The Arcane Vanguard - (Sorcerer 36 / Fighter 2 / Cleric 2)


The first time I saw a BlueCloak was at the very beginnings of the War of the Circle. Although still too young to have a proper beard, I was nonetheless, required for duty alongside my father, one of the commanders in the King's army.

We were encamped a short distance from Fortress Perilous; an ancient, previously unused, castle built on and into the side of a mountain at at the borders of our lands. The surrounding area had been attacked repeatedly by hordes of orcs, goblins and other creatures of their like. Our spies had determined that this is where they were striking from.

The King had sent his son, Prince Elrick and several commanders to investigate and destroy the invaders. The Fortress had but one direct entrance in; a path that wound its way along a ravine and up to the solitary gate at the front. The back was against the mountain; and the sides too sheer to traverse. Therefore, the Prince had decided to contract with one of the fabled BlueCloaks of Emnir.

He quietly arrived at our encampment unannounced and alone, his namesake, the dark blue cloak and large, two-handed sword announcing to the learned who he was. We met in the Prince's tent with the other Commanders to discuss the strategy.

The Prince seemed irritated at the sight of the unassuming, solitary blue-cloaked figure. "I was expecting there to be more of you," the Prince finally said, "especially for the amount of gold you are demanding!". The BlueCloak looked up from the maps they studying "You did say you only had one castle that needed captured, didn't you?". The Prince opened his mouth as if to reply, then wisely shut it, realizing the nature of the question.

After poring over what maps we had, he stood up and addressed us. "Before coming here, I did a scrying of the Fortrress and it's inhabitants. While I could see the outside grounds, powerful enchantments kept me from discerning the true nature of our enemies inside. This leads me to believe that we may be facing some mages of no insignificant power. I feel that it would be best for me to gain entrance inside to breach their defenses and engage whatever magical forces they have".

"Once they are engaged with me, I would ask you to begin the assault on the main gate. You shouldn't have too much trouble, as most of the defenders will lie dead at that point. We will begin early tomorrow morning. Any questions?". His gaze swept the room, and then curiously it stopped on mine for a moment or two, before it continued on it's way.

The next morning we stood an arrow's distance from the main gate awaiting our signal, the start of battle from inside the walls. The defending Orcs and Goblins were stared murderously at us, awaiting some sign of movement closer. Then, starting softly at first, we heard the beginnings of the battle. A few cries of pain and then general uproar rising into a cacophony, as the enemy was discovered in their midst.

As we advanced, above the walls, we could see the release of arcane energy. The air aglow with fire; and lightning arcing across the expanses, sending screams up into the morning dawn. Then, the roar of a fireball splintered and ignited the gate, sending a handful of Goblins running about looking to extinguish themselves. We all rushed into the gap and began engaging the enemy.

I nearly stopped at the sight of the BueCloak, surrounded by a sea of burnt and smoking corpses. His Greatsword glowing with fire, carving a swath through the hordes of enemies. The air around him shimmed as a group of mages sent spell after spell at him, hammering at whatever protections he had employed. He reached the mages and I will forever remember the sight of him standing in a maelstrom of arcane fury; engaging the enemy with both steel and spell. Then as quickly as it started, he was standing alone; unharmed and covered in their blood.

He looked around as if trying to discern something only he saw, then quickly disappeared into a nearby doorway, obviously searching for something.

With all the confusion and leaders dead, the actual conquest of the fortress was accomplished quickly. The archers handled most of the fleeing Orcs, and we established a base camp just outside the gates. We began sorting through crates and papers for half an hour, looking for evidence of who was at the heart of the operation. All the while, wondering where the BlueCloak had disappeared to.

Then, as before, he quietly showed up at the command tent; this time his cloak covered in blood and soot. He addressed the gathered commanders. "As I suspected, this fortress, was but a staging ground for a larger plot. I found a magically-hidden set of caverns carved into the mountain, where the leaders had created a magic portal. They were using it to bring supplies and orcs."

"As I breached their sanctum, they destroyed that portal, to prevent me from gaining access to their base of operations. But, I can tell you that you are set upon by the Circle of the Seven." A hush filled the tent as everyone glanced at each other with fear in their eyes. The Circle knew no mercy and only existed to extend their power and influence regardless of who it destoyed.

"However, we have dealt them blow that will force them to regroup, as we have killed two of their members". And then he pulled from inside his cloak, two heads, dropping them unceremoniously on the ground. Their affiliation with the Circle unmistakable with the easily recognizable tattoo that encircled their right eyes.

"We must get this information to my father, immediately" the Prince said. He addressed the BlueCloak "What do you recommend as our next course of action? We must strike quickly at the Cirlce before they come after us in full force".

"Five," said the BlueCloak, "technically they are now the Circle of the Five. But I am afraid that unless you wish to forge a new contract, I must be leaving now. my current obligation has been fulfilled with the your occupation of the fortress. You may have your father contact us through the usual means if he wishes to pursue the matter".

And before the Prince could reply, he uttered a quick incantation and disappeared from our....

"Ah, finally writing your memiors?" asked an old woman, walking up behind her husband. "Yes, my dear" he smiled "I figured that I had better put them to paper before old age robbed me of them".

"Well, I hate to interrupt, but Commander Telsin asked me to inform you that three new recruits are here." said his wife.

"They seem to be getting younger every year" he said getting out of his chair, "although I suppose I wasn't much older myself when I arrived".

Then, gathering his familiar blue cloak and trusted sword he accompanied his wife down the hall to the sound of young voices talking excitedly...


