Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition

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NPC Guide to BG2EE
By kamster99
I want to start off by emphasising that while this guide is very detailed you should be generally able to read through individual NPC's in it and still get fairly detailed information.

That said however I also want to point out that in the case of Hexxat and Yoshimo I have hidden aspects of their pages because in some way or another they contain major spoilers regarding the characters.

The areas I'm referring to will look something like this This is a spoiler!

Finally if you want more detailed thoughts on all the different spells in the game I have a Spells and Abilities Guide for BG2EE on Steam that you should check out. There is a space/word limit on these Steam guides so I didn't have room to discuss a number of different strategies as well as the usability of different spells.

With that in mind here is my NPC Guide to BG2EE.

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Over my years of playing various Baldur's Gate reiterations I've seen my fair share of truly attrocious NPC guides. This guide is likely a bit different than the other ones you have read as I have made it a point to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each NPC and strategies you can use with each one given their stats and abilities.

Most of the mechanics are the same between the original Baldur's Gate 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced Edition. However, because a few things have been changed this is going to be a guide specific to BG2EE.

In addition to what I've mentioned above I will also be including in this guide stats for individual NPCs, maybe some relevant things about their starting items (if they are unique in any way) and just thoughts and strategies for each one. I'll do my best to include party conflicts between certain NPC's from what I have found (both through personal experience and digging through game files). I'll also point out which NPC's are romancable and by whom. Due to Steam's arbitrary character limit this guide won't be helping out too much with individual NPC quest lines.

I'm generally not going to give you the location of too many items for the game. There are a few times when I have recommended an item and when I have it generally was just to help address a weakness in a characters stats or (in the case of the Robe of Vecna) to address a signficant disadvantage for a character (like lengthy casting times). Ultimately my hope is that this guide will still encourage you to try NPC's that you might have read negative things about elsewhere.

Just like in the first game exploration is a big part of Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced Edition. However, compared to the first there are a lot more spells and items. I would thoroughly encourage you to check out all the different areas in the game, experiment with spells, and just try different things. The choice is ultimately up to you.


Additional Information


Please note the following:

- An * used on a title in the guide indicates one of the five new NPC's introduced in BG2EE. Otherwise if you see it during a page its probably just serving as a notice that there is more information about a topic somewhere else in the page (which in some circumstances could involve spoilers).

- Any weapon proficiencies you see listed (for instance)

Weapon Proficiencies (level 2):
*Flail *Sling

is showing what that character has if you pick them up when they are at that particular level. They are not a shortened recommendation from me on what to use.

Due to spacing issues I'm only including the different weapon proficiencies at different levels for characters who can achieve specialisation or greater in a weapon or weapon style. For anyone else I've included the weapon proficiencies of characters at their lowest available level. I'm also not going to be including starting spellbooks since spells are pretty widely accessible in this game.


Manuals


If you need them I've included links to the two game manuals.

Manual 1 can be found here http://www.beamdog.com/files/bg2ee/bg2eemanual1.pdf

Manual 2 (which deals with kits, classes, and spells among other things) is available through this link http://www.beamdog.com/files/bg2ee/bg2eemanual2.pdf


BGEE NPC Guide

I also wrote an NPC Guide to BGEE. So if you happen to be interested in playing BGEE (and you are interested in help for some of the NPC's in BGEE) you can find it in the Guide section in the BGEE hub.

Spells and Abilities Guide to BG2EE

Additionally I wrote a Spells and Abilities Guide to BG2EE that you can find on Steam (as a seperate guide under the Guides section). It covers my opinion on different spells and abilities and also fleshes out some hidden facts (not reported in the spell description) about different spells and abilities.
 
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Changes made to BG2EE Compared to BG2
I'm just going to briefly describe some of the important changes made that relate to NPC's and player characters in BG2EE compared to the original game.

Weapon Proficiencies

The original BG2 had no additional APR bonus given to characters when they achieved grandmastery in a weapon. The table for proficiencies has been changed to the following.


Level of Proficiency Points Spent Bonus to Hit Bonus Damage Attacks Per Round Speed Factor**
Proficient 1 0 0 1 -
Specialised* 2 +1 +2 3/2 -
Master 3 +3 +3 3/2 -
High Master 4 +3 +4 3/2 -1
Grand Master 5 +3 +5 2 -3

* Although he has specialisation in short swords Haer'Dalis isn't a warrior so he won't gain an extra half attack from having specialisation.

** All speed factor does is reduce the amount of time in a round it is before you attack. It won't improve the number of attacks you make in a round just the time during a round that you make a particular attack.

Reputation

Neutral characters will now appear happy at higher amounts of reputation. Unlike in the original they won't be unhappy at 19 or 20 reputation.

Pick Pockets

Below are the values you'll need in Pick Pockets to have a chance at pick pocketing items. Like other thieving skills these are minimal scores that are based on the items location on an NPC. You can't pickpocket shields, helmets, boots, or armor (if they are equipped).

General Inventory: 10
Quick Items: 50
Ammunition: 50
Rings: 60
Amulet, Cloak, Gauntlet, Belt: 80
Weapons: 95

So if you were looking at taking someone's weapons (provided they aren't currently being used) you'll need a 95 in Pick Pockets to even stand a chance at being successful.

Scribing Scrolls

In BG2EE your level of Intelligence now determines whether or not you can scribe scrolls from certain levels at all. Under these new changes if your intelligence is too low you won't be able to learn spells from certain spell levels.

The following NPC's won't be able to write level 9 scrolls into their spellbook unless they use an item to increase their intelligence like a Potion of Genius, a Potion of Mind Focussing, or the Golden Ioun Stone (which can be bought in Saradush from Lazarus); Aerie, Imoen, Jan, Nalia, Neera, and (spoiler warning) Sarevok (if dual classed into a mage).

Here is a summary of what Intelligence level you need in order to learn spells. To give you an example this chart means that the highest level of spell you can learn scrolls from if you have 17 intelligence is level 8 (so spells like Horrid Wilting).

INT Max Spell Level
0-8 :0
9 :4
10 :5
11 :5
12 :6
13 :6
14 :7
15 :7
16 :8
17 :8
18-25 :9

NPC changes

Anomen

Anomen has had proficiency points added to him to account for the fact that he only started with 6 in total in the original game but he should have 10 in total. The points have been distributed as follows; two points towards spears, one point towards quarterstaff, and 1 extra point towards Sword and Shield Style.

Haer'Dalis

His starting pick pocket has been improved compared to the original game.

Imoen

Imoen has had her thieving abilities improved compared to the original game. She should now have the correct amount of thieving skills considering her thief level.

She also had an incorrect number of proficiency points. This has been corrected by giving her new proficiencies.

Sarevok (spoiler)

Sarevok is now doing 200 slashing damage instead of doing 200 piercing damage with his Deathbringer Assault. His chance of doing the damage hasn't changed, just the damage type.

Spell Changes

Iron Skins

Unlike in the original BG2 (meaning without any "fix" packs) Iron Skins now has a casting time of 9 instead of a casting time of 0. It means you pretty well need to have it activated before battle and not during it.

Touch spells and weapon creation spells

Like in BGEE any touch spell should now allow the user to attack as though they had proficiency with that weapon. Its the same for spells that create weapons (unless specified otherwise in the spell description).
Worth Noting (and relevant to NPC's)
Specialist Mages

Though its not mentioned in the manual (or in-game) specialist mages get a 15% bonus to learn spells of their school and a 15% penalty at learning spells outside of their school. So for instance a conjurer would have a 30% better chance at learning a conjuration spell compared to say trying to learn an illusion spell (because there is a 30% difference because of this bonus/penalty). This was actually the case in the original games, but it was something that is often not reported.

Also similarly specialist mages get a +2 bonus towards their saving throws when trying to save against a spell of their specialisation. Enemies trying to save against spells of their school get a -2 penalty to their saving throws.

Wild Mages don't get any bonus or penalty towards either their chance to learn spells or their saving throws against other spells.

Credit to Dee here (a member of the BGEE development team) for pointing this out on the Baldursgate.com forum and on Facebook

Aerie
Gender: Female
Race: Elf
Class: Cleric/Mage (no kit)
Alignment: Lawful Good

Str : 10
Dex : 17
Con : 9
Int : 16
Wis : 16
Cha : 14

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 7/7)
*Club * Mace * Quarterstaff * Sling

Joining Location: In the Circus Tent in the Promenade map (she's not quite herself)

From a personality standpoint Aerie grows as a character tremendously in BG2EE, especially if you pursue a romance option with her. She starts out as being a rather uncertain mage following in the steps of her mentor Quayle (yes the very same Quayle from BGEE) to becoming by the end of the Throne of Bhaal a powerful archmage in her own right. As a wingless Avariel (elf subrace with wings) she also comes to terms with the loss of her wings as the game progresses, so expect the loss of her wings to play a prominent role in her dialogues. Also Korgan and her may get into a few spats. If Korgan is also in your party (in SoA) Aerie will give you an ultimatum, the kind where either he goes or she does. Anomen may try to fight her depending upon the outcome of his trial. In Throne of Bhaal Aerie is very likely to get into a fight to the death with Hexxat. Otherwise Haer'Dalis will try to romance her. If you are trying to romance her yourself then I'd advise against having Haer'Dalis in your party, it may...complicate...things. Finally if Aerie and Minsc are in the same party she will become Minsc's new witch (he will go berserk if she dies). In any case she will romance a male human, elf, half-elf, gnome, or halfling player character (not a dwarf or a half-orc).

From a stats perspective her strength is acceptable. Its enough to carry her necessities. Where she is really lacking is constitution and her initial health rolls. She starts out potentially with as little as 26 health. Thankfully however her dexterity is fairly high so that helps her armour class. Just remember to have at least a few active defensive spells during any fight you are in and in most cases she should be fine. She can also use a shield if needed. Her intelligence is also low however this can be made up for through Potions of Mind Focussing and Potions of Genius, both of which are available at most temples.

From a spellcasting standpoint there is really only one big negative regarding Aerie. Compared to single class NPC's or dual class NPC's she is going to take a long time to level up. As a result spells that rely on having a higher caster level may not be as effective. Both Dispel Magic and Remove Magic for instance are going to be more effective if they are used by someone else (Haer'dalis, Nalia, Anomen, or Imoen would be good choices for it).

That said however Aerie's major strength lies in her ability to cast a significant number of spells. In fact at later levels you may simply find that she has so many different spells known that it becomes tedious to make your way through them all!

I highly recommend that you take advantage of the fact that she can use cleric spells as well as mage spells for any spell triggers or continguencies that she has active. Whether this is for instant casting party buffs, control spells, or even damaging spells is up to you. I've included a few suggestions for the basic Minor Sequencer spell but there are a lot of different combinations particularly as her mage and cleric level grows.


Buff Spells

Cleric Spells

To use Aerie well you'll want to take advantage of some of her cleric and buff spells.

Armor of Faith (level 1) and Draw Upon Holy Might (level 2) are all good spells to cast in preperation for a battle.

For more party based buff spells consider casting Bless (level 1), Chant (level 2), Protection from Evil '10 Radius (level 4), and Defensive Harmony (level 4) before a battle.

Mage Spells

Mirror Image (level 2), Blur (level 2), Ghost Armor (level 3), Stoneskin (level 4), and Improved Invisibility (level 4) are some excellent spells you may want to consider having available for Aerie.

If you are looking to buff up individual party members or the party as a whole you might want to have her have Haste (level 3), Invisibility 10' Radius (level 3), Improved Haste (level 6), and Mass Invisibility (level 7) on hand. She can also eventually use the Limited Wish (level 7) and Wish (level 9) spells. She should have enough wisdom for Limited Wish but to get the best results with the Wish spell you will want her to drink a Potion of Insight.


Summoning

Cleric Spells

Aerie also gets some decent summoning spells. Animate Dead (level 3) is a great summoning spell and she gets lots of potential castings of it. They have high magic resistance and hit with a +1 weapon, but even against powerful enemies they can serve as useful distractions.

Animal summoning spells generally have some use if you just need something to throw at a mage enemy at the start of battle just so that they use any Death Spell they have on hand against them.

Conjure Animal (level 6) is good because it reliably summons mountain bears (not random animals) and those bears attack as though they have +3 weapons. Otherwise Aerial Servants (level 6) can be good summons because they have lots of health. They also attack as though they have +4 weapons and are immune to normal weapons.

Once you are able to cast level 7 spells you'll also be able to choose higher level abilities. The higher level abilities Summon Deva and Elemental Summoning are two good summoning spells. At this level there are probably either damage or buff spells that you should probably be looking at first however.

Mage Spells

Spider Spawn (level 4), Invisible Stalker (level 6), Wyvern Call (level 6), and Mordenkainen's Sword (level 7) are a few good summoning spells for her to have on hand. Its often never reported but Wyvern Call summons Wyverns that are actually immune to (among other things) hold and level drain. So they can be useful if you need to distract certain undead. Otherwise even though it will be a long time before she can get the spell the higher level ability Summon Planatar's is also very good.


Debuff and Control Spells

Cleric Spells

Doom (level 1), Silence (level 2), Hold Person (level 2), Invisibility Purge (level 3), True Sight (level 5), and eventually Greater Command (level 5) are a few good (or at least decent) debuff and control spell choices.

Mage Spells

Web (level 2), Slow (level 3), Greater Malison (level 4), Emotion:Hopelessness (level 4), Teleport Field (level 4), Breach (level 5), and Lower Resistance (level 5) are some good choices of some of the many different debuff and control mage spells that Aerie can gain access to.

Particularly when it comes to debuff spells you'll want to consider which mage and cleric spells compliment each other. You can then put them into a Sequencer, Trigger, or Continguency. For instance a Minor Sequencer with Silence and Web is a good debuff combo for a trigger. One holds any enemies that fail their save and the other can be useful against casters (more likely to work against clerics than mages). Having two Web spells would also be a very good combination.

Essentially with Aerie you will find that as the game advances she gains considerable functionality thanks to her gaining access to both cleric and mage spells (and cleric and mage higher level abilities). She is a solid addition to any party. I really can't recommend her enough.
Anomen
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Fighter (7) /Cleric (dual class)
Alignment: Lawful Neutral*

Str : 18/52
Dex : 10
Con : 16
Int : 10
Wis : 12**
Cha : 13

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 7/8, 7/9, 7/10, and 7/11)
* War Hammer ** Spear ** Mace * Quarterstaff
** Sling ** Shield and Sword Style

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 7/12)
** War Hammer ** Spear ** Mace * Quarterstaff
** Sling ** Shield and Sword Style

Joining Location: Copper Coronet (Slums District)

Special Items: Delryn Family Shield

Anomen is rather interesting from a personality standpoint. He starts out being rude and arrogant and depending upon the direction you take with his personal quest he either becomes more eratic and bitter, or he becomes calmer and more pious. He mocks Mazzy for being both a Halfling and for not being a Paladin and his relationship with Keldorn and Aerie will depend greatly on both the outcome of his trial. He will fight Hexxat if they are in the same party and he will turn hostile if a player picks up Dorn. Anomen will romance a female player character provided she is either a human, half-elf, elf, or halfling.

From a stats standpoint Anomen really is only lacking dexterity. His strength is great and his constitution is pretty good (and its easy enough to improve it with Draw Upon Holy Might). His wisdom could be better (and may get better in-game) however it doesn't really hold him back at all at being a phenomenal fighter and solid cleric. He starts off with a particularly useful family shield that gives him 30% Fire and Cold Resistance and +2 to his armour class.

From a proficiency standpoint flails are actually going to be probably the most suited for him, however he will do fine with some of the better war hammers and maces in the game. Since he is a dual classed fighter you can also get proficiencies up to grand mastery. Throughout the game you'll get as many as 8 more proficiencies to spend with him, so if you are going to go for flail proficiency just remember you won't be able to get grand mastery with it until likely Throne of Bhaal. If you are interested you could try dual wielding weapons with him, including putting at least a few proficiency points into Two-Weapon Style, however it may simply be easier to keep him instead with some kind of weapon and a shield.

