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Weak NPCs in BG2 - Shadow of Amn?

I know it's a fuzzy and subjective question, but still:

Which characters in BG2 (Shadow of Amn) do you think are the least powerful?

I want to try them out.
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Comments

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 921
    Cernd is generally cited as the weakest/worst, but even he can be effective if played and equipped right.
    LoldrupsemiticgodQuartz
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    edited July 2
    Hexxat, Cernd, Anomen, Neera in this sequence. Fact is that they are not *really* weak. Knowing how to play them they can be effective as anyone else. Keldorn and Kagain can be just as *weak* given the right circumstances.
    Yoshimo, Rasaad and Valygar are relatively uninteresting as none of them adds any special abilities or extras.
    For the rest, it's what @Raduziel said.

    My view may be a bit different as I play the EET, i.e. the NPCs that were already available in BG1 appear in BG2 how I left them at SoD end, so they can be either higher or lower than their BG2 clones, depemding on how I used them in BG1. Especially Neera or Edwin are incredibly useful if I built them up in the earlier game parts. Same for mage Imoen.
    On the other hand, Hexxat or Cernd can be effective if the rest of my party can manage themself and I can babysit them when needed.
    Loldrup
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    There are no weak NPCs, only those that require micro and those those that don't.
    Loldrup
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 153
    None of the pregenerated NPCs are especially weak in my view, though Cernd is probably the weakest of the lot.

    If you're looking for a challenge, it's much better to just play on the highest difficulty level you can handle with the party of your choice. If that isn't tough enough, try playing the game without using any potions. If that still isn't enough, try a run-through where you only rest at inns and/or only equip items dropped by foes.
    Loldrup
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    I'll list what the glaring weaknesses are. You can bring all weak characters on play throughs, but too many will hold you back.

    Aerie: low health, no thaco, no high level spells. Lack of high level spells holds her back and makes her take longer to come on-line. A pure cleric or druid starts getting aoe/max heals way sooner than she ever does, wasting her spell slots. I don't even cast cure light wounds anymore, I just let that happen during rest phases.

    Haer'dalis: low health, lvl 6 max spells, low armor. Haer'dalis requires tons of micro manage and does well as a range character using minute meteor. He can be your best tank of all the NPCs if you track down a stoneskin scroll for him. Match that with armor buffs, blur, mirror image, defensive spin, and immunity to normal weapons and I believe Mantle and he's better than Jaheira or Cernd for taking. You won't notice the value from this until higher difficulties when mobs start to hit for 30 to 60 per melee hit, at which point armor class isn't sufficient. But he can still go splat and because of this you need to refresh stoneskin almost every round vs certain enemies.

    Hexxar: She can be used effectively but takes tons of micro and knowledge of backstabbing. Staff of striking or ram will make her viable but I don't recommend for LoB runs. If she can't backstab she is useless and Jan is better because he can cast greater malison, lower magic resist, slow, and glitter dust.

    Jan: Jan is widely considered useless and he takes a bit of understanding. Detect illusion lets him "free cast" true sight every round at the cost of no action, but most thieves sit around doing nothing anyhow. You can get him a decent bow or crossbow so he can do something and as mentioned above, he's amazing at debuffing. I personally like two mages for a play through since one mage debuffs too slow. Jan can also dispel magic protections and use breach freeing up your primary mage for other spells. Aerie can technically fill this role, but you MUST have a thief or life will be rough.

    Nalia: Most people don't list her but her spell pool is horrible. She is out shined by Edwin who has 3 more spells per level and he'll fit into any group, even a good play through (just don't go above 18 rep, aka use Slayer :). I usually do Nalia and Edwin on good play throughs and just relegate her to utility. The nice thing is two mages casting super high lvl spells is better than 1.

    Cernd: Considered bad and I don't know why. Pure druids are OPAF. I love Cernd and I hope to bring him on a LoB run just to prove he can handle it. Cernd can heal, cure, buff, debuff, and summon, and he can become a hitter when he's done casting. His HP is weak but he can also go tank and be one of the strongest tanks in the game with iron bark. Just remember he has to shift out to refresh it making Jaheira slightly superior.

