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I hate the NPCs

So, I've never actually finished BG2 because I find the team members either incredibly tedious personality wise or awful in terms of build. I'm curious about community recommendations. Which would be the better experience: do the Baldur's Gate series with a full custom team, play the Black Pits or play Icewind Dale?

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Comments

  • Papa_LouPapa_Lou Member Posts: 264
    I've only played tidbits of Icewind Dale and the Black Pits, because I don't want to distract myself from the BG series. I just beat Shadows of Amn for the first time and am currently making my way through Throne of Bhaal. I've never been disappointed with anything so far in the series, and I can't imagine ToB has anything that would change that.
    I didn't find the NPC's I used anything but awesome. Maybe I'm just blinded by my love of the series? Hahaha. But in my SoA run, I used Nalia, Valygar, Anomen, Jan, and Jaheira. Really interesting party, and I always found myself cracking up at Jan's stories.
    If I could make my own recommendation, roll a single character that you love to play, and make your way through the entire series, and just play as that character. Take NPC's that your character would get along with, interact with the world as that character, and don't get pulled down by things like stats or having the best equipment. That's what I've been doing and I've loved every second of it.
    BUT, if I had to pick one of those three options, I'd say play through BG with a custom party, and at least experience the epic storytelling.
    Hope this helps, dude.

    Thrasymachus
  • magisenseimagisensei Member Posts: 316
    BG is more of a role-playing game with a story and with characters that are different and personalities that clash. There is romance and heartache, love gained and even lost that is lost. If you started with BG1 and go through the series you will see that it is a story as much as it is a role-playing game.

    Having different NPCs join with you and getting to mix and match them into a party is part of the enjoyment of the game.

    Any party combination can normally win the game. Each will have their own strengths and weaknesses - they are not meant to be uber characters but represent what npcs would normally look like and they can of course be powerful sometimes very powerful in their own ways; any flaws can be be overcome if you are using the right equipment or spells.

    The interactions between the NPCs is one of the highlights of the game. They not only comment on the world but on what you do in the game. Why go through BG with a team of zombies that do not interact with you or the world? If you want to create your own party (and you can do that in BG) you might as well play IWD since you can create your own party as you like.

    Of course there are some that find the NPC interaction less than enjoyable and that is of course a personal choice of how to play the game. And so in the end you can make your own party to go through BG but the true enjoyment of the game in my opinion is the NPCs that you meet and interact with along the way.

    In the end what bothers you about the personalities of the NPCs? How are you creating your party that you think that they are awful in a team? These NPCs are not meant to be optimized, uber characters but regular adventurers along the Sword Coast so if they lack some skill or ability what do you have to do to over come these difficulties and make the "best" team that fits your idea of a party.

    If you are just looking to hack your way with sword and magic through the game then maybe IWD might be a better game to do it in as it is more battle focused in general with the story being secondary to the battles.

    The Black Pits are just gladiator battles in an arena which in the end you have to escape from because who wants to be a slave.




    megamike15ThacoBellgorgonzolaDJKajuru
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,780
    Go for Icewind Dale or play Black Pits. Playing with complete custom-made party through the entire Baldur's Gate story is rather pointless. Icewind Dale is another matter and will probably suit your needs much more.

    GodMr2150
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,723
    Icewind Dale IMO.

    BG2 charm is its NPC interactions, if you do not enjoy those then it becomes a loose fitting dungeon crawl as you go from one quest to another. Icewind Dale will give you a tighter story with better tactical battles.

    The first black pits is a good romp, but not as in depth as IWD. Haven't been able to get into the second black pits yet (as IMO, it starts off a tad too slowly).

  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    It's not about "optimization" of the NPCs at all. I play pen and paper and am used to far far less powerful characters. Its primarily that I hate dealing with mages and I play good. It eliminates a huge number of characters and forces me to be a thief more or less. Then if you eliminated NPCs that I just don't like in role playing sense? Not that much left for me

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,768
    If you can't stand BG character, I would still recommend playing BG, albeit with custom-made characters. The goofiness of some of the characters, which I assume is what you dislike, is actually not seen in the game's plot, which is rather serious in tone, especially in BG2.

    Icewind Dale would be another strong option, though. It doesn't have as in-depth storytelling and is very hack-and-slash, but it's a fun romp with beautiful music and scenery.

