In all the parties below, I have given a description of how the party will perform, but I am sure that there are many other parties that are good and successful. If anyone has a party (and a description of that party) that they have played or know of then feel free to email me.
All chars assumed to be a member of artisan's guild, and it is assumed that all characters will progress using MaxHP rules(found in your first character section). The guilds that are character is in are listed in decreasing importance, and hence comparable levels. It is also wise that all characters become guild master in all the guilds that they are a member of to acquire a guild crest. Guild crests are extremely powerful, and if each character has a guild crest for every guild they are in, the strength of the party will be increased considerably.
Some thoughts from Tiburon
First: In my experience, it is painfully slow to level a party. Yes, a party of 4 can venture deeper and get XPs a little faster due to depth, but not *that* much deeper. You're still bound by such factors as weapons resistance and specific spell resistances (such as stoning obviously for 5, then mental/electrical for 14-15). So, IMO, you do NOT want 3 guilds for any character, with one possible exception (thief).
Also: 2 pure thieves is one too many. The second thief will rarely use those skills. Granted, you can plan on splitting the mana costs on locked chests among 2, but this can be managed in other ways that cost a lot less.
My current party:
1) Good Elf Paladin, Sorcerer
2) Good Human Ninja, Mage
3) Neutral Dwarf Warrior, Cleric
4) Neutral Saris Thief, Explorer
The party has balance; all 4 characters are good in combat (even the saris is ok, because it has both backstabs and crits). All 4 have a use for their mana. All 4 can actually be the lead, to balance out earning xp's; note that for most things, it doesn't matter where the explorer perception is. Does matter for spinners and teleports, though; recovering a bit faster from being lost.
The combos are also designed to maximize effectiveness. Mage is a *poor* combat spellcaster overall; thus, it's put with the best melee class, as I want to use those swings. Paladin is not a bad fighting class, but considerably weaker than warrior or ninja, so it gets my #1 blasting spell guild, sorcerer. I'm also using an elf for the blaster mage because the elf has more mana to use. A yeti could be a warrior/sorcerer, more effective in melee, but losing quite a bit of mana, and if Lok's evidence that Int/Wis does affect spell damage IS correct, effectiveness.
Arguably, you could drop mage and go ninja/warlock. If you go this route, then if you really want mage to handle those annoying Return With quests...plan on taking mage to guildmaster level, then only running it when you get one of em. Who gets mage? I'd put it on the first character you send out into the dungeon, to be fetching tomes/potions for the others. Probably the best choice is the ninja; he can most afford to lose a few HP's early on because he'll have those warlock levels later.
The slot 1 spellcaster bug suggests that you might want to try a very melee-heavy party too, with spellcasting oriented to the non-combat spells. You need healing, movement, and resistance spells; charms are nice but not absolutely necessary, so perhaps toss in mage as above...
Warrior, Cleric for healing
Thief, Explorer for movement and thieving
Ninja, Warlock for resistances
That covers everything but blasting, with a slot left over. This slot could be filled in a couple ways...first, a troll as a pure ninja (fast, fast, fast leveling cuz no penalties), or as a Ninja/Villain...some spare healing, and some good combat spells when in the lead. A giant warrior/explorer or warrior/barbarian would be a great cleaver character.
Yes, there are fights such as the bloodsuckers where this party would
have problems, but note that if the sorcerer isn't in the #1 position when
you run across those fights, he isn't gonna be that useful anyway.
1)Evil Troll Artisan/Ninja/Villain
Level Artisan to 30 for HP only. Then take Ninja to 131 for your 3rd swing. Switch to Villain until 101. At Villain 101 you will get healing costs down and decent costs on the Morkuls. Morkul Healing is AWESOME at 101 (5 SP). You also get the guild quests out of the way and a better Backstab ability. Switch back to Ninja until you get the 4th swing, then drop. Villain from here out will continue to lower spell costs and allow you to use Chain Mail and Axes... some of which are very nice.
