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Is there a canonical BG2 party? Or, help me decide on a party.

TaylanTaylan Member Posts: 19
In BG1 it's simple: Imoen, Jaheira & Khalid, Minsc & Dynaheir. I've also read that canonically you travel with some other NPCs for a while, but that's the party you start with and evidently end the story with, given it's the party captured by Irenicus. It's a pretty well-rounded party too. Playing good alignment, it's my party of preference.

Is there a comparable setup for BG2? Jaheira and Minsc are with you, and as far as I understand Yoshimo is supposed to be kind of canon, given the things that happen with him later on. But other than that, is it safe to say it's left open?

As my main char is half mage and Jaheira half druid, I think Aerie is a fine addition, so I decided that I want to keep her. Available at the start, too. Also, Minsc's new witch! Semi-canon perhaps? Anyway, this leaves one slot open.

Jaheira is only half a fighter so with Minsc that's one and a half, perhaps leaving an additional warrior to be desired. That said, I could dual-class Yoshimo into a fighter after getting 100 points in open doors. I feel further thief levels would be wasted on him anyway, as I don't see myself using thief skills like traps and backstabbing that much. That would give me Minsc and two half fighters, which should satisfy.

Maybe I'll just leave the sixth slot flexible, at least until I get back Imoen and Yoshimo parts, as I'd be back to Minsc and Jaheira as the only front-liners at that point.

Any thoughts? Any NPC you'd say I absolutely want in my party in the long run?
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Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,601
    Aeries is definitely a good candidate, but its pretty much open to fill yourself.
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 107
    Just going off quest chains i enjoy the most i'll say Jaheira, Rasaad, Neera, Yoshi probably just because he's the perfect Fill-in until you get Imoen back. I do like Edwin, but he's not really suitable for a good party :# I also love Dorns quests but most definitely cannot take the big lug along in a good group either. Minsc + Aerie are a good combo to add for the traditional Hamster carrier and his Witch.

    If i was making a good group i would go with:

    Jaheira
    Rasaad
    Minsc
    Aerie
    Yoshi - Switched out for Imoen at Spellhold

    Rasaad switched for Keldorn would be stronger, but Kel's quest is no where near as fun and i always feel kinda bad essentially breaking up his family by insisting he doesn't stay at home to work on his failing marriage.
    Balrog99
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,002
    Well, depends on what you use as a source for the "canon", I suppose. With BG1 it's admittedly easy as you get to see who's with you at the start of BG2, but for SoA/ToB you have to rely on outside sources. One of those is the godawful novelization, in which CHARNAME (aka Abdel Adrian) travels with Jaheira, Imoen, Yoshimo, Minsc, and Bodhi. The latter in particular is quite different from the game, including a romance with Abdel (who, to be fair, nails everything with a pulse in the novels, including Jaheira in BG1 while Khalid is still around). Yes, it is as terrible as it sounds.

    Just forget about canon, and don't worry about it. Make your own story! I also encourage people to play with the NPCs they like and simply edit their classes to what they want to play, mechanically. No need to remain within the confines of a rigid personality/performance pair. Decouple, and liberate your narrative enjoyment from mechanical demands!
    NightingaleOrlonKronsteenPapa_Lou
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited March 15
    There is no single canon party, except the one you make yourself.

    Don't dual-class Yoshimo, he's a lot more useful as a Bounty Hunter with his traps. You'll have plenty of summon support between you, Aerie, Jaheira and (in the future) Imoen, so between those and Minsc/Jaheira your frontline should be secure.
    That means pretty much anyone else can be your 6th, even another mage. My suggestion is to leave that slot open and rotate NPCs (so you can do their quests) before ultimately picking up Sarevok in ToB. That's as close as you can get to being faithful to the original story (though that depends on your PC, really - it would make perfect sense for a non-traditional PC to pick other NPCs) with the main exception of Aerie. Some would argue that right after Imoen gets snatched up by the Cowled Wizards the very first thing a rational person (especially a spellcaster) would do is get the hell out of the open (ie, Waukeen's Promenade) and regroup/evaluate your situation elsewhere, thus increasing the odds of the PC meeting the Copper Coronet NPCs first. Anomen is arrogant, Nalia is naive and Korgan is bloodthirsty, so from there you can even argue that you simply arranged to meet Nalia at her hold while steering clear of both warriors - that's when you went somewhere else and met your 6th.

