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How to make useless NPC's useful

Discussion in 'Baldur's Gate (Classic)' started by jimstrom, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. jimstrom Gems: 1/31
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    One of the answers i hate when i'm asking for party advice, is don't take that character he is completely useless.

    I hate powergaming, imho powergaming can destroy a game like Baldur's Gate. Many have probably met Quayle on the bridge of Baldur's gate used him once, looked at his stats, and then ditched him again, because they judged him to be weak and useless.

    That is part of the character, i always try to make the best out of character even if it is very weak.

    Instead of ditching Xzar for Edwin for the 100th time, try to make him usefull.

    I always read about the late thieves having to little find traps skill, well thats what potion of thievery and the priest spell find traps is for.

    in short: instead of bashing the so called uselless NPC's, tell me how to improve them and make them worthwhile.
     
  2. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Most BG1 characters can be powerful if you know how to play them a certain way. Quayle, for example, may seem useless to average gamer, but as far as potential goes the little gnome is easily one of the most powerful spellcasters in the game. Access to divine/arcane magic and certain items like wands can make you very powerful in BG1, especially in 2nd ED rules where spell DC is not determined by stats. He also comes with invisibility, which means you can use him to block doorways. That doesn't change how he's still one of the more annoying NPCS though, unless you take Tiax (watching their rivalry unfold is amusing).

    The same goes for the BG1 bards (access to most items like bows and wands, spellcasting, free anti-fear skill in bardic song), Xan (free +3 weapon, can heal himself with fire damage using the right setup so he can just barge in a room of baddies and spam fireballs using a fireball wand), Dynaheir (starts with Fireball if you get her at level 5) and even Xzar (by far the earliest mage you get, doesn't force you to go chase after sidequests). Alora is actually a pretty cool npc, a solid thief/archer and her comments/banter with Edwin, Xzar and the other small folk are priceless. Faldorn, being a pure druid, has access to the highest tier of divine spells.

    The only NPC I personally could never find a decent use for (and with an annoying attitude to match) is Skie.
     
  3. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    I allways use Branwen, but I hear she isn`t all that popular with BG fans?
     
  4. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I thought she was great, had her the whole game...
     
  5. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Same here, Tal. But people keep telling me Viconia and Yeslick(?) is aparantly way better.
     
  6. Voy Gems: 5/31
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    powergaming seems legit to me, it's more realistic for me to pick up most powerful allies instead of casting power word reload every now and then, it doesn't matter that much though since in bg1 almost everyone manages to be decent given a ranged weapon and having access to proper protection/buff spells matters more than stats.

    Branwen is decent enough- I did not ditch her, even-though her romance mod was incredibly dull
     
  7. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    Skie has the same problem as Alora, Tiax, and Quayle. You get them too late. Beyond that, I found little advantage or disadvantage of Skie over Alora and Safana save that you have to take Eldoth as well. She's not that different from Safana, although Safana gives you a free charm person spell. Safana's charm is more limited in range and effect than the Nympth Cloak, and far inferior to Algeron's Cloak (which is a Charm Monster spell. An actual 4th level spell from the 2nd edition PHB that can be found in the Gold Box Games that preceded Baldur's Gate a decade before). I believe there was another thread earlier this year that compared the thieves in far more detail. I'll have to search for it.

    Eldoth is better than Garrick, but bards can be powerful if you give them wands.

    All NPCs are useful, but some are more useful than others. Some needed the gauntlets of ogre power to be used effectively. Others needed other items particularly wands or the gauntlets of dexterity.

    That patch whose name escapes me at the moment that lets you recruit the NPCs earlier REALLY helps. Suddenly the NPCs most people don't take are really useful since you can get them from the beginning.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 7 minutes and 40 seconds later... ----------

    Here's the thread
    http://www.sorcerers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=54808&highlight=skie&page=2
     
  8. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It never bothered me that I got them late (well, except for Alora). I play BG1 like I play IWD2 - I add NPCs as go along, both to maximize XP/level my casters faster and because I think it makes more sense that the PC in BG1 starts out mistrustful of strangers.

    Eldoth is better stat-wise but you get Garrick earlier. Branwen never struck me as one of the more unpopular NPCS, I think BG1 Viconia was less popular. Magic Resistance working on positive spell effects really hurt her in BG1.
     
  9. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 13/31
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    I never found any NPC useless in BG. Some are inconvenient due to being so late though. Seriously you go through most of the game getting used to your party and THEN you give us new people? Now I have to choose between new people and established characters and that is not fun. Power wise while some are marginally better than others I have found that power gaming is just not needed in vanilla BG. Characters like garrick have lowish stats but being a bard he is so useful that I often have him in my parties and I have beaten BG many times easily (with and without mods). Power in BG is more about how you construct a party and how you use their abilities in a fight than having all high stats. Making sure your cleric has the spell "remove fear" ready for a fight with a caster will bring you more success than any number of 18s in your stats and that is just one example.
     
  10. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    If you don't reload for more HP at level up late game NPC become more useful.
    And if you don't reload when a party member dies you'll be happy about them being available.
     
  11. Midget Gems Gems: 2/31
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    I agree that these npc are mainly there in case someone gets killed and you don't feel justified in reloading or resurrecting. Plus they add greatly to the interaction between part members.

    My style of play lends itself to using these oddball characters in my party. If I'm playing though for goodness knows how many times, then I want it to be interesting and above all I want to make it more difficult. So, yes I take the the later NPC and I don't worry if I have 3 Clerics and no thief, or 4 thieves and no Tanks. And yes, I dual-class the NPC into all sorts of strange combinations by first giving them the Tomes to boost their stats. Xzar made a nice evil Cleric on one run through, you should see him in his nice shiny armor.
    For me anything goes and then find a way to make them work together using the skills they have been given. With so many over-powered items available there is usually a work-around for any situation.
     
