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I recently played through my first game as a paladin cavalier with 18con and the best armor I could find. I did lack a shield, but overall I was a tank. Yet many times I almost died only to survive by literally running away like a coward as my allies attacked (and, sometimes, I died anyways). This has made me afraid to attempt a mage class of any sort.
Currently I want to try a sorcerer or bard(Possibly a blade), and I was wondering if anyone had any tips to help me survive the horrors of war. NPCs to recruit(I'll be good aligned)? Stats to focus on? Items to keep handy? Spells necessary? Anything to make me not fear horribly dying every battle?