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    Class FAQ by DSimpson

    Version: 2.4 | Updated: 01/17/05 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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                         Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (PC)
                         & Throne of Bhaal (BG2 Expansion, PC)
                                       Class FAQ
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                                   January 17, 2005
                                      Version 2.4
    
                            Written by:  Dan Simpson
                                 Email:  dsimpson.faqs@gmail.com
    
      If emailing me, use this subject:  Baldur's Gate II Class v 2.4
    
      (Emails that don't use this subject will be deleted, avoid using all CAPS)
    
    
                                     Email Policy: (read before emailing me!)
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              If you see any mistakes, or have anything that you want to add,
              please email me.  I will, of course, give you full credit for
              your addition, and be eternally grateful to you.  Email addresses
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              you want it to be.
    
    
    
    
                                         Notes
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You will find the most up to date version of this FAQ at:
    
      http://www.gamefaqs.com/
    
    I also have a FAQ/Walkthrough and an Items List for Baldur's Gate II & Throne
    of Bhaal.  Both of which can be found at the above address.
    
    This guide is intended to help the player decide which character(s) to create
    and why.  Each class and kit will be rated with both a Pro and a Con, as well
    as an overall grade.  If you disagree with any of my ratings, email me!  If
    you have a good argument as to why the Wizard Slayer is really the ultimate
    class, then send it in.  Or, if you think that Kensai are better left unused,
    email that in as well.
    
    Any time something comes from the expansion pack, Throne of Bhaal, I have
    included a ToB next to it.
    
    This FAQ looks best in a fixed-width font, such as Courier New.
    
    This Document is Copyright 2000-2005 by Dan Simpson
    Baldur's Gate II is Copyright 2000 by Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay
    BG2: Throne of Bhaal is Copyright 2001 by Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay
    
    I am not affiliated with Bioware, Black Isle, Interplay or anyone who had
    anything to do with the creation of this game.  This FAQ may be posted on any
    site so long as NOTHING IS CHANGED and you EMAIL ME telling me that you are
    posting it.  You may not charge for, or in any way profit from this FAQ.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    Table of Contents:
    
      Quick Reference
    
      Barbarian
    
      Bard
      ··Skald
      ··Jester
      ··Blade
    
      Cleric
      ··Lathander
      ··Helm
      ··Talos
    
      Druid
      ··Totemic Druid
      ··Shapeshifter
      ··Avenger
    
      Fighter
      ··Kensai
      ··Berserker
      ··Wizardslayer
    
      Mage
      ··Wild Mage (Throne of Bhaal ONLY)
    
      Monk
    
      Paladin
      ··Cavalier
      ··Undead Slayer
      ··Inquisitor
    
      Ranger
      ··Archer
      ··Beastmaster
      ··Stalker
    
      Sorcerer
    
      Thief
      ··Bounty Hunter
      ··Assassin
      ··Swashbuckler
    
      Other Arguments
      ··Fighter/Mage/Thief
      ··Single Player Party Strategies
    
      Final Words...
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quick Reference
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Best classes for Protagonist/Single Player (in order of preference):
    
        Fighter/Mage -- this can be either a human Kensai/Mage, Berserker/Mage or a
                        multiclass Fighter/Mage.  Combines good offense, with good
                        magical abilities, which are very important to have in BG2.
        Fighter/Cleric -- or Fighter/Druid.  Same idea as above, but with curative
                          spells instead.
        Swashbuckler/Mage -- must be a human swashbuckler dualled to a Mage.  Gets
                             some very good bonuses from the swashbuckler side
                             (who is already practically a fighter/thief) and can
                             cast spells.
        Inquisitor -- can't cast priest spells, but can cast a cool version of
                      Dispel Magic that casts at twice his ACTUAL level.  You can
                      dispel almost anything with it.  Plus he is immune to charm
                      and hold and can use the best weapon in the game, Carsomyr.
        Kensai -- if you aren't going to dual him to another class later, go with
                  a Half-Orc Kensai and get 19 STR and CON.  Then you not only get
                  the Kensai bonuses, you also get higher STR bonuses and lots more
                  HP.
        Monk -- not that great at the start of the game, so probably won't appeal
                to newbies.  Can't wear armor, but by level 18, you don't need
                armor.  Faster than others, needs no weapon to be deadly, and with
                great extra abilities.
        Barbarian -- a much more "newbie friendly" character.  Only worthwhile as a
                     Half-Orc for the extra STR and CON.  Moves faster, and has
                     lots more HP than anyone.
        Cleric/Ranger -- can cast both Druidic and Cleric spells.  Automatically
                         has 2 points in 2 weapon style, allowing points to be
                         spent on other things.  More offensive minded than a mere
                         Cleric, and can cast more varieties of spells.
    
      Racial Bonuses:
    
        Dwarves  -- +1 CON
                    -1 CHA
                    Resistant to Magic & Poison
    
        Elf      -- +1 attack with swords and bows
                    +1 DEX
                    -1 CON
                    Resistant to Charm & Sleep
    
        Gnomes   -- +1 INT
                    -1 WIS
                    Resistant to Magic
    
        Half-Elf -- Lightly resistant to Charm & Sleep
    
        Halfling -- Bonus to thieving abilities*
                    +1 DEX
                    -1 STR
                    Resistant to Poison & Magic
    
        Half-Orc -- +1 STR
                    +1 CON
                    -2 INT
    
        * all non-human (except Half-Orc) races get a bonus to thieving abilities,
          but halflings get the best bonuses:
    
          Skill              Dwarf      Elf     Gnome     Half-Elf     Halfling
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          Pick Pockets         --        +5       --         +10          +5
          Open Locks          +10        -5       +5          --          +5
          Find/Remove Traps   +15        --      +10          --          +5
          Move Silently        --        +5       +5          --         +10
          Hide in Shadows      --       +10       +5          +5         +15
          Detect Illusion      +5        --      +10          --          --
          Set Traps           +10        --       +5          --          --
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
               Total ==>      +40       +15      +40         +15         +40
    
          Note:  Since Halflings and Elves can get 19 DEX, they get further bonuses
                 to thieving skills (roughly +5 per skill over what you get at
                 18 DEX).
    
      Grades are based on this question:  Should this character be the Single-
      Player Protagonist?  A+ being the best grade possible, F being the lowest.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Barbarian
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:          B ... Solid frontline warrior, but not at all versatile.
    
      Best Races:     Half-Orc (19 STR and 19 CON, who needs INT and CHA for a
                                Barbarian anyway?  He's a tank!)
                      Dwarf (19 CON... penalty to DEX makes this less preferable)
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Any.  May want to go for a Shield (rather than 2 Weapon or
                      2 Handed) to make up for the poor armor choices.
    
      Max. Level w/
      Experience Cap: 19   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        A barbarian can be an excellent warrior. While not as disciplined or as
        skilled as a normal fighter, the barbarian can willingly throw himself into
        a berserker rage, becoming a tougher and stronger opponent. The barbarian
        uses the fighter avatar.
    
        Advantages:
          - They move at 2 points faster than the usual character.
          - Barbarians are immune to backstab.
          - Can Rage once per day for every 4 levels (starts at 1st level with one
            use). Rage gives them +4 to constitution and strength for 5 rounds.
            Gives a -2 armor class penalty and +2 to saves vs. magic (for 5
            rounds). Rage also gives immunity to all charm, hold, fear, maze,
            confusion and level-drain spells.
          - At 11th level, the barbarian gains 10% resistance to slashing,
            piercing, crushing and missile damage. He gains +5% to this every 4
            levels thereafter.
          - The barbarian rolls d12 for hit points instead of a fighter's d10.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - A barbarian cannot wear full plate or plate mail.
          - A barbarian cannot specialize past normal specialization.
    
      Pro:  There are two primary things that makes the Barbarian an attractive
            class.  First he gains d12 HP per level, which is the highest of any
            class.  By level 10 he could have 20 more HP than a Fighter.  Second,
            his Rage ability is every bit as useful as the Berserker's, giving him
            extra muscle.  A Half-Orc Barbarian who rages could get 23 STR, which
            is very strong.  This guy is a Tank!  Send him into any battle and
            watch the fun.
    
              Note:  Remember that the extra hit points last ONLY until level 10.
                     After that point, everyone gains just 3 HP per level.
    
            Another useful point in his favor is the fact that he moves at 2 ticks
            faster than other characters.  This might not sound like much, but it
            allows your character to do better hit-and-fade attacks, as well as
            better scouting.  Run in a room, see the enemies, and run out.  This
            makes for an interesting Archer as well, as you can probably outrun
            most enemies, you can easily keep shooting at almost anything and never
            get hit.  Also, unlike the Monk, the Barbarian CAN be Hasted.
    
            The other benefits are good (immune to backstab & the weapon
            resistances), but not the feature attraction.  They just add spice to
            this class.
    
      Con:  The Barbarian also has significant problems.  First, he cannot multi or
            dual class.  Meaning he is stuck as a plain warrior.  This can be very
            bad if you are fighting extended series of mages and need more magical
            power in your group.
    
            Second, he cannot wear the better armors in the game.  Plate Mail,
            Full Plate are all forbidden to him.  That means you are left with
            Chainmail and Leather armors.  Interestingly, the best armor you can
            get for him is the Shadow Dragon Scale (AC 1), which counts as a
            Leather Armor.  So, although he has more HP, he is also going to get
            hit more often.
    
            Third, he cannot go beyond "specialized" in any Proficiency.  That
            gives the Barbarian less power attacking than a Fighter would get with
            5 stars.  Although the proficiency system isn't quite as powerful as it
            was in BG or IWD, your Barbarian is still missing out on +1 to hit and
            +1 to damage and some extra speed to attack.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  The "Rage" +4 STR more than makes up that difference.
                             If a Half-Orc Barbarian has 19 STR, and Rages, his new
                             STR of 23 gives him an extra +2 to Hit and +4 to
                             Damage.  And going from 18/00 is almost as good with
                             +1 to Hit and +4 to Damage. (total STR bonus at 23 STR
                             is +5, +11, at 22 STR +4, +10)
    
            Finally, the "other" benefits of being a Barbarian:  Immunity to
            backstab and weapon resistances.  First, how many times in the game
            are you even backstabbed?  I can't recall many instances of it.  Plus,
            they never go for the person with the most HP, always for the person
            with the least, meaning this ability is completely USELESS.  The weapon
            immunities are nice, but at best you'll complete the game with 20%
            resistance to slashing/piercing/crushing/missile.  So, 1 in 5 damage
            inflicted on you by one of those types is dropped. (i.e. if an arrow
            would have done 10 damage, it instead does 8)  This is neat, but comes
            into play way too late in the game to truly be of use.  By that point,
            most enemies just kill you instantly (Mind Flayers).
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Immunity to backstab isn't that great... until your
                             fighter gets backstabbed for 70 points of damage.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bard
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  C+ ... good niche character that needs a solid group
    
      Best Races:  Half-Elf to get the +10 to pickpocket
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Go with Short Bows (for the Tansheron and Gesen bows),
                      Katanas (for Dak'kon's Zerth Blade) and Single Weapon Style.
                      This way you can switch back and forth between weapons
                      without having to add an extra weapon/shield to your second
                      hand.  Single Weapon Style also gives an AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        The Bard is also a rogue, but he is very different from the thief.  His
        strength is his pleasant and charming personality.  With it and his wits he
        makes his way through the world.  A Bard is a talented musician and a
        walking storehouse of gossip, tall tales and lore.  He learns a little bit
        about everything that crosses his path; he is a jack-of-all-trades but
        master of none.  While many bards are scoundrels, their stories and songs
        are welcome almost everywhere.
    
        Advantages:
          - Picks Pockets
          - Bard Song (improves party morale and luck).  Morale determines when
            characters "run away."  Each character has a set morale, and when it
            drops, they flee, or go berserk.  Luck simply improves all rolls.
          - Mage Spells up to 6th level
          - High Lore ability.  The Bard gets 10 Lore points per level.
    
          ToB:
    
          - Improved Bard Song
          - Thieving High End abilities
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Must be human or half-elf
          - Must have "neutral" somewhere in the alignment.
          - Can't wear armor heavier than chainmail.
          - Can't use shields larger than a buckler.
    
      Pro:  The Bard really is a little bit of everything.  Part thief, as he can
            pick pockets.  Part mage as he can cast some spells (up to 6th spell
            level).  The Bard is unique.
    
            The best thing about the plain Bard is his Lore.  Lore allows you to
            identify items without having to cast the spell, or spend money in a
            shop.  The bard can simply look at the item to tell what it is and what
            it does. (right click on the item, if it is described, your Lore was
            high enough)  A good Bard can identify most items at the start of the
            game, and by the end can identify anything.  This allows you to
            memorize other spells than Identify, such as Chromatic Orb or Magic
            Missile.
    
            Since the Bard can pickpockets (+10 per level), this frees up your
            thief's skill points to the other skills.  A Thief doesn't need to
            pick pockets if your Bard can do it!
    
            Mage spells are an awesome bonus for this class.  Run out of arrows?
            Shoot a magic missile!  Plus you can cast protective spells on yourself
            (Haste, Stoneskin, etc.) and get a much more useful character.  True,
            the Bard never gets more than 5 spells to cast per level, and can only
            get up to level 6, but the Bard isn't there to REPLACE your Mage, only
            to back him up.
    
            Although the plain Bard song isn't as useful in combat as the Skald's
            song, it does have the nice effect of improving Luck, that odd stat
            that the game uses all over the place.  It improves nearly every throw
            by +1.  It has the same effect of casting the spell "Luck" on everyone
            in the party at once.
    
            A Bard is not really a great individual, but he makes a great member of
            a group.
    
      Con:  The Bard is a very weak fighter, near useless thief and can barely be
            called a mage.
    
            Bards only get 1 proficiency point per skill.  Meaning that they never
            even get a bonus in anything, all they can do is avoid the penalty.
            Also they cannot wear anything better than Chainmail, and until you get
            one of the Elven Chainmails, you can't wear armor and cast spells at
            the same time.  The Bard will get hit more than anyone in your party
            (who isn't a mage).  Combine this with a STR no higher than 18 (+1 to
            hit, +2 dmg) and the Bard should avoid the frontlines at all cost.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  This is why you give the Bard proficiency in Short
                             Bows (or other missile weapons) to avoid putting him
                             on the frontline.  Then he can damage the enemies with
                             only a minimal risk to his own life.  If the arrows
                             aren't doing anything, switch over to Bardsong to
                             help out the party.
    
            Pick pockets is the LEAST useful Thieving skill in the game.  There are
            just not that many opportunities to use it for anything.  There are far
            more traps and locked doors than there are people with things to steal.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, but when you find a Ring of Regeneration on the
                             owner of the Adventurer's Mart (or similar situations)
                             it makes it all worth while.
    
                             Also, being able to steal from shops is a great and
                             easy way to make money and get good items at the start
                             of the game.
    
            One major problem with the Bard's song is that the Bard can't do
            anything but stand there and play it.  No spells, no attacking.  If
            you want to give everyone that +1 to luck, you have to stop shooting
            arrows at people, stand there and play your song.  All you can do is
            walk around, anything else cancels the song.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Which effectively keeps the weak Bard out of the
                             fight... a good thing, if I'm not mistaken.
    
    ··Skald
    -------
    
      Grade:  B ... Better than a Bard in many ways
    
      Best Races:  Half-Elf to get the +10 pickpocket bonus
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Same as Bard.  Go with Short Bows (for the Tansheron and
                      Gesen bows), Katanas (for Dak'kon's Zerth Blade) and Single
                      Weapon Style.  This way you can switch back and forth between
                      weapons without having to add an extra weapon/shield to your
                      second hand.  Single Weapon Style also gives an AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This Nordic bard is also a warrior of great strength, skill and virtue. His
        songs are inspiring sagas of battle and valor, and the skald devotes his
        life to those pursuits.
    
        Advantages:
          - +1 to hit and +1 damage with all weapons.
          - The skald's song is different from the typical bard and varies with
            level:
              - 1st: Gives allies +2 to hit, +2 to damage and -2 to AC.
              - 15th: Gives allies +4 to hit, +4 to damage, -4 to AC, and immunity
                to fear.
              - 20th: Gives allies +4 to hit, +4 to damage, -4 to AC, and immunity
                to fear, stun and confusion.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Pick Pockets ability one-quarter normal.
    
      Pro:  The Skald is a Bard who has more Fighter and less Thief in him.  Skalds
            work ideally for anyone who doesn't use the pickpocket ability, or has
            another character with that ability.
    
