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BG II: What makes a good first character

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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I'm playing Baldur Gate II for the first time. I've played icendale I/2 and nwn series so now that I'm drifting aimlessly in space (unreal) I think I'll give BG 2 a shot. I purchased the collection edition (includes expansion) and am about to start. In icendale I mostly went with fighter/thief, cleric or sorcerer.

BG II seems quite a bit more complicated esp with all the kits. What makes a good solid but safe character for first time through the game (I was thinking Undead Slayer, Priest of Lathander, Berserker, or sorcerer.

Reasoning you need chrismas so paladin or sorcerer are good; Berserker are warrios with a plus. If I'm a priest I can save everyone :)

I prefer to play chaotic good but for paladin i would have to be lawful :(

Any comments or suggestions ?
 

Shadowknight

Diamond Member
May 4, 2001
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My personal preferencec was to play as a mage, but it ensure being a combat monster, I created the character as a fighter (thus getting benefits such as a better con bonus, combat skills, and better strength) and dual-classed to mage. While you wait for your abilities to come back, you just hang in the back and let the rest of the party slaughter everything. Once you get your fighter levels back, you can wear a helmet, shield, and a regular sword while still being able to cast spells.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
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I prefer a sorcerer myself. Wizards / Sorcerers kick ass in BG2 and are critical in many fights.


Since you are coming from IWD, be prepared for a careful selection of party members, they all have personalities.


(a description of personalities of certain NPCs below)
Minsc (ranger) and Jan Jansen (thief / mage) will keep you laughing until the end of the game. Edwin (mage / conjurer) is your typical Anandtech Off-topic ego-inflated smart ass.

Ultra minor spoiler below regarding an item:
If you are a paladin (or have one) in your group, you get to use the best sword in the game (to my knowledge), which is paladin only.
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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?? How do you get your fighter levels back ??? It sounds like you went level 1 fighter level 2-19 mage ??
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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Also - what alignment. Right now I'm leaning towards a chaotic good berserker ...
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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Sigh. Berserker or sorccerer hum... sigh. Does it matter that since this is the 'collection' i'll probably play through throne of baal - I.e, which character tends to also be useable in the next part ? I don't really want to dual class (other than the 1-x or 50:50 multiclass of warrior/thief). At least in icdendale and nwn i never liked the concept much.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
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Originally posted by: you2
Also - what alignment?
Class restrictions & party morale are your primary concern, party members at extremes will leave you if your reputation gets extremely high or low. High reputation leads to lower prices and dialog choices can vary with alignment.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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Human Mage with fighter skills powergaming tip:

BG II gives you exp for learning spells. So if you hang on to at least one of every spell scroll you find and put some gold into buying more, you can quickly level up when you want to switch classes from fighter to mage.

You might be better off just going with an elf mage though, since you get bows and longsword. High Dex will help both your armor class and bow to-hit.
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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So you think chaotic good elf mage is a good choice and reasonable as oppose to dwarf berserker or gnome sorcerer ?
 
Oct 30, 2004
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Is dual class for your PC (or any of the characters) really such a good idea? After all, the XP that you'll get in the game is limited, so you have to choose wisely. I've always enjoyed playing a single class fighter, though I've never gone all the way through Throne of Bhaal.

Have fun, it's an awesome game and definitely one of the best RPGs of all time. I wish we could get a real BG III type game using the Infinity engine.

 

s44

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 2006
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Originally posted by: WhipperSnapper

Is dual class for your PC (or any of the characters) really such a good idea? After all, the XP that you'll get in the game is limited, so you have to choose wisely.
Yes. Because of the XP tables of 2nd edition D&D, you can fit a bunch of early levels into the "leftover" xp you'd have at the end between levels and the level cap. I believe 7 levels of most classes are essentially free by endgame.

Anyway, the most powerful classes are probably Sorcerer and Ranger/Cleric (either dual or multi, though I suggest multi) though Monks get seriously cheesy by the end too. I dunno if you're familiar enough with the Infinity Engine's quirks to select the best Sorcerer spells on a first playthrough, though. Ranger/Cleric, due to one of these quirks, gets full access to all divine spells, and is insanely powerful.

Fighter/Thief is a good pick, too, though. So if you've liked that, go for it. Or try Kensai->Thief, Kensai->Mage, Berserker->Cleric, F/M, or F/M/T...
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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Ok. I made a decision. I decided human berserker but will dual class to mage. One question:

What level should I switch to mage ? (7? 6?)
 

