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Interesting Findings, Character Builds

Discussion in 'Neverwinter Nights 2' started by Scythesong Immortal, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    While a lot of effort has gone into creating builds and understanding the different game mechanics of NWN2, a lot of that info is still obscure. To me at least.
    Either that, or most people are still focused on builds with frenzied berzerkers or clerics and the like.
    After reflecting on the amount of time I've spent searching on yahoo and google and still being forced to find out things for myself I've decided that to just write down some of the things I've recently learned.
    Perhaps others passing by could at least do the same and dump random bits of trivia in this thread, for others to read and reference.

    Character build:

    Duelist 8 (10 if expansion)/Bard x/none or x
    Human (Drow and Tiefling could work, similar idea but different stats, skills)
    Starting stats:
    Str - 10
    Dex- 14
    Con - 14
    Int - 16 (dump points here)
    Wis -10 (minimum if you want)
    Cha - 14 (you can add points here if you want better DC's)

    Weapon: Scythe/Spear
    Why: Not raising Dex, so the only benefit you get for using a typical Duelist weapon (finesse-able light weapon) is +2 attack. This bonus is nice in the beginning stages of the game, but as your character grows and gains access to more powerful buffs (especially Str buffs) and items +2 attack is no longer as important.

    Feats:
    Setup #1 (cool weapon)
    Weapon Proficiency, Martial
    Weapon Finesse, Dodge, Mobility... Whirlwind Attack
    Curse Song
    Expansion, add Scythe masteries. You decide what to do with the rest, I recommend Blind Fight at least.

    Setup #1 (the true jack of trades)
    Able Learner
    Weapon Finesse, Dodge, Mobility... Whirlwind Attack
    Curse Song
    Expansion, add Spear masteries. You decide what to do with the rest, I recommend Blind Fight at least.

    Note: You won't be able to get Whirlwind Attack without sacrificing Curse Song or vice versa if you don't have MotB, given the LvL cap 20 of the OC. If you intend to finish with just the OC however you can sneak in 2 levels of Fighter and leave Duelist level at 6. This way you can complete all the feats. I don't recommend this for people who plan to continue on to the expansion.

    Skills: Any you want, but do get Parry and Tumble

    Explanation:
    I wanted a Bard who could do a lot of stuff (ie, have lots of skill points) and remain effective in serious combat. This was hard to do since if you wanted to have all the conversations skills along with other "nifty" skills like Appraise while keeping "important" skills like Tumble and Perform, you usually had to sacrifice some your "battle" stats.
    After trying other high BAB classes and getting builds with high damage but dismal survivability/inconsistent functionality/a-build-that-does-something-that-someone-else-can-do-better I finally stumbled upon the Duelist prestige class...

    Pros:
    -High INT!
    -Lots of skill points here, now you can finally take those skills you've always wanted to try out
    -Functional bard spells and songs
    -Good BAB and damage (so long as it doesn't have piercing resistance)
    -Good surviability
    -Scythe-user can benefit from spells that improve slashing, looks a lot cooler, powerful criticals
    -Spear-user does more damage in general but suffers heavily against piercing resistant types (and there will be quite a number of those)
    -functional at all levels

    Cons
    -The build works as intended, but is a lot less effective in other situations (pure hack n slash, etc)
    -Lacks higher level bard spells and songs
    -Physical reduction will work twice to reduce this character's damage (once for normal damage, once for Precise Strike). Fortunately you can rely on your other skills to pull you through, but just a heads up.

    Interesting Findings:
    Flourish and Precise Strike actually do work on the Scythe. Precise Strike only works when the Scythe is doing piercing damage though (when you character is hitting his target with the sharp point of the scythe rather than slashing with the edge).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  2. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    I did a Bard/RDD/BG/PM build. This build used the Yuan-ti race as it provides some really nice bonuses. The RDD build provides nice attack bonuses do to the STR increase and an increase in the character's AC. Three levels of BG provides the build with high saves thanks to this build having high CHA, Divine Power and Epic Divine Power. The PM part of the build finally balances out the build with a +2 or more in AC bonus. The bard inspiration of courage or defense helps improve the character combat ability. This build was easy to play from level 1 to 30. The hardest part was the first few levels. This build lacks some skill points, but given you can walk around in medium armor and cast buffing spells make it a very good and strong build. This build was my tank through MotB. He rarely got hit and ususally was able to hit without a problem.

