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blah's Neverwinter Nights Sorc FAQ v1.0 ( 06/27/02 )
jcdoerre@unity.ncsu.edu

Table of Contents - to skip to a section merely ctrl-f and search for the
accompanying greek letter (case specific)
-----------------
1.) Race ( Alpha )
2.) Stats ( Beta )
3.) Skills ( Gamma )
4.) Feats ( Delta )
5.) Familiars ( Epsilon )
6.) Equipment ( Zeta )
7.) Spells ( Eta )
    a.) Zeroeth Level Spells ( Theta )
    b.) First Level Spells ( Iota )
    c.) Second Level Spells ( Kappa )
    d.) Third Level Spells ( Lambda )
    e.) Fourth Level Spells ( Mu )
    f.) Fifth Level Spells ( Nu )
    g.) Sixth Level Spells ( Xi )
    h.) Seventh Level Spells ( Omicron )
    i.) Eighth Level Spells ( Pi )
    j.) Ninth Level Spells ( Rho )

1.) Race ( Alpha )

There are really only two races to consider when building a sorc, Gnome and
Human.

Gnome
-starts with automatic Spell Focus in Illusion
-minus 2 strength allows you to boost stats higher
-starts with automatic Skill Focus in Concentration

Human
-extra feat gives you greater flexibility
-extra skill point every level

Basically, if you plan on choosing Weird (ninth level spell, see Spells
section) and are willing to sacrifice carrying capacity for increased hp then
Gnome is the logical choice.  If, however, you don't plan on taking Weird
and/or want more than two skill points a level then I would recommend Human.  I
personally prefer Human, but either race makes an excellent sorc.

2.) Stats ( Beta )

Strength: (8) You would assume that strength is of negligible importance for
the sorc, and initially this is indeed correct, however, as the game goes on it
gets really old not having enough strength to carry around all the items you
acquire and Bull's Strength helps only so much.  All that being said, I really
don't recommend increasing your strength above 8, it simply isn't worth the
points.

Dexterity: (14) Initially I assumed this would be rather important for a sorc
but the fact is if you're in melee combat then you're really doing something
wrong.  In addition you will rarely find yourself dodging because your armor
class simply won't be any good.  Boosting dex is still worth it, however, if
for no other reason than reflex saving throws.  I really recommend against
raising this above 14, however, as then it starts to become too costly to be
worth it.

Constitution: (14) Obviously an important skill for all classes con raises your
hp total which increases your chances of surviving when something does get
through your damage shields.  As with dex I advise leaving it at 14 because
after that it's not worth the points.

Intelligence: (10) Perhaps an argument could be made to raise this to acquire
additional skill points, but I really see no other skills worth investing in
that I can't get with three points a level.

Wisdom: (8) With my first sorc I neglected wis, and although I honestly didn't
feel very many harsh effects from this, I didn't feel that my high dex was that
beneficial.  I would probably recommend sticking with a 14 dex and an 8 wis,
but it's definitely up to individual preference.  In the end it doesn't make
that much of a difference either way.  The only reason I lean more towards dex
is because you are attacked physically much more than you are hit with spells,
and protection from spells is much more easily granted via spells of your own.

Charisma: (18) Obviously the most important stat for sorcs there is absolutely
no reason whatsoever to have this at anything but 18 to start.

Lastly, every time you have an additional stat point to distribute you should
throw it into charisma without any hesitation.

3.) Skills ( Gamma )

Concentration: In pitched battles a Concentration check can often be the
difference between victory and defeat or life and death.  A successful
Concentration check to get off that Premonition or Stoneskin will save your ass
when you find yourself surrounded by Slaads just as getting off a Time Stop can
save your entire party from certain doom when you suddenly come across an
Ancient Red Dragon.  Without a doubt you should pump this skill every single
level and max this skill out.

Spellcraft: This skill might seem less useful if you don't plan on using your
sorc to counterspell often, but it offers a bonus to all saving throws against
spells for every five ranks in it and is worth it for that alone.  This and the
complete lack of other worthwhile skills makes this skill an excellent choice. 
I recommend putting two points into this skill every other level, which will
effectively max it out.

