« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 05:20:34 PM »
[/size]6. Base Divine Classes
WoTC expects you to enter with a cleric. With that said, it is generally the best-suited for the prestige class, and most of the attention of this guide will focus on cleric casting, feats, etc.
Cleric:[/b] Since MoS stacks for Rebuke Undead, you can build your own army of undead eventually without even trying. 2 domains, full spell progression and heavy armor proficiency is just icing on the cake. In core games, your feats will be limited - try to avoid item creation feats (you want to minimize experience costs) and metamagic feats (your spell-casting is already lower than normal). You'll need a 1-level dip in any +2 Will save class.
Druid: First, you'd need to check if your DM allows you to be an undead-loving druid. Druid summoners can be very strong at low levels, but with the caster level loss you won't be particularly good at it. Another problem is that charisma is a dump stat for most druids, but necessary for the MoS. You'll need a 1-level dip in cleric or in dread necromancer with the Gatekeeper Initiate feat.
Archivist (Heroes of Horror): You have a better spell selection than any other divine caster (if your DM is nice with scrolls!), and can do some cool things with knowledge checks. The major downside is that you are dependent on lots of different ability scores. You'll need a 1-level dip in cleric, dread necromancer, or cloistered cleric - cloistered cleric is the best choice by far.
Cloistered Cleric (UA): This variant from UA keeps the best abilities of clerics and trades their martial abilities for bardic lore and 6 skill points/level. If Complete Champion is allowed, trading the Knowledge domain for the domain feat gives a small boost to attacks and damage at all levels. Cloistered Cleric also gives you a wider list of spells known.
If you want a sneaky MoS, a loremaster MoS, or a diplomancer MoS, take this variant. If you want a melee-based MoS, take the standard cleric (or cloistered cleric and dip into a class that gives good armor). For any other kind of MoS, the two are roughly equal. You'll need a 1-level dip in any +2 Will save class.
Divine Bard (UA): You can't be good or lawful, and neutral divine bards can't cast spells with alignment descriptors, which means you will be Chaotic Evil, just like my last 2 bards. You're only getting 1/day Bardic Music and only the 1st level music abilities. Divine Prankster from Races of Stone would be a good follow-up to MoS for gnomes. You'll need a 1-level dip in cleric, dread necromancer, or cloistered cleric.
Favored Soul (CD): Pass. There's no good reason to take this over a cleric, since your Wis and Cha are equally important in both cases. You'd need a 1-level dip in cleric, dread necromancer, or cloistered cleric.
Spirit Shaman (CD): A class based on controlling and fighting spirits, its flavor is perfect for the MoS - and it gives you a way to gain druid spell-casting without the restrictions of actually being a druid. Not optimal, but different, and very flavorful. You'll need a 1-level dip in cleric or cloistered cleric.
Shugenja (CD): The Shugenja is completely Wisdom-independent, so in a game where you rolled terribly or with a very low point buy this might be viable. It still has mediocre spell progression like the sorcerer and a terribly limited spell list though. You'll need a 1-level dip in cleric or cloistered cleric.
|[/size]« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 03:34:34 PM by Akalsaris »|
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 05:23:05 PM »
7. Dip classes
Since you have to dip in order to enter at 4th level, the class you choose can potentially have a big effect on your character (or simply filler to get you some needed saves or HP), and it's part of why I love this prestige class so much.
Quick summary of classes:
Best HD: Knight (d12), Hexblade (d10), Dragon Shaman (d10)
Best saves: Monk, Favored Soul (all good)
Most skills: Bard, Spellthief, Aristocrat, Archivist, Swordsage, Beguiler, Human Paragon, Savant (6/level or all class skills)
Trapfinding: Savant, Spellthief, Artificer, Beguiler
Best attack bonus: Knight, Duskblade, Hexblade (+1)
Grants 1st level spell-casting: Druid, Cleric, Wizard, Warmage, Favored Soul, Healer, Sorcerer, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler, Shugenja, Archivist, Adept, Wu Jen, Death Master, Sha'ir, Urban Druid
Bard: With only 1 bardic music/day and 0-level spells, this class has nice saves, 6 ranks/level in a good skill list, charisma synergy, and the ability to use arcane items going for it. The same goes for the divine/savage variants in UA, though the savage variant will help your fortitude save, while the divine variant will let you use your crummy bard spells in heavy armor. Sadly, Inspire Courage won't help your undead because it is mind-affecting.
Cleric: if you're not a primary cleric, you'll need this, dread necromancer, or cloistered cleric for the Rebuke Undead prerequisite.
Druid: A decent core dip if your DM doesn't mind the whole "I love undead and nature" part. You should trade your Wild Shape for the ACF on page 58 of UA for fast movement, favored enemy, track, and a monk's Wisdom to AC if possible.
Monk: You gain 4 skills/level, +2 Fort/Reflex/Will, and some bonus feats you'll probably never use.
Sorcerer: If you're really tight on stats, you might need to take sorcerer just because you can't spare the points in Intelligence for wizard. Also goes well with kobolds.
Wizard: a great choice. Gives a lot more versatility with arcane items and low-level spells, as well as a bonus feat and a familiar. In core-only, a conjurer or necromancer is probably your strongest choice for a dip.
Outside of core, a conjurer with the Unearthed Arcana ACFs will let you get Augment Summoning in place of Scribe Scroll, and also make your summon monster spells a standard action - some great bargains for 1 level! The conjurer ACF from the PHB II is also very good for characters with a high intelligence, though you'd have to choose between it and the summoning one (I'd go for the teleporting one personally).
The necromancer variants from UA are also worth mentioning: one gives you a skeletal minion of questionable value in return for your familiar (it's based on your necromancer level), and another gives 2HD and permanent enhancements to the strength and dexterity of undead you create in return for your bonus spell as a specialist - a great trade if you plan on creating a lot of undead.