    I'm currently playing SoZ and I find my FS/SL to be extremely powerful and fun. My Rogue/ST in my SoZ group is actually my best all around character because he can do it all. I might have to see how he plays in the OC and MotB after I complete SoZ.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  3. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    I wanted a bard who could survive heavy combat which was why I shied away from such a build. I have tried something similar to your build though, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's just not what I had in mind for my present party.
    By "bard" I meant I wanted someone who could fill in the role of buffing, debuffing and singing (songs and inspirations). He also needed to have lots of skill points. He doesn't need to be overly effective in fighting since he has other functions, but he does need to be good at doing damage and surviving damage.
     
  4. pplr Gems: 18/31
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    I was thinking of role-playing angles and one I came up with was a cleric/war priest of Sharess.

    I thought this would be interesting because Sharess is related to cats in Faerun and some cats-in real life-have a passionate dislike of snakes. I figure this could end up playing into a story line fight against the yaun-ti.

    Like I said, thoughts were of a cleric/WP as a healer and quasi-tank.
     
  5. martaug Gems: 23/31
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  6. Munchkin Blender Gems: 22/31
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    My bard level was 15 or 16 by the end of MotB. He had quite a bit of songs and inspirations. Instead of going with a RDD you could take more levels of Bard. The BG provides you with a nice bonus to your saves. One level as a PM takes nothing away from your bard and provides you with a bonus to AC.
     
  7. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    nwn2wiki has some great builds, but it also has some very bad ones. Some builds had very little functionality at certain levels and some were too "focused". Nice for picking your way solo through the game though, but not as effective in a party or when the build is not in its element.
    New to nwn2db, interesting site gonna check it out latter.

    Cleric/WP/x is a classic combo. Lot of options there ,and yeah very interesting once domains come into play.

    +2 Natural Bonus to AC from a single PM level doesn't seem too useful since you can get better AC from other sources, at the very least a Barkskin scroll or potion and 1 more Bard level has more benefits. When I get PM I usually do it for Deathless Mastery, as criticals are one of the scarier things in the game that there is limited protection from.
    BG offers high saves but I really don't think higher saves are needed. I agree that since the BG offers that on top of Divine Power though the BG is very tempting, but if I did that I would be making a character whose main job is to jump in the middle of the fray to make full use of his skills. Although that's not a bad thing at all, that's just not the role intended for the character I had in mind. I already have at least 3 or so "berzerkers" in the party. :p
     
  8. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    This is a link to nwn character build search engine.
    All of the builds are on the bioware furom so you need to be a member to view them.
    There is a nwn2 character build search engine but i can't find the link & am waiting for a return email from the bioware site to log back in.
     
  9. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    Some trivia.
    A friend read about Swashbuckler/x/x/x high INT builds in a forum and decided to test one against some of my builds.
    My characters were creamed.
    Apparently these builds are indeed quite powerful (overpowered, according to some) but fortunately I was able to find a good counter - the simple spell called Ray of Enfeeblement. Encumbered, some of his feats and skills refused to work and so he went down easy.

    Little tip for anyone having problems with Swashies, except ones with high Str (there aren't many, I hope).
     
  10. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    For roleplaying, I sometimes make 16 INT paladins with Able Learner. It's kinda fun when you can deal with some of the traps and locks etc as you solo, plus, say, Appraise or some talking skill you otherwise wouldn't have. And you go for Practiced Spellcaster because Spellcraft(4) now costs you only 4 points and then for 5, you get +1 save vs spells.