Persuade: Your charisma is so ridiculously high anyway, why not put it to good
use?  I personally am a big fan of Persuade, but others might tell you it's
useless.  In the end it depends on how you want to play your character.  If you
particularly enjoy the roleplaying aspect of NWN then this spell is probably a
good choice for you.  If on the other hand you care nothing for roleplaying and
just want your character to be able to dominate anything a DM can throw at him,
Search might be a better choice for you.  I recommend putting one point into
this skill every other level.

4.) Feats ( Delta )

Must Have Feats
---------------

Maximize Spell: Far and away the most useful meta-magic feat it's a must have
for any sorc as it transforms your mid-level damage spells into awesome spells
of mass destruction.  It's rather nice to know that your Flame Arrow will hit
for 60 dmg even against a succesful reflex save.  In the endgame your strategy
will essentially revolve around Time Stopping and then unleashing as many
maximized spells as you can before the Time Stop ends.

Empower Spell: Nearly worth it for empowered Spell Mantle alone it also works
nicely for Delayed Blast Fireballs.

Extend Spell: Although I could certainly see an argument that this isn't that
big of a deal for a sorc I personally think it's worth it just for summoning
your Celestial Avenger.  Obviously if you take Gate or another ninth level
summoning spell instead then it becomes a moot point, so you'll have to decide
for yourself.  Extended buffs tend to be handy as well, particularly ones that
you really don't want to run out in the middle of combat.

Quicken Spell: The biggest problem with Quicken Spell is that only up to fifth
level spells can be quickened.  That being said it's rather nice to be able to
cast an extra Flame Arrow every round, or to throw up Improved Invisibility
instantly when you find yourself in trouble.

Spell Penetration: One would think that a +2 bonus isn't that big of a deal,
but in my experience this feat is invaluable and it would be foolhardy to not
take it.  If you decide you don't want it, and then find your spells are often
resisted, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Other Useful Feats (Choose Two)
-------------------------------

Combat Casting: Considering the amount invested in Concentration by 20th level
it will be very rare to miss a Concentration check, so perhaps you can afford
to skimp on this feat, but I personally tend to view is as a "better safe than
sorry" feat.  Perhaps it won't make a difference, but if you ever find yourself
dead because you failed a Concentration check while casting Time Stop or
Premonition you can just remember that you decided not to take this feat.

Spell Focus: Because I'm a Wail of the Banshee fan I went ahead and took Spell
Focus in Necromancy, it helped along the way with Circle of Death and Finger of
Death as well.  If you prefer Weird then you'll likely want to take Spell Focus
in Illusion.  If neither Weird nor Wail of the Banshee strikes your fancy then
perhaps you'll want a Spell Focus in Evocation.  Overall it's a personal
choice, and for some it may make sense not to take a Spell Focus at all.

Silent Spell: The only real reason I even consider Silent Spell is because it
allows you to cast spells at variable levels.  For instance, if you are out of
level eight spells for the day but want to cast Horrid Wilting you could cast
it at ninth level.  I don't really see this as that large of a plus, however,
mainly because most of the spells that you might want to do this with can also
be extended, which also is a level increment of one.

5.) Familiars ( Epsilon )

Each familiar has their own advantages and disadvantages, and in the end it
really comes down to personal preference.  The pixie is probably the most
practical in her ability to detect and disarm traps and open locks, but
personally that noise she makes gets on my nerves so I refuse to use her. 
Rather I've found the raven can spot traps just as well but doesn't annoy the
hell out of you with a tinkling sound.  Sure he can't disarm them, but that's
what Summon Creature I is for.  Lastly, if you're looking for any sort of
damage output out of your familiar than you really should go with the panther,
none of the others can really dish it out at any decent rate.  The panther
tends to not live that long, however, unless you buff him to hell.  I
personally favor the raven, but if you can stand the annoying noise I'd go with
the pixie.

6.) Equipment ( Zeta )

This section is going to be very minimal because there really isn't that much
to say.  There is no "best" equipment in NWN because every DM can create their
own items, which means you have to decide on a case by case basis what the best
items to wear are.  In addition you'll often find yourself changing equipment
situationally, with the main exception being charisma boosting gear.  In
general your first priority is boosting your charisma and anything that
accomplishes this should be worn.  The higher your charisma the more spells you
get per day and the harder it is for enemies to resist your spells.  Going
along with this any items you can find that grant you additional spell slots
per day are excellent and should be prioritized accordingly.  I've found AC
boosting items to be less useful than almost everything else, and generally
choose bonuses to saving throws and similiar items over AC boosting ones. 
Lastly I think it's important at higher levels to always keep an item on you
that grants immunity to death magic, or else you may find yourself dropping
dead on a bad saving throw roll.