2)Neutral Dwarf Warrior/Cleric
Artisan and Warlock can be added for max HP, but if you start out with max Con, it isn't really necessary. Take Warrior to 46 for A/D, fighting and an extra swing. Switch to Cleric and level it until you can use the Dagger of Wizardry (179). This will give you great healing and very good blasting. Then go back to Warrior for good. As Warrior, you will continually raise the A/D and have use of great weapons and armor. Since most of your mana will go towards healing, super high Int/Wis isn't as necessary as if you were blasting.
3)Evil Yeti Warrior/Sorcerer/Magi
Level Warrior to 46 for the swing and A/D and HP. Then take Magi to101. Since Yeti's learn fast, Magi will be at 101 before you know it. This will help your party with quests/bounties and offer healing and movement. At 101, switch to Sorcerer and take it to the Dagger of Wizardry (167). Switch over to Warrior again, but keep armor and weapons Int/Wis intensive since you will do lots of blasting. Take Warrior to the second swing (162) and drop it... stay with Sorcerer from there on to lower spell costs, raise resistance levels, and language skill.
4)Neutral Saris Artisan/Explorer/Thief
Artisan to 30 for HP only. Warlock could be added, but isn't necessary. Take Thief to 35 (Cutthroat quest) and leave it there. This will give you good enough thieving to switch to Explorer. Run Explorer to 101 for perception, movement, resistances, and fighting and A/D. At 101, Explorer can be dropped until you find your A/D is not good enough. Stay with Thief as much as possible and get it to a high level fast. Since this is a party character, you will be hitting chests at levels lower than you can handle alone... and your thieving will be less than what you want. Wear EVERYTHING you can to increase Dex. Explorer/Thief is extremely powerful since those TP traps are easily fixed with a quick displacement spell. However, you will never get a natural extra swing.
The Troll will require lots of XP to level Ninja after getting the big penalty from Villain... so put it up front. The Saris will need lots of XP too, but will get lots from traps... keep it in the back. The Yeti and Dwarf are interchangeable, but I like the Dwarf 2nd. Resistances will come from the Yeti Sorcerer while movement will come from the Saris. If you are running low on mana for the Saris, use the Troll to cast Magical Entry. I keep the Saris highlighted since it has good eyesight and opens the chests.
Kevin's 2nd Party
1) Good Human Warrior 26/Ninja/Sorcerer
Warrior is taken only for HP and could be swapped for Artisan if you so wish. Ninja is fairly self sufficient for a long time, so I take it to 131 for the 3 swings before starting Sorcerer. You will then have a 1.5 penalty on Sorcerer, but the idle will be very low at level 1. Take Sorcerer to resistance minimums (313 I believe). At this point you have a choice. you can return to Ninja or switch to Warrior if you are happy with your swings. Warrior will offer better fighting, but Ninja will give you 1-2 more swings and thieving.
2) Neutral Dwarf Warrior/Cleric
This is the same as in my E/N party. Take Warrior to 46 for HP, A/D and an extra swing, then take Cleric to 179 for spell levels and the Dagger of Wizardry. At this point you will have great healing and very good blasting... so take Warrior the distance.
3) Good Gnome Paladin/Magi
Start with Paladin since it is on par with Artisan for HP and go to 49 for an extra swing. You will also get some healing and some Abolish spells. Take Magi to at least 101 for guild quests... after that it is optional to lower spell costs and levels. I have been happy with Magi at 101 so far down to level 24. Switch back to Paladin and take it the distance.
4) Neutral Saris Artisan 30/Explorer/Thief
Artisan for HP again. Take Explorer and Thief to 35 fairly equally. At this point switch to Explorer and go until you hit 101. At 101 you will have good spell levels for movement and average resistance levels. Fighting and A/D will come from Explorer, so only switch back to increase them as needed. Thief is the focus though. Traps will offer you most of your XP, and they get dangerous down deep, so get thief leveled high, fast.