    Swashbuckler seems a bit to follow the tradition of the Baldur's Gate 2 kit based on Rogue. While this one is no rogue and not a serious skillmaster, either, it has potential and you obviously may want to start as a rogue for the skill points (remember Able Learner). Conversely, by virtue of Insightful Strike, Swashbuckler(3) may itself be profitable from the point of view of some skill-based characters.

    Overall, as I look at it, it looks like almost a multiclassed character but staying within one class. Not bad. Except it doesn't seem to offer the same sense of progression that some other classes.

    Besides, DEX-based fighter with all the feats and Greater Weapspec should generally still beat this one (you won't really have 18 INT with it, while GWS gives +4 dmg with your weapon, so...). On the other hand, GWS: Shortsword (for dual-wielding, naturally, as otherwise I'd go with rapier) and Swashbuckler(3) with 16 INT could net +7 damage before STR, which means you might possibly not worry so much about damage reduction. And if you actually have enough STR for Power Attack, that's say, 14, then you have +9 bonus to damage in addition to weapon enchantments. So you get the critical chain and you're quite well set-up.

    For some reason, vanilla fighter still appears more interesting to me, really. The multitude of feats, which is basically the most important class feature, allows for a range of choices, including extreme prowess with a weapon (WF, WS, GWF, GWS, IC, PC => 6 feats), Whirlwind chain (Expertise, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack), two-weapon fighting (TWF, ITWF, GTWF and you can afford the standard WF/WS chain to improve AB and dmg to offset penalties)... Or, on the other hand, you can use bonus slots for strictly combat feats, while being able to spend your normal feat range on things you normally wouldn't take. Toughness, Luck of Heroes... And you can actually take two first-level feats that disappear later. So, I'd say, there's plenty of room for customisation in the vanilla fighter.

    Finally, note that Able Learner and a level or more in Swashbuckler open Diplomacy to you up to the maximum ranks for class skills, purchased at 1:1 ratio.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  11. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    I finally got the opportunity to start a new Spirit Shaman for Storm of Zehir a few days back, and after he finally reached the end of the OC I discovered that Spellcasting Prodigy does not in factly increase your ability scores. It only simulates this (which really sucked). This means that a a Spirit Shaman with 17 Wisdom and Spellcasting Prodigy will still be unable to cast level 8 or 9 spells. Luckily I was able to rectify the error by MotB.

    Side note, this class is a great "danger zone" maker. Vine Mine, Spiky Growth, Entangle... not as effective as the NWN1 Druid though.

    Pure fighters are great. If I picked Fighter instead of Duelist for my build it probably would've turned out better in melee, he still has 20 levels worth of songs and spells to use before jumping into the fray.
    Swashbuckler is a nice class to add in, they say Combat Insight stacks with Insightful Strike but I haven't tested it personally.

    Played WoW recently and I realized it's funny how people want to turn D&D games into hack n slash and MMORPG games into roleplaying games.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  12. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    Some new insights into the Spirit Shaman class. These are my findings and are slightly biased. I'll be focusing more on practical, tested stuff though and my motivation for making some odd choices.
    A summary at the bottom for people not interested in specifics.

    Before anything else: Spirit Shamans are easily the game's most powerful ghostbusters.
    Reason: Chastise Spirits.
    Added bonus: Fey and elementals are considered spirits, along with incorporeal undead.
    Downsides: Many spirits in the OC (pre-MotB) are still not properly classified as "spirits". Your abilities (Chastise Spirits and even Ghost Warrior) will not work against them.

    *Work in progress - changes and updates will be done as necessary*

    Finding I
    There are basically two kinds of spirit shamans - the those that focus on Wisdom (more castings + zen archery) and those that focus on Charisma (spellcasting DC). Both are equally viable.

