Advanced Guide to Neverwinter Nights 2 Character Builds. Version 1.0 - Initial Revision. Version 1.1 - Added Pokey and Thuggie builds with minor edits. Version 2.0 - Added a large build section! Version 2.1 - FINAL VERSION. IMPORTANT NOTE: This guide still seems to be getting a lot of hits, but is outdated, and has a few errors Ive corrected in the new version. I highly recommend you check out the Mask of the Beholder version, since all my updates occur there. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- This guide is now a complete manual for creating your own builds. It tries to show you the tools you have available for making builds, and explains how they can fit together. The guide now includes a complete walkthrough of making a specific character along with thought processes behind it. In addition, it is a repository of various builds which I have found to be solid for Neverwinter Nights 2... or at least the best of their type. These builds are usually powergamer types, and typically have several mechanisms that make them superior to other similar ones, which I will explain. These are based on my NWN1, D&D, and NWN2 experience, as well as persistent world forums that I was active in during NWN1. I have tested all of these builds and in some cases talk about the differences between the NWN2 version and NWN1 equivalents, if any. For a beginner, the best way to use this guide is to look through it, and try out any build(s) that may interest you. An intermediate approach is to examine each build and learn why particular combos are chosen and then modify a build to their liking. Read the specifics on how to make a build and learn. An advanced player may just look through and ick up a few new build ideas. Once you have picked a build, TEST IT! The best way is to go to NWN2vault and download a trainer module. Alternatively, you can start a new campaign/module and do this: Hit ~ key to bring up console. type DebugMode 1 (which enables commands) type givexp 250000 (which gives you lots of XP) Hit ~ to disable console. Table of Contents: ------------------ I. Introduction to Character building II. The Rules Explained III. Choosing Stats, Race IV. Weapon Selection for warriors: Dualwield, 1h+shield, 2hander? V. Scaling explained. VI. Class Overviews. VII. Putting it all together. VIII. Complete Sample Build Methodology IX. Builds A) Bruiser. Bard1/Fighter4/RDD10/FrenzBers5 B) Shooter Bard3/Rogue4/Fighter4/Arcane Archer9 C) Tricky Wiz6/Rogue3/PaleMaster1/Arcane Trickster10. D) SuperSorc Sorceror18/Paladin2 E) BadBard Bard16/Fighter1/Blackguard3 F) Reaper. Fighter8/WpnMaster7/FB5 G) Shiftey Druid18/Monk1/Cleric1 H) Dodgey DeepGnome Monk16/Duelist4 I) Kamakaze Cleric13/Fighter6/Monk1 J) WizWar Wizard8/Fighter2/Eldrich Knight10 K) Thuggie Fighter4/Rogue3/Blackguard10/NWnine3 L) Pokey Fighter8/Duelist10/Monk1/Wizard1 M) SuperSaver Cleric15/Paladin2/Blackguard2/Warlock1 X. Copyright, Contact Info. I. Intro to character building ------------------------------ This guide is meant to teach how to multiclass properly to make a "build" for Neverwinter Nights 2. It is meant to be used in tandem with the build repository later in this guide, and is intended to break down how I come up with these builds. The character system is very complex, and I provide rules and suggestions to break it down into building blocks. The guide has several sections. First, I go over some basic rules for multiclassing. The next section is a breakdown of ALL character classes, including generally how many levels of each class to take, and why this is so. The third section talks about synergy, and how to choose classes that work well with each other. Finally, I give a discussion of why some builds work better in worlds where more powerful items are found, and how to adjust a build to these worlds. A build is nothing more than 20 levels of different classes taken together in a specific order, with certain stats, feats, skills mixed in. In general, you can exclude MOST skills from your build, as they are usually not all that important to the actual build. In other words, the build is not overly influenced by your skills one way or another whether you take diplomacy or healing. In my builds, I show recommended skills, but these are very dependent upon how and where you are playing. Some servers practically require Spot to avoid pickpocketers, whereas others are in love with locked unbashable doors and chests. The large variety of skills and applications is why we can exclude most skills. There are some important skills that are specific to a build and are usually prerequisites for some prestege class. II. The Rules Explained ----------------------- This section goes over the rules, or general guidelines that I follow when creating a new build. Later on I will apply these when we create a new build. a. Rule of Four --------------- The first rule is the RULE OF FOUR. Classes with a medium Attack Bonus (AB) give the character +1 Base Attack Bonus(BAB) on every level except the 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th. Hence, in most builds you will see people take these classes in FOURS. In any case, you will almost NEVER see 5, 9, 13, or 17 levels in such a class. This rule is irritating as in many cases, that 5th,9th,13th,17th level can provide some strong benefits, as you will soon see. For example, a monk gains Spell Resistance at level 13 instead of 12 like it is supposed to. RDD gets blindfight at 5 instead of 4. Assassin gets improved invisibility at 9. You will see many other such annoying examples as you work on builds. Note that this rule is ONLY applicable for characters that plan on fighting at all. Pure casters typically disregard this rule. Also note that low-progression classes gain 1 BAB ONLY on even levels. So, a 8Wizard,2fighter,10Eld Knight has a 16bab, whereas a 7wiz,1fighter,10ek,1PM only gets 14! This rule is one that limits splash classes. For example, a 17warrior, with 1 bard for an aura, 1 cleric for domain bonuses, and a single rogue level for skill access and 1d6 sneak would have a 17BAB instead of a 20BAB. This makes it less attractive to toss in 1 level of those classes. On the other hand, a 17fighter with 1barbarian for faster move and rage, 1 ranger for favored enemy, and 1 dwarf defender for 1AC and stance would still have a 20BAB. (Yeah, I know the alignments aren't compatible...) b. Rule of Highest Class Favor. ------------------------------- The second thing to examine is XP penalties. This is how it works. Look at the highest level class. Compare the highest level class to EACH other class. For every one that is more than 1 level apart, apply 20% XP penalty, which is cumulative. Example: 5cleric,1monk,1fighter = 40% XP penalty! There are a few exceptions fortunately. First, ALL PRESTEGE CLASSES are exempt. They are treated as if they do not exist for XP penalty purposes. So a 5cleric, 1assassin, 1 blackguard = 0% XP penalty. Secondly, there is the "favored class" for each race. This class is also eliminated from consideration completely. Here are examples. Assume a 8 rogue,4fighter,4monk,4druid. If we play a halfling, rogue is their favored class. Therefore the game reads the character as having 4fighter,4monk,4druid. Works great with 0 XP penalty. What if we played a dwarf? The class is seen as a 8rogue, 4monk, 4 druid, which is a 40% XP penalty. Oops. This leads us into the rule... The RULE OF HIGHEST CLASS FAVOR says that if you have more than 2 main classes (i.e. not prestege classes since they are immune to XP penalty), you want your HIGHEST level class to be the favored one. A note here is that humans always have their highest level non-prestege class as their favored class. This means that they always get maximum benefit from favored class. There is never a case where having a dwarf's fighter favored will ever be better than human's favored class ability. Half-elves also gain this ability, but are a pretty weak race that I never consider for character building. c. Rule of Initial Skill Boost ------------------------------ Our next concept is that Class Order Matters. The 8rogue,4fighter,4monk, 4druid example used previously will be our example. We will start out with our next rule and go from there. The RULE OF INITIAL SKILL BOOST states that you usually want the class with the most and most useful skillpoints or skill access taken at level 1. At level 1, skillpoints are multiplied by 4. Hence, assuming no INT modifier, a 1st level rogue gets 32 skillpoints. A first level fighter gets 8, and a monk gets 16. Clearly, you would want to start with the rogue. Remember also that at level 1, you can put 4 points into a skill, since they are capped at CharLvl +3. If nothing else and you wont have enough skillpoints later on, you can at least pick up 4 points in several useful skills like open lock, spot, UMD, etc. d. Rule of Weaving Class levels for Optimum skill access. --------------------------------------------------------- Skill access is another reason for taking levels in certain orders. In our example, you would not want to take all 8 rogue levels, then 4 monk, then 4 fighter, and 4 druid. As such, your 1st 12 levels would have access to rogueish skills, but after that they all cost TWO points per skill-up. Let's back up for a minute. Normally, 1 skill rank up cost 1 point, IF it is a class skill. Open lock for rogue for example. If it is a cross-class skill, it costs TWO skillpoints to get +1 skill rank. In addition, you are CAPPED at 1/2 the normal value rounded down. A 3rd level druid can get 6 concentrate, but only a 3 in Open Lock since it is not a class skill. 7th lvl druid can have 10 concentrate, and 5 open lock. There is 1 more wrinkle though. If you have EVER had access to a skill as a class skill, then you can always get the full capped value for that skill, although it may be a double cost. As an example, taking 1 rogue, then 19 cleric lets you put up to 23 points in tumble, open lock, and other rogue skills that clerics do not have class skill access to. However, the cleric will have to pay TWO skillpoints per rank. Since clerics only get 2 base skillpoints per level, you can see how this would not work out so well. This leads to our next rule, which is the RULE OF WEAVING CLASS LEVELS FOR OPTIMUM SKILL ACCESS. Using our example, the player would want to ensure those 12 rogue levels are interspersed such that you can carryover points and spend them during rogue levelups to get the skills as cheaply as possible. Conversely, this allows you to use the monk and druid levels to crank up your heal skill. Hence, you level up different skills during different class level-ups. e. Rule of weaving class levels to avoid XP penalty. ---------------------------------------------------- Now, we cover the RULE OF WEAVING CLASS LEVELS TO AVOID XP PENALTY. In our example, the worst possible place to be is to have 3fighter,1druid,1monk with how ever many rogue (assuming halfling so rogue is favored). This gives you a 40% XP penalty, and is totally unnecessary. All you have to do is simply keep all the non-favored, non-prestege classes within one level of each other for 0 XP penalty. f. Rule of Highest Gain class order ----------------------------------- Next up is the RULE OF HIGHEST GAIN CLASS ORDER. This indicates that you want to level up the classes in the order that is most useful for character growth. