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Rate my custom party

Hi all! I am new to BG saga and just happened to get my hands on BG 2 EE. So far I am loving it. I have been reading through numerous forums on best powergaming party and been eager to create my own. I decided to roll 4 custom characters just to leave a room for Jaheira (romance + quests) and one more companion (which I would rotate). Tried really hard to create a balanced, self-sufficent party that would not rely on NPCs and cover most of the strongest weapons in game. So, my ultimate powergaming party of 4 is as follows (with starting weapon proficiencies):

1) Human (male) Berserker dualled to Mage at level 9 (** Katanas, ** 2-weapon fighting, ** Warhammers). This guy will be melee tank with protections and offense from mage spells, an awesome damage dealer overall.

2) Gnome (female) Illusionist/Thief multiclass (* Longswords, * Shortbows, * Quarterstaves). She will do her thief obligations as well as providing support from a distance with mage spells mostly. Maybe some occasional backstabs. She will be wearing Robe of Vecna.

3) Human (female) Berserker dualled to Cleric at level 9 (*** Flails, * Scimitars.Wakizashi/Ninja-to, ** 2-weapon fighting). She is destined to wield Flail of Ages with Belm in off-hand and buffing everybody, restoring status ailments, healing, etc.

4) Dwarven Defender (*** Axes, *** Warhammers). Pure tank with best axes and warhammers. Later on I plan to make him dualwield Axe of the Unyielding and Crom Faeyr.

So, what do you think guys? Should I tweak something? Also, I am considering adding a 5th member after I have done the NPC quests. In that case, what race/class he should be (and weapon proficiencies) to compliment the existing party?

All the best,




  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 1,044
    As long as your party covers every basic role (warrior, thief, cleric, mage), you will be fine in vanilla game, and with that custom party you shouldn't face any special problems.
    For 5th member I would simply recommend finding out which NPC feels the most useful to you, and then use his class (kit). For pure powergaming, however, you'll probably be the best with another mage. Arcane magic is probably the most powerful tool at your disposal. Bard is also a good option - gains levels faster and provides powerful buffs to the party.
    Another possibility is taking some underwhelming class, like wizard slayer or shapeshifter, just to try it out. :)

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,992
    Since Jan is already an Illusionist/Thief (and a pretty good one with his special gear) I'd just take him along myself.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 703
    You have a very strong party there. I agree with Artona that a dedicated arcane caster would be a great addition.

    Note that clerics can’t use swords, so your berserker/cleric won’t be able to use belm in the off-hand.

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 100
    You had me at "Berserker dual to mage". You could win the game with that character alone 😁

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 100
    edited October 7
    On a more constructive note, some thoughts about your party composition:

    0. Preliminary note, a party of 3 to 4 is ideal, lets you rotate NPCs, great level scaling. So, in a powergaming perspective, I'd suggest you either custom-make 3 characters and take the NPC you plan on romancing, or stick to your 4 custom made characters and only recruit NPCs to do their quests.
    You will still be able to complete the game anyway, but you will find leveling, especially in early-mid BG2 where it matters most, quite a hassle with 5 to 6 characters.

    1. Berserker (9) -> Mage, with dual-wielding is very powerful. Don't bother on offensive arcane spells, this will be your tank, with Rage and spells, it can become immune to everything. Very enjoyable. Katanas is great, not so sure about Hammers since you already plan to give the best hammer to someone else. Unless you change that 4th character (see below), I would recommand picking another kind of second weapon, there are lots of Long Swords for example (maybe not the most powerful weapons, but great versatility). Flails are also a nice option (you have a "defending one" that makes a great off-hand weapon, and the Flail of Age is arguably the most damaging weapon in the game). Whatever you choose, you can't be wrong anyway.

