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  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,672
    edited January 4

    @marilith interesting that neither party has a thief to cope with locks and traps. What is your strategy to work around that? Lots of knock spells? Bashing chests? Genuinely curious if omitting a thief is the path to enlightenment and overpowered parties that I have been missing :)

    traps can be tanked no probs in BG2 and IWD

    and the chest issue is mostly only BG1. (which is also not really an issue if you know your STR potions well)

    to this day the only really nasty chest is still in Kiel's tomb.
    I'm no expert on STR req for opening chests so I assume you are correct, but worth mentioning is there's a bucketload of EXP to be had from all traps and locks that you will miss. Just cleaning out the second level in the thieves stronghold in the Athkatla Docks earn you quite a lot early in the game. The game sure has enough exp to make you OP in the end anyways, but from a pure powerplaying point of view I'd rather have Jan to both do thievery and arcane, then no thief and another generic warrior type (or part mage charname). Also, a thief can pickpocket (I mean steal) many great items early in the game (BG2) and earn you all the gold you need to clean out Athkatla and Trademeet etc. Charname can of course take that role as well, as thief/mage or fighter/thief. Though as T/M it's hard to compete with Jan's epic gear, though you will have superior stats instead.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 603
    Fighter, mage, and thief have great synergies with each other in whatever combination you want to use.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 674
    I think fighter/thief is a great class if you dont want to pick up imoen, nalia or jan.
    Perfect hla selection.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 603
    The fighter's high APR and (eventually) strong melee HLAs make fighter/thief strong, for sure. FMT is interesting as well for invisibility (at-will backstabs) and stoneskin (melee invulnerability).

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,828
    charname sorcerer. why? as he/she reaches lev 7 spells becomes the true engine of the party, able to IH all the fighters many times/day while being useful to the team in other offensive and defensive ways. as he reaches lev 9 spells, so IA and wish, the thing is greatly boosted as in a couple of rounds he ( his PI) can buff all the party while he is also eating for breakfast a couple of dragons, then he spams wishes to recharge the other casters spellbooks, the hla and the x charges/day items.
    imo no other caster can be as useful as a sorc in a power gaming party, he can even use more than a PI in a single fight if needed, each one performing completely different tasks, the first one can buff, debuff enemies and call summons in about 1 round (aop+rov magic), then dispells itself and after an other round or so the second PI is ready and with IA active to spam destruction or do other tasks. no edvin or other mage can be so useful to the party, edvin has 2 more spells, a sorc has infinite spells and utter versatility in the tasks he can perform with his spell choice.

    thief is jan. why? thieving is much more than traps and locks and a M/T can bring it to the next level. mislead anyone? hasted and using mislead or invisibility spells he can perform 2 backstab/round with ryn/ram, so is almost effective as a fighter with GWW. and if needed he can tank, imo fighters are so squishy compared to a mage that wants to tank, maybe only korgan an jaheira can tank well as a mage.
    he can also cast the spells the sorcerer does not know to deal with particular situations and as kitted multi has +1spell/level compared to the other mages. lev 9 spells and thief hla, uai included, by the way the traps, spike ones and regular ones, are not cheese, are one of the best thief resources and completely legit. the fact that the time trap lasts right the right time to let him cast TS must not be ignored...
    then he can also open some door and chest and disable some traps, but that is not really the point to have him in the party...

    keldorn: carsomir+dispel magic+ true sight+ decent fighting capabilities. carsomir is too good and if there is not a fmt or F/T to use it the old pally must be in the party. he takes the bracers that enhance DEX.

    korgan: best fighter, others have already explained why.

    then what is left? we need a cleric, aerie would be perfect as she has the best tanking capabilities (with haer dalis), can combine arcane and divine magic and at medium/high level can also be an outstanding fighter that trades a poor apr (only 4 when DW and IH) with an impressive damage each time she hits as she hits with 25 str and the kai effect from RM. but she is not compatible with korgan so is not an option. viky is the best cleric but she is that and not much more, so anomen, ranged with a sling as @sarevok57 tells, or mlee when needed.