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of contradictions even in itself. Lets look at a cleric16/fighter4 build. So what order do you do things in? If you put 4 fighter early on, you get 3 feats and early wpn spec access. However, you severely limit cleric spell progression. Taking fighter late means no improved weapons/feats for a long time. So you compromise and take 1 cleric at 1st level, then 1 fighter at 2nd level to get the wpn feats and 1 free feat. Then, take say 11 cleric to get most of the useful buffs, then take 3 more fighter, then finish up with cleric. Question: So lemme get this straight... you want me to make a 8rogue, 4monk,4fighter,4druid and make sure to keep the minor classes within one level of each other? AND, also weave them to make sure I can maximize the right skills that I want? AND take the most useful class up front? Answer: Yep. As you can already see, the rules contradict each other. We will address this in the rule of tradeoffs. g. Rule of Caster 16ish. ---------------------- Next up is the RULE OF CASTER 16ish. This rule states that if you are making a character that primarily casts spells, then you want them to have as high of spell access as possible. A bard gets his 6th level spells at level 16. A warlock is at 15. A sorceror gains 9th level spells at 18. A wizard gets them at 17, as do clerics and druids. Paladins/Rangers get their max at 15. At the least, you want 16 caster levels so you can use Practiced Caster feat to give them 20 caster levels FOR the purpose of damage and duration only! So 16 should be a minimum for offensive casting. Many buffs max out at level 20, which is doable with 16 caster levels and the practiced caster feat. (example: Magic Vestment, Greater Magic Wpn) Let's say you are making a wizard. You need to retain 17 base caster levels to keep access to 9th level spells. This gives you 3 levels of wiggle room. If you take Palemaster, every even level costs one of these 3 wiggle levels, because Palemasters only get a casting level on ODD levels. So a 13wiz,7PM is effectively a 17th level caster and has 9th level spells. With practiced caster, you cast as a 20th level caster. However, you do NOT gain SPELL PROGRESSION as a 20th..only a 17th. Still, you only lose out on a few 9th level slots, and pick up some nice AC bonuses from Palemaster. A 10wiz/10PM may be tempting, but would be crippled to 15 caster level, or 8th level spells maximum, with a casting level of 19 maximum for damage. h. Rule of Warrior 16BAB ------------------------ There is also the RULE OF WARRIOR 16. This states that you want a Base Attack Bonus of 16 or higher for any character that attacks with weapons on a reasonably regular basis. A 15BAB means 3 attacks. +15/10/5. Getting just ONE more BAB results in a 4th attack, or 16/11/6/1. With appropriate bonuses, this can turn into 36/31/26/21 easily. Obviously, a 4th attack is a very good thing. This is why a bard5/RDD10/fighter5 is horrible... it has a 15BAB, whereas a bard4/rdd10/fighter6 has 16bab. i. Max's Maxim of Maximums -------------------------- Our next rule is MAX's MAXIM OF MAXIMUMS. This states that you only want to take an optimum number of class levels to gain the major benefits. For example, taking 3 fighter is a bad idea. This is because the 3rd level does not get you anything. It is 1 past the 2 feats for 2 levels mark, and falls short of wpn spec access. Take 2 or 4 but NOT 3 if you can help it. Similarly, 20 fighter is a loser. This is because all those feats are overkill and just not necessary. By 12 fighter, you will be taking some real garbage feats since you have ran out of useful ones. WHEW! As you can see, there are a LOT of rules to keep in mind. Not all apply for a specific character of course. These rules tend to work against each other, and it is up to you to follow as many rules as possible and decide which ones are most important. It all comes down to a lot of compromise. III. Choosing Stats, Race Stats: This is how to add stats to your builds. You get 32 points to spend. All values ASSUME HUMAN. Racials scale as appropriate. (For half orc, 17STR written here = 19 STR for you) 1) You generally have 1 main stat. For platemail warriors it is STR. For most rogues it is DEX. Casters use WIS,INT,CHA depending on their class. Set your main stat to 17 (or 19 with racial advantage). This allows you to add +5 to it as you level up and wind up with an even number. It costs 13 points to do this. 2) All platemail users set their DEX to 12. This gives +1AC which is the max allowed with full plate. You can skimp on this value in most cases if you can get an item or buff to make up the difference. 3) Casters will probably go 14DEX. 4) ALL characters want 14 CON, which costs 6 points. You rarely have enough points for higher, but do not want to skimp either. 5) Your WIS,CHA are DUMP-STATS for most builds. Leave them minimized. Sure, it affects a few skills but not enough to matter. 6) INT should be 10 for humans, 12 for others. This gives a +1skill per level bonus. Depending on the base skillpoints for the build, this may go up or down. 7) You usually wind up with 1 leftover point. It will go like so: -- If you are DEX-based or caster, add it to STR for more carrying capacity. -- Add 1 to get 13 dex if you can get dodge feat. -- Add 1 to get 13 Int if you can get Disarm or Imp KD feat. Choosing Race: In most cases, I select Human as my race of choice. This is for several reasons. -- They effectively get +2 INT for non-wizard/duelist builds due to their bonus skill point per level. -- The bonus feat is anywhere from nice to really important. A build with few feats or that does a lot (mage/warrior hybrids) will find this especially valuable. Not only do you get an extra feat choice, but all your feats are Bumped up some, so you benefit from them earlier. One bonus feat is worth about 2 stat points in my estimation. -- Favored Class allows funky builds with less or no XP penalty. For spellcasters that are primarily interested in casting offensive spells and maximizing their spell DC, consider the classes with natural bonuses in that class' attribute. This means Aasimir, Drow for CHA-based sorcs,bards, and warlocks. Sun Elf, Drow for INT-based wizards. Deep Gnome, Aasimir for WIS-based clerics/druids. Warrior types that are STR-based will want to consider Half-orc. The CHA loss is usually not a problem, although the INT loss is unfortunate. For stat-heavy builds (cleric/fighter,etc) human is better. For most builds, the loss of INT is easy to overcome and the +2STR is worth it. I don't recommend Wood Elf since I dislike losing CON, even though they are a better value by adding STR and DEX. DEX-based types will want to consider a small-framed class. They add a free +1AB and AC due to size. The new halfling is a great value as his free feat is better than "lucky" most of the time. Deep Gnome is always a strong pick, ONLY IF you have some resources to help you level up. Such as lots of magical items in storage, buddies, etc. That gets you the best possible character at 20 thanks to the extra +4AC and spell resistance, in addition to standard small-character bonuses. IV. Weapon Choice for Warriors: Dualwield, 1h+shield, or 2hander? ----------------------------------------------------------------- This is a pretty common question and the decision is usually made randomly, based on gut-feel, or personal preference. Here is the SHORT VERSION: -Warriors with great strength and/or frenzied berserker go 2hander. -Warriors with castable abilities or big damage boosters go 1h+shield, since they get shield benefit when casting (when wpn dmg is irrelevant) -Warriors with high DEX go dualwield. -Dualwielding becomes stronger as static bonuses increase. These are things like divine favor, bardbuff, wpn specialization, higher enhancement weapons, weapons with elemental damage. Anything that boosts damage per hit. Here comes the LONG VERSION: Onehander and Shield obviously provides a large amount of AC. Up to +7 when a +5 heavy shield is obtained. This can be helpful or not, depending on the situation. Lets look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios. Monster hits you normally on a 13/13/18/20 per round. With +7AC shield, that becomes 20/20/20/20. The cumulative toHit chances went from 35+35+10+5 = 85 to 5x4=20. Clearly you can see that you will take approximately one FOURTH the damage by wearing a shield. This is a best-case analysis. Worst case would be where the monster has a 60/60/55/50 and you only have a 30AC, so you get beat up no matter what. This is extremely unlikely however, only happening vs a few party-only boss-monsters. More likely is the case where monsters have a 30/25/20 and you have a 50AC already. Cranking it up to 57 does not buy you anything at all. You can usually expect a shield to reduce your damage taken by about 50% in most situations. There are some exceptions though. 1) If your foes include casters, then having a shield is irrelevant. Only doing damage is more important. 2) If you are not being actively attacked and the monster is beating on your wizard buddy, then a shield is not helpful. On the other hand, if you are casting a spell or using an item/ability, then your DAMAGE is irrelevant. In this case, the shield is very very useful and much better than either dualwield or 2hander. Two Handed Weapons provide a damage bonus. The bonus however only comes from three possible sources. Hence, it is not always a good idea to sacrifice shield for a 2hander. Note that 2handers are better at Disarming due to increased weapon size. 1) Base Weapon Damage - A greatsword does 2d6 or 7 average dmg. Compared to a longsword with 4.5 this grants 2.5 extra damage per hit. 2) 50% more STR bonus. For every 2 points of STR damage done, add 1 bonus point from 2handed. 3) Power Attack - Gains +6dmg instead of +3 for 1handed. This makes power attack much more useful for 2handers, since they gain double benefit. Note that frenzied berserker pumps this to +10 or +12 even. Improved power attack doubles the penalty and benefit on top of that. Dualwielding adds lots of extra attacks. You must have a 19dex to get all 3 bonus attacks, with 17 needed for 2, and 13dex for just 1 decent attack. Therefore, only DEX-based characters should dualwield. ALL attacks get at least a -2 penalty, plus the need for extra feats taken. An important note on dualwielding is that the offhand attacks are at 50% STR penalty. In other words, bonus damage from STR is cut in half. It is therefore dumb for a STR-based warrior to take a penalty to all 4 base attacks, and sacrifice the 150% STR bonus on 2handers, just to gain 1 extra attack at 50% STR value. Dualwielders with little STR bonuses gain 3 bonus attacks, basically increasing offense by 67% (4 attacks to 7), or 60% with haste (5 to 8). This does not factor in the -2 penalty of course, since that becomes complicated. Suffice to say, that dualwield results in a large offensive gain. Dualwielding is ideal for any character with big static bonuses, such as heavily enchanted weapons or sneak attack. Let's run some examples: Feel free to skip this section as it is mathematical. Assume 3 characters. X is a cleric with 22STR, 13DEX Y is a frenzied berserker with 42STR (RDD, max enhancement), 13DEX Z is a shortsword-dexfighter with 10STR, 34DEX Weapon is a longsword/greatsword with +5 and 1d6sonic. base wpn dmg = 4.5longsword +2wpn spec(assume 4 fighter somewhere) +5wpn +3.5sonic +STR bonus = 15 +STR. X uses divine favor for +5dmg and Battletide +2dmg X 1hander = 28 damage x5 = 140 and +7AC X 2hander = 33.5 damage x5 = 167.5 X dualwield = 28 dmg x5 + 25offhand = 165 -2 hit penalty. Y uses frenzy and normal power attack, with level5 enhancement from FB. Y 1hander = 36 dmg x5 = 180 +7AC Y 2hander = 51.5 dmg x5 = 253 Y dualwield = 36 x5 + 23 = 203 -2 hit penalty. Z 1hander = 14 dmg(shortsword) x5 = 70 +7AC Z 2hander = N/A, since not finesse-able. Z dualwield = 14 x5 + 14x3 = 112 -2hit penalty. If we gave everyone +10 weapons with 7d6 (24.5) elemental damage, X 1h = 54 x5 = 270 +7AC X 2h = 59.5 x5 = 298 X dw = 54 x5 + 51 = 321 Y 1h = 62 x5 = 310 +7AC Y 2h = 77.5 x5 = 387.5 Y dw = 62 x5 + 54 = 364 Z 1h = 40 x5 = 200 Z 2h = n/a Z dw = 40 x5 + 40x3 = 320 I am too lazy to run the calculations with minimal weapons, but we can draw some conclusions easily enough. 1) You can see that as static bonuses (Wpn Spec, enhanced wpns, bonus wpn dmg, etc) are increased, the benefit they get from 2handed is reduced, and benefit from dualwield is increased. 