WHAT IS THE ARCANE HIEROPHANT? The arcane hierophant is a combined divine/arcane caster prestige class found in Races of the Wild that also advances certain druid class features. Much like the mystic theurge, it gives up some of the strength of each feature in order to access greater versatility. Indeed, it has one of the most diverse sets of abilities of any build in the game. A strong argument can be made that the druid (and in it’s own way the wizard) has plenty of versatility already and does not need more. There is truth in this--the straight druid or wizard may eclipse the arcane hierophant in terms of power--but this class still has great appeal for its impressive spell selection and other interesting abilities. It fits well in a small party, particularly if it is to be the only spellcaster.
WHAT IS THIS GUIDE? This guide is not a manifesto on all things druid and arcane; others have already written extensive guides to playing those classes singly, and done so better than I could. Rather, it addresses the issues and possibilities that come from this unique combination of abilities. Many things that work well for druids and arcane casters will obviously work well for the arcane hierophant, but if some twist is involved for this class then it has a place in this guide.
WHO IS THE AUTHOR? I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons on and off for over twenty years. While I build characters with the intent to “optimize”, I don’t consider myself a rules lawyer, and have likely overlooked many possible uses of the technical aspects of the rules. I still hope that anyone interested in playing the arcane hierophant can find information of use to them here.
SOURCES AND ABBREVIATIONS Of course, in writing this guide I am limited to the sourcebooks in my possession, so any major omissions you notice may simply be because I don’t have the relevant book. I will try to include more in future updates as sources become available to me. One major resource I used is not a book at all, but the druid guide by A Man in Black. This is an excellent guide that I used in developing the build for my own arcane hierophant and in many ways inspired me to write this text. Since this guide is not meant to be exhaustive, I recommend you also use A Man in Black’s work for your character. The rest of the text assumes that you have access to the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, Races of the Wild and Spell Compendium as a minimum. The latter book is not strictly necessary, but if you are playing a character this focused on spellcasting then it is almost certainly a good investment.
The following list of abbreviations is used in the guide, not only for sourcebooks but also for common terms. Note that references to the core books (Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual) are generally excluded.
AH - Arcane hierophant BAB - Base attack bonus CAdv - Complete Adventurer CArc - Complete Arcane CDiv - Complete Divine CF - Companion familiar CMage - Complete Mage CWar - Complete Warrior DMG - Dungeon Master’s Guide Drac - Draconomicon FRCS - Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting HoB - Heroes of Battle Mini - Miniatures Handbook MM - Monster Manual MM2 - Monster Manual 2 MM3 - Monster Manual 3 OA - Oriental Adventures PHb - Player’s Handbook PHb2 - Player’s Handbook 2 RoD - Races of Destiny RoE - Races of Eberron RotW - Races of the Wild SpC - Spell Compendium SS - Savage Species WS - Wild shape
In building your arcane hierophant you almost certainly have two scores that should be as high as reasonably possible: wisdom and whichever is associated with your arcane class (intelligence or charisma). All other considerations are generally secondary, although a good constitution is certainly important as well. Dexterity is nice to have as a reasonable number, but strength is almost certainly a dump stat. If using the point-buy system, I would recommend the following starting builds:
Intelligence-based arcane caster
25 points: Str 8, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 8
28 points: Str 8, Dex 10 or 12, Con 14 or 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 8
32 points: Str 8, Dex 10 or 14, Con 16 or 14, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 8
Charisma-based arcane caster
25 points: Str 8, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 16 or 14, Cha 14 or 16
28 points: Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 16
32 points: Str 8, Dex 10 or 12, Con 14 or 12, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 16
Of course these numbers are subject to personal preference, but they present a good starting point. If you really favour dexterity, you may want to find more points for it, and if you want your druid/sorcerer to have a better selection of skills then you may want a higher intelligence.
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, the following races might be considered strong options for the arcane hierophant. When selecting, remember that multi-classing penalties can be an issue, and anything with a level adjustment will completely destroy your spellcasting progression. In addition, penalties to mental ability scores are generally a bad idea, which can eliminate some races that ordinarily make good druids (such as the shifter).
Human: Hard to go wrong with human. Even more than other druids, the AH really struggles to find enough feats, and additional skills are always nice. Even races without any of the problems mentioned above are unlikely to offer abilities comparable to the human.
Anthropomorphic animal (SS): There are several anthropomorphic animals that have no racial hit dice or level adjustment and make good options for the AH, including: bat, lizard, monkey, rat, raven, toad and weasel. All of these have a wisdom bonus of at least +4, although they also have a charisma penalty, making druid/sorcerer a poor option. The best choices are bat and monkey. Both have druid as favoured class, and the bat offers +6 wisdom and flight while the monkey gives +4 wisdom and a normal movement speed.
Bamboo spirit folk (OA): This race provides low-light vision and some relevant skill bonuses. In addition, it lists favoured class as any and gets trackless step as a racial ability, which may allow entry without druid levels and provide other multiclassing options (see the section on druid-entry below).
Elf: If you take wizard for your arcane side, an elf does have certain benefits. You bypass multi-classing problems and the generalist wizardry “substitution” feature gives you some extra spells known and one more spell slot without really giving up anything in return. The extra weapon proficiencies can also be useful in the lower levels when your options are limited. The penalty to constitution is likely to hurt more than the dexterity bonus helps though. If you have the option to take the sun elf (FRCS), the intelligence bonus can help your arcane spellcasting and skill selection. Other elf subraces are generally not good choices.
Gnome: Particularly if you are playing an illusionist for your arcane selection, the gnome makes a solid choice. They have a number of benefits which are retained while using WS and the ability score adjustments (+2 con, -2 str) are well suited to the AH. Like the halfling, the small size is often a boon when in your natural shape.
Halfling: The base halfling from the PHb is a reasonable choice. When not wild shaping the small size and dexterity bonus will help your AC and attack spells, and the strength penalty is not very significant. You can also access the racial substitution level from RotW which gives some interesting options for your CF. If ghostwise (FRCS) halflings are available, the speak without sound ability is as useful as for any druid in WS. Stronghearts (FRCS) give up the bonus to saving throws for a feat, which is unquestionably a good deal.
Illumian (RoD): This race is one of the strongest options. They have any favoured class, some very nice bonuses from power sigils and words, and can even save some skill points with speak language as a class skill. The Krau sigil will generally give you +2 caster level to two classes, which is effectively as good as a feat (using practiced spellcaster by comparison), and is almost certainly one of your choices. Almost any other sigil combines well with it. Hoon applies bonuses to a lot of skills you are likely to use, while Naen helps your intelligence-based skills and can boost the save DC's of a lot of spells, and Vaul can help you pass those nasty saves. Aesh and Uur, while not generally very useful for the skill checks, could potentially be very potent when WS'ing into forms with a high strength or dexterity. If your DM agrees that it is feasible (you may have to explain exactly how you handle your spellbook as a dire bear) then using a 30+ stat for the purpose of bonus spells can result in a lot of extra slots.
