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Alright internet, I've once again called upon your mystical and magical (and sometimes inappropriate) skills because of my own indecisiveness. I'm currently playing BGEE (With Siege of Dragonspear) and I've come to a realization, I have no idea what party is best. As such, all your wonderful opinions would be nice. What is the best party one can have?
Arguably, it's Dorn, Kaigan, Jaheria, Viconia, main-character a fighter-mage or thief of some variety, and dual-class Imoen or Edwin. Get Kaigan the Gauntlets of Dexterity and the Big Fisted Belt, Jaheria the Hands of Takkok, and your all set. But are there better ones? Xzar dual-classed to Cleric? Coran or Kivan as an archer? I understand that a lot of people don't play LOB+SCS, but for you dedicated few, I would like to know. Tell you what, even if you don't play LOB+SCS, the opinion of Best Party would still be greatly appreciated.
Last but not least here, I'm currently playing through the game as a Kensai proficient in Katanas and two-weapon style, original, I know. But Kensai-Mage with Celestial Fury is still my favorite build throughout the series, so I couldn't resist. Anywho, being what I am, I'm pretty much useless for 75% of all the games, and over-powered throughout the rest. As such, I need second-opinion doctor, on what the best party for a kensai is in BGEE and SOD. I was thinking Dorn, Kaigan, Jaheria, Viconia, and Baeloth. But then I played with that and it sucks not having a thief, so I got Coran instead of Viconia.
SO! Beautiful people of the web. your wisdom is need for a guy who's just trying to beat Baldur's Gate without crying from defeat every fifteen minutes. What is the best party? And what is the best party for one in my situation? Thank you.
P.S: Who really shot JFK?



  • BelegCuthalionBelegCuthalion Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 451
    If you play LOB+SCS you should really know what you are doing, and asking this question isn't really indicating that you do ...
    Your party is the right party if you know what you are doing with it (and you need to know if you are playing that mode) - there is no definitive party in this game.

  • ShikaoShikao Member Posts: 376
    Here is quite longish thread about LoB ->
    Not all post will include SCS, but most will, in particular if from @Lord_Tansheron

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 592
    edited September 2017
    I did find the thread mentioned by @Shikao very helpful when choosing the party for my run, though it should be noted that the earlier pages of the thread are in reference to an earlier version of LoB that wasn't fully implemented into the game yet and worked quite differently (I think you'd get lots of extra experience points for kills back then, for example).

    One thing I'd recommend right away is to think about a way to deal with thieves. If you're playing with SCS, most thieves will have invisibility potions and scripts that will have them backstab your unprotected party members (and in SoD, this is even true without SCS), and thanks to LoB and the extra levels, basically all thieves will backstab with a x5 multiplier right away. Combine that with 100% extra damage, also thanks to LoB, and most thieves can easily get to 100 damage with a single backstab - so either you have to be able to detect them right away, or be protected with stone/ironskins or your own brand of invisibility.

    @JuliusBorisov Your party looks certainly very suitable - a bit more arcane and defensive power (which will be extremey useful with SCS) in exchange for less damage compared to mine, I'd say. My feeling is that, without a skald, the early game will be a bit more frustrating for you, but you might get rewarded later on.

    To answer @Stupid_Puns specific question about a good party for a Kensai: A Kensai using melee weapons will suffer quite a bit on LoB - going into melee combat is basically suicide for such an unprotected class unless the enemy is already crowd controlled. That's why I have my Kensai use throwing daggers (and occassionally throwing axes) - if you go for a Kensai/Mage, once you get access to Stoneskin, you should be able to stand up to your opponents and fight, though.

    If you really don't want to make your own party and try to build one with NPCs, here are some thoughts:
    Web is very powerful in LoB, especially when used by an Invoker, so you might like Dynaheir quite a bit. Baeloth is always a powerhouse, though, and I wouldn't take more than one pure arcane spellcaster with you. With official NPCs, you can't get a totemic druid, so you might want Jaheira and/or Yeslick as divine spellcasters, as they are also decent damage dealers, but Quayle offer more flexibility. Dorn or Minsc are decent choices for additional damage, Kivan or Coran are fine as well. So you could try something like this for BG1 (if you want to have a thief):
    1 Kensage
    2 Baeloth/Dynaheir/Edwin
    3 Quayle
    4 Dorn/Minsc/Kivan (or any other single-class fighter-type with good damage output)
    5 Dorn/Minsc/Kivan
    6 Coran
    You could easily replace Quayle with Jaheira and one of Dorn/Minsc/Kivan with Yeslick, though, if you want more divine spellpower.

