Starting a Favored Soul
Favoured Souls are capable of fulfilling some of the MMO archetypes:
- Healing - Favored souls are excellent healers with a large SP pool and good mobility (wings). By taking empower healing, quicken, and all four tiers of enhanced life magic, you can keep the party healed in any situation.
- DPS - Favored Souls are middle-of-the-road for melee DPS. Fighters and their sub-classes will be better melee fighters, and arcane casters can do more damage with offensive spells. But favored souls are able to do two out of three things at the same time: healing, melee, or offensive casting.
- Crowd Control - Favored souls are able to cast CC spells, which are effective up to mid-levels in offensive casting -builds. End-game CC as a favored soul takes significant investment and relies on one or two spells. Namely: Greater Command and Soundburst.
- Damage Mitigation / Support - Favored souls can buff well, thanks to spells like Freedom of Movement, Energy Resistance, Protection from Evil, and True Seeing.
Types of Favored Souls
As one of the newer character classes, there is less consensus as to what spells and abilities a Favored Soul should focus on. Most fall into the same broad categories as Clerics:
- Offensive Caster - Offensive casting usually means evokers. Evoker favored souls are highly mobile, kiting monsters through blade barrier, and able to dish out many AoE spells.
- Melee Favored Soul - Melee favored souls sacrifice offensive casting (but not healing) in preference for a more in-your-face approach.
- DoT Tank - Named so due to their powerful Divine Punishment spell, a favored soul that can capably fill the role of tank was once laughed at, but has been growing more and more fleshed out, due to the massive self-healing ability, charisma as a primary stat (affecting intimidate scores), capstone damage resistance, and the ability to still do dps while 'turtling' behind a shield with spells.
- Nannybot - Nannybot is a build that focus on the traditional "stay back and heal" role.
For a new player, nannybot is the easiest and safest approach to playing a favored soul, since healers are always in demand. After reaching level 20 it is possible to true reincarnate and think of your role again for your second playthrough. Usually players choose either a melee or an evoker at this point.
The most beneficial races for FvS spell-casters are human and half-elf. Warforged are the premium choice for melee. Other races have their benefits, but lose in comparison.
- Can spend action points to improve two stats of your choice, each by one point. Same as human.
- Human Versatility adds to To Hit, Damage, Saves, AC or Skills for 20 seconds per use. Same as human.
- Dilettante allow you to further customize your character.
- Counted as a human + elf, main-class + dilettante class when using equipment.
- Compared to human, misses out on extra feat and faster skill progression.
- Visually unappealing.
- Immunity to certain spells and spell effects.
- Can follow the Lord of Blades and gain Greatsword proficiency, which combines well with warforged racial enhancements to two handed fighting.
- +2 CON for more Hit Points.
- Minor Spell Resistance.
- +2 DEX for filling the Dexterity bonus of medium armor.
- +2 INT brings your starting INT to the ideal 10. One more skill-point per level.
- +2 CHA means 29 spell-points more and less spending on starting CHA.
- Automatic proficiency in Rapier, Shortsword, & Shuriken; racial enhancements to improve attack & damage with shortsword. Stacks.
- -2 CON means fewer Hit Points.
- +2 CON for more Hit Points, can be further increased with racial enhancements.
- Racial HP enhancements (up to +40).
- Racial melee enhancements to improve axe, shield, and armor use.
- +2 DEX for filling the Dexterity bonus of medium armor.
- Automatic proficiency in Longsword, Rapier & Bows; racial enhancements to improve attack & damage with longsword/longbow. Stacks.
- -2 CON means fewer Hit Points.
- -2 DEX.
Notice that abilities can be raised by tomes, from which +1 and +2 are commonly available in the auction house.
- Strength - Useful for the melee build, who should max it. Rarely needed for the Caster or Nanny builds, usually set only high enough (10-12) to prevent becoming burdened with encumbrance
- Dexterity - Rarely raised beyond 12 on creation for Nanny or Offensive Caster builds and often left at 8. 12 allows maximum armor class, from the best medium armor, with a +6 Dexterity item and +2 tome. Melees may want to begin with 15 to be eligible for Two Weapon Fighting.
- Constitution - Useful for all characters, classes, and builds. Typically set to 14.
- Intelligence - Rarely increased on creation for any Favored Soul build. If raised at all, typically set to 9. At level 3 you can use a +1 tome, after which you will receive three skill points per level instead of the usual two.
- Wisdom - Primary stat for an offensive caster, who will start with maximum score. Higher score means that the mobs save against your spells less often.
- Charisma - For each two points you will gain 29 spell points. A minimum of 19, after items and enhancements, is needed to cast level 9 divine spells. Starting with 12-14 is common, since +6 enhancement items can be acquired easily.
Favored souls usually start with little intelligence, so expect to gain only three skills points per level.
