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Three-player party for BG1 and BG2?

I'm finally getting the enhanced editions for XBOX after playing the originals when they first came out, and I'm hoping that the pathfinding is better ("I can see there's a wall there... why can't YOU see there's a wall there when you're the one in the room?!?"), that the controls are reasonable with an XBOX controller (unless there's keyboard support?), and that I can somehow find enough time with now having a family to actually play!

I've heard enough of the NPC dialogue and so would like to do this run through BG1 & BG2 with a party made of three custom characters, Imoen (dualed to wizard), and room to rotate in one or two other NPCs as needed for quests. Here's what I'm thinking... am I on the right track? I haven't decided which will be my Charname.

- Gnome fighter/illusionist (multi - would I be better to dual? if so, at what level?)
- Inquisitor
- Cleric/Ranger

That would get me a lot of melee, ranged attack, some magic and some healing, so it seemed to be a fairly balanced/safe place to work from.

There were a few other options that also looked really interesting - should I be considering these instead?
- Sorcerer (instead of fighter/illusionist for less steel, more magic)
- Dwarven Defender (maybe in place of the Inquisitor as a meat shield, but without the anti-magic capabilities)
- Swashbuckler (in which case I would dual Imoen over much earlier, and maybe end up dual the Swashbuckler into another mage?)

I like getting the stuff (the more magically enhanced, the better) and building powerful characters, usually lean a bit towards melee/ranged over magic but would like a balance, and don't want to end up finding super-powered items that I end up not being able to use because I don't have a suitable character.

Party will likely be lawful good, except if I need to take someone down to get one of those aforementioned enhanced items...

With an eye on playing through the two volumes plus expansions on normal level (and not being a huge fan of reloading over and over and over) what would you suggest?

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,416
    The pathfinding ... you'll have to wait until patch 2.6 comes out to fix that. It's a shared issue across multiple platforms, with a fix in said patch (currently in beta).
    ... and don't want to end up finding super-powered items that I end up not being able to use because I don't have a suitable character.

    You will. Even in a party of six, you would. There are more really good items in the game than any one party can use.

    With that in mind, don't bother trying to fit in everything. Just plan to have your characters different enough that, by and large, they aren't competing with each other for items.

    Your personal preferences - sure, go with a plan in which all three characters are warriors. It sounds like that plays to your style. And within that, going with a warrior/priest type and a warrior/mage type makes sense.

    I've played a halfling swashbuckler all the way to the end. The combat boosts are nice, but they don't make you a tank. With light armor and no helmet, you don't have the defense to stay in melee until you reach epic levels and Use Any Item. And in the skirmisher role that leaves you with, the lack of backstabbing for burst damage is keenly felt.
    Still, the swashbuckler scales well, and definitely rewards you for sticking with it.

  • PeterOfTheNorthPeterOfTheNorth Member Posts: 1
    edited January 13
    I think you're on the right track overall. Having recently been obsessively replaying BG 1 and 2, Here are some thoughts on those classes.

    Gnome fighter/illusionist is great, and that combo is only possible as a multiclass gnome. There is also lots of cool stuff in the game that is perfect for that character. A lot of people seem to love dual-class fighter mages, but I've never personally enjoyed dual-classing much, as you have to spend so much of the game (probably all of BG1) playing the first class, and then catching up with the other one. And if you dual to mage, you have be a standard (non-specialist) mage. You can only have a kit on your first class, not your second.
    Inquisitor is a blast, and an excellent option for your Charname, as long as you're happy to go for all of the good and noble choices in your playthrough. I am doing a playthrough with an Inquisitor, and their dispel magic can wipe out all magical defenses on the battlefield. And there is a mighty 2H sword in the game just for them.
    Cleric/Ranger is also a very handy character, but bear in mind that in EE they will only get Druid spells up to level 3, like a normal Ranger does. So no Iron skins, but you still have all the cleric spells and a top front-line fighter. If you want an armored character that can cast Iron Skins, the only way to go is a Fighter/Druid (like Jaheira), which is also a solid frontline tank choice, Druid spells get really strong at higher levels.
    I'm also doing a playthrough with a Sorcerer, and they are the best, I may never want to be a regular mage ever again. Yes you only get 5 spell options per spell level, but most levels only have 5 or so really outstanding spells, and the rest are situational, and for those you can use another mage or a scroll. And the ability to cast whichever spell you need so many times is very powerful.
    Dwarven Defender - Could be great, haven't tried it, but I think I like Dwarven Berserker more, going Bezerk can make you immune to all sorts of nasty attacks.
    Swashbuckler - Haven't tried it, looks good on paper, and a good candidate for dualing, maybe at level 9, or 13 if you wanted to wait that long.