    Neera: Wild mages are huge wild cards and can really screw you over. But Neera is unique, and can get a robe that gives her a permanent chaos shield. The biggest weakness of a wild mage is casting without chaos shield. If you read the wild surge list, most of the worst spells are the 1-25 rolls so once you buff a wild mage's surge roll with a higher class level and chaos shield, you're mostly out of the true danger zone. At 26 and above you're mostly looking at inconvenience because a breach or fear didn't go off (which can sometimes be critical but it's not the same as losing all your gold or casting a fireball on the party). Neera should IMO never be your only mage and she can never group with Edwin which is probably her biggest weakness.

    Mazzy: Because most people don't know how to use her. Without tons of points in short sword, she's super weak in melee, so use her bow, which is also weak until she gets a good one, and then she shines. Another disadvantage is short swords over lap with Haer'dalis, so she can party with him or she'll compete for weapons unless she goes range, which honestly isn't bad. I love having 1 ranged class.

    Viconia: She sucks at melee and I don't know why people suggest it. Her thaco is shit, her hp are shit, and her attacks per round are shit. She also should not pair with other healers as that will hold your group back. Note Jaheira is not classified as a healer and fits into the hitter/tank role so they can be in the same group although bickering will occur. Her upsides are her spell pool, her innate magic resist, and her ability to charm vampires with turn undead (at higher levels).

    Resaad: low health, low armor, and sun monks aren't innate tanks. Charname monks are vastly superior tanks, and evil monks are probably the best of the 3 for tanking. Still a solid character.

    Hopefully that helps.
    AerakarDJKajuruSkatanLoldrup
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    For what it's worth, several months back I ranked all vanilla NPCs from best to worst:

    Edwin
    Nalia
    Imoen (2nd if you rush Spellhold)
    Keldorn
    Korgan
    Jahiera
    Mr. ToB
    Anomen
    Mazzy (assuming you get her at level 8)
    Haer'Dalis
    Valygar
    Aerie (higher in small parties)
    Viconia
    Jan
    Minsc
    Yoshimo
    Cernd


    I didn't include EE NPCs, but Hexxat and Rasaad would both be towards the bottom of that list, too. So if you just want the five "weakest" NPCs, take Rasaad, Hexxat, Minsc, Yoshimo, and Cernd. (If you don't want to count Yoshimo, replace him with Jan.)

    But if you want a weak party, it's a lot more about the interactions than the individual NPCs. Cernd, Jan, Hexxat, Viconia, Aerie would be a much weaker party because there's no offensive firepower. Rasaad, Hexxat, Jan, Aerie, Valygar lacks defense. Rasaad, Minsc, Valygar, Mazzy, Dorn has some top-notch NPCs, but the lack of healers, thieves, and mages would be a big stumbling block.
    AerakarLoldrup
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 509
    edited July 3
    ^That's usually what I've been thinking nowadays as well and even the seemingly weakest npcs can be useful. At least in BG2 with it's plethora of buffs from items, spells and kit abilities, you can always find a use for them.

    I'm not too fond of backstabbing personally though, it seems far too much busywork and microing to be worth it.
    Loldrup
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 145
    Yes, this is all just personal opinion. I mean people have ranked Anomen and Minsc as weak above, and I'm finding that hard to understand.
    LoldrupQuartz
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    I'd say weakness would depend on personal play style. this would be why Haer Dalis runs up and down individual lists heavily. and why Cernd tends to be low on lists with his unique style to get much out of him. So pick based on your own playstyle. or rather characters that are outside of it if your looking for a change.
    ThacoBellGrond0Loldrup
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 153
    Part of that probably is, people are imagining themselves at different points in the game when they decide who is weak. At the beginning of BG1, Minsc's 18/93 strength makes him among the heaviest hitters in the game. On the other hand, when you're sitting at 8 million XP and have strength-boosting items for all of your melee characters, Minsc's personality is really the only reason to prefer him to fighter/caster multiclasses like Jaheira. Something similar could be said for Anomen, who isn't bad at the beginning of BG2 but takes a serious turn for the worse at epic levels because he can't take fighter HLAs like whirlwind attack.
    LoldrupQuartz
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 921
    ThacoBell said:

    Don't put too much stock in rankings. They tell you far more about personal preference than objective power.

