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Returning player questions


Hey all

I've been googling around a bit and it's sort of tough to find answers to this stuff without having to trawl through endless forum threads, so I'm hoping some of you helpful folks won't mind giving me some thoughts!

So I played the games yeeeeaars ago (although mainly BG2) and tried a bunch of classes back then, though it was with precious little thought and planning. I never played all the way through the saga with one character, and I also never finished ToB (barely touched it) so I'm trying to get started with a full play-through of all now, going for mostly "canon" party members for this run to get it out of my system.

The problem is I'm getting stuck in my age old loop of struggling to decide what to pick as a "CHARNAME" class so I'm hoping going to share my thoughts and hopefully through some discussion, settle on something! I'm not interested in powergaming or min/maxing as such but I also don't want to end up with a redundant character. I'm probably going to run with Jaheira, Khalid, Minsc, Dynaheir and Imoen in BG1 (always felt canon to me) and in BG2 go with Minsc, Jaheira, Jan, Aeirie and Keldorn or Mazzy until Imoen comes back, then I'll ditch Jan.

So here are the choices I'm struggling with:

Mage/Sorcerer - Sorcerer kind of appeals more from the RP perspective since I imagine CHARNAME as a bit of a rebel, skipping lessons etc due it magic coming naturally.

I never played pure magic before, so this is appealing as something new, however on my small forays into BGEE it seems like it may get a little annoying and somewhat boring if I end up running out of spells in dungeons etc and have to constantly rest, or find myself useless if that is not an option. Is that something that is an issue or is running out of spells not too much of a problem?

Paladin - This appeals to me as a RP choice especially, because of the whole hero aspect of it and fits with the whole martial/divine population of Candlekeep so it could definitely work as a CHARNAME class. What is stopping me here is that I'm also probably going to take Keldorn so I don't know if I want to have two paladins. Having said that though, I have played through SoA as an inquisitor before though and kind of found myself getting a little bit bored, due to always being able to faceroll tough mage fights so easily so a solution to this issue could be to ditch Keldorn in favour of Mazzy and go for a cavalier or undead hunter that can grab Carsomyr or the bastard sword. Then I'm stuck between choosing the UH for a more widely useful bonus against more common enemies, or cavalier for a bonus against more rare, but arguably much tougher enemies (also has the more classic heroic knight feel to it). So for people who've played both, do you find that the +3 hit and damage makes a noticeable difference in either case or does it just not really matter that much?

Stalker - This is another that has good RP feel for me because again, the ranger feels like a good "hero" class, and getting to become the protector of the Umar Hills does feel kind of awesome. My reasoning for the CHARNAME class being that he would be always trying to sneak out of Candlekeep to explore the outdoors, and might go on hunting trips etc, as well as being trained to fight by the instructors. The question is though, is it any good or will I feel weaker compared to a paladin or mage/sorcerer?

Blade - This one always appealed to me because I could see myself actually being a bard if I lived in this sort of fantasy world as I am into martial arts as well as music and books etc. :D On top of this, it also seems like they could be more fun and active to play that other classes, hanging back and casting spells, then when they run out, pop offensive spin and dive in. This class also brings up the levelling differences, because the paladins and stalker level slower don't they? Or just get capped sooner? Is this something that starts to matter much in ToB or would I not really notice it?

Thanks for reading through this to anyone who did and thanks in advance for any thoughts!

ThacoBellbyrne20JuliusBorisovAerakarBelgarathMTH
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Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,302
    I suggest Blade. That way, you play however the heck you want. Melee fighter? Good to go. Back up mage? Roger that. About the only thing you wont be able to do is heal.

    Blades will also level up faster than any other class that isn't a thief, and reach a higher level by cap as well.

