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Which ranged companion(s) I should choose?

HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
I don't have a lot time to play, but I'm finishing my BGEE+SoD campaign, which was aimed to play all possible good/neutral EE companions

my BGEE party:
Hadar (power gaming cleric/mage)
Imoen (thief)
Khalid (fighter)
Jaheira (druid/fighter)
Rasaad yn Bashir (Sun Soul Monk)
Neera (wild mage)

my SoD party is:
Hadar (power gaming cleric/mage)
Rasaad yn Bashir (Sun Soul Monk)
Neera (wild mage)
Captain Schael Corwin (Archer)
Glint Gardnersonson (Cleric / Thief)
Voghiln the Mighty (Skald)

I prefer prefer a ranged focused party with mages/clerics with rather supporting role than damage dealing.

And I'm thinking what party in BG2EE I should create, so the starting point is:

Hadar (power gaming cleric/mage)
Rasaad yn Bashir (Sun Soul Monk)
Neera (wild mage)
Imoen (Thief / Mage) ==> ???? ===> Imoen

1. Firstly I need tank, in SoD my best tank was... Hadar (cleric/mage), I think that the best good companion tank in BG2EE is Keldorn Firecam (Inquisitor) with Gauntlets of Dexterity.
2. I need some ranged weapon specialist and I am considering:
a) Valygar Corthala (Stalker) with Long Bow
b) Minsc (Ranger) with Long Bow
c) Mazzy Fentan (Fighter) with Short Bow

Mazzy can have heavy armour and 18 dexterity and she seems ideal choice, but Imoen will already use a short bow. I have serious doubt if I should have two short bow characters in my party and none long bow user? What do you thing?

Second best choice for an party ranged weapon specialist seems Valygar (especially because I never played him, but I also never played Mazzy)

3. And for the time of Imoen's departure I need somebody to find traps and unlock locks. To the Spellhold I will take Yoshimo with me (because I don't want to abandon there anyone), but I have serious doubt do I want to exp Yoshimo through whole first and second chapter. Maybe in second chapter I should use some other thief? Perhaps Jan Jansen (Illusionist / Thief) who is a crossbow user and which may have some use in later game when I will need a better thief than Imoen for some quests? What do you think?

In ToB I will change my tank (Keldorn?) or my archer (Valygar/Minsc/Mazzy?) for Sarevok Anchev, but I didn't decide for whom...


So what are your suggestions?

Comments

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 609
    There are many great shortbows in SoA (Tuigan is the best, but Gesen's and Tansheron's can be very useful as well), while the longbows are somewhat lacking. You can easily support 2-3 shortbow users, and longbows aren't really needed. Mazzy is the best archer available when it comes to NPCs, and it isn't very close.

    For tanking, defensive arcane spells are the most powerful option available (stoneskin, mirror image, blur, improved invisibility, spirit armor, protection from magical weapons and the like) - so your main character should do just fine. Otherwise, unless you're playing on hard or insane, any fighter-type can tank as well.

    You won't really need a better thief than Imoen in later stages. There are even two rings to boost her open locks / find traps skills, but she'll do her job either way. Meanwhile, either Yoshimo or Jan will do fine.

    AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
    My cleric/mage is 10/19/19/19/21/19 and he definitely isn't best qualified to be tank, I prefer using him as "buff-master" xD Especially that I want to play the Legacy of Bhaal difficulty (but without extra damage)...

    @Enuhal

    So you suggest I should go with:
    Hadar (charname/leader/buff-master/healer): sling/warhammer
    Keldorn (tank): Long Sword + Shield/ crossbow
    Mazzy (archer): shortbow/ short sword
    Rasaad yn Bashir (damage dealer): fists/sling
    Neera (secondary mage): sling/quarterstaff
    Imoen (Thief/tertiary Mage) shortbow ==> Jan Jansen (Illusionist/Thief) crossbow ===> Yoshimo shortbow ===> Imoen shortbow

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 609
    Well, if you want to play on LoB, I'd especially use the cleric/mage as your tank - with the right spells, he will still be untouchable, and tanks without access to arcane spells will suffer. However, I don't quite see the point of playing on LoB without extra damage. It will just make fights laster longer and weaken offensive magic, making your three arcane spellcaster kind of a strange choice.

    I, personally, prefer very different groups - I would never use Neera and Rasaad on LoB and go for more sturdy and reliable fighter-types instead, as you need those to deal the damage, otherwise the LoB extra hp will be quite annoying. If you don't want to use your main character as a tank, you should really consider taking Jaheira along - first of all, fire elementals are amazing in early SoA, and insect plague wins fights against mages. Secondly, she has iron skins, allowing her to stand up against any kind of LoB opponent. Thirdly, once she gains a strength boost (via spell, belt, gauntlets or whatever), she will do a lot of damage as well.

