Equipping Your Party
Now it is time for some perspectives on how to equip your party.
Appropriate To Your Class
When choosing who to equip with an item, make sure it helps that member perform in his or her role. This may sound like a no-brainer, buts its here anyway as a just in case its needed reminder of common sense.
Assume that you find a pair of Gloves of Concentration. Your Paladin may have a use for them since he occasionally casts spells. But how about your Sorcerer or Cleric instead? Even this can invite a further distinction. If your Sorcerer constantly keeps herself layered up with protections like Stoneskin and Mirror Image, can she get away with not increasing her Concentration checks? Maybe the Cleric, who doesnt have the same repertoire, and often has to brave Attacks of Opportunity in order to heal wounded comrades can find a greater use for them. Conversely maybe your Paladin should wait it out until he finds a pair of gloves that confers some kind of combat bonus.
This reasoning is even easier for items that confer ability bonuses. Items with a Strength bonus benefit warrior types. Items with a Charisma bonus benefit Bards, Paladins and Sorcerers. Items with an Intelligence bonus benefit Rogues and Wizards. And so on.
Some Bonuses Do Not Stack
Suppose that you have found a Nymph Cloak +6 that adds a +6 bonus to Charisma and a Mask of Persausion that adds a +2 bonus to Charisma. Equip them together and they wont stack together to produce a +8 bonus to Charisma. Only the highest bonus, from the Nymph Cloak, will apply. Likewise casting a spell like Eagles Splendour on the character will not confer any meaningful benefit. Keep this in mind, since it can mean freeing up a slot in your inventory for an item that provides a different benefit.
The same applies to items that confer deflection bonuses to armor class. Only the item with the highest bonus confers a deflection bonus. So if you have a belt that confers a +2 deflection bonus to armor class, then it may be unnecessary to equip a ring whose sole benefit is a +1 benefit to armor class. You may then consider equipping a ring that confers a different kind of bonus. The same is also true of Spell Resistance.
Other bonuses, like hit point bonuses, saving throw bonuses, skill bonuses, and elemental resistances do stack though. For example, suppose a Paladin equips a number of items that confer resistances to elemental damage. Your Paladin can pretty much step right up to the enemy wizards with little fear, all the more so due to the high saving throws of the Paladin. The same can be said of a Rogue due to the Evasion ability.
If you browse through the items section of the walkthrough, you may be convinced that the items to be found in the normal course of the campaign are sufficient to meet your needs. On the other hand, you may decide that there are still a few gaps that can be filled or improved upon through custom made items. What now follows is a quick rundown of how to create custom items.
Adding magical properties to items or creating magical items typically requires the use of essences. Essences come in five varieties: Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Power. The five varieties each come in four varying degrees of strength: Faint, Weak, Glowing and Radiant. Essences can occasionally be found in various points in the game, but VERY occasionally. Ensuring a steady supply of essences requires a character who has developed the Craft Alchemy skill and a Mortar and Pestle. Whenever you find body parts left behind by slain foes, they are capable of producing one or more essences. Simply use the Mortar and Pestle on that body part when it is in your inventory. If your Craft Alchemy skill is high enough, the process will yield the essence(s). Body parts that produce the most powerful essences (e.g. Dragon Blood) require a Craft Alchemy skill of ten. Two less powerful essences can also be merged into a more powerful essence (e.g. merging two faint essences into one weak essence), while a more powerful essence can be broken down into a less powerful essence. Merging faint essences into weak essences requires a Craft Alchemy skill of 5. Merging weak essences into glowing essences requires a skill level of 10. Merging glowing essences into radiant essences requires a skill level of 15.
To build a weapon, you need to acquire a weapon mold (e.g. Longsword mold) and a base material (metal ingots for most weapons, wooden planks for clubs, staves and bows). Place these items in a forge, and then use a Smiths Hammer on the forge. This requires the Craft Arms skill. The weapon being forged and the material being used effects how high a Craft Arms skill you need.
The process is similar for armor. Youll need an armor mold (e.g. Half-Plate mold), and a base material (e.g. Leather Hide or Mithral Ingot). Place them in a forge, and then use the Smiths Hammer on the forge. This requires the Craft Armor skill.
To add magical enchantments to a weapon or armor, one of your characters must have both the Craft Magic Arms and Armor feat and the appropriate spell. What is typically involved is placing the weapon or armor in a magical workbench, along with the appropriate gem(s) and essence(s). The character then casts the spell on the workbench.
Creating magical items is similar. A character needs the appropriate spell and the Craft Wondrous Items feat. Place the base material (e.g. hide or ingot), gem(s), and essence(s) in the magical workbench and then cast the spell.
Throughout the game youll find various books that tell you which items and spells are required for which items or enchantments. There is however no need to burden your inventory with such clutter.
For an excellent spreadsheet written by Thaladar that gives you the nitty gritty details on item creation and enchantment, follow this link.
Something to keep in mind that while coming up with enough essences for the recipes is not a problem, the gems are often a different matter. The gems need to produce the most powerful of items (e.g. Beljuril, Blue Diamond, Kings Tear, Rogue Stone) can be hard to come by. So any inclinations you may have towards extreme power gaming are significantly stifled in that once you get the gems, you are confronted with choices about what kind of item youre going to use that gem for. Thats not to say that the lesser items arent worth looking into though. Take for example the Boots of Striding +4. It requires a Jacinth gem, which is rather more common. Having a few of these for your party can still provide considerable benefits.
Now it is time to begin the adventure itself, starting with the Prologue.