The Favored Soul -- Pure Swiss

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I am sorry, but when I originally clicked on this thread, I thought it was going to be a call to make the FS STRONGER, as it frequently the case on other boards in regards to the FS. I then thought it was sarcasm. Then I slowly started to realize that some people actually thought the FS was overpowered. With domain spontaneity as a variation in the PHB II, the FS has no apparent purpose other than a weaker version of the cleric.

FS advantages over the cleric:
1 spell more per day
Better will save
wf at level 3 (if not having war as domain)
ws at level 12
Energy resistance
Dr at high levels
Wings at level 17

Cleric advantages over the FS:
Heavy armor
Can take prestige classes easily
2 domains, meaning domain powers and better spells
Turn undead, both for undead and DMM
Entire cleric spell list
can vary spells for each situation

Lack of DMM, turn undead, and a significantly poorer spell list than a cleric, and almost a complete inability to take prestige classes and divine feats makes the FS pretty much gimped compared to the cleric, especially at high level. Plus the cleric already can spontaneously cast cures, inflicts, or domain spells as class features. In short, the FS is quite gimped.
Yes, the FS doesn't get it until a much later level than the Fighter does, but they get it for free as a class ability, where the Fighter still has to buy it with his feats.

Actually Fighter's do get Weapon Focus or Specialization for free. They just have to choose it instead of say Power Attack, Two Weapon Fighting, or Point Blank Shot. Basically Fighter's have eleven extra feat choices, the Favored Soul has two extra assigned feats.

Monks have perfect saves, too, by the way.
Wise words on how to conceal a polymorphed dragon from detection. . .
57064968 wrote:
Through a tarp over it, with the words "DM Exposition & Fluff File."Because players ignore fluff & exposition all the time.
Yep, the FS class is way more powerful than the Sorcerer class. In a parallel universe.

Lemme 'splain.

If you're playing a Sorcerer to 20 (hell, to 6), then obviously your DM doesn't allow splat books, or you'd be doing something with those levels (via a PrC) instead of just accepting spell and familiar progression like a good little gimpling.

In that circumstance of a Core-Only Campaign, Favoured Soul doesn't even exist, rendering the point moot.

But! Now let's hop over to Bizarro Universe where your DM is a craaaaaayzay lunatic, and trusts Wizards to provide additional content with a roughly constant level of power (:looloo. The Favoured Soul is allowed! Hide the children! But hark! When the Favoured Soul goes to find an equal-leveled Sorcerer so as to steal his lunch money, he comes up empty. Of course! In *this* universe, Sorcerer is just a prereq-filler, a maximum of five starting levels suffered through on the way to PrCs with abilities roughly commensurate with those of the Favoured Soul. In this universe, the Favoured Soul is balanced, and the Sorcerer doesn't exist.

But if, by some cruel violation of the laws of causality, reality, and DM judgment, a Favoured Soul were to cross over into the Core-Only universe? Yeah. He'd kick the Sorcerer's ass.

To sum up: Sure, the Favoured Soul outmatches the Sorcerer. It's a complete class. The five levels of Sorcerer people take are just a penance they pay to get spontaneous casting with their PrCs. When Sorcerer players are allowed to compete by using splatbooks (the realm the Favoured Soul *comes* from), things even out pretty quick.

That's how it looks to me, anyway.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
From the main post:

it is a thinly veiled attempt to put an actual god in the campaign under player control.

the Favored Soul is literally an incarnation of god in the party,

This isn't a cleric but a godling.

Either the Favored Soul needs to be nerfed like nothing in the history of the game has ever been nerfed before,

I mean, this thing even makes the Mystic Theurge look like a pussycat!

I was interested in the main post until I got to this stuff. Imho, this is a lot of silly hyperbole. The Favored Soul is a strong class but nothing near what is suggested here. In game experience tells me the class is useful and strong but does not dominate and does not come anywhere close to these characterizations.
First thing you need to know, is that the Favored Soul is essentially the cleric version of a Sorcerer. Some things it shares practically cut and paste from the Sorcerer, such as BAB and spells per day. But that is where the similarities end, and the Favored Soul just starts to beat the Sorcerer like the proverbial red-headed step child.

I love the sorcerer, it’s one of my favorite classes, but I have to admit that its on the lowest part of the power spectrum for spell casting classes. The Favored Soul is about where the sorcerer Should be, in my opinion.

Saves:
This should be one of your first warnings that something is wrong with the Favored Soul. Look at all the classic core class's Saves. You get one high, sometimes two. The Favored Soul has all three saves high. Yes, by 20th level, the FS's saves are +12/+12/+12. Not even any of the other classes in the MH can touch this.

Except of course for Monks... the other class that resembles outsiders. Seriously, you claim in this article that a FS is supposed to be a walking god- I think its supposed to be a person who becomes an outsider due to their close ties with a god. Three good saves isn’t unheard of, and without evasion, that reflex save is only so good in the end.

Proficiencies, Hit Dice, and BAB:
FS gets all the armor and weapon proficiencies of the Cleric, but why? It specifically says that they are outside the normal orders of the churches, so why is it getting the armor and weapon profs taught by these orders? And don't forget the fact that they cast divine spells, so they don't have to worry about spell failure. This isn't too bad though, actually. The cleric has this, and they were trying to make a spontaneous cleric. Same reasoning can go for the fact they get the Cleric's d8 hitdice and BAB. Again, nothing seemingly bad here, but when combined with everything else, its just too much.

D8 HD might even be a bit much. But the weapon and armor proficiencies of the cleric aren’t to bad at all, as you yourself admit. As for the 3/4 BAB, it’s a little powerful for a full spontaneous caster, but how to nerf that without destroying its combat ability? And yes, FS of a wargod should be able to be used as good second line combatants.

Spells:
We've got another big old slice of cheese here.
While the Favored Soul has the same number of spells per day as the Sorcerer, they actually know 17 spells MORE than the sorcerer does, and most of those are high level spells. We're talking 6 spells known of every level but 8th and 9th here people, compared to the Sorcerer knowing 3. Not only is the Favored Soul getting 30% more spells known than the Sorcerer, he's also getting access to Miracle to replicate all the other spells he doesn't know, and can cast it without the penalties a Sorcerer would suffer for Wish and Limited Wish. The Sorcerer must give up the majority of potential spells and really specialize, usually as a walking artillery platform. The Favored Soul doesn't, as their 60 spells know (as opposed to 43 spells known for the Sorcerer) means they pretty much get any spell they want. Did I mention they also get more spells per day than the Sorcerer at lower levels (although the Sorcerer does catch up by the end).

Now supposedly this is supposed to be balanced out by the fact that their casting is tied to two different ability scores, Charisma and Wisdom, but that’s a straw man at best. Spell casting comes from Charisma, while save DCs come from Wisdom. Excuse me while I cry them a river, but by the time they reach a high enough level to actually cast high lvl spells, you can quite easily boost any ability up to a 19 to get access to all of your spells, then never touch that stat again. Any character that can't get Prime ability up to a 19 by lvl 20 probably doesn't deserve to be adventuring anyway.

