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What companions should I end up choosing?

I have a Kensai (who will also be a thief at level 13) I plan on having Anomen Delryn (fighter/cleric), Minsc (Ranger), Aerie (cleric mage), Keldorn Firecam (Inquisitor)

So I have one last choice what should it be? (also, are there any changes to the above that you would make?


  • enqenqenqenq Member Posts: 497
    Perhaps a thief for last? It'll be a while before your charname can do that job. Nalia isn't very good at it either, but she'll fit in alignment-wise. Everyone gets along with Yoshimo. I never use Jan Jansen, so I can't speak for him.

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,217
    It seems you are missing a full mage and a thief for part of the game. So I would say go with Imoen or Nalia. Nalia you can get faster.

    If you get to Thief fairly quick (e.g. by coming from SoD instead of classic BG 1) then Neera might be another choice.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,300
    I'd pick Nalia so you can have a full mage who can disarm traps (remember to have spare thieving and perception potions).

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,041
    Nalia can't do the job without rings or potions. Keep Yoshimo until he gets replaced with Imoen.

  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 881
    edited March 2019
    I'd go with Jan as well. Because you already have Keldorn you don't need a full-time mage to counter spell protections so he can cover the spells Aerie doesn't memorize while performing thief duties.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    in my experience and knowing where to get the rings that improve her thieving ability (at the basic level of opening locks and dealing with traps) i never had problems to use nalia as thief for the whole bg2-tob. for the few instances where is needed there are plenty of potions and the knock spell. imoen is slightly better but at the point you can have her back charname will probably will be better.
    they are both very powerful mages, while both jan and aerie being multi will gain levels slower. this mean to have later spells that are really useful for your mlee oriented party, i am thinking at improved haste that can be really important until your fighters will reach hla and GWW. and anomen will never get it, but other way when buffed with his clerical spells is probably the most powerful fighter of your party and the perfect welder for the flail of ages.
    at maxed level aerie will have only 2 lev 9 spells and jan 3 being specialist, a true mage, and both immi and nalia are basically that, has a different level of arcane power.
    the plus of having them is that your kensai->thief can focus on what they can not do, setting traps, hiding for exploring and backstabs, detecting illusions, letting them continue to deal with traps and locks untill the point when he has brought those other thieving abilities at high level.
    if not for rp reasons i would pick nalia as she will gain levels faster being with you from the beginning.

    jan is really good, his backstab can be really useful until charname can cover the role and as @Kurona tells will be more than enough, together with aerie and keldorn, to disable mages.

    neera, if you don't rely on reload on bad surges, needs some knowledge about how to deal with a wild mage, can be the best mage in the game, but only at high level and in the hands of an experienced player.

    it really depends on your playstyle, if you like to backstab, that can be really useful at the beginning when carname can not do it, and if you see spellcasters as a support for your fighters pick jan, at the cost of having later improved haste and few of them.
    if you like to use the mages more offensively nalia and imoen are better options, they will reach before projected image and later improved alacrity. the projected image of a mage that is equipping the amuleto of power and the robe of vecna can cast improved alacrity and then unleash basically the whole spellbook, destroying enemies of the level of draconis before they can even try to react, so fast that i usually don't even cast time stop.
    EDIT: 3xlower resistance, greater malison and then all the magic missiles, melf magic arrows and flame arrows/skull traps will probably kill almost every not lick enemy and there is time to drop also some adhw or high level spell that requires a longer casting time, low level spells have 0 casting time with the suggested equipment. END OF EDIT

    it depends on your own playstyle but i would go for nalia, she does not have the downtime imoen has, does not need a thief substitute in chap 2 and 3, will improve your fighters with the improved haste earlier and in end game will be probably your most powerful toon in many situations. when you find a battle almost impossible let her cast a PI and her clone will take care of the problem at the cost of a single lev 7 spell.

