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Party Creation
General Notes

No race or class is required for a quest in the game, but gender is important. At one point, if you have a female character with you, you'll be able to get through a situation easier than if you had an all-male party.

Curse of the Azure Bonds adds two new features for party composition: there are two new classes (paladin and ranger), and you can now dual class as well as multi-class. This gives you more ways to build your party.

Curse of the Azure Bonds also allows you to import characters from Pool of Radiance and Hillsfar. Newly created characters start off with 25,000 experience, but imported characters might have over ten times that much. Imported characters make the start of the game easier, but they won't make much of a difference by the end of the game, and so you should use characters that take the best advantage of the race-class level restrictions.

If you stick to the required areas in the game, you'll earn 400,000 to 500,000 experience with a full party of six characters. If you go to the optional areas (which generate new enemies each time you visit), then you can earn any amount of experience you want for your party.

You should not multi-class with the cleric class. The only non-human race that can become a cleric is the half-elf, and they can only reach level 5 in it.

If you use dual-class characters in your party, then the first thing you should do in the game is head to the training hall in Tilverton, and verify that the characters can actually dual class in the way you intend them to.

Our Suggested Party

This party features three melee fighters, two intended spellcasters, and one character that can go either way. You can make a more powerful party if you want to do more dual classing, but this party is powerful without being too complicated to manage. It's also the party we used while writing the walkthrough, so we know that it works.
  • Single class paladin (human)

    Paladins have some nice bonuses (permanent "protection from evil," healing skills and spells), and it takes them over 1 million experience to hit their maximum level, so a single class paladin is useful for a party.

  • Single class fighter or ranger (male human)

    We didn't think much of the ranger bonuses, so you could go either way here. While you could potentially dual class or multi-class every character in your party, it's nice to have some of the stability that single class characters provide. And since the fighter classes require the most experience, they're the best choices for it.

  • Multi-class fighter / thief (male dwarf)

    As in Pool of Radiance, thieves aren't very important in the game, but it feels wrong not to have at least one, and sometimes their backstabs can pay off (especially since they can backstab in plate mail armor now). This character needs to have 18 strength so it can hit level 9 as a fighter.

  • Dual class fighter / cleric (male human)

    Have this character start as a fighter for the extra hit points, and then have it dual to cleric after level 9. This combination only requires about 700,000 experience, and so there isn't any reason not to do it. Between this character and the next character, you'll always have an active cleric in your party.

  • Dual class cleric / magic user (female human)

    Strength doesn't mean much for this character, and so that's why it should be female. If you have this character dual from cleric to magic user after level 10, then it will be able to cast every cleric and magic user spell in the game, which will make it pretty versatile.

  • Multi-class fighter / magic user (male elf)

    Elves can hit level 11 for magic users and level 7 for fighters -- provided they have 18 strength, which is why this character needs to be male. By using this combination, you'll end up with a spellcaster character who has more hit points than normal, and who can use all equipment in the game, including plate mail, making it very sturdy.