2) Weaker weapons and lower stat bonuses greatly reduce dualwield benefits and improve benefits of 2handed. V. Scaling. ----------- This section is an overview of why certain builds are used on particular worlds, based on scaling. It is intended to give a feel for what build to use, for a particular server. Feel free to skip to the builds section. There are many modules for NWN, some with mighty magical items, and others with weak items. Each server is different, but I will classify them as low to high magic worlds. My median point would be the NWN2 Original Campaign, with +5 equipment, and up to +8 or +10 stat items. Low magic servers tend to favor casters, and certainly encourage party buffing. To compensate the monsters(mobs) usually have higher magic resistance, or hit softer but have lots of hitpoints (so more spells are needed to kill). In some cases, the ability to rest and recover spells is limited. The high magic servers make warrior types much more powerful, since they can acquire items that grant tons of immunities and make many spell buffs redundant. Some of these servers do the opposite and allow resting often, and/or make really hard to hit monsters that are vulnerable to magic. You will discover that some builds do really well with more powerful items, while some do not. I will explain why this occurs here. First, we discuss weapon scaling. Our baseline is a keen scimitar. It has a 30% crit (15-20), and does +100% extra dmg. Its normalized value is then 130%. That means, a typical fighter gets about 130% out of his weapon, when you average out crits. A weaponmaster however makes that a 13-20 (40%), and does +200% dmg. So the wpnmaster has a wpn value of 180%. This is why many high magic servers are dominated by weaponmasters, because they gain a lot more oomph out of the really high end weapons, and +STR items. Another factor is number of attacks. A strange monk/wpnmaster dexfighter is weak on a low magic world. Those 9 kama attacks seems strong, but when each one only hits for 10 damage it is not so effective. Add super weapons and tons of +STR and all the sudden those 9 attacks are very powerful! This is why Haste and similar bonus attacks such as from dualwielding are so strong on higher magic worlds. On the defensive end, dex-based characters really shine on high magic worlds. Normally, a warrior in full plate and 12dex has 19 AC, plus any shield. Extra attribute pumps will not affect this warrior's AC. The monk/wpnmaster with 22dex and 14wis has 18AC (excluding other bonuses). Basically, he barely breaks even on low/mid magic worlds with weaker items. However, imagine the same char on a world with easily accessible +12 stat items. With +12 wis and dex, the base AC rises to 30! Let's look at static buffs. These do NOT scale well. The cleric with divine favor gets some amazing capabilities on low/mid magic worlds. Tons of great buffs including +5dmg from divine favor, and automatic +5 wpns and armor with buffs. However, these are less powerful on higher magic worlds. Example: cleric with +5 buffed wpn and +5div favor does great damage as opposed to a wpnmaster with +1 weapons on low magic worlds. On the high magic world, the +5 wpn bonus is redundant, and the +5dmg from div favor isnt so strong when wpns are +10 and hit for 4d6 elemental. In this case, the weaponmaster crit bonus that multiplies weapon damage is stronger than a static +5 buff. Barbarians really get the shaft. If they can get +12STR/CON items, there is no point in Raging...its just an AC debuff! Casters are similarly affected. When weapons hit for 20 damage, those 20d6 polar rays and chain lightings are impressive! When warriors do 200 damage in 1 round, then the same spells seem rather lacking. VI. Class Overviews (still under construction) ------------------- This section reviews every class, and explains in general, how many levels one might wish to take in the class, and why. a) Fighter - An excellent class that is taken for free feats, and access to weapon and armor feats, including tower shield for defensive types. The class is rather front-loaded and most builds take 4 or less. 1: Wpn/Armor proficiency +1 free feat. Casters may take this. 2: 1 extra feat for only 1 extra level. 4: Access to weapon specialization for +2dmg per hit. This is the most popular choice for taking fighter. 8: An unusual choice except for wpnmasters or dualwielders. Access to Greater Wpn Focus for another +1AB is nice. 12: Very very rare except for dualwielding wpnmasters, with access to Greater Wpn Specialization for another +2dmg per hit. NEVER take more than 12 fighter! You should never need THAT many bonus feats and can get a lot more out of using other classes instead. b) Paladin - A weak base class with some casting ability. Fortunately, the high level spells are quite strong. Note that your casting level is ONE HALF of your pally level. Practiced Caster can add 4 effective levels though. Example: lvl16 pally with Prac Cast has a casting lvl of 16/2 +4=12. Pally is more often splashed by cha-based casters. 1 level in paladin is worthless. 2: Taken for CHA bonus to saving throws. Very common among high CHA chars such as warlocks, sorcs, bards as it gives them armor feats as well. 4: Gains turn undead which gives access to Divine Shield, Divine Might feats. YOU MUST take the 4th pally level on a feat-giving level to get access!!! Most go with 3 blackguard instead for the same benefit. 16: With Practiced Caster(pally) you have a level 12 casting level. This gives divine favor of +4 bonus, and you can get Holy Avenger. Rarely taken, it is typically used with a high CHA warrior that uses Smite. Ranger - Another weak base class with limited and mostly useless casting. Remember that their casting level is 1/2 of their ranger levels, and their animal companion is similarly gimped. They get less HP than other warrior classes, but gain many more base skillpoints. They are similar to a fighter/rogue multiclass in one base class, and their favored enemy becomes exponentially better as they level up. Note that their archer,duelwield feats do NOT work in medium+ armor. However, they do have excellent skillpoints per level. 1: Favored enemy. Weak. 11: Gains Improved Rapid Shot or Greater 2wpn fighting. This is handy for STR-based warriors that do not want to have to get 19 natural DEX for the dualwield. Then, use a mithril chain shirt (light) and a DEX item to retain decent AC. Free Evasion doesn't hurt either, as does +3 to 3 favored enemies. 17: Hide in Plain Sight - Great ability, but 17 levels in ranger seems excessive since they have no sneak attack to really take advantage. Monk - Monks have three purposes. First is a melee fighter, which means lots of monk levels. Second is a kama fighter, which can mean anywhere from 1 to 16 levels. The third is to add a big AC bonus to unarmored characters. Monks have High saving throws for ALL THREE TYPES! 1: Big AC bonus from Wisdom. Flurry of Blows, and Kama usage. Typically taken from shapeshifting druids, and sometimes from dexfighters or unarmored mage types and even clerics on high magic worlds. 2: Adds deflect arrows and Evasion. 12: Gives Greater Flurry for 2 bonus attacks at no penalty! +2 free AC, and improved monk speed. 16: Solid unarmed damage, spell resistance, +3 AC, even better monk speed. This level is common for unarmed fighters that want a 16BAB for another attack.. i.e. 16monk/4fighter = 16bab, and comes with admantite weapon penetration ability. Cleric - An excellent class that works well as a warrior type or a caster. Clerics can use Warpriest to gain more caster levels, which is often done if focused on fighting. Otherwise, they are splashed since even a level 1 cleric gets 2 domains with appropriate abilities. 1: Mainly the 2 domain feats. These include -- toughness (earth) -- uncanny dodge (air) -- evasion (water) -- 10% movespeed (travel) -- feint (trickery) Also, a few minor long-lasting spells like Protection Alignment or Endure Elements. 8: With prac caster, allows +4ab/dmg via divine favor and access to divine power to raise BAB to 20. Usually a paper-tiger build since the buffs are low duration and not a lot of them. 13: Just enough to get persistent divine favor for permanent +5ab/dmg bonus. Very strong with Practiced Caster to get the full bonus. 16: Gains 8th level classes, satisfies the caster rule of 16, where pract caster pumps casting level to 20. Used in conjunction with 4 warrior levels to bump BAB to 16. 17+: 9th level spell access. This is pretty rare to multiclass if taking 17 levels already though, as 16c +2warpriest is a better bet for warrior type clerics to get the 16bab and 9th lvl spells. Druid - A good class that is similar to cleric. Gets a free pet, wildshape, and decent buffs through spells. It would be very rare to see low levels of druid taken, since cleric would buy a lot more. Most druid goodies are found at higher levels. 5-8: Wild Shape - Quite rare. Only used to burn Wildshape to get Elephant Skin for immunity to crits by a defensive warrior type. Druids also get a buff that makes one immune to knockdown for 1 round per lvl. 12: Dire wildshape. Tempting for fighter/monk/druid that optimize wildshape for offensive fighting (16bab). 16: With 2+ warpriest, get 17 caster levels and satisfy Rule of Four. Good for a warrior-druid. 17,18,19: Elemental wildshape with 9th level spells. Usually takes 1 monk to gain a lot of free AC. 20: Elder elemental shape. Huge ele with monk level is much more effective, so only a pure caster druid would hit 20, and then avoid wildshape. In other words, elder elemental form is a waste. Rogue - Just about any number of rogue levels are taken, with exception of 1,5,9,13,17. Rogues get bonus feats at 10,13,16,19. Even levels usually do not provide anything and thus are only taken to satisfy rule of 4 (BAB), as Odd levels provide the sneak attack damage increments. Rogues give 8 skillpoints per level and are taken at level 1 if possible for maximum skillpoints. 1: ONLY gives access to skills, 1d6 sneak. not used much due to -1BAB. 3: Gives 2d6 sneak and evasion. A solid choice. 4: Gives uncanny dodge and helps satisfy rule of 4. 7: 4d6 sneak. rarely taken, as it gobbles lots of levels, but does not quite make it to the point of getting free rogue feats. 11: 6d6 sneak PLUS a free rogue feat like improved evasion. 15: 8d6 sneak, with 2 rogue feats. 16: Adds a 3rd rogue feat, and helps with rule of 4. Solid choice with 4 warrior levels to get the 16BAB for an extra attack. Bard - A good base class that gives solid bonuses evenly throughout its levels. The bard has decent spell progression with a lot of buff-type spells, but rather few good offensive choices. Bards get short range auras that buff buddies and their most powerful ability is the Curse Song, which is a hugely powerful debuff that maxes out at level 16. These usually mean the bard is included in warrior type builds. Bard spells are best used to buff and not offensively. In fact, my bards usually wear platemail and only cast before combat to buff. The best bet is to take 1 level or 16. 1: Used for skill and RDD access by warrior builds. +1 ab/dmg aura is nice too, and this is a very popular choice. 2-4: Gives a few 1st level spells. Rarely used. 8: The +ab/dmg aura goes up to +2. Gains a few other useful auras and spells, but takes up a lot of char levels for not much benefit. 16: Maximum curse song power, 6th level spell access, strong auras. This is the most common with 4 warrior levels for 4 attacks (16bab) It is also the best choice as curse song is awesome for a warrior. 18: Gains a good shortterm bardsong. I wouldn't ever go 18 bard though, unless maxing at 20bard. That is not a great idea either. Barbarian - A so-so base class. Arcane Archer - The only useful attribute of this class is the enchanted arrows. Every odd level, the arrows gain +1AB and damage. Note the damage is not shown on the character screen! AA has a high AB, so any number of levels may be taken, with heavy emphasis on the odd levels. The prereqs are rather steep, so only a dedicated archer would ever take any levels in AA. If so, you should take 9 levels if possible. Blackguard - A good class with several nice advantages. The 5 hide is a rather stupid prereq, so take note of that. BG is taken by casters and warriors alike. They get a lot of abilities, but there are only 3 that are significant. Most of their good abilities are front-loaded and obtained early on. After 4, there is little reason to level BG. 2: wpn/armor feats. +CHA Save bonus! Taken by warlocks, sorcs, bards since they can get extra utility out of their high CHA which they need anyways. 3: Turn Undead, which gives Divine Shield access. Divine Might is also available, but generally much less useful than Shield. Be SURE to take your 3rd BG level on a FEAT level (9,12,15,18) to get Shield/Might access. 4: adds 1d6 sneak on top of other stuff. Useful for rule of 4. i.e. 16bard/4bg for 16bab. 7: 2d6 sneak. 10: 3d6 sneak. Both 7,10 are rarely used. Frenzied Berserker - This class is taken by warrior builds that wield 2handers and/or hit really hard. The main ability is to gain a bonus attack through their frenzy. It is actually lousy with -4AC and a STR bonus that does not stack with any items. Hence, one needs to hit hard to make that extra attack worth it. Supreme cleave is only useful if you hit hard enough to get the killing blow most of the time. It is a very front-loaded class. 1: Frenzy and Toughness only. Rarely taken. 