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SOME GENERAL TIPS AND TRICKS
This page contains some general tips on how to play Baldur's Gate 2:
Building your Party
There is no such thing as a "perfect party" that will work for everybody but there are some general rules to how you should build your party. My favored party has the following:
- Three front-line fighters who go toe-to-toe with the enemy and hold the front line. These will normally be Fighters, Rangers, or Paladins.
- Two divine magic-users – either Druids or Clerics – whose job is to prepare the party for battle, support the fighters with their magic during the battle, and heal the wounded afterwards.
- Two arcane magic-users – Mages, Sorcerers, or Bards – who fight from the back with offensive spells and tear down the enemy's magic defenses.
- One Thief, whose job it is to find and disarm traps, open locked doors and containers, scout ahead of the party and occasionally picking the pockets of unsuspecting citizens.
This makes for a total of eight characters. Since a party can only have six members, some of them will have to play more than one role. For example, Imoen or Jan Jansen can fill the role of both Thief and Mage, while Anomen or Jaheira can do both fighting and divine magic.
A couple of the parties I have played for this walkthrough:
1) The Ranger:
- Protagonist: Male Elven Ranger. Front-line fighter.
- Mazzy Fentan: Front-line fighter.
- Keldorn: Front-line fighter.
- Imoen: Primary arcane magic-user, party thief.
- Cernd: Primary divine magic-user.
- Aerie: Secondary arcane and divine magic-user.
2) The Evil Cleric:
- Protagonist: Female Half-Elven Priest of Talos. Primary divine magic-user.
- Korgan: Front-line fighter.
- Anomen: Divine magic-user, front-line fighter.
- Edwin: Primary arcane magic-user.
- Jan Jansen: Secondary arcane magic-user, party thief.
- Jaheira (replaced with Sarevok in Throne of Bhaal): Front-line fighter, supporting divine magic-user.
Your party's reputation is a measure of how you are perceived by the people you meet. A bad reputation means people see you as a bunch of brigands. They will be less likely to offer you quests and shopkeepers will charge you higher prices for their wares, while offering you lower prices for the loot you try to sell. A good reputation, on the other hand, means a better deal in shops and that people you meet will treat you more favorably.
Good NPCs prefer travelling with a party with a high reputation, while evil NPCs prefer a reputation for robbing old ladies in dark alleys. Neutral NPCs are happiest with a reputation somewhere in the middle. A too high reputation will cause evil party members to leave the party permanently, while a low reputation means that good party members – and in extreme cases even neutral NPCs – walk out on you.
However, even with an evil party I prefer to have a good, or at least decent, reputation. I don't see what interest evil characters would have in being perceived as evil. Much better have the unsuspecting citizens trust you ... until you stab them in the back! ;-)
You can raise your reputation by doing good deeds, completing quests in a good manner without demanding a reward for yourself, or by donating money in temples.
To lower your reputation, do evil deeds or kill random citizens. From chapter 4 the protagonist gains the ability to turn into The Slayer, an avatar of Bhaal. Each time you do this, the party loses two reputation points.
You won't get far in Baldur's Gate 2 without getting into a fight or two. Some fights are straightforward but others can be quite tricky.
You will be fighting a large variety of enemies and each type of enemy may demand a special strategy. Not all enemies can be defeated simply by hacking & whacking away until they drop!
It is hard to offer general advice for combat since all powerful enemies have their own abilities. But two spells I usually cast before a tough battle are Remove Fear and Haste, to ensure that my party members are not affected by Fear spells, and that they can deliver more damage in less time. And try to rest before entering some of the more difficult battles, so your party is at full health and you have all your spells ready.
One general rule I have is, Don't do the fighting yourself if you can get others to do it for you. When going up against tough enemies, you can always summon a few low-level creatures to take the brunt of the attacks for you. I know this may be a bit brutal but better them than me! ;-) In the latter part of Shadows of Amn and in Throne of Bhaal you can summon high-level creatures like Devas and Planetars to fight for you, and their spells can also help heal the party after the fight.
Cheese: If you know where an enemy will appear (for example the Shade Lich and Elemental Lich), or if an enemy is initially not hostile (like Firkraag in his lair), you can set traps before initiating hostilities. Once the enemy appears and/or goes hostile, they will trigger the traps and quite often be killed immediately.
Mages like to start off a battle by putting up magical defenses to render them invulnerable to the weapons you are using. They will then seek to devastate your party with debilitating spells such as Chaos or Confusion, or killing spells such as Finger of Death. Since having your own party members killed, immobilized or whacking away at each other instead of the enemy is counter-productive (just take my word for it...), it is imperative to rip down the enemy mages' defenses as soon as possible and get in some good blows to disrupt their spellcasting.
