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Who completes my party the best ?

I'm trying to go for another playthrough. I'm quite certain about those party members:

- Mainchar F/Illu will either have Flails or Bastardswords + speed offhand
- Korgan with axes and the second speed offhand (or maybe even crom)
- Edwin as my main mage
- either Jan or Yoshimo into Imoen for the thief spot

and i'm pretty sure i want Dorn with 2 Handed Swords and/or Halberds for my fifth spot.

Now i'm still missing my divine caster. What's bothering me is that i fear that another melee without a reach weapon would produce a giant traffic jam on my frontline. And i think with all those nasty level drain out there i would prefer a cleric over a druid, although i kind of like Jaheira usually.
So i could get Anomen after i did Dorn's first quest or i could do the obvious thing and go with viconia, who is probably the weakest cleric in melee, but has nice stats otherwise. I just like her best, when i can use her as some kind of tank, but i feel like with this setup i don't really need her for that. Also a downside for anomen is, that i kind of want the dex bracers for korgan and that his weapon proficiencies are all over the place so it would be a long long way do greatmastery.

Anyone wants to help me out on this ?



  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2020
    jan is the better option in your party, much better then imoen, that is not a real thief, but a powerful mage with some basic capability in opening containers and finding and disabling traps.
    as you have already a primary mage there is a complete overlapping as there is only a single robe of vecna in the game. this from a power perspective, if having her is for RP issues then it remains a weaker choice, but can be done.
    the detect illusions, traps and even stabs that jan can do remain useful trough all the game.

    the better option for the divine caster would probably have been aerie, as she is the most versatile npc, that can be divine caster, secondary mage, but can also use unique combos using the 2 magics combined in sequencers and buffed to go mlee, tank like no other, while having 4 high damage attacks while DW with thac0 as good as the one of most fighter types.
    but in that evil party is really not an option.

    so both anomen, that is super powerful as not only can self buff himself to be a good fighter trough all the game, but is as good as caster as a pure class cleric having only 7 levels of fighter, so will reach high level spells fast and will turn undeads very effectively making every vampire, and later even lich infested area a joke and jaheira that is a very good fighter that can DW with a speed weapon and later will have GWW and hardiness + the ironskins, but becomes a god caster very late for being multi and for the strange druid spell progression are good option.

    the problem of the traffic jam is not an issue at all, if you fight multiple enemies you don't have to pack all your toons in a place, if you fight against a single powerful one, let's say a dragon, you can surround him and use the toons in a proactive way, avoiding that all of them are kicked away by his buffet and having his breath hitting the protected ones only, as is easy to time when the breath is used, it is not random, it happens every x rounds.

    jaheira or anomen only depends on your play style, if you hate to buff clerics, don't care about fighting against undeads instead of making them explode but you fear the casters pick jaheira, her maintenance is easier, her insect spells are one of the best ways to silence the enemy mages and she will have fighter HLA.

    if you know how to buff clerics and don't mind to do it, if you like to have the undeads explode, if you appreciate some super powerful cleric spells like implosion then anomen should be your choice.

    and by the way imho both are much stronger then dorn by the way, even if i never played dorn as i can not RP that level of evilness, but i had played a lot J and A and i know what they can do if properly used, i don't see anything that on paper a blackguard can do to match their power.

