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    Strategy Guide by Riverwind

    Version: 2.5 | Updated: 03/11/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Baldur's Gate 2:  Shadows of Amn + Throne of Bhaal (PC)
    By:  Andrew Shih (Riverwind)
    3/11/03, Version 2.5
    With the arrival of the new millennium and the 3-D 3rd Ed. Neverwinter Nights,
    one might think that the 2-D 2nd Ed. Baldur's Gate 2 has become outdated.  On
    the contrary, BG 2 has become a classic and is still in my opinion the best
    CRPG ever.  This guide is not written for total newbies who haven't read the
    manual and for whom everything would be a spoiler, nor is it written for
    accomplished veterans who don't need a guide and are very set in their ways. 
    It is written for everyone in between, who have finished the game at least once
    or twice but want to replay it without reloading a hundred times.  There will
    be minor spoilers throughout as to availability of weapons and frequency of
    monsters, but none that give away major plot surprises.  In short, this is a
    strategy guide for those who want to become a better player.
    M6:  Tenser's Transformation
    M9:   Timestop
    C4:  Holy Power
    THACO stands for "To Hit Armor Class 0" and represents the number you would
    need to roll with a 1d20 die in order to hit an opponent with an AC of 0.  The
    lower it is, the easier it is to hit your opponent.  Everyone starts with a
    base THACO of 20, which improve as they gain in levels.  The rate of progress
    depends upon your class.  For Warriors, it's 1/1 level, for Priests it's 2/3
    levels, for Rogues it's 1/2 levels, and for Wizards it's 1/3 levels.  There is
    a cap on base THACO at approximately 3 million XP, and so the base THACO cap
    for warriors is 0, for priests is 5, for rogues is 10, and for wizards is 15. 
    The THACO for multi- and dual-classed characters is the best of the two or
    three classes.  Note that kit bonuses are added to base THACO and are not
    subject to the base THACO cap.  For Kensai it's 1/3 levels with melee weapons,
    for Archers it's 1/3 levels with missile weapons, and for Swashbucklers it's
    1/5 levels.
    There are a number of different modifiers to base THACO.  First, the strength
    modifier applies to melee attacks while the dexterity modifier applies to
    missile attacks.  Second, there are weapon expertise and weapon type modifiers
    depending upon the number of proficiency points you allocate for them.  Third,
    there are modifiers for magical weapons that usually correspond to the 'plus'
    in front of its name.
    There are various spells and abilities that will improve THACO.  "Tenser's
    Transformation" (M6) and "Holy Power" (C4) will temporarily turn spell casters
    into fighters of the same level in terms of THACO.  Also, when druids shape
    shift, their THACO may of course improve.  Finally, if you cast "Timestop"
    (M9), then you will always hit your opponent while he is frozen in time.
    FA:  Whirlwind
    FA:  Greater Whirlwind
    Swa:  Whirlwind
    Bla:  Offensive Spin
    M3:  Haste
    M6:  Improved Haste
    The baseline is one attack with one weapon per round except for short bows and
    longbows, which have a rate of fire of twice per round.  If you dual-wield
    melee weapons, you get two attacks.  However, unless you put two or three
    proficiency points into two-weapon style, there will be severe penalties to
    THACO if you dual-wield.  Thus, only Warriors, Swashbucklers, and Blades can
    dual-wield effectively.  In addition, Warriors get an extra attack per round
    when they reach level 13, as well as an additional half attack per round if
    they are wielding a weapon that they specialize in.  There are some special
    weapons that give you an extra attack per round.  This includes the Belm
    scimitar and the Tuigan short bow.
    There are special abilities and spells that can temporarily increase the number
    of attacks per round.  Both Warriors and Swashbucklers can get the High-Level
    Ability Whirlwind which gives them 10 attacks/round for one round although with
    a penalty to THACO.  Warriors can also get the HLA Greater Whirlwind, which has
    no such penalty.  Blades get an extra attack per round when they use their
    offensive spin ability.  Finally, Mages can cast "Haste" (M3) to give everyone
    in the party an extra attack per round, or  "Improved Haste" (M6) to give one
    character double the normal number of attacks per round.
