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Getting Started: An Introduction to Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition

DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447

Getting Started:
An Introduction to Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition

Baldur’s Gate is a challenging game, and it can be a whirlwind of decision-making to get started. This guide will help explain some of the more complicated aspects of the game’s mechanics, and assist you in creating your character and starting your game.

If this is your first time playing Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, we recommend starting with Shadows of Amn. You may also play The Black Pits II at any time; its story and events are separate from the main campaign, and can be experienced on their own.

New Players

If this is your first time playing Baldur’s Gate, the number of choices you have at the start of the game, before you even begin playing, can be overwhelming. For a quick set of tutorials, we recommend watching some (or all) of the “How to Play” videos, especially the ones pertaining to the different class types. It may give you a sense of what kind of character you want to play.

To jump right into the game, you can follow these steps:
1. Select Shadows of Amn
2. Select Single Player
3. Select New Game
4. Find the character you like best from the list of pregenerated characters and click Play next to that character’s name
Or keep reading for information on creating your very own custom-built character.

The Main Menus

Once you’ve selected a campaign—and this guide will assume you’ve started with Shadows of Amn—you’ll see a few different options: Single Player, Multiplayer, How to Play, Store, Options, and Back.

Back will return you to the campaign selection screen; Options will let you change the game’s Graphics, Sound, and Gameplay settings. If you’re playing the game on PC or Mac, the Store button will show you the content that is included for free; iPad users may use this screen to purchase premium content such as NPCs and portrait packs.

If this is your first time playing, the How to Play button offers a list of video tutorials that will demonstrate the basic mechanics of gameplay, allowing you to familiarize yourself with combat, magic, and the various interface screens.

Multiplayer will let you set up or join a game session with other players from across the globe. You can even start a game by yourself and create a party of your own custom characters, or have your friends join you.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll start with Single Player. Select New Game, and you’ll be presented with a list of pre-generated characters, as well as the option to create your own. If you’d like to jump into the game right away, select the character of your choice by clicking Play. Otherwise, click Create to start the process of Character Creation.

Importing from Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition

If you previously played Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition and would like to continue with the same character, you can click “Import” from the Character Creation screen to import either a saved game or an exported character file. For the game to detect these files, you will need to follow these short steps:
1. Open your Documents library, and open \Baldur’s Gate – Enhanced Edition\
2. Open either the Characters folder or the Save folder, depending on whether you want to import an exported character or a character from a saved game
3. Copy the .CHR and .BIO files for your exported character, or copy the entire folder for the desired save
4. Return to your Documents library, and open \Baldur’s Gate II – Enhanced Edition\
5. Open either the Characters folder or the Save folder
6. Paste the .CHR and .BIO files or your saved game into this folder
Then launch the game. On the Character Creation screen, click Import, and then either Character File or Saved Game, and you’ll see your character or saved game in the list. Select the character (or the saved game and then the character you wish to import), and then click Done. You’ll be prompted to choose new colors and a new sound set, as well as confirming your character’s name, and then you’ll be ready to start the game!

Note that when the game begins, your character will have no equipment. You will need to use your skills and abilities to find new equipment and allies to help you in your adventure.

(If you bought the game through the Mac App Store, you'll find your characters or saved games in the following location: /Users/username/Library/Containers/com.beamdog.baldursgateenhancededition/Data/Documents/Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition/

The BGII:EE equivalent is /Users/username/Library/Containers/com.beamdog.baldursgateiienhancededition/Data/Documents/Baldur's Gate II - Enhanced Edition/ )

Character Creation

The first thing you’ll need to decide when creating a new character is Gender. Male and Female characters are not mechanically different, nor are they restricted in terms of what weapons or armor they can use. However, certain NPCs (non-player characters) may react differently if your character is one gender or the other. Some romances may require that you be a specific gender as well.

Once you’ve selected your gender, you will need to choose a Portrait. Use the left and right buttons on the screen to cycle through the list of available portraits. You can also use a custom portrait if you have one in your Portraits folder, but for the moment just select one of the images from the gallery provided for you.