            Since he is +1 to hit and damage with all weapons, that is nearly the
            same as being Specialized in any weapon that he is already proficient.
            It also makes the penalty for not being proficient less severe.
    
            The Skald song is also considerably beefier (from a fighting
            standpoint) and by level 20, it gives out some substantial bonuses to
            hit, AC and various good immunities.  Much better than luck.
    
      Con:  The Skald is MORE fighter, but still isn't a Fighter.  Anyone trying to
            use him on the frontline will quickly learn that.  For starters, he
            still can't wear more than chainmail.  He still can't specialize in
            any weapon.  The +1 to hit and damage is nice, but that doesn't give
            you more attacks.
    
            The Skald song is more useful, but you still have to keep the Skald
            from joining the battle.
    
            If you don't like Bards, you won't like Skalds.
    
    
    ··Jester
    --------
    
      Grade:  C- ... Nearly the same as a Bard, with one difference
    
      Best Races:  Half-Elf to get the +10 to pickpocket
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Same as Bard.  Go with Short Bows (for the Tansheron and
                      Gesen bows), Katanas (for Dak'kon's Zerth Blade) and Single
                      Weapon Style.  This way you can switch back and forth between
                      weapons without having to add an extra weapon/shield to your
                      second hand.  Single Weapon Style also gives an AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23    ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This bard is well versed in the arts of ridicule and hilarity, and uses his
        abilities to distract and confuse his enemies, cavorting madly during
        combat.
    
        Advantages:
          - Jester's song does not help allies. Instead, it affects every opponent
            within 30 feet, and they must save vs. magic at +4 once per round or be
            confused.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - None
    
      Pro:  Only one difference here between Bards and Jesters, instead of the Bard
            song helping your party with +1 luck, it attempts to Confuse the enemy.
            It's a more useful Bard song as you can use it as much as you would
            like (making it more useful than the spell confusion as it works on
            groups and is unlimited).
    
      Con:  Confused enemies can still attack you (though they are just as likely
            to attack each other) and all the other Con's of the Bard still apply.
    
    
    ··Blade
    -------
    
      Grade:  B+ ... Very effective
    
      Best Races:  Half-Elf to get the +10 to pickpocket
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Same as Bard.  Go with Short Bows (for the Tansheron and
                      Gesen bows), Katanas (for Dak'kon's Zerth Blade) and Single
                      Weapon Style.  This way you can switch back and forth between
                      weapons without having to add an extra weapon/shield to your
                      second hand.  Single Weapon Style also gives an AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        The blade is an expert fighter and adventurer, whose bardic acting
        abilities make him appear more intimidating and fearsome. His fighting
        style is flashy and entertaining, but is also quite deadly.
    
        Advantages:
          - May use Offensive Spin and Defensive Spin abilities once per day per 4
            levels. Offensive Spin lasts 24 seconds, granting the blade +2 to hit,
            +2 to damage, and an extra attack. As well, all of his attacks do
            maximum damage for the duration. Defensive Spin lasts 24 seconds, roots
            him to the spot, but gives -1 AC per level of experience. This armor
            class bonus does not go over -10.
          - May place three slots into two-weapon fighting style.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Only has one-half normal Lore value.
          - Only has one-half Pick Pockets percentage.
          - Bard Song does not become better with levels.
    
      Pro:  Similar to the Skald, the Blade is a more fighterish type of Bard.  His
            offensive spin gives +2 to hit and damage (more than a Skald!) as well
            as giving an extra attack and maxing out the damage. (if you weapon
            is a 1d10 Katana, then it will always do 10 dmg.)  The extra attack
            is the best part of the "Offensive Spin", but the whole thing is
            awesome making your Bard into a offensive dynamo.
    
            Secondly, the Blade can put three points into two weapon fighting.
            This reduces the penalty for using an offhanded weapon to a mere -2
            THAC0, and finally solves what to do with the Bard's near-useless
            second hand.
    
            Randy Gaw has more Pro-Blade things to say:  Blades can both cast
            spells and fight when in defensive spin.  That is an awesome ability
            because it basically means that the blade becomes a spellcaster that
            can't have his spells interrupted due to the really low AC.  He can
            also be placed in the middle of a melee without taking too much damage,
            freeing up the rest of your characters to pound away.  The spin is
            activated instantaneously so you never have to worry about getting
            interrupted.  Offensive spin shouldn't be underestimated either IMO
            (maximum damage + extra attack -- assuming you dual wield your Blade,
            you get 3 attacks per round at max damage).
    
      Con:  The problem with the two Spins is that they are mutually exclusive.
            That is, you can only do one at a time.  So, yes the offensive spin is
            cool and does lots of damage.  However, you still have the same cruddy
            AC as any Bard since you are still just in chainmail (or perhaps
            Bracers).  And, if you were a Fighter you'd get more than +2 to hit and
            damage anyway.  (Fighters can have 18/00 STR, which is +2, +4 better
            than 18 STR)  Not to mention the "Mastery" bonuses fighters get from
            4-5 proficiency points.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, fighters are better warriors, but they can't do
                             what Blades can do, namely spells, lore and
                             pickpocket.
    
                             Also, the Offensive Spin is extremely powerful, and
                             doesn't need to be used with the Defensive Spin.  It
                             hastes you, gives you an extra attack AND (like the
                             Kensai "kai" ability) makes all your attacks do
                             maximum damage.
    
            Finally the Defensive Spin is completely useless.  Why would you ever
            use this?  It PLANTS your Blade in place for 24 seconds.  His AC can
            go to -10, but he can't move.  That is a very passive way to fight a
            battle, and won't help much.  The best defense is a good offense
            anyway.  Further, back to my Fighter/Mage, with the proper armors you
            can get -10 AC easy.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Defensive Spin is best used when you plan on
                             spellcasting and don't want your spell to be
                             interrupted.  However, even if you don't like the
                             Defensive Spin, the Offensive Spin is useful enough
                             to make the Blade an awesome power.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cleric
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  C+ ... The healer, but get a Priest Kit
    
      Best Races:  Any
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Get points in Maces, Flails and War Hammers.  Then you
                      probably want either 2 weapon style or Sword and Shield
                      style.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 20   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        The cleric is a generic priest (of any mythos) who tends to the spiritual
        needs of a community.  He is both protector and healer.  He is not purely
        defensive, however.  When evil threatens, the cleric is well suited to
        seek it out on its own ground and destroy it.
    
        Advantages:
          - Can cast Priest spells (not Druidic)
          - Can Turn Undead
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Cannot used Bladed or Piercing weapons
    
      Pro:  The only serious healing class.  Has all the major Priest spells,
            including Raise Dead and Resurrect (which Druids don't get).  Unlike
            Mages can wear any armor they please.  Being limited to just Blunt
            weaponry isn't as bad as you might think, since the best weapon in the
            game, the Crom Faeyr is a Hammer.  Turn Undead has two major functions,
            either controlling/repelling undead or destroying them.  Useful in
            vampire swarms, no doubt.
    
      Con:  Druids have better offensive spells, such as Summon Fire Elementals,
            and if you want a plain cleric, you should probably take a Kit
            (Cleric of Lathander, Helm or Talos) to get their special ability.
            There are no downsides to taking a Kit here, so avoid the plain ole
            Cleric.
    
      Useful Multiclasses:
    
        Fighter/Cleric -- I prefer to do this one Dual classed, rather than multi
         B+               classed.  Start with a plain fighter (or Kensai/Berserker
                          /Wizard Slayer) and dual immediately to a Cleric.  That
                          way you can pick up 5 * in a weapon proficiency.  Better
                          at fighting and just as good at healing... eventually.
        Ranger/Cleric --  Starts with two points in Two Weapon fighting, so you can
         A                spend all your points on weaponry.  Even better, can
                          cast both Cleric AND Druid spells.
        Cleric/Mage   --  Your one stop magic shop.  Has all spells, except Druid
         B+               spells.  Unlike normal mages, can still wear a helmet
                          and cast spells.  Still can't wear armor and cast magic
                          (though you could cast Cleric spells).
    
    ··Lathander
    -----------
    
      Grade:  B- ... The "good" healer
    
      Best Races:  Any
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Same as Cleric.  Get points in Maces, Flails and War Hammers.
                      Then you probably want either 2 weapon style or Sword
                      and Shield style.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 20   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        Lathander is the good god of renewal, creativity and youth, and is
        celebrated nearly everywhere. His followers are very popular throughout the
        Realms, and there are numerous wealthy temples devoted to him.
    
        Advantages:
          - May cast Hold Undead once per day for every 5 levels of the caster
            (starts at 1st level with one use).
          - May cast Boon of Lathander once per day per 10 levels of the caster
            (starts at 1st level with one use). This spell lasts for 6 seconds per
            level of the caster. It gives the caster +1 to hit, +1 to damage, +1 to
            all saving throws and gives the caster 1 extra attack per round. It
            also protects the recipient from level drain.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - None.
    
      Pro:  Casting Hold Undead may not sound that great, but there are a lot of
            undead monsters in the game, many of whom you might wish couldn't move.
            But the real Pro here is the Boon of Lathander which gives the caster
            (the cleric) some serious bonuses, most significant is the extra attack
            per round.  This spell lasts 6 seconds * your level, so at level 20
            it will last 2 minutes real time.
    
      Con:  Nifty yes, but hardly a "super" ability.  +1 to Hit, damage and saving
            throws plus an extra attack.  The "Helm" ability "Seeking Sword"
            provides your cleric with better offensive muscle and Talos has good
            offensive AND defensive spells.  The only convincing reason to be of
            Lathander is to get the "good" alignment and the "good" reputation.
    
    
    ··Helm
    ------
    
      Grade:  B- ... The "neutral" healer
    
      Best Races:  Any
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Same as Cleric.  Get points in Maces, Flails and War Hammers.
                      Then you probably want either 2 weapon style or Sword
                      and Shield style.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 20   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        Followers of the neutral God of Watchers and Protectors are warriors in
        their own right and are often seen as defenders of the innocent.
    
        Advantages:
          - May cast True Sight once per day per 5 levels (starts at 1st level with
            one use).
          - May cast Seeking Sword once per day per 10 levels (starts at 1st level
            with on use). This spell creates a sword in the player's hand (that
            cannot be dropped or unequipped). The sword is +4 for purposes of
            determining what it can hit (but this bonus does not apply to damage),
            and it deals out 2-8 damage to any target it hits. The weapon sets the
            number of attacks of the cleric to 3. It lasts for 1 round per level of
            the caster. When equipped, the wielder cannot cast further spells.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - None.
    
      Pro:  Can cast True Sight to dispel nasty illusions in the area (invisibility
            and Shadow Door come to mind).  But even better is the Seeking Sword,
            which although only does 2-8 dmg (2d4, the same as a Bastard Sword)
            it gets 3 attacks per round and hits as a +4 (though it doesn't affect
            the THAC0 any).  +4 weapons are hard to come by, there just aren't that
            many of them, and to START THE GAME with one (in effect) is powerful.
            You could take on Kangaxx from the very start!
    
      Con:  Yes, Seeking Sword is neat, however, it lasts 1 round per level of the
            caster.  PLUS you cannot cast spells while the sword is in your hand!
            So, a level 10 cleric would be silent for an entire MINUTE with a 2d4
            weapon.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  A 2d4 weapon that improves THAC0 by +4, however.
                             (Even if it doesn't do +4 damage)  Further, there are
                             times when you might want a more "warrior" type of
                             character and this spell fits that bill.
    
    
    ··Talos
    -------
    
      Grade:  A- ... The "evil" healer
    
      Best Races:  Any
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Same as Cleric.  Get points in Maces, Flails and War Hammers.
                      Then you probably want either 2 weapon style or Sword
                      and Shield style.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 20   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        Talos is the evil god of storms, destruction and rebellion. Clerics of the
        Stormlord warn that Talos must be appeased or he will rain destruction upon
        the land.
    
        Advantages:
          - May cast Lightning Bolt once per day per 5 levels of the caster (starts
            at 1st level with one use).
          - May cast Storm Shield once per day per 10 levels of the caster (starts
            at 1st level with one use). This spell lasts 6 seconds per level of the
            caster. It protects the caster from lightning, fire, cold and normal
            missiles.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - None
    
      Pro:  Yes, it is nice to cast Lightning Bolt while as a Priest (assuming you
            learn where to aim those pesky things), but the real attraction here is
            the Storm Shield spell.  It works like 4 simultaneous spells:
            Protection from Normal Missiles, Protection from Fire, Protection from
            Electricity and Protection from Cold.  So walk into that cone of cold,
            or that fireball, it won't hurt you in the least.  The spell also lasts
            a VERY long time, 6 seconds per level, so by the end of the game it
            could last 2 real time minutes.  And, since Storm Shield is a special
            ability, it casts really fast.
    
      Con:  If only you could cast Storm Shield on other people...
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Druid
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  D ... Not very good at all
    
      Best Races:  Must be human or half-elf
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Go for Scimitars and Quarterstaff.  Sword and Shield Style if
                      you go with Scimitars, Two Handed style if you go for
                      Quarterstaff.  The best staff in the game is one that only
                      Druids can use.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 14   ToB:  31
    
      General Information:
    
        The druid serves the cause of nature and neutrality; the wilderness is his
        community.  He uses his special powers to protect it and to preserve the
        balance in the world.
    
        Advantages:
          - Can cast "Druidic" spells
          - Can Shapechange
    
          ToB:
    
          - At 15th level, immune to poison
          - At 18th level gains 10% resistance to cold, fire, electricity and acid
          - At 21st & 24th level gains another 10% for each of the above
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Must be human or half-elf
          - Can only wear leather armor or bucklers
          - Can only use darts, clubs, spears, daggers, slings and staffs
    
      Pro:  The druid is a more offensive oriented type of priest.  They have some
            nasty spells, such as Summon Fire Elemental that is even more powerful
            than the mage version (as you don't have to spend time "controlling"
            the elemental).  Druids also get the highly useful spell Iron Skins,
            the variant on the Mage Stoneskin.  Summon Woodland Creatures nets you
            a Nymph, who can heal your party, or Dominate the enemy.  Insect Swarm
            is great against enemy spellcasters.
    
            Shapechange isn't as useful as the spells, but still provides your
            Druid an offensive set of abilities.  The "Bear" change, for example,
            ups your Strength, Dexterity and Constitution and its attack counts as
            a +3 weapon.  This makes up for many of his fighting shortfalls.
    
      Con:  Yes, the Druid has nice spells, but misses the most important healing
            spell of Raise Dead and Resurrect.  Which means that if anyone dies,
            you may have to reload from your last save.  Also, most of the Druid
            spells are at the higher levels, there are fewer at the first few
            levels.  Meaning that with all those nifty spells, you can cast few of
            them.  They get 7 spells on the first level, 8 on the second, 11 on
            third, 12 on fourth, 10 on fifth, 9 on sixth and 8 on seventh.
    
            Shapechange is far less useful when you realize that you cannot cast
            spells while changed.  Further your "weapon" while shapechanged never
            ever improves.  Fighting something that requires a +4 weapon?  Out of
            luck.  There are only 3 shapechanges, 2 bears and one wolf.  The wolf
            is very weak, acting as a +1 weapon and affecting the stats very
            little.  That leaves you with the 2 bears to rely on for offensive
            power, and neither improves STR beyond 18/00. (The wolf mainly improves
            your DEX)  Essentially what the shapechange does is turn your Druid
            into a Fighter.  However, your THAC0 in this state only improves
            slightly (+3) and your DEX is SET to 12, which may in fact be lower
            than your natural DEX.  A similar level fighter would get many more
            bonuses to his THAC0 and could hit many more times.  Any armor your
            Druid is wearing is not counted (except for bucklers) which means you
            have a ludicrously high AC.  So, imagine a fighter using a Long
            Sword +3, wearing NO armor, and a buckler.  Would you want that person
            on the frontline where he would get killed?
    
            The Druid outside of the shapechange is very weak offensively.  He can
            only use a small variety of weapons, and can only wear leather armor.
            The Druid, like its cleric counterpart, can only be proficient in a
            weapon.  And the Druid will never get more than 1 attack per round.
            Even at the very end of the game, your THAC0 will be no better than 5
            or 6. (even with a +4 weapon and the Girdle of Hill Giant STR)
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Why would you use a Druid as a Fighter anyway?  Use
                             him as a backup character, casting spells at the
                             enemy.
    
