[size=-2](This is an attempt to organize the salient parts of the Beguiler Handbook thread and other comments below. Suggestions are welcome. If you'd rather not post, send me email.)[/size]
The Beguiler (PH2) is an interesting fusion of rogue and sorcerer. The class is already fairly well optimized, with a good set of skills, good skill point accumulation, a good set of ability progressions, and you can spontaneously cast any of the spells from a predetermined but respectable spell list. Spells concentrate around enchantment and illusion. Because both your skill points and your spells per day are based on Intelligence, you have only one ability to worry about maximizing to the fullest.
The end of this article defines the source book abbreviations used.
In order of priority, a beguiler's abilities should be assigned from highest to lowest as follows:[LIST=1]
Intelligence (for spells and skill points)
Constitution (hit points, Fortitude saves, and Concentration)
Dexterity, Wisdom, and Charisma. Arrange according to your strategy.
You may want higher Dex for the rogue-like skill points, but if you want a strong spellcaster you shouldn't sacrifice Concentration bonus by making Dex higher than Con.
Wisdom can be low priority if you don't plan to take feats or prestige classes that require it; you already have a good Will save progression.
The beguiler's flavor suggests that you should invest more into Charisma for social skills. If your beguiler will focus on social situations, that's fine. However, at 6th level you will get the glibness spell which makes your Charisma almost irrelevant in Bluff checks. Skill synergies can add +6 to Diplomacy checks, and if you are good-aligned, the Nymph's Kiss feat will add +2 to all your other Charisma-based skills. Therefore, it should be OK to give Charisma a low priority unless you really need to maximize Bluff and Diplomacy.
Strength (your dump stat)
Small races best fit the beguiler class. Heward's Handy Haversack can carry all your gear and loot, and you don't need a melee base attack because a beguiler doesn't get the rogue's sneak attack damage. So strength is your dump stat. If you do multiclass with rogue for sneak attack damage, consider archery rather than melee fighting because you'll have a higher Dex bonus. Small size gives you a +1 bonus to attacks, +1 to AC, and +4 to Hide checks. A good Hide bonus may also help with the beguiler's Cloaked Casting ability.
While Int is the most important ability for a beguiler, small races with Int enhancements aren't available without level adjustments or extra HD, meaning they can't be played from first level. The next best races are those having Dex or Cha bonuses. A Whisper Gnome (RS) or Air Gnome (UA) should work well starting from 1st level; also, the Whisper Gnome also has 30' speed rather than the usual 20' speed for a Small creature. Standard Rock Gnomes from PH make good beguilers due to their +1 DC to illusion spells that make up a large portion of the beguiler spell list.
Halfling subraces also have +2 Dex. The Strongheart Halfling (FRCS) is attractive due to its extra feat replacing the halfling's normal +1 racial bonus to saves.
Medium races: For Medium creatures, many elf subraces have a +2 bonus to Int, although they lack the size bonuses of small creatures. Feats and additional skill points are valuable to a beguiler (many skills are available), so a human works well for supplying an extra feat and extra skill points. A changeling (EC) also fits the theme of a beguiler quite well.
Level-adjusted races: Races with level adjustments generally don't result in fully optimized beguilers. Exceptions are races with just 1 level adjustment and no hit dice; for example, the Chaos Gnome (RS), Air Mephling (PlH), or Tiefling (MM), all of which have attractive ability bonuses and racial features. The Dark Creature template (TM) also imposes a +1 level adjustment, giving you darkvision, hide in plain sight, and bonuses to Hide and Move Silently checks, at the cost of being non-good (see the Feats section below for a discussion of alignment benefits).
Level-adjusted races can be especially attractive if your DM allows the variant rule in Unearthed Arcana for buying back level adjustments with XP. Using this rule variant, you buy back a +1 LA with 3,000 XP at 3rd level, essentially playing through 3rd level twice. This leaves you with a 3rd level character and zero LA. You'll be 1 level behind your party members, but you will eventually catch up to them because low-level characters earn XP faster.
[SIZE="+2"][smallcaps]Skills and Tricks[/smallcaps][/SIZE]
Pay attention to skill synergies, where having 5 ranks in one skill gives you a +2 bonus in another skill. The beguiler has several skills where this works well. Maximize your synergy bonuses if you have the skill points.
If your party needs a rogue to find traps, build up ranks in Search and Disable Device. Many skills enhance your innate abilities. Move Silently, Hide, and Sleight of Hand help you with Suprise Casting. Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Speak Language can aid illusion spells. Tumble is useful in full defense when controlling illusions.
Class skills you may want to forgo:
Don't bother with Open Locks because you get the knock spell at 4th level.
Escape Artist becomes redundant when you get the freedom of movement spell at 8th level. If you are willing to risk grapples and other situations until 8th level, minimize your Escape Artist ranks so that you can use those skill points elsewhere.
Spellcraft isn't useful to a beguiler except as a prerequisite for some feats and prestige classes.
Skill Tricks:Complete Scoundrel introduced skill tricks, in which you can use 2 skill points to buy a special ability applied to a skill. Skill tricks seem like a cross between skills and feats, not as powerful as feats, but stronger than simple skills. Several tricks suit the beguiler quite well:
Level 2: Conceal Spellcasting* - don't be seen casting; good in social situations, and also in melee to prevent attacks of opportunity when you aren't hidden.