  • SacerdorSacerdor Member Posts: 16
    First of all thank you for your comment. The problem is, that it makes me question my groupcomposition once again. I ended up taking Viconia, as Anomen wanted to kill Dorn on sight. Well that probably had to be expected.
    My thought process on this group was this: As there are no Sorcerer NPCs, Edwin seems to be the most powerful choice for a main mage to me. He's a little arrogant, but i like his Edwina quest and Neera is sometimes really annoying.
    I really like to run with Korgan, as Axes have a good endgameweapon and a really early easy to get +3 weapon that can kill trolls. Also i like to have a berserker to run into umber hulks. He is really strong in the early part of the game and doesn't need strength gear early on. I also like to give him dex gloves for some bonus armor.
    Anomen always has the following problems for me. He has his proficiencies all over the place, but after all is said and done i don't see a good alternative to FoA for him. This means it will take a long long time till he can reach grandmastery and he can't take a speed offhand, but DoE would be a good offhand weapon for him. Another problem is, that Anomen has bad Dex, so he needs the gloves badly, which would hurt Korgan and Keldorn if taken.
    Somehow when i go "good" party i kind of want to take Keldorn, because you can easily get a character with a good weapon, that doesn't need a speed offhand and to have those mighty dispells. But other than that i don't really like Keldorn that much, because he also needs the dex gloves and he is one of those characters who also need a strength item.
    For my Thief i usually have them only in the backline and open locks and find traps, because my frontline is always a little crowded to have another character run around and backstab, so Imoen and Jan are the best choices for me, as they have additional purpose for me.
    When it comes to Aerie i must admit i'm not really able to play her to her full potential. But with Korgan in your party you can't really go with her anyway.
    Why i like Dorn is because he is strong in the early game, has a really good stat distribution and you won't need a strength item for him to shine.
    So that's my reasoning how i came to that conclusion. If i wanted to build a "good" group around a Fighter/Illu it would probably end up like: mainchar + jaheira + anomen + jan and then maybe neera and another character for melee, although i don't really like any of my choices at this point, as they all lack something.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,030
    This is about as min-maxed a party as you can get with FM being the game's strongest possible protagonist and Korgan/Edwin/Jan all being at the upper end of joinable NPC power. If you want a non-melee-capable cleric then Viconia is your only choice but she is dominated by Anomen in nearly every respect except magic resistance which only situationally matters anyway. Both will have the same sky-high caster level for turning/dispelling which is really the main point of going single/dual rather than multi for GWW. My advice would be to drop Dorn and slot both Anomen and Jaheira into your party.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2020
    Sacerdor wrote: »
    As there are no Sorcerer NPCs, Edwin seems to be the most powerful choice for a main mage to me.
    Anomen always has the following problems for me. He has his proficiencies all over the place,......................... Another problem is, that Anomen has bad Dex, so he needs the gloves badly, which would hurt Korgan and Keldorn if taken.
    For my Thief i usually have them only in the backline and open locks and find traps,
    When it comes to Aerie i must admit i'm not really able to play her to her full potential.
    if you learn how to use a wild mage neera is by far more powerful then edwin or a sorcerer.
    but you have to wait that she is able to cast PI and to have a secondary mage to cast spells on the party, spells like the protection ones or the haste ones.
    to play her without reloading if a bad surge happens is perfectly possible, but it needs some finesse, that told a mage that as soon as he is able to cast a lev 7 spell can spam improved alacrity like all the higher level spells he managed to learn using dwehomers trough the clone is borderline to be broken.
    at higher level her PI can cast 11 lev 9 spells, without school restrictions and 6 of them without even having to memorize them, she can pick every spell she knows depending on the particular battle.
    but it need finesse to avoid that the surges, that will happen, have bad consequences, if a cow hits the clone or transforms it into a squirrel is not an issue, you kill the clone, if is not already dead, and have her cast a new PI. If you loose your money as long as you sell the loot only before buying something expensive and you have always very little cash it is not an issue at all.
    EDIT:but edwin is much more "user friendly", nothing wrong in having him in the party, it is only that he is far from being the most powerful mage in the game EDN OF EDIT.

    About anomen i agree that his proficiency points are wrongly placed, but he has absolutely not low dex problems as long as you use DUHM to rise it. With the right buffing sequence he will gain also a lot more HP, that are boosted by the reduced damage from the defender.
    buffed is a very strong fighter and a good tank even in late ToB, not buffed his power will fade away as long as the game progress and end game he will only be a very good divine caster.
    so learn how to buff him and he will be a good divine caster while also having a lot of HP, 25 str without items, the base thac0 of a fighter of his cleric level and a pretty decent Dex so AC.

    If you use your thief like that you use only the 10% of the potential of a thief, properly used a thief can clear whole dungeons alone, lay trap carpets then luring the enemies in them, perform multiple stabs killing a fighter with many levels more then him and on and over.
    it is one of the most useful and fun to play classes, to use it only to open containers and do almost nothing with a bow, as he lacks of apr and the bow is not a good weapon as alpha damage, is a complete waste of his potential.

    about aerie, but i suspect that it can also be useful for anomen, as both them need the cleric combat buffs to shine, please read here
    in this thread we share our use of her, that is very versatile and can do so many things. you will notice how different players like to use her in different roles and how she is very good at them, i tend to send her often in the front line buffed to do mlee damage and to tank, others use more her casting power to mix arcane and divine magic for interesting combos, you will find your way to make her shine according to your own play style.

  • ValafeinValafein Member Posts: 12
    I think that the best for you is Viconia, evil, very good mr, born to use mace of disruption. You have only one slot for divine caster, i usually have Jaheira and Viconia and sometimes Aerie too, you need the most powerful cleric avaible, you already have all the brute force you need.

