The Duskblade Adept (PvM, perhaps PvP lite, playable levels 1-40)

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One of my favorite character types in Baldur's Gate II was always the Fighter/Mage/Thief. There wasn't much you couldn't handle. Basically, you would start off using Hide in Shadows, come up behind someone, and backstab them. Your fighter levels meant that your THAC0 was low enough that you generally hit them. If they had spell protections, you could use your mage spells to knock them out. Then, in the middle of any fight, you could always cast an invisibility spell (and there was one at almost every level) and get in another backstab. And, if all else failed, you could just sit in there and duke it out, maybe not as well as Minsc, but well enough to get by.

This is my attempt to recreate the glory (or, perhaps, nefariousness) using the NwN adaptation of D3D rules. I've taken some liberties with class selections in order to add both interest and feasibility to the build, but the fundamental concept and play style should prove very reminiscent of walking up behind that mage next to Gromnir, killing him in one hit with a backstab, taking out the other mage with a single Finger of Death, casting Stoneskin, and settling in for a good brawl.

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Race: Human

Alignment: Any evil

Starting Stats:
Str: 14
Dex: 16
Con: 10
Int: 10
Wis: 8
Cha: 16

1 - Rogue 1 - Power Attack, Cleave
2 - Rogue 2
3 - Sorcerer 1 - Extend Spell
4 - Sorcerer 2 - Dex 17
5 - Sorcerer 3
6 - Sorcerer 4 - Weapon Finesse
7 - Rogue 3
8 - Rogue 4 - Dex 18
9 - Rogue 5 - Weapon Focus (rapier)
10 - Rogue 6
11 - BG 1
12 - Rogue 7 - Blind Fight, Cha 17
13 - BG 2
14 - BG 3
15 - BG 4 - Divine Might
16 - BG 5 - Cha 18
17 - Rogue 8
18 - BG 6 - Divine Shield
19 - BG 7
20 - BG 8 - Dex 19

21 - Sorcerer 5 - Epic Weapon Focus (rapier)
22 - Rogue 9
23 - Sorcerer 6
24 - Sorcerer 7 - Maximize Spell, Dex 20
25 - Sorcerer 8
26 - Sorcerer 9
27 - Rogue 10 - Great Dex 21, Improved Evasion*
28 - Sorcerer 10 - Dex 22
29 - Sorcerer 11
30 - Sorcerer 12 - Great Dex 23
31 - Sorcerer 13
32 - Rogue 11 - Dex 24
33 - Sorcerer 14 - Great Dex 25
34 - Sorcerer 15
35 - Sorcerer 16
36 - Sorcerer 17 - Epic Prowess, Cha 19
37 - Rogue 12
38 - Sorcerer 18
39 - Rogue 13 - Epic Dodge, Defensive Roll*
40 - BG 9 / Sorcerer 18 / Rogue 13 - Dex 26

*Rogue bonus feat

Skills: Concentration 43(43), Discipline 43(45), Hide 42(49), Move Silently 42(49), Spellcraft 15(15), Tumble 40(48)

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Ending Stats:
Str: 14
Dex: 26
Con: 10
Int: 10
Wis: 8
Cha: 19

AB (rapier): +38/+33/+28/+23
-Extra attack from Haste
+2 from Maximized Catís Grace
+5 from Greater Magic Weapon
-5 (when activated) from Power Attack
+7 (on smite) from Smite Good
Buffed AB (rapier): +45/+45/+40/+35/+30 (-5 w/ Power Attack, +7 on smite)

Damage (rapier): 3-8 (critical 18-20/x2)
+1 (at least) from Bullís Strength
+5 from Greater Magic Weapon
+1d4+10 from Flame Weapon
+7 from Divine Might
+5 (when activated) from Power Attack
+9 (on smite) from Smite Good
Buffed Damage (rapier): 27-35 (critical 15-20/x2, +5 w/ Power Attack, +9 on smite)

