. . . they got good enough to get Shrapmetal. I took it to the point at which I had done all the quests unique to the Dark Path, but after that I abandoned it.
I had much more fun with the Light Path party. I like magic-heavy parties rather than pure magic ones. My reasons for choosing APCS are:-
(1) All have access (eventually) to Light magic and the Paralyze spell, which I find is one of the most important combat spells
(2) Archer is the only character with access to Light magic and the Disarm skill, plus he's got a degree of combat ability, although he's not as good as the Paladin. He's not a brilliant disarmer either, but if it's the only game in town . . .
(3) Paladin, because Light magic is primarily healing and defensive, so there is greater need for some melee ability than with a Dark path party and their killer spells
(4) Cleric for Power Cure and GM Protection from Magic (or Day of Protection)
(5) Sorcerer for Lloyd's Beacon, GM Day of Protection and the most powerful versions of the Elemental combat spells.
As I've already said, I found a Light Path druid of limited use once she had prepared the black potions for the party. Her lack of access to either GM Elemental spells or Paralyze left her definitely under-powered for combat, but the Warlock might be better. I'd be interested in your thoughts. If you come to the same opinion as I did, you might try collecting some wands of Shrapmetal and so on, and see if those help.