And then my third, Erhaldric. The educational privileges granted to Erhaldric in Candlekeep do not seize hold of his attention altogether. It is the people of the keep that intrigue him. He observes their behaviour and considers their desires. Are they not all part of a wider world? Erhaldric calmly deviates from the scholastic world as he nears his adulthood, eventually to become acknowledged as a Druid by the Gods of Nature - it is a path that Gorion does not oppose.
When Gorion dies, Erhaldric struggles to comprehend what has fuelled the murder. His powers of perception are turned inward: what role does he play in the larger scheme? More than only a servant of Nature, it would appear. But he is an Avenger, and Nature has supplied him with the tools to take vengeance. He enlists aid from an eclectic combination of adventurers, forever incorporating new perspectives into his life experience. Is it this expanding self-philosophy that awakens dormant powers in him which arrive through cryptic dreams?
The Balance is served in Cloakwood. Baldur's Gate is another place entirely. The politics of the city does not interest Erhaldric - politics is a confused, miscommunicating orgy of the perspectives of men, and Sarevok has taken advantage of that. Though in this game Sarevok is the mightier, and the Avenger's reputation suffers in the eye of the people, The Iron Throne cannot suppress that which Nature itself has ordained. Gorion's redemption is inevitable in the final confrontation, as Erhaldric's might and the collected resolve of his allies lays low the threat once posed by Sarevok.
And this was my second, Tarric. For lack of knowing otherwise, most assumed that Tarric's eccentricities sprang from the conflict of man and Elf that shone in every aspect of his behaviour and features. Wilder than befits a child in Candlekeep, Tarric was quickly dismissed from studying the scrolls of his foster father. Physical labour occupied much of Tarric's time in his youth.
Tarric grows angry at the unjust death of Gorion upon their departure from Candlekeep. It is instinct, not intelligence, that pushes Tarric forward on his quest. He dual-wields his wrath with short sword and axe, cutting down those who oppose him with violence - who was he to provoke their greed and malice? Dreams conspire in his mind: could it be a message from the Elves? The party that surrounds Tarric is one composed of fearless warriors whom he can respect, and those who speak with poetry: these latter placate and guide him in times of rage, and for their sophisticated diplomacy he harbours a different kind of respect than that extended to those that challenge his supremacy in combat.
Leaving the leaders of The Iron Throne bloody upon the floor of Candlekeep's libraries, Tarric drives forward in a rage to meet Sarevok. The misconceptions of the populace do not deter him. In failing to pander to their concerns or to evade their questions, the reputation of the Barbarian plummets whilst his quest for righteous retribution continues. Though the world does not acknowledge him as heroic, Tarric's companions know his actions have ultimately done good as they assist him in meeting his brother, Sarevok, who eventually falls in the face of Tarric's anger.
My first character (on this laptop) was Caitlyn. Very much the product of her upbringing, Caitlyn is a fiercely intelligent and pragmatic young woman. The lessons taught to her by Gorion and her access to knowledge in Candlekeep allowed her to excel from early adolescence as a Mage. Her precocious habits would eventually provoke her to disdain some of her less ambitious peers.
Caitlyn is not daunted by Gorion's death upon leaving Candlekeep: she is too clever to ever be helpless. She quickly applies her mental acuity to create a satisfactory situation for herself and turns her attention towards the troubling circumstances surrounding Naskhel. Soon enough the young Mage has cherry picked companions from among the most competent that she meets and must turn their efforts towards thwarting The Iron Throne and comprehending the strange dreams which entitle her to powers beyond those she earns through logical mental assertion.
As magic capable of challenging her expanding mind becomes further and further out of reach - and the attempts on her life continue to intensify in difficulty - Caitlyn becomes impatient. How tedious it is to limit one's genius by the availability of the resources afforded by luck. The Bhaalspawn turns her focus towards honing her other skills, forever willing to master what is necessary to remain self-sufficient. As ever, Caitlyn's hard work rewards her, and through the taciturn co-ordination of the resources she has amassed, the young Mage-turned-Thief dismantles The Iron Throne and slays Sarevok.
I should really know this by now given the fact that I have been on the forum for years and played Baldur's Gate for three times as many years as that, but I was reading a few comments recently about Bards being overpowered. Really? I have never played a Bard, and although I am a great fan of Haer'Dalis and have used Garrick and Eldoth before in Baldur's Gate, I did not see any of them outperforming my other party members. None of them have been unhelpful for my party, of course, but perhaps I neglected to micromanage them for maximum value.
If I were to play a Bard, or Blade (the other two kits do not appeal to me), how might I make them most effective? Are there options for a ranged Bard as well as a melee Bard? I'm not much of a powergamer, but I'd like to hear all and every strategy you're willing to provide and I can filter as necessary. In my playthroughs I always take the maximum number of party members, and rarely use the same combination of 5 twice.