    JuliusBorisovAerakar
  • byrne20byrne20 Member Posts: 214
    I am pretty much a Ranger class player 99% of the time. I think the stalker class can be pretty fun. Having the back stab ability can make for some real heavy damage as a Ranger. Stick the boots of speed on him and a decent set of studded leather and he will be a killing machine. Plus I have always thought that the Ranger stronghold in Baldur's Gate 2 is by far the best one. The idea of owning your own cabin and being the town Ranger is pretty cool. As far as feeling weaker than the Paladin, well the stalker class is restricted to studded leather so he's likely to never have the armor class that a heavy armored Paladin is capable of. But THACO wise they are no different to my knowledge. Its just that the Stalker class is more suited to the sneaky hit and run tactics for massive damage potential. I also like the pure Ranger class because I like to mix between two weapon style and bow but can never bring myself to sacrifice the proficiency point for close combat weapons you would have to give up as an Archer (but if you like using a bow there is no better than the Archer class) plus as a pure Ranger you can still wear the heavy armor.

    As far as comparing to the sorcerer or mage is concerned I have personally never run one so i wont go on a rant with an opinion on that lol

    Hope this is helpful to you. Good luck with whatever class you chose :smile:

    ThacoBellOrlonKronsteenJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 199
    If you like the idea of a character who combines quick bursts of super-high melee DPS with very strong damage-dealing spells (due to their high caster level), blade may be the way to go for you. A fighter/mage/thief CHARNAME would also nicely shore up the BG1/BG2 canonical parties, especially if you're open to using stealth, traps, etc rather than brute-forcing your way through encounters.

    ThacoBellJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    edited May 2
    Thanks for the input, guys. I narrowed it down to blade v sorcerer, flipped a coin and sorcerer won so there it is!

    ThacoBellJuliusBorisov
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 844

    Thanks for the input, guys. I narrowed it down to blade v sorcerer, flipped a coin and sorcerer won so there it is!

    Spell selection for a sorc is critical, but given that I find the class really hits a sweet spot for me. It's varied and requires the least micromanagement of any caster class. But it's also stupid powerful, so you'll really feel like a god.

    There are plenty of spell lists out there, though there are really only 1-3 "must haves" at each level, (maybe not even that if you have both Imoen and Aerie along, too), so feel free to go off script to grab some personal favorites, too.

  • bretbret Member Posts: 16
    I never played pure magic before, so this is appealing as something new, however on my small forays into BGEE it seems like it may get a little annoying and somewhat boring if I end up running out of spells in dungeons etc and have to constantly rest, or find myself useless if that is not an option. Is that something that is an issue or is running out of spells not too much of a problem?


    In BG1, a mage's power is largely based on their ability to use WANDS. Wands of fire, wand of frost, wand of monster summoning, and more are plentiful, can be found early in your adventure, and are immensely powerful.

    Back in the day, I used to eschew wands and other consumables because it didn't fit with my (RP) ideal that spell casters should only depend on their innate spell casting ability. Hogwash! A mage who doesn't use wands is like a fighter who doesn't equip a weapon. Embrace the wands! In BG1, that's the main source of your power, and your spell book is really more for situational encounters.

    That said, wands do have finite charges, so unless you recharge them at stores (which some consider an exploit), you can't use them in literally every encounter. So to conserve resources, your mages will often need to hang back and pelt darts/slings/daggers while your fighters do most of the work. Personally, I'm OK with that, but some players prefer their CHARNAMEs to be front-liners who are involved in every fight and earn a huge % of the party kills/experience.

    IrvokasBelgarathMTH
  • IrvokasIrvokas Member Posts: 4
    Sorcerer is a good choice, it is a powerhouse with limited set of spells, choose wisely. :) In a tough fight it can dish out plenty of damage and absorb too. And if it runs out of spells then there are wands and scrolls. Good luck on your journey!

  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    I've been still struggling with this. I thought I decided but I'm just not feeling it! I started a game with a few classes and the idea of playing through the first game started to grate on me (I played a run through BGEE more recently as a swashbuckler, and haven't played BG2ee through at all yet) so I'm jut going to play through BG2EE instead, including ToB. That way I'll be able to make a more informed decision regarding the high level situation for my full saga play through. I reckon I'll save the sorcerer for that run, and use this BG2/ToB run to check out how the HLAs work a bit and get arcane casting figured out a bit with NPCs.

