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A few of my questions before starting the journey

Never played Baldur's before
The Baldur's Gate III will come out in a year or two, so I've decided to play all of the games before. It will be a long journey, I want to finish all of Baldur's and Icewind Dales. I never finished any of Baldur's games. I play a lot of D&D 5e with friends and I read some Drizzt books and Icewind Dale trilogy. I know it will be a long journey, so I wanted to ask a bunch of question before I start, to have the best start. I read a lot of information out there, but it got me even more confused, so to start with.

1. Picking class
I read about broken combos etc. and honestly I kinda like the concept. I want to play with companions, not solo and I have 2 picks that got me interested, maybe someone can help me pick between those two.
Fighter/Thief or Gnome Fighter/Illusionist?
I kinda like the concept of doing a lot of dmg while backstabbing, so is it better to stick with fighter/thief? Do people pick fighter/mage mostly for buffs? If yes, then I can have other party members to cast them on me, right? Or maybe there are some other grounds why people pick Fighter/Mage
Fun fact - Artemis Entereri was Fighter/Thief, so maybe it might be fun to roleplay.
2. Dual class or multiclass
I do understand how it works and what conditions you need, but how painful it is actually to dual-class Fighter/Thief? A thief has exp boost compare to other classes, right? Also, not sure how much you lose from multiclassing in this case.
3. Companions
Ahhh the struggles, there are so many of them. I've seen some pools of most liked companions (I know, it's a weird approach of picking allies), and a lot of them were evil and I m intrigued to run them, if they are interesting. So, my question is there a way to be 'neutral'? Not a hero, not a true villain. Will composition, for example, Minsc, Edwin, Viconia, Jan, Imoen will fight each other all the time because of the different alignments? Also, having people like Viconia or Edwin does make my reputation already bad and I will struggle walking through a city or is possible to keep them neutral?
4. Mods
I know most opinions are if your playing for the first time you don't need any mods, but...
I've seen something like 'Lefreut's enhanced UI' and maybe it's worth installing? Does it improve some quality of life? Couldn't find comparisons.
Also, is there a way to have the old cutscenes, instead remastered in BGEE?

I realize that most of these questions are ridiculous for someone who never played BGEE, but maybe someone can help me with my concerns and share experience, thanks! :smiley:

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    1) Character class:
    That really comes down to what you enjoy playing. There's no universal choice here, because everyone's preferences are different. I've played several fighter/thief combinations and have another one planned for my next run, but I've never played a fighter/mage. Some other people swear by fighter/mages. It's all individual.

    2) Dual-class fighter/thief versus multiclass:
    A dual-class fighter-thief can take fighter kits, and push to grandmastery in their chosen weapon. If you want the biggest possible backstabs, this is the way to go; the extra damage from mastery and kit bonuses gets multiplied in a backstab. Dual-classing isn't very painful if you do it early in the SoA campaign, but gets a lot tougher at other times. I've done fighter-thief duals as late as fighter level 13 (for maximum attacks per round), and that took a lot of planning to minimize the downtime using quest and scroll experience.
    A multiclass fighter/thief continues to advance in both classes, and can take high-level abilities from both rather than just the thief abilities (in BG2EE). They can be any non-human race, and all of them have bonuses - particularly halflings and dwarves for the massive saving throw boost. The bonuses also include increases to thief skills, which are particularly large for the short races.

    3) Companion choice:
    Alignment alone won't make your companions fight. That comes down to specific individual conflicts. For example, Minsc and Edwin will fight in BGEE because of Dynaheir (Minsc wants to save her, Edwin wants to kill her). Or, in both BGEE and BG2EE, Neera will refuse to be in the same party as Edwin because he's a Red Wizard.
    If you're running a mix of alignments, you do have to watch your reputation. Good and neutral companions will leave if your reputation drops to the despised extreme (1-2 if good, 1 if neutral) and evil companions will leave if your reputation increases to the paragon extreme (19-20). Some companions like paladins have stronger requirements; a paladin falls if reputation goes too low, so the NPCs will leave before that happens. Reputation will increase fairly naturally in normal play; many quests include a reputation increase as part of their reward. Decreasing your reputation is trickier; you have to choose evil options (which are usually stupid) in quests, or kill innocents, or get caught stealing. Later, in BG2, you gain access to an ability that decreases your reputation each time you use it; that makes this balancing act easier.
    On the whole, playing a good/neutral party with high reputation and no evil companions is easier than balancing your reputation to keep a mix of alignments content.
    Evil companions like Edwin won't decrease your reputation just for taking them on. That only happens with Viconia because she's a drow.

