The Favored Soul -- Pure Swiss

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For the most part I agree. When I first read the class, the wings thing kind of jumped out at me. That said, in practice I see the Favored Soul being the ultimate "feat" for a cleric.

I have a hard time believing that any cleric would not want to take a level of favored soul. You gain (3) special abilities - (spells = vigor, resurgence, comp. language) & +2 to all saves.

In any event, Favored Soul is just an example of the class escalation of power that is common. Each new book tries to out do the earlier book until the game becomes totally out of whack (see 2nd edition / 3rd edition) and a whole new edition is needed to rebalance the game.
Actually, I have *NEVER* seen them actually admit that the Sorcerer is underpowered, which is the crux of the argument for me. The FS beats the Sorcerer out, hands down, no questions asked, but the designers still claim they are both just fine. They're not. Either one is over powered, or one is under powered, they cannot both be fine as written.


And the cleric *IS* a class the designers have repeatedly said that they intentionally made overpowered in an attempt to get somebody to actually play one.

So even though it's weaker than the cleric, the diet coke or margarine of cleric, it's overpowered? Care to explain this please when compared to the class that it's being compared to?
First, c'mon, heavy armor is not that good...

To the guy up there who said human fighters must be human fighters, this is not the game for you if your idea is playing over the 8th character level.

It's hard to me to say it's overpowered, when I see even the clerics overpowered. The sorcerer is not as good as a wizard, but the cleric is not as good as a FS. So, compared to the cleric, a FS is overpowered. Then, the FS is broken.

The warmage is broken also. Take two times the Substitute Energy Type feat (acid and sonic), Sudden Accelerate spell feat, combat caster for you lovers of heavy armor, and a few levels of Elemental Savant and you have a killing machine, all in one book.
First, c'mon, heavy armor is not that good...

"Best" medium armor (breastplate): +5 armor, max dex +3 --> max AC gain = +8.
"Best" heavy armor (full plate): +8 armor, max dex +1 --> max AC gain = +9.
At best it's a tradeoff, at worst the medium armor gimps because you can't afford that 16 Dex.

To the guy up there who said human fighters must be human fighters, this is not the game for you if your idea is playing over the 8th character level.

Ever tried playing a core only fighter? You have very interesting and powerful abilities and feats past level 8... wait, you don't. Just like there is no reason for staying sorcerer past level 6, there is no sane reason for staying fighter past level 4 if you allow splatbooks. If you don't allow splats, congratulation that character is stuck in a suboptimal place forever.

It's hard to me to say it's overpowered, when I see even the clerics overpowered. The sorcerer is not as good as a wizard, but the cleric is not as good as a FS. So, compared to the cleric, a FS is overpowered. Then, the FS is broken.

Favored Soul? Stronger than the cleric?

Three words: Divine Metamagic, nightsticks.

The warmage is broken also. Take two times the Substitute Energy Type feat (acid and sonic), Sudden Accelerate spell feat, combat caster for you lovers of heavy armor, and a few levels of Elemental Savant and you have a killing machine, all in one book.

Ok, you've got your major direct energy damage thingy going. I for my part rather have my foresight running, getting the jump on you by virtue of moment of prescience, use a greater metamagic rod of quicken to drop a dimensional lock on you, and then stick you in a windowless forcecage watching you slowly suffocate to death because thanks to your utterly crippled spell list you have no chance of escaping. Congratulations.

And that only if I don't decide to kill/cripple/maim you as I desire thanks to the nearly infinite supply of spells I can choose from. Which reminds me... exactly how many of the new spells from the SpC can your warmage use? ;)
There is no good way to reply to this. I will make a prediction, though. This will be a debate for a while, and I'm sure many people feel this way about other classes as well. However, since I'm already posting in this topic I might as well throw in my opinion.

Like any other class in any other 3.5 book that has been released, the Favored Soul is only as good as the player makes it. Proper selection of feats, spells, and skills is always what makes the character good or bad. Every class has its own special thing going for it. Some are easier to spot than others, because some of them have it built into the class. Others you have to pay attention to what it says under feat descriptions or skill checks or even spells. Any of the 20 level classes could be very powerful, it all really boils down to how much attention you're willing to pay to what you're turning your character into.

I have sat down with my group many a time and we have all come to the same conclusion: "No matter how bad ass you think your character is, I bet you I could make another one of the same level equivalent that could eat him for breakfast."

Which all that's really saying is that for all their strengths, each class has a very distinct weakness. You just have to spot it and exploit it from time to time.

Now I'm done. Peace out, homies.
Wow. Before you rant about a class being over/underpowered, it can help to actually play one or see a couple different ones played in games. Having seen and played, while the FS is a good class, it's certainly NOT some unbalanced nightmare. Far from it actually.