    Soooo, now after some trials I'm stuck between Blade, Cavalier and Archer. I tried a stalker and it just felt like the backstab was not really useful often enough that I wanted to select my CHARNAME class on the strength of it. Cavalier over UH is basically for RP feels, blade is for jack of all trades fun, and archer because I still love the ranger idea and the do lots of damage.

    Why is it so hard to choose???

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,302
    The blade will be good to get some arcane practice in. Though I'm sure how comparable it will be to sorceror, as blades typically focus on self buffing. Cavalier and Archer are very powerful and easy to play as. With the Cavalier being an excellent tank as well as demolishing some of the more troublesome enemies in the game. Archer's are one of the best classes for pure DPS.

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889
    One that is sneaky-good is the fighter/cleric. The two classes dovetail really well, particularly if you are a tank. A dwarven fighter/cleric is an excellent tank, provides healing, has better saves vs magic and poison, and is an interesting RP choice as well.

    The dual class human fighter->cleric works really well, too, but when dwarf is an option, all other options are wrong.

    Grond0ThacoBell
  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    I never really tried a multi/dual class before so perhaps a fighter cleric could be fun. Which would be the better spell caster between multi and dual?

    tbone1
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,302

    I never really tried a multi/dual class before so perhaps a fighter cleric could be fun. Which would be the better spell caster between multi and dual?

    Depends on when you dual and what your second class is. If you dual around recommended levels (4,7,9) starting as a fighter and switching to Cleric, your character will eventually outspell the multiclass.

    Conversly the multi will have better thaco and will continue to advance as both classes, and get more HLAs. Your also only likely to be a level or two behind at most, so the casting diference won't be massive. Personally, I much prefer multiclasses to duals.

  • bretbret Member Posts: 16
    Different classes progress in power at different rates. Ranged fighters are powerhouses from the very beginning of BG1, while arcane casters are weak as kittens. By the time you reach ToB, arcane casters are devastatingly powerful.

    Likewise, dual-class characters don't reach their full potential until their original class is re-activated, which could be quite late in the saga depending on when you dual-classed.

    You need to take these things into consideration when comparing different classes. Arcane casters will be relatively weak in the early parts of the saga. If you don't plan to do a complete playthrough, or simply don't want to "suffer" through a long stretch of time with a relatively weak character, then perhaps you'd have more fun with a character with a more linear power progression.

    ThacoBell
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 199
    edited May 3
    Multi should be the nearly automatic choice for fighter/clerics in my view. The dual versus multi decision is debatable for mages because they get their best spells so late in the game and have so many spells that need a high caster level to be effective (say, horrid wilting). Clerics on the other hand get their best spells fairly early in the game and have a great selection of spells that aren't affected by caster level (say, harm) which means they don't lose much casting power when they multiclass. Offsetting that relatively small casting loss is a nice increase in attacks per round and eventual access to fighter HLAs which is a massive power boost at high levels. Don't get me wrong, dualed fighter/clerics are among the strongest characters in the game but I would argue multiclass fighter/clerics are stronger (and multiclass ranger/clerics stronger still).

    ThacoBellbrettbone1
  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 26
    Ive always used Rangers every time, even in the pen and paper games. Don't know why but that character always appealed to me the most. Good fighting balance, weapon skills, great armor choices, SOME stealth/tracking skills. Think my last couple of runs were with the Archer kit if I didn't just make a plain vanilla one. My character always ends up being one of the toughest all around. If I ever did multi-classes I kept that for the NPCs (like Imoen and the mage/thief thing). That way I keep leveling faster since me, Minsc and Khalid are usually on the front lines doing most of the dirty work.

    tbone1Aerakar
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889
    jsaving said:

    Multi should be the nearly automatic choice for fighter/clerics in my view. The dual versus multi decision is debatable for mages because they get their best spells so late in the game and have so many spells that need a high caster level to be effective (say, horrid wilting). Clerics on the other hand get their best spells fairly early in the game and have a great selection of spells that aren't affected by caster level (say, harm) which means they don't lose much casting power when they multiclass. Offsetting that relatively small casting loss is a nice increase in attacks per round and eventual access to fighter HLAs which is a massive power boost at high levels. Don't get me wrong, dualed fighter/clerics are among the strongest characters in the game but I would argue multiclass fighter/clerics are stronger (and multiclass ranger/clerics stronger still).

