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Favorite BG1 NPCs & why...

I recently went on a binge and played several games through and have gotten a pretty feel for most of the NPCs. Was wondering what everyone thought about them.

It's hard to say that a certain NPC is "better" than another, because ow good they are really depends on the setup of the party, but I'll give it a shot in a general sense anyway.

Also, I've only run all the way through with good parties. I've run some evil parties, but never finished a game with one, so I'll focus on good guys:

1) Minsc - Super versatile. Can either have with dual wield maces or go with Spiderbane and Composite Longbow. In many runs I've given him the Tomes of Constitution, Dex and Strength, depending on what my PC is and if I have him using the Gauntlets of Dex or not.
2) Kivan - Also super versatile. I use him as an archer with dual wielding longswords when against opponents that are resistant to missiles. He almost always has the most kills in the party.
3) Imoen - I find her to be super useful. I always dual her at Thief level 5. Dualed at 5 she has 60 pick locks and 95 find traps. 60 pick locks is really all you need because potions / knock. When dualing at 5 you can quickly get her thieving powers back and he still gets to level Mage level 9.
4) Yeslick - I used to not care for him too much, but once put both the Gauntlets of Dex and the Big Fisted Belt on him I loved him. Works great either with ++ in Single Weapon Style or Two Weapon Style.
5) Coran - Hard to argue against Coran, but if I have Imoen in the party I often don't take him. If I do plan on taking him I bring some potions of perception with me so he can get through Cloakwood is the only trap finder.
6) Xan - Technically, Dynaheir is probably a better Mage only because Web is so OP, but Xan is more fun IMO, cause Webbing everything, while powerful, get's old. Also, if you're webbing then that hampers the use of Haste, so... So, IMO, Xan is better than Edwin because while Edwin get's more spells and has better health, the -2 to saves on Enchantments is uniquely powerful.
7) Dynaheir - She's really good, and her -2 save Web is basically the most powerful spell in the game. Her lore is also practically Bard level, which is a nice bonus.
8) Jaheria - I used to think she was horrible, but once I figured out to co equip her to be a good tank I came to like her. Still, she's an inferior version of Yeslick.
9) Adjantis - I used to think he was the best tank, but meh. Now I think he's not so good. He's perfectly fine, but also totally average. Doesn't really stand out in any way.
10) Branwen - I just don't see the use in a pure cleric for BG1.
11) Khalid - No, just no. The best thing to do with him is turn him into an archer, but why?
12) Garrick - If I want a Bard I'd rather roll my own kit. I don't care for base Bards. Just not worth the space in the party to have him in it IMO.

No meaningful experience with the rest.

BTW, most of my parties are 3 - 4 in size.



  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,808
    1)Garrick is the best NPC in the game. Able to do almost everything and fit into any party comp, as well no negatives in important stats. Bards are super good.
    2)Xan has the best mage specialty and is thus the best mage. Save penalties on things like sleep and confusion is HUGE. Many enchantment spells are basically fight enders.
    3)Minsc is super versatile and able to fill any combat role.

    As a basic run down of class usefulness I would rank it 1) Sorcerors 2) Bards 3)Mages/pureclass thives 5)Everyone else

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,916
    Branwen is my favorite. Not the best, but my favorite. I rarely play a cleric, so she nearly always has a role in my party. Plus I like the idea of a rather silly priestess of a war god.

    The best depends on your CHARNAME and playing style, but Edwin is often ranked in the top three. Personally, I find Kivan deadly.