Buff Spells

The spells Armor of Faith (1st level), Draw Upon Holy Might (2nd level), Holy Power (4th level), Righteous Magic (5th level), Blade Barrier (6th level), Shield of the Archons (level 7), and Regeneration (7th level) are a few excellent spells you can pick up that will buff the character. I would highly recommend you try out each one of these spells, provided you remember to cast Holy Power (since it sets your strength at 18/00) before you cast Draw Upon Holy Might or Righteous Magic. For higher level abilities Auro of Flaming Death and Globe of Blades are decent.

Otherwise Bless (level 1), Chant (level 2), Protection from Evil '10 Radius (level 4), and Defensive Harmony (level 4) are a few good party buffs you can get for him. Lessor Restoration (level 4) is also going to be pretty essential when fighting creatures that level drain.


Damaging Spells

Holy Smite is an amazing level 3 spell that only hurts evil creatures (and has the possiblity of blinding them for a round). Its fairly quick casting and as long as you don't have any evil party members (summoned skeletons will be affected but they have high enough magic resistance to generally ignore it) it is an excellent spell to cast.

Flame Strike (level 5) is a good damage spell. However, it has a long casting time.

False Dawn (level 6), Sol's Searing Orb (level 6), and Sunray (level 7) are extremely useful against undead. You'll want to cast the Searing Orb before battle and when it comes to either the False Dawn or the Sunray you'll want to make sure when he casts them he is doing so when the undead are near him but ideally not in attacking distance. The good thing about Sunray is that it not only does high damage against undead but the damage it does to undead in particular will bypass magic resistance. This makes it particularly useful when dealing with Liches.

Fire Storm (level 7) is good against other creatures that have magical resistance (unless they are immune to fire) and Earthquake (level 7) can be good because its first quake (enemies will get a penalty of -6 to their saving rolls against it) may knock anyone (party members and enemies) unconcious for the next 4 rounds. The second and third quakes aren't nearly as strong so you should be able to move Anomen and the rest of your fighters and warriors in to finish off the remaining enemies (without having to worry as much about the amount of damage they will take).

While it doesn't do a lot of damage Storm of Vengeance can be used to disrupt spellcasting. It only lasts for 3 rounds but it won't hurt party members.


Summoning Spells

Animate Dead (level 3) is a great summoning spell. They have high magic resistance and hit with a +1 weapon, but even against powerful enemies they can serve as useful distractions.

Animal summoning spells generally have some use if you just need something to throw at a mage enemy at the start of battle just so that they use any Death Spell they have on hand against them.

If you are looking for something with a bit more bite Conjure Animal (level 6) is probably the best of the animal summoning spells because it reliably summons mountain bears (not random animals) and those bears attack as though they have +3 weapons. Otherwise Aerial Servants (level 6) can be good summons because they have lots of health. They also attack as though they have +4 weapons and are immune to normal weapons.

Gate (level 7) is an option but you should read its description before casting it. Frankly the higher level abilities Summon Fallen Deva and Elemental Summoning are going to be more useful. Either way at this level there are probably either damage or buff spells that you should probably be looking at first.

Control and Debuff Spells

There are a few spells like Doom (level 1) and Hold Person (level 2) that are decent enough spells for Anomen to have and are pretty self explanatory. Just remember when you are looking at spells to consider a spells casting time (Doom has a long casting time).

Silence (level 2) is a good control spell to use against enemy healers. Its worthless to use against enemy mages, since most of them have a Vocalize spell memorized anyways, but it can be used to silence the healers in a group of enemies so that at the very least you won't have to worry about them healing anyone or self buffing themselves. Just remember that the spell can silence your own characters.

Depending on the spell Invisibility Purge (level 3) and True Sight (level 5) can be good at handling illusion spells.

You can use another character's Greater Malison (mage spell level 4) and combine it with Anomen's Greater Command (level 5). The Greater Command's sleep effect won't bypass magic resistance. However, it does cast very quickly which makes it good to have at least one on hand.

Otherwise the level 7 Symbol spells (particularly Symbol Stun) can be good control spells.

Because of the number of buffs he can get and his generally solid stats Anomen is an excellent fighter. If you find an item that can permanently increase his dexterity I would recommend you give it to him, however even without it with the right buffs active he is a very capable fighter and cleric.

*He becomes either lawful good or chaotic neutral depending on how his knighthood trial

**This will change to 16 if he is accepted into the order
Cernd
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Druid
Kit: Shapeshifter
Alignment: True Neutral

Str : 13
Dex : 9
Con : 13
Int : 12
Wis : 18
Cha : 15

Weapon Proficiencies (level 10)
* Scimitar * Dagger * Quarterstaff * Sling

Joining location: Trademeet (Mayor's Home)

Special items: Cloak of High Forest, Staff of High Forest.

Cernd has a very mellow personality. His dialogue tends to concern the importance of preserving the balance though he will from time to time share his wisdom with your party members. From a personality point if you are looking for something different you should try him out. Mazzy, Aerie, Keldorn, and Edwin have interesting interactions with him.

His strength, dexterity, and constitution are terrible. Unless you want to use his werewolf forms you are going to want to keep him out of melee fighting. As a druid his level progression is slow. He also can't normally wear armor though there is good pair of Bracers of Defense that Ribald in the Adventure Mart sells (but any will do) to help offset his inability to wear armour. He can also cast using the Big Metal Unit (assembled in ToB). A Rod of Resurrection will also allow him to revive fallen party members.

Cernd gets access to both a Werewolf and eventually a Greater Werewolf form. The forms have a few problems like their claws only doing 1d6 piercing damage and not having magic resistance from items stack onto their base resistance. Patch 1.3 removed an exploit that used to allow you to use Dispel Magic to use whatever weapon he normally has equipped (even while he was transformed) and BG2EE also removes the constitution bonus for his (and actually all) shapeshift forms. While in his werewolf forms Cernd's claws only hitting as though they were +2 weapons, which will prove to be an issue against certain enemies. Some items will benefit Cernd while he is in werewolf form while others won't. You'll have to experiment with that yourself.

If you pick him up at level 13 he will have 80 health, which is more than he can get if you pick him up at a lower level and level him up. The Girdle of Fortitude can boost his health even further. At level 13 he can use his Greater Werewolf form which gives him at least -11 AC and good amount of magic and elemental resistances (by SoA standards). Before you transform have him cast Iron Skins, Armor of Faith, and/or Regeneration (level 7) on himself and perhaps an Insect Plague (or another relevant spell) on enemies. His Greater Werewolf form will be good in Shadows of Amn but it will rapidly lose effectiveness in Throne of Bhaal.

Cernd is not likely to be that guy who casts a spell that does 80 damage to every enemy in a given area (at least not instantly). Likewise he is not going to be able to masterfully destroy undead. There are also a few opponents (like Iron Golems) that frankly Cernd's spells just aren't going to be very useful against. However, druids tend to be best at what I like to describe as being "pest" spells as well as at summoning animals and elementals to aid them. To help you in this regard there is a staff sold by the merchant Joluv in the Copper Coronet (Slums District) called the Staff of Arundel. Its expensive but it will help offset his slow level progression.

Control, Debuff, and Damaging Spells

His access to Insect Plague and soon after Dolorous Decay are a few good examples of druid control spells. You can use these any of these just to cause all your enemies to move around the area slower (because of all the hits they will be constantly taking) or in the case of Insect Plague you can use it to disrupt mage and cleric spellcasting. Creeping Doom (level 7) is a spell you will get a fair bit later that acts largely as an improved version of Insect Plague.

Otherwise some spell options for Cernd that deal with either control or debuffing are Doom, Invisibility Purge, Summon Insects, True Seeing, Fire Storm, Earthquake, and Nature's Beauty. Two other options are Rigid Thinking and Cloak of Fear, but you will find that both lose reliability as being a means of disrupting enemies (at least without additional aid to lower enemy saving throws). Also keep in mind though that Cloak of Fear and Nature's Beauty require you to be closer than most spells in order to work. His slow level progression will also hinder his Dispel Magic spell.

Nature's Beauty is good because he can safely use it while invisible and it blinds/kills only enemies (no save allowed).

Earthquake (level 7) is a great spell if you want to disrupt enemies in a given area. Its biggest downside (besides long casting time) is that can affect party members (it also has a 2% chance of summoning a hostile Greater Earth Elemental).The -6 save in the first quake makes it likely that a number of enemies will fall unconcious for the next 4 rounds. This leaves them vulnerable to attacks during that period. The two aftershocks for the spell aren't that damaging and they won't cause unconciousness. Your parties fighters could enter the affected area after the first quake and get to work killing off any enemies (without acquiring too much in the way of damage).

Since it can disrupt spellcasting (because it does a variety of different types of damage) Storm of Vengeance is an alternative to Creeping Doom.

One druid damage spell that is often ridiculed is Fire Seeds (level 6). Pass on this spell normally but if you have Dorn in your party then give these to Dorn to use with his Poison Weapon ability. The poison will bypass mages protections and every time he hits with them the poison will stack. You can use Greater Whirlwind and Improved Haste to get extra attacks with them.

As a damage spell Fire Storm is good because its a decent damage spell that bypasses magic resistance (enemies immune to fire will be immune to it however). There aren't a lot of spells that do this, so consider it if you encounter enemies with high amounts of magic resistance. You can use "Protection From Fire" (level 3) to make your party members immune to its fire.

Summoning

The various "Animal Summoning" spells are best used as fodder for an enemy mages Death Spell. Conjure Animal (level 6) is probably the best of the animal summoning spells because it reliably summons mountain bears (not random animals) and those bears attack as though they have +3 weapons.

Call Woodland Beings is also a decent summoning spell but its effectiveness will diminish as the game progresses.

Cernd can also summon both Fire Elementals (6th level) and Earth Elementals (7th level) without having to worry about gaining control of them like a mage would. Both are immune to normal and +1 weapons and hit as though they had +4 weapons. Fire Elementals are also immune to fire. The advantage of Earth Elementals over Fire Elementals is that they always have 19 strength. As of patch 1.3 Fire Elementals will have either 18, 20, or 23 strength depending upon their hit dice, so this advantage isn't as significant as it used to be.

Finally the higher level abilities "Elemental Summoning" and "Greater Elemental Summoning" are highly recommended. Both provide very powerful summons though their summons will only last for a turn. The Elemental Transformations can be used as an alternative to the Werewolf forms.

Cernd starts out with a limited access to spells and will need help from items that increase the number of spells he can cast each day and decrease his armour class. When he hits level 15 his ability to cast spells will substantially improve and he will become immune to poison. Despite what you might read elsewhere he still is a perfectly viable character to have in your party.
Dorn*
Gender: Male
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Paladin
Kit: Blackguard
Alignment: Neutral Evil

Str : 19
Dex : 16
Con : 14
Int : 10
Wis : 15
Cha : 16

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
** Two-Handed Sword ** Crossbow
** Two-Handed Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 9 and 10)
* B.astard Sword ** Two-Handed Sword ** Crossbow
** Two-Handed Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (level 12)
** B.astard Sword ** Two-Handed Sword ** Crossbow
** Two-Handed Weapon Style

Joining Location: Just south-west of the Temple of the Radiant Heart in the Temple District.

Special Item: Rancor (two-handed sword).

If you didn't think it was possible for a character to get even darker then slaughtering a whole village than you will enjoy Dorn's first quest. His personality has changed compared to the first game but only in that he has become more reluctant about his relationship with his patron. His bloodthirst hasn't changed so if you are looking for a character with no reservations about slaughtering large amounts of people then look no further than Dorn. From a personality perspective he is very one dimensional. With that in mind Anomen and Keldorn will both take issue with Dorn being in your party and either of them will demand that Dorn leave the party. You'll have to pick someone to keep in your party and whoever you don't pick will turn hostile against you. Dorn will romance male or female main characters of any race.

Dorn is a powerhouse. Not only does he have 19 strength, which is phenomenal, but he also has 3 useful innate abilities;* Aura of Despair (which makes enemies in the area of effect easier to hit and less likely to hit you), Poison Weapon (always good for doing a bit extra damage), and Absorb Health (ranged spell that damages an opponent and heals Dorn). Poison Weapon is particularly good when combined with a Haste or Improve Haste spell. Poison damage bypasses Stoneskin and his Poison Weapon ability will stack with itself. It basically provides extra damage and against casters it can be particularly effective.* While his dexterity and constitution are not as high as they could be he is still a very effective fighter despite them. His two-handed sword Rancor, while good in BGEE, will quickly lose its viability. Enchanted two-handed swords however are fairly easy to come by. In any case with Dorn you'll want to do his quest line just to get items that generally compliment him.

He is also immune to fear and level drain.** The latter of which makes him useful against vampires in particular.

In terms of proficiencies I would say your best bet with him would be to stick with a two-handed sword, though you could also put towards another two handed weapon (a halberd or quarterstaff for instance) or go with a ranged weapon. From a ranged standpoint a crossbow will do, though If you are willing to spend the proficiency points Slings are also an alternative I suppose. They fire slower but unlike crossbows and bows their bullets gain damage benefits from strength. To be honest between his existing proficiencies and his +1 Two-Handed Sword (becomes +2 for a time after he kills) he is pretty set at least concerning his proficiencies. There really isn't much to say other than that he is a melee DPS (damage per second) kind of character. He will shine as a melee character, especially when he gets access to higher level abilities like Greater Whirlwind and Hardiness. Depending upon the attacks per round he has Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste. The reason for this is that it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round (a lot of tougher enemies will be immune to critical hits however).

When you are at the stage of deciding on higher level abilities for him just keep in mind how long the abilities actually last (typically 1-2 rounds) and the fact that you'll only be able to use an ability once each round. So if for instance you use Greater Whirlwind you can't also use Critical Strike (in that same round).

Dorn will get a good access to cleric spells in BG2EE.*** The level 1 spell Armor of Faith and the level 2 spell Draw Upon Holy Might are a two good self buffs that you should consider giving him when he can learn them. Armor of Faith basically reduces damage from a wide variety of sources and Draw Upon Holy Might will increase his strength, dexterity, and constitution. As a paladin he will be about 8 caster levels behind a cleric of his same level so these buffs won't be as powerful as they could be until much later into the game. Still, something is better than nothing.

For level 3 consider giving him some Animate Dead summonings. They have high magic resistance and are generally capable enough summons. If your mages are using a lot of Cloudkill, Stinking Cloud, or Incendiary Cloud spells he's also someone who can cast Zone of Sweet Air.

At level 4 the choice is up to you. Holy Power will give him more health at the cost of strength. Cause Serious Wounds probably won't do any more damage than Dorn would normally do with his attack. There are spells like Death Ward that can be useful to have for selective uses. Also its probably wouldn't hurt to have another Defensive Harmony spell memorized since it has a fairly short duration, but really at this level there isn't much to pick thats too useful for Dorn.

Overall he is a fantastic melee fighter to take along and you really can't go wrong with him especially in an evil group.

*Saw this on "playithardcore" and thought it was a very good point.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

**His access to these abilities and protections will depend upon the outcome of his quest line in Shadows of Amn

***His access to spells will depend upon the outcome of his quest line in Shadows of Amn
Edwin
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Mage
Kit: Conjurer
Alignment: Lawful Evil

Str : 10
Dex : 10
Con : 16
Int : 18
Wis : 10
Cha : 10

Weapon Proficiencies (level 9):
* Dagger *Quarterstaff

Joining Location: 3rd Floor of Mae'Var's Guildhouse in the Docks Area (you'll have to do some quests before he will join).

Special Item: Edwin's Amulet (+2 spells/spell level)

From a personality standpoint Edwin thinks extremely highly of himself and is quite arrogant. He has more than a few major party conflicts, something that is hardly surprising given his general attitude. Its possible for him and Minsc to get into a fight (because he constantly insults Minsc's ability to defend Dynaheir) and if you try to add Edwin while Neera is in your party she will leave. He is also likely to get into a fight with Valygar or Keldorn. To be frank he's not likely to survive either battle (especially if Keldorn is using his Hallowed Redeemer).

His strength is good, his dexterity is lacking (but he has enough access to spells to protect himself and make up for this), his constitution is great, and his intelligence is great. He's also slightly higher wisdom compared to his stats in BGEE. At a level 9 his health is 46 which isn't great, but its a lot better than Neera's.