    one place is left, can be mazzy, more damage and ranged capability or jhaheira, better tank cause the ironskins and good summoner (of insects and larger creatures included the elemental princes that are compatible with the planetar gated by the sorcerer). both can reach 5 apr, so 10 when improved hasted, so 10 in every not trivial fight as charname is a sorcerer. later they can be replaced by mr tob but possibly at that point they have more XP then him so i am not so sure that is worth to do it. the monk is an other good candidate for the place.
    jaheira can not be dropped to make space for quest npcs cause she leaves the party if dropped more than one time, korgan, keldorn or anomen can be dropped instead depending on the quest needs. single class toons don't suffer too much in terms of lost XP if dropped for 1 or 2 quests and a rotation of the dropped ones seems to me a wise choice unless the 6th toon is a placeholder for sarewok.

    with this party probably is better to don't build crom and to spread the str enhancer items to the whole party, only the sorcerer can make without it. you should have in the end anomen at 25 str every time is needed, and the 4 belts are perfect to enhance the 3 fighters and the thief, that benefit mostly of the thac0 boost and marginally of the dmg one that is not multiplied in the backstab.

    many other ways to go, but this is mine as i like parties that can pull a strong damage output, but i want also a certain versatility and a party that survives cause they can tank, not only cause they kill so fast that they can ignore defense. even if this party has offensive capability is a well balanced party, particularly if jaheira is chosen. in that case only keldorn can not cast and with 2 arcane casters and 2 divine, druid and cleric, every aspect of the magic is well covered while 5/6 of the party are good physical damage dealers and some of them can also tank.

  • thiefthief Member Posts: 39
    Oh I love this discussion, it's crazy how many options we've got with these 17 (20+ in EE) characters.

    There is no definite answer because we, as players, have personal biases/tendencies and value things differently. I, for example, prefer fighters able to cast Mirror Image/PFMW/Imp Haste instead of donning full plate and firing Whirlwind twice a day. But you can get great results with both. As long as you don't play mods with silly fights, forcing you to use a specific spell/ability/HLA, you can get away with pretty much anything, and have great fun along the way.

    That being said, I have my preferences even in vanilla BG2.


    Jan Jansen
    Multiclass comes with crazy possibilities, although thief "eats up" too many levels. The reward comes with HLAs, Jansen really needs TOB to fully shine. UAI is arguably the sweetest thing in the game, you can pair Jansen's armor with Defender of Easthaven, get another attack and poison with Scarlet Ninja-to, or even try silly novelties such as Carsomyr and Vecna/Balduran/Amulet on top (dunno if viable in EE). Use Any Item gets even better with reasonable item improving mods, especially when you upgrade "character-only" armors/weapons.
    Jan is capable as a primary arcane spellcaster, especially if you have another character sharing the burden with buffs/debuffs/summons... and necro spells. Illusionists don't lose much power though, there are good substitutes.
    And then we have plenty of rogue skills and traps, if you like using them.

    I like pairing her with Jansen because you can divide arcane responsibilities between the two.
    She starts the game casting Web, Glitterdust, Teleport Field, Greater Malison and crowd control spells and then goes all the way up to Mordenkainen, Gate, Shapechange and PI. But the biggest advantage comes with Sequencers, Contingencies and Spell Triggers. Stacking Flame Strikes, Holy Smites, Sunrays (overkill) and Implosions is just bonkers. Same goes for quick healing packages and crazy fast buffing. Just let her get these triggers early.
    Aerie is the only Cleric/Mage in the game so her stats don't really matter - STR 10 is easy to overcome with belt/gloves etc. DEX is good, INT can be improved, CON is enough due to weird scaling. I'd like her to have more WIS but 16 will do. Definitely a potent character any way you slice it.

    Valygar (Shadows of Amn)
    You can pick up any "brute" really, but Valygar is my fav in SOA. He comes with a sweet armor, good stats, 2 stars in katanas & dual wielding. That's all we need! Let him have the first STR item you get (either Ogre gauntlets or Hill Giant belt, screw Crom), pick Celestial Fury and Belm, you're all set.
    Stalker kit isn't necessarily gamebreaking, but it's nice to have that backstabbing and scouting ability. More importantly he's also a Ranger, so we'll get Armor of Faith AND Hardiness at some point.
    Admittedly, Valygar's AC and need of strength fixing seem off-putting, but other guys also need some tweaking. There is a good number of items to make up for these shortcomings.
    Valygar is ready to roll as soon as you get him (CF is great in SOA) and stays relevant throughout the game, thanks to HLAs, improving multiplier and divine spells.

    Sarevok (Throne of Bhaal)
    It's nice to have one brute with stats similar to PC. Sarevok is a talented beast with 18/00, 5 stars in BF swords, Deathbringer and ability to dual-class. Backstabbing is less important in TOB so it might be a good idea to trade it for sheer power. Sarevok is good at crossbow, too.
    About his dual-classing: I was happy to dual him in a 2-men party, but he doesn't need it to deserve a spot in your party.