    Finding II
    Spirit shamans focus more on casting than their Druid cousins. As a result, they are more affected by by the cons of the druid spell list:

    -lacks spells with will saves, except against animal-type creatures. A lot of the creatures in the game are fighters or rogues, so this can be a problem once you outgrow Sleep
    -not-so-good distribution of offensive and defensive spells between levels. This works both as an advantage and disadvantage. Metamagic helps solve this, but not until very high levels
    -lacks spells which deal damage type other than fire, electricity, cold
    -lacks spells against certain creature types, like an undead rogue (has improved evasion and immunities to negative energy, ability damage, instant death, poison and disease - if it has SR on top of that, you're in big trouble)

    Finding III
    As you will have realized from the last line of Finding II, you will need to have some melee/ranged presence. Remember that NWN2's druid spell list was designed with a shapeshifter/animal companion-user/spontaneous creature-summoner in mind (which even a pure-caster druid is).

    Finding IV
    Multi-classing a shaman is recommended.

    Finding V
    Spirit Shaman as nuker cons:
    -starts with only light armor proficiency. Would not be too bad by itself, except the Spirit Shaman also...
    -...lacks useful class abilities like domains, turn undead feats, animal companions etc. that help other classes lower levels. You get lots of good abilities at higher levels, but the most useful abilities only start popping up post-level 9 (Spirit Form)
    -prestige class Stormlord doesn't help your spellcasting
    -crappy starting weapon proficiency

    Spirit Shaman as nuker pros:
    -starts with shield proficiency
    -not as dependent on spellcasting DC and caster level (due to spell list, refer to druid spell pros)
    -taking buffs spells helps boost your damage via your allies' attacks
    -d8 HP, decent fortitude, good will saves
    -at high levels your class feats make you very hard to kill
    -spell spammer, at high levels and with metamagics (empower, extend, maximize)

    II
    Shamans are better off focusing their additional attribute points (gained every four levels) on Wisdom and less on Charisma.

    Reasoning:
    -making a DC-based Spirit Shaman is difficult, and begs the question why you didn't just choose to make a Wizard/Druid/Sorcerer in the first place
    -such a build would greatly weaken all the other attributes of the shaman in favor of both wisdom and charisma. This becomes a problem especially since the Shaman's DC-based spells are mostly elemental damage types (resistances to these are common) or anti-living types (undead, and certain other creature types are immune). Long story short you will be sacrificing your other stats for DC and a DC-based spell selection that could be potentially unreliable
    -at higher levels, where spells fail shamans still have the option of falling back to melee/range. If you focused on Wisdom/Cha, you will lose this edge.
    -The shaman lacks the necessary feats and defensive spells to protect himself at low levels, and sacrificing his other attribute points in favor of spellcasting will make this worse.

    Pros:
    -opens up Zen Archery. Combine with Owl's Insight
    -more spells per day. Quantity over quality
    -metamagics help give you even more castings of your spells
    -offensive buffs don't require anyone to make a save but help boost your damage. Same for summoning spells
    -you have spells that don't require saves or ignore SR (some are situational, but they're there at least)
    -most characters/creatures with high saves will usually have such ridiculously high saves that many save spells won't work against them anyway
    -improves Creeping Doom

    Cons:
    -lower spell DC

    Spirit shamans should not neglect their charisma scores. They should just prioritize their wisdom scores over it.

    III
    Previously I wrote here that Spirit Shaman sucked as fighters. They actually don't at very high levels (18+).

    IV
    A good part of the Shaman's effectiveness lies in its being able to spam certain spell combinations that druids can't, much like how it is for sorcerers and wizards.
    Examples:
    Wall of Fire + Energy Immunity (fire) on everyone (for evocation shamans)
    Tortoise Shell + Freedom of Movement on everyone
    Multiple Creeping Dooms (annihilates anything without innate piercing reduction)
    Entangle+Vine Mine (hamper movement)+Vine Mine (entangle)+Spike Growth+Stonehold+Storm of Vengeance+Freedom of Movement on everyone

    V
    At the heart of any good Spirit Shaman build is a good, balanced spell selection. This should come BEFORE anything else. Feats, stats, and adding in additional classes is secondary - the spell selection MUST come first.

    Good builds for a starting spirit shaman:

    The Leader
    This build focuses on synergy with other people. Focuses on buffs, disabling spells, no-save/ignore SR spells, summoning, and all or nothing spells.