Unlike in BGEE his amulet now actually provides +2 spells per spell level and on top of this he is a specialist mage. This means that for each spell level he will have 3 more spells than (for instance) Nalia or Imoen. For this he misses out on divination spells. There are however no divination spells beyond level 6 in the game and True Sight (the best spell he misses out on) can be cast by either your party druid or cleric. As a conjurer he gets a +2 boosts towards his chances to save against conjuration spells, a 15% bonus at trying to learn conjuration spells, and a 15% penalty at learning spells other than conjuration spells. When casting conjuration spells on enemies any enemy will also take a -2 penalty to their save against the spell. This makes Conjuration spells like Grease, Glitterdust, Flame Arrow, Prismatic Spray, and any of the Symbol spells more useful than they would otherwise be. His higher intelligence however will largely make up for this penalty compared to other mage characters in the game.

Edwin is the only character in the game with 18 intelligence, which means in order to learn level 9 spells he doesn't require either a Potion of Genius or a Potion of Mind Focussing. This is not by any means a huge advantage but it is an added convenience that the character provides.

Otherwise he plays as any other mage would. You'll want him to have protection spells like Mirror Image (level 2) and Stoneskin (level 4) memorized. Spell triggers and continguencies are always a good measure to have available prior to any battle. Minor Sequencer (level 4) for instance with two castings of Web (level 2) is going to be a pretty effective combo if you are looking at hitting enemies from a distance with a spell like Skull Trap (level 3) or Fireball (level 3). Otherwise its a good idea to have a few spells like Remove Magic (level 3) or Breach (level 5) memorized on him so that you can peel away at the magical protections of enemies.

Edwin's ability to have between 2-3 spells extra per level compared to other mage NPC's really hits its stride once you gain the ability to cast level 9 spells. Wearing the Robe of Vecna (available in the Adventure Mart from Deidre) will help a lot with his spellcasting. When his usage of the robe is combined with casting Time Stop (level 9) and Improve Alacrity (higher level ability), Edwin will be able to cast spells with significantly less or even no casting time and he won't have any break between casting spells. Skull Trap (level 3) and Horrid Wilting (level 8) are for instance two examples of the kind of spells that would work well for him while Time Stop and Improved Alacrity are active. However, there are lots of spells to choose from with this kind of a combo.

He can also cast Lower Resistance one after another if he is using the above combo. If you organize where he casts spells (in relation to his enemies) you can even make it so that Lower Resistance spells will hit first and more damaging spells like Skull Trap and Horrid Wilting will hit after.

Access to Time Stop will mean that he will be able to deal with most enemies (some of the more powerful enemies are immune to Time Stop) without them being able to respond. Even before that point the great thing about Edwin is that he can have access to so many different spells both because of his intelligence (which allows him to know up to 18 spells per level in his spell book) and because of the extra spells he can memorize. This means that he is a great character to have in a party if you want to try out different spells.

Overall he is a very effective character to have in any party. Still, its probably best to have in an evil or neutral party because of his party conflicts.
Haer'Dalis
Gender: Male
Race: Tiefling
Class: Bard
Kit: Blade
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Str : 17
Dex : 17
Con : 9
Int : 15
Wis : 13
Cha : 16

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 10 and 11)
** Short Sword * Dagger * Dart ** Two-Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (level 13)
* Long Sword ** Short Sword * Dagger * Dart ** Two-Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (level 15)
** Long Sword ** Short Sword * Dagger * Dart ** Two-Weapon Style

Joining Location: Mekrath's base (accessible through the Athkatla Sewers)

Special Items: Entropy (short sword), Chaos Blade (short sword)


Thieving Skills (level 10)

Pick Pockets: 37*

*Will increase by 5 every level until it hits a maximum of 62.

Haer'Dalis has a rather fun personality. If you have Aerie in your group he will hit on her. If you are looking at romancing Aerie its probably best that you don' take Haer'Dalis. His presence will...complicate...things. Otherwise he will hit on Viconia and Imoen (only in Throne of Bhaal) briefly. Other than the complication involving Aerie Haer'Dalis won't have any conflicts with party members so he is a pretty safe character to pick.

As a blade Haer'Dalis is a very effective character in combat. From a stats standpoint his two biggest downsides are low constitution and poor intelligence. If someone else isn't using it you may want to have him use of Girdle of Fortitude (you can pick this up during the Unseeing Eye quest) to improve his constitution and overall health (upon activation). Also you may want to have a Potion of Genius or Potion a Potion of Mind Focussing for when he wants to scribe scrolls (unless you are going to reduce the game difficulty whenever you want to learn spells).

As a Tiefling he has 15% inherent physical damage resistance, 25% fire and electricity resistance, and 50% cold resistance.

From a proficiency standpoint he is going to do quite well with short swords (including the swords he starts out with). If you give him Kundane on his Off-hand that will help. Short swords are likely going to be the only weapon he is specialised in for you (unless you pick him up late). Ultimately there are a lot of different weapons in the game and once he gains access to the higher level ability Use Any Item you will certainly want to consider what weapon is best for him in your circumstances.

One BG2EE specific hint that is useful for Haer'Dalis is if he has 80 in Pick Pockets (which you can get by being above level 10 and using a Potion of Master Thievery) its also possible to steal a cloak that will further improve Haer'Dalis's offhand Thac0 (its held by an NPC called Treya who you run into in Trademeet). The cloak is possible to grab but it is not easily grabbed.

Spells

Haer'Dalis is an effective character in combat because of spell buffs and his special abilities. A few spells that you may want to consider having him memorize include Blur (level 2), Mirror Image (level 2), Ghost Armor (level 3), Stoneskin (level 4), Improved Invisibility (level 4), Mislead (level 6), Continguency (level 6), Protection From Magical Weapons (level 6), and Tenser's Transformation (level 6).

Tenser's is an excellent bard spell. It will set Haer'Dalis's Thac0 to that of a fighter of his current level (bard's level up fast so this means you'll have the Thac0 of a high level fighter), gives him bonuses to Thac0 and damage, doubles his hit points, and lowers his armour class. The downside is he loses the ability to cast spells while it is active. At the moment this also includes the ability to use Offensive and Defensive Spin.

Mislead can be good for a number of reasons but one of them is that you can use the decoy to use a bard song. The normal bard song will only give you basically a remove fear and protection from fear. However, its useful for the enhanced bard song (HLA) because you can have it active while Haer'Dalis is fighting.*

You can also pick up Improved Haste (level 6) particularly if you are using weapons like Belm or Kundane that increase the number of attacks you do per round. Just remember that like Haste (level 3) Improved Haste can't be active at the same time as Offensive Spin.

Otherwise you may want to consider Polymorph Self (level 4). As someone with access to mage spells levels 1-6 you can get some interesting combinations going with it, especially when you have access to both Continguency and Minor Sequencer. If you use the Minor Sequencer for instance you can actually use it while transformed. For the two spells you pick (as one example) you could go with both Ghoul Touch (level 2) and Strength (level 2). Once you are transformed into a spider you can then activate the sequencer, which would then set your spider's strength to 18/50 and give you the chance to paralyze an enemy on hit. You would however have 5 attacks per round and you'd be immune to Web (meaning you could cast Web on enemies beforehand and then proceed to attack them in your spider form). The other good thing about the Ghoul Touch/Sequencer example is that once Ghoul Touch expires you'll revert to Haer'Dalis's weapons but you will stay with 5 attacks per round.** Polymorph Self's Mustard Jelly form is another great option because it has 100% magic resistance.

Abilities

Haer'Dalis gets two special abilities; Offensive Spin and Defensive Spin. Offensive Spin is great because it will increase your attacks per round by 1, increase your damage and hit rolls, and guarantees that for its duration when Haer'Dalis hits an enemy it will do maximum damage. Basically when combined with either short swords or another weapon of your choosing he will become a very effective melee damage dealer.

An alternative to Offensive Spin (you can't have both active at the same time) is Defensive Spin. Defensive Spin gives him -10 to his AC and grounds him in that spot. Its a fantastic ability if you need him to hold off enemies in a doorway or other area where enemies can't just walk around him. Defensive Spin however will not work if Haer'Dalis has a Free Action spell active on him (or an item that gives him it). You can however have either Haste or Improved Haste active on him when you are using it.

As a bard Haer'Dalis also can use a wide variety of wands. The wands you hopefully picked up in the starting dungeon for instance can be used by him. Of that bunch the Wand of Cloudkill (which you can also find in Mekrath's base) is probably going to be the best its cloudkill effect will last longer than the Cloudkill mage spell. If its low on charges you'll want to sell it and then buy it back so that it is at full charge. The Wand of Cloudkill is a good option to have around if you are in need of a ranged item (other than say a bow) for dealing with enemies.

Finally Haer'Dalis will get the chance to pick a number of higher level abilities that are useful in their own way. Of these Use Any Item, Set Spike Trap, Set Time Trap, Avoid Death, and Greater Evasion (you'll have to pick Evasion first) are all good choices.

The Enhanced Bard Song is very good ability that can serve as an alternative to the higher level abilities I've already listed. You can't be singing while you are fighting so you may want to consider what your priorities are for. That said look over each HLA (including the ones I haven't listed) and consider how it compliments the particular play style you are using with Haer'Dalis.

Overall Haer'Dalis is a very effective melee character. His access to buffs and his own special abilities, as well as his initial starting items make him a very capable party member for use in any party.

*element on the baldursgate.com forum pointed this combo out.

**I can't claim credit for figuring this out. Lunar on forum.baldursgate.com actually described the idea in detail.
Hexxat*
Gender: Female
Race: Human
Class: Thief
Alignment: Neutral Evil

Str : 14
Dex : 16
Con : 14
Int : 12
Wis : 10
Cha : 14

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Long Sword * Short Sword * Dagger * Shortbow

Joining Location: Copper Coronet (Slums)

Thieving Skills (level 8)

Open Locks: 60
Find Traps: 65
Pick Pockets: 55
Move Silently: 35
Hide in Shadows: 30
Detect Illusion: 15
Set Traps: 5

Personality wise Hexxat absolutely and unequivocally lacks any personality. She comes across as being nothing less than an empty shell and has limited spoken dialogue. The reasons for this will be explained in time, but suffice to say her stats being lackluster is a temporary issue.

In the meantime when you do level her up level her as you would any thief. Open Locks and Find Traps are a good area to spend any skill points you gain. Otherwise the stealth skills (Move Silently and Hide in Shadows) are a good choice. In combat she is best used with ranged weapons. A short bow is your best bet here. Keep her back and out of the way. If you are going to use her in melee there are a few good short swords that you can pick up early on (you should get one during an ambush while moving between areas) that would be good for her. Do some of the quests in the Slums District and you should encounter at least one of them. In any event you will want to go to Dragomir's tomb as soon as you are able. Before you do so your fighters should have +2 weapons. You may want to look at learning new spells as well. Going to Dragomir's Tomb will progress Hexxat's storyline and if you don't she will eventually leave your party (so if she starts complaining about it you should go there).

*SPOILERS BELOW: DO NOT SCROLL THROUGH OR READ HEXXAT'S PAGE BELOW THIS POINT UNTIL AFTER GOING THROUGH THE TOMB OF DRAGOMIR*



















Gender: Female
Race: Vampire
Class: Thief
Alignment: Neutral Evil

Str : 20*
Dex : 20*
Con : 14
Int : 14*
Wis : 12*
Cha : 18*

*Note: To travel in sunlight these values will need to be reduced by the Cloak of Dragomir

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Short Sword * Dagger * Club * Single Weapon Style

Thieving Skills (level 8)

Open Locks: 85*
Find Traps: 80*
Pick Pockets: 40*
Move Silently: 48*
Hide in Shadows: 58*
Detect Illusion: 25
Set Traps: 30*

*All these values will be reduced when the Cloak of Dragomir is worn

Special Abilities: Children of the Night, Blood Drain, and Domination.

Special Item: Hexxat's Amulet

Hexxat provides a refreshing change both because of there being a lack of thief options in the original game (at least concerning characters who have active thief classes) and because as a character she is very distinctive from the other characters featured in the game. Not surprisingly Keldorn, Anomen, Mazzy, and Valygar will not take kindly to her being in your party, though in some cases you can resolve these conflicts before they erupt in fighting. For the most part I believe this will only occur in Shadows of Amn so if you take Hexxat with one of these characters for the Throne of Bhaal portion of the game there shouldn't be any fighting. That said however Aerie will fight her in Throne of Bhaal. Hexxat will romance female (not male) main players.

Hexxat's amulet grants her immunity to Charm, Panic, Sleep, Level drain, Hold, Poison, Poison damage (for instance Cloudkill), fatigue, break morale, and Disease. It also gives her 1hp/round of regeneration.

Hexxat presents an interesting dilemma. Do you use her for ranged attacks or melee? Likewise do you plan all of your outdoor battles around it being night time or do you just fight with what she has? Either will work though she is probably going to be better off with a bow. If you are going to use her in melee a weapon that increases her number of attacks per round is recommended. You can find a short sword called “Kundane” in the Planar Prison and a scimitar called “Belm” in the Druid's Grove map and either will work for this (though you'll want to make sure Hexxat has proficiency with scimitars before using Belm). Strictly from a melee standpoint the Scarlett Ninja-To in the Copper Coronet is actually even better for this however because it specifically is not a weapon thieves can normally use you won't be able to do backstab damage using it and you won't be able to use it unless you have the higher level ability "Use Any Item". If you feel any (or all) of these weapons would be more appropriate for other members of your group then look around. There are after all lots of weapons in the game she can use.

I would recommend you consider putting 100 points towards Set Traps as soon as possible. Its a skill that will improve with level and it can be useful against particularly difficult opponents. You can't set traps when there are hostile creatures seeing you do it, but you sometimes can get away with it when it involves creatures with a neutral (blue circle) stance towards you. You can have a maximum of 7 traps active in an area at any one time and the traps will remain even after you rest. When they trigger they will only harm hostile creatures. Magic resistance doesn't work against traps, so if you are planning on setting up an ambush (making enemies follow one of your characters towards the traps) they are a good means of doing this.

Otherwise getting Open Locks and Find Traps both to 100 is a good idea. Since most (not all) of the traps you may encounter are indoors you probably can treat these two thieving skills as though she has 20 dexterity permanently, otherwise because you will be spending at least some time outdoors you should treat her thieving skills as though she has 16 dexterity. Also getting stats over 100 generally won't do anything extra unless its for Pick Pockets, Hide in Shadows, or Move Silently. That said Detect Illusions is a skill that becomes particularly handy to have in BG2EE. If you have it at 100 (and your Find Traps button is active) then once a round (every 6 seconds) it basically will function as a True Sight spell.

She also gets a number of unique special abilities. Children of the Night allows you to summon a handful of low level creatures. If nothing else they can serve as distractions. Otherwise Domination works just like the wizard spell and Drain Blood gives her a chance of reducing an enemies constitution (which may lower their health points) and possibly cause them to fall unconscious. She will get extra uses of Domination at levels 14 and 24. She also has the ability to avoid death, which isn't actually as useful as it sounds.

When you reach level 24 you will have the option of taking higher level abilities. Spiked Trap is an extremely powerful trap, the Time Traps are pretty good, and Use Any Item is fantastic. Otherwise pick as you feel is appropriate. Keep in mind that in some cases (like the traps) you can pick skills more than once so picking Spike Trap for instance multiple times is a good idea.

Finally its important to note that the Cloak of Dragonir overrides items like the Gauntlets of Dexterity or the Belt of Ogre Strength, so you can't generally use them to raise your strength or dexterity unless the bonus they give is above 20. Even then it won't be worth it because the bonus she will recieve will be minimal. Using for instance the Gauntlets of Dexterity will actually set your base dexterity to 18, meaning you will have even worse dexterity.

Overall she is an interesting character and provides a pretty stark change of pace from the other characters available in game. I'd highly recommend her especially for evil or neutral parties.
Imoen
Gender: Female
Race: Human
Class: Thief (7) / Mage (dual class)
Alignment: Neutral Good

Str : 9
Dex : 18
Con : 16
Int : 17
Wis : 11
Cha : 16

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Short Sword * Dagger * Quarterstaff
* Shortbow *Dart

Thieving Skills

Open Locks: 100
Find Traps: 95
Pick Pockets: 35
Move Silently: 30
Hide in Shadows: 25
Detect Illusion: 0
Set Traps: 5

Imoen doesn't really say much in the game and her treatment at the hands of Irenicus is pretty mentally scarring for the character. From a conversation standpoint she says almost nothing to the older characters, especially in Shadows of Amn, so if you want to have Imoen providing a decent amount of conversation taking her along with the new NPC's is the best way to go.