    FA:  Critical Strike
    TA:  Backstab
    TA:  Assassinate
    Ken:  Kai
    Bla:  Offensive Spin
    Arc:  Called Shot
    M4:  Fireshield
    C5:  Righteous Magic
    C6:  Blade Barrier
    CQ:  Globe of Blades
    Damage depends upon the type of weapon, the magical grade of the weapon, and
    weapon type and style modifiers.  The strength modifier applies to melee
    weapons and thrown weapons but it does not apply to missile weapons.  Kensai
    get kit bonuses of 1/3 levels for melee weapons, Archers get 1/3 levels for
    missile weapons, and Swashbucklers get 1/5 levels.  The damage done by a weapon
    is usually a range depending upon a random roll of the die, but the Kensai's
    Kai ability, the Blade's Offensive Spin ability, and the Archer's Called Shot
    ability guarantee maximum damage upon contact for a single round.  "Righteous
    Magic" (C5) will effectuate maximum damage for a number of rounds.  The 'plus'
    in front of a magical weapon's name corresponds to not only THACO bonuses but
    also damage bonuses.
    There is also a damage multiplier that applies in certain situations.  If you
    roll a 20 for your 1d20 attack roll, then that is considered a critical hit and
    there is an x2 multiplier to damage.  Warriors can get the HLA Critical Strike
    in which every attack during that round is considered a critical hit.  However,
    critical strikes do not do double damage if the target is wearing a helmet.
    Thief backstabs have multipliers which increase every few levels until they are
    capped at x5 at level 13.  Swashbucklers unfortunately cannot backstab.  The
    Assassin eventually attains x7 at level 21.  The stalker gradually gets up to
    x4 at level 17.  Thieves can get the HLA Assassinate in which every attack
    during that round does backstab damage.  Unlike backstab, there is no
    requirement for HLA Assassinate of being concealed behind the opponent.
    A way of doing additional damage while fighting an opponent is to surround your
    self with a "Blade Barrier" (C6) or "Globe of Blades" (CQ), or a "Fireshield"
    (M4).  Sometimes, they do more damage than you yourself do.  You could even
    then make yourself unnoticeable through "Sanctuary" (C1) or "Invisibility" (M2)
    and continue to do damage to the opponents you're standing near.
    Paladin:  [Carsomyr two-handed sword]
    Fighter:  [Silver Sword two-handed sword] --> [Axe of Unyielding] and
    [Argundaval longsword]
    Archer:  [Firetooth crossbow]
    Fighter/Cleric:  [Flail of Ages] and [Crom Faehr war hammer]
    Fighter/Druid:  [Gnasher club] and [Belm scimitar] --> [Ixil's Spear]
    Fighter/Thief:  [Celestial Fury katana] and [Blackrazor longsword]
    Monks:  [Fists]
    Mages:  [Staff of Magi]
    What is the best weapon in BG2 is a common question especially from newbies. 
    The answer depends upon what you're looking for in a weapon.  For example, if
    you're looking for someone to talk to, then the Lilacor would be the best
    weapon in BG 2.  Perhaps more serious considerations are how much damage the
    weapon does either instantly or over time, whether it has a regeneration
    feature, how many attacks per round you get with it, and also if it may have
    any elemental, debilitating, or vorpal effect upon opponents.  Finally, if you
    are traveling in a party, you need to consider not just which weapon is your
    favorite, but also which weapons to give everyone else and also who can use
    what weapon and how the weapon effects work in conjunction with the rest of
    their equipment.
    Let's go through the classes.  For Paladins, the Carsomyr is truly a great
    sword.  Not only does it do a lot of damage, but its 50% MR and ability to
    dispel magic with every hit make it invaluable against enemy mages.  For
    fighters, I believe that the Axe of Unyielding is the single-best single-handed
    fighter weapon with its regeneration feature and vorpal effect.  The Argundaval
    accomplishes so many things in terms of strength enhancement, level drain
    immunity, and elemental damage that it is an ideal left-handed weapon. 
    However, both are not obtainable until ToB.  And so prior to that I would
    advocate the Silver Sword, which also has a vorpal effect.  For Archers, the
    best weapon is the Firetooth Crossbow with its +6 accuracy and fire arrows.
    For Clerics and Warrior/Clerics, the two best weapons would be the Flail of
    Ages with its massive elemental damage and slow opponent feature and the Crom
    Faehr with its strength set to 25, electricity damage, and golem-bashing
    feature.  Against undead, the Improved Mace of Disruption and later on the
    Runehammer is key.  For Druids and Fighter/Druids, the choice is clear.  It's
    dual-wielding the Belm +2 and the Gnasher Club, which is the most damaging
    weapon combo in SoA, and then switching to Ixil's Spear, which is the most
    damaging weapon in ToB.