  • piggy1753piggy1753 Member Posts: 9
    Honestly KT is not very good for a 6-man team, because it takes too long to get their levels back. If you want a thief character I recommand shadowdancer so you can backstab everything right from the start of the game.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    true, the down time even if the quest rewards are saved for that phase is quite long. but the idea is not only to have a backstabbing thief, and the kt is superior to the shadowdancer in it cause has better multiplier and kai to have a granted maxed damage, but also to have a fighter, a kensai that overrides the kit impossibility to wear armor and gauntlets when he reaches uai. thing that in a large party is not so immediate as he needs more than 4M xp if dualed at 13, and doing it before means to have to few kensai bonuses.

    i would not compare a k->t with a shadowdancer, they cover different roles, instead i would compare him to a f/t multi. and personally i would chose the multi cause i hate long down times, cause he misses GM and some dmg bonus but in the end has better thac0 EDIT: and gww END OF EDIT and cause he is powerful and useful trough all the game.

    that told some people don't have problems with long down times and to play a k->t can be fun.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,067
    Agreed, kensai/thief characters are most similar to fighter/thief multis, though kensai/thieves can't access fighter HLAs.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    yep they are similar, but the multi access at fighter's hla is not the only, and probably not the main difference.
    imo the most important difference is that with the multi you have a fully functional fighter and thief trough all the game, with the dual you have a glass cannon, then an underleveled thief that can not wear any armor and then again a glass cannon, this time with thieving abilities. finally, probably at some point of tob in a whole party, you have something we can compare to the multi. right at the moment when most of the enemies you can backstab are anyway easy prey and when he starts to feel the lacking of thac0...

    this is why for a large party i greatly prefer a kensai mage, he can dual earlier, be a really strong fighter trough all soa getting some serious ac from the archmage robe and the arcane spells that buff ac, with stoneskin and pfmw on top and in endgame is almost a strong caster as a pure class mage while retaining some mlee and ranged capability.

    the kensay thief can be really powerful soloing, if is able to survive the down time, or in parties of no more than 3 people, and @piggy1753 is totally right about it.

  • AaezilAaezil Member Posts: 177
    The ones you like reading the text of. You can complete the game with virtually any party

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I don't think a pure thief downtime is really that nasty, for one you can start pumping up trap setting, and cheese enemies with traps eary on, and use items to back yourself up. Naturally 9 is much sooner than 13, but K gets almost nothing at 9 compared to a Berserker, and is probaby mechanically worse most of the time when you include the Gauntlets.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    a k13->t needs 2.13M xp to complete the dual and 4.25M xp to get uai.
    in a 5 people party as the one the OP plans to run it is a long route.
    at that point he becomes a really strong fighter as he overcomes the kit limitations.
    a dual from 9 will regain his fighters abilities a lot sooner, dual completed at 410k xp, and will get uai a little sooner, being more useful in mid game even if less powerful in end game.
    a K9->t loose only, kit wise a single point bonus in thac0 and dmg roll and a kay/day, still has less levels of fighter so will loose much more in thac0 as the fighter thac0 is 12, so will use this 10 thac0 he gets from the thief part. the lev 13 dual will have a 8 thac0 plus the kit bonus.
    the lev 13 dual will have in end game a thac0 only a little worst of the one of a pure fighter, the lev 9 will loose 3 points from him. and obviously will have 1/2 apr less.

    choosing a lev 9 or 13 dual is really a matter of player's taste and choice, some of us like me hate long downtimes, others don't have problems with them, some players focus more on mid game power as think that the party in end game has any way all the power it need due to level and items, some others look mainly at the end game power and are willing to go trough any sacrifice mid game to have the best party possible in the end. every way to play the game is legittimate as long as we are having fun and both the builds are good and effective, as long as suit the player's taste and style.

    in my way of playing i choose kensage at 9 every day of the week, fast to build, even if i never erase and write scrolls to gain xp that way the downtime is almost 0, mlee effective from very early to a big part of tob, as has arcane spells and mage's robes to get both good ac and protections like stoneskin, mirror images and later pfmw, and as good as a pure class mage in end game retaining to some extent his mlee capability. he can solo draconis and take him down with no problem or risk using only 2 lev 7 spells, outside lob mode nothing in the game can compare to the power of a mage.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I really think kensai's bonus' at level 9 are piddly compared to what a berserker can offer you, and wouldn't bother dualing for less than 13, but I've done high level duals before, so I'm not exactly normal. There is basically no point in doing a kensai at 9 to mage either, berserker especially is better, laughably so when you remember a kensage can't wear gauntlets, so he can't use the Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization, which are a huge buff, and actually make a raging berserker better than a kensai. Why anyone would bother with a kensage at lvl 9 is beyond my understanding when berserker is 1000% easier to start out in BG1 and SoD, and later on the berserker ends up technically better anyways when kitted out properly. Bah.