7.) Spells ( Eta )

Zeroeth Level Spells ( Theta )
-----------------

Summary: Clearly you will take all of these since there are only four.  The
only two I ever found useful were Light and Resistance.

Recommended Spell Choices: All.

Daze: Relatively useless, perhaps if you are having troubles at lower levels
then you might find this of use, but I certainly never found any reason to use
this spell.  At the point in this game that the spell would function
effectively the monsters all die in one to two hits anyway, so it's rather a
moot point.

Light: If you can't figure this spell out on your own then you really should
restart the game with a half-orc barbarian and be done with it, that or go back
to Diablo II, I'll leave the choice up to you.

Ray of Frost: Essentially breaking the number one rule regarding cantrips
originally setup in first edition rules this spell does minor damage and is
enough to kill most creatures you'll find early.  However, casting this spell
from memory is completely moronic as the game grants you an unlimited use rod
during the prelude, which you should use for all castings of this spell, not
that it's really essential you be able to cast any of the other level zero
spells.

Resistance: The only level zero spell you'll find of use throughout your
adventuring career, it never hurts to cast this before you head into battle.

First Level Spells ( Iota )
------------------

Summary: At the start you'll be looking for damage from these spells but by
even the middle and especially the end of the game there are only one or two
uses for these spells.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Mage Armor, Burning Hands, Identify, Magic
Missle

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Identify, Mage Armor, Magic Missle, Protection
from Alignment, Summon Creature I

Mage Armor: At low levels this spell will provide a definite AC boost that will
help you stay alive while at higher levels it is a solid choice merely because
it can provide a minimal bonus and functions as the fifth choice by default.

Burning Hands: At the end of the prelude you are essentially third level
guaranteed, add in the fact that Burning Hands can affect multiple enemies
while Magic Missle only hits one and you have an open and shut case for Burning
Hands.  That being said, Magic Missle has different uses and after level 5 is
definitely a superior spell.  At higher levels burning hands becomes
essentially useless and I would recommend dropping it when you find it's no
longer practical to use.

Identify: In BG2 the popular opinion was that Sorceror's ought not waste a
spell slot on Identify, but in this game things are completely different. 
Without a party you either take this spell or be forced to spend the gold to
identify every item you find.  Not that the gold is a huge deal later on, but
it's much better to just be able to identify items on the spot, that way you
don't always have to take them with you if you don't want to.

Magic Missle: At level five this spell will really begin to shine for you and
will replace burning hands as your major attack spell, but eventually you will
find that it simply doesn't do enough damage to have any noticeable effect on
enemies.  However, I do recommend keeping it around as it works excellently for
opening trapped chests and locked chests and doors.

Protection From Alignment: There is simply no reason not to take this spell;
it's the only level one buff that will remain useful throughout the game as the
increased saving throws will save you time and time again.

Summon Creature I: You're probably wondering why I would possibly list this
spell as a useful end-game spell.  Well, admittedly, as vicious as the dire
badger is, his ferocity in combat is not the primary reason for summoning him. 
Rather, he works excellently for taking hits from floor traps.  If you see a
floor trap but don't feel like going to pick up the thief to disarm it, simply
cast this poor fella overtop of it and say a prayer for him.  Just hope the
SPCA people don't pick up on this.

Second Level Spells ( Kappa )
-------------------

Summary: This level offers your stat buffing spells and that's essentially what
it will eventually become used for.  At the start, however, you'll wish to
utilize the damage and protection spells offered here.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Ghostly Visage, Melf's, Resist Elements

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Eagle's Splendor, Endurance, Owl's Wisdom,
Bull's Strength, See Invisibility

Ghostly Visage: Early on this spell will save your life whenever you find
yourself swarmed in melee with enemies closer than you may like.  At the point
when you're using it likely nothing will have nice enough weapons to damage you
and very rarely will they do more than ten damage.  This spell will toughen you
up and allow you to survive if you find yourself suddenly surrounded, but it
certainly doesn't make you a tank and loses it's usefulness rather quickly as
the enemies get stronger.  The immunity to spells would certainly help, but at
this point in the game you aren't fighting many mages so it's a moot point, and
by the time that you do start fighting magic users they are casting lvl 2+
spells which aren't absorbed by Ghostly Visage.