Level 3: Assume Quirk - social interaction; people who know you don't get a bonus to see through your disguise.
Level 5: Group Fake-Out* - feint in combat against multiple opponents, making them all susceptible to your Cloaked Casting ability.
Level 7: Second Impression - make a Bluff check to re-establish a blown disguise.
Level 9: Swift Concentration* - concentration checks are a swift action, allowing you to maintain an illusion spell and cast another.
Level 11: Clarity of Vision - make a spot check to see invisibility for 1 round.
Level 13: Timely Misdirection - feinting in combat is enhanced by denying the opponent's attacks of opportunity also.
Level 15: False Theurgy - mask your illusion spells against arcane casters, but requires ranks in Spellcraft.
Movement tricks may be useful for a small character, although not as powerful as a rogue's movement abilities.
Besides the usual nonmagical adventuring gear, you will want helpful wondrous items. Depending on the level at which your beguiler starts out (which determines your wealth according to DMG p135, Table 5-1), the following wondrous items are good to have at each level of wealth:[list="1"]
Blessed bandage (HB, MIC, 10 gp) - As a standard action, use it to stabilize a dying ally (i.e. negative HP and falling). Every member of the party should have one if your game has no rule to use Action Points for such things.
Masterwork Tools (PH, 50 gp) - often overlooked, a beguiler gets +2 to Disable Device and Open Lock checks from a set of masterwork thieves' tools. PH p130 gives you the flexibility to come up with any other masterwork tool for a +2 circumstance bonus to a related skill check.
Longspoon Masterwork Theives' Tools (CAd, 150 gp) - These long-handled tools grant you a +2 bonus to Disable Device and Open Lock checks from 5 feet away. As a beguiler, you lack the Evasion capability of a rogue, so these tools help you avoid needing Evasion if you set off a trap that deals damage at close range.
Everburning Torch (PH, 110 gp). Permanent heatless torchlight, less illumination than a lantern but inexpensive for characters lacking darkvision. Even better, the continual flame spell cast on any worn item serves the same purpose as an everburning torch, and you don't have to hold it in your hand! An ally can cast it for you for 50 gp, or you can spend the equivalent gp of an everburning torch to hire a wizard to cast continual flame for you.
Up to 900 gp:
Everbright Lantern (EC, 212 gp) - Useful for illumination (better than a torch) if your character has no darkvision.
Silent Portal Disk (Mag [3.0], 360 gp) - A command word sticks the disk to any "portal" surface (e.g. lid, door, window), silencing the sound of opening the portal.
Quall's Feather Token (DMG, up to 450 gp) - Single use sudden creation of a large fan, tree, or boat in any inappropriate place, useful for concealment or causing general mayhem.
Vestment of Many Styles (RE, 500 gp): Changes into any clothing with a command word, +2 bonus to Disguise when disguise includes clothing.
Bag of Tricks (DMG, 900 gp) - draw out 10 random small creatures per week to do your bidding for 10 minutes each.
Hand of the Mage (DMG, 900 gp) - cast mage hand at will to propel objects 15 feet in any direction. Good for prankster beguilers.
Up to 2,700 gp:
Cloak of Elemental Protection (MH, 1,000 gp) - Resist energy 10 as an immediate action.
Cloak of Resistance +1 (DMG, 1,000 gp) - gives you a +1 resistance bonus to all saves for 1,000 gp.
Goggles of Minute Seeing (DMG, 1,250 gp) - grants a +5 bonus to Search checks when looking for secret doors, traps, and concealed objects.
Easy traveling armor enhancement (HB, 1,500 gp) - This enhancement has value with Strength as your dump stat. It allows you to carry a Medium load as if it were Light, and walk 10 hours/day before risking damage from exhaustion.
Hat of Disguise (DMG, 1,800 gp) - A beguiler can already cast disguise self but at lower levels this item gives you more freedom with spell slots.
Heward's Handy Haversack (DMG, 2,000 gp) - backpack to hold all your tools and treasure. Regardless of what you put in it, the pack always weighs 5 lb (important with Str as your dump stat), and retrieving anything from it doesn't cost a move action because what you want is always magically on top. It's a bargain for the price.
Ring of the Darkhidden (MIC, 2,000 gp) is an essential item that makes you invisible to darkvision. Add another 500 gp to combine it with the Darklight Lantern from Eberron's Secrets of Sarlona, pay others a small amount to keep it charged, and you remove all natural light around you. Combined with the feat Shape Soulmeld - Fellmist Robe, you have the concealment to remain hidden continuously.
Up to 5,400 gp:
Heward's Fortifying Bedroll (CM, 3,000 gp) - lets you regain spells with only one hour of sleep rather than eight.
Lesser Rod of Metmagic Extend (DMG, 3,000 gp) - cheap way to extend some of your spells.
Amulet of Health +2 or any other Con-enhancing item (DMG, 4,000 gp) - improves your HP and adds +1 bonus to concentration checks.
Headband of Conscious Effort (CAd, 4,000 gp) - 1/day, make a Concentration check in place of a Fortitude save.
Headband of Intelligence +2 or any other Int-enhancing item (DMG, 4,000 gp) - for more spells per day and higher spell DC. An item like this should be high-priority for a beguiler.
Shadowy Diadem (DM, 4,000 gp) - As a swift action, this headband gives you concealment in darkness and immunity from energy drain effects, 3X/day for 10 rounds. Good value, but you must understand Draconic to use it.
