Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn     and      Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal

Single Character Guide                         Created by:  David "Magus" Scott

                                 Version 2.00

                       File Size 111 KB (113,857 bytes)

                                   04/24/06


"No single character can handle every situation.  Use the strengths and skills
of all your party members." - BG2 save/load advice

"You never need to believe that advice again." - David Scott


News 04/23/06:  Finished my "Solo Insane Poverty" run through BG2+ToB

News 01/22/06:  Finally got back to my "Solo Insane" run through BG2+ToB and
finished it.

News 01/20/05:  Added a new section on the Single Character Thief

News 09/22/04:  I am about half way through playing the game again with one 
character on "Insane" difficulty.  I don't foresee any major problems, but it 
will take me a while to finish, since I am, have been, and will continue to be 
busy for a while.

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| WARNING ! KEIKOKU ! WARNING ! KEIKOKU! WARNING ! KEIKOKU! WARNING ! KEIKOKU |
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WARNING!  THIS FAQ CONTAINS SPOILERS!

This FAQ contains candid discussions about the details of Baldur's Gate II and 
Throne of Bhaal without any attempt to keep plot details a secret.  No warnings 
about spoilers will be given after this section, and spoilers can be just about 
anywhere, including the Table of Contents.  This FAQ is intended for veterans 
of BG2 and ToB.  If you do not want to be exposed to significant spoilers, DO 
NOT READ THIS FAQ!

WARNING!  THIS FAQ CONTAINS SPOILERS!

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|                              Table of Contents                              |
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Introduction
     1.0) Contact Info
     1.1) What is a one character walkthrough?
     1.2) What is this guide for?  What is this guide not for?
     1.3) The Advantages and Disadvantages of one character
     1.4) What you as a player need to succeed

The Basics (Sorcerer)
     2.0) How to create a successful character (Sorcerer)
     2.1) The Stats (Abilities) of a successful character (Sorcerer)
     2.2) The Spell Choices of a successful character (Sorcerer)
     2.3) The Equipment of a successful character (Sorcerer)
     2.4) What you don't need as a successful character (Sorcerer)

The Basics (Thief)
Many thanks to Kyle Schliesman for contributions to this section
     3.0) In Kyle's words (Thief)
     3.1) How to create a successful character (Thief)
     3.2) The Stats (Abilities) of a successful character (Thief)
     3.3) The Equipment of a successful character (Thief)
     3.4) What you don't need as a successful character (Thief)

The Early Game
     4.0) The First Dungeon (Irenicus' Dungeon)
     4.1) What to take out of the Irenicus' Dungeon
     4.2) Advice for the Early Game
     4.3) Chapter 2 Highlights

General Advice
     5.0) General Tactics
     5.1) How to Survive Traps

Specific Battles
     6.0) Irenicus (part 1)
     6.1) Irenicus (part 2)
     6.2) Sendai
     6.3) Balthasar
     5.4) The Ravenger
     5.5) Melissan

Ultimate Challenge (Solo Insane Poverty)
     7.0) What is Solo Insane Poverty? (Rules)
     7.1) Who can succeed in Solo Insane Poverty?
     7.2) Spell Choices

Discussions
     8.0) Familiars
     8.1) Evidence of Designers' Foresight
     8.2) Other Classes and The One Character Play Through

Appendices
     9.0) Appendix 1 : The Deck of Many Things
     9.1) Appendix 2 : Reputation
     9.2) Appendix 3 : Item prices from Irenicus' Dungeon
     9.3) Appendix 4 : Race / Class Combinations
     9.4) Appendix 5 : Specialist Schools and Banned Schools
     9.5) Appendix 6 : Important Spells by School

Last Words
    10.0) Legal Stuff
    10.1) Thanks


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|                      1.0  Introduction : Contact Info                       |
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               Name:     David Scott
               Email:    NeoMagusX@gmail.com
               Subject:  BG2/ToB Single Character FAQ

Policy:

Any email with an improper subject WILL be deleted without being read.  I used
to teach English, so if you send me an email with improper grammar, or improper
spelling, I will probably delete it without reading further.  I am not looking
for praise or criticism about writing this FAQ.  If that is all you have to
email me about, save us both the time, as I will delete any such email without
replying.  I will not give individual assistance on battles, strategies, etc,
so don't ask.  I will not give or explain information that already exists in
the latest version of this FAQ.  Please check GameFAQs for the most recent
version.  Even if I do choose to reply, this is not my primary email account,
and I do not check it often, so expect significant delays even if you have
valuable information.

Having explained that, I will CONSIDER requests for alterations or additions 
to this FAQ, but it is a personal document, and alterations are subject to my 
whims.  I am also interested in significant findings or evidence related to 
this FAQ, possibly including accounts and evidence to the viability of other
single characters.  If you provide information that I directly use in this FAQ,
I am happy to give credit where it is due.

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|          1.1  Introduction : What is a one character walkthrough?           |
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"Baldur's Gate II" and "Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal" are built and
balanced for 6 player parties containing one player created character and 5
"NPC"s.  They're not really NPCs, because you do control them, but I digress.
The essence of a one character walkthrough is in only using the main character.
The one exception is when Imoen forces herself into your party at the beginning
of the game, however you can just turn the AI off, and run her into a party of
monsters.  Alternately, you can reform your party and force her out.  In the
rest of the game, you can reject all characters who ask to join your party.

The real beauty of playing with one character is in never needing to compromise
the integrity of play.  You never need to use character trainers, cheat
codes/mods, or a difficulty mode lower than "Core Rules" (note that the default
is "Normal", which is easier than D&D 2nd Ed core rules).  Starting experience
(79,000 xp if I recall correctly) is enough, you don't need to import or create
any items, and one character can even be powerful enough to beat both BG2 and
ToB on "Core Rules", or "Insane" if you're particularly brave.

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|  1.2  Introduction : What is this guide for?  What is this guide not for?   |
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The purpose of this guide is to explain what you need and what you don't need
in order to successfully play through BG2 and ToB with only one character.
This is not a walkthrough or step-by-step guide, it will not explain how to
handle every situation in detail.  This guide is meant to give general advice,
strategies, and tricks.  If you intend to play through BG2 and ToB with a
single character, I highly recommend that you consult a complete and robust
walkthrough for lists of quests, exact locations of items, answers to riddles,
etc.

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|    1.3  Introduction : The Advantages and Disadvantages of one character    |
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Advantages:

* Experience rewards.  There are two types of experience, party experience and
quest experience.  Party experience is the most common form of experience, and
is split among your party members.  Since you only have one character, you'll
effectively get 6 times the normal amount from these rewards (because you have
no one to divide it with).  Quest experience, as I call it, mostly comes from
completing certain quests, and is easily identifiable because it will list your
character name next to the EXP value.  In a normal party, everyone gets this
reward, which is duplicated for each member, not split.  In the end, I would
estimate that your one character will have an average of 4 times the amount of
experience that any character of a party of six would have in the same
situation.

* Gold.  For anyone but a thief, there will be a lot of equipment you can't use
and will never be able to use.  There's no point in holding on to this 
equipment, so you may as well sell it.  This will make you rich fast, and you
can easily get more gold than you'll need for the rest of the game by half way
through chapter 2 (BG2).  If you're playing a thief, you'll want to hold on to
a lot more equipment, because you'll eventually get Use Any Item.  Still, there
is no need for duplicate equipment, so you will still have a lot of gold before
too long.

* Mobility and Unity.  You only have one character, so it's essentially
impossible to split the party (aside from summons), and it's easier to control
your radius of vision.  Also, boots of speed are your friend.  All you need is
one set and your entire party moves at hasted speed (very convenient).  It's
also worth mentioning that if you make your one character immune to something
(charm, fire, etc), then those effects simply cease to matter while you're
protected.

Disadvantages:

* Versatility.  You only have one character, so you only get one race, one set
of stats, and one class (unless you dual or multi class, in which case you're
probably taking a serious hit on your power).  This hurts, as you have severe
limits to whatever you do, and unless you're a thief, you can't use everything.
Arcane spells, divine spells, melee/ranged attacks, and thief skills.  You can
be a proverbial jack of all trades, or you can be master of one.

* Inventory.  You only have one character's worth of inventory space.  Until
you get a bag of holding (at Spellhold) you have very limited inventory space
(20 spaces plus worn equipment and quick items).  It's not debilitating, but it
can be a little annoying either leaving good equipment or making a lot of runs
to the store.

* Power.  You only get one character's worth of actions (spells, attacks, etc)
at any given time.  While you will get to higher levels faster, you still have
the same experience cap, which means you still have the same maximum power as
one member of a six character party does.  The armies and monsters are the same
if your party is one character or six.

* You miss out on a lot of character specific quests.  However, most important
or notable quests involving other characters have a work around.  Cernd never
has to join your party to complete the Trademeet quest where you solve the
animal hostilities.  If you want to do the Planar Sphere quest, just kill
Valygar and bring his body to unlock the door (demand a tribute in blood or
gold and follow through.  No alignment or reputation repercussions).


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|          1.4  Introduction : What you as a player need to succeed           |
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1) Patience, patience, patience.  There is a lot of trial and error, and I only
touch on some of the harder battles in the game.  Be warned.  A single
character run through will test the patience of even the most calm and even
tempered among us.

2) You need to love a challenge.  This is about as stupidly hard as you can
make BG2/ToB.  Practically the only things that can motivate you to play all
the way through are enjoying a challenge and bragging rights.  I hope the
former is more prominent.

3) Intelligence.  It's not just for your character.  There are a lot of little
tight spots, and the best way to handle them is to think your way through them.
You'll really need to make the most out of your character to succeed.

4) Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, and the
Baldur's Gate II collector's CD.  Do you really need the CD?  It does get you
the store with the Robe of Vecna, so it's worth it.  If you don't have the CD,
there's a patch online somewhere.


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|      2.0  The Basics : How to create a successful character (Sorcerer)      |
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All parameters are recommendations, not necessarily requirements.

Race: Elf
The higher max starting dex (19) is nice, and the lower max starting Con (17)
doesn't matter.  The resistance to Charm and Sleep is very handy, as is the
infravision.  I'm uncertain if it's implemented in the BG games, but as per D&D
2nd ed, elves also have an innate ability to detect hidden doors.  Naturally
it's useful if it is implemented.  Humans and Half-Elves can also be Sorcerers,
but they don't have as much to offer.

Alignment: Chaotic Good
While alignment doesn't really matter, the Cure Light Wounds, Vampiric Touch,
Draw Upon Holy Might, and Slow Poison help the early game.  Chaotic Neutral has
the same powers, and each alignment gets useful powers.  In the end it's just
preference.

Abilities (aka Stats): Str 10, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 10
See next section 2.1 "The Basics : The Stats (Abilities) of a successful
character (Sorcerer)" for more information and analysis of the six primary
stats.

Skills, Weapon Proficiencies: Quarter Staff, Dagger
Your other options are Dart and Sling.  You only really need Quarter Staff, so
just take that and whichever other weapon makes you happy.

Skills, Spells (L1): Magic Missile, Identify, Protection from Petrification,
Chromatic Orb, Burning Hands

Skills, Spells (L2): Knock, Blur, Mirror Image

Skills, Spells (L3): Fire Arrow, Remove Magic

See section 2.2 "The Basics : The Spell Choices of a successful character
(Sorcerer)" for more information and analysis about spell choices, but I
recommend these for the beginning of the game.

