Planning the Perfect Party | Lord Markus | Stygar | Akutagawa | Alliria | Tithian | Lady Elanna
LADY ELANNA, NEUTRAL GOOD, HUMAN SORCERESS 21
Why She's Included
In vanilla IWD2, I got away with using a Wizard because the battles were shorter and the monsters went down faster. In IWD2 Tactics, a Sorceress really comes in handy since she can cast her spells as little or as often as needed. And the sooner you can get to the higher level spells, the better.
+5 Charisma plus the +3 Charisma from the Robes of Sorcere will augment her spellcasting power considerably.
Primary Damage Caster, Primary Summoner, Secondary Crowd Controller, Secondary Archer
Alchemy – To help identify potions, and useful in other situations as well.
Concentration – For obvious reasons, to avoid spell interruption.
Knowledge – To help identify magical items.
Spellcraft – To help identify what spells the opposition is casting. This can really come in handy and influence tactical decisions as to whether to ignore an enemy spell caster, or whether you need to try and interrupt the casting of that spell.
Starting Feats: Spell Focus Enchantment, Greater Spell Focus Enchantment – My Sorceress initially relies on Sleep to deal with mass groups of enemies. It will also prove useful later on when spells like Chaos or Mass Domination enter the picture.
3rd level: Spell Focus Evocation – Damaging spells are a Sorcerer's staple, so it makes sense to maximize this as well.
6th level: Greater Spell Focus Evocation – Further enhancing my offensive spells.
9th level: Spell Focus Necromancy – To enhance spells like Finger of Death and Wail of the Banshee and Skull Trap.
12th level: Greater Spell Focus Necromancy – Further enhancing my necromantic spells.
15th level: Combat Casting – I put this off until I raised the saving throw Difficult Class for the spells I use most frequently. I get it now however, since Elanna does on occasion find herself having to defend (cast protective spells) in close quarter combat.
18th level: Spell Penetration – It makes sense to get this for my Sorceress, who casts a lot of offensive spells, and at the point where more and more monsters have Spell Resistance.
21st level: Greater Spell Penetration – Same thing.
This merits a section unto itself, since spell selections for a Sorceress are permanent, and therefore require careful planning.
1st level: Sleep – This really comes in handy in the first stages of the game against low-level enemies, and is much more efficient than single-target spells against groups.
Identify – Can be used whenever a Knowledge skill check comes up short.
3rd level: Magic Missile – I didn't get this right away because it only turns out 1 missile to begin with. It makes more sense at 3rd level, when it spits out 2, and ultimately 5 as you gain levels.
4th level: Mirror Image – This spell is a defensive staple no matter how high-level your arcane spellcaster becomes.
5th level: Web – A useful crowd-control spell that can be used in tandem with the crowd-control spells provided by the Druid.
Chromatic Orb – A useful spell that often holds a single-target in place.
6th level: Fireball – An early offensive staple for my Sorceress.
7th level: Skulltrap – It has its pros and cons in comparison to Fireball, which makes it more situation-specific. It has a shorter 'detonation' range, and it has to planted almost right next to a monster for it to go off. On the other hand, there's no cap on the damage it can inflict (+1d6 with each level). So it does come in handy when it's aimed at a small, but tightly clustered, group of enemies.
Ray of Enfeeblement – An option for reducing the Strength score of a single target.
Vocalize – Your lower spell levels are good candidates for utility spells, and here's one of them. Since it can be used in response to any character getting silenced, I can use it as little or as often as needed. In the hands of a Sorceress, it obviates completely any need for a Silent Spell feat.
8th level: Stoneskin – Another defensive staple for the Sorceress. It can always be brought back up when the previous one goes down. It can also be cast on her comrades, which can help for particularly intense combats.
9th level: Knock – Another low-level utility spell. Just in case Tithian can't open the lock.
Melf's Minute Meteors – Well, I don't want Elanna to burn through her sling ammo too rapidly, so each day she'll start with these +5 beauties that also inflict fire damage, at least during the early parts. It also comes in handy when you have to take out large packs of Trolls. She'll just wait until one Troll goes down, and then deliver the coup-de-grace from a distance, and then wait for the next Troll to go down, and so on.
