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Kivan or Coran (or Ajantis)?


I've spent the first four chapters fiddling around with my party roster. I'm playing good (boo!) and have so far settled on:

* Me (Paladin)
* Minsc (That big strength is too good to ignore.)
* Dynaheir (she kind of goes with Minsc, it doesn't feel right letter her die even though her interactions are deeply annoying. Besides, I like that extra spell slot)
* Branwen (the only effective cleric choice for a good party. And her accent amuses me for some reason.)
* Imoen (Going to do the dual class mage thing at level 5 or 6. I think I've wasted points in pick pocket as I never use it - it just feels wrong).

So that leaves a slot left and I'm not sure who to put in it.

My play style is quite melee focussed. I dislike having to babysit vulnerable characters, especially given the ease with which monsters appear or move round behind your party and pick on weaker members. So I really wanted someone who could wield a sword rather than a bow. It seems I have three viable options.

* Kivan - seems the best option right now, and I have him at the moment. The semi-decent strength means he can dual-wield longswords to good effect, and the reasonable dex keeps his Armour Class sensible. He can switch to a bow if required. But his hit points are a bit feeble.

* Coran - hasn't got the front-line punch of Kivan, but I'm very concious that somewhere in the game there will be strength-enhancing items which will probably make him a better front-line fighter. Plus since I'm planning to dual-class Imoen his higher thief skills could well come in handy. Plus I hear he's funny to have around.

* There's also Ajantis but he feels like a distant third to me. I already have a paladin (my PC), and he's not as flexible as Coran or as immediately powerful as Kivan. But if anyone has a good reason to take him?

All my characters are level 4 at the moment. So I'm not sure what level Coran will be when I pick him up? That could influence the decision as if I get him at level 2, he should catch up quick and I can assign his skills as I see fit.

So ... which do people think is best? Currently leaning toward taking the short-term power hit and going with Coran for long-term gain.


  • Stargazer5781Stargazer5781 Member Posts: 182
    On my very first playthrough I had your party + Kivan, though I played a pure fighter and never dual classed Imoen since I had Dynaheir. I used Kivan as an archer and he was badass. If you're dual classing Imoen Coran might make more sense, especially since you need a pretty skilled thief to head into Durlag's tower. Personally I prefer Safana, Skie, or Alora over Coran, but I think that's just because Coran really rubbed me the wrong way personality wise.
  • MurrayConfederacyMurrayConfederacy Member Posts: 188
    I am pretty sure I had ajantis in my party first, he is prettty helpful with his paladin abilities. He also has his proficiencies in the right place.
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Ajantis will have more hit points than Kivan, I think he's a better choice for melee. But Kivan is awesome with a bow.

    As others mentioned though, if you're dualing Imoen, Coran is likely your best choice. And he is the best archer in the game.
  • valkyvalky Member Posts: 386
    edited December 2012
    atcDave said:

    As others mentioned though, if you're dualing Imoen, Coran is likely your best choice. And he is the best archer in the game.

    agreed, Coran is an awesome archer and the multiclass thief gives you enough points to easily dispatch even Durlags Tower's traps.

    Archery is ridiculous strong in BG1/2 anyway...

  • Key_StrokesKey_Strokes Member Posts: 36
    Aye, if you're using Kivan as a frontline fighter with his low constitution, I feel like you're not using him to his full potential. He is extremely efficient -- nay, murderously proficient -- with a longbow. I'm currently using a party of four featuring myself (fighter/mage) and Branwen as front-liners, and Imoen and Kivan with shortbow/longbow respectively in the back row. He's giving my PC a run for his money in total kill percentage.
  • valkyvalky Member Posts: 386
    I changed Kivan to be an Archer in my 2nd run :P
    Hmm, was kinda overkill and he got something like 43% damage/kill ratio in my party and I got him early on like most of my NPC, before I actually started playing.
  • OzzyBotkinsOzzyBotkins Member Posts: 396
    I would dump Imoen
    Take Coran
    Then Flip a coin on taking Kivan or Ajantis
  • Key_StrokesKey_Strokes Member Posts: 36
    @valky: yeah, he's already a monster at range as is, I can only imagine how quickly he would massacre hordes of mobs with the Archer kit bonuses. Actually, I'm now somewhat tempted to run an Archer PC for my next playthrough!
  • valkyvalky Member Posts: 386
    @Key_Strokes: needed to check cause I was talking shit :) 34% experience for the whole game (only).
    [right before my import-game to BG2 after Durlag..but had "minor" encounter still open, like Sarevok]
    Had a higher number in mind, cause I was only feeding him basic ammo and I think it went down quite a bit in Durlag and stuff.
    My main was fighter (dual to cleric in BG2 = overkill) so both of them had the top-positions in the experience-share.

    Got my hands on BTL-NPC-mod in my current BG2 game and having an archer there is .. nevermind; feels like cheating ^^
    IMO they should be getting a cap on their insane damage-boost and grandmastery with ranged weapons on top of it!
  • toshirotoshiro Member Posts: 113
    Kivan, coran has a quest for you concerning safana so like jaheira it's 2 for the price of one, though you can dump one of them without making the other mad at you.
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  • bigdogchrisbigdogchris Member Posts: 1,336
    If you already have a Paladin then I wouldn't use Adjantis as Paladins really are not that great other than being a tank (My Pally has like -20 AC vs missiles, otherwise he's worthless).