    For Thieves and Fighter/Thieves, the Celestial Fury frequently stuns the
    opponent and can do additional electrical damage.  Also, because it is a
    katana, you can also backstab with it.  The Blackrazor longsword is the
    ultimate heal-as-you-hit weapon, having a significant chance of healing 20 HP
    with each hit in addition to level-draining the opponent and increasing your
    strength dexterity and # of attacks.  Steal the Tear of Bhaal from the djinni
    if you want to keep the Blackrazor and your non-evil alignment too.  Finally,
    monks are best off with their fists, and mages should go off on a quest in
    search of the Staff of Magi.
    Plate:  [Red Dragon Scale] --> [Blue Dragon Scale]
    Elven Chain:  [Bladesinger] --> [Aslyferund]
    Leather:  [Black Dragon Scale] --> [White Dragon Scale]
    Robes:  [Robe of Vecna]
    FA:  Hardiness
    Bla:  Defensive Spin
    M2:  Mirror Image
    M4:  Stoneskin
    M5:  Protection from Normal Weapons
    M6:  Protection from Magical Weapons
    D5:  Ironskin
    AC stands for "Armor Class" and as is the case with THACO, the lower the
    better.  Except that in the case of AC we are talking about defense, and the
    lower it is, the harder it is for your opponent to hit you.  Each one-point
    decrease in your AC corresponds to your opponents needing a one-point decrease
    in their THACO in order for them to have the same chance of hitting you in
    combat, and vice versa.  There is a dexterity modifier for AC.  Also, regarding
    kits, Swashbucklers get a 1/5 levels kit bonus to AC and Blades get a Defensive
    Spin ability that temporarily lowers their AC dramatically.
    Everyone starts with a base AC of 10.  This is your base AC when you're not
    wearing anything.  If you're wearing armor, then your base AC depends upon the
    type of armor.  Magical armor usually has a magical modifier in the amount of
    the 'plus' in front of its name.
    The best magical plate armor in SoA is the Red Dragon Scale with a base AC of
    -1.  The best leather armor in SoA is the Black Dragon Scale with an AC of 1. 
    However, both of these require that you kill a dragon to obtain them, and so I
    would suggest regular Full Plate and Aeger's Hide as alternatives.  For mages,
    the Robe of Vecna is hands down the best thing they can wear, because in
    addition to providing a base AC of 5, it improves their casting speed
    dramatically.  For pure AC purposes, though, the Bracers of AC 3 would be the
    best choice.  In ToB, there are too many good armors to name, but the Blue
    Dragon Scale is great for fighters, and the White Dragon Scale can be used by
    thieves.  The Aslyferund Elven Chain is awesome for multi-class mages, with its
    0 AC and permanent immunity to normal weapons.
    An advantage of wearing normal armor rather than magical armor is that you are
    then free to wear a magical item that provides additional protection, such as a
    Ring or Cloak of Protection +2.  There are also some magical items that get
    around this prohibition and can be worn on top of magical armor such as the
    Helm of Balduran.
    As you face harder and harder monsters, you can no longer depend upon plate
    mail to prevent people from hitting you.  "Stoneskin" (M4) and "Ironskin" (D5)
    are long-lasting magical multi-layered shields which completely absorb physical
    attacks although they do not protect against elemental damage.  "Mirror Image"
    (M2) produces several illusions for a short period of time that divert attacks
    unless the opponent can see through them.
    Another approach towards protecting yourself is through physical resistance. 
    Barbarians eventually get a significant amount of physical resistance, and the
    warrior HLA Hardiness confers 40% physical resistance for a period of time. 
    There are also a handful of items such as Roranarch's Horn, which gives 50%
    resistance to blunt weapons.
    Finally, there are spells that protect against physical attacks.  "Protection
    from Magical Weapons" (M5) is in my opinion the best physical protection spell.
     It cannot be used in conjunction with "Protection from Normal Weapons" (M4)
    but it can be used in conjunction with a Tear of Bhaal bonus or the Aslyferund
    Elven Chain to convey complete invulnerability to all weapons for four rounds.