Raptoran (RotW): While flight is not overly important when you can wild shape, it is certainly handy from time to time and the raptoran gets several other benefits, including low-light vision and a +1 caster level on air spells. In addition, the raptoran can take the dire hawk (RotW) as an animal companion with only a three-level penalty, making it an excellent choice.
ARCANE HIEROPHANT ENTRY The following is a list of class builds that can qualify for entry into AH. Note that most of the guide assumes you enter the AH using levels of druid with either sorcerer or wizard.
Druid 4/wizard 3: I consider this the most ideal build. Since you only need three levels of wizard to get second level spells, you can take the extra level of druid to meet the base attack requirement, giving you better skills, hit points, wild shaping, druid spells and stats on your companion. You could take the fourth level in wizard instead if you really want to focus on your arcane side. Qualifying as a druid/wizard also gives the scribe scroll feat for free, which can be quite useful for a number of situational spells from both classes that you would like to keep handy. [INDENT]Sidebar: To specialize or not? Whether or not to specialize is often a difficult question for any wizard. For the arcane hierophant, the loss of two wizard schools may be barely felt since you are likely to cover those holes with druid spells. For example, even if you give up abjuration you can still cast protection from elements and dispel magic. On the other hand, you have so many spell slots at the higher levels that a few more is not all that significant. Both the benefits and penalties are felt less by an AH, so don’t fret this one. The biggest reason I would avoid specializing is so that you are not forced to take one of your free learned spells from a single school at each wizard level. Alternatively, an elven AH with the generalist wizardry alternative feature is appealing.[/INDENT]
Druid 3/sorcerer 4: Taking the spontaneous caster on your arcane side does have some strong merit for the AH. Having access to another class of magic means that you may not find the limited number of sorcerer spells known to be much of a hindrance. It does force you to take four levels of sorcerer instead of druid, but at least it doesn’t delay your entry into AH. This build also requires you to have a good charisma score, while still needing reasonable intelligence for the skills you are likely to want, so it suffers from MAD in a big way.
Druid 3/warmage 4 (CArc): This combination doesn’t seem strong. The armoured mage ability is essentially meaningless since the prestige class offers its own version, so all you get out of this is warmage edge. A cleric/warmage/mystic theurge has better synergy. If you want to play the arcane side spontaneous, go with sorcerer instead.
Druid 3/beguiler 4 (PHb2): This option is much like the druid/warmage. You get a much more limited selection of spells from your arcane side although you do gain a few interesting abilities. Cloaked casting and surprise casting do not specify that they are limited to beguiler spells, meaning that you could potentially use them with your druid spells also. The larger number of skill points only applies to a few levels for you though, and the armoured mage ability is redundant with your first level of AH. Overall I wouldn’t recommend this combination.
Druid 4/wu jen 3 (CArc): Thematically this build works very well, since the wu jen has a basis in nature. In practice this means more overlap in spell selection than a druid/wizard or druid/sorcerer, but would still have an impressive variety. You also gain the watchful spirit ability, one spell secret, and a bonus metamagic feat, although you lose the higher level wu jen bonuses.
Druid 3/bard 4: While this combination is possible, you are really just giving yourself suboptimal arcane spellcasting in return for some bard abilities that will never advance. However, it is possible to greatly improve on this build if you have access to the Green Whisperer from Dragon #311, a bard/druid combination you can enter at 6th level. In addition, a bard build can include a level of sublime chord (CArc) at 11th level before continuing with AH, which drastically improves your spellcasting options. If you are interested in a druid/bard multiclass another consideration is the fochlucan lyrist (CAdv). This guide will help you create your build.
Druid 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge 2: Since it is possible to get into mystic theurge a level earlier than arcane hierophant you may decide to qualify this way, though it delays AH by one level and weakens many of your non-spellcasting abilities. You also need 6 ranks in knowledge (religion). If your focus is exclusively on spells this option may appeal to you, and you may wish to take mystic theurge after you have 10 levels of AH anyway.
Druid 4/wizard 1/blood magus 2 (CArc): There are a select few arcane prestige classes that use caster level as a requirement in place of a minimum spell level, which means that multiclass casters could potentially qualify early by taking the practiced spellcaster feat. The blood magus (CArc) is one of the few that offers some potential benefit without delaying entry into AH. You are required to take toughness and great fortitude (and in effect practiced spellcaster), and you will end up having to spend a few skill points cross-class to meet your AH knowledge prerequisites, but you do end up with a few handy abilities without affecting your spellcasting or druidic abilities. The background requirement that you have died and returned to life may be a problem though. Note that druid 3/sorcerer 2/blood magus 2 also works.
Druid 3/wizard 1/elf paragon 3 (UA): You effectively end up with only three levels of druid abilities and three wizard spellcasting levels this way, but slightly better hit points and a few bonuses from the paragon class, most notably a bonus to intelligence.
Druid 3/wizard 1/human paragon 3 (UA): Similar to the elf paragon, you essentially have three levels only in druid and wizard taking the human version. The benefits are a little more substantial though, with more skills points (including an extra class skill on all classes, which can be great for something like tumble), better hit points, proficiency with a martial weapon, a bonus feat and a +2 increase to any attribute you choose.
ACCELERATED ENTRY There are a few ways to gain entry into AH without gaining 2nd-level arcane spells through regular means, allowing you to qualify with druid 6/wizard 1 (or another arcane class). This allows you to enter the prestige class with minimal impact on your WS and other abilities. Note however that these methods are not universally accepted and your DM may determine them invalid. This is the best description of accelerated entry I’ve seen (I made a very slight change here to a source reference):
Quick advancement feats:
Precocious Apprentice (CArc) - as a 1st level arcane caster, gain one 2nd level spell slot & spell, needing a roll to successfully cast
Pros: comes from a WoTC splatbook
Cons: virtually useless beyond gaining early entry to dual-caster PRC's; massive debate on legality of use (will not be used in any examples)
Southern Magician (Races of Faerûn) - cast divine spells as arcane (& vice versa) a limited number of times per day
Pros: far more useful than Precocious Apprentice; comes from a WoTC splatbook
Cons: feat states that the spell's source of power doesn't change, leaving it up to the DM whether it can be used as hoped, although probably not (will not be used in any examples)
Alternative Source Spell (Dragon Magazine #325; check out some of the other feats in that issue) - similar to Southern Magician, swap around arcane & divine spellcasting at -1 caster level for that spell
Pros: none of the conflicting text that bogs down Southern Magician, easier prereqs, no limits to use per day, no debates yet that it works
Cons: not all DM's allow material from Dragon Magazine
NON-DRUID ENTRY Some players may want to build a dual-caster using a divine class other than druid. While mystic theurge is the obvious choice for this, arcane hierophant actually offers superior hit dice and skills and provides an armoured mage ability and channelling, though the wild shape and companion familiar abilities are likely of no use (and in fact by RAW forces you to give up your familiar, so you should look at other options there) unless you can access them through another means. The problem here is the stiffer entry requirements for AH, most notably trackless step.
As mentioned in the races section, one way to get this is by playing a bamboo spirit folk (OA) which grants trackless step as a racial ability. Whether or not this works is debatable, since the AH requirements specifically list trackless step as a class ability, but with a little persuasion you may be able to get your DM to agree. If so then the only remaining requirements are 2nd-level spells, a BAB of +4 and some skills. Cleric 3/wizard 4 can certainly meet those, as well as a number of other options.
