Baldur"s Gate - Party Creation Guide [Walkthrough]

Baldur"s Gate - Party Creation Guide


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             C h r i s    L e e " s
B a l d u r " s    G a t e    P a r t y    C r e a t i o n    F A Q       v 1.8
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              NOTE: THIS FAQ DOES NOT COVER THE ENHANCED EDITION!
This FAQ only covers _Vanilla_ BG/ToTSC.  I now have a separate, Enhanced
Edition-specific version of this guide, also at gamefaqs.com:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/663933-baldurs-gate-enhanced-edition/faqs/65403
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The officially latest (as well as latest, official) version of this FAQ/Guide
can be found at www.gamefaqs.com.
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Table of Contents                                                          *---
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A word on navigation: to jump to a specific section, simply use the "FIND"
command (CTRL-F or Apple-F) and type in the key next to the section (doing only
the characters after the asterisk will probably send you to a random section of
the guide).
Note that if you ever want to navigate back to the Table of Contents, search
for (with an asterisk in front) "---".
The pattern behind section character codes is simple:  three characters for
the main section (the first three) followed by a colon and then the next three
characters for each subsection.  If three character isn"t enough to guarantee
uniqueness, then it keeps going on.
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    Thoughts on playing Baldur"s Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast, Wherein
        It is a 20th Century Game in a 21st Century World   *000
    Introduction   *INT
    Races   *RAC
        1.  Human   *RAC:HUM
        2.  Half-elf   *RAC:HALFE
        3.  Elf   *RAC:ELF
        4.  Dwarf   *RAC:DWA
        5.  Gnome   *RAC:GNO
        6.  Halfling   *RAC:HALFL
    Single Classed Options   *SIN
        1.  Fighter   *SIN:FIG
        2.  Ranger   *SIN:RAN
        3.  Paladin   *SIN:PAL
        4.  Cleric   *SIN:CLE
        5.  Druid   *SIN:DRU
        6.  Thief   *SIN:THI
        7.  Bard   *SIN:BAR
        8.  Mage   *SIN:MAG
    Multi/Dual-Classed Options    *MUL
    NPCs   *NPC
        1.  Good-Aligned NPCs   *NPC:GOO
        2.  Neutral-Aligned NPCs   *NPC:NEU
        3.  Evil-Aligned NPCs   *NPC:EVI
    Arcane Spells   *ARC
        1.  First Level   *ARC:FIR
        2.  Second Level   *ARC:SEC
        3.  Third Level   *ARC:THI
        4.  Fourth Level   *ARC:FOU
        5.  Fifth Level   *ARC:FIF
    Divine Spells   *DIV
        1.  First Level   *DIV:FIR
        2.  Second Level   *DIV:SEC
        3.  Third Level   *DIV:THI
        4.  Fourth Level   *DIV:FOU
        5.  Fifth Level   *DIV:FIF
    General Pointers   *GEN
        1.  Issues/Notes   *GEN:ISS
        2.  Enemies   *GEN:ENE
        3.  Party Harmony   *GEN:PAR
        4.  Charts/Tables   *GEN:CHA
    Appendix   *APP
        1.  Special Thanks   *APP:SPE
        2.  History   *APP:HIS
        3.  All Works     *APP:ALL
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Thoughts on playing Baldur"s Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast, Wherein
    It is a 20th Century Game in a 21st Century World                      *000
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It"s 2011 as I"m writing this, and yet I"m creating another guide for Baldur"s
Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast.  Why?  Well, it"s not like I"m completely alone
on this--other guides on gamefaqs have been updated in 2010, plus there"s still
an active modding community at gibberlings3, so I"m not alone.
The point of this is partly to create a solid, updated, detailed guide (which
has been lacking and I"ll touch on in my intro).  The other point of this is
to be an advocate for something in particular.
You"ll frequently hear me make references to other Infinite Engine games,
especially Baldur"s Gate 2 (BG2), Icewind Dale series (IWD, IWD2), but more
importantly to something called BGTutu.  These comparisons aren"t just there
for show:  a popular new way to play the original Baldur"s Gate has been to
use a community-made product that transfers all the original BG data into an
installation of BG2.  By doing this, you gain all the benefits of the newer
engine, can directly continue your character on into BG2, and also play BG2
kits in vanilla BG.
I strongly disagree with this approach.  Yes, you get some nice changes,
probably the biggest are fixes for a few annoying problems with the engine in
BG: characters can bump past each other (which is the main reason why the
pathfinding in BG/TotSC was heavily criticised; it"s no better in BG2 and IWD2
but it"s _much_ less painful since characters will just push past each other);
the annoying bug where characters with AI scripts would sometimes stop casting
a spell for no good reason in particular is gone; and even just being able to
stack projectiles into larger piles (40 arrows/bolts instead of 20) is nice.
However, one things that I"ve noticed is that Bioware actually doesn"t know how
to make a well-designed game.  It took me a while to come to this conclusion
(and if you look at my BG2 thief guide, which was written many years ago, you"d
get a very different impression).  They can make a great story, they can make a
fun experience, but the best of Bioware was when they were adhering the closest
to AD&D rules.  With each successive release of the BG series, Bioware showed
that they were more interested in listening to petulant fans than building
a solid, balanced game (contrast with Black Isle who eventually made the most
resilient, well-designed implementation of D&D in the Infinite Engine via
Icewind Dale 2).  I submit to you a timeline of increasing errors in decision
(this is just a small sampling of criticisms I have):
    Tales of the Sword Coast
        Unbalanced healing by maxing out Cure Light Wounds.
        Heavily nerfed Improved Invisibility for no good reason than it seems
            that Bioware listened to players who thought that a level 4 spell
            being used by enemies in a game with an 89,000/161,000 experience
            cap shouldn"t be as powerful as a level 4 spell _ought_ to be
            in such a situation.
        Nerfed aoe spells by having characters be able to run out the explosion
            (that"s what reflex saves simulate!).
    Baldur"s Gate 2
        Countered their earlier aoe nerf by making most explosions act much
            faster (pretty much admitting their balance mistake without
            reversing it).
        Broke combat mechanics by making the game pause while in inventory
            (no more swapping out armor), which negatively impacts bards and
            mage multiclasses; though this is debatable since it more
            accurately depicts the time it takes to put on/take off armor.
        Refusing to implement race-specific level caps (which existed in AD&D
            as an important balance mechanic) basically screws humans out of
            one of their main strengths and makes all non-humans much more
            powerful.
        Humans can no longer dual class _into_ a specialist mage.
        Pointlessly nerfed fighters" advanced weapon specialization.
        Unbalanced druids by capping them at 14 without giving them their
            normal progression.
        Totemic druids scale very poorly at lower levels.
        Shapeshifter druids have many, many broken elements.
        Bard song isn"t designed to scale, so non-Skald bards scale pretty
            poorly.