    JuliusBorisov
  • magisenseimagisensei Member Posts: 316
    PK2748 said:

    It's not about "optimization" of the NPCs at all. I play pen and paper and am used to far far less powerful characters. Its primarily that I hate dealing with mages and I play good. It eliminates a huge number of characters and forces me to be a thief more or less. Then if you eliminated NPCs that I just don't like in role playing sense? Not that much left for me

    So just out of curiosity if you made your own party for BG2 what would it look like? If you don't like mages then your casters are clerics or druids unless you mean all casters? Or is it a more melee oriented party?

    What do you mean by "don't like in a role-playing sense"?

  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    Well, like Cernd abandoning his child. My good aligned character would hate that guy typically. I find Jaheira annoying. If let the paladin go back to his family in a role playing sense I lose him too. I wouldn't drag around a silly, brain damaged ranger and his hamster either. It leaves me limited.

    I'm thinking of a party of all the undervalued classes and kits might be fun

  • magisenseimagisensei Member Posts: 316
    Ah. Yes, Jaheria can be somewhat annoying but in BG2 she has a lot of story that includes her and she is no more annoying then say Edwin or Korgan or even Anomen; Misnc is not brain damaged he is just a rather simple individual that likes his space hamster his INT basically says he is partially illiterate or maybe he just never liked studying preferring to be animals ; Cernd - you don't find about him abandoning his child until later (no using metagaming) but he never knew he had one plus you can get him back similarly with Keldron - just give him a bit of time ( 3days or so) after you complete his quest and then go to the Radiant Heart and pick him up.

    As for those other kits will those are for you to play with. Or you can change the NPC class with eekeeper if you like - Misnc makes a great barbarian or berserker; Jaheria can be a shaman; Mazzy can be a wizard slayer or undead hunter (actually undead hunter works will considering where you find her) ; Rassad is already the new sun soul monk. Valygar is already a stalker.

    Of course you play good so no you can't really be a black guard.

  • Papa_LouPapa_Lou Member Posts: 264
    I usually play the good guy in games too, mostly because a lot of games tend to lean more towards being at least a somewhat decent person, so I like to experience the most of a game on my first run through in case I end up not going back to it.
    Baldur's Gate, on the other hand, I feel like would be super fun to play through with an evil dude, and I plan on doing that after finishing up ToB. Maybe you should try playing outside your comfort zone if you feel restricted. it can't hurt to at least try. You may find yourself falling in love with these NPCs just by looking at them from a different character's point of view.

    gorgonzola
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,769
    I personally never played BG without the NPC companions, but I have a few friends who only play it that way (in one case they only ever take Minsc along) and like the entire series better that way. And certainly like it better than IWD.

    I guess the main differences between the series' are that BG's story is much more complex while IWD is mostly combat focused. So the question is, which of the two is more important to you.

    Though I'd suggest you just play both >.>

    PS: I am personally not a big fan of the Black Pits, because it's such a grind fest, so I'd personally put it last.
    (Even though I really love Baeloth ...)

    ThacoBellgorgonzola
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,723
    Ok,

    try playing BG2EE with

    PC
    Mazzy
    Yoshimo > Imoen
    Anomen
    Rasaad
    Keldorn (till you leave him with family) > Valygar/Aerie/Neera/Nalia (which ever you find the least annoying)

    These are the more serious good RP characters in the game and if the PC is a spellcaster, makes a nice rounded party. If the PC isn't a spellcaster, then I suggest one of the three female mages instead of Valygar to round the party.

    Vbibbi
  • ReadingRamboReadingRambo Member Posts: 598
    edited June 2016
    Edit: whoops wrong thread

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,243
    PK2748 said:

    It's not about "optimization" of the NPCs at all. I play pen and paper and am used to far far less powerful characters. Its primarily that I hate dealing with mages and I play good. It eliminates a huge number of characters and forces me to be a thief more or less. Then if you eliminated NPCs that I just don't like in role playing sense? Not that much left for me

    If you hate mages, then definitely go for Icewind Dale. It is much less arcane heavy than bg2. I agree with everyone here that has said that bg2's biggest charm is its npc interaction, but if that doesn't do it for you, do Icewind Dale. Icewind Dale is a better story, the dungeons are way cooler, the combat is better, it is just overall better, imho, except for its linearity and the lack of talkative npcs.

    semiticgoddess
  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,410
    I can never compare bg2 to iwd. BG2 is simply better in all aspects, IMHO.
    The way you hate the npcs, it means they evoke strong emotions, and are actually well written and strong characters.