2: Adds Supreme Cleave. 5: Free immunity to deathmagic when frenzying. Also, improves power attack a lot! For a -3ab penalty, it adds +10 damage per hit. This is the most commonly taken level point. Any more points is usually wasted, as increased frenzy is rarely useful, and extra +2 from power attk is not worth 5 more levels. Red Dragon Disciple - RDD is a very strong prestege class with annoying requirements. It is clearly a warrior-only class, but requires spellcasting in order to qualify. This means that almost all RDD builds are bards. They gain AC bonuses that stack with EVERYTHING, plus attribute bonuses that act as if they were naturally part of the character. In other words, the +2INT gained provides spell access (if any) and gives a bonus skillpoint on level-ups. 4: +2AC, +4STR for only 4 levels and -1BAB is a great deal for warriors that need lots of other levels such as weaponmasters. 8 should NEVER be taken since it provides not much more than level 4. 10: The standard, comes with immunities, and a huge stat boost of +4STR, +2INT,+2CON,+2CHA, and another 2 points of AC. Warpriest - With moderate requirements, this is a useful but narrow class. The main and really only advantage is that it lets clerics or druids that are more warrior specced to gain 17 casting levels for 9th level spells, WITHOUT having to actually take 17 cleric/druid levels and thus cost them their 16BAB. The higher levels of warpriest are very useless. You will either already have the spells, and they have no duration. Do not bother with Inflame, since its duration stinks. It is not worth the effort. 2: 16cleric/druid +2WP +2whatever allows 16bab and 9th lvl spells. Plus you get a passable aura that always works. 4: Not recommended. Sure, it gets you 1 whole extra 9th lvl spell. But, going 2WP and 2 of something else is MUCH more beneficial. 6: Once again, theoretically possible but not a good idea. 7+ Anything past 6 costs you your 9th lvl spells. Wasn't that the whole point of taking warpriest? Dwarven Defender - This class is quite strong at epic levels. For 20 capped, I am not overly impressed. Still, it is not a bad class even though it is somewhat limited. Requires dwarf obviously, and a 13DEX for dodge prereq. 1: +1AC that stacks and the Defensive Stance. The prereqs generally mean you will take more than just 1 level though unless a caster. 2: Adds uncanny dodge. Well worth it for a dex-based character. 4: Another +1AC. Rule of 4 makes this a good stopping point. 6: Gain 3 damage reduction and improved uncanny. 8 levels gains not much new. 10: DR goes to 6, and you get +4AC. Wizard - Standard arcane casting class. Requires 17 caster levels to get 9th level spells. High INT means lots of skills, and is a good candidate for a rogueish multiclass for very high skill access, especially with Able Learner feat. One level of a warrior class may be taken to gain weapon and armor feats. Generally, you want to take even numbers of wizard levels if you plan on fighting at all. Don't forget your free feats every 5 levels. There is no set number of wizard levels typically taken. They can gain casting levels through the following: -- eldrich knight (1 for 1, except 1st level) -- harper scout (3 cast levels for 4 harper lvls) -- Arcane Trickster (full casting, 1 for 1) -- Pale Master (every odd level) Just make sure you take practiced caster if you multiclass, so that your spells get the full damage and effect. ?: Varying number of levels taken. Sorceror - Second arcane casting class. CHA based, which is not very useful at all. They gain no free feats and have weak skillpoints. They typically multiclass by tossing in either paladin, blackguard, or warlock to get a big saving throw bonus. In addition, pally/BG or even 1 level of cleric is enough to gain access to Divine Shield. This is an amazing ability for surviving tough fights. Note that you must have 18 sorc casting levels to use 9th lvl spells! ?: Once again, due to the other 4 classes that can provide spell levels, there is no set amount of levels typically taken. Arcane Trickster - This is an unusual combination of rogue and mage. Wizards are most qualified since they can take the most advantage of the high skill access granted. The class grants sneaks as if a full level rogue, and casting ability at full level too. Therefore, I can see no reason at all to take less than the 10 full levels in the class. The bad news is that the BAB of the class is really bad, as are the HPs. However, taking 3 rogue for the 2d6 prereq leaves you with NO room at all for other classes without losing your 9th level spell access. Pre-epic, there is not much room for character design if you choose to be a trickster with 9th level spells. 10: Should always take the full 10 due to the strong abilities. Assassin - This class is basically a prestege version of the rogue, with fairly easy skill-only requirements. It is mostly used to avoid XP penalties if rogue was used instead. The death attack is same as sneak and stacks fully. The DC of the save is pretty low, increasing as the assassin level increases. 2: Minimal death attack, Uncanny Dodge. Used by casters or dexfighters that want uncanny dodge without XP penalty for only 2 levels. 8: Gives Hide in Plain Sight, as well as a few useful spells such as Invis if the hide fails. Improved Uncanny is pretty nice too. 9+ RARELY taken, since it penalizes -3bab for a fairly short duration Improved Invisibility. Divine Champion - Easy prereq class that is based on having good CHA. It grants feats as a fighter on even numbers, as well as +Saves. Hence you ALWAYS take even numbers of this class. This class is good if you have a build that doesn't do a lot, such as fighter or paladin. Not so good with clerics since they have many short-term buffs already to deal with. 4: 2 feats, +2saves, and 1 Smite. This is a really good alternative to going 8 fighter, since all you lose is greater wpn focus, in exchange for +2saves and a smite. 6: Divine Wrath is ok, but very short duration. 7+ Nothing else gained of interest past 6. Do not take any more lvls. Duelist - I am not a huge fan as duelist is pretty picky about prereqs and how their stuff works. Dexfighters and monks benefit the most. The main advantage you get is your NATURAL INT bonus applies to your AC. Items DO NOT COUNT! This only works if you have no armor or shield. 1 or 2: Not worth taking, since AC is capped at +INT OR duelist lvl. 3: A wizard could squeeze 3 AC out of this. 4: Good for a monk and most characters as they wont have more than 4 INT bonus anyways, and works well with the rule of 4. 6: Gains 1d6 to piercing wpns and NO OFFHAND equipped. Note that SPEAR works too. Also flourish which adds 2d6 for 1 hit. Also, gives a reasonable 6 round haste. 7: Elaborate Parry gained so any parry-based char must take at least 7. 10: Precise strike to +2d6. Eldritch Knight - Easy prerequisites overall. This is a great class that improves HP some, and a huge AB boost. The first level taken gimps your casting by 1 level. From there on out, it is basically a superior version of wizard or sorceror. Hence, there is no reason not to take all 10 levels of it. Thus, EK replaces any wiz/sorc levels after 5/6 respectively. This ALSO works for bard, but you lose Auras and Songs. So it is rather wasteful for a bard to take this. 10: No reason to take less. Harper Agent - A truly bad prestege class with heavy requirements. The prereqs are horribly bad too, using feats that nobody ever uses. Its one saving grace is that it now adds caster levels after 1st lvl. Therefore, a wizard could use his bonus feats to offset the prereq garbage and use his high INT to offset the prereq skills. For -1 casting level, a wizard could take all 5 harper lvls and pick up nice skill access, with some bonus abilities and slight HP increase. I'd rather just take duelist. 4: +3bab, some bonus stuff, and +3caster levels. Theoretically usable by sorcs to get a 16BAB using this plus Eld Knight. i.e. 6sorc,4harper,10EK. I wouldn't recommend it! Neverwinter Nine - Prereqs are either really easy or really hard for most servers/modules. They pack quite a bit of utility into their 5 levels. 3: Adds 10% move and 2d6 sneak without taking BAB hit of rogue. Can be used by rogue types to gain some BAB and keep heavy sneak dmg. 5: Guess I need to test if All Out Assault maxes sneaks or elemental dmg. Good for other odd-classes like 7 weaponmaster. Palemaster - Easiest requirements ever for a prestege class. They give casting levels every odd level. I would expect every even number, but whatever. In any case, taking too many levels gimps your casting ability. Note that the summons and death touch are complete garbage. 1: The most common. Sure you lose 1bab, but gain +2AC and dont lose anything! Heck, you even gain slightly better saves. 5: Another +2ac, and +4 fort saves for -2 casting levels. The highest level a sorc can handle and still cast 9th lvl spells. 7: Gains immunity to stun,paralyze effects for another -1 casting level. This is the highest a wizard can go and still keep lvl9 spells. 10: Immune to crits is amazing, as is another +2AC. But, your casting is gimped, and your AB is horrible so this rules out bard/warrior types. Shadow Thief of Ahn - Adequate class with higher prereqs than assassin. However, you gain free feats at 2 and 4 which makes up for it somewhat. The higher skillpoint allottment is nicer too. Still, rogues gain free feats at 10,13,16,19 so no reason for a rogue to take this. Other classes wouldnt like the heavy skill prereqs. 2: Uncanny dodge, 1d6sneak, plus free feat for only 2 levels. 4: Another free feat and 2d6 sneak. Shadowdancer - This class is kind of like a rogue, but without sneak attacks. It seems to defeat the whole purpose. It has rather hefty requirements. They are a front loaded class, so typically only a few levels are taken ;usually by rogue types. 1: Hide in Plain Sight - This is the key ability and the only reason to take shadowdancer. 2: Most will already have this, but can pick up evasion and uncanny, as well as a probably useless darkvision. 3+ They get a few more things, but nothing worth taking more levels for. Avoid anything past level 3 in shadowdancer. Warlock - Considered one of the worst main classes in the game. They have two roles. First is to use Dark Ones Own Luck to add big save bonuses to high CHA characters. Second is to go all out in warlock and zap stuff. 1: Sorcs and bards especially love taking 1 Lok for the +save bonus. 4: Rarely, bards may take 4 levels to get the +4dex,+4tumble invocation, plus the See Invisible one. All 3 are 24 hour duration, and perfect for bard. 16: Don't do it! Several want to take 4 blackguard and get 16bab. Instead they just reduce the main attack from 9d6 to 7d6. Not good. Weaponmaster - Great on higher magic servers where they can multiply the damage of an attack. With insane feat prereqs, there is no reason to max out weaponmaster functionality. This means exactly 7 levels... No More...No Less. 7: Gains both extra crit damage and bigger crit range. VII. Putting it all together -------------------------- This rule is the most important and says that every build has tradeoffs. The difficult part is determining the best way to gain the most good, and minimize the bad. This depends greatly upon the environment where you play. The Original Campaign is much different than a persistent world. Each world is different, and so are downloaded modules. This is why I go to the trouble to provide this guide, so that you can tune your OWN builds instead of relying on one-size-fits-all build solutions. There are several steps you can go through to help kick off a build. 1) Determine the concept. This is done by thinking of generally what kind of character you want. For example, a warrior-mage or a rogueish-mage, or a warrior-rogue, or a hulking brute, and so forth. Alternatively, you can decide on classes or tools you wish to employ. For example, how to use the blackguard's sneak attack to make a better thug or how to use warlock/bg/pally to pump up a sorceror's saves. Or, simply how to make a better monk. 2) Find synergies. I have several such listed in my detailed analysis. For example, a few Pally,BG, Lock levels are great with a class that relies heavily upon CHA. Blackguard works great for a warrior-bard for example that is STR-based. They will take powerattk/cleave prereqs anyways and benefit. A straight up casting-based sorceror however is poor synergy since they would have to raise STR to 13, and take 2 worthless feats, just to access BG and get the +Save bonus. 