The Arcane Vanguard - (Sorcerer 36 / Fighter 2 / Cleric 2)

any alignment
playable 1-40

STR 16
DEX 12
CON 14
INT 10
CHA 15 (32)

1 Fighter 1 - Power Attack, Cleave, Weapon Focus: Greatsword*
2 Sorc 1
3 Sorc 2 - Still Spell
4 Sorc 3 - CHA 16
5 Sorc 4
6 Sorc 5 - Empower Spell
7 Sorc 6
8 Sorc 7 - CHA 17
9 Sorc 8 - Toughness
10 Sorc 9
11 Sorc 10
12 Cleric 1 - Divine Might, CHA 18
13 Sorc 11
14 Sorc 12
15 Cleric 2 - Divine Shield
16 Fighter 2 - Improved Critical: Greatsword*, CHA 19
17 Sorc 13
18 Sorc 14 - Maximize Spell
19 Sorc 15
20 Sorc 16 - CHA 20

21 Sorc 17 - Epic Weapon Focus: Greatsword
22 Sorc 18
23 Sorc 19
24 Sorc 20 - AutoStill I, CHA 21
25 Sorc 21
26 Sorc 22
27 Sorc 23 - AutoStill II, AutoStill III*
28 Sorc 24 - CHA 22
29 Sorc 25
30 Sorc 26 - Great Charisma I, Great Charisma II*
31 Sorc 27
32 Sorc 28 - CHA 25
33 Sorc 29 - Great Charisma III, Epic Warding*
34 Sorc 30
35 Sorc 31
36 Sorc 32 - Great Charisma IV, Great Charisma V*, CHA 29
37 Sorc 33
38 Sorc 34
39 Sorc 35 - Great Charisma VI, Great Charisma VII*
40 Sorc 36 - CHA 32

AB 27 - [BAB 21 + STR 3 + WF 1 + EWF 2]
AC 19 - [Base 10 + DEX 1 + Plate 8]

AB 35 - [27 + Emp. Bulls 3 + GMW 5]
AC 48 - [19 + Mage Armor 2* + Shield 4 + Haste 4 + ShadowShield 5 + DS 14]

Damage (@ 40 with buffs (GMW, Emp. Bulls, Emp Eagles, Flame))
46.5 - [2d6(6.5) + GMW 5 + Str 9 + DivineMight 14 + Flame Weapon 10+1d4 (12)]

HP: 300

Saves (+8 vs spells)
Fortitude: 23
Reflex: 15
Will: 22

Skills: 129 (Spellcraft 43, Concentration 43, perhaps the rest in Heal or Lore)


After failing to create a Melee Mage using a pure Sorcerer (well, perhaps failed is too strong a word. Lets just say I wasn't happy with it), I decided to dilute it with some Fighter and Cleric to take advantage of a nice weapon, some armor and a little Divine help (Might and Shield).

And before we get started, let me say that this could be done with Paladin for the extra saves, however, that has been done before, and you lose some HP and 2 extra feats. And since you're a spell caster that can Stop Time if need be, I wasn't quite as concerned about saves. Also, there were no builds that utilized these 3 classes, which I found surprising.

Secondly, let me also warn everyone that this build does not level nearly as easily as a melee Wizard. The limited spells per (spell) level coupled with how slowly the Sorcerer gains new spells really puts it at a disadvantage until about level 12 or so. After that things even out a bit and this build begins to come into its own.

The basic premise, is of course, that you buff up and whack things with your Greatsword, until you run up against something too strong. Then you decimate it with your damage spells. I added Divine Might and Divine Shield to ad to it's melee ability. I was quite please with the results. Opponents with DR stood no chance against me as I was delivering quite a bit of damage that is somewhat hard to resist with Flame Weapon and Divine Might.

I tested this build in the "Novice to Epic" mod as well as running it through "Lords of Darkness". And other than the early levels, I went through it with little difficulty.

You will want to look for Belts and Gloves that give Strength bonus' as well as Nymph cloaks for Charisma.

Any suggestions or comments are welcome.

Cheers. I'd probably drop the epic charisma buffing by two and take Epic Prowess and perhaps Epic Skill Focus Spellcraft (for +2 spell saves). ESFS could be replaced with anything I guess. But EP for the +1AB might be nice. How, exactly, do you plan on hitting anything? 35 AB is lower than I'd be willing to go for an unbuffed AB (the lowest I accept for melee builds is 38, and that's for dual-wielders and spellswords).

Don't get me wrong, the build seems pretty powerful, because anything with 36 levels of Sorcerer and a lot of Cha is powerful, but I can't see ever using combat against anything but maybe really low-AC trash mobs (and only those if you're in a rest-restricted environment and can't AoE them to death).
Quote: Posted 01/10/07 04:45 (GMT) -- Nimueh_Leafbow

How, exactly, do you plan on hitting anything? 35 AB is lower than I'd be willing to go for an unbuffed AB (the lowest I accept for melee builds is 38, and that's for dual-wielders and spellswords).

Don't get me wrong, the build seems pretty powerful, because anything with 36 levels of Sorcerer and a lot of Cha is powerful, but I can't see ever using combat against anything but maybe really low-AC trash mobs (and only those if you're in a rest-restricted environment and can't AoE them to death).

I probably should have mentioned that this was intended for a low-mid magic environment.

And, I appreciate your concerns, for a melee build the AB would be woefully low. But having tested this build in-game (Lords of Darkness) and a variant (Paladin4-Sorc36) in parts of Aielund; I can attest that AB was not a problem.

I had very little problem hitting the cannon fodder which makes up about 90% of your encounters. And the remaining Bosses were easily dispatched with spells. And even then, I could often just resort to melee, with my buffs protecting me.

Actually, with all buffs running and Divine Power going, I could usually dispatch an enemy before my Fighter-companion could (if we were fighting two enemies of the same type at the same time).

Now, I will give the caveat, that as you begin to progress up to and into Epic levels, you will find yourself using more spells as the relative AC generally goes up disproportionately to AB.