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For BG 2 - I have read Dan Simpson's class faq, but am at a loss on what to choose for a character class. I am thinking Berserker, Swashbuckler or Paladin (maybe UH kit), it seems that the melee characters are easier to play for a first run through. What recommendations does the community have?

Thank you in advance!
Post edited November 27, 2012 by thme
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and what is your favourite class to play in pen and paper style rpg? :)

I would recommend reading the class description in game and choosing the one that sounds to you like fun :)
If the game is too hard, just lower the difficulty settings, don't worry, no achivements or content will be unavailable because of this :P
Basically, you will have to manage all of your party members and you will probably have some clerics, mages, thieves and fighters in the pot [ofc you can play with your main char only but then you're no first timer if you want to attempt it ;]
Personally I'd suggest Fighter, Berserker, Barbarian, Paladin, Cavalier, or Ranger as the "best" classes for a first-timer. That way you get heavy armor and a wide selection of weapons to use, and most of your class abilities are still available. Fighter-type classes are the only ones that can get more than one base attack per round, too, which is very helpful. All you have to worry about is finding equipment (which isn't hard) so you can learn the other game mechanics at your leisure. Swashbucklers are fun, but the one-attack-per-round thing tends to hurt them later.

Really though you can do fine with just about anyone. The only classes I'd advise against for a first-timer are the spellcasting classes, because when you're starting out you have no idea which spells to use at which times, nor do you know where you can find wizard scrolls. Just grab Aerie from the circus and start experimenting.
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bevinator: Personally I'd suggest Fighter, Berserker, Barbarian, Paladin, Cavalier, or Ranger as the "best" classes for a first-timer. That way you get heavy armor and a wide selection of weapons to use, and most of your class abilities are still available. Fighter-type classes are the only ones that can get more than one base attack per round, too, which is very helpful. All you have to worry about is finding equipment (which isn't hard) so you can learn the other game mechanics at your leisure. Swashbucklers are fun, but the one-attack-per-round thing tends to hurt them later.

Really though you can do fine with just about anyone. The only classes I'd advise against for a first-timer are the spellcasting classes, because when you're starting out you have no idea which spells to use at which times, nor do you know where you can find wizard scrolls. Just grab Aerie from the circus and start experimenting.
For a paladin you like the Cavalier over the Undead Hunter? What about a vanilla Paladin, is Lay on Hands really that important if you have a cleric?
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thme: For a paladin you like the Cavalier over the Undead Hunter? What about a vanilla Paladin, is Lay on Hands really that important if you have a cleric?
Well the actual best paladin kit is probably the inquisitor, but there's already one inquisitor NPC in the game and it shuts out most of the paladin abilities, so it's almost like playing a different class entirely. Personally I like the cavalier because of the charm and fear resistances. A fear spell at the wrong time can be a nightmare for your regular casters since everyone will be running around at double speed, making it hard to hit all of them with an anti-fear spell. The Remove Fear ability that Cavaliers get can really help, and they get so many uses of it you don't have to worry about "wasting" it. And their only drawback is pretty minor because you'll want them in melee most of the time anyway. If they NEED to use a ranged weapon you can use throwing axes, of which there are quite a few. (You can use throwing knives and daggers too, but those are better in the hands of mages and thieves.)

Undead hunter is probably better than straight paladin simply because of the level drain immunity, but personally I find them kinda dull, and their hit and damage bonuses vs. undead don't stack with several other anti-undead bonuses. Lay on Hands is great because it's fast and powerful and hard to interrupt, but you can easily live without it. You could definitely play one if you like the idea of them, but I personally prefer the other two kits.
I recommend sorcerer. Contrary to popular myths they are the best class for beginners. You need arcane magic in the game and it's far better if you can spontaneously choose the spells when you need them instead of guessing before rest which spell you might need the next day and being limited to a few castings per day.
You get a familiar for lots of extra HP, many powerful self-protection spells which let you last longer than a fighter with hundreds of hitpoints, there's no sorcerer NPC in the game.
How much do you know about D&D, or RPGs in general? The less you know, the more I recommend starting as a warrior (Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger or Paladin).

Warriors have great defense, great hit points, and don't have a lot of optional features to overwhelm you when newbies are already struggling to figure out how everything works (what is THACO? What is AC?). Learning a new system is daunting enough with a group of friends... it can make people ragequit when on their own. I read a thread just the other day somewhere of a gamer who didn't understand how his game worked and was going to quit because he kept dying (and hadn't bothered to RTFM).