I do agree that having two casting stats is not a comparable problem compared to number of spells known. I’ve found that the introduction of "Knowstones" Into my campaign has fixed this to some extent, but there should be some official look at it. Either cut back on the FS spells, or give us more sorcerer spells.

Class Abilities:
This is where my biggest gripe is.
I could have swallowed everything above, and seen this as a perfectly well balanced class, that was totally playable. It would be just about identical to the sorcerer with a cleric twist. But they didn't stop there, they piled on the class abilities left and right.

Thank goodness they gave this class some abilities. It really focuses the class and gives it some flavor! I’ve found that a lot of classes, when they lack this... just end up being a little to generic. So what if you have a few select options, at least now those options can distinguish you. Far to many people will play a cleric of any three or four gods as if they were just a Jehovan cleric of blandness and regularity.

Weapon Focus and Specialization: The Favored Soul gets free Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization in their Deity's favored weapon. I can almost see this, as they're closer to being a true avatar of their deity than a normal cleric, but weapon specialization? That has been one of the only real advantages a Fighter had over anybody else, and he still didn't get it for free. After how Andy said that the Sorcerer didn't get Diplomacy as a class skill (which the flavor text clearly says it should) because too many other classes already had it, and they wanted to keep the classes distinct, why the heck are they stealing the Fighter's thunder here? Yes, the FS doesn't get it until a much later level than the Fighter does, but they get it for free as a class ability, where the Fighter still has to buy it with his feats.

You’re going to complain about weapon spec? I’m sorry Edymnion, but I really just cant see as a problem in this case. +2 damage with a single weapon just isn’t enough to gripe about. Its nice, its useful, but its not outstanding. Same problem that feat has for the fighter I must add.

As for what Andy says about the sorcerer, *shrugs* I think her perfectly and absolutely wrong, in many ways. A sorcerer should get a few more skills than he has, and 4+ for his skill points to boot. Its not like his INT is high like a wizards

Energy Resistance: Wait a minute, nobody else in the game that I've heard of gets anything remotely like this, especially not as a base class ability! The Favored Soul gets an energy resistance of 10 to any element of their choosing, and by 20th level, they get to pick THREE different elements to apply this to! What the heck is up with this??? There are no drawbacks, no limits, they just get energy resist 10 to half the elements in the game, no questions asked.

Yep, true enough, its kinda odd for a character class. Of course, it isn’t odd at all if you look at this class as a pseudo outsider class. I’d also point out that ER doesn’t stack from different sources, so that is all they get 10 or whatever they pay for like anyone else. It’s nice, it’s useful, but its not cheese. Even combined with the above, it’s not cheesy yet.

Wings: The Favored Soul grows a big pair of freaking mundane wings out of his back, and gets to fly around as a Ex ability at a speed of 60' per round. What? Now I know NOBODY else gets this ability. Closest thing I know of is the Elemental Savant (Air) getting flight of 100' as the capstone ability for the PrC, and the FS is getting it in a base class, and it isn't even the biggest thing they get. Wait a minute, just let me say this again. They grow wings and get to fly around at double their ground speed, with good maneuverability, as a normal class ability, that isn't even their 20th level ability?

At 17nth level. Do you know how easy it is to fly at 17nth level? My god, fly spells last forever at that point, and its only a third level spell. You can get items for it at prices so relatively low at that level you’ll think your buying a sandwich. Useful? Of course, any tool is useful, but overpowered? No, it comes to late in the game to really truly be an issue.

Damage Reduction: Now we're just adding insult to injury. The 3.5 Barbarian gets DR of 5/- at lvl 19. The Favored Soul gets DR of 10/(silver/cold iron depending on alignment). On top of everything else, they get twice the bloody damage reduction of a raging barbarian. Again, I have to ask, WHY???

Actually, there’s a big difference there. DR/- isn’t overcome by anything. I’d say it’s more akin to the Goliath substitution levels that trades 1 point of DR/- for DR2/Adamantine. Is it a bit powerful? Yeah, I’d probably cut it down to 5, but I think it works well for the class. And as a capstone ability, it works pretty well.

Overall:
Compared to the cleric, the Favored Soul loses domains and the ability to turn undead. They gain flight, damage reduction, and more energy resistances than you can shake a stick at. They are better at spontaneous casting than the Sorcerer, better in combat than the cleric, and have better saves than everybody in the game short of a high charisma paladin.

Better in combat than the cleric? I’ve seen so much DMM Cheese floating around about how uber the cleric is in combat, that I’m afraid I can’t see this as an easy or likely option. I’d definitely want to see some numbers before accepting that claim.

Better spontaneous caster than the sorcerer? Yes, of course, and that only highlights the sorcerer need to be improved in that area.

And once again, don’t forget the monk.

As I've been writing this, I've come to a realization.
The Favored Soul is not supposed to be a spontaneous cleric, it is a thinly veiled attempt to put an actual god in the campaign under player control. I mean, look at what its got. The FS has a favored weapon, resistances to both magical and physical attacks, the ability to fly at will, is great at making any save, has the third highest hitdice in the game, second highest BAB in the game, and can all around mop the floor single handedly with anything he runs up against.

As can a high level cleric, druid, sorcerer, wizard, or heck, even about half my fighter builds can take any monster style challenge. And Stop throwing around third highest this and second highest that- there’s a lot of classes "tied" in that position.

The Sorcerer remains the mistreated underdog of the game, while the Favored Soul is literally an incarnation of god in the party, and these two are balanced with each other how? This class is not only pure munchkin cheese, but gets so many abilities that make absolutely no sense until you realize this isn't a cleric but a godling.

Then lets improve the sorcerer instead of flogging the FS for its problems. Why punish the one that got it right instead of point to it and saying "see what you COULD do?"

I want an errata.
Either the Favored Soul needs to be nerfed like nothing in the history of the game has ever been nerfed before, or the Sorcerer needs to be boosted up to the same level. I mean, I've got no problems saying that the Sorcerer's save DCs should be tied to Intelligence. Least then they'd get the skillpoints they deserve.

I mean, this thing even makes the Mystic Theurge look like a pussycat!

No, sorcerer need to improved. Give them FS spells known, Eschew materials as a bonus feat, and a heritage feat or metamagic feat every five levels. That should balance everything up pretty well, but if you really think that isn’t even enough, give em 4+ skills a level and call it good man.

The favored soul isn’t the problem here, the sorcerer is.
1.) One WotC has on a few occasions has mentioned that Arcane Spellcasting is superior to Divine spellcasting which is why you don't see the large number of clerical spells surpassing their arcane counter parts. So its not surprising that the Favored Soul has more spells known than the Sorcerer considering a good deal of spells on the clerical list are defensive and meant for healing. By doing this WotC only made it balanced in the since that the Favored Soul have still be a competent healer while still selecting a few diversity spells. As oppose to the Sorcerer who can do his primary job of being a tactical nuker or other school specific type caster.

2.)Favored Souls do not gain heavy armor proficiency, you are mistaken in believing that they get all the clerics abilities and then some. Many people have stayed they'd prefer to have domains and turning over energy resistance and weapon focus/specialization. Not only that but you mention that their bab and spells per day was a copy and paste of the sorcerer which it obviously isnt as they have medium BAB.