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| 2.1  The Basics : The Stats (Abilities) of a successful character (Sorcerer)|
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Strength: 10
There's very little point in raising Str above 10, as you'll eventually want to
buy the Girdle of Hill Giant Strength at the Adventurer's Mart, and thereafter
you can always just wear the best belt of strength you can get.  However, I
wouldn't have a strength of lower than 10, or getting to that point will be
really tough.  You will need to resort to physical combat occasionally.

Dexterity: 19
The higher the better, and 19 is the highest you can start with.  While 19
doesn't buy you another point of AC over 18, if you decide to play through BG2
before Watcher's Keep, you can lose the point of Dex in Hell and still have an
18.  You can get away with a lower Dex, even down to 10.  If you have a Dex of
16 or lower, you should pick up the Gauntlets of Dexterity and always wear
them.  Even after picking up the gauntlets, you'll have a worse AC than someone
with a naturally high Dex, as you won't also have the Bracers of AC 3.  While
that can make the early and mid game harder, it won't matter in the long run.

Constitution: 16
In the long run, the best (and virtually only) thing that Con buys you is extra
HP.  As a non-warrior class, there are fewer important values for Con.  If you
don't care about an HP bonus, take 10.  15 buys you +1 HP per level, and 16 or
higher buys you +2 HP per level.  Taking a Con of 17 (or 18 for non Elves) is
just a waste.  As a Sorcerer, you gain your full hit die in HP for levels 1-10,
after which you get +1 HP per level, and your bonus for Con ceases to give more
points.  Interestingly, this means that a high Con buys you more as a Sorcerer
than as a Fighter.  This is not only because your Min, Max, and Average HP will
be lower, but also because Warrior classes only get full hit dice up to L9
(though they can also make use of Con values greater than 16).  A cute but
unimportant fact.

Intelligence: 18
This effects how high level of spells you will be able to cast.  Unlike D&D 3rd
edition Sorcerers, for whom Charisma is the primary stat (effecting how high
level of spells one can cast, among other things), BG2: ToB Sorcerers need Int.
An Int of 18 lets you get all the way to L9 spells.  You can play funny games
with gaining Int via The Machine of Lum the Mad, or the Deck of Many Things
(Star card), but getting to that point will be exceedingly painful (if
possible) without the 18 Int.  I highly recommend starting with an Int of 18,
and never letting it go lower than 18.

Wisdom: 18
This is important for two reasons.  Primarily, it effects your ability to Wish
Rest.  While Wish Resting isn't important very often, it is essential.  Most
notably, you'll need Wish Resting for the multi-part battle with Melissan at
the end of the game.  In order to Wish Rest, you'll need a Wisdom of 18.  My
lowest recommended starting Wis is 16, as you can pick up one extra point from
the Machine of Lum the Mad, and one more in Hell at the end of BG2.  The second
reason to have a high Wis is because it effects your Save vs. Spell for
certain nasty magics like Charm.  If you really want to scrape the bottom of
the bucket, you can take a 15 at the beginning, get the two aforementioned
points, and buy the Silver Ioun Stone in Amkethran (bringing you to 18) when
you need to Wish Rest.  If you're really daring, you can take a Wis of 10, and
use Potions of Insight to Wish Rest (unconfirmed).  If you play it just right,
you may also be able to use one wish to get stats of 25's (for four rounds)
then use a second wish to Wish Rest (also unconfirmed), but this means you need
to keep 2 L9 spells open.

Charisma: 10
While it's fun to be a smooth talker, it's far from essential, especially after
the extra little exp or gold here and there ceases to matter.  If you really
want to have a high Cha, but don't want to spend the points on it, pick up the
Ring of Human Influence at the Circus Tent.  I recommend not taking a Cha lower
than 10, however, as ring slots are useful (between the Ring of Gaxx, the Ring
of Protection +2, and a Ring of Free Action).  If you walk around with a Cha
lower than 10, you may start closing doors and losing opportunities.


Considerations:
There are a few times in the game when your stats can or will be permanently
modified.  These times are as follow:
      - The Machine of Lum the Mad (Watcher's Keep F4) - +1 to all stats
      - The Deck of Many Things (Watcher's Keep F3) - (Star)
                                                      +1 Intelligence (Sorc)
                                                      +1 Dexterity (Thief)
      - The dream at Spellhold (BG2, CH 4) - Int, Con, Dex, or Wis -1 (choice)
      - Hell (Good path) - +1 Wis, +1 Cha, and -1 Dex (end of BG2) [also -2 HP]

You can take the Evil path in Hell to avoid the loss of 1 point of Dex.  You'll
also avoid losing 2 HP, and a little experience (which shouldn't matter by
then).  Your reward will be +15 HP, and shifting your alignment to Neutral Evil
(if you aren't already).  In my opinion, I like to stay good, so I take the
good path.  Also, +2 to all saves is more valuable than +15 HP, especially
after you get the immunity to weapons of +1 or less (unenchanted weapons).

It's important to consider the loss of stat points (-1 Int, Con, Dex, or Wis in
Ch4, and also -1 Dex in Hell if you stay in the Good path).  Make sure this
won't screw you.  There are two ways to deal with these losses of stat points.
The first is in Watcher's Keep.  You can do Watcher's Keep in Ch 2 or Ch 3 to
prepare for the loss of stat points, or do it early in ToB, but make sure
you're powerful enough to go through it when you do.  When to do Watcher's Keep
is a tough decision, consider it wisely.  The other way to deal with the loss
of stat points is to roll a little higher at the beginning of the game.  If you
have a Dex of 19 and a Con of 16 or 17, you can probably afford to lose a point
of Con in CH 4, and the point of Dex in Hell.

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|  2.2  The Basics : The Spell Choices of a successful character (Sorcerer)   |
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* Required.  These spells may or may not be strictly necessary to beat the
game, but not choosing these spells will at least make the game excessively
painful.

# Recommended.  While not essential, I consider these spells to be the best
option available.  It's ok to choose something else, but it may be hard to pick
something more useful.

& Optional.  If you decide not to pick one of the recommended spells, this
could be a good runner up.

L1:
* Magic Missile - Essential damage tool early game, still useful later
* Protection from Petrification - Essential for dealing with a few traps and 
monsters which use petrification spells and abilities
# Identify - Useful for what it does.
# Chromatic Orb - Useful for a weak version of Finger of Death once
you're L12+.
# Burning Hands - Useful for killing Trolls.
& Spook - Some people are really fond of spook.  I don't think it's worth it,
but you might disagree.
& Friends - If you really want to be a smooth talker, or get great prices from
shops, have a high Charisma, then cast Friends before talking.  (unconfirmed if
it stacks with the Ring of Human Influence or not.  I suspect it does)

L2:
* Knock - Despite being exceedingly handy, it is needed to get through a few
doors in the game.  You don't have a thief for the job, so you will have to
suffice.
* Remove Fear - Nothing quite screws up a battle like the debilitation of your
only character.  You might get by without it, but don't do that to yourself.
# Melf's Acid Arrow - It's nice to have a damage spell in your L2 spells.  It's
nice for a little extra damage, great for interrupting casters (for round after
round), or for killing trolls.
# Mirror Image - Along with other defensive spells, buys you the battle
leverage you need early and mid game.  Still handy late game, but no longer
essential.
# Blur - Useful just like Mirror Image, but with a different defensive effect.
& Detect Invisibility - If you simply can't wait for L6 spells to pick up True
Sight, Detect Invisibility will help out until then.  While neither Acid Arrow
nor Detect Invisibility is critically important, True Sight makes Detect
Invisibility all but useless, and Acid Arrow remains useful for the rest of the
game.

L3:
* Remove Magic - It's great to be able to kill certain magic effects, but
you'll want to keep your own.  Dispel Magic isn't worth it, because you don't
have other party members to care for, and when you'd want to be casting it on
yourself, it's probably because you're incapacitated in one way or another (and
thus can't cast spells).
* Flame Arrow - Great damage spell, particularly long term.  While fireball is
an area of effect spell, it also caps at 10d6 damage (at L10).  Flame Arrow may
only effect one target, but it doesn't have a cap.  At L15 it does 15d6 damage,
and only continues to get better from there.
# Protection from Fire - You'll want two spells that protect you from fire.
While Prot Elements (L7) and Prot Energy (L8) may make this obsolete, you may
crave it early and possibly mid game while waiting for Prot Energy.
# Spell Thrust - Nice low level spell debuff.  I like having a wide range of
spell debuffs, giving me a greater quantity of them.  This also stops the good
spell debuffs from monopolizing their spell levels.
# Non-Detection - For those of you who really like the Cloak of Non-Detection,
just pick up the spell.  Sure you have to cast it occasionally, but there
aren't many other L3 spells worth a damn, and then you don't have to fret about
cloak choice quite as much.

L4:
* Stoneskin - An absolutely beautiful spell.  Doubly so as physical attacks
can't interrupt your spells while it's in effect (with a few exceptions that
deal energy damage too).  Remains useful even in the late game, possibly as a
means to buy time between castings of Prot Magic Weapons.  Note the duration of
12 hours.  Since you rest for 8 hours, cast it, then rest, and it's still
active when you wake up (for 4 more hours!).  Outside of Sequencers and
Contingencies, it's rare to see a spell that lasts past a resting.
* Minor Sequencer - Load it up with two castings of Magic Missile, and you have
a powerful first hit, or an extra punch in a long battle.  Once you get your L9
spells, however, Sequencers are all but useless.  This is the only one I
recommend, as it's insanely useful early game.  The other sequencers are just
toys I never really end up using.
* Greater Malison - You don't have a priest to cast Doom on top of this, but
the -4 to saves (area of effect, enemy only) rules when it comes to Finger of
Death, or even getting enemies to fail saves for half damage (Horrid Wilting,
for example).
* Fire Shield, Blue - While the protection from Cold energy part may be trumped
late game if you do choose both Prot Elements (L7) and Prot Energy (L8), it's
still handy for dealing a little cold damage.
# Ice Storm - While it's nothing special in terms of damage dealt, it can be a
nice extra punch.  Beware that it effects you too, but if you fully protect
yourself from Cold, who cares?

L5:
* Animate Dead - Wonderful, Wonderful spell.  It's the first good summon spell,
and is particularly potent when you get to L15, at which time you get the good
skeletons (Skeleton Warriors).  As undead, they're handily immune to a lot of
things such as death magic, charm, confusion, etc.  As skeletons, they reduce
Slashing damage (by 1/2) and Piercing damage (by 3/4), and are immune to acid
and electricity (I think the little skeletons are, I'm sure the big ones are).
The Skeleton Warriors (once you're L15) are also magic resistant, and immune to
weapons up to some level of enchantment.  Finally, you have something to draw
the target of battle off yourself.
* Lower Resistance - Magic Resistance is a crippling problem in enemies until
you get the ability to drill it down to nothing.  Startling amounts of enemies
have high levels of magic resistance, and you'll be glad to have spells to
deal with that.  This is a wonderful start.
* Spell Immunity - There are two major reasons to keep this spell around.  
Imprisonment (Abjuration) and Maze (Conjuration).  These spells don't come up
all the time, but they are hard to get around when they do, and if they do
effect you, it's game over, even though Maze is technically temporary.
Castings of Spell Immunity do stack (e.g. you can be immune to both
Imprisonment and Maze at the same time).
# Breach - The next step up from Spell Thrust.  Wonderful and versatile spell
debuff.  As mentioned, I like to have a variety of them.
# Protection from Acid - If you want to be immune to energy damage, you'll want
this spell to kick you over the 75% protection you can get from Prot Energy.
& Domination - While it can be useful and amusing to turn enemies on each
other, it "only" lasts for 8 rounds, a lot of things are immune to it, and you
don't gain exp for the things your temporary little minion kills.  If you want
to screw around and have a little fun with some battles, consider taking it,
but it's not worth it in the long run.