AC (robes): 26
+4 from Haste
+2 from Mage Armor
+4 from Shield
+5 from Shadow Shield
+2 from Maximized Catís Grace
+7 from Divine Shield
Buffed AC (robes): 50

Max HP: 240

Saves:
Fortitude: 23 (+3 vs. spells)
Reflex: 31 (+3 vs. spells, +2 vs. traps, Improved Evasion)
Will: 21 (+3 vs. spells)

Buffed Saves (Maximized Eagleís Splendor, Maximized Catís Grace, Resistance):
Fortitude: 27 (+3 vs. spells)
Reflex: 37 (+3 vs. spells, +2 vs. traps, Improved Evasion)
Will: 25 (+3 vs. spells)

Sneak Attack Damage: 9d6

Spells:
0: Acid Splash, Daze, Electric Jolt, Flare, Light, Ray of Frost, Resistance
1: True Strike, Grease, Mage Armor, Shield, Magic Missile
2: Catís Grace, Eagleís Splendor, Darkness, Flame Weapon, Ultravision
3: Greater Magic Weapon, Haste, Vampiric Touch, Find Traps
4: Improved Invisibility, Ice Storm, Elemental Shield, Stoneskin
5: Bigbyís Interposing Hand, Energy Buffer, Mestilís Acid Sheath, Lesser Mind Blank
6: Isaacís Greater Missile Storm, Greater Spell Breach, True Seeing
7: Shadow Shield, Bigbyís Grasping Hand, Spell Mantle
8: Bigbyís Clenched Fist, Greater Sanctuary
9: Time Stop

The spell list is, of course, flexible, and can be modified to suit personal taste and playing style.

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Strengths:
-Very versatile
-4 attacks
-Very high buffed AC
-High buffed AB
-Good buffed damage
-Level 9 arcane spells
-Epic Dodge
-50% concealment from Improved Invisibility

Weaknesses:
-Low caster levels, can't deal with SR at all, can't use spells with saves
-Pathetic HP. If you roll max every level, your health will be precisely equal to the damage dealt by a single maximized IGMS. It may be worthwhile to switch out Epic Prowess for Toughness for precisely this reason
-Gets Epic Dodge very late

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I like this character. Because it can effectively adopt various strategies in combat, it stays interesting to play for quite a while. And, of course, it remindes me of BGII.

"More...intruders...have entered...the complex...Master."


Fixed typos - Kail Pendragon

Edited By Kail Pendragon on 05/07/06 19:31

The threat range should be 18-20, not 15-20. I forgot to change it back after I removed Improved Critical from the build, and it's too late for me to edit. Apologies.
Quote: Posted 05/07/06 06:50:29 (GMT) -- Nimueh_Leafbow
...
Starting Stats:
Str: 14
Dex: 16
Con: 10
Int: 10
Wis: 8
Cha: 16

...

Damage (rapier): 3-8 (critical 15-20/x2)
+1 (at least) from Bullís Strength
+5 from Greater Magic Weapon
+1d4+10 from Flame Weapon
+7 from Divine Might
+5 (when activated) from Power Attack
+9 (on smite) from Smite Good
Buffed Damage (rapier): 27-35 (critical 15-20/x2, +5 w/ Power Attack, +9 on smite)

...

Max HP: 240

...

Buffed Saves (Maximized Eagleís Splendor, Maximized Catís Grace, Resistance):
Fortitude: 27 (+3 vs. spells)
Reflex: 37 (+3 vs. spells, +2 vs. traps, Improved Evasion)
Will: 25 (+3 vs. spells)

Sneak Attack Damage: 10d6

...

interesting take on a 'jack-of-all-trades' tytpe char. very few situations in which this one can't add in their two cents. i like the addition of divine might and shield along with the BG saves from cha. helps to boost normally very low spellsword saves.