This party offers the 4 best fighting guilds on each character (Warrior, Ninja, Paladin, Explorer). You also get good blasting from Sorc and Cleric, movement from Explorer and Magi, healing from Cleric and Paladin/Magi, resistances from Sorc and Explorer, and thieving from Thief and Ninja. No character is dependant on spells, but each are accomplished fighters. The Gnome will be initially a blaster/charmer, but will later revert to a default setting of fight to help conserve mana. Don't be afraid to use companions, but never take more than 2 when grouped with the other 3 characters. This will allow you to accept joiners (which you'll get several) and keep accidents to a minimum.
1) Evil Human Ninja, Warlock (My note: could also consider Sorceror?)
Has good fighting ability with many swings, and varied magical attack forms. I would suggest adding sorceror, as this gives another character the ability to cast cheap resistances.(Not to mention the good sorc spells & morkal alchemy)
2) Neutral Saris Thief, Explorer
This character doesn't suffer as much in the fighting department, but if you need movement spells to get home, make sure you don't use up all of the saris' mana on opening magically locked chests. You will be able to level thief fast and have fewer problems with chests.
3) Neutral Dwarf Warrior, Cleric
A fighter healer, this character has mana to heal, and can blast also with damage & mind spells. Deep in the dungeon, powerful mind spells will help you kill off many monsters.
4) Evil Yeti Warrior, Sorceror
This character will fight well, and has the best blasting ability, but will probably need to spend mana on resistances. Returning to town after casting resistances on other party members then going back to the dungeon will maximise available mana for deep level blasting.
All characters have good fighting ability, with the front two having thieving ability, and chances to sever. Could have a slight problem with only one healer, but crystals/dusts of healing could help this. Has a wide range of spells, but monsters requiring sorc spells to kill might be a problem, though scrolls of spells could stop this problem.
My Mush/Semi-Mush Parties
1) Neutral Dwarf Warrior, Cleric, Thief, Warlock/Explorer
Leading with warrior, this char can deal out loads of damage, and will probably be the primary healer. Movement spells are very useful, and this char will probably have the spare mana to cast them if you are careful not to get too beat up.
You will want to take warrior for the long haul, but you might want to dump thief when thieving monsters are not a problem, so concentrate leveling on cleric.
2) Good Human Ninja, Sorceror, Magi
Heaps of strikes, & ability to heal through morkals, this character will eat through the XP, and will probably have to be moved to the back of the party frequently. Magi gives good movement, and it would probably be better letting the Human take this guild higher than the elf.
Magi does not need the same amount of attention as ninja & sorceror, as long as you can charm creatures, it is at an okay level.
3) Neutral Saris Thief, Explorer, Cleric.
The prime thief, the saris has a problem with extra swings(it gets none from its guilds), however it does get a reasonable amount of XP from thieving. It is possible to run it in the second position permanently, and this will prevent the human from chewing up the enemies before the saris gets to attack.
After getting cleric up to a considerable level, you might want to dump it forever, as a Saris needs a lot of XP anyway, and you will want to concentrate on leveling thief.
4) Good Elf Sorceror, Paladin, Magi.
Level sorc like crazy, get paladin for decent fighting, and magi for movement & charming. It will be able to blast enemies away, and can potentially hold its own in battle, but it will probably need some help in the strength department to do so.
Magi isn't as important, and could be dropped completely if desired.
This party is good in that all characters are well rounded, and have some fighting and spell casting ability. Two thieves, as well as the thieving ability of the ninja results in little problem with chests, and two clerics results in good healing ability. It is possible to adventure in pairs (always taking at least 1 neutral) to stay on higher dungeon levels to level quicker.
1) Good/Evil Human Warrior, Ninja, Sorceror (If evil: Warrior, Barbarian, Sorceror is possibly better)
There are two options if good. The ideal would be to level ninja to level 60 or 131 for 2 or 3 extra swings respectively(I would choose 131), then run warrior & sorceror up. The other is to level warrior to get a high fighting ability, then drop it forever, which probably is not as good.
If evil, running barbarian up to get minimum entry cost then dropping it could be good, but further leveling would prevent item theft from the character.
