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I had a little trouble with character building in the beginning when I first played these games.

Here's what I do.

Every lvl you should devote 1-2 points into a weapon skill or magic skill. The reason being that that is your bread and butter and provides the best damage and to hit for your weapon.

From there you have to decide what 1 or 2 or even 3 stats you will focus on. If you are a fighter, strength and anything else is good but you can also go with speed, dexterity or endurance if you wish. Its really up to you.

I usually make my character based on what I want to accomplish. If I want to make a strong fighter that is good at surviving in hostile situations of traps and what not, I go with 2 strength and 1 perception every lvl. If I want to make a lightning fast fighter that is somewhat hardy, I go with 2 speed and 1 endurance every lvl.

If anyone needs to find out what stats and skills do go to this link and read up on skills and stats

A good setup for a character at begining of game is this-Weapon skill/magic skill, light or heavy armor (your choice), cartography (for map list) and the last 1 or 2 skills is your choice. You only really need 1 or 2 points into cartography.

Alchemy is a good skill and allows you to put up to +3 to armor and weapon skills. Very needed, especially in book 2. Wait until trainers.

Pick locks is useful but only if you specialize in it. Dont just sink a few points, that is a waste.

Trap disarming is not as useful as you may think although concentration is good for that if you do want to do it.

The best weapons in 1st game are Swords, Cleaving, Maces, Bows, and Throwing. Daggers are a waste in 1st game as they do low damage.

The best weapons in 2nd game are Daggers, Maces, Swords, Unarmed, and bows. Cleaving isnt as good and throwing is terrible. Unarmed deals the most damage with daggers following close behind, maces are awesome and swords are very good defensive wise.

Dont rush getting to the end. I messed up a character I used in book 2 because I rushed. DONT do that!

The best way to make a character is to think of what archetype you want to play. My first game I played as a fighter that maxed out speed and relied on a high armor rating and high damage lvl. He wasnt too bad as it was my first character. The key is specializing your char. Dont spread your points in attributes arounds.

Anything else is mainly the wikia link's job.
The best stats to use for melee are usually strength (2) and (1) into something else. Good examples of that dual class are intelligence for a Nordic bard build that is resistant to elements and good at identifying stuff.

For a crafty warrior that notices a lot about his surroundings, (2) strength and (1) perception for extra magic resistance and other stuff.

2 strength and 1 speed is not really useful and better off going (3) with strength for ultimate tankishness.

2 strength and 1 dex is useful for a brutish thief but not really.

2 strength and 1 endurance is a cool combo and prally the strongest one, but a little lame in roleplaying.

Then theres barbarians or hardy warriors

instead of 2 strength make it 2 endurance and sub in 1 for something else.

Speed is useful too and make awesome finesse warriors, still less ability to take hits than strength.

For ranged weapons dexterity is the best usually all the time. Although concentration is good for trapdisarming and ability to damage enemies with bows. Again sub in the other point to make a really cool combo.

Ive calculated all the possibilities and they are nearly in the 1000s so just have fun and don't ever neglect your damage skill (weapon skill or magic skill)
Also always invest at least 1 point into barehanded fighting. Why? so you can break through anything without breaking a weapon or your hands :D