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New Player: Please rate my party?

KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
edited December 2019 in New Members Welcome Area
Hi folks!

I have recently started playing Baldur's Gate (EE) for the first time because my partner has been a mega-fan for years. One of my favourite parts of these kinds of games is character creation (I literally spent the entirety of yesterday building a party) and I would love to hear from some more experienced players on what they think of my crew!

I spent so long thinking about party composition that I haven't quite figured out every one of their backstories so that they are cohesive, but I'll spend some time on writing those over the next few days.

[Note: I know generally people recommend creating the protagonist only and then recruiting party members for fun dialogue, etc, but I really think I'll get more enjoyment out of having a fully customised party than the odd funny dialogue or minor side-quest]

Protagonist:
Lawful Neutral Human Kensai, specialising in quarterstaves, to dual-class into Mage after level 9 (or 7)
His main driving force at this stage is getting to the bottom of who the hell he is and what the hell Gorion has been keeping from him all this time.

Party:
  • Lawful Evil Human Blackguard, specialising in 2h Swords - their bond is to the protagonist and they will go to any lengths to protect him and assist in his quest. [Tank]
  • Lawful Neutral Elf Fighter/Thief, specialising in Shortbows - backstory could just be an Imoen replacement? [Ranged DPS & Thief]
  • Chaotic Good Elf Archer, specialising in Longbows - backstory will be a bit tougher to work out given the opposite alignment to the Blackguard, though I figure he has a similar bond to assisting the protagonist in his quest and the chaotic nature of his alignment allows him to fit in with the rest of the party (if not always smoothly). [Ranged DPS]
  • Chaotic Neutral Half-Elf Skald - he's just here to have fun, tag along on some crazy adventures, and maybe develop the greatest song/story/saga of all time along the way. Constantly plays Bard Song and nothing else. [Support]
  • True Neutral Half-Orc Shaman - she was just passing through when these events began to unfold. With no other particular drive at this time, she has decided to accompany the party. She doesn't like direct conflict, but she loves music and a good dance, so during fights she just hangs back with the bard having a great time. [Support & Healer]

I'm looking forward to developing their backstory a bit further (I realise some of it is a bit loose/tenuous at this stage) but until then, I would love to hear peoples' thoughts! Thanks! :)

Post edited by Kimalgam on
loliengorgonzolaAerakar

Comments

  • ber5nie5ber5nie5 Member Posts: 278
    Welcome to the forum! :)

    It will be interesting to see how the good and evil characters get along in your party. You can play with just about any classes without much problem in BG. In BG2, it may get to be really tough without a cleric or druid in your party at high levels.

    The most important thing though is having a party that you can enjoy and have fun playing! :)

    Kimalgamgorgonzola
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,291
    My thoughts are that its' a bad idea leading to a really contrived playthrough necessitating constantly switching back and forth between the game as an interactive media and your mental proxy universe, disassociated from any on-screen events. Sounds like a massive immersion killer.

    The currently stub backstories don't spark my imagination. Existing characters are more nuanced than you seem to be aware, and you'd do better to experience them than ignore them completely or cannibalize their roles in the narrative (Imoen) for your blank custom characters.

  • Antarean0475Antarean0475 Member Posts: 14
    The game would not be fun for me with evil characters. But better to play an evil character than to like evil itself. You also need two or three sorcerers to make things fun.

  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    ber5nie5 wrote: »
    Welcome to the forum! :)

    It will be interesting to see how the good and evil characters get along in your party. You can play with just about any classes without much problem in BG. In BG2, it may get to be really tough without a cleric or druid in your party at high levels.

    The most important thing though is having a party that you can enjoy and have fun playing! :)

    Thanks! I'm really excited to write more of their characters and backstory in the next few days and to see how their characters grow and interact over the course of the game. Storycrafting is something I really love doing, so I'm interested to see how I will have to adapt the story I create as I learn more about the story BG itself is about to unfold! :blush:

    Re: your comment about not having a cleric or druid, I was under the impression that the shaman would be sufficient to fill the roll of healer for my party in BG2 at higher levels, or am I mistaken with that?