    For example, a group of Hadar, Jaheira, Mazzy, Imoen/Jan/Imoen, Haer'Dalis and Minsc or Keldorn would do very well in my opinion. If you really want Rasaad and Neera for some reason, consider at least swapping Keldorn out for Jaheira. Iron skins or stoneskins are key to tanking.

    JuliusBorisov
  • HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
    edited October 2017
    @Enuhal

    Neera and Rasaad are untouchable because I want to play the EE characters. And for story reasons I want in my party Imoen and Sarevok.

    So I have two free slots in SoA (three in chapter II) and one in ToB. I can choose anyone, but:
    a) I so many times played Minsc and Jaheira, so I want to try something different
    b) I already have too much mages in my party
    c) and want only good (or neutral if there is any interesting good) characters...
    d) after playing Voghiln I definitely don't like bards...
    e) I may use Hadar as a tank but I never played with non-fighter tank (excluding SoD where Hadar and Glint have some tank roles, but I do not a have a typical tank in my party)
    f) but I always loved archers and ranged weapon characters :P

    I want to play Legacy of Bhaal purely for powergaming reasons (more enemies ==> more experience)

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 609
    Just letting you know, the "more enemies on higher difficulty" thing only is true for SoD. In BG2, you won't get any more or less enemies when playing on LoB compared to core rules, no matter what the description says. Also, even in SoD, you get the same amount of enemies on LoB and insane.

    JuliusBorisov
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,996
    edited October 2017
    First, Mazzy is a flipping machine gun, especially with Tiguan. She is the best ranged option in the game, bar none. Make sure you keep plenty of arrows cached, she’ll use them all.

    Jan is a good option as well. Not only is the illusionist/thief combo nice, his flashers can be awesome.

    I prefer Valygar to Minsc, only because I find Minsc’s Schtick old after all these years. YMMV.

    And don’t write off Anomen as a tank. His dexterity is blah, but the fighter->cleric build is great, and that’s before you look at how great some of the game’s blunt weapons are.

    recklessheart
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,267
    Mazzy is not only the best archer, but also the best NPC. Learn to love Mazzy.

    Aerakartbone1
  • squirossquiros Member Posts: 29
    i'm very similar to you, i run all ranged compositions every time now. my tanks are all summons (or images). i like cheese a lot, so this may not work for you.

    jaheira is amazing too. her fighter HLAs are great. but she spends most of my game shape shifted as a bear with 18 strength. once dispelled, her 5 apr with the sling of everard ended up doing 25% of the parties kills in a 6 person party. hilarious. but she has some good spells depending on encounter, which she can switch for free at any time. furthermore, when her druid starts lagging, her fighter keeps her chugging. yet she remains versatile enough to handle a lot of situations. (i think ee may have patched the dispel creature weapon).

    i love mazzy's shortbow proficiencies. the gesen really makes her shine since she can switch to arrows for extra damage and she gets 4 apr.

    i either take minsc or valygar (sometimes keldorn), with the crossbow. here's where it gets Really cheesy. i use the potion swap trick with shapechange. i shift them into a werewolf then kill them and rest. i resurrect them with the rod - this allows them to keep all of the shapechanges forever. even with 2 in crossbow, the werewolf gives rangers 5 apr - which is amazing with the firetooth crossbow. i choose werewolf because it interferes with the stats the least and still had 5 apr (19 str 19 dex 16 con).

    both of my mages - imoen and aerie have melf's minute stacked full for level 3 spells memorization, with throwing weapon backups. they've only switched to throwing a handful of times, however. i believe imoen was using the infinite throwing dagger as a backup when melf's runs out. aerie had erinne's sling. this allows you to still cast powerful mage spells as necessary, but honestly, most fights are fairly easy with this party setup.

    as you can see, with the cheese, you can really turn any class into anything. since it overrides stats, you don't need the giant belts either. so you can improve stats and APR. most of the weapons that are good give massive thaco bonuses too. so you can really free up and choose who you like in the party rather than based on their stats or classes.

  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 692
    Hadar said:

    My cleric/mage is 10/19/19/19/21/19 and he definitely isn't best qualified to be tank, I prefer using him as "buff-master" xD Especially that I want to play the Legacy of Bhaal difficulty (but without extra damage)...

    Your character seems pretty primed to be a tank, in fact. Strength means absolutely nothing to a tank (except maybe for the purposes of equipping the right stuff) but even if that's your reservation, there are plenty of items that will compensate the stat. With Robe of Vecna & the amulet given to you in good faith by Aran Linvail, your PC will be able to keep themselves constantly immunised & healed on the frontline while other characters take care of dealing damage. With a massive archery focused party, you'll also have the option of using spells like 'Sunfire' with your tank to do the damage that they won't be doing with a melee weapon. Level 5 magic has no essential defensive spells for mages anyway, so you can afford to fill up your spellbook with these. 'Sunfire' is major style points.

    tbone1
  • HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
    @Enuhal @recklessheart

    Hmmm, I always tanked with fighters classes (e.g. paladin, fighter/druid, fighter/cleric, pure fighter) and didn't even thought to tank with mage multiclass, but when I think about it, I may try.