Melf's Acid Arrow: The big stick in your arsenal when first obtained it quickly
becomes obsolete as it scales up rather poorly, taking way too long to do any
sizable damage.  It's one marginal use is disrupting enemy spell casters, but
concentration all too often makes that a moot point and you're going to want
them dead as quickly as possible, making the long duration moot.  It does do a
nice job of opening chests and doors later on, but Magic Missle works just as
well and there aren't as many attractive level one spells as there are level 2.

Resist Elements: Granted, there won't be that many enemy spell casters early
on, but there will be alot of elemental traps, and this spell will guarantee
you live through them.  About the only traps my sorceror ever got damaged by
were negative energy, and eventually even those can't do you any harm. 
Obviously, however, this spell becomes outdated when energy buffer becomes
available to you.

Eagle's Splendor: Self explanatory, charisma booster, casting it empowered or
maximized isn't a bad idea later on.

Endurance: Same as above, it's usefulness varies and in general it isn't as
useful as you might otherwise think, mainly because everything that's tough
enough to get through your damage shield will kill you in one hit anyway.  It
does help for fortitude saving throws, however.

Owl's Wisdom: Cast it maximized every day, it helps a ton for will saving
throws and can really save you.

Bull's Strength: As the game progresses you'll find yourself carrying more and
more items, and it gets rather annoying to not be able to carry any amount of
weight at all.  This spell fixes that problem, a definite must have for any
sorc.

Cat's Grace: Improved reflex saves and improved AC, what more could you want?

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Fox's Cunning: I truly can find no great advantage to artificially increasing
your intelligence with this spell, but perhaps others out there will have more
luck with it than I.

Invisibility: Such a temporary fix, if you need to turn yourself invisible then
you are likely losing the battle anyway.  Sure there is a place for stealth,
but that place is that of the thief, not the sorc's.  Thieves are stealthy, you
are a walking artillery platform.

Knock: Currently this spell is completely useless because every single chest
and door in NWN that isn't protected against everything can be destroyed, hence
anything you can pick with a thief you can kill with a Magic Missle.  Why take
knock when Magic Missle does the same thing and there are other useful level 2
spells.

See Invisibility: I considered it for a long time, but in the end there simply
aren't that many good sixth level spells so you might as well take True Seeing.

Third Level Spells ( Lambda )
------------------

Summary: Fireball, Flame Arrow, and Haste stand out here, with very little else
looking attractive at all.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Fireball, Haste, Flame Arrow, Dispel Magic

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Flame Arrow, Haste, Fireball, Vampiric Touch

Fireball: When you first acquire this spell it will become your main weapon and
will remain rather effective until about thirteenth level.  At that point it
remains a decent spell, but just doesn't pack the punch neccessary to be a
major factor.  That being said maximized fireballs still offer reason enough to
keep this spell around and it works great for opening multiple chests at once
that are in close proximity.

Haste: Simply a great spell, there is no reason not to select it.  IF for some
odd reason you aren't wearing boots of speed then you can buff yourself with
this but much more often I use it to buff my minions.  If a Celestial Avenger
is fine then a hasted Celestial Avenger is divine.

Fire Arrow: Probably the most under-rated spell in your arsenal and the only
low level damage spell that will remain useful all the way up to 20.  A
maximized Fire Arrow will always do sizable damage because it scales up in
arrows all the way up to level 20, at which point it does 120 if they fail the
reflex save and 60 even if they succeed.  That being said, at early levels
Fireball is a better choice because it affects more creatures and scales up
every level, rather than every four.

Dispel Magic: Early on this spell is the only means to strip enemy mages of
their protections but obviously later level spells accomplish the same thing
with superior results.

Vampiric Touch: Extra HP, no saving throw, what isn't to like.  Sure you have
to succeed with a touch attack but your strength should be buffed and it
shouldn't be that difficult.  Vampiric Touch + Timestop = HP Galore.  Note that
you really don't ever want to cast this spell other than maximized, as it's a
waste to succeed at a touch attack and not get max hp from it.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Lightning Bolt: Usually won't hit as many targets as Fireball and does the same
damage, I can see no logical reason to select it unless you just happen to like
lightning and think this spell looks cool, which it admittedly does.