    Thanks again for your input :)

    gorgonzola
  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    edited December 2019
    bob_veng wrote: »
    My thoughts are that its' a bad idea leading to a really contrived playthrough necessitating constantly switching back and forth between the game as an interactive media and your mental proxy universe, disassociated from any on-screen events. Sounds like a massive immersion killer.

    Hmmmm... it's almost like I'm playing a roleplaying game that I maybe want to craft some of my own narrative for? I have no intention of completely ignoring the story that plays out in-game. As the story of BG+ plays out, I will need to consider how this interacts with the backstories I've crafted, and as a result natural adaptions will occur. Again, this is a roleplaying game and some of us like writing the story rather than simply having it handed to us on a platter.
    bob_veng wrote: »
    The currently stub backstories don't spark my imagination. Existing characters are more nuanced than you seem to be aware, and you'd do better to experience them than ignore them completely or cannibalize their roles in the narrative (Imoen) for your blank custom characters.

    Hmmmm... it's almost like I already prefaced this entire thread by saying I haven't fully written their backstories and that there will be a lot more depth to them than I have laid out in this brief post. The "current stub backstories" weren't intended to spark your imagination.

    I'm sure existing characters do have a lot of nuance that I'm unaware of since I, you know, haven't played the game before. As an example, the narrative of Imoen that I "cannibalized" is literally that my main PC and my Thief character have been friends for some time in Candlekeep prior to the start of the game. You know, the way the main PC and Imoen have been. Which is ALL I KNOW ABOUT IMOEN.

    Apologies for the not-thrilled response I've given you, however I felt your comment was unnecessarily harsh and entirely deserving of my response.

    Post edited by Kimalgam on
    gorgonzola
  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    The game would not be fun for me with evil characters. But better to play an evil character than to like evil itself. You also need two or three sorcerers to make things fun.

    Yeah, I'm trying to figure out how exactly to roleplay this character in my head. I don't like the idea of committing evil acts, and my protagonist wouldn't either (as Lawful Neutral) so I'm thinking that maybe the Paladin was originally "good" but out of their bond to protect my protagonist, they committed some acts that could be seen as not righteous.

    In my head they are, in essence, a "fallen Paladin" but I wanted them to actually have a useful class kit instead of being gimped by being an *actual* fallen Paladin (especially since my party has 2x support characters that otherwise don't do much other than sing and dance, ahaha)

  • Antarean0475Antarean0475 Member Posts: 14
    If you want to role play I hope D&D pen and paper is possible. It is tough to role play a pc game because of the limited options. A skilled dungeon master in pen and paper D&D can respond to anything you come up with.

    Kimalgam
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 397
    edited December 2019
    You have the main bases covered. Archery and missile weapons are very powerful in BG1 and I would spec everyone to have a ranged option. Kensai can use throwing axes and daggers.

    A huge chunk of the fun of the BG series is picking the main character and building a party around them. Icewind Dale is there for building a full party. Maybe just start with the kensai? There are a number of awesome npcs that will cover the other slots and bring much more character.

    Kimalgam
  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    If you want to role play I hope D&D pen and paper is possible. It is tough to role play a pc game because of the limited options. A skilled dungeon master in pen and paper D&D can respond to anything you come up with.

    I am actually currently playing a weekly D&D campaign (which I absolutely love)!

    I think one of the draws of me RPing a full party through BG is that I feel more comfortable taking full control of the narrative (to the extent that the PC game can allow) without feeling like I'm taking too much RP time away from the other real people in my D&D party.

    I am actually wanting to play more pen and paper D&D but at the moment I don't have more campaigns to join.

    gorgonzola
  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    ilduderino wrote: »
    You have the main bases covered. Archery and missile weapons are very powerful in BG1 and I would spec everyone to have a ranged option. Kensai can use throwing axes and daggers.

    Icewind Dale is there for building a full party. Maybe just start with the kensai? There are a number of awesome npcs that will cover the other slots and bring much more character.

    Thanks for this! I hadn't actually heard of Icewind Dale before, so I'll look into it further!
    ilduderino wrote: »
    A huge chunk of the fun of the BG series is picking the main character and building a party around them.