              Con Response:  The Druid just doesn't have that many offensive
                             spells.  Yes, Fire Elementals are neat, as are the
                             other summoned creatures, but there aren't many
                             straight out Attack spells.  At level 3 there is
                             "Call Lightning", but it can only be cast OUTDOORS,
                             where most of the game takes place INDOORS.  Cause
                             Serious Wounds or Harm type spells put your Druid
                             back on the frontline, where he will suffer damage.
                             It takes until level SIX before you get some good
                             offensive type spells (Fire Seed 6, and Fire Storm 7).
                             Fire Seed is a weaker version of Melf's Minute Meteors
                             (with the bonus that they can be given to anyone, on
                             the penalty that it creates only a handful) and Fire
                             Storm is close to Meteor Swarm.  Nice, yes, but you
                             won't get them until far into the game, and you won't
                             be able to cast many anyway.
    
            Finally the Druid's final level is 14.  They get to level 14 at 1.5
            million experience, and the experience cap is set at 2.95 million.
            Therefore, any experience a druid gains past level 14 goes to waste.
    
            If you simply MUST have a Druid, go with a multiclass, such as Fighter/
            Druid.
    
      Useful Multiclasses:
    
        Fighter/Druid -- Solves many of the Druids basic melee problems.  Can wear
         B (multi)       real armors and shields, although weaponry is still
         B+ (dual)       limited to Druid weapons.  Can become "specialized" in a
                         weapon, resulting in an extra 1/2 attack per round. (The
                         Dual Class version is quite a bit better here, start with
                         a human fighter, true neutral, with 15 STR and 17 CHA.
                         Then at level 13 Fighter, dual to Druid.  You can still
                         get level 14 at Druid, which is their highest level
                         anyway.  Advantages?  Can become a Grand Master in a
                         weapon.)
    
    
    ··Totemic Druid
    ---------------
    
      Grade:  B- ... Much better than a Druid
    
      Best Races:  Must be human or half-elf
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Go for Scimitars and Quarterstaff.  Sword and Shield Style if
                      you go with Scimitars, Two Handed style if you go for
                      Quarterstaff.  The best staff in the game is one that only
                      Druids can use.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 14   ToB:  31
    
      General Information:
    
        This druid closely identifies with a particular animal, an animal that he
        feels represents his spirit. This grants him a special connection to the
        animal kingdom, and he is able to call upon their spirits to aid him.
    
        Advantages:
          - May summon a special 'spirit' animal once per day per 5 levels of
            experience. Spirit animal is randomly selected from 'Spirit Bear',
            'Spirit Wolf', 'Spirit Lion' and 'Spirit Snake'.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Cannot shapeshift.
    
      Pro:  At first glance, you might dismiss the Totemic Druid as a mild and not
            very powerful variation of the normal druid.  However, it is quite a
            bit more powerful than the plain druid.  The Totemic switches from
            shapeshifting himself, to conjuring forth "spirit animals" to fight
            for him.  Your Totemic will start the game able to summon 2 animals
            right away, and depending on what you get, you could have a find little
            army.  The Spirit Animals have decent stats:
    
                            HP   AC   THAC0  # of Attacks   DMG    STR  DEX
              Spirit Bear   96    2     10         3       1D10     18   14
              Spirit Wolf   56    0      9         3       1D4*     16   20
              Spirit Snake  45   -1      9         2       1D10     18   18
              Spirit Lion   72    1      8         3       1D8+2    19   18
    
              * The wolf does extra COLD damage.
    
              All the Spirit animals have 100% resistance to Cold and Electricity.
    
            And you can summon as many as you have spells for, for an eventual
            maximum of 3 at a time, each randomly chosen.  Each of these creatures
            is more powerful than what a Druid would get as shapeshifted (look at
            the AC of the Spirit Bear, 2, compared with a shapeshifted bear who
            gets no armor bonus and probably gets an AC of 6).  So, the Totemic can
            summon forth three of these at a time, and they stick around for quite
            a long time (or until killed).  Unlike a shapechanged druid, the
            totemic can still cast spells with his creatures running around.
    
            Add to that the fact that you can still summon Fire Elementals, Nymphs,
            etc. and your Totemic Druid is a wonderful Conjurer, able to throw
            many bodies at any enemy.  Thus he can stay back and avoid any conflict
            while his creatures fight for him.  This makes the Totemic more of a
            general than a footsoldier.
    
      Con:  It isn't as though your Totemic can entirely avoid fighting himself,
            however.  And as such he is just as weak as any druid in that regard.
            He still can only wear leather armors, and no shield larger than a
            buckler.  If he is attacked directly by archers, he has no real
            recourse.
    
            Secondly, although the Totem animals work great in the early portion
            of the game, they never gain power, and so become much less useful when
            attacking mightier foes (Beholders, Mind Flayers, Dragons).
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, but in those cases, you still have extra bodies
                             to throw at the enemy.  Sure, the mind flayer can
                             quickly kill your Totem animals, but that was at
                             least one attack where he wasn't killing YOU.
    
    
    ··Shapeshifter
    --------------
    
      Grade:  C+ ... Better than a Druid, but not by much
    
      Best Races:  Must be human or half-elf
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Go for Scimitars and Quarterstaff.  Sword and Shield Style if
                      you go with Scimitars, Two Handed style if you go for
                      Quarterstaff.  The best staff in the game is one that only
                      Druids can use.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 14    ToB:  31
    
      General Information:
    
        This druid is not called shapeshifter because he has access to a great
        variety of forms, rather because of his complete dedication to a single
        alternate form. This druid has willingly allowed himself to become infected
        with lycanthropy, but due to intense study and training he has the ability
        to control his affliction. The creature he becomes is that of the werewolf,
        the most famous of the lycanthrope shape changers.
    
        Advantages:
          - May shapeshift into the form of a werewolf once per day for every 2
            levels (starts at 1st level with one use).
          - At 13th level, gains the ability to change into a greater werewolf once
            per day.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - No other shapeshifting abilities due to the effort required maintaining
            balance in his primary forms.
          - Cannot wear any armor.
    
      Pro:  The werewolf is a powerful melee fighter and makes up the difference
            between Druids and Fighters.  It gains bonuses to STR, DEX and CON
            (although these SET those stats to 19, 16 and 15, which could be a step
            down).  Furthermore its weapon is considered a +3 weapon, meaning
            that you don't have to find a good weapon for your shapeshifter.
            However, it is the Greater Werewolf ability (level 13) that makes this
            class sparkle.  As the Greater Werewolf your STR, DEX, CON are 21, 20
            and 25, which are some great bonuses.  The G. Werewolf hits as a +4,
            has 3 attacks per round and the 25 CON allows him to automatically
            regenerate.
    
      Con:  Except you still can't cast spells while hiding as a Werewolf, meaning
            that you are either devoted ENTIRELY to melee, or ENTIRELY to
            spellcasting, which is somewhat similar to a Fighter/Mage wearing
            armor.  In the middle of a battle you can't cast spells because you
            are stuck with the armor.  The same goes here, you can't cast spells
            because you are stuck as a werewolf.
    
            Second, you can't wear any armor at ALL.  Which means that if you want
            to survive any battle, you MUST turn yourself into a werewolf.  Which
            also has the effect that you will cast very few spells in battle.  And
            since Druids are more "battle" oriented than Clerics, that seems a
            little odd to me.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, but you can always cast Summoning spells BEFORE
                             the battle, turn yourself into a werewolf and leap
                             into the fray.  Further, with spells like Iron Skins
                             you can beef up your defenses, THEN turn into a
                             Werewolf.
    
            Finally even the Greater Werewolf has a pitiful AC.  Reaching at best
            -1 on its own.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  True, but the werewolf can wear rings and cloaks.  And
                             the Shapeshifter Druid can wear bracers.  AC isn't
                             that big of a problem.
    
    
    ··Avenger
    ---------
    
      Grade:  B- ... Better than a Druid, but not by much
    
      Best Races:  Must be human or half-elf
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Go for Scimitars and Quarterstaff.  Sword and Shield Style if
                      you go with Scimitars, Two Handed style if you go for
                      Quarterstaff.  The best staff in the game is one that only
                      Druids can use.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 14    ToB:  31
    
      General Information:
    
        A member of a special sect within the Druidic order, a druid of this type
        is dedicated to fighting those who would defile nature. Avengers have
        powers the average druid does not; additional abilities that have been
        earned through extensive rituals, a process that is very physically
        draining.
    
        Advantages:
          - May shapechange into normal forms, as well as those of sword spider,
            baby wyvern and fire salamander.
          - 6 mage spells are added to his repertoire, all the way up to 6th level.
            These are listed below:
              - 1st: Chromatic Orb
              - 2nd: Web
              - 3rd: Lightning Bolt
              - 4th: Improved Invisibility
              - 5th: Chaos
              - 6th: Chain Lightning
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not wear better than leather armor.
          - On character creation, he receives a -2 to strength and constitution.
    
      Pro:  Aside from the obvious benefits of getting new Froms to shapechange to,
            the real benefit here are the 6 extra mage spells.  These are all
            available from the very beginning of the game, which is good for the
            powerful spells of Chaos and Chain Lightning.  True, these must be
            memorized as normal Priest spells, but it does add a lot of variety
            to the Druid spell set.  Chromatic Orb gives the druid a good 1 enemy
            attack spell.
    
            As for the new Forms for the shapechanger in your druid, they are nice,
            but nothing fabulous.  The Fire Salamander can shoot out three small
            "fireballs" (think Melf's Minute Meteors) and is naturally resistant
            to fire.  The Sword Spider gets you a 5 good attacks per round.
    
      Con:  Yes the new spells are nice.  Chromatic Orb in particular is great to
            have.  But Web?  The first level spell Entangle does the same thing.
            Improved Invisibility?  Nice, but when would you ever need to be
            invisible (if you wanted to simply not get attacked, while you summon
            forth monsters to fight for you, Sanctuary can do that just as well).
            Chaos is neat, but is no better than Confusion, I.e. all it does is
            make the enemies wander around.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, and while the monsters wander around, your party
                             can move in and kill them.
    
                             Web isn't like Entangle - the save -3 instead of +2 
                             like entangle, and entangle just stops enemies from 
                             walking, allowing archers and mages to keep doing 
                             their stuff, while web stops enemies from doing 
                             anything at all. (Xander77)
    
              Con Response:  Assuming the spell works in the first place.  Most
                             enemies you would most like to get this spell to work
                             on, manage to avoid its effects.  And even if it does
                             work, confused monsters have a tendency to attack
                             back when they are hit.
    
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fighter
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  B- ... Still a good class, but better off with a kit or multiclass
    
      Best Races:  Human (to dual class later), Half-Orc (for the 19 STR, CON),
                   Dwarf (for the 19 CON), Elf (for the +1 with swords/bows)
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Long Swords or Katanas.  Then take that all the way up to
                      5 points.  Then probably want to get 2 Weapon style.  If
                      not, go for Sword and Shield style for the missile defense.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 19   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        The fighter is a champion, swordsman, solider and brawler.  He lives or
        dies by his knowledge of weapons and tactics.  Fighters can be found at the
        front of any battle, contesting toe-to-toe with monsters and villains.  A
        good fighter needs to be strong and healthy if he hopes to survive.
    
        Advantages:
          - Can use any weapon or armor
          - Can become a Grand Master at any weapon
    
        Disadvantages:
          - none
    
      Pro:  Even with all the fancy kits around, the plain fighter is still an
            excellent choice for both the newbie and the seasoned veteran alike.
            Gets more HP's than most other classes, levels up faster than Rangers
            or Paladins, the ONLY class that can achieve Grand Mastery (even though
            that's not as powerful as it once was).  Can also wear any armor, or
            equip any weapon.
    
      Con:  Grand Mastery matters far less in BG2 than it did in IWD or BG.  And
            since G. Mastery was the main reason to take a fighter, the fighter is
            significantly weaker without it.  How is Grand Mastery weaker?  Here is
            the old proficiency chart from BG:
    
              points spent          to hit bonus        damage bonus      attacks
                1 (Proficient)           0                   0               1
                2 (Specialized)         +1                  +2              3/2
                3 (Master)              +3                  +3              3/2
                4 (High Master)         +3                  +4              3/2
                5 (Grand Master)        +3                  +5               2
    
            Here is how things were changed in BG2:
    
              points spent          to hit bonus        damage bonus      attacks
                1 (Proficient)           0                   0               1
                2 (Specialized)         +1                  +2              3/2
                3 (Master)              +2                  +2              3/2
                4 (High Master)*        +2                  +3              3/2
                5 (Grand Master)        +2                  +4              3/2
    
                * Improves Speed of weapon by 1, Grand Master by 3
    
              Between "Specialized" and "Grand Master" there USED to be +2 to hit
              and +3 damage, not to mention an extra 1/2 attack.  Now there is only
              +1 to hit, +2 damage and a little extra speed.  So you spend 3 whole
              points, and get very little.  The result of this is that the
              plain fighter is less useful than he used to be.  This almost
              necessitates going to one of the fighter kits, or even the barbarian,
              rather than go through the normal fighter.  At least the kits have
              extra bonuses that make up for this loss. (Can you imagine the best
              person in the world at something getting beat by someone who had only
              some marginal skill?  That is what this seems like to me.)
    
              You're better off going for a Kit or a Multiclass.  The game almost
              seems designed to discourage a plain fighter.
    
      Useful Multiclasses:
                        __
        Fighter/Cleric    |
        Fighter/Thief     |__ (these are discussed in the other class's section)
        Fighter/Druid     |
        Fighter/Mage    __|
        Kensai/Mage -- Since neither Kensai nor Mages can wear armor this is a
                       natural fit. (Fighter/Mages CAN wear armor, but not cast
                       spells at the same time)  This way you get all the bonuses
                       of a Kensai (+1 to hit and damage every 3 levels) and can
                       cast spells.  ONLY available through Dual classing a human
                       with 15 STR and 17 INT.
        Kensai/Thief -- Thieves work better without armor anyway.  Also because
                        Kensai get bonuses to hit and damage, and have the kai
                        shot, their backstabs could be tremendous.  Only available
                        through Dual classing a human with 15 STR and 17 DEX.
    
    
    ··Kensai
    --------
    
      Grade:  A ... A great fighter
    
      Best Races:  Human (to dual class later), Half-Orc (for the 19 STR, CON),
                   Dwarf (for the 19 CON), Elf (for the +1 with swords/bows)
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Long Swords or Katanas.  Then take that all the way up to
                      5 points.  Then you'll probably want to get 2 Weapon style.
                      If not, go for Single Weapon style for the extra defense.
                      If you are going for the Kensai/Mage, make sure to go for
                      Katanas for Dak'kon's Zerth blade.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 19   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This class is also known as the Sword Saint, and consists of a warrior who
        has been specially trained to be one with his sword. They are deadly and
        fast and trained to fight without encumbrance.
    
        Advantages:
          - +1 to hit and +1 damage for every three levels.
          - -2 bonus to AC.
          - -1 bonus to speed factor for every 4 levels.
          - May use Kai ability one time per day for every 4 levels (starts at 1st
            level with one use). This ability lasts 10 seconds and makes all the
            attacks do maximum damage.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not use missile weapons.
          - May not wear armor.
          - May not wear gauntlets or bracers.
    
      Pro:  There are a lot of good things about the Kensai.  First and foremost
            we're starting from a Fighter, which leaves open the possibility of
            Grand Mastery, which although isn't what it used to be, is still good.
    
            Second, the Kensai gains +1 to hit and +1 damage every 3 levels.  This
            is huge.  By level 18 you could have +6 to hit and +6 damage and this
            is on TOP of what a Fighter would normally get. (At level 18 your
            THAC0 would be 2 normally, add in the +3 for 18/00 STR, +2 for weapon
            mastery and +6 for kensai bonus and your THAC0 would be -9... before
            even adding in the weapon bonuses!  If you're using a +4 sword, your
            THAC0 could be -13!)
    
            Speed factor also improves every 4 levels.  What does this mean?  That
            your Kensai will almost always hit the enemy, before the enemy hits
            him back.  With the extra damage (and possible dual wield) it means
            you may KILL the enemy before he ever hits you!
    
            Kai ensures that for the next 10 seconds, all your hits do maximum
            damage.  If you are using a 1D10+2 Dak'kon's Katana, then all your
            hits will do 12 damage (rather than randomly rolling between 3 and 12).
    
            Finally, the Kensai makes for some of the best dual class combinations
            in the game (see above).
    
      Con:  The Kensai cannot wear armor.  The Kensai cannot wear bracers.  Aside
            from the -2 AC bonus you get at the start of the game, your AC never
            ever improves.  The Monk's AC improves every 2 levels.  Even the
            Swashbuckler's AC improves every 5 levels, but the poor Kensai is
            stuck with cruddy AC.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, but with good weaponry and high levels, your
                             Kensai can obliterate the enemy without putting his
                             life in danger.  Also, the Kensai can wear rings, 
                             cloaks, boots and amulets.  Finally there is the 
                             Shield Amulet that can help protect the Kensai.  It 
                             comes with 40 or so charges, more than enough to last 
                             the entire game.
    