    [Red Dragon Scale]
    [Black Dragon Scale]
    [White Dragon Scale]
    [Blue Dragon Scale]
    [Helm of Brilliance]
    [Ring of Fire Resistance]
    [Cloak of Reflection]
    [Boots of Grounding]
    [Cloak of Mirrors]
    [Girdle of Inertial Barrier]
    C2:  Protection from Fire/Cold
    The various dragon scale armors confer considerable elemental resistances with
    the Red, Black, White, and Blue giving the wearer 50% resistance to fire, acid,
    cold, and electricity, respectively.  There are also accessories, such as the
    Helm of Brilliance and the Ring of Fire Resistance, each of which confer 40%
    resistance to fire and when another 20% is added to it from the Tear of Bhaal
    bonus, or a Cavalier or Druid resistance, then it becomes absolute.  For
    electricity, there is the Cloak of Reflection, which reflects electricity back
    to the enemy, as well as the Boots of Grounding that give 50% resistance.  In
    terms of spells, a cheap way to get 100% resistance to both fire and cold is to
    couple together two "Protection from Fire/Cold" (C2).
    Elemental resistances are great because most enemy mages cast offensive spells
    that are elemental-based, and so having ER is almost as good as having MR. 
    Resistance to Magical Damage is also almost as good as having MR, protecting
    against all but debilitating/death spells.  The Cloak of Mirrors is a
    super-item that conveys 100% resistance to all enemy damage spells, while the
    Girdle of Inertial Barrier conveys 50% resistance to the same.
    It is very difficult to achieve 100% MR, and only possible for certain classes.
     The Carsomyr two-handed sword gives the wielder 50% MR, but can only be
    wielded by Paladins and thieves with the Use Any Item ability.  Various items
    increase MR by small but significant amounts, but collecting all of these items
    is no small feat.  Wizardslayers and Monks are the two classes which naturally
    and eventually attain high MR, but they are quite limited in which items they
    can equip to try to perfect their MR.  Paladins, Fighter/Mage/Thieves and
    Wizardslayers dualled to Thieves are probably the best bet for getting to 100%
    M6:  Tenser's Transformation
    C5:  Mass Cure
    C5:  Raise Dead
    C6:  Heal
    CQ:  Mass Raise Dead
    Hit points indicate how much damage you can take from your opponents.  How many
    hit points you have depends upon your level and class.  Warriors get 10/level
    up to level 9 except for Barbarians, which get 12/level up to level 9.  This is
    their base HP.  After level 9, warriors get only 3/level.  Priests get 8/level
    up to level 9, and then 2/level.  Rogues get 6/level up to level 10, and then
    2/level.  Finally, Mages get 4/level up to level 9, and then 1/level.  Base hit
    points are modified by constitution, and constitution bonuses are higher for
    In terms of recovering hit points, resting causes wounds to heal although very
    gradually.  The primary way to heal is through Priest spells or potions.  At
    high levels and in the midst of battle, you need "Heal" (C6) if you have a
    single severely wounded individual or "Mass Cure" (C5) if your entire party is
    moderately wounded.  The best spell to cast when your entire party is seriously
    wounded is a "Spell Trigger" (M8) with three "Mass Cures" (C5).  Finally, a
    side effect of "Tenser's Transformation" (M6) is that it actually heals the
    spellcaster in addition to its other effects.
    There are also some magical items which cause hit points to regenerate over
    time, such as the Ring of Regeneration.  Perhaps even better are weapons that
    actually heal you as you hurt your opponent, such as the Blackrazor longsword
    or the Foebane bastard sword.  Both are obtainable around the end of SoA and
    the beginning stages of ToB.
    If your hit points are reduced to 0, you die and need to be resurrected.  This
    can be accomplished with a "Raise Dead" (C5) spell, or, to raise several party
    members simultaneously, a "Mass Raise Dead" (CQ) spell.  If you don't have a
    cleric, then you can either go to a temple or use a Rod of Resurrection.
    [Arbane's short sword]
    [Ring of Free Action]
    [Lilacor two-handed sword]
    [Helm of Charm Protection]
    [Blackrazor longsword]
    [Ring of Gaxx]
    [Improved Mace of Disruption]
    [Amulet of Power]
    [Harmony Shield]
    Bar:  Rage
    Ber:  Rage
    Bard:  Improved Bard Song
    M1:  Protection from Petrification
    C2:  Remove Fear
    C5:  Chaotic Commands
    Saving throws are what you need to roll with a 20-sided die to be saved from
    something bad happening to you, usually a certain kind of spell or debilitating
    attack.  How important are they?  Very important.  In fact, failing a saving
    throw is probably the most common cause of death.  The lower the saving throw
    the better, and your saving throws for various different situations are
    dependant upon your race, your class, and your level.