    I think for now I'm going to try to keep going with my full custom party in BG and see how I fare. If I end up feeling like I'm not enjoying it as much as I might with a lone custom protagonist + NPCs, then I can always restart.

    It's a massive bonus having a partner who is SO intimately familiar with the games and storyline that he's able to give me some guidance (without spoilers) on how he thinks I would most enjoy the game :smiley:

    monico
  • ber5nie5ber5nie5 Member Posts: 278
    Kimalgam wrote: »
    ber5nie5 wrote: »
    Welcome to the forum! :)

    It will be interesting to see how the good and evil characters get along in your party. You can play with just about any classes without much problem in BG. In BG2, it may get to be really tough without a cleric or druid in your party at high levels.

    The most important thing though is having a party that you can enjoy and have fun playing! :)

    Thanks! I'm really excited to write more of their characters and backstory in the next few days and to see how their characters grow and interact over the course of the game. Storycrafting is something I really love doing, so I'm interested to see how I will have to adapt the story I create as I learn more about the story BG itself is about to unfold! :blush:

    Re: your comment about not having a cleric or druid, I was under the impression that the shaman would be sufficient to fill the roll of healer for my party in BG2 at higher levels, or am I mistaken with that?

    Thanks again for your input :)

    I could be totally wrong, because I've never played with a shaman in my party before. All the strategy guides that I have read recommend having a cleric and/or druid in your party so I've never had a shaman in my party. Also, other than my protagonist (who is usually a fighter/mage), my party has npc's in it. I can't even think of a npc shaman that is available to add to your party.

    Healing is only 1 aspect. Mages become very powerful in BG2 (which I personally don't like, because I like to hack and slash lol). Mages are a real pita in my opinion lol. Clerics and druids have very good high level spells to counteract mages and help take them down. If a shaman has spells to strip a mage's defenses and counteract their spells, then you should be fine. I'm interested to know how the shaman fares for you in BG2.

    Hope your shaman works out for you. Most importantly, have fun! :)

    Kimalgamgorgonzola
  • ber5nie5ber5nie5 Member Posts: 278
    I forgot to talk about alignment. If your reputation gets too high, your evil aligned characters will drop out of the party. If your reputation gets too low, your good aligned characters will drop out.

    I played an evil party on one playthrough. It was a lot of fun being evil. I had to be careful though to not let my reputation get so low that I became KOS to the city guards though.

    Also, merchants charge you more if you have a low reputation. That's basically why I play with neutral or good aligned players. I get better prices and there are a lot of quests that are fun to do, but will raise your reputation. Of course, you can always murder somebody if your reputation is getting too high, but I don't like doing that. You can also donate at the temple to raise your reputation if it's getting too low.

    In your party, probably wise to keep your reputation around 10 to 12. Party members will be relatively happy and prices won't be too steep.

    If your partner filled you in or you knew this already, sorry to have run on about it. Just wanting you to enjoy the game and not hit any irritating, unexpected snags along the way.

    I think you will really enjoy the storyline. Have fun! :)

    Kimalgamgorgonzola
  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    edited December 2019
    ber5nie5 wrote: »
    I forgot to talk about alignment. If your reputation gets too high, your evil aligned characters will drop out of the party. If your reputation gets too low, your good aligned characters will drop out.

    Thanks again for all your comments, they have been really great and insightful :blush:

    My partner actually said that player-made characters don't leave the party regardless of alignment and reputation, apparently that's an NPC only thing - though I am planning on keeping the party in the 8-14 reputation range (depending on how my protagonist's decisions affect the reputation - I don't think I want to artificially change the rep by donating at temples or killing innocents).

    I'm used to playing goody-two-shoes playthroughs in RPGs where I always take the most honourable course of action, so I think I will find it interesting to play this one a bit more neutrally (my character really just wants to know what's going on and wouldn't get too distracted by taking on the burden of noble deeds).