    You are free to pick any class you wish, but be weary with Mage - you don't want to undermine Aerie and Jansen when it comes to 8/9 lvl scrolls. Spellsword is okay though.

  • thiefthief Member Posts: 39
    Previous team had:
    2 arcane casters
    1 divine caster
    1 rogue with HLAs
    1 tank
    + dual ability in TOB
    so much ground covered with 3 NPCs. I love that. Six men party could simply add two of your favorite NPCs to aforementioned team and they would rule. But to have more fun and further improve arcane potential, I recommend doing it from scratch.


    No need to introduce this guy. Spells, great specialist, spells, perfect INT & CON, spells. One of the best NPCs from powergaming perspective. His necklace got even better since BG1, downside: no Amulet of Power. We'll get True Sight and Divination spells from other source.
    I like his short temper, bitchiness and me-against-all attitude a lot. In the same time I feel Bioware took mocking Edwin too far. He's an easy target - insecure, narcissistic outsiders tend to be - but I doubt anyone but Korgan got balls to laugh in his face (Keldorn doesn't care).

    Good to have Kenobi on your side. Ridiculous Dispel Magic solves way too many problems, he simply makes Shadows of Amn smooth and almost too easy. Actually that's his calling card, most important feature I'd say. Number of free True Sights is helpful as well, very nice pairing with Edwin (I don't care about conflicting characters).
    I prefer him as a dual wielder in the long run, but starting proficiencies are neat, too. Similarly to Valygar, this guy is ready to take the heat since forever, just equip him with Gauntlets of Dexterity.

    Fighter -> Cleric dual-class is always welcome. It's best to dual Fighter at level 9 or 13 imho, but level 7 will do (1/2 attack). Unfortunately, Anomen's proficiencies are screwed up a bit, so you should consider minor tweaking. His DEX begs for another set of Gauntlets of Dexterity, but in a perfect world you already have them imported from BG1. Also it's recommended to rush his quest to improve WIS.
    Many caveats, but I feel he fits the party as a go-to guy for FoA, Mace of Disruption and shields, if you use them. With Holy Power -> DUHM he becomes competent, I also like throwing him into battle with Globe of Blades and Imp Haste.

    Jan Jansen
    This time he takes a backseat to Edwin, but there is plenty of spells to keep him busy. Always a good addition.

    Maybe I'm a bit dishonest here since I included him 3-5 times, tops, but he's the best spellsword available in vanilla game.
    There's plenty to like - Blade kit provides spins and dual-wielding style on top of typical Bard trinkets (6 lvls of arcane magic, song, pickpocket, lore). He also gets beautiful UAI ability and it happens sooner than later - possible candidate for Scarlet Ninja-to. Before that you get Ilbratha, Kundane, Belm and his own set of cool little swords. Low CON doesn't matter, it's good enough to avoid penalties and you will get PFMW pretty soon (give him the first scroll you get).
    I'm not sure if it works in BG2:EE the same way, but I always loved Remove Magic potential with my Jesters/Bards. If it scales as if you were a Mage, with no penalties and cap, Haer'Dalis will also dispel protections like crazy, especially in latter part of SOA.
    Haer'Dalis shines the most with Rogue Rebalancing Pack and Gonzo item upgrades, which is a recommended mod for small, but thoughtful improvements of SOA weapons, including Belm and Enthropy. Even with no modding, HD kicks ass if done properly.

    Get anything you want, that party is self-reliant. If you make a divine caster you can show Anomen the door and bring in another brute type (they're pretty interchangeable). Sorcerer is also nice, but I doubt you'll need all that power in unmodded BG2. Straightforward tanks are boring, it's better to consider a less used kit (Wizard Slayer, Shapeshifter etc.) or another spellsword to join Haer'Dalis. You won't need many spells to be dominant - Mirror Image, Blur, Minor Sequencer, Spell Immunity and Stoneskin are a good start. Bunch of other buffs can be cast by someone else.
    Or maybe Beastmaster 13 -> Cleric? That is fun. Recommended!