The next selection you’ll need to make is your character’s Race. Each race has a list of traits describing their advantages and disadvantages. Note that certain races may be restricted in terms of what classes they can choose, and only Humans may dual-class, allowing them to change their class during play. Non-humans have the option to multi-class, advancing simultaneously in two or three classes at once. Here is a list of the races, and the available classes they can choose from:
- Human: Any
- Elf: Fighter, Ranger, Cleric, Mage, Thief, Sorcerer, Barbarian
- Half-Elf: Fighter, Ranger, Cleric, Druid, Mage, Thief, Bard, Sorcerer, Barbarian
- Gnome: Fighter, Cleric, Illusionist, Thief, Barbarian
- Halfling: Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Barbarian
- Dwarf: Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Barbarian
- Half-Orc: Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Barbarian
Note that gnomes cannot be normal Mages; they must choose the Illusionist specialization kit. Each race also offers bonuses and penalties to certain ability scores and skills; be sure to read through the race’s description carefully before making your decision. Halflings make exceptional Thieves, while half-orcs make better Fighters, and elves are good choices for the Ranger class.

After your race, you will need to select a Class. Choose from the options available based on your race; once you select a class, you will have the option to select a Kit, applying additional advantages (and disadvantages) based on a particular archetype. The Dwarven Defender, for example, is a Fighter kit for dwarves that specializes in axes and defensive abilities. Every class except the Barbarian has kits available, so you’ll want to explore the various options.

Next you’ll be asked to give your character an Alignment. This choice is mostly a cosmetic one; you can be either Good or Evil in Baldur’s Gate, so choose an alignment that fits the character you plan to play. Note that some characters you encounter will behave differently based on your alignment and reputation, and some spells may affect you differently based on your alignment as well.

After selecting an alignment you will need to roll Ability Scores. Each character has six abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.


This ability determines how strong your character is. A high strength will let you carry more weight, hit with greater accuracy, and deal greater damage. A warrior class (Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, or Paladin) can even benefit from an exceptional strength if they roll an 18, granting even greater bonuses. If you’re playing a warrior class, Strength is the bread and butter that will put the hurt on your enemies. A good defense is a strong offense.


This ability determines your agility; a high dexterity will grant bonuses to thieving skills, ranged weapon accuracy, and armor class, allowing you to avoid taking damage altogether. Thieves and bards will want to pay particular attention to this ability, but a high Dexterity is important to any character who plans to survive combat.


If Dexterity helps you avoid attacks, Constitution helps you survive the ones that you take. A high Constitution grants bonus hit points for each level you attain; the smaller races (halfling, gnome, and dwarf) also gain bonuses to their saving throws for high Constitution, making them more resilient against certain spells and effects. Note that non-warrior classes gain no hit point benefit from a score higher than 16; however, a Constitution of 20 or higher will actually let your character regenerate hit points slowly over time. Constitution is important for any character; without sufficient hit points, a stray arrow might mean death.


Intelligence marks the amount of knowledge your character has or can attain through study. For mages, it determines how many spells you can have in your spellbook as well as what kinds of spells you can cast; additionally, a high Intelligence will help any character recognize magical items found in the world by boosting their Lore. A high Lore will allow you to identify an item’s magical properties just by looking at it, allowing you to take full advantage of your equipment as soon as you find it—as well as helping you avoid items that may be cursed.


Wisdom is the philosophical counterpart to Intelligence, demonstrating your character’s ability to think through situations and understand consequences. For clerics, a high Wisdom also grants bonus spells per day, meaning that a cleric with a high Wisdom will be much better able to heal and buff himself and his party. Wisdom also grants a modifier to Lore, just as Intelligence does; if you are playing a bard, a high Intelligence and Wisdom may mean never having to cast Identify again.


It’s important to be pleasant and liked, and this ability reflects that talent. A high charisma will grant you discounts in certain shops, make some NPCs more friendly, and may even yield better rewards when you complete quests. There is no class that specifically relies on Charisma, but a high Charisma will make your character more likeable, no matter whether you’re a fighter or a thief.