    2. Gnome thief/illusionist : now, there are 2 ways to play this character.
    a. Ranged support (shortbow) + spellslinger (although with multiclass, you level up slowly compared to "regular" mage or sorcerer). In this role, I suggest focusing on debuffs/disabling spells, since as an Illusionist you miss out on some damaging necromancy spells anyway.
    b. Another way of using this character is as a melee-backstabing-specialist. With hide in shadow + illusion spells, you can reliably and often go invisible for massive backstabs (in which case, staves are actually quite good).
    In later levels, you can also perform quite well in melee: use a returning-throwing-dagger (you can pickpocket one in Bridge District, I'll let you find out which one), when wielded as "melee" instead of "thrown", they get 2 APR, and have 2d4 (+enchantment) damage instead of regular 1d4 from normal daggers. You can then equip a speed weapon in off-hand (you mentioned the scimitar Belm, there's also a short sword available, and, once you get Use Any Item, another scimitar that give the same benefit) for 4 APR with no buffs. Obviously, thac0 will be a problem at first, but once you get to higher levels and better gear, you will actually have quite the damage dealer. Hint, there's also a cheese spell that allows you to backstab almost every hit. So, 4 backstabs per round, or even 8 if you cast Improved Haste, and you will out-damage any other fighter, as long as you can reliably hit your opponents.
    This strategy is a bit difficult with a bigger party

    3. Berserker/Cleric: very powerful combo, one of the best there is. But maybe a bit too similar to what you already have, since the Berserker side is already covered by your main character, and the fighter-divine caster combo is redundant with Jaheira (although still different since she is a multi, not a dual, and a druid to boot). Your character would be a better healer/party buffer than Jaheira, but she can cover the basics, and get Insects, Iron Skins and Fire Elementals.
    Your Berserker/Cleric won't be able to use Belm (Jaheira could though), as someone already noted. Flails is great though. Mace can be nice too if Hammers are already covered elsewhere.
    Note : depending on your install, you can also try a Ranger/Cleric for access to cleric AND druid spells (normal install only opens druid spells from lvl1 to 3, but you can change this in the baldur.ini file by just changing a number. Don't remember which one though since I play on iPad and can't edit my game).

    4. Dwarven Defender : not sure if you actually need this one. You already have 2 of the best tanks you can hope for with your Berserker/Mage and Berserker/Cleric.
    And damage-wise, while powerful, it won't bring anything noteworthy that the rest of your party can't do.
    In fact, I would suggest, as a 4th slot, either a Sorcerer for pure nuke power (your other 2 mages being more melee or support oriented), or an Archer (put all your pips in shortbows for machine-gun experience). In fact, an Archer will most probably end up having the most kills in your party.

    But, off course, your party as it is, is already very powerful and can cover everything the game throws at you.
    Good thinking on duals at lvl9 too, I find dualling at lvl13, especially with a party, to take too long.

    EDIT : since I notice that your party tends to be quite physical-damage-oriented, if you find a way to fit a Scald in that group, you would multiply your damage output in a very significant manner. But that means expanding the size of your party, or giving up on one of your otherwise very interesting characters.

  • beyondRimbeyondRim Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the valuable comments. I didn't know that my Berserker9->cleric would not be able to wield scimitars. Too bad. The reason for having Dwarven Defender is 1) high saving throws and HP pool, 2) good tanking while Berserker guys are regaining their levels to activate their fighting side, 3) ability to effectively wield weapons not covered by my other chars (there are some very nice axes and hammers and also of throwing variety).
    I forgot to mention but I also wanted my Berserker9->Cleric to also specialize in slings later to wreak havoc from a distance.
    I made thief/Illusionist for ranged support and debuffs/ some magic offense and to cover all thieving skills. So, as monico said, that would be option a.
    Also, please give me advice on the following. My previous party was similar to this one, except characters 1) and 2). Instead of 1) I had Gnome Illusionist/Fighter as main character (male) with **2-handed swords, **Crossbows and ** 2-handed weapons style. Eventually, I was planning to give him ** in staves so he could be more effective against foes that are not resistant to crushing (golems, etc.). Instead of 2) I had Human Kensai9->Thief with ** in katanas (for badass backstabs and overall damage), ** in 2-weapon fighting and ** in warhammers (so that he could throw some throwing hammers and thus attack from a distance bypassing his ranged limitations). the problem with this is that I would need to drag along another thief (NPC) before thieving levels kick in and it would be forever before I get UAI HLA, so he would have to hide from enemies. However, in the end this option with Kensai->Thief and Fighter/Illusionist would be more powerful than numbers 1) and 2) in my party above. What do you think about these 2 characters?