If you don't know anything, start as a pure fighter. If you know about and understand how kits work, choose a warrior that sounds fun to you. If you're familiar with RPGs in general, choose whatever you like. The game will certainly be challenging, but that will be more from your ignorance of the game I think than what class you play.

While monster recommends the Sorcerer (and I do think them more newb-friendly than mages), I second bevinator's advice and suggest avoiding casters if you're totally new to RPGs.
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kmonster: I recommend sorcerer. Contrary to popular myths they are the best class for beginners. You need arcane magic in the game and it's far better if you can spontaneously choose the spells when you need them instead of guessing before rest which spell you might need the next day and being limited to a few castings per day.
You get a familiar for lots of extra HP, many powerful self-protection spells which let you last longer than a fighter with hundreds of hitpoints, there's no sorcerer NPC in the game.
Sorcerers are more newbie-friendly in the sense that you aren't limited in memorization, but they're EXTREMELY newbie-UNfriendly when it comes to spell selection. I'd only recommend them to someone who's already familiar with D&D spells. Since there's no way to unlearn old spells and the actual spell selection is fairly limited, if you make bad choices early you can get very stuck later. If you don't pick up Mirror Image, Stoneskin, Breach, or True Sight, for instance, you can run into serious problems later, especially if your protagonist is the primary spellcaster for your party. Regular mages are substantially more versatile in that regard, as they can learn and cast anything and everything.
Picking spells for a sorcerer at level ups is more newbie-friendly than the memorization process for mages, mages even have to pick beforehand which spells they'll have cast how often. Because of the limited memorization slots mages usually get to cast less different spells than sorcerers during the game. Players don't spend their too few mage memorization spell slots for spells which wouldn't be among the many sorcerer spell picks. Make a list about which spells did your mage cast how often during the game and you'll be surprised.
I've never heard of someone getting stuck because of playing as sorcerer and picking the wrong spells, you can make many bad decisions and still be superior to a mage. To cover all the casting options a sorcerer get mages would need 30 spell slots per level, they only get 5.
If you have a NPC mage among your party members besides your sorcerer you have the advantages of both classes and sorcerers can also cast all mage spells from scrolls.

From the roleplaying point of view sorcerers are far superior to mages with their limited "know one day before exactly what I cast next day" which encourages metagaming.


About picking caster or non-casters as a newbie:

You need to cast spells anyway so it's rather the question if you want to choose a primitive protagonist and hire a caster NPC to put all the thinking and micromanaging effort into him and let him shine over your wimpy character or if you want to concentrate your micromanaging efforts on your character and have him be powerful (and even get benefits as sorcerer NPCs can't get).


If you insist on playing a warrior class I recommend berserker over a paladin kit. Paladins can become fallen if you don't do what the developers consider rightful behavior for your paladin (or simply mess up).
Berserkers level faster and therefore get more hitpoints, proficiencies and high level abilities to pick. Their rage grants the immunities you need in the hard battles.
Post edited November 28, 2012 by kmonster
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kmonster: Picking spells for a sorcerer at level ups is more newbie-friendly than the memorization process for mages, mages even have to pick beforehand which spells they'll have cast how often. Because of the limited memorization slots mages usually get to cast less different spells than sorcerers during the game. Players don't spend their too few mage memorization spell slots for spells which wouldn't be among the many sorcerer spell picks. Make a list about which spells did your mage cast how often during the game and you'll be surprised.
I've never heard of someone getting stuck because of playing as sorcerer and picking the wrong spells, you can make many bad decisions and still be superior to a mage. To cover all the casting options a sorcerer get mages would need 30 spell slots per level, they only get 5.
If you have a NPC mage among your party members besides your sorcerer you have the advantages of both classes and sorcerers can also cast all mage spells from scrolls.

From the roleplaying point of view sorcerers are far superior to mages with their limited "know one day before exactly what I cast next day" which encourages metagaming.


About picking caster or non-casters as a newbie:

You need to cast spells anyway so it's rather the question if you want to choose a primitive protagonist and hire a caster NPC to put all the thinking and micromanaging effort into him and let him shine over your wimpy character or if you want to concentrate your micromanaging efforts on your character and have him be powerful (and even get benefits as sorcerer NPCs can't get).