Rolling Abilities

Your ability scores are generated from three six-sided dice (also represented as 3d6). This means that any ability score can have a starting value anywhere from 3 to 18. Additionally, your class limits your minimum and maximum score in a given ability, and your race will also apply a bonus or penalty to certain ability scores. A half-orc, for example, can have a Strength and Constitution as high as 19, but will only be able to have an Intelligence of up to 16.

You may reroll your ability scores as many times as you like; you can also redistribute ability points on a 1-for-1 basis; you may also click the “Store” button to retain a roll while you try for better scores. At any time you can click “Recall” to return to your last Stored roll.
Once you have rolled ability scores, the Skills screen allows you to assign weapon proficiencies and thief skill points, as appropriate for your class. If you’re a mage, you will also be able to select the spells that will start in your spellbook.

Choose the weapon or weapons that best suit your character’s personality, and assign proficiency points as needed. Note that fighters can put as many as five points in a given weapon; rangers and paladins can put up to two points in each weapon, and all other classes many put one point in any weapon that is accessible based on the class’s restrictions. Certain kits may also have additional limitations or opportunities; an Archer, for example, is a Ranger kit that can put as many as five points in the Longbow or Shortbow weapon type.

In addition, there are four weapon styles: Single Weapon Style, Sword and Shield Style, Two Weapon Style, and Two-Handed Weapon Style. Read the descriptions to find out more about these styles, and if desired, put points in the one that best suits your character. Note that not every class has access to every weapon or weapon style.
If you’re playing a thief, you’ll also want to pay attention to the thieving skills.

Pick Pocket

This skill allows you to pilfer objects from unsuspecting marks, adding them to your inventory. With an exceptionally high skill you may even be able to steal weapons your target has equipped!

Open Lock

This skill lets you open most locked containers or doors in the game, if your skill is high enough. Some doors and chests may require keys, but for most locks, this skill will make the difference between a locked door and opportunity.

Find Traps

Throughout the game, you will delve into dungeons, and in many of those dungeons will be traps. Use this skill to locate those traps and then disarm them.

Hide in Shadows / Move Silently

These skills work together to determine your character’s Stealth abilities. When you activate Stealth, a combined check will be made with these two skills to determine whether your Stealth attempt was successful. Thieves that attack enemies from behind while stealthed will receive massive bonuses to attack and damage; use it wisely!

Detect Illusion

A talented thief can spot discrepancies in the environment to identify effects created by illusion spells, effectively dispelling those effects immediately. This can even let a thief spot invisible creatures.

Set Traps

This ability allows the thief to set damaging traps on the floor. When enemies walk over the trap, it will be activated, dealing significant damage.
After you finish selecting skills, you’ll be allowed to customize your character’s Appearance. You can choose a new hair and skin color, as well as customizing the clothing colors for your character. After selecting colors, you’ll be prompted to choose your character’s Sounds, affecting what voice is used when you attack or move. Again, choose the sound set that works best for your character.

Finally, give your character a Name. If you like, you can also write your own Biography, or you can simply use the one provided. When you’re ready to begin the game, click “Accept”.

Enjoy the game!
Post edited by Dee on


  • KharasKharas Member Posts: 150
    Very good guide for a first time player :)

    Especially those poor souls that aint old enough to have experienced AD&D 2nd Edition in all its glory ;)
  • cryocorecryocore Member Posts: 121
    Nicely put together guide. BGII can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated.
  • QbertQbert Member Posts: 195
    Thanks for the guide - it helped me import my characters from saves from BGEE. One note, you may have to create the save folders under BG2EE if they aren't already there.
  • TheNPCTheNPC Member Posts: 57
    how do I create the save folders?
  • JalilyJalily Member Posts: 4,681
    TheNPC said:

    how do I create the save folders?

