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Baldur’s Gate 2: More Character Mod’ing with EE Keeper

So once again, I decided to try some hacks with EE Keeper. Now, previously, I was able to change the NPCs into classes that were far more interesting than what they were provided. There wasn’t any technical penalties thus far in the game. The next question is whether I could try a few other combinations, especially adding a Kit to a multi-class?

The short and sweet answer is: Yes, you can add a Kit to a multi-class. As far as I can tell, you’re only allowed to provide one additional Kit. Unfortunately, there were a few issues that cropped up when I gave this a try. First, just adding a Kit to a character does not automatically apply all of the Kit’s innate abilities. In order to fix this, you must go to the tab labeled “Innate.” At the bottom, there’s a button with the label “Kit” that you need to click. From there, a dialog box will appear where you select the Kit you’re adding and click on “Ok” so that the related abilities will be inserted.

Doing this will allow the program to calculate roughly the correct abilities for that Kit. You might have to experiment a little if you want to get something true to the usage number. I suppose even without adding a Kit from the “Characteristics” tab, you can still apply the Kit abilities from the Innate tab (I haven’t tried this yet). In fact, by the looks of the Innate tab, you can further augment your character with any available spell. But just for the Kit portion, I would keep it simple for now just to allow the program to scale the Kit as you level.

One issue I did encounter was when I changed Minsc from a Ranger to a half-elf Ranger/Cleric. EE Keeper does not automatically add all the relevant Cleric/Druid spells so you must manually add each spell. That can be a real pain, especially considering that there’s some odd spells that are classified under Class but are missing information. For instance, there’s three variations of Silence 15′ Radius where the first one listed has a blank description. You can use a filter to narrow down the spells, but it’s still an overwhelming amount.

Another minor complaint I have is that if you triple class or multi-class where you add (not just change) a class, you have to adjust the levels manually. I’m sure there’s a way to figure it out but I can’t see the proper method for handling this. I know there’s a “Recalculate Stats” button on the left side under the character portrait, but I think that mostly applies to things like hit point adjustments and thieving abilities from constitution and dexterity. I don’t know how that works with experience points adjustments.

In my case, it was a minor pain just because I didn’t know how where a few of the NPCs needed to be XP-wise after adjusting their levels. The rule I use is just to use the highest level as the base and apply it to the added class levels. That will mean you’ll require quite a bit more experience but that’s easier than trying to guess. For dual classes, it can be a little trickier since you need to be careful not to push a class too high and exceed the XP cap. A good example is if you want to have a thief get the Use Any Item ability and dual class the character with a mage. You might cap out as a dual class before you can get the mage class legitimately.

Another weird bit is assigning weapon proficiency slots. There’s no real limit to how many times you can specialize into a weapon slot (well at least up until 5). So even with a multi-class fighter, you can put up to 5 specializations into a weapon. Now, on the plus side that means, you can max out on everything. The downside is that there’s no real way to calculate how many slots you ought to have. So if you want a somewhat balanced game, you’ll have to manually figure that portion out. Either way, it does provide a great deal of flexibility.

In terms of multi-class combinations, you’re still limited to what’s available in the system. In short, fighter/mage/thief, ranger/cleric, thief/illusionist, etc. So you still cannot have a paladin/mage for example. But at least you can do Kits, which are normally prohibited from multi-classes (outside of illusionist). I suppose if you want to simulate having oddball multi-class combinations, you can add abilities through the Innate tab. I don’t know if they’ll scale with levels and I’m uncertain whether or not having more abilities will cause the game to bug out. This might be something I experiment with in the future.

Now, for the fun stuff. Here’s a few modifications I’ve been working on with NPCs:

  • Jaheira Half-Elven Berserker/Druid – The Berserker aspect compliments Jaheira’s fiery temper but the big thing is having someone other than Korgan who can enrage and become immune against demi-liches.
  • Minsc Half-Elf Ranger/Cleric – Normally, Minsc works best as a 2H Sword wielder and perhaps an archer as a pure ranger. I generally give him Lilarcor to make him immune to mind controlling effects. So obviously, you’ll lose that advantage. Here, you go completely blunt and focus on heavy dual wielding action. You do gain druidic spells but you won’t be a real substitute as a druid, especially when it comes to the situation with Trademeet and the stronghold quests.
  • Imoen Elven Kensai/Mage/Thief – Kensai/Mages are one of the most popular and ferocious combinations out there, but heavily suffer when it comes to gear as a result of the Kensai limiting armor. But if you add a thief class, you can nullify the armor restrictions once you obtain the “Use Any Item” (in theory). I still need to try this out to verify it, but the idea is damn alluring. Armor clad, spell wielding, backstabbing Kensai? Hell yeah!
  • Aerie Elven Berserker/Mage/Cleric – Wizard Slayers and Kensai kits won’t work well with a mage/cleric combination. But Berserkers are a cool pairing. Like Jaheira receiving Enrage, Aerie gets this too, making her another formidable foe against demi-liches. Just pop a Mace of Disruption+2 in her hands and let her go to town.
  • Nalia Elven Kensai/Mage/Thief – See Imoen
  • Nalia Elven Fighter/Mage/Swashbuckler or Mage/Swashbuckler – Slightly similar to a Kensai/Mage/Thief except without the early on armor penalties. Mage/Swashbuckler alone does mean for faster progression while still having some melee advantages. I suppose the main thing is that you can employ ranged weapons as a Swashbuckler compared to a Kensai. So it all depends on what you need.
  • Anomen Human Berserker/Cleric – Tanky lich destroyer. Also, makes Anomen more interesting and somewhat useful.
  • Korgan Dwarf Berserker/Thief – Adds more utility to the otherwise drab Korgan. Makes sense somewhat for his RP too because he was tomb raiding.
  • Yoshimo Human Bounty Hunter – Bounty Hunter/Fighter. Honestly, not really worth putting any effort into him, unless you just want to mix it up at the start.
  • Viconia Drow Berserker/Cleric/Mage – Just a drow version of Aerie. Also, good if you want to try a different romance tactic (can’t use her with Keldorn around). The innate magic resistance makes her slightly more appealing than Aerie.
  • Viconia Drow Cleric/Swashbuckler – Takes advantage of Viconia’s otherwise underutilized high dexterity as well as adding more combat abilities. The big thing here is that down the road she’ll gain “Use Any Item,” which opens up a ton of possibilities for weapons (although you won’t be able to naturally gain proficiency in edged weapons). Main downside early on is the limitations on weapon specializations from the Swashbuckler side if you want to try this in a semi-legitimate manner.
  • Valygar Human Kensai/Thief – Very weak until you get “Use Any Item” ability. No armor for a while and you’ll have to rely on your innate AC to hopefully avoid getting destroyed in melee. But the damage output could be significant.
  • Valygar Human Wizard Slayer/Thief – Much more promising. Getting the “Use Any Item” can turn this character into an absolute beast.
  • Valygar Human Kensai/Mage – Classic OP type. But with Nalia and/or Imoen as your elven Kensai/Mage/Thief, why stop at just two classes?
  • Valygar Elf Wizard Slayer/Thief – Similar to the human version except you can progress both your fighter and thief levels. Main advantage is to get more magic resistance and spell cast interruption. Disadvantage is not having as many slots for weapon specialization. You could do the same for Korgan as well but that seems to counteract his RP. Overall, getting rid of Valygar’s Stalker class simply makes him far more appealing to keep around.
  • Mazzy Fentan Halfling Undead Hunter – Not normally possible without EE Keeper but for all intents and purposes Mazzy is really an Undead Hunter. The downside is that I don’t think she can wield a Holy Avenger because she’s a halfling and that obtaining her comes really late into the game. Would’ve been nicer if she showed up at her cabin instead of at the ruins just to take her around for more RP exposure.
  • Mazzy Halfling Berserker/Cleric – Pretty much the answer to Korgan’s Berserker/Cleric. You just lose out on some weapons, which will hurt when you do one of her mini quests.
  • Cernd Half-Elf Fighter/Shapeshifter – This is the only class combination that can work. But Shapeshifters just are a huge waste to me. You can’t really use much with them since you’re not allowed to use armor. If you need to dual or multi-class with a druid, then make sure you add the kit to the fighter side. I suppose the main advantage is adding a fighter class to Cernd is to provide a few slots in weapon specialization.

Now, I am missing a few NPCs. Some simply aren’t worth mentioning. Haer Dalis’ never will be worth anything in my book just because bards suck. Edwin would work out better as a Dragon Discipline, which I hope to try sometime. And with Sarevok, you pretty much want to use some Fighter kit variation with cleric, thief or mage.

In general, the good combinations I’ve discovered revolve around using the fighter as the kit. Swashbucklers make a decent kit if you avoid taking a fighter class. But here’s the overall ideas:

  • Kensai/Mage/Thief – No missiles (could be allowed with Use Any Item from thief, but still no weapon proficiency that I know of). Use Any Item cancels out the Kensai armor penalties down the road. But that’s a very long haul.
  • Wizard Slayer/Mage/Thief – Very bizarre combination just on the nature of having a Wizard Slayer/Mage dual/multi-class. But the thief’s Use Any Item ability once again cancels out the anti-magic using properties of the Wizard Slayer. Unfortunately, you will be gimped out on many important magic items early on. However, unlike a Kensai/Mage/Thief, you can specialize in missile weapons.
  • Berserker/Mage/Thief – Pretty much a compromise between the above combinations. Primary use is to kill demi-liches in gaining Enrage. But why stop there when you’re going for a super powerful combo?
  • Berserker/Druid – The only fighter kit combo that seemed to make sense for a druid. Wizard Slayers could kinda work because you would still get to use magic armor. But without other key items, you won’t be as tanky and without Use Any Item from a thief class, the Wizard Slayer becomes weaker. Kensai/Druid would only work if you could combine that with a Shapeshifter. Alas, you are not allowed to have multiple kits.
  • Swashbuckler/Mage – Close enough to a fighter/mage/thief type without the experience penalty and with slightly less weapon specialization. Also, no backstab.
  • Swashbuckler/Cleric – The closest you can ever get to a fighter/cleric/thief. Your main weakness is a lack of weapon specialization that you would receive as a Swashbuckler as you will only be able to use blunt weapons. So clubs and slings at best. I would have to experiment to see if this changes once you get Use Any Item but I have a feeling it won’t.
  • Bounty Hunter/Fighter – Super weird combo but you’re specialty is in traps. The ultimate trap is Maze but that’s at the highest level. Otherwise, you’re just a normal fighter/thief with less thieving abilities.
  • Assassin/Fighter – If this were the old version of the assassin with the ability to assassinate an opponent, then this combo would be pretty awesome. This combo still can work but the weapon poison doesn’t really seem that great in AD&D games compared to other systems where poison is less resistant.

