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Thoughts on party build?

Hi everyone, I'm playing through BG:EE for the first time, trying to keep my party small-ish since I'm interested in unlocking all the high-level fun. But I feel like my party isn't the well-balanced fighting machine it could be. My main character is a mage-thief and archer, I've got Neera as another mage and Branwen as my cleric and, most-importantly, tank. This set-up works pretty well in the toughest fights, as I have a lot of magical firepower and Branwen can usually soak up most of the physical attacks while buffing. My problem is with just wandering around, coming across kobolds and things - I'm usually saving my spells for tough fights so I don't have to rest all the time (really for roleplay reasons - seems silly sleeping 8 hours between each fight) but this usually means slogging it out for ages with my despairingly low-THAC0 cleric, my not-spectacular-THAC0 archer m/t, and Neera hiding somewhere in a corner being fragile. It works in the end but it's just so boring! Is this how most people play? Should I get a fighter? I would ditch Neera for a fighter but a lot of the fun for me is having all the different spells for different situations that two mages and a cleric affords. Thoughts/advice?

tbone1

Comments

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 230
    Especially toward the beginning of BG1, you'll have to rest frequently if you have a melee-light party because melee characters are the only ones with reasonable rest-free DPS. So you need to either add Minsc/Ajantis/Kivan, switch your main character to a FMT, and/or replace Branwen with Jaheira. Good luck!

    tbone1
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,583
    edited January 18
    first of all, even with the max team of 6 people you should have no problem hitting the XP cap

    when i make teams, i usually build them as so:

    3 melee warrior types

    1 divine caster type

    1 thief type

    1 arcane caster type

    now based on the team build you have, you really only need some warrior types who can go into melee and wear all that big armor and weapons and tear it up

    even better, when you find more team mates their XP will match yours ( to some degree, and if you did not have them join your team before ) so it's not like they will be the horribly gimped

    so if you want some more warrior types, you can go to the friendly arm inn and pick up khalid and jaheira, for some more warrior support

    or you can go to high hedge ( the area west of beregost ) and pick up kivan ( he is hanging behind the high hedge building ) he is great in range, but can also be great in melee thanks to his great DEX

    you can also try minsc out (hanging outside the barricks in nashkiel), he does great melee damage but he will want you to go find dynaheir ( she is at the gnoll fortress which can be found at the bottom left of the world map ) and once you find her she will have to join your team if you want to keep minsc, dynaheir being an invoker mage, so if you want, you can replace her for neera, or just keep both and have even more insane casting power

    so with that being said, i say a good team for you to put together would be:

    Minsc
    Khalid
    Kivan
    Jaheira
    You
    Dynaheir

    that's a pretty well balanced team, and it covers all the roles you need quite well

    also be aware, if you have Kivan on your team, he will want you to go to the bandit camp relatively quickly ( which will be found in chapter 3, and you have about 2 game weeks or so to find it ) if you don't get to the camp in time and open the chest in the boss tent and start chapter 4 fast enough, then he will leave your party, so theres that, but once you do that, he will stick around forever

    tbone1thelovebat
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,273
    My feeling is that you can't go far wrong with the good old bog standard PnP party set-up of Fighter, Cleric, Thief and Mage. Those four cover all the bases, are easier to manage than a full party of six and leave room to bring in a specialist as needed.

    tbone1
  • thelovebatthelovebat Member Posts: 218
    edited January 18
    Usually my party build is partly based on what alignment I am, and also partly on what my character's class is. It's also somewhat based on what NPCs I can grab before the later game starts to set in and what NPCs I can grab early enough to start developing myself and helping contribute to the midgame areas and challenges that come with them.

    As mentioned from an earlier post in the thread, it's not too difficult to reach the level cap with a full party as there are plenty of places to explore and gain experience as long as you mostly keep the same party setup past a certain point. If you keep switching party members in and out then your total experience may start cruising past members of your party that may not have been in the party as long. I'd recommend finding the party members you want fairly early before advancing the main story too far so you have a chance to develop your party the way you want and get used to playing with the combination of characters.