    So at this point my BG2EE team (if I use Hadar as tank) is:

    1. Hadar (Cleric/Mage)
    2. Rasaad yn Bashir (Sun Soul Monk)
    3. Neera (Wild Mage)
    4. Imoen (Thief/Mage) ==> Jan Jansen (Illusionist/Thief) ==> Yoshimo (Bounty Hunter) ===> Imoen (Thief/Mage)
    5. Mazzy Fentan (Fighter)
    6.

    One slot free, for whom it should go? I'm still considering Keldorn Firecam (Inquisitor). But in ToB that sixth companion or Mazzy will be replaced with Sarevok Anchev (Fighter).

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 609
    edited October 2017
    Keldorn is certainly a decent choice - his special abilities are incredibly useful in the vanilla game and will destroy (almost) any mage's defenses, and Carsomyr is quite the powerhouse. He could also wield Foebane + Belm, as you don't have anyone in your party to use those weapons yet. I'm guessing that you're playing mostly without mods, so he'd propably be my pick. If you're playing with SCS and the resulting inquisitor nerfs, Haer'Dalis might be more useful.

  • HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
    edited October 2017
    @Enuhal

    BGEE+SoD I played just with no experience cap mod, but for BG2EE I may install some other mods, but I'm mainly interested in mods giving side quest and more interactions (feel encouraged to advice me which I should chose)

    As for the sixth slot I want:
    - companion with good alignment alternatively neutral or a companion with possibility to change it's alignment from evil to good/neutral by quest;
    - I don't want Edwin Odesseiron, Jaheira, Minsc, Viconia DeVir (I've played them too much already)
    - I don't want any more arcane casters
    - I don't like bards...
    - It would be cool if the companion was a front liner
    - this companion will be probably replaced in ToB by Sarevok
    - for now I think about Keldorn Firecam, Valygar Corthala, Anomen Delryn, Cernd (in that particular order)
    - if there is any very well written mod companion I could consider

  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 692
    Given your criteria, I'm fairly confident that Valygar Corthala is the coolest option. Keldorn, admittedly, is an excellent NPC, and fills the same role as Sarevok almost exactly (both tend to be used as 2-handed weapon wielders), albeit with some nifty magical perks. The best thing to consider might be the availability of equipment for your party, however.

    Keldorn will use a whole array of things that crop up throughout Baldur's Gate that none of your other party members will need. Mazzy, sure, but there's enough magical equipment to accommodate 2 Fighters anyway. Valygar will be vying for some of the weapons that Imoen can use, but if you're keeping her in the back then you mightn't really have a problem with that either. Still, to cover my bases I thought I would acknowledge that possibility.

    Because he is optimised when you backstab, Valygar is a bit of a more high maintenance addition to the party than Keldorn, who can be trusted to just walk right in and chop things up, although Valygar is still brutally effective in this capacity, matched only by Korgan or Keldorn. It's also worth considering that Valygar has a lot of interactions with Mazzy, so you'll get party banters more often by including him than Keldorn.

  • HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
    @recklessheart

    I never back stab, my usual tactic is cast spells like Web, Stinking Cloud, Cloudkill, Slow, Gease etc. and do rest with ranged attacks and area damage magic :P

    But at this moment I'm vacillating between Keldorn and Valygar because of Valygar and Mazzy banters...

  • DevardKrownDevardKrown Member Posts: 421
    Hadar said:

    @recklessheart

    I never back stab, my usual tactic is cast spells like Web, Stinking Cloud, Cloudkill, Slow, Gease etc. and do rest with ranged attacks and area damage magic :P

    But at this moment I'm vacillating between Keldorn and Valygar because of Valygar and Mazzy banters...

    agreed , backstab is too much of a micro management hassle for that x3/4/5 dmg bonus , even if it works flawless you take out 1 enemy.

    i just haste/bless/chant my party send them in and speed murder everything.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,267
    Valygar is more versatile, but I feel he works a little better as a secondary dps/backstabber. If you want to focus on ranged, then Mazzy is the superior choice.

    tbone1
  • HadarHadar Member Posts: 168
    Soooo, my cleric\mage was created to maximize power in one character, it was intended to be totally overpowered.

    More details here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/17545/the-most-epic-mage-cleric/p1

    My party is now in Avernus in SoD, Hadar has about 650k experience. I was thinking how much experience I can make in BGIIEE with as much quest mods as possible installed.

    It is possible that I would hit 12M experience per character (that is 74M per whole party)? If yes maybe I should edit my cleric/mage to fighter/cleric/mage? Or it is better to be higher level cleric/mage than lower level fighter/cleric/mage?

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