        Seriously nerfed all summon spells while leaving some horrendously
            broken.  This means Beastmaster ranger is incredibly weak, but
            anybody who can spam Fire Elemental is great.
        Thieves become essentialized by having many, many game-important locks
            or fatal traps without providing a reasonable thief NPC (almost
            the exact opposite problem of BG).
    Throne of Bhaal
        Pretty much every high-level ability, but especially...
        Divine/Arcane high-level abilities are incredibly out of balance.
            Whereas warriors have to build up their uses of Whirlwind, for
            example, the moment a mage hits level 18, a priest 22, or a druid
            15, they can get the most powerful spell and use it as many times
            as they can memorize it.  On the flip side, divine/arcane
            high-level abilities scale very poorly as levels go up.  Fighters
            can get increasing uses of Whirlwind (Deva for Paladins) with each
            level up, but a caster can not increase the number of level 9
            (arcane) or level 7 (priest) spell slots they have, so there is
            almost no point to getting really more than 2 or so high-level
            abilities for them.  This is especially bad for priests who get
            many, many, many level 1 and 2 spell slots, but have _very_ slow
            progression for their top level spell slots.
        Bard"s Improved Bard Song high-level ability throws every bard kit
            completely out of balance.  Completely cancels out the Jester,
            obsoletes the normal Bard and Skald, and makes the Blade incredibly
            powerful.
        Rogues" Use Any Item is incredibly unbalanced and obviously was not
            thought through very well as it allows you to use even NPC-specific
            items.
        Wild Mage is _incredibly_ unbalanced.  Their special level 1 spell
            lets them cast the most powerful spells in their spellbook with
            the cost of a wild surge, which can frequently just be in your
            favor already.
        All Throne of Bhaal combat degenerates essentially into repeated uses
            of Planetar/Deva, Whirlwind, and Time Stop/Improved Alacrity.  If
            you want to mix it up, you can toss in a bard with Improved Bard
            Song.
I could go on, but I think it"s important to note that Icewind Dale II, which
was built on top of BG2"s engine, doesn"t implement many of the BG2 combat
mechanics, almost assuredly because Black Isle realized how unbalanced they
are.
So essentially, I"m a purist.  I think Bioware got it really close to right
with BG and it"s been downhill since then.  I even used to go so far as to
refuse to install TotSC, since even those minor changes weren"t worth the
cosmetic and convenience upgrades (namely auto-stacking stackable items).  But
it appears it"s getting increasingly harder to find a copy of BG that isn"t
bundled with TotSC, so I"ve had to soften my stance.
But anyway, if you"re picking up this game, I _strongly_ urge you to not use
BGTutu.  In some ways it"ll be more annoying (no "Rest Until Healed" option for
example).  Frequently though, it"ll be more annoying because the game will be
harder.  That"s fine.  The game _ought_ to be hard.  You"ll get a much greater
sense of accomplishment when you beat a battle even while having to juggle
Antidote potions through an unpaused inventory screen.  BG shouldn"t be just a
stop on the way to gettting to BG2, you should play BG to enjoy BG itself,
rather than running around with a Totemic Druid summon at level 1 and
slaughtering an entire town.
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Introduction                                                               *INT
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Baldur"s Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast is, by even generous measures, an old
game.  However, people still play it, but the problem is as people have gotten
savvier about playing games, guides for BG/TotSC have not really been updated
to reflect this.  So there"s a lot of outdated analyses out there, and even
the most up to date ones are debatable for their standalone-BG merits
(playithardcore, for example, generally considers BG from the perspective of
importing your character to BG2).
This guide is intended to address that gap.  Alot of updated analyses, some
errata that no other guide has ever discussed, and some general strategies
for a more civilized time.
Some minor notes.  If you"re new to Baldur"s Gate and are looking for a walk-
through, don"t use this.  Use DSimpson"s guide or google for dudleyville
Baldur"s Gate (which is an excellent per-area guide).  This is about how to
build a party, how to best use spells, etc.
Also, if you"re new, there are a few things you should do to fix some issues
with the game.  The first is to install the game text/bug fixes from either
Baldurdash (google it) or dudleyville"s baldur"s gate fixes (google it).
These correct typos and some general missed bugs in the game.
Second, you need to address the horrible pathfinding.  If you have Tales of
the Sword Coast installed (or you installed the 3 CD Original Saga), just
open up the configuration application and set Pathfinding Nodes to 400000.
If you just have vanilla BG, open up Baldur.ini with a text editor like
Notepad for Windows, TextEdit.app for Mac OS X, or vim for linux/Mac OS X.
Under "[Game Options]" add an entry or modify the existing entry (if there)
to set "Path Search Nodes=32000" (32,000 is the highest value for BG; 400,000
is the higher value allowed for all other versions).
Third, and this is optional, I like to do "Cheats=1" in Baldurs.ini and in the
game do Ctrl-Tab and "CLUAConsole:EnableCheatKeys()".  BG/TotSC features a lot
of backtracking which can get tedious after a while.  I use Ctrl-J (once cheat
keys are enabled) to teleport to areas I"ve been to before (though I _only_
use it if I"ve been to the area before and I can draw a line from where I
currently am to my destination without crossing any unrevealed area).  It"ll
take some of the tedium out of the game and make it a lot more fun.  Please
don"t use any of the other cheat keys, though; it"ll just make the game
boring.
Lastly, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, don"t hesitate to
get in touch.  I try to be responsive to emails (as anyone who has emailed me
about my much older other guides can attest), but no guarantees.  Simply pop
me an email with the subject beginning "BG Guide: " to:
    s___i_m___u_l__c_r_a@uchicago.edu
WITHOUT the underscores (that"s just to prevent auto-parsers for grabbing my
email for spam purposes).
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Races                                                                      *RAC
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All races are considered from the perspective of what your PC should be.  It
matters less for NPCs since their stats are already set in stone.  Though for
NPCs, being a Human with the right stats is a plus since it enables
dual-classing.
Rating scale:
    4/4 - Amazing.  Almost no drawbacks, you can"t go wrong here.
    3/4 - Good, not perfect.  More drawbacks but not shabby if you don"t want
        to be a cookie-cutter.
    2/4 - Some problem or is a specialty choice.  May be handy if you want to
        try something different, but you"ll run into more difficulties.
    1/4 - Avoid.  Either AD&D or Bioware had some implementation problems that
        severely cripples this.
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1.  Human                                                              *RAC:HUM
Overall Rating:  4/4
Available Classes:  All
Special:  dual-classing
Humans are the best all-around race in the game.  They can play any class in
the game, and they can also dual-class, which is way better than multi-classing
could ever be.  Simply put, the only area where they don"t excel is in being
a bard; a half-elf can also be a bard (unlike the more restricted paladin) and
since you can"t dual-class a bard, you are better off making a half-elf bard
instead.
