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This is my first time with Baldur's Gate. If we can avoid major spoilers, just the Names please and maybe the class you suggest adding in if it makes a big balance difference.

Some things to consider:

My paladin, Bobbie, is female, and I am pretty dead set on using her.

I am using the Trilogy Mega Mod

I have the mod that keeps unhappy characters from leaving.

I have no qualms about including an Evil Character or dozen in my roster. I prefer good aligned in my pen and paper games, since most players like to use Evil as an excuse for being a jerk, but if the story is better with the evil/ and or neutral chars, then feel free to suggest them.

I chose not to add in the Nerfs that "fix" the game to be more like 2nd ed. If I don't get the benefit of being able to Role play my way out of a situation, then I don't mind a little "help" from the game designer.

I prefer the Story elements and Role Play opportunities over killer combat groups. That being said, I do gather that a party with no damage dealers is pretty unplayable

If you like a particular character added in for a particular interaction, feel free to say so, just try not to spoil it for a first timer like myself.

I would really appreciate the advice. I fully intend more then one play through, but as I have the trilogy patch installed and am playing via the BG2 engine, it may be a long while before I get back around to it.
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odrinn: This is my first time with Baldur's Gate. If we can avoid major spoilers, just the Names please and maybe the class you suggest adding in if it makes a big balance difference.

Some things to consider:

My paladin, Bobbie, is female, and I am pretty dead set on using her.

I am using the Trilogy Mega Mod
Without the BG1NPC mod, there is no interaction between party members in BG1 (even with BGT), so choosing companions is not down to banter etc; but to pure role play and/or power gaming. Since you appear not to want a power party, you can't go wrong with, first and foremost, Imoen. She is a rogue (pretty essential), she will never leave the party under any circumstances, and she has the best stats of any NPC in the entire BG saga.

So, 'most fun' comes down to how you role play, and asking for peoples' opinions is like asking them to choose your clothes for you. I would have mentioned the pitfalls of mixing certain party members, but you have nuked that issue with the tweak mod.

I prefer the Story elements and Role Play opportunities over killer combat groups. That being said, I do gather that a party with no damage dealers is pretty unplayable
No it isn't, especially in BGT. For example, I am currently role playing a session in vanilla BG1 -- which is MUCH harder than BGT -- and my party consists of 3 rogues. Yes, 3 rogues, and I do NOT power game, so none of them have uber stats. The best member of my party, stat-wise, is Imoen.
I do have the BG1NPC mod. Sorry forgot to mention that one
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odrinn: I do have the BG1NPC mod. Sorry forgot to mention that one
In that case, you might consider the NPC side quests added with that mod, and/or romances. Romance options for females are:

Ajantis (another paladin) -- Good aligned Humans, Elves, Half-Elves and Halflings

Coran (a bit of a womanising cad, who's quest will confirm this) -- Non Lawful Evil Humans, Elves and Half-Elves

Xan (a whiny headache) -- Elves and Half-Elves only.


Some side quests that I have encountered (without spoilers):

Jaheira
Kivan
Xzar
Dynaheir
Coran
Xan
Imoen
Garrick

Actually, most are not exactly quests in the traditional sense, rather they are paths that lead to something.

Party banters are very subjective, but I found the banters between Imoen and Yeslick to be quite humorous. It's not something I normally come across because I usually play vanilla. Oh, and don't expect grand adventures or sweeping interactions. They are all very sparse.
Post edited March 22, 2014 by Hickory
You don't really have to worry about building a group based on story as there are few narrative instances involving companions in BG. There is some rare party banter and only a scant few companions have sidequests in vanilla BG (many of these are restored in mods). Power builds are best to consider ... this is mine:

Playing Purely Vanilla BG (unmodified) my typical party gathering strategy (also with a Paladin) is such:

Keep Imoen: Her thief skills will get you through the game. Also, in general archers rule BG.

Pick up Kalid and Jahira (sp) as soon as they become available. They'll do for now, but they're not very good imo. Not enough to carry you through the game, but for now they will suffice especially since you're under leveled and will need the support. You have a fellow front liner and a mage/support caster.