3.) Yes, apparently you have visited one or two threads that showed or discussed the similarities of the Favored Soul to Angels/Devils. However instead of taking that and then rationalizing that with game mechanics in which WotC tried to apply to the Favored Soul without giving the obvious benefits of such a class you rather sit and criticize and complain that it doesn’t meet your subpar understanding of what is and isn’t balanced in comparison between a divine and a arcane spellcaster. Let alone old and as oppose to new. If anything this is so narrow minded it boggles the mind why you wouldn’t call everything outside of the players handbook broken.

4.) Let's look at these abilities the FS gets. 3 Energy resistances all which cap at 10. DR which it obtains at 20th lv, wings which it gains at 17th lv and two weapon specific feats at 3rd and 12th lv? While the premise of having 3 forms of energy resistance might sound overly good when you compare it to the fact that by the time you gain all three of them the potential damage from either type of energy is well over 10. The Wings, at 17th there is no such thing as aerial advantages, enemies should more than likely be capable of a similar ability if not have a effective counter measure for it, and Considering that with the Right Domain a Cleric can cast fly sooner, i feel to see how having wings is advantageous outside of being in a antimagic field. (Like to many mages and clerics willingly walk into those.) The DR is honestly the only ability that’s really awesome however the downside of it is that you don't get it until 20th lv.

Let me point out that the supposedly rule you are claiming WotC had when they made the sorcerer was broken the minute they published 3.0 because in the very same Book you had the 2nd spontaneous caster the BARD who had huge skill points/skill list, component spellcasting up to 6th lv spells which included healing magic as well as various other magic spells from both divine and arcane sources and of course medium BAB 2 good saves, and a butt load of class features that all revolved around music aptitude. Yeah strong argument you bring up here.

The Favored Soul is probably one of the most underestimated 20 lv classes out there, that people either seem to hate because they perceive it as two powerful or because they perceive it as to weak because of its possibly dual stat spellcasting requirement. It isn’t a cleric, it can't cast flamestrike as easily or as effectively as a cleric can, therefore 9/10 Favored Souls don't even have many if any offensive spells. Limiting themselves to a spell-list which reads pretty much like most bards in that they have many utility spells but not many offensive ones.

Outside of new material published in Dragon Magic the options for the FS have been very limited as is and its power is entirely based on the optimizing skill of the player, unlike a Cleric who with many prestige class and feat options is mechanically the most powerful class in the game, yet you sit and compare it to the sorcerer when its in fact you should be comparing it to the cleric along the same lines as how wizard is compared to sorcerer.
I've already Rule 0'd this in my own games, but I can't for the life of me figure out why FS would get Knowledge Arcana and NOT Knowledge Religion as class skills. If I was some sort of divine messiah I think I'd be more interested in learning about that than arcane stuff.
This class sounds to me like it could be used as a racial class of sorts for aasimar characters whom are devoting them selves to getting in touch with their divine heritage, and in fact I'd really love to use it that way.

However, it does seem a little bit over powered from what I'm reading. But classes aren't really that well balanced in general anyhow, and that's a whole other can of worms that I'm sure has been opened many times.

Honestly though, game balance has never been the most important thing to me, that a class or race has abilities appropriate for its concept is more important to me (though Wizards does seem to try pretty hard to make sure things are balanced, and more often than not come short of doing so). I've played many games in which one character type is simply more powerful than another (at least when it comes to combat situations anyhow), and it's never really bothered me so long as the reasons for it are appropriate concept wise, and not just so players can totally munchkin out (though I suppose that style of game play has its place). So it doesn't bother me too much if one class is a bit more powerful than another.
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.

Some would say that it can be. Having a limited selection or arcane spells is not considered as restrictive as having a limited selection of divine spells. To wit:

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.

Or, from a more authoritative source:
Metagame Analysis: Spontaneous Casting

This option trades versatility—one of the divine spellcaster's strengths—for sheer spellcasting power (much like the difference between sorcerers and wizards). Since the cleric and druid spell lists depend on versatility of effect, particularly defensive or utilitarian spells the spontaneous-casting divine caster is allowed to know more spells per spell level than the sorcerer (by adding domain spells or summon nature's ally spells on the list of spells known). No longer is the divine caster the character who can come up with any effect under the sun; instead, he becomes a much more specialized member of the adventuring group.

Personally, I think both the sorcerer and favored soul are underpowered in respect to their preparing counterparts.
I think the favoured soul would be around the 5th most powerful class behind the Cleric, Druid, Psion and Wizard and the Sorcerer would probably be 6th. Access to level 6+ spells turns out to be a more powerful class ability than feats or class features.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

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.

I thought both classes were underpowered in the whole picture. WotC has proven time after time that they are unable to balance the classes in the game. First off what was considered balanced has changed over time. Second with 50+ base classes now, balancing them is going to be a near impossibility.

WotC rarely admits the core classes are unbalanced even when they realize as much. The problem shouldn't be comparing sorcerer to favored soul because you'll just get favored soul envy. The problem is the whole system of spontaneous magic is a joke. It could of replaced the whole magic system as it used to be if they did it right. But they did a hack-job on the whole thing since they didn't want it to replace the older versions. The result is two systems of magic that are not equal. Spontaneous magic could of be an end-all if they gave it the ability to switch spells out for new spells at a greater rate then every other level.
If you're playing a Sorcerer to 20 (hell, to 6), then obviously your DM doesn't allow splat books, or you'd be doing something with those levels (via a PrC) instead of just accepting spell and familiar progression like a good little gimpling.

Just to interject and make a very valid point. For many players out there (read: non-Munchkins), D&D absolutely isn't a game of just numbers and which combinations of PrCs are the best.

It's about stories and fun and roleplaying a fun character, no matter how "gimped" you think it is. I think it's a ridiculous assertion to say that only noobs play a Sorcerer because it's so simple that's all they can handle.

My wife is brand new to D&D and she plays with so called "weak" classes and regularly mops the floor with the monsters our DM produces. Why? Because she plays the game for fun and does her best. That's what matters, not your opinion on what people should do upon reaching a certain level of proficiency with the game.

Just to interject and make a very valid point. For many players out there (read: non-Munchkins), D&D absolutely isn't a game of just numbers and which combinations of PrCs are the best.

It's about stories and fun and roleplaying a fun character, no matter how "gimped" you think it is. I think it's a ridiculous assertion to say that only noobs play a Sorcerer because it's so simple that's all they can handle.

It's a discussion on class power and balance. Should I have addressed the fluff and roleplayability of the Favoured Soul? Of Sorcerers? Gimme a break, and get the chip off of your shoulder.

I never called anyone a noob. I never equated the playing of a weaker class with any level of player experience. I simply said, in a discussion of class balance and power, that nobody would play a Sorc to 20 if they had better options. Obviously, this is excluding purists who think multiclassing into PrCs somehow degrades their roleplaying experience.

It's called the Stormwind Fallacy. Look it up.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
I do also think that the loss of heavy armor is a really bad thing, there is no way of getting this back beside of losing a caster level or a feat.

