Experienced players advice required.

This forum is to be used for all discussions pertaining to BioWare's Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
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Experienced players advice required.

Postby Boleyn1895 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:34 pm

Hi all.

I'm not new to Baldur's Gate 2 but I have never completed it and thought it was about time I did - now that I finally got a copy of Throne of Bhaal.

My question is about party composition - one that will confortably take me through SoA and ToB.

I've read all the perfect party guides on this site and gathered some good information from them but wanted to ask a few questions to further tailor my party to my needs.

First up, I'm a sentimentalist so Jaheira and Minsc will be in my party regardless.

I would love to have Imoen but I am aware of the issues.

Also my basic requirements for this run is to have as much fun as possible but to have as easy a time as possible so I can just sit back and enjoy the story.

So my questions:

I have Jaheira, Minsc and my character. I'm not against starting the game as multiplayer and making more than one self created characters but would like to limit it as much as possible in favour of NPC interaction (But I want to try and avoid constant NPC interaction - in other words I don't want them chatting or arguing constantly - hence the not adverse to having more than 1 self created character)

So does anyone have any advice on what my Character should be? Should I make a second or third self created character. How many should be in my party? Which other NPC's if any should I get? Should I wait for Imoen or forget her?

From reading those perfect party guides everyone seems to have a different opinion. 4 characters is enough for max xp or you will get enough xp even if you have all 6 or take 5 full time and save a space for quest npc's.

I could go on fleshing out my questions but it's getting too long already.

Basically I just want a few pointers from those of you that have played it many times before so I know I won't get half way through and realise I made a huge mistake and need to reroll.

For those of you that actually read this and take the time to answer my heart felt thanks.


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Postby Crenshinibon » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:06 pm

First of all, you can beat the game with any party. Second, I'd recommend having five NPCs in your group for the first few times you play the game, as with different characters, the banter changes.

Since you want Jahiera and Minsc in your party, you have the fighter roles covered, with Jahiera being able to do some divine casting.

So what's left is a mage and maybe a priest. If you played Baldur's Gate 1, you'll remember Edwin, a very powerful mage, and Viconia, a Cleric, which can both go in your group. If you're looking for new members, try Aerie, she's Cleric/Mage multiclass and definitely has the potential to become one of the strongest characters in the game, not to mention that she is available as a romance option.

My two favorite characters would be Jan Jansen (a gnomish Illusionist/Thief, and in my opinion, the most powerful character you can get) as well as Haer' Dalis (a Tiefling Blade). Jan has some very nice banter and can serve as great thief as well as a good spell caster. Haer' Dalis on the other hand can be suited for any party and any role as he has a variety of spells and skills which need only be interchanged to turn him from a mage to a support caster to a front line fighter.

As for your main character, just do what you feel like playing. I personally enjoy playing Blades, and have done so with many party combinations, including the one I just suggested. A sorcerer will give you raw spell power at the cost of flexibility (though you'll hardly notice). Then, there are a multitude of multiclass and dual class combinations that you can try. Also, look into a Ranger/Cleric multiclass. It's a very solid choice.
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Postby galraen » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:00 am

Crenshinibon has most things covered. Personally I prefer a party of four, once I get more than that in a party I start to lose sight of things, I guess I have a mental deficiency which impairs my ability to keep track of what 5 or 6 people are doing.

If you're playing an un-modded game you are almost forced to have a thief of some sort in the party*, like Crenshinibon, I prefer Jan. Nalia, is a viable alternative, as is of course Yoshimo, but you probably know what happens with him. Which can make choices easier if you want to have Imoen in your party after Spellhold of course.

Another factor which will affect who you take with you is your attitude towards alignment. If you want a 'good' party then obviously Edwin and Viconia are out of the question, unless you want a romance with Vici with an eye to saving her soul of course. If being good matters, then Aerie is an excellent choice, I'd disagree with Cren on this and say IMO she is potentially the most powerful NPC, but each to their own.

If alignment doesn't matter, then Edwin and Vici are the most powerful of their type as has been stated, and for my money, the best tank is Koran, who also has great dialog. Bear in mind that Minsc is supposed to be good, and can get stroppy with Edwin, and may even attack Viconia.

The main deciding factor is of course your main character, once you decide what you're going to do with her/him, then giving further advice will be simpler.