just a few points

if you are going into melee, i might suggest switching strength with constitution. with so many sorc levels, you might need the extra staying power. not to say that your buffs won't protect you, but if you are fighting a mage and a fighter, you will get stripped of your buffs quickly. then the fighter will be pounding you without the benefit of concealment. epic dodge will help, but it comes in very late. for the first 30+ levels of this char, you will need to be very careful who you choose to fight.

as for buffing saves, keep in mind that will is not really a big worry, since you have access to wonderful things like clarity, lesser mind blank and mind blank. for reflex, you are doing fine. and for fort you can always shift into another form with tenser's, which should boost that save. might also help in melee come to think of it, but you should check with others on that.

also, i count sneak attack at 9d6. 7 from rogue and 2 from bg. or did i goof on this?

another thing i thought of. if you wanted to enhance your crit range, leave out cleave and grab exotic weapons. then use a kukri instead. then you can cast keen edge on it.

also,for damage, you sorta cheated yourself. bg has bulls, for a minimum buff of +1, but along with a maximized bulls from sorc you will get another +2. you could potentially, with luck, get +5 to damage, although a minimum of +3. this is helpful if fighting foes with immunity to sneak/crit. also helps with carrying the loot off of their corpses.

i dunno about using spells to finish off other mages. they will have stronger spells and counter-spells then you. your best bet is to sneak and melee them to death. i wouldn't count on spells doing the trick. good against dumb fighters though.

another thing i just thought of. a maximized endurance will help boost fort saving throw and up the HP. not too shabby.

all in all, interesting approach. difficult to play, imo, as all spellswords are in nwn, but interesting.

-c
_________________
"You cannot pass!" Without Cleave he can't become Blackguard.

Nice build there. Might be tough in the first few levels, but it should perform nicely after a while.

Smooth,
Grimnir
_________________
Dragonlance ROH is back, better than before! and I spend a little time here WoG
Quote: Posted 05/07/06 15:55:44 (GMT) -- Grimnir77

Without Cleave he can't become Blackguard.

...

D'oh!


-c
Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

interesting take on a 'jack-of-all-trades' tytpe char. very few situations in which this one can't add in their two cents. i like the addition of divine might and shield along with the BG saves from cha. helps to boost normally very low spellsword saves.

Thanks .

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

if you are going into melee, i might suggest switching strength with constitution. with so many sorc levels, you might need the extra staying power. not to say that your buffs won't protect you, but if you are fighting a mage and a fighter, you will get stripped of your buffs quickly. then the fighter will be pounding you without the benefit of concealment. epic dodge will help, but it comes in very late. for the first 30+ levels of this char, you will need to be very careful who you choose to fight.

Str 13 is a prereq for Power Attack and Cleave, which, like Grimnir said, I need to qualify for Blackguard

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

as for buffing saves, keep in mind that will is not really a big worry, since you have access to wonderful things like clarity, lesser mind blank and mind blank. for reflex, you are doing fine. and for fort you can always shift into another form with tenser's, which should boost that save. might also help in melee come to think of it, but you should check with others on that.

I included the buffed save stats just because I was including all the other buffed stats as well. I agree that saves aren't a huge worry with this build. I hadn't thought of Tenser's, though.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

also, i count sneak attack at 9d6. 7 from rogue and 2 from bg. or did i goof on this?

No, I did. For some reason, I was thinking BG got 3d6 at level 7, but you're absolutely right. 9d6 is the total for this build.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

another thing i thought of. if you wanted to enhance your crit range, leave out cleave and grab exotic weapons. then use a kukri instead. then you can cast keen edge on it.

As above, dropping Cleave is not an option if I want to maintain the integrity of the build as it stands.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

also,for damage, you sorta cheated yourself. bg has bulls, for a minimum buff of +1, but along with a maximized bulls from sorc you will get another +2. you could potentially, with luck, get +5 to damage, although a minimum of +3. this is helpful if fighting foes with immunity to sneak/crit. also helps with carrying the loot off of their corpses.