    The saving throws are for:  1) Paralyze, Poison or Death; 2) Rod, Staff, or
    Wand; 3) Petrify or Polymorph; 4) Breath Weapon; 5) Spells.  #1, #2, and #5
    happen often, while #3 and #4 are relatively rare.  Saving throws improve as
    you level up, but they cap at about 3 million XP.
    Warriors have better saving throws than non-warriors.  Dwarves and Gnomes save
    much better than humans against spells and wands, while Halflings save much
    better than humans not only against spells and wands, but also against poison. 
    A high-level Halfling Fighter will always make his saving throws for #1, #2, or
    Even better than low saving throws are absolute immunities.  Each of the
    paladin kits have important immunities.  They include the Inquisitor's Hold and
    Charm immunities, the Cavalier's Fear and Poison immunities, and the Undead
    Hunter's Level Drain immunity.  There are also weapons and items which confer
    these various immunities.  Arbane's short sword or the Ring of Free Action give
    you immunity to hold, the Lilacor two-handed Sword or the Helm of Charm
    Protection give you immunity to charm, the Blackrazor long sword gives you
    immunity to fear, the Ring of Gaxx gives you immunity to poison and disease,
    and the Improved Mace of Disruption, the Runehammer, and the Amulet of Power
    all impart immunity to level drain.  Finally, the Harmony Shield gives you
    immunity to charm, confusion, and hold person.
    Useful spells which confer immunities include "Remove Fear" (C2), "Protection
    from Petrification" (M1), and "Chaotic Commands" (C5).  The Bard's Improved
    Bard Song ability provides immunities to most debilitating attacks.  But
    perhaps the most comprehensive immunity package consists of the Barbarian and
    Berserker's Rage ability, which give you immunities to just about everything.
    CA:  Turn Undead
    M1:  Magic Missile
    M3:  Fireball
    M3:  Lightning Bolt
    M3:  Flame Arrow
    M3:  Skull Trap
    M5:  Cone of Cold
    M5:  Sunfire
    M8:  Horrid Wilting
    M10:  Dragon's Breath
    C3:  Holy Smite
    C5:  Flame Strike
    C7:  Sunray
    C7:  Firestorm
    For individual opponents, "Magic Missile" (M1) or "Flame Arrow" (M3) usually do
    the trick.  Magic Missiles are twice as deadly when placed into a "Minor
    Sequencer" (M4).  Flame Arrows are a triple threat when placed into a
    "Sequencer" (M7).  And finally there's "Flame Strike" (C5) which does massive
    fire damage to a single creature.
    Unless you plan on fighting every single enemy one-on-one, you need to load up
    on area-effect spells direct damage spells.  "Fireball" (M3) and "Lightning
    Bolt" (M3) are the bread-and-butter of low-level wizards.  What's nice about
    them is that the damage doesn't depend upon the caster level.  They do 10-60
    damage period.  "Holy Smite" (C3) is the cleric's version of fireball doing up
    to 20-80 damage depending upon the cleric's level.  It has the additional
    advantage of only harming those that are evil.  Druids have a spell that does a
    ton of damage but can only be cast outdoors called "Call Lightning" (D3).
    When wizards attain double-digit levels, they switch to "Skull Trap" (M3) which
    can do up to 20-120 damage depending upon the wizard's level, or "Cone of Cold"
    (M5) which can do up to 40-120 damage.  Priests meanwhile have to wait until
    they get "Firestorm" (C7/D7), but it's well worth the wait because Firestorm
    qualifies as a mass destruction spell, doing about 30 damage each round for 4
    rounds for a total of about 120 damage over a very wide area.  But Wizards get
    Horrid Wilting (M8), which does 20-160 damage in a single round over a slightly
    smaller area, and they eventually get Dragon's Breath (M10), which does 20-200
    Against undead, Sunray (C7) is absolutely devastating.  And although it's not
    classified as a spell, the cleric's Turn Undead ability has the same effect as
    Sunray when turned on by a high-level good-alignment cleric.  What's great
    about Turn Undead is it can be used again and again, and for added safety, a
    cleric can be in "Sanctuary" (C1) while turning undead.
    Direct Damage spells can be placed into sequencers and contingencies for
    greater effectiveness.  A "Sequencer" (M7) with three Skull Traps is
    devastating, while a "Spell Trigger" (M8) with three Cone of Cold's can lower
    the temperature very quickly.  A "Contingency" (M6) with "Sunfire" (M5) can
    finish off opponents right before they finish off you, or if you die anyway, at
    least you went out with a bang.