* If you use the G3 Tweak Pack there is an option to disable all locks and traps in the game, thus negating the need for a thief if you so wish.
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Postby jouke1988 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:22 am

I agree with al said above but wish to add my opinion. I've finished BG2 several times and know that it is very hard sometimes. I would give one advice.

Since you are taking Jaheira and Minsc with you, the only thing you need is a mage. If you find it hard to finish the game my tip is to take 3 mages. I took Jan and Imoen with me every time.

Every time I added or Aerie to that groop or I made an Mage myself. 2 good suggestions are a Gnome Illusionist and a Human Kensai/Mage dualled at level 13.

Make sure you take a veriety of NPC's with you. Everyone of them has a lot of nice subquests. Try different combo's and you will find the combo you like. Wich can be 4,5 or 6 people party's.
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Postby Thrifalas » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:04 am

First of all, you're going to take Minsc, who is good, and Jaheira who acts that way although she's neutral, so you might want to play a good party. If so, I'd first and foremost recommend Keldorn in your party. Very good, very powerful. Not the most fun dialogues or most noteworthy character, but definitely the best warrior in SoA.

Substitute Imoen with Jan, Nalia or Yoshimo untill you get her back and play a sorceress yourself. That way you'll have a good 5 men party with two powerhouses (inquisitor+sorceress) that would easily beat the game even with very difficult mods installed. It's not the most entertaining party composition though, but from what I could read from your post your main concern was not to have the most humorous party banters.

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Postby Stworca » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:22 am

Most things were said already before, so perhaps my post will only confirm what they said.

There are two NPCs in game who are more powerfull in one way or another then any character that you can create yourself. That is Viconia (with her stunning magic resistance) and a warrior that joins you in ToB who's name i wont spoil for you (has a very powerfull special skill that scores 200+ damage)

The best character to take is sorcerer. If you just pick the right spells at leveling up, your sorcerer will tank, control and destroy. Sorcs are good in everything, but again, you need to pick the right spells :)

Other very strong, but slightly harder to play character is Totemic druid.

But have a mage or sorcerer with you in any case (or a blade). Your life will be much, much more easier (tip : Cause of their protection spells that can stop gods themselves from damaging them :) )

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Postby Jordoo » Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:38 am

I'll throw my 2 cents in as well.
You've got Jaheira and Minsc as from liners and some divine casting. Looks like your basically going with a good group so I would count on keeping imoen once you get her because no good PC would leave her behind anyway. I also recomend taking Yoshimo along if you've never done that even if you have a full party it will work out so you can still keep Imoem ;) . I am with Galraen on the smaler party stuff but if your looking to have the most fun possible I would go with PC+4 NPC's and leave a slot open to pick up other NPC's and then drop them after completing their quests. This way you see alot more of the game and your keeping a spot for Imoen even if you don't have Yoshimo (who is a must to play with at least once IMO).

I think you should add a Cleric class wether it be your PC, Aerie, Anomen or Viconia. You probably wouldn't want Viconia unless your going to romance her as mentioned above in someone elses post. Aerie would give you alot of flexability in chosing your other NPC's as long as you got a theif for one of them.

I would recommend that you take Aerie and Yoshimo if you've never played through with Yoshimo before, if you have I would take Aerie and Jan. Either way your PC can be whatever you want and you still have an empty spot to shuffle other NPC's in and out plus keep Imoen when you get her back. Oh and if you PC is a he then you'd have two romance options in Aerie and Jaheira which you could play out together untill they make you pick.
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Postby Boleyn1895 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:04 am

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I'm going to go for the Yoshimo/Imoen path this time round along with Jaheira & Minsc.

I will be playing a good party for this run with 5 members and the extra space for quest npc recruitment.

As for my rolled character it was always going to be either a Kensai/Mage or a Paladin but now the suggestion of a Sorceror or a Blade may make me change my mind.

So thats:

Me ------------- Minsc
Jaheira ---------
Yoshimo/Imoen - Aerie?

I guess the obvious last member would be Aerie for the extra healing and Mage spells.

That just leaves me.

With 2 Fighters, 2 Healers, 2 Mages (1 Mage until Imoen returns) & a Thief what would you recommend for my main character to round this party off?

A Paladin for the high Charisma for shopkeeper interaction (I know about the ring so not essential this part) + Carsomyr? a Kensai/Mage for an extra Fighter & Mage?

