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Who knew that the canon party could be so extremely powerful

StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
And all this time... I've been under the impression that the canon party sucks. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours logged - and only recently, on my most recent playthrough, do I decide to go with the canon party. So I thought I would create a thread (since this subforum is pretty quiet anyway) that could one day possibly inspire new players to go ahead and use the canon party because it's actually incredibly good. Because as it turns out, there are items in the game that can benefit any party - and indeed I've used them again and again...but these items happen to be just what the doctor ordered for the canon party in particular. And the viablity just shot up 1000%.

Here it is - just how strong this party can be...these items are a must:

Charname (mage/cleric is ideal for this party)
Minsc -full plate, the world's edge.
Dynaheir - robe of good archmagi
Khalid - Hands of Takkok, Varscona and high mastery in long's just too good
Imoen - Army Scythe, shadow armor, stealth boots
Jaheira - cursed belt of strength, dexterity gauntlets, staff spear, ring of sune

It never occured to me before to use Jaheira as anything other than a rock slinger. But she actually has a use. Can't use divine wands with the belt but she'll hit like a truck. I also had no idea that Khalid could be that good but he is a fighter and lacks only strength - give him the hands of takkok and there it is. As good a fighter as possible.

Has anyone played this way? Perhaps you have another way of making the canon party better? Please share if you have any thoughts. I'm actually interested in other player's experiences with the canon party and other ways to make it good.



  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,211
    The canon party IS really good. I usually make Khalid my archer. He is just a smidge behind Coran when it comes to archery skill.

  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 78
    The first couple times I played through it, I used the "canon" party. Worked perfectly fine. Although I don't remember using Dynaheir. I can't remember how I got out of Minsc forcing you to go rescue her but he was with me til the end, she wasnt. Think I may have had Coran instead of her. Pretty much kept the same party when I did BG2.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,350
    I wouldn't use a cleric/mage with the cannon party, just because I think it's kind of assumed that Aerie replaces Dynaheir in BG2.

    Canon party's definitely got all your bases covered though. Some people aren't fans of Khalid and Jaheira but they get the job done.

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,996
    I’ve found Khalid to be a darn good fighter. He can be made into a good front-liner, as @Stormvessel did. And as @ThacoBell said, he can be a darn good archer, too. Plus, being able to get him early is a definite plus.

  • EnialusMeliamneEnialusMeliamne Member Posts: 399
    edited March 2018
    For years, I played the canon party primarily because of its link to the opening of Baldur’s Gate II. That was a hard pigeon hole for me to work out of, for whatever obsessive reason. I never really had too much of a problem making the canon party viable. With the dexterity gauntlets, Minsc hits like a truck and doesn’t get blown over by a stiff wind. Dynaheir doesn’t use enchantment spells, sure, but a wand of sleep isn’t a horrible replacement (despite the save differences between wand and spell). She’s still able to cast web, glitterdust and a host of other spells that are incredibly debilitating for the opposition, and wands of paralyzation are utilizable by any mage caster so an often autowin button is on hand in that too. Khalid is diverse. Sure, his morale check sucks compared to some, but my characters always have a high enough charisma that it isn’t too much of a concern, and I usually kit him to be an archer anyway. Jaheira only suffers from a lack of the very uber useful buffs that the Cleric class is loaded with, but she makes up for that with some very decent Druid only offerings that have their own benefits, so it’s an opportunity cost choice.

    That said, re: canon party, once I broke the trend of using the canon party, choosing other party members became much easier. With the introduction of Siege of Dragonspear, the links to BGII become less dependent on having had the canon party together in BGI, which is another reason I love that expansion. Added bonus of that...getting to explore some of the very well developed character mods that the community has created, with two particular favorites being the recent Drake and Sirene mods. The one exception to expunging the canon party, for me, Imoen. There is always a place at the table for Imoen in my games.