    I will say that a kensage 9 is viable, even strong, but will be weaker than a F/M would be most of the time once you reach HLAs.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    i start always in bg2, i had in all my runs with a kensage in the party someone other than could benefit from the gauntlets and as i care more about party power than charname power for me it is not a problem. also usually my kensages are a modified nalia or imoen, and i don't see much them as berseker, for nalia, a noble, having being trained in the use of a weapon more as a sport than for war purposes seems to me plausible, so kensage fits her well for rp reasons. i find the kit ac boost of a lev 9 dualed kensage useful when she wants to rely on ac instead of stoneskin, combined with the spells that also boost ac. and delaying a little her recruiting while i solo a bit with charname i find her already with the xp to have the dual complete. late game usually she switch from the robe of the archmage to the robe of vecna as at that point her main duty in the party is as a spellcaster.

    but i agree, also berseker mage is very strong.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    DreadKhan wrote: »
    I will say that a kensage 9 is viable, even strong, but will be weaker than a F/M would be most of the time once you reach HLAs.
    f/m is a fantastic multiclass. and i played much more f/m than kensages, about him being better than kensage it really depends on the play style and on the party composition. at the moment the f/m gets hla a kensage 9 is really close to get them also, to get stuff like improved alacrity, planetar, spellstrike and time stop. my kensage 9 at level cap can cast 4 lev 9 spells, my multi only 2. one is a better fighter, with gww, critical strike and fighter thac0, but to my standards no more than a good secondary mage, the other is a very powerful spell caster, as powerful as a pure mage, more tanky than the multi, as he has more spell slots, but certainly less powerful as fighter.
    in my usual setting with a kesage his role in the party late game is the one of the main mage, i equip on him the robe of vecna and amulet of power and i have him cast pi and destroy enemies with spells, and i have aerie buffed go to tank, or if i want to use aerie as mage they swap robes, he takes the one of the archmage and she perform her magic, combining arcane and divine spells for really powerful combinations. and this works perfectly with my own playstyle.
    with other styles other builds can be better.
    there is not something like the most powerful build, without taking in account the style, the party composition and the consumption of items. take anomen as an example about the item consumption, one of his strengths is that he does not need str enhancing items but he goes in battle with 25 str, i value it very much as i can free those items to have the hammer upgraded or to equip them on other toons. with other party compositions with less versatility and more fixed roles than mine it can be way less important, as there are anyway enough str items to build the hammer and have 3 fighters with boosted str.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Ah, well, I will give you that if you started in BG2, you're doing only a couple quests before you can dual, and then you're a mage and can use robes for AC.

    I MIGHT some day run a Kensai through BG1, but I'm not sure I really want to do that, without any dualing, as it'll be pretty weak overall, though pretty flavorful I must say. Mage would be interesting as a dual, nabbing mage robes. Dunno what weapon I'd use, but I'd be tempted to favor daggers and dual wielding, and just accept DoV and Gravebinder in melee, and use those potions of invulnerability! I think it'd be as viable as a monk, and if anything have an easier start out, having spec in daggers and throwing them, likely with 18/90 str for huge damage. Shield amulet is easy to get, and is cheap, and it's awhile until you want to use the Greenstone probably, and both are an effect with duration and can be stacked iirc. If you went with a shorty, you might have an advantage, but gnomes lose out on save vs death, which is sucky especially since I often like to use the Claw of Kazgaroth, but that's a bad idea in some ways, esp cons-wise, but a dwarf I suppose could hit 20 and lose only 1 HP per level for a big AC boost vs VERY annoying missile weapons, and even more save bonus', and vulnerability to death saves is offset a bit by the shorty save bonus. The only downside of a Kensai is you can't use the Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise, so you really need your weapon bonus. I guess your AC can be pretty decent actually, though a dwarf would lag until he got the dexterity manual, which is a ways, and his ranged attack bonus would be lower too I think. Yeesh, this is a strange build, maybe just go human or half-elf? Elf would be stranger still, with very low likelyhood of using the Claw I guess, but good throwing.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    completely agreed. to run a kensai trough bg should be really challenging.
    the choice of dw daggers is really good also in bg2 as you can weld the boomerang/firetooth in the main hand and a +1 apr weapon offhand to get 5 apr even before you get gm. later the oh weapon is probably crom as the +7 thac0 really helps an early dual to be competitive also in late tob, at that point the kensage 9 has 2 attacks from dw, 1 from gm, 1 from firetooth and 1/2 from fighter's level so 9 apr if improved hasted, and as all get the +14 dmg from str are attacks that do damage. so both the lack of gww and the sub optimal thac0 are fixed. gm in dagger helps also ranged, 3.5 apr with firetooth count, 7 under ih, and if the hammer is normally equipped, while ranged a kensage has a spell to boost his str*, or can give the hammer to an other fighter and take his belt for an even better result.