Pendant of joy (RE, 5,000 gp) - Provides +5 morale bonus to Diplomacy to all within 30 feet. Wearer must have at least 1 power point. This works well for an Empty Vessel beguiler (human traits, 1 pp per HD, +2 to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate; tradeoff is Psion as a favored class and a +1 LA), as well as for Kalashtar (who are similar, but don't get human traits, with mindlink 1/day as a psi-like ability instead).
Smoking Weapon enhancement (LD [3.0], +1) - A creature attempting to grapple you is subject to nausea from stinking cloud spell, which produces noxious smoke that provides 1/2 concealment.
Up to 9,000 gp:
Boots of Striding and Springing (DMG, 5,500 gp) - Add 10 feet to speed and +5 to Jump checks. Good for letting small creatures keep up, although your DM may allow you to eliminate the Jump bonus (see Boots of Striding above).
Mantle of Second Chances (DMG2, 6,000 gp) - 1/day re-roll before the DM declares success or failure of the original roll. This stacks with the re-roll ability granted from a class feature (e.g. Luck domain). It may also stack with the Luck of Chaos racial ability of the Chaos Gnome (RS).
Metamagic Wandgrip (CM, 6,000 gp) - If have ranks in Use Magic Device to let you use wands, you can apply any one of your metamagic feats to the wand 3 times per day (normal spell level adjustment still applies).
Rod of Shadowblending (CM, 9,000 gp) - 3/day transform minor image or major image into shadow conjuration, or major image into shadow evocation. Good for changing your illusions into shadow. According to WoTC it would even let you cast shadow evocation before you would normally be able to cast 5th level spells.
Eager weapon enhancement (AE [3.0], +2) - An eager weapon grants +2 to Initiative checks regardless of whether it's used, and may be drawn as a free action.
Up to 13,000 gp:
Collar of Umbral Metamporph (TM, 10,800 gp) gives you on command the Dark Creature template (see Races section above) for 10 minutes/day (spread out as you want), which includes +8 Hide, +6 Move Silently, +10 feet to speed, cold resistance 10, darkvision 60 feet, and best of all, Hide in Plain Sight.
Up to 19,000 gp:
Veil of Allure (Sa, 14,000 gp) - Adds +2 to your enchantment save DC and Cha-based supernatural abilities.
Up to 27,000 gp:
Belt of Magnificence (MH, 25,000 gp) - adds +2 to all six of your ability stats. It may seem expensive until you realize that the DMG pricing rules would require that this item be worth 34,000 gp.
Ring of Evasion (DMG, 25,000 gp) - You take no damage when succeeding on a Reflex save where you'd normally take half damage (a 2nd level rogue already has this ability).
Up to 36,000 gp:
Up to 49,000 gp:
Scarab of Protection (DMG, 38,000 gp) - Confers Spell Resistance 20, and contains 12 charges of protection against energy drain, death effects, and negative energy effects. Upon absorbing 12 such attacks, the item disintegrates. The price may seem expensive for a limited-use item, but it is far cheaper than a similar item that lasts forever, and why pay for something that lasts longer than you need it? The value comes from having enough uses to get you through a typical campaign, saving you much gold.
The Bunko's Bargain Basement thread lists several items having high value for the price, many of which are useful to a beguiler. Keep in mind that items from 3.0 sources are priced according to obsolete guidelines (especially items that enhance skills or saves); your DM may require you to review the market values of 3.0 items before bringing them into a 3.5 game.
If you are joining the game at higher levels, ask your DM for permission to customize items before your character enters the game; say, your character has hired the services of a wizard in town to craft something special for you, priced according to the item creation pricing rules in the DMG. In some cases a wizard or artificer in your party may agree to craft something for you. For example:
Headband of Intelligence +1 (custom, 1,000 gp) - The reason the DMG has items with only even-valued ability bonuses is so that all characters will get the same benefit (+1 to an ability modifier). Some DMs will allow +1 ability items. If your DM is uncomfortable with the idea, offer a compromise: you will apply the +1 item to an ability that is already even, so you'll get the benefit from the item only when you increase the ability by +1 again when you hit levels 4, 8, 12, 16, or 20. By applying a +1 item only to even-valued ability, you don't have an unfair advantage.
Reflexive Belt (custom, 1,333 gp) - gives +2 resistance only to Reflex saves (important when disabling traps), rather than all saves.
Lesser Ring of Evasion (custom, 1,500 gp) - The normal Ring of Evasion is beyond the reach of low-level beguilers. Your DM may allow you to hire a wizard to craft a custom "Lesser Ring of Evasion" that activates on the first half-Reflex save per day, maximum 30 charges. Just having this capability once per day can be a life-saver.
Goggles of Concentration +4, or Headband of Concentration +4 (custom, 1,600 gp) - It's hard to find magic items that enhance Concentration checks. The magical bonus is a competence bonus. Some sort of masterwork hand-held tool of concentration bestows a +2 circumstance bonus for only 50 gp (PH p130), so magically enhancing such a tool with a +4 competence bonus would provide a total of +6 to Concentration checks for just 1,650 gp.
Boots of Striding (custom, 2,000 gp) - good for increasing the speed of small races. The DMG's Boots of Striding and Springing cost much more due to the +5 bonus to Jump checks. Hire a wizard to craft simply "Boots of Striding" for just the +10 speed benefit.