Magic Circle Against Alignment:  Personally, I see no advantage over the level
one spell.  In a multiplayer setting you can just cast the level one spell as
many times as neccessary, unless you have a rather large party it won't become
an issue, and for large parties you should have at least one other spell caster
to help you with buffs.  This really should be the job of the cleric anyway,
buffing is hardly the domain of a sorc.  Let the wizard or cleric handle group
buffs, your first job always remains to unleash hell on anything that moves. 
As for the mind-affecting spell immunity, I'm unwilling to bank on it merely
because neutral creatures could still nail you so you'll have to invest in
Lesser Mind Blank anyway.

Protection From Elements: The extra ten points is negligible early on and later
on Energy Buffer surpasses it in every way.

Slow: I truly wish you luck in getting this to hit consistently on any
creatures that you would actually need it against.  Hasting your entire party
is a much better solution as they won't try and save against it.  As a level
three spell the chances of this one sticking on later creatures is very, very,
very low.

Invisibility Sphere: I think I covered my disdain for the whole "sneaking
around" thing when addressing Invisibility.  You aren't a thief, don't try to
be one, it's a waste of time and spell slots.

Detect Traps: That's what thieves are for, besides, you have to go around
constantly casting this to put it to any use, and chests you can just as easily
destroy as checking to see if they are trapped.

Fourth Level Spells ( Mu )
-------------------

Summary: Initially these spells will be rather nice but as you level very few
will prove to have any long term use.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Stoneskin, Ice Storm, Lesser Spell Breach

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Ice Storm, Improved Invisibility, Elemental
Shield, Enervation

Stoneskin: Finally, your first complete physical damage reduction spell.  Early
on this spell is a saviour and casting it on you and your merc at the start of
each day is a given.  Clearly this spell gets replaced by Greater Stoneskin and
Premonition, but it's very nice till then, and is worth keeping around even at
mid-levels just to buff your merc.

Ice Storm: Although the damage on this spell is rather low comparatively, the
lack of any saving throw makes it worth it and maximized Ice Storms work
wonders when you've run out of maximized Cones of Cold.

Lesser Spell Breach: This spell represents your first anti-protection spell and
generally is more effective than Dispel Magic.  As with Dispel Magic it
obviously becomes obsolete as you level and get more advanced spells.

Improved Invisibility: Although I generally regard invisibility spells as
rather useless for a spell caster this one grants a continual bonus even after
you act, therefore it's worth taking and is actually a rather useful spell
later on.

Elemental Shield: The manual lists this spell as fifth level, but it is indeed
a fourth level spell.  This reminds me somewhat of Ice Bolt which Blizz
originally had listed incorrectly in all documentation as for some reason it
was the only spell tagged at 8th level.  Regardless, this is a quality spell
that can really save you and is worth it for the 50% resistance to fire/cold. 
The damage done to melee attackers is just a nice bonus, but not very useful
later on.

Enervation: Maximized Enervation is fun for the whole family, besides, there
aren't any other useful level four spells.  Sure I guess you could keep
Stoneskin around, but buffing your summon with it won't really do that much to
help them and you can always resummon a new one anyway.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Bestow Curse: Enervation is better in every way...

Evard's Black Tentacles: Sure it looks cool, but boy does it kill your fps. 
Add in the fact that the damage is negligible and it doesn't scale up as you
scale up in levels and it's relatively useless.

Wall of Fire: Again, if it scaled up as you leveled maybe I'd consider it.

Remove Curse: You aren't a cleric, so don't try and do his job, save your
spells for what you're good at, and if you need healing go see a cleric (or
drink a potion).

Phantasmal Killer: Early on this spell might actually hit, but at that point
most enemies will drop in one or two spells anyway, so why bother only
targeting one at a time when your fourth level castings can be much more
effective casting Ice Storm and Stoneskin.  Later on it will be very rare for
anything to fail both a will and fort saving throw.

Fear: Sure you could make them run away, but then you just have to chase them
down...