    I tend to agree, but it is telling that Cernd is in the bottom three for a vast majority of people.
    Loldrup
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 921
    Dharius said:

    Yes, this is all just personal opinion. I mean people have ranked Anomen and Minsc as weak above, and I'm finding that hard to understand.

    Fighter->cleric is one heck of a dual, particularly when one considers some of the blunt instruments in the game.
    Loldrup
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    edited July 3
    I think Minsc's int and wis hold him back, especially vs Illithid that kill him just by staring at him. I'd probably keep certain immunity items around or permanently on him, at which point he's probably fine. Shield of Harmony for example, as much as it sucks making him use a shield, negates a huge portion of his weaknesses. A charmed Minsc is no fun.

    As for Cernd, I think people just vastly under estimate druids. They're only weak end game if you bring too many healers and lack enough hitters with IWW to mow down packs/bosses.

    Yoshimo: I didn't think people still brought him. My very first clear I used him, cleared all of watcher keep, cleared every quest, then hit chapter 5 and man was I sad panda. : ( Bounty hunter kit is phenomenal btw if anyone ever tries a pure thief.
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 509
    edited July 3
    There's a great deal about Yoshimo and Imoen that feels painfully rushed in SoA, but I still bring him along a lot, because I like the climax of it all.

    The most vaunted rpg saga has a critical npc underdeveloped in both games>_>
    LoldrupQuartz
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    tbone1 said:

    ThacoBell said:

    Don't put too much stock in rankings. They tell you far more about personal preference than objective power.

    I tend to agree, but it is telling that Cernd is in the bottom three for a vast majority of people.
    Cernd is VERY good. His kit can throw people off though, as it basically makes him work like a dual class.
    Loldrup
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    I don't consider Imoen all that critical myself. the only single point I see her as particularly important is in being a plot device to help get you to spellhold.

    I only use her in BG1 because she's an easy to pick up thief and a fair number of the thieves are either passing or hard to get to. With a couple being such that I don't care for their personalities. however with SoD and the pc's that carry over. Safana becomes more useful for me simply because I won't have to worry about gear getting lost in transferring into that particular adventure.

    I've found that the more characters you have in the party that don't transfer over and the farther down the list they are in your party the more likely you are to lose all their stuff because there isn't enough space in the chests and stuff to hold it all.
    Loldrup
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 509
    edited July 3
    ThacoBell said:

    tbone1 said:

    ThacoBell said:

    Don't put too much stock in rankings. They tell you far more about personal preference than objective power.

    I tend to agree, but it is telling that Cernd is in the bottom three for a vast majority of people.
    Cernd is VERY good. His kit can throw people off though, as it basically makes him work like a dual class.
    I think people exaggerate the loss of body armor imo. Shapeshifters can still wear bracers of defense and recently buckler of the fist, which is another 3+ ac. And of course the spells.
    ThacoBellLoldrupsemiticgod
  • RVNSRVNS Member Posts: 62
    I do not think a single npc is more powerful than another. Many require more forethought and micro managing than others, this tends to throw many people off in my opinion. I can't think of a single npc that I thought was *weak*. Common thoughts are Cernd is the weakest but I find druids when properly managed are very useful, just not the overhaul bruiser other npcs are.

    It comes down to the player, the playstyle and of course experience that determines what any one npc can do.
    Loldrup
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 1,725
    significantly inferior npc:
    - yoshimo
    - wilson

    slightly inferior npcs are
    - warriors: misc (unlike him, all the other have distinct advantages, but he's still solid)
    - thief: nalia (inferior version of imoen, hardly a big deal since she's still a mage)
    - mages: neera (she's still good)
    - clerics/druids: cernd (he's not bad)
    - other: rasaad (still not bad)
    Loldrup
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    I hear Wilson is a power house and modeled after a monk. Why do you vote him as inferior?
    Loldrup
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 153
    edited July 4
    It would have been neat if Wilson were a monk, but he's actually a fighter who finds himself unable to equip any weapons except for his claws (which do improve somewhat over time but are never in the same league as Celestial Fury, Axe of the Unyielding, etc).
    Loldrup
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    edited July 4
    Dharius said:

    Yes, this is all just personal opinion. I mean people have ranked Anomen and Minsc as weak above, and I'm finding that hard to understand.

