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Help With First Ever BG:EE Playthrough (Canon Party)

I'm planning to do my first ever playthrough for BG:EE (my first Baldur's Gate game) and I will be doing it with the canon party (Imoen, Khalid, Jaheira, Minsc, and Dynaheir) and I wanted to ask people's opinion about:

1) Which class fits the canon party best: a Cavalier or Figher/Cleric Multi? In terms of just pure fun, which one would be you recommend of the two? If you have any other class you want to recommend, please feel free to suggest it!

2) I am planning to dual class Imoen to a mage when she reaches level 7 and I was curious as to how others handled that gap of not having a Thief in their party (no find traps or open locks). I was wondering if I could somehow do it without switching companions or powerleveling.

FYI, I also plan to play the same character throughout the whole series.



  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    The canon party is very balanced, so feel free to play whatever class you want! For your first time, I'd tentatively advise against dual classing, multiclassing, or playing a mage class. They be more difficult if you don't know what you're doing.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,502
    Dual-classing Imoen at level 7 ... that's late, and that means a long gap before she'll get her thief skills back. You can do without a thief for wilderness exploration, but that certainly isn't going to cover the whole gap. Instead, you'll need to recruit another party member to fill the role for a while. When I did a run like that, I went with Coran, a fighter/thief you meet in the Cloakwood. He joined in Khalid's place, and then I picked up Yeslick (a fighter/cleric in the dungeon at the end of the Cloakwood) for the slot Jaheira vacated. Once Imoen got her skills back, I dropped those two in favor of Khalid and Jaheira again.

    The thief NPCs, aside from Imoen:
    - Alora: CG halfling thief, met in BG city.
    - Coran: CG elf fighter/thief, met in the Cloakwood.
    - Montaron: NE halfling fighter/thief, met just east of Candlekeep. Paired with CE necromancer Xzar.
    - Safana: CN human thief, met in the western wilderness.
    - Skie: NN human thief, met in BG city. Paired with NE bard Eldoth.
    - Tiax: CE gnome cleric/thief, met in BG city.

    The CE fighter Shar-Teel, found in the eastern wilderness, can also dual-class to thief.

    It's a lot easier, for BGEE, to dual-class Imoen at level 6. She can master the two key skills of lockpicking and trapfinding, plus she recovers her skills faster after the dual and can reach mage level 9 for a fifth-level spell slot. All that thief level 7 really provides in the late game is a point of THAC0 and slightly better skills in something you don't use much.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 995
    edited July 2020
    1 - Fighter/cleric brings much more versatility to the table than a singleclass warrior and is also going to be substantially stronger in melee because of cleric buffs that enable him to boost his strength whenever you enter a tough fight. If for whatever reason you want to go paladin anyway, I'd suggest inquisitor whose dispel ability is more useful than cavalier bonuses in BG2.

    However an even better choice in my view would be fighter/mage/thief who offers the most versatility in the game and also frees you up to make party configuration choices without worrying about finding a thief.

    2 - I typically dual Imoen at 5 which is the low-level sweet spot for saves and also gives you x3 backstab. You can also wait until 6 if you want to handle traps/locks infallibly without potions. Waiting until 7 is too late though as she'd typically be without her thieving skills at Durlag's which is the one place you're actually going to need them. (If playing FMT though you would automatically dual her at 5 because you wouldn't be worried about the extra thief points.)

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • NiziNiziNiziNizi Member Posts: 70
    Last years, I play F/M/T always. Not that I prefer or need to play Thief style, but simple NPCs who are Thiefs, happen to be available just for limited time, or I do not like to have them in party, so I take Thief duties on myself.

    Strong Fighter combined with Mage skills, if you know really what to do, IMO, is engine of destruction.

    Well, with triple multiclass, if you play non modded game, and with XP cap, have its drawbacks of course. So my choice maybe won't fit your game.

  • Adam_en_tiumAdam_en_tium Member Posts: 76
    My first playthrough 2 decades ago was with a pure thief. I enjoyed it very much...
    Short bow for the majority of fights, long sword for backstab (not the most efficient, quaterstaff is superior).
    I was able to explore dungeons, manage traps and open locks, and call my party when ready to fight.

    Or a fighter/thief multi which imo is the most beginer friendly multiclass. But leveling up often is really nice !

    This way you don't have to worry about imoen dual classing at level 7.

    If you don't like playing a thief, i would go cavalier. In this case, the dual of Imoen is a pain... I would advise against doing it. Keep her as a pure thief till the end of bg1, she'll be dualed when you start bg2 anyway !

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,208
    The canon party is a little light on healing and divine magic, so I would recommend a Cleric or Fighter/Cleric. But, as others have said, the canon party is also quite well-balanced so you should manage just fine with any character you prefer to use. :)

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 143
    edited July 2020
    The canon party is a little light on healing and divine magic, so I would recommend a Cleric or Fighter/Cleric.