Whoops! I forgot that sorc's Bull's and BG's Bull's stacked. Still, I'm not sure there are any level 2 spells I'm willing to drop for Bull's Strength. Cat's Grace gets me AB, Eagle's Splendor gets me saves, AC, and damage, Flame Weapon is critical to the build's ability to do damage, and Darkness + Ultravision is an extremely effective way to get in those sneak attacks. Since you do have Blind Fight, though, it might be worth it to drop Ultravision.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

i dunno about using spells to finish off other mages. they will have stronger spells and counter-spells then you. your best bet is to sneak and melee them to death. i wouldn't count on spells doing the trick. good against dumb fighters though.

With the relative weakness of multiclassed casters in NwN, you're probably right. When I said that, I was describing the way this sort of character worked in BGII. Obviously, NwN is a different game, and different strategies are more or less effective.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 14:03:58 (GMT) -- christian.schnabel

another thing i just thought of. a maximized endurance will help boost fort saving throw and up the HP. not too shabby.

Again, not sure there are any level 2 spells I'd be willing to drop. It'd be nice to have Endurance on a scroll or wand, though.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 15:55:44 (GMT) -- Grimnir77

Nice build there. Might be tough in the first few levels, but it should perform nicely after a while.

Smooth,
Grimnir

Thanks, Grimnir.

*edit* Oh, and in the continuing saga of my minor and irritating errors, the base scores for Hide and Move Silently are 42, not 43, since the last Rogue level is taken at level 39. The modified scores are correct at 50.

Edited By Nimueh_Leafbow on 05/07/06 19:19

Looks like you've come up with a reasonably effective sorcerer spellsword build without using RDD - kudos on that, making a good spellsword out of a sorcerer is pretty challenging. And you get bonus points for using blackguard, and although I already mentioned it, more bonus points for not using RDD.

That said I do have some suggestions

This character seems like he'll have a lot of utility and reasonable, though not spectacular, defense. But he lacks offensive punch due to his low AB (sneak attacks that don't land, don't count), and lack of casting levels for magical offense. +45 isn't really high for a buffed AB, self or not; it's a fairly high unbuffed AB, such as you'd probably get in a warrior-centric RDD or WM build. Don't forget that the most AB you can possibly get from buffing is +20 to-hit and +6 from stat increases for a total of +26. The highest this character's AB can go is +64.

And I'll be frank - I don't really know of many truly "low magic" worlds that let you go to level 40 such that a specialized fighter won't be able to get equipment that duplicates the effects of your buffs, putting their AB into the low to middle +70s. If you can do something to raise your BAB, I'd do it.

I think your biggest hurdle in this build is your hitpoints, however, or rather the lack thereof. Particularly in light of how late epic dodge comes into play for your build. I seriously doubt you will find much success PvPing using a build that has less than 400 unbuffed hitpoints, for that matter.

For feat selection: I'd consider exchanging maximize spell for empower spell (using a lower-level spell slot can be advantageous), or for armor skin.

I'd also consider switching weapon choice from rapier to scimitar (wait until you're a blackguard and have martial proficiency to take focus) - this will let you use the Keen Edge spell from scrolls or as an alternative spell selection. Rapiers are piercing, so they can't be keened by the spell, but scimitars are slashing and have the same critical hit stats.

Finally, I'd consider dropping Divine Might, it's a limited uses/day ability that only adds to damage, when what you will really need to increase in your melee offense is AB. This can free you to take Empower in pre-epic levels in addition to Maximize in epic levels, or to swap Empower with Maximize and get Armor Skin.

For spell selection: I'd definitely take Endurance over Eagle's Splendor; there is more variety of +save and +cha equipment in most games than there is of +con equipment, and you will really need the hitpoints.

I'm not sure I'd bother keeping Mage Armor very long in any but the lowest of low-magic environments, since its AC bonus would end up being overridden once you got magic equipment. It'll be good for your early levels, though. I'd probably replace it with Identify to identify scrolls, wands, etc in the field and feed my UMD skill.