  • SacerdorSacerdor Member Posts: 16

    this is an interesting idea. i was kind of focused on Dorn, because i really like to have someone with two-handed swords in the party as the offer a really nice progression early on in the game. You get your +2 and +3 weapons so early, and it's so much easier to kill the iron golem in the de'arnise stronghold when you have more +3 weapons than FoA. But i really like your idea and i really prefer warrior/cleric and warrior/druid compared to kitted and single class divine casters.
    What i always forget is that Jaheira could also be very effective using spears. I usually give her Blackblood and Belm, but this means that one of the speed weapons is already gone. So i'm left with Kundane for either my maincharacter or Korgan. But if Jaheira uses spears i have both speed weapons avaliable.


    I really know i have some limitation when it comes to utilizing some of my characters and thiefs are my biggest flaw. i tried to play a Fighter/Thief Multiclass and never really got the hang of it. i never really managed to find a good timing for backstabbing, and wasn't really sure how to utilize improved invisibility with backstabbing.
    I'm pretty sure that Neera will become really powerful later on, when you can use dweomer without it constantly changing the effect and screwing you. Maybe i'm too biased from my BG1 experience with Neera, where she loves to blow off my party just from buffing herself. I think the worst thing, when it comes to Neera, is how i much i hate her personal quest. But i think i still want to give her a try. And all these comments make me want to start over with Jaheira, Anomen and Neera and a thief and another melee in addition.
    Speaking of Anomen, if i understand DuHM correctly i need a Cleric level of 16 to get +1 Armor while under the effect of the spell up to Cleric level 25 for +4 Armor ? Also what i'm really bad about is deciding if it is beneficial to lose some strength because of that one cleric spell to get fighter thac0. And this makes the list of buffs i want to apply even bigger. Usually i go for Bless, Chant, Defensive Harmony, DuHM and Righteous Magic, also Armor of Faith, when i go full buffs, so i always think once i'm buffig the last one, then the first one is already running out.
    The Aerie thread is really interesting to read. Some really sneaky ways to push her to the limit. But i really like to have a core composition for the easier fights and do full buff ups for the harder fights. But if i always had to buff for every fight i think i wouldn't really like it.


    I'm pretty sure i'm underestimating maces and especially upgraded Mace of Disruption, because it feels too situational for me. I usually love Flails, Longswords, Two-Handed Swords and Axes and kind of like Quarterstaffs, Halberds, Bastard Swords and even Katanas, Warhammers and Scimitars, but i constantly undererstimate Spears and Maces i guess.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 51
    The spell order is important. Bless and chant get kinda useless because of the long cast time and the short duration of 6rounds and 1turn.
    The usual order i do is: protection from evil, armor of faith, holy power, duhm ( it overrides the 18/00 str) and then righteous magic. Right as i enter a fight i cast def.harmony which lasts only 6rounds but has a very short casting time.

  • ValafeinValafein Member Posts: 12
    edited April 2020
    Remember that mace of disruption give immunity to level drain only amulet of power has this effect. Angurvadal, isn't considered becasuse too late in the game. My Viconia has always Crom and Mace of D. Sunray is very useful vs undead. with the proper gear she can have 100% mr. In many battle, elemental lich, beholder (I don't use the shield of Balduran, is too cheesy) , Irenicus before Hell, Bodhi an her vampire, i send Viconia alone. Viconia and the mace of D. are situational is true, but there are many of them.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    kaja8 wrote: »
    The usual order i do is: protection from evil, armor of faith, holy power, duhm ( it overrides the 18/00 str) and then righteous magic.
    it is almost a correct order.
    HP set the str (so potentially freeing a str item that can ie be used by some one in the back with a sling as slings get str damage bouns.
    then both RM and DuHM add something to that str, but is way better to cast first RM as the duration is much longer, casting DuHM earlier you have it active for a round less (having a very short casting time it is possible to cast in again while in combat if the battle lasts too long).
    from a certain level a cleric reaches 25 str with HP, RM and the +1 of his ring, making DUHM optional, as it improves only the AC and HP.

    about thieves improved invisibility is not useful at all to stab, it is a too high level spell to waste it to gain a single stab.
    the cheap lev 2 invisibility is the spell to use, fast to cast, cheap and grants anyway the stab if you are at the back of the enemy. or you can use (with MT, FMT, or thieves with UAI spending a scroll) mislead, that make your toon invisible a split second after each attack so grants you rounds and rounds of multiple stabs/round. i find it OP and usually don't use it.
    to learn how to hide and how to stab properly is an art, but if you learn it you will be well rewarded, but as fun playing and as effectiveness.
    but don't overlook the traps, avoid the easy use of them, ie putting them near a still blue future enemy, but are one of my main weapons fighting beholders and some other powerful monsters. i really like to have my thieves spot the beholders, lay a trap carpet on a certain path and then lure then to follow him. when the few ones that survive arrive in the sight of the party are already so damaged that the focused ranged attack from the party take them down fast, before they become a real treat. and this is only one example of how the art of trapping is so powerful.