By Necessity, acquire Minsc. Do his quest to acquire his companion, a Mage. Now you have the games best front liner and a mage. Carry them through the game.

If you want you can drop Kalid and Jahira now. (recommended)

OPTIONAL: Since you have no qualms about evil characters joining you, you can pick up Xzar and Montaron as soon as they become available. I don't think either one is particularly good and one is horrendously obnoxious. Also, more characters eat up more expee leaving less to be distributed among the group. I.e.: You'll level slower. NOT RECOMMENDED (unless you really want the extra support and you really won't need it)

There is a Cleric, Branwen, hidden in the Naskel Carnival. Acquire her if you want additional support. I would recommend this. She is not a decent fighter, but support casters are a boon especially at this early stage. She serves as a suitable replacement for Jahira.

This will carry you through the chapter. After that ... DITCH EVERYONE :-P except Imoen, Minsc and his "witch" and the Branwen if you have her.

OPTIONAL: Acquire the Ranger, Kivan. In addition to being a killer archer, he also has rather stellar strength. A good ranger and front liner to almost rival Minsc. Best equipped with a spear (or a halberd, ideally) so he can reach through the front rank. I list him as optional because as good as he is, there is a *much* better alternative you will replace him with shortly. If you think you need the support, get him. If you'd rather not have him soaking up expee, leave him.

By necessity, acquire Coran. He is without a doubt the best companion in the game. Even better than Minsc, imo. His thieving skills are superior to Imoen's and he is such a good archer he actually breaks the rules! XD You want Coran. He is also unavoidable. You'll encounter him as a matter of course so you can't miss him. Just say yes and keep him with you (his joining you is dependent on completing a timed quest). As much as it hurts, once you have Coran you can bid farewell to Kivan.

By the end of the chapter you will encounter a fighter/cleric. Be careful as he can be easily missed. IMO he's the best cleric to be had. I know Viconia (sp) is popular but frankly I think she's overrated and better suited to evil aligned groups (not a problem in your case). This guy also makes a darn good fighter and you'll find an awesome weapon for him around the same time you encounter him. He'll carry you through the end of the game. You can also drop Branwen once you have him.

NOTE: Branwen is preferable to Viconia for good aligned groups, but since you permit evil aligned characters, Viconia is acceptable and probably a suitable alternative to Branwen.
Post edited March 23, 2014 by eVinceW21
I'm confused; is the NPC mod restoring content that wasn't implemented, or is it stuff that was written by the mod creators?
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Jonesy89: I'm confused; is the NPC mod restoring content that wasn't implemented, or is it stuff that was written by the mod creators?
The BG1 NPC Project only has newly written content. It isn't Unfinished Business. What it's aim is, is to bring some level of interaction between player and NPCs, and NPC/NPC banter in a similar fashion to BG2, with some small side quests for various NPCs. For anybody using TuTu/BGT, and is into more than just power gaming, I would highly recommend it.
Just get the companions you meet and like, play your own way, don't bother about the preferences others have.

Planning your group in advance will only lead to playing someone else's game and discomfort since you don't know if and when you'll meet certain NPCs and how you like them.

The game won't get unbeatable no matter what you do.
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kmonster: Just get the companions you meet and like, play your own way, don't bother about the preferences others have.

Planning your group in advance will only lead to playing someone else's game and discomfort since you don't know if and when you'll meet certain NPCs and how you like them.

The game won't get unbeatable no matter what you do.
Going that way runs a serious risk of picking up people only to discard them shortly thereafter (either because you found a new person you think you want to try working with or you realize after looking at their character sheet that you don't want them), at worst making the ditched companions inaccessible (which can be a problem if you want them back) and at best meaning that the party runs the risk of turning into a revolving door. The problem with this approach is twofold: from a game perspective, companions take up XP, so any switching out of companions ultimately hurts the whole party, as pre-existing party members will be under -leveled; from a story/role playing perspective, it just doesn't make that much sense. Setting aside how the rest of the party might react to people they know and have come to work well with being dismissed constantly, I can't think of a single good tale of high fantasy (which the player is working to create) wherein characters were introduced to the party only to be dismissed and never heard from again; I mean, imagine how nonsensical it would be if the Fellowship decided to ditch Gimli, Legolas, or Aragorn in Lothlorian to recruit a local elf that they liked.