    ··Berserker
    -----------
    
      Grade:  B+ ... A good fighter
    
      Best Races:  Human (to dual class later), Half-Orc (for the 19 STR, CON),
                   Dwarf (for the 19 CON), Elf (for the +1 with swords/bows)
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Long Swords or Katanas.  Then take that all the way up to
                      5 points.  Then probably want to get 2 Weapon style.  If
                      not, go for Sword and Shield style for the missile defense.
                      If you are going for the Berserker/Mage, make sure to go for
                      Katanas for Dak'kon's Zerth blade.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 19   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This is a warrior who is in tune with his animalistic side and, during
        combat, can achieve an ecstatic state of mind that will enable him to fight
        longer, harder and more savagely than any human has a right to. Berserkers
        tend to be barbarian-like in nature, but not always. Sometimes it is a
        conscious choice that a warrior in training makes. Regardless, opponents on
        the battlefield will be unsettled with they see the savage and inhuman
        elements of the berserker's personality. This class is common amongst
        dwarves, know to them as "battleragers."
    
        Advantages:
          - May use Enrage ability once per day per 4 levels. While enraged: +2 to
            hit, +2 damage, -2 AC. The berserker at this time is immune to charm,
            hold, fear, maze, imprisonment, stun and sleep. He also gains 15 hit
            points while enraged. These hit points are temporary, and are taken
            away at the end of his berserk spree, possibly killing the berserker.
            Enrage also makes him immune to level drain.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Becomes winded after berserking. While he's winded, he receives -2 to
            hit, -2 to damage and a +2 penalty to AC.
          - Cannot specialize in ranged weapons.
    
      Pro:  The berserker might at first seem like a poor imitation of the
            Barbarian, but in reality it's more like a cross between that and the
            Fighter.  Like the fighter, the Berserker can wear any armor, and any
            weapon.  He also can get 5 proficiency points in weaponry.  Further,
            he can "Enrage" to become a much more effective fighter.  Why is
            enrage so useful?  It is very comprehensive.
    
            Read the list of its immunities:  Charm, Hold, Fear, Maze, Imprisonment
            (very useful if you are fighting Kangaxx the Lich!), Stun and Sleep.
            In other words, your Berserker is immune to just about any negative
            effect.  Send him into any and all combat situations without worry.
            He won't get scared and run away.  Enrage also has the normal "neat
            battle improvements" such as +2 to hit damage and AC.  Your Berserker
            also gets +15 HP.  Sure, he loses those HP when the battlerage wears
            off, but in the mean time it allows him to fight longer and harder.
    
            Suppose that your Berserker had 100 HP and fought a battle without
            being Enraged.  Suppose that somewhere in the battle 101 damage is done
            to him and he dies.  At that point, the game is over.  Now using the
            Enrage you get 115 HP and can use that extra time to kill more enemies.
    
            Also the Hit Points are "temporary." What does this mean? Back to our
            100 HP guy who gets the extra 15 taking him to 115. He is then hit
            for 7 damage. When the rage wears off he is still taken back to 100.
            Why? Because the temporary hit points took the 7 damage out with them
            when they left. As long as you don't lose more than that 15 HP you
            gained, the temp HP will leave without a trace.
    
      Con:  But ask yourself, is Enrage really all that useful?  +2 to hit, damage
            and AC is nice, but the Kensai gets that NATURALLY, without having to
            enrage first.  Also Kensai get far past that later in the game (an 18th
            level Kensai gets +6 to hit and damage).  In fact, a level SIX Kensai
            gets the same exact bonuses.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, but Kensai can't wear armor, and Berserkers can.
                             Also, while Enraged a Berserker is immune to Charm,
                             Hold, Fear, Maze, etc., etc.!
    
            Further, when the Enrage ends you not only lose the 15 "extra" HP
            (possibly even killing you, which is quite devastating for a
            protagonist since the game ENDS when he dies), but you also are
            EXHAUSTED at the end of the rage. (results in a -1 to all their rolls,
            such as THAC0 and damage)  In battle going from +2, to -1, possibly
            before the enemy is even defeated, could be the difference between
            winning and losing.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Yes, but the Enrage lasts long enough to finish most
                             battles.
    
                             Also, Enrage will only kill you if you are dropped to
                             below 15 HP before it ends.
    
              Con Response:  Yes, but it only takes one instance of the Enrage
                             wearing off too early.  Suppose it happens while
                             fighting a dragon.
    
    
    ··Wizardslayer
    ---------------
    
      Grade:  C ... Specialist class
    
      Best Races:  Human (to dual class later), Half-Orc (for the 19 STR, CON),
                   Dwarf (for the 19 CON), Elf (for the +1 with swords/bows)
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Long Swords or Katanas.  Then take that all the way up to
                      5 points.  Then probably want to get 2 Weapon style.  If
                      not, go for Sword and Shield style for the missile defense.
                      If you are going for the Berserker/Mage, make sure to go for
                      Katanas for Dak'kon's Zerth blade.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 19   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This warrior has been specially trained by his sect to excel in hunting and
        attacking spellcasters of all kinds.
    
        Advantages:
          - For each successful hit on an opponent, 10% cumulative spell failure
            penalty is applied.
          - 2% magic resistance per level.
    
          ToB:
    
          - At 20th level, gets 5% magic res. every 2 levels
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not use any magic items except for weapons and armor.
    
      Pro:  Although the game itself says you only get 1% magic resistance per
            level, you actually gain 2% as stated above.  By the final level, 19,
            you will get 38% magic resistance, great for avoiding spells like
            magic missile and Abu Dalzim's Horrid Wilting.  Also, every time you
            hit a wizard, forevermore that wizard has a 10% chance that his next
            spell will fail.  Useful in this situation:  You hit a wizard, and his
            contingency spells activate giving him protection from your weapons.
            However he still has difficulty casting spells due to the 10% casting
            failure chance.
    
            On a strange sidenote, you can dual a wizardslayer to a mage.
    
      Con:  This is a loser kit.  First, the Monk gets more magic resistance.  Sure
            it doesn't kick in until the end, but by the end of the game you will
            get more resistance than the wizardslayer.  Second, even 38% resistance
            won't protect you from much.  A 5 point magic missile will do maybe 3
            damage instead.
    
            Secondly, if you can HIT a mage, his spell will fail anyway.  The 10%
            chance that his next spell will fail isn't going to help you much,
            since you will probably be killing that mage soon (if you can hit him,
            then his HP won't last long, will they?).  Thus that ability is almost
            completely wasted.  For this you lose the ability to wear magical
            items, such as Rings, Cloaks, Bracers, etc.  Just not worth it.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  There are many times that you Hit the mage, but don't
                             do damage. Stoneskin for instance. The spell failure
                             chance still applies.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mage
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  C+ ... Very useful, but take a kit or multi-class
    
      Best Races:  Human (to dual class later), Half-Orc (for the 19 STR, CON),
                   Dwarf (for the 19 CON), Elf (for the +1 with swords/bows)
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Quarterstaffs or Slings.  Stay away from daggers.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17      ToB: 31
    
      General Information:
    
        The mage strives to be a master of magical energies, shaping them and
        casting them as spells.  To do so, he studies strange tongues and obscure
        facts and devotes much of his time to magical research.  A mage must rely
        on knowledge and wit to survive.  Mages are rarely seen adventuring without
        a retinue of fighters and men-at-arms.  Because there are different types
        (or schools) of magic, there are different types of mages.  The generalist
        mage studies all types of magic and learns a wide variety of spells.  His
        broad range makes him well suited to the demands of adventuring.
    
        Advantages:
          - Can cast magic spells
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Cannot wear armor
          - Cannot use most weapons
    
      Pro:  Mages are a flat-out necessity in Baldur's Gate II.  You NEED a mage,
            and who better to be your party's mage, than your main character?  This
            way you get every possible spell all throughout the game and become
            as powerful as possible by the end of the game.
    
            Why are mages necessary?  To combat other mages, of course.  There are
            too many spells that can give a mage immunity to melee weapons, such
            as Stoneskin, Protection from Normal/Magical Weapons, etc.  And in
            order to even damage these protected mages, you need a mage of your
            own to remove their protections (via spells like Breach).  Secondly,
            mages help the party with protective spells of their own:  Haste,
            Protection fromm Magic, etc.
    
      Con:  Mages are nice, but plain mages are considerably weaker than Kit
            mages (Conjurer especially) or multi-class or dual-class mages.  A
            fighter mage has far more HP than a normal mage.  Mages, at best, can
            get a mere 6 HP per level.  Which means by the end of the game you
            can only get about 70 HP.  Since the game ends when the protagonist
            dies, you want a LOT of HP for him, and the mage just doesn't cut it.
    
            So, start with a human fighter (15 STR & 17 INT minimum) then dual
            to a mage.  Not only will you get lots more HP (a level 8 fighter could
            have 112 HP or so) but when you regain your fighter abilities (or
            Kensai/Berserker/Wizard Slayer) you can use better weapons, have full
            proficiencies, etc.  You still can't cast spells while wearing armor,
            but that isn't a serious problem.  Don't want a fighter?  There are
            also Thief/Mages and Cleric/Mages.
    
            Or, start with a Kit: Abjurer, Conjurer, Diviner, Enchanter,
            Illusionist, Invoker, Necromancer or Transmuter.  They do lose the
            ability to learn spells in their opposition school, however, they can
            cast +1 spell per spell level.  Oddly, dual classed mages gain this
            ability as well. (not multiclass, but dual class)
    
      Useful Multiclasses:
    
        Fighter/Mage -- Everyone's favorite multiclass.  Discussed in the Con
         A              above.
        Cleric/Mage  -- Can cast both Cleric and Mage spells.  Must be a Half-Elf.
         B+             Better warrior than a plain mage, and gets more HP as well,
                        but not as good as the fighter/mage. Can cast cleric spells
                        in armor, but not mage spells.
        Thief/Mage   -- One of the more interesting classes.  I find it better to
         B+             start with the human Swashbuckler (for the AC and to hit
                        bonuses), then dual at level 10 to mage (requires 15 DEX
                        and 17 INT).
    
    
    Mage Kits:
    ----------
    
      Mage specialists gain +1 spell per level, but can't cast spells in their
      opposition school.  Of all of these, I prefer Conjurer as Divination spells
      just aren't that great.  Examples of Divination would be Detect Invisibility,
      Know Alignment, Clairvoyance, etc.
    
                   Races                 Stat Required
    
      Abjurer      Human                 15 Wisdom
      Conjurer     Human, Half-Elf       15 Constitution
      Diviner      Any                   16 Wisdom
      Enchanter    Human, Half-Elf, Elf  16 Charisma
      Illusionist  Human, Gnome          16 Dexterity
      Invoker      Human                 16 Constitution
      Necromancer  Human                 16 Wisdom
      Transmuter   Human, Half-Elf       15 Dexterity
    
      Specialist     School                 Opposition School(s)
      Abjurer        Abjuration             Alteration
      Conjurer       Conjuration/Summoning  Divination
      Diviner        Divination             Conjuration/Summoning
      Enchanter      Enchantment/Charm      Evocation
      Illusionist    Illusion               Necromancy
      Invoker        Invocation/Evocation   Enchantment/Charm, Conjuration
      Necromancer    Necromancy             Illusion
      Transmuter     Alteration             Abjuration, Necromancy
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ··Wild Mage (Throne of Bhaal ONLY)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  B- ... a strange new take on the mage
    
      Best Races:  Elven, human
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Quarterstaffs or Slings.  Stay away from daggers.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 31
    
      General Information:
    
        Wild magic is a new type of magic that is characterized by powerful and
        dangerous surges and unpredictable effects.  Generally considered to be
        an unfortunate byproduct of the Time of Troubles, wild magic has recently
        begun to attract the attention of many a curious or scholarly wizard.
    
        Wild Mages are wizards who specialize in the study of wild magic.  They
        have access to spells to protect themselves from Wild Magic and bend it to
        their wills.  Wild magic is extermely unpredictable and should be used with
        caution.
    
        Advantages/Disadvantages:
    
          - Every time a spell is cast, there is a 5% chance of a Wild Surge
            effect.  These range from good to bad, and are improved by your casting
            level.
          - Every time you cast a spell, your effective casting level varies by
            +/- 5 levels.
          - Gain Chaos Shield, Nahal's Reckless Dweomer and Improved Chaos Shield
            to their spellbook.
          - Gets +1 spell per level, just like a Specialty Mage, but doesn't have
            an opposition school.
    
      Pro:  The wild mage is more powerful than meets the eye.  For starters, a
            newly created Wild Mage will have more spells in his spellbook than
            other types of mages.  Second, most of the Wild Surges are positive,
            and only improve the type of spell that is cast.  Some are even fun
            and amusing. (such as a cow being launched at the target)  Most of the
            negative Surges are minor things, such as the caster being Held.
            Negative surges are by far the minority.  Some Wild Surges are "wildly"
            useful, such as getting Refreshed as if rested (i.e. get all your
            spells back), and spell casting at double power.
    
            However, the real power of the Wild Mage is the spell Nahal's Reckless
            Dweomer, which allows you to cast ANY known spell in your spellbook!
            This can allow you to cast ANYTHING... from a simple 1st level spell!
            The tiny drawback of Nahal is that it also forces a Wild Surge, but
            even this is at a +15 roll (the higher surge numbers are generally
            better).  Using the Chaos Shields can improve the Wild Surge roll even
            further.
    
      Con:  2 things here, one, Wild Mages cannot be dual classed to anything.
            So, if you aren't much into Magic, you aren't going to like it much.
            Second, Wild Surges have many negative and weird consequences.  Some
            are: Caster becomes target of spell (really bad if you just cast
            Imprison, Flesh to Stone or Disintegrate!), Heal centered on target
            (healing the enemy, as it were) and so on.  Even if most of the Surges
            are beneficial, can you even survive one if it IS negative?  Any
            drawback that can kill you is fairly serious.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  That isn't a terribly likely scenario.  You would have
                             to have 3 things happen for that situation to arise:
                             One, be casting a spell that could kill you, and two,
                             have the 5% wild surge take effect, and three, that
                             surge just happens to be one that causes your spell to
                             backfire.  Add that up, and you're pretty safe.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Monk
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  A ... The most interesting class in the game
    
      Best Races:  must be Human
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Scimitar and 1 weapon style.  However, the Monk's best weapon
                      is his fists, which he uses only when you have no weapon
                      equipped.  He is automatically considered "proficient" in
                      no-weapon fighting.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 21   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        Monks are warriors who pursue perfection through contemplation as well as
        action. They are versatile fighters, especially skilled in combat without
        weapons or armor. Though monks cannot cast spells, they have a unique magic
        of their own. They channel a subtle energy, called ki, which allows them to
        perform amazing feats. The monk's best known feat is their ability to stun
        an opponent with an unarmed blow.
    
        Advantages:
          - The monk can make one unarmed attack per round; he gains one additional
            attack every 3 levels.
          - As the monk increases in levels, the damage his fists inflict does as
            well:
              - Level 1-2:   1-6
              - Level 3-5:   1-8
              - Level 6-8:  1-10
              - Level 9-14: 1-12
              - Level 15+:  1-20
          - A monk's natural armor class gets better as he goes up in levels. His
            armor class starts off at 9, and then decreases by 1 for every 2
            levels.
          - Stunning blow, once per day for every 4 levels. All attacks in the next
            6 seconds force the victim to save or be stunned. Note: This special
            ability automatically modifies a monk's normal attack, no targeting
            needs to be done.
          - Monks have the Deflect Missiles ability. This gives them a -1 to their
            AC vs missiles for every 3 levels.
          - The monk gains a +2 to save vs. spells.
          - A monk starts off moving at +2 move, then +1 move every 5 levels.
          - 5th level: Immunity to all diseases, and cannot be Slowed or Hasted.
          - 7th level: Lay on Hands to heal 2 hit points per level.
          - 8th level: -1 to speed factor.
          - 9th level: +1 to all saves. Immune to charm. The monk's fist is
            considered a +1 weapon (+2 at 12th, +3 at 15th).
          - 11th level: Immune to poison.
          - 12th level: Another -1 to speed factor.
          - 13th level: Quivering Palm spell once per day. This spell gives them
            one hand attack. If they hit an opponent, the opponent must save or
            die.
          - 14th level: The monk gains 3% magic resistance per level (ie. 42% at
            14th level).
          - 20th level: Immune to non-magical weapons.
    
