After a long and worthwhile wait, I'm finally enjoying Baldur's Gate on my Mac with a friend of mine, on his PC. A couple years ago we tried playing with the GOG version, but I got very tired of slow Parallels nonsense. I think we got through the bandit camp, with my CHARNAME as a plain ol' fighter, and him playing a Gnomish Cleric/Illusionist. As I've been an Apple guy since I was a kid, that was my first chance to enjoy the awesomeness of Baldur's Gate. We used to play D&D back in the old days, and this brings back so many memories.
Anyhow, now that the Mac version is here, we started up again. I'm running a half-elven Blade CHARNAME this time, and he's going with a Gnomish Cleric/Illusionist again.
The reason for this post is that when I was figuring out our party, I was bad at math.
I had initially thought we'd play through with the following NPCs (a good-oriented party):
* Imoen (not planning to dual her)
* Ajantis and Minsc for front-liners
* Neera for a pure mage
* Branwen for a pure cleric
Not sure how I managed to count to seven there and call it six, but that's what I did.
So now I have to trim down our party. We've made it down to Beregost with Imoen, Ajantis, Jaheira, and now Neera has joined our merry band. Khalid was, quite unfortunately, eaten by a wolf, without even the opportunity to take his armor off first. A true shame.
So now we have choices to make.
I'm planning to have my Blade dart into the front line now and then with offensive whirlwind (which will be particularly fun once I "borrow" Drizzt's scimitars), use a little magic, pick a few pockets, and in general have a grand old time, while the gnome sits back and unleashes the combined power of the arcane and divine on all comers.
We're definitely going to have Imoen around for her thieving skills.
I think it's generally a good idea to have two decent front-liners if possible, which would mean Minsc and Ajantis. Eventually my Blade might be able to hold his own up front, which could allow us to keep around just Minsc or just Ajantis. Minsc obviously is a great deal of fun and packs a wallop. Ajantis, with Gauntlets of Dex, is pretty useful, with his paladin heals, protection from evil, etc.
If we do keep both Minsc and Ajantis, we need to pick between Neera and Branwen. I'm leaning towards Branwen. That would give us healing from the Gnome, Branwen, and Ajantis and a bit from my Bhaalspawn powers and Minsc by the very end of BG, and magic from the Gnome and my Blade. Hmm. That does seem a bit heal-heavy, but can you ever have too much healing? Plus, the Gnome may be busy throwing around offensive magic spells at times, reducing his ability to heal. Having Branwen around could be useful, and she's not too bad in combat, either.
What I'm thinking is that we head down to Nashkel, trade Jaheira for Branwen, and then wander around a bit until we can do Neera's quest. After that is finished, maybe trade Neera for Minsc to go gnoll hunting. I would imagine Imoen wouldn't mind if we let her take a short break while we welcomed Dynaheir to our party and promptly sent her to look for firewood... very much on her own.
I'm hoping that works out ok to switch out Imoen or Ajantis to temporarily pick up Raasad or perhaps even Dorn to complete their quests. While Raasad's not my bag of tea for a long-term party member, I would like to do his quest when we get to that point. And Dorn's quest offers the opportunity to pick up some armor that would be very, very useful for my blade.
Two fighters? Or cleric and wild mage?
If Ajantis and Minsc, Neera or Branwen?
If Neera and Branwen, Ajantis or Minsc?
Other suggestions are welcome, but that's the general idea I'm thinking of our for our party.