If you insist on playing a warrior class I recommend berserker over a paladin kit. Paladins can become fallen if you don't do what the developers consider rightful behavior for your paladin (or simply mess up).
Berserkers level faster and therefore get more hitpoints, proficiencies and high level abilities to pick. Their rage grants the immunities you need in the hard battles.
What starting stats would you recommend for sorcerer or berserker? I think I am leaning towards trying the sorcerer based on your post, simply because there is no sorcerer npc. It seems you need high INT for some of the higher level spells. Also, what alignment for a sorcerer? Alignment will affect your familiar, correct?
Post edited November 29, 2012 by thme
For berserker simply max str, dex and con. Int and cha are almost useless, wis is totally useless.

Sorcerers don't need int or any other stat for casting.

I'd create one with the following stats:

Str: 18
Dex: 18
Con: 16-18
Int: 9-11
Wis: 3
Cha: 3-18


Most important are 18 dex (if you play an elf take 19) for armor class and ranged attack bonus and 16-18 con for 20 extra HP.
More than 16 con won't add extra HP, the only little benefit (besides that you don't loose HP when it's lowered) is that if you raise it over 19 (with DUHM special ability or by other means) you'll regenerate.
Str isn't needed for spellcasting but high carrying capacity is comfortable and sometimes you might just want to bash something with your quarterstaff.
9+ int is needed for casting spells from scrolls, 10 avoids a lore penalty, 11 allows surviving taking 2 hits from a certain type of enemy.
Wisdom is useless, it only affects lore and the wish spell where you can simply have someone with high wis talk to the genie when he appears or drink a potion which sets it to 18.
Charisma isn't important, you can simply have the party member with the highest cha do the shopping and/or raise it temporarily with items or by spamming friends spells.

You can get far better rolls than needed for my stat recommendation, use spare points as you wish.

If you want to choose character alignment based on the familiar the chaotic good and true neutral are the worst ones in my opinion but all of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
Most Players recommend not picking the find familiar spell and waiting until finding a scroll instead since you need the spell only once but you don't need that many level 1 spells anyway, only magic missile is important (I also picked shield for AC and identify for comfort in the beginning) and you get to know 5 level 1 spells, no need to wait that long if you don't want to.

About spells: Magic Missile (level 1), Mirror Image (Level 2), Stoneskin (Level 4) are the most useful ones.
Post edited November 29, 2012 by kmonster
Thank you very much, everyone for the responses. I am going to try the Sorcerer. Will be rolling shortly!
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kmonster: Sorcerers don't need int or any other stat for casting.
I thought sorcerers needed Charisma for their casting in BG2 (determines the number of spells?)

(also says that in this article:
http://www.sorcerers.net/Main/Articles/Sorcerers_Way/index2.php
)

Edit: wait, I'm wrong - the article says it's 'supposed' to be like that - but actually uses Intelligence as the stat (now I'm confused - it's that way in 3rd Ed rules but BG2 is 2nd Ed adding sorcerers but using Int instead of Cha?)
Edit 2: According to this:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/258273-baldurs-gate-ii-shadows-of-amn/faqs/11588

there's no need for intelligence stat for sorcerers after all - never mind me, I'll get me coat :P

Int of 9 or more is apparently needed to cast spells from scrolls though

Edit 3: Wish spell might need high Int and Wisdom (though you could take a couple of potions before casting it)
Post edited November 29, 2012 by TrollumThinks
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kmonster: Sorcerers don't need int or any other stat for casting.
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TrollumThinks: I thought sorcerers needed Charisma for their casting in BG2 (determines the number of spells?)

(also says that in this article:
http://www.sorcerers.net/Main/Articles/Sorcerers_Way/index2.php
)

Edit: wait, I'm wrong - the article says it's 'supposed' to be like that - but actually uses Intelligence as the stat (now I'm confused - it's that way in 3rd Ed rules but BG2 is 2nd Ed adding sorcerers but using Int instead of Cha?)
BG2 sorcerers don't actually have a primary casting stat. Neither INT nor CHA are used, they simply have a fixed number of spell slots and memorization slots dependent on their level. You could make a Sorcerer with 3's in every stat and he would cast spells just as well as one with 25s. It's... strange, to say the least.
I'm in the very last fight in ToB now (getting wiped worse than I can remember in any other fight!), but am thinking about the next playthrough. The idea was a kensai 9/mage, but I like to keep the mage back for casting rather than engage in combat, so not sure it's really right for me (I just wanted more HP for survivability). Maybe sorcerer would be more fun, although he would be much weaker than my current thief/illusionist (127 HP). Being able to cast more spells per level might be fun, although choosing which spells to take will be tough.

How much HP can a sorcerer get by the endgame, say when he is level 20-25?

Will various items that increase amount of spells work for sorcerer too, like ring of wizardry and such?