    For SoD, with new companions available, I would go about things in a different way. You will definitely want Corwin, her damage output is amazing and her bow is great - with the right items (Archer's Eyes, her bow and the ioun stone with +1 dexterity) she can reach 19 dexterity as well. Voghiln is also extremely useful, and Glint has very good utility (though he should be kept far away from any thieves, possibly invisible).
    I'd recommend the following:
    1 Kensage
    2 Baeloth/Dynaheir/Edwin (still great)
    3 Voghiln
    4 Corwin
    5 Glint
    6 Dorn/Minsc
    If your Kensai already has active mage levels (you didn't mention when you want to dual him), you could (and maybe should) replace one of the arcane spellcasters with another fighter-type, though.

    Still, of course these groups will pale in comparison to a self-created party.


  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    edited September 2017
    Well, IMO, I never like 6 man parties. You can check out the post I made about a powerful Skald group.

    Having run through with a Skald, I'd say that having a Skald and building to take advantage of it, is the most powerful group you can make.

    So fir SoD you can use Voghiln, but otherwise I think it's best to make your own Skald.

    And the best group to run with a Skald is, IMO, 2 melee chars and 2 ranged attackers. You COULD put in a Sorcerer or perhaps other Mage and use a lot of Melf's Minute Meteors, because the Skald will boost those as well.

    So my party for BGEE was Yeslick, Minsc (dual wielding), Coran, Kivan + PC Skald.

    For any expansion I recommend a similar group, i.e. a fighter/cleric, a dual wielding fighter, and 2 ranged attackers. Kivan is nice because he's good at ranged and melee. If I wanted to put in a caster though I'd have to replace Kivan with a Sorcerer.

    But yeah, I think Skalds make the most powerful overall parties.

    Edit: I'll add. Yes, stuff like Kensage are powerful, but they don't make the most powerful parties. IMO if you want to use a Kensage (IMO Berzerker-mages are better) you should roll with a small party, like a 3 or less. Just use a Fighter/Mage and a Fighter/Thief or Cleric/Thief and be done with it. You'll be more powerful than running in a large party.

    If you want a party of 4+ then Skald will always be the most powerful way to go.

    Post edited by malachi151 on
  • Stupid_PunsStupid_Puns Member Posts: 67
    OH! Would you look at this. @malachi151 @Enuhal @Shikao @JuliusBorisov and @BelegCuthalion all giving PHENOMENAL advice. Just, WOW! Here I am being a little doofus in the corner and BAM! All you wonderful people helping me in my doomed quest. Mr.Beleg, I feel like I must apologize, me acting like an ignorant fool is just a character I use when doing this, I find it funny. And you're right, their truly is no "definitive" party. Mr.Julius sir, I read the No-reload post, and while I find it very informative, I just feel like creating a custom party is against the spirit of the game. The difficulty of this mission is immense, and your idea of a party is quite simply, "genius." However, while I truly enjoy your party idea, I just... you know... this game created a difficulty for us and aim to finish it in a way like the original BG. The original BG didn't allow you to create a party, and I just feel a little to naughty doing so in BGEE. Regardless however, that sounds very fun for a IWD:EE play-through, or hell, a play-through that I won't take as seriously as Legacy of Bhaal +SCS. Last, I just don't like Totemic Druids, I never could enjoy their style, but hey, there's nothing better than playing BGEE with a class completely out of your comfort zone. If I do play with such a party/class, I will thank you in due time. Next, Mr. Shikao. Shikao, I loved the post you sent me, once again however, I just can't do a custom party, as the posts do. Regardless, the strategies and ideas used in the post are quite clever, more clever than someone like me could think of (the whole reason I'm here is because of that), and I would have never found that post, so thanks. Enuhal, man, I... you got me. You waltz in here, deliver high-profile and extremely awesome information (as you all did), then sneak your way out, I love it. All I can say is this, rock on man. That little post you did was quite helpful (just like everyone's), and my only issue with it, is the fact that I feel Jaheria is a little to important to get rid of. Her with the hands of Takkok and the dagger of venom I feel like is too helpful throughout this game. Other than that, I believe your idea for a party is spot on. Last, but certainly not least (that would be me), is you, Mr.Malachi. You have me an idea that at no point I would of thought of. I once used a Skald to solo IWD:EE, which was quite fun (cough, is was on easy with mods, cough), but if I remember correctly, Skald's don't get a lot of proficiency points, which is quite a bummer. None-the-less, the idea for a short but sweet party is truly intriguing to me (as were all your suggestions), and like the others, I will definitely have to try it out some time. Probably on an easier difficulty, because man, I'm tired of fight taking an hour or so.
    Well, I think that's everyone and every point (hopefully). Sadly, due to my indecisive nature, it may take me a day or forty to think of a smart party to think of. As said earlier, I feel like (without custom characters) Kagain, Jaheria, and Dorn are almost necessary. And more importantly, I still don't think any of us know who truly shot JFK! Seeing the Kensai-mage is my main character, I probably think of this as playing BG:EE with 5 party members and an extra. An extra who, in time, will become quite helpful. Um...anything else. I feel like Blades are better than Skalds, but hey, that's me. If I ever do a custom party run, once again, I may go with Julius' simply because I like the idea a little too much. OH! Another thing, before this response becomes ten thousand years long, I have never played BG with Quayle, or really any npc after Cloakwood, except Eldoth and Skie. As such, Tiax, Quayle, and Alora are completely a mystery to me. Once last thing here, no love for Viconia here? If my memory serves, she's the best cleric in the game, what with her 65% (I believe) magic resistance. I ever went as far as playing most of the game without a thief simply because I though of her to be better than any thief. So, I truly thank all of y'all for your awe-inspiring responses, should I actually come to some form of a conclusion, you will be the first to know. Thank you, and good night.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,921