That said Imoen is a great mage. Her strength isn't all that important but her dexterity and constitution are fantastic. Her dexterity and thieving skills are such that she has basically all she needs of the two most important utility abilities for thieves (Find Traps and Open Locks). She's not in a position to do much else as a thief.

Unfortunately her intelligence is too low to learn level 9 spells, so she will need to use a Potion of Genius or Potion of Mind Focussing to do this. In ToB you can buy a Golden Ioun Stone from Lazarus in Saradush that you can move around your mages that will improve their intelligence by 1. Otherwise though from a stats perspective she really has no serious downside. Her high dexterity in fact means that on top of her spellcasting she is great with using a bow. Still, its better to use her as a mage than as the parties archer. What spells you want her to have is up to you, however I will be making a few suggestions for her.

If you are looking at this and you have just started out in Irenicus's dungeon having her memorize 4 magic missile, 2 Melf's Acid Arrow, 1 Mirror Image, 2 Fireball, 1 Haste, 1 Improved Invisibility, and 1 Stoneskin will give her a good mix of damage spells, protection spells, and a party buff. If you are in Irenicus's dungeon and you are just trying to get a fix on how to play different NPC's then I would recommend you stop reading this section of the guide for the time being. The spell setup I gave you just now should be good enough to keep her relevant in the dungeon, especially if you cast Fireball on enemies (remember that this hurts allies so keep them away from it) and use Haste on your allies. The reason I suggest you stop reading is that there are spoilers regarding Imoen below.

Besides the fact that she can cast less spells than a specialist mage her main downside is how accessible she is in the game. Unless you leave for Spellhold when your main character has either around 800,000 XP or 1.2 million XP she will be behind your party from an experience standpoint during the game. By how much will depend upon how many secondary quests you do before going to Spellhold.

If you want to get more spellcasting out of Imoen you can always use Project Image (level 7). Imoen will freeze in her place but the image can be used to cast the same spells Imoen gets (at her same level). The advantage with this is that in situations where you don't want to rest it will help to preserve spells.

Damaging Role

Imoen will get access to all spells schools of magic, so finding damage spells for her shouldn't be too difficult. Skull Trap for instance is a particularly potent damaging spell that deals a good amount of damage. Otherwise Fireball (level 3), Delayed Blast Fireball (level 7), and Horrid Wilting (level 8) are a few damaging spells that you may find a use for.

Wearing the Robe of Vecna (available in the Adventure Mart from Deidre) and the Amulet of Power will help a lot with her spellcasting. When her usage of these items is combined with casting Time Stop (level 9) and Improve Alacrity (higher level ability), Imoen will be capable of casting a series of spells like Skull Trap and Horrid Wilting in quick succession. This will deal devastating amounts of damage without most opponents being able to respond to it. She can even combine this with casting spells like Lower Resistance (level 5), which she can cast in quick succession (while under Time Stop and Improved Alacrity) in order to lower an enemies magic resistance to nothing. If (while under the effects of Time Stop) you move Imoen very close to an enemy you can even arrange it so that a spell like Lower Resistance will hit an enemy before a heavy hitting spell like Horrid Wilting will hit. This will all involve where you cast certain spells in relation with where you cast others, but suffice it to say she has the potential to deal with most enemies before your fighters do anything more than a few wacks.

Party Buffing Role

Of course you may want to use her in more of a party buffing role. Haste (level 3) is useful for its benefits to party member speed and an increase in the number of attacks players get per round.

Invisibility '10 Radius (level 3) can be useful if you want to strategically locate your characters prior to a major battle. Beyond that its main benefit is the +4 to attack rolls that a character attacking from invisibility will get, something that is especially useful for fighter characters. It can be pretty easily countered however by some of the more powerful enemies so watch out!

Improved Haste (level 6) can be cast on individual party members (best used on warriors) to double their attacks per round. Its a great spell that is highly recommended because it has the potential to give the fighters in your party 8-10 attacks per round without relying on the Whirlwind abilities.

Otherwise Mass Invisibility (level 7) is a solid party buff spell that casts Improved Invisibility on any party member in its area of effect. This gives enemies a penalty (-4) to enemies trying to attack them and lowers their saving throws by 4. You may find that there are other spells at level 7 (Limited Wish, Spell Sequencer for instance) that are more useful. Keep in mind though that if you are going to use Limited Wish (or the 9th level spell Wish) with Imoen you will want to use a Potion of Insight so that her wisdom is 18.

Debuff Role

You can also use her more in a debuff (reduce the enemies ability or power) role. Spells like Greater Malison (level 4) Emotion: Hopelessness (level 4), Horror (level 2), Polymorph Other (level 4), Chaos, and any of the Symbol or Power Word spells (Power Word: Stun or Symbol: Stun for instance). The Symbol spells in particular are good because they generally have a larger area of effect than Power spells, however make sure to look them all over individually if you are going to use them because they can vary on their casting times, how they treat saving throws, and whether or not they work if an enemies with greater than 60 current health.

Of course debuffing doesn't have to include just spells. You can buy about 80 Arrows of Dispelling from the Fletcher in the Promenade. If you use them very sparingly they can be particularly useful when you are up against powerful spellcasters.

Overall Imoen can be a very useful party member. There is nothing really you can do about her biggest downside, since its plot related, but if you are looking for someone to replace the loss of Yoshimo she is well worth it.
Jaheira
Gender: Female
Race: Half-Elf
Class: Fighter/Druid (multi-class)
Alignment: True Neutral

Str : 15
Dex : 17
Con : 17
Int : 10
Wis : 14
Cha : 15

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 6/7, 7/8, and 8/11)
* Scimitar ** Club * Quarterstaff * Sling
* Sword and Shield Style

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 9/12)
** Scimitar ** Club * Quarterstaff * Sling * Sword and Shield Style

Jaheira in BG2EE suffers with the loss of Khalid. In the meantime she also acts as somewhat of a mentor for Aerie and to a lesser degree Nalia. She also shares some fun banter with Edwin in particular. Otherwise she has a lot of dialogue between different party members and she is a pretty mellow character to have around. She has her own unique quests (in one of them you get to meet THE Terminsel). She will romance a male human, half-elf, elf, or halfling player character.

Jaheira could be best described as a lot more player-friendly druid than Cernd. She can wear the best armours in the game, use weapons more competently than Cernd, and benefits from having more health and a better armour class (not including Cernd's Greater Werewolf form). Her low strength can be made up for much easier in BG2EE than it could be in the first game so its not that big of a negative. She gets a handful of extra low level spells because of her wisdom (but to be honest low level druid spells aren't generally that needed).

She isn't as capable of a spellcaster as Cernd but that really doesn't matter. Unless you are playing in a party with less than 6 people in it its going to take a LONG time before you ever see her reach level 15 as a druid, meaning that you are going to have to be frugal with the few druid spells you can use.

In Cernd's guide I discuss using "pest" spells either to meddle with your opponents. With Jaheira because of her even slower level progression these won't play as big of a role. You can have one Iron Skins and one Insect Plague memorized by level 10 and unless you have her with the Staff of Arundel thats the best you will do with her for level 5 spells likely until close to the end of Shadows of Amn.

Buff Spells

Other than Iron Skins there is also Armor of Faith, Bless, and Defensive Harmony if you are looking for some buff spells. When you eventually gain access to a single level 7 spell you should consider taking Regeneration. It will restore 18 points of health per round for (at level 14) 7 rounds. Cast these while she dual wields weapons (ideally ones that improve her attacks per round) and she will be a great.

Pest Spells

There are of course probably a few pest spells she can afford to take. Insect Plague is a good place to start. You can use it to make enemies move around the area slower (because of all the hits they will be constantly taking) and disrupt mage and cleric spellcasting. Creeping Doom (level 7) is a spell you will get a fair bit later that acts largely as an improved version of Insect Plague. With Jaheira you may want to wait until she hits level 15 as a druid before getting Creeping Doom. Regeneration is likely to be a more effective spell for her to use.

Otherwise some lower level spell options for Jaheira that will make her an annoyance are Doom (level 1), Invisibility Purge (level 3), and Summon Insects (level 3). You'll find other suggestions on Cernd's page for lower level druid spells but in general you'll likely want Jaheira fighting instead of spending a round casting a spell. Like with Cernd her Dispel Magic spell won't be very effective because of her slow level progression.

If you are looking at an alternative to Regeneration (for Jaheira's one level 7 spell) aside from Creeping Doom Earthquake is a fantastic spell if you want to disrupt enemies in a given area. It will affect your own characters if they are in its radius and there is a 2% chance of summoning a hostile Greater Earth Elemental, but overall it can be good spell.

With its first quake anyone hit by it will get a penalty of -6 to their save vs spell roll against it. If they fail it will make them unconcious for the next 4 rounds. The second and third quakes aren't nearly as strong so you should be able to move Jaheira and the rest of your fighters and warriors in to finish off the remaining enemies (without having to worry as much about the amount of damage they will take).

When Jaheira reaches level 15 as a druid there are a few other options for her for level 7 spells and higher level ability spells. Some suggestions include Nature's Beauty, Fire Storm, Implosion, and Storm of Vengeance. Ultimately though pick what you feel is most appropriate.

Nature's Beauty is a great spell for Jaheira. It won't bypass magic resistance but if it hits an enemy and they don't have magic resistance it is guaranteed (at a minimum) to blind them. It may also kill them if they don't make a save vs spell. Its big downsides are its long casting time and its range (which honestly is larger than most people realize).

As a damage spell Fire Storm is good because while it doesn't do a lot of damage compared to mage spells of a similar level it does bypass magic resistance (enemies immune to fire will be immune to it however). There aren't a lot of spells that do this, so consider it if you encounter enemies with high amounts of magic resistance. If you are going to cast Fire Storm considering casting both "Resist Fire and Cold" and "Protection From Fire" particularly on your fighter and melee characters beforehand. It will give them 127 fire resistance, which means if they get hit by Fire Storm it will actually heal them.

Implosion bypasses magic resistance and deals both fire and crushing damage against an enemy. It potentially can do more damage than Fire Storm against a single target, but the amount of damage it will do is highly variable. It also will hold

Storm of Vengeance can be a useful higher level ability/spell. While it won't bypass magic resistance it also won't harm party members and it is a good spell for disrupting mage or cleric spellcasting (because it hits with multiple types of damage). Since it only lasts for 3 rounds its best used particularly just before a battle begins.

Summoning

As a druid Jaheira will have various "Animal Summoning" spells that are best used as fodder for an enemy mages "Death" spell. "Conjure Animal" (level 6) is probably the best of these sorts of spells both because it reliably summons mountain bears (not random animals) and those bears attack as though they have +3 weapons.

Call Woodland Beings is also a decent summoning spell. Its effectiveness will however diminish as you face more powerful enemies.

She will have too few level 7 spells available to bother with Earth Elementals. Fire Elementals (level 6) however are immune to normal and +1 weapons, hit as though they had +4 weapons, and are immune to fire. As of patch 1.3 fire elementals now have either 18, 20, or 23 strength depending upon their hit dice, making them quite a bit more effective from a damage standpoint than they used to be (though they still lack the mental effect immunities a few comparable level mage summons have).

The higher level abilities "Elemental Summoning" and "Greater Elemental Summoning" are recommended once her druid level is 15. Both provide very powerful summons though the summons of "Elemental Summoning" only last for a turn. You can also pick the elemental transformations with her and combine them with the use of her fighter higher level abilities.

Overall Jaheira is an incredibly capable fighter. Her later access to the fighter higher level abilities Greater Whirlwind and Hardiness, on top of her access to druid spells and higher level abilities, make her an asset in any party. She is a highly recommended character for any group.
Jan
Gender: Male
Race: Gnome
Class: Thief / Illusionist (multi-class)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Str : 9
Dex : 17
Con : 15
Int : 16
Wis : 14
Cha : 10

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Short sword * Dagger * Quarterstaff
* Crossbow

Thieving Skills (level 8)

Open Locks: 120*
Find Traps: 105**
Pick Pockets: 85*
Move Silently: 20
Hide in Shadows: 15
Detect Illusions: 90**
Set Traps: 25

*Getting a boost from his gloves (+20 to Open Locks, +20 to Pick Pockets)
** Getting a boost from his goggles (+25 Find Traps, +25 Detect Illusion)

Joining Location: Government District

Special Items: Jansen AdventureWear, Jansen Spectroscopes, Jansen Techno-Gloves, Flasher Launcher, Flasher Master Bruiser Mate.

Unique Ability: Create Bruiser Mates

My mere words cannot possibly stress how fantastic a character Jan is. Love him or hate him he converses with party members fairly consistently throughout the game. Most of his interactions are likely filled with a mix of total nonsense, lies, exagerations, and truths, but either way even if you don't like him he certainly won't remain silent throughout the game.

His stats may not look amazing but they really are quite acceptable. He has a good dexterity, pretty good constitution (given his class) and a decent enough intelligence to at least get level 8 spells without having to rely on any potions. Since he is a gnome his 15 constitution gives him +4 to his save vs spells (which is a great benefit). As an illusionist he gets a +2 boost towards his saves against Illusionist spells, a 15% bonus at trying to learn illusionist spells, and a 15% penalty at learning spells other than Illusion spells. When casting Illusion spells on enemies the enemy also gets -2 to their saves against his Illusion spells. This includes spells like Spook, Blindness, and Deafness (the latter of which bypasses magic resistance).

Jan also comes with some fantastic equipment. His armour (AdventureWear) gives him 25% damage reduction from physical attacks (almost unheard of), lets him cast spells while wearing it, and has an armor class of 4 vs missiles (not amazing by itself but fantastic given he starts out with it). He has goggles (Spectroscopes) that give him Detect Invisibility once/day, immunity to blindness, +25 to Find Traps, and +25 Detect Illusion. Finally he has gloves (Techno-Gloves) that give him +20 to Pick Pocket and Open Locks and a Flasher Launcher that allows him to fire his own ammo. Since he is limited in how frequently he can attack with the crossbow the specialty ammo isn't all that great (enemies get a save vs spell against it or are stunned). The Light Crossbow of Speed (purchasable in the Copper Coronet) can be used to increase the number of attacks he can make but to be honest he's likely going to be better off either casting a spell or using a wand. Amongst his various types of unique equipment you are more likely to get a lot of usage out of his armor, helmet, and gloves.

As a multi-class character Jan will level slower than most characters in your party. Like Aerie its probably not the best idea to have him with crucial spells that absolutely rely on a characters caster level to be good. Remove Magic and Dispel Magic for instance are going to be more effective if they are used by another mage in your party, a bard, or (in the case of Dispel Magic) a cleric. As an Illusionist Jan also can't cast any necromancy spells. It basically means you lose out on being able to cast Skull Trap, Animate Dead, Death Spell, Finger of Death, and eventually a few of the level 8 and 9 spells like Horrid Wilting and Wail of the Banshee. It sucks losing particularly the first three spells in that list. You probably aren't going to be able to cast level 7 spells until Throne of Bhaal, so losing access to the latter three is not as big of a deal.

Jan is great however because of his versatility. Being a gnome gives him pretty good benefits towards his thieving skills and on top of that so do his items. Even at level 10 he's pretty set in terms of his thieving skills because of them. He can cast lots of invisibility spells so his low Hide in Shadows and Move Silently really doesn't matter. Even as a multi-class It shouldn't take too long to get his Set Traps, Detect Illusion, and Pick Pocket up to 100 each. After that point you'll probably just want to put towards Pick Pocket unless you really want to get his Hide in Shadows and Move Silently skills up.

His versatility includes having access to both mage and thief higher level abilities. Getting him at a point where he is capable of putting down traps (get his Set Traps ability to 100) is a good idea. They will bypass magic resistance and you can have up to 7 in an area at any one time. They also improve as you level up. They won't harm your own party members and will basically serve as an easy way to do damage. You'll have to actually get your enemies to come to the traps but they are quite useful. You can even use the 7th level spell "Project Image" in order to set traps at Jan's level without using them up on Jan (the use of Project Image however will not let you set more than 7 traps at any time).