    With Anomen, it's mostly that the higher level you get, the more he behaves like a pureclass Cleric, and pureclass Clerics are probably the weakest class in the game at high levels. But even then, he always gets the extra 1.5 APR from his fighter dual, so he's always going to be a pretty strong character.

    Minsc is the worst fighter-type in the game, though. Sarevok has OP stats and Deathbringer Assault, Korgan and Keldorn are OP kits. Once you get strength-boosting items, Valygar and Mazzy are straight statistical upgrades, (mostly for the two extra points of Dex), plus Valygar is a better kit and Mazzy gets Grandmastery and higher levels.

    He's a beast in BG1, but by the time BG2 rolls around he's the worst physical attacker on the block.
    LoldrupQuartz
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    tbone1 said:

    ThacoBell said:

    Don't put too much stock in rankings. They tell you far more about personal preference than objective power.

    I tend to agree, but it is telling that Cernd is in the bottom three for a vast majority of people.
    Including from me, and I love me some single-class druids. Cernd has objectively the worst stats in the game. He only gets a bonus from Wisdom, (which he can't use after he shifts), and Charisma, (woo, a whopping +1 reaction bonus!) The only competition he has in the worst stats department is Edwin (who only gets a bonus from his 18 INT and 16 Con), but Edwin has an amulet that gives him two extra spells of every level, while Cernd has... the Cloak of the High Forest and the Staff of the High Forest, I guess.

    More than that, Cernd is the worst Druid kit, especially now that shapeshifting doesn't provide a Con boost or regeneration. Shapeshifters actually scale really nicely up through level 13 or so, and then they... just stop. No more kit-based improvements after that, though the downsides last forever.

    I still bring him a lot because he's the only way you're going to get a competent caster druid short of rolling one yourself, and high-level caster druids can be very cool (if a little Johnny One-Note). He's a perfectly usable NPC. But you're essentially bringing him along *despite* all his Cerndness and not because of it.
    LoldrupQuartz
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    I hear Wilson is a power house and modeled after a monk. Why do you vote him as inferior?

    He's modeled after a pure-class Kensai. Tons of offense, no defense. It makes him a support character, and one that requires a good bit of work.
    ThacoBellsemiticgodQuartz
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    Wisdom is the ONLY stat that matters for Cernd, since Shapeshifting sets stats to a static value, so nothing is lost there. In fact the special shapeshift is useful throughout SoA, once ToB hits, your still a Druid, so sling spells away with no downsides. All the Druid kits specialties get less useful as the game goes on and they all reach relative parity by ToB.

    Really? Clerics the worst class? Any class that can buff itself to the point of being basically unkillable is super strong. Don't forget, you can turn liches for an instakill at high levels. Far too many people focus on DPS to the exclusion of anything else.
    tbone1Loldrup
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    @ThacoBell I've never given a cleric a try as a player character, they just seem so bland to me. They do everything everyone else can do, only with less success. What can a cleric do to make themselves outshine another class? Sell me on it. My biggest dislike is that they can't counter mages or high lvl bosses. You need a mage to lower resist, breach, and pierce magic so you can lay into certain creatures, clerics can't do that. As for turn undead, I don't find that anything more than convenient. I've never really struggled with liches and I don't use protection from undead scrolls.
    Loldrup
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    @Wrathofrecca You're still focusing only on offensive capability. Clerics can survive just about anything and buff themselves and the rest of the party up to also survive just about anything. My Ranger/Cleric was practically UNKILLABLE for the entire trilogy.
    LoldrupRVNS
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