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NPC Guide - Page 1
1. INTRODUCTION

Baldur's Gate is a challenging game for a lonely character. In fact, it is even pretty difficult to achieve if soloing. There are many abilities you need to use(fighting, magic, healing, thieving, etc.) and a single character cannot possess them all. Fortunately, the guys at Bioware included no less than 25 NPCs who can join your party, each with his unique personality, gender, race, class, alignment and abilities. These NPCs will each bring different elements to your party and it is really up to you to decide which to pick-up and which not to, depending on your playing style and personal tastes. This guide is by no means aimed at showing you what the "perfect party" is, because each of us has his own idea on the matter. This guide should be used to better understand the strengths and weakness of each NPC and to decide whether or not to include him/her in your party. Note that I try to remain as neutral as possible in my comments, though my personal preferences may show at one point or another. I'm sorry for this and I suppose that it just shows that no one is totally impartial.

2. GRADING SYSTEM

Each NPC will receive an overall mark out of 100 according to the following 5 criteria:
   A. Overall Abilities (30/100)
   B. Class Abilities (30/100)
   C. Fun to play (20/100)
   D. Gameplay (15/100)
   E. Related Quests (5/100)

Each criteria weights more or less in the balance and this reflects in the number of points it gets out of 100. You may or may not agree with this system, though I think it will give you a good idea of each NPC's value. Here's a description of each criteria:

A. Overall Abilities (30% of final mark)
This criteria tells if the NPC is overall balanced or not. It also tells you whether you can use this NPC successfully in most situations or not(also called versatility). Since BG is such a complex game, each NPC needs to be able to do more than his class requirements. For example, carrying capacity, saving throws, lore, reaction adjustment, bashing, AC, HPs, etc. depend as much on the NPC's class as they depend on his abilities. That's why the Overall Abilities mark is so important. A good mark means an overall good NPC(not necessarily good in his class, though), while a bad mark means an overall bad NPC which you should avoid, except in certain given situations. Note that this mark is determined with respect to a perfect NPC(18 in all 6 abilities) and should be considered accordingly. Here are the given marks for each ability:

Score/Ability
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
18
5
5
5
5
5
5
17
4
4
4
4
4
4
15-16
3
3
3
3
3
3
10-14
2
2
2
2
2
2
9-
1
1
1
1
1
1

Note that having an ability score higher than 18 gives an NPC 1 bonus point per point exceeding 18. For example, an NPC with a DEX of 20 gets 2 bonus points to his Overall Abilities mark. Also, for the warriors, each STR level exceeding 18/50 gives them 1 bonus point (18/51-75: 1 bonus pt., 18/76-90: 2 bonus pts., 18/91-99: 3 bonus pts., 18/00: 4 bonus pts.).

B. Class Abilities (30% of final mark)
Since each NPC has chosen 1 (or more) career(s) to follow (example: fighter, cleric, thief, etc.) it is only normal to give him a mark which reflects how good he is at what he does. For example, a thief with a DEX of 12 and an INT of 18 may be very smart, but is still a poor thief nonetheless. To receive his 30% for the Class Abilities mark, an NPC must be very good at all the abilities relevant to his class. Since there is no class with 6 relevant abilities (except Bard, if you push your judgment to extremes!), you'll need to convert the mark the NPC gets into a mark out of 30 (for example, 10/15 gives a mark of 20/30). Here's a table with the relevant abilities to each class. Note that the points are obtained from the Overall Abilities table (see above).

Class/Ability
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
FIGHTER
X
X
X
-
-
-
PALADIN
X
X
X
-
-
X
RANGER
X
X
X
-
-
-
CLERIC
X
X
X
-
X
-
DRUID
X
X
X
-
X
-
THIEF
-
X
X
-
-
-
BARD
-
X
X
X
-
X
MAGE
-
X
X
X
-
-

As you can see, not all abilities required for a class are marked as important. Yes, a Druid needs a high CHA and a Ranger needs a high WIS, but this has not a lot of effect on this NPC's class. Also, DEX and CON are always important as they grant bonus AC and HPs, respectively.

For Dualed or Multi-Classed NPCs, I do an average with the 2 marks and then put a global mark out of 30.

C. Fun to play (20% of final mark)
Since you're mainly playing a game to have fun (at least I hope so…), I thought that it was important to include a mark about this topic. Here are the criteria I consider when giving that mark out of 20:
  • Colors of the NPC (cool colors will raise the mark)
  • Voice of the NPC (a cool voice will raise the mark, an annoying voice will drop it)
  • Portrait of the NPC (a cool portrait raises the mark)
  • Interaction with the party (is the NPC interacting with the party or is he mute?)
  • Usefulness (is the NPC useful or not, in general)
  • Uniqueness (is the NPC unique or ordinary?)
D. Gameplay (15% of the mark)
This mark includes most anything not covered by the other marks. It includes the following criteria:
  • Alignment (a good alignment raises the mark, while an evil one drops it)
  • Special Abilities (having a special ability raises the marks since it helps the whole party)
  • Infravision (having infravision slightly raises the mark)
  • Magic Resistance (OK, only Viconia has it, but she deserves her 13 pts., doesn't she?)
  • Duo (if the NPC needs to be with another NPC to stay in your party, it will drop his mark since you may not want both NPCs)
  • Dual (if the NPC has a dual-class potential, it will raise his mark)
E. Related Quests (5% of the mark)
This is a straightforward 5% of the total mark: if the NPC has a linked quest it will give him automatically 5% more points to his final mark. By linked or related quest, I mean anything that the NPC wants to do, else he will leave the party after a while. Sorry, but things like chasing bandits in the region doesn't count as a quest. A quest must earn the party some experience and/or material rewards.

3. NPCs QUICK LIST

Lawful Good:
   - Ajantis (paladin)
   - Dynaheir (invoker)
   - Yeslick (fighter/cleric)

Neutral Good:
   - Imoen (thief)
   - Khalid (fighter)
   - Minsc (ranger)

Chaotic Good:
   - Alora (thief)
   - Coran (fighter/thief)
   - Kivan (ranger)

Lawful Neutral:
   - Xan (enchanter)

True Neutral:
   - Branwen (cleric)
   - Faldorn (druid)
   - Jaheira (fighter/druid)
   - Skie (thief)

Chaotic Neutral:
   - Garrick (bard)
   - Quayle (cleric/illusionist)
   - Safana (thief)

Lawful Evil:
   - Edwin (conjurer)
   - Kagain (fighter)

Neutral Evil:
   - Eldoth (bard)
   - Montaron (fighter/thief)
   - Viconia (cleric)

Chaotic Evil:
   - Shar-Teel (fighter)
   - Tiax (cleric/thief)
   - Xzar (necromancer)

I will use the same order (alignment related) to do my full NPCs evaluation, so if you need any reference, check out this list first.


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