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Choosing NPCs for best banter and "story experience"

Hi guys,

I'm a relatively new to the BG games. Got the EE editions just recently.

So how exactly to choose NPC for best story experience?

I'm just finished at chapter 4. Before that, I've cleared every available location so far(Durlag tower included) and I'm running with the Cannon NPCs(Jaheira, Misc, Imoen... etc). But my problem is that those NPCs are starting to annoy me for being too silent - they don't comment on anything i do beside reputation gain/loss. I literally don't remember them to talk, outside of their personal quests, more than 1-2 times in total. I like to theory craft, so i already have a max level character that I "solo" with(leave my party behind) and running on Insanity(also thinking of installing SCS to Up the difficulty). So i need a party that would contribute to my "story" somehow. The cannon party didn't contribute anything to the story for the whole chapters 2, 3 and 4(well beside that the druids attack me because of Jaheira). So i hope you understand they i'm starting to look at them more like a burden than anything else.

So what can you guys recommend, stick with the same party for the whole game and hope that they'll have a few conversations later? Or ditch 1-2 of them every time i meet a new NPC, to complete the new NPC's personal quests? Or something else?

I'm starting to think that i don't understand the NPC bantering system.

The question also applies for SOD/BG2SoA/ToB, so any help would be good here as well. Especially because there are romances in BG2.

Edit. I tried to look for an answer for this, but didn't found a good answer for it. Most discussions go into "which NPC is more powerful".

Comments

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 302
    There really isn't very much interaction with/between NPCs in BG1. They mostly have a repetitive script of one-liners. Character interaction was a new thing when the game came out nearly 20 years ago, so at the time it seemed (at least to me) as groundbreaking. In BG2 they notched up the amount of interaction considerably. When BGEE came out they added new NPCs, but with a level of interaction that's even greater than BG2 for the most part. So, if you're looking for banters in BG1 you'll find the most with Dorn, Neera, and Rasaad. Now, whether that's a good thing depends on whether you enjoy those characters. If you dont' like them, their chatter will drive you crazy. Some players find the new NPCs jarring precisely because they chatter a lot in a game with relatively quiet NPCs. Some feel the new NPC stories overshadow the older NPC quests and that they even compete with the main story line.

    Much more interaction in SOD and BG2, but as for recommendations, well, that's tough, because whether you'll enjoy NPC story lines and interaction is entirely subjective. I can't stand Minsc, Anomen and Aerie, for instance, but a lot of other players love them. No right or wrong necessarily, just preference. I'd say try a whole bunch of them and see who you like. It will take more than one play-through to get to know them all, and that's the great thing about the BG series.
    NightingaleSmoothgoal
  • SmoothgoalSmoothgoal Member Posts: 34
    edited March 5
    Hmm, yes maybe i really should take the age of the game. And yea I've noticed the EE NPCs are even voice acted, but the cannon NPCs just pulled me back because of BG2.

    I personally am an "achiever" in such games and i don't consider NPCs annoying until i see "all of it". For example, i wanted to punch Quayle in the face when i met him at the beginning of chapter 5, but if I except him in my party I'll want to see all of his sides before i dump him for utterly annoying. In many stories(games/books/movies etc) i'm wrong about my first impressions.

    I thought there would be at least a comment here and there from a cannon party, but i guess i exhausted their conversations?

    My question is more like "how long should i keep an NPC in my party" instead of "exactly which to keep with me". If i have exhausted conversations of an NPC i would love to go with the next NPC. But then, is there a way to tell when that have happened?
    What i meant by "burden" in my original comment is exactly that i miss the other NPCs.
  • NightingaleNightingale Member Posts: 59
    edited March 5
    If you're looking for a banter heavy, NPC interaction laden experience, then I'm sorry to say that BG1 is bound to disappoint you. As I've said in a number of other posts here on the forums, BG1 has very flat NPC followers. They have some personality, an alignment, possibly some very minor interaction with other NPCs based on various factors, and that's it. The closest thing you can possibly get to an NPC contributing to the story are in a few of the NPC starting quests (Jaheira and Khalid insisting you go to Nashkel, Minsc asking you to help him rescue Dynaheir, etc.) and the fact that certain team comps have the potential to end with some of your characters fighting to the death with each other. For example, if you bring Xzar and Montaron along with Khalid and Jaheira, they may eventually realize that they are members of opposing secret organizations and try to kill each other because of it. Besides that, I'm afraid there isn't much you can do in that regard.