          ToB:
    
          - 21st level:  +1 AC
          - 24th level:  +2 AC
          - 25th level:  Fists become +4 weapons
          - 27th level:  +3 AC
          - 30th level:  +4 AC
          - 35th level:  +5 AC
          - 40th level:  +6 AC
    
        Disadvantages:
          - The monk cannot wear armor.
          - A monk can only uses weapons available to the thief class (except 2
            handed).
    
          ToB:
    
          - Magic Resistance capped at 78%
    
      Pro:  Just one look at the massive "Advantages" list gives you an idea on how
            powerful this class is.  Let's go through the better abilities, in no
            particular order.
    
            First, although the Monk can wear no armor (actually, with the proper
            stats, he CAN wear Keldorn's default armor), he has a natural AC that
            improves 1 AC point every 2 levels.  His AC starts at 9 and continues
            to improve.  At the beginning of the game (Level 7 or 8) you'll have
            6 Base AC.  By the 21st (and final) level his AC will be at -1.  Then
            add into that the DEX bonus (possibly +4 to AC) and you get -5, then
            realize you can wear Cloaks, Rings and so forth and maybe you drop your
            AC down to -7 or -8.  As such, the only time you will worry about AC is
            at the very beginning of the game, as soon as you start gaining levels,
            your monk toughens up.
    
            Secondly, the monk requires no weapon to be deadly.  At the start of
            the game, his fists are as efficient as a Katana (1d10), at level 9
            they improve to Greatsword level (1d12 +1) and by the end of the game
            it's up to the level of TWO katanas (1d20 +3).  Not only that, but you
            gain 1/2 attack every 3 levels.  This means you start the game with 2
            attacks, and by level 9 you get 2.5, 12 has 3 attacks, 15 3.5, and at
            level 18 you get the final 4 attacks per round.  (4 * (1*20 +3) = 92)
            All this adds up to a possible maximum of 92 damage per 6 seconds of
            combat, without even using any weapon at all.
    
            The Monk runs on the Priest experience table, meaning two things, they
            level up faster than the Fighter and can get up to a higher level as
            well.  (Fighters max out at level 19, Monks can get up to 21)
    
            The Monk has a great many special abilities, immunities and so forth.
            It has the Stunning Blow that stuns an enemy for the next 6 seconds.
            Not the best of abilities, but a better one comes later at level 13
            when he gains the Quivering Palm attack, which can automatically kill
            any monster, including dragons. (the target can Save, of course)
            Further, the Monk is immune to all sorts of things (at various levels):
            Disease, Haste (not good), Slow, Charm and Poison.  Monks can Lay On
            Hands to heal themselves at 2 HP/level, for a Maximum of 42 HP at the
            end of the game (and about 14 at the start).  The best abilities come
            at the end when the Monk gains Magic Resistance (14th level) and
            immunity to all non-magical weapons (20th level).
    
            These are just the most significant abilities.  Don't forget that since
            Monks are somewhat Priests, they can cast Priest spells, not from
            memory but from Scrolls.  Which means that if you buy the scroll ahead
            of time, your Monk could Raise Dead, Heal, or any number of functions.
            The monk can also: Find Traps (not disarm, just find), Hide in Shadows,
            and moves faster.
    
      Con:  The only real problem with monks are how weak they are at the start of
            the game.  They start with an AC of about 5 (with the DEX bonus, of
            course) and can wear no armor.  This makes them weak as a kitten in any
            battle.  It won't be long before your Monk has to disengage from combat
            and come hide.
    
            Although it is nice to have such deadly weapons without having to
            actually buy or equip anything, you must realize that at best, these
            are +3 weapons, and there are several monsters that require +4 or more
            to hit.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  There are very few monsters that require a +4 to hit.
                             Kangaxx is one.  And you should have other people in
                             your party who can use +4 and +5 weaponry.  Remember,
                             at 1d20+3, the monk's DEFAULT weapon is the most
                             powerful weapon in the game.  The next most powerful,
                             Carsomyr is a 1d12+5, meaning the monk does 6 more
                             damage.
    
            The Monk cannot be Hasted, which can result in some odd problems when
            you haste your entire party.  While everyone else is running at twice
            the speed and getting +1 attack/round, the Monk is now moving at 2/3
            the speed of everyone else and getting behind.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  A VERY small price to pay for all the Monk's wonderful
                             abilities.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Paladin
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  B ... Very versatile
    
      Best Races:  must be Human
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Two Handed Sword and Two Handed Style.  This is due to the
                      Holy Avenger Sword, the best weapon in the game, and one that
                      only Paladins can wield.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        A paladin is a warrior bold and pure, the exemplar of everything good and
        true.  Like the fighter, the paladin is a man of combat.  However, the
        paladin lives for the ideals of righteousness, justice, honesty, piety and
        chivalry.  He strives to be a living example of these virtues so that
        others might learn from him as well as gain by his actions.
    
        Advantages:
          - Can specialize in a weapon
          - Can use any weapon, wear any armor
          - Lay on Hands ability to heal quickly
          - Can Turn Undead
          - +2 to all saving throws
          - Can instantly cast Protection from Evil and Detect Evil
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Must be human
          - Must be Lawful Good
          - If you do any "Evil" act, you lose your Paladin status
    
      Pro:  The Paladin is a great choice for your main character.  Firstly because
            the Paladin REQUIRES a high charisma (which is a good thing for the
            main character to have) and secondly because he is a great warrior,
            who can use the best weapon in the game, the Holy Avenger (1d12+5).
            The fact that he cannot achive Grand Mastery is offset by the fact that
            the proficiency chart was "nerfed" from BG to BG2, meaning that there
            is only a difference of +1 to hit and +2 to damage between Specialized
            and Grand Mastery.  The Paladin makes this up when he uses two handed
            weapon style as that gives +1 damage and doubles the chance of a
            critical hit.
    
            Paladins at level 9 can cast Priest spells.  They only learn up to
            level 4 spells and can only cast (at most) 3 per level.  However, this
            is more of a bonus than the feature.  Lay On Hands allows you to
            quickly heal ANYONE (unlike the Monk lay on hands, Paladins can heal
            more than just themselves).  And also unlike Monks (or Kensai) the
            Paladin can wear any armor he pleases.
    
            The +2 to saving throws is invaluable, as it helps keep the Paladin
            from getting killed by Beholders and Mind Flayers.  This bonus is
            furthered along by the Paladin's Protection from Evil ability, which
            gives another +2 to saving throws.
    
      Con:  First, the stats the Paladin must take are ludicrous.  Paladins
            require 12 STR, 9 CON, 13 WIS and 17 CHA.  Paladins DO NOT gain extra
            priest spells due to WIS, which makes that almost totally useless a
            stat for them to have.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  High WIS also results in good "magical defense"...
                             although I'm not entirely clear on how that helps you.
    
            Due to the large number of stats that they MUST have, there are less
            stats that can be stolen from to give to other stats.  You can't drop
            CHA down to 3 and give that to DEX, for example.  You have to roll the
            "dice" longer to get better rolls.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  A point which doesn't really affect the Paladin's
                             performance in the game.
    
            Yes, the Paladin can cast priest spells, but this is almost a wasted
            ability.  The paladin at best gets 3 spells per level to cast, which
            won't allow you to do much of anything.  Further, when a spell says
            "does x damage/level", and your paladin is on level 15, it actually
            considers you on level SIX for the purposes of spellcasting.  The
            Paladin doesn't gain spellcasting until level 9, at which point, he
            is considered level ONE when casting spells.  Very weak.  A Paladin
            will never ever replace a good Cleric.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  He isn't there to REPLACE, he is there to SUPPORT.
    
              Con Response:  A high level cleric has more than enough spells per
                             level not to even need the support.  If you have both
                             a high level cleric and paladin in your party, you
                             will almost NEVER use the paladin for the purposes of
                             spellcasting.  At level 19, the cleric can cast 9
                             first level spells... does your party really need the
                             3 more your paladin could get you?
    
            Also bear this in mind before becoming a Paladin, if at any time your
            party's reputation dips below 10, your Paladin is considered "Fallen"
            and loses all his special abilities.
    
            Finally, if you want to become a Paladin, why not use one of the very
            well done Kits?  Inquisitor is a great kit, but you can also go for
            the less "radical" Cavalier or Undead Slayer.
    
    
    ··Cavalier
    ----------
    
      Grade:  B+ ... Very versatile
    
      Best Races:  must be Human
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Two Handed Sword and Two Handed Style.  This is due to the
                      Holy Avenger Sword, the best weapon in the game, and one that
                      only Paladins can wield.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        This class represents the most common picture of the knight: the gentleman
        warrior who epitomizes honor, courage, and loyalty. He is specialized in
        battling 'classical' evil monsters such as demons and dragons.
    
        Advantages:
          - Bonus +3 to hit and +3 damage against all demonic and draconic
            creatures.
          - May cast Remove Fear 1 time per day per level.
          - Immune to fear and morale failure.
          - Immune to poison.
          - 20% resistance to fire.
          - 20% resistance to acid.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not use missile weapons. (they CAN use throwing Axes, however)
    
      Pro:  First we'll start with the Cavalier's "disadvantage", that he cannot
            use missile weapons.  Why would you use a Paladin for missile attacks?
            Paladins are frontline fighters!  They have lots of HP, can wear the
            best armors, and have the best melee weapon in the game, the Holy
            Avenger.  You want thieves, bards and mages stuck in the back throwing
            objects at the enemy; you want the paladin up front smiting the foes
            with his mighty greatsword.
    
            The Cavalier is just like a Paladin, but with some very nice bonuses
            to some of the most difficult enemies in the game: Demons and even more
            so, Dragons.  There are 3 evil dragons in the game to kill, and having
            +3 to hit and damage against them is a great help.  (There are more
            demons, but they are quite a bit less difficult to defeat)  Being
            immune to fear is invaluable, as nothing is quite so annoying as
            watching your party run around afraid (usually due to a spell),
            dropping their weapons when they run.  Cavalier's don't run, so they
            won't drop their weapon.  Further, if the rest of your party DOES get
            "Feared", the Cavalier, who is immune to it, can cast Remove Fear to
            restore the party to normal.
    
      Con:  Yes, the Cavalier is an overall improvement to the Paladin class.
            However, as was stated above, there are only THREE dragons in the game.
            Yes, dragons are somewhat difficult to defeat, but a +3 to hit and
            damage bonus on ONE character probably won't make a deciding
            difference.  It will certainly help, but the rest of the party doesn't
            get the bonus.  Further, although there are more demons in the game,
            they aren't that difficult to defeat (with the possible exception of
            Pit Fiends).  In the entire game, battles with Dragons and Demons
            are about 3% of the total battles.  Do you really want bonuses that
            apply to only 3% of the game?
    
            You're probably better off as an Undead Slayer or as an Inquisitor.
    
    
    ··Undead Slayer
    ---------------
    
      Grade:  A- ... Very versatile
    
      Best Races:  must be Human
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Two Handed Sword and Two Handed Style.  This is due to the
                      Holy Avenger Sword, the best weapon in the game, and one that
                      only Paladins can wield.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        This holy avenger has honed his abilities towards the destruction of the
        undead and other unnatural creatures, and is immune to many of their more
        devastating abilities.
    
        Advantages:
          - +3 to hit and +3 damage vs. undead.
          - Immune to hold.
          - Immune to level drain.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not use Lay on Hands ability.
    
      Pro:  There are many more Undead in the game (especially Vampires) than there
            are Dragons, which makes the Undead Slayer a more logical choice in
            the game.  He gains +3 to hit and damage vs. ALL undead, is immune
            to Hold and Level Drain (one of the more annoying effects of vampires
            and other undead, drops your character temporarily by a level or two).
            Losing "Lay On Hands" is no great sacrifice as your party should still
            have a good cleric, and losing one healing spell won't be that great of
            a loss.
    
      Con:  Immunity to Hold and Level drain is good, but not great.  Hold is one
            of the easiest spells to dispel as it usually effects only one person
            at a time.  That makes it easy to have the mage quickly cast Dispel
            Magic and remove the Hold.  Level drain never really affected me all
            that adversely in any of the games I played.  Sometimes I lost many
            levels (4 or 5) to vampires, but it didn't really affect my ability to
            whack them mercilessly.  Plus, Level Drain is easily reversible with
            the Cleric spell Lesser Restoration.
    
            Having +3 vs. undead is still too limiting since you won't just be
            fighting undead, and when you are not, this character is even WEAKER
            than a paladin. (no Lay on Hands)
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  If you want to go Solo with a Paladin, immunity to
                             Hold is fairly essential, as is immunity to Level
                             Drain (as you won't have a cleric).
    
    
    ··Inquisitor
    ------------
    
      Grade:  A ... Very versatile, the best paladin class
    
      Best Races:  must be Human
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies:  Two Handed Sword and Two Handed Style.  This is due to the
                      Holy Avenger Sword, the best weapon in the game, and one that
                      only Paladins can wield.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        The inquisitor has dedicated his life to finding and eliminating
        practitioners of evil magic and defeating the forces of darkness, and his
        god has provided him with special abilities towards that end.
    
        Advantages:
          - May use Dispel Magic ability once per day per 4 levels (starts at 1st
            level with one use). The ability is used at a speed factor of 1 and
            acts at twice his actual level.
          - May cast True Sight once per day per 4 levels (starts at 1st level with
            one use).
          - Immune to Hold and Charm spells.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not use Lay on Hands ability.
          - May not cast priest spells.
          - May not turn undead.
          - May not use Cure Disease ability.
    
      Pro:  At first glance you might not see how I justify the Inquisitor as the
            best Paladin Kit.  We'll start at the disadvantages and explain how
            those aren't really.  First, Cure Disease.  There are not that many
            times in the game that you will get diseased.  Further, disease is not
            that devastating an effect.  It damages a character far less than
            poison, so your character may take 5-10 HP damage.  Plus, if you have
            a Cleric, that should be able to cover it.  Second, no priest spells.
            Again having a good cleric means that you don't need the extra 3 spells
            at all.  A good high level cleric can cast 7-9 spells per level, and
            having an extra 3 is nice, but not at all necessary.  Even if you had
            the extra spells, you might never even use them.  Lay on Hands is just
            a one-shot healing spell.  Losing Turn Undead isn't good, but again a
            Cleric does Turn Undead better.  You don't need two people who can
            Turn Undead, it isn't a cumulative effect.
    
            So, since the disadvantages aren't really that bad, that leaves us with
            the advantages.  First you are immune to Hold and Charm, preventing
            almost totally your paladin from being taken magically out of the
            battle.  But the best advantages are the other two, being able to cast
            Dispel Magic at twice his ACTUAL level and True Sight.  Since he can
            cast Dispel Magic at twice his level, that makes him the best magic
            dispeller in the game.  He can dispel the most trickiest of
            enchantments from the best of wizards.  If everyone suddenly gets
            Charmed or Held, he can quickly dispel it.  Combine this with True
            Sight, which dispels illusions (Invisibility, Shadow Door, Mirror
            Image) and the Inquisitor is a great anti-mage warrior, freeing your
            mage up to cast offensive spells instead.
    
      Con:  Admittedly, the disadvantages are not that big a deal.  Yes, it is
            nice to be able to cast Priest spells, but hardly necessary for this
            character.  However, the Dispel Magic ability, the cornerstone of what
            makes the Inquisitor great, is a two-edged sword.  Yes, it will remove
            all negative enchantments on your party, and all positive enchantments
            on the enemy.  It will also remove all of your positive enchantments
            as well.  Did you haste the party?  Well that's gone.  Protection from
            Evil?  That's gone too.  Using such a mighty Dispel Magic is like using
            a Cloudkill, you must aim it right in order to avoid harming your own
            party.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ranger
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  C+ ... If you want a ranger, go with a Kit or multiclass
    
      Best Races:  Human, Elf or Half-Elf.  I'd take an Elf if you want a plain
                   Ranger as they get bonuses to Swords and Bows, and also have
                   high DEX scores, which brings another bonus to bows.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: Since you already start with 2 points in 2 weapon style, use
                     the rest of your points on whichever weapon you want to dual
                     wield, such as Scimitars or Long Swords.  Probably should
                     also take a few points in Short Bows.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        The ranger is a hunter and a woodsman.  He is skilled with weapons and is
        knowledgeable in tracking and woodcraft.  The ranger often protects and
        guides lost travelers and honest peasant-folk.  A ranger needs to be strong
        and wise in the ways of nature to live a full life.
    