Note that if you plan on being a pure single-class, you are way better off
being a more specialized race than a human.  Otherwise, even just adding one
level of fighter to your class has a nice payoff.
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2.  Half-Elf                                                         *RAC:HALFE
Overall Rating:  1/4
Available Classes:  All single classes except paladin, abjurer, illusionist,
    invoker, necromancer; all multi-class combinations except cleric/thief.
The only reason to be a half-elf is to be a bard or if you really, really want
to be certain multi-class combinations (especially the triple-class options).
Infravision is pointless otherwise, and enemy sleep effects is so rare as to be
pointless.  Half-elves do get better pick-pocket though than humans.
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3.  Elf                                                                *RAC:ELF
Overall Rating:  3/4
Available Classes:  fighter, ranger, cleric, mage, diviner, enchanter, thief;
    can multi-class as fighter/thief, fighter/mage, mage/thief,
    fighter/mage/thief.
Special:  +1 dexterity, -1 constitution, +1 THAC0 swords and bows
Great for ranged choices (thanks to the +dex and +THAC0).  Also makes for
a great thieving race (comparable to halfling for best) thanks to both a
possible 19 dexterity and beneficial thieving skill treatment.
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4.  Dwarf                                                              *RAC:DWA
Overall Rating:  2/4
Available Classes:  fighter, cleric, thief; can multi-class as fighter/thief or
    fighter/cleric.
Special:  +1 constitution, -1 charisma; special saving throw bonuses
Only use a dwarf if you"re making a fighter type so you can benefit fully from
a potential 19 constitution.  In addition to giving you a copious amount of
extra health per level, one Manual of Bodily Health will put you into auto-
regeneration territory, which basically means you never have to worry about
healing this character before rest or before travelling.
Dwarves benefit from what playithardcore designates as "shorty" saving throw
bonuses (see tables in section GEN:CHA).
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5.  Gnome                                                              *RAC:GNO
Overall Rating:  3/4
Available Classes:  fighter, cleric, illusionist, thief; can multi-class as
    fighter/thief, fighter/cleric, illusionist/thief, fighter/illusionist,
    cleric/illusionist, cleric/thief
Special:  +1 intelligence, -1 wisdom
A perfect candidate for a mage class.  Gnomes are forced into being
illusionists, which limits single-class choice, but gives gnomes an amazing
edge for multi-classing.  Bonus to intelligence means gnomes potentially never
have to worry about not memorizing a spell, but the penalty to wisdom means
that you should never roll a gnome priest.
Gnomes benefit from what playithardcore designates as "shorty" saving throw
bonuses (see tables in section GEN:CHA).
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6.  Halfling                                                         *RAC:HALFL
Overall Rating:  3/4
Available Classes:  fighter, cleric, thief; can multi-class as fighter/thief.
Special:  +1 dexterity, -1 strength, -1 wisdom; +1 THAC0 with slings
A perfect candidate for a thief class.  A thief doesn"t really need 18 strength,
and not only can halflings get 19 dexterity, but they also get favorable
treatment for thief skills.  Despite the fact that they can be clerics or
fighters, please never roll one since they get screwed out of an essential stat
for either.
Halflings benefit from what playithardcore designats as "shorty" saving throw
bonuses (see tables in section GEN:CHA).
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Single Classed Options                                                     *SIN
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Most classes are considered from the perspective of what your PC should be.
For specific NPCs I rate them holistically as a combination of other factors
(race, stats, alignment, specials), though generally a class with a high score
here means that an NPC of that class will have a higher score, too.
I also list "prime stats" because these are the stats that are relevant for
human dual-classing.  To dual-class you need at least a 15 in the prime stat(s)
of your starting class, and at least a 17 in the prime stat(s) of your target
class.  Note that some classes have multiple prime stats; you need to have
15/17 in all of them.
Rating scale:
    4/4 - Amazing.  Almost no drawbacks, you can"t go wrong here.
    3/4 - Good, not perfect.  More drawbacks but not shabby if you don"t want
        to be a cookie-cutter.
    2/4 - Some problem or is a specialty choice.  May be handy if you want to
        try something different, but you"ll run into more difficulties.
    1/4 - Avoid.  Either AD&D or Bioware had some implementation problems that
        severely cripples this.
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1.  Fighter                                                            *SIN:FIG
Overall Rating:  3/4
Prime Stat:  Strength
If you don"t know what to create, you can"t go wrong with rolling a fighter.
Able to wear all armor and use all weapons, this guy is tough as nails.  Plus,
while future versions of the Infinite Engine would irrevocably nerf advanced
weapon specialization, in Baldur"s Gate/TotSC advanced weapon specialization is
awesome.  You"ll never get up to 5 proficiency points in any weapon (even with
TotSC), but even 4 is awesome (+3 to hit and +3 to damage on top of an extra
1/2 attack).  Arguably as good or even better than any extra abilities Rangers
or Paladins get for losing the ability to go higher than 2 proficiency points.
Plus, Fighters have a faster experience progression than Rangers or Paladins,
so they"ll always have an edge when it comes to health or THAC0.
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2.  Ranger                                                             *SIN:RAN
Overall Rating:  1/4
Prime Stat:  Constitution
You give up the advanced weapon specialization and faster experience
progression of a fighter for Stealth (no backstab though), Racial Enemy (+4 to
hit and damage against an enemy type but -4 to reaction), and periodic uses of
Charm Animal (once per two levels per day, rounding up).
Charm Animal isn"t that great past the early game (when Bears and Wolves can
terrorize you).  Stealth is good for scouting _but_ requires you to be wearing
studded leather armor or less.  That"s very bad, and you don"t even get to
backstab to boot!  Racial Enemy can be potentially very good if you pick a
decent enemy; the consensus is that Spiders are probably the best choice,
though there are also some harder Hobgoblins later on in the game and are
pretty prevalent, too.  But do you really want to give up on a potential for an
additional +2 to hit and +1 to damage (from 4 points of weapon proficiency)
against _all_ enemies (including tough bosses) to get a situational +4 to
hit/damage against an enemy type that you"ll probably be able to eventually
ravage anyway?
Even if you want to create an archer-type character, you"re better off rolling
a Fighter.  Plus, if you really want a Ranger, you can just get Minsc or Kivan,
both of whom are pretty good, partially by cheating (Minsc has Berserk and an
18/93 strength).
WARNING - going too low in reputation will strip you of ranger abilities and
turn you into a lame fighter.  This does _not_ apply to NPCs.
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3.  Paladin                                                            *SIN:PAL
Overall Rating:  4/4
Prime Stat:  n/a
Awesome.  Gives up the advanced weapon specialization and faster experience
progression of a Fighter in exchange for a nice set of abilities:  Lay on
Hands, virtually at-will Protection From Evils (well, once per level per day),
Turn Undead (at two levels less than the Cleric), a minor "heat map" of a
spell in Detect Evil (4 + once per level per day), and a +2 class bonus to all
saves.