Fifth Level Spells ( Nu )
------------------

Summary: The first level of spells that really starts to have long term
application this level offers two of your major spells that you will use
throughout your career as a sorc.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Cone of Cold, Lesser Spell Mantle, Energy
Buffer

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Cone of Cold, Energy Buffer, Dismissal, Lesser
Mind Blank

Cone of Cold: Right from the start this becomes your major damage spell, and
later on maximized Cones of Cold during Timestops will be your main method of
damage.

Lesser Spell Mantle: The application and use of this spell is rather obvious,
it will save you from enemy mages early on.  As with other spells, however, it
will become outdated when you gain higher level spells.

Energy Buffer: Your highest elemental damage absorbsion spell you'll keep on
using this for the rest of your adventuring career.

Dismissal: This spell is rather self-explanatory.  The only time I really find
it of any use is when an enemy mage decides he wants to summon a Balor, pretty
much anything else can be killed just as easily as dismissed.  Nine times out
of ten, however, it's just as easy to kill the enemy mage.

Lesser Mind Blank: Again, it's of rather limited use but it's a good idea to
throw it on yourself before any major battle just so you don't find your sorc
deciding they'd rather fight for the other team.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Cloudkill: Useless, any creatures that are actually difficult to kill won't be
affected by this spell.

Dominate Person: Why bother charming them when you can just kill them.

Feeblemind: What a horrible spell, there's really nothing else I can say about
this one.  If you actually get a caster to fail a saving throw I'd much rather
have it be to a spell that actually does something productive.

Hold Monster: Again, why not just kill them.

Mind Fog: It seems like it'd be an okay spell, but then you realize that they
have to fail the initial saving throw in order to be affected, so why not just
cast another spell initially.

Sixth Level Spells ( Xi )
------------------

Summary: This level offers more quality spells that continue to serve you
throughout the game and is one of the first where spell selection becomes truly
difficult.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Greater Stoneskin, Circle of Death, Greater
Spell Breach

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Chain Lightning, Globe of Invulnerability,
True Seeing

Greater Stoneskin: Finally you get your upgrade to Stoneskin, but for a bit
it's best to keep Stoneskin and Greater Stoneskin memorized, as casting
Stoneskin on your merc before you head into battle works wonders.

Circle of Death: Until enemies begin to consistently save against this spell,
and/or are immune to it, it will represent a quick way to wipe out the majority
of a large enemy force.  Quickly after it's obtained however, its use runs out.

Greater Spell Breach: An upgraded version of Lesser Spell Breach, you can
either pick this up and free up another fourth level spell slot or go with
something else, I personally recommend picking it up as it as a rather marked
improvement over Lesser Spell Breach.

Chain Lightning: Although I'm not a huge Chain Lightning fan on the rare
occasion that some crazy dm out there decides to create something resistant to
fire and ice, this will come through for you, and maximized chain lightning can
do some damage to a group that's rather spread out and impossible to all hit
with a Cone of Cold.

Globe of Invulnerability: Is it neccessarily needed, no, but it's nice to have
and there's no reason to take any other sixth level spells over it.

True Seeing: Kind of sucks to burn a slot on it, but it's neccessary for
battling thieves and others who like to hide themselves.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Ethereal Visage: Other damage shields are much more effective and it's
certainly not worth it just for immunity to first and second level spells.

Mass Haste: Cast Haste multiple times, problem solved.

Seventh Level Spells ( Omicron )
--------------------

Summary: A good selection of spells, still, however, you'll find the initial
spells you take won't be the ones you'll want in the long term.

Recommended Early Spell Choices: Finger of Death, Mordenkainen's Sword, Delayed
Blast Fireball

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Delayed Blast Fireball, Spell Mantle, Shadow
Shield

Finger of Death: What fun this spell is when you first get it.  It's very rare
for enemies to actually save against it initially, but later on this becomes
much more common.  It won't stay in your arsenal for long, but it was one of my
favorites while it was there.

Mordenkainen's Sword: The first summon I actually recommend for combat, the
summoned helmed horror can hold his own against pretty much anything,
especially if he's buffed with Haste and Stoneskin.

Delayed Blast Fireball: Initially this spell isn't any better than others in
your arsenal but as you continue to level it becomes more and more useful. 
This spell is also excellent for setting up four or five of them in an area
then luring a creature into it.  I can remember one dragon going down
completely to just such a trap.