    Only other thing I would mention is that while I have been combining different NPCs in the party, I have been really enjoying the interactions between them, and that becomes more of a feature in BG2. With three custom characters, there will be less of that, but I still think you should give the 3 char party a go if you are motivated towards that right now, and you can always go single char on another playthrough.

    Kesslann
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 986
    edited January 13
    Filling every role with a three-person party is very difficult. If it were me, I would suggest something like:

    FIghter/mage/thief - Solid APR, near invulnerability because of mage buffs, more than enough thief points for traps/locks/pickpocketing, secondary source of debuffs like breach, eventually able to use GWW and spike traps.

    Fighter (pick your kit) dualed to mage - Good melee character for the first half of the saga, gets to 9th level mage spells in time to make decent use of them. Can go with swashbuckler rather than fighter if desired.

    Berserker dualed to cleric - High APR, high caster level (for dispelling enemy effects), nice synergies with cleric buffs, strong turning ability. Can go with ranger over berserker if desired.

  • RhythmMachineRhythmMachine Member Posts: 7
    jmerry wrote: »
    The pathfinding ... you'll have to wait until patch 2.6 comes out to fix that. It's a shared issue across multiple platforms, with a fix in said patch (currently in beta).

    Well, I guess I waited 20 years. What's a bit longer?

    From the sounds of it, the Swashbuckler may have to wait until another time... good to know!

  • RhythmMachineRhythmMachine Member Posts: 7
    I think you're on the right track overall. Having recently been obsessively replaying BG 1 and 2, Here are some thoughts on those classes.

    Gnome fighter/illusionist is great, and that combo is only possible as a multiclass gnome. There is also lots of cool stuff in the game that is perfect for that character. A lot of people seem to love dual-class fighter mages, but I've never personally enjoyed dual-classing much, as you have to spend so much of the game (probably all of BG1) playing the first class, and then catching up with the other one. And if you dual to mage, you have be a standard (non-specialist) mage. You can only have a kit on your first class, not your second.
    Inquisitor is a blast, and an excellent option for your Charname, as long as you're happy to go for all of the good and noble choices in your playthrough. I am doing a playthrough with an Inquisitor, and their dispel magic can wipe out all magical defenses on the battlefield. And there is a mighty 2H sword in the game just for them.
    Cleric/Ranger is also a very handy character, but bear in mind that in EE they will only get Druid spells up to level 3, like a normal Ranger does. So no Iron skins, but you still have all the cleric spells and a top front-line fighter. If you want an armored character that can cast Iron Skins, the only way to go is a Fighter/Druid (like Jaheira), which is also a solid frontline tank choice, Druid spells get really strong at higher levels.
    I'm also doing a playthrough with a Sorcerer, and they are the best, I may never want to be a regular mage ever again. Yes you only get 5 spell options per spell level, but most levels only have 5 or so really outstanding spells, and the rest are situational, and for those you can use another mage or a scroll. And the ability to cast whichever spell you need so many times is very powerful.
    Dwarven Defender - Could be great, haven't tried it, but I think I like Dwarven Berserker more, going Bezerk can make you immune to all sorts of nasty attacks.
    Swashbuckler - Haven't tried it, looks good on paper, and a good candidate for dualing, maybe at level 9, or 13 if you wanted to wait that long.

    Only other thing I would mention is that while I have been combining different NPCs in the party, I have been really enjoying the interactions between them, and that becomes more of a feature in BG2. With three custom characters, there will be less of that, but I still think you should give the 3 char party a go if you are motivated towards that right now, and you can always go single char on another playthrough.

    Thanks! I had originally thought of doing 4 custom characters (since a bunch of the NPCs come in pairs), but do want to leave a bit of room for them. Good reminder about the fighter/illusionist... I like the idea of what you get at the end of a carefully planned dual class, but what you mention resonates with me a lot... do I want to spend a large portion of the first game with just fighter skills (yeah, I wouldn't mind) or, more significantly, do I want to spend much of the second as an underpowered mage while I'm waiting to catch up? That sounds like too much investment and not enough fun for a game.

    Edited because I asked a follow-up question about your fighter/cleric/druid info, but it was based on me misunderstanding what you (clearly) said...