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but I once went through BG2/ToB as a mage/thief with Anomen and Imoen. While the multi is more powerful, I find the dual more fun, for some reason that I can't explain.


  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    I'm starting to think I might get into the idea of doing a dual/multi class of some kind. For example, my PC starts as a fighter in BG because he's a bit lazy with hitting the books etc. and plays through the BG1 story mostly that way. Then by the time BG2 kicks in and they are captured by a super powered mage, he realises the importance of those lessons that he should have paid attention to and starts to have a change of heart with a slightly later in life career change (this actually mirrors my life somewhat so I can tooootally relate!) applying his considerable (and terribly convenient) natural intelligence/wisdom into a more magical direction. This would of course, either go into being a cleric (I guess from a berserker or maybe even a ranger if I embrace the idea of the PC's heart being filled with wanderlust), embracing and setting loose his divine origins, or going arcane in honour of Gorion and in direct competition with Irenicus (from a kensai).

    The other option would be a fighter/thief, fighter/mage or fighter/cleric multi. This one could be a result of Gorion and the Candlekeep guards etc. training the PC up to be able to handle a variety of situations, preparing for a life on the road, knowing that fateful day would eventually come. Could maybe have shown an affinity with being a bit sneaky and dextrous, tinkering with things, a dedicated interest in studying, or a natural inclination (shock horror) towards a connection to the gods.

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 486
    Welcome to the wonderful world of BG2 and more importantly restart-itis! There's so many wonderful potential builds, and everyone ends up with a preferred class or set of classes. No class is truly unviable, though some are harder than others. In the end, just play what piques your interest. Until it doesn't, and join the rest of us in our inability to stop creating new characters. I personally enjoy Bards and weird Duals.

    Also, to the above discussion about F/C duals and multis... Saying the multi is only slightly behind is... a bit disingenuous. While you are always only 1 level below from levels 1-10 (so a Cleric would be level 10 at the same time a F/C is level 9 Cleric), you then start trading at a 2 for 1 rate. A F/C dualling at level 9 hits his first level 7 Cleric spell at 1.7m experience: the F/C multi hits it at 2.7m. The Dual gets to the level 15 Animate Dead spike at 1.82m, and the multi hits it at the same time as his first HLAs come online. By 3m experience, the F/C dual is at max caster level, while the multi doesn't get there until 5.4m experience. Turn Undead is almost utterly useless for the multi as well, as the Dual allows a sufficiently leveled Cleric to destroy Vampires and at some point Liches as well, if I recall my end-game Anomen correctly.

    While I agree that the F/C Multi is probably better at the final fight... there's a lot of gameplay between SoA and there to take into account.

    tbone1Aerakar
  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 26
    Ok just to refresh my horribly old memory.. Dual vs Multi-Class?? Is a dual where a character shuts off one class, and then levels strictly in another (and can only switch back when he's reached his first classes level), and a multi-class is one that splits experience between multiple classes at the same time?

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,302
    edited May 5
    @Monotremata Pretty much.

    @Neverused The F/C can detroy vampires with turn undead as well. Its only the liches that they miss out on.

    Monotremata
  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    Neverused said:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of BG2 and more importantly restart-itis! There's so many wonderful potential builds, and everyone ends up with a preferred class or set of classes. No class is truly unviable, though some are harder than others. In the end, just play what piques your interest. Until it doesn't, and join the rest of us in our inability to stop creating new characters. I personally enjoy Bards and weird Duals.

