Since my computer cannot play Path of Exile, I’ve been thinking about getting back into Baldur’s Gate 2. I didn’t finish my last run through and probably won’t just because I hate breaking momentum. That said, I’ve been theorycrafting to see if there are any small optimizations to an interesting party that I haven’t tried out just yet. Right now, I think I managed to come up with one.
So typically in my party compositions, I look at the group as a static entity rather than one that transforms over time. The only two characters that come and go from the start are Imoen (naturally) and Yoshimo (depending on my mood). The remaining characters are employed based on the end game composition as well as character quests. What I’ve been missing though is the idea of a longer term transition into an idealized party that combines end game composition, character questing and interrelations.
The one major limiting factor in my view in Baldur’s Gate 2 is the alignment issues you run into between characters. I think there’s some mod that may remove some restrictions, but ultimately some characters simply were never designed to behave with each other. Of course, this also is affected by your alignment so it can get rough determining what one would prefer to have as the “ultimate end game RP party.”
That said, while the game allows you to choose any alignment, for the most part, you’re best off traveling a path of good. I’ve heard ways around this limitation but it’s just a general expectation that will reap the better rewards. You can move towards the middle but it’s a difficult path to traverse.
Because of this mentality, I’ve decided to theorycraft an evolving party based on this notion of a generally good alignment basis. Part of my party uses the mod system to make the characters more interesting in terms of class combinations and to provide options that the game normally prevents. So here goes the party.
- Main – Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief – Obviously, you’ll need to mod this class to gain the Kensai aspect. What makes this combination incredible is the addition of the thief class to the kensai and mage portion. Most people generally go for a human kensai/mage or a fighter/mage/thief. Here, the thief aspect will eliminate a lot of item limitations imposed by the kensai aspect. Unfortunately, that does come at a cost of only seeing the benefit towards the end of the game. However, once the Use Any Item ability becomes available, it should be the first one grabbed.
- Minsc – Half-Elf Ranger/Cleric – I’ve tried Minsc as an Archer just for fun but it really didn’t appeal to me. The advantage of Minsc being a ranger/cleric is to gain the druidic spells as well as dual wielding. So you can make him dual wield the Flail of Ages and Crom Faeyr or a Mace of Disruption. He’ll lose his ability to specialize in 2-Handed Swords and won’t be using a bow. But he’ll definitely be a heavy hitter.
- Imoen – > Nalia -> Imoen – Half-Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief – Yes, I’m having two of these in the party. It does imply that certain items will be scarce but there’s some serious damage potential here. Your main can employ bracers while this character uses elven chain to negate the effects of mages being unable to cast while wearing armor. Before that, you can use a Robe of the Archmage.
- Aerie – Elf Berserker/Cleric/Mage – You can make her a tank by giving her full plate and a shield. Either provide her with the Mace of Disruption of Crom Faeyr (or that other mega hammer). Use her pre-fight for mage buffs then swap armor back on.
- Jaheira Half-Elf Berserker/Druid -> Valygar Wizard Slayer/Thief – This was one of those difficult decisions. I’m not a huge fan of Valygar as he stands. He’s just boring outside of his key quest. But I decided to go this route just because Jaheira has….issues….with Aerie. I’ve taken Jaheir around enough so it was time for a swap. But the idea of using Valygar as a Wizard Slayer/Thief is to really buff the hell out of spell casting interruptions. You could use him as a human and dual class him but it will be a while before his Use Any Item comes into play. Otherwise, make him a half-elf or elf. The main difference is weapon specialization. However, you do get to use a bow and can specialize in things beyond katanas or swords such as a 2-Handed Sword or Battle Axe. That makes him far more useful towards the end where some of the most powerful weapons enter.
- Keldorn Human Inquisitor -> Mazzy Halfling Undead Hunter. WTF? Yes, I made Mazzy into a paladin. She fits far more as an Undead Hunter and it’s because of the stupid AD&D rules she isn’t one. That said, the transition exist just to make things interesting. Keldorn does get some nice buffs with immunities to charm, etc. but Mazzy adds a little more flavor by taking the Undead Hunter route. I think she’s able to wield the holy avengers so you can do a little more with her towards the end.
Call me a sucker for Use Any Item but it’s just too good when combined with a kensai or wizard slayer towards the end of the game. Also, this transition party design works out in that it focuses around the main being of good alignment that flows with the main story and makes the romance portion more straight forward and less dramatic with Jaheira out of the picture.
Truthfully, I wanted to bring in Viconia but you’d have to time things right so that Keldorn, Aerie and Jaheira are booted out around the same time. In that situation, I would just replace Aerie with Viconia using the berserker/cleric/mage combination. The only other somewhat interesting combination for Viconia would be a swashbuckler/cleric but I didn’t feel like it added much beyond yet another thief. I would have liked to have seen if Use Any Item becomes a possibility in that instance. In that scenario, I wanted to figure out if Viconia could eventually use edged weapons as her weapon choice otherwise would be far too limited.