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Prestige Classing FAQ by eyeofjustice
Version: 1.10 | Updated: 01/27/09
Neverwinter Nights 2: A Guide to Prestige Classes By community member eyeofjustice 1/25/2009 Version 1.10 Game Version 1.21 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Howdy folks, One of the most common questions on the boards here at GameFAQs is, “How do I get the most out of my prestige classing?” (That’s paraphrased from, “This class is th3 suxx0r!!!”). Prestige multiclassing was a bit mystical when 5 classes were added in NWN’s Shadows of Undrentide expansion; with 17 Prestige Classes (henceforth PrCs) in NWN2's base game and many more added with expansions, it can be downright overwhelming for newbies, n00bs, and advanced players alike. This guide is intended to target newbies and advanced players both. n00bs should look elsewhere; I do not have the time nor the inclination to describe powergaming builds in epic detail, or to list out exact stats, race selections, and other such nonsense. Questions about exact builds can be directed to the message boards if no other current FAQs are available. The present guide is intended to help relative newbies to better understand and build a multiclass character with PrC levels, and advanced players to get hints and ideas for PrCs they haven’t tried (or have tried, but not in the ways I will expound). This guide is not meant to take the place of the game’s manual, only augment it; if you do not have the manual, please note that there is an electronic copy included in the game folder. The guide is in alpha order by PrC, so I went without a table of contents, I hope my readers won’t take offense. Also, since this guide was originally created with the base game in mind, and I am only now updating based on the expansions, please forgive if it's OC-focused or if there are errors (in which case, please email!). As always, please don’t repost this without permission, everything contained herein is my own intellectual content except where it belongs to Atari, Obsidian, or other community members as mentioned, and please don’t be foolish and plagiarise or otherwise misuse this guide. Please enjoy the guide, I hope this will serve informatively, and happy gaming! -EOJ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ General formatting of this guide: THE TITLE OF THE PrC GOES HERE Requirements: What do I need to take this PrC? Make absolutely certain you check these! They’re in the manual, but I include them here just because it makes things easier to reference. Nothing is more frustrating than building an Arcane Archer character but neglecting to make him an Elf or Half-Elf. “BAB” is your “base attack bonus”, and is based upon your class; there’s a reference table in the back of your manual. Note that Skill requirements are physical ranks added to the skill at level-up, not your total bonus for the skill. Finally, Warlocks do not qualify as Arcane Casters for spellcasting requirements. Niche: What role is this PrC most generally supposed to fill as part of my character? People often get lost in the muck of PrCs’ long lists of requirements and abilities, and forget the core role of multiclassing; adding something to your character that you want, so you can better fit your role. Do you hate Neeshka? Then you may want to augment your Ranger with levels of Assassin for more Roguish abilities. Need more defense? Look for a PrC like a Shadowdancer or Dwarven Defender that fills a more defensive/tanking/not-dying niche. Description: What directions should I go with my PrC, and what should I watch out for? Each PrC has its own quirks. Ups and downs are at least as common in PrCs as base classes, and in many cases, coding glitches are more rampant. It’s important to know… does my PrC work as well in practice as it does on paper? Sample Build: What is an interesting build I can try with this class? This is meant to be an interesting example only! I will be as succinct as possible with my build info. I intend only to stimulate thought, not railroad it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ARCANE ARCHER (AA) Requirements: Elven or Half-Elven race, BAB +6, Weapon Focus (Longbow or Shortbow) and Point Blank Shot, ability to cast any arcane spells. Niche: Being effective as an archer. Description: The AA is practically a requirement for an effective archery build in this game, because archery is so impoverished by the NWN engine. Why? Because every attack will draw aggression (‘aggro’) from enemies, making them run to take you out. Even though attacks of opportunity (AoO) work a bit better now, it's still hard to create an effective net against encroaching baddies. But AAs can kill most enemies by the time they get to the AA, so it’s less of an issue. Still, make sure you have a backup melee weapon and don’t forget your high BAB and HP can let you melee with power as well. The class’ special abilities are nothing to write home about, but the real reason for this class is the +enchantment bonus to every arrow fired. Note that this enchantment shouldn’t stack; firing +1 arrows with a level 3 AA will result in +2 arrows, not +3 arrows. So go with the cheapest arrows you can find, or alternatively, Vampiric or elemental-enchanted arrows. With a Mighty bow and a few quivers of Lightning Arrows, AAs can really tear through enemies. Most builds take only one level of the arcane class and completely neglect spellcasting. Because AAs do not get spell progression, make sure that if you intend to cast spells to any level of usefulness, you take Practiced Spellcaster. Sample Build: Bard 11 / AA 9. Bard is an oft-forgotten arcane casting class, but it makes for a powerful AA. This build gives you decent spellcasting (don’t forget Practiced Spellcaster!), Inspirations and Songs, Lore bonuses, etc. Haven Song and several Bard spells work well in keeping enemies away from you, too. There’s not a whole lot of point to taking the tenth level of AA, so switch it for Bard. Note that Deekin sells a good shortbow for this build. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ARCANE SCHOLAR OF CANDLEKEEP (ASoC) Requirements: Spellcraft 8 ranks, Skill Focus (Spellcraft) and Skill Focus (Concentration) and Empower Spell; 3rd-level arcane spellcasting. Niche: Balanced spellcaster with an eye for metamagic. Description: MotB brought two fabulous arcane PrCs to bear, and this is the less "extreme" one. There are some really neat bonuses, like the + to saves against spells for your entire party (which is ever-present, not an aura like many other similar abilities), bonus feats (a plus given the number of feats you have to burn to get it), and absolutely no loss of spellcasting power. The best feature of the class, however, is the lowered requirements for Empower, Maximize, and Quicken Spell metamagic; normally these require that you use a slot 2, 3, or 4 levels higher (respectively) than the spell normally does, but ASoC can cast (by level 10) each 1, 2, or 3 (respectively) higher instead. This is a huge bonus for those who love metamagic (I'm looking at you, 90% of GameFAQs posters who use Missile Storms like they're going out of style). There really isn't much to lose in taking this class; Wizards lose out on bonus feats while Sorcerors don't really miss out on anything at all. If you don't mind burning a few feats, try it out! Note, however, that Quickening spells has only niche uses compared to Empowering or Maximizing, so going all the way to level 10 likely isn’t necessary. Sample Build: Sorceror 13 / ASoC 7. Sorcerors are fantastic with metamagic, so it’s a match made in heaven. I swear to you, I tried to figure out something crazy, but ASoC just doesn’t lend itself to creativity. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ARCANE TRICKSTER (AT) Requirements: Non-lawful alignment; Lore 7, Disable Device 7, Tumble 7, Spellcraft 4; Sneak attack dice of at least +2d6; Arcane spellcasting of at least level 3. Niche: Party multitool and spell sneak attacker. Description: A PrC that has yet to reach its full potential in NWN2, the AT is still a strong party member. Most AT builds use Rogue/Wizard levels exclusively, because this maximizes the number of skills (with Rogue and Int). Also, Sorceror makes a comparatively poor choice, because one needs at least 3 levels of Rogue, and this disallows 9th level Sorceror spells. But that’s not to say you -can’t- make a Rogue/Sorc/AT. Why does the class have more potential than it owns up to? First off, that Pilfer Magic ability Obsidian gave ATs blows. There’s no real use for it, it’s weak and not suited to the nature of the class. And Ranged Legerdemain from the pencil and paper (PnP) D&D game is much cooler (letting you disarm traps, pick pockets, etc., at range). More importantly, though, NWN2 has yet to officially apply sneak attack damage on touch attack spells. What will that do, you may ask? Every melee or ranged touch attack spell (e.g., Acid Arrow, Polar Ray, even Ray of Frost) will also apply your Sneak Attack damage if you cast it under the same circumstances as a Sneak Attack (i.e., from hiding or at a foe’s flank). Very useful, especially given the AT’s otherwise poor attack bonus. There are mods on nwvault.ign.com to fix this. For best combat results as it stands, Tenser’s Transformation will turn you into a sneak attacking dynamo. Let your party draw the enemies in, cast Tenser’s, and dive in attacking flanks at will. Impromptu Sneak Attack works well with this too. Keep in mind, however, that the final areas of the OC have nothing but crit-immune undead, so by this point you’ll be relegated to thieving and magical support (which is still useful!). ATs are brilliant in SoZ, where having a broad skill base is useful. A Ranger and an AT could in themselves probably handle all the skills you need! Sample Build: Rogue 3 / Bard 11 / AT 6. I promise, not all of the builds from here on will use Bard, it’s just difficult to think up an interesting AT build when Rogue/Wizard is such an obvious standard. However, Bard has a lot to offer, most notably better attack bonus, and thus better chance to land sneak attacks. Spells like Heroism and War Cry, and Curse Song, will give you even better effect. This build even gets a pretty great skill selection. Also note that taking one level of Rogue and one of Assassin means you save yourself a level for spellcasting, though you do give up Evasion as well, so it’s your decision. This is a great build for those who can’t be bothered to download a hakpak for allowing spell sneak attacks, though admittedly a poor build for those who do. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ASSASSIN Requirements: Any evil alignment; Hide 8, Move Silently 8. Niche: Same as Rogue, but more adept at striking from hiding. Description: This PrC is mostly just an evil Rogue, essentially trading in the high-level feats (Improved Evasion, Slippery Mind, etc.) and two skill points per level, in favour of better ability to hide. This is actually better than it sounds; Hiding in Shadows is a real trial in 3.5ed D&D, and Hide in Plain Sight (which Assassins now get at level 8) makes hiding much more useful. It also means you can simply hide whenever anything notices you, so long as your Hide and Move Silently are high enough to avoid detection. Don’t count out those Assassin spells, either. Greater Invisibility is as wonderful as always, and if you have the Blind-Fight feat, the Darkness spell is a stellar means of dealing large amounts of sneak attack damage very quickly. Death Attack is often misunderstood. Essentially, it stacks in all ways with Sneak Attack, but also adds an additional chance for paralyzation under very specific circumstances. If your target is not currently engaged (i.e., you snuck up on him or her without drawing notice), your sneak attack has a chance of paralyzing it. This is tertiary, but can be deadly if you’re a patient hunter. Sample Build: Ranger 11 / Assassin 9. Dual-wielding works excessively well with sneak attacking classes, and Assassins are no exception. One bonus of using Ranger levels for this is that you can focus less on Dex (though you’ll still want a decent stat value for it) without sacrificing much hiding. Plus, take Undead as your Favoured Enemy, then take Improved Favoured Enemy in Undead for one of your feats, and watch your Assassin cut a swath through OC Act III nearly as well as he did through Act II. This build makes a much better balance for crit-immune foes than the more standard Rogue/Assassin. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLACKGUARD (BG) Requirements: Any evil alignment; BAB +6; Cleave feat; Hide 5. Niche: Anti-Paladin, Sneak-Attacking tank, and general evil SOB. Description: Blackguards are, in almost every way, evil Paladins. And just as much, they are generally played with as little finesse as Paladins are. Just because he’s a servant of evil doesn’t mean he can’t have personality! Don’t forget (role-playing-wise) that “evil” can mean a lot of different things, even in D&D. Okay, that rant is over… The Blackguard is somewhat underpowered, let’s be honest. He has difficulty knowing what exactly he wants to be, with a large gamut of abilities and bonuses. Smite Good and most of the Blackguard spells are useless in the confines of this game. Unlike NWN1, ignore the Blackguard’s summoning abilities. Both Create Undead and Fiendish Servant are almost completely useless; the creatures created, especially in the former case, are too weak to even be decent meat shields. But for an evil character build, he does have good points to offer. First and foremost, he is the only high-BAB class (other than the Neverwinter Nine) who offers Sneak Attack, and with d10 HP and lots of armor. Sneak attacking is never so much fun as it is with a Greataxe. Add in high saving throws from Dark Blessing, Blackguards are often much more survivable in melee than your average Rogue. I suggest Improved Knockdown for Blackguard sneak attacking, though. Aura of Despair makes the Blackguard a very utilitarian tanker; sit in the middle of a group of enemies, have your mage cast Mass Hold Person, and watch as the saving-throw-challenged enemies turn into sneak attack pincushions. Sample Build: Cleric 13 / Blackguard 7. Note that Blackguards only lose two levels of Turn Undead (as opposed to Paladins’ three), and with your high Charisma, you may actually turn better than a standard Cleric. Use your Aura of Despair to your own advantage, as well as your party’s. And since you need Power Attack for the Cleave class requirement anyway, Divine Might (with Power Attack as a prereq) can really boost your damage output if you have more Turn Undead uses than you need (which may well be the case). Level 7 is more than high enough for Clerical magic for tanking buffs. The Trickery and Evil domains really round out this class well, too. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DIVINE CHAMPION (DC) Requirements: BAB +7; Weapon Focus (Any melee weapon). Niche: A Paladin of any alignment, or a Fighter with extra bonuses. Description: DCs are a bit of a strange mix of abilities. They need Cha like a Paladin does, and get bonus feats like a Fighter. However, they don’t get Turn Undead, spells, or an increasing number of Smite uses like a Paladin does, and their bonus feat list is quite a bit scaled back from the Fighter list: -Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Extra Turning, Improved Combat Expertise, Improved Critical, Improved Initiative, Improved Parry, Weapon Focus. Generally, taking levels of Fighter would better suit most builds. But for builds which already have Charisma (for example, Paladins, Bards, and Red Dragon Disciples), DCs can offer some interesting abilities. Note that there is no alignment requirement, contrary to NWN1; you can be a DC of any deity you want, or even no deity at all. Smite Infidel is extremely useful; it works as Smite Good or Smite Evil, but against any alignment (on the Good/Evil axis) that is not your own. So Smite Infidel works against Neutral enemies, of which there are a fair number. Remember that nearly all animals, elementals, and constructs are neutral. Even evil DCs can Smite these enemies. And +1 saves every other level is nothing to scoff at, either. Also, while Smite Infidel does NOT stack with Smite Good or Smite Evil, taking the Extra Smiting feat will give you more uses of BOTH, allowing Paladin/DCs to smite a truly impressive number of foes per day. Sample Build: Bard 15 / DC 5. Okay, this is the last Bard, I promise. But this is one of my old favourites. High Cha matches up well for Divine Wrath and Smite Infidel, and the DC gives Bard a BAB boost, as well as some extra feats. Take a Morningstar Weapon Focus, with Blind-Fight and Improved Crit: Morningstar as your bonus feats, and you’ll be a juggernaut right from the morningstar in the OC Swamp Cave. Very cool Bardic Warrior-Champion. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DOOMGUIDE (DG) Requirements: Lawful alignment; Deity (Kelemvor); Diplomacy 5 ranks; Extra Turning and Great Fortitude; 3rd-level divine spellcasting. Niche: Frying Undead. Description: How’s that for a niche? More than any other PrC, the Doomguide is set in what it does. All of the abilities, from turning feats to party save bonuses against undead-style attacks to weapon enchantments, are meant for obliterating undead. The utility of this varies based on the module or campaign you’re playing, but undead are generally a staple so you’re often okay. Are Doomguides suitable for non-undead encounters? Trickier. They’re not generally weaker than your standard Cleric if that’s your base class, since they get pluses to turning AND to casting (you might lose strength for your domain powers, though). So unless you absolutely know you’ll never run into undead, there’s a lot to be said for taking this PrC. Sample Build: Paladin 11 / Doomguide 9. Just enough Paladin levels to meet the spellcasting requirement. Paladin turning is behind Cleric’s, but Doomguides get more than enough bonuses to make up for it, and your CHA will likely be well ahead anyway, so you may actually come out on top. Also, Paladins and Doomguides share a reliance on CHA, so that’s always welcome. This character fights undead from the front of the party, and has saves out the yin-yang. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DUELIST Requirements: BAB +6; Parry 5, Tumble 5; Dodge, Mobility, Weapon Finesse. Niche: Parrying. Description: One of my least favourite PrCs, for several reasons. First off, it is excessively focused; it can barely use more equipment than a Monk, yet doesn’t naturally get any special equipment that Monks do. Also, if you’re not interested in Parrying, there’s little to sell about the Duelist, you should generally look elsewhere. And Parry is currently broken (the game has trouble with detecting strikes from multiple sources, so you tend to parry a lot less than you should). Also, Piercing Strike does NOT work with dual- wielding, which makes their high Parry somewhat less useful. I took a Duelist through the main campaign, and it was alright, but I made the mistake of not Parrying. However, for what it is, the Duelist is pretty interesting, a bit of a Fighter/ Rogue hybrid. They get Haste usages multiple times per day, they add extra piercing damage on attacks, and they have high BAB, HP, and skills. Note that, unlike the Monk, while the Duelist adds their Intelligence modifier to their Armor Class, they can ONLY do so to their Duelist level. So a Duelist level 2 can only add +2 INT bonus to their AC. So don’t expect to add a single level of Duelist to your Wizard builds. For SoZ owners, Swashbucklers are pretty obvious choices for Duelist baseclasses. With their superb bonuses to Parry (but not until level 7!), the Duelist becomes nigh-unhittable while in Parry mode. Though they can make fewer counterattacks than a dual-wielder with two-weapon fighting and defense, they have better bonuses to deflect attacks. Also, the sheer volume of different abilities can, like the Monk, be very attractive to any character looking to add some finesse to their game. Be mindful that Duelists do not get Uncanny Dodge, so you may want to take levels of a class that does. Also, liberal amounts of Use Magic Device will go a long way toward making up for the Duelist’s dearth of good equipment. Sample Build: Rogue 3 / Barbarian 7 / Duelist 10. A bit of a strange mix, but hold your catcalls a moment. Rogue gives the skills necessary, plus Evasion and some Sneak Attacking to buffer your damage. Barbarian gives you Uncanny Dodge and stackable stat bonuses from Rage, allowing you to focus much more of your stats on Dex and Int. A very 'controlled rager', and s/he even gets 1/- damage reduction. Though I am often loath to suggest ECL races, Tiefling would make a stellar Rogue/Barb/Duelist. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DWARVEN DEFENDER (DD) Requirements: Dwarven race; Any lawful alignment; BAB +7; Dodge and Toughness. Niche: Lawful Barbarian, more focused on defense than offense. Description: Dwarven Defenders are walls. With swords. They share the d12 hitpoints and the uncanny dodge and trap sense bonuses with Barbarians, but instead of losing out on armor, DDs bulk up on it. The stat bonuses for Defensive Stance do not stack with other stat bonuses, unlike Rage; however, the main attraction is the AC. With Defensive Stance active, at level 10, DDs receive +8 to Dodge AC. Stellar. It does root you in one spot, but with a reach weapon like a Halberd, this isn’t much of a problem at all. You’ll at the head of your party anyway, you should usually draw the enemies to you like flies to a Half-Orc. Make sure you patch your game, or Defensive Stance might not actually work! Not only do DDs have incredible AC, but they also get Uncanny Dodge (unlike many other warrior classes), meaning that all that Dodge AC doesn't vaporize the instant he's flanked or blinded. It's not necessarily as useful as it is for classes that lend themselves to high DEX, but it is definitely a nice touch. One thing that is often overlooked is that DDs also get high Will saves. Along with Trap Sense and their obscene number of HP, DDs are very difficult to take out of a fight, and with decent offense from their base class, a DD can dish out punishment with impunity. Sample Build: Ranger 10 / Dwarven Defender 10. Rangers are the offense to DD defense; this build gets Uncanny Dodge, high AC, great bonuses against favoured enemies, Evasion, as well as high saves all around. You even get a weak animal companion to help you position enemies around you. An extra Ranger level adds an extra offhand weapon attack at the expense of some defense, it’s the player’s call. If you're going to Epic levels, you can have your cake and eat it too! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ELDRITCH KNIGHT (EK) Requirements: Martial Weapon Proficiency; Arcane Spellcasting of at least level 3. (The manual is incorrect.) Niche: A mage with the ability to hit things in combat. Description: Eldritch Knights are the new Fighter/Mages of 3.5ed. You get much beefier melee ability (higher BAB and solid concentration caster feats) at very little cost. You’re supposed to have to take a level of a class with Martial Weapon Proficiency for EK, but because of how Proficiency works, you can just go straight to EK from your base caster class at the expense of a feat. Wizards generally make better EKs than Sorcs, because Wizzies get bonus magical feats every 5 levels and a slightly faster spell progression to offset the multiclassing. There’s not a whole lot to say about EKs… generally, they’re almost always better than a standard caster build, because they allow more flexibility in terms of combat. That’s a qualified ‘always’, though; Wizards do get more magic feats than Wiz/EKs, and Sorcerors do get pinched for spell progression when they multiclass. It depends on how specialized on spellcasting one desires to be. Keep in mind that even 10 levels of EK will not make your mage into a warrior, it’ll just go a long way toward that. More than any other melee class, EKs depend on buffing; if you don’t like sitting around casting over and over after every rest, EK is probably not the PrC for you. Sample Build: Paladin 2 / Sorc 8 / EK 10. Yes, the saving throw bonus from Cha for Paladins makes this absurdly powergamey. However, you do lose 9th level spells, so that’s enough to shoo most n00bs away. Elsewise, this is a very powerful Paladin of Mystra. Take Practiced Spellcaster! Feel free to add more levels of Paladin as desired. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FRENZIED BERSERKER (FB) Requirements: Any non-lawful alignment; BAB +6; Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack. Niche: Powergamer’s extra-focused Barbarian. Description: Extremely focused on melee combat, and more importantly, on dealing melee damage. Let’s just say killing things. When an FB’s around, things die. That about says it. The difference between Great Cleave (the general feat) and Supreme Cleave (the FB feat) is oft-misunderstood. Great Cleave lets you cleave an unlimited number of times per round, be it all at once (slaying a horde of goblins around you) or separately for every enemy you kill with your multiple attacks per round (slaying a horde of beefy but injured Bugbears over the course of a round). Supreme Cleave, on the other hand, gives you two cleaves instead of one, every time you make a cleave attack. Suffice to say, with both, when things die, lots of other things die soon too. Note that the Strength bonus from Frenzy does not stack with other Strength bonuses, but WILL stack with the Str bonus from Rage. Also, Frenzy prevents you from dying when it’s active, which is why Lorne just doesn’t die when you fight him (run away until it wears off, by the way). Basically, sit a two- handed weapon in your hands, turn on Power Attack (with Enhanced Power Attack from FB), click Frenzy, and knock things’ heads off. Improved Power Attack is even more obscene, but by that point, you’re facing some serious attack penalties, so I’d advise against going that far. Technically, Frenzy is only supposed to deplete your HPs at a rate of 2 per round, but with a patched game, this rate is 6 per round (unpatched 12!). Why? Well, Frenzy is also supposed to result in a chance you’ll attack your allies, but this wasn’t implemented. So it’s a balance thing. Keep Clerics handy, or be prepared to rest. A lot. On the bright side, you can't die whilst Frenzying, so as longas your Frenzy lasts most of the waythrough the battle, you'll resurrect afterwards anyway. Sample Build: Fighter 6 / Weapon Master 7 / Frenzied Berserker 7. There’s no way to make a build with FB that’s effective and not powergamey, so I went with a damage monkey on this one. This guy can only do one thing, but he does it well. There are plenty of builds out there that use some combination of Fighter, Barb, WM, and RDD with their FBs. (Boring, eh?) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HARPER AGENT (HA) Requirements: Any non-evil alignment; Diplomacy 8, Lore 4, Spellcraft 2; Alertness and Iron Will (feats). Niche: Adding some tertiary abilities without screwing up the initial class too much. Description: Now here’s an interesting conundrum. Definitely better than NWN’s Harper Scout, who didn’t get spellcasting. This is basically an EK with slightly worse BAB, but more skills and lots of saves. But still, not a great choice in most cases. Folks groan about the prereqs, but they’re not so bad. Diplomacy is practically a requirement for most campaigns anyway, and Lore and Spellcraft are both useful to have (Note: Spellcraft gives +1 to saves against ALL spells for every 5 ranks). Iron Will isn’t a waste, as nobody likes getting stunned or charmed; and while Alertness is pretty poor, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs when it comes to PrCs. Also, note that the HA’s spellcasting progression works for arcane or divine casters, so you have a lot of flexibility to work the class into your builds. Although this PrC isn’t one of the best, it’s also pretty much for roleplaying purposes. It can fit a lot of different roles, much like a Bard. Note that you can only take 5 levels max of HA. Sample Build: Wizard 5 / Eldritch Knight 10 / Harper Agent 5. This takes advantage of one of the HA’s most important strengths; its BAB doesn’t suck. You lose out on another level of spellcasting, but you’ll end up with an extra attack per round compared to the Wiz 10 / EK 10 builds out there. Also, many forget that EKs do not get strong Will saves, and HA makes up for this keenly. Plus, it makes a good build for all those who read the error-ridden manual and thought that the HA requirements (which were transposed onto the EK requirements) were for the EK, and thus started builds with this in mind. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HELLFIRE WARLOCK (HW) Requirements: Intimidate 6 ranks, Spellcraft 6 ranks, Lore 12 ranks; Brimstone Blast or Hellrime Blast invocations. Niche: A Warlock who turns enemies to ash. Description: Finally, a PrC tailored for the Warlock – and a powerful one, at that. Hellfire Blast takes your regular Eldritch Blast damage and augments it with +2d6 per level. With a maximum HF level of 3, that’s +6d6 damage, which acts as a Sorceror equalizer. Plus there’s Hellfire Shield, which allows you to take all the damage from a Blast and apply it to anyone who hits you – without lifting a finger. Brilliant! Of course, there’s that pesky CON hit per casting – make sure you have a Cleric with lots of Lesser Restorations memorized (and this shouldn’t be a problem), and/or a Wand of Lesser Restoration (which the Warlock can use, with UMD). Note that SoZ, in typical buggy fashion, removes the CON hit every time you switch maps, so you don’t really have to worry about it except in protracted battles. Finally, there’s Summon Baatezu. This ability is ridiculously powerful for the level you're able to obtain it, and remains so until epic levels – a random Devil is summoned, anything from Mephasm the Cleric to a Cornugon. It lasts for a specific number of rounds; keep your mind on this counter, because at the end, there’s a good chance that stupidly powerful devil will turn on you; unsummon it before it does! While it lasts, it will wreck house, though. I recommend this PrC for pretty much any Warlock – the skills required are useful, and you can always ditch the Blast for a better one after you’ve gained your 3 HF levels (ditching it earlier prevents you from taking all three, which I certainly suggest). Invocations are the most important feature of the Warlock and you don’t miss out on any by going HF, and the 3 levels give you much- needed extra punch. Sample Build: Warlock 14 / HF 3 / DD 3. Start with a Lawful Evil Dwarf; this build takes advantage of the HF’s lack of required feats, and the DD’s lack of required skills. Lots of CON and HP helps make up for the debilitating effects of Hellfire; give him a Wand of Restoration, send him into the midst of the fray, and turn on Defensive Stance and Hellfire Shield. Fireworks. Only time I can actually imagine a use for Hideous Blow, too. Either take Dark Foresight, or load up on Fey feats for extra damage reduction. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ INVISIBLE BLADE (IB) Requirements: Bluff 8 ranks; Feint, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (Dagger or Kukri) Niche: Stabbing enemies in the front. Description: Using Feint to drop the enemy’s defense, two weapons to attain large numbers of attacks per round, and Unfettered Defense to keep alive through counters, the IB is for sneak attackers who can’t be bothered with pesky hiding and sneaking around. Unfortunately, Feint isn’t a Free Action for IBs in NWN2, but it’s still pretty nice if you’re not good at coordinating flanking. Kukris are probably the better choice for your Weapon Focus, since they get a good crit range (similar to Scimitars and Rapiers). Don’t feel that you have to restrict your main-hand weapon to dagger or kukri; they make good offhand weapons, but they’re a bit weak overall. This PrC is a bit low on extra perks, but their high BAB is useful for boosting Rogues who already wield two weapons. Bleeding damage is relatively weak, but it does count toward Sneak Attack dice, so it can be useful for obtaining PrCs which require SA. Sample Build: Ranger 7 / Rogue 8 / IB 5. Improved Uncanny Dodge, solid Sneak Attack, fantastic BAB for a thug, and two offhand attacks. Decent INT allows this character to do almost any skill in the book, and he can tank too! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NEVERWINTER NINE (NW9) Requirements: BAB +6; Member of Neverwinter Nine (epithet feat). Niche: Tanking with extra abilities. Description: I don’t care what others say, I like this class. It has style. High BAB, decent HP, and neato little abilities. Spiffy uniform, too. Protective Aura is alright, but the Deflection bonus to armor will be largely negated by the time in the game you get it; the better part is the bonus to saves, which does stack. It also has a decent range, especially when it upgrades at level 4. Guarding the Lord is a niche ability which allows you to take damage for someone else; part of the damage dissipates instead of affecting either you or the intended target, making it quite a bit better than the Shield Other spell. Use this ability when your back row characters (such as mages) draw enemies and you need a ‘panic button’ to keep them alive until you can buff them or otherwise help them out. Frantic Reactions is pretty decent, allowing you to run faster, take fewer attacks while dodging through enemy ranks, and giving you sneak attack damage; all of this for an always-active