Another way of getting trackless step is by playing an elf or half-elf and taking a level in wildrunner (RotW). The problem here is skill prerequisites. In order to meet them in a reasonable time frame you need to get survival as a class skill. The ranks in hide and move silently may also be tricky, and you will need 7 levels before entering wildrunner unless you also get those as class skills. Below is a list of possible entries into wildrunner. This assumes you are going cleric, though in some cases other options exist.
Cleric 3/wizard 4 or cleric 4/wizard 3: This is extremely tricky. If you take the travel or arborea (SpC) domains to add survival as a class skill then you need to spend 44 skill points by level 8 to get into AH at level 9. You can also get hide as a class skill taking the trickery domain, and the guerrilla warrior feat (HoB) reduces the cost of hide and move silently to 1/rank, so you can lessen the skill expenditure slightly.
Cleric 3/sorcerer 4: This might work in theory, but you still need a high intelligence to meet the skill requirements and now you have to worry about knowledge(nature) being cross-class. This option really doesn’t seem practical.
Cleric 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge 1: Like the cleric/wizard, but the skills are even trickier since you now need 6 ranks of knowledge (religion) too. If you can pull it off, it does give you better spellcasting.
Cleric 3/bard 4: While the bard spell list is generally inferior to sorcerer/wizard, this is certainly a lot easier to manage in terms of skills.
Cleric 3/beguiler 4 (PHb2): Much like the cleric/bard.
Cleric 3/wizard 3/seeker of the misty isle 1 (CDiv): This actually works quite well. Ideally you take the arborea domain to get survival since you get travel domain as a bonus. The seeker level gives good skill points and has hide and move silently as class skills, so you can take most if not all of those ranks in that level.
Cleric 3/wizard 1/elf paragon 3 (UA): Elf paragon gives you hide, move silently and survival as class skills, although having survival as a class skill for cleric makes things easier. You get some other benefits from the paragon levels, although you have a dead level for spellcasting (in addition to your next level in wildrunner).
Cleric 3/wizard 2/half-elf paragon 2 (UA): Half-elf paragon gives hide and move silently as class skills (but not survival) as well as 4 skills points base per level. This makes it doable, but like the elf paragon you have one level without spellcasting.
In all cases the above builds followed by one level of wildrunner can enter AH immediately after. The last five options above get all necessary skills as class skills and could potentially be combined with the accelerated spellcasting options presented above. If you decide these builds are worth the investment, you may want to consult another guide (likely a mystic theurge guide--anyone know a good one?) as most of this text won’t apply to you.
AFTER ARCANE HIEROPHANT The builds above gain you entry into AH at level 8 or 9, so after ten levels of this prestige class you will still have 2 or 3 levels to fill before reaching 20. The following list suggests classes to consider.
Druid: In a lot of ways druid remains your best option. Your progression in WS continues and your CF gains hit dice (if not familiar abilities), your druid spells improve of course, and your hit dice and skills from druid levels are likely to be as good as any other option. Your arcane spells remain static, although if you continue into epic levels then taking AH again will still allow you to reach 9th-level spells.
Mystic theurge: One of the more obvious selections to improve your spellcasting, taking further levels in this class make a lot of sense, particularly if you qualified for AH using it. A druid 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge 4/AH 10 has 9th level spells in both classes. Your other abilities are substantially weakened however.
Hierophant: This class doesn’t directly improve any ability you already possess, but has a few options that may appeal to you, such as bonus metamagic feats or the ability to share WS. The knowledge(religion) prerequisite may actually be problematic however.
Arcane class: In general this is not a good choice. An arcane prestige class is probably better than advancing your base class, but even then you are curtailing the core abilities you have developed.
One of the nice things about the arcane hierophant is a solid number of skill points, particularly for those who use an intelligence-based arcane caster. The following skills are of primary interest to most AH’s:
Knowledge (arcana), knowledge (nature): As well as being generally useful in the adventuring sense, you are required to take 8 ranks of each to qualify for AH. After that these skills are nice but do not necessarily need to be maxed out.
Concentration: You’re going to be casting a lot of spells most of the time, and may be casting many of those under pressure. You probably want as many ranks in this as you can have.
Spellcraft: If you have wizard levels you almost certainly want this maxed out for learning spells. Other casters may not find it quite so necessary but it certainly isn’t a bad idea, particularly if you are the only one in the party with it.
The following skills are also considerations:
Survival: A nice general purpose skill. You get a bonus on it from your druid levels so you may as well make it useful.
Spot, listen: Also nice selections, especially if you will be filling the role of scout from time to time.
Handle animal: This is a little different for the AH than for a pure druid since your CF gets a much higher intelligence score and becomes able to communicate with you, making this skill a lot less important. You could drop it altogether, though you may want it for the levels before you reach AH or for its other uses.
Heal: Another skill that can be handy to take in your druid levels, but is not a class skill for AH.
Diplomacy, bluff: If you have sorcerer levels you can take some ranks in bluff as a class skill, and you have the charisma to back it up. This also makes diplomacy quite useful, which is a class skill for both druid and AH levels. Being the party face may not be convenient when in wild shape though.
Knowledge (religion): If you want to take any levels in mystic theurge you’ll need 6 ranks here. If you’re taking wizard levels try to get them in there, as its cross-class for other classes you are likely taking.
Knowledge (other): If you take levels in wizard or other class that gets access to knowledge skills then they can be quite useful, but remember they will be cross-class for AH levels.
Ride: A good idea if you’ll be riding your CF much of the time, such as if you’re a halfling with the first substitution level.
Feat selection is perhaps the most challenging part of building an arcane hierophant. You have a huge range of abilities that you may want to support and its not hard to find feats that are appealing to you. Finding the slots to take them on the other hand is quite difficult. For ease of reference I have classified feats into sections below.
WILD SHAPE This really includes two categories of feats: those that affect your WS ability itself, and wild feats that let you use WS uses for other effects. The latter group is highly unlikely to include any that you really want given your limited feat selection, as other priorities exist.
Natural spell: Most AH builds qualify for this feat by level 9. If you are truly dedicated to only spellcasting and never use WS, then perhaps in theory you could skip this feat, but considering the importance of your spellcasting you certainly don’t want to lose it when wild shaping. Think very, very carefully before skipping (or even delaying) this feat.
Fast wild shape (CDiv): Some druids prefer not to walk around in WS all day, and are likely to use the ability during the first round of combat. This feat allows you to WS and still cast a standard action spell during your turn, making it worthy of consideration.
Lion’s pounce (CDiv): Could be useful for certain WS forms.
COMPANION FAMILIAR There aren’t a lot of feats that will directly improve your companion familiar, but there are some that warrant consideration.
Natural bond (CAdv): If you want to keep your CF at its best, this feat will add up to three to your effective druid level. A solid choice.
Companion spellbond (PHb2): While some may dismiss this feat without a second look, increasing the range of your share spells ability to 30’ increases your tactical options with your CF and makes a lot of spells more practical to share.
