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How many mages?

XanatosXanatos Member Posts: 26
Sort of simple question I suppose. Evil party doesn't have a real option for an archer class, so I made my protagonist sort of a budget Coran (got a 93 roll for an elven fighter thief). I'm trying to make this playthrough as legitimately evil as possible (i cheated the ethos on my last evil one).

So right now it's

The last spot is either going to be Edwin or Dorn. But I don't know is 2 mages is really necesarry for EE or if i'm better off adding another frontline DPS in Dorn. Thoughts? (Keeping Xzar for his insane personality and the NPC Project content)


  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    edited October 10
    Edwin is the the most powerful NPC in the game. He gains an extra spell per level and has very sticky grease, which is good for an archer... lol (-2 on saves vs. Grease because he is a conjurer). However, you could hold off on him until BG2. Dorn is pretty good, but he has low HP and his AC suffers without a shield. He tends to take damage and has to withdraw too often to be consistently good. His debuff is very nice, however. Keep in mind that Xzar cannot cast illusion spells, and he is very fragile in BG1 until you get the Stoneskins scroll.

    I think that Dorn and Edwin are an even trade for your group. 2 mages are not essential in BG1 Vanilla, but you will certainly want Edwin in BG2. One thing about Edwin in BGII is that he cannot cast divination spells: i.e. true sight, detect invisibility, and so forth, so you will probably want to develop the skill detect illusions with your F/T to compensate for Edwin's major weakness later on.

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 81
    edited October 10
    For BG1 it's not necessary to have to two mages, and it's not even necessary to have one until mid game. Pick whatever mage that comes with a partner because in BG1 mages often come accompagnied. I usually end up with Dynaheir because I take Minsc by the end of the game so there's a link between BG1 and BG2.

    In BG2, however, you should have two mages. If playing evil, then really, it's a no-brainer : Edwin. You might want to take a M/T as well so you've got the thief's utility covered without the thief being a burden.

    Post edited by Simulacre on
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,308
    edited October 10
    Edwin would make your group more powerful generally whereas Dorn would just be a thin-skinned tank hiding behind Kagain or sitting at the back with a crossbow.

    Edit/add: Although Dorn sitting at the back with a crossbow plus PW could be a nice trick to have up your sleeve in BG1.

  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 102
    I rather skimp on a meat shield rather than a mage,

    I tend to play 4 player parties:

    mainchar (most often atleast partly mage)
    cleric or druid (sometimes multi as fighter)
    mage (sometimes dual/multi as thief)

    When I play with a full set:

    2 clerics or druids (sometimes dual/multi as fighter)
    2 mages (sometimes dual/multi as thief)

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,033
    Even one mage isn't necessary to beat the game, even in Vanilla. Go with whatever you want.

  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 70
    ThacoBell said:

    Even one mage isn't necessary to beat the game, even in Vanilla. Go with whatever you want.

    Thats true.. When I played the originals, other than the occasional Magic Missile or Fireball, I very rarely used my mages. And when I did it wasn't any sort of strategized attack, it was just 'Um he needs to do something (pick random offensive spell)'.. It wasn't until maybe the Underdark in BGII where I started using them as the powerhouse characters they can be, and learned how to use Spell Sequencers and what not (and Kangaxx was STILL a pain in the a$$!!!).

    Could've easily gone through the first game and most of the second with another fighter type swapped for the mage.

  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 95
    Have fun!! It won’t make a huge difference either way. I did a F/Th evil run too. I went with:
    Kaigan, Dorn, Viconia, Edwin, Eldoth.

    I traded out Eldoth for Baeloth around L5 and facerolled after that on core via my first SCS run.

    Some might say Montaron is a duplicate of your CHARNAME, but it’s not a bad idea to develop two F/th’s: and focus them on different thief skills.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 639
    edited October 10
    You could give Xzar a wisdom tome and dual class him to a cleric, then drop off Vicky somewhere and get both Eddie and Dorn.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 419
    Two mages is pretty standard. You can get away with 1. 3 is excessive but can be fun. Never done as many as 4 mages myself.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    ThacoBell said:

    Even one mage isn't necessary to beat the game, even in Vanilla. Go with whatever you want.

    It that case, there is only 1 option for every party: Boom! Tiax Rules!

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 81
    ThacoBell said:

    Even one mage isn't necessary to beat the game, even in Vanilla. Go with whatever you want.

    It depends. If by "necessary" you mean that one would absolutely need one then, no, it's not necessary. However, the same could be said of most classes - if not all classes - if you don't mind scratching your head for a delicate soloing. This kinda defeats the purpose of necessity if all are incidental.

    If by "necessary" we mean that it's going to help tremendously, then yeah, one mage is necessary for the second half of the game.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,033
    @Simulacre "Necessary" means that not having it guarantees failure. That's the definition. If we are going to start making up new definitions for words, any kind of discussion is pointless. And yes, no single class is necessary to clear the game.

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 81
    edited October 11
    Actually, "necessary" means "needed" or "required". That's the basic and common definition nowadays.

    Needed for what, now that's the real question.

    You assume that we're discussing if mages are necessary to be able to play the game, but where is that even mentioned by the OP ? It felt like the OP was asking if more mages were necessary to make the best of the available companions, which is not the same. That's why he asked if it was better to choose another mage or another companion suited for the front line.

