During the BG1 prologue, the Gatewarden offers to let you train with Obe the Illusionist. Obe sets you up with five temporary companions: Arkanis, Canderous, Osprey, Mordaine, and Deder. I thought it might be an interesting challenge to play through BG1 with these characters, so I looked around for a method for keeping them in my party. I found this old website
, which explains an exploit for doing so in the original version of BG1. I vaguely remember using this trick back in the day, although I never played through the game with these characters, I just messed around with them, if anything.
As it turns out, beating the game with them probably wouldn't be much of a challenge. As the website explains, the training companions all have impossibly high stats and/or unique special abilities, and some of them are better than the companions you can normally recruit during the game:
The folks at BioWare also decided to play with the Candlekeep NPCs a bit, and "cheated" each of them some benefits: For instance, Arkanis is Level 2, and the maximum number of hitpoints for a Level 2 Fighter with 19 CON is 30—Arkanis has 39. This isn't much of a benefit in the long run, but 9 extra hitpoints could really save your butt in the early stages. Canderous has his already formidable spellcasting abilities enhanced with 2 more 1st-level spells than is legal, and also has the Special Ability of Lay On Hands. Again, not that much difference in the long term, but 2 extra Cure Light Wounds and a Lay On Hands per day will be a huge bonus to a low-level party. Next comes Deder, who's been hacked an extra 120 Thieving points, making him the equivalent of a Level 8 Thief when he's only Level 2. I wouldn't use Deder, personally—too much like cheating for my tastes. Too bad, really, as he's otherwise a good character. Mordaine has only a tiny augment—she has the Special Ability of Slow Poison, once per day. And Osprey? Well, despite her unique skill of making the PC want to feed her to the bears, she has 1 extra Level 1 Wizard spell slot, and has the Special Ability of being able to cast Invisibility, once per day. So Arkanis and Mordaine are almost entirely non-hacked, Canderous and Osprey are sort-of legit, and Deder is cheated beyond reason.
Deder (the Fighter/Thief), with his insane amount of extra thief-skill points, is easily the best of the bunch. His only real weakness is his 11 Strength score, which limits his backstab potential, but this can easily be worked around by giving him potions or the Gauntlets of Ogre Power. He also has two proficiency points invested in Short Sword, which isn't ideal but isn't the worst thing in the world either (at least they're not in dagger).
Canderous (the Cleric) is probably the best healer in the game since he has 18 Wisdom, two extra 1st level spells, and the Lay on Hands ability.
The only character who isn't that great is Osprey (the Cleric/Mage). Her extra 1st level wizard spell and Invisibility skill are pretty awesome, but her ability scores suck, especially her 10 Wisdom. She gets no extra priest spells, and even if you give her all three
Tomes of Understanding (one of which you don't get until chapter 6), she only gets a single bonus 1st level spell. You'd be much better off using them to get Canderous's Wisdom up to 21, which would net him six extra spells of varying levels.
The exploit detailed on that website doesn't work in the Enhanced Edition (I couldn't get it to work, anyway). However, I did find a fairly easy method for keeping the companions using the console. After you recruit them, select all of your characters, bring up the console, and type C:MoveToArea("AR2600")
. This will warp you back to the Candlekeep map, although you'll be outside the walls. If you select all your characters, move your cursor inside the walls, then hit CTRL+J, you will be teleported back inside. You can probably also recruit them by using the CreateCreature command, although I haven't tried it.
You actually run into Arkanis and Deder again in chapter 6 (in the Candlekeep Catacombs). I used the console to teleport there with them in my party, and they were still there. You can accuse them of being dopplegangers, which is kind of perfect.
Anyway, I was curious if anyone has played through the entire game with any of these companions. Which is your favorite, and why?
Edit: I just noticed that in the Enhanced Edition, Arkanis doesn't have his extra Hit Points. He has 29 HP, which is actually one less than if he started at level 1 and you leveled him up with "Max HP on Level Up" enabled. Canderous and Osprey don't have their extra spell slots, either. But Deder still has his crazy thief skills and all the characters have their special abilities.