Aerenal beastmaster (RoE): Available only to elves from Aerenal, and applies only to baboons, but adds three to your effective druid level for your CF. Unlike natural bond the bonus is not restricted to your character level, making it useful right from level one.
BASIC SPELLCASTING Spellcasting is your primary ability, so feats that improve it make a lot of sense.
Practiced spellcaster (CArc, CDiv): This is a definite consideration for any AH, for one or perhaps both of your base spellcasting classes. Potentially you could take it for only one side and use that spell list more for combat buffs, blasts, and other spells that have more properties based on caster level while focusing on utility spells from your other list. If you don’t take this feat at all you are seriously hampering yourself.
Spell focus: This feat may be worthwhile if you like a lot of spells on both lists from a single school. Possibilities include evocation (call lightning, flame strike, burning hands, fireball etc.), necromancy (poison, enervation, finger of death) or perhaps transmutation (entangle, creeping cold, baleful polymorph). Spell focus (conjuration) is more viable than for a pure druid if you want augment summoning.
Spell penetration: This can be very useful for overcoming spell resistance, but remember there are spells that can have a more potent effect, such as assay spell resistance.
METAMAGIC Metamagic is a tricky choice for the AH. Having such a vast number of spells makes it tempting, but delayed access to higher level slots can limit its use. Most metamagic feats thus become useful at a later stage than for a pure caster but still hold much of the potential. The sudden versions can become very nice in that they are immediately useful, though only affecting one of your many spells. Remember also that rods of metamagic can fill the same role, but if you do take metamagic feats, try to take ones that are useful for both of your spell lists.
Blistering spell (PHb2): As well as increasing the damage of your fire spells (and you probably have a lot of them available), this can keep you and your party a little bit safer by debuffing targets. The adjustment of only one level makes it practical.
Chain spell (CArc): This feat is generally best when used with buffs, such as applying greater magic fang to several weapons.
Empower spell: This may be useful for many spells, but keep in mind that you can often find a superior version by taking a spell that is actually two levels higher. This feat is generally better than maximize spell, since its effect is nearly as good in most cases.
Extend spell: A nice feat for several spells, including buffs like mage armour or wraithstrike, as well as certain damage-over-time effects such as creeping cold. With an adjustment of only one level it is much more useable than some other metamagic.
Magic of the land (RotW): Not strictly a metamagic feat, but has largely the same effect. Given the number of buffing spells you can cast, this feat can add up to a surprisingly large amount of free healing.
Metamagic school focus (CMage): A way of reducing the cost of applying metamagic feats for one school. Note that it doesn’t list a minimum level adjustment, so feats like extend spell won’t increase the spell level at all.
Metamagic vigor (CMage): If you use metamagic all the time, this can make your spells a little more potent.
Persistent spell (CArc): A favourite of many spellcasters, though you will be exceedingly high level before this becomes practical. There will generally be little reason to take this feat before 18th level.
Quicken spell: It’s a long time before you can really use this (a druid 4/wizard 3/AH 5 is 12th level and just getting their first 5th-level spell slots), but it does make it much easier to get off your vast array of spells in a functional time frame. You could quite reasonably delay this feat until 15th or even 18th level, but it is certainly worth considering.
Residual magic (CMage): Another way of effectively reducing the cost of metamagic, though it may not be all that often you want to cast the same spell two rounds in a row. This feat does also help with magic item use though.
Sudden maximize (CArc, Mini): Useful right from first level, and can make up for the lower level on some spells.
ITEM CREATION This is a matter of taste and campaign specifics, such as the availability of time and other resources to actually make items. Given your daily spell selection, feats like craft wand or brew potion become less useful, and the typical AH should probably skip item creation feats altogether.
Craft magic arms and armour: If you really want wild armour or an animated shield and no other means to get it then this feat may appeal to you.
Craft wondrous item: The one thing about the AH that makes this feat appealing is the vast array of spells you have access to in meeting item prerequisites.
RESERVE Reserve feats are presented in Complete Mage. While the ability to cast effects similar to spells without actually using spell slots is nice, the AH is unlikely to get much benefit from them considering the number of spell slots available to them and the lower level of those slots. There are exceptions though.
Magic disruption (CMage): If you find yourself up against spellcasters often you may like this feat. The bonus to abjuration caster level may be significant on a number of spells (dispel magic comes to mind).
Minor shapeshift (CMage): This provides a variety of interesting buffs, including some extra damage for WS forms or a never-ending supply of temporary hit points. Best of all, it’s a swift action to use.
OTHER There are a few other feats that you may wish to consider.
Able learner (RoD): The skill requirements for AH are generally not too much of an issue, but this feat may be helpful for some (particularly more unusual) builds or to qualify for a secondary prestige class such as mystic theurge. If skill selection is important to you and you have a number of skills cross-class for AH then you may find this feat appealing.
Arcane strike (CWar): Given the range of buffs you have and the number of attacks you can get in certain forms, this feat can provide an extremely impressive amount of bonus damage. While arcane spells are a requirement, the feat description does not specify that you must use arcane spell slots to activate the effect (though you should confirm this with your DM).
Improved initiative: Going first is never a bad thing, especially for a spellcaster.
Improved toughness (CWar): Closes the gap in hit points between you and a pure druid, if you find it necessary.
Point blank shot, precise shot: These are an option if you want to cast a lot of ray spells.
Skill focus (concentration): This probably isn’t necessary even if you find yourself making a lot of concentration checks, since your concentration rank should be higher relative to the level of spells you are casting compared to a pure caster.
Track: Depends entirely upon the campaign and the rest of the party, but this feat may be very useful.
The following special abilities are ones that will generally be available to all arcane hierophants regardless of build.
WILD SHAPE Levels in AH stack with druid for determining wild shape abilities. Depending upon your build, you are thus likely to access this ability around level 8 or 9 and remain 3 or 4 levels behind a pure druid. Note that the wording in RotW is a little confusing, since it says that if you do not already possess the ability that you do not gain it from this class. However the sample character clearly shows the intent here is not that you need 5 levels of pure druid. This is the assumption made for the rest of the guide, but if your DM disagrees then you will have to adjust somewhat.
As with most AH abilities, this is a mixed bag. You are delayed access to the best wild shape forms and your BAB is lower than a druid, but you have a greater range of buffs than druids alone can access. The sections on feats and spells list some possibilities. You may also be using a large amount of equipment designed to improve your excellent spellcasting, which may make wild shapes somewhat less appealing.
The shapeshift variant (PHb2) should be avoided, since you lose your companion familiar and it prevents spellcasting, two of your greatest strengths.
ARMOUR The first level in AH allows you to wear druidic armour without chance of arcane spell failure. Essentially this means you are not entirely reliant on bracers of armour or mage armour spells, although spells have the significant advantage of applying while WS’ed. Note that the AH ability is limited to light and medium armour though, so even if you take heavy armour proficiency it still won’t work with dragonhide plate.