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,828
    edited January 8
    thief said:

    you don't want to undermine Aerie and Jansen when it comes to 8/9 lvl scrolls.

    i run a lot of parties filled with arcane users, in my experience there is no shortage of scrolls in the game. probably the fact that i always fight the cowled wizards and reload the battles if i don't get useful scrolls has a part in it, and for some lev 8 and 9 i have to wait until tob, but i never felt it as a problem.
    thief said:

    Previous team had:
    2 arcane casters
    1 divine caster
    1 rogue with HLAs
    1 tank
    + dual ability in TOB
    so much ground covered with 3 NPCs. I love that.

    it seems that we have similar tastes and goals in choosing our parties, i often go with 3 or 4 people parties that for me are the sweet spot, maybe for different reasons, 2 of mine are fast leveling and the fact that i love micromanaging the party.
    aerie and jan (if charname is not a fmt) are granted members of my small parties for the same reasons you outline.
    a couple of differences from your approach is that i want to have a mage that really shines in the end, aerie and jan are awesome, but imo lack of lev 9 slots to really shine when they unleash their PIs if they want also to use some infinite spells strategies and that i want all arcane users parties.
    let's say charname F(9)->M, jan, aerie and haer dalis.
    4 arcane casters
    4 people perfectly adequate to go mlee, tank and do damage with the correct buffs
    1 divine caster
    2 rogues with HLAs
    the same party is almost as effective without the blade (that i used a lot when the improved song actually worked, now its aoe is far too small and is almost impossible to have a bard sing and attack in the same round).

    a limit of the small parties is that if in soa they really shine cause of the fast leveling up in late game, where also a 6 men party is well developed, they lack of firepower.
    but there are solutions, sarewok can be added to the party instead of replacing someone or similar fixes can be adopted.

    my powergaming solution to the small party approach can be fund here
    a party of 6 with the leveling speed of a one of 3-4, fully operational in every phase of the game and configurable for the particular quest it is facing as you can chose at any time which of the 6 are in and take the kills xp while the full party benefits of every quest reward, that is fixed and not shared between the party memebrs.
    it fits perfectly with the OP request:
    Sikorsky said:

    in terms of building the best possible team to complete BG II and ToB......... We are talking about BG without mods and self-made characters, only joinable ones. The team must be powerful through all game so we're not talking on full mage group who gets extremly powwerfull mid to end game.

    for the puropse of the tread my proposal was less extreme, a party of 6, well balanced, somehow noob friendly, without leveling tricks and not as arcane heavy as i usually go, but i bet that no party can beat the power of sorcerer (or F->M) charname, jan, aerie and other well chosen 3 using my power leveling strategy.

  • thiefthief Member Posts: 39
    edited January 8
    I've thrown Valygar/Sarevok in there to have at least one character going on autopilot (my PC would be Bard/Sorcerer or multiclass of some sorts). Biggest benefit of running small party in BG2 is reduction of micromanagement, which results in shorter playthroughs, obviously. I emphasize that a lot because modded BG completionist style takes weeks, and I'm not geting any younger :smiley:

    But yes, 4P party with Haer'Dalis is great, for reasons mentioned earlier. It resembles teams I took to IWD2 HOF mode, small but efficient in leveling, spellcaster heavy with tons of variety.

    On a sidenote, IWD exping is very satisfying, takes a while to figure out, but rewards with tremendous outcomes... and flexibility! For instance, you can add plain level 1 character late in the game (the rest is lvl 20+) to fill the gaps AND lower average party lvl, which in turn gets them more XP.

    Back to BG, I just thought of creating a team of less used characters (for me it starts with Nalia, Cernd and Yoshimo) and give them a go... someday!

    Post edited by thief on
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 674
    In the past i love bards and sorcerer to play. But nowdays i dont have enough time and prefer more autopilot classes, like warrior classes, fighter/thieves. And my party is as little in micromanagent as i can.
    Its faar from optimal or strong but i like.
    If i use fighter/thief than my party is Dorn, Korgan, Jaheira.
    If i use archer, paladin etc i use Keldorn, Mazzy, Valygar and Yoshimo dualled to fighter.
    And rarely play Tob, i played it and bored it.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,828
    edited January 9
    all the different approaches to the different team so far are imho sound and viable.
    let me just point out few things:

    the player's style is really important, how much he is willing to micromanage, how well he knows the magic system and the use of magic that he does can make a difference. some spells and class characteristics can win tough battles, insect plague or a backstab on a strong mage, a well placed CC or sequencer, spamming some spells with more than one mage, spells like finger of death, harm, feeblemind on a dragon, the turn undead from a high level cleric against vampires and liches, afaik only bodhi is immune, but her whole lair or the powerful kangax can be wiped out in a pinch. and is not true that casters are powerful only in mid-end game, a fallen deva has been killed by a soloing mage in irenicus dungeon, with tactics mod, i gave the YT link some times ago. other players use the magic more to prepare the way to the fighters and that is as effective, but is a completely different style.
    probably the player's style and knowledge is at least the 50% of the whole equation. a team is only as strong as how much the player is used to the style that team requires.