    Especially if it is, indeed, your first playthrough of BG, although you seem quite knowledgeable of characters and mechanics :) If it is, you will need lots of healing.

    Jaheira for me isn't really ideal as the only divine caster. I have her in my every playthrough, but I always see her as a fighter frontliner which does some pre-buffing and then heals the party to some extent after the fight. She has low wisdom and cannot memorise many spells, so you'd quickly run out of healing spells. Clerics are extremely useful especially in the BG1, with all their neat buff spells and can make life much easier.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 736
    edited July 2020
    I quite like leaving Imoen as a thief and going cleric/mage

    Cleric is probably the obvious gap in the canon party and dualling Imoen means a load of time without a thief or drafting in Coran or Alora

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,502
    A party with Jaheira in it doesn't have a problem with healing; I'd rate her as the second best healer NPC in BGEE, behind only Faldorn. Druids are just that much better than clerics at healing, in the BG1 experience range. They have higher levels, and can cast Mass Cure as a 4th level spell with Call Woodland Beings.

    Their weakness is everything else they can do with their spell slots - no Command, no Remove Fear, no Draw Upon Holy Might, no Hold Person, no Silence, no Holy Smite...

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 143
    If you dedicate all her spell slots for healing spells, then yes. But wouldn't you want to have at least one Defensive Harmony memorised? And Call Lightning, which is actually useful in BG1. And Doom. The trouble with her is that her wisdom doesn't give almost any extra spells and, being multiclass, the best she can do in BG1 is 2 level 4 spells, I think.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,502
    Doom... that takes basically a whole round to cast. I'd rather have Jaheira get in two attacks. And in the few fights that are about one big threat, that threat often has magic resistance or spell defenses anyway.
    Defensive Harmony ... I'd rather have Hold Monster, Confusion, Mental Domination, two Hold Persons, Call Lightning, Miscast Magic, and Cause Serious Wounds. All in one slot. Call Woodland Beings is an absurdly good spell, and I find myself hard-pressed to ever memorize anything else until my druids reach level 13 or so.
    Call Lightning is another slow cast. It's useful, and I might spend a slot on it. Cure spells still make up the majority here.

    Wisdom for BG1 priest NPCs:
    10 - Quayle (no bonus)
    13 - Tiax (1 L1)
    14 - Jaheira (2 L1)
    15 - Viconia (2 L1, 1 L2)
    16 - Branwen, Faldorn, Yeslick (2 L1, 2 L2)

    Jaheira's relatively low wisdom means she doesn't get level 2 bonus slots. Since there's hardly anything at druid level 2 anyway, this is not a big deal. You don't need more than two or three Slow Poison spells.

    Jaheira reaches druid level 8 - same as a single-class cleric, and the spell slot progression for the two classes is the same up to level 14. Add the ring of holiness but no wisdom boosts, and that's 6/4/4/3 spell slots for her.

  • JGPJGP Member Posts: 25
    Play a Cavalier. Don't dual Imoen. Forget any notion of a "canon" party. Play the game as if you've never read a thing on this board. Get your ass handed to you in fights, then come back later when you've learned more of how things work and exact your revenge. Try to learn something about every class that you can while you have fun exploring. And please, please, leave that poor drow ranger alone. ;)

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 143
    And don't rage quit if Tarnesh kills you the first 10 times.

  • NiziNiziNiziNizi Member Posts: 70
    Who is poor drow ranger?

    Yeah, Tarnesh kicks ass :D

  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,252
    JGP wrote: »
    Play a Cavalier. Don't dual Imoen. Forget any notion of a "canon" party. Play the game as if you've never read a thing on this board. Get your ass handed to you in fights, then come back later when you've learned more of how things work and exact your revenge. Try to learn something about every class that you can while you have fun exploring. And please, please, leave that poor drow ranger alone. ;)

    Agreed. I think you should reject having a fixed party plan as well on your first playthrough. If you run across an NPC who seems interesting, try them out. You can go back and recruit anyone you've dropped. Going with the flow is a better way to experience the game, imo.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,611
    NiziNizi wrote: »
    Who is poor drow ranger?

    Yeah, Tarnesh kicks ass :D

    Drizzt. People love to cheese kill him for his scimitars.

  • NiziNiziNiziNizi Member Posts: 70
    I instead play alongsinde him in Drizzt Saga (EET) and that is nice expirience.

    And like him as character. But lets not go offtopic.

    For new players, of course, vanilla game is way to go, for some period of time.

    If playing first time, canon party is nice. And to get into game, and game story overall, it is IMO best way to go. I mean, even today I use some of them. You can also for some time drop some NPC and give a chance to another (but if it is vanilla, zero modded game, with XP cap, that it is harder doing that of course).

    In just one playthrough it is hard to cover all possibilities.

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