    M1:  Chromatic Orb
    M3:  Dire Charm
    M3:  Hold Person
    M5:  Domination
    M6:  Death Spell
    M7:  Prismatic Spray
    M7:  Finger of Death
    C2:  Hold Person
    C5:  Slay Living
    C9:  Earthquake
    CQ:  Storm of Vengeance
    I tend to avoid using debilitating spells, perhaps because I prefer a more
    direct approach to winning a battle.  But I definitely know their effectiveness
    because they are a favorite tactic of enemy mages and I have been victimized by
    them countless times.  One of the easiest ways to die in BG 2 especially early
    on is when an enemy spell caster casts "Hold Person" (C2/M3).  Another is when
    they divide and conquer through "Dire Charm" (M3) or "Domination" (M5).  And
    so, if you want, you can fight fire with fire.  My favorite area-effect
    debilitating spell is "Prismatic Spray" (M7) because it's so aesthetically
    pleasing and also because it tends to turn my enemies to stone.  "Earthquake"
    (C9) and "Storm of Vengeance" (CQ) are effective in temporarily disabling large
    numbers of opponents.
    Regarding death spells, "Death Spell" (M6) is a great spell to have not only
    because it can annihilate legions of mid to low-level opponents, but also
    because it instantly dismisses all summoned creatures no matter what level they
    are.  "Chromatic Orb" (M1), believe it or not, is a death spell if the caster
    is a high enough level, and it will kill its opponent outright unless it saves.
     I once killed the demon in the Underdark with this spell.  Death spells that
    have a greater chance of slaying the enemy include "Slay Living" (C5) and
    ""Finger of Death" (M7).
    TA:  Detect Illusions
    Inq:  Dispel Magic
    M3:  Dispel Magic
    M5:  Breach
    M5:  Cloudkill
    M6:  True Sight
    M6:  Summon Nishruu
    C3:  Dispel Magic
    C5:  True Seeing
    D5:  Insect Plague
    In order to hit your opponent in the first place, you must be able to see your
    opponent, and one of the first things an enemy mage usually does is hide.  If
    your opponent is invisible, then you should cast "True Sight" (C5/M6) or turn
    on your Thief's Detect Illusions ability.  This also works against enemy
    thieves and enemy fighters who drink potions of invisibility.
    You also need to get rid of any shields that exist.  "Dispel Magic" (C3/M3)
    will get rid of most protection spells but its success depends on the relative
    levels of the opposing spell casters.  The Inquisitor's Dispel Magic ability
    gives the Inquisitor an effective casting level of twice his actual level and
    thus almost always works.  However, "Dispel Magic" doesn't get rid of
    "Stoneskin" (M4), and so the best spell for removing magical  protection from
    physical attacks would be "Breach" (M5) which gets rid of them all.   Either
    that, or one successful swing with the Carsomyr or the Staff of Magi should
    have the same effect.  And then there's the slow way, which is to keep hitting
    the stone-skinned mage with weapons that do elemental damage such as the Flail
    of Ages, repeatedly interrupting the spell casting until the stoneskins run
    Another Anti-Mage tactic is to just cast "Cloudkill" (M5) and then sit back and
    watch.  This tactic can be used against any opponent, even dragons, but it
    works particularly well against mages because they have so few hit points and
    also because it disrupts their spell casting.  "Insect Plague" (D5) also does
    damage over time and disrupts spell casting.  It is the Druid way of fighting
    mages.  Finally, "Summon Nishruu" (M6) forces an enemy Mage to fight
    hand-to-hand as nishruu cannot be killed by magic.
    [Bag of Holding]
    [Glasses of ID]
    TA:  Hide in Shadows
    TA:  Move Silently
    TA:  Find/Disarm Traps
    TA:  Open Locks
    TA:  Detect Illusions
    TA:  Pickpocketing
    Ran:  Stealth
    Ran:  Tracking
    Inq:  True Sight
    Bard:  Lore
    Bard:  Pickpocketing
    M1:  Identify
    M2:  Knock
    M4:  Wizard Eye
    M6:  True Sight
    C4:  Farsight
    C5:  True Seeing
    Everyone moves at the same rate except for Barbarians and Monks, which move at
    a faster rate.  The Boots of Speed, which double the movement rate, should be
    on everyone's top ten list of what to bring when you go traveling.  The Rogue's
    or Ranger's Hide In Shadows / Move Silently or Stealth ability, respectively,
    is useful for scouting purposes.  Also, the Ranger has a HLA Tracking which can
    tell you what kind of monsters are up ahead without actually having to go there
    to check it out.  Finally, in certain situations, "Farsight" (C4) or "Wizard
    Eye" (M4) might come in handy.