Point being, I hear you with regards to OP not doing what someone else wants; that said, giving a summary of the companions with some helpful comparisons so that OP can make more informed decisions about the party beforehand will go a long way to making sure that they proper party comes together relatively efficiently, without excessive exchanging of party members interfering with roleplaying.
I seem to remember most of the NPCs levelling up on ther own, even when they are not in the group. THe only problem is you don't have control of their skill or spell picks, if they get any..No big deal for a non-power player.
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Dreamteam67: I seem to remember most of the NPCs levelling up on ther own, even when they are not in the group. THe only problem is you don't have control of their skill or spell picks, if they get any..No big deal for a non-power player.
I think it's important to note that they don't actually level up as such, meaning having accrued experience points. What happens is the game holds different creature files with set levels and XP for each NPC. Depending on what level the player character is when they enter the area of the NPC in question for the first time, determines which version of the NPC is presented to the player. For example, if you enter the Friendly Arm Inn for the first time and your character is below level 3, Jaheira and Khalid will be at level 2/2 and 2, whereas if you enter and your character is at level 3 or 4, Jaheira and Khalid will be at level 4/4 and 4, and if your charater is level 5 or above, they will be at their highest level of 5/6 abd 6 respectively.

What this means is that (without mods) they don't level once you have recruited them and dismissed them. If you come back to a previously recruited NPC, they won't have leveled any further.
Post edited March 23, 2014 by Hickory
As far as OP's request goes, if story is important, than I would probably wind up sticking with the canon party, since BG2 starts out assuming that you traveled with them and has you start out in a dungeon with them. Now, I suppose that you could just ditch them off the bat once you get to BG 2 and in the meantime play with whoever floats your boat in BG1, but from a story perspective starting out trapped in a dungeon and immediately abandoning people who have traveled with you seems a little counter-intuitive as far as storytelling goes; given that you are also playing a Paladin, there may be roleplaying conflicts if you choose to leave them behind, but keeping them in the party until you get out both brings up potential story structure problems and game-wise decreases your xp.
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Jonesy89: but from a story perspective starting out trapped in a dungeon and immediately abandoning people who have traveled with you seems a little counter-intuitive as far as storytelling goes; given that you are also playing a Paladin, there may be roleplaying conflicts if you choose to leave them behind
You may only have their word for it that they travelled with you.
If you think they were planted there as part of some ungodly plot against you, then you might well not trust them & leave them there.
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Jonesy89: but from a story perspective starting out trapped in a dungeon and immediately abandoning people who have traveled with you seems a little counter-intuitive as far as storytelling goes; given that you are also playing a Paladin, there may be roleplaying conflicts if you choose to leave them behind
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olnorton: You may only have their word for it that they travelled with you.
If you think they were planted there as part of some ungodly plot against you, then you might well not trust them & leave them there.
Fair enough; I'd definitely get that from starting BG2 without having played the first, but having played the first, we know that the characters would not do that. Maybe they're all supposed to be dopplegangers, but that's just pushing the boundaries of credibility; admittedly, there was that one that was imprisoned near the exit posing as a civilian, so maybe that'd be something Irenicus would do, but I'm sure that there would be more reliable ways of screwing with the protagonist's head. Maybe the whole of BG1 is meant to have been some sort of fever dream that you "remembered wrong", but that just smacks of lazy storytelling to me. Just my two copper pieces, though.
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Jonesy89: Fair enough; I'd definitely get that from starting BG2 without having played the first, but having played the first, we know that the characters would not do that.
The point is that he messed with your brain, and so you have the option of not remembering anything you did in BG1.