First and foremost, giving up turning is a rough trade, while turning undead is a nice perk, being able to use all those turn-attempt-utilizing feats is a big contributor to the cleric's power and not something you can just write off as a minor sacrifice.

Secondly--wings. What's the huge deal? They're NICE, but you get them around the time when other classes can fly with little difficulty. There are already low LA races out there that offer them (including the +0 LA Raptoran in Races of the Wild) and PRCs that grant them with spell progression (like that rainbow one in Complete Divine) or other strong features for non casting classes.

Thirdly, and by FAR most importantly, what's with the whole, “omg, it's as good as a base class with a PRC!” That's the POINT, we need more base classes that motivate the player to stick with them and less that are essentially 5-level starter classes that get dropped the moment a PRC is available.

Again, I've played them (well, two) and DMed several. They're nice, but certainly not 'stronger' than a Cleric or Druid. In fact IMHO they're weaker. An opinion supported by the prevalence of CoDzilla builds on the CO board and a near complete lack of Favored Souls by people wanting to make 'strong' characters.
The only reason that FS could be classed as broken is because they get access to level 1-9 spells which by itself makes them powerful. The Sorcerer is still one of the more powerful classes due to this but compares poorly to the Cleric/Druid/Wizard/Psion. An FS at level 18 can take miracle for example as their only spell and be better than most of the no primary spellcaster classes.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Miracle is more to blame than the fs in that case.
Please edit your first post to establish the facts, Endymion. DR10/cold iron or silver means at 20th level, people will be doing 290 instead of 300 damage to you.

Congratulations...Wings=relatively inexpensive magic item, 3rd level spell. Also, it is very hard to conceal your identity. Clerics have access to divine feats, domains (Time stop, anyone?), and heavy armor proficiency, in addition to prepped casting. The FS gets crappy bonus feats and energy resistance (same as Damage Reduction).
The real problem is not that the FS is not balanced, but that it is balanced against the Cleric.

The Cleric IS overpowered. It is overpowered intentionally, since it is a necessary class for every party. Moreover, the Cleric is made to be easy and fun to play (spellcaster or frontline smasher, and there is never a wrong spell to pick, since anything can heal). When you have a Cleric who heals the party, turns undead, does some buffing, and beats down when needed, and you have a character that no one cares is the most powerful.

Now, you don't have to look far to see people complaining about the abuses possible with the "selfish Cleric." This Cleric buffs himself to the point that he is more violent that the Fighter or Barbarian. The Favored Soul is likewise susceptible to this bad kind of selfish overpowering.

The Cleric has no choice what to do with dead spells: heal. Thus, utility spells that are not needed will always heal, and that means that help for the party is built in (an anti-selfish mechanism). The FS, however, has to be a bit more selfish in spell choice, since a dead spell is NOT an option in a career long decision.

So, while your FS can likely heal the party (since he would be stupid not to take some healing spells), he will NOT be able to heal every malady that comes down the pipe. Moreover, he is not going to be so quick to toss that Bull's Strength spell to heal you when he might be saving that spell for a Shatter.
"Best" medium armor (breastplate): +5 armor, max dex +3 --> max AC gain = +8.
"Best" heavy armor (full plate): +8 armor, max dex +1 --> max AC gain = +9.
At best it's a tradeoff, at worst the medium armor gimps because you can't afford that 16 Dex.

Nah, "best" Med. Armor is Mithrial Full Plate :P. so when all is said and done, the armor point is moot.

On other points, natural, multi resists > spells cause the resists are never used up, can't really be dismissed and are ALWAYS in effect, so no having to spend spell slots to get ‘em up and running.

The weapon stuff, I'm of the opinion that this is only an issue if you follow/are Favored by a god like Kord, one that gets you a big, beefy weapon.

Wings are hardly an issue considering how late they come into play, though as long as you have yer wings and never having to worry about using your ability to fly IS a nice thing.
Spontaneous Replacement of Clerics: FS adds a new option as a group healer - but not one anywhere near as good as a cleric. While Cure Light Wounds seems like a good choice for a FS spell to know, it eventually stops being worth anything when 1d8 becomes a drop in the bucket for healing, and the FS can't get rid of it. The Cleric can simply not select the spell - and even still spontaneously cast it!

A small point--a Favoured Soul can switch out a spell known at most even numbered levels.
It seems to me that the argument has devolved into;

1) It's not overpowered, because CoDzilla is even more overpowered! Rawr!

2) It's overpowered, because it doesn't suck as much as just about the only class in the game that has NO class abilities past 1st level, the Sorcerer and is generally regarded as being *insane* to take over any sort of PrC that advances spellcasting...