SPONTANEOUS SUMMONING Casting summon nature’s ally spells spontaneously still remains somewhat useful for the AH, but since you have fewer and lower-level druid spells than a pure druid it is less so. If this really interests you, you could still build towards it by taking augment summoning, which would also combine with summon monster spells if you choose to use them. The prerequisite spell focus (conjuration) could be useful on your arcane side also.
Another option is the spontaneous rejuvenation alternative feature listed in PHb2. While weaker summons tend to become obsolete as you level, easy access to healing of any amount is always useful, and of course you can still memorize summon nature’s ally spells if you want them.
COMPANION FAMILIAR To me this is perhaps the most interesting ability that an arcane hierophant gets. It combines the combat capability of an animal companion with the defensive and utility potential of a familiar, making it an extremely flexible and effective ally. Assuming you take only 3 non-druid levels to qualify for AH, the natural bond feat (CAdv) will give it the same hit dice and animal companion abilities as if you were pure druid. On top of that it will gain an intelligence score and the ability to communicate with you (allowing it to be more independent and take more complex actions than an ordinary companion), as well as getting spell resistance, delivering touch spells for you, and the like. You also have a wide range of potential buffs to add from arcane spells as well as druid, such as mage armour (see the spells section for more ideas).
One question that may arise is whether or not the CF counts as a familiar for certain effects, such as the familiar line of sorcerer/wizard spells. The RAW indicates that you must dismiss any familiar you have while the animal companion remains, which would suggest otherwise. The name “companion familiar” and the flavour of the ability may work in your favour here though, so talk to your DM for a ruling. Another oddity here is that the RAW states your arcane spellcasting class level plus AH level determines the familiar abilities your CF gets, which means that your arcane class doesn’t necessarily need to give you a familiar for this benefit. Check this with your DM, but if this works then other arcane classes have a little more potential, and even as a wizard or sorcerer you could take a substitution feature in place of the familiar without penalty (such as the metamagic specialist from PHb2).
Generally speaking any animal that makes a good companion will also make a good CF, so look over a good druid guide to help make that choice. There are a couple of extra considerations however:
Strong manoeuvrability will grant you the most use out of the deliver touch spell and channel animal abilities, so picking a companion with good speed and/or flight may be useful.
A companion with several attacks will usually get more out of the huge range of buffs you can provide.
The intelligence score of the CF can open up a lot of options if yours is capable of using tools, such as an ape or dire ape.
As you advance in level you have two basic options: you can dismiss your CF to take a more powerful one (with a lower effective druid level for determining special abilities) or you can advance your CF itself. The former is nice in that you can generally access animals with more brute force that can dish out serious damage. The latter option provides you with a lot more customization options however, and also gives a better sense of continuity from a role-playing perspective. If you choose this second option, it will eventually get access to a few more skill points than a normal animal companion. These points may be useful for simply upgrading its existing skills such as hide and move silently, but you may also find them useful for qualifying for feats. When selecting feats, keep the following in mind:
Improved natural attack, improved natural armour (MM), weapon focus, improved initiative, ability focus (MM): Fairly standard buffing feats that don’t require you to make extra decisions or keep track of things in combat.
Armour proficiency: You could give your CF armour proficiencies to wear barding, but remember that you likely have access to (greater) mage armour, making it somewhat unnecessary.
Weapon proficiency: Considering its intelligence, if you select an ape or dire ape for a CF then weapon proficiencies are certainly reasonable. If playing at the really high levels and your CF has a high enough BAB for several attacks then this may be worthwhile, assuming you can afford a solid weapon. After all a companion familiar hacking at things with a greatsword may be worth it just for the humour value…
Combat reflexes line: There are a few animals you have access to that have reach and a reasonable dexterity (such as the dire ape), or receive reach through a size-increasing spell, making this a worthwhile selection. The vexing and adaptable flanker feats (PHb2) may provide your CF with interesting tactics in combat (such as flanking with you while still remaining within 5’ for shared spells). If your CF has one very powerful attack then feats like hold the line (CWar) may also warrant consideration.
Dodge line: The dodge line of feats has some marginal usefulness for some CF’s, most notably spring attack if you want it to deliver touch spells on a regular basis. If you play into high enough levels for the +12 BAB, then bounding assault (PHb2) has its uses and combat tactician (PHb2) provides a little extra damage for pouncers. Consider expeditious dodge (RotW) as a replacement for dodge if your CF has a move of 40 or higher.
Combat expertise: Eventually (and this really is eventually) your CF will have an intelligence score of 13, allowing it to take combat expertise. It is a reasonable option to increase its armour class if you find it hits reliably enough (or in situations where defence is more important than hitting). Your companion is unlikely to advance far enough to get feats requiring combat expertise as a prerequisite.
Power attack line: Power attack itself is obviously a lot less appealing for a natural attacker as it is for a two-handed weapon wielder, but the use of spells like wraith strike (SpC) makes it a solid choice with multiple attacks. Any of the follow-up feats from the PHb may also have uses (some more so if the CF is larger than medium). If used with consistent buffing, this also opens up brutal strike (PHb2) for any animal with a bludgeoning attack (which includes bite) or flay (PHb2) for any animal with a slashing or piercing attack (almost all of them), although again these feats are far more powerful with a two-handed weapon. Leap attack (CAdv) is one of the most interesting extensions of power attack for many animals (especially those with pounce), assuming you can get the 8 ranks in jump, and actually combines very well with brutal strike and/or flay.
Cometary collision (PHb2) gives the CF a little more ability to act as a bodyguard. Pushback (Mini) may be useful in certain situations, such as moving opponents out of position to flank you.
Flyby attack (MM), great flyby attack (SS): If you take a flying companion then one of its main combat advantages is manoeuvrability for use with delivering touch spells, making flyby attack pretty much a gimme. If allowed, great flyby attack then adds some serious punch for a line attack.
Fleet of foot (CWar), powerful charge (Mini): If you have an animal companion with the pounce ability, fleet of foot may be very useful in giving you every opportunity to use it. The problem is that run is a prerequisite and CF’s won’t have a lot of feat slots to choose from, although some animals (such as the lion) have pounce and start with the run feat. Powerful charge provides another useful bonus and actually combines well with fleet of foot. If you have a larger companion already or use buffs to increase its size then powerful charge becomes more useful.
Multiattack (MM), improved multiattack (SS): CF’s eventually gain multiattack on their own, but if your campaign won’t last that long (particularly if you are using an animal companion that carries a hefty effective druid level penalty) then it may be worth picking it up anyway. Improved multiattack becomes a good additional option for any CF with solid secondary attacks.
Spectral skirmisher (PHb2): Really only an option if greater invisibility is a mainstay in your spell selection. This feat makes a lot more sense if your CF is capable of dealing a lot of damage with one hit or can interrupt an opponent’s attack with an AoO, such as with a trip. Overall though, it is unlikely to be worthy of a feat slot unless you have a very specific set of tactics to suit it.
Mage slayer (CArc, Mini): Requires two ranks in spellcraft (which is bound to be a cross-class skill), but can be devastating to enemy spellcasters, particularly if your CF is a strong grappler.
Rapid strike (Drac): The neat thing about this is that a CF is considered a magical beast, so as soon as it gets a BAB of +10 it may qualify for this feat. If it has a solid pair of attacks (likely claws) then this feat may go a long way in increasing their damage potential. With enough buffs, extra attacks are always a good thing.
