It's very, very different starting after Siege of Dragonspear with 500k XP instead of 161000. Especially with the companions levelling up too.
I managed to play through BG:EE and SoD with Rasaad, Neera and Dorn all in the party - though keeping Dorn from leaving due to my high reputation was quite a challenge with so few ways of reducing Reputation other than outright murder, and so many ways to gain it. (The rest of the party was Imoen and Branwen - replaced by Safana and Viconia, and later Glint, in SoD, the latter by accident because I swapped him into the party to do his sidequest and then hit the point-of-no-return at the start of Chapter 11 with no way to swap Viconia back.
So now - having, in previous runs with the plain game, managed to take EVERY single BG2 NPC through the whole game up as far as beating Melissan, at least once (yes, even Cernd) - I even managed it with the mod NPCs Kelsey and Keto - I want a party that includes as many as possible of the new BG2EE NPCs. Which would be Dorn, Neera, Rasaad... and Hexxat, and possibly also
But taking all five of those means, quite apart from the trouble of mixing evil and good characters, that I don't have a cleric, since my protagonist is a ranger.
So, basically, the question is which combinations work well together, and with which of the original NPCs? Given that I usually have a habit of taking Yoshimo and letting him swap for Imoen, that leaves *four* other slots.
I guess Neera works well with anybody, although she has the HP of a wet tissue (really, no mage is of any use without a CON bonus to HP!), and the two Evil guys Hexxat and Dorn probably belong in an evil party so I'd need another protagonist and another run to do that, meanwhile you find the spoiler character during a certain quest... Rasaad was weak through most of BG1, mostly only useful with a sling or perhaps darts, and far too liable to die, thanks to no armour and no great HP (and again, no CON-related bonus): but when I played with a monk protagonist, she (yes I played as a girl that time, though normally as male) kicked all kinds of butt in BG2 once she powered up, so I expect the same is possible for Rasaad.
So, I'm thinking I should probably take Rasaad this run with my ranger, plus *spoiler* when I get him, Yoshimo, and... which two others? Must include at least one mage to get me to Spellhold, which may or may not be Neera, and at least one priest-type. Maybe I should leave Neera out this time and go with Anomen and Aerie, that way I have a second proper tank, and one and a half each of priest and mage. I wonder if that would be enough to carry the endgame in TOB. Or if Anomen is enough of a priest on his own then I've room for Neera or even Nalia, and have two full arcane spellcasters for the endgame.
Which leaves Neera in a future run, keeping company with Hexxat, Dorn and... what other two characters, and what protagonist, given that an evil party would care less about Imoen? Maybe an Evil Priest protagonist, or perhaps my Druid Avenger from a previous BG1 run, who I think of as more of a Shadow-Druid type leaning towards evil... Maybe I'll bring Korgan, take Anomen again, and send him crazy by failing his knighthood... or alternatively bring on Haer'Dalis although that would leave me with no undead turning ability if I go the druid rather than priest route (I have a druid ready to go from BG1, but not an evil cleric.)
Any other thoughts or alternative ideas?
Playing on CORE mode. I'm not a fan of greater difficulty than necessary, I prefer the role-playing side...