Suel Arcanamach gish or. Sorcerer-based gish?

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I was thinking of a Suel Arcanamach for an all-casting party in our next campaign (we need a main "tank", so to speak, so I can't go a full 9th-level spells gish), but then I realized: what a Suel Arcanamach offers that a Sorcerer-based gish doesn't offer? Ok, the free Extended buffs is nice, but the DM ruled that Extended Abjuration from Abjurant Champion and Extended Spellstrength don't stack, so it's half as good as it could it be.


Let's compare both of this builds:
paladin 4/duskblade 2/suel arcanamach 4/abjurant champion 5/swiftblade 5
While the build gets max Suel spellcast, duskblade 4 spellcasting (using Versatile Spellcaster to fuel extra Suel spell slots) and get 2 extra feats (one from paladin's Holy Warrior ACF, and Combat Casting from duskblade), it needs 1 extra crappy feat (Iron Will; and no, no Othyugh Hole option) to enter Suel.


paladin 4/sorcerer 2/abjurant champion 5/swiftblade 6/spellsword 3
With this, I get level 13 Sorcerer spellcaster (so it's a little superior to Suel 5th-level tops casting), 2 extra feats (but one of them must be expended in Combat Casting, so nevermind), and basically the rest is nearly the same (19 BAB/CL), only with 15% ASF (mithril twilight full plate FTW) and 6th-level spells.


paladin 4/sorcerer 2/abjurant champion 5/swiftblade 6/spellsword 1/unseen seer 2
Same as the above, but trades 1 BAB/CL, 1 extra feat and -5% ASF for 7th-level spells and +1d6 swiftblade skirmish damage (and, with Travel Devotion, I can activate it for a full attack more).


So, which one of those builds you guys think I should go? Any suggestions to improved it? Any WotC book is game, but no Dragon Magazine material (FR and Eberron material is fine, if I can work with the DM to integrate it to the scenario).

Before commenting on your builds, I have a few questions. First of all, at what level will you start? Your reason for a gish is because you guys need a tank, but if you start at level 3 or higher, the abundance of level 2 spells should make the tank obsolete.
Is there any reason why you cannot summon a few tanks every battle? Owlbear skeletons (summon undead2 SpC p215) will do a great job with keeping enemies busy. Is it not possible to charm/dominate some idiots into beeing your tank? Are spells like benign transposition (Spc), silent image (early wall of stone), invisibility and all other spells that make tanks not matter in combat banned? Is there any reason why you can not use alter self to give yourself a ridiculous AC without losing caster levels? Is it in your campaign not allowed to trade your familiar for an animal companion so your wolf can tank the first 2 levels?

In an all-caster party, I think the builds you posted will be completely overshadowed by every other character on every aspect of the game. If you do insist on making a tank/gish character, know that it is only the first few levels where you will actually be needed. To be any useful later in the game you should probably think about how to get sublime chord (CAr p60) in your build. Then you will be less usefull from levels 4-10 but when you hit sublime chord you gain access to lvl4 spells and a lvl 5 spell right away which makes you a bit more usefull to your party again (note, you will still be in the shadows of the spellcasters who gain multiple 6th lvl spells at char lvl11).

If you still really want to play a gish and are looking to improve your builds make sure you take 2 levels of paladin MAX and see if you can fit some levels of bard or virtuoso (CAd p89) in the first 10 levels so you could qualify for the sublime chord at 11.

EDIT: I see I was talking about combining paladin and bard in a build. To do this without getting into any alignment restriction trouble, take the paladin of freedom (UA p53). Wanted to put a reference there ;) 

I don't understand why a gish that gets 9th-level spells can't be a tank.


If you take the arcane preparation feat (Complete Arcane), you can cast luminous armor (Book of Exalted Deeds) and its greater version. With abjurant champion, that should eliminate the need for armor, other than thistledown padded armor (Races of the Wild) to hold special abilities.


An easy arcane gish class for all levels is battle sorcerer (Unearthed Arcana). You could go with paladin 2 / battle sorcerer 4 / abjurant champion 5 / battle sorcerer +9.


If you do want actual full plate instead of spells protecting you, a battle sorcerer with the battle caster feat (Complete Arcane) can wear mithral full plate with no arcane spell failure chance.


The divine companion alternative class feature (Complete Divine) for sorcerer can provide massive boosts to your saves and AC at mid-to-high levels.

If you do want actual full plate instead of spells protecting you, a battle sorcerer with the battle caster feat (Complete Arcane) can wear mithral full plate with no arcane spell failure chance.

And Spellsword 1 would also help minimize any ASF.
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