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So, if there's one thing I hate about the Gold Box Forgotten Realms games is the illogical race cap imposed upon non-human races and lower STR score for female characters. This makes it impossible to play a single party through all four games. I've completed Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds and the final battles in both of the were brutal and had to be tried several times. I've seen videos of the final battle against Gothmenes in Pools of Darkness and I honestly don't know how the designers expect you to beat that.

However, by taking advantage of the Add/Remove character feature, it is possible to clone characters and have very powerful characters by the end of Pools of Darkness.

I will play Curse of the Azure Bonds again, the Secret of the Silver Blades and finally Pools of Darkness.

The final party that will face Gothmenes will look like this:

3 human Ranger/Magic-Users (dual-classed at level 8)

2 human Ranger/Clerics (dual-classed at level 8)

1 dwarf Fighter /Thief

All will be male.

Is this a good party? I know that in Curse of the Azure of the Azure Bonds there's the whole thing with the Swanmays, but I prefer males for their higher STR.

I would like to hear people's opinions about this party and party composition in general in the Pool saga.
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Your party won't work. Not more than 3 rangers are allowed in the party.

Natural strength is quite meaningless once you find a girdle of giant strength or get enough level to cast enlarge effectively so can afford to include a female if you want but it isn't necessary.

Ranger8/mage has very bad base thac0, if you wait 2 more levels you get +2 to hit and up to 12 extra HP so I wouldn't switch more than one to mage and cleric that early to cover your basic casting needs (fighter or paladin 7/cleric will also work if you want cleric spells earlier), a ranger10/mage will still max out faster than a pure class fighter or paladin in Curse.

With only 8 warrior levels your characters will have a hard time killing the strong monsters in PoD and be in trouble when spells don't work at the final battle.

The beginning of Secret of the Silver Blades will be relatively easy with imported characters so you can afford to import 2-3 pure class paladins or fighters and dual them after they've reached level 13-14 for the extra half attack per round and better hit chance.
High STR is only relevant in the beginning and if you max out all stats.
If you don't max out all stats, DEX is the one stat that really matters.

Also, you need one single class mage, both to get useful spells ASAP, but also to maximize damage from spells like Fireball, and to increase chances of breaking through the magic resistance of Drows.
Post edited October 18, 2016 by PetrusOctavianus
There's no need to start Curse with a single class mage, (s)he will max out early at 375,000 XP. The end battle and the other two games will be easier if you take other class levels first.
Thank you both for responding. Ok, so I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to play Curse of the Azure Bonds again. I imported my party into Secret of the Silver Blades. I cloned my ranger. And now my party at the start of Secret looks like this:

2 Rangers (I just trained them and they are level 10. Will dual them both to magic users at level 14.)

1 Paladin (Currently level 9. Will dual to cleric at level 14)

1 human cleric (level 10. Won't dual)

1 dwarf fighter/thief

1 human magic user (Won't dual)

Only the dwarf and the pure magic user were created and not imported. I think this setup is better.. Opinions?
PetrusOctavianus: Also, you need one single class mage, both to get useful spells ASAP, but also to maximize damage from spells like Fireball, and to increase chances of breaking through the magic resistance of Drows.
Actually, if you dual-class early enough (like no later than level 9), the character will only be one level behind a single-class magic once you get to high enough levels (10+).

Specifically, to gain one level past 10 for a magic user takes something like 375,000 experience, which is enough to raise most classes to level 9 or so; as a result, the character will only be temporarily weak, and afterwords, will only be one level behind a fresh character.

(Of course, you will need to go back to train frequently right after dual-classing so you don't waste experience; if you get enough experience to gain 2 or more levels, any XP in excess of the amount needed for the second level will be lost, plus one more point.)
Your party is powerful enough to beat the games, but a more powerful party will make it easier.

Dualing rangers at level 14 looks pointless, they get the second extra half attack at level 15. If you dual at level 13-14 fighter or paladin is much better, they get their second extra half attack at level 13.
I suggest waiting until level 15 with at least one of the rangers, getting a harder SotSB final battle but more power in PoD.

A pure class mage is weak, starting with a warrior class will yield more power for far less then the additional 375,000 XP a mage level costs on the long run. You could dual one of your imported level 10 rangers to mage immediately to cover your early casting needs and create a warrior who will or won't dual to mage instead (or just clone your paladin or ranger once again, ranger NPCs can still join you if you have 3 rangers in the party).

It's very easy to grind XP late in SotSB, so a freshly created party can become at least as powerful as an imported one.