Ika

Lifer
Mar 22, 2006
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Originally posted by: you2
Ok. I made a decision. I decided human berserker but will dual class to mage. One question:

What level should I switch to mage ? (7? 6?)
In BG2 you don't start off at level 1; you begin somewheres around level 7, I believe. In that case, dual-classing to mage immediately will let you fully harness your magic by the end of the game.

Also, on quickly gaining levels: the easiest way to do that as a mage is to kick everyone out of your party (but keep them nearby so you can re-recruit them), so that you're alone. Once you're alone, you can start learning spells by scribing spell scrolls. It's a very fast way to get past the first crappy levels as a mage.
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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Well - I have the collection so i will likley play TOB after shadow. Should I still switch at level 7 ?
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
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Originally posted by: you2
I liked to see an icendale 3 using the nwn 2 engine :)
Plenty of free NWN(1&2) mods which offer combat orientated modules with a decent story.
 

aCynic2

Senior member
Apr 28, 2007
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I really depends on you. I would also recommend starting with BGI first because that game provides some perma effects ((tomes of ability increase) that you can carry onto BGII.

However, barring that fighter type are always quite active, and it seems to me the enounters happen too close to the party for a lot of the good area of effect spells.

When I played it, I chose a ranger, which got the dual wield bonus and cerebus. Keep in mind, Imoen is a mage/thief, Jaheira is a fighter/druid and Minsc is a ranger (in case you take any of these NPCs with you and I'd recommend them).

A lot of things can happen outside, but there is a lot of dungeon crawls too.

If you can roll the scores, a ranger/cleric is one of the most powerful dual/multi class you can get.
 

Shadowknight

Diamond Member
May 4, 2001
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Originally posted by: you2
?? How do you get your fighter levels back ??? It sounds like you went level 1 fighter level 2-19 mage ??
When you dual-class, your first class gets "turned off". You keep the hit points, but you lose access to the THACO, ability to use armor and all weapons. Essentially, you're a normal, lowly, crappy wizard with a bunch of hit points. So when you go to wizard, you have to allocate a single proficiency point to one weapon type/style, and it can only be to weapons a mage may use. After your 2nd class is one level past your original class (example: Fighter 6/Wizard 7) you regain access to your higher THACO (if applicable), ability to use all armor and weapons. So while your fighter may be a grandmaster in long sword, a mage can't use one at all. But once you "re-activate" your fighter class, you can wield a longsword again at grandmaster level.

It's a bit trickier with Clerics and druids, as you are still liable for restrictions for your old/current class. So if you dual to cleric from fighter, if you had initially blown all your proficiencies on long sword grand-mastery when you rolled up your fighter? Useless. You CAN'T wield a sword as a cleric. Now, if you wanted to make a dual fighter/cleric, then you'd want to spend all your fighter proficiencies on weapons a cleric could use (ex: grandmastery in maces, flails, slings) and would be a badass once you get your levels back.

What I like about dual-classing is that as long as you do it relatively early in BG2, you catch back up to the party fairly quickly, and advance in power as quickly as a single class character. Multi-class characters have their experience split between two or three classes at the same time. You get waaaaaaaaay behind everyone else in levels as time passes, because you have to advance in EACH class your character possesses. That, and you get less hit points compared to a straight class.

NOTE: Also, if you have the TOB collection, you can play the Watcher's Keep section in BG2 or in TOB. It's the only area accessible by both games. "TOB takes place on another continent, I think.) I wouldn't recommend it for a lower-level party, but it has a lot of goodies and xp.
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
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Yea I have TOB collection. You mean I just escaped from the dungeons. You mean I should head ot watcher's keep fairly soon ? Hum. Still a berserker. But one day I'll switch to mage.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
79,622
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A BG2 thread? And I missed it?
SHAME!
Originally posted by: you2
Would dwarf berserker be ok for first play ?
Yes.
As with many RPG's, if you arent familiar with the system a fighter is usually a good first choice. A berserker is nice for a few reasons.
There are a handful of mega-liches in the game that can cast imprisonment on you about a hundred times before running out.
Imprisonment is permanent unless you have a spell or scroll of Freedom handy. If your main character gets hit with it, AUTOMATIC game over. (Regardless if you have Freedom handy.)

