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Soloing Baldur's Gate II
Kensai/Mage

Soloing guide: The famous Kensai/Mage
One of the most hated questions on most Baldur's Gate II forums are questions about the dual classed Kensai/Mage. This class is very versatile and powerful, because it combines the advantages of a potent fighter kit and useful mage spells, with no disadvantages what-so-ever (both classes has similar disadvantages). This guide was created to answer questions regarding this class; for more information, contact me on dtelad11@netvision.net.il .
Note: A * means an item which can be found in the bonus disks only; download the required files from GameBanshee's downloads section.

Spoiler Alert
Do not read this guide if you didn't finish the game yet, and you don't want anything spoiled; it mentions many plot twists and items that can be found throughout the game.

The Basics: Character generation
Your basic picks should be Human (so you will be able to dual class later in the game) and Kensai (so you'll be a Kensai/Mage, rather than a pesky Bushwacker/Mage). Additionally, in order to dual class you'll need Strength/13 and Intelligence/17 or higher; high Dexterity is another necessity, because you'll use basic armor. Since you're going to solo you can decrease your Charisma to 3 (if you'll need a higher charisma later, use the Ring of Human Influence for 18 Charisma) and your Wisdom to 3 (unless you want to use Limited Wish later) My Kensai/Mage was: Str15, Dex18, Con16, Wis9, Int17 and Cha7.

Weapon Proficiencies
The most common choice seems to be Katana, with Dak'kon Zerth's Blade*, which was created for Fighter/Mages, and the Celestial Fury, which packs a punch. Other interesting possibilities are Long Swords (there are many throughout the game), War Hammers (Crom Faeyr), Halberds (The Wave and Blackmist), Spears (Spear of Withering), Ninja-Tos (Scarlet Ninja-to*), two-handed swords (Lilarcor, but only if you can stand the mumbling) or any combination of these.

To dual (wield) or not to dual?
While most players prefer to dual wield their weapon (in order to deal more damage over less time), you may choose not to do so, investing points in One Handed Weapon (or Two Handed Weapon) proficiencies. This will net you faster attack speed, and even more importantly- a small armor class bonus, which helps in the beginning of the game.

The Experience Cap
The experience cap in Baldur's Gate II is set to 2,950,000 for all characters, which means a Kensai that reaches level 9 will have 135000 experience points, leaving 2,815,000 experience points for the Mage part. Now, a mage requires 2,700,000 experience points to get to level 17 (in which he gets level 8 spells) and 3,000,000 experience points to get to level 18; since you can't get 3 million experience points in Baldur's Gate II, a Kensai/Mage will allow you to max your Mage part, as if you were a pure mage.

Chapter one
You may want to keep one or two characters as company for the first chapter only, in order to keep more inventory for later. Don't forget to finish all possible quests and gain all possible rewards, especially a magical weapon for your proficiency:

Long Sword - In a chest in the sewer golem's room
Bastard Sword - On the protected demon
Katana - Held by Yoshimo; ask him to join you, take the sword and then dismiss him
Two Handed Sword - Take it from the genie in the realm of air

Other important items to keep are the +1 ring, because it helps you improve your armor class while not using armor, the Cloudkill staff (even though it has one charge) and all of the possible scrolls you can find.
After escaping Irenicus' dungeon, sell all of the non-required items and dismiss all possible characters, though you might want to keep Yoshimo to use a Potion of Master Thievery on him and pick pocket the Ring of Regeneration from the storeowner in the adventurer's mart; it'll help you later.

Chapter Two
The first place to visit should be the Circus. While there's a small chance you will be able to defeat all of the magical illusions on the second floor, just run to the third floor and kill the evil Gnome to gain some quick experience points and the Ring of Human Influence, which will allow you to decrease store prices later.
After you get a weapon capable of hitting a Rakasha, go to the Sewers and retrieve the Cloak of the Sewers- it'll give you a bonus to your armor class, and allow you to shapeshift into troll and quickly regenerate all of your lost lives.

When to dual (class)?
Either dual on the 9th level or the 12th level. Dualing on the 9th level will allow you to get your Mage to the maximum possible level in the experience cap, enabling level 8 spells, while dualing on the 12th level might get your life a bit harder (because you'll need to play most of the 3rd chapter without enabling the Kensai) but will enhance your fighting skills.
I prefer dualing on the 9th level, because it allows you to reactivate the Kensai much easily.