Likewise with Greater Magic Weapon - odds are if you are in an environment that goes to level 40, you'll be finding +5 weapons (or better) before you get enough caster levels to yield the full +5 bonus out of GMW.

By the time you're able to cast level 4 spells, Stoneskin will probably be worthless for you unless you are slumming (fighting enemies much weaker than yourself). The enemies you'll be fighting in the epic levels will have weapons with enough +s to bypass it. I'd replace it with Evard's Black Tentacles (in 1.67 this spell got some serious love and is one of the best friends of spellsword builds now).

I might also consider dropping Ice Storm in favor of something else - Lesser Spell Breach or Minor Globe of Invulnerability comes to mind, as does Polymorph Self - but this is entirely a matter of taste. (However, Lesser Spell Breach can free you from taking Greater Spell Breach and opening a level 6 spell slot...)

For level 9 I'd consider taking Mordekainen's Disjunction instead of Time Stop.
_________________
Experience is the mother of good judgement; bad judgement is the father of experience.
Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

Looks like you've come up with a reasonably effective sorcerer spellsword build without using RDD - kudos on that, making a good spellsword out of a sorcerer is pretty challenging. And you get bonus points for using blackguard, and although I already mentioned it, more bonus points for not using RDD.

Thanks .

Overall, you've highlighted an important issue with most of my character builds: I tend to build for no-magic settings, which basically don't exist at these levels.

However, a few specific responses:

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

I don't really know of many truly "low magic" worlds that let you go to level 40 such that a specialized fighter won't be able to get equipment that duplicates the effects of your buffs, putting their AB into the low to middle +70s. If you can do something to raise your BAB, I'd do it.

I would think that any setting which allows +20 to hit and +12 to attributes would be classified as "high magic," rather than merely not qualifying for truly "low magic." AB boosters apart from weapons are pretty unusual, aren't they? And +20 weapons are quite unusual, I'm sure.

Nevertheless, it's true that it would be nice to raise my BAB. I'm not sure how to do that, though...I suppose you could go Elf instead of Human, drop a feat (Blind Fight?), take the XP penalty, and end up with more Dex. Or you could swap four post-epic Rogue levels for the pre-epic Sorcerer ones for +1 BAB, as long as you don't mind that the build wouldn't mature into its concept until epic, and even then wouldn't get skill dumps for Tumble. That's all I can think of, though, and I'm not sure how worthwhile either one would be.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

I think your biggest hurdle in this build is your hitpoints, however, or rather the lack thereof. Particularly in light of how late epic dodge comes into play for your build. I seriously doubt you will find much success PvPing using a build that has less than 400 unbuffed hitpoints, for that matter.

I agree entirely. That's why I mentioned PvP in such tentative terms (maybe PvP lite) in the build description: Outside of a few specialized situations, you're probably going to die if you go up against other players.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

For feat selection: I'd consider exchanging maximize spell for empower spell (using a lower-level spell slot can be advantageous), or for armor skin.

I'm pretty happy with the AC on the build already; I think I'd rather have Toughness than Armor Skin, anyway. As for Maximize/Empower, that's always personal choice, from my point of view.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

I'd also consider switching weapon choice from rapier to scimitar (wait until you're a blackguard and have martial proficiency to take focus) - this will let you use the Keen Edge spell from scrolls or as an alternative spell selection. Rapiers are piercing, so they can't be keened by the spell, but scimitars are slashing and have the same critical hit stats.

Scimitars don't qualify for Weapon Finesse, so they're out. I actually forgot that in the first version of this build (never posted), and I spent a while wondering why my AB was so low...my threat range was great, though, because I had Improved Critical in that version, too.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

Finally, I'd consider dropping Divine Might, it's a limited uses/day ability that only adds to damage, when what you will really need to increase in your melee offense is AB. This can free you to take Empower in pre-epic levels in addition to Maximize in epic levels, or to swap Empower with Maximize and get Armor Skin.