    about the iron golem in the d'arnise keep it is possible to take it down with the sling of everard without taking any damage as he is too big to pass the door, it is cheesy but it works perfectly.

    about the speed weapons in EE we have 5 of them that can be used mlee, belm and kundane, but also the scarlet ninja to if some one like a bard or thief has UAI and the 2 returning daggers, that can be only equipped in the MH.

    i find that jaheira DW is almost always the better option, but yes she can be effective with both spear and staff even if not so much until she grabs the impaler or the staff of the ram, as i have no problem to go in WK in chap 2 and the staff of ryn is a good +4 staff you can buy early i would say that for me staff would be a better option, also a crushing weapon is better then a piercing one as there are less enemies immune or that have AC bonus.

    for neera and every wild mage never use it to buff the party, he is only an offensive weapon, use him to self buff only if really needed, and with some chaos shield active, and as soon as possible use its PI, not the original mage, to cast, so on self bad surges affect the clone and not the mage, if someone is silenced or turned to squirrel is the clone, that you can easily dispel/kill to cast an other one.
    but i was not suggesting to use neera instead of edwin, to use properly a wild mage needs appropriate tactics and particular caution, edwin is much more easy to use and has his own power.
    i was only arguing that she is the most powerful mage in the game (bg2, not the whole saga) and her power becomes true only as she reaches lev 7 spells. Before that moment you have to baby sit her, is after that she becomes much more powerful then every sorcerer or mage, as her PI can spam dwehomers all day long, boosting the high level spells cast in a battle, allowing spells of a level higher then the one she is able to cast and giving utter flexibility, as with the dwehomers she can pick every spell without having to memorize it, but from all the spells she knows, not from the limited pool of a sorcerer, while casting them like under improved alacrity as the dwehomers don't have the 1 spell/round limit.

    about DUHM and holy power both @kaja8 and i have told what you needed to know.
    let me add only that HP and RM add a hp each cleric level, so a lev 20 cleric gets 40 more hp, and duhm not only boost str and dex, improving con give also more HP.
    my high level aerie has not buffed 68 hp, buffed 117, with anomen that has a not buffed better hp pool when buffed he will have a lot of it, that with the damage reduction from the defender will make the AC somewhat less important. surely the cleric buffs are level dependent so you have to wait some time to have them really effective, but i find anomen quite powerful anyway in early bg2.

    to buff only for the main battles is perfectly correct, but for the minor ones usually if you have a good damage output, and DW and speed weapons are important for it, there is no problem in killing fast before you take too much damage even not buffed. or in some battles is possible to use a single tank with all the ac items stacked and enough hp to last long while the others flank and retreat as an enemy start to focus on them.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 51
    @gorgonzola i agree with everything you said. The reason why i said i normaly cast duhm before RM is that duhm is a low level spell with a short casting time and its easier to cast it again during a fight once it runs out.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    so you trade a minor duration of a spell that you probably will cast again in battle with a round more of RM.
    not wrong in some situation, when is possible that the fight will last all the RM or even more, but for the battles that will last less, possibly that don't require the second DUHM as the enemy will be dead or enough weakened before your short lasting DUHM will expire a round before.

    probably the best strategy is to buff without DUHM, approach the enemy, cast it and fight in the same round. You should anyway get all the attacks of that round if you use fast enough weapons, this way RM lasts as much then in your way and DUHM will last 2 rounds more, but there is the risk to ber disrupted while you cast it, so a little care has to be taken.

    anyway we are talking of finesse, the real thing is that HP has to be cast as first, and we both agree, so the str bonus of the others can stack on its set value, then the order between RM and DUHM is way less important.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    What about Haer'Dalis? Enhanced Bard Song is a massive thing. I played a lot both with EBS and without and difference is very noticeable, especially for high APR fighters and in WK due to stun/fear immunity provided by EBS even in zones of no magicka. Though this depends if you have SoD and imported Bard's Hat.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2020
    i don't own SoD and usually i avoid to read everything that spoils me about that game as when i will buy it i want to play it the first time completely not spoiled, i don't know even how the main plot works.
    (so please don't spoil it here)
    but this time as it is an item i did a quick research on the net and that hat
    makes the song linger for 2 more rounds while giving also a couple of immunity

    this, with the mod that makes the song aoe bigger, as in EE it is so small that is impossible in many situations to affect the whole party, makes the EE bard viable again, while in the original game the aoe is basically the whole map, thing that can be abused, but only if a player likes that abuse, he is not compelled to do it, and is quite easy, using the autopause on the end of the round to have a bard sing at the beginning of each round then do his attacks.

