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FYI bards get haste as well... Rousing drums at level 8
Not everyone is a native speaker.
What i wanted to say is: In order to have "haste" you either need a Bard, Monk or Psionic.
My favorite is the solo Faerie Ninja To 8 ,18 more levels of bishop and back to Ninja.
Most of the battles go a lot faster and things are all around less complicated.
You gain levels much faster so it isn't too hard.
You can stay at low level in the monastery and still grind stealth and any combat skills as high as you like making the road to Arnika not bad.
I remember once playing with a party containing Mage, Priest, Alchemist, Psionic, Bishop, and I don't remember what the sixth character was (Bard maybe?). You may be used to area attack spells not being effective, but that changes when you have several characters firing them at once. With physical attacks, your characters generally kill the enemies one by one, but with spells, they tend to all die at once.

Also, remember that instant death spells work very well against low level enemies with high HP.

It is rather unusual that the game tends to favor focused, rather than balanced, parties. I have heard that a party of ranged attackers also works rather well.