L6:
* Protection from Magical Weapons - Any weapon damage that is magically +1 or
better can not effect you while this spell is active.  It only lasts for 3
rounds, but that's enough to buy precious time.  Once you pick up Immunity to
+1 weapons or less, you're naturally immune to mundane (non enchanted) weapons.
In combination with this spell, you become temporarily immune to ALL weapons.
You can renew the duration of this spell by casting it again, even if it hasn't
run out yet (not true of all spell protections).
* Contingency - Unlike it's successor, it's hard to use aggressively (though
still possible).  It's very useful defensively, however.  Try [Contingency, On
Hit, Stoneskin], or once you're L18 or better, [Contingency, On Enemy Sighted,
Prot Magic Weapons].
* True Sight - Some enemies just love invisibility and sanctuary effects, which
can not only complicate battle, but make them circumstantially immune to target
specific spells.  This is the final word on dealing with these spells, potions,
etc.  It's also nice for some of the other effects like mislead and mirror
image that it takes care of.  If you can't deal with waiting this long to take
care of invisibility spells, you can pick up Detect Invisibility (L2), but it's
worthless once you get True Sight, and probably means not taking Melf's Acid
Arrow.
* Protection from Magic Energy - This spell makes you immune to magic damage
spells such as Magic Missile, Skull Trap, and Horrid Wilting.  Like Protection
from Acid (L5), Prot Energy (L8) is the only other spell that reduces it's kind
of damage, and only by 75%.  You can do without Prot Acid, but magic damage is
much more common than acid.
# Pierce Magic - A spell debuff that also lowers magic resistance, and still
with a wonderful casting time.  You'd be crazy not to pick it, but if you're
determined, there are other spells for both jobs.
& Death Spell - Useful for banishing summoned monsters, and not harming you.
However, understand that there is a difference between summoned monsters and
plot summons.  Most of the time that powerful creatures appear from nowhere,
they don't really count as summoned monsters (meaning this spell won't do
anything to them).  If no one casts an appropriate Summon spell (you'll see it
if you watch the battle feedback), then it doesn't count as a summoned monster.
Considering that, most of the "Summons" you'd want to banish don't count, and
most of the summons that do count are easy to just kill.

L7:
* Protection from Elements - Especially once you pick up Prot Energy (L8), this
makes you almost immune to energy damage.  With a couple of other spells, you
can make yourself entirely immune to energy damage.  Early to mid game, this
spell combined with Prot Fire (L3) and Fire Shield, Blue (L4) is a great
deterrent to energy damage.
* Finger of Death - This spell is amazing.  Unless something is immune to Death
(mostly Undead), or Necromancy spells (some important enemies), it will at
least deal damage.  Some creatures can't be instantly killed by spells like
this (and Chromatic Orb), but can still take the damage, so don't be fooled.
There are a lot of creatures, including some of the dragons, that can be
instantly killed by this spell.  Make sure the creature's magic resistance is
down, cast greater malison, and Finger of Death is effectively Save vs. Death
at -6 or die.
# Mass Invisibility - If you want to be able to effect yourself with Improved
Invisibility, don't take up a L4 spell doing it, there are better L4 spells.
However, there aren't that many other L7 spells to compete with.  It's also
nice to be able to cast Improved Invisibility on your summons.
# Delayed Blast Fireball - For those of you who love fireball, this is the way
to go.  It has a higher damage (min, max, and ave) than the L3 counterpart
(15d6 instead of 10d6), it can be used to create a makeshift trap, and once
again, there aren't many other L7 spells worth a damn.
# Khelben's Warding Whip - Nice magic debuff, with the perk that it keeps
working round after round (kind of like True Sight (L6) does with
Invisibility).  Great for those pesky casters or monsters who keep raising
magic defenses.
# Mordenkainen's Sword - Nice little summon, and immune to a fair share of
things.  Between Animate Dead (L5) and Summon Planetar (Epic L9), you may find
you have all the summons you need, but this is still worth considering.  Note
that this is the only Summon spell I've found that you can cast while remaining
invisible.
& Spell Sequencer - Ok, the Sequencer spells (Minor Sequencer L4, Spell
Sequencer L7, and Spell Trigger L8) are nice, but they just aren't worth it any
more once you get Improved Alacrity (Epic L9).  I recommend taking Minor
Sequencer because it will really help you get through the early game, but by
the time you'd be picking up Spell Sequencer or Spell Trigger, you have plenty
of power to last until you canpick up Improved Alacrity.

L8:
* Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting - This is the best area of effect damage spell in
the game.  It does tons of damage, it's party friendly meaning you don't have
to protect yourself from it like you do with Ice Storm (L4), and it deals magic
energy damage which few if any monsters are immune to.  Dragon's Breath is the
only real competition, but it deals fire damage which a good deal of things are
immune to, and takes a valuable L9 spell slot.
* Pierce Magic - YOU NEED THIS SPELL!  Aside from being a great (although slow)
spell debuff and magic resistance drill, it's one of the secret ingredients for
killing The Ravenger.  You might not cast it often, but much like Wish Resting,
it's critical to beating the game.
* Protection from Energy - You want to be able to make yourself resistant to
just about all energy damage, so you'll need either this or Prot Elements (L7).
However, I recommend both.  If you take the right selection of other energy
protection spells, you can make yourself immune to energy damage.  Very handy.
# Maze - This spell is great for buying a little time, and sometimes the
leverage to split a big battle into parts.  If you play your cards (read
timing) right, you can take a key player out of battle until everything else is
dead.  You may also be able to maze something, run away, and rest (and save!)
or take a trip to your pocket plane (in ToB) before it comes back, then deal
with it off a full stock of spells.
& Spell Trigger - The best of the Sequencer spells, but once you get Improved
Alacrity (Epic L9), spell triggers are all but useless, and at this point you
can't be too far from picking IA up if you don't already have it.
& Simulacrum - While Simulacrum is an amusing little spell, it doesn't really
help out that much.  You can create a temporary (less powerful) copy of
yourself who can move and cast spells, but you can do that better yourself.
While you can get extra spells out of the deal, or play funny games with using
quick items and still keeping them, I don't think it's worth it.  Amusingly,
your Simulacrum casts using a male voice, even if your character is female.

L9:
* Time Stop - Very useful for taking the heat out of a battle for a bit, buying
a little time, or even making a first deadly strike.  Combined with Improved 
Alacrity, you can do an army's worth of damage in less than a round (compared
to everyone else's actions).  Some important characters and monsters are immune
to Time Stop, however.
* Chain Contingency - Awesome and lots of fun.  With more options than
Contingency, 3 spells, and up to 8th level spells, Chain Contingency is a real
winner.  Try [CC, on enemy sighted, nearest enemy, Horrid Wilting x3] or [CC,
on hit, last hit by, Horrid Wilting x3].  Critically important in the Null
Magic zones in Watcher's Keep floor 3.  Otherwise merely "Very Useful".  Good
for an early punch in battle or a quick turn around when things start going
south.
* Wish - There is one reason you need this spell.  Wish resting.  You'll only
need it occasionally, but if you want to get past the battle with Melissan, you
need Wish.  Wish Resting can be useful in a few other key battles as well.
Remember to have a Wis of 18, or have a backup plan (potions of insight will
probably work, but this is unconfirmed).
# Spell Strike - The ultimate spell debuff.  I don't use it often, since it's
rarely worth the L9 spell slot, but if you ever want to destroy spell
protections in one hit, this does it.  I found it particularly useful in the
battle with Melissan.  While she doesn't cast her spell protections at the
beginning of the battle, she has some none the less, and Spell Strike will take
them down just as fast.

Epic Spells (L9):
* Improved Alacrity - This is the best spell in the game.  You need a lot more
than just this, but getting IA gives you a huge jump in power, particularly as
you can get Time Stop in the same level.  When wearing a Robe of Vecna, an
Amulet of Power, and under the effects of Improved Alacrity, any spell with a
speed factor of 5 or less is effectively instantaneous.  Casting time is the
limiting factor in how many spells you can cast over the 2 rounds that IA lasts
for.  Make effective use of pausing, and start tearing through your spell
slots.
* Summon Planetar (Fallen Planetar) - Powerful and versatile summon.  It's
battle prowess is really impressive.  However, it isn't immune to mind
effecting spells such as Stun and Charm making it unfit against some spell
casters, illithids, etc (however, it can still be a nice distraction for
illithids).  Between a Planetar and skeletons from Animate Dead (L5), you can
have your own little army when you need, and between the two types, fairly
versatile cannon fodder.  Enjoy.
* Energy Blades - How does a spell caster deal physical damage when all spells
fail, and only +5 weapons will do?  Energy Blades provides in situations like
these, which can be fairly common among liches for example.  Sometimes it's
nice to sit back, let your summons take the heat, and kill things from afar.
For another nice trick, try casting Time Stop, then Energy Blades (don't cast
Improved Alacrity), and throw the blades while Time Stop is in effect.  Watch
the damage fly once Time Stop wears off.
# Dragon's Breath - Easily the best fireball spell in the game.  20d6 fire
damage, knockback, and a fast casting time.  It's usually not worth the L9
spell slot, but it's sometimes useful or convenient.
& Comet - I just never found this to be as useful as Dragon's Breath.  You get
it eventually no matter what, but I'd just as soon pass it up to take another
L9 spell if I could.
# (Extra 6th level spell) - An extra Prot Magic Weapons can be pretty critical
at times, but other than that, this extra spell slot is there to get you to the
extra 7th and 8th level spell slots.
# (Extra 7th level spell) - When you're trying to instant kill things, nothing
quite goes the extra mile like an extra casting of Finger of Death.  Enjoy.
# (Extra 8th level spell) - Who can really complain about an extra casting of
Horrid Wilting?

Summery:
I try to make realistic judgments about which spells you can deal without, and
which ones you need.  In the end, it's important to have a robust array of
spells and cover some important bases.  You need to have a couple summons to
help when physical combat is needed or to take the heat in hard battles.  You
need damage spells (this should be pretty self explanatory).  You need an
instant kill spell or two.  You need good protection from energy damage.  You
need good protection from physical combat.  You also need the ability to
debuff enemy protective magic, as well as drill magic resistance.  If you take
all the Required and Recommended spells, you'll have the tools you need for the
whole game.  It should be fine if you want to swap out Recommended spells, but
I've made my cases for them.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|    2.3  The Basics : The Equipment of a successful character (Sorcerer)     |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: All discussions below assume you have your final stats.  Please consider
all events that can modify your stats which haven't already occurred.

Armor: Robe of Vecna
Location: Special store, Adventurer's Mart, Promenade, CH2 [need the
collector's CD or patch]
Description: The +10% Magic Resistance is nice, and the AC of 5 is convenient 
(until you get the Bracers AC 3, which you shouldn't bother doing if you have a
Dex of 16 or less).  The real beauty of the Robe of Vecna lies in the
improvement of casting speed by 4.  This is massively powerful once you can
cast Improved Alacrity, especially once you have an Amulet of Power too.

Gauntlets: Bracers of Defense AC 3, [Gauntlets of Dexterity]
Location: Adventurer's Mart, Promenade, Ch2
Description: The Bracers of Defense AC 3 buy you an extra 2 points of Armor
Class beyond the Robe of Vecna (AC 5).  If you have a Dex of 16 or less, just
use the Gauntlets of Dexterity (since you'll get to 18 Dex, buying you at least
2 points of AC).