Lay on Hands is really good, and starting at level 2 becomes the best heal you
can cast - on average starts becoming comparable to similar priest heals, but
has a casting time of 1, making it amazing for emergency heals and for
ensuring that you don"t face any interruptions.
Turn Undead isn"t as great as on the Cleric - pretty much the best part of
Turn Undead is being able to instantly wipe out or dominate all the undead,
and the Paladin will be so much less effective than the Cleric that you"ll
never really reach this point.
On the whole, the only downside to rolling a paladin instead of a fighter is
if you want to play an evil character or if you ever plan on dual-classing or
multi-classing.  The Paladin doesn"t do quite as much damage as a Fighter, but
definitely makes up for it in hardiness and utility.
WARNING - going too low in reputation will strip you of paladin abilities and
turn you into a lame fighter.  This does not apply to NPCs.
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4.  Cleric                                                             *SIN:CLE
Overall Rating:  3/4 for the only one (PC), 2/4 if you plan on having more
    than just the PC be a Cleric.
Prime Stat:  Wisdom
Pretty good.  Decent melee-ing abilities, backed up by powerful buffs
(especially under TotSC).  Good healing, too.  Plus, by the end of the game,
turn undead becomes a way to annihilate undead (or mass charm/dominate, if
you"re evil).  Ohterwise, the best way to summarize the cleric is to contrast
it to the druid in the next section.
I penalize having multiple clerics due to the redundancy, but I don"t penalize
it as harshly as having a druid, simply because clerics are more versatile.
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5.  Druid                                                              *SIN:DRU
Overall Rating:  3/4 for the first two priests (PC Druid + an NPC
    Cleric/Druid), 1/4 if you plan on having two NPC priests already
    (especially if one of them is a Druid).
Prime Stat:  Wisdom AND Charisma
You"ll be forgiven for thinking that the Druid is hopelessly underpowered.
This is certainly the case for the vast majority of Baldur"s Gate 2, but in
Baldur"s Gate the verdict is less clear.  Perhaps the best way to approach
discussing the Druid is by comparing it against the other priest class: the
Cleric.
First, the weapons.  The Druid can only use a subset of Blunt Weapons (clubs
and staffs), Polearms (spears), Small Swords (daggers, throwing daggers), and
Missile Weapons (slings and darts).  The situation in TotSC is slightly better
with the access of Large Swords (scimitars).  While the cleric can"t use bladed
weapons at all, it does have the advantage of using one of the best one-handed
weapons in the game (the War Hammer +2 off Bassilus that does 2d4+2, +1
electric damage, though it"s nerfed in TotSC).  The Druid, by contrast, has
proficiency in plenty of weapons that don"t get very good magical upgrades,
save for some nice daggers.  Proficiency with scimitars helps a bit, but you
don"t get magical scimitars until TotSC areas.  Though, if you have no problem
with being sinister, you can kill Drizzt for his Frostband, scimitar +3, which
is one of the best weapons in the game and the best weapon a druid can use (but
only in TotSC, otherwise a druid can"t get Large Weapon proficiency).
Second, the armor.  The Druid can only use leather, studded leather, and Ankheg
Plate Armor (I guess it"s made of the "natural" shell of an Ankheg).  In TotSC,
it can use Hide Armor.  In terms of shields, the Druid can only use bucklers.
In practice, this means that the Druid is comparable, but will always be
slightly behind the Cleric when it comes to AC (no non-magical AC 1 source like
Full Plate Mail for combining with Ring/Amulets of Protection; nor a magical
shield until TotSC).
So far, the Druid seems worse than the Cleric.  Slightly less AC potential and,
aside from some specialized or conditional weapons (TotSC+Drizzt killing, some
daggers) generally worse weapon selection.  But let"s continue on to
spellcasting.  Both priest classes get access to Divine spellcasting (which
allows for casting with armor), but they get slightly different spells to
choose from.  This is partially an artifact of the AD&D casting system for
priests, as Divine spells have "domains" and various priests get varying levels
of access to different domains (major or minor).  It"s not really talked about
much in the manual, which may lead to some confusion. Regardless, the Druid
tends to miss out on many of the neat spells but in turn gets a few
Druid-specific ones:
        Charm Person or Mammal (2nd level)
        Goodberry (2nd level)
        Call Lightning (3rd level)
        Hold Animal (3rd level)
        All 5th level spells (TotSC level cap only)
More details in the spells section later on, but Charm Person or Mammal is
a good early Mental Domination.  Goodberry is decent early on.  Call Lightning
is god-like in its power.  Hold Animal is meh at best.  Some of the spells that
Druids give up include:
        Draw Upon Holy Might (2nd level)
        Animate Dead (3rd level)
        Mental Domination (4th level, TotSC)
Before TotSC, it"s a bit iffy, but Druids seem to do better on spells early on,
but then peter out a bit later in the original game as Draw Upon Holy Might
becomes better and more big fights take place indoors away from Call Lightning.
On the other hand, with TotSC, the Druid actually gets access to casting 5th
level spells, which is infinitely better than the Cleric, who gets stuck
with 4th level spells.  So, on the whole, the Druid is a better spell caster.
But this is in part related to something else...
Better experience progression.  The Druid has a much faster ramp up speed after
level 4 (which Clerics can get to faster).  This means by the end of BG (cap of
89,000), Druids are level 8 and Clerics are level 7, which means Druids get
a wee bit more extra spells and an extra weapon proficiency.  By the end of
TotSC (cap of 161,000), druids are level 10 and Clerics are level 8, which
means Druids get access to 5th level spells and 2 lower THAC0.  Not to mention
that in both cases Druids have more health.  This actually helps compensate for
the fact that Druids excel naturally on the lower levels but then need a bit of
extra help as the game progresses.
Shapeshifting.  It"s debatable as to its merits; it"s nowhere near as good as
in Icewind Dale I/II, so it"s more of a nice-to-have than something crucial.
Getting 18/00 strength plus 3 attacks and 18 constitution (but effectively 16
for a pure Druid) from being a Bear is pretty neat if situational.  Wolf form
basically only gives you slightly faster run speed; it also gives you cold
resist, but when was the last time an enemy in BG/TotSC did a lot of cold
damage to you?  There"s no way to improve the default AC of the shapeshifted
forms, nor do either have really good THAC0 (the bears have 19 base, +3 from
strength for a net of 16 before an item like Gauntlets of Weapon Specialization
is considered).  So a bear is good at destroying a mage and eating through
their Mirror Images, but pretty bad against a tough Ogre.  So it"s not as nice
as Turn Undead but again fulfills a very different niche.
So, in conclusion, the Druid is far from underpowered.  Most deficiencies are
made up for in other respects, and especially in TotSC they begin to shine over
anything the Cleric can do.  Ultimately it boils down to play style (Druid will
never be able to do melee tanking like a Cleric with Draw Upon Holy Might), but
I"d give the Druid a very, very slight edge over the Cleric.  They get a few
nice spells and generally have the same important spells as a Cleric (like most
of the Cure spells).
