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Trick and Treat

In the last entry, I outlined what I wanted in a Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign character: a trap removal specialist to replace poor Neeshka that would actually be more useful in a fight. After wracking my brains to the point where I was regretting a lack of an overclocked Jesus-like heat sink, I'm happy to report effective solution: The Arcane Trickster wins.

The clincher was that an Arcane Trickster essentially transforms a 20th level 10 Rogue/10 Wizard character into a 20th level 15 Rogue/15 Wizard character. A few skill points and bonus feats are lost in the transition, but keeps the important parts: sneak attack bonus progression and spell progression. A 10 level bonus is hard to beat, it was worthwhile enough to edge out the runner up, a 16 Bard/4 Rogue.

There were threes hurdles left, but two have been overcome:

First, the Arcane Trickster's level progression assures an experience penalty for my favorite race, the humans. I solved this by deciding to not ditch the Rogue class at level 3. I'll take a minor penalty as the Arcane Trickster levels catch up, but that's the case with any race. Even with 5 Rogue levels before 20, I'll still get my 9th circle wizard/sorcerer spells in the (capped at 30) epic campaign.

Second, the the Arcane Spellcaster's base attack bonus is "low." Combined with the prerequisite classes, the overall result is closer to "low" than "medium." This will make it very hard to apply sneak attacks. I solved this by deciding I don't care: certain spells will compensate for a poor base-to-hit, and in any case, throwing fireballs with wild abandon has a way of making one not care they're ditching a hefty Sneak Attack bonus.

Third, I'm still undecided on the arcane base class. A Bard is right out: not only are they watered down enough without dumping two more classes on top of them, but I'd have to take 7 levels before I meet the 3rd level arcane spell requirement. A Wizard grants flexibility, is less attribute point intensive, and the intelligence bonus will make it easier to spread those skill points out. The Sorcerer remains very tempting: I don't really like having the memorize specific spells because I can't tell when I'll need more casts to finish the job.

Regardless of whichever I choose, I can rest assured that this Rogue will be far more useful than the average one. Frankly, I could have gone Rogue/Fighter and been content, and probably would have if it weren't for the Arcane Trickster providing full sneak attack progression. (The difference, unmodified, at level 20: A 10 A.Trick/5 Rog/5 Wiz has up to 90 hitpoints, 82 skill points, a 9d6 sneak attack, lvl 8 arcane spells, a +12 BAB. A 10 Fig/10 Rog has up to 160 hitpoints, 132 skill points, a 5d6 sneak attack, 6 bonus feats, and a +17 BAB.)


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