Helmet: Circlet of Netheril (Upgraded), [Silver Ioun Stone]
Location: Circlet (Watcher's Keep), Bronze Ioun Stone (ToB), Silver Ioun Stone
(ToB)
Description: With the possible exception of the Lavender Ioun Stone, these are
the only two notable helmets.  The Circlet of Netheril buys you an extra 7th
level slot, an extra 8th level slot, and +10 HP.  The Silver Ioun Stone gives
+1 Wis, which you can use for Wish Resting if you have exactly 17 Wis.  If you
have more than 17 Wis, you don't need it.  If you have less than 17 Wis, it
won't be enough.

Amulet: Amulet of Power
Location: Aran Linvail, Real Shadow Thieves Guild, Ch3
Description: +5% Magic Resistance, Vocalize, improving casting speed by 1, and
Immunity to level drain.  This is easily the best amulet in the game by far.
The improved casting time stacks with the Robe of Vecna, making it a must
already.  Vocalize is no less of a life saver (around silence spells and
effects) than Immunity to Level Drain is around powerful Undead.

Ring: Ring of Gaxx, Ring of Free Action
Location: Ring of Gaxx (Tomb in the basement of an unmarked house in the Docks
district, Gaxx 3 part lich quest, CH2), Ring of Free Action (Maze below
Spellhold) Description: The Ring of Gaxx is the best ring in the game, but also
one of the hardest items to get in the game, however you should be able to get
it before ending Chapter 2.  Once you get it, wear it, and you needn't ever
take it off (except to recalculate AC).  +2 AC, +2 to all Saves, +10% Magic
Resistance, Immunity to Disease and Poison, and Regeneration 1 HP / 3 sec (also
Invis 1/day and Improved Haste 3/day).  The Ring of Free Action is really
useful in a few places, and is the second best ring in the game for it's
permanent Free Action effect.  The Ring of Human Influence isn't important, but
is nice if you like being charismatic, but aren't naturally.  If you insist on
not using the Cloak of Protection +2, I recommend carrying the Ring +2 around.

Cloak: Cloak of Protection +2
Location: Imps' game, Sahaguin City
Description: Late game, the +2 to AC won't matter much, but the +2 to saves is 
still nice.  Runners up include the Cloak of Non-Detection (but you can just
pick the spell if you like the effect), and the Cloak of Mirroring (but you
can just make yourself immune to energy damage with the right spells, and I've
noticed that the Cloak of Mirroring tends to cause movement problems in some
areas).

Boots: Boots of Speed
Location: [various] Planar Prison quest, Bridge district, CH2
Description: Moving at twice normal speed is really handy.  That's all there is
to it.

Belt: Belts of Strength
Location: [various] Girdle of Hill Giant Strength (Adventurer's Mart,
Promenade, Ch2)
Description: There are a few of these belts in the game, the first of which is
the Girdle of Hill Giant Strength.  They are all belts which raise Strength to
19+.  It's nice to be able to carry heavy things.  It's also nice to have good
'to hit' and 'damage' bonuses for the occasions when you do resort to melee
combat.

Weapons: Staff of the Magi, Quarterstaff (wooden)
Location: Staff of the Magi (Rogue Stone quest, Bridge district, CH2),
Quarterstaff (various)
The Staff of the Magi gives +2 AC, +2 to all Saves, Invisibility, Immunity to
Charm, and Protection from Evil (along with casting Fireball-Lightning 3/day
and Trap Spell 1/day).  This is easily the best weapon in the game.  The
Invisibility and Protection from Evil effects can be removed, but if you just
unequip the Staff of the Magi and re-equip it, they'll be put right back on.
Once you get the Staff of the Magi, the only other weapon you'll need is a
plain, unenchanted Quarterstaff.  The reason you need the Quarterstaff is for
the Magic Golems (two in Watcher's Keep floor 4, however there is a
quarterstaff in one of the containers just outside in the main room.  The other
place with Magic Golems is Yaga-Shura's Fort, for which you'll want a
Quarterstaff handy).

Summery:
If you have the equipment listed above, you'll have all the equipment you need
for the entire game.  The ones listed in brackets are only if your stats are
lacking as described, and at your option, can replace the other item in that
equipment slot entirely.  The alternate items listed in descriptions are just
notable other items,but you don't need them.  Also, while +1/+2 AC effects
normally conflict, the Staffof the Magi, and the Ring of Gaxx both stack with
not only each other, but a +1/+2 item as well (Cloak of Protection +2 for
example).  Sometimes, your AC will be recalculated, and sometimes when that
happens, the stacking will not be done properly.  To fix this, just unequip
the Ring of Gaxx, Staff of the Magi, and whatever +1/+2 item you're wearing
(Cloak of Protection +2), and re-equip them.

You may also want to use temporary equipment on your way to collecting the
items above.  For example, you may want to buy the Staff of Rynn +4 until you
get the Staff of the Magi.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 2.4  The Basics : What you don't need as a successful character (Sorcerer)  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

You never need to let a character join your party.
This should go without saying.  If you let a character join your party, then
you'renot playing through with only one character.  Booting Imoen at the
beginning of thegame (for the first dungeon) is a matter of taste, and a matter
of how hardcore youwant to be.  With that exception, you shouldn't have trouble
turning every other request to join your party down.

You never need spell scrolls.
If you chose your spells well, you should never really need spell scrolls.
However, you may want to use some scrolls for certain quests (Stone to Flesh,
Freedom, Horror, Limited Wish, and Restoration come to mind).  While you can't
castHeal or use a scroll of Heal for Yakman, you can summon your Planetar (if
you're not Evil) and have the Planetar cast Heal on Yakman.  It may take a
little patience, but if it worked, Yakman will talk to the Planetar.  This is
an interesting way to tell that despite its voiced sounds (aside from casting),
the Planetar is Male.  Also, I found it handy to use a scroll of Strength (L2
spell, found at the magic stand in the promenade) to carry the 200 lbs of
Ilithium around before I picked up the Girdle of Hill Giant Strength.

You never need Potions.
As long as you have a Wisdom of 18 or more by the end of the game, you never
really need potions.  If your Wis is going to be too low, I recommend
collecting Potions of Insight early in the game, even though you should only
need a few.  Unless you're going hardcore, don't be afraid to use various
levels of healing potions, especially in the early game.  If you don't want to
use healing potions, you should have some forms of healing (Cure Light Wounds,
Vampiric Touch, Larloch's Minor Drain) as special powers until you lose your
soul (at Spellhold).  You can use Vampiric Touch and Larloch's Minor Drain on
enemies, but you can also use them on summons.  Be warned, however, that
summons will go red (aka agro, or become an enemy) if you do.  While Vampiric
Touch is supposed to grant temporary extra hit points, it will effectively heal
lost hit points first.  By the time you lose thesespecial powers, you should
have the Ring of Gaxx for regeneration, and Summon Planetar (unless you're
evil) which has the Heal spell.

You never need Rods/Wands.
There are many, and of differing variety throughout the game, but you don't
need any of them.  There is a quest for which you may want to carry around a
Rod of Resurrection, however, since summoning a Planetar and having it cast
Raise Dead won't work.  You don't need the exp by the time it comes up, so only
bother if you want the warm fuzzy feeling from saving a little child's daddy.

You never need Quick Items.
This includes potions, scrolls, and rods/wands as mentioned above, but also
includes miscellaneous quick items such as the Book of Infinite Spells, Black
Spider Figurine, Golem Manual, etc.  There are some quest related quick items
that you will want to use, however.

You never need any weapon that's not a staff.
Daggers, Slings and Bullets, and Darts just don't matter.  You may find
somewhere that they could be useful, but don't strain yourself trying.

You never need more than 100,000 gp.
There are only a few items worth buying, including the Robe of Vecna, Bracers
of AC 3, wooden Quarterstaff (which you can just as easily pick up in various
places), Silver Ioun Stone (if you end up needing it), Boots of Speed (in a few
places in ToB if you wait that long to get them), and one or two of the belts
of strength.  Beyond that, you'll only need enough gold for inns, Potions of
Insight if your Wis is too low, something like 5000 gp to upgrade the Circlet
of Netheril, the money tobuy up your reputation, 5000 gp for the magic license,
and some for the odd quest here or there.  You'll have excesses of wealth, and
little to do with it.

You never need to become The Slayer.
Aside from the plot points where you become The Slayer, you never need to turn
into The Slayer.  In other words, you never need to voluntarily become The
Slayer (also losing 2 reputation).  I got to a reputation of 20 early in
Chapter 2, and never went below 20 reputation thereafter.  Frankly, there's no
real point in becoming The Slayer.  You're more useful as a spell caster than
as a melee power.  If you want physical damage, just cast Energy Blades.
You're plenty powerful just the way you are.

You never need to shy away from timed quests.
Timed quests can be intimidating, and there are a ton in the Drow City.
However, you may be better equipped to deal with them as a single character
than as a 6 person party.  You move around faster, you're still perfectly
battle ready, and if need be, you can Wish Rest to save time (but you shouldn't
need to).  For example, I managed to collect the three elder races' blood/eye
in less than two days (in game time) without any Wish Resting.

You never need containers.
Containers include Scroll Cases, Potion Cases, Ammo Belts (which holds darts,
interestingly enough), Bags of Holding, and Gem Bags (which also hold rings and
necklaces).  Aside from what you wear, you should only need to carry around a
few plot items at a time (if you really know the game, 6 slots will probably
do), and possibly a few items (like the Circlet of Netheril until you get the
Bronze Ioun Stone).  Despite this, I recommend you use containers, as it is a
pain in the ass not to use them.  I do want to point out that you don't really
need them, though.  You'll probably find yourself using them to carry around
things you'll only end up selling, or endlessly carrying around items that are
all but useless.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                  3.0  The Basics : In Kyle's words (Thief)                  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

From Kyle Schliesman:
"I recently read your gamefaqs.com 'Single Character Guide' for Baldur's 
Gate II, and found it immensely useful.

Per your request for information concerning solo thieves: Today, I finally
completed Baldur's Gate II with a solo Halfling Swashbuckler.  That includes
Shadows of Amn, Throne of Bhaal and all of Watcher's Keep on core rules without
cheats or game edits.

I chose the Swashbuckler kit for its heightened melee abilities, which max out
at +8 to hit, +8 to damage and +9 to armor class.  While the kit surrenders
backstabbing, it keeps all other thief abilities and allows you to take
Whirling Attack as an epic level ability (which proved to be an absolute
necessity).

The special ability 'Use Any Item' really puts the thief over the top, though.
This gives your character the ability to do everything from casting ninth level
spells to wielding the Holy Avenger.  I kept four to six full scroll cases at
all times, as well as a bag of holding filled with every magical item I could
get my hands on, allowing me to prepare for a variety of situations.  For
example, while battling a powerful mage, I could don several items to boost my
total magic resistance as high as 80 percent, then use the Staff of the Magi to
cast Spell Trap.

However, most of the big battles did not require much strategy or forethought
thanks to Spike Traps.  I killed Irenicus, the Demogorgon, Abazigal, Balthazar
and Melissan with traps placed prior to the battles.  For Melissan, I used Wish
scrolls between the fights to restore my traps.

As you noted in your article, the Ravager provided the biggest challenge, as I
could not set traps beforehand (though I'm not sure even the spike traps would
be enough to take him down).  In order to defeat the Ravager, I used six Time
Stop scrolls to paralyze the Bone Blades and three Black Blade of Disaster
scrolls in combination with Whirling Attacks to pound the beast into
submission.

One more thing: I played a halfling just for the sheer perverse pleasure of
beating the game with a solo halfling.  Ahhh?