    Since we're talking alignment as well, though I have an "evil" character in my party (Ki'ara), I don't really consider them evil. I spent more time writing everyone's backstories last night and the one I wrote for my paladin is my favourite so far, so I hope you don't mind me sharing:

    Once a righteous paladin sent to Candlekeep to help protect Gorion's ward (though from what, they are not certain), their devotion to their ward became more than simply that of a guard. [not in a romantic way] They became loyal to a fault.

    During the years spent by his side, there were times when Ki'ara was left with no possible righteous course of action to take in order to keep their ward safe. As a result, they have committed acts that no truly good paladin could ever bring themselves to do.

    In the eyes of their original order, they have fallen. Disgraced, they can no longer call themselves a Cavalier. Determined to still protect their ward to the best of their ability, they have taken up the only power left available to them: that of the Blackguard.

    While not overtly evil in their own right, there is nothing they would not do to protect their ward. They would even slaughter an innocent, if that were truly the only way to keep their ward safe.

    gorgonzola
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 953
    edited December 2019
    Kimalgam wrote: »
    Hi folks!

    I have recently started playing Baldur's Gate (EE) for the first time because my partner has been a mega-fan for years. One of my favourite parts of these kinds of games is character creation (I literally spent the entirety of yesterday building a party) and I would love to hear from some more experienced players on what they think of my crew!

    The game is designed around the idea of a single protagonist; I recall you had to get creative with save importing in the original BG to even get a custom party to work. As such your created party members (except for the protagonist) might as well be totally invisible as far the story is concerned.

    While the original joinable NPCs don't have that much to say, the devs have managed to create some very memorable characters. Xzar and Minsc (and Boo) are recognizable even to this day, for a reason. (And at least some of them have links to the main story.)

  • KimalgamKimalgam Member Posts: 8
    chimaera wrote: »
    The game is designed around the idea of a single protagonist; I recall you had to get creative with save importing in the original BG to even get a custom party to work. As such your created party members (except for the protagonist) might as well be totally invisible as far the story is concerned.

    While the original joinable NPCs don't have that much to say, the devs have managed to create some very memorable characters. Xzar and Minsc (and Boo) are recognizable even to this day, for a reason. (And at least some of them have links to the main story.)

    Thanks for your reply.

    I understand what you're saying, but I have tried to explain in this thread that one of the things I most enjoy is storycrafting. While you may have had to get creative in the original BG to have a custom party, in BG:EE you are given the option to fully create your own party, so clearly the devs intended it to be an option.

    I don't mind if the rest of my party is invisible as far as the story is concerned, their story is playing out in my head, not on the screen.

    I am aware of the cult following that characters like Minsc&Boo have, and I found him humorous to have in my initial playthrough... for all of 5 minutes. Then I found him tedious and his character build not to my liking. I also didn't like having Xzar or Monty in my party at all.

    I understand that some characters are more integral to the story than they initially appear (remember, my partner is intimately familiar with the entire BG series) however if the characters were truly meant to be in your party no matter what, then you wouldn't get the option of choosing NPCs to join you on your quest, you would just have a fixed party. For that reason, I have chosen to play the game in a way that is most fulfilling to me (even if that is not the way that would be most fulfilling to you). :smile:

  • ber5nie5ber5nie5 Member Posts: 278
    Kimalgam wrote: »
    chimaera wrote: »
    The game is designed around the idea of a single protagonist; I recall you had to get creative with save importing in the original BG to even get a custom party to work. As such your created party members (except for the protagonist) might as well be totally invisible as far the story is concerned.

    While the original joinable NPCs don't have that much to say, the devs have managed to create some very memorable characters. Xzar and Minsc (and Boo) are recognizable even to this day, for a reason. (And at least some of them have links to the main story.)

    Thanks for your reply.

    I understand what you're saying, but I have tried to explain in this thread that one of the things I most enjoy is storycrafting. While you may have had to get creative in the original BG to have a custom party, in BG:EE you are given the option to fully create your own party, so clearly the devs intended it to be an option.

    I don't mind if the rest of my party is invisible as far as the story is concerned, their story is playing out in my head, not on the screen.