To remove enemy mages' magical shields, use spells such as Remove Magic, Breach, and Pierce Magic. Eliminate their illusion spells (especially Mirror Image) with True Seeing or Dispel Magic. Also, have your party cleric ready a Free Action spell or two beforehand, in case some of your party members get Paralyzed or Held.
A Lich is basically a high-level undead Mage with some nasty high-level spells. Liches in Baldur's Gate 2 will use the same magical defenses as Mages, except higher level, and the basic strategy is the same.
However, Liches also have a nasty tendency to use Fear against your party. If all of your fighters are running around scared while a powerful magic-user is slinging spells at them, it more or less means Game Over. Therefore you should have your party cleric cast Remove Fear before entering combat with a Lich. Or cast it as soon as you spot the Lich.
A Lich has the same weakness as all undead, that they are susceptible to daylight. So if your party cleric has access to the seventh level spell Sunray, or if you can cast this spell from an item (the Daystar +1 long sword or the Helm of Brilliance), you can deal some serious damage to the Lich right there. Two Sunray spells will normally kill a Lich outright.
During Baldur's Gate 2 you will meet two Demi-Liches, and they are a major pain until you learn how to fight them. Once you learn to deal with them, they are dead easy.
Demi-Liches have no physical attack but they can cast Imprisonment as an innate ability and also have a high-level death spell called Demilich Howl. Moreover, they can only be harmed by +4 weapons or better. So all characters who enter combat with a Demi-Lich should be protected from Imprisonment and killing spells. Mages can ward against Imprisonment by casting Spell Immunity and set the immunity to Abjuration. Clerics can protect the fighters against killing spells by casting Death Ward. And any character can protect him- or herself against undead by using a Scroll of Protection from Undead on themselves.
Once these protections are in place, your NPCs can basically walk right up to the Demi-Lich and swing away with their best weapons. Unprotected party members should just stay out of sight.
You will meet a large number of these undead abominations, especially during Shadows of Amn. Their most dangerous weapon is their ability to drain levels – any character who is level-drained beyond level 1 is killed. Getting caught by a large number of Vampires without protection from level drains is basically a death sentence. Besides, Vampires have the innate ability to cause Fear and can cast Dire Charm which will turn your own party members against you.
Besides Protection from Undead you can use the 4th level Cleric spell Negative
protection to counter the threat of level drains.
To avoid Fear, cast Remove Fear before entering combat. Dire Charm can be avoided by casting Chaotic Commands on your party members.
Like other undead, Vampires are susceptible to sunlight. Use this to your advantage by casting Sunray, which can eliminate large numbers of Vampires in a single blow.
Mind Flayers, or Illithids, don't have a physical attack that causes damage but their psionic attacks can devastate a party faster than you can say "Reload". They will try to Hold or Paralyze your party members and then go straight for any characters who are immobilized. Each time they hit, they drain 5 points of Intelligence, and if your Intelligence stat drops to 0, your brain has been sucked out and you die.
Fortunately there is a rather simple counter measure. Protect your frontline fighters with Chaotic Commands (5th level Cleric/Druid spell), and the Mind Flayers won't be able to Hold them. Then just hack away and hope you can kill them before they can suck out your brain. (Fortunately, you will regain your Intelligence in short order – but not short enough that you can survive any long battles with several Mind Flayers.)
As might be expected, one of the toughest enemies in a Dungeons & Dragons game is the Dragon. In addition to fearsome physical attacks, these winged lizards have a number of special abilities that can cause some serious headaches for the player:
Any self-respecting Dragon (which means any Dragon!) can cast spells, which means you have to be prepared to rip down their magical defenses with Remove Magic, Breach, and Pierce Magic. Also, have a your cleric prepare a Free Action spell or two, in case your frontline fighters are Paralyzed.
They can cast Fear as an innate ability, so don't enter combat with a Dragon without Remove Fear in place!
Each Dragon has its own Breath weapon which you would do well to be protected against before entering combat. For example, a party going up against a Red Dragon should be protected from Fire, while a wise party fighting a Shadow Dragon is protected from level drains.
In combat, a Dragon can use it wing buffet to cast its enemies backwards and momentarily stun them.
To kill a Dragon you should plan a bit in advance, put up as many magical defenses as you can beforehand, spread out your party so the Dragon can't hit them all at the same time with its breath weapon, and don't be afraid to use your best spells and abilities – you are unlikely to run into a more dangerous foe!
Activating and using the CLUAConsole
In my opinion it is not possible to cheat in a single-player game. If you use cheats to smuggle 150 healing potions into your inventory and give all party members 17 or 18 in all stats, that is your decision. You won't be cheating anybody but yourself.
You can use the CLUAConsole to
cheat ...err... in a variety of ways: Give your party items, change your experience, summon creatures, or alter game variables.
Here's how to activate the CLUAConsole:
- In Windows, find the game's INI file, baldur.ini. If you installed to the default directory, it will be in C:/Program Files/Black Isle/BGII - SoA.