...

I considered writing my own solo thief guide, but much of the information would
be redundant from your article and others already posted on gamefaqs.  Much of
the advice in your guide applies to the solo thief.  For example, your
supposition that characters must possess the proficiency for high-level arcane
casting proved true.  Thieves get around this requirement through 'Use Any
Item' and scrolls, a limited but adequate resource.

Also, I believe that any class or kit capable of taking 'Use Any Item' should
be able to beat the game solo. This includes the other thief kits, as well as a
thief dueled to another class at the outset of the game or perhaps even a bard.
In fact, I plan to play a Blade or Skald for my next solo challenge."
                                                    ~Kyle Schliesman (12/10/04)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|         4.0  The Early Game : The First Dungeon (Irenicus' Dungeon)         |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

First Floor: If you want to get rid of Imoen, just run her into the lightning
room, turn AI off, and let her run off when she takes a lot of damage.  Kill a
few lightning imps (draw them to the main room, run around in circles, cast MM,
repeat) until you get a level (3 imps).  Take Stone Skin (L4) at your level,
you'll be glad you did.  It'll be your ace in the hole for a while.  You can
kill the Lesser Clay Golems with effective use of stone skins, a little luck,
and that +1 staff in the room below, but that's entirely optional.  You should
be L9 by the time you hit floor 2.

Second Floor: Reject Yoshimo's offer to join your party.  Be prepared for the
mephit portals in the next room.  You need to resort to physical attacks.  Just
take them one at a time, keep your stone skins up, and don't be afraid to run
behind the door and rest between them.
If you're having trouble with the clone, prep a minor sequencer of MMx2, and
shoot it at the clone before the assassin dies.  One of the two will die, and
now you should be in better shape.  Don't be afraid to engage the clone in
melee if it brings up Minor Spell Turning.  (don't forget to dispel Mirror
Image if it was cast)
You need a lot of keys for the line of traps a little later, but at the same
time you want to walk out with the most expensive stuff.  Consider making a
central deposit of cool stuff somewhere, and getting back to it after you clear
everything else out.
(I wonder what happens if you give Imoen the portal key, then make her run off.
It probably goes back to your inventory) If you decide to use Imoen, use her as
a pack mule.  She drops her stuff before being teleported off.
How considerate.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|       4.1  The Early Game : What to take out of the Irenicus' Dungeon       |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Try to maximize your space.  Fill things like your quick items and ring slots,
even if it's just an angel skin ring or such.  May as well have the extra money
starting off.  High level scrolls are pretty good, especially if you get lucky
and get some that you can stack.  Nothing you have now will be worth keeping in
the long run, but I'd keep the Staff +1, Ring +1, and Bracers AC 8, because
they're useful for now.  You can sell them if you're buying something better,
or if you just feel lucky.  I recommend buying up your reputation so that cool
stuff like the Bracers AC 3 and Robe of Vecna are affordable sooner.  You
should also keep in mind that you'll want to use magic in the streets, and the
permit will cost 5000 gp (in the Government district).  See 9.2 "Appendix 3 :
Item prices from Irenicus' Dungeon" for more guidelines on what to take and
what to leave.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|               4.2  The Early Game : Advice for the Early Game               |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Try to start Chapter 2 by taking battle-less and battle light quests.  You may
be able to get a level or two without getting into any serious fights.  At the
beginning, make sure you're fully rested when you travel between districts, as
you'll likely get ambushed.  You should be able to handle these battles with a
little work, however.  I recommend buying your magic permit at the Government
district ASAP.  I also recommend donating money to a church to buy up your 
reputation to 18 early, so you can easily get to a reputation of 20, and get
the subsequent discounts at stores.  While money doesn't matter in the long
run, you should be able to buy the important items sooner this way.  Try to do
easy quests before doing hard quests, as you'll want to be high level for the
harder ones.  Possibly the hardest part of Chapter 2 is properly planning your
quests so you can handle the challenges with your current level.  Always keep
a "safe" backup save where you have access to inns, shops, and the ability to
do different quests.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                 4.3  The Early Game : Chapter 2 Highlights                  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Planar Sphere quest:
Gaining the Planar Sphere is difficult to do early, but rewarding.  You'll need
to take a trip to Valygar's Cabin in Umar Hills, kill him, and drag his body to
the Slums to start the quest.  You'll probably need the Girdle of Hill Giant
Strength to be able to carry the body.  Most of the stuff in the sphere isn't
that bad, but gaining the Demon's heart near the end of the quest can be really
tough.  I managedstart the planar sphere quest at L11 (gaining L12 part way
through), but I recommend getting a good couple extra levels under your belt,
or getting the demon heart will be a little slice of hell.

The Rogue Stone quest (for the Staff of the Magi):
You'll need a Rogue Stone before you can start this quest.  If you've broken
into L9 spells recently, you may have a hard time with this quest, but if you
have Wish (L9) and a Wisdom of 18+, you can Wish Rest which will make this
little trip prettyeasy.  If you can't Wish Rest for whatever reason, you should
still be able to pickup the Staff of the Magi if you're reasonably high level
(L20+).  You can't rest normally in the little plane you get carried to, so
even if you can break the battle into parts, you'll need to budget your spells
if you can't Wish Rest.  I managed to do this quest at about L20 w/o having
chosen the Wish spell yet, so it can be done.

The Ring of Gaxx:
The two liches you need to kill in order to get the two bones items to face off
with Kangaxx aren't too bad once you have a couple of L9 spells and Epic
spells.  Actually killing Kangaxx is a different matter, however.  You'll want
to be at least L20 before facing off with Kangaxx so you can have Improved
Alacrity, Summon Planetar, and Energy Blades, all of which are Epic spells.
Kangaxx's first form isn't too hard, you should be able to just let a Planetar
go at it for a while and it should drop.  Kangaxx's second form is a little
harder.  You'll need Spell Immunity (L5) so you can be immune to Abjuration,
as Kangaxx will mostly just sit back and blast Imprisonment spells at you.
Consider casting Maze on the Djinn to get it out of the way, and kill Kangaxx
with Energy Blades.  About 3-4 castings of Energy Blades should get you
through Kangaxx's second form.  Just mop up the Djinn when it reappears.
You'll want more protection spells active, but those are the main points of
the battle.  Take your hard earned ring, and enjoy.

Watcher's Keep:
You can do Watcher's Keep in Ch2 if you want, but you won't have the Amulet of
Power unless you wait to Ch3.  You also won't have the Bag of Holding unless
you've been to Spellhold, The Sahaguin City, The Underdark, and come back.  If
you decide to do Watcher's Keep in Ch2 or Ch3, you will need to budget your
inventory space.  Only carry the items you really care about at all times.  I
tried making stockpiles of items near the entrances at each level, then going
back for the items after clearing the keep (but before sealing it), but it
didn't work.  Pretty much all the item piles were gone.  If you do Watcher's
Keep in Ch2 or Ch3, you won't be able to carry much with you.  All you really
need is the Circlet of Netheril, though.

In the end..:
There are a lot of quests and battles to be done in Chapter 2.  As one
character, there is also an awful lot of experience that you won't be
splitting.  In doing almost literally all the side quests in Chapter 2, I got
to L23 (with 4,957,960 Exp, L24 at 5,250,000 Exp) before ending Chapter 2 or
doing Watcher's Keep.  I didn't do everything, and I also didn't get the
maximum reward from every quest, but I came pretty close.  By the time I went
through Watcher's Keep, I easily made 8,000,000 Exp (L31).  I noticed that
some of the random encounters in Ch2 come back time after time, giving you a
theoretically limitless source of Exp if you're bored enough to exploit it.
If you really try, you should be able to beat my Exp total for Ch2 listed
above.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                    5.0  General Advice : General Tactics                    |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Make liberal use of Quick Save and Quick Load.  Quick Load is not assigned to
the keyboard by default, so you will need to play with the game settings to be
able to use it.  It's worth the effort, however.

* Be careful with the Null Magic rooms in Watcher's Keep (floor 3).  All
temporary magic effects are removed, and all spells cast while in the Null
Magic rooms will automatically fail, and if that wasn't bad enough, some of
the enemies in the Null Magic rooms are magic resistant (the Pit Fiend for
example).  However, Contingency and Chain Contingency will work normally.  You
should be able to scrape by with castings of Chain Contingency loaded up with
Horrid Wiltings, or castings of Lower Resistance.  After they trigger and
work, run into a portal, run back to the room before the Null Magic room, cast
another Chain Contingency, and try again.  You may be able to cast Chain
Contingency while you're in the Null magic room, but you won't last long with
the monsters around and your defenses down anyhow.

* When you have a lot of melee attackers trained on you, try running around in
loops.  They should go strait for you, but if you're as fast as them or faster,
you should be able to avoid them getting attacks off.  Try running around like
this, then casting a spell, and immediately running around again.  If you
intend to use this technique for a battle, try to take out enemy casters and
ranged attackers fast.  This technique is best for the early game, but may
occasionally be useful later on too.

* When there are groups of enemies, try to break up the group.  Keep only one
or two in your field of vision, and let it run toward you.  If it isn't running
toward you, cast a ranged single target spell (Magic Missile, Melf's Acid
Arrow, Flame Arrow, etc).  Once the enemy (or enemies) start moving toward you,
back off and try to distance it from the rest.  With any luck you only have one
to three enemies to deal with instead of the whole group.

* Avoid being the target when possible.  Let summons take the heat, allowing
you to escape if need be.  If you aren't the target, many enemies won't follow
you when your summons are dead.  Try ducking around a corner or into an exit a
little before your last summon(s) drop.

* Make careful use of area exits.  Either monsters will follow you past zone
exits, or they won't.  Either way, you can use it to your advantage.  If
monsters are going to follow you through, cast a group of summons near the
zone exit in the safe zone.  Then, enter the zone with the monsters, get some
to see and attack you, and go back to the safe zone.  You should now have a
nice ambush waiting for the monsters that can cross zones.  If monsters don't
cross zones, go into the zone with the monsters, kill one or two (or more),
and go back to the safe zone.  Once in the safe zone, rest, prepare, and go
back.  Before too long, you should be able to clear the monsters in the area.

* Some monsters are larger than normal.  While the areas in the game are
built for you to traverse, large monsters may have trouble getting around.
Try staying on the other side of a bottle neck (stairs, doorway, narrow
passageway) and casting spells (or attacking) from a distance.

* Don't be afraid to use sequencers and contingencies.  They are powerful
tools, however sequencers will be almost useless once you get Improved
Alacrity.  Contingencies are a great way to get a head start in a battle, or
stop a bad turn in battle.  Sequencers and Contingencies can be a nice way to
get a few extra spells in a battle where you need the extra spell slots.

* Planetar.  Get it, use it, love it.  I recommend Summon Planetar (not Summon
Fallen Planetar), as I've seen the former in action, while I've not seen the
latter.

* Time Stop + Improved Alacrity (or just IA) + Robe of Vecna + Amulet of Power
-> Tons of spells.  Works nicely for either instant slaying (Greater Malison,
then Finger of Death or Chromatic Orb) or lots of damage (Magic Missile, Flame
Arrow, Horrid Wilting, Dragon's Breath, etc).  Some spells may significantly
slow down your computer when cast during Time Stop, the most notorious being
Magic Missile.

* Time Stop + Energy Blades, then attack.  This can be a nice way to deal a
lot of physical damage in a short amount of game time (for anything that's not
immune to Time Stop).

