I did the following, and I everything was very easy.
I was a bounty hunter/fighter dual clas at just after the game starts.
At the begining of the game i picked up everyone. When I left the dungeon I dismissed everyone except Jaheirra. I got Krogan and Viconia, and went for the Edwin quest. Later I picked up Jan since I thought I needed an archer. I also had Hear'dalis for some time, but realized he was too weak. When I continiued I dropped ppl out of my party realizing that I don't need them. Jan's x-bow is too slow and i was a thief myself so i didn't need anotherone. Hear'dalis has too low HP to be a fighter and his spells s!ck, so I left him. I was thinking for not leaving out Jaheirra, since she already had quite a lot XP (after I completed all the quests in chapt 2), but I didn't need two healers.
At the end I only had the evil guys (viconia, krogan edwin) I had the celestial fury + another good katana, and the boots of speed and that did short work of monsters. In chapt. 6 I realized that Krogan had only 20% of the kills (he can't kill anything. me and edwin sweeped the terrain, before he had a chance to HIT), but since in chapt 6 he had LOTS of XP I didn't dop him.
This way the XP was divided only by 4 and my party was very experianced. That's why i think smaller parties are better.
Conclusion: Stick only to the evil guys...
Vicsun, I certainly agree with your assertion that you are an unpleasant person. ~Chanak