume 20 cleric (for this example).  (gmw+5) + (divine fav +5) + (div power +5) = +15.  Which is only 5 short of the cap.

Now a cleric has Bless (+1 ab) + Aid (+1) + Prayer (+1 ab) + Battletide (+2 AB , +2 damage -2 attackers ab) = 5

The cleric can buff damage +5 div fav +2 battletide +fire (darkfire).  THe cleric can buff AC +5 armor, +5 shield, +5 deflection, +dodge (UEF bug). 

There is a comment that wonders if the cler29/s1/rdd10 is as good as wiz/rdd  ROFLMAO!   What do wizards get for melee buffs?   GMW.  Shields...  ?    btw, NEVER use 29/1/10!  Go cleric26/bard4/rdd10. 
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Gruftlord

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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2010, 12:31:41 am »


               in a high magic world a fighter can get to the +20 cap. with haste item he will end up at:(assuming lvl 20 for simplicity, and ignoring magic buffs, since we are all at the cap)



20/15/10/5/20



the cleric will have 15/10/5/15/10





doesn't mean the cleric wouldn't rock anyway, or beat the fighter. but still: in some unreasonable environments the fighter might come out ahead. just telling



oh and btw: wizards get a hell of a lot of buffs.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2010, 03:38:54 am »


               

Gruftlord wrote...

in a high magic world a fighter can get to the +20 cap. with haste item he will end up at:(assuming lvl 20 for simplicity, and ignoring magic buffs, since we are all at the cap)

20/15/10/5/20

the cleric will have 15/10/5/15/10


doesn't mean the cleric wouldn't rock anyway, or beat the fighter. but still: in some unreasonable environments the fighter might come out ahead. just telling

oh and btw: wizards get a hell of a lot of buffs.


Yeah, the wizard can buff all day long and still not hit the broad side of the barn!  LOL

The stat bonus clerics get.  The armors are nice, but clerics can have ss, though II is much better, and a cleric can have both of those if he wanted too.  I like the mantles and wished that my cleric had those (oh wait, he DID!!  I played PRC before i retired so he was PIMPED with ema, warding, mantle, etc).   I know people think that the wiz is a great melee caster, but that is not what it is for.  The wizard has no way to make it hit better than the 10/5 it ends with.  With haste 10/5/10 for the win!  LOL   The BEST melee wizard I ever came across was a high CON dwarf that used the shields as a weapon.  Low AC and HIGH con with PM10 = TOUGH.  BUT, without spells, i wouldnt want to play it.  BORING!  Ever hear of the woodpecker build?  LOL 

Oh, i never compare builds or such at high magic.  Any pw with +20 on one weapon is way to unbalanced for anyone.  To compare at that level is silly.  In Epic character builders we ALWAYS discussed with MUNDANE gear.  The reason?  A build that holds at mundane gear level will be made better with gear, usually (I made a shifter that actually got worse with gear for one reason or another, and it was AMAZING).

Thanks though.  I forgot that 1.68 changed the progression.  Before the cleric with haste and DP was 15/10/5/15/15 which was better than 20/15/10/5/20.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_qaerinju

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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2010, 06:40:30 pm »


               

avado wrote...

The BEST melee wizard I ever came across was a high CON dwarf that used the shields as a weapon.


Why would anyone melee with that? Those are meant to put up shields, spam IGMS, rinse and repeat. The best melee mages are on servers with modified Tenser's or special classes (think Higher Ground for that).
               
               

               
            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2010, 01:51:45 am »


               

qaerinju wrote...

avado wrote...

The BEST melee wizard I ever came across was a high CON dwarf that used the shields as a weapon.


Why would anyone melee with that? Those are meant to put up shields, spam IGMS, rinse and repeat. The best melee mages are on servers with modified Tenser's or special classes (think Higher Ground for that).


Cuz you have NO idea!  I will let you think on it for a few years, cuz i said the same thing.  Remember: MELEE MAGE!!  Wizs dont do melee really well  '<img'>

Nevermind, it takes too much effort to explain.  Go with the gimped melee igms spammer!  (read it slowly)  '<img'>
               
               

               
            

Legacy_avado

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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 03:11:57 am »


               

qaerinju wrote...

avado wrote...

The BEST melee wizard I ever came across was a high CON dwarf that used the shields as a weapon.


Why would anyone melee with that? Those are meant to put up shields, spam IGMS, rinse and repeat. The best melee mages are on servers with modified Tenser's or special classes (think Higher Ground for that).


Again, discussing modified feats or spells in a general NWN forum brings up stuff that isnt part of nwn vanilla.  Like i said many times, the BEST melee caster is a PRC cleric/heirophant/hospitaler (how on earth could you ever worry about a character with Dev crit, EMA (+20 ARMOR ac in PRC), Warding (with 40 caster lvls, or 2000hp of absorb). Storm Mantle, FULL cleric spells, Immune to critical/backstab (with a lv 2 spell), etc.  It isnt even fair, but i dont bring it up here cuz this ISNT the forum for that!  

http://home.comcast....uild306957.html

There was a guy that came to ECB a few years ago who taught me alot about PVP (something i had never cared for).  This is one of his caster types.  It is Sorc, not wizard, but it is a fair look at the topic of melee casters.