He won't be able to access a lot of the higher level mage abilities for awhile. However, he will get access to some great thief higher level abilities. Of those abilities Spiked Trap is an extremely powerful trap, the Time Traps are pretty good, and Use Any Item is fantastic. Otherwise pick as you feel is appropriate. Keep in mind that in some cases (like the traps) you can pick skills more than once so picking Spike Trap for instance multiple times is a good idea.

As for spells you can use Jan any way you'd like. Keeping him with spells that buff party members is a good idea.

Buff spells

Depending upon the circumstances you are facing he can buff party members with spells like Strength (level 2), Resist Fear (level 2), Haste (level 3), Invisibility, 10' Radius (level 3), Protection from Cold (level 3), Protection from Fire (level 3), Improved Invisibility (level 4), Protection from Acid (level 4), Protection from Lightning (level 4), Improved Haste (level 6), Protection from Magical Energy (level 6), Mass Invisibility (level 7), or Protection from the Elements (level 7).

Most of these spells are pretty straightforward about how they buff your characters but there are a few I will explain.

The first is Invisibility 10'Radius. On the surface this doesn't seem like a buff but it kind of is. Not only is it beneficial to your party because it allows you to place your characters before combat (depending upon if an enemy possesses the ability to ignore invisibility or counteract it) but attacking from invisibility provides a bonus of +4 to attack rolls. Effectively in combat its a temporary buff.

Improved Invisibility (and subsequently the Mass Invisibility spell) are good buffs. They can be used to improve the chance for your characters avoiding attacks (+4 bonus to AC) and they will improve saving throws by 4.

Improved Haste will double your number of attacks per round (unlike Haste which just gives one extra attack per round).

Damaging Spells

Jan missed out on some of the better damaging spells in the game like Skull Trap and Horrid Wilting. However he still gets access to area of effect damage spells like Fireball (level 3) and Cloudkill (level 5). Eventually he will gain access to pretty good damage spells like Delayed Blast Fireball (level 7), Incendiary Cloud (level 8), Dragon's Breath (HLA), and Comet (HLA).

Overall Jan is an incredibly versatile character because he can help buff himself and the party up, use any item available in the game, act as the parties thief, and be home in time for Turnip soup. All in all a highly recommendable character.
Keldorn
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Paladin
Kit: Inquisitor
Alignment: Lawful Good

Str : 17
Dex : 9
Con : 17
Int : 12
Wis : 16
Cha : 18

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
** Long Sword ** Two-Handed Sword ** Crossbow

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 9 and 10)
* B.astard Sword ** Long Sword ** Two-Handed Sword ** Crossbow

Weapon Proficiencies (level 12)
** B.astard Sword ** Long Sword ** Two-Handed Sword ** Crossbow

Joining Location: Sewers underneath Temple District (Athkatla)

Special Items: Firecam Full Plate Armor, Hallowed Redeemer.

Keldorn is an experienced Paladin and the mentor of Ajantis (from BGEE). He continues that role with Anomen and Minsc in particular. As the game progresses Anomen and Keldorn's relationship will be defined by whether or not Anomen passes his trial (including the possibility they will fight). He gets a fair bit of banter amongst the various characters in the game. Picking him with Hexxat or Viconia is likely to result in them fighting to the death. Likewise picking him while you have Dorn in your party (or taking Dorn into your party when Keldorn is in it) will result in an ultimatum where the one who isn't chosen will attack your party. Keldorn is also likely to get into a fight to the death with Edwin. Keldorn is also the only NPC that can talk Minsc down when he is raging from his ability.

From a stats perspective Keldorn is a pretty effective member of your party. He really benefits from the Gauntlets of Dexterity, so if you do pick them up he's an ideal candidate for them. His strength is low for a fighter but there are enough items available in the game that that can be changed. His constitution is very good, his intelligence is high enough to provide some protection when fighting Mind Flayers, and his charisma is excellent (his wisdom value isn't important).

Keldorn is the ultimate mage killer in the game. Well ok that might be overselling it a bit. In any case Keldorn gets two innate abilities that work really well together for killing mages; Dispel Magic (which he casts at twice his caster level) and True Sight (which can be used to reveal invisible enemies and remove illusions like Mislead). His Dispel Magic in particular is devastating because it will strip a mage of his protections pretty easily. You'll want to be careful where you cast that Dispel Magic because it will likely remove any of your party members buffs unless they have a protection active against that sort of thing (which is unlikely). Using him as your default spellcaster killer is probably your best approach. There is a two-handed sword called Carsomyr (only paladins can normally use it) that you may comes across in the game that is frankly a perfect weapon for him because it dispels on hit.

His starting armor (Firecam Full Plate Armor) can be a blessing or a curse depending upon the situation because it gives Free Action. You'll eventually want to upgrade it. His starting blade (Hallowed Redeemer) is a fantastic starting weapon. It does 5 magic damage to anyone who damages Keldorn (whether that happens to be through magical damage, ranged attack damage, or melee damage). Eventually you will find two-handed swords that are better but in the meantime it will serve as a great weapon for Keldorn.

As an Inquisitor he can't cast any priest spells, so playing him is fairly straightforward. He's probably easiest to play up close with a two-handed sword. If you are going to go with this approach use his proficiency points to improve his Two-Handed Weapon Style. In most cases its probably not worth having the second proficiency in Two-Handed Weapon Style, but in Keldorn's case particularly if you are going to be using Carsomyr the extra speed means you can remove a mages defences slightly quicker. To be honest its your call. In any case having one point of proficiency in Two-Handed Weapon Style is recommended.

Alternatively you could also use him with a long sword or another melee weapon with a shield. You don't necessarily have to put towards Sword and Shield Style. There are a number of very capable Long Swords in the game that would work well. You could put future proficiency points into Two-Weapon Style in order to have him dual wielding Long Swords if thats what you prefer. Otherwise the game has plenty of different magical single handed weapons for you to choose from.

For higher level abilities Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, and Hardiness are three great abilities. Remember that you can pick them more than once. He also can gain the Summon Deva ability and its a certainly worth one higher level ability pick. You can pick other abilities as well of course but Greater Whirlwind, Hardiness, and Summon Deva are all pretty safe bets. Depending upon his number of attacks per round Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste. The reason for this is that it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round (a lot of tougher enemies will be immune to critical hits however).

Overall Keldorn is an extremely capable character. He is highly recommended especially for good or neutral parties.
Korgan
Gender: Korgan
Race: Dwarf
Class: Fighter
Kit: Berserker
Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Str : 18/77
Dex : 15
Con : 19
Int : 12
Wis : 9
Cha : 7

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
***** Axes * Warhammer

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 9 and 11)
***** Axes ** Warhammer

Weapon Proficiencies (level 12)
***** Axes *** Warhammer

Korgan is sort of an even rougher version of Kagain (the NPC in BGEE). He is downright rude to certain party members, enemies, and basically anyone. He goes after Aerie quite a bit, which could turn out to be problematic particularly if Aerie gives you an ultimatum. He also takes quite a liking to Mazzy and generally just has a lot of fun dialogue. Aerie is really the only character that conflicts enough with him that it will go anywhere (and if they make it without fighting into Throne of Bhaal his harassing her will eventually end without a fight).

Playing him as a character is pretty straightforward. You'll may want an item to improve his dexterity because for a fighter it is certainly low. Otherwise his strength and constitution are very great. As a dwarf his constitution is actually granting him +5 to saving throws vs spells, wands, and death/poison.

He has an enrage ability that allows him to become enraged for 1 turn. While enraged, he gains a bonus of +2 to attack and damage rolls as well as to armour class, and becomes immune to charm, confusion, fear, feeblemind, hold, imprisonment, level drain, maze, stun, and sleep. He also gains 15 temporary Hit Points, which are taken away at the end of the enrage (possibly knocking the him unconscious if his health is low enough). After the effects end, he becomes winded, suffering a -2 penalty to his armour class, to-hit rolls, and damage rolls. Thankfully Korgan's enrage ability doesn't work like Minsc's berserk. Korgan will actually keep his faculties and while he is enraged he is actually very good particularly because of the number of status effects that he is immune to.

Beyond that because he gets access to a fair number of additional proficiency points during the game (between 9-11 depending upon what level you pick him up) so he can be adjusted to use different (particularly 1 handed) weapons.

What weapon style you choose to use him with is up to you. He has a lot of health and even without great dexterity he can take quite a beating on his own. If you are going to use him with a weapon and shield one option is to put proficiency points into Flails and buy the Defender of Easthaven from Joluv in the Copper Coronet. The flail will reduce the physical damage Korgan takes and you can switch over to an axe (like the Frostreaver) or the Flail of Ages when you are looking to do extra combat damage. You could also dual wield. Until Throne of Bhaal the weapon you used for your main hand would largely be a tradeoff between more damage while using an axe (like the Frostreaver) as a primary weapon (thanks to his grand mastery with axes) or benefiting from other dishing out other effects like the slow effect caused by the Flail of Ages.

You could also go with warhammers. Its a pretty safe proficiency in that you can even buy a decent warhammer from Ribald's if needed and later on there are a few powerful warhammers that you can either find or assemble.

That said while its true that mechanically speaking axes (what he basically starts with) aren't the best weapons in the game you can finish the game with them. If you are going to do this then I highly recommend you go through Watcher's Keep. There is an axe on the fourth floor there called the Axe of the Unyielding that will help him (particularly when later upgraded) hit certain enemies that would be otherwise immune to his attacks.

Regardless of your proficiency choices Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, and Hardiness are a few solid higher level abilities you can pick for him. Resist Magic is also an option if his magic resistance is below 40%. Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste because it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round (a lot of tougher enemies will be immune to critical hits however).

Basically as a pure fighter Korgan is going to be your go to guy for getting up close with enemies and distracting them while your mages cast spells. As he progresses in level and especially if he has two weapons he will be a pretty effective damage dealer as well. Giving him items that increase his walking speed is a good idea. His bonuses to saving throws and enrage ability should (by fighter standards) make him a quite a bit more resistance to enemy spells working on him.

In any case its hard to go wrong by picking Korgan. He will be tolerated by most (not all) good party members and he is a solid fighter throughout the game. He also can be pretty fun to have around and he has the most opportunity of any character in the game to switch up
Mazzy
Gender: Female
Race: Halfling
Class: Fighter
Alignment: Lawful Good

Str : 15
Dex : 18
Con : 16
Int : 10
Wis : 13
Cha : 14

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Short Sword ***** Shortbow

Weapon Proficiencies (level 9)
** Short Sword ***** Shortbow

Weapon Proficiencies (level 12)
*** Short Sword ***** Shortbow

Joining Location: Temple Ruins (you'll have to get the Umar Hills quest and find Mazzy's note in the ranger cabin to have acces to the area)

Starting Items: Sword of Avoreen, Bow of Avoreen

Mazzy is a very calm, courageous, and knightly figure who is out to fight evil in the realms (wherever that happens to take her). One interesting note is that she was voiced by Jennifer Hale of Mass Effect fame (but she did this voice work long before she ever did Mass Effect). She gets along well with most NPC's and she will actually form a strong bond with Valygar. Anomen will however insult her, especially given her race, however no fighting will result from it. She is very likely to attack Hexxat so keep that in mind if you take her in your group. Otherwise having her with Korgan in your party will result in some fun banters.

She's a great fighter in her own right though certainly her initial strength would give off the impression that she is not great with melee weapons. One of her many abilities however gives her a strength boost that can vary between 18/50, 18/75, and 18/00 (for the moment the 18/00 version if used twice will actually will give you double its normal -4 Thac0 boost). She also has another ability that gives her protection from fear, another ability that grants her Haste, and a lay on hands ability (like what Paladins have). One good thing about her constitution is that as a halfling she is given +4 to her saves vs spells, wands, and death/poison because of it.

She should be pretty capable even with a short sword at the start of the game. Her starting short sword (the Sword of Avoreen) is fairly useful because of its slow effect (and the immunity it provides to Slow and Stun), but you will find better short swords in the game if that is what you are ultimately interested in using.

You aren't likely to pick her up at level 8, so realistically if you pick her up at level 9 and you want to get grandmastery in a melee weapon (other than the short sword) the level that you would accomplish this at would be at level 24. As a fighter she is pretty versatile with what weapons and weapons styles you pick with her. So even if you choose to not have her focussing on short swords she can still fairly effectively use other weapons.

If you are going with her using short swords you may want her to equip with Kundane in her offhand. You can find it in the Planar Prison. Its a short sword that will give her main hand weapon an extra attack each round (or 2 extra attacks with Improved Haste active on her).

Otherwise she already starts out with grandmastery with shortbows. Her starting bow (the Bow of Avoreen) is decent enough given its Thac0 boost but the Tuigan bow (you can get it from the Beastmaster in the Copper Coronet) is a better bow to go with. Its a particularly good bow for her to use because it will give her an additional attack per round.

Other than Kundane the Short Sword of Mask (which you can buy from Sister Garlena at the entrance to Watcher's Keep) is probably going to be her best choice for a short sword for her main hand. Like Korgan she will gain a lot of proficiency points as the game progresses (9-11 depending upon what level you pick her up) so you will want to think about how you use them. Giving her 2 proficiency points in Two-Weapon Style and 2 points in short swords (eventually going up to grand mastery) is one option. Two points in Two-Weapon Style only penalizes her off-hand attack and she only gets one of those regardless of the weapon she is using. So there is less of a benefit in putting more than 2 points in it compared to for instance raising short swords to grand mastery.

There are so many different weapons available however that you really don't have to keep her with short swords.

As a fighter Mazzy can serve both as your parties archer and as a front line fighter. Taking out enemy archers that are shooting at your mages or hitting enemy mages with a multitude of arrows are a few uses for her ranged abilities. Also keep in mind that you can buy 80 Arrows of Dispelling from the fletcher in the Promenade area of Athkatla. You should use these arrows sparingly but they can be useful at dropping the defenses of enemy mages. As someone with a high dexterity and grand mastery in shortbows Mazzy is particularly well suited for this task. Otherwise she can also serve effectively as a front line fighter.

Some higher level abilities you should consider are Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, Hardiness, and (if her magic resistance is lower than 40%) Resist Magic. You may also find Power Attack or Critical Strike to be useful. Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste because it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round (a lot of tougher enemies will be immune to critical hits however).

Overall she's a very capable and versatile (if likely overlooked) character. She is highly recommendable for any neutral or good party in particular.
Minsc
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Ranger
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Str : 18/93
Dex : 16
Con : 16
Int : 8
Wis : 6
Cha : 9

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 7 and 8)
** Two-Handed Sword ** Mace ** Longbow ** Two-Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (level 9)
* Axe ** Two-Handed Sword ** Mace ** Longbow ** Two-Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (level 12)
** Axe ** Two-Handed Sword ** Mace ** Longbow ** Two-Weapon Style


Location: Irenicus's Dungeon just north of where you start (otherwise provided he got out of his cage in the dungeon you should be able to find him in the Copper Coronet in the Slums District.)


Thieving Abilities (level 7)

Stealth: 62


Racial Enemy: Vampires


Minsc is probably the most beloved character in the series. He is a lovable but deranged ranger who speaks to his pet hamster (or as he describes it a "miniature giant space hamster"). The death of Dynaheir plays a prominent role in Minsc's dialogue, especially if you have either Aerie or Edwin in your group. In the game Aerie will offer to be his new "witch", which basically means that if Aerie dies Minsc will go into a rage. Edwin on the other hand will taunt him about the death of Dynaheir and the two are likely to get into a fight. Keldorn is the only NPC that can talk Minsc down when he has used his berserk ability and is rampaging.

Generally though he has a lot of fun, goofy dialogue.

Minsc is a very good warrior to take along. His strength is more than excellent and both his constitution and dexterity are very good. His intelligence is low, so keep that aware when you are fighting Mind Flayers, but otherwise he's very capable. Just don't stick him in the parties leadership position (without something to boost that charisma).

He has a Berserk ability that does a number of things. For the two turns (2 minutes in real-time) that it lasts it increases his strength and dexterity by 2 and increases his total health by 15. It also provides immunity to charm, panic, sleep, confusion, stun, maze, level drain, hold, and feeblemind. However, in combat situations you will lose control of him so its best used with caution. Also the 15 health that he gains will be removed when the effect ends, so make sure to not have less than 15 health with him while he is going berserk.

