Baldur's Gate 2 Poor Character Choices
By: conark
Published On: 12-18-2010

A follow up to my ideal party in Baldur's Gate 2 is an explanation on poor character choices.

  • Sorcerers - I've seen people who like taking these classes.  It seems that there are only two advantages in not having to memorize spells and not dealing with reading scrolls to learn new spells.  However, I think the second advantage is actually a disadvantage because you end up missing on a LOT of easy XP.  I've gained levels easily from reading tons of scrolls.  Another issue is that you can't dual/multi-class a sorcerer.  They're kinda like another form of a wizard kit in that respect, minus the extra spells per level.  As a result, you're forced into having a character with very low HP.  And because, imo, dual and multi classes rule the game, you end up with a rather bland, weak character.
  • Barbarian - The quote I've seen about barbarians is "a watered down fighter."  Yup, pretty much what a barbarian is.  Kinda like a berserker, except you lose out on maxing out armor potentially, limited weapon specialization and no dual/multi-class potential. The only thing you gain is more HPs and immunity to level drain when you become enraged.  If barbarians could dual class to say a thief, they might've made for a more interesting class for me, especially in taking an evil alignment party.
  • Wild Mage - Just useless.  Why would I want a specialty mage just to get controlled randomized spells?
  • ANY druidic kit -  None of them look good.  I suppose the only redeeming quality is that you can dual class them into a fighter. Since I haven't tried, I don't know if, like a multi-class fighter/druid, you gain the benefit of using any armor.  This might be significant for a shapeshifter type (who can't use any armor at all), but in general, this seems more like a pain than anything.  The only relevant time a druidic kit comes into play in either game is during the druid challenge, where a shapeshifter does well against the leader.  That's it.
  • Assassin -  I think this class is designed more for RPGs in mind.  Poisons requiring stealth seem like a lot of hassle.
  • Cavalier -  Almost made a decent class, but like the Inquisitor, you don't get level drain immunities.  So this kit is off my list permanently.
  • Beastmaster -  Without modifying the game, the only thing that makes a beastmaster semi-interesting is that they can dual class into a cleric.  But you lose out on even more weapons apparently, making this class pretty pointless, especially as a dual class.
  • Jester - You're a fool.  These have no disadvantages, but why on earth would anyone want to have a character who is a fool?
  • Any cleric kit - Sure, these have no disadvantages and you can dual class them, but I think it's better to dual class into a cleric, not the other way around.  Also, I'm not a big fan of non-fighter dual classes.
  • Any wizard kit except the illusionist - The thought behind taking a wizard kit except the illusionist falls under the sorcerer category for me, except that you can dual class from a wizard kit. Still, why would you dual class out of a mage type of character?
  • Monk - I've taken monks a few times.  However, at the end of the day, I find them to be limited fighters.  You do gain a number of immunities and can (oddly enough) use magic wands.  And you do gain abilities like moving silently, finding traps, self-healing and speed.  That all said, you miss out on a lot of cool items.  And if you encounter something that requires magic weapons prior to a certain level, then you'll be forced to use a weapon and negate your natural unarmed fighting capabilities.  In the end, they just seemed so limited for anything except as a solo class.  That said, on the side, I always thought that if you could dual class as a monk/kensai as per 1st edition AD&D rules, you could have something interesting.  But again, that impinges upon having the ability to dual class to begin with.
There you have it.  Now, there's a few additional classes that aren't poor choices, but I'm a bit apathetic overall on.
  • Inquisitors - Many people have claimed that Inquisitors are the best paladin kit as a result of their true seeing and powerful dispel magic capabilities.  For myself, I never willingly create Inquisitors for my party because of Keldorn.  I think it's just redundant creating a class when an NPC for that class exists (unless you want better stats that you can hand roll)
  • Stalkers, Blades - The same goes for these classes in that there are NPCs that can perform the same role.  Also, you cannot dual/multi-class these characters, making it less motivating for me to create from the start.
  • Bounty Hunters - I really like these for their trap setting capability.  However, I think pure thieves are a waste of a good character slot and it'll take too long to get back my thief's abilities if I dual class at the "cool" level (i.e. getting the "Use Any Item" level).  Also, you have Yoshimo, who just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Illusionists - This is the only wizard kit that might be worth taking because you can multi-class them.....of course, that does mean you have to take a gnome, giving you penalties with larger weapons.  If you do decide to go with a gnome illusionist/thief, then Jan is probably better for your party.  I imagine that you can take a cleric/illusionist or fighter/illusionist, but I've never tried.  That all said, illusionists as per 1st Edition AD&D rules suck big time.  Illusionists as per 2nd Edition rules are far better because you're only limited by necromancy spells.  Most of the time, you'll be casting magic missile, fireball, lightning bolt or buffs.  The necromancy spells that are cool looking on paper (e.g. death spell) aren't useful against high level foes.  Thus, getting that extra spell per level AND having a secondary class like a thief make taking a gnome illusionist somewhat worthwhile....if you have a fetish for gnomes of course (I don't).
  • Cleric/Thieves (Multi-Class variant) - Just an odd class combination.  But you end up losing out on the good weapons and armor, so this class combo to me is a little pointless.  
  • Pure Druid to Figher (Dual class variant) - I don't like druid kits.  I think they stink.  But a pure druid that dual classes into a fighter does make things more interesting than say a half-elf fighter/druid multi-class.  The reasoning is that you can level up faster as a fighter once you dual class rather than split your XP constantly.  That gives you more levels compared with the multi-class version.  However, depending on your level that you dual class from, you may not get the cool high level summoning spells abilities of a powerful druid type.  So it's really a toss up at this point on whether you want to level up faster as a pure class or gain a few more levels as a druid.  The only thing I'm uncertain of is whether you're limited by weapons and if your weapon specialization can exceed two points as a fighter.  Either way, I think dual classing from a fighter into a druid is kinda pointless.
