There are two ways of dealing damage as a Favored soul; theoretically FvS are much better at fighting than your average cleric. That would be highlighted by the fact that Favored Souls have a choice of different weapons, such as long bow, long sword etc dependent of race and host.
But quite frankly – it’s a poor man’s fighter that is better bridged by a Paladin or any of the other ‘fighter’ classes. A FvS will at best be able to add some extra damage to their weapons, but for most part will straddle the middle ground of ‘can smack but also heal’.
There are 3 basic components of DPS – one is to hit faster and more. That can be accomplished by items, feats and enhancements. Such as haste, attack speed items and feats like dual weapon fighting.
The second is improving the amount of damage done – that would be more strength, bonuses towards damage in the form of feats or enhancements and increased crits. The third is to improve the damage output of the weapon itself – such as damage effects from burst to blast of all kind of elemental effects.
Favored souls are not very good at doing any of these, other than maybe adding a better weapons. But adding a better weapon usually means picking a relevant weapon feat since there are few base choice available. Which means a feat taken away from primary spell casting abilities.
Favored souls do not have many enhancements that improve either of these; no bonus feats that makes their combat technique better (other than perhaps a few more damage points to a weapon or a 20 second clickie that does the same). To add Strength and Dexterity takes away from primary spell casting abilities such as Charisma and Wisdom; in a sense if you’re determined to make your favored soul a fighter you’re better off going for something like a ranger instead.
The choice I made was to do a little bit of everything without sacrificing my spell casting ability (much).
First – I wanted the ability to destroy groups of critters and blade barrier is excellent at that. Maybe not as damaging as a fully maximized fire wall but certainly good on every single critter other than the ones who have evasion and you won’t find many of those critters until you run the Devils Battlefield.
Secondly I wanted a reliable insta kill option – banishment for outsiders and Destruction for almost everything else; that require 2 things – spell penetration to even have a chance to use it and DC to destroy the critter. Since its either Necromancy or Abjuration (spell focus) I added energy drain as a reliable back up.
I also removed my greater spell penetration; I noticed that I didn’t have much problem breaking through critters SR (then 27 now 25 plus D20), it is in the actual DC department that I lack. I’m still looking for a solution there but meanwhile I’ve decided to pick up my close quarter brawling a notch.
The result is that I now run almost always without hireling; I accomplished that by adding 2 GS weapons, straight holy tier 3 (holy, burst and blast) and I’m tier 2 on my other (Acid, holy Burst and when I can tier 3, Acid Blast). That’ll add transmute and keen to the rapier with a 15+ crit range. However in order to make my damage output even greater I decided to replace greater spell penetration with Improved crit instead.
The result is vastly different. I can still hit pretty good even though I lack 2 weapon fighting and with a crit range of 15+ on both rapiers I manage to do a half decent job of throwing it down in the dirt. Add some spells and you have a winner.
That’s why I was able to solo the Devils Battlefield (wilderness); a judicial use of Blade barrier, energy drain and destruction had me not only survive the toughest scraps but also go toe to toe with rares.
The tactic is pretty easy; throw down a blade barrier to take care of most thrash mobs – energy drain troglodytes (since they have evasion) and especially the shamen (who love to spam blade barriers themselves). After one or 2 energy drain, most troglodytes will either fail the evasion and die in the blade barrier or I will use destruction on them to insta kill. I still need to add something like necromancy focus to increase my DC so I only have to use one energy drain (if any).
For bosses I will use blade barriers on those who lack evasion and energy drain with blade barrier on those who does. It’s a very successful combination and since I can free heal myself my SP usually last even through the toughest scraps.
The net result is that I’ve managed to survive the red and the orange bosses and it only gets messy when troglodytes gets involved (the stalkers will damage your con and the shamens blade barriers are a pain).