I penalize additional Druids; having two (your PC plus another) is great since
you can double up on the healing, the Call Lightnings, and the Animal Summoning
spells, even if you also plan on having Clerics.  However, more than that and
your party begins to significantly lack necessary diversity; you won"t be able
to take on bigger enemies that require intense melee damage without a lot of
difficulty.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Thief                                                              *SIN:THI
Overall Rating:  1/4
Prime Stat:  Dexterity
You might be shocked at my score for a Thief.  "Surely Chris," you say,
"thieves are so important that you need to have one in your party!"  You"re
right.  They are important!  But they are so important the designers behind
Baldur"s Gate have basically made it irrelevant to ever needing to roll one
yourself.  There are so many NPC thieves of various stripes, able to do all
sorts of roles, whether it"s backstabbing, pickpocketing, trap detection, or
just plucking away with a bow.  The only reason why you"d need to roll one
yourself is if you wanted a specific multiclass, and even then there are
Fighter/Thieves, a Cleric/Thief, and Imoen can dual-class into a Mage.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Bard                                                               *SIN:BAR
Overall Rating:  3/4 for just the PC, 2/4 if you plan on getting Garrick or
    Eldoth.
Prime Stat:  n/a
A party is never hurt by having one Bard.  More than one and you weaken the
overall composition.  This is because a Bard excels at being versatile and
filling in whatever role is necessary at the time.  However, if you have more
than one Bard, in all likelihood you"re giving up a skilled specialist to
put in a generalist where only a specialist will do.
That being said, the Bard has a diverse weapon selection, can wear up to
chainmail (though not cast spells while wearing armor), can use magic wands of
all types (most notably Wand of Frost and Wand of Fire), has an insanely high
Lore (being able to identify most items by midgame), a Bard Song (good early on
as an extra buff, good later on when the Bard can"t do anything helpful),
Pickpocketing (lots of useful moments for this), and limited Arcane
spellcasting.  Ironically, because the Bard has a really fast experience
progression table, while you won"t be able to cast as many or as high-level
spells as a Mage, you"ll be able to cast whatever spells you are able to at a
much higher power.  In other words, the Bard will get more Magic Missiles, do
more Fireball damage, have longer Mirror Images, etc.
Thus, with some quick fingers, you can get the Bard to fill in whatever spot
role you need it to.  Need extra weapon power?  Put on that chainmail and start
flinging throwing weapons, firing bolts, plunking arrows, or even just charging
in.  Need extra buffs or spells?  Take off that chainmail and cast away, or
just start laying waste with the (somewhat overpowered) Wands of Frost/Fire.
Need some items identified?  Drop "em in the Bard"s inventory and right-click.
Fighting enemies that the Bard isn"t helpful against (like a monster immune
to ranged weapons when the Bard only has projectiles, or an undead when the
Bard only has enchanting spells)?  No problem, switch on a Bard Song and
everyone gets buffed with +1 to rolls and a bonus against fear, so your party
still benefits from having an (otherwise useless) Bard in the group.  Some
neat items in a store or you know someone has an item in their inventory but
can"t afford the cost?  Take off that armor and steal it!  The only role a
Bard can"t fill is that of a healer (though if your PC is good you"ll still get
two Cure Light Wounds to use).
Note that if you"re using BGTutu, the Bard gets a bit worse (interestingly)
because the new combat system in the BG2 engine pauses the game when you have
the inventory open _but_ prevents you from changing armor.  This is, in my
opinion, a worse decision by the designers.  With the BG engine, you can open
inventory and spontaneously take off or put on armor for the Bard, adapting the
Bard to the situation at hand (spellcasting or no); the slight cost is that you
have to be aware of what might be happening as you click around in the game
menu.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8.  Mage                                                               *SIN:MAG
Overall Rating:  3/4, get a specialist instead.
Prime Stat:  Intelligence
Specialists
    Abjurer:     4/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Wisdom
    Conjurer:    4/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Constitution
    Diviner:     4/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Wisdom
    Enchanter:   3/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Charisma
    Illusionist: 4/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Dexterity
    Invoker:     3/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Constitution
    Necromancer: 3/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Wisdom
    Transmuter:  4/4, Additional Prime Stat:  Dexterity
Mages are great.  They may start off really week, but even just after the first
level they become immense monsters of destruction.  Almost any party is
strengthened by having yet another mage--the only exception is having a party
of 6 mages (somehow) for the few parts of the game, as you might find it
difficult to complete a single battle (though then again, two waves of 6
simultaneous castings of even a spell like Larloch"s Minor Drain will probably
deal with the early assassination attempts).
There"s a weird fluke about the BG spellcasting system:  a _lot_ of spells
are classified as Evocation, whereas in BGII and IWD/II they are classified as
other spells (like Conjuration).  That means Enchanters miss out on a lot of
spells (though they still get important ones like Sleep and Charm).  Similarly,
giving up Illusion magic (Mirror Image) and Enchantment magic (Sleep, Charm,
Hold, Confusion, and Domination in TotSC) is also pretty steep a cost to pay,
so Invokers and Necromancers get docked a point compared to the other
specialists.
Another benefit to playing vanilla BG/TotSC and not BGTutu:  starting in BG2,
due to a weird quirk of the engine, you can"t dual-class _into_ a specialist
mage, though by AD&D rules this is perfectly reasonable.  The only thing you
have to keep in mind is that specialist mages have another primary stat in
addition to intellect, which means you need to have a score of atleast 17 in
two different target stats.
===============================================================================

===============================================================================
Multi/Dual-Classed Options                                                 *MUL
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Fighter/Mage
Dual-Class Rating:  5/4 (!!)
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4, 4/4 if gnome
One of the most brutally powerful multi/dual-classing options.  If you"re dual-
classing, you can ensure that you switch over from a Fighter early enough that
you can get all the spells as a Mage you"re entitled to.  Don"t forget that you
can also qualify to be a Specialist Mage so long as you have 17 in the
appropriate Specialist stat.  You could probably take on the entire game by
yourself as a properly Dual-Classed Fighter/Mage.
The multi-class option is not as powerful, since you prevent yourself from
getting access to the top-end spells as well as full-fledged advanced weapon
specialization.  The gnome option, however, largely makes up for this since the
gnome defaults to multiclassing as an Illusionist.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Fighter/Thief
Dual-Class Rating:  4/4
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4
Makes up for alot of the deficiencies of just having a vanilla Thief.  You can
never have too many fighters, and one that can backstab, too, is pretty great!
Multi-class suffers again from lacking the ability to go past 2 proficiency
points and from less control over levels.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Fighter/Cleric
Dual-Class Rating:  4/4
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4
Another brutally powerful dual-classing option.  Like the Fighter/Mage, you can
dual in such a way to ensure that you don"t miss out on any top-end spells.