- Concentration: Whenever you take damage, you have to make a roll. If the roll fails, whatever you were casting will fail, wasting SP and time. Even if you take Quicken, it helps with casting from scrolls. Keep maxed.
- Diplomacy: Causes a roll, if successful, makes a single monster find another target. Because the roll is DC based, this is an all-or-nothing skill: keep maxed or ignore. This can also be useful in high level and very few mid-level quests in some dialogue options.
- Spellcraft: Every point in spellcraft increases all spellpower except repair, rust, sonic, positive and negative energy by 1. Highly recommended to invest in if you plan to be an offensive caster.
- Heal: As a healing capable class, favored souls benefit from heal because every point in heal increases their positive and negative energy spellpower by 1.
- Jump: Being able to jump higher has situational benefits, such as when surrounded by monsters. Acquire Morah's Belt later in the game to give yourself a near permanent +30 bonus. 40 points is the maximum for this skill.
- Balance: Many monsters can trip. As a caster, you more often than not fail the strength check and become helpless. Failing the first balance check, even against a single jarilith, is enough to kill you. Cross-class, costing twice as much, but the only way to minimize the risk.
- Haggle: While not useful in combat, haggle gives better prices for vendor trash. However, later in the game platinum is plentiful.
- Use magic device: While a cross-class skill, this one allows a favored soul to use arcane scrolls, wands, and other items normally restricted from them. Getting everything out of this skill requires some planning, therefore it is better left for your second play-through.
Presuming there are three skill points (10 int) to spend per level, a fail-safe build is to keep concentration and balance maxed. Later on, after your first true reincarnation you may want to consider switching balance to use magic device, depending on your build and if you find the arcane buff spells worth it.
As a new favored soul, you should choose from the following feats. While there are many more, these bring the most on the table:
- Toughness - Useful for all classes due to the 2 lines of HP enhancements it allows. Usually dropped only on nannybot or offensive caster builds, and even then its usually worth the feat slot. Take as your first feat.
- Empower Healing Spell - A solid choice for all builds, even if only for off-healing. More efficient for than Empower Spell and Maximize Spell.
- Maximize Spell - Double the oomph. A great feat for all casters. Affects both cures and damage spells.
- Shield Mastery - 25% less physical damage when you equip a tower shield. Great for added survivability. Melee should focus on DPS.
- Heighten - Increases the DC of your lower level spells, but also increases their cost. Great for offensive casting.
- Empower Spell - Affects both cures and damage spells. Heal and Mass Heal are not affected. Action Point enhancements can bring down the cost, but costs you AP from other areas.
- Improved Critical - Great for increasing melee damage. Avoid as a caster.
- Spell Focus: Evocation - The less the mobs save, the more damage you deal and the more often Implosion lands. A solid choice.
- Greater Spell Focus: Evocation - Good for further increasing your DPS, but is at equal line with shield mastery. Survivability vs. DPS.
- Quicken Spell - Crucial feat for nannybots and important for offensive casters. Prevents your spells from being distrupted by damage.
- Enlarge Spell - More important at higher levels if you want to be able to destruct a beholder from out of anti-magic range or heal your party members from a safe distance.
Beginner Equipment: Offensive Caster
These are the items you should aim to acquire for levels 1-6. Note that Chronoscope, the Red Fens, Sentinels of Stormreach and Threnal are adventure packs, so those have to be bought first for non-VIPs.
- Armor: Mithral full-plate armor +2. Switch to Elfcrafted Robe later on.
- Weapon: Any weapon with the highest "potency" available.
- Shield: +2 adamantine medium shield, or any generic Spell Penetration or Evocation Focus weapon. At lower levels, Invulnerability is a great suffix.
- Boots: Any pair of boots with +xx% striding, or Boots of the Mire. Switch to Gyroscopic Boots of Striding later on.
- Head: Helm of Frost (Chronoscope). Switch to Teraza's Sight later.
- Hands: Maenya's Fists, any pair of gloves with +xx strength
- Bracers: Scorched Bracers (Chronoscope); monk splashes may prefer the Jidz-Tet'ka from Sentinels.
- Belt: Disease/Poison immunity belt of light/medium/heavy Fortification.
- Trinket: Pearl of Power X, Dusk Heart (Desert), Greater Cunning Trinket (Crystal Cove)
- Cloak: Cloak of Resistance +4, Envenomed Cloak (Chronoscope)
- Ring 1: Ring of Fire/Lightning Resistance, Katra's Wit
- Ring 2: Ring of Fire/Lightning Resistance, Ring of the Mire
- Necklace: Necklace of Disease/Poison Immunity, Shaman's Beads (the Red Fens)
- Consumables: Wand of Neutralize Poison, 100x healing scrolls, 100x Raise Dead scrolls, restoration scrolls, 100x Heroes' Feast scrolls.