Does anyone, and I do mean *anyone* wear anything heavier than a mithral shirt? I play Clerics almost exclusively, and I've *never* had (or seen from other players) one in medium or heavy armor, with the exception of 'sea elven scale' back in 2nd Ed. A couple points of AC I can easily replace with a spell, magic item or PrC ability means nothing if I can't get to the wounded / fray with my gimpy 20' movement rate.

I don't even go for the mithral breastplate option, since I see no reason to waste the cash on a measly +1 AC, when it can go into something much more useful.

I'd ditch the high Reflex save, the wings and the weapon specialization. Other than that, I think it's fine. It's basically a spontaneous Cleric that swaps Turn and Domains for Energy Resistance. It's got more 'free toys' than a Sorcerer, but it's not balanced against the Sorcerer, it's balanced against the Cleric, which has more 'free toys' than a Wizard.

The Sorcerer, OTOH, could use a little something. I like the idea of giving them the Wizard bonus feats every five levels, but allowing them to be Heritage feats.
The Dragonfire Adept (Dragon Magic) gets flight muuuuuuuch earlier than the Favored Soul, for whatever that's worth.
Does anyone, and I do mean *anyone* wear anything heavier than a mithral shirt? I play Clerics almost exclusively, and I've *never* had (or seen from other players) one in medium or heavy armor, with the exception of 'sea elven scale' back in 2nd Ed. A couple points of AC I can easily replace with a spell, magic item or PrC ability means nothing if I can't get to the wounded / fray with my gimpy 20' movement rate.

I don't even go for the mithral breastplate option, since I see no reason to waste the cash on a measly +1 AC, when it can go into something much more useful.

I'd ditch the high Reflex save, the wings and the weapon specialization. Other than that, I think it's fine. It's basically a spontaneous Cleric that swaps Turn and Domains for Energy Resistance. It's got more 'free toys' than a Sorcerer, but it's not balanced against the Sorcerer, it's balanced against the Cleric, which has more 'free toys' than a Wizard.

The Sorcerer, OTOH, could use a little something. I like the idea of giving them the Wizard bonus feats every five levels, but allowing them to be Heritage feats.

1.) It's 3 points of AC THAT YOU ARE NOT REPLACING WITH A SPELL. You see there is no spell that just makes up for a 3 point difference between Fullplate and Breastplate or let me be more pointed, Magic Vestment only adds a Enhancement bonus, and all the other AC buffing spells are usually of a specific type, but it doesn’t change your armor from breastplate to full plate.

2.) Yes, yes I know quiet a few people who wear fullplate again its a +8 to AC and for a cleric to be able to wear it means she gets twice the AC bonus a wizard does from his best AC Spell. This means the Clerics AC is very good for get go if they are wearing this armor. Now add in the fact they can use Shields as well, and have a good assortment of AC buffing spells, Magic Vestment, Shield of Faith, ect and yes you'll quickly notice that the +3 from fullplate over breastplate is very noticeable. Is fullplate the best thing in the world, no if you have more than a +12 dex but most clerics don't care to have a +14 dex and up because they know they have the option of wearing good armor and spells to beef up their AC.

Even if a Cleric didn’t want to wear fullplate there is a new option out there in dragon magic that is only for people whose classes naturally give them proficiency with heavy armor, its basically you grow scaly armor for free out of your skin and by 20th lv you have a +12 to AC and Resistance 20 to all elemental forms of attacks excluding sonic I believe. How many other 9th lv spell slinging spellcasters gain use this option? None other than the cleric. Not to mention you're obviously gimping the option of fullplate since, you know you can make it out of mithril just like that shirt you favor, which would allow you to move at your normal speed but not use the run option.

Right and you would ditch the features of the class because you much rather it be a gimped spontaneous casting cleric as oppose to a full fledge class of its own account, right that makes so much more sense, wait IS THAT the very same reason people hated the Sorcerer when it was originally created, a feat-less spontaneous casting clone of wizards. Listen, anyone who HAS DMed a favored soul or played one from 1st-20th lv really needs to stop trying to make suggestions for a class that is neither overpowered or underpowered.
Does anyone, and I do mean *anyone* wear anything heavier than a mithral shirt? I play Clerics almost exclusively, and I've *never* had (or seen from other players) one in medium or heavy armor, with the exception of 'sea elven scale' back in 2nd Ed.

To answer your slightly tangental question - yes. With one exception (who died early in his career) every cleric I have played or NPC'd wears full plate (in battle anyway - settled clerics have a chain shirt for normal duties and full plate for war). My fighters also take full plate ASAP.
Its not just me being weird either. I'm currently running a game containing a cleric and a paladin in full plate (now mithril, but they sprent several levels in normal full plate before they could afford mithril). My past games have involved full-plated clerics far more often than light-armoured clerics (although breastplates have proven popular, both normal and mithril), and any fighter not based on dexterity has also been full-plated as soon as resources allow.

A couple points of AC I can easily replace with a spell, magic item or PrC ability means nothing if I can't get to the wounded / fray with my gimpy 20' movement rate.

That would be four points (full plate +8, chain shirt +4) for 1400 gold. Far more cost effective than getting it from rings, enchantments, amulets and other things. Bear in mind my cleric can cast the same spells yours can cast and end up 4 points ahead at the end.

Low speed is generally not an issue in dungeon-type games. You start the encounter right behind your friends, and at most lose out on a single round spent catching up. Usually (rooms less than 40 foot deep, enemies who want to melee with you, or places where you can't melee anyway so everyone uses ranged) you don't even lose that. If there are dwarves, halflings or gnomes in your party, you aren't the only one with the speed issue anyhow (and they aren't getting a big AC out of being slow). If you are outside - try horses!

Alternatively, try using the money you save on expensive AC boosts to get boots of striding and springing. Oh look, 30 foot movement rate! (if you want x4 run too, try being a dwarf) Or get reach spell, or use flame strike/deific vengeance when you can't get into the fray. Spell compendium has some ranged healing in it, also (and all the mass cures are ranged).

I won't even get into mithril full plate (my favourite armor), because the thread is about the favoured soul and that one is a trick a favoured soul can use as easily as a cleric, so is irrelevant to the topic.

The point is that at low level 4 points more AC can save your life far more often than a slower speed fails to save someone else’s, and at high levels there are many ways to overcome the speed issue (the aforesaid boots costing a mere 5,500, cheaper than any magic item combo I can think of which will raises your chain shirt AC by 4 points (you could cast magic vestment, but so can full plate guy).

So anyway, your experience is certainly not typical if mine is anything to go by, and my rationale above suggests that isn't because me and all my players are fools. Full plate is an optimal choice for clerics, as indeed it is for any fighter with dex 12 or less. (I've even seen a rogue-fighter wearing full plate, but that was an exceptional set of circumstances).
Whenever a new and different class comes out, there's always people yelling that it's overpowered (ToB, Warlock, Favored Soul, Duskblade, Warmage). Usually these classes turn out to be less powerful then other already existing versions of the same archetype (with the exception of ToB, but I'd argue that that's still well within the balance arc of the game, and in any event is an argument for somewhere else).