3) Make note of alignment issues. The barbaric paladin isn't going to work out so hot most of the time. It IS possible to alter alignment in some places, but it is usually a 1 way street. I.E. Start as paladin for 4 levels, take 12 fighter, take 4 levels of Blackguard. That might work. Weaving pally and bard together would not work at all... you would start with bard for skills, then pally for armor/wpn feats quickly, then bard some more, and so forth. Hence, you would have to toggle between lawful and non-lawful several times rapidly. 4) If your build has less than 4 classes, reconsider it. Think about other good candidates and determine if you can toss in any other classes to improve the character. While you dont HAVE to have 4 classes, and indeed can sabatage a good build doing so. It is a good idea to consider the possibilities before finalizing the build though. 5) Consider also how much tolerence you have for leveling difficulty. This includes buddies and other characters on persistent worlds and so forth. While a deep gnome druid17/monk1/cleric1/fighter1 may be strong, leveling it would be very very painful. Plus the build would likely be close to worthless until very high levels. A STR-based fighter starts out with high AC thanks to plate & shield and does decent damage. A DEX-monk gets none of the above. From there, you can use the Rules provided to start choosing classes and filling out the build. Now, we will create a build from scratch using several of these rules! VIII. Sample Build Creation Methodology ------------------------------------- Our concept will be a thug. A character with heavy sneak attack that is also a good frontline warrior. Right off the bat, this gives you an idea of using some version of Rogue classes, and some fighter-ish classes. Our first decision is: STR or DEX based? STR-based means easier leveling and using plate/shield. It also adds solid damage to foes that are immune to sneak or that won't turn their back on you. It means a much better solo character. DEX-based means poor AC early on and weak damage. Later on, with dualwielding, it is possible to generate higher total damage due to more sneak attacks landing per round. We decide a thuggish character should be STR-based, as this fits our concept better. Now, we need some class ideas. Lets start with fighter-ish ones. The following come to mind, as having solid advantages potentially: Note we exclude ones like paladin, ranger since they have no synergy. --Fighter - Weapon Spec for more dmg and free feats. However, since we are NOT dualwielding, we may not need the feats so much. --Blackguard - It's a high HP,AB class that also grants sneak attack. The prereqs are easy and make sense for a thug. Worth trying. -- Neverwinter 9 - 3 levels of NW9 grant 2d6 sneak, which is very strong for a high AB class. Worth considering. --Barbarian - rage is nice, as is the faster movement bonus. If we have a level or two left over, this is worth considering. Frenzied Berserker is tempting, as we can get nice benefits for a few levels. We ditch Dwarf Defender, Wpnmaster as they dont really fit either. RDD is ditched as it takes up a lot of levels and requires bard as a prereq. Ok, now for rogue: --Rogue - Nice sneak, free evasion, free feats at 10,13,16. Solid choice. --Assassin - Improved sneak, with some prereqs. Taking this may preclude the rogue free-feats however. -- Shadowthief - Not bad, but doesn't buy us much for the prereqs. The Rule of 4, says we will take rogue levels in 4s. The question becomes... how much AB do we want to sacrifice for sneaks? The Rule of 16 says we cant go below 16 BAB. We could go 16rogue/4fighter for 8d6 sneak and 6 free feats @ 16BAB. We don't really need the feats, and want higher AB since we have no buff spells. 4rogue/16fighter - 19bab, but only 2d6 sneak. Way too many unneeded feats. Seriously, a non wpnmaster/dualwielder does NOT need 16 feats! 2d6 sneak is pretty weak besides. So we need a compromise. Say 12rogue/8fighter. Thats 17bab and 6d6 sneak. Not bad. We will go with that. Now, we want to tune it up some. Can we improve this build? Let's explore using blackguard. 12rogue/4fighter/4BG - 17BAB with 7d6 sneak! The bad news is that we lose greater weapon focus access which costs -1ab. However, we want higher sneak so we will need to drop having 8 fighter. BG buys us AB AND Sneak all in 1 class. Let's max it out and see what happens. 10BG/8rogue/2fighter - 18BAB with 7d6 sneak? Hmm. All that did for us is lose our weapon specialization.. and bonus rogue feat for +1BAB. I am unconvinced that losing 2 guaranteed damage for 1d6 sneak is worth it. Hence, 12R/4F/4BG is our best so far. We need a better way to incorporate BG. Let's plug in NW9, 3 levels worth. The question is... where do we put it? Replacing 3 rogue levels violiates rule of 4, since it leaves 9 rogue. Replacing fighter costs us feats and wpn spec. Replacing BG costs sneak. We are not very feat-intensive anyways, so lets go with rogue and add 1 bonus level of NW9 for now as filler. 8R/4F/4BG/4NW9 = 7d6 sneak at 18bab! Without sacrificing the wpn spec. Better! Let's mess with BG some more. 4R/4F/7BG/3NWN (where do my last 2 lvls go?) Ya know, that 4th rogue level is not really needed... it gives no extra sneak, and we don't need uncanny dodge. And the 4th NW9 is filler... 3R/4F/10BG/3NWN Ah ha! 19BAB, 7d6 sneak. Our best yet. As a bonus, it has no XP penalty if leveled up correctly. What about say.. barbarian instead of fighter? That is not a bad idea, as we get Rage and more skill points. However, we lose 3 feats, including a permanent +2dmg per hit bonus. Rage adds +2ab/dmg and -2ac for 8 rounds usually, compared to a flat +2dmg that always is in effect. It is tempting, but fighter just buys us more, ESPECIALLY since we have access to special feats due to 13dex,13Int. Do we want to try 3 assassin instead of 3 rogue? Gains: - ethereal visage spell - death attack instead of sneak. - Worthless uncanny dodge Losses: - Eats up tons of skillpoints. - Cant get until much later level. - No evasion. I do not see taking assassin as a big advantage myself. Starting with rogue gives 32 skillpoints, which would not be possible with assassin. Let alone taking 8hide/8move silently as cross-class skills. Lets imagine that we did want to go assassin. Can you see the pitfall? Doing so gives us only 4 fighter and 3 prestege classes. That won't work out too well. :-) Ditto with replacing fighter with any prestege class. You have to have enough base classes to qualify for at least 1 prestege. Verdict: stick with rogue. We already have 4 classes, so we can skip the step where we see if we can gain anything by squeezing in another class. Time to pick race and stats. Races: human - always strong. However, we dont really need the extra feat badly, nor will skills be overly important. Half-Orc - A contender. The extra STR may be worth the INT/CHA loss. Dwarf - Decent, but +2CON isnt worth -2INT, -1 feat, -1CHA in my opinion. Any small race with -2STR is out. Elves are out as we don't need their DEX or INT. First cut at stats... assume human. STR: 17 +5=22 final. DEX: 12 (plate) CON: 14 INT: 10 (so-so skills) WIS: 8 (dump stat) CHA: 8 (partial dump-stat) Thats 25 points. We have lots of room! STR: 17 DEX: 12 CON: 14 INT: 13 WIS: 8 CHA: 12 That gives a max of 22 STR, good skillpoints, access to disarm and Imp KD, and even a +1bonus to saves built in from BG. OR, we can remove 4 CHA and pump CON by 2. That might be worth it. You are trading +1will,reflex saves for +1 HP per lvl. STR 17 DEX 12 CON 16 INT 13 WIS 8 CHA 8 Lets look at half-orc: STR 19 DEX 12 CON 16 INT 11 WIS 8 CHA 6 So we gain +1AB/Dmg, in exchange for -2 skills per level and a seriously poor CHA (not much hope of improving saves with that!) We can disregard CHA, drop CON and focus on better skills and feat access. Now we have. STR 19 DEX 13 CON 14 INT 13 WIS 8 CHA 6 That looks pretty good. Remember, depending on your server you might be able to take away 4 DEX to add 2 to CON. This relies on you finding a +4 dex item quick that doesn't take up a valuable item slot (like amulet). A good example is boots of sun soul +5. Adds 5 dodge and 3 DEX from 9 to 12. What skills do we get? First off, how many points do we have? Take rogue 1st level for 8+1 x4 = 36 2 more rogue = 18 4 fighter = 12 10BG = 30 3NW9 = 15 total = 111, or about 4 1/2 maxed skills. Hide = 5 (prereq) Tumble = 20 (probably takes a good 25-30 points) UMD = 22 (Remember -2CHA penalty. Takes 30ish points) Other skills as desired. Level-up Order: Taking rogue at level 1 is a no-brainer. You need to follow the Rule of XP weaving to keep fighter and rogue within 1 level of each other. Alternate them and you will be in good shape. This also serves to help us level up our skills easier, utilizing class-skills for incrementing tumble and the like. NW9 and BG can be taken any time, although you MUST have the prereqs for one of them (preferably NW9) by level 8 when you run out of fighter/rogue levels. What about feat choice? As halforc we have 7 base. Add 3 from fighter = 10. Our 10 will likely be from this list: *Luck of Heroes *Pwr Attk (prereq) *Cleave (prereq) *WpnFocus:whatever *Weapon Specialization:whatever -Blindfight -Toughness -Knockdown -Improved Knockdown -Disarm -Improved Disarm -Dodge -PowerCrit:whatever -Improved Crit:whatever Weapon choice? I would recommend shield since a lot of your damage comes from sneak attacks. This means 2d6 instead of 1d8 is meaningless since you add 7d6 per attack. Since you move around, use a heavy shield for more AC. However, if you love improved Disarm, you may want to take a heavy weapon since it gets a +4 bonus to the disarm attempt. So there we go. We are done! We have 19bab, 7d6 sneak, 2 summons, 2 auras,24 base strength, and some nice utility feats, plus evasion, bull's strength casting, and potential to get a small save bonus from a high CHA item. You can write out the build, making sure to include reminders such as take rogue level 1, and grab 4 hide since you need it later. Remind to get 5hide sometime before the BG levels during a rogue lvl-up. Order the feats as you see fit, remembering the prereqs for certain feats. (i.e. cant take wpn spec until 4th fighter, and BAB prereq for some feats) BE SURE TO TEST the build after you have written it out! There are a lot of different prereqs and gotchas that can ruin a perfectly good build. IX. Builds. ------------ A) Bruiser - 1bard/4fighter/10RDD/5FB. This build is excellent for low/medium magic worlds and is a well rounded warrior with the highest possible strength. He has solid immunities, very high HPs, good AB, great damage, and solid AC with full plate. He is very easy to level, due to his extreme damage. Note the 20% XP penalty, in its unmodified form however. Half-Orc, Any Non-Lawful. MUST be non-lawful to go Bard! str 20 +5 = 25 ->33(from RDD) dex 12 con 14 ->16(RDD) int 12 -> 14(RDD) wis 8 cha 6 -> 8 (RDD) Note: you must start out as FIGHTER, or you are forced to take 11 CHA! Don't go lawful! Option1: Go Human for no XP penalty, -2 STR, +2 skills per lvl, +1feat Option2: -4dex for +2CON. Only do this if you can get +4dex item early on to cover AC loss. DO NOT gimp INT to 6! You require Perform5,Lore8 really early on. Detailed lvling instructions: ----------------------------- 1: Fighter (nonlawful) - Wpnfocus, luck of heroes Lore 4. Tumble 2 save 4 points. 2: bard PERFORM 5, tumb 5, UseMagicDevice3 (you MUST have perform 5 (-2 cha) to get the +1ab/dmg aura!) 3 fighter - Power attk, Cleave 4 fighter (+1 STR) 5 fighter - **wpn specialization** Tumble to 7, LORE to 8!!! 6 RDD - great cleave *Work toward skills shown at level 10 7 RDD 8 rdd (+1 STR) (Free blindfight feat somewhere along here) 9 rdd -- Power Critical. 10 rdd Tumble should be 10, UMD7, Spellcraft 2 11 rdd Increase spellcraft now. Ignore other skills. 12 rdd -- (+1STR), Knockdown 13 rdd Spellcraft should be at 10. 14 rdd You get 1 extra skill per lvl now. Increase tumble. 15 rdd -- Extended Rage Increase tumble to 20, and UMD to 11, as you level up. 16 fb (free tuffness feat) 17 fb (free supreme cleave feat) 18 fb -- Improved Power Attk or Improved Crit Range. 