    4) Mods:
    There are so many mods, addressing so many different things, that I'm hesitant to recommend anything without a more concrete idea of what you're looking for. And if you haven't played at all, how do you know what aspects of the game you're not satisfied with? There's no point in installing an interface mod if you're fine with what's already there, after all.

    JuliusBorisovKenshinponyThacoBell
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    edited June 1
    For a new player, dual-classing is not the way to go. The required patience is high and it is just way too easy to mess up by dualing at the wrong point, not taking the right weapon proficiencies in the right order, etc. In exchange for those issues you receive a character that is... better than multiclassed characters in some respects but worse in others. That often leaves new players wondering why they went to all the trouble, especially when they're trying to pick GWW at epic levels only to discover that oops, they can't.

    As to what build to pick for a new player, I personally think fighter/illusionist is the single strongest character in the game even though some people find it jarring to have a gnome in your tank slot. Fighter/thief is solid too but fighter/mage/thief gives you many of the same benefits but with vastly greater survivability and versatility. Even though FMT isn't quite as strong as FI it is the best main character choice in my view, as it covers all the bases which then lets you flesh out the rest of your party with whoever you like best rather than being forced to drop people you like because you need a different configuration of classes in your party.

  • KenshinponyKenshinpony Member Posts: 2
    edited June 1
    Thank you for answering!
    What avg level you get in the BGEE 1st campaign? If I want dual-class, I will play entire 1st game as a fighter and then on the second game switch to a thief if I m correct?
    Also, what kits do you suggest? Kensai into Assassin sounds fun(unless I can't have 2 kits).
    And what levels are most preferable, like 7 fighters and then switch into a thief?

    Or maybe as jsaving said ill stick to some fighter/thief multiclass. Probably will roll a dice between those :smile:

  • SoidoSoido Member Posts: 172
    edited June 1
    Backstabbing can be cool, I recently used Coran for some backstab action. It is satisfying to backstab a mage for instant kill.

    But it is also often situational and has its limits. Unlike some other games (DAO comes to mind) where backstabbing works automatically as long as you are positioned behind, in BG backstabbing works only if you are in stealth in addition to being behind. And as soon as you make the hit your stealth breaks. And you will not be able to enter stealth again. You have to break line of sight with the enemy in order to re-enter stealth mode again but is not as easy as it sounds. Requires micromanagement. And you will have to dedicate points to Stealth skills (Hide in shadows/Move silently) before becoming effective and reliable.

    You can't wear heavy armor if you want to stealth often. The thief can use Stealth ability only with light armor.


    I am not specialist on backstabbing in a powergaming sense, just from what I observed recently while playing Coran for some stealth missions.

    I have heard that in BG2 there are many enemies with backstab immunity which might prove difficult, but I guess for those enemies you can put the heavy armor and approach with melee.

    I would say yes start with a fighter and finish BGEE as fighter. Use some other thief (like Coran who is FT multiclass) for backstabbing so you can see for yourself if you like it or not. If you don't like the backstabbing, like too much micromanagement or too situational, then you can continue as fighter levels in later games and opt out of the FT dual-class.

    Thiefs and bards have one very useful ability to using wands. Many wands in the game that can turn the battle, a well placed fireball can do a lot of damage to multiple opponents.

    I also am playing the game for the first time, I did a bunch of re-rolls experimenting but right now I am playing it blindly as well. With a berserker dwarf. Easy class, not much micromanagement, impressive save v/s spells (currently at 4) because he is shorty bonus and fighters have generally good save tables.