    Mr.Julius sir, I read the No-reload post, and while I find it very informative, I just feel like creating a custom party is against the spirit of the game. The difficulty of this mission is immense, and your idea of a party is quite simply, "genius." However, while I truly enjoy your party idea, I just... you know... this game created a difficulty for us and aim to finish it in a way like the original BG. The original BG didn't allow you to create a party, and I just feel a little to naughty doing so in BGEE.

    There are certainly good reasons for using NPCs, e.g. to aid role-playing and enjoy the banter between them. Using a custom party was always possible in the original BG though. The EE just made the mechanics slightly easier to implement rather than having to use the multi-player screen.

  • Stupid_PunsStupid_Puns Member Posts: 67
    Whoa, whoa, whoa whoa whoa...whoa. You're telling me... you could have a custom party in the original game? I've been playing that game annually for god knows how long, and at no point had I EVER known that. I... I just... wow. Blowing my mind right now...I... man. I need to sit down with a Ginger Ale and really think over my life choices. Thank you Mr.Grond0, you've quite literally blown my mind

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,921
    I've run many a party like that, yes. You just needed to create what you want in the multi-player screen and then transfer the save from "mpsave" to "save" folder (you could just run the game as a MP game without transferring the save, but it tended to be a bit laggy compared to single player even if you weren't actually playing with anyone else). All Beamdog have done is avoid the need to transfer the save file from the mpsave to save folder.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I agree that forming a group from the real NPC characters is the only "legit" way to run the game. I've formed my own parties as well, mostly as a way to more quickly try out multiple classes, but let's face it, it's easy to to form your own super group. IMO that's not a challenge. The challenge is making the best of the provide characters.

    Also, if you've never run a GROUP through with a Skald then you must do it. IN fact I don't know why anyone would ever solo with a Skald.

    This has nothing to do with opinion. It's a fact that the most powerful 4+ man group you can put together will always be a group with a Skald. The Skald song (and eventually the HLA) add more power than what any individual char can muster, with the exception of something like a FMT using mislead + backstab, etc.

    The "right way" to run a Skald is basically to do nothing at all with them except just stand there all the time providing your buff. You shouldn't really ever attack and hardly ever cast during a fight with one. The buff is worth more than almost any individual action you can take. You pre-buff with the Skald, like Prot from Evil / Haste / Prot from Fear, etc., and then just sing. Maybe, MAYBE, you'll cast something in a battle like Glitter dust or Confusion, but mostly no.

    Also, you do need to run a mod that will improve the range of the song, because the range of bard songs is crap in the most recent versions of EE.

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 592
    edited September 2017
    @Stupid_Puns There are two reasons I didn't mention Viconia.
    a) With all the LoB extra-hp, you want as many of your party as possible to deal high physical damage for a smoother playing experience. Yeslick, as a fighter/cleric, is much better at this. Viconia's low strength doesn't help (and you propably wont't be able to permanently boost it, as you plan to give Jaheira, who I think is a fine choice either way, the gauntlets of ogre strength) - keep in mind that the strength bonus is added to sling damage in the EE, so even her ranged damage, despite her 19 dexterity meaning that she will be decent at hitting things, won't be all that amazing.
    b) Viconia is very squishy. A couple of arrows will kill her, a backstab will kill her - magic resistance is nice and all, but most of the time, it's physical damage you have to deal with. Unless she's fully buffed, she won't have a lot of fun if she ever can't avoid a real fight.
    On the plus side, you will have earlier access to animate dead with a single-class cleric, and since you don't want to play with a totemic druid, you might need that. Still, multiclassed clerics will get there eventually.