Your best bet with him is to either use two-handed weapons or dual wield. If you are going to use two-handed weapons you should put at least a proficiency point in Two-Handed Weapon Style. Namely just to improve his chances of getting a critical hit.

Otherwise if you are using two weapons you may want to look at putting proficiency towards flails. The Flail of Ages and the Defender of Easthaven (for your offhand) are two great flails you can get in the game.

Ultimately though since there are so many weapons in the game and since you can only put 2 proficiency points into any of them Minsc should turn out to be pretty versatile with what weapons he can use regardless of what weapon types you end up picking. Also if you are going to use two weapons at once I would suggest putting a third proficiency point into Two-Weapon Style. Just to improve your chance of hitting with your offhand weapon. If you have a thief with 80 in Pick Pockets its also possible to steal a cloak that will further improve Minsc's offhand Thac0 (its held by an NPC called Treya who you run into in Trademeet). The cloak is possible to grab but it is not easily grabbed.

Minsc will also have the ability to cast a limited number of spells. However, as a ranger his caster level is 7 levels behind his character level. This means that spells won't last as long as they may appear to last based on the description for the spells. Armor of Faith (level 1) is really the most useful spell Minsc can take. Otherwise perhaps taking a few healing spells (like Slow Poison, Cure Disease, and Cure Medium Wounds) might be an idea. Dispel Magic will be too far behind from a level standpoint to be very useful. Summon Insects can be good both as a means of disrupting spells and because each hit will count as a hit (as far as Mirror Images and Stoneskin is concerned) so you can take down a Stoneskin spell with it.

Basically as a pure ranger and as someone with high strength Minsc is going to serve as a pretty versatile warrior. Like a lot of the games other warriors Minsc is going to be at his best when he is up close with enemies and distracting them while your party mage, druid, or cleric casts spells. As he progresses in level and especially if he has two weapons he will be a pretty effective damage dealer as well. Giving him items that increase his walking speed is a good idea.

Like with any warrior I would recommend Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, Hardiness, and perhaps Resist Magic (if his resist magic is less than 40%) as higher level abilities. Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste because it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round (a lot of tougher enemies will be immune to critical hits however). Ranger's also get a higher level ability unique to them called “Tracking”. Basically it just informs you of roughly what enemies you can expect on a given map. To be honest its not really that useful since it doesn't tell you specifically where enemies are. Also it won't work on Shadows of Amn maps.

Overall Minsc is a very capable melee fighter and a decent archer. Other than Edwin he won't get into party conflicts with anyone so he is a pretty safe choice for most groups.
Nalia
Gender: Female
Race: Human
Class: Thief (4) / Mage (dual class)
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Str : 14
Dex : 18
Con : 16
Int : 17
Wis : 9
Cha : 13

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Short Sword * Dagger * Quarterstaff
* Shortbow

Joining Location: Copper Coronet (Slums)

Special Item: de'Arnise Signet Ring

Thieving Skills

Open Locks: 60
Find Traps: 80
Pick Pockets: 35
Move Silently: 20
Hide in Shadows: 15
Detect Illusion: 0
Set Traps: 5

From a personality standpoint Nalia has a pretty spoiled upbringing. She's not much of a fan of dungeon crawling, particularly when it means time could be spent helping the less fortunate. She is great to have along during the D'Arnise Stronghold quest and she won't get into any conflicts with party members.

That said Nalia is a great mage. Given the number of similarities they share she plays out very much like Imoen. Her strength is such that she can carry a lot by mage standards and her dexterity and constitution are fantastic. Her low thief level (4) means that despite her dexterity she still falls short in terms of her thieving skills. On a flip side those thieving levels and her constitution bonus have given her extra health. She starts out with almost twice as much health as Neera.

She also is wearing a family ring that she can't remove. As it gives a +2 bonus to her armor class and saving throws, on top of +50% to her Fire Resistance, its hard to complain about it at least until she gets to be higher levels. It certainly limits her options at improving her thieving skills (without having to switch rings around) and increasing her access to spells. I would recommend you get to chapter 3 as soon as possible with her, because there is a Ring of Lock Picks that you can get in the Shadow Thieves Guildhall cellar. How you acquire it will depend upon how the plot unfolds, but either way its a useful ring for Nalia because it will boost her Open Locks by 25. Until that time (and frankly even after she has the ring) you will have to make due with Potions of Master Thievery, Potions of Perception, Potions of Mind Focussing, and casting the "Luck" (level 2) spell on her. Potions may require you to look around a bit to find them but since Nalia will probably need them I'm going to point out that Gorch in Mae'Var's Guildhall (Docks District) sells 8 Potions of Master Thievery (you should buy them). Thankfully most of her thieving skills were put towards Find Traps or Open Locks, but in any case she's not in a position to do much else as a thief. If necessary you can also have her cast Knock (level 2) on difficult to open locks.

Unfortunately her intelligence is too low to learn level 9 spells, so she will need to use a Potion of Genius or Potion of Mind Focussing to do this. In ToB you can buy an Ioun Stone in Saradush that will do this. Her high dexterity in fact means that on top of her spellcasting she is great with using a bow. Still, its better to use her as a mage than as the parties archer. What spells you want her to have is up to you, however I will be making a few suggestions for her.

If you want to get more spellcasting out of Nalia you can always use Project Image (level 7). Nalia will freeze in her place but the image can be used to cast the same spells Nalia gets (at her same level). The advantage with this is that in situations where you don't want to rest it will help to preserve spells.

Damaging Role

Nalia will get access to all the schools of magic. Finding damage spells for her shouldn't be too difficult. Skull Trap for instance is a particularly potent damaging spell that deals a good amount of damage. Otherwise Fireball (level 3), Delayed Blast Fireball (level 7), and Horrid Wilting (level 8) are a few damaging spells that you may find a use for.

Wearing the Robe of Vecna (available in the Adventure Mart from Deidre) and the Amulet of Power will help a lot with her spellcasting. When you get to the point where you can cast Time Stop (and ideally the higher level ability Improved Alacrity) she will be capable of casting many spells in a short period of time. With Time Stop active most (only a handful of enemies are immune to it) enemies won't be able to respond to her casting. Time Stop and Improved Alacrity is great for normally quick casting spells like Skull Trap because you can have her cast one after another very quickly. For something a bit more damaging and more party friendly Horrid Wilting (level 8) is a good alternative for a damage spell.

As with any high level mage she can even combine Time Stop and Improve Alacrity this casting spells like Lower Resistance (level 5), which she can cast basically instantly and she can use it in order to lower an enemies magic resistance to nothing. If (while under the effects of Time Stop) you move Nalia very close to an enemy you can even arrange it so that a spell like Lower Resistance will hit an enemy before a heavy hitting spell like Horrid Wilting will hit. This will all involve where you cast certain spells in relation with where you cast others, but suffice it to say she has the potential to deal with most enemies before your fighters do anything more than a few wacks.

Party Buffing Role

Of course you may want to use her in more of a party buffing role. Haste (level 3) is useful for its benefits to party member speed and an increase in the number of attacks players get per round.

Invisibility '10 Radius (level 3) can be useful if you want to strategically locate your characters prior to a major battle. Beyond that its main benefit is the +4 to attack rolls that a character attacking from invisibility will get, something that is especially useful for fighter characters. It can be pretty easily countered however by some of the more powerful enemies so watch out!

Improved Haste (level 6) can be cast on individual party members (best used on warriors) to double their attacks per round. Its a great spell that is highly recommended because it has the potential to give the fighters in your party 8-10 attacks per round without relying on the Whirlwind abilities.

Otherwise Mass Invisibility (level 7) is a solid party buff spell that casts Improved Invisibility on any party member in its area of effect. This gives enemies a penalty (-4) to enemies trying to attack them and lowers their saving throws by 4. You may find that there are other spells at level 7 (Limited Wish, Spell Sequencer for instance) that are more useful. Keep in mind though that if you are going to use Limited Wish with Neera you will want to use a Potion of Insight so that her wisdom is 18.

Debuff Role

You can also use her more in a debuff (reduce the enemies ability or power) role. Spells like Greater Malison (level 4) Emotion: Hopelessness (level 4), Horror (level 2), Polymorph Other (level 4), Chaos, and any of the Symbol or Power Word spells (Power Word: Stun or Symbol: Stun for instance). The Symbol spells in particular are good because they generally have a larger area of effect than Power spells, however make sure to look them all over individually if you are going to use them because they can vary on their casting times, how they treat saving throws, and whether or not they work if an enemies with greater than 60 current health.

Of course debuffing doesn't have to include just spells. You can buy about 80 Arrows of Dispelling from the Fletcher in the Promenade. If you use them very sparingly they can be particularly useful when you are in a jam.

Overall Nalia plays very much like Imoen except she has lower thieving abilities (which she needs a lot of help with to improve). The flip side is she can very easily have higher experience over Imoen when you eventually pick Imoen up and she can carry a lot more than Imoen. Either way she is a very capable character.
Neera*
Gender: Female
Race: Half-Elf
Class: Mage
Kit: Wild Mage
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Str : 11
Dex : 17
Con : 14
Int : 17
Wis : 10
Cha : 11

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Quarterstaff * Sling

First Appearance: Bridge District (you'll need to walk south in the district for a little while and then proceed north again for her scene to trigger).

Joining Location: Wild Forest

Special Items: Neera's Staff, Adoy's Belt (+5 to saves vs Polymorph).

Neera is a fun addition to the game. Apart from Edwin, who won't stay in your party if she is added (and vice versa), she doesn't have any party conflicts. She has a rather fun series of banters with both Minsc and Anomen (separately) in particular. She will romance a male player character.

Her strength is decent for a mage and it should allow her to carry any necessities. Her high dexterity provides some protection that makes up for her abysmal starting health. Her constitution is decent and to pump her health up you may want to consider giving her the GIrdle of Fortitude if you feel there is nobody else in your party that needs it more. Unfortunately her intelligence is too low to learn level 9 spells, so she will need to use a Potion of Genius or Potion of Mind Focussing to do this. That or in ToB you can buy an Ioun Stone from Lazarus in Saradush. Thankfully her wisdom is not low enough to give her a lore penalty (her charisma really isn't important).

As a wild mage you'll find that Nahal's Reckless Dwoemer (level 1) can be useful in situations where you have run out of castings for high level spells and you need something else that can cast them (Time Stop is a good example of this). As she progresses in the game she will get a number of items that will make her wild surges more reliable (her increased level will also do this). So wild surges should become less of a problem as she levels particularly once she can cast Improved Chaos Shield. Even so the dweomer can also be used to cast spells she has learned but can't yet cast due to level. So if you find a higher level scroll than you can normally cast she can use it provided she casts it through the Dwoemer. This includes Continguency and any spell triggers/sequencers you have memorized.

Otherwise like in the first game whenever she casts a spell the spell will either gain or lose caster level (between -5 and +5) based on a random roll. Once you hit level 20 its not something that will be beneficial, but before that point there is always a chance she can do additional damage with a spell.

If you want to get more spellcasting out of Neera you can always use Project Image (level 7). Neera will freeze in her place but the image can be used to cast the same spells Neera gets (at her same level). The advantage with this is that in situations where you don't want to rest it will help to preserve spells.

Damaging Role

Neera will get access to all spells of magic, so finding damage spells for her shouldn't be too difficult. Skull Trap for instance is a particularly potent damaging spell that deals a good amount of damage. Otherwise Fireball (level 3), Delayed Blast Fireball (level 7), and Horrid Wilting (level 8) are a few damaging spells that you may find a use for.

Wearing the Robe of Vecna (available in the Adventure Mart from Deidre) and the Amulet of Power will help a lot with her spellcasting. When her usage of these items is combined with casting Time Stop (level 9) and Improve Alacrity (higher level ability), Neera will be capable of casting a series of spells like Skull Trap and Horrid Wilting in quick succession. This will deal devastating amounts of damage without most opponents being able to respond to it. She can even combine this with casting spells like Lower Resistance (level 5), which she can cast in quick succession (while under Time Stop and Improved Alacrity) in order to lower an enemies magic resistance to nothing. If (while under the effects of Time Stop) you move Neera very close to an enemy you can even arrange it so that a spell like Lower Resistance will hit an enemy before a heavy hitting spell like Horrid Wilting will hit. This will all involve where you cast certain spells in relation with where you cast others, but suffice it to say she has the potential to deal with most enemies before your fighters do anything more than a few wacks.

If you have more than one mage in your party you may want to consider having them keep the Robe of Vecna instead. Particularly at high levels every spell spell counts.

Also when it comes to higher level abilities other than Improved Alacrity you may want to consider Dragon's Breath. Its great because it ignores magic resistance, has a small casting time, and won't harm party members. Otherwise Planatars are fantastic. As a neutral character she gets a choice between either a regular planatar or a dark planatar. Both have basically the exact same stats with the exception of their alignments. From a spell standpoint there is really only a difference between the Planetar having Holy Word and the Dark Planatar having Unholy Word. Its not much to fret about though if you plan on using Holy Smite in battle it might be safest to go with the regular Planatar. The Planetar's get lots of useful priest damage/control spells though like Earthquake, Fire Storm, and Insect Plague. The higher level ability Comet is alright too its basically just a vastly improved version of Meteor Swarm.


Party Buffing Role

You can of course use her in more of a party buffing role. It brings its own risks given her wild magic but it is doable. Haste (level 3) is useful for its benefits to party member speed and an increase in the number of attacks players get per round.

Invisibility '10 Radius (level 3) can be useful if you want to strategically locate your characters prior to a major battle. Beyond that its main benefit is the +4 to attack rolls that a character attacking from invisibility will get, something that is especially useful for fighter characters. It can be pretty easily countered however by some of the more powerful enemies so watch out!

Improved Haste (level 6) can be cast on individual party members (best used on warriors) to double their attacks per round. Its a great spell that is highly recommended because it has the potential to give the fighters in your party 8-10 attacks per round without relying on the Whirlwind abilities.

Otherwise Mass Invisibility (level 7) is a solid party buff spell that casts Improved Invisibility on any party member in its area of effect. This gives enemies a penalty (-4) to enemies trying to attack them and lowers their saving throws by 4. You may find that there are other spells at level 7 (Limited Wish, Spell Sequencer for instance) that are more useful. Keep in mind though that if you are going to use Limited Wish with Neera you will want to use a Potion of Insight so that her wisdom is 18.

Debuff Role

You can also use her more in a debuff (reduce the enemies ability or power) role. Spells like Glitterdust (level 2), Horror (level 2), Emotion: Hopelessness (level 4), Greater Malison (level 4), Polymorph Other (level 4), Chaos (level 5), and any of the Symbol or Power Word spells (Power Word: Stun or Symbol: Stun for instance) all are going to be useful. The Symbol spells in particular are good because they generally have a larger area of effect than Power spells, however make sure to look them all over individually if you are going to use them because they can vary on their casting times, how they treat saving throws, and whether or not they work if an enemies with greater than 60 current health.

Overall Neera is a very capable mage. Her magic (like her personality) is a bit wild but as the game progresses she should gain a greater degree of control over it. She works in either a good or evil party.
Rasaad*
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Monk
Kit: Sun Soul Monk
Alignment: Lawful Good

Str : 16
Dex : 16
Con : 14
Int : 11
Wis : 14
Cha : 14

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Katana * Scimitar * Dart * Sling

Joining Location: Trademeet (after his "conversation" with Treya he will be located a little ways to the right of the central fountain in the town).

Quest Help: I noticed on the baldursgate.com forum that a lot of people were having trouble with starting Rasaad's quest line in Shadows of Amn. You can start it by going to the City Gate district of Athkatla (by this I mean you do it after you already have picked him up in Trademeet).

Rasaad has some pretty interesting personal developments in BG2EE. Personally I think he was well written as a character. One interesting thing to note about him is that he was voiced by Mark Meer of Mass Effect fame (word is the Adventure Mart is his favourite shop on the promenade). In terms of party conflicts Rasaad may get into a fight with Sarevok* and depending upon how his quest line ends in Shadows of Amn its possible for him to involve a party conflict with Viconia (either in Shadows of Amn or Throne of Bhaal). Both of these occur in the Throne of Bhaal portion of the game. Otherwise he won't get into a fight with anyone. He also will romance a good aligned, female player character.