Arguing the extremes isn't helping.

The Sorcerer, IMO, desperately needs *anything* past 1st level and is underpowered, making it a poor comparison. Of course the Favored Soul is better than the Sorcerer. About the only core casting class that *doesn't* beat the Sorcerer as levels progress is the Adept.

The Cleric and Druid, IMO, are overpowered, and saying that something *isn't* overpowered because it can't break the game as fast as Divine Metamagics + Nightsticks and Exalted / Dragon / Aberration Wildshape is just absurd.
A small point--a Favoured Soul can switch out a spell known at most even numbered levels.

Yup, they do everything the Sorcerer does (except the familiar), get all good saves and get chocked full of class abilities, and get to cast Miracle essentially at will.
While a Cleric is overpowered on paper, it does have one vital disadvantage: The Cleric has way too many things to do, and only a finite amount of time to do them all.

A Cleric can buff, melee, and heal, but a Cleric often can't do it all at the same time. Ultimately, to bring a cleric down to Earth, you've got to overwork the guy, particularly by making him engage in his "core" competency - healing injured party members.

(And this is also why Quickened Divine Metamagic is quite possibly the most important feat a Cleric can have nowadays: It gives the Cleric the ability to cast more spells in a given space of time).

A Favoured Soul is little different. If the Favoured Soul is overworked by being forced to heal her party mates instead of buffing or meleeing, then the Favoured Soul becomes a much more reasonable character to deal with in terms of power level. Moreover, a Favoured Soul will never have access to the Cleric's two spells a turn Quickened trickery, further limiting her power.

On the other hand, I have to say that a Favoured Soul buffing herself could be a versatile fighter, though I wouldn't say she'd be a supreme tank.

In a campaign I play in, my Favoured Soul pretty much never has to worry about healing because we have another dedicated healer who can literally bring a dragon from near death to full health in a couple of turns. Thus, I made my Favoured Soul to be far more melee-oriented, with lots of personal buffing spells. Yet, she still finds it hard to beat "true" tanks (i.e. Knights and Barbarians) in face to face combat, and she's actually most successful when she uses her other offensive spells (i.e. Spiritual Weapon) to delay, disable, and weaken her enemies before finishing them off.

Finally, no other class is given as much rope to hang themselves with as the Favoured Soul, except perhaps the Sorcerer. A poorly selected spell list CAN spell doom for a Favoured Soul and her party - in my case if we ever let the dedicated healer die, we're gonna be screwed since all my FS knows for healing is Cure Light Wounds >_>.
Actually, I have *NEVER* seen them actually admit that the Sorcerer is underpowered, which is the crux of the argument for me. The FS beats the Sorcerer out, hands down, no questions asked, but the designers still claim they are both just fine. They're not. Either one is over powered, or one is under powered, they cannot both be fine as written.

Although I happen to like the favored soul in and of itself, I have to agree with Edy's basic premise here. When compared with each other, one has to conclude that either the sorcerer is underpowered or that the favored soul is overpowered.

Comparing the two classes is, however, like comparing apples and oranges. Although both can be categorized as fruits ("spontaneous casters"), they are of different varieties - pome ("arcane") and citrus ("divine") respectively.

It is my understanding that the game's designers view the divine spell list as being inferior to the arcane spell list and thus they felt the favored soul needed "extras" to compensate.

I also understand that the reason the favored soul inexplicably doesn't have "Knowledge (religion)" as a class skill is so that you won't take any PrCs but will instead take the class all the way to 20th level.

What I can't understand, though, is why favored souls do have "Knowledge (arcana)" as a class skill. Can anyone explain that?

- Jonny
"Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind."

~ David G Allen

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

Three words: Divine Metamagic, nightsticks.

You know, arguing that the FB is weaker then the cleric because he has no access to some other broken abilities from a splatbook is not the best course of action. When you do not allow Divine Metamagic (which simply are cheese) the cleric has nothing which makes him more powerful than the FB.
As I always say: It's almost impossible to argue which class is strongest when comparing them to each other. The Game isn't built around pvp... It's built around adventuring together in a party. Thus, while some classes are overpowered in PvP, they add little to the party when adventuring.

While I do feel that the Favored soul is more of how the sorcerer should've been designed, I still thinks its a bit "over the top."
I really wonder why the oh so OMG Favored Soul is one of the few available non-core classes in the Living Greyhawk campaign. If it was that good, people would be swarming to it, but this is not the case. But, as it stands, I haven't seen one in play, and no DM has banned it. Druids and Clerics abound, though, both in LG and home campaigns.