CHANNEL ANIMAL/PLANT This is an unusual ability, and how practical it is depends on the situation. Setting up the magical conduit that allows you to channel spells has a range of touch, so you can’t just pick any animal or plant you can see as the origin point for your spells. You can certainly prepare some things in advance though, using your CF or another trained/charmed animal as a source for certain spells such as lines, cones, or other location-sensitive effects. Alternatively, carry around a couple of small plants and you can toss them into position (chucking a flower pot at the horde of bugbears and having it explode in a fireburst deserves style points) or use them much like a potion by storing a touch spell. Since the channel ability extends to line of sight and effect, you can have some spell effects go well beyond normal range.
One of the major questions surrounding any dual caster is whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs. Many argue that the highest level spells available to a pure caster of equivalent level are far more important than a second casting class, while others claim that the versatility and staying power of dual casters makes them effective. Obviously I am partial to the AH and fall in the latter category. Consider the following data, which compares the spellcasting progression of a druid/wizard/arcane hierophant to those of pure druids and wizards every five levels (for the sake of ease, bonus spells from high ability scores, specialization etc. are excluded):
As you can see, in the early levels the AH is outmatched in every way: total spells memorized, total spell levels memorized, and of course highest spell level. Over time though, the arcane hierophant pulls ahead in the first two categories. It is important that not only does the AH have more spells, but the total spell levels memorized also exceeds a pure caster in the teens, crediting the idea that they can pack more punch over the course of several encounters. The highest level spell available remains one to two behind until 20th level, when the dual caster also accesses 9th level spells.
Arcane hierophants also have one of the most impressive spell lists of any character you will find. The breadth and number of spells available to the AH makes them able to have the right magic for almost any situation. In addition, many druid and arcane spells stack nicely and provide some particularly interesting possibilities for the AH’s abilities. Below is a description of broad spell categories followed by a list of specific spells. Like other sections in this guide, the list is not meant to be exhaustive and there are many, many options that will be of interest, but if it interacts in some special way with the AH then I have tried to include it.
DEFENSIVE BUFFS Both druid and arcane spells can provide a significant boost to AC. The druid spells (and wild shaping) are most often related to natural armour, while arcane spells have several armour and shield bonuses, which means that you can stack a lot of effects. At 11th level (druid 4/wizard 3/AH 4), wild shaped into a cave ankylosaurus (Mini, AC 24) and with the spells bite of the wereboar (SpC, +8 enhancement to natural), greater mage armour (SpC, +6 armour), shield (+4 shield), reduce person (+1 for size, +1 for dex) and cat’s grace (+2 for dex) up, your AC is a whopping 46. Add to that spells like greater invisibility or greater mirror image (PHb2), and very few things will ever hit you.
This is an ideal situation in which you have the time and slots to cast several spells (some of which have short duration), but the defensive potential here is staggering. With the wild shape and greater mage armour ahead of time, casting bite of the wereboar in the first round of combat already brings your AC to 38.
OFFENSIVE BUFFS Similarly, druid and arcane spell selection covers a wide range of offensive buffs, many of which stack. A druid 4/wizard 3/AH 5 can cast bite of the weretiger and WS into a dire lion, cast heroics (SpC) to add a feat like powerful charge (Mini) or brutal strike (PHb2) to the mix, and then cast a wraithstrike (SpC) to resolve the pounce with touch attacks, maximizing the free power attack and still hitting with every attack most of the time. If grappling is your preference, cast a (quickened) resinous tar (CMage) on your target before moving in and then cast fearsome grapple (SpC). In either case, don’t forget your enlarge person spell.
There are also a number of spells available that act as a sort of counter-attack; only taking effect when you are hit. Typically you are better off using spells that prevent you from getting hit in the first place, since you do not have as many hit points as a pure druid, although a few are listed below.
TOUCH SPELLS There are a large number of touch spells that can be very appealing in the sorcerer/wizard spell selection, but most of the time the problem is getting either yourself or your familiar safely in close enough to use them. The companion familiar is much hardier than a typical familiar though, while the AH him(her)self has such a huge range of options that being in melee is entirely doable. Don’t forget that bite of the wererat (SpC) offers weapon finesse for free as well as a sizeable dex buff, which can make those touch attacks a breeze if you already have a good dexterity.
LINES AND CONES One of the biggest problems with these spells tends to be positioning. The AH has several means at their disposal to circumvent this however, making spells like this more tempting to use (much like touch spells). The most obvious is perhaps WS. Turning yourself into something small and manoeuvrable (such as an eagle, or better yet an air elemental) makes positioning yourself quite simple. Many spells can have a similar result, such as dimension jumper. Finally, you have the option to channel these spells through your CF or other plant or animal.
SWIFT AND IMMEDIATE SPELLS There are a number of spells that are cast as immediate or swift actions, you can take the quicken spell feat to apply to other spells, and there are even spells that let you store other spells to be cast quickened (spell matrix for example). If you are willing to burn through slots quickly (and at higher levels you have a lot to burn) then you can get a number of additional benefits this way. Many of these options are offensive buffs like wraithstrike, but you can add other buffs into your routine this way and even blasts or other tactical spells. Given the number of activities you are likely to undertake at any time, this is a very useful option.
METASPELLS Either directly or indirectly, spells sometimes interact with each other. Spells like true casting (CMage), assay spell resistance (SpC) or spell enhancer (SpC) act much like metamagic feats in making other spells more effective. Quick potion (SpC) allows you to use another spell to make a temporary potion. Escalating enfeeblement (CMage) has a stronger effect when the subject is debuffed in certain ways, many of which are routine effects for druid spells. These choices become particularly effective for the AH since you likely have the spell slots and a wider range of spells to combine.
SPELL OVERLAP In many cases the AH may have access to a spell from both of their spell lists, which can be a significant advantage. A wizard or sorcerer AH can still cast bull’s strength without learning it, freeing up other selections. In some cases a spell may appear at different levels for each list (the bite line from SpC is lower for druid than sorcerer/wizard, while dispel magic is higher), so you can access the spell a little easier on one side. Often spells may not be identical but similar enough to fulfill the same role (fireball and flame strike). This allows a great deal of flexibility in spell selection. For example, if you really like scorching ray but want to use your 2nd-level arcane slots for other things, you can memorize splinterbolt (SpC) in a druid slot and have nearly the same thing.
FAMILIAR SPELLS As mentioned previously the special abilities section, you would have to clear these spells with your DM. If you can use them though, it provides an additional set of spells you can use to buff your CF, and imbue familiar with spells opens a whole range of tactical possibilities.
SPELL LIST - DRUID
Enrage animal: The buffs provided by this spell are morale bonuses, making them easy to stack with others. You’d have to get permission from your DM to use it on your CF though, since it targets animals only and isn’t classified as a harmless spell.
Speak with animals: One additional use for this spell is to give an animal instructions to position itself for your channel animal AH ability. Be careful with this though; you may need to use a charm animal spell first to get it to cooperate, and sending a helpless little squirrel forward to cast cone of cold for you only to get fried by dragon breath may not be entirely fitting with your druidic reverence for nature.