  • laptopman666laptopman666 Member Posts: 283
    Balrog99 said:

    The canon party doesn't suck, its just that it seems to be everybody's initial experience so it's kinda boring after all these years. My first time through I did actually end up with the canon party. It's not a given that it'll happen but for me I kept Imoen because she was a thief and I thought I'd need her. I dropped Xzar and Montaron when I saw they were evil (I was playing a ranger). Jaheira and Khalid were at the Friendly Arm so following Gorion's advice I naturally teamed up with them and Minsc was the first NPC I bumped into after making a mad dash to Nashkel. My 1st time through BG was particularly fun because not only didn't I know what to do, I also thought the game might be timed or something so I tried to do the main questline as quickly as possible. I think my party was maybe 4th level when I attacked the bandit camp. That was really hard and I must have played the final fight at the bandit hq 20 times or more before I won! Good times... :)

    this ^, my first playthrough of baldurs gate was when I was 9, I'm a bit older now, a looooong time ago. I had no sense of tactical abilities or anything, I just kinda plowed my way through the same way, lol

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,019
    Yes, a Cleric/Mage charname is a key for making this party very strong.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,147

    I don't think I have ever managed to play through BG with the cannon party. I'm aware that it makes a good party, but my patience with them runs out because of their personalities. I can manage just about two at a time at most.
    Once you meet Xzar, Edwin, Kivan, Viconia, Branwen, Xan, Coran, their atttractiveness starts to fade fast.

    I think also because I played BG a lot and didn't get BG2 for some length of time (1/2 years after release), the idea of "the cannon party" has never really figured for me. I never expected those five to turn up in BG2.

  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    edited March 2018
    They are incredibly powerful but I still feel the strongest party possible is Kagain w/ cursed belt + dex gauntlets, Vicky w/ ankheg armor, ring of sune, Monteron w/ hands of takkok, Edwin and Baeloth. Charname can be anything with this party. It's the pinnacle of power.

    But I think the fact that the optimal evil party being much stronger than the optimal good party is probably a design choice because of how much harder it is going around with <18 rep. Playing evil it's almost a must to quaff those thieving pots (or powerword: reload for softcore players) and do that silly little sell/steal back cheese in Nashkel, otherwise you're going to be short on gold the whole time.

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,996

    Yes, a Cleric/Mage charname is a key for making this party very strong.

    Or a cleric/thief, if you decide to dual Imoen to a mage.

  • StormvesselStormvessel Member Posts: 654
    edited March 2018
    tbone1 said:

    Yes, a Cleric/Mage charname is a key for making this party very strong.

    Or a cleric/thief, if you decide to dual Imoen to a mage.
    The problem with dualing Imoen to a mage - and I agree that it's almost a must if you want to maximize the party's power - is you are extremely limited in your window of opportunity. You have to time it just right so as not to be without a thief in the crucial moments. The ideal spot to dual her is probably level 5 at the earliest ...100 in find traps - whatever else into locks (she can use knock spells for the hard ones) and the downtime is almost unbearable as you're without a thief. So you have to save the easy xp for later, quest normally until she's level 5, then park the other party members and take her on a basilisk killing run, battlehorror killing run, drizzt killing (using cheese - and as long as you're not a paladin) and however else you can get really easy xp. And you're charname will need to be at least capable because she's gonna be a low level mage.

    Being a cleric thief, as you pointed out, alleviates this headache. The problem with cleric/thieves is that gnomes have one fewer point of wisdom and orcs, your only other choice, lack the shorty saves and are butt ugly. And I wouldn't dream of playing a cleric without the shorty bonuses (and gnomes have the worse shorty bonuses). But with with 3 wisdom tomes, lum's machine, Deck of many things, and helltrials as a good charname, starting with 17 wisdom is perfectly fine. Even with a gnome, you'll be swimming in extra spell slots by the time you finish the trilogy.

  • the_sexteinthe_sextein Member Posts: 711
    edited March 2018
    I didn't use the cannon party for the first few years I played the game. I use it now all the time because like you I find that the items throughout the game work well with them and they make more sense story wise for continuity.

    Personally this is how I set them up.

    Minsc: Gauntlets of Dex with the stupifier mace and a shield. I do keep the two handed sword "spiders bane" around in case I need someone to go wondering through web spells. Full plate. Goblet from Durlog's Tower and composite long bow.