    If you go by the new 5th edition D&D canon it is implied that every NPC traveled with the PC Bhaalspawn at some point. The implied setup is a lot like Dragon Age: Origins group where while the PC has to form a smaller party to do quests with, the PC's actual inner circle is much larger. Minsc and Viconia are confirmed to have traveled with the PC.
    islandking
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 262
    edited March 16
    All party's need Jan for comic relief even more so if u take that whinge bag Aerie!
    OrlonKronsteen
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 266

    One of those is the godawful novelization... Yes, it is as terrible as it sounds.

    It sounds like a literary masterpiece to me! ;)
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,297
    Jaheira, Minsc, Aerie, Yoshimo/Imoen, plus switching out the sixth slot throughout SoA for various npc quests, and then Sarevok in ToB seems to be the usual standard "good party" canon.

    The idea of Aerie as canon is strongly supported by the fact that Minsc bonds with her while grieving the loss of Dynaheir, and that she can wind up marrying and having a child with the main character. The idea that a romance with Jaheira is not canon is supported by the fact that you have to jump through so many easy-to-miss hoops to get there, and that her early "romance dialogues" are more like old friends grieving together over the loss of Khalid. Those dialogues won't progress to physical romance unless the player actively pursues it.

    There is a dialogue sequence very early on with Aerie where the player will have to either express romantic interest in Jaheira or declare himself for Aerie. For the players who don't like the idea of a friendship between an older woman and a younger man growing into a romantic relationship over the shared loss of a husband/dear friend, it can be shut down very early in SoA without hurting Jaheira or making her permanently angry.
    tbone1ThacoBellKilivitz
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited March 16
    Except Minsc also bonds with Nalia, and there's a 50-50 chance that the Bhaalspawn is female. Abdel Adrian is no longer canon, and the specifics of the Bhaalspawn are intentionally left vague by WotC.

    Edit: faulty memory
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,601
    Canon is what the player wants it to be. But if you want suggestions for a "canon like" good party I think these are all good.
  • TaylanTaylan Member Posts: 19
    Thanks for all the input. Leaving the sixth slot flexible sounds good then.

    I don't think I'll pursue any romance options. The main character is female so I'd need to mod it. Would also be hugely unrealistic with Aerie getting pregnant. :-) Even more so than the fact that she takes part in all the traveling and heavy combat while supposedly pregnant! And then what, you literally enter hell with the baby on your back? :-P The whole thing always seemed silly to me.

    I'd actually like to pursue the Jaheira romance some time as I hear it's actually well written, unlike the stereotypical "fragile traumatized woman saved by white knight" and "devilish overly lustful woman" options offered by Aerie and Viconia. Might even work with a female character perhaps; dunno what sort of dialogue goes into it. I'll leave it for another time though as I don't want to bother with mods.

    From what I read on the Wiki, Haer'Dalis and Aerie don't end up being too close to each other, so I suppose it won't be a problem if I kick Haer'Dalis eventually... Guess I'll just see that I keep him long enough to see their relationship to the end. I'm being told it's interesting to watch.

    One more question: I know Sarevok can be turned to good, but will it be a problem if it takes too long and he starts getting bothered by high rep?
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,601
    If you are playing a female charname I hear very good things about the Rasaad romance. I'm actually doing a run right now to try it out for the first time. As per your last question, I dunno. I don't think recruiting him lowers your rep, so if it is already at 20, I think you won't have any problems anyway.
  • KilivitzKilivitz Member Posts: 1,345
    Of course, everything I said regarding a canon romance was assuming that Charname was male because back then (and even today, I suppose) most games are biased towards male protagonists because that's supposedly the largest demographic. It's not my personal opinion, though - I don't subscribe to the notion that gaming is a boys' club.

    That and I really can't stomach Anomen being canon. Ugh.
    Taylan said:

    One more question: I know Sarevok can be turned to good, but will it be a problem if it takes too long and he starts getting bothered by high rep?