    For spotting hidden opponents, there is nothing that surpasses the Inquisitor's
    "True Sight" ability or the spell "True Sight" (C5/M6).  The thief's "Detect
    Illusions" ability can be turned on whenever the party is on the move. 
    Actually, since the switch is the same, thieves can simultaneously detect
    illusions and find traps.
    The Bag of Holding should also be on the top ten list of things to bring, as it
    allows you to store items without worrying about how heavy they are.  The
    Glasses of Identification allow you to identify items you find in your travels,
    or you could go with a Bard with a high Lore ability, or you could cast
    "Identify" (M1).  Finally, there is the option to steal items from stores and
    individuals with the Thief or Bard's Pickpocketing ability and for that you
    should have 150 skill points if you don't want to get caught.  If you visit a
    store that buys and sells stolen goods such as the one in the shadow thief
    building in the docks, you can keep stealing and reselling until you have all
    the gold that you could possibly want.
    When navigating through the Forgotten Realms, the two primary physical
    obstacles are locks and traps.  That's what Thieves are for.  Put 150 skill
    points in each, and you're set.  For locks, the Mage's "Knock" (M2) always
    opens locks and can be used instead.
    The XP cap for BG 2 is 8 million XP per character.  This is somewhat
    misleading, because from experience I would say that the average party would
    only get to about 4 million XP per character.  In order to get more, you need
    to go with less in terms of number of characters or go for more in terms of
    optional quests.  The distribution of XP is something that you should keep in
    mind when determining your party composition.
    Finally, we come to my favorite topic, which is discussing and evaluating the
    various classes and NPC allies.  First, a word on party composition:  In ToB, I
    believe that the four roles played by the four primary classes (warrior,
    wizard, priest, rogue) are of equal importance.  However, different numbers of
    characters are needed to fulfill each function.  I estimate that the optimal
    ratio in BG 2 is 4:3:2:1 Warrior:Wizard:Cleric:Rogue, which in a party of 5
    would correspond to 2 Warriors, 1.5 Wizards, 1 Cleric, and 0.5 Rogues.   
    Multi-class and dual-class characters can obviously fulfill more than one role,
    and that's what they're there for.  Finally, PC's and NPC's differ in how well
    they can fulfill a given role, and that's what the ratings are for.
    Fighter:  B / Berserker:  B+ / Wizard Slayer:  B- / Kensai:  C+
    Ranger:  B- / Archer:  B / Stalker:  B / Beast Master:  C+
    Paladin:  B / Cavalier:  B / Inquisitor:  B+ / Undead Hunter:  B+
    Barbarian:  B+
    Charging into enemy lines may appeal to your aggressive instincts, but it's not
    the smartest choice unless you have proper protection.  Barbarians, Berserkers,
    and Paladins are better than regular fighters because of their immunities, but
    Kensai are worse despite their greater offensive power because it is simply
    suicidal to fight without any armor.  The Undead Hunter really shines above the
    rest.  He starts out with immunity to hold and level drain, then can obtain the
    Lilacor sword near the very beginning of SoA for immunity to charm and
    confusion as well.  That's permanent immunity to most of the major debilitating
    attacks right there.  If he also needs immunity to fear or resistances to fire
    and cold like that which Cavaliers have, he can simply cast "Remove Fear" (C1)
    or "Resist Fire and Cold" (C2).  If he is wounded and needs time out from a
    fight, he can cast "Sanctuary" (C1) and then drink some healing potions or cast
    some healing spells.  He can also Turn Undead, unlike Inquisitors, and wield
    the anti-mage sword Carsomyr, like all paladins.
    Out of the crowded field of NPC fighters, Korgan stands head and shoulders
    above the rest even though he's a dwarf.  Not only is he a berserker which is a
    better fighter kit than the others, but he's a better-than-average berserker
    with stellar stats, the saving throws of a dwarf, and proficiency points in the
    right places.  In fact, I would make the argument that he is an even better
    fighter to have than Sarevok, not only because you can get him in SoA rather
    than waiting until ToB, but also because debilitating spells and weapon
    selection--there is nothing more dangerous than a Sarevok who is confused or
    charmed, and in terms of weapons, I'd pick Korgan's Axe of the Unyielding and
    Runehammer over Sarevok's Gram of Grief any day of the week.  But Sarevok is
    definitely the second best fighter after Korgan because of his Deathbringer
    Assault.  Keldorn also deserves special mention, simply because he is the
    ultimate anti-mage.  The rest of the fighters are okay but not that great.