19 fb 20 fb (+1 STR) Final skills: tumble 20 - +2 AC and immunity to attk of Opp even in full plate! Spellcraft 10 = +2 saves vs spells. UMD11 (-1 cha)= 10. Use scrolls, wands, and some clickey items or monk boots. Lore8 - required for RDD Perform 5 - required for bardic aura. Weapon Choice: 1h/shield - great combo for tanking, due to immunities, high HP, and +7 bonus ac from dragon, tumble, luck of heroes. I recommend scimitar due to crit range, although longsword/warhammer are ok. You have the option to unequip shield and go 2handed, for 50% more STR dmg, and extra +5/10 dmg from pwr attk/imp PA over 1handed. You retain all feats bonuses when doing it this way. 2handed - Scythe or Falchion for best crit power. Scythe if you like big bursty numbers, falchion for more constant damage. Upside is more base dmg (5 vs 3.5 2handed scimmy), downside is equipping shield and 1hander removes your weapon-feat bonuses. Final notes: -- Knockdown works very well due to extremely high strength. -- immune to paralysis, mind, fire. -- Immune to deathmagic when frenzying. -- 5th free attack when frenzying. -- Supreme cleave works well with high dmg attacks for more free attks. -- Dont forget free bardic aura for +1ab/dmg. -- PowerAttk/Imp PA has big bonuses, esp for 2handed mode. -- DO NOT DUALWIELD! This gimps you bigtime, trust me. base HP = 306 at lvl20. AB = 16bab +1bard aura +1 wpnfocus + 14str (in frenzy) = 32 AC = 10base +8plate +1dex +4dragon +2tumble +1luck = 26 + shield +extras. B) Shooter. Moon Elf, non-lawful. Bard3/Rogue4/Fighter4/AA9 This is a well rounded archery build. While archery is fairly weak, this build is the best I've been able to come up with so far. It has a nice range of skills, good AB, and reasonable damage that combines bard aura, sneak attk, wpn specialization, and Arcane archer damage, with a few spells. Note that the Arcane Archer arrow enhancement damage bonus is NOT shown on the character display, but it is there. STR 14 (for mighty bow damage) DEX 19 +5 lvlups = 24 CON 12 INT 12 WIS 8 CHA 11 (required for casting) Level up plan: This EXACT order is optimized for no XP penalty. Rogue is taken first for maximized skill points. All bonus Attributes go into DEX. 1: rogue, nonlawful - Take natural leader background. take Luck of Heroes feat. 2: fighter - wpnfocus:longbow. 3: fighter - Pointblank, rapid shot. 4 rogue 5 bard - take Perform skill of 4. 6 bard - weapon finesse. 7 rogue (free evasion feat) 8 fighter 9 bard - Many Shot(prereq) 10 Arcane Archer 11 fighter - weapon spec:longbow (+2 dmg) 12 AA - Improved Rapid Shot. 13 aa 14 aa 15 aa - toughness 16 aa 17 rogue - (free uncanny dodge), skill maxing. 18 aa - wpn focus: rapier 19 aa 20 aa Skill Note: You have 123 skill points, though it requires a careful plan due to all the cross-class skills, different classes,and carryover. I recommend Tumble as a no-brainer for AC and avoid attks of opp. Rogue skills such as Open Lock, DisarmTrap, Search are recommended so you can act as a rogue. -- Dont forget your bard aura. You have a +skill one, and the +ab/dmg one. -- Position your archer to take advantage of the 2d6 sneak when possible. -- Stay in improved rapid shot mode for more damage. -- Spells: pick Identify, grease, amplify for most utility. With +3CHA item, you can get 1 2nd lvl spell if desired. Heroism is the best choice due to long duration. -- Note AA DOES give bonus damage, but it is not shown I believe. -- Any armor is acceptable. No need to stay in light armor, although the AA chain shirt has 4ac +6dex ac and is really good. AB: 18bab +1focus +1nat leader + 7dex +5aa +1bard = 33 dmg = 5 ave longbow + 2 wpn spec +1bard +5aa +2d6 sneak +Mighty C) Tricky. Tiefling, Wiz6/Rogue3/PaleMaster1/Arcane Trickster10 Most warrior/wizard builds are weak. This is because they are dex-fighters, which do horrible melee damage. Or they gimp their casting abilities to attempt to fight. I like this build because it can do adequate melee damage(7d6sneak), replaces a rogue with full skill access and plenty of skillpoints, and provides spell support. It is difficult to level, but is a very unique character and playstyle. The idea is to use the wizard spells to buff Tricky and his buddies, as well as disable baddies to allow for sneak attacks and crowd control. Stats given are for tiefling. str 11 dex 18 con 14 int 19 +5 -> 24 wis 8 cha 6 Dont forget the non-good, non-lawful alignment part! Race selections: Human - extra feat is really nice, but you get no bonus stats. The extra skillpoint is not really needed with this build. Tiefling - +2dex,+2INT is great, and -CHA is a perfect dumpstat. I think it is worth the +1ECL. Drow - You gain spell resistance, but lose CON, 1 more ECL, and have a daylight penalty. Not worth it to me. Deep Gnome - +4AC is the main advantage, followed by spell resistance, and size advantage, plus illusion focus. 3ECL is harsh though. Halfling - solid, with free feat, +2dex, and -2STR which isnt a big deal. A better choice over rock gnome, and no ECL penalty or XP penalty. Overall a better choice than Sun/Moon elves in my opinion. There are several decent choices on Race, although I prefer Tiefling or halfling. Note: All attribute points go into INT. 1: rogue - for maximum skillpoints. Spellcasting Prodigy. [lore 4, disable device 4, tumble 4] 2 wizard - specialize in necromancy. [spellcraft 4] 3 wiz - wpn finesse (unless you expect to find an item quick that gives this) 4 wiz 5 rogue 6 wiz - practiced caster (makes up for lost wiz lvls) 7 wiz - (wiz feat: extend spell) 8 rogue [ ensure Lore7, Disable Device 7, Tumble 7, Spellcraft4] 9 Arcane Trickster - 2wpn fighting. 10 AT 11 AT 12 AT - improved 2wpn fighting 13 PaleMaster (free +2AC) 14 AT 15 AT - spell focus: your choice. 16 AT 17 AT 18 AT - persistent spell. 19 AT 20 Wizard Note on skills: You have a LOT! 238 total. Take all rogueish ones, plus concentration, spellcasting, tumble. Appraise for cheaper merchant prices, pickpocket as needed. Take UMD for using monk boots and other goodies, tho its double the cost for AT levels! AB = 10bab +4dex = 14 -2(2wpnfight) = 12. Pretty bad. Needs buffs. HP = 86 +20beetle familiar = 106 Awful. Needs buffs. Spell notes: You have close to maximum DC on spells, due to max INT + prodigy feat. Use spells that ENTANGLE, STUN or DAZE opponents to make them vulnerable to sneaks! Prone causing spells is nice for the +AB bonus, but no sneaks automatically result from that (unlike NWN1). You go with Necro specialization for the extra spell slots. DO NOT go necro FOCUS though! Dont get those confused. Necro spec means you cant use divination spells (which mostly suck anyways) Choose a focus that has the most disabling spells, such as Enchantment or Conjuration. Illusion is decent too, as Shadow Conjuration makes a very high DC illusionary "web" spell. For familiar- take beetle for HPs. Persistent Haste is your big main ability at level 20. use it! You NEED buffs to be able to fight at all: Dont forget extended greater heroism on yourself to improve hitting ability. Extended haste of course, until you get persistent. Use Shield as it fully stacks. Get improved mages armor and keep it up. extended greater invisibility is awesome too, as is stoneskin. You can use Shades(9th lvl) on Self to get Premonition (normally excluded due to necro spec!) Final Note: look for a server that has the AT mod that allows sneak attk from Ray Spells. This makes polar ray, vamp touch, etc MUCH more useable! D) SuperSorc Aasimir Paladin2/Sorc18. This is a simple one. Two levels of paladin provide a huge saving throw bonus for the sorceror at a cost of delaying spell progression, or not gaining the saving throw bonuses until close to endgame. No XP penalty with this build, and provides max CHA. The pally also provides weapon,armor,shield feats for free. This becomes very useful if mithril non-arcane failure gear is available. I would recommend taking the paladin levels at around 11 lawful good, aasimir. str 8 dex 14 con 15 +1levelup = 16 int 10 wis 10 cha 20 +4levelup = 24 There is quite a bit of latitude in the starting stats. You can remove some DEX for INT if you desire more skillpoints. This is a good idea if you reasonably expect no-arcane penalty armor, and a dex-booster item. Or, go with 19CHA, 14CON and you get 5 points to work with. Simply toss in the 2 pally levels somewhere along the way, and include Practiced Spellcaster to compensate for pally levels. Yer done! Otherwise, do like a normal sorc, with standard feats. *Note that you need 4 in spellcraft to take Practiced Caster! Variants: There are tons of sorceror variants out there. Most of them involve sacrificing higher level spells for stronger defense, or for fighting ability, or both. You want to have an even number of caster levels, ideally 18 for 9th lvl spells. Fighter types can go down to 16 but I would not go any further. If focusing on casting, you definitely want 9th level spells. Even warrior types need 9th level spells for persistent haste in my opinion. Typical classes used are: 1 Warlock - Dark Ones Own Luck for +saves bonus, plus light armor. 2 or 4 Paladin - Save Bonus + lots of free armor/wpn feats + possible Divine Shield access with 4 lvls. 2 or 3 Blackguard - Save Bonus + free armor/wpn + divine shield with 3 levels. Requires 2 prereq feats. 10 Eldrich Knight - More HP, AB in exchange for -1casting level and martial wpn prereq. 1 or 2 Fighter - Lots and lots of armor/wpn feat + 1 freebie feat for no prereq. 1 Barbarian - Limited armor/wpn feat +10% move +rage. Alignment not work with pally. This one is not optimal, but is the best I can come up with. It is a STR fighter-oriented build using still spell with plate/shield. It also gets Divine Shield and a big saving throw bonus. It has caster level 20, with level 16 spell access (8th level max), and a 16BAB. I would prefer paladin, but that means no divine shield. You can go 2pally/1fighter to replace BG if you wish and pick up a few more feats. Take 1 pally early on to get free wpn/armor feats. SuperSorc2. Any race is fine,at cost of 1 feat and skillpoints. Human, aasimir, drow are best. EK10/Sorc7/BG3 (16bab, caster 16 +4) (assuming human) STR 17 +3 (decent AB and dmg) DEX 9 (use cat's grace or item to pump to 12 for AC) CON 14 INT 10 WIS 8 CHA 16 +2 1 Sorc - pwr attk, cleave 2 sorc 3 sorc - martial wpns 4 sorc 5 sorc 6 sorc - still spell 7 EK 8 EK 9 EK - practiced caster(sorc) [ 5 hide] 10 BG (armor feats) 11 BG (+saves) 12 BG - Divine Shield or Might 13 EK 14 EK 15 EK - wpnfocus: whatever 16 EK 17 EK 18 EK - toughness 19 EK 20 sorc E) BadBard Bard16/Blackguard3/Fighter1, Human, evil, non lawful BadBard is a solid bard build that relies on pre-battle buffs. He acts as a strong fighter in full plate and shield, that can also support his friends with solid skills, bardic auras, and spell buffs. He gets very high saving throw bonuses thanks to the blackguard levels. He does not use many spells in battle due to his armor. However, he gets Curse Song which is the most powerful debuff spell in the game! In addition, Divine Shield greatly increases AC temporarily, as needed, and a few spells are castable even in armor, such as Displacement and Darkness. He is easy to level, since he is STR-based, uses plate and gains the ability to use it early on. In my experience, "caster bards" are just plain bad. They need to be in battle for their auras and curse song to work well with others. They dont have enough casts per day to buff parties AND cast offensively. Besides, 1 area effect spellcast, and ALL the enemies charge you anyways... str 16 +5levelup = 21 dex 12 con 14 int 10 wis 8 cha 16 1 bard - evil, nonlawful. Natural Leader background. Take Luck of Heroes and Power Attack feats. 2 fighter - Cleave feat. Gains wpn/armor feats free. 3 bard - wpn focus: whatever 4 bard 5 bard 6 bard - Curse Song 7 bard 8 bard - [Ensure 5 HIDE skill here!] 9 Blackguard - practiced caster 10 BG (gains massive saves bonus) 11 BARD (NOT BG!!!) 12 BG - Divine Shield feat - MUST be taken exactly at 3rd BG level. 13 bard 14 bard 15 bard - extend spell 16 bard 17 bard 18 bard - Choose:Toughness,PowerCrit, or Lingering Song 19 bard 20 bard Feat Choices: Lingering Song is mainly used for Curse Song extension. Most other bardsongs are pretty weak. PowerCrit is ok, but not really that necessary. Good if you used a scimitar or rapier. Toughness is +20 HP. Always a nice boost. I don't see a clear preference. Skill choices: you have 165 skillpoints. Maximize tumble for +2ac, avoid attk of opp. Maximize Perform for maximum Curse Song debuff Take 5 HIDE for Blackguard prerequisite. UMD for device usage would be very nice. Some lore is convenient since you get +16 for being a bard anyways. Rogue openlock,disarm trap is handy, but are cross skills so you can only get 11 ranks (instead of 23) Spells: You have to take off armor/shield to cast most of these. Hence, use only buff/utility spells. Consider a mithril shield so you do not have to remove the shield also. My recommended list: 1: identify, dispel lesser, cure light wnds, amplify 2: Heroism!, mirror image, ghostly visage, darkness(Castable in Armor!) 