Plus, combining advanced weapon specialization with a high-powered Draw Upon
Holy Might is a sight to behold.
Similar to Fighter/Mage, multiclassing is not as powerful since you miss out on
top Cleric spells and advanced weapon specialization.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Fighter/Druid
Dual-Class Rating:  4/4
Multi-Class Rating: 2/4
While not as outright powerful as a Fighter/Cleric due to a lack of Draw Upon
Holy Might, removing the armor restrictions on a Druid is very nice.  Multi-
classing is not nearly as effective, though, because you negate one of the
Druid"s signature advantages over a cleric: a rapid progression chart that
eventually enables 5th level spellcasting.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.  Thief/Mage
Dual-Class Rating:  4/4
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4, 4/4 if gnome
Not nearly as powerful as the Fighter/Mage, but being able to cast (Improved)
Invisibility and backstabbing is pretty great.  For that matter, a Gnome
Thief/Illusionist does pretty well, too, at the cost of missing out on some
top end spells.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Thief/Cleric
Dual-Class Rating:  2/4
Multi-Class Rating: 2/4
Meh.  Thief/Cleric don"t mesh well due to backstab complications (Thieves need
sharp objects) and armor complications (wearing heavier than studded will
block thieving abilities).  Still, if all you need is a lockpicker, this may
be handy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Cleric/Mage
Dual-Class Rating:  2/4
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4, 4/4 if gnome
Lots of spell casting!  This is probably the only case where doing a straight
up human dual class is not as good as you might think, as you essentially have
to choose which type of spells to neglect in favor of another.  At least with
multiclassing you get even progression between both (even if neither can get
to the upper echelons of power), and a gnome benefits again by being able to
be specialist on top of it.  Keep in mind Quayle is also a Cleric/Illuionist,
but also has the special ability to cast Dispel Magic once/day.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8.  Cleric/Ranger
Dual-Class Rating:  4/4
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4
Surprisingly powerful due to a quirk in the game: by being a Cleric/Ranger, you
get access to Druid spells, too.  This means Call Lightning mayhem!  Again,
a straight up multiclass weakens the effect, though you won"t miss out on any
special Druid spells.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9.  Fighter/Mage/Thief
Dual-Class Rating:  n/a
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4
I"m generally not a fan of the three-way multiclasses, but this is one of the
stronger variants.  The Mage will be comparable to a Bard in spell access, the
Thief will get away with putting their points into one specific ability, and
the Fighter rounds everything out.  Powered backstab backed up by invisibility;
not bad.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10.  Fighter/Mage/Cleric
Dual-Class Rating:  n/a
Multi-Class Rating: 3/4
Lots of spellcasting... but much less effective than a straight up Mage/Cleric.
Moreover, you don"t gain much by adding a Fighter to it because you"re not
going to gain that much from meleeing with a character so otherwise week in
melee.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11.  Fighter/Thief/Cleric
Dual-Class Rating:  n/a
Multi-Class Rating: 2/4
Probably the worst of the 3-way multiclassing.  Cleric and Thief don"t get
along too well to begin with, and adding a Fighter just weakens whatever
potential the Cleric had and minimizes the benefit of adding thieving skills.
===============================================================================

===============================================================================
NPCs                                                                       *NPC
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I use a different rating system here than for classes, simply because I don"t
want to invite direct comparison between NPCs and the classes (eg why did I
give X NPC a lower score than the class?).  NPCs are judged on their usefulness
in a party, not for individual merits per se.  So instead of out of 4, I do
them more broadly out of 10.
Many NPCs "upgrade" with your PCs level, even if they"re not in your party.
For the most part I ignore this _except_ with proficiencies and thieving
skills.  Next to them I list the related PC level to trigger the relevant
changes.  Note that this does not necessarily translate directly into what the
upgraded NPC level would be (in general the PC level requirement is lower than
the NPC level that would be generated for that level).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Good-Aligned NPCs                                                  *NPC:GOO
Ajantis, Lawful Good Human Paladin
    17s 13d 16c 12i 13i 17ch
    Proficiencies:
        2xLarge Swords, 1xBlunt Weapons, 1xBows
        +1xSmall Swords (PC level 3)
        +1xSmall Swords (PC level 5)
    Special:  none
    Rating:  9/10
    Location:  Farm north of Friendly Arm Inn
    Notes:  Any good-aligned party will benefit strongly from having Ajantis,
        not necessarily because he"s anything special (mediocre dexterity means
        he gets hit alot), but because Paladins are just great in general.  Be
        sure to pick him up early before he wastes his proficiency points on
        small swords.
Alora, Chaotic Good Halfling Thief
    8s 19d 12c 14i 7w 10ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Missile Weapons, 1x Small Swords
        +1x Bows, -1x Small Swords (wtf!!) (PC level 5)
    Thieving Skills:
        80ol, 40st, 20ft, 80pp
        100ol, 40st, 20ft, 100pp (PC level 5)
    Rating:  6/10
    Location:   Hall of Wonders in west Baldur"s Gate, at night
    Special:  Has a Lucky Rabbit"s Foot, which provides a -2 bonus to AC and
        saves, at the cost of a Ring slot.
    Notes:  Not bad a thief on paper, due to high dexterity, being a halfling,
        and her Lucky Rabbit"s Foot.  However, by the time you get her, you"re
        in the final third of the game which means a:  most thief-required
        situations have already been resolved and b:  Alora starts off high
        enough level that there"s not a lot of room for flexibility in
        development, which is bad since she puts so much of her points into the
        decidedly-less useful Pick Pockets.  She is _contagiously_ cheery
        though.
Coran, Chaotic Good Half-Elf Fighter/Thief
    14s 20d 12c 14i 9w 16ch
    Proficiencies:
        3x Bows, 2x Large Swords
    Special:  That 20 dexterity!
    Rating:  8/10
    Location:  first Cloakwood area
    Notes:  Coran is a beast of a thief or archer, because he has a rocking
        20 dex (cheater!).  Still not as great as a pure Fighter due to a lack
        of advanced weapon specialization for multi-classes, but pretty
        versatile nonetheless.
Dynaheir, Lawful Good Human Invoker
    11s 13d 16c 17i 15w 12ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Missile Weapons
        +1x Blunt Weapons (PC level 5)
    Special:  Pairs with Minsc
    Rating:  7/10
    Location:  Gnoll Stronghold
    Notes:  If you didn"t roll a mage, you certainly want to pick up someone
        like Dynaheir.  She"s an Invoker so she misses out on a few handy
        spells, but still maintains access to the big guns.  Her one special
        trait is that she"s a pair with Minsc, but that"s not bad since Minsc
        is pretty hot stuff himself.