    You may find an npc to your liking, though. Have you tried all? Especially ee npcs?

    Neera is fiercely independent and strong headed, but not as quirky as Jan or as bossy as Jaheira.
    Rasaad is strong willed but troubled with vengeance thoughts and doubts in bg2, it is interesting to watch him doubt himself and his beliefs and to face the challenges throughout his quest.
    Hexxat is mysterious and alluring, and definitely the most unique character you can have in bg2. Her quests are long and well-designed dungeon/tomb raids, which may appeal to you.
    Dorn is...well I never played with him but you can find him to your liking, perhaps.
    There is also Wilson...if you prefer a companion that will not talk.

  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    lunar said:

    I can never compare bg2 to iwd. BG2 is simply better in all aspects, IMHO.
    The way you hate the npcs, it means they evoke strong emotions, and are actually well written and strong characters.

    You may find an npc to your liking, though. Have you tried all? Especially ee npcs?

    Neera is fiercely independent and strong headed, but not as quirky as Jan or as bossy as Jaheira.
    Rasaad is strong willed but troubled with vengeance thoughts and doubts in bg2, it is interesting to watch him doubt himself and his beliefs and to face the challenges throughout his quest.
    Hexxat is mysterious and alluring, and definitely the most unique character you can have in bg2. Her quests are long and well-designed dungeon/tomb raids, which may appeal to you.
    Dorn is...well I never played with him but you can find him to your liking, perhaps.
    There is also Wilson...if you prefer a companion that will not talk.

    I don't think that the fact that I hate mages and the vast majority of NPC characters are mages makes anything well written. Evoking irritation takes no special talent.

    As for the EE characters -

    Neera: not just a Mage but a Mage that can't control magic. No thanks

    Rasasd: monks don't belong in 2nd edition

    Hexxat: I wish her introduction was a little less evil so it was easier to justify her in my good party. The only thief who isn't a Mage in BG2 and I just can't do it

    Dorn: slso awfully dark

    I did consider Mazzy, Vin Diesel, Anomen and Lou Diamond Phillips as a team though

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited September 2016
    Technically the monk was presented as an optional class in 1st edition. But it was much the same as 3rd edition. So was bard, which was very very different in 1st edition.

    But if you don't like the NPC companions in BG2 there really isn't any point in playing.

    Suggested low-irritating low-mage good party:

    Jalhera
    Mazzy
    Wilson
    Haer Dalis
    Yoshimo/Imoen

    Would suit a cleric or sorcerer protagonist.

    Post edited by Fardragon on
  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    Archaos said:

    I was searching for something and found this. So I had to comment.

    PK2748 said:

    Rasasd: monks don't belong in 2nd edition

    But they belong in 1st Edition? Or actually every edition?

    "The monk was a main character class in the first edition Players Handbook. The monk was presented as one of the five core classes in the original Players Handbook."

    People like to confuse their preferences and opinions, for what belongs in DnD or Forgotten Realms.
    I started with Second Edition as a table top player. There are no monks. Just like there are no assassins. There were very valid reasons for getting rid of them both from earlier editions. I'm glad they were both removed from the edition I actually still play. My preferences were shaped by that edition which also happens to be the edition that is the rule set for this game, not the other way around.

    Jaheira is incredibly annoying in response to @Fardragon and I don't like mixing Druids and clerics for some reason. I think the RP in my head makes me wonder how if Catholic and Methodist family members can't get through Thanksgiving how two people who draw actual power and authority from truly different potentially adversarial Gods function in a party together. It's obviously overthinking the issue but it influences me when I play..

    The problem is IWD moves too slow in story to engage me somehow so I keep coming back to BG because I love the I.E. Second edition games but I can never quite get that party together in my mind right. So I keep coming back to BG and then struggling with the NPCs all being mages or vile personalities like Anomen, Cernd and Jaheira.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    Papa_Lou said:

    I've never been disappointed with anything so far in the series, and I can't imagine ToB has anything that would change that.