* Staff of the Magi and instant Invisibility.  If you unequip and re-equip the
Staff of the Magi, you will have Invisibility cast on you, regardless of what
you just did.  You can fool a lot of monsters by casting a spell at a distance,
then immediately unequipping and re-equipping the Staff of the Magi (repeat).
There are plenty of monsters that this won't fool, however.  Amusingly, in
order for some plot related conversations to occur, you need to be visible.

* Leading the battle with Summons.  While you can target a destination for
summons that you can see (or have previously seen), you can keep them in front
of you, moving ahead a little, then moving them to the edge of your vision.
This should make them draw the agro, leaving you open to cast without
interruption, or even run if you're losing the battle.  You may be able to run
and rest/prepare without anything chasing after you if you're careful.  Having
the spell Clairvoyance (or a similar remote viewing spell) may make this
strategy more powerful / versatile, but I don't think it's worth the spell
pick.  This strategy works pretty well as is.

* If you're paranoid, or worried about holes in your spell choices, consider
collecting some of the more useful spell scrolls that you can't cast normally.
Spell scrolls aren't nearly as powerful as your normal casting ability, as they
work like using an item and thus won't properly work like a spell for chaining
in Improved Alacrity.  Also, I believe that spell scrolls have default caster
levels, not allowing you to use your impressive caster level.

* Once you've done the trial of Fear in Hell, you should gain Immunity to +1 
weapons and less (if you took the Good path).  Once this has happened, you will
be immune to ALL weapons any time you cast Protection from Magic Weapons (which 
effectively protects you from +1 weapons and greater).  This is an important 
strategy for surviving most of ToB.

* Energy resistance (which works in percents) goes up to 127.  If you raise a
type of energy resistance above 100, you will actually gain life when struck
by that form of energy.  If you have the proper set of spells (Protection from
Elements (L7), Protection from Energy (L8), Protection from Acid (L5), and
Protection from Magic Energy (L6)), you should be able to regenerate HP from
any form of energy damage.

* If you can Wish Rest, consider using it to prepare for a long or hard battle.
You can cast Summons (including a Planetar), and cast a full array of
protections, then Wish Rest to get your full set of spell slots back.  Since
Wish Resting doesn't take any time (at least any more than the round that it
takes to cast), all your summons and protections should still be active, and
only short a few rounds before the battle begins.

* You CAN have more than one "Spell Immunity" active.  I believe that you can
be immune to all spells if you cast it 6 times, Wish Rest, and cast it some
more (selecting different schools each time) until you've done them all.  It
won't last forever, especially if you're not using Improved Alacrity to get
them all cast quickly, but this could be good in a crunch where enemies are
casting a lot of spells.

* While you'll usually be better off just casting Improved Alacrity, you may be
able to pause and cast Chain Contingency in the middle of a battle.  Chain
Contingency itself is very fast extremely fast, and can even be cast directly
after you finished another spell with no penalty.  If you choose "on Hit", you
are Protected from Magical Weapons, and you have a melee enemy trained on you,
you can effectively cast three spells instantly as long as you'll pay the 9th
level slot for it.  I have successfully used aggressive mid-battle castings of
contingencies.

* For enemies that have more than one form, try to let your summons trigger the
transformation, be outside the range of vision, and use Pocket Plane right
after the transformation.  This should allow you to split the battle in half,
and have all your spells for both parts.  However, just incase something didn't
work out well in timing or placement, make sure you keep a backup save from
before the battle (until the battle is completely done).  You may want or need
to cast Maze to get this to work.

* Even in ToB, there are enemies that use unenchanted weapons or +1 weapons.
This normally makes sense, as it's assumed that you're playing through with
more than one character, and thus have 1 to 5 characters that can still be
effected by such weapons.  Since you're only using one character who is immune
to +1 weapons and below, you can take all the time you want dealing with these
enemies.

* Despite making no mention of averting Critical Hits in their item
descriptions, any helmet should avert Critical Hits.  While I am not positive
that this works for all helmets, I tested with the Lavender Ioun Stone, and it
worked.

* Make good use of Auto-Pause.  I particularly recommend Auto-Pause on Enemy
Sighted, which is turned off by default.  Using Auto-Pause can give you more
control over the flow of combat, particularly the beginning of combat.

* Make good use of "spacebar" pausing.  Many battles will best be played out
with more time being paused than unpaused.  This can be important for
carefully timing your spells, attacks, moving, turning Invisible, or anything
else you might do.  When casting a lot of spells, particularly when using
Improved Alacrity, try being paused, selecting and targeting the spell, then
unpausing and repausing as fast as you can.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                 5.1  General Advice : How to Survive Traps                  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you're playing a Sorcerer, you won't be able to detect traps, and there will
be a lot you want to get past.  A few observations will help you out a lot.

* Most traps cast some sort of spell.
* Almost all traps that do significant damage deal some sort of energy damage.
* Most or all traps either allow a saving throw to avoid the effects, or make a 
ranged touch attack (which automatically hits).

There are a lot of ways to survive traps:
* Protect yourself from the effects of the trap (Protection from Petrification
(L2) for a Flesh to Stone trap, or Protection from Fire (L3) and Protection
from Elements (L7) for a Fireball trap).
* Just take the damage that the spell deals.  (though you will likely not have
enough HP to survive the more deadly damage traps)
* Try to make the saving throw (if applicable.  If you die against the same
trap 3-4 times in a row, this probably won't work).
* Try to resist the spell with Magic Resistance.  There are a few items in the
game that grant Magic Resistance, and there are a few times when you can gain
natural Magic Resistance.  If you die against the same trap 3-4 times in a row,
this probably won't work either.
* Try protecting yourself with Stone Skin (L4) and Mirror Image (L2) before 
triggering the trap.  Sometimes a trap will make a ranged touch attack.  While
the attack roll on the ranged touch attack will automatically hit, you might
be able to avoid the effects by taking the hit with a layer of Stone Skin, or
one of the images from a Mirror Image.

If one technique isn't working, try something else.  I've beaten the game with
a solo Sorcerer, and I still haven't met the trap that I can't survive.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                  6.0  Specific Battles : Irenicus (part 1)                  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Surrounded him with summons prior to delivering the final blow to the last
parasite, cast a full compliment of protections, then wished for rest if you
can.
- Keep a sharp eye on his spell protections, and be active about getting rid of
them.  Don't worry too much when your skeletons get banished.  Hopefully the
Planetar will stick around.
- When his spell protections are gone and he's resorting to casting spells on
you.  I hope you cast Spell Immunity (L5).  Summon some Energy Blades (Epic L9)
and help the Planetar out.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                  6.1  Specific Battles : Irenicus (part 2)                  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Cast a full barrage of spell protections (wouldn't hurt to have some Energy 
Blades prepared too), a full set of summons, and Wish Rest if you can.  Try to
have a relatively fresh casting of Prot Magic Weapons before triggering the
last eye.
- Concentrate your firepower (skeletons, planetar, blades) on one demon at a
time until the 4 are dead (which may require more castings of Prot Magic
Weapons and Energy Blades)
- Chase after Irenicus to the South (summon another planetar if you lost the
other one)
- When you get to him, let the planetar (futilely) try to beat on him.  Cast
Improved Alacrity (Epic L9).
- Destroy his spell protections (spell thrust, remove magic, pierce magic..)
- When he brings up new protections, take them away immediately.  Eventually
he should be sitting around looking confused w/o any protective auras.
- drill him with lower resist x4 (for safety's sake) and pummel him with all
the magic damage you can dish out.  That should kill him.

And now the real game begins...

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                       6.2  Specific Battles : Sendai                        |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my opinion, Sendai is the hardest of the "5".

Summon Planetars (one at a time) and let them do most of the work, but be
careful of the 2nd form, it can dominate the Planetar.  Consider letting the
Planetar fight the other drow during Sendai's second form, summon some Energy
Blades (Epic L9) if you didn't prepare them before the battle, and kill her
the old fashioned way.  The other forms are pretty strait forward except the
last.  Try to force the Planetar to stay on her, as she'll warp around a lot
and heal herself all the time.  You DO have enough magic to handle this battle
if you pace yourself.

As a side note, I had an enemy skeleton warrior when I was brought back to
Sendai's room after the little lecture by the Solar, but had plenty of spells
left to take it out.  (a couple pierce shields, prot magic weapons, magic
missiles..)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                      6.3  Specific Battles : Balthasar                      |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

You will want to be well protected for this battle.  Stone skin, Prot magic,
True Sight, Prot Elements, Prot Fire, Ring of Free Action, and Prot Magic
Weapons come to mind.  The battle can be frustrating, as there are a few
actions in the battle that can interrupt casting, regardless of your
protections.  Try to kill Balthasar's minions before you run too low on
spells, but don't worry about Balthasar himself yet.  Once his minions are
dead, Maze Balthasar, run off a bit, and Pocket Plane out.  Rest and make a
temporary save file.  You may as well prepare some contingencies while you're
there.

If you placed and timed your previous evacuation well, you should be able to
pull off a Time Stop before Balthasar enters your range of vision.  While not
strictly necessary, the Time Stop is useful if it works, and since he's off
screen when it starts, it should sometimes work.  Either way, run so you can
see him, cast Improved Alacrity, and start dealing damage.  Now, there are two
strategies.  Push him to the limit of Second Wind, then really kill him, or
try to dish out so much damage at once that he dies before second wind can
trigger.  Either should work.  Don't forget that he has a ton of magic
resistance for being a high level monk.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                    6.4  Specific Battles : The Ravenger                     |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I recommend preparing with the Circlet of Netheril, Contingency (enemy sighted,
prot magic weapons), Chain Contingency (HP 50%, horrid wilting x3, self), and a
casting of Energy Blades.  Wish rest.  (you can do a wish for stats of 25's for
a little extra kick with the Energy Blades)
Enter the battle, then immediately throw the blades (make use of the 25's if
you got them), as you have plenty of time to go through all 20.  Cast Improved
Alacrity.  Cast 3x Pierce Shield.  Cast Greater Malison.  Then cast damage
spells like there's no tomorrow.  Note, he's immune to Magic Missile, and the
goal is to drill out all your effective damage spells but Horrid Wilting that
are worth the trouble.  This means that Burning Hands is useless.  Finger of
Death is still worth while, however.  While The Ravenger is immune to death
effects, it still does some damage.
Don't forget to cast Prot Magic Weapons regularly.  When you're out of other
damage spells, start casting Horrid Wiltings until Improved Alacrity runs out.
With one exception, you should spend your remaining time (i.e. castings of Prot
Magic Weapons) casting and throwing Energy Blades, and casting any Horrid
Wiltings you have left.  There's one last trick here.  Remember the Chain
Contingency?  At some point when it won't screw up a spell, make sure you're
close to the Ravenger (preferably *just* out of range for it to train melee on
you), and let your Prot Magic Weapons run out.  If you play it right, you
should be torn down below 50% HP, triggering your Chain Contingency, but still
be able to cast a Prot Magic Weapons before you get killed.  Don't be afraid
to run away to buy that extra half second.

If you played it right, you should be able to dish out plenty of damage to kill
The Ravenger without having to resort to Wish Resting mid battle.

Take a moment to breath, rest, and bask in the fact that you just killed the
biggest stumbling block of a single character play through BG2 and ToB.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                      6.5  Specific Battles : Melissan                       |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Handle it one piece at a time, and always keep one L9 spell around so you can
Wish rest.  Try casting Improved Alacrity right before toggling the pools of
essence.  Don't bother casting Time Stop, it just delays your spell effects,
giving Melissan a chance to heal or raise magic barriers, since she's immune
to Time Stop.  I recommend casting Spell Strike right as a battle with her
begins, as it seems she starts each part of the battle with magic defenses,
but they're removable.  Don't be afraid to use Flame Arrows to interrupt her
spells, or take that last bit of life off before she heals.
On the platform battles, try getting close to it, casting Time Stop, running
in, casting Improved Alacrity, and going crazy.  Remember to keep a L9 spell
free!

