Since I’m nearly done with another round of Baldur’s Gate 2 with a good aligned party using an elven female kensai/mage/thief as my main character (yes, she was modded via EEKeeper), I started toying around once more with how I could improve upon the existing NPCs and make them interesting through EEKeeper. So this blog introduces utilizing the Enhanced Edition updates along with EEKeeper where I only use a single PC (the main) and employ 5 other NPCs for an evil aligned party.
What I ended coming up with is the following end game party:
- Male Elf Kensai/Mage/Thief (Main)
- Viconia Drow Berserker/Cleric/Mage
- Imoen Elf Wizard Slayer/Thief/Mage
- Edwin Human Dragon Disciple
- Dorn Half-Orc Blackguard
- Korgan Dwarf Dwarven Defender/Cleric
At least for Shadows of Amn, I figured that might be the best optimized party in terms of being interesting and diverse. You have the option for two romances (Viconia, Dorn) but will lose out on a lot of the NPC quests (Keldorn, Mazzy, Jaheira, Anomen). Also, the starting options won’t be great but become easier in some cases (e.g. do not need to hit the sewers early for Keldorn, don’t have to go to the Temple Ruins for Mazzy)
When you switch to Throne of Bhaal, I would replace Imoen for Sarevok and just change him to match what I’ve done for Imoen. This is to keep him interesting and add more flavor if you’ve never taken Sarevok previously. Plus, I feel it aligns a lot better compared to Imoen.
The way I see this party is as follows:
- Viconia – Replaces Aerie’s role as the mage/cleric. These days, I generally make Aerie a Berserker/Cleric/Mage to up her hit points. In the case of Viconia, it’s the same thing with a different alignment.
- Imoen – The Wizard Slayer is a very long investment strategy when combined with a mage/thief multi-class. You won’t see it paying in dividends until after you get Imoen back, which means after you complete the Underdark and probably a few major quests (including at least the Watcher’s Keep level 3 via the Deck of Many Things). That’s because she’ll lack the ability to use most magic items and will probably have her spells disabled if you give her armor. However, once you obtain Use Any Item, the investment strategy will pay off. Making her an elf and specializing with a short bow means that you can make her a ranged spell caster disrupter. Add in some Bracers of Archery and she should be pretty good. Also, really good for cleaning up stubborn trolls.
- Edwin – I have never taken Edwin but I always wanted to check him out. His default Conjurer kit really doesn’t impress me and he simply is weak on his own. With the Enhanced Edition, I get to kill a few birds with a single stone by converting him into a Dragon Disciple. So not only do I get to try Edwin, but I get to try out a Sorcerer as a Dragon Disciple and gain more HP for him. A huge win that makes me more motivated to try him out.
- Dorn – I’m not a fan of any of the new NPCs from the Enhanced Edition. Nonetheless, of them all, Dorn sounds like the only on his own that is worth something. Lacking Keldorn, Dorn is effectively the next best thing but a lot less uptight.
- Korgan – I’ve read a bit about the Dwarven Defender class and wanted to see how it worked. Korgan fit the bill quite well, although I would have to give up his enrage ability from Berserker. However, he gains more specialization and multi-classing him with a cleric makes him replace Minsc as the other heavy hitting dual wielder in the party.
- Sarevok – Similar to Imoen except I believe you’ll be able to start using Use Any Item off the bat when switching him. But I could be wrong and he might have severely less experience than Imoen when swapping them. Nonetheless, without being able to have more than 6 characters to a party, this is the best I can do, especially in seeing Sarevok’s dialog.
So as an evil party, the strategy I see for the transitions to assemble this group is as follows:
- Imoen -> Jan -> Yoshimo -> Imoen -> Sarevok
- Jaheira -> Dorn
- Minsc -> Korgan
- Yoshimo -> Edwin
- Aerie -> Viconia
The Imoen path seems pretty painful, especially if you decide to eventually go for Sarevok. Also, Jan isn’t a great choice, imo, but he’s a more flexible version of Nalia since you’re focusing on a more evil-centric party. Nonetheless, he will make a reasonable transition character if you want to swap him for other NPCs to do their quests.
Also, Edwin will definitely be a harder character to get off the bat since you need to fulfill the Fire Knives quests to a certain point to unlock him. But I see him more as a permanent character once you obtain him.
Another consideration for this party is that you could theoretically change Korgan from a cleric to thief. I think that two thieves in a party is a lot, which is why I avoid this option. However, the benefit is that you will get more traps, be able to use sharp weapons (e.g. specializing in axes) and probably do more damage. But you’ll lose out on buffs, although I don’t think that’s going to be a severe issue.
In addition, you will lose out on Druid spells. I’m certain you can still work in Jaheira by taking her rather than Yoshimo. But I feel it’s just easier to ditch her than Yoshimo since she might become attached to the main character and that you’ll become dependent upon her druid abilities. Trademeet’s problem might become a contention but in that case, you probably are better off finishing up the quest with Cernd and swapping out Jan in that instance.
If you want to do the Planer Sphere quest, rather than inviting Valygar, you can just kill him and take his body. I must admit in that instance the use case sounds fairly amusing, especially because I’ve never tried this route before.
One thing I am considering in this route is still going with the Fire Knives in the main quest as opposed to Bodhi. The Amulet of Power simply is too good to give up and you still will need to fight vampires and other level draining enemies. From what I can tell there really isn’t a penalty using the Fire Knives option so that sounds like the better of the two.
Weapon-wise, I think this new party configuration does open up some new possibilities. Like giving a thief with the Use Any Item ability the Holy Avenger. But you still will be able to use an Unholy Avenger for Dorn. Also, since my parties never take a dedicated mage type, Edwin will be able to fully use a Staff of Magi or other dagger/staff item and darts.
With Korgan, I could use a Dwarven Thrower up until obtaining the Crom Faer and Runehammer. And when I get Sarevok, I can still have him specialize in 2H weapons like swords and halberds, which allow him to employ some nasty end game weapons in Throne of Bhaal.
Lastly, this group might motivate me to try some of the new NPC quests like Hexxat or Dorn’s. Most of the time, I find the newer NPCs annoying and worthless compared to my main group. An evil party like the one I configured makes the 5th slot feel more flexible since I usually end up becoming very attached to my normal configuration.
Overall, when I’m done with my current iteration of the good/female playthrough, I might give this combination a spin. Of course, Diablo 3’s PTR for patch 2.7 is coming up today so I might do that for a few days.