    As for Kagain, I don't think he's as great on LoB as he is on core rules - tanks without protection spells aren't exactly safe against the amount of damage most opponents can deal, even if they have ridiculous amounts of CON. Still, since you don't have a totemic druid you will eventually need someone who can absorb some blows, and waiting until you get stoneskin might take too long - but I wouldn't say it will be a great experience for Kagain. Of course, he can always stay back using throwing axes if needed...

    And yes, you could have a custom party in the original game. There's nothing that's not "legit" about it, especiallly now that you don't even have to take any extra steps to get there with the EE (otherwise, you'd have to say that anything that's new with the EE isn't legit, including new NPCs - after all, you couldn't originally play with them, could you?). People who would play in multplayer would've always played that way, and would anyone really say that multiplayer isn't a legit way to play the game? Why make it an option then?

    My thoughts on skalds: They are amazing, especially on LoB (the song is unimaginably helpful in reducing all the stat imbalances you will face in early BG1), that's why I recommended Voghiln for the SoD part of your playthrough. But if you're set on a Kensage, you won't be able to get one at any other time anyway, so there's not much to discuss.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Now I'm thinking about about doing an LoB run, with real NPCs, and I've come down to two possible approaches for BG1:

    Option 1:
    PC = Skald
    Adjantis - Tank. Use Bastard Sword & Shield until getting Spiderbane
    Kivan - Archer & DW Longswords
    Coran - Archer

    Load all of the armor gear onto Adjantis and give him the Tomes of Con & Strength. Gauntlets of Dex of course.

    Once I get Spiderbane rely heavily on Web.

    That's the whole party.

    Option 2:
    PC = Skald
    Kivan - Archer & DW Longswords
    Minsc - Two Handed Sword & Longbow - early tank
    Coran - Archer
    Yeslick - Main Tank

    Load all of the armor onto Yeslick. Give him the Tomes of Con, Big Fisted Belt & Gauntlets of Dex.

    With this setup Mincs would be the tank early on, switching to Yeslick once I get him. With this I'd be able to use Web earlier with Minsc and Kivan using Bows. After getting Yeslick I'd put all the armor gear onto him and make Minsc mostly an Archer, but when using Web I'd put Mincs in and pull Yeslick back to use a sling.

    This may be a little complicated and has the potential problem of having Minsc exposed with *relatively* low armor when enemies save vs the Web.

    Another option would be to use the first group with Branwen, mainly for Bless and Chant, but I hate bringing a pure cleric along mainly just for some buffs. The second group is a lot stronger, but it's more complicated taking advantage of Web because the main tank can't use Spiderbane. Eventually Yeslick could get the Ring of Free Action, but that's pretty late in the game.

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 592
    I'm guessing that you don't want to play with a full party of six on principle, otherwise I'd heavily recommend taking Dynaheir along, as she's the best at throwing webs thanks to her Invoker bonus (enemies get another 2 point penalty on their saves against her webs). I'd also suggest that, while Spider's Bane is helpful when using webs, if everyone is equipped with a ranged weapon, you don't really need anyone in front to abuse webs - if you trow multiple webs (which can be done very quickly via minor sequencer) and greater malison, no one should be able to get out even on LoB, so you can just shoot them.

    Also, it might be helpful to mention that it's possible to get an early ring of free action via pickpocketing it from the NPC Dushai in Ulgoth's Beard. That way, you can get 2 rings and Spider's Bane in BG1 alone (there's another ring and boots with web immunity in SoD as well), and there are also a lot of potions of freedom in the game. It's almost like the game wants us to abuse webs.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Yeah, you can all just shoot into the Web, but I find it's still helpful to have a real tank that won't get stuck in it, just in case. I also will have to kill the Wyverns to get Coran so good to have a tank for that fight, etc.

    Dynaheir is nice, but doesn't contribute much other than being a Web bot. I think I'd rather have the faster levels since the Skald can cast the Webs.

    Now I'm thinking maybe just not having a cleric and using Ajantis, Minsc, Kivan, a Coran with Minsc on Composite Longbow full time.