You only have 7 or 8 feat slots in 20 levels (depending on your race), so you have to be selective, especially with feats that have other feats as prerequisites. Because most campaigns play at mid levels up to around level 12, your first 4 or 5 feats are critical for determining what you really want to do with your character. If your DM allows it, you can obain an additional two feats at 1st level by taking two flaws (UA p91). Flaws that penalize attacks won't harm a beguiler much; however, the flaws you take must be meaningful, so your DM will likely disallow melee-attack flaws. Meaningful ones might include:
Frail - If your Con is good, subtract 1 from the number of hit points you gain at each level.
Inattentive - Take a -4 penalty to Listen and Spot checks. If your allies have good Listen and Spot, this may be worthwhile.
Pathetic - Reduce your dump stat (Str) by 2 if the total of your ability modifiers is less than 8.
Unreactive - Take a -6 penalty on initiative checks. Painful, but might be worth a feat in exchange.
Vulnerable - Take a -1 penalty to Armor Class.
[SIZE="+1"]Spell DC enhancers[/SIZE]
For good-aligned beguilers, it's hard to beat the benefits of Exalted feats, but you can't use them if you multiclass with non-good prestige classes (such as Mindbender) or acquire a non-good template (such as Shadow Creature). Good alignment with Vow of Nonviolence increases the save DC of your spells by +4 in many (but not all) situations.
Combat Charm (DR312 p51) - deny foes their save bonus against your Enchantment (charm) spells in combat. Requires 13 Wisdom. Note that this feat benefits only 3 beguiler spells (charm monster, charm person, and stay the hand) plus any other charm spell you might add from Advanced Learning. Except for mass charm monster or mass charm person, other charm spells don't benefit from this feat.
Heighten Spell (PH) - This is a metamagic feat with a variable increase in caster level. You can increase the caster level of any spell up to the maximum you can cast, with a corresponding increase in spell DC and anything else dependent on spell level. Of course, if you cast a spell at a higher level, you use up a higher level spell per day.
Mastery of Dreams (PE) - Add +1 DC to your illusion and fear spells.
Shadow Weave Magic (PGF) - Adds +1 to DC of both illusion and enchantment spells, plus +1 to overcome spell resistance. You must either worship Shar (evil alignment) or have at least 15 Wisdom. Any spells with the Light descriptor won't work, but for a beguiler that's just dancing lights.
Shape Soulmeld (Illusion Veil) (MoI) - gain a +1 insight bonus to the DC of your illusion spells. If you already have essentia (from another feat or from being an Azurin), then Shape Soulmeld (Illusion Veil) also extends the duration of your spells.
Spell focus (enchantment) - add +1 DC to enchantment spells. Take Greater Spell Focus for an additional +1 DC.
Spell focus (illusion) - add +1 DC to illusion spells, the other major portion of a beguiler's suite of spells. Note that these two Spell Focus feats don't offer the same level of DC enhancement as the Exalted feats, but they have the advantage of freeing you to have a non-good alignment.
Vow of Nonviolence (BE) (Exalted, requires Sacred Vow prerequisite feat) - You get a +4 bonus on save DCs of nondamaging spells cast against humanoids or monstrous humanoids. This feat covers nearly all beguiler spells, including all the nonlethal damage spells. Difficulties: You can't let allies kill a helpless humanoid foe unless you convince the foe to take an oath of surrender or noninterference, and the foe breaks that oath. Any ally who slays a helpless enemy in your presence suffers -1 penalty to attacks for 1 hour per your character level, and you can't leave the area to let allies slay a helpless foe.
Metamagic feat prerequisites shouldn't be a problem because a beguiler already gets two metamagic feats for free: Silent Spell and Still Spell, at 5th and 10th levels, respectively. The metamagic feats for a beguiler require you to cast a spell as if it were a higher caster level. Metamagic feats also increase casting time from a standard action to a full-round action, or adds an additional full-round for spells having a full-round or longer casting time.
0 caster level adjustment:
Rapid Metamagic (CM) - lets you apply metamagic on the fly without increasing casting time. Requires 12 ranks in Spellcraft.
+1 caster level adjustment:
Energize Spell (LM) - Your spell does 150% damage to undead, 50% to others.
Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell (PH) - double a spell's range or duration, respectively.
Retributive Spell (CM) - any time you experience damage from a melee attack within 24 hours of applying this feat to a single spell of your choosing, you can cast that spell on the attacker as an immediate action. You can target one creature on each use.
Fortify Spell (CAr) - spell receives +2 bonus on caster check to overcome spell resistance. You may apply this to a spell multiple times, each time increasing the spell's caster level by another +1.
Song of the Dead (DR312 p37) - Mind-affecting spells affect intelligent undead, but not mindless undead, constructs, or living creatures. Note: This feat converts the spell to a Necromancy spell, which may make it unavailable for a beguiler. Consult your DM.
+2 caster level adjustment:
Empower Spell (PH) - all numeric values of the spell (like number of dice) increase by 50%.
Reach Spell (CD) - convert a "touch" spell to a 30-foot range ray spell, requiring a ranged touch attack.
Split Ray (CAr) - cast two rays for a single-ray spell, on the same target or another within 30 feet.
+3 caster level adjustment:
Chain Spell (CAr) - Your spell affects a number of secondary targets up to your caster level.
