Location: Amie will join you in West Harbor during the Prologue.
Enjoy Amie’s services while you can, because she’ll die very quickly as part of the game’s plot. Her place in the game is to provide some background for your PC and just the right selection of spells to complete an early quest or two.
Location: Ammon will be available during Act III.
I personally think this guy dissuades you from choosing a Warlock as your PC. Warlocks take time to build up their power and can be vulnerable during the early stages of the game. By the time they start becoming powerful, Ammon becomes obligatory during certain phases of the game. Gaining influence with him is difficult, because he has long since rationalized the severity of his actions well before he ever met you. It’s not impossible though. Like Zhjaeve, he becomes one of only two characters that can use the True Name spell to make the dreaded Shadow Reavers vulnerable to permanent defeat.
Location: Bevil will join you in West Harbor during the Prologue.
Like Amie, Bevil is available only during the very early parts of the game. He does make a decent stand-in fighter in the meantime.
Location: Bishop will become an obligatory party member when the party has to make for the Githyanki Base to rescue Shandra, and will be available from that point onwards.
Bishop is a rugged Ranger who takes ‘looking out for number one’ to astonishing depths. None too subtle with ‘amorous pursuits’ either, which your own PC will find out if she’s female. If you’re set on Bishop as a mainstay, you’re committing to using him as an archer a good deal of the time since his feat selection is heavily tipped towards use of the Longbow. His stats are quite good though, so something worth looking into is selecting feats that involve fighting with two-handed weapons for when he needs to fight close quarters. If you find a strength enhancing item for him, he can excel both as an archer if he finds a bow with a high Mighty value, and as a melee fighter. If you include him as a core member of an evil party, keep in mind that he’s going to bail on you at a critical point towards the end and he will not rejoin you unless you side with the ultimate enemy of the game at the climax. Does not get along with Casavir at all. If your PC is female, the stakes get even higher on that point.
Location: Casavir will help your party after an ambush after you have cleared out the Bonegnasher Clan’s stronghold and make your way back to Old Owl Well.
A powerful warrior in his own right. Casavir will not have the consistent and raw offensive power that Khelgar can attain, yet he brings some nifty powers of his own that Khelgar does not (e.g. Smite Evil). He also possesses a definite resiliency in certain situations that makes him very useful. His Lay on Hands ability can pick himself up or another party member in a flash. An item that grants spell resistance combined with his high saving throws can make him very dangerous for spellcasters. Items that enhance Strength, Constitution and Charisma are a boon. Equipping him elsewhere is a bit of a poser. Unfortunately, he cannot obtain the Holy Avenger. There is a useful Bastard Sword, but that requires the Weapon Proficiency: Exotic feat, and you have to wonder if it’s worth it when Paladins don’t have as many feats as Fighters. If Casavir is going to be a mainstay in your party, you may want to look into crafting custom made items for him. In one game I made a +5 Holy Keen Scimitar which worked wonders for him. The Keen quality combined with the scimitar’s broad critical range meant that Casavir could deal out pretty massive damage on a consistent basis. Does not get along with Bishop at all. He may take an interest in your PC if she’s female, and the stakes with Bishop get even higher if this is the case.
Location: For how to get the Construct as a joinable companion, refer to this guide.
If you’re willing to sacrifice dialogue and personality for sheer power and plenty of resistances, by all means go for it because he certainly gets the job done in melee. If you’re intent on keeping him for the final battle, be sure to build enough influence with Grobnar since Bishop will try to wrest control of the Construct away from Grobnar.
Location: Elanee will help your party against an ambush when they try to make for Highcliff for the first time during Act I.
Elanee is a Druid of Elven ancestry who will take more than a passing interest in your character if he’s male. Qara and Sand will be better pure damage casters. Zhjaeve will be a better healer. Elanee however provides a useful mix of both, and meshes better with good-aligned parties. She also brings some unique cards to the table. The ability to both cast spells and engage in combat in animal form, and later Elemental form, will be quite handy. The Augment Summoning feat in conjunction with her summoning spells, especially Elemental Swarm when it becomes available, will prove very useful. She starts off kind of weak and it takes time for her to reach her power, but once she does she’s definitely not a liability. With the right equipment, she can also be handy in a fight, even in her natural form. Focus on advancing her Wisdom, and instead find Strength and Constitution enhancing items if you foresee her participation in physical combat. Does not work well with Neeshka.
Location: You’ll meet Grobnar when you make for Old Owl Well for the first time during Act I.
