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This is my first time playing BG2, and after doing some research and finishing the first dungeon I’m feeling conflicted about whether to pick up either Keldorn or Viconia for my last party slot.

I currently have Minsc, Jaheira, Yoshimo, and Aerie. Don’t plan on changing those except for when I eventually exchange Yoshimo for Imoen.

From what I’ve heard Vic has a nicely written character/storyline and is the best cleric NPC in the game, hence my temptation to pick her up, but should I really pick up another cleric when I already have Aerie and Jaheira? For the record, I've installed a mod that, if it works right, should keep Viconia from leaving due to high reputation (does choosing the romance path with her also keep her from leaving?).

Then there’s Keldorn, who sounds like he has a pretty decent personality in his own right, and who I know is able to get some really good Paladin specific gear and can be built as a great frontline fighter.

For my playstyle I usually prefer having fighters in the center of the action or dealing consistent ranged damage over having to micromanage the abilities of spell-wielding characters since I’m very conservative regarding how often I use spells (usually only in the most difficult of situations). So is there a build for Vic that can make her into a decent frontline or even ranged fighter? Just how is Vic supposedly a great cleric compared to the other characters anyway, and does it make that much of a difference? If making a vanilla fighter build for her is too impractical, can I use the Shadowkeeper mod to make her one?

Thanks in advance.
Post edited June 27, 2012 by Reject051
Vic is a good cleric because of her high wisdom (Aerie's wisdom isn't that great IIRC).
If you equip her right she can make a good fighter too - give her the gauntlets of ogre-power or the girdle of giant strength to up her strength and equip her with the flail of ages and cast Draw Upon Holy Might before a battle (or even give her crom faeyr (sp.?) later).

Having said that - if you've got Aerie and Jaheira you don't really need another cleric and Keldorn is great too (as an Inquisitor he can cast dispel magic (at twice his actual level) and True Seeing - both of which help in a fight (I used the latter a lot as there are many enemies who use invisibility potions/spells).
The big thing about Viconia is that she's the only single-class cleric in the game, so she'll have more spells and advance quicker than the others... and she has pretty hefty magic resistance. Aerie and Jaheira both advance pretty slowly because they're multi-classed, and she's got a higher wisdom than Anomen. She's a terrible fighter, though, due to her low strength, constitution, and hitpoints, and she can't specialize in anything the way Anomen can, and she'll only ever get one attack per round. There's not really any way to make her a fighter without completely changing her character. Just use her for buffing, and have her sit back and cast spells at people, or use her sling and wait for your party members to get injured. She's also evil, and may disagree with your various decisions as you seem to have a solidly good party.

Keldorn, on the other hand, is a fighter through and through. He can't use most of the paladin special abilities, but he's great at killing people and he absolutely annihilates mages with his special abilities. He also has a lot of good dialog, though he doesn't have nearly as MUCH dialog as Viconia since he's not a romance option. He's pretty opinionated, though, since he's a paladin, so if you go around doing evil deeds, he will quit the party and may attack you. Depending on the class of your protagonist, you may need him for face-crunching, as the only major warrior you have at the moment is Minsc. Jaheira is a decent fighter, but she's not a true frontline fighter the way Minsc or Keldorn are, somewhat due to her being multiclassed, somewhat due to her stats, and somewhat due to the druid weapon restrictions and the fact that her proficiencies are all messed up in the early game. You can eventually make her into a powerhouse, but she really only shines in BG1 and in ToB; she's kinda mediocre in SoA.
Personally I'm saving Viconia for an EVIL play through to get the most out of her romance. What alignment is your PC? By the sound of your play style and party makeup, I would be sticking with Keldorn. (Also he has a lot to say to Minsc, they have the most banters in the game I think)
I'm Neutral Good and plan on playing pretty much entirely good-aligned, but I was hoping to bring Viconia along anyway for her character banter and since it’s reportedly possible to change her point of view if you’re nice/romance her. If that mod I mentioned doesn’t work, I would dismiss and then re-recruit her into the party whenever my reputation gets too high since I’d heard recruiting her any number of times always lowers your rep by 2.

Does Keldorn really get enough decent banter? Nothing against him, but from what I've read Viconia has much more "entertaining" interactions with the PC and NPCs.

My PC is a solid Berserker kit fighter. So far he’s doing fine tanking and racking up the majority of kills with Minsc at a respectable second.
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bevinator: Jaheira is a decent fighter, but she's not a true frontline fighter the way Minsc or Keldorn are, somewhat due to her being multiclassed, somewhat due to her stats, and somewhat due to the druid weapon restrictions and the fact that her proficiencies are all messed up in the early game. You can eventually make her into a powerhouse, but she really only shines in BG1 and in ToB; she's kinda mediocre in SoA.
How do I go about making Jaheira a “powerhouse?” So far I just have her equipped with a sword and shield. Low enough AC to be decent at keeping enemies occupied, but as you suggest she’s otherwise been unremarkable so far in terms of fighting ability.
Post edited June 28, 2012 by Reject051
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Reject051: I'm Neutral Good and plan on playing pretty much entirely good-aligned, but I was hoping to bring Viconia along anyway for her character banter and since it’s reportedly possible to change her point of view if you’re nice/romance her. If that mod I mentioned doesn’t work, I would dismiss and then re-recruit her into the party whenever my reputation gets too high since I’d heard recruiting her any number of times always lowers your rep by 2.
kicking her out of the party will end the romance though ;)
If you've got the Baldur's Gate 2 tweak pack mod (I'm assuming that's the one you're using to stop evil members leaving the party at high rep) then it works fine and she'll complain but not leave.
Viconia's magic resistance is very nice, but she is hard to keep alive. When I played BG2 with an evil party she was always the first one to die in hard battles.
I'd say that for both role playing and power gaming reasons Keldorn is a better choice for your party, but pick Viconia only if you want "entertainment". I was rather disappointed that she didn't get more screen time in the Underdark, though. I thought she's comment on just about everything, but she didn't.
First it's a myth that Viconia is the best cleric in the game, second it's also a myth that she has a nicely written storyline.
The truth behind this is that the other female NPCs got ugly knots into the hair and more uglification while Viconia received a skin bleach and a blond wig from BG1 to BG2, therefore she's so popular.