    In ToB, NPCs will never leave due to reputation. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, certain dialogues that trigger alignment changes are dependent on a high reputation.

    ThacoBell
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 256
    edited March 17
    'If you go by the new 5th edition D&D canon it is implied that every NPC traveled with the PC Bhaalspawn at some point.'

    Oh good, I'm canon then. I'm a super completionist.

    'It sounds like a literary masterpiece to me!'

    Re: novelizations. I liked the first one (To be fair, he didn't actually sleep with Jaheira until after Khalid bit the dust), thought the second one seemed like it was written on an acid trip. Despised the third, because, well, pretty much everything on http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/BaldursGate. Particularly the 'Everybody's Dead, Dave' trope.

    'From what I read on the Wiki, Haer'Dalis and Aerie don't end up being too close to each other'

    A guy who basically worships the uncaring end of everything, and a chick who is a bleeding heart. The writing is kind of on the wall there. Breakup is in Chapter 6.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Kilivitz said:

    ...Jaheira [is] supposed to be a mother figure of sorts...

    I'm not sure where you're getting that from. I've never read Jahiera as maternal.

    In BG1, you meet up with her and she says she's got her thing that she's investigating, and you're welcome to tag along, but if you don't she just bails on you. She offers advice but otherwise lets you forge your own path and is content to follow along. In BG2, even if you don't romance her, she relies heavily on your advice and guidance. I'd say if she's anything, it's sisterly and not motherly.

    Based on a timeline of events, she's really not much older than Charname. Her bio says she was born during the Tethyrian civil war, which google tells me began in 1347 DR. Baldur's Gate's journal starts in 1369, and Charname is said to be 20 years old, meaning he was born in 1349. The two of you are basically the same age.

    Gorion says that Jahiera and Khalid are "old friends", which should be impossible since he's been stuck in Candlekeep with you for too long to have gone adventuring with Jahiera. I always mentally reconcile it as Gorion saying that the Harpers are old friends of his, and Jahiera/Khalid are Harpers, making them old friends, (even if these two particular Harpers are actually really more recent acquaintances).

    Besides, if Jahiera and Khalid really were old adventuring buddies of Gorion's, odds are good they'd start out better than level 1. ;)

    Given all of this, I think the Jahiera/Charname relationship makes a lot more sense.
    ThacoBellprofanitywarning
  • KilivitzKilivitz Member Posts: 1,345
    You can't really rely on the official timeline because BG notoriously screws it up - as you pointed out, Charname is 20 years old in 1369 DR. The Time of Troubles happened during 1358, just 11 years prior.

    If you shift BG's timeline to 1378, 20 years after the Time of Troubles, that would make Jaheira about 34. I don't think the issue lies with the age difference (which is not even that big), though - I believe the way the relationship between Charname, Jaheira and Khalid is established in BG1 is pretty unambiguous.

    For example: Gorion says about Khalid and Jaheira, "they have long been my friends and you can trust them." Also, Khalid addresses you as "child" on the very first line he says to you.

    As for the fact that they're Level 1, I think it should be chalked up to game balance. It wouldn't be much of a challenge if the plot gave you two Level 6-10 companions right off the bat. It's not supposed to make much sense story-wise, just as it doesn't make sense that Charname and friends go from wet-behind-the-ears Level 1 to more-powerful-than-Elminster in the span of just a few months.
  • Yulaw9460Yulaw9460 Member Posts: 441
    Kilivitz said:

    You can't really rely on the official timeline because BG notoriously screws it up - as you pointed out, Charname is 20 years old in 1369 DR. The Time of Troubles happened during 1358, just 11 years prior.

    From what I remember, The Time of Troubles culminated 11 years prior to BG1. I don't recall any mention about the gods not being able to mingle with the mortals and perhaps spawn progeny prior to that. My memory is vague on the particulars, though.
    ThacoBell
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 262
    I'm working on an evil F/M/T just my charname and vic going on a rampage through everything.
    Borek
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited March 17
    It was my understanding that when it came to Bhaal: "One such deity foresaw his own death, and walked the land before the cataclysm".
    That pretty much explains the diverse age of all Bhaalspawn.
    ThacoBell
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,002
    There's a more detailed discussion (or two; or three) on these forums about that very issue, particularly regarding the various races and their aging processes. While it cannot eliminate ALL apparent incongruities with 100% satisfaction, it does seem like Bhaal knew what was coming quite a while back.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Kilivitz said:

    You can't really rely on the official timeline because BG notoriously screws it up - as you pointed out, Charname is 20 years old in 1369 DR. The Time of Troubles happened during 1358, just 11 years prior.

