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Neera, Nalia or Aerie

Hi guys, at this moment I have a party of
charname - multiclass cleric/warrior
probably Keldorn

and I need a mage. Won't take Edwin because he's evil and I've played with him in the party a 100 times already, it's time for a change. Jan makes up for a thief and secondary mage and charname/jaheira cover healing and buffs etc. So I need a primary mage. Neera seems a natural choice but I have my doubts about her class but she's a pure mage. Nalia won't have to use her thieving skills and has a better choice of weapons and Aerie as a multiclass will be useful late in the game, and to be honest I don't need another cleric. In Nalia really so bad comparing to these two?


  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 5,510
    Neera has a lot more content due to being a Beamdog NPC. Having said that, I really haven't taken her far into her questline due to not having the patience to put up with her class drawbacks (which I hear are more than made up for at high levels - just not fun for me having to reload solely due to bad luck on a wild surge). She also gets an extra spell per level just like a specialist mage.

    Nalia is a very good addition to your party. She has a bit more strength, but other than that, she's almost a carbon copy of Imoen. Her thief skills aren't as good, but that's what you have Jan for. She's a mage that has a few extra hit-points and can use a shortbow. What more could you ask for?

    You won't likely get to 9th level spells with Aerie but she adds a ton of spells to a party and can experiment with cleric spells in sequencers and contingencies. I'd say you're better off with Nalia, but if you want to play around with Aerie's potential, you won't be disappointed.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,169
    edited January 4
    it depends completely on your play style, mainly on 2 factors, the will to reload more times or only if you really screw a battle and how is your party oriented, if you rely more on physical damage or you are also interested and proficient in arcane magic using.

    neera: she is probably the most powerful mage in the game, way more then edwin imo, but is a wild mage.
    if you don't mind to reload every time a bad surge happens take her, but if you like me don't do it chose some other mage.
    wild surges happen, so it is risky to use a wild mage to buff the party casting on them protections or haste, to have instead a fireball if not something nastier is quite annoying. for that reason if i have neera in the party i have also a secondary mage for that purpose. you plan to go with a mage only.
    that told i used neera very successfully and, with the right precautions i did not had to reload for a surge a single time. i used her only to cast spells on the enemy and as soon as she was able to use lev 7 spells only trough her projected image. if the surge is on self it affects only the clone.
    and i had her, from that point on, memorize only dwehomers as lev 1 spells, this meant to have her with a improved alacrity like ability (dwehomers ignore the 1 spell/round rule) casting spells she did not even had the level to cast, ADHW in soa chap 2, you can get good scrolls fighting the CW instead of paying for the licence, and pick poketing amn guards, later casting spells that a mage usually don't memorize.
    do you want to spam 6 imprisonments in a row or spam 6 banshee spells, her clone can, without any previous preparation.
    no edwin or other in game mage can compare to it.
    but to do it relying on reload and not on proper precautions imho is lame, so avoid her. it needs an other mage in the party to be done in the proper way.

    aerie: she is super powerful, at the beginning of soa she is the caster with more spells as she has 2 pools, even if multi she can cast more spells/day then edwin.
    later she can buff for combat and mix her arcane and divine spells in sequencers and late game in CC.
    from mid chap2 on my aerie is often in mlee, buffed with her arcane and divine magic, the best tank, 25 str, fighter like thac0, and she hits like a truck dual welding, for 4 apr improved hasted, late game for 100 dmg/round, while she tanks with her stoneskins and mirror images.
    or she use a sling, hasted, and casts spells and sequencers, with end game equipment she do anyway more then 50 dmg/round with thac0 up to -13.
    but as she takes forever in a full party to get improved alacrity if you rely on magic as a way to do damage she is probably not the best choice in a party without other mages.

    nalia: she is a caster as strong as a pure mage, only few xp behind, and she can use short bows and slings, bows are better for minor fights, an enchanted sling with enchanted bullets + haste (party affecting spell or potion, the improved one is wasted with a weapon with 1 apr) for the boss fights, as she gets more damage and better thac0 with that setup.
    and even if jan is a way better thief then her she can also be useful as secondary thief. sometimes i have them exploring the dungeons together, jan a step forward, hidden in shadows, and her right behind, so will not be spotted, detecting traps with the help of the ring. not game breaking, but still useful if you like me refuse to use metaknowledge. even if i perfectly know where all the traps and enemies are my party is not supposed to know it, so i have them acting accordingly, they have to actually detect the traps and outspot the enemy so the party can impose the wanted tactic and make better use of the battlefield features.

    so my answer is nalia, unless you don't mind to reload very often for surges, then neera is the best one, or rely mainly on physical damage and use the mage only to breach and haste the party, then aerie is perfectly capable while she is also a fantastic tank and a good damage dealer, as long as you know how to buff properly clerics and CMs.