    To that I answer no, only one mage is necessary to make the best of the available companions for the second half of BG1 and before that none are really helpful. Therefore, he can pick another frontliner and stick with one mage before adding another in BG2 when mages slowly turn into kings. But is it absolutely necessary to be able to play the game ? Of course not.

    So it's not a matter of defining words, it's a matter of defining the context in which this word is used. I wasn't really saying that "necessary" has multiple definitions, just that it depended on what we were talking about : survival or effectiveness.

    Maybe I wasn't clear enough, my apologies if that's the case.

    That being said, a language is not static and is made by the people who use it. That's especially true for the international language that is English. Yes, people use words differently, create new words, stop using others and, in time, changes occur officially because of them. Debating over the definition of words is by no means "pointless", it's not only useful but also quite fun if you open your mind just a bit.

  • spacejawsspacejaws Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 249
    edited October 11
    Honestly I think you’ll be fine either way just follow your hearts desire.

    (It’s always been Edwin)

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,746
    My interpretation was that the OP was asking if more than 1 mage was needed in order to make progress relatively straightforward. I would certainly say no to that - in fact I don't think any mages are needed in BG1 (they're not strictly needed in BG2 either, but would be missed much more there than in BG1).
    - a fighter heavy party can bulldoze through even without using magic protections (and there's lots of that available if you want to use it).
    - clerics have the superb skeleton army and druids the handy nymphs to supplement their weaker fighting skills.
    - thieves take a bit more micro-management, but if you're prepared to make use of stealth, backstabs and traps they are deadly as well.
    - if you want to go for arcane tactics then BG1 wands and scrolls help you fight pretty much as well as a mage's own spells (and bards can use the same selection of wands as mages).

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,033
    @Simulacre Yes, "needed" and "required" that does not change the definition, they are synonyms. And Mages are neither needed or required to beat the game.

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 81
    edited October 11
    ThacoBell said:

    @Simulacre Yes, "needed" and "required" that does not change the definition, they are synonyms. And Mages are neither needed or required to beat the game.

    Which might not be the topic at all of this thread. I still don't see where the OP mentioned anything about simply beating the game, no best strategies or efficiency involved.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 419
    Either way, they've already decided on one mage. They're asking about adding a second mage to their group. A zero mages group was never within the parameters of this question.

  • ShashakiroShashakiro Member Posts: 11
    IMO, you didn’t actually mention the best choice, which is to take Baeloth the moment you touch 10k exp; he comes at level 6 (40k) and starts with Haste, which IMO is the most game-changing spell in BG1EE, especially if you get it at 10k. Baeloth’s 55% MR is also a major benefit; it makes him much harder to Hold and such, quite important if you’re running around at 1 rep. That said, he can’t ever learn level 5 spells, so there is a tradeoff there.

    Also, since you didn’t mention any other reason to keep him and you already have a Thief: Montaron is pretty awful. Kill him and use Dorn instead.

  • XanatosXanatos Member Posts: 26
    I'm keeping Monty around because he's another character I've never used. I actually thought about Eldoth since I posted this for that last slot since he kind of does everything but I've never really used Edwin either.

    And yeah the question was more just if two mages is too much. I'm going to turn Monty into a psuedo-frontliner to take some pressure off of Kagain and free up the space on the backline for Edwin.

  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 5,727
    Loot distribution is important.

    Having two evil mages means only one gets the evil arch robe and the double spell ring.

    You also don’t have anyone in your party to use all the wonderful 2 handed swords that are in the game (Kagain is better as sword and board).

    I would lean more towards adorn than Edwin, unless you really want to get creative and dual class Xzar to a cleric and drop Viconia. Then Xzar can wear the Elven chain mail and Edwin can be your main caster.

  • ShashakiroShashakiro Member Posts: 11
    There are two Evil robes in current EE. Baeloth has one in addition to Davaeorn.

    There are also two Evermemory rings, though one comes pretty late (Sunin’s).

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,479
    One mage is enough, Xzar will carry you through BG1. The last slot I'd recommend you to use for the NPC quests, trading NPC to push their quests to the end, then switch to next etc. Each EE NPC gives a major game-changing item which I assume you already know of since isn't your first rodeo. If you wanna stay true to your alignment you could RP that you help them purely for selfish reasons and the kill them off/ditch them pennyless once done.

    Belt of 19 STR (Kagain), stoneskin scroll and elven chainmail (though probably redundant since you don't have a bard or F/M, but Monty can also use it with some minor penalties to his thief skills)

    My personal favorite in BG1 is Shar'teel. IMHO she's a better DPS than Dorn, though they have somewhat different roles I tend to just send most fighters in with auto-attack and just micro my ranged and mage guys. BG1 seldom requires more finesse than that, and Shar'teel is the epitome of lack of finesse. She will beat anything into pulps. She also adds a little nice twist to one end-game quest, which you may or may not know of.

    Both Shar and Dorn are sometimes said to be squishy, but with fullplate mail and some jewelry and belts/boots of +AC, they are sturdy enough.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,528
    BG1 is probably pretty easy if you have 2 powerful arcane casters and know how to use them. Most battles are trivialized by casting 2 grease, web, or fireballs to start off with. Haste is rare, so even without cheese you can pull this off. Heck, 2 Chaos' will likely trivialize any fight where enemies aren't immune. I find 2 mages and a bard is very powerful/versatile, making the game a breeze.

    In your party, I'd take Edwin or Baeloth. I prefer dualed Shar-teel over Monty when feeling powergamey, but Xzar really is a hoot, so good choice. I loved dualing him to cleric especially.

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