    If you shift BG's timeline to 1378, 20 years after the Time of Troubles, that would make Jaheira about 34. I don't think the issue lies with the age difference (which is not even that big), though - I believe the way the relationship between Charname, Jaheira and Khalid is established in BG1 is pretty unambiguous.

    For example: Gorion says about Khalid and Jaheira, "they have long been my friends and you can trust them." Also, Khalid addresses you as "child" on the very first line he says to you.

    As for the fact that they're Level 1, I think it should be chalked up to game balance. It wouldn't be much of a challenge if the plot gave you two Level 6-10 companions right off the bat. It's not supposed to make much sense story-wise, just as it doesn't make sense that Charname and friends go from wet-behind-the-ears Level 1 to more-powerful-than-Elminster in the span of just a few months.

    As others have pointed out, the game is very fuzzy about when exactly the Bhaalspawn were born, but there's nothing that says it had to have been during the Time of Troubles and plenty that strongly hints Bhaal was sowing his oats long before the Time of Troubles in preparation, since he had foreseen his coming death. (I believe Aluando's prophecy was 1700 years old by that point!) Again, there's no direct evidence for either claim, but "Bhaal, who we know definitely foresaw his death and made preparations, actually made those preparations in advance" seems much more plausible than "The BG games got the timeline wrong, and also Bhaal sired a magical Dragon who in 20 years not only grew to full maturity, but had time to have a child who also grew to full maturity".

    Even if we go with the "BG borked the timeline and also Abazigal is a magical dragon who fully matured in 10 years and gave birth to another magical dragon who also fully matured in 10 years" hypothesis, that still only makes Jahiera 34, which in Half-Elf years is basically the same as 20 in human years, anyway.

    Regarding the "they have long been my friends" line: again, I always interpret this as "they are members of the Harpers, my long-time friends". Or perhaps you could interpret it as "All Harpers are my friends, these guys have been Harpers for years, so they've been my friends for years". Whether she's 22 or 34, there's no way Gorion actually had a chance to adventure with Jahiera; he's been stuck in Candlekeep since she was a kid.

    Khalid does indeed call you "child", but as far as I know, we don't really have any good hints towards Khalid's age, and I always imagined him much older than Jahiera. Given her youth and inexperience, I think his age and stability would go a long way towards explaining what brought them together, given their obvious dissimilarities personality-wise. Then when Khalid dies she has that pillar of stability kicked out from underneath her.

    In fact, realizing Jahiera is 22 or 34 makes things make a lot more sense, in my opinion. Half-elves at that age are physically mature, but emotionally it's basically still adolescence. Jahiera has had a really rough childhood, (in her biography, it says she "glares" at you when she tells you about it). She was born to nobles who were murdered by an angry mob of peasants when she was a baby or a toddler, and she was raised in a forest. It makes sense that she'd have to be more self-sufficient and basically "grow up" faster as a result.

    Khalid was a stabilizing influence on her life and that's why she got married ridiculously young. In Human terms, it's like she got married at 14 and widowed at 16. And thinking about how quickly a 16-year-old gets over relationships helps explain why Jahiera was able to move on when she did. It also explains why she's constantly seeking your advice and always following your counsel, and also why she's so racked with uncertainty during the Harpers plot.

    It also makes the last Elminster interaction of her arc pretty interesting, too. He asks her if she did the right thing, and she's either certain that she did, (in which case she gets her Harper pin), or else she's not, in which case her punishment is to be left alone with her doubts. Which seems like a pretty brutal punishment for someone who is essentially still in adolescence or early-adulthood. That's one hell of a "learning experience".
    ThacoBellJCDenton
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    Well he was the lord of murder. It's basically an excellent inversion of the "you're a psychic and you didn't see that coming?" trope.
  • KilivitzKilivitz Member Posts: 1,345
    I understand now that nothing in FR canon dictates that Bhaal's mortal progeny wasn't necessarily conceived during the Time of Troubles and so one shouldn't assume all the Bhaalspawn are the same age. I stand corrected on that.