    Coran is really good. But if you already have a Thief, I wouldn't have 2, so Kiven would be good as well. Give him a 2 handed weapon (probably polearm) and composite long bow.
  • Michael24710Michael24710 Member Posts: 12
    Kivan is best as an archer imo :)
  • DaedieDaedie Member Posts: 7
    edited December 2012
    I would do either of these 2 things in your position:

    (this is under the assumption you want to have a good level of trap finding and lockpicking, the former being more or less essential. The latter you can sort of substitute with knock spells, but that's rather tedious and not very RP-like)

    1) Get Imoen at 100 find trap by level 4. Dual her at level 4. Take Coran and have him do the lockpicking (he'll already be pretty good at it). Unless you want Branwen to have them, you could also give him gauntlets of ogre power to make him a backstabbing monster that can transition into an amazing archer after the initial backstab. But even if you just have him shoot a bow he'll still do great. Dual-ing Imoen early will save you a lot of trouble.

    2) Dump Imoen and get both Kivan and Coran. Have Coran max out find traps and open locks asap. Backstabbing might be less optimal here because you can allocate less points in "move silently" and "hide in shadows" early on. But eventually you can have those at a respectable level too (especially with the right gear).

    If you're set on dual-ing Imoen at 6 anyway. might as well get both her lock picking and trap finding in a good spot and take Kivan since you mentioned not liking squishy characters and preferring melee (and you don't need the extra thieving). I think Kivan meets both those requirements better, although I think Coran will make a better character in your setup if you like to micromanage a little. I'm not quite sure though if Imoen can get high enough lockpicking and trap finding by level 6, i've never tried dual-ing her that late, because it's a royal pain in the ass. Someone else will have to confirm that.

    I do not recommend on making Kivan a melee focused character though. Have him do archery and only swap to a melee weapon when someone gets up in his face. There's very little point in having that much melee. They'll be stepping on each others toes all the time.
  • DinsdalePiranhaDinsdalePiranha Member Posts: 419
    Coran. definitely Coran. he has better dex (giving him +1 thac0), and, unlike Kivan, he also has *mastery* in bows (3 stars), which rangers can't get (neither can fighter/thiefs for that matter, but... he's unique), giving him +3 thac0 and +3 dmg, vs specialization's (2 start) +1 thaco +2 dmg.

    oh, he's also a thief, just get him on lower levels (or: shadowkeeper), so he can't waste his points on hiding instead of traps.

    he kicks more ass than ANY npc in BG1.

    also, two melee chars is fine - the game pretty much only hands you enough items for two of 'em anyway.
  • TinterTinter Member Posts: 152
    edited January 2013
    You can do fine with any of the three. It depends how you want to play.

    If you just want someone to charge into melee and hit things, Ajantis will do this best, especially if you can spare the Gauntlets of Dex for him when you get them. His paladin saves help, and more Protection from evil ect is also nice. Since thats what you want for your playstyle.

    Coran is the best archer in the game. Thats his thing. If you want to give having an archer in the group a go- and there are many powerful magical arrows, so its will contribute- he will do it better than anyone else in the game, while also bringing some extra thief skills to party.

    Lots of people like Kivan, but strength is easy to boost with items, potions, spells so its the least important warrior stat. Given thats his only real advantage over Ajantis for straight up melee, hes not your best option for that. However, if you want melee and aren't interested in Ajantis then Kivan isn't a bad character and it would give you a look at the Ranger class.

    So in summary, Ajantis is best for melee and probably the best all-rounder with a certain item. Coran is a fantastic archer and also brings nice thief skills, and would probably be the strongest if used that way. Kivan will serve if you prefer to try him out.
  • TinterTinter Member Posts: 152
    Also- I just noticed you are worried Coran will not be the right level when you meet him. NPCs have different versions depending on your level, so any NPC you meet should be about the right level to travel with you. It does mean things like Corans theif skills will have been automatically assigned (often a bit poorly).

    Heres a link that will let you see what NPCs level and stats will be depending on your level.

    Sorry for the doublepost!
  • sandmanCCLsandmanCCL Member Posts: 1,389
    @mattdp: Coran is the easy choice here, because you're planning on dual-classing Imoen. Right when you'd want to dual-class her (level 6 or so), you should theoretically be in position to get him. He covers your thieving needs while she catches back up with her mage levels.

    He also happens to EVENTUALLY be the statistical best archer in the game. It's a toss up between him and Kivan for quite awhile as Kivan gets access to Composite Longbows now that they added in strength requirements for items. At the level cap, though, Coran has slightly better Thac0 and with the right buffs and gear can do just as much damage per shot with the Eagle Bow.
  • VinkorfVinkorf Member Posts: 1
    Take both Coran and Kivan and make an awesome elf party like me with your main character being an Archer (Best archer you could get in the game)

    Other 3 are Viconia, Baeloth and Xan!

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    ajantis is probably best if you want melee
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,307
    zur312 said:

    ajantis is probably best if you want melee

    Not necessarily. Ajantis has better health than Kivan and better charisma (he makes a good party leader) but Kivan has better dexterity and better strength.
  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,366
    ok kivan kills them both
    he will even gain bonuses with every manual of stats like con dex str

    max level ajantis will be 12x8=96hp
    max level kivan 10x8=80 hp
    kivan +2 dmg melee i think and +3 ac

    potions of herois and others will scale better for ajantis so he is not that bad

    i think the most depends on what are you going to do with npc in this thread
    @mattdp said he will melee so coran is out
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