A few theories to explain the situation:
a) they are overpowered as the OP claims, and players are too modest to play one because they don't want to outshine others
b) they are overpowered as the OP claims, but nobody else saw that yet
c) the flavour is not appealing enough, regardless of power level
d) they are in a too obscure sourcebook, so people never think of playing one
e) the OP based his assessment of the class on a few theoretical assumptions that don't hold in actual game play, i.e. he is wrong
I know most of this has been hashed out already, but I somehow feel compelled to chip in. Balance is relative, so "unbalanced" is also relative. Favored Souls are not nearly as powerful as clerics for a number of reasons:

  • MAD: Favored Souls require Charisma in order to be effective offensive spellcasters and Dexterity in order to have a competitive Armor Class.
  • Loss of key class features: Favored souls do not receive turning attempts, domains, or Knowledge (religion), thus cutting them off at the knees from almost all divine-casting Prestige Classes. As mentioned above, PrCs are the true keys to power in modern 3.5, so this is a major setback. In return Souls get some interesting protective features, but I do not believe that anyone can argue with a straight face that these are as good as every divine PrC that is denied to the class.
  • Reduced spell access: the strength of divine casters is in versatility. Whatever ails you, be it poison, disease, curse, negative levels, or whatever, there's a cleric spell for that. Even if it's not memorized at the moment, if you can wait a day, it will be there. If Favored Souls want that same versatility, they have precious few spell slots remaining for themselves.


If you think that after all this, FSs are still better than average, that's fine, but I must ask this -- as the designers have said, clerics were made somewhat overpowered in order to make them more attractive. Why does that argument not still hold for a Favored Soul?
Actually, I have *NEVER* seen them actually admit that the Sorcerer is underpowered, which is the crux of the argument for me. The FS beats the Sorcerer out, hands down, no questions asked, but the designers still claim they are both just fine. They're not. Either one is over powered, or one is under powered, they cannot both be fine as written.

I can't agree with you that the Favored Soul is as overpowered as you make it, for reasons stated elsewhere in this thread. Fair enough to say to each his own. However I agree 100% that the Sorcerer and Favored Soul can not be both considered balanced classes. If either is balanced with the core classes, then the other is a ways off.

Frankly, I'd like to see Sorcerer given something to, one, give it a more distinct flavor that a spontaneous Wizard and, two, bump up its power closer to that of the Favored Soul.
Daaaaaaaaaaaaaang...that's good. You're right, it is like an incarnation of a deity in game. Wings? Spontaneous casting? Massive DR? Energy resistance? Wow, it pwns all.
d) they are in a too obscure sourcebook, so people never think of playing one

The one problem with this point is that, since the OP originally started this thread, the Favored Soul was reprinted, unchanged, in Complete Divine. That's far less "obscure" a sourcebook than the Miniatures Handbook.
"Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind."

~ David G Allen

 

D&D 5e Session Recaps:

Welcome to Icewind Dale (Legacy of the Crystal Shard)

DMing for My Wife (and Our Friends) (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

 

You know, arguing that the FB is weaker then the cleric because he has no access to some other broken abilities from a splatbook is not the best course of action. When you do not allow Divine Metamagic (which simply are cheese) the cleric has nothing which makes him more powerful than the FB.

But you are invoking Oberoni by saying: "If you ignore material A, B, and C, the cleric is not broken". And I seriously hope that "FB" is a typo and does not refer to frenzied berserker. :P

The cleric is stronger than the favored soul. Alone the fact that the cleric could prepare any clerical spell of appropriate level from any supplement ever published, while the favored soul is stuck with having to cherry-pick, thus being forced to specialize and neglect one aspect of the spell list (healing, damaging, buffing, ...) over another.

Again, if you make a cleric with just the PHb and later introduce the SpC, his power gets a huge boost. If you make a favored soul with the PHb and CDiv, and later introduce the SpC, the power gain is not nearly as huge as for the cleric, because many spells are un-switchable already for the character.
The Favored Soul is a fairly weak class. It is true that in the very small context that is a game that uses only the PHB, I would back the Favored Soul over the Cleric. However, you must consider the class in the context of the D&D system, including the generally accepted accessories. In that context, the Cleric remains far superior, and almost every signature ability that gives a Cleric strength in that environment is almost useless to a Favored Soul. Accessories *must* be considered in the context of the Favored Soul, because the Favored Soul comes from one of those very accessories.

Favored Souls lose three very important key features: undead turning, domains, and Knowledge skills.

They gain one key feature, Weapon Specialization. However, they have a late and limited form of the ability, which does not advance into the Greater version. Qualifying for Weapon Mastery is quite a coup, but it is a trick limited to one form of combat, rather than the spectrum of options provided by spells, metamagic, and other abilities that are unique to casters.