        Advantages:
          - Racial Enemy (bonus to hit and damage when fighting that enemy)
          - Weapon Specialization (2 points in proficiencies)
          - Stealth (can hide in shadows)
          - Can cast Charm Person/Mammal
          - Can cast Druid spells at level 8
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Must be human or half-elven
          - Must be of a Good alignment.  If your reputation drops below 10, you
            lose your special abilities.
    
      Pro:  The Ranger is sort of a cross between a fighter and a druid.  He gets
            the extra attacks and good THAC0 of a fighter, and gets the druid
            spells at level 8.  His fighting abilities may seem lesser than a
            normal fighter, (can't get past 2 * in proficiency) however this is
            slightly offset by two things:  1) automatically starts with 2 * in
            2 weapon style, meaning you can spend your points elsewhere;
            2) proficiencies are quite a bit weaker in BG2 than they were in BG.
            (Between 2 * and 5 * in a weapon, you gain +1 to hit and +1 to damage,
            that is it)
    
            The Ranger also has the Racial Enemy, which is set by you at the
            beginning.  This bonus gives you a +4 bonus to your attack rolls
            (essentially a +4 to hit and damage) whenever you fight that type of
            monster.  Say, you pick Vampires to be your racial enemy.  Then
            whenever you fight a vampire, you get that +4 bonus.  By the way,
            the best Racial Enemy to pick in the game is probably Vampire.  This
            is very similar (albeit better) to what the Cavalier and Undead Slayer
            Paladin kits get as bonuses, except you get to pick what enemy you
            want the bonus for.  If you CHOSE Dragon, you would get a better bonus
            than the Cavalier got for Dragons.
    
            Since the Ranger can cast Druid spells at level 8 (very nearly the
            level you start the game at) you can probably get away with not even
            having a Druid in the party, and going for Clerics instead.  The
            Ranger's spellcasting is considerably weaker than a normal Druid (or
            even a Paladin), but you won't need to cast that many Druid spells
            anyway.
    
      Con:  The Racial Enemy is nice, but since you won't be using it that much it
            hardly is a great decider in becoming this class.  Typically you use
            Racial Enemy on the monster that gives you the MOST trouble, of which
            there are very few.  And what would you choose, anyway?  Dragons?
            Liches?  Vampires?  Of those, Vampires are the most plentiful, but
            they're hardly that great a threat.  Liches would probably be the
            wisest choice, but hitting a lich depends more on your mage getting
            his defenses lowered, than on a +4 bonus to THAC0.
    
            As for spellcasting, the Ranger is the weakest of all spellcasters.
            He can cast only up to level 3 Druid spells, getting 3 spells to cast
            a level.  That is at the END of the game, for most of the game he'll
            hardly have any spells to cast at all.  And he misses ALL of the good
            Druid spells, such as Summon Fire Elemental.  Your Ranger will be
            learning Cure Light Wounds, when your Cleric is learning Heal and
            other spells that make the Ranger's abilities obsolete.  Who needs to
            heal 4 HP or so, when you can COMPLETELY heal a target?  If you want
            the Druid spells so badly, start with a True Neutral Human Kensai
            (15 STR, 17 WIS & CHA) and dual to a Druid at level 9.  At that point
            you get +3 to hit and damage, which is considerably better than the
            Racial Enemy bonus (it applies to ALL monsters, rather than specific
            monsters).  Since Druids level up very fast, you'll only need 125,000
            experience to get to level 10 and reactivate the Kensai abilities.
            You will then have a better warrior AND a better spellcaster. (by the
            way, it takes 600,000 experience to reach level 10 as a Ranger)
    
            Finally, if you really want a Ranger, go for the Ranger/Cleric.  They
            have MUCH better spellcasting, and still have all the good qualities
            of the Ranger. (see below)
    
      Useful Multiclasses:
    
        Ranger/Cleric -- Gets all Druid AND Cleric spells, and is a better fighter
         A               than any Cleric.  Much more powerful magically as well
                         since he is the only character that can cast ALL priest
                         spells.  Use War Hammers for the Crom Faeyr at the end of
                         the game.
    
    
    ··Archer
    --------
    
      Grade:  A- ... The best Ranger kit
    
      Best Races:  Human, Elf or Half-Elf.  I'd take an Elf as they get bonuses to
                   Swords and Bows, and also have high DEX scores, which brings
                   another bonus to bows.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: Go for Grand Master in Short Bows (for the Tansheron's and
                     Gesen's short bows which require no ammunition), however you
                     could just as easily go for Long Bows, Crossbows or Slings.
                     As long as it is a missile type weapon, the Archer excels in
                     it.  You probably will want to also learn a melee weapon
                     (Long Sword, Two Handed Sword, whatever) and either Single
                     Weapon Style or Two Handed style.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        The archer is the epitome of skill with the bow. He is the ultimate
        marksman, able to make almost any shot, no matter how difficult. To become
        so skilled with the bow, the archer has had to sacrifice some of his
        proficiency with melee weapons and armor.
    
        Advantages:
          - +1 to hit and +1 to damage with any missile weapon for every 3 levels
            of experience.
          - Every 4 levels he gains the ability to make a called shot once per day.
            When he activates this ability, any shot made within the next 10
            seconds is augmented in the following manner (according to the level of
            the archer):
              - 4th level: -1 to THACO of target
              - 8th level: -1 to save vs magic of target
              - 12th: -1 to strength of target
              - 16th: +2 bonus to damage
    
        Disadvantages:
          - An archer can only become proficient in melee weapons; he may never
            specialize.
          - An archer cannot wear any metal armor.
    
          ToB:
    
          - At 18th level, the To Hit and Damage bonuses slow down to a rate of -1
            every 5 levels.
    
      Pro:  The Archer is THE missile weapons expert in the game.  He gains +1 to
            hit and damage every 3 levels, making him like the Kensai, but with
            bows instead of swords.  This works out to a +5 to hit and damage
            bonus by the end of the game.  Now, say you have an Elven Archer (+1
            to hit and damage with bows) with 19 DEX (+3 to hit and damage with
            bows) and you get a +9 to hit and damage bonus by the end of the game!
            Even at the start you get the +6 to hit and damage bonus.  Not only
            will your archer be able to snipe off anything he pleases, but he'll
            probably kill most things before they ever get to your party.
    
            Further the Archer has the Called Shot, which has some pretty cool
            cumulative effects.  At 4th level it will drop the THAC0 of the target
            when hit.  Now that monster has a harder time hurting your party.
            8th level you drop their save vs. magic, now your mages can affect
            them with charms, or whatnot.  Each effect is cumulative to the one
            before, so at 16th level, you do ALL the effects (-1 to opponent
            THAC0, save vs. magic, STR and +2 to your damage).  Called Shots last
            10 seconds, which is 1.66 rounds.  If you have 3 attacks per round
            you will get of 5 "called" shots in that time period.
    
      Con:  The Archer is limited to being JUST a ranged supporter of the party.
            His melee abilities are not much better than a Thief, and so he will
            never be anything but an Archer.  What happens when he runs out of
            arrows?  What happens if the enemy starts attacking you point-blank?
            You are in some serious trouble.
    
            This problem is compounded by the lack of armor that an Archer can
            wear:  no metal armor!  He can wear any LEATHER armor, but no chainmail
            splintmail or platemail!  Thusly the best armor he can wear is the
            Shadow Dragon scale, which counts as a leather armor.  Hope you have
            no one else who needs the armor, as there is only one.  Further, you
            have to fight a Shadow Dragon to get it!  Since your Archer is using
            a bow, he can't wear a shield, meaning his AC is going to be high.  If
            there are enemy archers fighting you, your Archer is going to take a
            hit.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Enemy archers tend to attack the person with the least
                             HP and/or your mage.  The Archer should have plenty
                             of HP to avoid getting targetted.  And having a bad
                             AC doesn't matter if you aren't on the frontline
                             getting attacked.
    
              Con Response:  And if the frontline collapses and the Archer is
                             attacked at melee?  He is quite a bit worse off than
                             an actual fighter.
    
    
    ··Beastmaster
    -------------
    
      Grade:  B- ... An odd conjurer-type of Ranger
    
      Best Races:  Human, Elf or Half-Elf.  I'd take an Elf as they get bonuses to
                   Swords and Bows, and also have high DEX scores, which brings
                   another bonus to bows.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: Go for Bows, (long or short), slings, or staves.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        This ranger is a wanderer, and is not comfortable in civilized lands. He
        maintains a natural affinity for animals; they are his friends and
        comrades-in-arms, and the Beast Master has a limited form of telepathic
        communication with them.
    
        Advantages:
          - +15% to stealth ability
          - Enhanced spell ability with regard to the following spells:
              - May cast the 4th level druid spell Animal Summoning I at 8th level.
              - May cast Animal Summoning II at 10th level.
              - May cast Animal Summoning III at 12th level.
              - May cast "Find Familiar" to get a familiar
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Cannot use metal weapons (such as swords, halberds, hammers or morning
            stars).
    
      Pro:  One thing that wasn't mentioned in the manual or in the game's kit
            information for the Beastmaster is the fact that the Beastmaster can
            cast (from the Special Abilities menu) the spell Find Familiar.  This
            works just like the Mage version, giving your character a little friend
            and the bonus HP as well.  This spell is very useful, so it is
            surprising that they don't mention it.
    
            The Beastmaster, in addition to the normal first 3 levels of druid
            spells, can also cast 3 higher level druid spells, the 3 animal
            summoning spells.  Using these you can increase your little force to
            an army.  Remember you can only have 5 summoned monsters at a time.
    
      Con:  Animal Summoning is among the weakest of the summoning spells, giving
            you creatures with small AC, attacks and so forth.  In other words,
            don't expect a big offensive boost from having these creatures.  Mostly
            you can simply use them as extra bodies to throw at other monsters.
            They won't help you kill the monster, but they will help keep the
            monster from killing you. (He'll be too busy killing your animals)
    
            More disturbingly, the Beastmaster cannot use metal weapons.  That
            limits him to using Clubs, Quarterstaffs, Bows, Darts and Slings.  If
            you plan to use the Beastmaster as an Archer, this isn't a problem,
            but if you need a melee warrior, you are in trouble.  There just aren't
            that many good Clubs in the game, and most the Quarterstaffs are for
            Clerics, Mages or Druids, very few for Rangers.
    
    
    ··Stalker
    ---------
    
      Grade:  B ... An odd mage-type of Ranger
    
      Best Races:  Human, Elf or Half-Elf.  I'd take an Elf as they get bonuses to
                   Swords and Bows, and also have high DEX scores, which brings
                   another bonus to bows.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: Go for Short Bows (for the Tansheron's and Gesen's short bows
                     which require no ammunition), however you could just as easily
                     go for Long Bows, Crossbows or Slings.  Also you will want to
                     also learn a melee weapon (Long Sword, Two Handed Sword,
                     whatever) and either Single Weapon Style or Two Handed style.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  34
    
      General Information:
    
        Stalkers serve as covert intelligence gatherers, comfortable in both
        wilderness and urban settings. They are the spies, informants, and
        interrogators, and their mastery of stealth makes them deadly opponents.
    
        Advantages:
          - +20% to stealth ability
          - May backstab for a lesser amount than the thief class (level 1-8: x1,
            level 9-16: x2, level 17+: x3)
          - Has access to three mage spells at 12th level. They are Haste,
            Protection from Normal Missiles and Minor Spell Deflection.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - May not wear armor greater than studded leather.
    
      Pro:  The Stalker is a Ranger with some thieving abilities thrown in (can
            backstab) as well as a few mage spells as well.  The result is strange.
            The Stalker's main attack should probably be to hide in shadows, then
            backstabe the enemy.  At the later levels (12) when he gains his mage
            spells, you can Haste yourself, and cast the other protections as well.
    
      Con:  The Stalker, due to his sneaky nature, must wear no armor greater than
            leather armor.  This would normally not be a problem, except that it
            prohibits him from wearing any decent armor.  Again, the best armor
            to be worn is the Shadow Dragon Scale, that all-purpose AC 1 leather
            armor.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sorcerer
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  B ... A strange version of the mage.
    
      Best Races:  I'd go with Elf, but that's just me.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: Go for Quarterstaffs then Daggers and Slings.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 17   ToB:  31
    
      General Information:
    
        Sorcerers are practitioners of magic who were born with the innate ability
        to cast spells.  It is thought that the blood of some powerful creature
        flows through their veins; perhaps they are the spawn of the gods
        themselves, or even dragons walking in humanoid form.  Regardless the
        Sorcerer's magic is intuitive rather than logical.  They know fewer spells
        than mages, and acquire spells more slowly, but they can cast spells more
        often and have no need to select and prepare spells ahead of time.
        Sorcerers cannot specialize in magic the way mages do.
    
        Advantages:
          - Spellcasting without memorization
          - Automatically learn spells
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Cannot wear armor
          - Knows fewer spells than the mage
          - Cannot learn spells from scrolls
    
      Pro:  The strength of the Sorcerer (as opposed to the mage) is in his
            versatility.  Sorcerers do not need to memorize spells ahead of time,
            they are simply given a set number of times they can cast spells.
            For example, by the end of the game, you will get 6 castings per spell
            level.  In a battle, you might use all 6 level 1 castings on Magic
            Missiles or Chromatic Orbs, or out of battle you could use 6
            identifies.  There is no need to re-memorize spells for different
            tasks, as long as you know the spell, you can cast it.
    
            Another benefit is that you don't have to learn spells from a scroll.
            When you go up in level, and can learn new spells, you simply pick from
            the ENTIRE list of spells on that level.  This means that some rare
            spells (Summon Hakeashar, Project Image etc.) are not at all rare for
            the Sorcerer to get. Plus if you suddenly lose your stoneskin (for
            instance), you can probably get a new stoneskin up instantly. Again
            and again.
    
            In comparison to a regular mage, the sorcerer can cast more spells per
            spell level / character level.  For example, right from the start a
            sorcerer can cast 3 level 4 spells while a normal mage might just be
            limited to one. (Chris Swartz)
    
      Con:  At best the Sorcerer can know (at most) FIVE spells per spell level.
            What if there are 7 spells in a level you want?  Then you must pick and
            choose.  This often leads to having a very specialized spell list.
            Usually the sorcerer finds himself unable to get a lot of good spells,
            and so focuses on a few great spells.  So, you might end out with
            nothing but protective and protection-removing spells, while a mage
            gets 14+ spells per spell level to learn and can cast offensive and
            summoning spells as well.  In other words, the Sorcerer will not have
            enough SPELLS in his spellbook to be powerful.  Further, if you pick a
            BAD spell, you are stuck with it!
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  Sorcerers can still cast directly from Scrolls.  Most
                             times this will counter the fact that you have less
                             spells to choose from.  Those rare spells that you
                             need to cast only once or twice can then be cast from
                             scroll, rather than wasting a full slot on it.
                             (Limited Wish comes to mind here)
    
                             As far as picking a BAD spell goes:  1) You might
                             learn how to use that spell effectively, and 2) With
                             a little planning, you will know what spells to take.
    
            Also not being able to learn spells from scrolls has another negative
            impact: the loss of experience from learning spells. (Chris Swartz)
    
            Consider it another way:  Almost no one playing BG2 the first time will
            know the ins and outs of every spell.  Even if you have played the game
            before, there are still probably many spells you never used.  This goes
            up exponentially at the higher levels where you have very little time
            to learn how to use these very cool spells.  At the end of the game,
            your Sorcerer can pick a mere TWO level 8 spells to cast.  TWO!  There
            are 13 level 8 spells to pick from.  Without intimate of these 13
            spells, how do you propose to choose which spells you want?  I might
            recommend one spell, say, Abi Dalzim, but you might not play well with
            area effect spells (maybe your people keep wandering into it).  If you
            listened to a recommendation like that, you'd get a spell that while
            useful, might not be useful to YOU.
    
            Another factor weighing against the Sorcerer is the fact that they
            cannot multi- or dual-class.  This means that they will always have
            fewer HP, STR and all the good stats of anyone else.  A Fighter/Mage
            is still a better choice.  You get to learn more spells, and are a much
            better offensive machine.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  True the sorcerer cannot dual in BG II, but magic is
                             so important in this game that you are really not at
                             any disadvantage having one character soley devoted to
                             being a magic user. (Chris Swartz)
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thief
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Grade:  C- ... Useful in a variety of situations, but kits are better
    
      Best Races:  I'd go with a Halfling as they get better thieving abilities.
                   If you want to dual later to a mage, go with Human.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: I'd take as many points as possible in short bows, and
                     whatever melee weapon you like.  Then go for Single Weapon
                     style.  When you switch from your bow to your melee weapon
                     you get the AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        To accomplish his goals, for good or ill, the thief is a skilled pilferer.
        Cunning, nimbleness and stealth are his hallmarks.  Whether he turns his
        talent against innocent passers-by and wealthy merchants or oppressors and
        monsters is a choice for the thief to make.  There are seven thief
        abilities in Baldur's Gate II.  At first level a thief character will
        receive 30 points to allocate among his abilities.  Every level thereafter
        he will gain an extra 25 points.  Thieving abilities are also improved
        by DEX and Race bonuses.
    
