I suppose we all have our own ideas as to who we consider both viable and valuable henchmen for dragging through the game in support of our own dear character.
Some are considered canon (Morte, Dak'kon, Annah) but the fleshing out of the party is purely subjective after that. I'd be interested to know who you felt was considered "must have" on your one or many runs.
I'll identify what I consider pros and cons to each, then give my final determination for heh, "best party".
note; I'm not considering here the fact that you benefit picking up each for at least an initial time frame, as they have benefits for doing so. I'm implying retention for remainder of the game.
I've already mentioned the three I consider must haves. I'll now list the remainder;
- Fall-from-Grace: Your medic. Little in the way of offense but her healing spells can prevent many a reload. Great story line to accompany her and she can assist in protective spells as well. Thing is, you can accumulate so many healing and protection items throughout the game (especially as a Thief) that her healing attributes are a bonus, not a necessity. She can also be a pain in the butt to look after in tight situations (e.g. Modron maze) as she is VERY squishy ( nice pillows though).
- Nordom: Only ranged henchman in the game and he has some incredible arrows to utilize. Tricky to get, also tricky to upgrade. Fact is, unlike the BG and IWD games, you can overcome most battles quite successfully without a ranged fighter on your team. No other attributes to offer, he's a machine after all ( though considered by many a sentient puppy). I really do like him but I need to be practical in this analysis.
- Ignus: Well, He's a Mage, has incredible spells only he knows and just happens to be bat-turd psychotic. Great for an evil leaning party but assuredly "does not play well with others" is noted on his report card. With a "good" aligned group, I'd stay clear but with a neutral or evil party I'd take him in a blink, possibly even dump Dak'kon (though neutral) just to make room for a FAR superior Mage and boost with better fighters (see below).
- Vhailor: Toss up, who is the less "human", Nordom or Vhailor? I'd suggest this walking tank. The definition of 'power' when it comes to axe-in-face, this guy can steam-roll grunts into the dead book faster than a meteor storm. Thing is, that's ALL he can do. But sometimes that's enough. For a party with mostly squishies (e.g. N.O. as a Mage, Annah, Grace and Ignus) he is assuredly the wall required. With Morte, plus Dak'kon and/or Nordom though, he may be too much of a one-trick-Clydesdale.
So, I've played this game about 25 times, tried a variety of party combos, who are my go-to guys/gals?
- Morte: I feel far too pessimistic throughout the gameplay without his banter and wit, awesome fighter.
- Annah: handles Thief duties, humorous and caustic wit, awesome hip swing.
- Dak'kon/Ignus: don't LIKE either of them, good back-up Mages though, Dak for good party, Iggy for evil.
- Grace: I'm a sucker for clerics, see one - get one.
- Nordom: I like puppies. Why do you hate puppies you uncaring Hitler clone!!!