  12. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    They probably also added them to appease picky players. It's easy to see how someone would find certain character archetypes interesting but would be turned off by the likes of Imoen, Montaron, Jaheira, Garrick or the rest of the early or mid NPCs. And playing the game with only 4 or 5 well-picked people until you get the ones you really want is actually a pretty solid strategy.

    Also of the (potentially) late game NPCs the only unremarkable one is Skie. Everyone else could give early NPCs a run for their money, power-wise.
     
  13. Midget Gems Gems: 2/31
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    And this brings back memories for me. The name 'Midget Gems' that me (and my son) often use when gaming was born out of a party in BG1 where I was using lots of the smaller NPC's. Certainly Tiax, Quayle and Alora were in that party but it was a long time ago.
    And "Snow White & the 5 Midgets" was another party concept for the less popular NPCs.

    Happy days......
     
  14. jimstrom Gems: 1/31
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    Ok thanks for a lot of good advice, however i've would like to have som equipment advice to improve the late npcs, anyone who got some?
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    That is the beginning and end of it for me. None of them are useless, save for the fact that you already have a party put together by the time that you can get them. Many of the NPCs aren't available until you get to Baldur's Gate, and that's Chapter 5 already. You're already a good chunk through the game.

    Unless you metagame and don't do ANY of the side quests, you've already done most of the game by the time you even encounter them - you didn't even know that they were there. People like having balanced parties, and seeing as how the difference between characters like Alora, Skie, and Safana is marginal, if you're happy with Safana, why would you bother dropping her for one of the other two once you find them?

    My only guess as to why so many of the NPCs appear so late, is the designers assumed people would only reload if their PC died? That way, if you managed to get both Imoen and Safana killed off by the time you got to Baldur's Gate, that Skie and Alora nicely fill the role as the new party thief?

    EDIT: As for equipment, you'd use the same equipment that you'd use for the equivalent NPC you'd normally have in that slot. I guess the only exception to this would be the two gnomes, as there aren't any other thief/clerics, or illusionist/clerics in the game. I tend to keep both of them out of combat, so their primary weapon would be a sling, as that also allows them to use a shield. Tiax is a bit of a problem if you want to keep a shield equipped and have him backstab, as the only one handed weapon he can backstab with is a club, of which there are exactly zero magical varieties available. So you're probably stuck with a quarterstaff. Then again, if he is your party's primary thief, you could give him shadow armor, meaning he's not completely lacking in defense.
     
  16. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    All of the chapter 5 NPCs are thieves except for Quayle. Every wonder why? Quayle is a support character. A very good one too! The rest are optional thief choices as the game is a bit easier with a thief in your party and you kind of need one for the maze under the Thieve's Guild. Plus, if you dualled Imoen, another thief could help as well. I have read some state that if you are playing an iron-man game, it also adds NPCs to fill in those who have been killed off, but I disagree. If you lose warriors, there are no replacements in the City.
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    All fair points Blades. Not only the maze under the Thieves Guild, but the catacombs beneath Candlekeep are near-certain death for any party without a thief. As is Durlag's Tower.

    But I think there's another reason for a thief-heavy selection late in the game: It is possible that you "run out" of thieves by the time you get to Baldur's Gate. If you dual-classed Imoen, Safana is really your only option. Coran is plausible, but he sinks all of his early stat points into stealth, so he isn't particularly good at disarming traps or picking locks. If you get Safana killed you NEED another thief.

    That isn't present regarding warriors. It's nearly inconceivable that you could "run out" of fighters. There are no fewer than a half dozen options among fighters, paladins, rangers, and multi-classes by the time you reach Chapter 2. And you can pick up Yeslick in Chapter 4, and even Branwen can do in a pinch. Add in that a fighter multi-class for the PC is a very common selection (or ranger or paladin of course). Perhaps that aren't any fighters in the city of Baldur's Gate simply because they already gave you so many options.
     
  18. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Monty, you are forgetting Monty!

    I agree with you on warriors, they do spoil you early. IMO it was necessary for them to do so, especialy if you choose a non-warrior as your PC. Though with the Falming Fist having such a huge presence in the city itself, an NPC warrior with some connection to them would of been a fitting choice. So would of an Evil-Warrior NPC with connections to the Iron Throne. Kind of like a Yoshi type betrayal. I always wondered why there was no Mod NPC created with that type of background for BG1. Also, since there are so many Mage towers with plots in BG, Ragefast, Ramazith, etc...I thought it odd that Quayle was the only Mage-type NPC in the City itself. But I am the type of player who loves tons of NPC choices.
     
  19. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I actually forgot Monty twice. I didn't count him among thieves, nor did I include him as an early multi-class fighter choice. It's probably because he's one of my least used NPCs. It's not that I don't think he's a good character - in fact I think he's one of the better options out there as a fighter and a thief. It's just that my absolute favorite character to play BG1 is a F/T multiclass, making Monty redundant.
     
  20. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I like having Monty and Tiax in the same party. Once you add Tiax, put Heavy Armor on Monty, he tanks very well as he can have a very nice AC and decent HPs. Short Sword +2, Plate Mail, +1 Shield an 17 Dex alone put him at AC -2. Put him next to Kaigan with GoD and you have a nice Front line. Add more Protections and he becomes nasty.
     
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