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I bought BG1 and BG2 on GOG some time ago (pre-EE) and I'm going to give them a shot. My original intention was to try BG1 with a minimal selection of mods to keep the experience as originally intended.. but having tried that, and to keep a long story short, I think playing in the BG2 is going to be a preferable experience for me. Probably EasyTutu but perhaps BGT.

I realize this changes the game somewhat and introduces things not originally present in the BG1 engine. What I'd like to know is, is there anything I should avoid because it significantly overpowers or underpowers a character? For example classes/kits that are best not used, weapons to be avoided because they don't exist in the BG1 world, anything just outright unbalanced etc

Any tips appreciated.
Everything is different, and there is no escaping it. Everything is overpowered, and enemies do not scale appropriately to compensate. The 'raw' feeling you get from BG1 vanilla is completely lost in TuTu or BGT. Having said that, if you want to go ahead and play in the BG2 engine I strongly recommend BGT. TuTu has too many issues, and with BGT you can seamlessly go from BG1 straight to BG2 as though you're in the same game. But (and it is a big 'but' for some people), BGT is not standalone like TuTu. It is an integration of both games, which means you can't play vanilla BG2 since it's installed in that game. Also, you *must* install mega mods like these with absolute virgin installations of BG1 and 2, so no mods beforehand, not patches, no fixes... nothing.
A few things that come to mind:

- Most class kits are going to feel very overpowered in the early levels.
- Find Familiar will give a newbie mage an extremely large (relative to level) boost in HP.
- Depending on which mods and install options you go with, if you don't do something to adjust XP gain for scribing scrolls, disarming traps and picking locks then you will level up a lot faster.
- The BG1 areas were designed for characters to max at 161,000 XP. You can easily go well above that if you don't use a temporary XP cap.

I've tried both, and BGT seemed to have fewer quirks in the BG1 parts of the game. I also like how BGT is a seamless transition from one game into the next, and that your NPC companions retain their exact stats and spells when moving into Shadows of Amn.