    imo that hat should be included by default in bg2, i find silly that the developers after nerfing the bard, compelling a player that use a bard, maybe a blade or skald that are kits meant to physically attack the enemies, to choose if to do it or to boost the other toons, at the price of having a toon less active in the fight, as singing is a magic action so prevents also to cast spells in the same round.
    probably aware of that they created that fix, the hat, but they made it not available for who don't own SoD and also for who owns it but wants to play a bg2 only run.
    leaving only the option to use the mislead clone, that has the side effect to make the bard almost permanently invisible, thing that i personally don't like much as the enemies are almost unable to attack him, i regard it as way too powerful.

    that told a blade is a very useful character in a party, but i don's see how he can substitute any of the characters of this particular party.

    charname can not be substituted by a NPC, unless some trick is used, and is the only one that mechanically can, as can fight and is a secondary arcane caster, as well as a blade.

    korgan is the main fighter, to have a blade instead means to play the game in a completely different way, has 2 more apr with lev 13 and GM, so is not tied to use speed weapons, has way more HP, even if lacks of the arcane protections, he is someone ready to fight, tank and do damage in every battle, while a bard has to at least protect himself with arcane spells to be the main fighter.

    edwin is a strong main arcane caster, a bard is a strong caster only with the level dependent spells and until the mage reaches the spells cap level, but there is no comparison in the level of spells that they will cast late game as well as in the number of memorizations.

    thief: a bard has a rogue class but is not at thief, the only thing that both he and a thief can do is pick pocket, but can not open doors and containers, detect and set traps (the bard can set the HLA ones, but only after he gets them) and can not detect illusions.
    to play with a bard instead of a thief means to use the tactics a not thief solo uses to deal with that or to play with nalia or nalia->imoen in the party as main mages, as they can somehow cover the thief role, and there is a good synergy as you give up only setting traps, until the blade gets the HLA ones, and detect illusions. and i am not talking of the stabs, powerful but completely optional while detecting traps and disabling them is not optional, you can live without them only resorting on tricks and metagame, as you have to know the existence and nature of a trap to avoid/tank it.
    But as here no nalia is planned i think that haer dalis is not really an option.

    haer dalis can be a valuable fifth member of the party, and as a rogue levels fast is even possible to have him in the party only when the quest rewards are collected (in the isle, maze under spellhood and underdark you tell him "wait me here" as you enter an area and " i need you again" as you trigger the wuest rewards. this way he does not drag the gain of xp of the 4 people party, but gains himself some xp so at a certain point is possible to recruit him permanently, when the party has reached the level that leveling up fast si not so much an issue, and he will catch up fast.
    it is somehow an artificial way to play, but is easier to d it then to explain it and it really works (also finding him at the maximum possible level helps).

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    ^ I agree with your points and I don't think that HD can substitute Jan, Edwin or Korgan (as all 3 are imo best possible followers for their roles), but OP has 2 slots left. 1 of those slots is for cleric - most probably Anomen and last slot is either for Jaheira or another fighter (Dorn like OP wants). But here we come to the problem of "traffic jam" in frontline and bard solves that problem just fine by buffing other 5 characters to another level of damage, thaco and AC. His own thaco becomes much more tolerable as well and with EBS+defensive spin Haer'Dalis can reach AC cap without Gaxx. So while he is not a substitute to min-maxed mages, fighters or thieves he has his own strategic options. And ironically he is one of rare cases where NPC is better then PC (at least before getting tears bonuses).
    But as I said this requires Bard's hat, because filling 6th slots with misleads instead of using them for improved haste/pierce magic just makes bard suboptimal and clunky.

    About stalling his XP, yes, this is a problem he is barely developing after 4M if you are not fan of spike traps (and I don't use them at all because they just deny D&D ruleset in my opinion). Solution is to pick him up in ToB.

    So for original poster question, he can either go with Anomen+Dorn if he wants 6-person party in SoA or he can go 4-person in SoA and pick last 2 in ToB. In last case he can delay Korgan and Haer'Dalis to ToB and pick Aerie instead of Anomen (and Aerie imo is much better cleric then Anomen due to ability to put priest spells into sequencers and access to arcane protections). That way he'll have 5 arcane spellcasters in ToB+Korgan which means group will be able to ignore Imprisonment completely and without using PfM or unreliable and expensive substitutes.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 741
    edited April 2020
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,030
    I love that idea, why have a druid who can wear plate and cast raise dead when you can carry him in your party instead?