    Khalid: The cursed belt gives him high strength and doesn't effect his character at all. I give him Varscona long sword and the crossbow of speed. Full plate and shield.

    Jahiera: Hands of takkok with +2 club from the cloakwood forest and a shield with full plate and sling.

    Imoen: Shadow Armor and dagger of venom for backstabbing. Short bow +2. Buckler for up close protection.

    Dynaheir: Cloak of Good archmagi and rings that grant extra spells. Sling and +3 staff from Durlog's Tower.

    I find that Jahiera provides some divine buffs and healing plus she has powerful druid summons and plenty of tank ability. She is one of the best characters in my opinion. Her summon "woodland beings" will provide massive healing power to the group and provide backup in battle. Give it a try if you haven't used it yet. I would memorize as many of these as possible.

    My last few runs I have used a neutral FMT as my main character with a cloak of neutral archmagi. I use bows, katana and scimitars. I start out with full plate with a shield and eventually switch off to stoneskin, mirror images, spirit armor and dual wielding. This gives me four characters with 18 strength and full plate armor or in the case of my FMT superior magic protections later on in the game. My main character and dynaheir handle magic and they get druid backup if needed. Also Imoen if dueled to a mage can add even further magic support. This set up allows my main character and Imoen to split thief abilities and makes dual classing Imoen a snap.

    Using a druid with healing potions is not as good as having a cleric but I prefer to do without a cleric these days. If my main character uses the crossbow of speed then I will give Khalid a normal bow but I use EET and SCS which changes Khalid so that he doesn't have pips in any long range equipment at the start. As a result, he could go with bow or crossbow so the crossbow of speed works just as well and since my main character is an elf and gets bonuses from bows I usually go with a bow on my main character.

    I try to work with whatever proficiency points they have so that they are more efficient as soon as possible. This helps on the higher difficulty levels. In BG2 I do a bunch of two handed weapons and dual wielding but in BG1 I think the single handed weapons in combination with a shield is more effective. Don't underestimate the armor class bonus of a shield. In SOD you will have +3 and +4 armor class bonuses with some passive buffs added on from using a shield. It makes a pretty big difference in my opinion.

    Post edited by the_sextein on
  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 692
    Khalid does make a good archer, true enough. His Strength isn't great, but his Dexterity and Constitution are, which lead me to believe that his intended purpose is to 'tank'. As BG1 NPCs go, there's no other NPC that's as well rounded to handling this (Kagain's Dexterity is a little weaker; Viconia's Constitution offers no benefits).
    Giving the Gauntlets of Strength to another party member can be worthwhile if you choose only to rely on Khalid to dodge blows and soak up the rest of them. At the end of the day, he's still a Fighter in BG1, so he'll rack up plenty of kills. He isn't the best in the game, but as a baseline he's far above average.

    Jaheira also makes a great tank, although she lacks some of the best Druidic utility spells to help her do it in this game. Her Dexterity and Constitution are also not as high as they become in BG2, which suggests that she is likely intended to be the off-tank for Khalid in this game, taking any aggressors that try to bypass Khalid and offering some healing and support meanwhile.

    Imoen handles all Thief things and ranged weaponry; Minsc handles the majority of the melee damage dealing, aided by Khalid and Jaheira since they're up there anyway.

    Dynaheir, like Minsc, provides firepower, although she does this somewhat more literally. She handles the classic role of the Mage, bring fire and lightning to the field, but can handle almost everything in BG:EE thanks to the addition of the BG2 spellbook (Glitterdust compensates a lot of what she had lacked in BG1).

    I think that this party allows the protagonist to be of literally any class and find a good use. Frankly, this party can handle the whole game without the protagonist, which means s/he can do whatever he wants! An archer is probably what this party lacks, so the protagonist could do that - or, indeed, ignore the first part of what I said, make Khalid do that, and have the protagonist take point.

    As a fun aside, you could also try the alternative canon party--

    Ditch Khalid for Viconia, who can tank just as well as he, sacrificing some damage dealing capabilities for a divine spellcaster that advances more rapidly than Jaheira and has access to a slightly different spellbook.