        Advantages:
          - Thieving Abilities:  Open Locks, Find Traps, Pick Pockets, Move
            Silently, Hide in Shadows, Detect Illusions and Set Traps.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Cannot be Lawful Good
          - Cannot wear armor greater than Studded Leather, or Bucklers
          - Limited weaponry choices, can only be proficient
    
      Pro:  Thieves are 100% necessary in Baldur's Gate II.  There are just too
            many traps to be found out, doors to be unlocked, and so forth to be
            able to go through the game without a good thief.  Also, the game only
            provides one pure thief NPC, so your best chance of getting the best
            thieving abilities, is to create your own thief.
    
            SPOILERS BELOW
    
            Little Bear offers more Pro-Thief arguments:  I found my imported
            character from BG to be incredibly powerful. She's a fighter dual
            classed over to a thief early in BG (didn't use any kits importing, so
            my benefits were mostly higher HP, a better THAC0 and weapon mastery).
            Maxing out thief abilities is not a bad thing. Backstab (Hide in
            Shadows/Move Silently) is still very powerful in this game. Once I
            found the boots of speed, my character was the ultimate strike and fade
            assault team, typically cleaning out areas while the rest of the party
            napped down the hall. Illithids, vampires, and mages all can be
            backstabbed before defensive contingencies kick in, just watch out for
            True Seeing. Setting traps is wonderful, as has already been noted, but
            there are still fights after you lose Yoshimo (who I didn't keep in my
            party anyway). Traps ended the fight with Irenicus in Suldanessellar
            before it even started - he died before he had a chance to attack my
            party. The final battle with the Slayer was a breeze after traps
            knocked it down to Badly Injured. With Find/Remove Traps I never took
            any trap damage unless I was not expecting to have to search for one.
            I don't think I even need to mention the benefits of Open Locks.
            Pickpocketing can usually net you some nice treasures. Detect Illusion
            was the only skill I didn't use much, but I typically brought my other
            skills up to 120+ to account for difficulty modifiers, so it never got
            very high until the end of the game.
    
            END SPOILER
    
            Little Bear continues:  My only "tough" battles were with things I
            couldn't backstab (beholders and dragons mostly) or before I started
            getting decent equipment (Kangaxx). Once your thief gets the boots of
            speed, a damage booster (magic weapon, girdle of strength, etc.), and
            some magic protection, you could almost play the game solo. In fact,
            once I had the cloak of spell reflection and a scroll of magic
            protection (Elder Orbs' Imprisonment spell bypasses the cloak), I
            pretty much cleaned house in the beholder city by my lonesome.
    
            Edward Chang has a ToB note on Thieves: (some ToB SPOILERS)
    
              IN GENERAL thieves are probably now the most powerful class in the
              game for two reasons: Use Any Item and the Spike Trap. Use Any Item
              lets you do some nifty things, such as equip Paladin's Bracers or
              Helms of Defense, for instance. Also, you can now back up your mage
              by getting your thief to cast spells (from scrolls).
              Assassinate/Greater Evasion gives your thief some fighting edge. And
              finally, the spike trap. Even though Throne of Bhaal now limits you
              to placing 7 traps in an area at a time, that is still enough to lay
              waste to enemies if you have spike traps.  Lay all the spike traps
              you have, Pocket Plane, rest, go back, and lay some more. Each spike
              trap deals an average of (from what I've seen) 60 points of damage,
              and I have yet to see any monster immune to it. Not Stoneskin, not
              Absolute Immunity, not Protection from Magical Weapons.  If you lay
              down all 7, that's well over 400 points of damage in one round!
    
              A side note about traps, it seems you can no longer lay down traps
              next to a neutral (cyan circlet) creature and then attack them,
              causing the traps to go off; setting down a trap next to a cyan
              creature (well, the dragons, at least) causes it to go off, turning
              the dragon red. Bad idea. A far better strategy is to back off to
              a far away area, lay down all 7 of your spike traps, and then make
              the dragon/whatever hostile. Have a character with Boots of Speed
              lure the Dragon to the traps, and it becomes instant mincemeat. I
              killed both Draconis and Abazigal, as well as the dragons in
              Watcher's Keep, with this strategy quite easily. It can probably be
              expanded fairly easily, but it works best on Dragons because of their
              sheer bulk, and hence they make a nice big target. (I have not yet
              tried this on Demogorgon, but considering his infamy I suspect he
              might be immune to this as well :()
    
              Editor's Note:  Remember these high-end abilities apply to all
                              thieves.
    
      Con:  Yes, but a plain thief is not the way to do it.  All the kits are
            better, also a multi/dual class thief is better as well.  After a
            certain point you don't NEED any more thieving abilities, and
            continuing to gain thieving levels does nothing but increase those.
            After 100 open locks points, do you really need more?  Not really.  So,
            start with a thief, then dual later to a mage, or fighter, once your
            abilities have gotten as high as you'd like them.
    
      Useful Multiclasses:
        Fighter/Thief -- I'd start with a fighter, get Grand Mastery in Short Bows,
         B+              and immediately dual to Thief (also works as
                         Kensai/Thief).  Dualling is the ONLY way to get Grand
                         Mastery.  We do it from Fighter to Thief as you level up
                         in thief faster than fighter, so you will regain your
                         abilities quicker.
        Thief/Mage    -- A very fun class, combines thieving abilities with mage
         B+              abilities.  I'd start with a human swashbuckler and dual
                         at level 10 to mage.  Use bracers as your armor, and then
                         wear a Robe.  Just make sure to get good thieving
                         abilities before dualling out.  I would ignore Hide in
                         Shadows and Move Silently, but that's just me.
        Thief/Cleric  -- A more rare multiclass than the others as less races can
         B               do it.  Try the Half-Orc Thief/Cleric for some fun.  This
                         way you can still wear armor.
    
    
    ··Bounty Hunter
    ---------------
    
      Grade:  B ... A thief who likes to set snares
              F (in Throne of Bhaal)
    
      Best Races:  I'd go with a Halfling as they get better thieving abilities.
                   If you want to dual later to a mage, go with Human.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: I'd take as many points as possible in short bows, and
                     whatever melee weapon you like.  Then go for Single Weapon
                     style.  When you switch from your bow to your melee weapon
                     you get the AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This is a hunter of men, skilled in tracking quarry and bringing them back
        alive--whether for lawful authorities or underworld masters. Bounty Hunters
        are specially trained at their task and make fearsome opponents. They have
        honed their trap-making abilities well beyond that of the average thief.
    
        Advantages:
          - +15% to set traps.
          - He can lay special traps (other than the ones that all thieves receive).
            The traps are more powerful than the typical thief trap, and the effect
            varies according to the level. The effects are listed below:
              - 1st: The trap deals out damage and slows the target (if save is
                failed).
              - 11th: The trap holds the target if a save is failed.
              - 16th: The trap erects an Otiluke's Resilient Sphere around the
                target (if a save is failed).
              - 21st: The trap Mazes the target.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Gets only 20 to distribute between thief abilities each level.
    
      Pro:  One of the most useful tricks that the thief has in killing Mega-
            Monsters (dragons and liches come to mind) is the set traps ability.
            This ability is most useful because it is indefensible, i.e. it always
            hits its target.  The Bounty Hunter gets 2x the number of traps to
            set, the normal traps and special traps.  You can see what the bonus
            traps do above.
    
            Bounty Hunters also make for great dual-classed characters, after level
            11 when you gain the special trap that Holds the target.
    
      Con:  Bounty Hunters lose 5 thieving points per level.  There are 7 separate
            thieving abilities, and you only start with 30 points (plus however
            the abilities normally default).  In other words, your Bounty Hunter
            will HAVE to drop several abilities just to keep the important ones.
            You will likely HAVE to focus on just:  Find Traps, Open Locks and
            Set Traps.
    
            Secondly, the bonuses on the "special" traps are really lame.  The
            monsters that you really want to use the traps on (Dragons again)
            probably won't be held by it.  And getting 2x the number of traps is
            near useless since you can just rest to restore your Set Traps ability,
            and all your traps will still be there.
    
            I rated the Bounty Hunter "F" in Throne of Bhaal because ALL thieves
            get MUCH better traps in ToB. Therefore there is NO reason to take
            a Bounty Hunter over say, an Assassin or Swashbuckler.
    
    
    ··Assassin
    ----------
    
      Grade:  C+ ... A thief who likes to poison his target
              A+ (if you actually like to backstab people)
    
      Best Races:  I'd go with a Halfling as they get better thieving abilities.
                   If you want to dual later to a mage, go with Human.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: I'd take as many points as possible in short bows, and
                     whatever melee weapon you like.  Then go for Single Weapon
                     style.  When you switch from your bow to your melee weapon
                     you get the AC bonus.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23  ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This is a killer trained in discrete and efficient murder, relying on
        anonymity and surprise to perform his task. Assassins must be of Evil or
        Chaotic Neutral alignment.
    
        Advantages:
          - May coat his weapon in poison once per day per 4 levels. The next hit
            with that weapon will inject the poison into the target, dealing out 1
            damage per second for 24 seconds (3 damage for the first 6 seconds).
            A saving throw vs. poison limits damage to 12 total.
          - Bonus +1 to hit and +1 damage.
          - Gets a x7 max backstab (rather than the Thieves normal x5).  This is
            gained at level 21.
    
        Disadvantages:
          - Only 15 points per level to distribute on abilities.
    
      Pro:  The assassin's poison will kill anything that you can successfully hit,
            whether his weapon can hurt the enemy or not.  This can work
            wonderfully when your weapon normally would not do you any good (say
            you were fighting Kangaxx), and your poison would then do all your
            work for you.
    
            Unlike what the description says, the poison will work for the next 24
            seconds, anything you hit in that time period is then poisoned, which
            is quite a bit more useful.
    
            Mike Lee adds this:  Assassin Poison does not damage its target on the
            next hit, it acts like the Kensai Kai, while the Poison Weapon ability
            is on all hits poison, including magical effects like Flame Blade,
            Seeker Sword, or Melf's Minute Meteors.  Poison works completely
            differently than they describe as well.  Each hit delivers a random
            amount of poison status effects, generally from 1-4 from what I've
            seen.  Each status effect poisons, and you can save vs. each effect.
            You can also activate your poison weapon ability multiple times to
            double, triple, or quintiple your poison delivered per hit.  Some of
            this probably changed in the patch.
    
            Anyway the best feature of the Assassin is the x7 backstab.  Hide in
            Shadows, sneak up behind someone, do 70 damage and watch it die.  If
            you've never backstabbed before, all you need is to be unnoticed (in
            shadows or invisible) and behind the victim.  Once you backstab, if
            there are more monsters, use a potion/ring/spell of invisibility and
            flee.  Return and backstab as convenient.  If you're NOT using
            backstab, why are you playing a thief?
    
            Mike Vredevoogd adds this:
    	Assasins are great for crippling enemy spellcasters.  Even if you don't
    	want them backstab someone surrounded by beefy guards, assasins with
            poison weapon activated can use it for firing arrows.  With the right 
    	selection of arrows handy, you can disable any mage in the game (except 
    	those naturally immune to weapons like liches).  In fact, you can even 
    	get through most defensive spells.  For example, if the mage has 
    	stoneskin or protection from normal weapons/missiles active, use arrows 
    	of dispelling to remove the protections (saving your mages the 
    	trouble), then hit again to poison. If they are hiding behind prot. 
    	from magical weapons then arrows of dispelling won't work (as they are 
    	magical and all of their effects are ignored), but you can switch over
            to normal arrows easily.  Using a bow with multiple attacks per round 
    	an assasin can quickly disable all enemy spellcasters in a group (hit 
    	the mages first, before their contingencies fire, then go after the 
    	clerics since they rarely protect themselves from missile weapons).  
    	Mages' contingencies will still operate normally, but they won't be 
    	able to cast anything at you until your poison wears off, by which time 
    	your own mages and fighters will have already killed them.  At higher 
    	levels my assasin ran into a party of drow alone, but using poisoned
    	arrows of biting (wicked combo!), each drow that got hit was unable to 
    	move until the poison ran its course!  They were being hit by the one 
    	HP of damage so often that their avatars had to time in between the 
    	getting hurt animation to move towards me!  By hitting them in 
    	sequence, my assasin was able to hold them at bay and cut them all 
    	down.  Also, it appears that there is no way to avoid the assasin's 
    	poison if hit by it.  Perhaps there is a save for half effect, but no 
    	one who was not immune ever avoided being poisoned by a succesful hit, 
    	even though they often saved vs. the arrows of biting.
    
    
      Con:  Losing 10 thieving points per level makes the assassin a pretty poor
            thief.  Either you can focus on 2 or 3 abilities, or you have poor
            ratings in all abilities.  Either way, the assassin is not a very good
            thief at all.
    
            As for the poison ability, yes it is a useful way to add in some extra
            damage, but it just isn't that useful.  It doesn't improve in power
            as you go up in level (unlike other abilities).  Thieves (with the
            exception of the Swashbuckler) make lousy frontline fighters, and
            forcing him to the front is a bad decision, just for a few extra damage
            points spread out over 24 seconds.
    
              Pro Rebuttal:  That would be when you hide in shadows, backstab the
                             target, and let the poison do your work for you.
    
                             From Chaoshunter:  Assassins are a very good class,
                             despite what some people think. Assassins aren't meant
                             to be frontline fighters. They're made to be
                             mage/cleric killers. With poison and a x7 backstab
                             multiplier, you'll practically kill every mage and
                             cleric in 1 hit. I've done over 110 non-critical
                             backstab damage with a Celestial Fury multiple times.
    
              Con Response:  Because the Assassin only gets 15 thieving points
                             per level, if he has enough points to hide in the
                             shadows successfully, he won't have many points in
                             the more important Find Traps and Unlock Doors.  You
                             cannot trade those NECESSARY skills for a little
                             better offense.
    
            ToB Pro Rebuttal:  First, the Assassin class doesn't suck nearly as
                             much anymore. With the 7x backstab that no other class
                             can get combined with the "Assassinate" high-level
                             ability, your assassin can now do godly amounts of
                             damage very quickly. Add on a Girdle of Fire Giant
                             Strength and/or Gauntlets of Extraordinary Weapon
                             Specialization for added effect. I believe my current
                             record is a 314 damage backstab... quite a lot.
                             Unfortunately you can't backstab dragons. The 15
                             thieving points/level is also now less of a
                             disadvantage considering you start around level 21 and
                             can go all the way up to Level 40, which gives you FAR
                             more thieving points than you'll ever need.
                             (Edward Chang)
    
    ··Swashbuckler
    --------------
    
      Grade:  B+ ... Almost a fighter/thief already
    
      Best Races:  I'd go with a Halfling as they get better thieving abilities.
                   If you want to dual later to a mage, go with Human.  If you
                   think of the Swashbuckler as more of a fighter than a thief,
                   make him a Half-Orc.
    
      Best Weapon
      Proficiencies: I'd take as many points as possible in short bows, and
                     whatever melee weapon you like.  Then go for Single Weapon
                     style.  When you switch from your bow to your melee weapon
                     you get the AC bonus.  Also you may want to devote 3 points
                     to Two Weapon style as the Swashbuckler is one of the few
                     classes that can get 3 points there.
    
      Max Level w/
      Experience Cap: 23   ToB:  40
    
      General Information:
    
        This rogue is part acrobat, part swordsman, and part wit: the epitome of
        charm and grace.
    
        Advantages:
          - Bonus +1 to AC.
          - Another +1 to AC for every 5 levels.
          - +1 to hit and damage every 5 levels.
          - May specialize in any weapon that a thief can use
          - May place three stars in two-weapon fighting style proficiency
    
        Disadvantages:
          - No backstab multiplier.
    