  • broshimobroshimo Member Posts: 19
    1. Yeslick

    Don't like playing a shorty pc but love having them in my parties. He changes race and class for BG2 by turning into Keldorn, as they're almost the same type of of character: older, father-like character to the rest of the party, and is the easy mode to taking care of any mages. Writing this made me realize that both are my favorite NPCs of the series, partly for their grizzled veteran presence and that they're fantastic mage-killing tanks. Shame he isn't in the second game because he's the only good dwarf in the whole series :(

    2. Xan

    Still get a good chuckle out of hearing "Onward, to futility" every time the party enters battle. "Let us save our effort and just lie down and die" is great after Sleep or Emotion: Hopelessness decimates a mob. Fireball is easily replaced through wands (why even memorize fireball?), but it sucks that he loses out Magic Missile and Web(!!). My latest good party run is pc cavalier, Imoen (thief 7->mage), Xan, Coran, Yeslick, and Quayle, and I have a ridiculous amount of spells at my disposal. Have debated turning him into a fighter/enchanter multi, but losing out on a 5th level spell (bunch of enchantment goodies like Chaos, Domination, Feeblemind) doesn't seem worth it

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 2,587
    TBH, I can't say one unless it is relevant to a particular PC I development and the fit is right for the play through. None fit for all but all fit for some, and then each is a separate story and strong NPC in their own way in that run.
    Depends on my story backgroung and development that is each different and requires different NPC's
    I have found to be great one run, story, headcannon or another.So some can be bet for one run but not for another. None fit all for me.
    Probably sounds strange but there it is in a nutshell. Maybe others have the same thoughts at times. B)

  • DrHappyAngryDrHappyAngry Member Posts: 516
    I do love me some Minsc. He's badass with a sword or bow, and can pull either role, and is always good for a laugh.

    Shar-Teel is the one I haven't seen a shoutout for. She's a great addition to any evil party, and works great if you dual her to thief at level 3. She's able to lay the smackdown dual wielding long swords. She's got some funny banter with Minsc too. She's boss, whether you dual her or not.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 511
    edited September 2017
    1. Tiax. Is there any doubt about this? He's the only NPC who's on the cusp of godhood. In fact, the emphasis of the whole series should really be on his ascension. "You are all but grease stains on the wheel of time, compared to Tiax." In addition to being a scream to bring along, what with his great quotes and all, he can fill the role of party thief perfectly while adding some back-up, disabling cleric spells like doom, hold person and silence. Finally, his summon ghast ability is amazing. At low levels it can tank; at higher levels, wait until the battle is underway and then cast it behind the enemy. It can make challenging fights easy as pie.

    2. Viconia. Really interesting back-story and fun personality. Her dexterity allows her to tank in BG1. Her magic resistance is a game-changer. Give her potions of magic protection and her MR is boosted to 100%. With her high armour class, this is just freaking amazing. Plus as a pure cleric she gets tons of useful spells. Disablers like doom, silence, hold person... healing spells, summon skeletons...

    3. Monty. "I might not kill you, after all." Another character with a wickedly funny voice and great quotes. And: he's a halfling fighter/thief that can be used as the primary thief if necessary, or as a nasty back-stabber/trap setter. Put him in heavy armour and he can tank with shorty saves. If only we had a f/t in BG2... I'll never forgive the developers for not having Monty in the sequel.

    4. Xzar. Another really funny character (although admittedly he can get on my nerves at times) and a specialist mage, to boot. Enemies must face a -2 save against his skull traps and losing out on illusion spells isn't as painful in BG1 as it is in BG2. Plus, he can use the identify spell, which Edwin can't. So, so handy. He can also be dual-classed, though I've never tried this.

    5. Kivan. He's actually so good I stopped bringing him. His ranged attack was just making the game too easy. Ditto for Coran, though you find him late. Both have personalities that can be irritating, but damn are they good snipers.

    6. Alora. Just a great, colourful character and the best pure thief in the game.

    7. Dorn. I'm not crazy about most of the new NPCs, but I love Dorn in BG1. He's just a total bad ass with an interesting quest. I love his voice and personality (though frankly I found him a little too evil in BG2, something I never thought I'd hear myself say). You can argue that the devs went over the top giving him a 19 strength, but it sure is fun watching him go to work with a two-hander. Give him a bow and he's a deadly archer with his poison weapon ability.