2) Good/Evil Human Ninja, Sorceror, Warlock
This character will level fast in ninja, with sorceror probably a distant second, with warlock taken mainly for getting cheap movement spells. This character will probably have to cast movement spells.
3) Good/Evil Human Sorceror, Magi, Ninja
Leading with sorceror, this character can blast the enemies, charm them, or when low on mana carve them up. You need a blaster in every party, and the advantage of this blaster is that they are also great in combat.
4) Neutral Saris Thief, Cleric, Explorer.
Level thief like mad, you will need good thieving, and magical entry as cheap as you can get as early as you can get. Cleric is desired for healing/resurrection in the dungeon, but if the humans are fine with health because of good use of morkals, then it might be wise to level explorer more to enhance fighting ability.
This party is VERY powerful, containing three powerful warriors with many strikes & spell casting ability. Its main problem stems from the fact that only one character is neutral, and that the humans have no resistances. This means that the Saris is the only specialist healer and thief, but the healing spells of the magi, and moderate thieving ability of the ninja should offset this. Having 3 sorcerors able to cast morkal spells to regain HP, all with good A/D and fighting ability results in this party being very powerful. The saris will have difficulty gaining XP, so running it at the front occasionally is a good idea.(Could possibly run it at second permanently?)
1) Neutral Dwarf Warrior, Thief, Cleric
This dwarf can sever often, but don't level warrior & thief too much at the expense of cleric. It could be wise to level warrior & thief up to give cleric a 1.5 penalty so you don't have to worry about idle penalties anymore. But, remember when you do this, you will have to get a LOT of XP to get that next cleric level.
2) Good Human Ninja, Sorceror, Magi
This character will probably be the resistance caster, so leveling sorc up early to get cheap resistances is a good idea, but make sure you keep leveling it so that the resistance percentages keep going up. Magi is not needed for movement, but for return monster quests.
3) Neutral Giant Warrior, Barbarian, Explorer
This character will be able to use their mana for opening chests and movement, keeping to dwarf free to heal, and the human free to charm/cast resistances/heal through morkals. Putting this character in the lead will help with rotaters.
4) Good Elf Paladin, Sorceror (Could possibly add Warlock for greater flexibility)
Should level reasonably fast, having only two guilds, and getting good fighting ability will make it easier on this character to get XP. Since the fighting ability is strong all-round, sorceror can afford to drag behind a little.
Every character has good fighting ability, with only the elf not having the ability to sever, and everyone getting extra swings. Healing can come from cleric, magi & paladin, chests can be opened by the giant to leave spell points for healing for the dwarf, and movement can also come from the giant. Thieving monsters should not be a problem, with only the elf lacking in thieving ability.
1) Neutral Giant Warrior, Barbarian, Explorer
The high strength of a giant and the ability to critically hit & backstab will let this character dish out damage left, right & centre. Explorer will be needed for movement spells, but after these are minimised, it can be dumped. Having this character in the lead will also result in less problems with rotators.
2) Good/Evil Human Ninja, Sorceror, Magi.
Like the human in the previous party, this character will want to cast the resistances, even though the yeti has fighting ability to get XP, they do have a little less mana than an elf.
3) Neutral Dwarf Thief, Warrior, Cleric.
You can probably afford to leave cleric dragging a little behind due to the massive fighting ability of this party. The ninja & human can get health back through morkals, so only his character should only have to worry about healing the giant & himself.
4) Good/Evil Yeti Warrior, Sorc
This character is more powerful in the fighting deparment than the elf in the previous party, having a higher Str & Con, and being a warrior will allow this character to deal out more damage and resist it more because it's higher fighting ability.
Magi could be added if desired, but is probably not needed.
The warrior party - everyone has great fighting ability. The same as above, except the elf is replaced with yeti for superior fighting ability. This party will be able to chew up enemies with multiple strikes for lots of damage. Only the giant does not have a decent range of offensive spells. Characters can survive on their own, though thieves deep in the dungeon would have a field day stealing from the yeti.