First off, especially if this is your first time with the game: take the time to roll good stats and tweak them. This means that all the warriors (Fighters and their multi/dual classes, Rangers & Paladins) start with at least 18/51+ STR, DEX 18, CON 18. All other characters get 18 DEX & 16 CON + 18 STR if you plan on having them in melee. This ensures maximum Armour Class and HP and best to hit with ranged weapons and melee.
Clerics & Druids add an 18 WIS to this, Bards & Wizards an 18 INT.
Keep in mind that some races have racial modifiers to stats.
It's nice to have someone with 18 CHA (for early buying/selling).
Having a Bard, a Druid or Ranger and a Cleric or Paladin ensures that you can finish all (early game) quests. That one extra level can be VERY nice in the beginning. Moreover, none of those are poor choices.
A mix of 3 melee characters and 3 ranged characters works best, IMO. Early game, I'd even go 2/4.
My suggestion would be:
1. Paladin, Human (Longswords & Throwing Axes)
2. Cleric/Ranger, Half-Elf (Maces & Slings)
3. Fighter/Thief, Dwarf (Short Swords & (Throwing) Daggers)
4. Bard, Half-Elf (Longbows & Spears)
5. Fighter 7, dualled to Druid, Human (Slings & Daggers/Scimitars/Clubs)
6. Fighter 3, dualled to Mage, Human (Longbows & Twohanded Swords)
Things to keep in mind:
- 2. Can pretty much take any other weapon allowed. Don't use a shield: Rangers who don't equip a shield get an extra attack.
- 5. needs to start with 18 WIS & 17 CHA to be able to dualclass.
- 6. needs to start with 18 INT, same reason.
- Everybody has a ranged weapon.
- In case of Fighters, the weapon listed first is the one I suggest putting all your points in.)
- If you've got Heart of Winter, enable Sneak Attack: much more reliable than backstabbing. (I've made a succesful backstab perhaps 5 times in ALL of my Infinity Game playthroughs...) That also works with non-Thief weapons. (i.e. your Dwarf could use axes.)
Any questions, feel free to ask.