    Ajantis with Prot from Evil, plus the Skald bonus will be pretty unhittable once he's geared. Three archers when they all get 3 APR with the Skald bonus will be brutal.

  • Stupid_PunsStupid_Puns Member Posts: 67
    edited September 2017
    Mr. @malachi151 , I do have a simple question. I have read up on Bards and there usefulness throughout the games, as such, what makes the Skald so much better than say, as I've to be the best Bard class, the Blade? You speak very highly of the Skald and it seems to me (from what I've read) that Blades seem to be better and more practical, although, while like I said I once soloed IWD with a Skald (purely for the hell of it, not a very serious or difficult play-though), I have never played a Blade until recently. So yeah, a little clarification on why Skalds and how to use them, weapon proficiency, stats, BG2 capabilities, that sort of thing.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,921
    Blades and skalds perform very different functions. The main advantage of skalds is to buff others with their battle song - prior to HLAs that's significantly better than other bards get at improving combat abilities. The advantage of blades is to buff themselves to act as a tank.

    For a LoB party I agree with @malachi151 that skalds seem to be a better choice. Their abilities work well at range and for most of the game you're likely to be at range in LoB. The improved APR and THAC0 of enemies means that blades will be much less good at tanking in LoB, even once stoneskin is available. In the very long term they will be able to make use of PfMW, but that's a distant goal.

    That role for a skald means that weapons and personal stats are not very important to them.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Yeah, Grond0 covered it. Blades and Skalds are totally different. Blades are much more active. You can use them like a Fighter/Mage, but IMO they are a poor substitute for a Fighter/Mage., but still they are good.

    A Blade, like most chars, only contributes via his own abilities and doesn't add much to the team, and you mostly won't be using their song, except maybe as a way to remove fear sometimes.

    Skalds basically never attack. They are just a buff bot. Your stats on a Skald, except Int for learning spells, don't even matter, though of course maxing STR, DEX, and CON is always nice, but mostly it's just bonus.

    But the reason you need a Skald for LoB is that all the mobs are higher level, have more HP and higher THAC0. The Skald gives a bonus to damage, hit, and AC, and a Skald is pretty much the only way you can get your AC low enough to not get hit in LoB, and also if you do Extreme a Skald is nice too to dramatically reduce your chances of getting hit. -2 AC doesn't sound like a while lot, but it can be pretty significant really in BG1. In BG2 you'll get -4 to AC, though it still doesn't help as much really as the -2 in BG1, BUT the +4 attack is huge in BG2 where you have much higher APR. So Skalds add massive damage to parties in BG2.

    And with a Skald the +2 damage and hit applies to every attack, so to maximize it you want to use high APR attacks, like Darts and Bows, or dual wielding. But for LoB dual wielding it out because you'll get killed doing it, so it's all about ranged attack. In LoB it's really all about archery, because your magic damage doesn't scale and you can't cast enough damage to take down their huge health. And they also save almost all the time, so most other CC spells are useless too. Web is the only CC that has a chance, because they have to save every round, so really, in LoB Web and buffs are the only spells that really matter. Magic Missile is still helpful to take down Mirror Images, and your Skald can cast those.

    I'm not sure I'm going to try it myself, but I think if your plan is to create your own party I'd go for:

    Dwarven Defender : Tank (The 50% damage reduction is key for LoB and makes DDs pretty much the only viable choice) Start with ++ in War Hammers and ++Sword and Shield Style. The other option would be to go with a Barbarian for kiting, but that seems risky with their low AC.
    Archer : Duh
    Totemic Druid : The summons get the same HP buffs that the mobs do, making summons quite powerful in LoB. Also Bless is helpful and eventually Iron Skin and Insect Swarm and Mass Healing. The Woodland Creatures are less helpful because most of their spells will be ineffective, but their mass heal is nice and additional distractions are always nice. Unfortunately you're stuck with slings, so pump DEX and STR. But the Skald buffs do apply to the summons so that helps and you can summon animals in addition to the spirit animals.
    Skald : Of course

    I'd start with that party, and pick up others along the way. Definitely Coran, maybe Kivan maybe Minsc. IMO you can do without a thief until you get Coran. Mostly you'll let your NPC companions get killed if need be, except Coran since you need a thief.

    Coran is basically better than any fighter/thief you could create because he gets bonus DEX and Longbow pips. The only bad thing about Coran is you've got to kill the Wyverns to get him. Not so sure about that in LoB, I've not tried that yet. I think I'd try sending in the Druid invisible, then summoning a Spirit Animal off in a corner if possible, and then send in the rest of the crew after they Wyverns aggro onto the summon.

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