    the gear in this game is very important, the party that makes the best use of the best gear, without overlapping and using all the items that make a difference has a big advantage. weapons like carsomir, flail of ages, celestial fury and vorpal weapons can make the difference trough phases of the game or even the whole game, but only if there is someone that has the apr and thac0 to use them. and some items that boost some characteristics are unique, there is only a pair of gauntlets that boost dex, only a robe of vecna and so on.
    to use all the best gear and to have a team without overlapping of toons needing some unique items to shine is probably an other 25% of the equation.

    so maybe in the end the strength of the single npcs counts only for the 25%, a party of npcs that on paper are less strong, but that can have a good synergy in using the items and being useful according to the playstyle is much more effective of a team chosen only looking at "the best mage", "the best fighter" and so on.

  • Oswald81Oswald81 Member Posts: 53
    edited January 25
    I would say that you can't quite go wrong with:

    Any Charname.
    Fighter I: Korgan.
    Fighter II: Keldorn due to that dispel.
    Mage: Edwin or Neera, but I dislike autists so I prefer Edwin. Think how powerful both would be together.
    Thief: Jan because everyone else blows.
    Cleric: Viconia. Well that late in the game you have belts of strength and I tend to just run my cleric around in turn undead mode (too bad you have to wait until TOB just for her to act normal around undead, and even then romancing her). I have read that Aerie is overpowered, but other than if I have done really much in buffing her I can't really see that.

    Must admit my favorite party consisting of likely ain't that powerful.

    Me. Charname halfing fighter/thief.
    Korgan. Yes he is really powerful and i would miss that berserk stuff when dealing with Elder Orbs and Liches.
    Anomen. Well I like him actually, and he is apowerful turner of undead. Bad saving throws though, Shield of Harmony is a must when facing vampires and in general.
    Jaheira. The weakness of the group, but I love her and she tends to be the soulmate of my character despite her paltry saving throws.
    Nalia/Imoen. Edwin and Neera has to be babysat a lot. Must admit I could add either when I have like five boots of speed and can just run the guys out of danger. But still I like Tasheron's Bow ansd I'm sentimental.
    Jan. Yeah two thieves is overkill, but I love traps and well I dislike Hexxat and Yoshimo immensely. Would have loved to have Montaron back.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,828
    edited January 28
    Oswald81 said:

    I have read that Aerie is overpowered, but other than if I have done really much in buffing her I can't really see that.

    take a look here:
    hope it helps.
    the weakness of aerie in a 6 people party is that she takes so much time to reach a level where she can effectively turn undeads, as i run mostly 3-4 people parties and use effective leveling strategies i don't face it, but in the context of this topic i admit that it is a problem.
    my aerie does much more than "run around in turn undead mode", she can tank, much better than viky as she has arcane spells to lower ac and protect herself, she can mlee, she can cast, combining arcane and divine magic in sequencers trigger and CC for some nasty outcome or super fast self buffing, and she can be also a good ranged fighter if my tactic for that battle is to have her far from the enemy using a cast and attack attitude, 1 or 2 hard hitting bullets at the beginning of each round and then a spell.
    also in a party of 6 i would trade the reduced turn undead capability for the rest she can bring to the table.
    i was convinced that some screenshot was in the topic liked above but ti seems that is not so, are in some other tread i can not find now so let me repost them to let you compare a properly buffed aerie to the not buffed one, and is not even the best buff possible as she is not using all the best items, the party can need them elsewhere, and some spells to lower ac are not used.
    plain aerie

    buffed and in mlee, 4 apr with IH

    buffed with ranged weapon, 2 apr with regular or improved haste, retaining casting capability for attack and cast tactic in the same round

    compare hp, thac0, dmg (the buffed deals always the maximum possible cause RM) and ac.
    those screenshots are at high level, but from mid game on the buffs begin to be relevant.
    at low level she can not buff herself this way but in the linked tread you will find some good use of her that in early game can make the difference.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
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