      Pro:  In several ways, the Swashbuckler is a better warrior than a fighter.
            He gains +1 to AC every 5 levels, so while a fighter starts out with
            10 AC (before DEX and armor), the Swashbuckler has 9.  At level 10
            this goes to 8, 15 goes to 7 and 20 goes to 6 (still before armor and
            DEX).  This AC bonus is coupled with a +1 to hit and damage, which
            applied 4 times is +4 to hit and damage by the end of the game.  Not
            as good as the Kensai's bonus, but then again, the Swashbuckler isn't
            a Fighter either.
    
            Also, unlike a thief, the Swashbuckler can SPECIALIZE in a weapon
            (2 * proficiency) to get an extra +1 to hit and +2 to damage.  That is
            a huge bonus.  The difference between "Proficient" (what normal thieves
            get) and "Specialized" (what Swashbucklers get) is greater than the
            difference between the fighter's Grand Mastery and Specialized.
            Combine this with the first bonuses, and over a normal thief, the
            Swashbuckler gets +5 to hit and +6 damage by the end of the game. (If
            he is using a weapon he can specialize in)  Even at the start of the
            game this bonus would be +2 and +3.
    
            And the Swashbuckler can fight well two handed.  He is one of the very
            few classes (Fighters, Blades, Rangers, Paladins, Barbarians and
            Swashbucklers) that CAN get 3 stars in Two Weapon style.  This makes 2
            weapon fighting very feasible and powerful, giving the Swashbuckler a
            good extra attack.
    
            If you want a Pure Thief, the Swashbuckler is the way to go.  And if
            you do it that way, be sure to take a Halfling Swashbuckler with 19
            DEX.
    
      Con:  Anyone who likes to backstab will HATE the swashbuckler.  Backstabbing
            by the end of the game can get up to 5x damage, and you can backstab
            as many times as you can hit the target before the Hide in Shadows
            wears off (which takes 1 round, or 6 seconds to do).  Imagine what you
            could do with 5 attacks in one round... that is the same thing as a 5x
            backstab.
    
            An alternative to the Swashbuckler is to start with a Human Kensai and
            dual at level 9 to a thief.  This nets you +3 to hit and damage, can
            get you Grand Mastery (+2 to hit and +3 to damage) and you could still
            backstab for incredible damages.
    
            Finally, Swashbuckler's "weapon specialization" is nowhere near as
            useful as the fighter's.  Why?  No extra attack!
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other Arguments
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ··Fighter/Mage/Thief                                              (by Rolander)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    
      Fighter/Mage/Thief (preferably elf)
    
        Pros:
          The ultimate Swiss Army Knife of BG2:
          All fighter mages can tank with the best of them, and then some.  Using
          spells he can reach AC -1 with Ghost Armor and Blur, AC -5 with Dex
          18/19.  This is before equipment modifiers (shields, rings of protection,
          anything except armour).  Then his tanking ability is enhanced with the
          spells Mirror Image and Stoneskin.  In fact against the harder hitting
          monsters like Dragons, a fighter/mage will last longer than any of the
          pure fighter classes, since each image/skin of Mirror Image/Stoneskin
          absorbs 1 blow.  Image how long it will take for a dragon to work through
          all the images/skins, considering the fighter/mage can match the AC of
          the pure fighters AND recast those protective spells on the fly 2-3
          times.
    
          One of the most effective backstabbers, losing only to the
          Fighter/Kensai-dual-Thief or assassin.  The F/M/T can reach thief level
          14 at the end = x5 backstab damage.  Then he also has weapon
          specialization to boost his damage potential.
    
          The true 1-man commando.  The F/M/T combines the lesser abilities of 3
          classes into 1 charactor, enabling him to backup any of the 3 classes as
          the situation demands and, toward the later game, granting him with
          enough self-reliance to blow through lesser situations alone.  He can
          remove traps, he can backstab, he can skirmish, he can cast mage spells.
          About the only thing he lacks is priest spells.  No other class has such
          versatility.
    
          Little point have a multi-class fighter/mage, fighter/thief or mage/thief
          when you can have a fighter/mage/thief.  Consider the skill levels at
          start and end.
    
            F/M   : 6/6   to 13/13
            F/T   : 6/7   to 13/16
            M/T   : 6/7   to 13/16
            F/M/T : 5/5/6 to 11/12/14
    
          The lesser 1-2 levels per class is more than compensated by the
          additional class's abilities. (the F/M/T loses out via -2 to THACO, 1
          weapon proficency slot, 50 thief skill points and 1 lesser spell slot at
          mage levels 1,2,3 & 6).
    
      Cons:
        Jack-Of-All-Trades, Master-Of-None:
        He will never gain an outstanding THACO; fighter level 11 limits him to
        base THACO of 10.  He can only cast level 6 mage spells toward the end of
        the game, and never touch level 7 and above.  He has limited thief skill
        points; early only he can only max out 2-3 skill areas, and toward the end
        he'll have enough for only 4-5.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ··Single Player Party Strategies
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Baldur's Gate II - Alternative Party Forming Strategy                    v1.0
        By - Anthony Bevivino (bevivino1@yahoo.com)                          2/1/01
    
      There are constant debates as to which single/kit/multi/dual class is the
      'most powerful' or 'best' for beating BG2 in single player mode.  None of
      which is the reason for me writing this strategy guide.  While it is true
      that some character classes have more plusses than others, it is entirely
      possible to whip BG2 with a Jester or a Totemic Druid, as easily as it is
      with a dualled Kensai-Mage.  When I thought about how to plan out my party
      for my second time through the game, I thought about it from a pen & paper
      role-playing gamer's point of view, and not just as a computer gamer.  If you
      really want to max out your numbers, then this is not for you.  But, if you
      are looking for a total party building strategy, then read on.
    
      If we simplify, there are FOUR basic classes:  Fighter (F), Cleric (C),
      Magic-User (M), and Thief (T).  Each of the sub-specialties, kits, and misc.
      classes fall under these headings (i.e. a Barbarian is a F).  Then there are
      Multi and Dual class, which are just combinations of the four basics, with
      Multi able to increase in all 2 or 3 of its classes, and Dual able to advance
      in only one of its two.
    
      There are 16 NPCs in the game, which I will sort by basic class.  While it is
      important to know that Keldorn is a Paladin and Cernd is a Shapeshifter, for
      my purposes they are considered as a F and C, respectively.
    
      Single  -  Class       Multi     - Class       Dual    - Class
       Minsc      - F         Jaheira     - F/C       Imoen     - T/M*
       Keldorn    - F         Aerie       - C/M       Nalia     - T/M*
       Korgan     - F         Jan         - T/M       Anomen    - F/C*
       Valygar    - F
       Mazzy      - F                                * = class that character
                                                         levels up in
       Viconia    - C
       Cernd      - C
    
       Edwin      - M
    
       Yoshimo    - T
       Haer'Dalis - T
    
         Editor's Note:  Haer'Dalis can hardly be considered a thief:  he has
                         access only to the pickpocket ability, and that is at 1/4
                         value.
    
      Using this data I will attempt to explain how I think about a successful
      single player party.  The most important thing in an RPG is to be happy with
      'your' character.  I never enjoyed playing Fighters -- and I never will -- so
      even if the game is 10 times easier to beat with a Fighter/Paladin/Ranger
      type, I won't enjoy it as much if I play that character.  Lucky for us the
      makers of BG2 designed a lot of flexibility into the game!
    
      In order to play the game in a balanced manner, you must have a variety of
      classes.  This is both for the abilities of that class (fighting, spells,
      traps, etc.) and to use the magic items that you find.  As you progress
      further into the game, you will need better weapons, spells, armor, etc. in
      order to win the battles.  Having a party that contains 6 single classed
      fighters will not get you very far, as traps will zap you, chests will stay
      locked, mages will fry you, and no one will be around to heal you. In
      addition, there are only so many top-of-the-line magic weapons and armor, so
      you will have a tough time giving all your fighters great armor and weapons,
      and you will also have to throw away some awesome magic items because you
      don't have the appropriate class to use them.  Note that the example with 6
      fighters is extreme, but it illustrates my point.
    
      There are 6 slots for your party, 1 for you, and 5 for NPCs. I feel that a 6
      person party should have 2 F, 1 C, 1 T, 1 M, and 1 of your choice.  Based on
      my first experience through the game, and looking at the magic items
      available, I think that you need two front-line Fighters to beat the game, if
      you have 1 poor slob up front he will be dead before your arrows and spells
      can kill your enemies.  There are just too many great magic weapons to
      not have two Fighter-types.
    
      The real joy of playing comes from your choice of characters.  When I
      built my party, I thought about what class I wanted to play and then who I
      wanted to finish the game with, and chose my party based on that.  The
      'players choice' slot was used for the NPC-of-the-day, as I like to do all
      the quests before settling on my final party and leaving Athkatla.
    
      SLIGHT SPOILER - the 'players choice' slot is left open for Imoen, who
                       functions as an M for my party. I think that Imoen is
                       integral to the storyline and is meant to be with your party
                       through the game.  Again, play as you like.
    
      If you are looking for pure high-level spells there is only one single class
      Magic-User, Edwin, and one single class Cleric, Viconia.  There are lots of
      Fighter-types to choose from; and, between Yoshimo, Jan, and Imoen you will
      always have a Thief around with enough abilities to Find & Remove Traps.  I
      will leave it to you to decide how useful Cernd is as a Druid spellcaster for
      your party.  I love having him around as a Greater Werewolf since he becomes
      a great fighter to have for a while.  With the EXP cap and the level 14 limit
      for Druids, Jaheira can get up there in levels and swing a mean scimitar.  I
      like the increased offensive spells of Druids, and when I read that they
      don't have the best healing spells and protective spells, I just remember
      that a dead enemy can't hurt me.  If you like Druids more than Clerics, then
      go for it!
    
        Editor's Note:  As far as Jaheira is concerned, she is better than other
                        Druids as she can raise the dead (see Harper's Call).
    
      When I think about spell caster requirements, I also think about using the
      Multi or Dual NPCs.  Keep in mind that Aerie will never cast high level
      spells like Edwin or Viconia since she splits her EXP.  You do not need to
      cast the highest level spells to beat the game (see scrolls), so as long
      as you choose a party wisely, using Multi or Dual class spellcasters will
      work fine -- as long as you take advantage of their other abilities.  For
      example if all you want Anomen for is to hang in the back and cast spells,
      ignoring his Fighter abilities, then take Viconia as your Cleric.  If you
      want to cast some support spells and then go swing your mace, then take
      Anomen as your Cleric.  The key is to have each class represented so that you
      can use magic items as they come along, and also to be able to adapt to the
      various battles you will face.
    
      When I play, I love to skulk around the dungeon, find the monsters, disarm
      the traps, and have my party come in and kick butt.  Therefore I chose a
      Thief (Swashbuckler).  As much as I love backstabbing, I wanted to dual-
      wield some longswords.  Although, when I attack from behind I only do normal
      damage not x5, but I like being a semi-fighter, without having to be a multi-
      or dual-class.  Sure a Kensai-Thief may have had better numbers, but I
      *enjoy* my straight Swashbuckler more, which is ultimately more important.
    
      My party will eventually be :
        F - Keldorn
        F - Mazzy
        C - Viconia
        M - Edwin
        T - Me!
       #6 - Jan -> Imoen
    
      Why?  Because I tried more Multi & Dual classes last time, and because I want
      to mix up the alignments and hear them argue.  The #6 slot will see every NPC
      in the game as I do their quests, and then I will grab Jan and head to
      Spellhold.  I could just as easily fill the slots with Multi & Dual and get
      my class requirements handled.
    
      So that's my way of thinking about a BG2 party, and selection of my
      character.
    
      If you can think of other good party combinations, send them in and maybe
      that will be someone else's next party!
    
      Good luck and have fun!
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                         < < < < < Final Words.... > > > > >
    ===============================================================================
    
    This FAQ was written entirely using the GWD Text Editor:  (shareware)
      http://www.gwdsoft.com/
    
    
    Special Thanks to:
    
      Edward Chang
      Chaoshunter
      Randy Gaw
      Raj Tripathy
      David Ware
      Little Bear
      Rolander
      Mike Lee
      Joe Thompson
      Chris Swartz
      Anthony Bevivino
      Xander77
      Mike Vredevoogd
    
    _________________________
    Shameless Self Promotion:
    ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
      I am Dan Simpson (dsimpson.faqs@gmail.com) and have also written FAQs for:
    
        NES:      Disney Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
                  Final Fantasy -- Magic FAQ
                  The Legend of Zelda
        SNES:     Aerobiz
                  Aerobiz Supersonic
                  Utopia: Creation of a Nation
        Genesis:  StarFlight
        PSX:      Thousand Arms -- Walkthrough
                                -- Forging/Dating FAQ
        PS2:      Madden NFL 2001
        XBOX:     Star Wars: KotOR II: The Sith Lords -- FAQ/Walkthrough
                                                      -- Influence Guide
        PC:       AD&D Rules FAQ, 2nd and 3rd Editions
                  Baldur's Gate & Tales of the Sword Coast -- FAQ/Walkthrough
                                                              NPC List
                                                              Creature List
                  Baldur's Gate II & Throne of Bhaal -- FAQ/Walkthrough
                                                     -- Items List
                                                     -- Class FAQ
                                                     -- Creature List
                  Civilization III (incomplete)
                  Colonization -- the Single Colony Strategy Guide
                               -- the Cheat Guide
                  Drakan: Order of the Flame
                  Dungeon Hack
                  Icewind Dale & Heart of Winter -- FAQ/Walkthrough
                                                    Items List
                                                    Kresselack's Tomb Map (JPG)
                                                    Burial Isle Map (JPG)
                                                    Shattered Hand Map (JPG)
                  Icewind Dale II                -- Items List
                  Master of Magic (revision)
                  Messiah
                  Pharaoh (currently being edited by Red Phoenix)
                  Planescape: Torment  -- FAQ/Walkthrough
                                          Items Listing
                  Rollercoaster Tycoon
                  Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
                  The Sims
                  Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar
                  Ultima 7: The Black Gate
                  Ultima 7 Part 2: Serpent Isle
                  Ultima Underworld -- Keyboard Commands
                  Ultima Underworld II -- Keyboard Commands
                                       -- Spell List
      All of my FAQs can be found at:
        http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/2203.html
        ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
    
    ________________
    Version History:
    ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
      Version 0.75  December 4, 2000  95k
    
        Not entirely finished, but I needed to release this now or risk not
        releasing it at all.
    
      Version 1.0  December 6, 2000  127k
    
        Finished the document.
    
      Version 1.1  December 7, 2000  128k
    
        Added more information to the Quick Reference section.  Corrected a
        mistake.  Corrected several more from Randy Gaw, as well as added a bit of
        Pro-Blade information from him.
    
      Version 1.2  December 8, 2000  128k
    
        Corrected a mistake.
    
      Version 1.3  December 12, 2000  131k
    
        Added a Pro-Thief argument from Little Bear
    
      Version 1.4  December 15, 2000  134k
    
        Added the "Other Arguments" section with the first little argument for the
        Fighter/Mage/Thief from Rolander.
    
      Version 1.5  December 31, 2000  135k
    
        Some small changes.
    
      Version 1.6  January 9, 2001  135k
    
        Corrected one small mistake.
    
      Version 1.7  January 23, 2001  137k
    
        Added some stuff from Chris Swartz about Sorcerers.
    
      Version 1.8  February 1, 2001  145k
    
        Created the new section dealing with Single Player Parties, which is the
        work of Anthony Bevivino.
    
      Version 1.9  May 16, 2001  146k
    
        Chaoshunter disagreed with my assessment of the Assassin, so his rebuttal
        was put in.
    
      Version 2.0  July 5, 2001  155k
    
        Updated the guide to include the Throne of Bhaal revisions.
    
      Version 2.1  March 28, 2002  157k
    
        Changed the Blade grade.  Updated the Assassin class, however I did not
        change his grade.  Some other changes and additions.
    
      Version 2.2  September 10, 2002  157k
    
        Fixed a few issues with the Avenger (thanks to Xander77).
    
      Version 2.3  February 10, 2003  160k
    
        Added more to the Assassin, and gave them a contingency grade of A+ (if
        you use backstab).
    
      Version 2.4  January 17, 2005  161k
    
        Changed my email address, and updated the format.
    
    
    _______________________________________________________________________________
    ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
    This Document is Copyright 2000-2005 by Dan Simpson
    Baldur's Gate II is Copyright 2000 by Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay
    BG2: Throne of Bhaal is Copyright 2001 by Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay
    
    I am not affiliated with Bioware, Black Isle, Interplay or anyone who had
    anything to do with the creation of this game.  This FAQ may be posted on any
    site so long as NOTHING IS CHANGED and you EMAIL ME telling me that you are
    posting it.  You may not charge for, or in any way profit from this FAQ.