    Not so sure if I would need a dedicated mage (sorcerer), since I already have 2 mages, albeit multiclassed or dualclassed, still covering my spell needs. Maybe an archer would be an option (I like his ranged prowess). However, I have read that they are super awesome in BG EE but not that much in SoA, especially in ToB (which I intend to go through). Also, how would archers fare against highly damage resistant enemies 9think adamantine golem) with his bows/crossbows? If strong enemies approach him quickly, he is forced to resort to melee in which he sucks (kinda). So the question is open.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,825
    edited October 7
    Very strong, but if in SoA is strong in mlee, in ToB, even using OH the hammer that set STR to 25, giving a 7 thac0 bonus, he will start to hit less, as his natural thac0 will never be better then the one of a lev 9 fighter. In ToB he will be your main caster, a really powerful one, so from a certain point he should wear the RoV, earlier the one of the archmage or some AC bracers are fine.
    Katana gives access to one of the stronger SoA weapons, but in ToB there are better options. And not enough pips to go to GM in 2 weapons and spend 3 for DW. I had dual focusing on katana, work fine, but is not the stronger option.
    Hint, many good long swords and no one in your party using them.

    Gnome TI.
    Perfect, but not better then Jan, you can roll better stats, but his special gear he only can use (even with UAI in EE) really help.

    It is already told how she can not use speed weapons. Also the low end game thac0 problem shows, as cleric she can use her spells to avoid it, but needs buffing in every hard battle. The recipe is HP, RM and DUHM, in that order, avoid Str of the Champion like hell.
    Also for a beginner to have 2 dual that will have the down time at the same point is not so easy, consider also the multi or RC as suggested, as you plan to romance Jaheira you will have anyway all the divine power you need, but the multi has access to the fighter HLAs, with Hardness, the DoE OH and armor of faith can be the perfect end game tank, always combat ready, but super strong when she buffs.
    25 str without items and GWW from a toon with great damage reduction is deadly.

    Dwarven Defender.
    Not really needed as every other toon can also tank, but why not?
    Now i prefer small fast leveling parties, but when i was learning to have 1 more hard hitter really helped me.
    Good tank with good saving throws, can use weapons your cleric can not. But not Crom if you want the BM competitive late game also in mlee and not switching completely to the main caster role...
    Axe is a strong choice for all the game.
    EDIT here i see the use OH of belm or kundane END OF EDIT

    Anyway the game can be won with much less than that party, focus more on the fun of playing this fantastic game for the first time.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 294
    edited October 7
    I can’t believe I am saying this but I find Jan so irritating, maybe a silent player created T/I is preferable!

    Great party, taking Jaheira as your fifth is a strong choice from a role playing perspective, she is an interesting npc, and to heal for you until the cleric part of your B/C dual gets going.

    I agree with others that the B/C cannot use edged weapons.

    The B/M dual will be a very powerful spellcaster at the end with some nice immunities.

    I would go with different weapon choices for the B/M as I don’t think this character will be doing as meaningful damage in melee in the late game. Katanas don’t hold up until the end of the trilogy and your B/C can make good use of warhammers as can the dwarf. The firetooth dagger is very good and gives many attacks per round at range, likewise there is the boomerang dagger, if you know where to find them.

    I would probably go dagger and maybe long sword (unless you are desperate to have a blunt weapon), as again that tends to be strong all game. Otherwise you could go two handed weapon and staff, staff of magi helps him as a caster and there are strong choices all game (ryn, ram etc).

    Also I love the concept of a dwarven defender and having one as a sidekick would be awesome, wish there was an npc with that class.

  • beyondRimbeyondRim Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the suggestions. After some tweaking my party looks like this:
    1) Human Berzerker 9 -> Mage (* scimitars for Belm, *** flails for FoA, ** 2 weapon fighting) one * will go to flails at lv 9. Question- will I be able to put more points in weapons (flails in this case) after I reactivate my Berzerker class?

    2) Gnome male Fighter/Illusionist (** staves, ** 2- handed weapons, ** crossbows). Later putting ** in 2-h swords.