    *i usually don't roll stats for my charnames but eekeeper them very average ones, minmaxed, but only to a certain extent, i don't have char and wis at 3 for my fighters. so my single class, multi or dual fighters don't have the luxury of a 18.something str, and i use the 18.50 str from the spell until i can get a str item that overrides any 18 str. rolling a charname with very good str make the spell not needed. and this is true as i mostly play only bg2, in bg and planning to dual is different.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I often overpower my character's stats for convenience if I'm trying something RPish, unless the lower stats are part of the RP, but yeah, in munchkin playthroughs I'll usually not go all out on stats, though heaven help me if I ever try anything but a min maxed monk! ;)

    Your THAC0 will be pretty low once you're into ToB, but I can see that by then you can see yourself as a full time mage, much like Nalia only thinks of herself as an Archmage. When I ran a kensage, I found my THAC0 became an issue while in Watcher's Keep, but I wasn't running an ideal setup by any means, iirc I was using Celestial Fury, so only a +3 weapon, though an especially grand one. Not to say every enemy was an issue, but I seemed to be missing a lot while Korgan and Sarevok almost never missed.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    true, a level cap kensage 9 with gm in katana and 3 pips in dw and no proficiency in hammer using celestial and crom has -4 and 1 thac0, surely not optimal for tob. having gm in a weapon with more enchantment and proficiency in hammer can hit more often, using mislead he gains other 4 points as there is a bonus if hitting while invisible. but will not match a proper fighter or a f/m. even a buffed aerie is much superior mlee wise at that point.
    but with celestial fury he has been very effective for a long time, from quite early in soa to the begin of tob. and also later is very effective against minor foe, in battles like the oasis. in end game imo the weapon of a kensage9 is PRATI (projected image, robe of vecna, amulet of power, timestop and improved alacrity), actually i think that the timestop is almost always redundant, the projected image kills so fast that even draconis can not react.

  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 484
    edited March 2019
    Having both Aerie and Anomen is perhaps a bit too much cleric. I'd probably replace Anomen with Jaheira, or Aerie with Cernd, so you can get access to both high level cleric and druid spells. I think that Jaheira is more integral to the main plot than Anomen, as Irenicus killed her man and all.

    The last slot should be for a thief/wizard, as others have said. You could go for the Yoshimo/Imoen option, but I always find the quick route to Spellhold very tricky, so personally in your situation I'd go with Nalia, in order to get the high level mage spells early (although in my own parties I usually take Jan over Nalia as I love the character and superior thief skills he has). Nalia fits in better with the fighter stronghold quests that you will probably want to pursue (the thief stronghold quests are more boring and less rewarding).

    Another alternative would be to keep Anomen, replace Aerie with Nalia and take Jan in the sixth slot. I like thief/wizards and don't care if there are too much of them, because they're lovely :)

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited March 2019
    Or maybe keep anomen that buffed has apr, thac0 and dmg, and swap aerie for jaheira that is a fighter, but has enough druid to complete the divine spellcasting. To miss aerie, that can combine arcane and divine and buffed can tank and hit hard even if with max 4 apr, is a loss, but jaheita apr and insect spells and ironskins can make for it, and that way less buffing is needed.