Bite of the wererat (SpC): A solid buff for any druid, the AH may be able to make great use out of the dex bonus and free weapon finesse in delivering arcane touch spells (or having your CF share the bite of the wererat and deliver touch spells for you).
Heart of air (CMage): Provides an increase in fly speed for any aerial forms you assume, and combines with the other heart spells to make you immune to criticals. At higher levels you should have enough spell slots to spare on this, especially since all the heart spells are on both the druid and sorcerer/wizard spell lists.
Charge of the triceratops (SpC): Not many CF’s or WS forms have a gore attack, so this is a nice way to add an extra natural weapon to add to your buffed attack routine.
Dominate animal: Much like speak with animals, an additional option for this spell is in combination with your channel animal ability.
Heart of water (CMage): The swim speed is unlikely to be all that important to you (since you can WS into an aquatic form) but the freedom of movement is very nice to have available and of course it combines with the other heart spells.
Unicorn horn (CMage): The wording of the spell implies that the horn can only be used in a single attack, rather than as an additional natural weapon in a full attack, which makes this spell somewhat less useful. Its main purpose is to be combined with the other unicorn spells for some significant buffs.
Bite of the wereboar (SpC): As mentioned above, this spell is an impressive defensive buff, which combines for massive bonuses with the many arcane options.
Heart of earth (CMage): Probably the best of the heart spells, temporary hit points and an available stoneskin (without the pesky material component cost) are both excellent.
Meteoric strike (PHb2): A solid swift damage buff. If you and your CF are adjacent to share spells you may take some splash damage from each other’s attacks, but you may be able to get around this by attacking different targets, and the damage is unlikely to be all that substantial (remember your CF has improved evasion).
Bite of the weretiger (SpC): Like the other bite spells, an impressive buff. As described above the AH may be able to get great use out of the power attack using arcane spells like wraithstrike.
Heart of fire (CMage): The last of the heart spells, the speed bonus, fire resistance and fire shield effect may be useful. If you’ve got the others running then the immunity to critical hits may save you a lot of damage.
Magic convalescence (PHb2): This is an odd spell. Other spells of equal or lesser level may well outperform this for healing, but if you cast enough spells yourself (which is entirely likely given your vast spell selection) or stand near other spellcasters (whether friend or foe) then you may get a lot of healing out of this.
Unicorn blood (CMage): The immunities may be of some use and it provides some temporary hit points to another target. Sharing this spell with your CF you may be able to use it to give the temporary hit points to each other; better to make sure your DM permits this though. Note it also combines with the other unicorn spells.
Bite of the werebear (SpC): See bite of the weretiger above.
Chasing perfection (PHb2): While you probably have equipment to provide these enhancement bonuses, you may find this spell very useful when WS’ing as well as for your CF. The AH can make use of bonuses to just about every ability score.
Spellstaff: Useful for any druid in the right circumstances, the AH can also use it to store an arcane spell for future use.
As the frost (PHb2): A nice debuff for any nearby creatures (including allies, so be careful). Shared with your CF can force creatures to make two saves every round, virtually guaranteeing they will fail at some point, and the immunity to cold means that you will be unaffected by each other’s aura. Remember that the change to your type can affect which spells and effects can be used on you.
Unicorn heart (CMage): The last of the unicorn spells, the bonuses are not huge but you can combine it with the others for damage reduction, which is never a bad thing. The option to reposition yourself as a swift action could be extremely useful.
SPELL LIST - SORCERER/WIZARD
Blood wind (SpC): Allows you to make a full natural attack at range, and unlike many arcane spellcasters you are likely able to use this spell through your CF or a WS form.
Deflect, lesser (PHb2): If you can afford to burn spell slots on this, it can provide a substantial AC buff at the right time.
Enlarge person: Since WS does not currently change your type, this spell is an ideal way to increase your size (along with damage, grapple bonus and so on). The penalties of this spell are unlikely to be felt much given the buffs you have to offset them.
Karmic aura (CMage): One of those spells that only affects targets after they damage you, this one does have a short radius and is triggered by spells, ranged attacks and damaging special abilities as well as melee attacks, making it more likely to be useful. It also requires only a swift action to cast and combines well with the other karmic spells.
Mage armour: You can wear certain armours without arcane spell failure, which may make this spell unnecessary at times. Adding the wild ability to armour is very expensive though, so this may be a better option when in WS. Very useful for your CF also.
Reduce person: In most cases enlarge person is a superior choice, but this spell does improve your AC and attack bonus and may be preferable when attacking only with spells.
Resinous tar (CMage): As well as any other uses, this spell can make it easier to grapple an enemy when WS’ing into appropriate forms.
Shield: A quality spell for any arcane caster, this is part of the wide range of AC buffs available to you.
Spell flower (SpC): If you favour walking into melee to deliver touch spells then this spell may be useful. You should also be able to share the spell with your CF, effectively giving you more “forelimbs” to hold charges. Don’t forget that you can also hold beneficial touch spells in this way. If you happen to WS into a form with many limbs (such as a giant octopus) then this spell becomes more useful.
True casting (CMage): A +10 bonus on caster level checks can be very useful in overcoming spell resistance. While in some ways it becomes outclassed by assay spell resistance, a quickened true casting can still be very useful on area spells.
True strike: For those moments when you really need to hit, it might be useful for any number of spells requiring a hit check or a single massive attack with power attack.
Augment familiar (SpC): If you can get away with using this on your CF then it makes a nice buff. Because the 1 round/level duration starts after concentration, you can cast in advance when expecting combat.
Deflect (PHb2): As lesser deflect but gives a bigger bonus with no cap.
Electric vengeance (PHb2): Depending upon your spell selection and tactics you may not get hit often, but if you do this gives you a little damage for free. Unlike some similar spells it is a one-shot, immediate action, so you don’t have to spend time setting it up.
Escalating enfeeblement (CMage): The strength penalty applied by this spell isn’t that much bigger than ray of enfeeblement, but the conditions are quite easy to meet (such as with any spell that causes entanglement, and druids have many of those). The difference is more noticeable when the spell is empowered or maximized and has the potential to cripple an enemy’s attacks.
False life: You have fewer hit points than a pure druid, so the added safety of temporary hit points is often a good idea.
Fearsome grapple (SpC): A great way to improve the grappling potential of your WS forms. It’s also an immediate action to cast, making it much easier to get into your buffing routine.
Heart of air (CMage): See under druid spells.
Heroics (SpC): Getting access to a fighter feat may not always be a big deal, but there are times when it’s useful. You should be able to use multiple castings or other spells and abilities that grant feats (such as the bite spells) as virtual prerequisites.
Mirror image: One of the nicest defences around against attacks, this is an excellent option when in melee or otherwise under fire.
Quick potion (SpC): You have a huge range of spells that can be made into potions so this spell may come in very handy. If your DM lets you use potions created this way as material components for Tenser’s or Nightstalker’s transformation, so much the better.