Hmmm...again, I'm more worried about HP than AC with this build. Also, since I haven't come up with any good ways to increase AB, it seems to me that it's important to do as much damage as I can when I DO manage to hit something.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

For spell selection: I'd definitely take Endurance over Eagle's Splendor; there is more variety of +save and +cha equipment in most games than there is of +con equipment, and you will really need the hitpoints.

Yeah, I guess you're right on this one. Having a guaranteed +5 to Cha to round out that nasty odd-numbered ability score satisfies my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but I might just have to let it go.

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

I'm not sure I'd bother keeping Mage Armor very long in any but the lowest of low-magic environments, since its AC bonus would end up being overridden once you got magic equipment. It'll be good for your early levels, though. I'd probably replace it with Identify to identify scrolls, wands, etc in the field and feed my UMD skill.

Likewise with Greater Magic Weapon - odds are if you are in an environment that goes to level 40, you'll be finding +5 weapons (or better) before you get enough caster levels to yield the full +5 bonus out of GMW.

By the time you're able to cast level 4 spells, Stoneskin will probably be worthless for you unless you are slumming (fighting enemies much weaker than yourself). The enemies you'll be fighting in the epic levels will have weapons with enough +s to bypass it. I'd replace it with Evard's Black Tentacles (in 1.67 this spell got some serious love and is one of the best friends of spellsword builds now).

More examples of my tendencies toward no-magic builds. Good advice, once you get items that make those spells obsolete.

As to the Black Tentacles spell, I haven't really played around with it much. What changed about it in 1.67?

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

I might also consider dropping Ice Storm in favor of something else - Lesser Spell Breach or Minor Globe of Invulnerability comes to mind, as does Polymorph Self - but this is entirely a matter of taste. (However, Lesser Spell Breach can free you from taking Greater Spell Breach and opening a level 6 spell slot...)

Yeah, I'd probably take Lesser Spell Breach, then replace the Greater Spell Breach with something else, maybe Tenser's Transformation (as suggested above).

Quote: Posted 05/07/06 21:42:51 (GMT) -- Xylophone

For level 9 I'd consider taking Mordekainen's Disjunction instead of Time Stop.

Well, Mord's is always a good idea, but I'm particularly partial to Time Stop in a build like this one. It's a very good way to get in a few free sneak attacks. It's really up to the player what spell they pick there. I've been away a while, I didn't make the connection between your dex build and the rapier. Hehe.

For the +20 weapon thing... you're right a lot of medium magic environments won't have them, but they will have +5 (and in some cases +6 or +7) before your GMW maxes out (at sorc level 15). My expectation of a mid-magic epic game would include the possibility of +10 weapons by character level 40, because +5 is traditionally considered the appropriate weapon strength for level 20 going back to early editions of AD&D pen and paper.

+12 to a stat really isn't that uncommon, however, and can be done in many games. It will usually need a combination of gear and potions but such things are widely available in NWN. Remember that +stat can be stacked from multiple items, so you might have a belt of giant strength +5 and gauntlets of ogre power +3, and then drink a potion of bull's strength and get +2 to +4... and voila you have the full +12 to strength.

Strength and dex typically get the most item lovin', con, wis, and int tend to get the least.

In 1.67, Evard's bypasses spell resistance and anti-spell defenses like globe of invulnerability or spell mantle. All the damage done by tentacles is applied in one hit, even though multiple tentacles roll grapple checks to inflict damage. This means that unlike IGMS, damage resistance isn't a significant barrier to tentacles.

The tentacles attack with a grapple check (based on Str and Size) rather than a to-hit roll - this means that basically the only defense against them is to be big or to have a high strength. DR, AC, concealment, spell mantles, SR, etc are all useless.

However Small and Tiny sized creatures are immune. But you'd have a better chance popping tentacles on an epic level dragon or lich or the like, than you would using IGMS, because IGMS would just bounce off spell resistances.
_________________
Experience is the mother of good judgement; bad judgement is the father of experience.