Favored Soul tactics
Playing a Favored Soul
A Favored Soul is not a Cleric. Despite sharing many characteristics and a spell list, they are different. Favored Souls differ in that they have less spell slots, more spell points, higher mobility, and usually take on two roles out of three:
- Offensive Spellcasting
Only two out of three, because trying to do everything will place too much strain on resources and equipment. You can't have an excellent DPS and fighting gear, extra spell points and items to overcome enemy Spell Resistance and Feats and Enhancements to improve Healing prowess, all at the same time. On the other hand, a Favored Soul restricted to a single role will be worse than another specialist class in that role. It's really when mixing two that Favored Souls shine.
Fighting. Despite being a feat-consuming path, a Favored Soul can become a decent fighter of her own merit. Many divine spells increase the combat power of the caster like Divine Favor or Divine Power. True Seeing allows hits against blurred enemies, Spell Resistance, Shield of Faith, Stalwart Pact, Death Pact are excellent buffs for melee-type Favored Souls. A warrior Favored Soul usually favors Strength and Constitution, then Charisma. Wisdom may be downgraded to dump stat level if the character doesn't want to cast any offensive spell at all, but this is not a common choice. A melee-type Favored Soul shares many aspects of a Paladin, trading aura and resilience for a vastly superior spellcasting ability.
Healing. Since they have access to divine spells and have a good pool of spell points, Favored Souls are natural healers. Favoured Souls do not have a prestige enhancement line for healing, but for Empower Spell instead, which works almost the same except for a couple key spells: Heal and Heal, Mass. A Favored Soul can still opt for the Empower Healing Spell -feat, which is still cheaper than fully enhanced empower spell -line.
Offensive Spellcasting. A high Wisdom score is required to increase the Difficulty Check of offensive spells. A decent Charisma is required to increase the amount of spell points available, but this is not as critical as Wisdom. Usually, Constitution is the third ability upped on such builds. A Favored Soul playing the role of an offensive spellcaster uses the array of attack spells in the divine spell list, from Command to Implosion and the ever-popular Blade Barrier; there is much choice and the Empower Spell line of Enhancements comes very handy. Of course, such a Favored Soul won't be as good as a Sorcerer regarding magical damage but the Favored Soul retains much of her healing abilities.
A Favored Soul will never reach the DPS of a Barbarian, the healing power of a Radiant Servant or the Elemental damage dealt by a Sorcerer. But she can be more versatile than any of them, combining magical attacks, healing power and the might of a weapon. For this reason Favored Souls are also a good choice for playing solo.
The combination of two of the three roles above gives three different Favored Soul flavors:
An important spell for all three roles is Divine Punishment, which is a stacking Damage-over-time spell used on single targets. Fighter type Favored Souls will use that extra damage to give more Damage-per-second on top of their melee damage.
Fighter/Healer. A common, albeit feat-intensive choice, this Favored Soul usually takes the Two Handed Fighting or Two Weapon Fighting chain along with healing abilities and some combat self-buffs. There is much stress on abilities, however. A TWF Favored Soul might be hard to achieve with a 28 points build. While this approach shines at lower level, the DPS of the Favored Soul slowly becomes sub-par with higher level content, unless the character finds excellent gear. Combining a good DPS with action boosts and buffs while healing self and friends at the same time might be tricky.
Healer/Offensive Spellcaster. This build is more suited to high level content where mobs have so many hit points. It requires only three good abilities (Wisdom, Charisma and Constitution). The Favored Soul will have a clearer view of the situation since there is no need to jump into melee range. Empower Spell is a must-have feat for the build, affecting cure spell and damage spells alike (like Blade Barrier). Alternatively, the Favored Soul may opt for instant death spells like Slay Living, Banishment and Dismissal and aim for stronger attacks with Heighten Spell and Spell Penetration feats. Since the Favored Soul will use magic all the time, any item increasing the amount of Spell Points is sought after. Mental Toughness and Improved Mental Toughness feats find their way in the build.
Fighter/Offensive Spellcaster. An uncommon but interesting build, the Favored Soul foregoes healing entirely (except perhaps for a token emergency spells). Using heightened Command and Greater Command, Symbol of Fear, Destruction and Sound Burst, the Favored Soul can become a decent crowd controller while inflicting good DPS. Favored Souls using this style will often feature high Strength and Wisdom, good Charisma and Constitution, and use Intelligence and Dexterity as dump stats. In the case of a two-weapon fighting style, however, a good score is needed in all abilities except Intelligence!
The main issue of a Fighter/Offensive Spellcaster is the expectations of other party members. People ask healing from characters with access to Divine spells, hence the question often asked to a Favored Soul just joining a party: "Do you heal?" They should be warned in advance of the playing style of such a Favored Soul.