Scintillating scales (SpC): You are probably walking around with a hefty natural armour bonus much of the time (and of course so is your CF), so this spell may be great against incorporeal and spellcasting opponents.
Wraithstrike (SpC): One of my favourite spells for any arcane spellcaster with the ability to deal damage in melee, share this with your CF as you both perform a full attack using power attack (possibly from bite of the weretiger or werebear) to the max and do some impressive damage.
Enhance familiar (SpC): If you can use it, this is a long-lasting buff for your CF. Competence and dodge bonuses stack well with other effects.
Fortify familiar (SpC): This spell is alright, although many of the effects are covered by other spells you are likely to cast and share with your CF.
Haste: The 3.5 version of haste made it primarily a buff for others for most arcane casters, but the AH can certainly make use of the combat buffs it provides.
Heart of air (CMage): See under druid spells.
Karmic backlash: Much like karmic aura, but exhaustion carries much stiffer penalties than fatigue.
Lightning bolt: The prototypical line spell. See the section on lines and cones above.
Mage armour, greater (SpC): Like mage armour but with a greater bonus.
Repelling shield (CMage): Like shield but with the knockback effect. This can end a creature’s attack routine against you if they’ve already taken their 5-foot step and can give you some options in battlefield positioning. Be careful though: if you want to engage in melee and your opponent has longer reach than you, this can actually be detrimental.
Tongues: The description of this spell says that the target is able to speak any language and make itself understood as far as its voice carries. Verify this effect with your DM, but this should allow creatures to bypass the vocal limitations of its species, making it possible for the WS’ed druid to speak with their party.
Unicorn horn (CMage): See under druid spells.
Assay spell resistance (SpC): Excellent for dealing with the spell resistance of a single target, and can aid druid spells as well as arcane.
Bloodstar (SpC): Between yourself and your CF (not to mention the rest of your party) it is quite possible to have a large number of effects and attacks damage a target, making the constitution damage add up quickly.
Dragon breath (SpC): This spell affects you by providing you with a breath weapon, making it a legal target for sharing with your CF.
Heart of earth (CMage): See under druid spells.
Invisibility, greater: An excellent choice to share with your CF, this spell provides good defence and an offensive buff. Pairs well with nightstalker’s transformation.
Mirror image, greater (PHb2): Fantastic defensive spell. It’s also an immediate action to cast, making it quite easy to get into your combat routine.
Polymorph: Well, here it is, the spell that has simultaneously been the source of much power and frustration. Your CF likely has a lot more hit points than a typical familiar would have, making them a much better candidate for polymorphing into another combat form. On the other hand, you may find this spell unnecessary given your other abilities.
Rary’s mnemonic enhancer: Like most other spells of this nature, it doesn’t restrict the class from which you can memorize or retain additional spells.
Sharptooth (SpC): Increases the damage of one natural weapon by one size category, which may be very useful if either you or your CF has one big attack. While it doesn’t stack with itself, it should stack with effects that actually increase your size (like enlarge person).
Spell enhancer (SpC): A nice means of increasing the caster level and save DC of another spell (from either of your spell lists). Because of the number of spell slots you have you can likely burn some on this, and it helps make up for the lack of higher level spells compared to a pure caster.
Dimension jumper (CMage): A nice spell for battlefield movement. Because it takes a move action with each use, it doesn’t offer the tactical options of the greater version, but can still be very useful. If you are permitted to bring your CF along with you, you can teleport them into an ideal position for their turn while still leaving yourself a standard action.
Electric vengeance, greater (PHb2): Like electric vengeance, but with more damage and the possibility of dazing, which can interrupt the rest of the target’s turn.
Enlarge person, greater (SpC): Enlarge person with a much longer duration, making it possible to cast the buff well ahead of time.
Heart of fire (CMage): See under druid spells.
Lightning leap (CMage): You’ll need to ask your DM exactly how this works. It is cast upon yourself, meaning that in theory you can share the spell with your CF for double damage. This is somewhat abusive though and unlikely to be allowed. One option that certainly works is to use this to teleport you to the other side of a target and have your CF charge up to flank with you.
Mordenkainen’s lucubration: This can be used to recall spells from either of your spell lists.
Nightstalker’s transformation (SpC): I consider this a better choice than Tenser’s transformation. The bonuses are more likely to stack with other spells and effects you have, evasion is always good, and 3d6 sneak attack is very nice with a lot of attacks (and pairs nicely with greater or superior invisibility). If you cast this on your CF then you get a good effect without losing your spellcasting.
Sonic shield (PHb2): Similar to repelling shield, but it does a small amount of damage and the AC bonus is deflection, which means it can stack with shield. The save is also a fortitude instead of reflex, which may be more or less useful depending on the enemies.
Spell matrix, lesser (SpC): This spell can be used to store druid spells as well as arcane, making it possible to add extra spells to your buffing or blasting routines. You have more hit points than a typical sorcerer/wizard and can recover them easier after using the spell matrix; by the time you can cast this the damage should hardly be felt. Essentially you are using two spell slots of lower level to get a quickened spell, which isn’t a bad deal.
Unicorn blood (CMage): See under druid spells.
Chasing perfection (PHb2): See under druid spells.
Imbue familiar with spell ability (SpC): Whether or not this works on your CF is debatable, but if you can use it then it is one of the best familiar spells available to you. Your companion can act as a secondary spellcaster for any number of effects and you have the spell slots to spare.
Karmic retribution (CMage): The last of the karmic spells, this one can stun enemies and makes the other karmic effects harder to avoid.
Tenser’s transformation: This spell is listed here as more of a caution than a recommendation. While at first glance it appears to make perfect sense as a combat buff for WS’ing, the natural armour bonus and weapon proficiencies are probably useless, the enhancement bonuses are redundant with the bite line, and the BAB--while substantial--is not as big as for sorcerers/wizards and won’t give you extra attacks. There may be times you want to cast this but use it carefully.
As the frost (PHb2): See under druid spells.
Brilliant aura (SpC): Between your WS forms, your CF, and the rest of the party, this is likely to affect a ton of weapons. Certain targets become very easy to hit.
Spell matrix (SpC): Like the lesser spell matrix, but with a greater acceleration effect. Unicorn heart (CMage): See under druid spells.
Invisibility, superior (SpC): Much like greater invisibility, but significantly reduces the number of ways to detect you.
Dimension jumper, greater (CMage): The 9th level slot may seem a bit expensive, but this is unsurpassed battlefield movement, allowing you to set up the ideal placement for spells, charges, full attacks, cover and so forth.
Spell matrix, greater (SpC): Like the other spell matrices but with even more acceleration effects and a contingency-like effect. Time stop is generally superior though for buff routines.
Time stop: An incredible spell for just about anyone that can use it, it also provides the AH time to WS and cast some of their many available buffs.
Well that’s the end! Depending on how real life goes (darn that pesky real life interfering with my gaming) I plan to maintain the guide from time to time. Future updates should hopefully include additional sourcebooks, a section on epic arcane hierophant, any additional nifty stuff I find, and of course any great advice the community provides.
Thanks for making use of this guide, since that was entirely the point behind writing it. I sincerely hope that you found things of value to you, even if you disagree with some of my choices.