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 741
    I think he would fit an evil party pretty well (he doesn’t seem too care about much other than nature) and will get to high levels very quickly, just need the use him more as a pure caster

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2020
    jsaving wrote: »
    I love that idea, why have a druid who can wear plate and cast raise dead when you can carry him in your party instead?

    You can't compare him to Jaheira, they are simply different. Cernd is much better tank and he receives TON of spells relatively early, while Jaheira is good in beginning and in the end, but in the middle game (1-6M XP), she is just a fighter who has few druid spells, requires all the best items to be good, and levels up extremely slow.

    Small tip - you can import buckler of the fist from SoD and it gives Cernd additional +3 AC in WW form which pushes him to -20 very early and without much fuss.

    And Raise Dead - really? Of 2 available (3 after 3M) spell slots which you direly need for Insect Swarm and Ironskins, you suggest keeping Raise Dead there? When there are 2 easy obtainable rods of resurrection right from the start, and which anybody can use? (as frontline fighter with bad saves Jaheira is one of the first candidates for sudden death so she is questionable Resurrection source)

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,030
    edited April 2020
    Of course you can and should compare them if they are both competing for a slot in the party, it is quite strange to say you can't. I think Jaheira dominates Cernd in nearly every respect at nearly every point in the game including higher melee DPS (a gap that only grows once you get GWW in contrast to your claim that she lags behind until 6 million xp), a broader spell selection that gives you a better ability to carry her in lieu of a cleric (and note that I never said anything about filling her slots with raise dead, only that she is able to cast it) and the ability to wear a much broader selection of armor as circumstances warrant. Of course Cernd has more spell slots, that is the nature of AD&D multiclassing, but in a game where you can rest more or less at-will that difference barely matters except for the first 15 minutes of SoA when Cernd can cast ironskins but Jaheira hasn't yet gained a 5th level slot. You are also right that Cernd can make better use of SoD's buckler than Jaheira can, though I wouldn't say that does a whole lot to make him the stronger party member. But, everyone's playstyle is different and if you feel Cernd is the stronger party member then it's good the game offers you the ability to carry him in your party.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2020
    They doesn't compete for same spot. Cernd doesn't have fighter HLA or proficiences to compete with fighter slot in any way. Jaheira doesn't have WW resistances, MR and AC to compete for tank spot. Jaheira receives immunity to poison and extra elemental resistances very late. They only share ability to cast druid spells, which is comparable before 1.5M and after that Cernd is dominating until Jaheira gets to 6M.

    You may say who needs resistances and AC when best tank is mage with ton of instant cast stoneskins/PfMW + spell protections. Answer is very simple - Compass level. Compass level is gate to best loot in the game and arcane tanks doesn't feel good there at all. While Cernd maintains his ultra-high AC and up to 127 elemental resistances permanently which allows small groups to use aoe wands to both do damage and heal Cernd in areas of no magicka or wild surge. Of course you can bring Jaheira resistances to 127 too. But she'll need almost all the available items in process, leaving remaining group naked.

    Also Jaheira is much worse then any other fighter, including protagonist FMT or FMC because she gets HLA very very slow. She needs Belm which can be used by anybody, while other fighters like Korgan, Keldorn, Dorn can use their own specific weapons leaving Belm to your mage/thieves. Jaheira has bad proficiency distribution. You are forced into club+3 + belm for majority of the game. She can't use boomerang/firetooth because you simply can't make her specialized in them fast enough. Jaheira has bad strength and instantly consumes belt of 19 STR, which otherwise can be used by Keldorn, Haer'Dalis, Rasaad and any mage+thief for more noticeable increase in their efficiency.

    TL;DR - they are not comparable. Jaheira becomes goddess after 6M. But before that she is mediocre fighter, worst divine caster of all divine casters and to be even mediocre fighter she need a lot of universal equipment. Cernd on the other hand is best non-arcane tank NPC in the game, doesn't need much equipment and is one of the best divine casters. He just needs some planning in terms when to transform to human form and when to stay in WW.