I personally find this guy annoying as hell. But if you want a Bard in your party, then Grobnar’s your guy. Neither physically overpowering nor a match for the raw spellcasting power of other characters, Grobnar nonetheless provides a smorgasboard of useful skills for a lot of situations. You can probably get away with using him as your primary thief if you plan carefully. For example, you can find Intelligence and Dexterity enhancing items, and select the Skill Focus: Disable Device feat, in order to gain some competence when it comes to disarming traps. Items that enhance Charisma and Dexterity are essential. Something to keep in mind is that opportunities to gain influence with him are comparatively rare, and yet those rarely involve losing influence with other characters. You do have a vested interest in building up that influence if you want to avoid having the Construct turn on you during the end game.
Location: Khelgar will join you at the Weeping Willow Inn.
Khelgar is probably the best pure warrior in the whole game, with his impressive Strength and Constitution scores. His Craft Arms skill is an added bonus. Once its about ten, you may want to pump up his Craft Armor skill as well. It is possible to change his class to Monk once you find a Temple of Tyr in Neverwinter. For the details of this rather involved venture, you’ll need to follow a series of links starting with this one. This is not recommended though, for two reasons. One reason is that to get the most out of a Monk, you pretty much have to go single class from the very outset. The fighter levels will feel like wasted levels. The second reason is that Khelgar, by virtue of his race and his place in the story, is the only NPC that can take advantage of some of the very best equipment in the whole game. Once he gets his hands on that equipment, nobody will be better able to dish it out and take it in up close combat. When selecting feats, it is recommended that you choose feats that enhance his prowess with the Warhammer, since down the road he’ll be able to use a very powerful one.
Location: Neeshka will join you in Act I after you save her on your way to Fort Locke.
In my opinion, Neeshka presents a bit of a quandary. If your PC has thieving skills, then I say there’s no reason to keep her. A single class Rogue starts to feel more and more like luggage as the game progresses, especially as many of the foes in the later stages enjoy immunity from sneak attacks. On the other hand, if you have a different kind of PC and you want to avail yourself of thieving skills, Disable Device in particular, without a hitch then Neeshka is your best choice. Grobnar can perhaps shoulder it, but will remain clearly inferior when it comes to Disable Device. She may present certain difficulties if you’re playing a Paladin who wants to score the Holy Avenger, or if you include Elanee in your party, with whom Neeshka does not get along with.
Location: Qara will become available during Act I after you witness a squabble between her and a couple of Academy students near the Sunken Flagon Inn in the Docks District.
The best pure offensive spellcaster in the game, period. Choose a healthy mix of offensive spells (e.g. Fireball, Chain Lightning) and defensive spells (e.g. Mirror Image, Stoneskin, Immunity from Energy) and you can’t go wrong with her. Even if you usually rely on somebody else for offensive spellcasting (e.g. a Wizard PC), you may still want Qara around for certain spots in the game that are incredibly intense and make that extra touch of firepower welcome. Despite her alignment, she works surprisingly well with the other NPCs with the notable exception of Sand.
Location: Sand will become available upon the commencement of Act II.
A rather smug know-it-all type Elven Wizard. Taking him along is obligatory during a certain part of Act II. Overall I find Qara to be more powerful and just plain more useful. One reason for this was that if I wanted an NPC companion Wizard, I’d prefer one that already had feats that boost your Evocation spells (instead of Transmutation). On the other hand, if you’re really set on crafting custom made items and your PC does not have the necessary spells and feats for it, the scales tip in favor of Sand over Qara. Keep in mind that you’ll have to select those feats for him in the future because he doesn’t have them yet. Intelligence and Dexterity boosting items are a must. Does not get along with Qara at all.
Location: Shandra is an obligatory party member during Act II.
Once Act I comes to a close, Shandra provides a fifth party member for free. Being a Fighter with good stats, there’s no reason not to be glad for it. By all means, equip her with the best equipment that you can find along the way. Just don’t invest too heavily into her, either by way of custom made items or buying expensive gear for her. The reason for this is she’ll only be around for Act II, and not thereafter. Pity that.
Location: Zhjaeve will become available after the party drives Black Garius out of Crossroad Keep during Act II.
A Githzerai cleric who takes an intense interest in events in your plane of existence. Even though she can wear the best armor, it is hard to think of her as a warrior because her Constitution and Strength are not great, even if you find boosting items. Zhjaeve really shines when she does what she does best, buffing the party with defensive spells, bringing the party back onto its feet after taking lumps, and dishing out her select few spells that can be highly destructive. This often involves putting her into danger by braving attacks of opportunity in order to reach wounded comrades though. My advice is to look into crafting a +5 Mithral full plate for her, which comes with reduced weight and affords her a lot of protection. Have an arcane caster spare a Stoneskin for her when you’re refreshed and ready to start the day. Like Ammon Jerro, she becomes one of only two characters that can use the True Name spell to make the dreaded Shadow Reavers permanently vulnerable.