    3) Half-Orc female Fighter/ Thief (** Longswords, **Shortbows for Tuigan and Gesen, ** 2-weapon fighting). Later maybe ** in clubs or maces to hit those golems. Also, would dwarf be better due to saving throw bonus or maybe elf thanks to bonuses with longswords and bows?

    4) Dwarf female Fighter/Cleric (**warhammers for Dwarven thrower and other goodies, ** flails for Defender of Easthaven, ** 2-weapon fighting). Later ** Slings.

    So, how is it now compared to previous party?

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,630
    i had a half-orc fighter/thief using carsomyr with 23 STR and he could deal over 30 damage on a normal hit without being buffed and that was without the gauntlets of weapon specialization either, he definitely hit like a freight train

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,825
    edited October 7
    You can chose more flail pips after completing dual, but not when only the mage class is active.
    And your goal should be to get 5 pips in it as soon as possible, chose the more you can at character creation. As mage you should get 1 pip in dual welding, for the others you must reactivate fighter (if you have some already as fighter the one as mage is wasted. Then use well the other mage pips, maybe staff or dagger, best racged choice, or sling, that late game has good thaco and dmg. A power tactic is to avoid to level up untill he has xp to complete the dual, so he can at that moment chose fighter pips, without wasting them.

    I prefer your first party, personal taste, but seem more tough to me, strong in every department but ranged attack, that in bg2 is not so important.

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 100
    As you can see, everyone has its thoughts and preferences ;) Both parties you suggested are very good, don't worry !

    Just a thought, if you go the half-orc Fighter/Thief route, the speed weapons (scimitars and short sword) are both weapons that can be used very effectively to backstab. You might want to specialize in one (or both) of them, so you can backstab with them and follow with a flurry of hits (as a F/T with 2 speed weapons, you'd hit the 5 APR cap without buffs)

    But again, do what feels the best for you. You can't go wrong with any of the characters you have listed, same with your weapon choices, they are all very good.

    Planning ahead is fine, but trying to get the "perfect party" is an endless quest (the best you can achieve is finding your "favourite party")

  • beyondRimbeyondRim Member Posts: 5
    Thanks guys! Much appreciated!

  • beyondRimbeyondRim Member Posts: 5
    Also, should I dual my Berzerker to mage at level 9 or 13? 13 means longer downtime, of course, but better melee component.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 294
    edited October 8
    I would dual at 9 unless you are very patient. Dualling at 13 means you won’t get your fighter abilities back until very late in SoA. But that extra half attack at 13 is tempting ...

    Tbh I probably preferred your first team as well but both are very powerful, in terms of raw power the second is probably better, more choice of HLAs and everyone can fight but I like the dwarven defender and the dual cleric

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,825
    At 9 you will gain the high level spells and hla 1 million xp earlier, but you have to manage the pips to get grand mastery and probably give to him crom to keep him competitive in mlee late game.
    At13 can be a better fighter, but as you have plenty of mlee power i dont see the point of a so long dual, he is your main caster, the dual takes forever to get lev 9 spells in a 5 people party, chose the path that give you a powerful archmage earlier and with less babysitting.
    His planetar and improved alacrity combos will largely offset his few fighter levels less.

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 100
    Just a thought if you go the Berserker/Mage route. At some point (late game), you might want to try and have some fun with the Shapechange spell.

    For example : Iron Golem form, for pure power and awesome resistance. Has only 1 base APR, but since you are part warrior, you can get to 3 or 4 APR with the very late game gauntlets of master expertise and improved haste.

    Even funnier : improved haste + Tenser + mindflayer form, for 9 APR if m'y calculations are correct, great thac0 thks to Tenser, and killing enemies in 2 to 3 hits with the Devour Brain ability. You could clear an entire army in a few rounds xD

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 603
    Berserker pairs better with cleric than mage because mages can cast spell immunity.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,825
    Still, as a kit is worth to have better berseker then plain fighter.
    While kensai is also strong, but at the price of loosing the ability to use gauntlets and helms.
    And the rage protect also from lev draining and mind affecting spells.

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