Favored soul gets more spells known then a sorcerer, but has to devote several of his spells known to healing, and draws from an inferior spell list (Wizard list > Cleric list). He knows far, far fewer spells then a Cleric, who knows his entire list, and thus the balance of Wizard -> Sorcerer = Cleric -> Favored Soul is balanced in this regard. And remember that the Favored Soul also suffers the bane of the sorcerer's existence: delayed spell level progression.

The Favored Soul lacks the traits that make a cleric overpowered: Turn/Rebuke (for ridiculous divine feats a la Divine Metamagic), Domains (not for the mildly useful domain powers, but for access to several of the most powerful Wizard spells), & full spell list access (making every new splatbook with cleric spells that your DM allows an outright and automatic power boost).

Also, the cleric only needs two good abilities (Con & Wis), while the Favored Soul needs four (Dex, Con, Wis, and Cha). By burning a feat, the Favored Soul can drop that back to three, but then he's down a feat.

These together are major marks against the Favored Soul, by comparison to Clerics. In his favor, the Favored Soul gets all good saves (although, due to MADness, only reflex is likely to actually be much higher then a cleric), and some all-the-time energy resistance. This is a nice trade, and cushions the blow from losing all the cleric boosts. However, you’re still less powerful then a cleric. None of that is equal to Divine Feats, high level wizard spells, or access to your full spell list, however, nor does it make up for the multiple ability dependency.

What's that, you say? The Favored Soul also has weapon focus, weapon specialization, wings, and damage reduction? Those are all fluff abilities, and don't matter. Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization aren't good for the fighter, who can choose any weapon he wants, rather then being restricted to a deities favored weapon. With the new Melee Weapon Mastery feat they become somewhat better, as the Favored Soul can burn a feat after getting Specialization to net +2 to hit and +4 to damage with their favored weapon, with is almost a big enough boost to matter, although a cleric can have better boosts active all day with divine metamagic persist. And even so, Melee Weapon Mastery is only worth it's feat slot, not more then that. So what Favored Souls are really getting from these feats is the chance at an equivalent exchange. It's not a real powerup, and in the end is just a fluff ability to encourage favored weapon use.

Next up is Wings. You get these at, what, 17th level? Anyone who wants to fly is flying by 17th level. If you can't just cast it for a full day like a cleric or wizard or sorcerer, or have access to a flying mount, then you can easily afford boots or capes of flying or what have you. If you wanted to fly, you could have easily been flying all the time from like 10th level on, no matter what class you are. Abusable? I don't see how. An actual boost to power? Not at all. A fluffy addition for a character that is more or less turning into an angel, devil, or demon? Sure. It's a fluff ability, and I don't begrudge it.

Finally, damage reduction. Yes, it's more then that of a Barbarian, but it's also easily surpassable, while a barbarian's is not surpassable. And you get it at level 20, when the game is basically over. It's basically the last bit of your fluff transformation into an angel or demon, and doesn't have any significance in game (since it doesn't come until the game is over, and is easily bypassed at that level). So it's just a fluff ability.

So in the end, a favored soul is a Cleric who trades full spell list access, access to powerful wizard spells, and the ability to take Divine feats including Divine Metamagic for a better reflex save, some decent energy resistance, some fluff abilities, with delayed spell level progression and a heaping bowl of madness to destroy any semblance of balance remaining.

As a practical matter: Replacing Cleric with Favored Soul entirely is a good way to slightly de-power divine casting in your campaigns. Only slightly, a Favored Soul is still a full caster, and thus one of the most powerful classes in the game (right up there with sorcerer and Spirit Shaman), but a mild nerf is still a nerf.
OK, my last post was too short-handy. But seriously, though, consider the Dragonfire Adept:

Invocations that let you fly for 24 hours at speed equal to land with good maneuverability at level six. So can the humble Warlock, when I think about it.

Dragonfire Adepts can also get energy resistance at the same level, and you choose the energy type daily, which is much cooler. Pious Templar gets Deity Weapon Spec at 3rd, which could give it to an 8th level character, and they scoop up Damage Reduction, Smite, and Mettle along the way...
I don;t know if this has been brought up before but in the SRD there's a spontaneous Casting variant for the Cleric. Accompanying that variant rule is a 'Behind the Curtain Sidebar' and it reads:

BEHIND THE CURTAIN: SPONTANEOUS CASTING
This option trades versatility — one of the divine spellcaster's strengths — for sheer spellcasting power (much like the difference between sorcerers and wizards). Since the cleric and druid spell lists depend on versatility of effect, particularly defensive or utilitarian spells the spontaneous-casting divine caster is allowed to know more spells per spell level than the sorcerer (by adding domain spells or summon nature's ally spells on the list of spells known). No longer is the divine caster the character who can come up with any effect under the sun; instead, he becomes a much more specialized member of the adventuring group.

Emphasis mine

This shows us what the Designers were and are thinking - because the Cleric relies more on versatility, a spontaneous casting version would receive more spells known than a Sorcerer.

The Favored Soul is not pure Swiss as the OP puts it. The class is underpowered in the extreme and is often relegated, at least in my experience, to a Self Buffing Tank than an Ultra Powerful Can-Do-Anything Role like the Cleric typically takes.
It seems to me that there is a certain segment of players that suffer from "new class phobia"

Their reaction to any new class is -it is overpowered! As DMs they tend to ban all PrCs. The fact that even utter nerfs such as the Mystic Theurge and the Favored Soul can be considered overpowered illustrates the point harshly.

That being said, without the Druid and Cleric, the Favored Soul would do fine. Drop the wings though. At the level when the core-only Wizard gets Gate and Shapechange, wings is giving Linus the Favored Soul a rock.
I'm not exact sure what you mean Umbral. Why drop the wings?

Yes like I said before there is nothing broken about a class whose purpose is to be the back up healer.
I'm not exact sure what you mean Umbral. Why drop the wings?

Wings happen at level 17, when most other full-casters get 9th level spells. By that time, pretty much anyone who wants to fly should be able to. Giving them to the Favored Soul at the same time as the other casters get the BFGs is...pointing out his shortcomings in a not very sensitive way.

"You get Miracle, you get Shapechange, you get Gate...you there, you get something that would have been good at level 6, and everyone has got by now. Well, I'm just pointing out how badly you suck compared to your buddy the Cleric."

Mechanically, if PrCs are available at all, most divine PrCs seem to offer more to the Favored Soul than sticking with his own progression. If he does stay till level 17, he should get something better.
Okay that I understood, but it sounded like you were lobbying against them getting it at all.

I've always encouraged those who didn't like the fact that the wings or the DR didn't come into play until the end of the class to then space out the benefits of both abilities over the 20 levels until they equal what would have been obtained at the levels in which they originally would have gotten the abilities in full.

Like the DR being obtained 1 point every 2 levels starting at 2nd.