Improved Invisibility – A nifty defensive resource that, for many monsters, will mean their strikes miss her outright on a half-and-half chance.
10th level: Chaos – This is an awesome spell for sowing 'chaos' amongst a mass of foes. Stacking the Spell Focus Enchantment feats on top of the spell's inherently high saving throw Difficulty Class ensures its effectiveness. And its party-friendly too.
11th level: See Invisibility – Another useful utility-spell to use 2nd level slots on. Useful for backstabbing foes and invisible spellcasters, etc.
Dispel Magic – This adds to Elanna's usefulness and utility. It can rip down the spell buffs of the opposition (which is now more common in Tactics) or dispel nasty magic effects afflicting your party (which is again now more common in Tactics) depending on the situation.
Animate Dead – Since this is a scalable spell (the undead get more powerful as the Sorcerer level increases), it has lasting value, and can be cast repeatedly, especially if your previous undead minions got wasted.
12th level: Mass Haste – A great spell for enhancing physical combat. Believe it or not, some battles in Tactics can be so prolonged that my Sorceress sometimes feels the need to cast it more than once.
13th level: Malison – A useful spell for priming up the opposition against subsequent spells, as well as any special weapons effects used by my warriors.
Cone of Cold – Another offensive spell that can be devastating in the right situations.
Chain Lightning – Yet another powerful offensive spell, and it's party-friendly too.
14th level: Mordenkainen's Sword – A spell that Elanna uses frequently. Sometimes even the warriors need a little help too, and this allows my Sorceress to do it from a distance, especially when slashing damage is needed.
15th level: Lower Resistance – Used for those individually powerful monsters who may have Spell Resistance.
Acid Storm – In my experience, I find Chain Lightning often useful. Yet there's no denying that the number of foes it actually hits on a casting can be quite random, sometimes as many as six, and other times just one. It tends to be best used for a few monsters that are tightly packed around your warriors, and even then there's no assurance how many it will get. Acid Storm adds a little flexibility to how my Sorceress can expend her 6th level spells in offensive fashion. If the monsters are in a larger pack trying to slog their way through a crowd-control zone, by all means use this instead.
Banishment – Summoned monsters are a much more frequent occurrence in Tactics, and sometimes the additional horde that gets summoned against you can turn into a veritable army. Hence this spell, which can get rid of all of them in a flash. Note that the Cleric can use it as a 6th level spell, but I prefer to have my Cleric dedicate his 6th level slots to other spells, Heal in particular.
16th level: Great Shout – Another nifty stopper spell. It comes out in a flash, and is almost guaranteed to stun any monsters caught in its cone area of effect. The saving throw simply effects whether its victims stay stunned for 1 round or 2 rounds. If you can catch any spellcasters with it, even better, since its deafening effect will also make spellcasting more difficult.
17th level: Finger of Death – A nifty little spell when you want to take out one monster instantly.
Horrid Wilting – In the vanilla version of IWD, casting this spell just once from the Bracers of Icelandic Pearl was often enough to win a battle then and there. Now in Tactics, especially in higher levels, being able to cast this repeatedly can come in handy.
18th level: Executioner's Eyes – Sure, it only lasts 10 rounds. But considering those hefty bonuses to damage, attack bonus, and most importantly, to critical hit range, those 10 rounds may be enough for your warriors to slaughter the opposition outright, or at least tip combat heavily in your favour. Really comes in handy during key combats.
19th level: Mass Dominate – In some situations, it can be even better than Wail of the Banshee. It can basically turn at least half or more of the enemy to your side, dooming the rest. Once they're gone, you can slaughter your enslaved opponents one by one.
Mind Blank – Protects its target from any mental effects for a whole day, neat.
20th level: Wail of the Banshee – Great spell for thinning out the crowd in an instant.
21st level: Protections from Petrification – At this point, I'm running out of meaningful spell choices, so why not this one?
Lightning Bolt – Adding a little more choice to how I can use my 3rd level spells in offensive fashion.
Tenser's Transformation – An option if I feel inclined to augment Elanna's prowess with the Phantom Staff or Mordenkainen's Sword.