  • Fighter/Druid (Multi-Class variant) - I see absolutely no point in creating one because Jaheira already exist.  The only (good) reason not to take Jaheira is to further customize your base ability score and your character's weapon proficiencies.  My only hesitation in taking Jaheira or a customized fighter/druid is that your level progression slows to sludge at around 12 as a druid. That said, I think fighter/druids can be useful for some of their spells that clerics can't cast (insect plague) and that they can use scimitars (Spectral Brand is awesome and gives you level drain immunity...but it's gained really late into the expansion, making it a bit late).  You can get some really good armor though so this character type can serve as a front line tank.
  • Fighter (kit variant) to Druid - I noticed that you can switch from say a kensai, wizard slayer or berserker into a druid.  If you decided not to take the berserker/cleric, then a berserker/druid combo could be deadly.  You will lose out on weapons as a druid and it'll probably take a while before your druid side catches back up.  However, that all said, the only weapon worth taking as a druid is the scimitar, so in theory you could potentially dual class at a lower level (say 9 or 12), put 5 points into scimitar, dual class into a druid and let it ride.  Then you can hit pretty close to max level as a druid (and I believe you can still wear metal armor since you're allowed to as a multi-class).  If you can wear metal armor, then grab a shield and be one hell of a tank.  There is no point in taking a kensai/druid since you'll have no good equipment to boost your AC and you'll lose out on some equipment as a wizard slayer.  Going back to the berserker/druid possibility, the only real downfall is the extremely slow level progression after 12.
  • Mage/Cleric - One word: Aerie.  I don't like her.  She's too weak.  You lack good armor and can't use a lot of weapons that make the class worthwhile.
  • Mage/Thief - I tried this one.  It was okay.  Actually, kinda bland.  More utilitarian than anything.  It's like taking Imoen or Nalia, except you can go further as a thief and be more limited as a mage because your XP gets divided.
  • Fighter/Mage/Cleric - I'm not a huge fan of triple classes on this platform in general because you have to split your XP three ways.  That makes leveling extremely tedious.  This class combination's main benefits seem to be HP and some weapon specialization capability. But you'll lose out on any good edged weapons that a fighter/mage class can handle.  Also, you'll lose out big time on armor, which a fighter/cleric or ranger/cleric can provide.  As a triple class, you really don't have a good role to fulfill except as a utility type of character.  Probably, as this class, you'll simply provide low level buffs, some spell piercings and limited range or melee capabilities.  Maybe the only reason to take a class like this is if you want to solo the whole game. But I still don't see a point.
  • Fighter/Mage/Thief - On paper, it looks like a good idea.  In practice, again you'll see massive XP penalties unless you decide to solo the game.  This might be the best pure solo class in existence, except for lacking healing.  But you'll have a ton of potions by the end.  And energy drain is taken care of through the Amulet of Power.  Resurrection is pointless since you won't have to worry about your companions.  And if you die, you have to restart no matter what.  So only poisons and diseases would cause you any major issue, but those are pretty rare.  Armor-wise, you'll be screwed for a while until you can obtain a good set of bracers, elven chain or a good mage robe.  You will get good weapons compared to the fighter/mage/cleric combo.  You won't be able to reach the "Use Any Item" ability though since you'll end up capping at 17/16/20 (although this might not be entirely true; for some reason my ranger/cleric started receiving fighter pool abilities below level 20; so being a multi-class might allow you to gain that ability.  Haven't tried though).   I did take an elf mage/thief in the past though.  Just for fun, I might one day try the fighter/mage/thief combination to give my party more flexibility.  But as long as I have some other thief variant in my party, I don't think this character would make the grade.
Now as for races, here's a few thoughts on what I wouldn't take:
  • Halflings - Possibly the worst race to use.  They treat short swords as a two handed weapon (I thought it was supposed to be long swords).  Strength penalties and just a general lack of interest.
  • Dwarves - I think you can take fighter/thieves and fighter/clerics, but I'm just not a big AD&D dwarf fan.  Or rather not a Baldur's Gate dwarf fan.  The only somewhat interesting thing might be the dwarven thrower weapon.  But why create a character of a certain race and class combo just for that weapon?  The Holy Avenger is worth having a paladin in the party nearly at all times (except when you take an evil party), but the dwarven thrower doesn't match up.  Also, you have Korgan if you really want a dwarf in your party (I don't).  If you really want a fighter/cleric or fighter/thief, take a half-orc instead for their strength and constitution upgrades.
  • Gnomes - There is only one specific case where I'd want a gnome and that's an illusionist multi-class variant.  I don't know if you can create a fighter/illusionist/thief, but that would be an interesting class combination.  If not that, then an illusionist/thief (Jan) or illusionist/fighter type.  Illusionist/Clerics might get my nod, but I don't care for Aerie as a cleric/mage.  I just have a very bad impression of that combination at the moment.  And I think fighter/illusionist/clerics are outlawed or damn weak as I described above.
Overall, this rant was geared more towards the character creation process.  If you decide to take a single character and fill up your ranks with NPCs, then that's another story entirely in terms of the "ideal" party.  My rant has little to do with role playing value, but more in terms of power gaming and maximizing a six person customized party.  Or creating a custom party that is interesting in terms of capabilities and variety.

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