feat. Finally, All-Out Assault is a wonderful ability. For three rounds, all your attacks are maximized. No damage die rolls for you. This ability is especially useful for dual-wielders, making for 24 (or so) attacks at maximum damage, and thus a world of hurt. Note that this PrC only has a max of 5 levels, and the point at the game in which you attain it you’ll be around level 15-16. You may want to hold a level over until you get the NW9 epithet feat at the beginning of Act III, so you can get all 5 levels (if you want them). All that said, the PrC isn’t spectacularly powerful, and it comes late in the game, so it’s very much a roleplaying class. It can be useful if you’ve been taking levels of Ranger, Paladin, and Fighter, as these classes don’t gain much past level 10-15. One thing to note is that SoZ allows you to take this PrC without the epithet feat, so anybody can be a NW9 once they hit +6 BAB. Sample Build: Fighter 8 / Rogue 7 / Neverwinter Nine 5. Very cool, makes for a great tanker with skills, feats, and abilities to spare. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but All-Out Assault should work with sneak attacks, which is just tasty. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PALE MASTER (PM) Requirements: Any non-good alignment; Arcane spellcasting of at least level 3. Niche: Spellcasting from behind a barrier of undead, AC and immunities. Description: Another of my favourite classes that got nothing from Obsidian. Lots of powerful abilities, all drowned out by the fact that the PM only gets spells every odd level. Practiced Spellcaster is a must if using more than a few PM levels, and most players only take one level (for the +2 AC with no downside). The abilities, however, are very tempting. A total +6 AC, immunity to paralysis and critical hits (taking away most enemies’ means of getting through your defenses), a touch-attack undead arm (which can be useful when rushed by enemies, though it doesn’t work very often as coded), and the ability to Create Undead and Greater Undead, all mean that you’re a defensive dynamo, capable of spellcasting without interruption. There is a relatively easy fix to the spellcasting problem, however; going into the game’s data -> 2da folder, look for “cls_bsplvlpalema” file; copy this to your override folder, go into the file, and change the first level to a ‘0’ and the rest to ‘1’s. Voila, you now have progression equal to an EK, like in the ‘real’ game. Or change it to whatever you feel is balanced. Sample Build: Wizard 5 / Eldritch Knight 8 / Pale Master 7. Practiced spellcaster brings you up to caster level 20, and you just deal without level 9 spells. It’s not hard to do, with good BAB, great defenses, and cool points for actually making use of the PM. By the by, this build is one of the most crazy Tenser’s-users in the game. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RED DRAGON DISCIPLE (RDD) Requirements: At least one level of Sorceror or Bard; Lore 8. Niche: Ridiculous melee stats. Description: This PrC is a bit of a mixed bag. The breath weapon is neat, but only gets one use per day at low damage, so neglect it at will. Blind- Fight is a very useful feat to get for free, and the armor bonuses are always a plus. Immunity to fire is lovely, as are immunity to sleep and paralysis, though as with most of the tertiary abilities the RDD has, these can be gained through equipment, spells, and feats. But the real reason to take RDD is the permanent stat bonuses. These stack completely with everything, and the +8 Strength (+4 to hit and damage) is a huge melee plus. This STR bonus affects your base stats, so it DOES stack with STR bonuses from belts, unlike the FB. Plus, you get a ton of HP, from the +2 Constitution and d12 hit dice. Note that the RDD only gets medium BAB progression, but the huge Strength more than makes up for this loss. With a decent two-handed weapon and a Belt of Giant Strength, you’ll be tearing through enemies without leaning on crits, sneak attacks, abilities, or specific weapons. RDDs are very focused on melee combat, but are far more flexible than other tank classes for this reason. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the majority of the RDD bonuses arrive at level 10. Essentially, all builds utilizing RDD should go all the way to level 10, or not at all. Sample Build: Sorc 8 / Paladin 2 / RDD 10. The RDD is another one of those classes that just doesn’t lend itself to subtlety. Though 8 levels of Sorc isn’t what most would consider useful, with Practiced Spellcaster, you can get a lot of mileage out of level 1-4 spells. Either cast in a robe, or throw on Full Plate and cast Improved Mage Armor with Still Spell. Ta-da. Now throw Fireballs around and watch them bounce off your fire immunity. This build doesn’t have the best attack bonus out there, but a resourceful player can find ways around that. And everyone loves a Dragoon. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RED WIZARD OF THAY (RW) Requirements: Human; Non-Good; Specialist Wizard able to cast 3rd-level spells, Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration, one other metamagic or item creation feat (excluding Scribe Scroll). Niche: Spellcasting tailored to frying enemies with a subset of spells. Description: RWs give up some flexibility to gain extra power with their chosen school. Note the impressive array of requirements, and make sure you follow them to the letter if you want this class! RWs lose a second school of magic based on their original choice for specialization: Abjuration, Conjuration, Evocation, Necromancy, Transmutation: lose Illusion Divination: lose Enchantment Enchantment, Illusion: lose Abjuration And for completeness, here's the list of original prohibited schools: Specialization Prohibited School Abjuration Conjuration Conjuration Transmutation Divination Illusion Enchantment Illusion Evocation Conjuration Illusion Enchantment Necromancy Divination Transmutation Conjuration For giving up two schools of magic, your specialized school's spells gain DC and SR checks (so they're more likely to stick), better defense, and improved caster level. Note, however, that all of these cases are ONLY for your specialized school, so you can cast from other schools which aren't prohibited, but they will cast as though you were a regular vanilla Wizard. First off, make sure your specialized school is something you want improved. Divination is a useless choice because none of its spells have DCs, and the rest of the Divination spells' characteristics don't gain much either. Illusion, Conjuration, and Abjuration gain relatively little likewise. Enchantment can be useful for some, though mind spells don't work as well as in some other games. The most balanced choice is probably Necromancy (Divination and Illusion are probably the weakest schools, so being prohibited doesn't hurt), and a few fabulous spells (primarily Undeath to Death, Horrid Wilting, and Wail of the Banshee) belong here. Evokers and Transmuters have their place too. All that said, the RW is highly specialized and will suit any spellcaster who doesn't mind being relegated to a niche role based upon their chosen specialization. There is no finer caster in the game than a well-crafted Thayan. Sample Build: Wizard 5 / RW 7 / PM 7. If you want a Pale Master who can actually cast, this is a good one. Choose Evocation as your Specialist School (or Necromancy if you're purist). Losing Conjuration and Illusion normally hurts because you lose out on a lot of defensive spells, but PM recoups this; likewise, his natural summoning can make up for losing Summon Creature spells. With Practiced Spell-caster, and minor tinkering, this guy can still cast like an Archmage. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SACRED FIST (SF) Requirements: BAB +4, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Combat Casting; Lore 8 ranks; Ability to cast 1st-level divine spells. Niche: A Monk with spells, or a Cleric who works without armor. Description: At first blush, this seems like a superbly powerful PrC. Monks need high WIS for AC anyway, and so this meshes perfectly with divine casters’ high WIS. It does take some finesse to get them to work, though; Monks are notoriously difficult to multiclass, since they are so powerful singleclassed but lose power quickly with other levels. Uncanny Dodge is one perk that Monks don’t get; unarmoured characters really benefit from this ability. Spell progression is pretty decent, and is better than Warpriests. Sacred Flames can be extremely powerful if used correctly, and Inner Armor is short-lived but with good Wis can give you a nice boost (though the SR isn’t as good as that provided by the Monk ability or Cleric spell on their own). Just remember that the class abilities are all cherries on top; your real reason for taking this class is to let your Monk cast spells and be more flexible. It should go without saying that you should never, ever try for SF without levels of Monk. Sample Build: Monk 4 / Druid 6 / SF 10. Practiced Spellcaster gets you to caster level 18, Druid 6 allows you to use the very powerful Elephant’s Hide ability 3 times per day, and you can still spontaneously summon. Forget about your animal companion though! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SHADOW THIEF OF AMN (STA) Requirements: Bluff 3, Hide 8, Intimidate 3, Move Silently 3; Stealthy (Feat); Member of Shadow Thieves (epithet feat). Niche: Thuggery and Roguishness through speech AND force of arms. Description: This class is very much like the Rogue base class, but cramped into 5 levels with bonus feats and some other perks. They get better prices at merchants, which means that those who bought the limited edition NWN2 with the merchant feats get ridiculous prices for buying and selling. STAs also get bonus feats (listed in the manual), and bonuses to their speech skills. Finally, STAs get the Uncanny Dodge feats, which can be helpful to Rangers and any other characters wanting to keep their Dex/dodge AC bonuses intact in battle. There’s not a lot to sell the STA over the Rogue, other than roleplaying, and the fact that high-level Rogues don’t gain a lot past about level 13. STAs round out any sneaky build well, especially given that dialogue skills are quite useful in this game. Sample Build: Warlock 12 / Shadow Thief of Amn 4 / Blackguard 4. With the Beguiling Influence and Entropic Warding invocations, this build is extraordinarily sneaky and almost impossible to resist in conversation. It can even melee with some skill, and cast Greater Invocations and 6d6-damage Eldritch Blasts. 3d6 sneak attack becomes really powerful if spell sneak attacks are ever fixed, or if you were to download a mod which fixed them. This is one of my favourite evil builds. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SHADOWDANCER (SD) Requirements: Move Silently 8, Hide 10, Tumble 5; Dodge, Mobility. Niche: Avoiding death. Description: Shadowdancers are a great idea that just didn’t get pulled off very well. They’re almost entirely defensively-oriented; they get most of the Rogue feats aligned with this persuasion (Improved Evasion, Slippery Mind, Uncanny Dodge, etc.), and Hide in Plain Sight, Shadow Daze, and Shadow Evade are all there to keep one alive. There are a number of critical flaws in this class. First and foremost, the biggest class plus (Hide in Plain Sight) is gained at level one, so there’s little good reason for most to go past this level. Secondly, Shadow Daze and Shadow Evade are niche skills, too short-lived and with too few uses per day to be truly useful in NWN2’s context. Summon Shadow summons a very weak minion, barely better than the Skeletons summoned by Animate Dead (though the Shadow is admittedly immune to a large number of things, making it a halfway okay tank). NWN2 Shadowdancers don’t get the cool teleportation that PnP SDs do, either. Most importantly, the Shadowdancer doesn’t get any offensive abilities, which limits it to relying on the base class for damage output. All that said, SD is one of the more fun PrCs. It’s a very easy sell for one level, and a few more wouldn’t hurt either. The Rogue feats are pretty darn good, and defensively, there’s few classes to match it. Sample Build: Monk 12 / Shadowdancer 8. Monk levels supply the damage output through 2d6 fist damage and Greater Flurry of Blows, SD levels control the damage input through Uncanny Dodge, Defensive Roll, etc. Monks get Improved Evasion anyway, so 8 levels of SD works. This build is one of the best for capitalizing on the SD’s strengths, without tearing the Monk down completely. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ STORMLORD (SL) Requirements: Base Fortitude Save +4; Toughness, Great Fortitude, and Weapon Focus (Spear, Throwing Axe, Dart, or Shuriken); 3rd-level divine spellcasting. Niche: Electricity-based attacks to augment divine casting. Description: Not too much hidden here – sacrifice other class abilities (but not casting!) for electrical offense and defense. The Extended Storm Avatar is stellar, by the bye. It’s likely a solid trade, so long as you have feats to burn, don’t need your Turn Undead or Wildshape (for example), and don’t mind the restricted weapon choices. That latter bit can be hard to swallow, though. Throwing weapons aren’t anywhere near as useful for ranged attack as bows, crossbows, and slings. Plus, Storm Avatar does little to augment missile attacks. It’s possible to go this route, but you should weigh your options carefully (and definitely consider taking Zen Archery to minimize your DEX investment). And when it comes to melee, spears don’t pull much weight – Monkey Grip to wield one one- handed could be helpful here though. Whether you go melee or missile (or try to swing both), don’t forget your primary role is still as divine caster, and you should try not to overload your healer with buffs just so he can hang around the frontline. Sample Build: Favored Soul 10 / SL 10. Take a deity who favors a SL weapon and you’ll get the Focus feat for free; energy resistance to something other than electricity; FS high saves all around and dandy spellcasting. You don’t miss out on too much and probably gain more from SL. Thumbs up! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WARPRIEST (WP) Requirements: BAB +5; Diplomacy 8, Spot 5; Combat Casting; Divine Spellcasting of at least level 4. Niche: Tank of the gods. Description: Ignoring the little abilities on the side, the whole idea of the Warpriest is to give your Divine caster a full warrior BAB, HP, and armor/ weapon pool. Adding WP levels to Clerics and Druids turns them into tanks; though Clerics and Druids can tank fairly well on their own, and even better once fully buffed, WPs do it even better. Another frequently-forgotten aspect is that Rangers and Paladins can take this class at level 15, once they get access to level 4 spells. Paladins make natural Warpriests, with their strong Cha contributing to a powerful Fear Aura at level 5, and their already-low Turn Undead less of a problem for WP levels. That’s one of the problems with the WP compared to PnP: Cleric/Warpriests quickly lose all of their Turn Undead ability. The class abilities are nothing spectacular, but interesting in their own right. War Glory is a minor but constant and decent boost to allies and detriment to foes. Note that the +1 AB bonus applies only to allies, not to your Warpriest. Inflame is excellent for tank-heavy parties that are low on Will saves, especially against Dragons (those fear auras can really decimate your party). Speaking of Fear Auras, the WP’s is fun, but not particularly powerful or useful (as always, making your enemy run away just prevents you from killing him now). Finally, Implacable Foe is almost worthless – the +20 HP are lost when the effect runs out, and they’re not particularly useful to start with. Level 10 is probably not the most useful WP level to shoot for. Also, don’t forget that the WP gets bonus spells, of which Battletide and Haste are most noteworthy. Battletide is especially useful for non-Cleric WPs, and Haste is useful in almost every situation, though each use the WP level for caster level, and thus tend to run out pretty quickly. Sample Build: Druid 14 / WP 6. Very fun, powerful build. Still gets 9th level spells, still gets access to Oaken Resilience and Elephant’s Hide, and many of the WP bonuses, including Battletide. No elemental shaping, but one of the most powerful Shapechange (Lv 9 spell) users in the game, if not THE best. Druids make excellent WPs in general, because they get both Diplomacy and Spot as class skills. Plus, Plant Shape is pretty darn decent. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WEAPON MASTER (WM) Requirements: BAB +5; Weapon focus (Any melee weapon), Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Whirlwind; Intimidate 4. Niche: Critical hitting damage monkey. Description: When it’s not even in the 3.5ed rulebook, you know it’s probably overpowered for CRPGs. And lo and behold, it is! If you’re the kind of player who doesn’t mind marrying yourself to your weapon, get ready for some of the most obscene damage available. The class nets you an increased critical hit range and increased critical multiplier. What does that mean? A longsword makes a critical threat on 20-sided-die rolls of 19 or 20. So 10% of die rolls will be critical hits. A WM with longswords as the weapon of choice makes a critical threat on any rolls from 17-20, meaning 20% chance for critical hits. Further, longswords normally cause double damage on a critical hit; for WMs, a weapon of choice longsword causes triple damage instead. Over the course of a round, WMs can do stupid amounts of critical damage to enemies, and Whirlwind Attack can assist in ramping this up, too. Also not to sniff at is Ki Damage, which is activated in the same way as a Smite Evil attempt, but does maximum damage like the NW9’s All-Out Assault. Combat Expertise works well in conjunction with Whirlwind, as Whirlwind lets you mete out damage through a whole group of enemies with good attack bonus, but without focus the enemies won’t drop as rapidly; Combat Expertise can keep you alive until everyone drops at once. WMs are not quite as ridiculous as FBs, because WMs require much greater focus on a single weapon type, a huge number of feats a warrior may not normally take, and 13 Dex and Int (also not the first choices for the average meleer). Plus, WMs are vastly weakened when fighting the gobs of undead in the game, as well as constructs and numerous other crit-immune foes. There is no real point to taking levels in WM past 7; no further abilities except extra Ki Damage uses are gained. Levels of Fighter are nearly a requirement for WMs, because of the sheer number of feats necessary. Barbarians also make good WMs, because they have Intimidate as a class skill, and add extra damage, HP, etc. Any melee class can benefit from WM levels, however, they must weigh the advantages of the class against the costs of attaining it. Sample Build: Paladin 9 / Fighter 4 / Weapon Master 7. If you want ridiculous damage, look no further. It’s no secret that Smite Evil and the slew of other Paladin damage boosters mesh well with critical hits. It’s not all that difficult to do well over 100 damage in a single hit with this kind of build. Also, the Holy Avenger is a longsword, so you know from the start of the OC what weapon to pick. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Contact Info: I would prefer that questions about PrCs (and, if possible, this guide) be directed to the message boards at GameFAQs. This prevents my email from being flooded. However, any comments, compliments, concerns, or other notable ‘c’ words can be directed to me at: email@example.com Version Info: Version 1.10 - Many updates to account for both expansions (very belatedly). Version 1.00 - First draft. Also last? One can only hope! Acknowledgements: No specific thanks as yet, but I would like to acknowledge the message board members here at GameFAQs (and the administration for keeping things running, as well) for always providing comments and food for thought over my years of character-building. Thanks to Obsidian for making this game… well, borderline playable, at least. G’night, kids. Copyright 2007, Neil McMillan.