I recommend taking Keldorn, when meeting spellcasters you can simply have him dispel their magic protections and start beating them with your characters. With his two-handed swords he has quite good range and you don't have another crossbow user in the party.
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kmonster: First it's a myth that Viconia is the best cleric in the game, second it's also a myth that she has a nicely written storyline.
The truth behind this is that the other female NPCs got ugly knots into the hair and more uglification while Viconia received a skin bleach and a blond wig from BG1 to BG2, therefore she's so popular.
Heh, I never picked or rejected an NPC because of their portrait. I don't think any of the character portraits for the 3 female romance options look that good.
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Reject051: How do I go about making Jaheira a “powerhouse?” So far I just have her equipped with a sword and shield. Low enough AC to be decent at keeping enemies occupied, but as you suggest she’s otherwise been unremarkable so far in terms of fighting ability.
You can put points into dual-wielding and give her something decent in the mainhand and Belm+2 in the offhand, you can wait until her druid level gets to 15 and she unlocks a host of spells and abilities, and you can give her a strength-boosting item to let her hit harder. Personally I've never gone the dual-wield route, but a lot of people do because there aren't a a whole lot of good 1-handed weapon options for druids in SoA, and the extra 2 attacks a round help immensely. You can also set her up to use the two-handed weapon proficiency and give her spears or quarterstaves, because there are several really really good options there in both SoA and ToB, like the Staff of the Woodlands or Impaler. Sword&board is good for some characters, like Anomen and Korgan, but the shortage of good druid 1-handers really hurts Jaheira. If you really want to keep the shield, I find Belm to be the best option for her until you can get things like the Spectral Brand or Club of Detonation in ToB.

She's a good character to have in the party for plot reasons, though. There are quite a few quests and items that you can only get if you keep her around, even if you aren't romancing her. For example, one of her subquests is the only way for non-mage protagonists to acquire a Ring of Wizardry.
To be honest, Viconia will be more interesting to take with you. Keldorn is great in combat, but his storyline is meh. Viconia at least will gain cleric levels much faster than aerie, which is good.
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Reject051: This is my first time playing BG2, and after doing some research and finishing the first dungeon I’m feeling conflicted about whether to pick up either Keldorn or Viconia for my last party slot.

I currently have Minsc, Jaheira, Yoshimo, and Aerie. Don’t plan on changing those except for when I eventually exchange Yoshimo for Imoen.

From what I’ve heard Vic has a nicely written character/storyline and is the best cleric NPC in the game, hence my temptation to pick her up, but should I really pick up another cleric when I already have Aerie and Jaheira? For the record, I've installed a mod that, if it works right, should keep Viconia from leaving due to high reputation (does choosing the romance path with her also keep her from leaving?).

Then there’s Keldorn, who sounds like he has a pretty decent personality in his own right, and who I know is able to get some really good Paladin specific gear and can be built as a great frontline fighter.

For my playstyle I usually prefer having fighters in the center of the action or dealing consistent ranged damage over having to micromanage the abilities of spell-wielding characters since I’m very conservative regarding how often I use spells (usually only in the most difficult of situations). So is there a build for Vic that can make her into a decent frontline or even ranged fighter? Just how is Vic supposedly a great cleric compared to the other characters anyway, and does it make that much of a difference? If making a vanilla fighter build for her is too impractical, can I use the Shadowkeeper mod to make her one?

Thanks in advance.
I have to say that i was doin the romance with viconia till throne of bhall , didint finish it but it was from my point of view not that good , shes a mental mess honestly she dont know what the hell she whants from life , ok Aeri on the other part is a pain in the ass in the beggining because of her continious winnyng but in the end i enjoyed her romance a lot , now Keldorn i had him in my party with Anomen because in this play i was a female char and was doin the Anomen romance till i could just take no more of that pompus guy man i hated him xD , keldorn had some great lines with Anomen tough and i understand that he has great lines as well with imoen , viconia was fun when she fights with the other females , but to be honest my first playtough was with Aeri as my cleric and she did a great job plus shes also a mage so if you think a bit on the fights she can help healing and damaging , in the end the choice is yours , the good thing is you guys had the same voice for viconia in english , wile we in spanish got a horrible voice for viconia in BG2 , the one for the first was nice but in the second honestly horrible :S , id say Keldorn , hes a great tank if you put him some Dexterity gloves and the dispel magic spells he have are great , anyways just have fun with your choice and you can allways pick the other in the next play :)