    EDIT: i don't think that anomen and aerie is too much cleric, as she can both combine divine and arcane spells for interesting situations, and sometimes can use her arcane to protect herself and divine to buff dmg and thac0 to be the best tank and he has to use his buffs to continue trough the whole game to be a strong fighter, as dualed at 7 without cleric's buffs his thac0 and apr make him sub optimal mid soa when not buffed.
    the only reason to add a druid is insects and elemental prince, really powerful, but a party can perfectly live without them. swapping a cleric for a druid can be done, but also with the 2 clerics the party works well, is more a player's style issue then a not well balanced party one.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • Gatekeep3rGatekeep3r Member Posts: 123
    edited March 2019
    You can beat the game with any party you like. I've been playing BG since the release (usually 2 playthroughs a year) and used a lot of the 'special' combo's. For me it doesn't make the game anymore fun than it already is. There is no 'perfect party' other than the one you personally enjoy playing. Most people here will suggest you choose certain dual classed and multiclass chars and, while it makes definitely easier, I never liked it any better. Just go with it.

    My original 2000 party
    - CHARNAME female chaotic neutral arcane caster, necromancer
    - Keldorn
    - Anomen
    - Jan
    - Edwin
    - Viconia

    Watcher's Keep was the biggest challenge, the rest of the top battles were just hard. Some of them really, really hard. Then again, I didn't have the right arcane knowledge for the job back then.

    I just finished BG and SoD (didn't bother with ToSC this time) and reached BGII chapter 2.
    CHARNAME - human true neutral necromancer (purely by chance, didn't even think of my original party)
    And I quickly found myself in the Copper Coronet picking up a certain fairly arrogant fighter/cleric and then drudging through the Temple District's sewers to pick up a really old man. Purely by chance I happened across a pretty elf tied to a stake. So yeah... I think many people have go-to NPC's that they just like banter and story-wise. The only thing I'm doing differently now is being the handler of an addled berserker with a head wound and his furry friend.

    Planning on booting both Minsc and Keldorn though. I used to be very loyal to party members, not replacing them even when there were objectively better options. 75% of BG playthroughs I took on Ajantis and Khalid just because they were my brother and mine's favorite NPCs. I felt like I missed out on other fighters. We both hated Jaheira, and I never had her in a party in BGII (and not even considering her now). In BG I used the exploit 'put her in a house somewhere and kick her out of the party without Khalid noticing.

  • psychomaxpsychomax Member Posts: 3
    I often don't understand a lot of hate certain npc's get. In my gameplay experience, there are no 'useless' characters. But on the topic of which character to pick, I would say Jan Jansen. Here's why
    - Gets a bunch of bonus items that only he can use
    - Is MULTI-class, rather than dual-class, which means both his illusionist class and his thief class level up together, for the most part.
    - Has very high detect illusions score
    - Given that aerie is the only arcane spellcaster in the given party arrangement, he would provide spell backup (nice illusion spells).
    - You could always have more turnips in your party.

    ANOTHER great pick (that only I seem to love) is Haer'Dalis.
    -Haer'Dalis has Entropy (a short sword that KILLS trolls... and poisons your enemies... very nice)
    -Along with Entropy, he gets another short sword to dual wield with it, The Chaos Blade. Chaos Blade drains the dexterity of your target, making him a VERY useful 'shutdown' character. If he's equipped right, he's actually a fair tank too (but, of course, that's true for everyone).
    -Gets SOME mage spells
    -His quest gives you a bunch of OP magic crap.
    One problem though. If you are trying to romance aerie, haer'dalis makes in much more difficult, as he flirts with aerie VEEERRY frequently.

    Heck, I usually take 'em both.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    you are certainly not the only one playing and appreciating haer dalis.
    his defensive spin is very useful early game and if used in combination with his spells also in late tob where he can have the best ac and some stoneskin to tank for a long time. his lore and hla are really useful and is easy to have him with 4apr even early game. his fast leveling make him the best spellcaster for quite a bit when using spells that depend on the caster level for duration, damage or other (RM and DM).
    in the original game he was better, even without using multiple clones stacking the song, cause it was possible to have him sing and attack in the same round, now the very small aoe of the improved song and the way autopause at end of round interacts with the song make it not possible without a really heavy micromanagement. but in ee is still a very useful toon, even if his power is less self evident then the one of let's say korgan. he needs equipment to shine and needs appropriate party tactics to be really useful.

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