    Ditch Dynaheir for Edwin, who can excel beyond her in pretty much every aspect of the role, with the exception of providing a decent lore score. The less reliable nature of his Evocation spells is arguably compensate for by the sheer amount of them he could memorise, if you're truly committed to having the classic Mage on your team.

    This set up can handle everything the canon party can, and stick around when you venture into BG2! A shame, however, that Edwin and Minsc will dash the dream of the alternative canon party before the day is done...

  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 168
    edited April 2018
    Reading all of these comments has me thinking that a dwarf F/C CHARNAME cannon party might be rather delightful.

    Dualing Immy works, I find, if I beeline through both mines before switching her over. That includes not clearing Cloakwood until after the dual. Then I do all optional areas. In other words, it coincides with getting Yeslick asap... but I understand that this is a no-Yeslick thread.

  • Stupid_PunsStupid_Puns Member Posts: 67
    When I first started playing, I always got rid of Khalid and Jahiera for Kivan and Branwen, thinking that was was the more canon party, don’t know why. These days, I always use Jaheira when replaying BGEE, giving her points in Daggers then getting her the Dagger of Venom and Gauntelts of Ogre Strength. The Khalid the Varscona, Girdle, and gauntlets of dexterity. Minsc using bows and two handed swords, Dynaheir with Archmagi robe and Slings, Imoen dualled to a Thief/Mage, and my main character a Fighter who uses Bastard Swords because I just think they’re cool.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,350
    I never even noticed that druids could use daggers before.

  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 859
    For me, the weak link in the canon party was always Dynaheir. I would have much rather rolled with Edwin, Imoen, or Safana as my party mage, or sometimes I'd bring along Xan just so he could look cool with that flaming sword.

    My opinion of Dynaheir went up dramatically once I learned that specialist mages get a -2 save penalty against spells from their favored school, given that web is (inexplicably) an evocation spell. Dynaheir slinging super-webs and Minsc with his free-action-granting two-handed sword are just made for each other. By far the best character synergy of any of the forced pairings.

  • QuartzQuartz Member Posts: 3,853

    Jaheira also makes a great tank, although she lacks some of the best Druidic utility spells to help her do it in this game. Her Dexterity and Constitution are also not as high as they become in BG2, which suggests that she is likely intended to be the off-tank for Khalid in this game, taking any aggressors that try to bypass Khalid and offering some healing and support meanwhile.

    Minor correction: Jaheira's BG1 Dexterity is 14 and her Constitution is 17, and Jaheira's BGII Dexterity is 17 and her Constitution is 17. Her Constitution doesn't actually improve. In fact her Dexterity is the only stat that changes.

  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 1,077
    I rarely play with full canon party, but, to justify why my Charname knows everyone during events of SoD, I keep swaping members so I'll have at least one quest with each one: I go to Nashkell with Jaheira and Khalid, then leave them there, grab Minsc and rescue Dynaheir and journey together until I meet Neera or other preferable party members.
    Imoen is probably my only constant.

  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 78
    edited May 2018
    Is there a way to keep Minsc and lose Dynaheir?? I could've sworn when I originally played BG1 back in 99, I did not use Dynaheir at all, in fact I think I finished it with char name, Imoen, Khalid, Jaheira, Minsc and Viconia. And I know I had one spot open for awhile because I went through most of the other characters side quests before going after Sarevok.. Last time I did a run through of it a few years ago (still the regular version, NOT the EE), I had to restore saves because Minsc had left once because we took too long, and again when she died, and Im pretty sure he also leaves if you try to dismiss her.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,211
    @Monotremata If Dynaheir dies, you can still keep Minsc without raising her. There is also an exploit, where you can park an NPC you don't want in an out of the way building you don't plan on entering again, and then dismiss them while you are outside. This prevents the NPC from walking up to you to trigger exit dialogue and you can keep their partner this way.

    Also, love the username.

  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 78
    Maybe thats what happened and I just don't remember it haha. Its been awhile since it originally came out, but man I was obsessed with playing it back then. I don't think Im very far into the EE yet, I only got it like a year or so ago and have only played a few hours of it. Im gonna have to put some time in today so I can send her headfirst alone into the next fight I come across haha.. I want my drow cleric back!

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