    Regarding Jaheira, is she really is on her twenties, I'd say it creates inconsistencies with her background. It's a bit of a stretch assume that in just two decades she was able to:

    - Train to become an initiate Druid
    - Join and establish herself within the Harpers
    - Meet, get into a relationship and marry Khalid
    - Make allies, enemies and connections throughout both the Sword Coast and Amn
    - Become a trusted friend of Gorion (while he was busy watching over Charname in Candlekeep)

    This would all make much more sense if she was on her late thirties/early fourties or so. But then again, in these games you go from chump to demigod in the span of a few months, so...

    But even if the age difference was there, I never said that's what makes a relationship between Jaheira and Charname problematic. IMHO what makes it a bad decision on the writers' part is the way they initially establish the relationship between Charname, Jaheira and Khalid. They're supposed to be kinda like foster mentors, who know more, have seen more than you and are suppose to watch over you in the absence of their old friend Gorion.

    Everything else @SomeSort has pointed out is speculation, based on what *could* be the case according to his ideas but without any basis on the game itself. I'm trying to stick to the evidence. If I were to speculate, I'd say whoever wrote Jaheira's romance also thought it to be weird, considering the sexual overtone is heavily downplayed, at least in comparison to the other romances.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Kilivitz said:

    Everything else @SomeSort has pointed out is speculation, based on what *could* be the case according to his ideas but without any basis on the game itself. I'm trying to stick to the evidence. If I were to speculate, I'd say whoever wrote Jaheira's romance also thought it to be weird, considering the sexual overtone is heavily downplayed, at least in comparison to the other romances.

    Well, sure, it's all speculation. Me saying Jahiera didn't have maternal feelings towards you is speculation. You saying that she did is speculation. I'd argue my speculation lines up better with the available evidence. But, really, any "evidence" we have either way is spectacularly thin, so the process will necessarily be dominated by the way each individual player personally fills in the blanks.

    BG1 didn't really flesh out its characters like BG2 did. It's true that Gorion's words indicate that Jaz/Khalid are supposed to be new guardians for you. And Jahiera's first interaction with you reinforces that this was Gorion's wish. And it just as clearly reinforces that she doesn't care, in my opinion.

    "Gorion often said that he worried for your safety, even at the expense of his own. He also wished that Khalid and I would become your guardians, if he should ever meet an untimely end. However, you are much older now, and the choice of your companions should be your own."

    There's a very meaningful "however" in there, which centers a juxtaposition between Gorion's wish, ("guardians"), and her offer, ("companions"). She makes clear that while Gorion viewed you as a child, she views you as an adult. If you reject her offer, she says it's your decision and then wishes you luck.

    And again, if you dither around instead of going to Nashkel, she'll flat-out abandon you on the side of the road, which is pretty crappy foster-mentoring if you ask me. Whether we judge her by her words or by her actions, it's clear that her ideas are a little bit different than Gorion's.

    (As an aside: I tried getting her to bail on me to see her "leaving" dialogue again, but after 50 days of sleeping in the Friendly Arm Inn and 50 days of traveling back and forth between Peldvale and High Hedge, she still hasn't left. I'm assuming Beamdog removed this at some point.)

    Even her joking "yes, oh omnipresent authority figure" line suggests that you're the boss and she's just along for the ride, (or, given your divine heritage, perhaps "caught up in the wake" is more appropriate). (And yes, I know that this line was probably a joke designed to break the 4th wall and refer to the player, much like Edwin's "I do not understand this 'mouse magic' that makes me do your bidding" line. But again, characterization was sparse in BG1, and such is the thin gruel that we have to subsist on.)

    I also think whoever wrote Jahiera's romance did a phenomenal job. It was by far the most realistic of the three. And the biggest hang-up, by far, was her recent widowhood, not any sort of (nonexistent) maternal feelings. Regardless of what Gorion may, (or may not), have originally intended.