Reactivating the Kensai after dualing
After dualing the Kensai, there are several things to do quickly:
Read all of the spell scrolls that you can. Because there is only one character in the company, each spell scroll will advance you. Just make sure you don't scribe your maximum spells without scribing the necessity spells, detailed below.
Complete the Mourning Paladin and Littleman quests. Both of them require no fights and can be completed easily and quickly, advancing you several levels.
You might want to try saving Viconia in the government district; release her quickly and use projectile weapons against the angree mob.
Do the "Troubles in Trademeet" quest, while recruiting Cernd. Although it requires you to stop soloing for a while, Cernd is capable of reaching the Druid Grove and defeating most of the Trolls (with a little help from your magic, of course), and his Werewolf form will take care of the Shadow Druid, allowing you to gain more easy experience.

Important spells
Here is a short list of important spells you should find and learn. You can play the game without them, but they sure ease the way:
Level 1 - Magic Missile (before reactivating Kensai), Armor.
Level 2 - Invisibility, Melf's Acid Arrow (before reactivating Kensai), Mirror Image, Strength
Level 3 - Flame Arrow (before reactivating Kensai), Haste (before Improved Haste), Monster Summoning I
Level 4 - Improved Invisibility, Spirit Armor, Monster Summoning II
Level 5 - Breach, Spell Immunity, Stoneskin, Cloudkill, Monster Summoning III
Level 6 - Improved Haste, Tenser's Transformation
Level 7 - Spell Sequencer
Level 8 - Simulacrum, Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting
Level 9 (with experience cap remover) - Black Blade of Disaster, Time Stop

Defeating the bigger opponents
Illithids. Defeating Illithids can be quite frustrating while soloing. Either use Cloudkill and close the nearest door, killing them slowly, or summon several critters to harass them as you chop them.
Umber Hulks. Either kill them very quickly (using Invisibility to prevent their confusion attack) summon some critters to be used as a barrier, or use Cloudkill to kill them all in a single blow.
Dragons. Cast Improved Haste and Resist Fear, and start chopping. If he casts some sort of magical protection (especially Stoneskin, which will slow you down considerably) use the right counterspell.
Liches. While they seem imposing in the beginning, after gaining a weapon capable of hitting them they become quite easy. Just dispel their Protection from Evil and make them kill the demon themselves, and proceed by melee attacks and the right counterspells against their defenses.
Kengaxx. Spell Immunity will completely disable his attack; then, either get Black Blade of Disaster (finding a scroll is quite hard, but there is at least one), improved Mace of Disruption or Sling of Evarerd.
Other spellcasters. The most important thing is to get rid of their Stoneskin, which slows you down alloww them to cast some mean spells. After you Breach it, continue pounding with joy.
Golems. Finding the right weapon to hit them early in the game is tough, so you might want to use Polymorph Self, because the creature has a +3 weapon.
Vampires. Try not to confront vampires until you get the Amulet of Power from the Thieves Guild's master; after retrieving the amulet, defeating them will be easy and fun.
Drizzt and Co. The company's powerful items doesn't worth the headache of a fight, but if you want to defeat the famous ranger, don't forget to have a Spell Sequencer or Contingency containing all of your useful combat spells, mostly because you'll have no time casting them during the encounter.

Locks and Traps
The idea is to play the game before playing with the Kensai/Mage, so you'll know the general location of everything you need, and if you realy need an item you can Knock the chest or use a strength potion to force it open. Don't bother with items you don't need, unless you seriously want more gold, or if you want to constantly rest and cast Knock (I find it tedious, but the game doesn't care if you rest all the time). Regarding traps- same thing. Before stepping on a trap, you either activate the right protection (Spell Immunity and Negative Plane Protection seems to be the most common) or just step on it; if it just deals damage, you shouldn't care, and if it has a special effect, hope to pass the saving throw.

Conclusion
While soloing the game might get quickly tedious and boring, it's worth it just for the smug impression of finishing the game all by yourself, with no help from those mad NPCs. I hope this guide will help you solo the game with (probably) the most popular solo class.

Submitted by: El-ad Amir