    Personally, I wouldn't ever use a single class cleric as the frontline tank. They don't get the high end hit point bonuses for higher than 16 constitution, less hit points per level than the warrior classes, slower level progression than thieves and bards means those two classes would potentially have more hit points than clerics, and they get only one proficiency point to put into weapons unless you modded in a cleric kit that would allow you more than that. They get decent base hit points per level up and can wear nice armor, but you have to be able to hit things effectively and a cleric like Branwen doesn't see any melee bonuses from strength and can't get bonuses from weapon skills. Clerics are good to supplement frontline fighters, but a plain cleric being the only frontline fighter isn't very effective. Later in the game as you progress you'll find even more difficulty with both regular fights and bosses if you can't kill things reasonably fast, and Branwen will have a harder time hitting enemies further into the game.

    There's a fighter/cleric and a paladin you can get for good aligned NPCs that would be hardier than Branwen and still offer some healing and other goodies. The paladin you can find relatively early and easily (not far away from The Friendly Arm Inn's area map), while you get the fighter/cleric a bit closer to the midgame in a plot relevant area so you're bound to find them eventually. They're both cool folk to have around with their personalities too, so you can always pick those two up when you have the chance and you should be okay for spellcasting still. You can then ditch Branwen if you feel like she isn't needed around anymore (just make sure to unequip her of everything so you can give that equipment to someone else or sell it).

    One other combo that may work alright for you and allow you to ditch Neera is that one guy Minsc that I'm sure you saw over in Nashkel. If you have him join and complete his related quest, you'll end up having a pairing in your party that gives you a frontliner as well as a spellcaster. And Minsc is also funny and a hoot to have around, so that's another option for you to try if you want.

    If you combined the 4 of those characters together I mentioned, eventually getting rid of either Neera or Branwen, you'd have a very viable 6 person party with a good combo of frontliners and spellcasting. Some of the characters you wouldn't be able to get right away due to the area you find them in, but you could get all 4 of them eventually and have yourself set up really well.

    For parties in general to keep in mind with this playthrough and future playthroughs:

    For a good aligned party, you end up having some pretty nice options for ranged characters and thieves. And you get a small bit of warriors mixed in as well as some clerical spellcasting. Decently balanced mostly. However the only pure fighter you can get as far as good aligned or even neutral aligned NPCs go has crappy morale as a character trait of theirs which gimps them heavily, and they don't have very good strength for a fighting class either (you find rangers and paladins with much higher strength).

    For an evil aligned party, you end up with a number of warrior classes and frontliners to dish out and tank a good deal of damage, a fighter/thief effective for backstabbing, and some really nice spellcasters. However they tend to lack archers and characters more suited for range (and the archer kit for rangers can't have a negative reputation so you can't mix that in with your character for an evil party). They also don't really have any dedicated thieves so you'd have to wait and find yourself a neutral aligned option to be a thief for you. An extra blow, the roster of NPCs for an evil aligned party tends to have more throwaway characters than the options for a good aligned party, and some neutral aligned NPCs (in my experience anyway) will leave the party if your reputation goes low enough. So for me there are less combinations of NPCs I tend to use for evil parties cus it's more clear who the strongest options are.

    The neutral aligned characters tend to be designed around filling out the final 6th spot of your party as support characters based on what extra you're looking for in your party (not including characters part of a pair like Jaheira). Primarily you get a good mix of spellcasters and thieves with the neutral bunch (Mage, Cleric, Druid, Thief, Bard)

    One other little tidbit, both good and evil aligned parties come with one character who have the stats necessary to dual class, which help somewhat round out the weaknesses that may come from parties of their respective alignment (Mage spellcasting for good parties, thief skills for evil parties). So if you have the patience for it, that can help round out the abilities present in your party and give you another versatile character.

    Post edited by thelovebat on
  • Winter_HegemonWinter_Hegemon Member Posts: 2
    Thanks to everyone for you comments! In the end I've picked up Minsc again and supplemented his stats with the bracers of dexterity and the manual of bodily health. He started about 4 levels behind me but he's catching up. I've managed to leave Dynaheir behind - I just feel like Neera and I have too much of a bond! I find having a larger party a bit too clunky. But I'm gonna keep an eye out for the cleric/fighter guy, and possibly replace him for Branwen.

    Happy dungeon crawling!

    sarevok57
  • Yulaw9460Yulaw9460 Member Posts: 564
    So you gave Minsc a manual?

  • CloutierCloutier Member Posts: 210
    As @thelovebat said, a cleric is decreasingly suitable as a tank as the game advances (except perhaps a cleric of Helm, but Branwen isn't one). It's doable with proper pre-buffing but it's tedious IMHO.

    To save time around critters, don't hesitate to use consumables: wand of sleep, wand of fire. There are plenty.

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