Imoen, Neutral Good Human Thief
    9s 18d 16c 17i 11w 16ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Bows, 1x Small Swords
        +1x Blunt Weapons (wtf, PC level 3)
    Thief Skills:
        25ol, 30st, 30ft, 25pp
        25ol, 40st, 40ft, 25pp (PC level 2)
        25ol, 60st, 60ft, 25pp (PC level 3)
        25ol, 80st, 80ft, 25pp (PC level 5)
    Special:  Can dual-class into a Specialist Mage
    Rating:  9/10
    Location:  You can"t miss her.
    Notes:  If you need a great thief, Imoen fills the job (though no strength
        bonus to help with backstab).  If you need a great mage, Imoen also
        can fill that job!  Plus, because she has at least 17 in dexterity,
        she can actually dual class into a Specialist Mage (specifically an
        Illusionist or Transmuter).  Too bad she"s so darn annoying.
            By the way, if you plan on using Imoen, definitely don"t let her
        hang around by herself at a high enough level.  The game will "upgrade"
        her with a new version of herself that has Blunt Weapon proficiency,
        which is inanely stupid for a thief to get (why not Large Swords,
        Bioware?  C"mon!).
Khalid, Neutral Good Half-Elf Fighter
    15s 16d 17c 12i 10w 9ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Large Swords, 1x Axes, 1x Bows
        +1x Large Swords (PC level 3)
        +1x Bows (PC level 5)
    Special:  Really low morale, runs away easily; pairs with Jaheira
    Rating:  2/10
    Location:  Friendly Arm Inn
    Notes:  While otherwise decent stats and an OK fighter, his low morale is
        really bad for any decent party.  He"s going to be taking a lot of
        damage by the very fact that he"s a front-line fighter (and has meh
        dexterity), so the fact that he runs almost at the drop of a hat</span><span id="faqspan-2">
        severely harms his potential.
Kivan, Chaotic Good Elf Ranger
    18/12s 17d 14c 10i 14w 8ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Bows, 2x Spears
        +1x Large Swords (PC level 3)
        +1x Large Swords (PC level 5)
    Special:  n/a
    Rating:  5/10
    Location:  High Hedge
    Notes:  A decent strength and dexterity, which is a rare combination.
        Lackluster constitution, but he makes for a good archer.  You can do
        worse, but he"s not that big of a standout otherwise.
Minsc, Neutral Good Human Ranger
    18/93s 15d 15c 8i 6w 9ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Axes, 2x Large Swords, 1x Spiked Weapons
        +1x Small Swords (PC level 3)
        +1x Small Swords (PC level 5)
    Special:  Berserk 1/day, pairs with Dynaheir
    Rating:  8/10
    Location:  Nashkel
    Notes:  A perennial favorite among fans.  He has god-like strength for an
        NPC (and even for a PC, unless you"re super patient).  His constitution
        and dexterity scores aren"t great.  He"s also a Ranger, which isn"t
        the best he could be.  He sort of compensates for that by having the
        very handy Bersker (aka Enrage) ability, which makes him into a handy
        powerhouse, it"s only too bad that he may attack allies while under
        the effect.  So it"s a bit of a double-edged sword.
            He pairs with Dynaheir, making a pretty solid team.
Yeslick, Lawful Good Dwarf Fighter/Cleric
    15s 12d 17c 7i 16w 10ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Blunt Weapons, 2x Missile Weapons
        +1x Spiked Weapons (PC level 4)
    Special:  Dispel Magic 1/day
    Rating:  7/10
    Location:  level 2 of Cloakwood Mines
    Notes:  Pretty great.  You won"t be able to get either Neutralize Poison
        or Cure Critical Wounds, but he"s got great Constitution which gets
        even better when he uses Draw Upon Holy Might to become a godly
        fighter.  He also gets a extra casting of Dispel Magic, so you
        essentially free up a level 3 spell slot.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Neutral-Aligned NPCs                                               *GOO:NEU
Branwen, True Neutral Human Cleric
    13s 16d 15c 9i 16w 13ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Blunt Weapons, 1x Missile Weapons
    Special:  Spiritual Hammer 3/day
    Rating:  7/10
    Location:  Nashkel Carnival, petrified
    Notes:  One of only two pure Clerics in the game, which is a special
        distinction.  OK stats, nothing to write home about.  Spiritual Hammer
        is really great early on when you don"t have much in the way of
        magic weapons (you can hit those damn mustard jellies after Nashkel
        Mines!), but gets dwarfed when you do.
            Branwen actually upgrades at player-level 5 but is missing a
        proficiency that she should have.  Either get a fix from Dudleyville or
        make sure to get her early.  When she levels up normally, though,
        you"ll get that missing proficiency back.
Faldorn, True Neutral Human Druid
    12s 15d 11c 10i 16w 15ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Blunt Weapons, 1x Missile Weapons
        +1x Spears (level 4)
    Special:  Summon Dread Wolf 1/day
    Rating:  7/10
    Location:  third Cloakwood area
    Notes:  Horrible stats loosely made up for by the fact that Faldorn gets
        a free summon spell that"s not half bad.  Will eventually get out-
        classed when you can do Animal Summoning I/II, but has way better
        staying power than, say, Spiritual Hammer.  Keep her in the back with
        a missile weapons or throwing daggers, only pulling her out when you
        need to Flame Blade some undead or feel like being exotic with
        shapeshifting.
Garrick, Chaotic Neutral Human Bard
    14s 16d 9c 13i 14w 15ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Missile Weapons, 1x Small Swords
        +1x Bows (level 3)
    Special:  n/a
    Rating:  8/10 if you don"t plan on having another Bard, 4/10 otherwise
    Location:  Beregost
    Notes:  Free identifies is almost worth it on its own.  He"s a decent
        ranged attacker otherwise, and you can happily do all sorts of other
        Bard-stuff, like give him Wands of Fire to toss around.  Mediocre
        intelligence isn"t bad so long as you"re patient with trying to learn
        new spells.  At the very worst he"s a permanent +1 to attack rolls
        for your party.
Jahiera, True Neutral Half-Elf Fighter/Druid
    15s 14d 17c 10i 14w 15ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Blunt Weapons, 2x Missile Weapons
        +1x Small Swords (PC level 3)
    Special:  Pairs with Khalid
    Rating:  5/10
    Location:  Friendly Arm Inn
    Notes:  Decent constitution, but bad at casting priest spells and is a
        Fighter/Druid, which ain"t exactly a winning combination.  Plus, you
        have to either be mean (get Khalid killed) or have to put up with
        a cowardly Fighter.
Quayle, Chaotic Neutral Gnome Cleric/Illusionist
    8s 15d 11c 17i 10w 6ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Missile Weapons, 1x Spiked Weapons
        +1x Large Swords (PC level 3)
    Special:  Invisibility 1/day
    Rating: 6/10
    Location:  Baldur"s Gate Bridge
    Notes:  Don"t ever expect him to get into the thick of things, and he has
        a horrible wisdom, so his support ability is lacking.  He has plenty
        of casting at his disposal though thanks to his multi-class, and the
        ability to cast Invisibility at will once/day greatly can greatly
        increase your party"s survivability.