3: See Invis, Haste(extend it), Find Traps, Displacement(castable in armor) 4: Greater Invis maybe, Warcry?(extend), Neut Poison, Freedom Movement 5: ethereal visage(extend), greater Heroism, mass cure light wnds, dispel 6: (used only for extending 5th lvl spells mainly) take Energy Immunity(situational), mass charm(castable in armor!) Bulls str is nice, but by the time you get it, you probably dont need it. (can use the low duration Blackguard version if REALLY needed) Combat "Spell": Curse Song. 16 uses per day. At lvl16, 30 perform it hits all baddies in decent area for: -2ab -3dmg -3saves 20 sonic dmg. -5 AC!! No saving throw allowed, which makes for a VERY powerful debuff spell. Combat spell #2: Divine Shield. 6 to 12 uses per day. Gain CHA bonus to dodge AC for CHA bonus rounds. You want to grab a +CHA item as soon as possible, as it makes the shield very powerful, plus pumps spellcasting, AND adds +saving throw bonus. Other combat spells: Darkness, Mass Charm, Displacement. (all are non-somatic and castable in armor) Weapon Choice: Doesn't really matter all that much. I would go with 1hander+shield personally. Scimitar,longsword,warhammer are best. AB = 16bab +5str +3aura +1leader +1focus = 26. (+4 greater heroism, +1haste, +5 curse song effectively) AC = 10 +2tumble +8plate +2shield +1dex +1luck = 24 (plus 4bard aura if needed, +up to 9 from divine shield, and effectively 2 from curse song) F. Reaper. HalfOrc Fighter8, WpnMaster7, FB 5. This character is similar to Bruiser, except intended for a higher magic environment. He is overall weaker due to less HP, AC, and immunities. However, he has extremely high offensive potential, and scales very well with powerful weapons. With a keen scythe, he has a 17-20 x5 crit range, with supreme cleave. A hit with improved power attack on for +20 damage at x5 multiplier is truly fearsome. His Whirlwind attack is quite formidable also. If you like seeing big damage numbers, this is the character for you! str: 19 -> 24 dex: 13 con: 14 int: 13 wis: 8 cha: 6 note: MUST have 13 natural DEX and INT for needed feats! 1 fighter - (nonlawful!) wpnfocus:scythe, dodge. Take 4 skillpoints of Intimidate! 2 fighter - mobility 3 fighter - expertise 4 fighter - wpn spec 5 fighter 6 fighter - spring attk, Whirlwind 7 fighter 8 fighter - imp wpnfocus -- intimidate 4 if not already. 9 wpnmaster -- pwr attk 10 wm 11 wm 12 wm cleave 13 wm 14 wm 15 wm - great cleave 16 FB (free tuffness) 17 FB (free supreme cleave) 18 fb - choose: power crit, or Improved crit:scythe 19 fb 20 fb Nonbuffed highest hit with nonmagical scythe: 8base +15STR(frenzy) +20 imp Pwr Atk +2Wpn Spec = 45 x5crit = 225! G. Shifty Lawful Neutral Human Druid18/Monk1/Cleric1 The concept behind this build is to combine the strong physical abilities of Wild Shape, withthe ability to cast in forms(natural spell feat). Plus, it is fun to run around in shapeshift mode, AND actually be able to do something useful while shifted. In theory, you wind up with a solid caster, that is also very tough. It works reasonably well, but ONLY for lower magic worlds. On higher worlds, this build is quite ineffective. The 1 monk provides a bonus attack for melee in wildshape, and a HUGE AC bonus. 1 cleric provides several variable abilities discussed below. Keep the following in mind: 1) Druids are generally weaker than clerics for several reasons, including a plethora of bugs. 2) Druids in shifted form are considered "animals" or "outsiders", and they get NO bonus attributes (i.e. aasimir loses his CHA, WIS bonus). Furthermore, you have NO FAVORED class, so you get massive XP penalties for multiclassing, when shifted. 3) Many abilites/spells dont work too well with shifted forms, as the claw/claw/bite attack sequence ensures only the bite attack gets buffed by Magic Fang, Keen Fang, Flame Wpn,etc. 4) Game tends to kick you out of shift form upon an area transition. 5) Items do not work well AT ALL. (hence, low magic server needed). Highest AC enhancement from shield,hat,armor and turned into a DEFLECTION bonus(!). This means, you NEVER get any: armor, shield, armor enhancement, shield enhancement bonuses. Actually, ANY items other than the 3 above are counted as you not even having them. Forget peripts of wisdom, dodge boots, and so on. Since you have no magical vestment spell, you dont even have a way to cast any form of deflection, or armor bonus. Only natural ac via barkskin/spiderskin. 6) Several spells work very flaky or not at all on you when shifted: awaken, natures avatar, etc. So... here goes. Human(since wildform kills non-human bonuses anyways) Druid18/monk1/cleric1. Lawful neutral. str 8 dex 8 con 14 int 16 wis 18 +5 = 23. cha 8 The idea is that our physical attributes don't really matter for too long. 1 druid - prodigal caster, spell penetration. I'd grab a BEAR for animal companion. 2 druid 3 druid - practiced caster (druid..needed for later) 4 druid - 5 druid - 6 druid - Natural Spell! Now, you can wildshape, and cast freely! 7 druid - 8 monk - (max tumble), gain big AC bonus, ability to Flurry. 9 druid - empowered spell. 10 druid 11 druid 12 druid - maxed spell. 13 druid - Gain Dire Wild Shape! (use bear) 14 druid 15 druid - greater spell penetration. 16 druid 17 druid 18 druid - wpn focus:unarmed 19 druid 20 cleric - 2 domains. First question is: why cleric? You may choose 2 of the following domain bonuses: a) earth - toughness feat for free. b) Magic - mage's armor (1hr buff(which is 2 minutes in orig campaign btw) that adds +4 armor). Note the +4armor is otherwise IMPOSSIBLE to get in wildshape form without mage's armor. c) Air - Uncanny Dodge - great for a character with high amounts of AC from dex. d) Water - Evasion. (Note that 2 in monk provides this AND deflect arrows for free) -- Also, protection from evil lasts 1 hr per lvl, and gives immunity to mind spells (which you will likely already have) I would probably skip cleric if I could find a reliable source of Mages Armor (a clickie), and go 2 monk instead, since it increases your BAB by one point, and reduces XP penalties. Grabbing an item that can cast Shield is very valuable too! Skills: Youve got 8 skills per level. Tumble is a given, as is concentrate. Spellcraft for free +4 saves is good. Take 10 UseMagicDevice to use scrolls/clickeys. So you start off somewhat weak, but your bear companion helps quite a bit to assist your leveling. At 6, you should be in wildshape all the time, since you can now cast in that form. Boar Stats: 15STR, 10DEX, 17STA. 16 natural AC. d8 dmg. At 8, you gain super AC and can pretty much tank stuff yourself. With monkness, you now gain +5AC from 20wis. +2more with owls wisdom active, +1more from tumble of 10. At 13, you get Dire Form. Go with dire bear. Stats are: 31 STR(!), 13DEX, 19CON. 17 natural AC(with dex, minus size). At 17 you get elemental form. I'd go with Water Elem which is well balanced: 24STR, 18DEX, 21CON. 22 natural AC(with dex,size). 2d10 dmg per hit! Life is pretty good, as you now gain many immunities in elemental form. Note, several spells DONT WORK in elemental form that you may be used to. H. Dodgey, Deep Gnome Monk16/Duelist4. This build is designed for high magic worlds, as his damage is too weak without powerful damage gloves. He is an unarmed master with extremely high armorclass and 7 attacks with flurry and circle kick, with admantine penetration plus 2d6base dmg. The unlikely Duelist is used to add 4 free AC, and raise BAB to 16 for a bonus attack, without incurring XP penalty. Deep gnome is chosen to maximize armorclass, plus the spell resistance. str 7 dex 19 +5 ->24 con 14 int 14 wis 16 cha 4 All attribute bonuses go to DEX. 1: monk - luck of heroes 2 monk 3 monk - weapon finesse 4 monk 5 monk 6 monk - dodge 7 monk 8 monk 9 monk - mobility 10 Duelist 11 duelist 12 duelist - circle kick 13 duelist 14 monk 15 monk - wpnfocus:unarmed 16 monk 17 monk 18 monk - tuffness/blindfite 19 monk 20 monk You get 6 skill points per level which is quite generous. Take tumble for sure for maximum AC. Duelist requires 5 parry, so take that. AC = 10base +1size +1luckheroes +4gnome +3monk +3wis +7dex +2int +2tumble = 33 with no items. add item bonus from +12WIS +12DEX, and 2 more INT(duelist) = 47. add +5robe,+5natural AC amulet, +5deflection, +5monkboots = 67! add Shield spell trinket = 71AC. (plus add any haste, bardsong, etc.) I. KamaKaze, deep gnome Cleric13/Monk1/Fighter6 (lawful, 40% XP penalty) This build is one for when you are already established on a server and want a more unique character. It is NOT easy to level at all due to ECL3 and XP penalty. The idea is to combine a lot of cleric buffs with as many attacks as possible to deal lots of damage... especially with persistant Divine Favor (+5ab/dmg). Armor Class potential is strong also. It is best on low to medium magic worlds. Deep Gnome is used to maximize AC and stats. Str 9 Dex 19 +5 = 24 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 17 Cha 4 1: cleric (lawful!). Take 4spellcraft. Luck of Heroes Domains: Earth(free toughness), Plant 2 cleric 3 cleric - extended spell 4 cleric 5 cleric 6 cleric - Practiced Caster(cleric). Holdover some skillpoints 7 Monk (tumble to 10) 8 Fighter - WpnFocus: Kama 9 Fighter - 2wpn fighting, Improved 2wpn fighting 10 Cleric 11 Cleric 12 Cleric - 2wpn defense 13 cleric 14 cleric 15 cleric - persistent spell 16 cleric 17 fighter 18 fighter - greater 2wpn fighting, wpn specialization:kama 19 fighter 20 fighter - improved 2wpn defense. Skills: 4 Spellcraft is required for practiced caster. Go with 20 tumble for AC and attk of opp avoidance. Domains: earth is a given for Stoneskin,toughness. Plant allows barkskin usage and 10% move outdoors. Barkskin is important as it allows a WISDOM amulet, while retaining a natural AC bonus. Variant: Go Human, Cleric13/Monk3/Fighter4 for no XP penalty and no ECL. ++ gains evasion and deflect arrows for free. No loss of feats. -- loses quite a bit of stats, AC. Usage: Stack damage and AB buffs up as follows: persistant divine favor (+5ab/dmg) extended battletide (+2ab/dmg, and haste) extended prayer (+1ab/dmg) bless, aid Divine Power ( pumps BAB to 20 for +1 attack) Flurry of Blows (+1 attack) Greater Magic Weapon if needed. Fully buffed, you get 9 attacks! Each one at: 4kama +2wpn spec +5div favor +2battletide +1prayer +4weapon(minimum) = 18 per hit. AC = 10 +1luck +1size +4gnome +7dex +3wis +2tumb +2 imp 2wpn def = 30base. (up to +12 more from WIS and DEX pumps) J. WizWar, Sun Elf Wizard8/Fighter2/Eldrich Knight 10 This build is a standard fighter/mage. I do not care for it all that much, as dexfighters do very poor damage. Hence, I emphasize the casting ability of the build and minimize the fighting damage potential. The build has plenty of skillpoints, though no access to rogue-ish skills which will be limited. The BAB of 16 ensures the full 4 attacks, and Persistent Haste is a huge boon to self and party. Don't forget Heroism, as it is a great AB buff. Hopefully, you can find a mithril shield and armor to boost AC without adding arcane failure. Str 11 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 19 +5 -> 24 Wis 8 Cha 8 1: wizard - Prodigal Caster. beetle familiar. [get 4 spellcraft] (I would recommend necromancy specialization for more slots.) 2 fighter - wpn focus: rapier 3 wizard - weapon finesse 4 wizard 5 wizard 6 wizard - Practiced Caster(requires 4 SC), wizfeat: extended spell 7 Eld Knight - (free skillfocus:concentrate, combat casting) 8 EK 9 EK - Spell Focus: whatever 10 EK 11 EK 12 EK - Greater Spell Focus: whatever 13 EK 14 EK 15 EK - Persistent Spell 16 EK 17 wizard 18 wizard - toughness or spell penetration. 