Spell Mantle: An empowered Spell Mantle is superior to a Greater Spell Mantle
so pickup up Spell Mantle here allows you to free up a ninth level spell slot
for something else.

Shadow Shield: It's a tough call on whether this spell or Protection From
Spells is superior for your last slot, but in the end I decided on this spell
because it helps protect against negative energy traps as well as allowing you
to not have to always wear an item that grants you immunity to death magic,
although it's still not a bad idea.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Protection from Spells: An excellent spell, without a doubt, but considering
you ought to have a spell mantle up at all times it isn't incredibly useful in
most situations.  If not for the ability to be immune to death magic this spell
would be alot more valuable.

Prismatic Spray: It's definitely a neat idea for a spell, unfortunately it's
just not very practical and not very useful.  The damage isn't consistent
enough to waste a seventh level spell slot and the random effects are almost
always resisted.

Eighth Level Spells ( Pi )
-------------------

Summary: For the second highest level they sure don't have many quality spells.
 I find myself wishing I could take an additional level seven spell and scrap
one of my eighth level ones.  That being said, the three to take are pretty
clear cut.

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Premonition, Horrid Wilting, Greater Planar
Binding

Premonition: Finally you get your best damage shield and it definitely was
worth the wait.  Although it still falls rather quickly when you find yourself
surrounded by Fire Giants, it is pretty much the only thing between your sorc
and a quick one hit death.

Horrid Wilting: This looks to be in theory an excellent spell, and indeed it is
very nice, but it isn't as useful as one may think, mainly because it doesn't
apply it's damage very quickly and can't be stacked during a Time Stop.  That
being said, it still does nice damage and is definitely worth a slot.

Greater Planar Binding: Your replacement for Mordenkainen's Sword this spell
summons a Celestial Avenger for a good character, and he is a very able
warrior.  When hasted he seems to dish out a rather healthy quantity of pain. 
You could also theoretically use this spell to paralyze an outsider, but as of
yet I've always just preferred killing them straight out.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Create Undead: Maybe you just like the idea of an undead servant following you
around, if so, this spell is for you.  To me, it really doesn't matter and I
prefer the Celestial Avenger.

Incendiary Cloud: Damage over time is all fine and dandy, but considering most
enemies won't live through a Time Stop it becomes a moot point.

Ninth Level Spells ( Rho )
------------------

Summary: The pinnacle of your arcane achievements, ninth level spells indeed
deliver as promised.

Recommended Final Spell Choices: Time Stop, Wail of the Banshee, Mordenkainen's
Disjunction

Time Stop: The ultimate spell in any mage's arsenal this spell is a must have,
period.  Once you get this one the only challenge left in the game will be
efficient use of your spells per day.

Wail of the Banshee: A great way to soften up a room this spell will usually
kill a minimum of fifty percent on the spot.  Against weaker enemies it's
almost guaranteed to wipe out the entire group.  Some would argue that Weird
would be more effective due to it being a will save, but I'd prefer to wipe out
spell casters so I chose this over Weird.

Mordenkainen's Disjunction: It slices, it dices, it even does your laundry! 
This spell is pretty much the panacea to all your troubles with enemy defenses.
 It breaches spell defenses, strips buffs, and even lowers spell resistance,
I'm not sure what more you could want in a spell.

Notable Spells I Didn't Take:

Energy Drain: Certainly an excellent spell, but a maximized Enervate would seem
to be a better bet.

Gate: There's no doubt a Balor can tear some shit up, but in the end I decided
it wasn't worth a level nine spell slot for a small improvement over my
Celestial Avenger.

Greater Spell Mantle: An empowered Spell Mantle is superior in every way,
*shrug*.

Meteor Swarm: Certainly an excellent spell, but you can't maximize it and other
spells will almost always do more damage.

Shapechange: Very neat spell, but at level 20 I slaughter Dragons and Balors,
and I won't even talk about what kind of abuse I hand out to Slaads, so why
would I ever want to change into one of them.

Weird: As I covered under my discussion of Wail of the Banshee I prefer the
fort save so that casters will fail it more often, but some might prefer Weird,
to each his own.  I do think that the damage Weird does is negligible, so don't
make your decision based on that.