For some reason, the Berserkers Berserk ability not only protects you from charm and such, but also Maze and Imprisonment. If you see a mega-lich you can activate that ability and hack away at him with impunity. Use weapons that have a high hit bonus and maybe do extra damage against undead. (Although he's evil and evil people cant use Azure Edge, an axe which has an insta-kill ability versus Undead.) BUT, there is a really excellent Axe in the lower levels of Watchers Keep, so he can be very useful to you.

NOTE: Another way to deal with them is use a Spell Immunity on yourself with protection against the school Imprisonment uses (I think its Abjuration). Then you can fight a demi-lich using anybody.

There are only a couple of them in the game but that super-quick, unlimited Imprisonment ability is REALLY annoying.

Please also note, you do find a Dwarf Berserker in the game: Korgan (at Copper Coronet). And he has a Grand Mastery in Axe when you get him. If you get him right away and keep him all the time, he will have enough levels to get a 2nd Grand Mastery.


TOTALLY UNRELATED NOTE:
I used the huge BG2 Tweak Pack and am having all kinds of fun with my half-elf Mage/Cleric. I can do each and all of the Stronghold quests, have unlimited items in stacks, and about 30 other cool things.

EDIT 2:
Shadowknight brought up a good point which is well known in the AD&D and D&D world.
If you want a basic mage but dont want him getting his ass kicked all the time, start off as a fighter. Dual-class immediately and go to Mage. In BG2 you will probably have a level 7 fighter and level 30 Mage by the end of the game. Super good wizard powers, but not a wimp either.

In D&D 3rd Edition (Neverwinter Nights 2) its pretty similar. Start with a Fighter, then after that put all your levels into Wizard. By the end of the game you will have a very strong magic user (level 19) and the extra weapon and armor proficiencies and HP from the level 1 fighter will help you throughout the game. Barbarian and Ranger also make decent starting classes. If you could get the Barbarians damage reduction at a low level it would be awesome. But that doesnt come until later and you will probably end up with a Barbarian7/Mage13, which doesnt excel at either job. By the end of the game you wont be terribly useful.
 

Shadowknight

Diamond Member
May 4, 2001
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Originally posted by: you2
Yea I have TOB collection. You mean I just escaped from the dungeons. You mean I should head ot watcher's keep fairly soon ? Hum. Still a berserker. But one day I'll switch to mage.
No, in BG2, a low-level party might be considered LEVEL 10. Just be aware that it is a VERY tough dungeon. You CAN head there if you want to, just be aware you'll get raped pretty easily. Gain a couple of level and get some decent spells for your mages first.

Oh, and there are lots of bugs in the game, so, you might have a magic weapon that's supposed to do X, but they forgot to implement it correctly. Go here and download the user made fixpack for Throne of Bhall http://www.baldurdash.org/

EDIT: And one more thing, if you run into a demi-lich (not lich, DEMI-LICH) they require +4 weapons or greater to hit. So be aware that your party might be ineffective. But there's a +4 staff you can buy early on, a dwarven berserker you can team up with (who's immune to imprisonment when you use the enrage ability) and a helmet (Vhailor's helm) you can buy in Waukeen's Promenade that allows non-fighters to cast simulacreum. The duplicate? Has copies of all of your equipment. So Korgan with simulacream, the staff, and buffing spells from priests can bust some **** up, in other words.
 

Dethfrumbelo

Golden Member
Nov 16, 2004
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Dual-class berserker->cleric or kensai->mage are probably the most powerful characters you can create.

Berserker->Clerics can buff themselves to insane levels using draw upon holy might, blade barrier/globe of blades, etc.
 

aCynic2

Senior member
Apr 28, 2007
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Originally posted by: shortylickens
For some reason, the Berserkers Berserk ability not only protects you from charm and such, but also Maze and Imprisonment. If you see a mega-lich you can activate that ability and hack away at him with impunity. Use weapons that have a high hit bonus and maybe do extra damage against undead. (Although he's evil and evil people cant use Azure Edge, an axe which has an insta-kill ability versus Undead.)
Get the mace of disruption, and get it ramped up. Minsc + improved MoD = insta-death to Kangaxx (if you find him).

NOTE: Another way to deal with them is use a Spell Immunity on yourself with protection against the school Imprisonment uses (I think its Abjuration). Then you can fight a demi-lich using anybody.
Also, the protection of magic scrolls help, but there is only two in the entire BGII game, so use the wisely. I arrange to use one for the Twisted Rune and Kangaxx.


 

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