    Pay attention to the party strength to complement each other. My party is Edwin (mage), Branwen (cleric healer but clerics possess some powerful spells as well which can disable mages quite effectively), Coran (fighter-thief to disable deadly traps and an excellent archer), Kagain (another dwarf tank) and Dorn (paladin blackguard class who deals as much damage as my berserker). At one point I had Xan too but got too much with 3 spellcasters so retired him. This party is melee focused mostly, dealing good damage. Branwen is weak fighter but I found gloves giving her 18/00 strength and now she can fight but not as good as fighters due to inability to take Weapon Specialization.

    But there are many companions and many different combinations.

    Post edited by Soido on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    edited June 1
    You can't have two kits when dual-classing; the game only has one "kit" field for your character as a whole. Mechanically, the game never gives you the opportunity to select a kit for your second class, and some of the kits you could put there don't work properly anyway.

    For the fighter-thief dual, any of berserker, kensai, or wizard slayer kits work well - the equipment limitation drawbacks of the latter two kits are erased when you reach the "Use Any Item" highlevel ability of a thief. I find that kensai-thief is the strongest synergy, focusing on massive backstabs. On the flip side, a kensai is probably the weakest fighter kit in BGEE.

    The BGEE campaign (without SoD) has a cap of 161K experience, and it's not hard for a full party to reach that. For a fighter, that's level 8. A fighter 7-thief dual would reach thief level 8 and complete the dual, but that means playing a large portion of BGEE as a thief with extra hit points. As such, going to fighter level 9 is recommended for the dual; this also gets you another proficiency dot as a fighter, for grandmastery in your chosen weapon from the moment you complete the dual. You'll likely reach this level immediately after exiting the starting dungeon of BG2, and the experience flows quickly from there. Just doing easy quests around Athkatla or scribing scrolls can get you to thief level 10 and a fully functional character.
    Later duals are possible, but not recommended for a new player - they take more planning to speed up the "downtime" period between dual-classing and regaining your original class abilities. 13 fighter levels are stronger than 9 in several ways for the long haul, but it costs five times as much XP to reach fighter 13-thief 14 as it does to reach fighter 9-thief 10.

    Backstabbing tactics ... the most important piece of equipment for a backstabber is a pair of boots of speed. You want to get in under stealth, hit the enemy, and get out so you can hide again. Stabbing is a solitary activity with substantial micromanagement needs, so I wouldn't run more than one backstab-focused character in a party. I recommend tweaking the backstabber's AI to automatically hide, but not to automatically attack enemies - you need to get in position behind them for your stabs.

    Grond0dunbar
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,533
    edited June 2
    I'd been playing PnP AD&D (2e) for about twenty years before I found the BG games so we have some common ground there.

    BG1 is pretty much like any other well thought out tabletop campaign (along with the traditional Sadistic Evil DM) and will take your character from level 1 up to round about level 7 or thereabouts (depending on many variables). So, the traditional four person party (F,M,C,T) proceeding with due caution can see you through to end without requiring any fancy kits or multi/dual classes.

    BG2 however is a different kettle of fish altogether where you end up playing epic level battles of mage chess and as such is nothing like any tabletop campaign I've ever played. Here multi/dual class characters give you greater flexibility to deal with the more complex encounters (although I would recommend having a straight tank in your party to act as a sponge for both spells and damage). There is a ridiculous amount of XP being handed out in BG2 so duals can quickly regain their original class and multis still level up at a reasonable rate.

    So my advice to you would be don't overthink it initially. Get your feet wet in BG1 first, go with with your personal preferences and just get the feel for the game (you will make 'mistakes' in character creation for example). Then, when you think you're ready to take on the whole saga, go back to the beginning and create a new character - this is the time to do the heavy thinking.

    P.S. You will die a lot, so save often.

    P.P.S To make it play more like the tabletop game turn the AI OFF (one of the buttons on the bottom right of the screen). This way you can control the actions of each party member by pausing between rounds and giving them each individual actions (if left to the AI scripting they have an unfortunate tendency to rush around like rabid dogs barking at the moon - at least that's been my experience).

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