And the wings' flying speed being spread out over the course of 17 levels starting at around 5th lvl.
In an attempt to see things from the OP'S point of view, I'm going to build the most effective level 20 FS I can think of. I'm a reasonably regular poster to the CO boards, and back when I had more time, I was an EXTREMELY regular poster there. I have made some huge reference threads consulted by members of the CO boards. In short, I know at least a little of what I'm talking about. ;)

Challenge #1. Picking spells. A cleric has access to a huge number of spells, but really, a lot of them, while cool, aren't crucial to his role. You have seven major functions to consider. These would be:
  • Healing (hit point restoration)
  • Healing, part 2 (ability score restoration)
  • Healing, Part 3 (Negative condition removal; things like poison, disease, blindness, and the ever-dreaded negative levels)
  • Buffing (Usually STR, AC, attack bonuses, and saving throws. Yes, I know there's more, but that's the bulk of it)
  • Damage dealing, in this case mostly single-target elimination
  • Summoning
  • Traditional Combat (As in, smacking things with a melee weapon or shooting them with a ranged weapon)


Let's assume an undead-light campaign, or a player that simply uses his spontaneous casting of cure spells to damage undead creatures rather than grousing over the fact that he has no turning ability.

Furthermore, Instead of trying to go level-by-level, I'm just going to go with a fully-realized level 20 FS. I'm also going to use 32 point buy.

Poster bias note: I tend to both run and play games in a somewhat covert ops-y manner, so you might not agree with some of my spell choices. Rest assured, however, that I am not intentionally shooting myself in the foot at any point during this process. For the purposes of this exercise, I am going to assume that the deity that this character worships has a REALLY good favored weapon: the spiked chain. I am also drawing on my entire library of WotC 3.5 material for this exercise (Most of the material will likely come from PHB, PHBII, BoED, Spell Compendium, and Complete Champion) I am assuming an alignment of NG so I can use BoED spells.

0-level spells known: Summon Holy Symbol, Light, Create Water, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Amanuensis, Mending, Detect Poison, Cure Minor Wounds

Reasoning Notes: Amanuensis is in there in case you need to copy down important ritual phrases, battle plans, or other pertinent information and you're in a hurry. Summon Holy Symbol is in there because one shatter spell ruins a normal divine caster's day by removing their divine focus. The Cure minor wounds spell really should have the name "lesser stabilize" instead in my book, because that's what it's most useful for.

1st-level spells known: Bless, Blade of Blood, Nightshield, Invest light Protection, Nightshield

Reasoning notes: Because our spell selection is so limited, I'm trying to pick spells that have more than one function. I picked Invest Light Protection instead of cure light wounds because, while it cures less in the way of hit points, it grants a point of DR/evil. Nightshield grants a bonus on saves AND stops magic missile spells. Blade of blood is a wickedly-effective combat spell, and bless is one of the workhorse buff spells that I'd never want to be without.

2nd-level spells known: Cloud of knives, Elation, Lesser Restoration, Shatter, Close Wounds, Silence

Reasoning notes: Again, since we're low on choices, I went with spells with more than one use. Shatter is good for denying warriors their weapons and divine caster their foci, Elation is a nice, comprehensive buff that even increases allies' speed, and silence can be used either to plague enemy spellcasters or aid in stealth. Cloud of knives is a nice attack spell, because you can use it either in its normal form or make the knives silvered by using a silver dagger, allowing you to bypass the DR of, among other things, vampires and lycanthropes. Lesser Restoration is a workhorse spell. I picked close wounds over cure moderate wounds because the ability to use it RIGHT NOW is much more useful to a spontaneous caster than one who prepares spells.

3rd-level spells known: Invisibility Purge, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, Summon Monster III, Holy Storm, Weapon of the Deity

Reasoning notes: This was a tough level to pick spells for. Removing curses & disease are essential, so I felt I had to get those in there. Summon Monster III is the first level where you really get something useful; a hippogriff, which you can use as a flying mount. Holy storm is an awesome attack spell, and weapon of the deity isn't bad either. Invisibility purge is something you just DON'T want to be caught without. I didn't pick up a hit point restorer this levels because we already have two.

4th-level spells known: Divine Power, Spell Vulnerability, Neutralize Poison, Freedom of Movement, Restoration, Tongues

Reasoning notes: Again, no cure spell, but we now can talk with anyone, remove negative levels, stop poison, lower spell resistance, and one of the best combat buffs in the game. Nothing exciting in this spell level, but lots of good, utilitarian magic.

5th-level spells known: Invest Heavy Protection, Revivify, Scrying, True Seeing, Flame Strike, Righteous Wrath of the Faithful

Reasoning notes: Revivify is a better choice than raise dead for a spontaneous caster played by a smart and conscientious player. Just make sure you have those diamonds on hand. I'd recommend wearing a nonmagical pendant with 1000gp worth of diamonds in it. Invest heavy protection is in there for a defense buff and for healing a larger amount of hit points, scrying, true seeing, and flame strike are workhorses, and righteous wrath is a nice group combat buff.

6th-level spells known: Heal, Harm, Greater Dispel Magic, Vigorous Circle, Spiritual Guardian, Undeath to Death

Reasoning notes: The best single-target heal, one of the best single-target attack spells, greater dispel, a solid group heal, a dual-purpose summoning-type spell, and the means to deal with groups of undead without turning.

7th-level spells known: Righteous Smite, Holy Star, Summon Monster VII, Shield of the Archons, Regenerate, Control Weather

Reasoning notes:Summon monster VII summons an Avoral. Those are REALLY pesky foes, what with being able to fly and cast magic missile at will. Holy Star and Shield of the Archons are dual-purpose spells, regenerate and control weather are workhorse PHB spells, and Righteous smite blows evil stuff to smithereens.

8th-level spells known: Lion's Roar, Antimagic Field, Earthquake, Dimensional Lock, Greater Planar Ally

Reasoning notes:Lion's roar damages enemies and buffs allies at the same time, the rest should be obvious.

9th-level spells known: Gate, Miracle, Mass Heal, True Resurrection

Reasoning notes: Should be obvious

Challenge #2: Race and point buy. Since we're a little behind the cleric already, I dispensed with the usual human and went straight for the lesser aasimar. The bonus to our paired casting stats will be a boon here, and it works thematically as well.

Race: lesser aasimar

ability scores, pre-racial adjustments:

STR 12 [4] DEX 10 [2] CON 10 [2] INT 12 [4] WIS 16 [10] CHA 16 [10]

After: STR 12 DEX 10 CON 10 INT 12 WIS 18 CHA 18


Challenge #3: Picking feats. With no undead turning, feat selection gets a little tougher. Here's what I came up with:

Feat progression (lots of reserve feats. Reserve feats work well with spontaneous casters):
1: Nymph's Kiss (we need the skill points, and the other bonuses are also nice.)
3: Zen Archery (Being able to use wisdom to make ranged attacks? Not too shabby. Good for some of those ranged spells that require attack rolls, too.)
6: Touch of Healing (We're low on cure spells; this'll keep us from blazing through spell slots too fast.)
9: Augment Healing (Since we chose some less-potent but more-versatile healing spells, this helps close the gap)
12: Summon Elemental (this takes pressure off the spell slots again, and allows you to give rogues and the like flanking buddies without sacrificing spells per day)
15: Fiery Burst (Again, since your spells are precious and because even one uncast spell of any level serves as a key for any reserve feat that can be tied to any spell of that level, we're picking a lot of these. This one will likely be keyed off of flame strike, letting you pitch a 5d6 blast of fire at will as long as you've got at least 1 5th-level spell left for the day.)
18: Improved Flying (if you're going to have a fly speed, may as well increase your maneuverability a step)

