Baldur’s Gate 2: Modifying NPCs to Be More Interesting

I heard there’s a program that allows you to modify NPCs a bit. The main benefit is to give the NPCs a little more variety and hopefully make them more appealing (since many have either poor stats or just offer nothing in terms of their classes). So here’s some ideas in terms of making the NPCs more interesting with regards to classes:

  • Sarevok – Change him from a raw fighter class to either a Berserker or Wizard Slayer. Since Korgan Bloodaxe is already a Berserker, we can switch things up a bit for Sarevok by immediately dual classing him to a Berserker/Mage or perhaps a Wizard Slayer/Thief. Alternatively, we could pump up his Wisdom to 16+ and have him dual class as a Berserker/Cleric or Wizard Slayer/Cleric.
  • Imoen –  Honestly, I would love to change her race to either a half-elf or raise her thief level to something a bit higher and perhaps even add something like a Swashbuckler to give her more fighting capabilities. In that way, she’ll be more useful overall.
  • Minsc – Minsc, along with Sarevok and Keldorn are somewhat interchangeable. They’re essentially fighters wielding heavy two-handers. In Minsc’s case, being a pure ranger just doesn’t seem to be compelling enough to keep around. I think you could make him stand out a bit more by converting him into an Archer. Elven Archers really are the best in this role but at least making him into an Archer gives him more specialization.
  • Jaheira – She’s perfect as is. Leave her alone.
  • Aerie – Aerie can have a lot of potential without modification. But she’s really weak as a fighter. While there are items to boost her weaker attributes, one thing you could do is pump up her strength and constitution a little then triple class her into a fighter/cleric/mage. The primary benefit here is to give her more hit points from her fighter class and allow her some weapon specialization (say with a Mace, Staff and/or Sling). She still will be vulnerable due to not being able to use armor when casting Mage spells but she won’t be as weak as before. Also, she has a little more flavor in this manner, despite leveling much slower going forward.
  • Nalia – Like Imoen, Nalia is a very frustrating character in that she’s a weak thief meant to get players through the bare minimal traps and locks. However, if people do plan to retain her alongside Imoen, then she becomes redundant in function. So if you really want to keep both Imoen and Nalia, you need to segregate their functions by switching up the thieving portion. Since I have Imoen as a Swashbuckler, I would make Nalia into a Bounty Hunter. I realize that Yoshimo also fulfills this role, but we all know what happens to Yoshimo.
  • Anomen – For whatever reason, they decided to give Anomen the dual class of fighter/cleric when they probably should’ve made him either into a cavalier or undead hunter. His story arc really would’ve made more sense if they started him as a pure paladin that devolved either into a cavalier or black guard depending on the outcome of his trial. From a role playing point of view, there really isn’t much point in swapping out his fighter aspect into a kit since none of the kits really fit his personality. So you’re kinda trapped with him.
  • Korgan – I get how they made him into a berserker to make him more interesting as a dwarf. However, I think he would’ve been better off as a fighter/thief. Single class demi-humans don’t really work well outside of something like a bard or archer.
  • Viconia – This is one character I definitely would multi-class. One idea is to make her a thief/cleric, although I don’t think elves can multi-class into thief/clerics. But just looking at her attributes, it would make sense without any further modification. Another option is to change her into a fighter/cleric or even fighter/cleric/mage. Essentially, you’re going to replace either Anomen and/or Aerie for the cleric role in evil aligned parties. So moving her in either direction would make her infinitely more appealing in the long term (but you would have to provide her with some more strength and constitution to get any bonus experience).
  • Jan Jansen – Believe it or not, I think he’s fine where’s at. I wish you could make gnomes into fighter/illusionist/thieves. But since that isn’t possible, then illusionist/thieves work out reasonably well. His real purpose is to allow neutral and evil parties a decent thief. If anything he does add character to a party.
  • Valygar – One of the most useless NPCs around. You lose armor in favor of what probably should be better off as some form of thief by taking a Stalker. The only two useful ranger possibilities are half-elf ranger/clerics or elven archers. I suppose with the Enhanced Edition you could dual class him into a cleric but you’ll lose any ability to use edged weapons (namely his family weapon) and your armor becomes limited. An alternative thing to do is just convert him into a kensai/mage or kensai/thief.
  • Keldorn – Again, perfectly fine as is.
  • Haer Dalis’ – Any form of a bard class is pretty useless. They’re too limited in combat, magic and thievery. So you’re better off spending time with other NPCs.
  • Edwin – While he can become the most powerful pure mage in the party, the bottom line is that magic gets royally screwed as virtually everything has far too much magic resistance. I suppose you could make Edwin slightly more interesting by swapping his class into a Dragon Disciple. If anything, he’ll get more hit points and a few other defensive abilities as well as the breath attack. But I would definitely not leave him as a conjurer.
  • Cernd – Ick. Where can I barf? Here is a perfect example of a completely wasted NPC character. Shapeshifters are useless except in one instance where you challenge the high Druid. But Jaheira can also be used for that spot (if you haven’t pissed her off). Outside of dealing with his NPC quests, Cernd is best off forgotten.
  • Mazzy – Essentially, she’s a halfling paladin. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a halfling paladin. If there was one available, then she ought to be an undead hunter as her focus is on the quest to defeat the Shade Lord. I dislike the idea of modifying her into a paladin, but at least make her either into a cleric or thief multi-class. There’s really no good that can come out of using her.
  • Yoshimo – The only value Yoshimo brings is his Black Heart for the experience. Otherwise, you’re better pretending he doesn’t exist.

There are several other new NPCs but I’m trying to avoid talking about them since they’ve only been added in the Enhanced Edition. For the most part, I wanted to focus on the core Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal sections in my discussion of NPC class changes.

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