    EDIT: i realized that jan is a secondary mage, so ignore what i told about running a wild mage as only party mage, or better use what i told to know what role you should give to the wild mage and the secondary one to minimize the risk of bad surge on party effects.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,977
    i would suggest choosing the mage that you have used the least

    no matter who you choose they are going to be helpful regardless

    so whoever you have the least experience with, bring 'em along i say

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 422
    edited January 4
    As you already have a multi class mage and are a cleric, I would go Nalia. I don’t find her annoying like many others but Neera really grates on me as a character. Neera is arguably more powerful but she can wild surge away your gold and occasionally accidentally nukes neutral npcs. Nalia is solid. Aerie has great potential but you are a cleric and you have Jaheira as a backup, you also have Jan for secondary spells so in your position I say Nalia.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,169
    in my previous post i completely missed the fact that jan is a good secondary mage, he is the one you can use to cast those on party spells that are too risky with a wild mage.

    about the gold problem there are ways to solve it, basically you manage your game in a way that the party is always short of gold, carrying a couple of gem bags filled with the most valuable gems, stuffing the valuable loot in some container (you can even use a container in wk to transfer it from the soa phase to the tob one, even if in tob money is no more an issue) and buying the expensive equipment, like the robe of vecna or the sling that does not require ammo (but becomes deadly if equipped with enchanted bullets as both the thac0 and damage enchantment bonus of launcher and ammo stack together) as soon as you have enough money to do it.

    this way if the surge that make you loose the money happens it cuts away only a little fraction of your real wealth.

    and there are not so many fights that happen with blue neutral characters near by, usually you fight in dungeons and areas where all the characters are enemies. it is true, the vampire fights in the city streets, some battles in the planar prison and few others have the risk that some blue toon is hit by a surge, but to avoid it is part of the fun of having a wild mage.
    fun that is great power combined with great precaution and proper tactics to minimize the risk of a surge.

    as i told i did not have to reload a single time with neera, while using very often the dwehomers, that really boost the risk of a surge.
    so neera is probably also an option.

    if a player likes her, like me, or does not, like @ilduderino, is a completely subjective matter, what is not subjective is that her personal quest grants some challenging battles and some powerful items, while aerie has not a personal quest and nalia's one
    having her arrested, not the d'arnise keep that like the circus tent you can completely do even without having her in the party
    is way less challenging and rewarding.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 422
    I have still not forgiven Neera for nuking Ender Sai when attempting to cast a buff 🙄

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,169
    edited January 4
    as i told i completely avoid to use a wild mage to cast buffs, and i have a dedicated secondary mage that memorizes his spells for the task.
    for on self buffs, like stoneskin, i usually have my wild mage going far from the rest of the party and from neutral people to cast them.

    it is still possible to have a bad outcome even with all the precautions, like having the surge "Roll 4 more times!" then "Area effect", "Turned to Stone", "Fireball" and "Cow".
    all the party and people in 60 foot radius turned to stone and then killed by cows falling on them :p:D .

    but i still think that if nuking Ender Sai when attempting to cast a buff happens is only because of a not proper way to use a wild mage, that buff should not have be cast on him or near to him by the wild mage at all.

    at least this is my way to play the wild mages.
    i am not a no reloader, but i refuse to reload for bad surges as for me the whole point of playing a wild mage is to deal with surges minimizing their happening and their effects when they happen, and as there is a 5% chance that them happen even without dwehomers you are sure that in a whole game you will face at least some of them.

    the wild mage is the kensai among the mages, more powerful then the equivalents, but with an achilles heel, you can run them, but if you do you must not complain about the kensai slaughtered as he has no ac or the wild mage having surges that cause problems.
    to have a wild mage cast buffs around is just as wrong as to use a kensai to tank, they can be very effective, but those are not the ways to use them.

    or you can avoid to use them at all, trading some power for less complication, and it is a perfectly fine choice.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,169
    edited January 4
    on a side note my first ever experience with a surge was with the original not EE game, little after i discovered that shadowkeeper (now EEkeeper) existed.
    i had being playing bg2 for some years, but living in a digital divide area i had no access to the net, then, when i finally managed to get a connection i discovered a whole world, forums, guides, mods and that little program.
    so i was experimenting and turned a powerful FM i had in a FwildM.
    then at the very first dwehomer use, the party had a lot of money being late soa, you can guess what surge i had... :D
    from that moment on i avoided for years the wild mages, judging them utterly not reliable and dangerous to play.

    until i bought the EE game and had a try with neera, that time with a completely different approach.
    and i was really surprised about how fun, interesting and powerful is to use a wild mage, if the key of playing them is to deal with the surge chance.

    right now is one of my preferred classes, with the right mix of power and complexity to please my taste.
    still i perfectly understand if some other players don't like them, as well as i understand how some players like them for completely different reasons then mine.

    i play them in a way that makes them reliable, other players like to play them for the opposite reason, they like that "roulette" effect each time they cast a spell or a dwehomer.

    and as the fun is the final goal of playing those games really not using wild mages or using them in every way is fine, as long as the player is having fun.

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 758
    Aerie wrote: »
    You should take me.

    I ALWAYS take you, Aerie. ;) You and Imoen are the two that NEVER leave my party in BG2.

  • AerieAerie Member Posts: 33
    Zaxares wrote: »
    Aerie wrote: »
    You should take me.

    I ALWAYS take you, Aerie. ;) You and Imoen are the two that NEVER leave my party in BG2.

    How can me and Imoen be the two that never leave your party in BG2 if Imoen leaves for SpellHold? I really like the sound of that though, Imoen is cool.

    If I could make a suggestion I would say to bring Haer'Dalis along, he seems very nice.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 685
    If the OP is looking for a non-multiclass mage and doesn't want Edwin, then Neera and Nalia are the only choices he has. Both have divisive personalities and subpar questlines so you can't really distinguish them that way. Their mage power is basically identical as well with Nalia receiving 9th level spells just a touch later than Neera. The only question is whether you need Nalia's thief skills, which the OP says he doesn't need, or can tolerate Neera's wild surges, which are manageable as gorgonzola says though it can become tedious to do so.

    Since neither option is all that good, why not go with a berserker/mage dual for your main and then Anomen for the cleric/warrior slot? Berserker/mage would be a big upgrade over Neera/Nalia while Anomen would give you reliable dispels and solid turning. (You could also potentially replace Minsc or Keldorn with Aerie if you went this route.)

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