What are bad combinations with Kits?

  • Wizard Slayer/ (outside of Thief) – You miss out on magic items beyond armor. “Use Any Item” is the only way to go to make Wizard Slayers not be penalized to a degree
  • Cleric/Mage Kits with another class – The exception is the Illusionist but only because of how Gnomes can multi-class as a thief or fighter with an Illusionist. Otherwise, you really gimp yourself.
  • Archer/Clerics – One of the updates actually allowed this combination through in dual classing without using EE Keeper. However, you cannot gain bonus specialization slots to slings (your ONLY missile weapon as a cleric). So this combination performs very poorly.
  • Beastmaster/Cleric – Before one of the updates, I believe this was the exclusive ranger kit that you could dual class into a cleric. Regardless, Beastmasters disallow metal weapons (yet strangely allow you to use metal armor). So you’re limited to things like staves, slings and clubs. Clerics further limit your weapon choices so you can’t really do things like dual wield with anything awesome, unless you stretch your imagination. Pretty much this combo is more for the pet but it’s nowhere near a World of Warcraft Beastmaster Hunter.
  • Stalker/Cleric – Not as horribly deficient as a Beastmaster/Cleric when it comes to weapons. Your limitation is armor which is up to Studded Leather. But there’s fairly decent leather armor that will offer decent protection. You will be gimped by the cleric side for edged weapons. So it’s not too terrible of a trade off, but you might as well go with the straight ranger/cleric just for the added armor.
  • Wizard Slayer/Mage – This is almost an oxymoron. It’s almost like saying, “I’m here to kill myself!”
  • Swashbuckler/Fighter – Seems ultra pointless. If you really want a fighter, why not go pure fighter? If you really want a thief fighter, why not go with a fighter/thief or Fighter Kit thief? The only reason to ever take a Swashbuckler is to gain some fighting abilities as a melee so this is more redundant than anything.

So given these changes, what are some class combinations in an NPC party setting?

  • Human Undead Hunter (Main). Minsc Half-Elf Ranger/Cleric (Dual Wielding Hammer/Flail), Jaheira Half-Elf Berserker/Druid, Imoen/Nalia Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief, Viconia Drow Berserker/Cleric/Mage, Valygar Elf Wizard Slayer/Thief – Moderate magic wielding group, heavy on group buffs/heals, romance with Viconia with the intent on turning her neutral (good?) and a more interesting Valygar. Low on missile weapons, although you can fire slings. But no bow specializations until you get Valygar. Valygar could be used as a ranged attacker to disable casters.
  • Half-Elf Ranger/Cleric (Main) dual wielding hammer/flail, Mazzy Undead Hunter, Jaheira Half-Elf Berserker Druid, Imoen/Nalia Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief, Viconia Drow Berserker/Cleric/Mage, Valygar Elf Wizard Slayer/Thief. Similar party as above, except you get Mazzy for some RP. Only issue is that your end game party relies on later game NPCs.
  • Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief (dual wielding Long Sword/Katana), Minsc Half-Elf Ranger/Cleric, Mazzy Undead Hunter, Viconia Drow Berserker/Cleric/Mage, Imoen/Nalia Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief, Valygar Elf Wizard Slayer/Thief. Another oddball end game party that mostly allows for the Viconia romance, holy avenger (need to test if Mazzy can, indeed, wield it) and very heavy magic and trap disarmament. Effectively, whenever I take Mazzy the idea is to toss out Keldorn as a Paladin to allow for Viconia’s romance to take place. We do miss out on a druid because of Jaheira’s absence but at least there’s no romantic conflicts in this party combination.

Of course, why bother doing these little modifications? What’s the challenge in it? For me, I’ve beaten the game at least once before. It’s not about the challenge. It’s what you can do with a platform such as this. I’m a true hacker at heart; I enjoy modifying something like Baldur’s Gate just to see what else I can pull off. I enjoy offering my thoughts on the modifications and how the game changes as a result of what I do. These really aren’t “huge” changes but they improve the dynamic in a reasonable and interesting manner. My goal here is mostly to try other combinations of parties that I normally wouldn’t take because of the limits on the NPC’s standard classes. Adding Kits and swapping people around a bit add a little more life to the game that is old.

 

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