NOTE: If you have a non-English version of Windows, the "Program Files" folder may be called something else. For example, in Danish Windows it is called "Programmer".
- Create a backup copy of the INI file, just in case. I suggest to call the backup baldur.bak.
- Open baldur.ini in a text editor, for example Notepad. Find the heading [Program Options].
- Insert the following line under [Program Options]:
- Restart Baldur's Gate II and open a game.
- In the game, press CTRL + SPACE. A new entry box open at the bottom of the screen.
- Enter CLUA Commands in the box.
NOTE: Your keyboard will have English layout, which is a pain if you're not used to it. For example, double-quotes and parenthesis may not be in the same place as you are used to. You can see the English keyboard layout here.
NOTE: All commands are case sensitive.
You can have a romance with either Aerie, Anomen, Jaheira, or Viconia. The following are some general Dos and Don'ts. For more specific advice, I refer you to Extremist's romancing guide which is available from Sorcerer's Place.
Aerie can be romanced by male Humans, Elves, Half-elves, Halflings, and Gnomes. Remember that Aerie is deeply traumatized by the loss of her wings. Be kind and understanding, bear with her whining, and don't ridicule her or chastise her for her weakness. I know it can be trying but she will eventually take a more positive outlook on life.
When she "offers herself" to you, don't jump at the chance. Suggest instead that you just hold each other while sleeping. Having sex with Aerie may sound like a good idea but it will break the romance.
Speaking of sex, "sleeping" with Phaere in Ust'Natha will also ruin this romance!
In Throne of Bhaal, Aerie will offer herself to you again. This time it is quite safe to take her up on it – except of course for the inevitable result that Aerie gets pregnant. Should you want to see your baby, these conditions must be met:
- The baby will be born no earlier than 33 days game time after Aerie announces her pregnancy.
- You must have completed the fifth and last challenge in the Hellish Pocket Plane (fighting the Ravager).
- After the challenge comes a love talk where you marry Aerie.
- Now wait for 1 hour (real time – just set the game on pause and go get a cup of tea). Aerie will give birth to a healthy baby boy so long as there are no hostile or neutral creatures nearby.
If you are trying to romance Aerie, I suggest that you don't bring Haer'Dalis along. He will also fall in love with her and it can be tricky to save your romance in the resulting love triangle.
Anomen is the only available romance partner for female protagonists. To romance Anomen, you must be female and either Human, Elf, or Half-elf.
The romance ties in with Anomen's personal quest and plays a little differently depending on whether you decide to take revenge for his dead sister or leave the matter to the authorities.
Don't ridicule Anomen, call him weak, or question his stories of heroic deeds. Just play the nice (and gullible) girl next door.
At some point during his personal quest, Anomen will receive a letter telling him that the decision you made was wrong. If you didn't seek revenge for the killing of his sister, the murderer turns out to be the man he suspected all along. If you did take revenge, the man you murdered turns out to have been innocent of this crime. In both cases, Anomen will run off to set things right once and for all, and it is important that you find him within five days, and that when you do, you choose the right dialog options.
In Throne of Bhaal, Anomen will become increasingly anxious about your impending destiny, and that it might mean he is going to lose you. Just calm him down, and accept his proposal when he offers to marry you!
This is by far the most intricate and satisfying romance in my opinion. To romance Jaheira you must be male, and you must be Human, Elf, Half-elf, or Halfling.
Jaheira is understandably traumatized by the loss of her husband Khalid and hesitant to move into another relationship so soon after his death. The romance also ties in with the Harper Hold quests, which eventually cause Jaheira to renounce the Harpers. Bear with her and be understanding when she undergoes a serious crisis.
Ridiculing Khalid and his memory or referring to the Harper Hold quests as "garbage" are sure-fire ways to ruin the relationship.
As opposed to Aerie, Jaheira will at least tolerate if you sleep with Phaere in Ust'Natha, though you will have to handle the matter delicately. Jaheira will eventually offer to sleep with you and this time it is safe enough to take her up on her offer.
To romance Viconia, you must be male and either Human, Half-elf, or Halfling. As a Drow, Viconia will not get involved with Elves.
In many ways this is the easiest romance to play. Just listen with interest to Viconia's tales of her life, and don't accept it when she tries to push you away. Being a Drow female, she will not immediately accept that she is falling for a male surfacer. Just persist and she will eventually accept her fate.
Viconia will sleep with you readily enough. The first time, she chastises you for your performance. You will have to take that in your stride. The second time she will be nicer. Or at least less wicked. The third time she offers to have sex with you, she will be exhausted. Offer instead to hold her while she sleeps; insisting on having sex will wreck the romance.
If you play a virtuous character, you can get Viconia to change her outlook on life in Throne of Bhaal. This happens after you have killed Yaga-Shura. If you pick the right dialog options, you can get Viconia to change her alignment to True Neutral.