After quite some time I decided to play through IWD 2 again and came up with a brand new idea for a melee combat cleric. I got the idea from Silverdragons PC 2 in his powergaming guide and was wondering how I can fit a good/neutral aligned combat cleric into a good/neutral party so I do not have to rely on the Banite and additionally I saw some flaws in taking the Banite. While the Banite has the nice advantage of +4 Wis from Quests he has two major drawbacks: 1.) All but his 7th and 9th level Domain Spell are crap due to them being spells with will saves and especially in HoF with low Wis and no SF they are useless. Since he does not even get to cleric level 17 all but Gate domain spells are useless especially in HoF. 2.)His two cleric special abilitites are worthless. The +1 on DC for his will spells means squat since his Wis is low and will get saved against anyway especially in HoF and the skill boni are worthless because the character does not use them due to low charisma. Minor drawbacks: 1.) He does not get half of the wisdom bonus until late into normal difficulty and again late into HoF difficulty for the final +4 total wisdom which actually diminishes the overall effectiveness of him and SD chose Banite specifically for that advantage which is not as great as you might think. 2.)Some powergamers still like to have some RP and just wildly mixing good and evil aligned characters is a bit silly from that standpoint. Not a concern for strict powergaming though. Enter Sykar's female Drow combat cleric [Fighter 4/Monk 5 (OO or BO)/Priest (Lath./Helm) 15+X] Alignment: LG for Lathander, LG or LN for Helm Attributes: 14/20/14/14/13/5 (same as SD) Leveling scheme: 1-4: Fighter 5-9: Squat 3 monk levels, if you can take the strain squat all up to level 9. Here you HAVE to take the Monk levels before reaching 10 otherwise you get level 6 monk when you jump straight to 10. 10-24: Priest 25-30: Flexible as you prefer Feats: 1: Finesse 1: Weapon Focus (Small Blades) 3: Dual Wield 3: Ambidexterity 6: Weapon Specialization (Small Blades) 9: Power Attack 12: Imp Critical 15: Combat Casting 18: Expertise 21: Free 24: Free 27: Free 30: Discipline Order and weapon focus/specialization are not fixed. If you want to use other weapons ditch Finesse and get something else. Reason for Finesse: Compared to other fighters we only have +2 to hit from strength which will lead to some hit problems in later areas in normal. Finesse with 20 Dex will improve our chance to hit by +3 right of the bat and we can opt to increase Dex over Wisdom for even bigger bonus at the expense of some bonus spells in case we went wisdom route. That way we can also utilize Power Attack or Expertise and still hit most of the time. Combat Casting is not really useful early because we do not get any cleric levels the first 9 levels and even after we can opt to squat for a bit so getting it later is no big deal. Discipline because we have only 14 Con and with CC we can get +6 Concentration Check, which equals another +12 Con all in all. Advantages from 5 Levels of Monk: 1.) We can reduce the hit on AC by 1 due to 4 Wis less. Compared to SDs combat cleric we are only 1 AC behind but this is only the case until late into HoF. In fact we have a higher AC in Normal until late normal and only after HoF Act 5 he can pull ahead by +1 AC. 2.) 5*Stunning Fists per day are good in normal adding some decent saftey there. Why Helm? Several Reasons: 1.) Good domain spells. If we go up to level 17 he can even get Aegis which is terrific for a melee cleric. But even the rest is at least decent: Prot f. Evil, Exaltation, Spell Shield, Defensive Harmony, Dismissal, Globe of Invulnerability, ISoM and Iron Body or Seven Eyes. 2.) Helm's Shield: +2 to saves for x rounds. 3.) Helm's Watch: +2 to AC and another +2 against Missles for x rounds. Why Lathander? 1.) Again more useful domain spells. While the blasting ones are uninteresting he has a couple of extra healing power like Heal and Mass Heal and supporting spells like Faerie Fire, Bulls Strength and Aura of Vitality and these are again much more useful than almost anything Bane has to offer. 2.) 30+ Hitpoints Healed with Lathanders special ability depending on final cleric level. Comparing both in conjunction with the primary role of this character I give Helm a minor advantage over Lathander though what Lathander lacks in regards to def. spells he can make up with more healing power and some better party utility, Aura of Vitality comes to mind. If you are unsure which deity to chose go with LG so you can still chose after your 5 monk levels which deity you want. Variation: Demarch of Mask Cleric: The extras abilities aren't too useful but still better than the Banite crap. We get minor boni to stealth skills which we will actually use and free Blind Fight feat, while not terrific still better than the completely useless +1 on DC for will spells