    I am aware of the cult following that characters like Minsc&Boo have, and I found him humorous to have in my initial playthrough... for all of 5 minutes. Then I found him tedious and his character build not to my liking. I also didn't like having Xzar or Monty in my party at all.

    I understand that some characters are more integral to the story than they initially appear (remember, my partner is intimately familiar with the entire BG series) however if the characters were truly meant to be in your party no matter what, then you wouldn't get the option of choosing NPCs to join you on your quest, you would just have a fixed party. For that reason, I have chosen to play the game in a way that is most fulfilling to me (even if that is not the way that would be most fulfilling to you). :smile:

    Having a party that is most enjoyable for you to play is what matters. :) I've never done it before and am interested to know your thoughts on the game once you've done a playthrough.

    Good luck on your many adventures you have before you and, most of all, have fun! :)

    Kimalgammonico
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,078
    Kimalgam wrote: »
    Protagonist:
    Lawful Neutral Human Kensai, specialising in quarterstaves, to dual-class into Mage after level 9 (or 7)
    to play a kensai as first charname is not an easy task.
    and dualing at 7 or 9 does not bring so much to balance the fact that no armor, gauntlets and helmet can be used.
    until you complete the dual, that is at mage 8 or 10, you don't have the arcane spells to protect him.
    if it is a RP reason ok, but the task will be harder then to start with a plain fighter or even better a berseker.

    about the dual level i would go for 9, at 7 the thac0 is too low for the late soa and tob.
    also it is very important to focus on a weapon and get GM in it, so chose wisely.
    staff is a good choice, even if i usually go for dual welding with my kensages.

    anyway to beat the not modded game the charname class and party composition is not so important, if you will find some battles too hard blame your lack of experience and change your tactics, as your party can certainly face every in game enemy and win.
    about the healer i usually go with at least one cleric, that usually don't memorize healing spells at all.
    you can rest to recover your health, there are potions and temples to heal and later items that bring regeneration.
    imo the main problem going without a cleric is that you don't have access to spells that protect your party from spells that affect the mind.
    but is certainly possible to go without a cleric or druid, don't be worried about it.

    i wish you all the best for your first adventure with those fantastic games!

    ber5nie5
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 247
    edited January 14
    No disrespect to previous answers, but I find that there are a few misleading information there.

    First, to answer the question in your title, the rating of your party:
    1. Kensai (dualed to mage) : it is alleged by powergamers as the most powerful character. I say "alleged" because everyone has their own opinion about what "most powerful" means, and it depends on your playstyle. Let's just agree that you will have a powerful MC.
    About your dual, I suppose your partner has already explained to you how dual works: you have to attain prime-class level +1 in your second class to reclaim your lost abilities from your starter class.
    There are 3 main thresholds for dualing from fighter classes : lvl7 (for extra half attack per round), 9 (for max HP) or 13 (for yet another extra half APR and better thac0).
    While dualing at lvl7 means that your Kensai/Mage will be fully operational early (by the end of BG1), it will be a bit lacking in thac0.
    Especially as a kensai, who gets bonus every 3 levels, so dualing at lvl9 makes it better (+3 thac0 compared to lvl7 dual, and better HP & damage to boot).
    Dualing at lvl13 is, obviously, more powerful, but takes waaaay too long (with a big party, don't expect to become operational before the very end of BG2). Definitely not enjoyable as a first run.

    So, TL;DR : dual at lvl7 is OK, at lvl9 is better (you need 250k XP for fighter lvl9 and 250k more XP for mage lvl10, so you'll become operational at SoD's level cap : don't forget to grind in SoD ^^).

    About weapons, staves are powerful in all games. You can't go wrong with that. Especially in BG2 once you find a particular mage-staff fitting your particular character (kind of an easter egg, you'll need pointers from your partner or online walkthroughs to chance upon that easily missable weapon).

    2. Blackguard with 2-handed swords: powerful, tanky, good weapon choice. I'd add proficiencies in a ranged weapon: crossbow have nice special ammunition (poison, electricity, even stunning ones in BG2), darts can also be good since they have low damage but very high attacks per round which have good synergy with the blackguard's innate poison ability (it stacks).