Please note that I have very little experience with psionic classes - feedback on those classes as dips is especially appreciated.
Classes that give +2 Will but are not covered in detail because they are generally mediocre as a dip for the MoS:
Adept, Expert, Aristocrat
Archivist (HoH): Int-based casting, Scribe Scroll, and 6 skills/level with a flexible spell list.
Artificer (EBCS): 4/level skills, +2 Will, trap-finding, scribe scroll, some minor benefits, Int-based infusions. The personal weapon augmentation can certainly be useful though, as can the ability to scribe low-level scrolls from other classes' lists, and UMD is always a good skill to have.
Beguiler (PHB II): a solid choice. 6/level skills from a great list, a limited int-based spell list, trap-finding, and armored mage.
Binder: Another solid choice. There are 5 vestiges you can bind with a single level, or 9 with practiced binder. Bind Savnok for free full plate at 1st level, or Naberius for a diplomancy build.
Church Inquisitor (CD): Originally suggested by Surreal or carnivore, this is a prestige class you can enter as a cleric at 4th, gain +2 Will, and then enter MoS at 5th. Is delaying access to the MoS by 1 level worth saving a level of spell progression? Well, that depends. Alignment restrictions are also tight here - you must be part of a LG church or religious order, and you must be LN. I wouldn't go this route with most characters, but it is an option.
Cloistered Cleric (UA): A dip for the non-cleric base casters such as spirit shamans, this is a fine choice - 6 skills/level, 3 domains, and a Bardic Lore ability all in one. Two thumbs up.
Death Master (Dragon Compendium): An alternative to the Dread Necromancer - this grants Rebuke Undead and either stacks with cleric for it or doubles your pool, both are nice. Death Master has a better spell list than Dread Necro for you, but int-based casting is a disappointment and your minion will be pitifully weak.
Dragonfire Adept (DM): 4 skills/level, good Fort and Will saves, plus a crummy breath weapon, a crummy bonus feat, and an invocation. Entangling Exhalation is a feat from Races of the Dragon that will let you use your breath to entangle foes with no saving throw allowed, giving you something useful to do between summoning incorporeal undead. Your bonus feat also allows you to take Draconic Heritage, which can add some skills to your list for all classes.
One interesting choice would be to take the Darkness invocation, allowing your wraiths and spectres to fight outside at all times. Drow of the Underdark also has the feat Instinctive Darkness to make Darkness an immediate action to cast. Suggested invocations: Darkness or Beguiling Influence. Draconic Knowledge is solid for characters with Knowledge Devotion.
Dragon Shaman (PHB II): a mediocre choice. A d10 HD but cleric attack progression? You get some small, constant auras - Vigor, Senses, and Toughness are the default choices.
Dread Necromancer (HoH): one of the best dip classes. The only dip that stacks with cleric for Rebuke Undead (and if your DM rules that they are separate pools, then its even better for DMM users!). Charnel Touch allows you to heal undead allies for unlimited amounts between battles, and gives a decent touch attack at very low levels, especially if it stacks with inflict spells. Solid spells from a small cha-based spell list.
Duskblade (PHB II): Strong Fort and Will, +1 BAB, d8 HD, all martial weapons, armor, and most shields, armored mage, and spells from a limited list with Int-based casting.
Human Paragon (UA): You can go Human Paragon 1/Cleric 1/Human Paragon +1 and net Adaptive Learning in a skill of your choice, as well as a bonus feat. Makes it very easy to enter a skill-based PrC after MoS as well, and gives you more room for feats at low levels.
Incarnate (MoI): The incarnate is a good dip if there are some soulmelds you really want - and there are at least a few worthwhile ones to pick from for any character.
Knight (PHB II): Interesting choice - gives +1 BAB, a d12 (!) HD, and a Charisma-based challenge, but you need to be lawful and follow a code that prevents you from gaining a bonus from flanking with your summons. If you want to be the party tank, this could be worthwhile, especially if you take the Goad feat from Complete Adventurer.
Marshal (MH): A good dip. MoS has Diplomacy as a class skill, so you can go Cleric/Marshal/MoS for a respectable diplomancer build. Or you can just give your allies a bonus on flanking damage and use hordes of shadows and summoned skeletons to make good times for everybody. If you're willing to sacrifice another caster level, having a major aura will make you an even better buffer.
Savant (Dragon Compendium): Goes quite well with cloistered cleric - has a lore ability that stacks, trapfinding, 6 skills/level (you choose them), d8 HD, and gives martial weapons and shields back to the cloistered cleric.
Spirit Shaman (CD): strong Fort and Will, 4 skill ranks, and getsspells from the druid spell list without druidic restrictions. Also, the flavor fits the MoS perfectly.
Swordsage (ToB): A decent choice for a melee-focused MoS - gives +2 to Reflex and Will, 6 skill ranks/level, and opens up ToB fun. Suggested maneuvers/stances: Distracting Ember will help you and your summons, Sapphire Nightmare Blade works off of a skill you'll be maxing normally, Leading the Attack helps your summons against the foe you hit, Island of Blades stance lets you flank with adjacent summons. The Shadow Hand school fits the MoS flavor very well. If you're willing to sacrifice another caster level, gaining wisdom to AC in light armor can be great for cloistered cleric entries.
Warlock (CA): A great choice for the same reasons as the Dragonfire Adept. Suggested invocations: Darkness, Entropic Warding and Beguiling Influence are all excellent. The flavor fits well too.
Wu Jen (CA): It's pretty hard to argue with an initiative reroll and a metamagic feat of your choice. Limited spell list and int-based casting.[/size][/size][/size][/color]
|« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 08:55:59 PM by Akalsaris »[/t][/t]|