In terms of his stats his strength, dexterity, and constitution are all fairly low given that he is a melee character. Thankfully however his one of these weaknesses (his strength) can be easily addressed by any of a number of strength enhancing items in the game. There is for instance a Belt of Hill Giant Strength that you can buy in the Adventure Mart from Ribald that would help Rasaad.

Generally speaking as long as you go through his quest line, particularly in Shadows of Amn, he should get a few items that he can use that will either increase his Thac0, improve his defensibility, or improve his damage output.

From a proficiency standpoint unless you plan on using a weapon there isn't any point in putting towards Single Weapon Style. It won't benefit your fists, even in the sense that it won't improve their chances of landing a critical hit.

As a monk the other problem he is going to have is his ability to hit certain enemies. For the most part you should be able to avoid trouble in this regard until you start fighting higher level enemies, however there are going to be a few enemies that Rasaad won't be able to do damage against with his fists. Rasaad is basically going to start out somewhat weak but particularly once he hits level 15 he is going to become a lot more capable.

One of the great things about monk is their magic resistance and saving throws. Rasaad can get an innate magic resistance of 78 (more with resistance boosting items). This is an outstanding amount of magic resistance and he actually gets this by level 26 (which is only about 4 million experience). His saving throws, especially his death, spell, and breath throws, as a whole will also be unmatched by any other class (though mages will have better saves vs polymorph and wands). He can't wear any armor**, though he can wear Bracers of Defence which will at least initially help his armour class. To be honest however once he gets access to the higher level ability Hardiness that should help mitigate a lot of the damage he would otherwise be taking.

Before that point however Rasaad has a number of useful abilities he can be using if you are using him in your group.

Sun Soulray (available at level 2) lets you deal up to 5d8 damage (1d8 for every 2 monk levels) against an enemy. It does an additional 6 damage against undead. On first glance it doesn't appear to be the most amazing ability ever but it is instant casting and it occassionally will allow you to interrupt spellcasting. Its not suppose to hit more than one target but currently it is (this is a known bug). However, since it is currently doing this behaviour I would take advantage of Rasaad's increased speed and this ability and hit particularly undead enemies first before the rest of your melee characters arrive (the ability as it stands will also hurt party members). You'll be able to get up to 4 uses of the ability, which should be more than adequate.

Flaming Fists (available at 5th level) lets you do an additional 2d6 (2-12) fire damage for every hit. As Rasaad levels the amount of time the ability lasts, as well as his number of attacks per round, will both increase. This makes this ability far more useful than it was in BGEE. You still have to be particularly conscious about not using this on enemies with above 100% fire resistance (like for instance Iron Golems) just to ensure you aren't actually healing the enemies you are trying to hurt.

Greater Sun is a decent ability. It gives him 50% fire resistance and makes it so that any enemy that hits Rasaad suffers 1d8+2 fire damage. It has a lot more usability in BG2EE than it did in the first game though to be honest you are probably going to want Rasaad avoiding hits instead of taking them.

Finally Sun Soulbeam is an alright ability. Enemies can save vs spell against it and only get half damage if they do so. This is significant particularly against some of the more powerful undead that have low saving throws. The ability will be useful for instance against vampires, shades, skeletons, and ghouls, but not that effective against some of the more difficult undead like liches and alhoons. Also the ability will hurt your own party members so you may want to make sure (namely because of its chance of blinding) that your party members aren't hit by it.

Overall Rasaad is a pretty straightforward character to play. He is a melee character through and through, though there may be occassions where it makes more sense to have him attack from range. He will need some help at first and may not be the most damaging character in the party but with enough time he will become quite powerful in his own way.

Extra Notes (contain SPOILERS)

*Rasaad won't get into a fight with Sarevok if Sarevok's alignment becomes chaotic good
**Rasaad can wear the Big Metal Unit and it will give him absurdly low AC if he does so (it will also make him look like an Iron Golem so that may create doorway difficulties). The Big Metal Unit is a type of armour you can eventually create that is created from the Golden Pantaloons (imported from BGEE), the Silver Pantaloons (found in SoA), and the Bronze Pantalettes. It is forged by the smithy in Amkethran.
Sarevok
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Fighter
Alignment: Chaotic Evil*

Str : 18/00
Dex : 17
Con : 18
Int : 17
Wis : 10
Cha : 15

Weapon Proficiencies (level 17)
***** Two-Handed Sword * Halberd * Crossbow
**Two-Handed Weapon Style

Sarevok makes a glorious return in Throne of Bhaal. Who could blame Bioware for bringing him back? He was a pretty awesome enemy and he makes an even better ally. All things considered though if you are looking for an interesting addition to your party, especially if you have Imoen in your group, you'll be wise to consider him for the conversations alone. Like Yoshimo he brings some much needed conversational depth to what is otherwise a pretty linear journey through the Throne of Bhaal segment of the game. Sarevok fighting with Rasaad is not guaranteed but it is a possibility.

Sarevok is an amazing NPC from a stats perspective What you do with those stats is what really matters however. Do you keep him as a fighter or dual class him into either a thief or a mage? Any of these options will work.

On top of his usual chance to get a critical hit against an enemy Sarevok has a "Deathbringer Assault" which means that every time he hits an enemy he has a 3% chance of doing an additional 200 slashing damage. 3% doesn't sound like a lot but when you are hitting enemies as much as 10 times in a round thanks to Greater Whirlwind or Improved Haste its going to become more noticable.

Hopefully when you pick him up you've got a good two-handed sword for him to use. He comes equipped with a generic +3 two-handed sword. Its not necessarily going to be bad on him at first but this is Sarevok we are talking about, he needs a sword that compliments his talents. If you don't have a +4 or +5 two-handed sword that you are bringing over from Shadow's of Amn you can pick up the Psion Blade +5 from the first floor of Yaga-Shura's Lair.

Of course if you have decided to dual class him a two-handed sword isn't going to do you much good until he has surpassed the level he dual classes at.

Left as a fighter you should easily be able to thrive with him given his stats and abilities. You'll want to find more equipment for him of course, but otherwise he should be a pretty straightforward character to play. Some useful higher level abilities include Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, and Hardiness. As usual when looking at higher level abilities for fighters keep in mind how long they actually last and the fact that you'll only be able to use an ability once each round. So if for instance you use Greater Whirlwind you can't also use Critical Strike.

As I previously mentioned Sarevok also can dual class to either a mage or a thief. I'm going to recommend against you doing this only because as far as I'm concerned even as a thief you will be spending too much time running around with a gimped version of Sarevok. Particularly now that there is Hexxat, and given there you could always pick up Edwin, there really isn't much of a need for him to dual class into either an evil mage or a thief.

Dual classing him into a thief will be the easier of the two options. To get back to either level 18 or level 19 (depending upon what level you dual Sarevok) will take a lot less time than it will for a mage.

Dual Classing to Thief

If you are choosing to dual class Sarevok into a thief the main reason should probably be to gain access to items that you normally couldn't. For instance Sarevok being able to use Carsomyr (the two-handed sword only Paladin's can normally use) is one reason to dual class him into a thief. Access to backstabbing could be another reason but considering you are likely losing out on Greater Whirlwind access for it it probably won't be worth it given that most of the powerful enemies are immune to backstab.

On top of levelling issues the problem with thieves in Throne of Bhaal is that most enemies can see through invisibility. This is an innate ability that even a Non-Detection spell or cloak won't protect against. Putting towards Hide in Shadows and Move Silently therefore might not be the best approach. You will probably be better off picking Set Traps though the number of traps you will have available to set (without resting) will be limited for the first little while. Still, its worth looking into putting towards Set Traps at first (up to 100) just so that Sarevok has something to do. He should level fairly quickly and with that will come more traps.

From a proficiency standpoint you may want to look into giving Sarevok shortbow proficiency, especially if you have your hands on a bow that will increase the number of attacks he makes each round. Otherwise if you happened to pick up an enchanted throwing dagger in Shadows of Amn its probably your other best bet. A throwing dagger will have 2 attacks per round as a base (like a bow) but you will do strength damage on top of its damage. It will at least give Sarevok the opportunity to take advantage of his high strength. With Improved Haste he can get up to 4 attacks per round with it.

Enchanted short swords are another option that is easy to come by even in Throne of Bhaal. They won't do as much damage as a long sword but you can buy the Short Sword of Mask from Sister Garlena just outside of the entrance to Watcher's Keep. It can even be upgraded by Cespenar. Its probably one of the more easily found but effective weapons that will be available to you. Its downside is that it is a piercing weapon and piercing weapons are going to be the least effective particularly in Throne of Bhaal.

Quarterstaffs can also be very good and in particular there are a few great quarterstaffs in Watcher's Keep if you don't already have a good one available for Sarevok to use.

For higher level thief abilities I would look at any of the trap abilities but especially Set Spiked Trap, Set Time Trap, Use Any Item, and Assassination.

Dual Classing into a Mage

Dual classing to a mage is going to be a long journey for Sarevok. Its going to be slightly quicker if you do it without levelling him up (so do it when he is level 17 as a fighter). It won't give you huge savings but 375,000 XP is better than nothing. Either way you are looking at not receiving your fighter abilities back until the late game. Doing this only when you have fewer than 6 party members is recommended.

A few spells will be useful for Sarevok. Spook (level 1), Web (level 2), and Skull Trap (level 3) are all spells he can get early on. Two of them will improve with level but overall they should have some use particularly in the case of Web (since you can use it more than once on a group of enemies and then while they are stuck hit them with ranged spells). Giving him a few protection spells like Mirror Image (level 2) and Stoneskin (level 4) won't hurt but keep in mind that Sarevok (when he hasn't gotten back his fighter levels) shouldn't be put into the position where he is at risk of being seriously injured by anyone. He should be in the back lines. Otherwise he will play out as any mage would, just one that is far behind any mage in Throne of Bhaal but who has a significant amount of health.

For weapon proficiencies as was the case with thieves daggers will do (to take advantage of his strength). His Thac0 will be terrible however so its probably best he stick with casting spells, using items/idols, or using wands. There are more mage oriented items you can find in Shadows of Amn (like the Robe of Vecna and Staff of the Magi) that will also help him.

Once you get your fighter levels back however Sarevok will be a beast.

Overall he is an interesting character to have around in a party and he is an extremely powerful NPC.


*With the right dialogue choices this can be changed to Chaotic Good though this may prove to be difficult
Valygar
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Ranger
Kit: Stalker
Alignment: Neutral Good

Str : 17
Dex : 18
Con : 16
Int : 10
Wis : 14
Cha : 10

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
** Katana ** Spear ** Longbow ** Two-Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (levels 9 and 10)
** Katana * Dagger ** Spear ** Longbow ** Two-Weapon Style

Weapon Proficiencies (level 12)
** Katana ** Dagger ** Spear ** Longbow ** Two-Weapon Style

Racial Enemy: Golem

Location: Umar Hills (cabin in the northern part of the map)

Special Items: Corthala Family Armor, Corthala Family Blade


Thieving Abilities (level 8)

Stealth: 99


Valygar is an interesting character to say the least. Due to a lengthy family history of magic use he despises magic and its users. He won't get along with either Edwin (hardly surprising) or Viconia and there is a chance they will fight to the death.

As a ranger he starts out with ** in Two-Weapon Style. His family blade is particularly effective against mages because its “bleeding” damage can stack with itself. Meaning that if you hit an enemy more than once with the blade your opponent can be hurt multiple times each second by the poison.

Valygar has a few advantages over Minsc (the only other ranger in the game) in that he can do backstab damage and he can cast a few mage spells on top of his usual amount of priest spells. Of these Minor Spell Deflection is probably going to be the most useful. Haste of course will have its uses but just remember that as a ranger his caster level is about 7 less than a druid at his same level, meaning that at level 12 Haste from Valygar will only last 8 rounds (rather than the 15 rounds that a level 12 mage would get). Other spells, like Barkskin, Call Lightning, and Dispel Magic will be similarly affected.

His only other weakness over Minsc is perhaps his access to armour. Even then you should be able to use at least one of the dragon scale armours. That should help to minimize the difference between the two characters and their armour class. Even then the armour he starts out with is really good and while its AC could be better the other benefits it provides make it worth holding onto for awhile.

Dual wielding Katanas is probably the easiest approach to take with Valygar. His starting weapon, the Corthala family blade, is actually really good because of its poisoning "bleeding" ability. With it in his main hand he can do a lot of damage especially against mages. There are however better Katanas that you can find in the game so keep a look out. He should also have enough proficiency points available for you to specialise in another weapon before the end of Shadows of Amn. I'd look into another type of weapon because there is only one Katana in the game that can hit enemies immune to +4 weapons and it is only acquired late into the game.

You won't be able to equip your longbow while dual wielding but other than being inconvenient it won't functionally hurt him. If you need to use the bow you can always go into your inventory screen, unequip your off-hand weapon, and equip the bow (and in the inventory screen the game will be paused). The advantage of dual wielding is that it will increase the number of attacks Valygar gets. Coupled with Belm or Kundane in his off-hand slot it can lead to a number of additional attacks per round.

Basically Valygar won't quite have the low AC that some other warriors in the game will have but he still will be able to fight up close extremely well. Backstabbing particularly troubling targets is an option for him and once he has done that he can certainly go toe to toe with enemies in melee combat. Like any warrior he is good at distracting enemies while your mages (or clerics as the case may be) cast spells. As he progresses in level and especially if he has two weapons he will be a pretty effective damage dealer as well. If you are looking at getting him to go after casters in particular (particularly given that his blade poisons) giving him items that increase his walking speed is a good idea. Otherwise he can always cast Haste himself as needed (though as I mentioned earlier it will have a shorter than normal duration).

For higher level abilities consider Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, and Hardiness. Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste because it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round. Ranger's also get a higher level ability unique to them called “Tracking”. Basically it just informs you of roughly what enemies you can expect on a given map. To be honest its not really that useful since it doesn't tell you specifically where enemies are. Also it won't work on Shadows of Amn maps.

Overall Valygar is a very capable fighter in any group. Like Mazzy he probably gets overlooked because of his location but he provides a different flavour to Minsc and other fighters.
Viconia
Gender: Female
Race: Drow
Class: Cleric
Alignment: Neutral Evil *

Str : 10
Dex : 19
Con : 8
Int : 16
Wis : 18
Cha : 14

Weapon Proficiencies (level 8)
* Warhammer * Mace * Sling
* Shield and Sword Style

Joining Location: Government District (near jail)

Magic Resistance: 65

Viconia is a pretty interesting character to take along. Since you last saw her in BGEE she's hasn't had any luck with keeping positive relations with surface folk. In fact when you find her she is actually tied to a stake and is about to be burned alive. The only NPC's that will conflict with her are Keldorn during Shadows of Amn and Rasaad during Throne of Bhaal. Its hard to summarize Viconia's interactions because she has probably has the most dialogue banters between different party members of any character in the game (yes even more than Jan). She also has a lot of character development potential in the game. Viconia will romance a male human, half-elf, half-orc, or halfling player character (not elves or dwarves).

Strictly speaking her basic stats don't make her look all that attractive for combat. However, while its true her strength and constitution are low they can be changed. Her strength for instance can be increased by using spells or items and her constitution can be improved by using the Girdle of Fortitude. The girdle will help to address her low health.

She also starts out with 65% magic resistance (which is an exceptional amount of magic resistance). She's the only NPC with innate magical resistance like this (if you don't count Cernd's Werewolf forms) and she can even increase it with items.

One great item for her when she is just starting out is the Mauler's Arm. You can buy it in the Copper Coronet. It sets her strength at 18. With Draw Upon Holy Might also activated it will allow her to increase her strength to at least 20. As a melee weapon maces are a decent choice for her. Ultimately there are lots of different magical melee weapons in game that she can use.

She can also use slings. Its certainly an option if you have something to boost her strength (increasing her strength will boost the damage that a slings attack does). The downside is that ammo that will hit some of the more powerful creatures will be rare. The positive is that it will keep her back out of the fighting and she can focus on casting spells.

Buff Spells

To use Viconia well you'll want to take advantage of some of her buff spells.

Armor of Faith (1st level), Draw Upon Holy Might (2nd level), Holy Power (4th level), and Righteous Magic (5th level) are all spells you should cast in preparation for a battle if you are planning on fighting with her either in melee or as a ranged character. Just remember to cast Holy Power before you cast either Draw Upon Holy Might or Righteous Magic.