Because of the key features lost by the Favored Soul, almost every advanced accessory option that builds upon divine spellcasting is denied to them. The prestige classes that they can qualify for are few and limited, which consequently limits their ability to multiclass to circumvent those limitations. Turning is mathematically provable as a diminishing value, but as a consequence, the Divine feats are particularly potent.

Because of these limitations, a Favored Soul has very little untapped potential. What you see is largely what you get. They have some pleasant abilities, but what they trade away for a fixed set of bonuses is an overwhelming loss of potential. I highly recommend using the Favored Soul class if you want to see your characters stay within safe and predictable lines.
However I agree 100% that the Sorcerer and Favored Soul can not be both considered balanced classes. If either is balanced with the core classes, then the other is a ways off.

Frankly, I'd like to see Sorcerer given something to, one, give it a more distinct flavor that a spontaneous Wizard and, two, bump up its power closer to that of the Favored Soul.

How can you guys say that the sorcerer needs help? With the content that has been added by the Races of the Dragon book and Dragon Magic book, Sorcerers have a strong showing for the premier arcane caster.

Spells like Arcane spellsurge and PrCs like the Dragonheart mage coupled with the dragonblood subtype (which is dirt easy to get now) have boosted Sorcerers to the level of combat monsters. This idea of sorcerers being the red headed step children of arcane casters is just ridiculous. It is “so 3rd edition” of you.

Starting at level 14, a base sorcerer (using no PrC) can easily throw 3 spells a round (without using time stop), using only spells available (this can be done with any metamagic feat; no quicken is needed) to him in Phb, Phb II, Races of the Dragon, and Dragon Magic. Wake up, smell the freshly printed books off the press and take a new look at sorcerers. You may find a new powerhouse in your midst.

As for the "overpoweredness" of FS...that is all but laughable. Domains and the access to divine metamagic is worth more than any Wp focus/wp spec, wings, and DR ever could be. Their MAD double casting stat requirements for FSs already put them on the iffy list. A Sorcerer would clean house with any Favored Soul. Period.
You know, arguing that the FB is weaker then the cleric because he has no access to some other broken abilities from a splatbook is not the best course of action. When you do not allow Divine Metamagic (which simply are cheese) the cleric has nothing which makes him more powerful than the FB.

Except that the FS is from a splatbook, the same one that gives Divine Metamagic.
How can you guys say that the sorcerer needs help? With the content that has been added by the Races of the Dragon book and Dragon Magic book, Sorcerers have a strong showing for the premier arcane caster.

Spells like Arcane spellsurge and PrCs like the Dragonheart mage coupled with the dragonblood subtype (which is dirt easy to get now) have boosted Sorcerers to the level of combat monsters. This idea of sorcerers being the red headed step children of arcane casters is just ridiculous. It is “so 3rd edition” of you.

Starting at level 14, a base sorcerer (using no PrC) can easily throw 3 spells a round (without using time stop), using only spells available (this can be done with any metamagic feat; no quicken is needed) to him in Phb, Phb II, Races of the Dragon, and Dragon Magic. Wake up, smell the freshly printed books off the press and take a new look at sorcerers. You may find a new powerhouse in your midst.

A handful of books containing feats, spells, and prestige classes might be fine and dandy for giving Sorcerers the boost they needed, only three years after the Phb 3.5 was released, but it didn't do much for the flavor of the character. There may be class descriptions and fluff to define the Sorcerer as more than a spontaneous casting Wizard, but this isn't reflected very well in the mechanics.

To bring the Sorcerer into their own domain, you need to take feats (spending those you'd normally get for character definition) and PrCs. The Favored Soul can hardly be defined as a spontaneous casting Cleric, and they don't need any feats or PrCs to achieve this.
Declaring the favored soul as broken is laughable at best. Okay, they have spell spontaneity-- big whoop. The cleric is MASSIVELY dependent on having access to all the spells in their list due to the fact that so many maladies require a singular spell that is never overlapped (or overlapped very late), that they need to be able to switch it up on the fly in the morning. Not to mention, as said above, double stat casting makes them much weaker than the cleric (more balanced, and I like how it works).

As is, they are able to either A. buff/fight well, B. Heal well, or C. spell damage well with their spells. That’s a huge sacrifice.

to me, favored souls are more of an attempt to get someone to play a cleric style character to do the healing; the PHB II variant actually does this well. This character is fun to play, good for a party, and not nearly as overpowered as a DMing cleric.
A handful of books containing feats, spells, and prestige classes might be fine and dandy for giving Sorcerers the boost they needed, only three years after the Phb 3.5 was released, but it didn't do much for the flavor of the character. There may be class descriptions and fluff to define the Sorcerer as more than a spontaneous casting Wizard, but this isn't reflected very well in the mechanics.

