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First time playing BG1

Played BG2 multiple times through when I was younger, never played the first one. Just finishing up a BG2 run through ToB and thought I'd start from the beginning. I plan to create my own custom party of 5 and have a few questions.
As far as NPCs, do I need to have Imoen in my group? Can I have 5 permanent created characters and still get all NPC related quests by picking them up for a bit?
Any major changes to gameplay/tactics from BG2?
Ideally I will take this party from BG1 through ToB, anything to think about when creating a party to take through both games and expansions?


  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,806
    If you're familiar with the NPC interaction of BG2, there's far less of that in (unmodded) BG1. No NPC is essential; Imoen will be the first potential companion to approach you, but you're allowed to tell her no.

    A number of companions have quest content, but they're generally pretty small. For example, what's Jaheira's quest? Go to Nashkel and talk to the mayor - which you would have done anyway as part of the main quest.

    One thing to note - there are several companions who come in pairs, so that both join if you invite one and both leave if you dismiss one. Montaron and Xzar, Jaheira and Khalid, Minsc and Dynaheir (once rescued). You might want to leave at least two slots in your party if you're interested in trying them out.

    On gameplay and tactics - bows. Archery is king in this game. You will learn to love the archers on your side, and fear the kobold commandoes and Black Talon elites the game throws at you.
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,078
    edited April 2020
    The first thing to be aware of is that BG1 is balanced for non-min-maxed party members who can't easily buff their stats with spells or items. Some of the game's best front-liners have strength of 15 to 17 which you have no easy way to increase in the first two-thirds of the game. Moreover nearly all the joinable NPCs in BG1 have chosen subpar classes/kits.

    If you are wanting to create a party of five for role-playing reasons, great. But if you are wanting to do it because you want a couple of 18/00 strength fighter/mages, a couple of half-orc fighter/clerics or fighter/thieves, and an 18/00 strength fighter/mage/thief, you would find BG1 so laughably easy that it will be a cakewalk the whole way through.

    A key change in gameplay/tactics is that most foes, most of the time, are low enough level for spells like sleep to incapacitate enemies, making it among the strongest spells in the game instead of something too weak to memorize. Another is that the epic mage-on-mage battles you may remember from BG2 are nearly entirely absent from BG1, making super-strong kits like berserker and inquisitor much less useful in BG1 than they will eventually become in BG2. Finally, and this is key, the only way you can find a new area on the world map in BG1 is to travel off the edge of your current area in the direction you think a new area might be. You will hardly ever have a questgiver put a new location on your map, as would happen with Trademeet or Umar in BG2, and even when a new location gets on your map you have to methodically make your way toward it one area at a time.

    Good luck!
    Post edited by jsaving on
  • JQuailmanJQuailman Member Posts: 36
    Thanks for the tips guys! After doing a little more research I think I will just create my protag and do a normal run through with NPC's. Seems like the better approach since it's my first time with BG1. Can always come back and do a custom party later!
  • woogirlwoogirl Member Posts: 14
    In that case I encourage you to install the BG1NPC mod, that way you can enjoy similar banters with your party as in BG2 and make your run more enjoyable. Good luck!
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