Repeat Spell (CAr) - The spell you cast previous round is automatically cast again from the location you originally cast it, at the same target, without requiring any action from you.
+4 caster level adjustment:
Twin Spell (CAr) - The target takes the spell effect twice, and has to save against it twice.
[SIZE="+1"]Other useful feats[/SIZE]
In alphabetical order, here are other feats that a beguiler may find useful (suggestions for additions are welcome):
Action Surge (EC) - lets you cast 2 spells in one round at the cost of 2 action points.
Dazzling Illusion (CM) - If you have Spell Focus (Illusion), this feat adds a dazzle effect to your illusion spells, dazzling enemies within 30 feet for 1 round.
Exalted feats - Exalted characters can be difficult to play. If you go Exalted, you may as well use other Exalted feats that look good to you, for example:
Nymph's Kiss (BE) gives you +2 to all Charisma-based skill checks (useful for Bluff with the beguiler's Cloaked Casting), 1 additional skill point per level (as with humans), +1 to all saves against spells and spell-like abilities.
Vow of Peace (BE) gives you up to +6 to your AC.
Extra spell (CAr) - Learn an extra spell at any level lower than your highest spell level.
Extraordinary Concentration (CAd) - maintain concentration as a move or swift action. Alternatively, you may find it more valuable instead to take the Swift Concentration skill trick for 2 skill points at 9th level.
Force of Personality (CAd) - Add your Cha modifier to Will saves rather than your Wis modifier. This feat is worth taking if your Charisma exceeds Wisdom by 6 or more.
Goad (CAd) - cause opponents to attack only you, which may be advantageous with illusion spells.
Improved Feint (requires Combat Expertise) - makes feinting a swift action. Depending on your concept for your beguiler, this may be useful if you get metamagic spell enhancements, in which case swift feinting is beneficial. Otherwise, the beguiler spells don't require touch attacks, so this feat is unlikely to be needed unless you multiclass.
Improved Initiative - adds +4 to your Initiative check, enhancing your chance of taking action ahead of your foes to soften them up for your allies.
Insightful Reflexes (CAd) - Add your Int modifier to Reflex saves rather than your Dex modifier. With maximized Int, you may be able to swap your dice rolls for Dex and Con (making Con higher than Dex), but you would have lower bonuses to useful Dex-based skills.
Mastery of Faerie Enchantment (PE) - extend your enchantment spells to improve your ability to control the minds of creatures.
Mastery of Twisted Shadow (PE) - free blur spell effect when you cast an illusion spell.
Mindsight (LoM p126) - This is similar to Blindsense. If you dip into the Mindbender prestige class, you can use this feat to telepathically pinpoint any sentient creatures within 100 feet; useful magical darkness situations.
Shape Soulmeld (MoI) - gives you various advantages depending on which version you take:
Truthseeker Goggles or Theft Gloves - grants +2 on 3 different skills
Necrocarnum Touch, Kruthik Claw, Krenshar Mask, Lamia Belt - grants +4 boost on 2 different skills
Blink Shirt - for emergency escapes
Unsettling Enchantment (CM) - If you have Spell Focus (Enchantment), this feat gives your enchantment spells the ability to cloud opponents' minds even if they succeed on a save. They take a -2 penalty on attack rolls and AC for 1 round.
Most of a beguiler's spells are enchantment or illusion, but you also get some useful tools that include divination spells.
With enchantment spells you can modify the behavior of others, making them your puppets. Some spells are long lasting, so you can create multiple puppets. Others you cast on the fly to incite riots and give suggestions. You also have spells to dominate and compel your target's actions directly, although these spells won't let you gain information from them. You also have a good mix of spells that stop targets in their tracks (hold, stun, confusion, etc...).
Your illusion spells include invisibility, which is probably the most important spell to the beguiler, and its effect is improved with your Hide and Move Silently skills. You also have some image spells (silent image, mirror image, blur) that create decoys to confuse your enemies but require concentration. In addition, you have spells to ward off scrying and detection.
Useful tool spells include things like haste and mage armor. The beguiler also has an advantage over sorcerers and wizards with divination spells. The sorcerer must use up a known spell and the wizard must lock a spell slot to have access to a divination spell. The beguiler has equal access to his divination spells as any other of his spells.
Other useful tools include spells against magic (break enchantment, dispel magic, spell turning), area effect spells (obscuring mist, zone of silence) for combat or masking the party's movements. Freedom of movement lets you escape grapples, and glibness for boosting Bluff by +30 lets you get away with saying anything.
[SIZE="+1"]Advanced Learning spell choices[/SIZE]
A beguiler gains Advanced Learning at levels 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19, which allows you to permanently add one sorcerer/wizard spell of the Enchantment or Illusion school to your spell list, at up to the highest level beguiler spell you can currently cast. Because you also get new higher level spells at levels 8, 12, and 16, it might make sense to dip into a prestige class like Mindbender or Visionary Seeker to delay Advanced Learning by one level to allow you to take higher-level spells.
You don't have to take the highest-level spell you can learn. You might find, for example, that you don't want to use up another 3rd level spell slot, so you use Advanced Learning to learn a 2nd level spell instead; even some 1st level spells are powerful.