To bring the Sorcerer into their own domain, you need to take feats (spending those you'd normally get for character definition) and PrCs. The Favored Soul can hardly be defined as a spontaneous casting Cleric, and they don't need any feats or PrCs to achieve this.

What feats? To do what I mentioned, you only have to take one metamagic feat and that can be ANY metamagic feat. Casting three spells per round is the results of Arcane fusion and Arcane spell surge which are spells. I just don't see how you can comment that sorcerers don't have flavor. They are arcane users who are born able to wield magic inherently rather than studying it. This is reflected in the spontaneous casting. Now, these are flavor issues, not mechanics issues. If you have a problem with mechanics, that is another issue.

Other than upgrading a Sorcerer from a d4 to a d6 and maybe tweaking their skill selection, I don't see what more could be done. The only mechanical things I could see done are:

1) granting them some of the "Sudden " feats as bonus feats as they level and,

2) granting them some of the heritage feats (Fey, fiendish, celestial, draconic) to reflect the source of their magic.

Both of these abilities could be reflected by simply giving sorcerers bonus feats at either 1/4/8/12/16/20 or 1/5/10/15/20 and allowing them so select either a "sudden " or heritage feat.

Mechanically, I think sorcerers reflect their flavor and I think these mechanics are competitive with the other arcane casters.
I can attest to the fact that the FS is not overpowered. I'm playing in a game where we need 2 FBs just to cover us because we have no Cleric. One for buffs and one for healing. It's kinda funny
Declaring the favored soul as broken is laughable at best.

So then you admit that the Sorcerer is underpowered? As that is the point. WotC claims that both of them are balanced, and since the Sorcerer is core, it has to be considered the standard. The FS and the Sorc are obviously not balanced against each other. Either the Sorcerer is balanced and the FS is broken (overpowered), or the FS is balanced and the Sorcerer is broken (underpowered). Take your pick, but it can't be both.
Speaking from what I have seen the Favoured Soul is not overpowered, and is arguably underpowered.

The fact that they can't repick spells after resting is a really, really big deal. Lack of Remove Disease, Remove Curse, Restoration and the like is a serious detriment. If an FS chooses to take those kinds of spells then he becomes noticeably weaker and pigeonholed. This weakness is huge in my campaign because the characters don't usually have easy access to those types of spells.

The loss of Turn Undead is huge. MAD is pretty big in the 28 point buy games I play in. Losing Ye Old Magic Shoppe results in MAD being a more serious issue as players can't spot correct deficiencies.

The advantage of more spells per day is minimized in my own campaign, because the number of encounters per day fluctuates radically depending on the story. However, it tends to be less than 4.
When I saw a thread called "The Favored Soul - Pure Swiss" I thought it had to be a great joke thread. Finding out someone that has been on the forums for longer then me believes the favored soul is overpowered is funnier then I would have imagined.

All armor you say? Well maybe in the MH, wouldn't know since don't own it. But in CD the CURRENT version it gets light and medium armor, but no heavy armor.

Skills: No knowledge Religion or Planes, preventing the class from being able to consider most divine PrCs before level 13, meaning they won't see the 10th level abilities of those PrCs till EPIC.

NO TURN UNDEAD. This means no divine metamagic feats, which has generated a lot of the "cleric are overpowered" feelings. Also this keeps the favored soul out from even more PrCs since most of the good ones will require turn undead.

NO DOMAINS. The favored soul's spells known list makes up for the domain spells since a equal level cleric compared to a Favored soul would have about the same number of spells per day and potentially the same number of spells known (looking at the highest level spells when gained). Some of the favored soul’s abilities are similar to domain powers, but the favored soul doesn't get the powers of two domains at level one.

Get the ability to fly at level 17. Most people won't see the flying ability and to claim it’s overpowered at 17 is a joke. Wizards get the fly spell at level 5. At level 17 flying is old school. Heck there is a race that gets the ability to fly at 6 HD with limited duration and at will at 10 HD. Plus there are few feat chains that grant dragonblooded, and some planetouched, the ability to fly after two feats. Even cleric can walk on air by level 7.

Energy resistance, 10 to three different energies by level 15. 10-energy resistance. So the Favored soul gets a class ability that mimics a level 2 spell. It’s not going to make or break the game. Might annoy a flaming sword wielding BBEG but that’s it. Cuts a little damage from AoEs, but doesn't make them immune.

Damage reduction at level 20. How many favored souls will see this? Double the barbarians DR you say? Well the DR can be by-passed after all. By the time the favored soul gets it the monsters SHOULD have special material weapons now and then. The barbarian's DR can't be bypassed and by level 20 could have prevented thousands of points of damage.