    8. Xan. Funny personality, and what can you say about enchanters? He can use sleep, hold person, charm, confusion, etc.. like no other. With the -2 to save against his spells, most enemies are toast. Cast greater malison first, and it's pretty much game over.

    Edit: I should maybe give honourable mention to Shar-Teel. I always found her personality to be funny, though it could become grating after awhile. Personally, I didn't like Beamdog's decision to make her a dual-wielder, but I'm sure for many players it's a plus.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I guess I'll have to try a full run through with an evil party to try out Tiax, since I've heard so much good about him.

    I always get frustrated with evil runs though.

    Also, the way I tend to do things is if I know I'm going to fill a spot in the party later I don't fill that roll until I get that NPC, i.e. if I'm going to take Coran I have no thief until I get Coran. If I'm going to take Yeslick I have no priest until I get Yeslick.

    But I'm not sure I could make it to BG without a thief, so I may have to break the rule for that.

    I wish they didn't have so many thieves in BG, caue that's just not a class that's really worth having two of in BG1 or a class you can go without until late game. BG should have more wizards and bards IMO, less thieves.

  • MirandelMirandel Member Posts: 427
    Funny enough I can name one - Baeloth. For quite some time now I do not look at companions with their usefulness in mind - for me it more about fun to have them in a group. But Baeloth is both - useful on the border of cheating (I'd say even beyond it) and really fun to have.

    I mean, Kivan is always in my group, sure (can not have a run without him), Yeslick is someone who just has to be in every party, and so on an so fort, but absolutely fantastic VA for Baeloth wins me over every time. It's not that others are bad (the only one I dislike is Garrik for some reason) and it's true that I can listen Mark Meer reading phone book, but to my ears in case of Baeltoh Meer overdone himself (not to mention all fun lines in his interjections).

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 511

    Also, the way I tend to do things is if I know I'm going to fill a spot in the party later I don't fill that roll until I get that NPC, i.e. if I'm going to take Coran I have no thief until I get Coran. If I'm going to take Yeslick I have no priest until I get Yeslick. But I'm not sure I could make it to BG without a thief, so I may have to break the rule for that.

    Sounds like that's a habit to break? Nothing wrong with taking an NPC temporarily. Branwen as your cleric until Yeslick, etc.. As for Tiax, there's a component in the Tweaks Anthology mod that removes NPCs from Baldur's gate, so you can get them early. I highly recommend it. You can get Tiax out of the gate. Coran isn't in Baldur's Gate, so you'd need the 'make Cloakwood forest available early' component installed. This I also recommend. However, Coran is problematic because
    you still have to do his quest - no easy feat at low levels.

    I wish they didn't have so many thieves in BG, caue that's just not a class that's really worth having two of in BG1 or a class you can go without until late game. BG should have more wizards and bards IMO, less thieves.

    You don't need two thieves but there's nothing wrong with having more than one. They can be such a hoot to play. For example you can use one for locks/traps and the other for backstabs and setting traps.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,866

    I never play evil but that doesn't seem to matter much, just the rep business.

    They both still make me laugh, BG without them, for me, is simply not as much fun. I miss their sarcasm, their unrepentant self interest.
    I can deal with that, I'm a Bhaalspawn and the bottom line is I want to survive.