            Also be warned you could end up with a Quayle who puts his first
        proficiency point in something useless (Large Swords) if you are high-
        enough level and don"t have a corresponding fan patch.
Safana, Chaotic Neutral Human Thief
    13s 17d 10c 16i 9w 17ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Missile Weapons, 1x Small Swords
        +1x Spears (PC level 3)
    Thieving Skills:
        50ol, 15st, 25ft, 20pp
        70ol, 15st, 45ft, 20pp (PC level 3)
        90ol, 15st, 65ft, 20pp (PC level 5)
    Special:  Charm Animal 1/day
    Rating:  4/10
    Location:  Lighthouse area
    Notes:  Half-decent as a thief but has trouble winning the straight-out
        competition with Imoen.  Also, you can give her a tome of intelligence
        to try and dual-class her, but then again Imoen can dual-class into
        a mage without using up a tome.  Charm Animal is meh in general, so
        don"t go out of your way to get it, however much bears may seem to
        slaughter you at level 1 or 2.
Skie, True Neutral Human Thief
    11s 18d 15c 15i 8w 13ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Bows, Missiles, Small Swords
    Thieving Skills:
        45ol, 45st, 30st, 50pp
        55ol, 55st, 40ft, 60pp (PC level 5)
    Special:  Pairs with Eldoth
    Rating:  6/10
    Location:  northwest Baldur"s Gate
    Notes:  Still loses the competition with Imoen, though has an 18 dex (which
        Imoen-pretender Skie doesn"t).  Comes with Eldoth, so if you want
        Eldoth you could just sub in Skie for whatever thieving purposes you
        have.  If at all possible, though, try to get to Skie fast, because
        otherwise the game will level her up and very stupidly put points into
        pick pockets.  Why is it stupid?  Because Eldoth is a bard with
        naturally high pick pocket.  D"oh!
Xan, Lawful Neutral Elf Enchanter
    13s 16d 7c 17i 14w 16ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Small Swords
        +1x Missile Weapons (PC level 5)
    Special:  Moonblade, a +2 sword of sorts
    Rating:  5/10
    Location:  Nashkel Mines
    Notes:  I personally have a soft-spot for the fatalistic fellow.  He has
        a really great Moonblade which, coupled with Mirror Image and Strength,
        makes him a pretty decent fighter in a pinch.  Unfortunately, as Mages
        go, he"s at the bottom of the barrel due to being an Enchanter.  Still,
        you don"t _need_ Fireball if you have Wands of Fire, and Enchantment
        is still a great spell school.  He"s the closest thing you can get to
        a Fighter/Mage NPC (well, aside from dual classing Imoen into a
        Thief/Mage).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Evil-Aligned NPCs                                                  *NPC:EVI
Edwin, Lawful Evil Human Conjurer
    9s 10d 16c 18i 9w 10ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Blunt Weapons
        +1x Small Swords (PC level 5)
    Special:  One extra first and second level spell/day, minus one amulet
        slot.
    Rating:  10/10
    Location:  Nashkel
    Notes:  Another perennial fan favorite.  Great intelligence, good
        survivability from constitution, and lots and lots and lots of
        devastation you can bring upon the world.  You can"t go wrong with him.
Eldoth, Neutral Evil Human Bard
    16s 12d 15c 13i 10w 16ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Bows, 1x Small Swords
        +1x Spears (PC level 4)
    Special:  Create Poison Arrows 1/day, pairs with Skie
    Rating:  7/10 if you don"t have another Bard, 3/10 otherwise
    Location:  third area of Cloakwood
    Notes:  On the balance I prefer Garrick as he has better dexterity and
        doesn"t require another NPC.  You might like being able to create
        poison arrows, but it"s not a lot and you"ll plow through them very
        quickly.  Eldoth is tougher though (15 constitution).
Kagain, Lawful Evil Dwarf Fighter
    16s 12d 20c 15i 11w 8ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Axes, 1x Blunt Weapons, 1x Missile Weapons
        +1x Axes (PC level 3)
        +1x Axes (PC level 5)
    Special:  That 20 constitution!
    Rating:  10/10
    Location:  Beregost
    Notes:  That 20 constitution, in additioning to meaning boat loads of
        extra health per level, means Kagain regenerates 1 health every 6
        rounds.  Might not sound like much, but it means every time you go
        to a new area or rest, Kagain is guaranteed to get fully healed up.
        He"s also a fighter that"s half-decent, and getting advanced weapon
        specializing in Axes is a Good Thing(tm).
Montaron, Neutral Evil Halfling Fighter/Thief
    16s 17d 15c 12i 13w 9ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Missile Weapons, 2x Small Swords
        +1x Axes (wtf, PC level 3)
    Thief Skills:
        25ol, 50st, 10ft, 35pp
        25ol, 60st, 10ft, 45pp (PC level 2)
        25ol, 80st, 10ft, 65pp (PC level 3)
        25ol, 100st, 10ft, 85pp (PC level 5)
    Special:  Pairs with Xzar
    Rating:  7/10
    Location:  Shortly after meeting Imoen
    Notes:  Not bad in terms of being a fighter or a thief.  Can make for an
        effective archer, backstabber, or what have you, and even progresses
        with a high Move Silently skill.  He"s a bit fragile early on, so
        make sure you try use bows when not skulking about.
            If you leave him alone for a while, he very stupidly picks up an
        axe specialization.  Not bad if you want to use him exclusively
        as a fighter, but you can"t backstab with axes :/
Shar-Teel, Chaotic Evil Human Fighter
    18/58s 17d 9c 14i 7i 11ch
    Proficiencies:
        2x Large Swords, 2x Small Swords
        +1x Missile Weapons (PC level 3)
        +1x Missile Weapons (PC level 5)
    Special:  n/a
    Rating:  8/10
    Location:  east of Temple
    Notes:  A fighter with great dexterity and strength.  Terrible constitution
        though.  And it"s not something you could even fix with a tome, it"s
        just an astonishingly low 9.  At least Potions of Fortitude would do
        something for this NPC.  Would make for a decent archer if it weren"t
        for the fact that she doesn"t start with a ranged weapon proficiency.
        17 dexterity means she can dual-class into a compelling thief.
Tiax, Chaotic Evil Gnome Cleric/Thief
    9s 16d 16c 10i 13w 9ch
    Proficiencies:
        1x Blunt Weapons, 1x Missile Weapons
        +1x Spiked Weapons (PC level 3)
    Thief Skills:
        35ol, 25st, 30ft, 25pp
        45ol, 35st, 40ft, 35pp (PC level 3)
        55ol, 45st, 50ft, 45pp (PC level 5)
    Spec