For more party based buff spells (that work well with either a melee or ranged Viconia for combat) consider casting Bless, Chant, Protection from Evil '10 Radius, and Defensive Harmony before a battle. While not a buff Lessor Restoration is good to have when fighting creatures that level drain.

Other good spells that are going to be more useful particularly when using Viconia in a melee capacity are Blade Barrier (6th level) and Regeneration (7th level). For higher level abilities Aura of Flaming Death and Globe of Blades are pretty good.

Summoning

Viconia also gets some decent summoning spells. Animate Dead (level 3) is a great summoning spell and she gets lots of potential castings of it. They have high magic resistance and hit with a +1 weapon, but even against powerful enemies they can serve as useful distractions.

Animal summoning spells generally have some use if you just need something to throw at a mage enemy at the start of battle just so that they use any Death Spell they have on hand against them.

If you are looking for something with a bit more bite Conjure Animal (level 6) is probably the best of the animal summoning spells because it reliably summons mountain bears (not random animals) and those bears attack as though they have +3 weapons. Otherwise Aerial Servants (level 6) can be good summons because they have lots of health. They also attack as though they have +4 weapons and are immune to normal weapons.

Gate (level 7) is an option but you should read its description before casting it. Frankly the higher level abilities Summon Fallen Deva and Elemental Summoning are going to be more useful. Either way at this level there are probably either damage or buff spells that you should probably be looking at first.

Control and Debuff Spells

There are a few spells like Doom (level 1) and Hold Person that are decent enough spells for Viconia to have and are pretty self explanatory. Just remember when you are looking at spells to consider a spells casting time (Doom has a long casting time).

Silence (level 2) is a good control spell to use against enemy healers. Its generally worthless to use against enemy mages, since most of them have a Vocalize spell memorized anyways, but it can be used to Silence the healers in a group of enemies so that at the very least you won't have to worry about them healing anyone or self buffing themselves. The -5 penalty to saves for Silence should mean that its fairly effective against clerics. Just remember that the spell can silence your own characters.

Depending on the spell Invisibility Purge (level 3) and True Sight (level 5) can be good at handling illusion spells.

You can use another character's Greater Malison (mage spell level 4) and combine it with Greater Command (level 5). The Greater Command's sleep effect won't bypass magic resistance. However, it does cast very quickly which makes it good to have at least one on hand.

Otherwise the level 7 Symbol spells (particularly Symbol Stun) can be good control spells.

Damaging Spells

You won't find many useful damage spells available for her to cast at low spell levels. Flame Strike (level 5) can be a pretty damaging spell.

False Dawn (level 6), Sol's Searing Orb (level 6), and Sunray (level 7) are extremely useful against undead. You'll want to cast the Orb before a battle with undead and the other two should only be cast if Viconia is not in the position to be attacked herself by the undead. Sunray is good particularly against undead because the damage it does against undead will bypass the undead's magic resistance.

Otherwise Fire Storm (level 7) is good against other creatures that have magical resistance (unless they are immune to fire) and Earthquake (level 7) can be good because its first quake (enemies will get a penalty of -6 to their saving rolls against it) may knock anyone (party members and enemies) unconcious for the next 4 rounds. The second and third quakes aren't nearly as strong so you should be able to your fighters in to finish off the remaining enemies (without having to worry as much about the amount of damage they will take).

The higher level ability Storm of Vengeance can be used to disrupt spellcasting. It only lasts for 3 rounds but it won't hurt party members. Like Earthquake its a good spell to cast against a group of enemies just before battle starts.

Otherwise there are plenty of other spells to choose from. So feel free to experiment with different spells.

With the right buff spells and equipment, including a good shield, Viconia can make a capable secondary or tertiary melee character. Likewise with 25 strength and doing maximum damage (thanks to Holy Word, Righteous Magic, and Draw Upon Holy Might) she can be a pretty effective ranged character as well. Overall she is worth taking particularly in an evil party.

*SPOILER BELOW*

*This can be changed to True Neutral in the Throne of Bhaal segment of the game if you are in a romance with her.
Wilson*
Gender: Male
Race: Grizzly Bear
Class: Grizzly Bear
Alignment: True Neutral

Str : 19*
Dex : 9
Con : 18
Int : 4
Wis : 4
Cha : 4

*This is his value at level 9. It will improve with level up until it is 23 at level 40.

Weapon Proficiencies (level 9)
*** Two-Weapon Style

Joining Location and Directions: Heretic Temple. In order to initially pick him up you need to have gone through Rasaad initial areas and have access to the Heretic Temple. Follow the following steps in order to get him.

Travel to the Heretic Temple (you will need to have advanced Rasaad's quest line in order to get to it). On that map to the east of the temple you will come across a group of monks training against animals. Once that scene is finished there will be a bear left in a cage. Talk to it. Be friendly and offer to free him. Pay the 1000 gold that the guard offers to free the bear. Once the bear is free if you'd like you can kill the guard to get your money back (with no consequences from what I could tell). When you do return to the areas entrance Wilson will be there to greet you and will offer to join your group.

Wilson is an easter egg in the game that you can only under the circumstances I mentioned above. He's largely just a fun character to have around. He is also part of a quest you can get with Neera in your party (talk to Zaviak in the Hidden Refuge) but its not required to pick up Wilson. You can then return to Zaviak when you have Wilson in your group to get potions as a reward (Wilson will stay in your party). Finally, he will return to join you in Throne of Bhaal but only if you freed him in Shadows of Amn. He has no party conflicts.

Wilson is also a beast...literally. When I started this guide I didn't exactly think I'd be writing about a bear but yet here we are.

He doesn't have great dexterity and to be honest since he can't equip any items (including a helmet) it is a big problem. Any spell you can cast on him to improve his armor class or decrease the likelihood of him being hurt is recommended. Mage spells like Protection from Evil, Improved Invisibility (level 4), Spirit Armor (level 4), Protection from Magical Energy (level 6), and Protection From the Elements (level 7) are recommended. Cleric spells like Defensive Harmony (level 4), Protection from Evil 10' Radius (level 4), Magic Resistance (level 5) and Regeneration (level 7) will help. Remember that the Protection from Evil 10' Radius spell will last longer than the level 1 mage spell.

He's got a lot of health that can make up for damage to a degree but his AC is such that he's going to be taking a lot of pounding. He also has natural regeneration but even at higher levels its too slow to make much if any difference in battle. His other stats (like his Thac0) eventually will become really good. In fact at level 40 Wilson has -13 Thac0 with both his paw attacks (or -15 with his enrage active). In my experience regardless of his level you'll be hard pressed to find an enemy he can't consistently hit. It'll take him some time to get the attacks per round of a warrior wielding a speed weapon but he makes up for that with the immunities his rage grants him. Basically its really just his defensibility that is the problem.

Defensibility also just happens to be a huge problem for him especially when you are fighting Vampires and Mind Flayers. Wilson gets his abilities based on his level, so anything that reduces his level can significantly harm his effectiveness (especially if he gets hit multiple times by a Vampire). Also its worth noting that his rage (unlike say Korgan's or Minsc's) will not protect against level drain.

He also only has 4 intelligence, meaning that a single hit from a Mind Flayer (remember that Mind Flayers get 5 attacks per round) will kill him and there is nothing you can do to prevent that.

If you are going to use Wilson don't necessarily use him against the enemies best fighters. Use him perhaps as you would a pure Kensai.* Hit and run attacks, or even just sending him against enemy spellcasters, might be a better strategy than using him as your typical armoured up fighter. Particularly in Throne of Bhaal you are really going to have to strategise around him because as I stated earlier he is very susceptable to being hit. Thankfully however he can use healing potions.

One other strategy to use with him is to use him to distract enemies while you pummel them with spells and ranged weapons. Wilson moves fast, very fast in fact. So you can simply avoid an enemies attacks while keeping their interest on Wilson instead.

His attacks each round work similarly to how attacks per round normally work except his stronger attack is treated like its an offhand weapon (in the sense that regardless of his total attacks per round he only gets one 1d10 bite attack [piercing] each round). The rest of his attacks will be paw attacks that can do 1d6 damage (slashing). The paw attacks have an additional chance of doing extra damage. As he levels up he will also gain up to grand mastery for his attacks (meaning extra damage and a thac0 boost), attacks per round will go up to 5 (10 with either improved haste or either of the whirlwind abilities), and he will gain additional damage thanks to strength increases.

Finally he gets a similar ability to Berserkers. Once a day (and more often as you level up) you can activate his Enrage ability so that he receives a -2 bonus to his THAC0, a +2 bonus to damage, and a -2 bonus to his Armor Class. The enrage also grants immunity to charm, fear, confusion, feeblemind, hold, stun, and sleep for 1 turn (a few of these aren't mentioned in the kit description but if you look into the game files they are actually in effect with the rage). I would highly recommend you take advantage of this ability because it will help him a fair bit.

You can view his classes level progression bonuses by going into his character record screen and clicking "Kit Description".

Wilson also gets access to higher level abilities. Of these Whirlwind, Greater Whirlwind, Hardiness, and Resist Magic are probably going to be the most worthwhile. Critical Strike can also be good particularly when its combined with Improved Haste because it effectively grants the user the ability to always hit for the next round, however Wilson's Thac0 is typically so low by the point you get it that it may not be needed. He also gets the ability "Tracking" just like Rangers. Just like with the case of Ranger's its still largely useless.

Overall if you are looking for something a little different than the norm I would suggest trying him out. He's a fun character to have around and an interesting character to say the least. If used strategically he can dish out some pretty devastating amounts of damage.

*The intent behind the character, according to one of the developers, was actually to mirror a Kensai.
Yoshimo
Gender: Male
Race: Human
Class: Thief
Kit: Bounty Hunter
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Str : 17
Dex : 18
Con : 16
Int : 13
Wis : 10
Cha : 14

Weapon Proficiencies (level 10)
* Katana * Dagger * Short Bow * Single Weapon Style

Joining Location: Irenicus's Dungeon (2nd level near portal). If you pass on him joining you can find him later at the Copper Coronet.

Special Item: Yoshimo's Katana +1

Thieving Abilities (level 10)

Open Locks: 65
Find Traps: 100
Pick Pockets: 25
Move Silently: 60
Hide in Shadows: 50
Detect Illusion: 0
Set Traps: 35

Yoshimo's personality is pretty interesting. He doesn't get into any conflicts with any party members and generally share very good dialogue with both good and evil party members. Yoshimo is very knowledgable about the criminal underworld in Athkatla and I would highly recommend him for any new player because of his interactions particularly with your main character.

How you use him from a weapon standpoint is up to you. He's likely better off with bows because of his high dexterity, but you can use him for melee particularly if you want to backstab with him.

As a single class thief gaining thief points won't ever be a problem. Given this and the fact that he is a bounty hunter (traps are sort of his thing) I would recommend you consider putting 100 points towards Set Traps immediately after getting him to 100 in Open Locks. Both the regular traps he can set and his special traps will improve with level. Magic resistance doesn't work against traps, so if you are planning on setting up an ambush (making enemies follow one of your characters towards the traps) its a good way to go. That said you can't set traps when there are hostile creatures seeing you do it, but you sometimes can get away with it when it involves creatures with a neutral (blue circle) stance towards you. You can have a maximum of 7 traps active in an area at any one time and the traps will remain even after you rest. When they trigger they will only harm hostile creatures.

Otherwise getting Open Locks and Find Traps both to 100 is a good idea. Getting stats over 100 generally won't do anything extra unless its for Pick Pockets, Hide in Shadows, or Move Silently. That said while it is probably underreported Detect Illusions is a skill that becomes particularly handy to have in BG2EE. If you have it at 100 once a round (every 6 seconds) it basically will function as a True Sight spell.

As with any thief reaching level 24 will give you the option of taking higher level abilities. For Yoshimo Spiked Trap going to be particularly helpful and powerful. Otherwise Time Traps are pretty good and Use Any Item is fantastic. Keep in mind that in some cases (like the traps) you can pick skills more than once so picking Spike Trap for instance multiple times is a good idea.

Otherwise Yoshimo can dual class. If you are going to do so its probably a good idea to get some specific thieving skills up more before you do so (his Open Locks, Hide in Shadows, and Move Silently are a bit low). If you do dual class him he can make a pretty effective fighter particularly with a strength belt and particularly if he is using Katana's. There are some very effective Katana's (like Celestial Fury) that you can find for him in particular.

Overall as I stated in the introduction to the character I would highly recommend Yoshimo particularly for new players to the game. He can serve as your parties thief and is helpful as you explore the games maps and complete its quests.

SPOILER BELOW:

Yoshimo won't be around for all of Shadows of Amn. He also won't be returning in Throne of Bhaal. The only way you can get higher level abilities with him therefore is to play a very small party
Commenting and Special Thanks
Commenting

I'm going to be much more liberal than I was with the BGEE NPC guide about what comments you can put here regarding item locations. So feel free to talk about items in general in your comments.

Special Thanks and Crediting

Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced Edition Main Forum

Special thanks has to go to Bengoshi, Quartz, Pantalion, element and Shar for pointing out my screw ups hehe.

I have to give credit to Lunar for a strategy that Lunar brought up on the forum regarding Polymorph Self and Ghoul Touch.

https://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/comment/287816#Comment_287816

Also I have to did look over Mechalibur's list that contained all the known party conflicts. The list helped fill in some gaps I had about certain NPC's. So I thank Mechalibur for compiling it :)

http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/comment/413353#Comment_413353

element on the baldursgate.com forum pointed out the potential to use Mislead and the bard song.

Dee recently pointed out news about how specialist mages actually work (regarding saving throws and chances to learn certain spells)

http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/comment/466203#Comment_466203


Steam

Juice, BlitzKrieg-Kjeld, Samuel "Suckerpunch" Clemens (for the idea with Neera of using Continguency/Spell Trigger earlier than usual thanks to Reckless Dweomer)


Playithardcore

Saw a good suggestion made by Flashburn here about Dorn and Poison Weapon.

http://www.playithardcore.com/pihwiki/index.php?title=Baldur%27s_Gate_2:_NPC_Rundown#Dorn_Il-Khan
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67 Comments
kamster99  [author] Sep 10, 2015 @ 5:57am 
You are thinking Call Woodland Beings.
skryble Sep 10, 2015 @ 5:43am 
A great guide - i've been playing through the series for ages, and I only have one piece of advice. Summon Nature's Ally, as a 4th level druidic summons, has the ability to cast mass cure, a 5th level spell. Out of combat, summoning nymphs to heal you is one of the more efficient ways of stretching the spellbook to make a day last longer.
ShadowmarkReturns Jul 15, 2015 @ 4:41pm 
Okay, fair enough.
kamster99  [author] Jul 15, 2015 @ 4:33pm 
Sorry but for the time being I'm too busy to do any more guides. At most I'll just be editing my existing ones. I might do an NPC guide for when Siege of Dragonspear is released, but that is about it I think.
ShadowmarkReturns Jul 15, 2015 @ 4:22pm 
Do you think we could get boss guides? (How to kills with all party varients) I've killed damn near everything, (Including Demigorgan) but I tend to absolutely avoid Kangaxx because he is so powerful and just nukes me in secconds... Item guides would be welcome too, as I've never made the pants machine and would be pretty cool to do so.
kamster99  [author] May 22, 2015 @ 8:22am 
I'm glad to hear that. Steam has a rather annoying character limit so getting everything I wanted in, especially when it came to Cernd and Jaheira, proved to be a bit difficult :)
mdawso May 21, 2015 @ 10:28pm 
Excellent guide: answered everything I wanted to know about NPCs.
kamster99  [author] Jan 13, 2015 @ 3:08pm 
Thank you for the feedback. :)
Blue Istari Jan 13, 2015 @ 12:51pm 
Your NPC guides are easily the best I've ever read. It's good to see someone who would rather write about how to make the most out of every character (which every guide should do) instead of telling everyone who they should or shouldn't use (which nearly every guide sadly does). A shame I haven't found a similar guide for classes, but I digress. Thank you. :D
kamster99  [author] Dec 4, 2014 @ 3:52pm 
Its random (though if you make it to ToB she won't leave when she gets bullied).