and skill boni to some talky skills. What this priest kit offer are really nice domain spells which are all from the Wiz/Sorc collection and houses such great spells like BBD/Executioner eyes, Mirror Image, Blur, Improved Invisibility, Invisibily Sphere, Mass Invis, Shades, Pnahtom Blade, Shades and Shadow Conjuration. If we go with this deity one can chose deep gnome race since it syngergizes well due to them already having Blur and Mirror Image so we effectively double the amount of them until we get the final 5 levels for wizard plus they are available much earlier than SDs cleric who gets them at the last 5 odd levels while we can get this charater to have 2 Mirrors/Blurs as soon as level 12-13. The major drawback would be that we hit the 20% exp penalty early on top of them being ECL +3 since neither Fighter, Monk nor Priest are their favourite class so it is up to you to decide if you can bear this or not. I personally would still go with the drow. This Variant also must go with the Lawful Evil alignment and Monks of the Broken Order otherwise we cannot combine those two classes. Advantages: 1.) Broader selection of priest kits. We are not tied to one specific cleric kit. 2.) More useful domain spells, which compensates for the fewer spells we have due to lower Wis score. 3.) Actually useful cleric special abilities except for Improved Turning albeit the Mask one are certainly only minor benefits but still they actually see some use. 4.) Better starting tank. We can rely on this character the first few levels to tank until the Spellsword has developed a bit instead of example a starting Sorc who is a level 1 paladin, making our Sorc getting those nice spells a lot faster. 5.) Decent for level squatting. We actually should level squat the monk levels to avoid Exp penalties and after Monk 5 we can level squat cleric levels quite some time since the low ones will not really add much and the build will really shine once we can get DHUM to a decent level as well as a couple of other useful spells especially the healing ones like Cure Critical Wounds. This allows us to level squat less on the Bard/Druid so he can improve for more healing power. Disadvantages: 1.) Exp Penalty As I already mentioned we do not really need the rogue level until we can get access the crows nest, and after that we should be about full power anyway if we need it at all. At least 3 out of the 5 monk levels need to be squatted but since this is a warrior at start with good access to armor, shield and weapons plus good weapons it will not be a big problem and can in fact be a boon with proper level squatting for our Sorc and main Cleric who need the levels asap to reach those much needed high level spells. 2.) Delay of clerical abilities. SDs party sports a bard/druid and a cleric and for normal those should suffice easily. While it is indeed advisable to level squat a bit we do not have to hold both of them back to level one for example. I am pretty sure that most parties will sport at least one fully dedicated cleric caster and most likely a druid and/or bard. For normal alone this should suffice for all healing needs plus there a also quite a few other means to heal mostly via potions. Also keep in mind that we cannot cast a lot of cleric spells at start since this character is very dependant on the Every God Ring so being able to cast clerical spells is not very crucial since at best we can cast level 3-4 spells depending if we pump up Wisdom or not. 3.) Lower Wisdom * In regards to AC absolutely no real concern, -1 AC can be compensated temporarily with the Helm speciality and it will not kick in until late HoF anyway. * In regards to DC again no concern since this is a melee fighter who will not memorize any spells with DC. This is part of the problem with the Banite a lot of his domain spells and both cleric advantages are useless. * In regards to spell per day, since we get actually really useful spells from the domains this is again no real concern. 4.) Lower Sneak Skills at start and some wasted skill points Since we start as a warrior and all rogue skills are cc for us we have some lower skills at start in this area. But even with just 3 in both thanks to +5 Dex bonus we can still reach +8 in that skill at level 3 which is usually enough for starters. With 14 in Intelligence this character can still max Concentration and get both Hide and Sneak to decent enough levels. Any other skills are at best nice to have, true but what is the point in maxed sneak skills? Most of the time you will just scout to see where the next enemy is and for that even sneak and hide around 10 are more than sufficient. Since this is a tank you want the enemies on him anyway so all in all they give you an opening advantage sometimes but not much more. For dedicated scouting and trap finding the Spellsword with wizard levels and access to invisibility is much more effective.