Depending on the level of spell you want to pick, you have many choices. Here are suggestions:
1st level spells are all you can learn at your first Advanced Learning level (beguler level 3):
Distract assailant (CAd) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Even though this spell is only 1st level, it can be cast as a swift action to render an opponent flat-footed in the same round you cast another spell. Useful for getting more uses out of higher level spells that would otherwise be consumed by casting invisibility.
Net of shadows (SC) (Illus(Shadow)[dark]) - blanket enemies in shadows, reducing their vision to 5 ft and giving them concealment (also usefull for hiding allies).
Power word pain (RD) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - deals 1d6 damage for multiple rounds depending on target's HP.
2nd level spells:
Power word sicken (RD) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Sickens 1 creature with less than 100 HP; no save.
Ray of stupidity (SC) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Target takes 1d4+1 Int damage, and doesn't get a saving throw. Useful against Int-based spellcasters such as wizards.
Shadow binding (SC) (Illus(Shadow)) - Entangles creatures in a 10-ft radius burst.
Shadow spray (SC) (Illus(Shadow)) - ribbonlike shadows deal 4 points Str damage and daze creatures for 1 round.
Tasha's hideous laughter (PH) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Subject loses actions for 1 round/level, from laughing too hard.
3rd level spells:
Heroism (PH) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - If opponents constantly save against your spells, you may as well buff up an ally.
Ray of Dizziness (SC) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Target can't take full-round actions, and doesn't get any saving throw. Ray spells are useful with the Chain Spell metamagic feat.
Spectral weapon (SC) (Illus(Shadow)) - create melee weapon that uses melee touch attacks; a subject succeeding a Will save takes half damage.
4th level spells can be learned at your second Advanced Learning level (beguiler level 7) if you dip into a level of Mindbender or Visionary Seeker beforehand:
Shadow conjuration (PH) (Illus(Shadow)) - Expand your spell list with all of the Conjuration (Summoning) or Conjuration (Creation) spells a sorcerer or wizard can cast, up to 3rd level. This is a huge number of spells, giving you many options. Creatures can get two saves, though: a Will-partial save for shadow conjuration (even if the creature makes the save, you still inflict 20% of the effects) and another save for the spell you are conjuring. Some spells have no save (such as the lesser orb spells) so the creature gets only the Will save versus your shadow conjuration and they still take partial damage if they succeed on the save. Some spells also have social uses: clothier's closet (MoE), greater mage armor (PH), regal procession (SC), and unseen servant (PH), for example.
Shadow well (SC) (Illus(Shadow)) - Send an enemy to the plane of shadow (removing him from combat); upon return he must save to avoid being frightened for 1d4 rounds.
5th level spells can be taken at third Advanced Learning by a single-class 11th-level beguiler:
Power word disable (RD) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - If you suspect a creature has 50 HP or less, you instantly reduce its HP to zero. No save.
Shadow evocation (PH) (Illus(Shadow)) - Expand your spell list with all of the Evocation spells a sorcerer or wizard can cast, up to 4th level. This is even more spells than shadow conjuration. Creatures get a Will-partial save for shadow evocation (even if the creature makes the save, you still inflict 20% of the effects) and another save for the spell you evoke - if it has a save. A large number of these spells have no save (15 spells from Player's Handbook alone, and even more from Spell Compendium).
6th level spells can be taken at your third Advanced Learning (beguiler level 11) if you dip into a prestige class that continues your caster progression:
Power word nauseate (RD) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - nauseates 1 living creature of less than 150 HP; it can do nothing but move. No save.
7th level spells:
Hiss of sleep (SC) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - One creature/level drops to sleep, comatose and helpless. Will save, but no spell resistance.
Solipsism (SC) (Illus(Phant)[mind]) - subject believes everything is an illusion (including hostile actions) and takes no actions, not even to defend itself from attacks.
Symbol of stunning (PH) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Stun all creatures within 60 feet for 1d6 rounds.
8th level spells:
Maddening whispers (SC) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Inflict 1 creature/level with your choice of hysterical laughing to prevent actions (as with Tasha's hideous laughter, panic to cause fleeing or cowering, violent hallucinations to go berserk against nearest creature, or a stunned prone stupor.
Mass charm monster (PH) (Ench(Charm)[mind]) - Why fight if you can convert your enemies to friends?
Superior invisibility (SC) (Illus(Glamer)) - makes you undetectable to keen hearing or smell, but won't work against true seeing.
Symbol of insanity (PH) (Ench(Comp[mind]) - Any creature within 60 feet of a rune you scribe becomes permanently insane.
9th level spells:
Programmed ammnesia (SC) (Ench(Comp)[mind]) - Erase or implant memories in a subject, bestow negative levels, rebuild a persona, and cause any of these effects to be triggered later.
In general, the beguiler doesn't gain a boost when multiclassed. The added benefits often don't compensate for the loss of skill points, but there are exceptions. While this article focuses on single-class beguilers, an occasional dip into another class can help, or you may want to stop taking beguiler levels and continue on in a synergistic prestige class. Most classes below can be taken only at high levels.
A 1-level dip into any class that allows you to continue your caster progression is extremely valuable because then, Advanced Learning allows you to pick a higher-level extra spell than usual. Normally a 7th-level beguiler can pick an extra 3rd-level spell. But dipping into a class like Mindbender or Visionary Seeker delays beguiler7 to 8th character level, which allows you to learn extra 4th-level spell. The Advanced Learning abilities at beguiler11 and beguiler15 are similarly delayed to allow you to pick extra higher-level spells.