Keep temporary saves between each part of the massive battle, and you shouldbe
able to play through the whole sequence in an hour or two (real time).
Congratulations.  You just beat BG2 and ToB with only using one character.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|            7.0  Ultimate Challenge : What is Solo Insane Poverty            |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the ultimate challenge I've found for BG2 and ToB.  It consists of
three restrictions:
     * (Solo): Only use one character (your main) for the entire duration of
       the game.
     * (Insane): Set the game difficulty to "Insane" (the maximum) for the
       entire duration of the game.
     * (Poverty): Don't pick up or use any items, equipment, or money.

Naturally, there are a couple concessions that need to be made to the Poverty
restriction in order to play through the game.  These concessions are as
follow:
     * You may pick up, hold, and wield a plain unenchanted quarterstaff in
       order to defeat the mephit generators in Irenicus' dungeon, and the
       magic golems in Watcher's Keep and Yaga Shura's stronghold.
     * You may pick up, hold, and use plot/quest items for their plot/quest
       purposes.
     * You may collect and retain money (up to 15,000 gp) for the sole purpose
       of collecting the funds to finish Chapter 2.

In all other cases, if you are given a non-'plot/quest' item, you must drop
it ASAP.  If you are given money, in excess of 15,000 gp, or after giving the
gold away to complete Chapter 2, you must give it to a church as a donation,
or lose it as a Wish spell option (party loses 10,000 gp).

Please remember, the value in a Solo Insane Poverty run through BG2 and ToB is
not just in the letter of the rules, but the spirit of the restrictions.  If
you're going to bend the rules, then you shouldn't bother starting.

For those of you wondering if I'm just proposing an impossible challenge, no.
I have personally finished a Solo Insane Poverty run through BG2 and ToB,
possibly the first in history, despite the age of the game.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|      7.1  Ultimate Challenge : Who can succeed in Solo Insane Poverty?      |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Character:
Only a Sorcerer.  Almost all classes rely far too heavily on weapons (other
than the plain quarterstaff), armor, and other equipment to even consider.
Please see "8.2  Discussions : Other Classes and The One Character Play
Through" for some information and analysis on why Theives and Mages are the
only ones I'm considering for this discussion.  Theives need equipment, I'll
consider this to be sufficiently obvious on it's face and continue.  Mages need
spell scrolls.  Yeah, you heard me, spell scrolls count.  They're items, and
you use them to learn spells.  In many cases, you even need to buy them from
shops.  Monks are an interesting, brief side note, as they have a lot of power
that does not require items, however their lack of ability to open locks is an
instant show stopper, and even if that were not the case, they don't have the
versatility to handle everything (not to mention their fists only go up to
being effectively +3 weapons).  This leaves one option, the Sorcerer.

Player:
In order to stick with this, you need to be rediculously patient, have a lot
of free time, and have a nearly maniacal desire for challenge.  Make no
mistake, Solo Insane Poverty can be a frustrating and painful way to play BG2
and especially ToB.  You have been warned.  That said, if you do succeed, you
will be one among very, very few.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                   7.2  Ultimate Challenge : Spell Choices                   |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here were my spell choices for Solo Insane Poverty, not necessarily in the
order I chose them:

* Required.  These spells may or may not be strictly necessary to beat the
game, but not choosing these spells will at least make the game excessively
painful.

# Recommended.  While not essential, I consider these spells to be the best
option available.  It's ok to choose something else, but it may be hard to pick
something more useful.

& Optional.  If you decide not to pick one of the recommended spells, this
could be a good runner up.

L1:
* Magic Missile
* Protection from Petrification
* Chromatic Orb
* Shield
# Protection from Evil

L2:
* Knock
* Resist Fear
* Invisibility
# Vocalize
# Acid Arrow

L3:
* Remove Magic
* Flame Arrow
# Fireball
& Lightning Bolt
& Hold Person

L4:
* Stoneskin
* Minor Sequencer
* Greater Malison
# Fire Shield (blue)
# Farsight

L5:
* Animate Dead
* Spell Immunity
* Protection from Acid
* Lower Resistance
# Domination

L6:
* Protection from Magic Weapons
* Contingency
* True Sight
* Protection from Magic Energy
# Globe of Invulnerability

L7:
* Finger of Death
* Protection from the Elements
* Mordenkainen's Sword
# Mass Invisibility
# Project Image

L8:
* Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting
* Pierce Shield
* Protection from Energy
# Maze

L9:
* Time Stop
* Wish
* Chain Contingency
# Spell Trap

I'm trying to be realistic about what is essential and what you can do without,
but don't blame me if you don't pick a recommended spell and regret it later.
I chose the spells I'm recommending for a reason.  You'll note that this spell
list contains very little redundancy, and makes up for several holes otherwise
present from the lack of items assumed in the prior spell list.  I'll consider
discussing some of these spell choices and spell combinations at a later date.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                        8.0  Discussions : Familiars                         |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

While a familiar CAN be useful, you never really need it.  The best benefit is
the extra HP you get for summoning it, however the poor thing should spend
almost the entire game in your backpack if you do summon it, as otherwise it's
just one more thing to keep alive.  So the real question is whether the square
in your pack is worth the extra HP or not.  If you decide to summon a familiar,
there's one more trade off to make, namely WHEN you summon it.  The extra HP
is most valuable between the beginning of BG2 and whenever you pick up
Protection from Magic Weapons.  However, I believe that you get more HP for
summoning your Familiar if you do it in ToB.  The choice is yours.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|             8.1  Discussions : Evidence of Designers' Foresight             |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you are looking for it, there is evidence in BG2 to suggest that the
designers foresaw the possibility that a single character could complete BG2.
Here is some such dialogue that you can find late in BG2:

"Fortunately you arrive at this battle alone.  Whether that means you have the 
power to win or not, you are unsure, but the risk is yours alone, as it should
be."  (appears right before entering the area with Irenicus and the parasites
if you only have one character)

"There was a grasping when you fell, and those damaged enough in the battle
with Irenicus might have been dragged down with you, but no one was there.
You are alone, and unsure why you are even here."  (appears right after you
are sent to Hell, after defeating Irenicus in the area with the parasites)

Also, the test of Selfishness is different.  Normally you have a choice
between losing 1 point of Dex, 2 max HP, and a little experience (permanently),
or killing a party member.  If you are the only character in your party, the
demon summons a random innocent who takes the place of a party member in the
test.  There is also a good bit of unique dialogue for the test, if you have
only one character.  Much of the dialogue is even voice acted.

The above leads me to believe that the designers knew that someone might
succeed in beating the game with one character, if not even intending it.
However, there are several times throughout the game where you will be
referred to in the plural (despite being alone).

There is also the point of the quote at the top of this FAQ:
"No single character can handle every situation.  Use the strengths and skills
of all your party members."  This quote appears as one of the random pieces of
advice when you change areas or save/load the game.  Amusingly, this guide
pretty thoroughly proves the first statement to be false, but the sentiment of
the advice is still reasonable.  I believe that the designers didn't want to
encourage single character plays through the game, partly because it may not
be possible for every class.  The above piece of advice can reasonably be
interpreted to support my view, however such judgments are up to individuals.

Further, I believe that the designers never intended, nor expected a single 
character to play through ToB.  A lot of the battles are significantly harder
than anything in BG2 (main game), to a degree that I can understand not
thinking it possible.  While there is no direct evidence to support this view,
there are also no branches of dialogue (or monologue) which discuss the main
character being alone.  This is particularly understandable when it comes to
beating the battle with The Ravenger, which is a HARD battle even with 6 fully
leveled and equipped characters.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|     8.2  Discussions : Other Classes and The One Character Play Through     |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is a wide variety of challenges throughout BG2 and ToB, and while you
need to get past most or all of them, allow me to over simplify to ease the
discussion about eligibility of classes and class combinations.  Consider the
following two things: Locks, and The Ravenger.

Locks:
Unlike in Neverwinter Nights, you can not force locks well, even with a 
ridiculously high strength.  While there are a lot of places in the game where
you may be able to just avoid locks that you can't force, I believe that I have
found at least one situation where you MUST be able to pick or magically open
locks.  Near the beginning of ToB, when you need to get to Gromnir inside
Saradush, I believe that there are locked doors that you MUST get through,
which can NOT be forced.  Even if this is not the case, there are plenty of
other places where locks may permanently halt someone without the ability to
properly handle them, i.e. the Monk with the rope behind the locked door in
Abazigal's Lair (ToB).  If my assertion is correct, and locks are prohibitive,
then by definition, you must either be able to pick locks (a few levels of
thief), or be able to cast Knock (L2 arcane).  This restricts you to Single
Classed, Multiclass or Dual Classed Thief or Mage (Sorcerer, or classic Mage).

The Ravenger:
In a lot of ways, the battle with The Ravenger is the ultimate test of
surviving and defeating a combat.  As far as weapon damage is concerned, The
Ravenger can only be damaged by +4 weapons and greater.  The Ravenger has at
least 500 HP, and reduces physical damage by about 3/4.  In essence, this
means that if you plan on killing The Ravenger by physical damage (basically
anyone but a Mage/Sorcerer) will have to do the equivalent of about 2000 HP of
damage before being killed yourself.  The Ravenger reduces a lot of energy
damage too, but a good arcane caster can deal tons of fast damage.  You also
have several (6?) Bone Blades attacking you at all times, and The Ravenger
will be attacking with either ranged or melee attacks.  Killing the Bone
Blades doesn't help, since they just reappear, even if you Maze or Imprison
them, and The Ravenger is immune to Maze and Imprisonment.  The Ravenger has
an impressive AC (somewhere around -8) which may even cause a single classed
Fighter to miss occasionally.  Also, The Ravenger and the Bone Blades deal
pretty decent damage, and have good bonuses to hit.  I sincerely believe that
a single character not prepared with significant arcane spells (several
castings of Protection from Magic Weapons) will simply get torn to shreds.
Even with several castings of Protection from Magic Weapons, it only buys 3
rounds per casting (less the time to cast the spells themselves) which isn't
much time to drill through The Ravenger's impressive defenses.

(The Ravenger cont.)
Essentially, as far as I can determine, you need at least 20 levels as an
arcane caster (Sorcerer or Mage) or have roughly 20 levels in Thief or more in
order to be able to give you the time to survive against The Ravenger and the 
Bone Blades, and deal enough damage fast enough to kill The Ravenger.  (please 
see 6.4 "Specific Battles : The Ravenger" for more details on how to kill The
Ravenger).

Locks and The Ravenger:
While I may be proven wrong with time and considerable effort, I believe that
you MUST have at least 20 levels as an arcane caster (Sorcerer or Mage) or
Thief in order to complete BG2 and ToB as a single character.