    On Windows:
    1. Go to My Documents\Baldur's Gate II - Enhanced Edition
    2. Right-click -> New -> Folder
    3. Name the new folder "save".
  • OmegaBladeOmegaBlade Member Posts: 7
    Go to C:Users\"Name"\Documents\Baldur's Gate II - Enhanced Edition and create a folder called save. Then place your save game of choice in it.
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    My hot-key of choice is Ctrl-Shift-N, which creates a new folder in whatever directory you're currently viewing.
  • SedSed Member Posts: 790
    Is there any way to get the portraits added in BG:EE to BG2:EE?
    All of a sudden my chars are without portraits ^^
  • cmk24cmk24 Member Posts: 605
    Sed said:

    Is there any way to get the portraits added in BG:EE to BG2:EE?
    All of a sudden my chars are without portraits ^^

    I would like to do the same thing.
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Member Posts: 418
    You can use EEKeeper to extract any portrait from BGEE and can then simply add it to your BG2EE portrait folder
  • laptopman666laptopman666 Member Posts: 283
    cryocore said:

    Nicely put together guide. BGII can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated.

    werent you just raging last night about beamdog and their servers? now you're praising them? talk about two-faced

  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447

    cryocore said:

    Nicely put together guide. BGII can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated.

    werent you just raging last night about beamdog and their servers? now you're praising them? talk about two-faced

    There's really no call for that.
  • laptopman666laptopman666 Member Posts: 283
    Dee said:

    cryocore said:

    Nicely put together guide. BGII can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated.

    werent you just raging last night about beamdog and their servers? now you're praising them? talk about two-faced

    There's really no call for that.
    fair enough, i apologize.

  • UvoglineUvogline Member Posts: 5
    This guide is well done for windows, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way on Mac.

    Could you explain how to import character from BG:EE to BGII:EE on Mac please ?

    Thanks :)
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    The process is the same; in your Documents library you should see a shortcut to each of their local file systems. Move your save from the BGI library to the BGII library, and you should be good to go.
  • UvoglineUvogline Member Posts: 5
    There is not such a file (library) on Mac in the BG's folder.

    I used to play on windows before, and it was a lot easier (but with more files)

    On Mac, it's just like this :
  • DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
    It won't be through your Applications folder; in the Finder, open your Documents library, and you should see a folder called "Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition". If you don't see that, let me know.
  • UvoglineUvogline Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2013
    Yes, it's there ! Thank you :D I had never been there before... ^^'
    Post edited by Uvogline on
  • OneDrizzitOneDrizzit Member Posts: 5
    Is there any way to get the portraits added in BG:EE to BG2:EE on a MAC?

    I tried many different things, still no success!
  • bulmasanbulmasan Member Posts: 1
    Is there any way to get the portraits without using an editor? EEKeeper has never worked for me; for some reason it doesn't recognize BG EE on my computer. How weird that they released this game without the portraits from the first game...
  • RazaDelromRazaDelrom Member Posts: 149
    Depends on what portraits you refer to. I think you can just use copy and paste to the override folder, if said pictures have the same name in both games. If the pictures worked in one game, then the format should be running without a problem in the other game. The use of the override folder will replace the old with the new, without the need to actually delete the pictures which are not in use.
  • AristilliusAristillius Member Posts: 873
    @RazaDelrom I think they are referring to the new portraits that came with BGEE. For some reason they are not included in BG2EE, which sucks for my character which uses a new portrait.
  • zadkielmodelerzadkielmodeler Member Posts: 20
    Hey, um why aren't the cool new portraits and sound sets from BG EE1 present in BG EE2 ?
  • bigbluepawbigbluepaw Member Posts: 4
    Hey folks. Just purchased BGIIEE on a mac. I've followed some of the suggestions above on importing my BGIEE character. However, I am not succeeding.

    Specifically, when I go to my documents folder, I see a 'Baldur's Gate II - Enhanced Edition' folder. However, I do not see one for the first BG game. I played through, just a few months ago, and completed the game.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • BrewhewhoBrewhewho Member Posts: 29
    What about cheat codes? How do I activate them in BG2 EE?
  • SlandeSlande Member Posts: 23
    edited November 2013
    Brewhewho said:

    What about cheat codes? How do I activate them in BG2 EE?

    It is described in this discussion:

    It may be for the first game (enhanced of course) but it worked fine for me on the second game as well
  • JTMJTM Member Posts: 70

    Back in the day, you had to...

    Lol, thanks for that Deathknight... it brought back memories. :)

  • MonoCanallaMonoCanalla Member Posts: 291
    Wait…You can't recover your equipment from BG1 later, as it used to happens?
This discussion has been closed.