    As another aside: I've often wished that Baldur's Gate gave you level 2 versions of Jahiera and Khalid to start. One extra level wouldn't be much, but it would be a lot more consistent with their back-story. It would be enough so that especially early on in the game they felt more like "protectors", experienced adventurers who could actually take a hit or two.

    I do think the decision to make them level 1 was probably more about balance than characterization. But I'd point out that Ajantis and Viconia can both be recruited one zone away from the FAI, and they both start at level 2. (Though with Viconia, you have to kill a Flaming Fist enforcer first.) And Kivan is even closer still to the start of the game and also starts at level 2. (Plus he's an archer, the most balance-breaking specialization in vanilla BG.)

    Also, who is the most likely person to recruit Jaz/Khalid? Probably a brand new player, since the game pushes you so hard in that direction. Meanwhile, the most likely person to skip them is an experienced vet who already knows what party he or she wants. So balance-wise, slightly beefing up Jaz/Khalid would go a long way towards making the early-game a little bit less punishing for new players.

    But then, I'm not a game designer. :)
  • BaptorBaptor Member Posts: 154
    Hmm...here's my stab at a canon party.

    Charname
    Jaheria
    Minsc
    Aerie
    Yoshimo/Imoen

    Here's how we break that down...
    Charname + Jaheria
    It was Jaheria + Khalid, but we all know what happens. As much as I dislike the romance, it's clearly the one they intended you to take.

    Minsc+Aerie
    Again, before it was Minsc and Dynaheir, but we know that story too. Minsc will eventually team up with Aerie, thus healing that wound.

    Yoshimo/Imoen
    Again, it's clear Yoshi is mean to come along. He the Morte to this Planescape, he knows the town and has lots of advice. The swap at Spellhold is natural, for spoiler reasons.

    I honestly don't know who to put in the last spot, and maybe that's intentional, so you can rotate through the cast of characters. I'm really partial to Mazzy, since her voice actor is phenomenal (Fall-From-Grace!) and she's one tough cookie.
    ThacoBell
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 693
    personally for me it's the characters you get in the opening dungeon. then aerie and keldorn.
  • KilivitzKilivitz Member Posts: 1,345
    I think Keldorn's "natural" story progression is that he goes back home to spend more time with his family. It always seemed a bit dickish to me to recruit him once again so he'll immediately go back on his promise.
    ThacoBelltbone1
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 445
    For me "canon" party is CHARNAME, Jaheira, Minsc, Yoshimo -> Imoen. After Spellhold you get warrior, priest, thief and mage, so CHARNAME can be any class.
    tbone1
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    In conclusion: there really isn't a canon party for BG2. I believe that at some point in the original development process there was a very clear intention for one, but that was ultimately scrapped in order to play up the Edwin-Minsc conflict. I really don't see how one could argue that Aerie was intended to be part of a canon party over Viconia, though. Her constant reoccurrence among the replies here that pitch canon party concepts doesn't make any sense to me.

    Mostly I think it's a combination of (a) the fact that the game very clearly expects you to play "good", (Imoen and Minsc are both good, and if Jahiera is "true neutral" I'll eat my hat), (b) while she's not from BG1, she's got the closest ties to BG1 of any of the new NPCs (thanks to the relationship with Quayle), and (c) she's literally the first NPC most players will encounter after leaving Chateau Irenicus. Viconia on the other hand typically won't be found until after Aerie, Anomen, Nalia, and Korgan, so 5th at best, (maybe 6th if you head slightly more east and run into Jan first).

    Part of it, too, I think is that the Charname/Jahiera/Minsc/Imoen quartet is a bit light on arcane casting, especially before Spellhold. The other arcane spellcaster options would be Nalia and Jan, who overlap too much with Imoen, and Edwin, who fights with Minsc. And maybe Haer'Dalis, but he's pretty hidden and his quest is one of the toughest of chapters 2 and 3. If you rule out Edwin because of the conflict, I don't think there's a more logical replacement than Aerie.

    I think the 6th character is super-tricky, but while there's no "canon" party beyond Imoen/Jahiera/Minsc, I think Aerie makes sense as the most canonesque.
    ThacoBell
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