Protected Casting (3.5e Optimized Character Build)
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This optimization is here to enable people to cast arcane spells in full plate. After all, you want to shocking grasp someone, you also want to survive the encounter.
Player's Handbook v3.5 and Complete Warrior
Game Rule Components
Race and Templates
The recommended race for this build is Human. Half-Elves are also acceptable, but they lose a bonus feat at first level.
This build will use the Fighter, Sorcerer and Spellsword classes. The duskblade might make this a little bit better, but you would have less long range spells. If you don't do that you should switch the first and second level classes. It would give you 8 more hp.
Toughness, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Improved Toughness, Improved Familiar, Empower Spell, Power Attack, Maximize Spell and Repeat Spell.
Spells, Powers, Items
I recommend that you get yourself some bracers of armor and a masterwork weapon.
We will be drawing heavily from the Spellsword's ability to ignore arcane spell failure chances.
I will create this build with the standard build: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8. They are distributed as follows: 14 Strength, 12 Dexterity, 13 Constitution, 10 Intelligence, 8 Wisdom, and 15 Charisma. One should have at least 6 skill points in Knowledge (arcana) at 5th level (enables Spellsword class)
|1st||Sorcerer 1||Toughness and Combat Casting||As Sorcerer.|
|2nd||Sorcerer 1/Fighter 1||Improved Initiative|
|3rd||Sorcerer 2/Fighter 1||Improved Toughness (from CW)|
|4th||Sorcerer 3/Fighter 1|
|5th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1||Eligible for Spellsword prestige class.|
|6th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 1||Improved Familiar||Ignore spell failure 10%, spells as per Sorcerer level 5|
|7th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 2||Empower Spell|
|8th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 3||Ignore spell failure 15%, spells as per Sorcerer level 6|
|9th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 4||Power Attack||Channel Spell 3/day|
|10th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 5||Ignore spell failure 20%, spells as per Sorcerer level 7|
|11th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 6||Channel Spell 4/day|
|12th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 7||Maximize Spell||Ignore spell failure 25%, spells as per Sorcerer level 8|
|13th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 8||Channel Spell 5/day|
|14th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 9||Ignore spell failure 30%, spells as per Sorcerer level 9|
|15th||Sorcerer 4/Fighter 1/Spellsword 10||Repeat Spell||Multiple Channel Spell|
|16th||Sorcerer 5/Fighter 1/Spellsword 10|
|17th||Sorcerer 6/Fighter 1/Spellsword 10|
And so on, so forth, choosing Metamagic or melee combat feats. Extra levels of Fighter can be taken in order to help with melee combat.
Now, some might think, "Why??" My answer is, "A high-level Sorcerer with the ability to wear Full Plate scares me. Why doesn't it scare you?" The Spellsword's ability to ignore spell failures is incredibly powerful. After all, it clears up the Sorcerer's main weakness, AC (that and health, but the spellsword's d8 hit die helps there). Also, the Spellsword has the best BAB progression in the game, which helps the character perform in melee.
The sorcerer levels can be replaced by Wizard or Hexblade levels. Wizard levels allow you to reach the requirement for Spellsword a level faster, but I chose Sorcerer since I hate having to prepare spells. Hexblade levels, on the other hand, take longer to reach the Spellsword requirement, but are generally better at melee, which helps complete the combat requirement of the Spellsword. (In order to become a Spellsword, one needs to be able to cast 2nd-level arcane spells).
If the character wears Full Plate, it still has a 5% Arcane Spell Failure chance (unless the armor is made of Mithral). Wearing a Breastplate eliminates this at the cost of some AC. If the character is wearing a Breastplate or Mithral Full Plate, he/she may take a shield and still have no Arcane Spell Failure chance.
(You can wear mithrall full plate and heavy mithral shield w/o arcane spell failure)
Make the combat required to be eligible for the Spellsword harder, therefore making it more difficult to complete this build. Players, in order to complete the fight, wear your team's fighter's armor and wield a high-damage weapon!
The Fighter level is there in order to make it possible for the character to gain proficiency with all simple and martial weapons as well as with all armor, since this is both helpful for the build and required to be eligible for the Spellsword Prestige Class.