    You're already a good way through the game, so I'd stick with the canon party for the most part. If you want things to make sense from a narrative perspective in the latter parts of the saga, SoD and BG2 assume that you at least briefly met Xzar and Montaron (though if you haven't played with them yet, it might be too late at this point) as well as Edwin, Viconia, Safana, Garrick, Coran, Eldoth and Skie (the latter two more for SoD than BG2) in addition to the canon party. You can meet these characters and either quickly recruit an remove them or complete their "personal quest" (i.e. what they insist you do to keep them around) before dropping them, just so you don't get random strangers acting like they know you. There are also the EE characters, but I generally tend to ignore them since I never have a place for them in my parties and usually finish BG1 with the canon group. Otherwise, just keep going. SoD and BG2 will feel much better, I promise.

    You would have to restart to get the full experience, but how do you feel about modding? If you are open to it, the "Baldur's Gate NPC Project" and "Baldur's Gate Unfinished Business" mods are fantastic and significantly flesh out many of the characters in the game, enough to bring them closer to BG2 standards. Those mods have made running BG1 much more enjoyable for me than it used to be and I highly recommend them.

    Just be sure to use Modmerge first if you're planning to play SoD and purchased the game from either Steam or GOG. You can find a forum post about it here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/50441/modmerge-merge-your-steam-gog-zip-based-dlc-into-something-weidu-nearinfinity-dltcep-can-use/p1
    OrlonKronsteenSmoothgoal
  • SmoothgoalSmoothgoal Member Posts: 34
    edited March 5

    ... The closest thing you can possibly get to an NPC contributing to the story are in a few of the NPC starting quests ...

    Well it seems that this is somehow agreed upon. Well good, that way i'll not be restricted to just the characters of my party. Get them, carry them to the next npc(after doing their quest) and dump them. Except for the EE NPCs.

    It seems to sum up BG1.

    But then what about BG2? Is the situation there the same?

    Already have Unfinished Business, but only to fix some quests. I'll go into content modding after i complete all 4 parts (bg1/sod/soa/tob), before that - only fixes.
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 903
    I will back up the nod to the NPC Project. I've played BG for well over a decade, but I recently added it and it's like a brand new game. Mind you, finish the game you have going, if only to appreciate the mod later.
    Smoothgoal
  • NightingaleNightingale Member Posts: 59
    BG2 is much better from a companion NPC perspective. There are fewer potential NPCs, but they're all much more fleshed out than those in the first game. Nearly all of them have a quest you have to complete when first picking them up and many of them also have personal quests that you get after travelling with them for a while. Some characters have their development locked behind romance content unfortunately, but even then, there are plenty of characters who are leaps and bounds better than what you'll find in BG1.

    And understandable. It's probably good to experience the whole saga as was intended before changing things with mods. Just keep the NPC Project in mind for future runs. I think you'd enjoy it.
    Smoothgoal
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 302
    Also, with BG2, characters have interactions that occur during different chapters, so if you dump them too soon you'll miss out on some of the later dialogues. Personally, I'd have a basic party idea and stick with it. You can always do new play-throughs with different characters.
    SmoothgoalNightingale
  • SmoothgoalSmoothgoal Member Posts: 34
    edited March 5

    Also, with BG2, characters have interactions that occur during different chapters, so if you dump them too soon you'll miss out on some of the later dialogues. Personally, I'd have a basic party idea and stick with it. You can always do new play-throughs with different characters.

    Nearly all of them have a quest you have to complete when first picking them up and many of them also have personal quests that you get after travelling with them for a while. Some characters have their development locked behind romance content unfortunately, but even then, there are plenty of characters who are leaps and bounds better than what you'll find in BG1.....

    Aha, so in the second game things are quite different. It is actually worth keeping NPC in the party as they contribute as time flows.

    Thank you so much guys! I knew i was missing some context behind the NPC's interactions.

    OrlonKronsteenNightingale
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