So you've just completed a Doctor Who marathon and want to roleplay as him in ToME. Or maybe you just want to unlock Paradox Mage. Either way, welcome to one of the game's trickiest, but also most powerful and fun-to-play classes.
The key to playing a TW is focus. They have a lot of great skills, but they can't be good at all of them – especially not early on. This guide is by no means the only way to make a good TW, but it is the strongest approach of the several I've tried. I've won the game with it, beat Atamathon, and (in a separate game) gone past level 100 of the ID.
This build focuses on bow skills for early damage and crowd control, later branching out into magic skills because they're awesome.
There are two kinds of races for a TW: Shalore and everything else. Shaloren are unequivocally the best in the long run – the synergy between Timeless and Invigorate is incredible, especially in the ID – but they have a somewhat rocky start and are hecka cheesy. If you don't like Shaloren, pretty much any other race makes at least a decent TW. Skeleton is probably the most durable.
That said, just go with Shalore.
Focus on Dex early on – it's your damage stat and is also needed to make your stuns stick. Then raise Con until you can 5/5 Thick Skin (using items, of course). Then max out Magic. Then, and only then, can you afford to dump the rest of your points into Willpower. (You can add a point or two into Wil earlier on if you're really close to the requirements for a key skill, but be disciplined! It's surprisingly easy to get carried away and gimp either your damage or your survivability.)
Dual Techniques: Invest two points into this tree early on to get the benefit of Flurry, which is a great way to deal with troublesome bosses and rares. I like to cheese it and take the points out later. In the long run, you are going to have a staff in your offslot – but not until level 20-30 or so.
Archery – Bows: Five points in the first skill as soon as you can, and one in the second. Sometime in your teens, you should start investing in Volley of Arrows, although it doesn't need to be maxed.
Archery Prowess: 1/1/1/5 fairly early, because Scatter Shot is a great way of disabling crowds. I usually put either my my second category point into this, reserving the first for an inscription slot. The other skills in this tree are quite good as well, but you have better.
Spacetime Folding: This one is tricky. The skills are all very strong, but require a heavy investment in Willpower (for prereqs) and Magic (because they scale with spellpower), so you need to be cautious at the start. Put points into Weapon Folding as your Wil-boosting items allow, since you will be desperate for damage early on. Swap is decent, since it's your only source of confusion, but skippable – it gets not one but two save checks, can drop you in a difficult situation, and can't be used in vaults. Displace Damage is probably the best defensive buff in the game, but you shouldn't rush Willpower to get it, since that will hurt your Dex/Con focus. Instead, put points into it as items allow – you will probably have it maxed by your early 20s anyway. Finally, Temporal Wake is one of the best spells in the game, but early on you won't have the spellpower to make it hurt, the Spacetime Mastery points to reduce the cooldown, or the paradox to be able to spam it. Max it, but not until level 40 or so.
Speed Control: Scales with Magic and tends not to mesh very well with your other skills. Slow is amazing when it works, but it's hard to get it to stick on tough enemies until very late, and easy to find yourself wanting to teleport into it. Haste is great, and you should max it if you're a Shalore, but not until your 30s or so.
Temporal Combat: Another amazing but tricky-to-manage tree. You probably won't have the points to spare for Strength of Purpose, although it's a very good skill. The same goes for Quantum Feed. Invigorate should be maxed by mid-game, but it doesn't make a huge difference early on, although you should invest at least one point as early as you can for the stamina regen. Damage Smearing is amazing (among other things, it means that you get the benefit from Displace Damage twice), but it takes a while to be in position to leverage it; you'll need temporal resist items and maybe a wand with temporal wards. Even early, though, it's worth a point for “oh crap I am definitely going to die the next turn” situations. Beware: enemies with large amounts of +damage to all (Atamathon, basically) will get that bonus damage twice when you have Damage Smearing up. This cost me two lives until I figured out what was going on. Note that the Damage Smearing buff (as well as the Smeared effect) is marked as Other, not Magical; it doesn't benefit from Timeless, but it also can't be removed by Dispel Magic and the like.
Time Travel: This is not a popular choice, going by the vault, which is odd because it is amazing. My last cat point usually goes to unlock this. Static History is mandatory if you didn't decide to pick up Hidden Resources ( for which see below), but, even without that, Echoes from the Past makes the tree worthwhile. It doesn't get good until very late in the game, when monsters start to have massive amounts of hitpoints; but, when it does, you can easily start to rack up Corrupter-style damage numbers, especially in the ID. And it benefits from your temporal damage bonus!
In the main game, this will obviously be heavily influenced by what escorts you happen to get. (The Healing Light tree is as great for wardens as it is for every other magic-based character.) Ruined Earth (from the Last Hope Cemetery) is great if you picked up Draconic Will, since it will cripple surrounding characters but not you. Other than that, build order is mostly common sense. You want Accuracy and Thick Skin as early as you can get them, and Spacetime Mastery as soon as you can afford it (i.e. as soon as you have enough Willpower-boosting items). Chronomancy is not worth a heavy investment of points. Max Timeless as soon as you can, assuming you're a Shalore, which you should be. Finally, for the ID, I like to take the Cunning/Survival tree for Charms Mastery and Evasion.
Draconic Will is virtually mandatory – with Timeless and Invigorate, it basically makes you immune to all negative effects. Have it set to autocast when enemies are sighted. Hidden Resources (easily obtainable via a heroism infusion) will solve all your paradox problems forever. In SVN, Temporal Form has been boosted enough to be worth considering, and will increase your damage considerably, but I still think that Hidden Resources is a little better for those long-drawn-out slugfests. (I picked up Temporal Form in my current game, and am considering using the console to swap it with HR, but feel like this might be cheating. Leveling yet another TW to the same level with different prodigies would, however, be hecka boring. Thoughts?)
And in conclusion...
Here's the dump from my current SVN ID Warden (separate post due to size):