    Shar Teel would be included if she carried onto BG2. Could you imagine her and the RH lot? Would be carnage. Her and Korgan, an absolute dream team.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,530
    one of my favourite team combinations i like to make, especially for the fact that i run and get them as soon as possible, ah being only level 3 or 4 in the cloakwood mines, good times:

    i say this guy is probably one of the best melee warriors in the game ( except for maybe dorn being an exception ) my reasoning is:
    - good alignment, so 20 REP is a yes
    - can have up to 4 proficiency points in longsword, vary nice-a
    - when equipped with the mits of ogre power, he is absolutely deadly with his longsword +2
    - has "decent" DEX although it could be better, but still works for his sword and board for some good AC
    - has decent CON as well, infact kagain is the only other joinable NPC in the game that can have more HP than this guy
    all in all, very decent at the melee

    my second favourite melee chum, he is another one of my favourites for melee and here is my reasoning:
    - another good character, which means again 20 REP
    - can use defender +3
    - has good DEX, although not perfect, but great with his sword and board combo
    - has decent strength and with paired up with the mits weapon specialization he deals as much damage as someone with 18/9x STR, or if im insane and give him the tome of STR, then he REALLY starts to shine
    - CON is absolute garbage, but this can be a good thing, he can wear the claw of kazgaroth with basically no penalty, shazam
    - is a full elf, which means a wicked 90% resistance against pesky sleep and charm magics die sirens die!
    so with that being said, he rocks in melee

    cant ask for a better cleric, all the right race, all the right combo, do i even need to mention why this guy rocks? ( of coarse i do, why wouldn't i? )
    - the good alignment trend continues so again 20 REP is no burden
    - tis a dwarf, which means AMAZING saves hazaa
    - because of that fighter class, he gets; an extra attack per round, decent to hit, and extra damage
    - has a pretty decent WIS score, especially if the insanity continues and you give him all 3 times 19 WIS is quite a few cleric spells
    - with the mits of dexterity and kiel's buckler that's a 19 DEX which means he can wield a killer sling with an awesome 5 thac0 at fighter level 7
    - skellies, just simply put amazing, skellies, skellies, skellies
    was there any doubt that yeslick wins at the cleric race? never, simply awesome character

    ah, the cheater stat elf that puts all BG1 joinable NPCs to shame when it comes to archery, oh, and he can also thief as well, gotta love it, here is why i like this guy:
    - unmatched archery, to the point where it is almost loltastic ( actually it pretty much is loltastic )
    - good alignment, 20 REP yadda yadda yadda :)
    - thief skills begin to be garbage but thanks to the EE's he now can hit the 90% lock picks and 100% find traps, and even dump some more into the pick pockets, right arm buddy
    - has great stealth ( especially with the booties of stealth and shadow armor) without dropping a single point into it
    - has 20 DEX so if you want to go real crazy and give him that tome of DEX his to hit will increase ( lol indeed ) his AC will get better AND a bonus to all thief skillz, decent
    - again that elf race, huge resistance to sleep and charm, sirens be damned
    - actually has a little bit of STR, so he can carry some booty around ( and im not takin' 'bout rear ends either )
    so when it comes to thieving and bow using ( which i always make my thieves use ) uncontested lay up to the basket, hands down the greatest when it comes to an archery thief

    and last but not least Xan the man, who lives in a can, and drives a van, and goes for a tan, silliness aside, i remember back in the days when i used to hate this guy, ah silly younger me, how naive i was back in those days, after i started playing with the holmes here more and more i started realizing why he was so great:
    - specialist wizerd ( i indeed spelled that wrong yes ) and a very nice school to be specialized in, making those crowd control spells even more potent
    - neutral alignment this time, but 20 REP is still no sweat
    - it's another elf, and we all know what that means, SIREN GENOCIDE ( or something like that )
    - comes with a neato melee weapon, although i never use it, still cool ( unless i give him the titan potion mixed with a potion of dexterity and fortitude, and just for the extra kick in the pants some mits of weapon specialization, and then i realise that he is critical hitting for 50+ damage - wowzers, not bad for a mage in BG1- )
    - emotion hoplessness is a complete monster, huge radius, saving throw penalty ( thanks Xan ) and decent duration, a held enemy is a dead enemy
    - hold monster, MVS in the game uncontested, now comes with a bigger penalty, only holds a few chums, but you can bet they will be held, and once an enemy is held, game... over ( game over being said in the killer instinct announcer's voice )
    - charm spells, whether level 1 or 3, doesnt matter, but the BEST part of those spells is; once the holmes is charmed ( which will happen often ) switch the chap to his/her fista cuffs, and force attack the bloke, ah there is some things that money can't buy, disarming your opponent for a +4 to hit/damage on them for the lulz: priceless

    so those group of chums be my favourite power game team, solid team who has the horse power and the torque to get the job done without a hitch, especially when they are lead by a half-orc berserker..... :)