    Also, to the above discussion about F/C duals and multis... Saying the multi is only slightly behind is... a bit disingenuous. While you are always only 1 level below from levels 1-10 (so a Cleric would be level 10 at the same time a F/C is level 9 Cleric), you then start trading at a 2 for 1 rate. A F/C dualling at level 9 hits his first level 7 Cleric spell at 1.7m experience: the F/C multi hits it at 2.7m. The Dual gets to the level 15 Animate Dead spike at 1.82m, and the multi hits it at the same time as his first HLAs come online. By 3m experience, the F/C dual is at max caster level, while the multi doesn't get there until 5.4m experience. Turn Undead is almost utterly useless for the multi as well, as the Dual allows a sufficiently leveled Cleric to destroy Vampires and at some point Liches as well, if I recall my end-game Anomen correctly.

    While I agree that the F/C Multi is probably better at the final fight... there's a lot of gameplay between SoA and there to take into account.

    Haha yeah I did have the same problem back when I used to play SoA a lot and it has since spread into every RPG I've ever played! I was also recently suffering through this process with Dragon Age and Pillars of Eternity, (the latter of which I've barely touched yet).

    I think I'm leaning towards the dual, mainly for the way it'll play out over the whole series. It'll just be a fighter for BG1 which I'm fine with, and I'm just getting more into the BG2 career change idea more when I think about it.

    In practical terms it seems like the choice is either the dual being a better caster and the multi being a better fighter then? The multi getting all HLAs while the dual is stuck with the cleric's?

    Now what about the kensai mage dual? Do they get right up to level 9 casting with the mage HLAs etc? And would this kind of play like a character that has lots of damage spells and can then buff up and wade into melee? Or time stop and go hack some baddies up for example? That could be fun...

    Neverused
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 486

    Haha yeah I did have the same problem back when I used to play SoA a lot and it has since spread into every RPG I've ever played! I was also recently suffering through this process with Dragon Age and Pillars of Eternity, (the latter of which I've barely touched yet).

    I think I'm leaning towards the dual, mainly for the way it'll play out over the whole series. It'll just be a fighter for BG1 which I'm fine with, and I'm just getting more into the BG2 career change idea more when I think about it.

    In practical terms it seems like the choice is either the dual being a better caster and the multi being a better fighter then? The multi getting all HLAs while the dual is stuck with the cleric's?

    Now what about the kensai mage dual? Do they get right up to level 9 casting with the mage HLAs etc? And would this kind of play like a character that has lots of damage spells and can then buff up and wade into melee? Or time stop and go hack some baddies up for example? That could be fun...

    Yep, you nailed it right on the head. There's a couple break points where one overtakes the other, and I'll try to list the experience:
    From 0 EXP to 250k experience, the Multi is obviously ahead in Cleric casting by 8 levels. Pure Fighter is probably doing a bit more damage when fully buffed, otherwise the Multi is way ahead of the dual. Fighter duals at 250k exp, and is a level 1 Cleric.
    From 250k to 500k experience, the Dual quickly catches back up in Cleric levels. At 500k, both are 9/9, though the Dual hasn't reclaimed the inactive levels yet.
    At 700k experience, the Dual has its first lead: 9/10 versus 9/9, and the Dual has Grandmastery to the Multi's specialization. It never lets go of the Cleric advantage, so just going to focus on the Fighter differences now.
    2.5m experience. The Multi hits level 13 Fighter, and ties up the APR. THAC0 is still similar due to Grandmastery. Differences start to become more obvious, as the Multi is at 13/13 (almost 13/14 for what it's worth), and the dual is 9/18.
    3m experience. HLAs come up, and now the Multi is easily the better Fighter now. Well, outside of a mage's intervention: Whirlwind gets 10 APR, but the Dual gets 7 APR under improved haste, or 9 APR if he's dual wielding. Orrrr just uses Energy Blades and gets 9 APR anyways. Critical Hit, Smite and others pull the multi far ahead though.
    3m - 8m: Multi's probably ahead in the Fighter department on all counts, while the Dual's far ahead in the Cleric department.