Also if Kensei/Mage dual at 9 or 13? jouke1988 above says 13 but most guides I have read say 9.

Or something different, a Sorceror or Blade perhaps as also mentioned?

One last thing that has a bearing on main character choice is the Stronghold. I think I read somwhere that you can get both the Fighter and Mage strongholds without using mods if you are a Fighter Mage so that might push Kensai/Mage to the top of the list.

Thanks again for all your help.

**Edit** I should also state I'm not using any mods, just SoA, ToB, the latest patch and the CE shopkeepers patch.

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Postby Jordoo » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:55 am

I'd lean toward a Sorceror or Ke/Ma over a Pali if your taking Yoshimo because Aerie would be your only Arkane caster untill you get Imoen back and she id a multi classed character who will develop a bit slowly early on. So It might be better to have a PC that is also some sort of Arkane caster.
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Postby Lepus Europaeus » Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:14 am

Good to see there's someone else who likes to keep all the NSCs who actually have a reason to follow you. Here are some NPCs that should be quite interesting together, roleplaying-wise:

Minsc - Aerie
Minsc - Keldorn (if Minsc is berserking a lot)
Keldorn - Anomen (be careful not to let him fail his test)
Valygar - Nalia
Valygar - Mazzy
Mazzy - Korgan
Jan - everyone and everything
Haer Dalis - Aerie
Haer Dalis - Yoshimo

My favorite parties include Minsc, Jaheira, Yoshimo/Jan, later replaced by Imoen, and:
- Myself (chevalier), Keldorn, Aerie (melee-heavy, do-goody party)
- Myself (barbarian), Viconia, Jan (wierdos united)
- Myself (summoner), Anomen, Keldorn (cookie-cutter, almost boring)
- Myself (kensei/druid), Nalia, Valygar (my PC imported from BG1, with strength 19, wisdom 21 etc, having some technical trouble with this one, though)

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Postby Boleyn1895 » Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:35 am


I like the idea of Keldorn with me going Kensai/Mage, so the party would be:

Keldorn ------------- Minsc
Kensai/Mage -------- Jaheira
Imoen/Yoshimo ------ Aerie

Only problem with that is when to recruit Keldorn as the permanent 6th member as I would like to keep an extra space available for quest NPC's

Also the when to dual to Mage question, 9 or 13 - I would assume if I have Keldorn then 9 would be better to make the Mage more powerfull but 13 if I don't have Keldorn?

Anyway thanks again.

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Postby Jordoo » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:04 pm

Its all prefernce, as everyone has stated so you can do no wrong really. 9 is plenty of levels of Fighter but at 13 you get anothe Kai, another proficiency point, another 1/2 an attack per round and 4 less thaco. Do you want to wait around leveling up for 4 more levels, thats your choice. If you want to be a Paladin yourself thats fine as well since a Paladin with Carsomyr is going to dispell most mage protections anyways especially if its an Inquisitor who has True Sight and dispell magic at twice his level. You'll make it through fine with only Aerie as an arkane caster untill you get Imoen, I only mentioned it so you'd know.

Most important thing is play how you like to and with who you like to not what I like or someone else.
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Postby Sain » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:54 am

Your party looks very good, actully. But as Jorodo said, it's about who you like and don't like too.
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Postby Ode to a Grasshopper » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:19 pm

If you're taking Minsc and Jaheira I'd go with
Main character - Inquisitor (for Carsomyr and mage battles). Go male of you want the romances.
Jaheira - Fighter, backup offensive divine caster/healer. Possible romance option.
Minsc - fighter.
Aerie - mage, main cleric. Goes well with Minsc. Possible romance option.
Jan - backup mage, main thief. Absolute must-have character IMO, his interactions with Minsc are priceless.
Imoen - backup thief (pretty good with the right item selection), mage.

This setup gives you 3 mages (Imoen, Aerie, Jan - Imoen will probably be your main mage), 3 front-line fighters (PC, Minsc, Jaheira), 2 divine casters (Aerie, Jaheira) and a thief (Jan).
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Postby Rav » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:49 pm

Considering you want a relatively easy enough run through, I'd argue against blades and fighter/mages, who require a lot of fiddling with spells. Inquisitors are very simple. There are few binds that a double strength dispel magic cannot get you out of.