  • RhythmMachineRhythmMachine Member Posts: 7
    jsaving wrote: »
    Filling every role with a three-person party is very difficult. If it were me, I would suggest something like:

    FIghter/mage/thief - Solid APR, near invulnerability because of mage buffs, more than enough thief points for traps/locks/pickpocketing, secondary source of debuffs like breach, eventually able to use GWW and spike traps.

    Fighter (pick your kit) dualed to mage - Good melee character for the first half of the saga, gets to 9th level mage spells in time to make decent use of them. Can go with swashbuckler rather than fighter if desired.

    Berserker dualed to cleric - High APR, high caster level (for dispelling enemy effects), nice synergies with cleric buffs, strong turning ability. Can go with ranger over berserker if desired.

    I think the Berserker doesn't appeal to me just because I don't like having to activate a special skill. Why? I'm not sure if it's taking a turn for it or using it up once I enable it... I'm not sure there's a logical reason for it - it may just be a personal quirk. So maybe Ranger/Cleric. Where would you dual, or would you multi?

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 986
    In a 3-person party where I am looking for each person to fill as many roles as possible, I would want to dual as early as possible to ensure my dispels will be as strong as possible. For a fighter/cleric I would be looking to dual at 9, but I would push that to 7 for a ranger/cleric since they're ineligible for grandmastery. Either that, or you could just give up on reliably landing dispels and instead go with a multiclassed ranger/cleric for eventual GWW access.

    Blackbɨrd
  • RhythmMachineRhythmMachine Member Posts: 7
    jsaving wrote: »
    In a 3-person party where I am looking for each person to fill as many roles as possible, I would want to dual as early as possible to ensure my dispels will be as strong as possible. For a fighter/cleric I would be looking to dual at 9, but I would push that to 7 for a ranger/cleric since they're ineligible for grandmastery. Either that, or you could just give up on reliably landing dispels and instead go with a multiclassed ranger/cleric for eventual GWW access.

    7 makes sense - with the rest of the party having combat abilities i want to make sure that I get full benefit from the cleric. I expect that in BG2 the dispel will be more significant.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,416
    The tricky bit with that ranger-cleric dual class is the experience curve and the caps in BGEE and SoD.

    BGEE has a cap of 161K experience before SoD. If you dual at ranger 7 (75K XP), you'll still be a cleric with extra HP (55K XP needed for cleric 7, 110K XP needed for cleric 8) at the end of the campaign.
    Then SoD has a 500K XP cap, and you can build up experience pretty quickly especially with a small party. If you dual-classed at level 7, you'll get your ranger abilities back in no time. Actually, you'll probably be able to level up instantly upon starting the new campaign; experience is only reset down to the cap when you load a save, and for dual-class characters that reset compares experience in the second class to the total cap.
    If you wait until the beginning of SoD to dual, that's a level 8 dual. A few more hit points, plus you get first level ranger spellcasting and thus add Entangle to your cleric spellbook. You'll need another 225K XP to reach cleric level 9; on top of the 150K XP for ranger level 8, that's a good way into the campaign - but not as long as it would be for a full party.
    Dual-classing at ranger level 9 (300K XP) would come in the middle of SoD. You would then only get back to cleric level 8 by the end of the campaign, and not get your fighting skills back until SoA (750K total XP).
    Finally, there's the option of dual-classing at ranger level 10. That's 600K total XP, which you won't reach until early in SoA - probably shortly after you leave the starting dungeon. That is an absolutely perfect time to dual-class, and minimize the impact of the downtime. You need another 675K XP to reach cleric level 11 and get your fighting abilities back, but the experience flows like water. There are a bunch of easy quests in Athkatla, and you can get a bunch more experience from scribing scrolls and using thief skills.
    A level 10 ranger can cast level 2 spells, so this dual would add Charm Person or Mammal and Goodberry to your cleric spellbook.
    Anything later than that ... the costs start piling up. Not really worth it for general play.

    The drawback of that level 10 dual compared to dual-classing earlier? You'll be behind by about two cleric levels at any given time. Still, it's worth considering; the smaller party means you won't have trouble piling up a lot of experience and reaching high levels anyway.

    Anyway, the gist of this ... while conventional wisdom says that you dual out of warrior classes at odd levels because that's where the good bonuses are, the details of the ranger and cleric experience requirements and the caps of the first two campaigns make dual-classing at level 8 or level 10 a reasonable proposition.

  • RhythmMachineRhythmMachine Member Posts: 7
    Oh, that's a lot to consider... math and I have never gotten along well, so I take a squint and spray kind of approach, which doesn't always end well. 10 certainly sound too late to feel like I'm making progress, but 8 may be worth considering... you make some good points. It may come down to how patient I am...

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