    Pros:
    -excels in fighting small groups of powerful creatures
    -all or nothing spells

    Cons:
    -all or nothing spells
    -lacks nukes

    10 Str - A shame you can't spare any more. Any less and you'll have weight capacity problems.
    14 Dex - AC is a good investment. Makes you decent at bows and throwing axes too, until you get Zen Archery (not recommended in OC)
    10 Con - You really don't need to be any tougher and your fortitude save is good enough as is
    14 Int - You'll need the skill points - you have good skills to choose from. This also opens up Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise (recommended for this build). Besides the basics, remember to get Heal (great alternative to healing spells), Spot and Listen (you may think that True Seeing is an alternative to these but it's actually not - compared to it's implementation on other games like BG2, True Seeing in NWN2 is a lot less powerful), and Spellcraft
    16 Wis - You'll need every casting you can get if you want to buff everyone at low levels or zap everyone at high levels. Raise twice every 12 levels.
    14 Cha - Decent. Raise once every 12 levels

    Important Feats to get:
    Spellcasting Prodigy/Able Learner (if you want to take cross-class skills) + Combat Expertise
    Epic/Greater/Spell Penetration
    Improved Combat Expertise
    Extend, Empower, Maximize spell

    Alternatives: Silent Spell, Still Spell, Quicken Spell, Persistent Spell, Dodge, Zen Archery+Point Blank Shot+Rapid Shot (trio not recommended in OC), Epic Spells

    Basic skill: Concentration

    Spells to get (this is not a final spell list, take not of which ones are replaceable):

    Orisons (LvL 0): No comment.

    LvL 1 spells: Not too good selection, but at least you have Sleep and Cure Light Wounds
    Cure Light Wounds (multiple casting of this and sleep are basically the only thing you have to offer at low levels)
    Sleep (btw, affects allies in hardcore)
    Entangle (useful when fighting large groups)
    Foundation of Stone (lots of things with Knockdown in the game)
    Endure Elements (many uses, cast on everybody against magic-users)

    LvL2 spells: Too many buffs! But be sure to get Gust of Wind asap - your first disable spell
    Barkskin (with Cat's Grace boosts your AC considerably, with Combat Expertise you'll only have problems with criticals - unfortunately what's actually rare in this game is for something to not crit more than once every 12 hits, but that's just me)
    Cat's Grace
    Lesser Restoration (use with Healing Kit, great for diseases, ignore if you have a druid/cleric party member)
    Flame Weapon (free 1-8 damage, cast on anyone joining the melee)
    Gust of Wind (Fortitude save AoE spell! Very useful against rogues and mages especially in the OC besides removing cloud spells and even Darkness)
    Body of the Sun (not too powerful, but not bad either. Tell your allies to keep their distance)

    LvL3 spells: Too many attack spells!
    Call Lightning (the party friendly nuke - replace once it you outgrow it, usually once you get both the empower and maximize spell feats at level 18)
    Greater Magic Fang (use on summoned creatures for enemies like those annoying succubi in the OC - note that Greater Magic Fang works as caster Level/3 unlike Greater Magic Weapon which is caster level/4)
    Infestation of Maggots (works where none of the other 3rd level spells will)
    Vine Mine (another source of Entangle, and hamper movement has no save!)

    LvL4 spells: Your spells start to get more serious at this point
    Ice Storm (no save - many things have cold resistance though)
    Arc of Lightning (ignores SR - it's gives a reflex save though)
    Summon Creature IV (you can actually take Summon Creature 3 instead if you want to cast Stoneskin on everyone)
    Stoneskin
    Freedom of Movement

    LvL5 spells: Great spell level - good nuke, good buff, good one-target nuke and good healing spell
    Call Lightning Storm (more powerful version of Call Lightning, good for anything with low-mid saves, it comes with a nifty +4 save by default)
    Spell Resistance (obvious use)
    Slay Living (on a failed save, does Negative Energy Damage too)
    Rejuvenating Cocoon (low level Heal!)