    LOL. Wait and see.

    Skatandunbar
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,271
    edited September 2016
    PK2748 said:


    The problem is IWD moves too slow in story to engage me somehow so I keep coming back to BG because I love the I.E. Second edition games but I can never quite get that party together in my mind right. So I keep coming back to BG and then struggling with the NPCs all being mages or vile personalities like Anomen, Cernd and Jaheira.

    Sounds to me that you've answered your own question. Granted, I didn't read through all the replies above, but it sure sounds like you should play BG with a custom party.

    Edit: I haven't tried this, but I think there are mods to bring in BG1 NPC's into SoA. So if you hate them less than the ones in BG2, maybe you could try that.

  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    I've actually considered using the keeper program to rewrite NPC characters who I like personality wise into classes I like playing with to keep banters and quests but I'm reluctant to radically change things for fear of making quests glitch

    Troodon80
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,769
    @PK2748 I sometimes keeper a character if they break party balance, so far I had no problems.

    Troodon80
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,205
    edited September 2016
    PK2748 said:


    I started with Second Edition as a table top player. There are no monks. Just like there are no assassins.

    Supplementary 2nd edition books include monks (Faith's and Avatars, The Complete Priest's Handbook) and assassins (The Complete Thief's Handbook). They are also found in Greyhawk's The Scarlett Brotherhood supplementary book. In some cases they are kits, in other cases they are their own class. Either way they are certainly in 2nd edition.

    Troodon80ThacoBellArchaosJuliusBorisov
  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    You can't pretend the kits presented in the thief or priest handbooks resemble either the first edition Monk or first edition Assassin classes in terms of power or even function. Nor do those kits at all resemble the implementation in BG. The Assassin kit got a small percentage chance to identify enemy poisons. That's it. The second edition martial arts table was a joke for the fighting monk priest kit. It certainly wasn't speed, magic resistance, armor class and d20 damage

  • ArchaosArchaos Member Posts: 1,421
    edited September 2016
    @PK2748
    The argument was that Monks don't belong in 2E. They existed in ADnD's 1E Player's Handbook, though.
    And they were actually quite similar to their 3E implementation in BG.
    AC, Movement, some magical resistance, 8d4 fist damage etc.



    If they belonged in 1E and 3E, then why don't they belong in 2E? Because they're not the same in PnP?
    Neither are the Sorcerer, Barbarian, Blackguard, Dragon Disciple, Cavalier and others.
    Some are influenced by PnP kits, others by 3E classes. Yet I see no complain for all the custom kits.

    And I believe the real issue is: "I don't like unrealistic eastern monks in my medieval fantasy game."
    Which many people think DnD/Forgotten Realms is. When it never was neither medieval, nor realistic.

    ThacoBell
  • PK2748PK2748 Member Posts: 381
    Yeah I don't play with Sorcerors either. Cavaliers, Barbarians and so forth are pretty simple kit implementations that don't radically change the flavor of the game compared to Monks and Sorcerors. I don't think they fit, I don't think they are faithful interpretations of 2nd edition rules. Hence I don't want them in my team.

    Frankly I think there were good reasons both for Vancian Magic and for removing the Monk from second edition for balance reasons. Balance matters in pen and paper which is where my objections are rooted. I don't object to the Kensai or other cultural favors I just prefer to keep the more balanced approach of second edition vs first edition.

    My bias doesn't dictate how anyone else plays the game but it does influence my impression on the NPCs

  • JumboWheat01JumboWheat01 Member Posts: 1,028
    Balance? In PnP? The source of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards? I shall laugh.

    HAH!

    ThacoBellArchaos
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    Yeah, the idea that 2nd edition D&D was anything like balanced is ridiculous.

    The monk was omitted from the 2nd edition core rules because of it's Eastern inspiration, and the core rules focused on Tolkienesque western fantasy. (making more room to make money by publishing supplements for other settings)

    But Kara-Tur remains part of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, with all it's monks, ninja, samurai, wu-jin and the rest. Rasaad comes from Calimsham, which is also culturally different to the "western" Sword Coast region.

    That's kind of the point of the Forgotten Realms, it's a vast hodge-podge, and pretty much every fantasy culture exists their somewhere.

    ThacoBell
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