    3. Elven fighter/thief with shortbows: again, very powerful. Your partner did a great job advising you (or you had very good insight studying your party composition). A plain thief is unnecessary, since you get so many thief skill points that you will easily cover all that is necessary. For a first playthrough, I'd recommend you start putting points in lockpicks & disarm traps (don't go over 100, 80 as a first objective for BG1 is okay, there are not many traps/locks requiring more, and they'll be in the most dangerous dungeon that the game keep telling you that it is VERY dangerous, so you'll know beforehand and can rely on potions to boost your skills). The rest can go to stealth (hide in shadows/move silently, no matter which one you put your points first, they actually function the same way) to help you scout ahead detecting & disarming traps.

    4. Archer with longbows : your main DPS in BG1, SoD and probably most of BG2. This kit is a beast. Also note that it can, too, hide in shadows and can function as a better scout until your fighter/thief has sufficient points to reliably hide in shadows.

    5. Skald: since your party rely heavily on melee damage, if you had not thought of adding a skald, I would have told you "hey, you need a skald !" Perfect synergy with your party, it will boost your damage output by a very large margin for the whole game. Also serves as an arcane caster (albeit a gimped one) until your kensai duals to mage.

    6. Shaman: interesting choice. It serves as divine caster, although you will need to plan carefully on spell picks. I would not have suggested a shaman as a first playthrough, it takes trial & error to know which spells function for your playstyle. But it fits well with your party, especially once you have a few levels under your belt and he can reliably use his shamanic dance to summon spirits (who benefit from the skald song).
    Alternatively, you could go with a Totemic Druid, covers the need for healing spells, and has his own summoning ability too (again, for synergy with the skald song).
    And obviously, you could also go for some form of melee cleric (cleric's solo and party buffs are better than the druid's), either with a Cleric of Lathander, a Cleric of Helm (fits better RP-wise) or a fighter/cleric multi (dwarf comes to mind) or dual (lvl7 is enough in this case).

    In general, you have chosen a physical-damage oriented party, which is very powerful but should be played as such: your kensai/mage (once he regains his abilities) should not be played as an arcane nuker from the backline, but focus on self-buffs and delivering flurry of blows to the opponent in melee. Obviously he has the possibility, when needed, to play as a "normal" mage, but that should not be his priority.

    About the RP stuff : first and foremost, remember that no one is allowed to tell you if your decision to play a custom party is right or wrong. Play the game as you want to (and you'll have sufficient time in future playthroughs to try the NPCs). What is fun for others might not be fun for you, and vice versa.
    The part about evil/good characters not getting along only applies to NPCs. Custom parties can do whatever they want.

    And from a RP point of view, although I would have difficulties imagining a lawful good Paladin getting along with a chaotic evil Assassin or Blackguard, there are workarounds in your party composition.
    I understand that you view your blackguard more as a fallen paladin than an epitome of evil. Do note though that this is not the official description of a blackguard (https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Blackguard ), who are supposed to be cliché evil. I find this description boring and restrictive myself, the same way that Paladins in D&D are not lawful good but idiotic good imho. Thing is, it is a solo-RPG, not a MMORPG, play as you want.


    A last note on your kensai/mage, do note that you will have 3 characters in one:
    - for the first 7 to 9 levels in BG1, you will have a plain fighter, with very bad AC (there are some gear/spells that can help with that, but still, avoid aggro at all costs) but good damage output (nothing spectacular at first though).
    - once you dual, from mage lvl1 to mage lvl10 (so basically during the whole Siege of Dragonspear), you will have a classic mage (with big HP), so you should stay in the back and launch damaging and crowd-control spells at your enemies from a safe position
    - only once you hit mage lvl10 will you regain your fighter thac0, weapon proficiencies, etc., and you will now play vastly differently: with the right spells, your fighter can become a better tank than your blackguard, while still dealing heavy damage. Be aware that your thac0 will start to fall behind by the end of BG2 (but there is a good level 6 spell that can temporarily give you a huge boost at the cost of not being able to cast spells during the spell duration. Use with caution).

    ber5nie5Aerakar
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