Anima Mage (TM) with Bind Vestige and Improved Bind Vestige add versatility and metamagic interaction to the beguiler class, but you need to take some levels in Binder.
Divine Oracle (CD) requires 8 ranks in Knowlege (Religion); attainable with a dip in Mindbender. You gain access to the Oracle Domain (Spells and Power), Trap Sense, Evasion, Improved Uncanny Dodge, and at 10th level you can never be suprised. These abilities make you more rogue-like at the cost of some skills, but have good synergy with a beguiler. If you plan to take the Loremaster prestige class, this is also a good lead-in.
1 level of Fatespinner (CAr) lets you boost your spell DC by 1, once per day, without sacrificing a caster level in the beguiler progression, but requires 5 ranks in Profession (gambler) and 9 beguiler levels. A level of Fatespinner also has a similar advantage as the Mindbender and Visionary Seeker PrC (below), delaying the beguiler's Advanced Learning by 1 level, allowing you to take learn a higher-level spell than normal at beguiler levels 11, 15, and 19. Both Mindbender and Visionary Seeker bestow this advantage earlier; however, Fatespinner may be a good choice if you find the other class features attractive.
Human Paragon (UA) gives you improved Intelligence, an extra feat, more hit points, and another class skill, but not without cost: You sacrifice a caster level, skill points, and overall class progression.
Loredelver (RD) costs you a caster level, but offers interesting alternate class features without losing skill points. If you want to qualify for Fochlucan lyrist, you may want this.
Taking 1 level of Mindbender (CAr) at 6th level has the advantage of continuing your caster level progression and delaying the beguiler7 Advanced Learning ability to 8th level. A disadvantage is the requirement of 4 ranks on Intimidate, which is a cross-class skill. A Mindbender must also have a non-good alignment, so you can't take any Exalted feats (see above). Good-aligned characters might consider Visionary Seeker as an alternative (below).
2 levels of Prestige Bard (UA) costs you a beguiler caster level, but in return you cast spells as if you are +2 caster levels higher, you get compatible skill synergies, improved Reflex and Will saves, bardic lore, 2 uses of bardic music, +1 base attack bonus, and +1 beguiler caster level. You do need Perform ranks, however.
4 levels of Recaster (RE) is a good choice for adding metamagic, and extending your spell list.
Rogue - Small characters may benefit from the Evasion ability of a rogue or monk, which allows you to take no damage when you succeed on a Reflex save that would normally deal 1/2 damage. The quickest way to gain Evasion is to take two levels of rogue. If you don't want to sacrifice levels, see the Ring of Evasion in the Equipment section above.
Shadow Adept (PGF) is an easy prestige class for a beguiler if you take 8 ranks in Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft; the beguiler already gets a required metamagic feat automatically. In exchange you get a quick 3 free feats: Insidious Magic for foiling opponents when invisible, Persistent Magic which gives you a +4 bonus to overcome Spell Resistance, and Tenacious Magic to give your spells a DC of 15+spell level to dispell them. However, you can't have good alignment and must have the Shadow Weave feat, which is specific to the Forgotten Realms setting.
Shadowcraft Mage (RS) boosts your illusion spell capabilities; good synergy with the beguiler's Advanced Learning capability. If your beguiler is a gnome, the synergy of Shadowcraft Mage makes this class almost mandatory! The best gnome beguiler builds will involve taking levels in Shadowcraft Mage. See the builds below and the Shadowcraft Mage Handbook for more information.
Soulcaster (MoI) boosts the caster level of your illusion spells and offers soul meld, but otherwise compromises your caster level.
The Ultimate Magus (CM) prestige class is intended for characters having both wizardly and sorcerous abilities, so multiple levels in this class won't benefit a beguiler. However a 1-level dip maintains your caster level progression, giving you the benefit of delaying Advanced Learning by 1 level (as with Mindbender). As an added bonus, you also gain +1 caster level to all your spells. You need 4 ranks in Knowledge (arcana) and 8 ranks in Spellcraft to qualify for this class.
Taking 1 level of Visionary Seeker (PlH), like Mindbender above, also delays the beguiler7 Advanced Learning ability to 8th level -- with the advantage that you can be good-aligned and still take the Exalted feats for high save DC on your spells. You need 8 ranks in any Knowledge skill to qualify. You also get a +2 boost to Reflex saves. 1 level of Visionary Seeker doesn't confer any other benefit except letting you cast divination spells at 1 higher caster level. The beguiler gets 15 divination spells, and five of them would benefit from this prestige class: arcane sight, greater arcane sight, detect magic, detect thoughts, and read magic.
At first glance, Daggerspell Shaper or Arcane Trickster seem like good fits. However, the sneak attack ability isn't useful because you don't have damage spells, and Arcane Trickster requires mage hand which isn't part of a beguiler's spell list. Your skill and class features are better off if you remain a beguiler.
The beguiler is a class that can hold up very well on its own without multiclassing, becoming a top-tier PC with respect to power and flexibility. There isn't much one can do to enhance it and still retain the identity of beguiler.
No matter what you face, if you hit your enemy with blinding color surge as your first action, the worst that can happen is the creature makes his save, in which case you become invisible to the creature! You are now effectively "hiding in plain sight" and you get a Cloaked Casting bonus to your DC for further spells (including blinding color surge again, to be nasty).