  • shaldonshaldon Member Posts: 31
    edited September 2017
    Her voice acting is brilliant - "I love bloodshed!", and I dual her to a thief for backstabs with a quick dual-wield follow-up in case it doesn't kill the target first time. I just posted a screen on Steam with her one-shot backstabbing a greater basilisk for 108 damage! I give her Set Traps maxed out since I use a lot of thieves. I actually dualled her at 6 because every game now I solo the basilisks (and as much other stuff as I need) before picking up a companion, thereby starting all my companions at 32000 XPs. So she had 3 pips in longsword when she came back.

    Again for the voice acting. My all time favourite line in the BG series: "What part of 'I'm a loner' do ye not understand!". Mechanically he's OK - I give him a sling and have him pick pockets (Algernon) and find traps so allow my multitude of other thieves to specialise elsewhere.

    Although everyone is probably over-familiar with Minsc, you just need to remember the first time you met him. Out of the good-aligned characters he has by far the best lines and is a decent front-liner, also can use composite longbows.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192
    Imoen - She's my kid sister. Has to be in the party. I usually RP her as a pickpocket so I put all her points in that. She can find you some very nice items early in the game. (My character is usually a Paladin/Cavalier and possibly should question Imoen a little more closely on how she came about the gifts she bestows on me). The only downside to Imoen is that she is so weak she can barely carry her own equipment let alone the swag she picks up along the way.

    Edwin - Because he makes me laugh. I think he has some of the best lines in the whole saga (they did a very nice job with him in SoD as well).

    Alora - Because she is adorable on her own and she and Edwin are adorable together. I always take her along even though I generally don't really need her because Imoen is doing all the thieving. It makes for a challenge because I don't let either of them backstab or set traps because it seems out of character for them (to be honest I find the idea of Alora even engaging in combat a bit unlikely).

    Kagain - I just love his world-weariness. Everything he says makes me smile. He is also useful if I want to bring Shar-Teel into my party because I don't generally have any other male fighter types and I need a guy who can 'persuade' her to join the party.

    Viconia - I love her in BG1 (not so keen in BG2 where, like everyone else, she gets kind of whiny). Plus bringing her into the party allows me to justify killing one of the Flaming Fist so I get a free set of Plate Armour long before I can afford to buy it.

  • Stupid_PunsStupid_Puns Member Posts: 64
    edited September 2017
    Xzar - Aw man, I feel like I gotta represent my main man Xzar. Almost every time I play BG I grab him and dual-class him to cleric at level 6 and by the end he's a level 8 cleric. Making him one of my favorite NPC's, not to mention the absolutely non-sense things he says. To quote, "I am become death, destroyer of worlds!" or "I ate his liver with a nice Chianti and some fava beans." Man, even, "Ah, I—I—I'll teach yer grandmotha to suck eggs!" It's genius man! I love it! Plus, I just find him to be the best mage in the game. While Edwin does have more spells and hit-points, Dynaheir is great with Web, Baeloth is 65% magic resistant, and Xan is just hilarious, Xzar is just the first mage you find, and he grows on you. And, if you get all the way to Baldur's Gate with him, and go to the 2nd level of the Sorcerer Sundries, instead of those assassins, they reveal themselves as the Zhenatrim, and Xzar is one of their spies. OH! Sadly, his appearance in BG2 is very limited, and I would have loved to have him as an npc.