    I used Jaheira as default pick for many years. But after I got SoD I decided to try it's items to the max and went to WK with Skald (with bard's hat)+Aerie+Cernd (with buckler of the fist) at 1.5M and fully cleaned it up to Y'tossi. Cernd is that good that he can face tank majority of demons while totally unbuffed and at low level of experience. I doubt there any other NPC capable of that. Yes, and Cernd can disarm traps, sort of. From my experince only finger-of-death traps are a menace, all others he just shrugs off. 21 strength is useful for bashing too. So you bash lvl 60 chests with Cernd, lvl80 with DuHM and other can be opened with Knock. So technically you can play without thief only losing some XP and without re-loading after each trap. Ah, also give him Gaxx+potion of MR and he jumps to 100 MR for 2 hours in chapter 2 long before Carsomyrs, Purifiers and so on.

    I don't compare Cernd to Korgan, Edwin, Jan or Aerie (those are best NPC imo), but he has his own unique sides and strategies and saying that Jaheira is better all the way through. Absolutely not. After 6M - yes, before that - no.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,030
    I'd disagree on nearly every particular and would add that people use Jaheira as their default pick not because they don't understand what Cernd brings to the table but because they do. However you are totally right that Cernd has some unique advantages that depending on playstyle can make him a solid party member, and if you genuinely see him as blowing Jaheira out of the water until 6 million xp, then I'm glad you're able to use him. Best wishes as you make your way through the game.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    I visit forums like this to share my experience and to learn something new. As I said I ignored Cernd completely until I get SoD, and after trying him I was pleasantly surprised, though I don't see him like must have. Also I didn't said that Cernd is better then Jaheira, they have different roles. Cernd role is that he can be very good tank while completely unbuffed. You can keep him in permanent PfM from Simulacrums/PI and he still can sit at capped AC, starting from chapter 2.

    Ok, Jaheira can Slay/Harm+Critical Strike from her pool of 5th/6th level spells and HLAs and kill some high HP guys on LoB. Nature's Beauty once per rest after 3M. Please share what I'm missing and what makes her a default pick for you. I really like her story and voicing and will be glad to have her around, but as of late I simply don't see reason for it because of 5M of stall progression.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 741
    edited April 2020
    I think Cernd’s problems stem largely from his terrible combat stats and that there is no compelling story reason to take him once the grove is freed compared to the other npcs (the others being after Irenicus, Valyar and Nalia being on the run, Viconia having nowhere else to go, Anomen needing to join a party etc). I guess his combat stats were meant to be irrelevant in werewolf form, which was gimped. True neutral characters that go on about balance can also be a bit dull, Jaheira is true neutral but behaves as neutral good.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    edited April 2020
    Cernd is most concerned with nature, but what he says during the game it's all closer to neutral good too. He even suggests to leave party in Spellhold to free space for Imoen, which is certainly a noble act. He is nicely voiced, his quest can be resolved very quickly and overall he is very comfortable character for SoA+WK. In ToB of course he becomes over-shadowed by other characters because pure druid HLA are so bad.

    Anyway, I'm sincerely interested in build for ToB for Jaheira. I'm finishing SoA now with Fighter/Illusionist+Aerie+Jan and want to pick up Korgan and Haer'Dalis for ToB, but unsure who to pick for 6th slot. I am going for full melee party which will be moving around in one tight stack and Jaheira looks good for it, but I'm afraid she'll get to 6M too late and that Nalia with her OP ring can be better. Technically, with dagger in main hand + belm in off-hand + EBS + belt of strength Nalia regular dps will be only slightly less then Jaheira's, but she will have all arcane power with her, while Jaheira will have nothing other then 1 shield of archons per rest to protect herself...

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    you can not compare nalia, that in tob uses the mage's Thac0 table and can at best put a single pip in DW style, to Jaheira, that uses the fighter table and can put 3 pips in DW, nalia's average dps will be much smaller for the reason that she will miss so often against anything that as at least a semi decent AC.
    the best base Thac0 nalia can reach is 13, and the best thac0 reduction she can have from the single pip in DW is -2MH -6OH so base Thac0 of 15 and 19, you can add str bonus and every item that rises thac0, but to have enemies with negative AC is pretty common in ToB, not even talking of the bosses, and vs them nalia will hit only when she rolls 20, as with 20 the hit is automatic, and few times with the MH, vs some bosses probably only when she rolls 20, while jaheira keeps hitting trough all the game as she has fighter's thaco, specialization on top of it and with 3 pips in DW has only -2 OH penalization.

    aerie can DW in tob, but because her buffs let her have fighter Thac0 and 25 str, so is still hitting often with only a pip in DW, even if anomen, that can use the same buffs but has 3 pips hits more often.

    nalia and imoen are very strong casters in tob, but strictly only casters, if they want to do damage mlee they can, but ie having BBoD and belm + improved alacrity for 6apr then casting time stop to have 18 hits that automatically hit ignoring Thac0 and AC, it is maybe not the best use of so high level spells, but they can do it if needed.