Saves: One of the few things that sets it apart from other classes and makes up for the fact the class is weak, helping to make it pretty balanced compared to other classes. Since clerics have no reason to go strait cleric, they'll most likely have higher Fort and Will saves for going into a PrC that grants that +2 bonus at level one instead of +1/2 to saves.

Spells. The favored soul requires Charisma and Wisdom for spell casting. One is for DCs and the other is for spells per day and required ability score. What was WotC smoking when they decided this? There is no reason for requiring a class to need two mental stats for spells, it is flat out unneeded. Combined with the fact that spontaneous magic system has been generally agreed to be weaker then the preparing magic system the use of two ability scores is just an insult and proof that WotC has no clue how to balance the classes.

Also complaining that the favored soul get too many spells known as a spontaneous caster requires assuming that spontaneous magic system is balanced to begin with, which I've yet to see anyone prove. If you have a problem with the sorcerer's spells known I advise making a thread about the sorcerer. You may even get more support on your behalf. The extra spells known make up for the lack of domains and the spells known they would have given the favored soul.

Bonus feats: At level 3 and level 12. Really overpowered? Actually this is a decent class feature that makes up for the lost domains powers.

Conclusion: Next time do more research on the favored soul. The only people I've seen that have claimed its overpowered have been people that just look a class over without actually testing it. High level abilities that mimic low level spells are not over powered, or else the monk would be a god, but the ultimate achievement of its abilities have been fooling people into thinking the class is better then it really is.

The abilities are made up for the fact a favored soul won't be multicasting into most divine PrCs. You failed to take that into account. If a Sorcerer goes into a PrC it has only the loss of familiar benefits as an opportunity cost. A favored soul has few choices of PrCs and loses future benefits of the favored soul class if it goes into a PrC. It gains the PrCs benefits at the cost of its own.

The cleric gets all its class abilities at level 1 compared to the favored soul getting them over the course of 20 levels. Heck the favored soul doesn't get any class abilities till level 3. That means starting at level one and progressing through all 20 levels a favored soul would have used their abilities fewer times in addition to having to wait. Delaying an ability makes it less valuable in the whole picture. So that the favored soul gets more class abilities to make up for the fact you have to wait for them.

Don't throw another class under the wagon when your real beef is about the apparent weaknesses of other classes. When you have a problem with your favorite class being weak talk about THAT class don't go on a witch hunt claiming those classes are overpowered because your favorite class got robbed.

The only thing you'll achieve is fooling naive and inexperienced DMs into thinking the class is overpowered compared to other classes when it is in fact not. Everything you have complained about others have complained about and almost every case the person complaining about it has no real experience with the favored soul other then looking at the book. And if looking at something on paper was enough to determine if something was balanced or not then the game would be a lot better then it currently is.

You have every right to not allow a class in your game. I only allow 16 classes myself. I don't allow the other classes because their overpowered, but because their unneeded. I allow in enough to make sure each role has at least 3 classes that can fill that role, and to fill in missing flavor gaps (such as an Anti-paladin base class). As a DM I can control the power of a class. I can take away what is overpowered, add what is needed, and forbid that which is broken. You should try it sometime instead of over reacting to something you know little about.

The favored soul as written is one of the more balanced spellcasting classes in the game. Other Spellcasters lose little or nothing going into PrCs except for maybe a cut in spellcasting level depending on the prc, but even then there are enough full spellcasting PrCs out there that most can avoid it. The favored soul can’t abuse divine feats nor does it get all its class abilities at level one and go “So how soon can I take a PrC?” If you refuse to accept the fact the favored soul is not as overpowered as you believe that is also okay since there are plenty of people out there that refuse to accept their predetermined opinions are wrong too.

I once thought the favored soul was overpowered for every reason you mentioned above, but I decided to play it once and realized I was wrong in almost every single case.
Yeah, I'm still here, and yes, I still consider the Favored Soul to be broken and no, I still do not allow it in my games.

Edy,
I am a bit surprised to see you still taking this stance, after almost 4 years, and tons of playing by the player base, I really never see anyone complaining about the power of the Favored soul, it appears, that is was just a lot of hoopla when it 1st came out, but it never manifested into the complete game breaking monster some people thought it would be.

It just seems clear to me now, and especially after playing one at a few cons, and wishing I was playing a cleric instead, that the favored soul just isn't that great.

You try to compare it to the sorcerer, and I feel that is a poor comparison, since they use vastly different spell lists.

BTW, I am a person that also feels that the sorcerer is underpowered, and have houseruled some flavorful abilities into it, but only when compared to a wizard, I don't compare sorcerer to FS or to wilder for that matter.
Note that the First post here was written a LONG time ago, where perhaps a pure mathematical analysis of the FS would show it to be pretty darn good. They also thought that the Mystic Theurge was Superman incarnate too. In both cases, actual playing proved them wrong.

