Spending points in body on the druid for "Heal"? It would be awesome if they had GM Body to spend their high meditation spell points on power cure. Not a fan of trading Lloyd's, enchant, and other GM spells for a 53~ (8+"of body" single target heal. That said, if you used Initiate/Prelate for +7 body magic it might be worth it...:
Changing the knight to a paladin would give the same Hireling bonus to the paladin's master body. 1/2 damage from physical attacks is also significant, something the monks high AC doesn't have. The mace's stun would work similarly to monk's staff, adding some damage mitigation, I guess. Their main issues are lack of Master Armsmaster, and +15 recovery from not having plate GM.
95 recovery (80 mace, +15 GM plate)
-21 armsmaster (Expert+17 item)
-15 speed (200, considering high light-magic)
- a swift weapon, but then you can't use a high-damage enchant.
If I recall correctly then damage, recovery, and attack is taken from the off-hand (left) in MM7 when using 2 weapons. Not sure about other effects, but I think they are based on the right-hand weapon. To boost the damage you could do Mace+Sword instead of Mace+Shield. (Considering Master Plate makes you tanky enough.)
A Duelist Blade off-hand should give you +12 attack and damage, 15-21 from damage die. and up to 10-20 fire damage (enchant: of the dragon). At the cost of -10 attack (GM mace, damage scales off left hand.), -3 attack (attack off left hand), +3 recovery (sword is 90, mace is 80. Dual-wield uses the slowest recovery.).
If you intended to increase your mace above 10 for higher stun/paralyze% it becomes an increasingly worse trade in comparison to the shield.
-- The whole point of course, is to trade knight for a gimped knight that can cast "Heal" with 8+"of body"+Initiate+Prelate combo for 81~? single target heal.
I think there is (and in grayface's 2.0) a bug with monk's armsmaster. Once you get GM staff you gain the unarmed bonus but lose armsmaster to damage (which is quite significant with a +17-25 armsmaster item).
Source: Celestial heavens forum. (Can't post links).
Grayface writes he fixed this in his 2.1 patch, but I haven't been able to find it if such a patch is made. 2.0 being the newest.
Source: Grayface's homepage with mechanics explanation.
I haven't tested it yet, so feel free to correct me if you know otherwise.
It shouldn't keep you from playing a monk. Light path monks get expert body, which would be boosted a bit by the hireling combo, if we go that route.
So with that: PMCD (or PPCD). All of which would be able to heal a bit using the 2 hirelings. Monk 38~, paladin/druid 81 with 'of body'~, cleric 120 power cure with 'of body'. While still having access to town portal and fly from the druid.
Even with that I am not a fan, Lloyds is just too good and the damage would be lower. If the paladin and druid had power cure, it might be awesome.
There are very few if any (maybe psychic shock) spells in Mind or Spirit that scale off the hireling levels, which is a shame.
Monk's master staff, cleric's master mace, and paladin's mace would all have a stun%, whatever that is worth.
Since druids have basic armsmaster (-18 recovery with a +17 item), they could potentially dual-wield mace/dagger instead of dagger/dagger.
If you simply want tankier sorcerer you could do a Spear wielding archer (Dual-wielding dagger is not necessarily better. 2h spear increass the damage by an extra die - e.g. 1d9. It would also scale skill damage, attack, recovery off the dagger. If you have a high enchant such as 'of dragon', it might be worth it.)
The whole point of course, is that their chain-armor GM reduces physical damage taken, while they still have access to master spells.
Their promotion quest isn't too bad if you run around the Medusas, allowing expert level spells even if Master is late.
E.g. KKCA, KTCA, KMCA, etc.
Considering all you would get out of the archer once you have Light magic is a gimp sorcerer (with a strong bow), you could instead get fly-townportal hirelings. Very expensive, yes. But it allows running KKKC or similarly tanky/high damage setups. Besides, any party with a cleric's GM merchant is going to find themselves swimming in gold eventually.
For progress you could use:
2 invis scrolls to reach Eofol (rebuffing in the top-left of the Tunnels to Eofol map).
2 invis scrolls in walls of mist. (you can rebuff in the left gate-place.)
The AAAC bow build is the same, with 3 characters reducing physical damage. Except of course that it isn't very good before you have finished the game as the point is getting 5 recovery with bow.
A shame you can't get more than 2 hirelings, otherwise PPPC might be fun. I wouldn't make a party without townportal and fly.
Overall I am still a biggest fan of the XXSC parties. If you give the sorcerer divine intervention you have "2 healers" (or just use Lloyds). Besides Master plate and GM chain there are very few ways to increase physical survivability. Any party that increases light magic high enough is going to be tanky enough, as the only other way is AC.
For effects we have protection from magic and preservation. Leaving healing, where the major ones are lloyds, Divine intervention, power cure, and GM regeneration. Making any XXSC party strong.
A dark-side CCCS or (light side CCCD using the hirelings) might also be fun. It does not have the 1-3 characters with 1/3 or 1/2 physical damage reduction or 6 hp/level. But it would have triple power cure, and 3-4 shrapmetals. The light-side version would be tanky from the buffs (not that dark-side can't single-cast), allowing for slow-and-steady progress with a lot of healing.
Overall, KMCD is pretty good. It would be similarly to KKCS or KTCS, but I just don't feel the druid trade is worth it. The extra heal spell won't keep you out of "oh shit" situations where GM regeneration + Power cure isn't enough. While Lloyds beacon / emergency town portal would.
Thanks for giving it so much of your thought (great quality thought too, I should add).
How about if the druid was using "Shared Life" from Spirit Magic (Paladin too, if we went with that route)? I'm not sure if the HP pool in the spell's description is strictly a redistribution of the party's current HP (it's been a while since I played this game) or if the spell grants additional HP equal to that number. If it's only the former, Shared Life may not be worth it.
Master level regeneration, though not comparable to GM, would be of some benefit I might think.