Skill trick:
Healing Hands

Notable gear: Belt of magnificence +6 (the MADman's friend), +5 mithral full plate, +5 holy adamantine spiked chain


Final analysis:

This would certainly be a FUN character to play, and I can't deny that being able to cast close wounds and revivify spontaneously instead of as prepped spells increases their utility quite a bit. However, a large percentage of the material used in this build was released after the favored soul. Furthermore, I'm unconvinced, even carefully optimized, that the favored soul above would be as effective as a cleric of a similar level, especially one with a decent prestige class. (And by "decent" I mean something like Sacred Exorcist, not something cheesy like dweomerkeeper.) There were a lot of times as I was picking spells that I had to let something crucial, or at least very nice to have, fall by the wayside. I wasn't able to spare a known spell for any cure spells above 0 because the list was so tightly restricted. I really, truly don't think the FS is better than the cleric, though to get back to my first statement, I'm now convinced that it would at least be enjoyable to play.
Minor nit pick. You missed exotic weapon proficiency spiked chain:P

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I've been playing a Favored Soul in our big campaign and I have to say I'm having a blast with it. I don't see what everyone thinks is the problem with it. Good spell selection without being overpowered, good BAB, great saves (which are exactly the same as the Monks -something apparently no one has noticed) the Deity favored wpn focus and specialization is pure cheese yes, but also fun. The wings are a bit over the top, I will admit (I'm only 7th level in the class so I don't have them yet). Everything else is great though.

I love playing this class.


Out
Proficiency with a deity's weapon is a class feature of the Favored Soul. (As are the weapon focus & specialization, which I also didn't denote because they're assumed.)

Improved Flying should be Improved Flight, though. It's in Races of the Wild and Complete Adventurer. (And a couple of older, 3.0 books, too.)
I stumbled upon this article a long time ago but didn't read it thoroughly. Now I did, but the reaction was the same - it made me laugh.

I honestly don't see how gaining energy resistance, the one thing that is ranted upon so much, as a class feature can be unbalancing. It's an equivalent of a 2nd level spell, for (Heironeous)'s sake! Wings are terribly late and the DR/silver is nice but it's at lvl 20. At that level either you're being hit so hard that it doesn't matter or everything bypasses it, plus it's 5% of the game. Plus it can be gained via several spells, one of which is a 5th level Player's Handbook cleric spell. Oh wait.
No domains, no turning, some of the most powerful class features in the game. Oh wait. I said that already.

I'll just quote someone above who said something about raging paranoia of people who are afraid of every new source and pick on everything as "overpowered" whether to appear clever or really indulge one's fear. The Favored Soul is not out to get you.
In fact, I find it sad and hope that you will take a pointer from my opinion, which is that I wonder how a respected and insightful poster with many redeeming qualities acknowledged board-wise managed to not only write this hateful article, let alone stand defending it for that much time afterwards.

p.s. Sorcerer is an example of terrible class design - strong, maybe 6th most powerful class in the game, but with no class features, few options, little customization and no reason to remain a sorcerer past lvl 6. Class features, hey! Look at new classes (PHB2, ToB, etc.) and their capstone abilities for an example.
I think the favoured soul would be around the 5th most powerful class behind the Cleric, Druid, Psion and Wizard and the Sorcerer would probably be 6th. Access to level 6+ spells turns out to be a more powerful class ability than feats or class features.

According to the Consensus,
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=369436
The Sorc ranks 11th, the FS ranks 8th.

The Druid, Wizard, Cleric, Artificer and Psion are the "Big Five".

malisteen's post has many good points. Too many folks yell "broken" without actually seeing one played (or better yet, playing one). Having done both, I can tell you that the FS is IMHO slightly overrated in the Consensus above. I would say it ranks = to the Sorc at higher levels.

Timespike: That is not a bad build, but every FS I have seen has a healing spell at every level- IF they are the only divine caster in the party, that is. If you are building a FS @ 20th, you can do without healing spells at every level (as you rely on higher level spells like Heal) but if you actually play from level 1, you will need healing at nigh every level.
Why do people think the Wings are over the top? The dragon disciple gets wings at 9th lvl, that means that you are at least a character level of 14 before you get wings from that PrC, and the Dragon Shaman gets wings at 19th level if I remember correctly. It's not about whether they are useless by the time you get them, its about gaining a class feature that is based on the nature of the class. I mean, everyone has had to realize by now that the Favored Soul unlike the Cleric is a transitional class. I mean, you don't just wake up one day and say, "Hey, I'm gonna be resistant to fire because I've been hit by a number of fireballs." you gain a ability like that because a greater power has bestowed it upon you, probably by altering your very nature.

We are talking about Dungeons and Dragons, there is no such thing as over the top. In a world where a tree hugger can turn into a toucan and old guy with a stick can cause earthquakes, a person who eventually grows feathered or bat-like wings is hardly unbelievable or nonsense.
Timespike: That is not a bad build, but every FS I have seen has a healing spell at every level- IF they are the only divine caster in the party, that is. If you are building a FS @ 20th, you can do without healing spells at every level (as you rely on higher level spells like Heal) but if you actually play from level 1, you will need healing at nigh every level.

Not true, have you forgotten that you can 1.) replace spells as you go up in level, which you most likely will do if your play a Favored Soul. 2.) You can always use higher level spell slots to fuel lower level spells, and with one feat from Races of the Dragon can uses lower level spell slots to fuel higher level ones. The number of times you can cast heal spells is more than enough to get you through a campaign I know this for a fact because I've done it quiet a few times, and its not always about your own personal spell power when it comes to curing the party wands, staves, and scrolls are all things a Favored Soul can use and most likely will find in a campaign where he is the primary healer. I hate it when people make it sound like DnD is this game where you don't get anything and you have to play with some restrictive amount of resources that come from your own power and not secondary sources.

In short the favored soul nor the cleric can cover all healing with their spells slots alone, especially the cleric because if he didn't prepare it that day, then your in trouble. The Favored Soul might not have the spell, but is more than likely to cover himself by having a scroll to do something he himself might not be able to do at his current level or ever. I know I don't take remove blindness or deafness, paralysis and a lot of the other remove/neutralize spells because I can take Panacea eventually and it does all that in one spell. I don't grab lesser restoration knowing that I'm gonna eventually take Restoration as my primary restoration, or if I do I replace it by the time I get Restoration.
What I might change about the FS:

1. Give them cleric/druid save progression (good Fort, bad Ref, good Will) instead of having all three saves as good saves.

2. Clip the Wings.

3. Make their spells known equal to the sorcerer's spells known.

IMO getting Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization in their deity's favored weapon more or less balances out with not being able to turn/rebuke undead. I don't have too much of a problem with their energy resistances and the 20th level DR. By the time a FS reaches level 20, having 3 energy resistances at 10 and DR 10 to silver or cold iron probably won't make much difference.
What I might change about the FS:

1. Give them cleric/druid save progression (good Fort, bad Ref, good Will) instead of having all three saves as good saves.