Well, sure the FS might edge out the Sorc. But the Sorc is just about the weakest pure spellcasting class. Note that weakest pure spellcasting . It still (at the higher levels mind you) beats out nigh every warrior class.

But the FS is weaker than the cleric, and that has been shown in IRL game after game after game. The lack of Domains and the lack of Turning dooms it. Wings? Do not make me laugh- if you can not get flight by that level, you are playing in a very very low magic game indeed.

Now sure- in a 20th level, one on on arena battle, where the cleric player gets full knowledge of what the opponent is going to be so he can match the right spells, the right domains, and the right self-buff to the opponent- and where the cleric does not have to worry about healing the rest of his party, nor about any battles after, so he can use ALL of his Turns in Divine Metamagic to self-buff, and he gets unlimited time to do so- then darn right, the cleric is one of the most powerful classes in the game. That's nice. So- how many IRL D&D games have we playing in that are "a 20th level, one on one arena battle, where the cleric player gets full knowledge of what the opponent is going to be so he can match the right spells, the right domains, and the right self-buff to the opponent- and where the cleric does not have to worry about healing the rest of his party, nor about any battles after, so he can use ALL of his Turns in Divine Metamagic to self-buff, and he gets unlimited time to do so"?

Not in any game I have seen. In fact, thread after thread in "What's a DM to Do" bemoans that many DMs have a hard time getting anyONE to play a "CoDzilla". And, that is because in IRL table-top gaming, the Divine caster is stuck mainly in "heal-bot" role, which is not fun at all.

So, many DMs have a problem getting players to do a cleric- and thus getting anyone to play a weaker divine caster is going to be darn hard. The FS is very rare, thus.

I suspect by now the OP knows- along with any other experienced player- the poor FS does not need a nerfing, and we can let this thread die.

OK?
I’m going to have to assert that the favoured soul is significantly less powerful then the cleric (and druid) mostly for one reason--spell selection.

The advantage of spontaneous casting is that you can throw way more spells at a problem and don’t have to choose ahead of time, while this is great for a sorcerer as 15 fireballs per day can solve many problems. There are so very very many divine spells that just are not needed to be cast every day, let alone every combat.

Its no skin off the back of a cleric to prepare something like death ward or revivfy or dimensional anchor or word of recall all very useful but rarely will you need 6 of these per day. If it comes down to it the cleric can swap out the non-useful spells for healing.

A favoured soul on the other hand wants to select spells that it will want to cast every single combat or at least every day. A sorcerer needs to do the same, but arcane spells are much more focused on hurting the enemy then divine spells are, meaning spell selection is not an issue.

Also stemming from this is the limits placed on item crafting. By default a cleric has access to every spell on his list, meaning a scroll or wand of any spell is accessible to players with the right feats. This is handy for the same reasons as above. There a many divine spells that are handy in certain circumstances, a favoured soul needs to purchase lots too.
I played a cleric from 7 - 24 in a party with a favored soul who also went to 24. At nearly every level he was cool and had fun playing, but I could wipe the floor with him in the following:

Save DCs (Thanks to no MAD)
Spells Per Day (Thanks to no MAD)
Tanking
PVP (melee or spell battle)
Healing
Summoning/battlefield control
Protection
Utility spells

And he was better at:

Flying all day.
Reflex saves.

And when I was able to take epic feats or PrCs requiring knowledge (Religion) he was unable to do so.

I'd have to say, having thoroughly playtested a party consisting of a druid (without wildshape!), barbarian, cleric, and favored soul for almost 2 years, that the cleric and druid are "better" than favored soul in almost every way.

And there were several occasions when a sorcerer would have been more useful.
Sadly, tofu never screams.
The power is level of the Sorcerer is irrelevant. It's a simple class for new players that want to learn how to play a caster without learning all the Byzantine rules for Vancian casting. Taken in this context, comparing it to a supplemental class is foolish because, once a player starts reading splatbooks, they've progressed beyond the novice stage to which the Sorcerer appeals.
As I always say: It's almost impossible to argue which class is strongest when comparing them to each other. The Game isn't built around pvp... It's built around adventuring together in a party. Thus, while some classes are overpowered in PvP, they add little to the party when adventuring.

While I do feel that the Favored soul is more of how the sorcerer should've been designed, I still thinks its a bit "over the top."

Just another small nitpick, as far as I can tell, no one here is arguing "PvP", they're comparing them against each other not in terms of pvp battles but in terms of how they compare in PvE - how they fill their role and do in general adventuring. Which IS a very valid discussion to be having.
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