If my assumptions are correct, you SHOULD be able to beat BG2 and ToB if your
character is one of the following, and follows all the advice in the rest of
this FAQ:
          * Sorcerer (which must be Single Classed.  You'll get to L31, and can
follow the guide as it's intended)
          * Single Classed Mage (Should work much like a Sorcerer, but will 
require significant planning of spell slots, which will be a pain in the ass.
Also, you won't have as many spells per day, which could really hurt in many 
situations.)
          * Dual Classed with 20 levels of Mage or more (To Dual Class, you
must be Human.  Your other class can be basically anything you want which can
Dual Class.  If I'm correct, you should be able to just scrap by, but your
other class will mostly be dead weight when the battles really get tough.)
          * Multiclassed with only two classes, one of which is Mage
(Fortunately, Multiclassing with two classes will get 4,000,000 Exp each, which
will result in exactly 20 levels of Mage.  Your options are: Fighter/Mage (Elf
or Half-Elf), Mage/Thief (Elf or Half-Elf), Cleric/Mage (Elf or Half-Elf).)
          * Thief (Single classed, any kit, Dual Classed with at least 20
levels of Thief, or Multiclassed)  Please note, that I am mostly speculating
about the minimum requirements for a single character Thief.

While many other races can Multiclass, only Elf, Half-Elf, and Gnome can
Multiclass with Mage.  Now, a Gnomme CAN Multiclass into a Mage, but only an
Illusionist.  Being an Illusionist means you can never cast Necromancy spells,
eliminating Horrid Wilting, Animate Dead, and Finger of Death (among other
spells), which may well make it impossible to beat BG2 and ToB.

Please see:
8.4 "Appendix 5 : Specialist Schools and Banned Schools"
8.5 "Appendix 6 : Important Spells by School"

Wild Mages are essentially just like normal non-specialist mages, but every
time they cast a spell, there's a 5% chance it will cause a Wild Surge (which
could be pretty bad when you're pouring out spells with Improved Alacrity
active).  With the possible exception of Evocation specialists and Necromancy
specialists, I see specialists as sacrificing too much to be able to complete
BG2 and ToB.  No, you can't make up for holes in your spells by dual/multi
classing to a Cleric.  Specialists can only be Single Classed (except for Gnome
Illusionists).  Wild Mages should work too, but could frequently be irritating
with Wild Surges.

8.3 "Appendix 4 : Race / Class Combinations"

This section contains a lot of assumptions, and some of the old ones have
already been proven wrong, and subsequently deleted.  Perhaps some of my
assumptions here will still be proven wrong, but only time will tell.  With the
addition of the eligibility of the single character Thief, any race should now
be viable as a single character.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                  9.0  Appendix 1 : The Deck of Many Things                  |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

As far as I can tell, there are three pools of cards.  You get to draw three
cards, one from each pool.  When you draw your fourth card, the deck
disappears.  There may be other cards, but I haven't heard of any of
importance.

First Card:
Donjon (bad) Maze spell cast on you.  (game over if it succeeds)
Ruin (bad) you lose all your gold.
Euryale (bad) Lose 1 to your saves. (temporary?)
Flames (neutral) Summons a few fire based enemies.
Gem (good) You gain a few gems.
Jester (good) you get 50,000 Exp.

Second Card:
Sun (good) Gain 300,000 Exp.
Rogue (bad) Charm spell cast on you.  (game over if it succeeds)
Vizier (good) Mantel spell cast on you.
Void (bad) Disintegrate spell cast on you.  (game over if it succeeds)
Star (best) Gain +1 Intelligence.  (differs by class type) [+1 Dex for Thief]
Key (good) Gain a magic item.
Knight (neutral) Summons a few monsters.
Magician (bad) Polymorph Other spell cast on you.

Third Card:
Comet (good) Gain Fire Resistance +5.
Moon (best) Gain +10 HP.  (max HP, not current, and it is permanent)
Erinyes (good) Temporarily gain +1 to all stats.
Fool (bad) Confusion and Wisdom lowered to 3.
Throne (good) Gain 1,000,000 Exp.

Summery:
Getting what you want requires a lot of saving and loading.  Quick save and
quick load are you friend.  For a single character Sorcerer I recommend Star
(for card 2) and Moon (for card 3).  There's plenty of Exp for you, and money
shouldn't matter by now, so don't bother with those cards.  There are only a
few permanent good effects that give something other than Exp or (directly or
indirectly) gold: Star, Comet, and Moon.  You have to pick between Comet or
Moon.  Since you don't need any more protection from fire, +10 HP (while not
particularly important) is the better choice.

I've found it difficult to just engineer any combination I want, even
accounting for trial, error, and patience.  I suspect that the first card you
get effects which cards you can get for #2 and #3.  More than once, however,
I've managed the combination Donjon (1), Star (2), Moon (3).  You can either
resist the Maze spell, or cast Spell Immunity: Conjuration to protect yourself
from Donjon.  Star will give you +1 Int (+1 Dex for a Thief) and Moon will give
you +10 HP.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                         9.1  Appendix 2 : Reputation                        |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Buying Reputation:
 8 to  9 - 300  gp
 9 to 10 - 400  gp
10 to 11 - 500  gp
11 to 12 - 700  gp
12 to 13 - 900  gp
13 to 14 - 1200 gp
14 to 15 - 1500 gp
15 to 16 - 2000 gp
16 to 17 - 2500 gp
17 to 18 - 5000 gp
18 to 19 - N/A  (must be earned)
19 to 20 - N/A  (must be earned)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|            9.2  Appendix 3 : Item prices from Irenicus' Dungeon             |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The prices you can sell items at may vary, but here are some guidelines:

- Potions of Healing: 22 gp each
- Potions of Extra Healing: 133 gp each
- Miscellaneous potions (oil of speed, potion of fire breath, elixir of
health): 50 gp each
- The wands (from the keys and traps): about 50 gp each
- Enchanted helmets (helm of infravision 240 gp, helm of Balduran 2100 gp)
- Enchanted ammunition (+1): 1 gp each
- Unenchanted armor/weapons: e.g. Splint Mail 16 gp, 40 lbs.
- Spell Scrolls, vary by level: L1 30 gp, L2 60 gp, L3 270, L6 600, L7 900
- Cursed Scrolls: 90 gp
- Real protection scrolls: 150 gp
- Pearl Necklace: 300
- Enchanted Weapons, varies.  Long Sword +1 312 gp, Bastard Sword +1 625 gp.
- Angel skin ring: 30 gp
- Ring of Protection +1: 450 gp
- Girdle of Bluntness: 450 gp
- Metaspell Influence Amulet: 540 gp
- Pommel Jewel of the Equalizer: 225 gp
- Bracers of AC 8: 300
- Acorns (no gold, but you can get Exp later if you keep them)

Summery:
Try wearing as much as you can, then carry the enchanted helms, enchanted
weapons, take as many sets of 5 Potions of Extra Healing as you have, the
pearl necklace, and take as many scrolls at or above L3 as you can.  If you're
still not full, start taking the real protection scrolls and lesser spell
scrolls.  I recommend taking the Acorns, as the trade off is around 90 gold
for the item that would take it's place vs. around 17,000 xp later.
Unfortunately, you will be stuck with the portal key, but it will disappear
once you enter Ch2.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                 9.3  Appendix 4 : Race / Class Combinations                 |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's another list which may be useful.  Races and what classes they can be.

Human (any):				Dual Class
     * Fighter				(Yes)
     * Ranger				(Yes)
     * Paladin				(Yes)
     * Cleric				(Yes)
     * Druid				(Yes)
     * Mage (any)			(Yes)
     * Thief				(Yes)
     * Bard				(Yes)
     * Sorcerer				(No)
     * Monk				(No)
     * Barbarian			(No)

Elf:					Multiclass
     * Fighter				* Fighter / Thief
     * Ranger				* Fighter / Mage
     * Cleric				* Mage / Thief
     * Mage (Mage, Diviner, Enchanter, Wild Mage)
     * Thief				* Fighter / Mage / Thief
     * Sorcerer
     * Barbarian

Half-Elf:				Multiclass
     * Fighter				* Fighter / Thief
     * Ranger				* Fighter / Cleric
     * Cleric				* Fighter / Mage
     * Druid				* Mage / Thief
     * Mage (Mage, Conjurer, Diviner, Enchanter, Transmuter, Wild Mage)
     * Thief				* Cleric / Mage
     * Bard				* Fighter / Druid
     * Sorcerer				* Cleric / Ranger
     * Barbarian			* Fighter / Mage / Thief
					* Fighter / Mage / Cleric
     
Gnome:					Multiclass
     * Fighter				* Fighter / Thief
     * Cleric				* Fighter / Cleric
     * Mage (Illusionist)		* Fighter / Illusionist
     * Thief				* Illusionist / Thief
     * Barbarian			* Cleric / Illusionist
					* Cleric / Thief
     
Halfling:				Mulitclass
     * Fighter				* Fighter / Thief
     * Cleric
     * Thief
     * Barbarian

Dwarf:					Multiclass
     * Fighter				* Fighter / Thief
     * Cleric				* Fighter / Cleric
     * Thief
     * Barbarian

Half-Orc:				Multiclass
     * Fighter				* Fighter / Thief
     * Cleric				* Fighter / Cleric
     * Thief				* Cleric / Thief
     * Barbarian

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|           9.4  Appendix 5 : Specialist Schools and Banned Schools           |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a list of the Specialist schools and what they ban:

* Abjuration (Alteration)
* Conjuration (Divination)
* Divination (Conjuration)
* Enchantment (Evocation)
* Illusion (Necromancy)
* Evocation (Enchantment)
* Necromancy (Illusion)
* Alteration (Abjuration)
# Wild Mage (none, but other effects)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                9.5  Appendix 6 : Important Spells by School                 |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a list of some of the important spells by school:

* Abjuration (Prot Elements / Energy / Magic Energy / Acid, Pierce Magic, Prot
Magic Weapons, Spell Immunity, Remove Magic)
* Conjuration (Maze, Flame Arrow)
* Divination (True Sight)
* Enchantment (Greater Malison)
* Illusion (Blur, Mirror Image)
* Evocation (Chain Contingency, Contingency, Minor Sequencer, Magic Missile)
* Necromancy (Horrid Wilting, Finger of Death, Animate Dead)
* Alteration (Time Stop, Stone Skin, Knock)
- Wish (Conjuration/Evocation)
- Lower Resistance (Abjuration/Alteration)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                       10.0  Last Words : Legal Stuff                        |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, are 
Copyright to Black Isle (TM), BioWare Corp (TM), and Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
(TM)

Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition is Copyright to TSR, Inc. (TM)

Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition is Copyright to Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
(TM)

Neverwinter Nights is Copyright to Infogamers, Inc (TM) and BioWare Corp (TM)

If I missed any copyrights, or other notices of ownership, please let me know
and I will gladly add them here.  I hold no rights to the above copyrights,
nor any disclaimers I may be missing here.  I only claim rights to the text
comprising this document, and the knowledge contained within.


As of now, this FAQ has been made ENTIRELY by me, David "Magus" Scott, except
for contributions as noted.  As such, this entire document is Copyright (c)
2004, 2005, 2006  David Scott.

You may NOT:
          * Take this FAQ, in whole or in any part, and make any claim of
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have free rights to your contribution(s) in part or in whole.
          * Copy or duplicate this FAQ, in whole or in part, in ANY way, shape,
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You MAY:
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Character Guide" section 8.2 "Discussions : Other Classes and The One Character
Play Through" ").  However, if you do so, you MUST credit me and name this FAQ
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 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|                         10.1  Last Words : Thanks                           |
 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks to my family and friends, you know who you are.

Thanks to Kyle Schliesman for all the useful information and help with the
Single Character Thief.

Thanks to Black Isle (TM), BioWare Corp (TM), and Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
(TM) for their various roles in creating such an amazing game and expansion.

Thanks to TSR, Inc. (TM) for creating Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition.

Thanks to Wizards of the Coast, Inc. (TM) for creating Dungeons and Dragons 3rd
Edition.

Thanks to all readers of this FAQ for respecting the time and effort I put into
writing it.