    about jaheira she is surely not the best druid as the druid's progression is strange and she needs 3Mxp to cast the first lev 7 spell then does not progress in it until 6M xp, when she became as good as a single class.
    but as fighter i find her very capable from the start (of bg2) to the end (of tob), is true that she is tied for a long time to the +3 club and belm, but she has good Thac0, always only a little lower then a pure class fighter until she caps it, and those weapons are pretty good. as multi from 3Mxp she start to get fighter hla, due to the druid probression she get them slower then other multi, but she get them.
    a fighter with good thac0, good apr, ironskin and the capability of using the insect spells, summon and use harm, having actually Thac0 to hit when she does, is a great value trough all the game.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    I think that with EBS Nalia's thaco will be ok for secondary fights and for high armored enemies she can go Tenser. Yes, looks suboptimal, but since I have 3 other over-leveled multi-mages + Haer'Dalis, making Nalia buff bot + Tenser will be fine. This is some sort of poor man's Fighter/Mage, but unfortunately there are no such NPCs in the game... Sarevok can be dualed... but 3M is just too long for 6-man party imo.

    About Jaheira, I'm not saying that she is bad or unplayable. (hell, I used her many times just fine right from Irenicus dungeon). But she doesn't have spell protections other then Shield of Archons. She doesn't have "shorty" saves. She doesn't have in-built resistances until very late game. She doesn't have OP personal items. She doesn't have top character stats. You need to compensate for all this with best artifacts in the game, thus denying their usage by other group members.

    My typical Jaheira was Balduran's Helm + Armor of the Hart + Sentinel + Gaxx + Belm + Ring of Earth control + Amulet of Power + Cloak of mirroring + Belt of strength + different bracers depending of what's free from dps fighter. Yes, in such setup she was amazing, great AC, elemental immunity, level drain immunity, 3.5 APR while at it, solid dps, ironskins up when necessary. But what's left to others after that?

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 741
    edited April 2020
    I don’t think she needs all that stuff, she has good enough dex and multiple ironskins helps more than reducing ac. She is far less reliant on equipment than some others. She doesn’t require the dex gauntlets. It’s not as if anyone else is immune to level drain (apart from Hexxat I guess) or has great elemental immunities. Only Korgan, Mazzy and Jan get shorty saves. I think Jaheira is one of the most underrated characters, she can do almost anything, likewise Aerie. Her main weaknesses are the druid xp table and she has access to few truly top tier weapons. The multiclass characters are awesome.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    From my practice AC breakdown point is -18/-20 for full plate and -22/-24 for non-armored (i.e. Cernd and blades with EBS+defensive spin). That is AC at which you are hit only on crit with exception of some demons, dragons and fighters who will hit you at 19-20 or 16-20 but still majority of rolls will be miss. To put Jaheira to that breakdown you need to stack everything, otherwise 5 APR demons or hasted dragon will melt through her ironskins in 2 rounds. Of course if you don't plan to use her as tank, AC stacking is not needed..

    But, can you share how you build her for ToB? I am seriously considering Jaheira, because all those dances with Tensers and Simulacrums with Nalia are rather clunky in long run.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,030
    I don't disagree with you that Jaheira has many issues. She's blocked from using some of the game's best weapons and her slow druid XP progression prevents her from racking up GWWs in the way a multi fighter/cleric could, no question about it. Would take Yeslick instantly over Jaheira if given the opportunity, even though he suffers from some of the same stat issues she does. Even better would be a multiclassed Anomen. But unfortunately the game doesn't offer any multiclassed fighter/clerics so all we can do is make the best of what is available, which strays quite far from min-max territory once you get to the 5th or 6th party member.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 741
    edited April 2020
    Yeslick would be ace in BG2 as you can easily paper over his stat weaknesses with items, he had shorty saves and would get fighter and cleric HLAs. However a Jaheira gets ironskins and is better vs mages, also she can use the elemental HLAs which is nice as you can have a planetar and elemental summoned at the same time

    In ToB damage reduction becomes more important than AC because enemies have very good thacos at that time. Fire giants will regularly land hits even if you have very good ac. Abilities like hardiness and sparks like armour of faith are handy and it is good to focus on putting enemies down fast. I like Jaheira to dual wield in ToB, generally with Belm in the offhand and Spectral Brand or another weapon in the main hand. Spears and THW can work well too. I often give her Shuruppak’s Plate as she can benefit from the +1 dex (as can Minsc and Mr ToB)

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