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Partying with a Blade and a Cleric/Illusionist

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.

TL;DR:

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.

smeagolheart

Comments

  • IkMarcIkMarc Member Posts: 552
    Two fighters + Branwen - Imoen + Coran

    One mage and a bard is plenty for BGEE. You will use two fighters and a cleric all the time, while hardly using your mage besides some strong enemies and bosses. Besides that you will also be able to cast and use wands with your blade. For metagaming purposes I would switch Imoen with Coran after a while because ranged attacks are really strong (some would say overpowered) in BG1/BGEE and he is the best ranged attacker in the game.

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    I am interested in trying Coran at least for a while, at least for his quest. Depending on where his skills are at, could trade in Imoen, or depending on my CHARNAME's frontline skills, give Ajantis or Minsc a break.

  • MadhaxMadhax Member Posts: 1,416
    Ditch Minsc. He's more of a damage-dealer than tank anyway, and your blade fills that role nicely. Ajantis can tank alone with you and Branwen backing him up.

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    Oh... but poor Boo!

    I'm enjoying Neera so far. Not sure if she trumps the raw strength of Minsc, with her occasional... misfires. But you have a good point. Minsc's not-so-grand dex and con are a drawback, and boy it's a pain when he gets charmed, which happens all too easily.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    Rasaad's quest triggers very late (in the city). If you don't want him as a permanent party member, it's frankly an incredible burden - especially if you are waiting to finally complete the quest and ditch him for the party member you planned.

    Neera's quest can be done much earlier. It's funny, but doesn't give you any terribly useful loot. It's still good XP and an interesting battle.

    Dorn's quest is clearly the most important for you to get the Elven Chain for your Blade. The quest starts early and there's a small encounter, so it's not as boring as waiting for Rasaad's. You can only finish it after Cloakwood though. Once the bridge is open, you can rush through it, grab your armor and ditch Dorn again. If you want Ajantis permanently, I'd say: Decline Dorn's first offer to join you, so he goes back to FAI. After finishing Cloakwood, park Ajantis somewhere, pick up Dorn (make sure your rep is 18 or lower), go to the area that has the first encounter of his questline (or talk to Taris in Nashkel, comes out as the same), then to the bridge map and it immediately triggers the final confrontation. After that, get Ajantis back. That way, you keep Ajantis close to your party level and only do one minor and one bigger battle without him.

  • Oxford_GuyOxford_Guy Member Posts: 3,729

    Neera's quest can be done much earlier. It's funny, but doesn't give you any terribly useful loot. It's still good XP and an interesting battle.

    I'd say the Stoneskin scroll is very useful, later on, anyway... The other items are minor, but nice

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    Yes, Stoneskin would be nice!

    Thanks for the details on how to make this work, @KidCarnival. With Rasaad, wouldn't it be possible to have him join the party briefly, then park him somewhere until late in the game, when his quest is ready? At that point, I would imagine we could do what you suggested with Dorn, and trade Ajantis for Rasaad for the quest, then pick Ajantis back up, right?

    Hoping so. Would like to do his quest, but not so much actually having him in our party for the whole game.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    I just sleep a bunch of times and they speed through their conversation. This way I only pick them up when I want to and can do all of their quests.

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    I haven't completed Rasaad's quest yet (I usually play evil, I can't stand monks, I can't stand his voice), so I don't know how that would work, how long the quest takes/how many fights. It's possible you can make it work like Dorn's - better ask someone who actually played it, so you know when to park Ajantis (or someone else, no idea what party is best for Rasaad's fights).

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    Aaaaaaaaaand... my laptop's hard drive died today. Thankfully most of my files are backed up, but one of the few things that isn't is my saved games for Baldur's Gate. My buddy and I had started this game with me using my iPad, so I can pull that save in again. Just lost a couple of night's of gaming. Gah.

    Dumb dumb dumb me: always back up your saves!

  • AristilliusAristillius Member Posts: 873
    Yeslick might be a good addition too instead of Branwen. He is a good fighter.

  • Oxford_GuyOxford_Guy Member Posts: 3,729

    Yeslick might be a good addition too instead of Branwen. He is a good fighter.

    He needs the Dex gloves, though, so it depends a bit on your party composition whether these are going spare. He's also thick as pig sh*t and can't cast from scrolls, though it's not a major issue. He does get the shorty Con-based save bonus (+4 in his case, +5 with Buckley's Buckler or the Con Tome), which is nice, as well as an innate use of Dispel Magic. He's Lawful Good, though, which doesn't make him very appropriate for many of my parties...

  • Oxford_GuyOxford_Guy Member Posts: 3,729
    Grakkel said:

    Aaaaaaaaaand... my laptop's hard drive died today. Thankfully most of my files are backed up, but one of the few things that isn't is my saved games for Baldur's Gate. My buddy and I had started this game with me using my iPad, so I can pull that save in again. Just lost a couple of night's of gaming. Gah.

    Dumb dumb dumb me: always back up your saves!

    I hope they implement cloud-base saves soon, at least for the Mac version...

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55


    I hope they implement cloud-base saves soon, at least for the Mac version...

    Yup, that's what I was thinking several times today. C'est la vie, I guess.

  • DebaserDebaser Member Posts: 669
    Grakkel said:

    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.

    TL;DR:

    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.

    @Grakkel

    I tend to prefer Jaheria to Branwen (I think she's just about as good of a healer, and more flexible for a variety of roles plus you don't need...a second straight cleric since your friend is one)

    This might not be power playing but I would maybe take Jaheria and Rasaad, do Rasaad's quest later on...and give Jaheria the cursed belt and the DEX gloves making her a huge tank and a secondary healer.

    I'd give the ogre gloves to Rasaad, as well as Twinkle if you're pick-pocketing Drizzt, AND I'd give him the Klaw of Kazaroth and a ring of protection or something to make him really hard to hit.

    I think this is more interesting than Minsc or Ajantis overall, and more flexible since Rasaad can keep up with whomever get boots of speed and if you put the time into him, he can grow to be stronger than people give him credit for.


    Blade
    Cleric/Illusionist
    Imoen
    Neera
    Jaheria
    Rasaad



  • Oxford_GuyOxford_Guy Member Posts: 3,729
    Rasaad is Lawful Good, it just seems wrong to me to give him Twinkle and even more wrong to give him the Claw of Kazgaroth, but I guess people RP things in different ways

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    Debaser said:


    I'd give the ogre gloves to Rasaad, as well as Twinkle if you're pick-pocketing Drizzt, AND I'd give him the Klaw of Kazaroth and a ring of protection or something to make him really hard to hit.

    Once I "borrow" Drizzt's scimitars, my Blade will be putting them to good use, since his proficiencies are scimitars and two weapon style, and I plan to build him up to three points in two weapon by the end of BG. My blade is neutral good, so my RP justification is a combination of "he's a drow, he must be evil!" with a tinge of "in my heart, I know Drizzt is good, but I really need these scimitars for the greater good: perhaps I will return them to him later."

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