If the enemy fails his save, he's blinded. You and your allies can now defeat him quickly! This is an incredibly useful spell. Just be sure to Move Silently away from the last place you cast a spell, to foil the enemy's chances to attack you.
The spells minor image, major image, mirror image, and ghost sound draw your opponents' attention away from your allies. Your opponents now have an increased number of targets and your allies suffer a decreased number of damaging strikes. Your allies can also get flanking bonuses from the images.
Images also serve as good "bait" for as many nasty traps as you can set up.
You can pick up the distract assailant (CAd) spell with first Advanced Learning to make yourself quite dangerous. You cast this spell as a swift action (basically a free action that you can take once per round). Your enemy becomes flat-footed until his next turn.
Not only can your allies now attack the enemy more easily, but you can still cast another spell in the same round with a higher spell DC, because your Cloaked Casting bonus kicks in due to your opponent being flat-footed! This is a particularly dangerous spell for your enemies, but pay attention to initiative order: If you to cast this spell just before your opponent's turn, he's flat-footed only long enough for you to fire off another spell, and your allies won't get the benefit of your enemy's flat-footed AC.
[SIZE="+2"][smallcaps]Key to sources[/smallcaps][/SIZE]
The full list of abbreviations is at the bottom of this page."Sources used here:"Show
Um... I'm not too familiar with Magic of Incarnum but it appears that feat requires you to multiclass your beguiler with incarnate or soulborn. Please help me understand the advantages of these classes for a beguiler versus simply taking Spell Focus (Illusion). I can see there are some interesting gnome racial substitution buffs, but am I missing something I should be see wrote:
Another nice feat: Shape Soulmeld (Illusion Veil) gives higher Illusion DC's.[/quote] Um... I'm not too familiar with Magic of Incarnum but it appears that feat requires you to multiclass your beguiler with incarnate or soulborn. Please help me understand the advantages of these classes for a beguiler versus simply taking Spell Focus (Illusion). I can see there are some interesting gnome racial substitution buffs, but am I missing something I should be seeing? -A
Um... I'm not too familiar with Magic of Incarnum but it appears that feat requires you to multiclass your beguiler with incarnate or soulborn. Please help me understand the advantages of these classes for a beguiler versus simply taking Spell Focus (Illusion). I can see there are some interesting gnome racial substitution buffs, but am I missing something I should be seeing? -A
The shape soulmeld feat does not require you to be an incarnate/soulborn/totemist it simply gives you the ability to shape one soulmeld. The primary advantage comes up if you already of essentia from some other source (being an azurin for example, which isn't an entirely bad idea) or if you ware willing to take another feat (forgot the name but it provides 2 points of essentia) you can get a higher bonus then spell focus illusion and greater spell focus illusion for the same number of feats
Another wonderful Beguiler build that gives them a bit of damage and survivability to work with is the:
Human Beguiler 4/Warlock 3/Eldritch Theurg 10/(any last 3)
Feats 1st Able Learner 1st Fey Heritage 3rd Fey Skin 6th Fey Power 9th Fey Legacy 12th Fey Presence 15th Extra Spell/Invocation 18th Practiced Spellcaster (Beguiler)
Able learner allows you to keep your rogue-ish skills maxed while gaining levels in the warlock/Eldritch Theurg.
The Fey feat chain is really all about Fey Skin which grants you DR x+y+1/cold iron where x equals the number of other feats you have that have a prerequisite of Fey Heritage and y equals the amount of DR y/cold iron you have from any other source. Yep, that is right, this will stack with the DR you get from both Warlock and Eld. Theurg to equal perma DR 10/cold iron. Couple this with fey power which is boosts the DCs of enchantment spells/abiliities and invocations by 1 (yes, it is spell focus: enchantment +1). Lather up both of these feats with healthy doses of once per day usable spell like abiliites like confusion, dimension door, summon nature's ally V, charm monster, deep slumber, and disguise self and you are starting to really get something out of this feat chain.
For Invocations I would go with: Least See the Unseen Baleful Utterance SIckening Blast Lesser Eldritch Chain Fell Flight Curse of Despair Greater Hindering Blast Nightmares Made Real Chilling Tentacles Dark Eldritch Doom
If you haven't read Nightmares Made Real, you need to. It was made for a character like this. Pop out, cast a spell, and re-hide while people are staring at you. Good stuff.
I might even pick up walk unseen if you really want to be invisable most of the time.
I think this combo has tons of potential and should be added to any beguiler guide.
That's more of a warlock build than a beguiler build, and I would hate being a level 8 character with only 2nd level spells, a 2d6 blast, and 3 least invocations.
No metamagic, tanked skills because of the theurge, the EB can't beat SR, the class progression misses out on deceive item, the cool warlock ability, and the better advanced learnings and I guess surprise casting (move action), which is pretty cool when you're forced into melee range, which is also the only place DR matters, unless every archer you run into forgets to pack cold iron arrows. It has worse HP than a straight beguiler because of the theurge.
Plaino beguilers are fine at surviving via defensive illusion buffs, get party buffs, and have nice disabler spells, all of which the theurge misses out on til high levels. Then again I really enjoy my pretty much straight up beguiler/mindbender.
Combat Charm is a nice feat from dragon compendium (preview w/ google) that negates the DC penalty for charming in combat. req wisdom though.