19 wizard 20 fighter - Blindfight or Powercrit:rapier Variants: Unfortunately, most variants would drop the BAB to 15 and thus lose the 4th base attack. I don't recommend any. Some variants include: -- replace 2 fighter with 1 fighter, 1 barbarian. Adds 10% movement, and rage bonus, in exchange for 1 feat. (Note rage spell attributes do NOT stack, unlike the real thing) -- Go with wizard7/Palemaster1 for +2AC. -- Replace 1 fighter level with a rogue level for greater skill access. --------------------- The alternative is a build focused more on combat. This build would avoid most spells that require a saving throw to be useful, sticking with icestorms, and pure damage spells, with some utility spells. Due to your high Dex, you will stick with Robes most likely. Note: Shield spell works great with duelwielding. Moon Elf: Str 8 Dex 20 +2 = 22 Con 12 Int 16 +3 = 19 Wis 8 Cha 8 Same build as before, except for feats: 1 wiz - Luck of Heroes 2 fight - wpn focus: rapier 3 fight - wpn finesse 4 wiz 5 wiz 6 wiz - 2wpn fighting 7 wiz - wizfeat: practiced casting 8 wiz 9 EK - improved 2 wpn fighting 10 ek 11 ek 12 ek - extended spell 13 ek 14 ek 15 ek - greater 2 wpn fighting 16 ek 17 ek 18 ek - persistent spell 19 wiz 20 wiz Skills: This build has tons of skillpoints, so you can pick and choose as you like. Concentrate and Tumble are obvious, as is Spellcraft for the saving throw bonuses vs spells. UMD skill is quite useful, as even 11 points can allow for the use of some monk robes/boots/items. K) Thuggie Fighter4/Rogue3/Blackguard10/NWNine3 Most rogue builds are dex based dualwielders that do great sneak attacks. However, in a direct fight they tend to be pretty weak and deal marginal damage against any immune-sneaks. This build is my answer. Thuggie is a fairly versatile frontline warrior. He has decent fighting abilities. His strength is 7d6 sneak attack damage, while still retaining a 19BAB and 24 natural STR with full plate and shield. He can fight straight up, but is best in parties moving around the battlefield unleashing his heavy sneak attack damage. He plays similar to a rogue, but is a decent front line warrior as well. Thuggie has several nice combat tricks, including 2 summons to distract foes when soloing. Although very weak, they will last long enough to make enemies attack them, which sets them up for a devastating sneak attack volley of 2 attacks at once. This is due to 4 attacks total, and NWN2's 3 attack volleys per round). Enemies typically turn around after 1 such volley. It is a good idea to try to find an invisibility item, as it lets you open with a huge sneak attack volley when soloing. In addition, improved knockdown is powerful due to Thuggie's high strength, although note that it does NOT cause sneak attacks unlike NWN1. Several other handy abilities are the Aura of Despair, extra movespeed, friendly +save Aura, Bull's Strength, and evasion which works in heavy armor. You may need to use console to "DebugMode 1", then "givefeat 1760" to get the prerequisite NWN9 epithet in single player. Half-Orc, any evil alignment. STR19 +5 = 24 (Max fighting ability) DEX13 (12 for +1AC in plate, 1 leftover point) CON14 (good HP) INT13 (For decent skills, feat prereq) WIS8 (not needed) CHA6 (not needed) Note: Rogue/Fighter are alternated to avoid XP penalty. 1: Rogue (for skillpoints) - Luck of Heroes [grab Hide 4, Tumble 4, UMD 4, and whatever else] 2: Fighter - Weapon Focus: whatever. 3: Fighter - power attack, cleave 4: Rogue 5: Fighter 6: Rogue - Knockdown [ensure Hide 5, max out UMD, tumble] 7: Fighter - Weapon Specialization: whatever 8: NW9 9: NW9 - BlindFight 10: NW9 11: BG 12: BG - Improved Knockdown 13: BG 14: BG 15: BG - Toughness 16: BG 17: BG 18: BG - Power crit: whatever 19: BG 20: BG Feats: No feats other than pwr attk/cleave are mandatory. There is quite a bit of room for customization. You can replace Knockdowns with Disarms, or imp crit if you dont expect a keen weapon. Skills: You should max out Tumble since you are more mobile than most fighters and can use the avoidance of attack of opportunity. +2AC is nice also. Get 17 UMD (15 after CHA) to use all scrolls and many items, including Sun Soul +5 boots. Early on, you have a LOT of skillpoints. From 11 to 20, you only get 3 point per level for tumble,UMD, so don't be too aggressive with spending. You can pick up a few points in several rogueskills and stuff early though. I recommend 1hander and shield, since you have 7d6 sneak and also move around a lot in combat. Do NOT use a towershield ever, since -10 armor penalty destroys your chance to tumble, as well as usual -2AB penalty. L) Pokey. Tiefling Fighter8/Duelist10/Monk1/Wizard1 This build is an attempt at a non-dualwielding dexfighter with high AC (THREE attributes pump it!) and passable damage. It is best on medium or higher magic worlds as it is very dependent on massive stat gain to be strong. 8 Fighter provides tons of feats which duelist requires, Duelist10 is very rarely seen and we actually use something other than canny dodge, including haste, 2d6 to every hit, deflect arrows, and the occasional Flourish for another 2d6. Monk provides the usual higher AC through Wisdom. It's too bad that a Kama isn't piercing or we would be in great shape. Finally, cleric/wizard provides some handy buffs and abilities. It is not too terrible to level, although the ECL1 and possible early XP penalty doesn't help. One major drawback is apparantly INT gained from items does NOT count for canny dodge AC. Maybe if fixed, the build would be more viable... of course, I wrote all this out before I discovered that anomoly. >:-0 Choice 1: Cleric -- choose 2 of toughness,uncanny dodge, evasion. -- 10 round divine favor for +1ab/dmg. -- With practiced caster - 5 minute bless, 10 minute immune:mind pro evil, 24hr resist elements. Choice 2: Wizard - note that casting is not an issue due to use of robes expected. -- Familiar that adds 1HP per level. -- With practiced caster, can get a 5 minute Shield spell for +4AC. Fully stacks. This alone is probably worth the -1AB hit. -- Random other stuff: identify, truestrike for a flourish, Prot Evil for 10minute immune mindhoze, and +2saves, 24hr resist elements. Choice 3: Another monk level. -- Makes tumble progression easier. -- +1BAB compared to above choices. -- Free Evasion -- 20% less XP penalty. STR 9 DEX 19 +5 = 24 CON 14 INT 16 WIS 14 CHA 8 Due to the variability, I am not adding a specific character plan. Feats: You get 7 base feats + 5 fighter feats. Be careful to avoid taking too many fighter list feats on normal feat levels. Here are some choices, broken down into 3 tiers: Weapon Finesse - Required. Dodge - Required for Duelist Mobility - Required for Duelist Luck of Heroes - Must take at 1st level. Weapon Focus: Rapier - Pretty important Practiced Caster: Wizard/Cleric - Only if you take choice 1 or 2 above. MUST HAVE 4 spellcraft! Weapon Specialization: Rapier - Key for more damage. This should be your 4th fighter level pick. Greater Weapon Focus - Important. This must be your 8th fighter level pick, as its your only chance to get it. Blind Fighting - Pretty good. Improved Parry - It is worthwhile, as 1v1 parry is a very strong option with this build, and it gives you more effective counterattacks per round. Knockdown/Improved KD - You don't really have the STR for this, but it is still good against casters. Improved Crit: Rapier - With a higher magic world, you can probably get a Keen weapon anyways though. Power Critical: Rapier - Decent. Disarm/Imp Disarm - This is more thematic than knockdown. Toughness - if you didn't get this through Cleric, it is nice to have. Skill Focus: Parry - Kind of weak for a feat usage, but if you use Parry a LOT, this is a possibility. Able Learner - if you really want a large variety of skills. I would pass personally. Skills: You get an average of about 6 skills per level. Here are the main ones recommended. Tumble - Clearly you want 20 points here. Use your monk level early to get at least 5 class-skill points here for duelist prerequisite. Parry - I've never been a parry fan, but this is the build to use it, if ever. Max it. 5 points is a prerequisite anyways. Spellcraft - Can use your 1 caster level (if chosen) to pump this up some for +saves bonus. Extra points becomes expensive. UMD - You already have quite a few classes covered, including monk for Sun Soul equipment, and wizard potentially for scrolls/items. Still,you may want 6 points (cha penalty) so you can use all scrolls and minor items. Note that you won't really have a very good conversation skill since Fighter uses Intimidate, and Duelist uses Bluff. Level order: You want to start out with Fighter (not like you have much choice), taking up prereq feats early. Until you pump up your Dex, you may want to use Plate/Shield for a while. I would toss in your monk level around 7 and use some carryover skillpoints to get your 5 prereq tumble, or more. This is also about the time you start leveling Duelist, and will ditch the plate/shield for robes. At level 12,15,or 18 I would take the wizard level (if you are going to) and take 12 spellcraft (using carryover points), and Practiced Caster:wizard. This allows a 5 minute Shield spell for +4AC, which is quite helpful. Similar for the cleric level if that is your choice. The immune:mind from protection evil is great too and lasts 10 minutes. From here, it should be pretty easy going. M. SuperSaver Supersaver Human Cleric15/Blackguard2/Paladin2/Warlock1 The idea behind Supersaver is to have really good saving throws and to take advantage of that fact to some degree, such as through Evasion. The build is CHA-based and gains triple the CHA bonus for saving throws. Self buffed makes it +21 to all saves, which places Supersaver as a premere anti-casting character. CHA also provides some other nice abilities such as Divine Shield/Might and Fury domain's BattleMaster (+4 ab,dmg,STR,DEX,CON, and 8/- damage reduction for 5+CHA mod rounds!) Unfortunately, this does NOT work against elemental or magical damage, despite what the description implies. The bad news is that a +4WIS item is sorely needed to gain maximum spell power which caps out at level 8 spells. It is kind of dirty but it works, unlike in NWN1. Play as a standard warrior-cleric using buffs to pump abilities and beat em down. Persistent Divine Favor, and extended Battletide, divine power, and so forth provide strong offense. Pally 2 is used for the save bonuses, as is Blackguard 2. Warlock 1 is used for Dark Ones Own Luck, which also pumps saves and apparantly can be cast in full armor. The 15 cleric is used for the CHA bonuses, evasion, and solid defense as well as good offence all in one class. You COULD go fighter15, but generic fighter would be a bit lacking. STR 14 DEX 12 CON 14 WIS 14 (+4 from item is mandatory!) INT 10 CHA 15 +5levelups = 20 Start Lawful Good. Note this is an EXAMPLE build. You can move these classes around as desired. I started heavy pally to help with alignment issue. 1 cleric - take Fury and Water domains. Fury=Battlemaster, Water=evasion. Get 4 Spellcraft ranks, 2 hide ranks and take Practiced Caster and Power/Attk 2 Paladin - [free martial wpns] 3 Paladin - [gain mad saving throw bonus] Cleave 4 cleric 5 cleric (save 2 skillpoints) 6 cleric - Extend Spell (save 5 skillpoints) 7 Warlock - Take Dark ones Own Luck for huge save bonus. Also, max out UMD skill. 8 cleric - [work towards 5 hide ranks] 9 cleric - [get 5 hide ranks!] Cleave 10 Blackguard 11 Blackguard [INSANE saving throw bonus achieved] 12 cleric - Divine Shield 13 c 14 c 15 c - Divine Might 16 c 17 c 18 c - Persistent Spell 19 c 20 c Skills: 69, 3 skillpoints per level basically 20 in tumble (for 10 tumble ranks) 23 in concentrate 10 in Hide (for 5 ranks prereq) 8 in UMD for 8 ranks (warlock). 8 more in UMD for 4 more ranks to 12 ranks total + heavy CHA mod. Variants: There are tons of potential variants. -One would be to drop the 2 paladin and go with 17c/1lok/2bg for easier alignment agreement and 9th level spellcasting. - Drop the warlock and go 2bg/2pally/16cleric to get maximum lvl20 casting ability, 16BAB, and not having to recast Dark Ones Luck after every rest cycle. - Dump the Divine Might/Shield, keep CHA at 14 base to improve STR for better melee, and use feats elsewhere. Use a +8 nymph cloak to still get a big save bonus. - Take different domains: dump Water if evasion is possible via item and go with Earth most likely. Or, take Destruction for 1 big Smite Infidel every day. X. Copyright, etc. ------------------- This guide is copyrighted by Randomsome1. However, you may post it or use it as you like as long as no contents are changed. If you have any observations, questions, or comments, please email me at: and add NWN2Guide in the Subject. Remove the spambegone part of course. (I would probably miss any email in my spam-filled regular email, hence the usage of my other account...)