2. Clip the Wings.

3. Make their spells known equal to the sorcerer's spells known.

IMO getting Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization in their deity's favored weapon more or less balances out with not being able to turn/rebuke undead. I don't have too much of a problem with their energy resistances and the 20th level DR. By the time a FS reaches level 20, having 3 energy resistances at 10 and DR 10 to silver or cold iron probably won't make much difference.

You would benefit from reading the Unearthed Arcana's reasoning behind divine spellcasters having more spells known than their arcane versions. The basic premise is that a divine spellcaster has to know more spells so that they can do their primary function as the party support magic caster, you can't do that if you only know 3 to 4 spells from a given level.

Stripping the Favored Soul of class features so that its even more less desirable than a cleric is not balancing it out. I'm sorry but everything you just suggested sounds like you want to make a cleric with the war domain. 3 resistances and DR? Seriously, how do you compare 4 class features and 2 free or 3 free feats as actually being something worth spending 20 levels on?

I don't understand you people, where does it say only the monk can have 3 good saves? When you actually stop with the knee jerk reactions and just look comparatively, you'd see that the few unique features the FS gets along with his class benefits, are on equal comparison with any other divine spellcaster save the shugenja, but WotC pretty much admitted they didn't take that class seriously. There are two parts to every class, class features (everything you get that isn't BAB, Saves, Skill Points, Weapon and Armor Proficencies, and Hit Dice) and then there are Class Benefits (BAB, Saves, Skill Points, Hit Dice, Proficiences)

in a comparison the class benefits between the FS and the Cleric are the exact same except the Favored Soul gave up Heavy armor Proficiencies for a better Reflex Save. In terms of class features it works the same way, the cleric got 2 Domains and the turn/rebuke undead ability. That means the cleric actually got 2 powers or feats from the 2 domains, and 18 spells added to his spell list, so thats actually 4 class features (1 for each power granted by the domain, and 1 for each 9 spells added to the clerics spell list.), and then the mother of all stupidness Turning, which in recent years has become the fuel for some of the dumbest feats ever to grace DnD, Divine Feats. anyway thats another 1, so you have 5 class features all obtained at first 1 for a cleric, by increase in power as you level up either as a cleric or a full divine spellcaster.

Now where as the Favored Soul gains 2 bonus feats (similar to the 2 granted powers of two domains in some cases,) 3 energy resistance which in practicality counts as 1 class feature since its the three of them together that makes it a considerable ability, having energy resistance 10 fire only means might find it useful where as having 2 additional ones means that you have more bases covered but not everything yet still considerable. This not to mention the fact that its only 10 points, never to increase or decrease, considering on average a 10th lvl fireball will deal 30 points of damage and 15 on a save its not that powerful but definitely useful when you have 3 different ones. wings and DR these 2 count as two different features and i wont bother to argue their usefulness or reasoning. That brings it up to 5 class features just like the cleric.

What is a Favored Soul? A Favored Soul is a manifestation of a deities influence or dogma/beliefs through a living host. (Basically his beliefs made manifest through a innate connection to a living creature.) What does this sound like in comparison? A Angel or Devil no? Yes, so its no surprise that they gain energy resistance, wings and DR based on their alignment, its very much in align with the perceived notions of angels and devils/demons. It's a shame they didn't just make them out right transcend at 20th lvl, but that would be asking to much.. (*looks over at the Druid.*)

Anyway, I hope I enlightened the nay sayers, and threw a little fire under the people over and design and development at WotC's DnD department. The Favored Soul was more balanced than the cleric at the time of the Complete Divine release, and pretty much at the time of the Favored Soul's original release in the Miniatures Handbook. I can say this because the Favored Soul's spells are actually restricted the buff/healer/misc but not likely the offensive spells which clerics gain access to either through domains or other prc. The favored soul thus keeps true to the notion of helping the party instead of trying to be the do all character that ranges from healing (rarely buffing anyone other than himself.) offensive spell slinger.

If you wanna tweek something, tweek the cleric, remove domains that borough from other classes spell list lower the damage on cleric spells that deal damage offensively, like flame strike, blade barrier and harm ect ect ect.
That actually makes them...weaker.

Their problem is that they are already so totally dominated by the other class doing their job, the Cleric.

They lag the Cleric so badly in the power stakes, making them weaker is sort of like taking the Sorcerer, and saying "We know you lag the wizard badly, so we'll reduce your spell progression even further to fix that" It is making the problem worse!

I think there is really two ways to fix them:

1) Dump the Cleric and Druid. The FS does not compare too badly to the more sane classes out there. As the only source of Cleric spells he'll do fine. Bit overshadowed by the Spirit Shaman, but playable.

2) Make them equal to the Cleric. Divine Grace at level 3ish, to prevent dipping for it, and allowing them to pick spells of all the divine non-domain lists (Spells appearing at different levels uses Cleric list for base) Should give them things the cleric don't have, something that is not the case now.

And yes, that does make them overpowered, but about equal to the cleric. Still lags a druid.
Oh yes...I got to add a couple of things:

In the years since the OP, actual play in hundreds of campaigns as reported on these boards, in cons, etc have shown that...

Mechanically, the FS is not overpowered.

Anyone who wants to play it will play something else if power is an issue. That reads "brutally underpowered" to me.

Honestly, I think pretty much EVERYONE would trade the wings, the energy resistances, and the weapon focus/spec for access to ONE good domain. Just the spells. OR to turn undead.

I think it says a lot when dumping all the abilities people argue are overpowered look like a good trade for just one of the abilities of his competitor.

I also got to say...it looks like the opening post has a bit of a "thing" about spontaneous casting. Comparing the FS solely to the Sorcerer on the basis that they are both spontaneous casters doesn't seem reasonable.
2. Clip the Wings.

Ok seriously people, the are little more than flavor by 17th level when you get them.

Let's look at the core only points when types of flight become available with a quick (but not comprehensive) list of ways of getting flying:

Druid via Wildshape at 5th level or via animal companion (varying level but way below 17th), Cleric, Wizard and Sorcerer via spells at 5th level, Druid via spells at 7th level, Paladin at 6th level via Special Mount, Ranger via Animal Companion (varying level but way below 17th).

Spells:
Fly (3rd level spell)
Airwalk, Polymorph Spell (4th level spells)
Wind Walk (7th level spell)
Animal Shapes, Polymorph Any Object (8th level spell)
Shapechange (9th level spell)

Items:
Winged Boots (16,000)
Broom of Flying (17,000)
Carpet of Flying (20,000, 35,000 and 60,000)
Cloak of the Bat (26,000)
Wings of Flying (54,000)

The wings aren't even remotely powerful, and are barely useful by the time you get them. You've also had at least 10 other options open for you to get fight sooner as a Favored Soul, and probably in a better form.
ok im alittle late on the reply, but did anybody notice that the new base classes do not need a PrC or relay on one less then the standerd classes? scout for example wtf are you thinking if you take a Prc with that class? FS get the abilitys they do to so they do not need a prestige class, and lets face it they cant be many becuase of the lack of turn undead. for all you "im a role-player and not a roll-player" crap, wotc just made dnd a huge game of chess with all the stuff they did, and you know its true, you wanna role-play break out the 10 siders and go pretend to be vampires.