    So the dual's competitive or ahead of the multi in terms of fighting capability until 3m, and then falls behind permanently, but takes the Cleric lead at 700k and never lets it go.

    I'm not experienced with Kensage, so I'll let someone else answer that.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,796
    edited May 5
    Just a word of caution.

    For dualing, the higher the dual the longer it takes to regain the inactive class. For experienced players it seems this doesn't bother them too much, but OMG is it a slog.

    I think there is a tendency to sacrifice the enjoyment of the mid game for that promise of incredibly high power end game. But IMO, the end game with a party is OP anyway if you have done everything.
    It's the "enjoyment" part I would try and maximise.

    Especially when you are making a radical dual, say fighter/mage. You get used to being a good fighter, it's very frustrating to be so long without the first class, you start to feel a bit of a failure or as if you aren't getting anywhere.

    What I'm suggesting is don't do the dual at too high a level.

    ThacoBelltbone1bretAerakar
  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    Ok so I made a berserker that I'm going to play BG1 with then dual to cleric at level 9 in BG2. Now I would like a little more advice/memory refreshing if people are still feeling helpful :)

    I'm just starting out and trying to remember lots of bits and pieces of info and things I can get etc. like the ring outside of the Friendly Arm Inn and I seem to remember some warhammer you can grab in one of the zones? Is this still there? Was it ever there or am I inventing memories? Haha. Also are there any other useful items etc and quests I could easily miss but might want to do? (not including TotSC because I never played that one and want to play it blind the first time).

    Thanks for all the help so far!

  • bretbret Member Posts: 16
    There are a number of thorough walkthroughs for BG content. Popular ones include Dan Simpson's FAQ/Walkthrough, the GameBanshee.com BGEE walkthrough, and the Dudleyville BG Walkthrough.

    The Baldur's Gate Wiki is also worth a mention.

    Aerakar
  • ChillyBreezeChillyBreeze Member Posts: 11
    bret said:

    There are a number of thorough walkthroughs for BG content. Popular ones include Dan Simpson's FAQ/Walkthrough, the GameBanshee.com BGEE walkthrough, and the Dudleyville BG Walkthrough.

    The Baldur's Gate Wiki is also worth a mention.

    Perfect, thank you!

  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 26
    I usually use the GameBanshee one, its pretty linear and gets the job done. I still have the Brady Games "Official Strategy Guide" for it, and the way its written completely threw me off when I started the EE version after not having played it for like 10 years heh.

  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 575

    I usually use the GameBanshee one, its pretty linear and gets the job done. I still have the Brady Games "Official Strategy Guide" for it, and the way its written completely threw me off when I started the EE version after not having played it for like 10 years heh.

    Is that the magazine style guide with lots of pictures? I think I still have both of those somewhere for SoA and ToB and at one point used them until they almost fell apart. Still useful, but lots of dated info after so long.

  • MonotremataMonotremata Member Posts: 26
    Aerakar said:


    Is that the magazine style guide with lots of pictures? I think I still have both of those somewhere for SoA and ToB and at one point used them until they almost fell apart. Still useful, but lots of dated info after so long.

    Yeah its broken into several sections. The beginning is a run down of the game, combat tactics, the spells, etc. The second section is basically a walkthrough of the game but its told in journal entries (it reminds me of the old Book of Ultima walkthroughs), and theres a section after that called subplots, that tells you where everything else is, but its not really in any order at all. You can follow the journal/walkthrough but it takes you right through the game and you miss everything aside from the main quest. But then if you just wing it and use the subplot section while doing the main game, you end up like me lost and running around trying to finish all this side stuff and forgetting what you're supposed to actually be doing haha. Theres a section at the end that covers the map and all the areas of the world, and that tells you what order to visit things in as well. I still have the big Versus complete guide for BG2 as well

    ThacoBellAerakar
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,302
    @Monotremata I have that versus book guide too, its super good.

    Aerakar
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