    LvL6 spells: Anyone would love this spell level if they could only take more spells in it. As it is, they would probably hate it (sorry Drown). You can take Superior Resistance over Crumble if you want, and Greater Dispel Magic over Regenerate if you absolutely have to.
    Tortoise Shell (replace Barkskin with this)
    Crumble (golems fear you)
    Summon Creature VI (Dire Bear, strongest animal summon. Great with Nature's Avatar and Greater Magic Fang, replaces any other low level summon spell)
    Regenerate (great spell, practical use)
    Stonehold (good disable spell)
    Energy Immunity (allows you more freedom with your nukes)

    LvL7 spells: Your best spells are in this level
    Aura of Vitality (replaces Cat's Grace... or not, you don't have much to replace Cat's Grace with)
    Heal (great healing spell)
    Harm (heal's evil twin brother)
    Creeping Doom (for anything without innate piercing resistance)

    LvL8 spells: Poor spell level actually, compared to the level 8 spells of other casters
    Finger of Death (much more powerful version of Slay Living)
    Storm Avatar (combined with other spells, gives you some melee combat presence)
    Premonition (much more powerful version of Stoneskin, we're keeping Stoneskin though for allies)

    LvL9 spells: Drown! And Nature's Avatar too
    Nature's Avatar (turn that Dire Bear into a real monster! Combine with Aura of Vitality/Greater Magic Fang)
    Mass Drown (great spell... careful where you cast it)
    Shapechange (good spell overall because of the innate abilities of the forms)

    Spells you should take: Moonbolt, Inferno, Earthquake, Death Ward

    [I]Good alternatives: (depending on the situation/setup you have) [/I] Bombardment, Spiderskin, Crumble, Extract Water Elemental, Elemental Swarm, Vigorous Cycle, Mass Cure spells, Mass Summon creature spells, Rejuvenation Cocoon, Restoration, Storm of Vengeance, Swamp Lung, Wall of Fire, Spike Growth, Creeping Cold spells

    The Elementalist
    Behold the Shaman nuker. I suggest this build takes Stormlord levels. Unfinished.

    Pros:
    -excels at fighting large groups of less powerful creatures
    -spams nukes

    Cons:
    -nukes won't always work
    -lacks more buffs, disables

    You can keep with the original stat build or this:

    16 Str - You will be wearing heavy armor. You will need to stay dangerously close to your enemies. In that case, you might as well be able to fight well.
    8 Dex - We really can't spare any more
    14 Con - Since you're in the middle of everything you might as well be somewhat tougher
    10 Int - Take Spot, Listen, Concentration, Heal and Spellcraft. You can trade Listen for anything else.
    15 Wis - Same as original build.
    16 Cha - Same as original build. If something has a habit of resisting your spells then engage in melee.

    Summary:
    -the spirit shaman does not make a good replacement for a nuker (like the Warlock or Sorcerer), but does make a good all-around caster (like a Wizard or Cleric)
    -A better Shaman build would be one that focuses more on wisdom than charisma
    -they are horrible in combat at low levels
    -they have good spell combos and setups
    -a spirit shaman is only as good as his spell selection
    -the class desperately needs more feats to improve it. Perhaps an epic feat "Spirit Bargain" that allows you to add your Wisdom modifier to your DC when casting a spell, at the cost of HP?

    Trivia:
    -The LvL 4 Druid spell Moonbolt does 5D4 strength damage when maxed, does half that damage even when saved against. It ignores Spell Resistance.
    -The LvL 3 Druid spell Vine Mine:Hamper Movement automatically slows any creature entering its area of effect. There is no saving throw. Apparently it also ignores SR.
    -Quillfire is one of the few Druid spells that does pure magical damage. Poison effect seems bugged at the moment (seems to have a fixed DC of 14, unaffected by spell focus)
    -Creeping Colds stack. The extended versions have been removed.
    -The Vigor spells don't stack.
    -Cast Freedom of Movement before Turtle Shell if you want to get rid of the slow effect.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
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