  • ZilberZilber Member Posts: 253
    My current game (with my primitive mod) has my favourite NPC's in it:

    Shar-Teel: Brutish and confrontational, I really like her. This is the first year I've used her somehow, and for the testing of this mod I needed someone like her.
    Dorn: Heavily armoured and two handed, I like the darkness in him and the voice acting, oh the voice acting.
    Viconia: Again the voice acting is brilliant. I recall muttering "and darkness prevails" regularely.
    Safana keepered to Bard: She seems like a perfect film noir night club singer.

    My own character is a fighter-thief, so that compliments this party. Purposefully not using a mage as this is beyond the test.

    I currently do not employ Kagain, but I like the ruthless mercenary in him.

    For good and neutral, I like

    Neera: I get more of a little sister vibe from her than Imoen, and like the randomness of her casting. I simply really want to help her get back in her feet.
    Branwen: Really nice dialogue, no mistake that this is a cleric, and really likeable, would better be cast as good though, it fits her better.
    Alora: Another recent discovery, but I still have to really apprecite her. I really would have preferred to find her in Gullykin, to be able to get her sooner.
    Yeslick: I usually don't play shorty, so have to hire them. He shaped the way I think of good aligned dwarves.

  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 688
    Dynaheir - I am having difficulty putting this one into words. I enjoy that her brand of lawful goodness is of a somewhat more academic, unfeeling variety than I recall seeing anywhere else in the games based off of D&D. She isn't a Divine character and never references a Divine nor bleeding heart motivation for her ideologies. She seems like a woman with great potential who has thought a lot about the kind of world she wants to live in and is taking practical steps to try and create that kind of world. Style points for that, and further style points for her portrait, voice, and Mage specialisation - she's got no time for empathy. If there are forces in this world that are going to undermine her philanthropic ideals, she's gonna fireball them out of existence and get on with the job.

    Xzar - It has been an age since I played with Xzar, but I really must do so soon. He is no fool - look at his wisdom stat! The insanity in his design yet seems to have some kind of rhythm to it that you don't see in many other Mage characters (Dynaheir is the only other high wisdom mage in Baldur's Gate, if you don't include Aerie, whose personality and narrative don't hugely incorporate the mage class). Consider that he switches between seeming madness and a very calculating mindset and I suspect Xzar is far more in control than out of it. Xzar is an interesting guy, and as @Stupid_Puns has said, his early introduction really supports how memorable his personality is.

    Alora - I want to feel a little bad about this one as there's no reason I shouldn't find her very annoying, but I just don't! Cheerful; great portrait; excellent performance from what I recall of the 2 or 3 runs I have done with her over the years. She makes a pleasant alternative to Imoen or Safana, to whom I often find myself resigned for much of the game when I want a well-rounded Thief from the early days of adventuring. There's also the shortie points. If you're getting a group of 6 together, you really should want a shortie. I think she's the pick of the litter in that category!

    Jaheira - More and more lately I'm finding the strength to kick Jaheira out of my BG2 parties, but in my long history of the BG saga, Jaheira has surely had the most presence across all playthroughs in the many parties I've mixed together. Jaheira's great. In BG1 She is consistently useful from level 1-8, faithfully filling a melee role in my parties as a defender or, more occasionally, a two-handed weapon master. If I know I'm going to be using her when I import into BG2, there's a 100% chance she'll be coming with me through BG1. Furthermore - with the exception of Viconia - there are no Clerics/Druids available in BG1 that I enjoy very much anyway, and as I've not played a Cleric in over a decade or more, Jaheira's mechanical value continues to soar. In terms of narrative? Jaheira's got the highest cards in the deck among all the NPCs once BG2 kicks off, and her personality is excellent if you ask me!

  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 482
    I just tried out Shar-teel on BG1 playthrough and let her and Dorn duke it out during their NPC talk it was close but shar-teel came out on top and realized shes a powerhouse :smiley:

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