    Mage:  B / Specialist Mage:  B
    Sorcerer:  B+
    Wild Mage:  B
    A high-level wizard is more powerful than a high-level warrior, but a low-level
    wizard is more vulnerable than a low-level warrior.  Wizards do have a tendency
    to die fairly often during the first half of BG 2, when monsters get past the
    defensive line and sack the wizard.  However, the inclusion of the Robe of
    Vecna in the official patch of ToB makes wizards much less likely to be
    interrupted while they're casting spells.  And once a wizard gets those mass
    destruction spells, it's all over.  The reason I gave a regular mage a baseline
    rating of 'B', which is the same as for a regular fighter, is because I am
    looking at the BG 2 journey in its entirety:  beginning and middle as well as
    end.  Sorcerers are superior to mages especially for advanced players because
    they can cast more spells per day and do not have to specify in advance which
    spells they want to cast on a given day.  Being limited to knowing fewer spells
    than a mage is not a disadvantage when you know which spells you want.
    Regarding Edwin, Edwin is better than a regular specialist mage because he
    simply gets more spell slots per level.  He also has 18 in intelligence so he
    won't have to drink potions before he casts high-level spells.  If you go with
    Edwin, you don't even need a backup mage.
    Cleric:  B- / Specialty Priest:  B-
    Druid:  B- / Totemic Druid:  B- / Shapeshifter:  B / Avenger:  B+
    The story as far as priests in ToB is that wizards eventually surpass them in
    spell casting power as they well should.  However, it is also the case that
    healing in the midst of battle is more important as fighters are more likely to
    get hit by their opponents.  Regarding druids, they are no longer inferior
    priests, but have caught up to clerics.  Just like sorcerers, they can cast
    more spells per day, and in terms of variety of spells, "Globe of Blades" (DQ)
    and "Mass Raise Dead" (DQ) are two quest spells that are improved versions of
    "Blade Barrier" (C6) and "Raise Dead" (C5) which they missed out on because
    they aren't clerics.  Shape shifters are better than regular druids because
    they can turn into decent fighters, and Avengers are better than regular druids
    because their spell books are improved considerably by mid-level mage offensive
    spells such as "Chromatic Orb" (M1), "Lightning Bolt" (M3) and "Chain
    Lightning" (M6).
    Viconia's rating is two half-grades above her class not because she's so
    attractive but because she has very good stats and because she's a drow with
    Magic Resistance.  She starts with 65%, which is something that Wizardslayers
    and Monks need a lifetime to obtain, and she can easily get to 100% with the
    right equipment.  This is a tremendous advantage especially in ToB where magic
    is flung at you left and right.
    Thief:  C+ / Assassin:  C+ / Bounty Hunter:  C- / Swashbuckler:  B
    Bard:  C- / Blade:  C / Jester:  C- / Skald:  C-
    Monk:  B+
    With ToB, rogues get the Use Any Item ability, which is very useful.  Thieves
    also get better traps, with the Bounty Hunter's special traps now becoming
    outdated.  It should be mentioned that traps are the easiest way of killing big
    bosses--however, the number of situations in which trapsetting is feasible is
    rather limited.  Bards get improved songs, with the Skald's special song now
    becoming outdated.  However, beyond this, rogues don't improve by much.  They
    don't get additional useful skills, and so the rest of their skill points goes
    to waste.  Bards don't get to cast more powerful mage spells, but stay stuck at
    level 6.  Swashbucklers however do continue to improve their THACO, damage, and
    AC every 5 levels all the way to level 40, and in addition acquire the fighter
    HLA Whirlwind ability.  Monks are like mages in terms of power and progress,
    starting off small but getting better and better.
    Yoshimo gets a low grade for three reasons.  First, who needs a full-time
    single-class thief?  Second, Bounty Hunters in general are outdated in ToB
    because all thieves get even better traps than the Bounty Hunter's.  Finally,
    you can only use Yoshimo for the early part of SoA.
    Dwarven Fighter/Cleric:  B / Berserker->Cleric:  B
    Half-Elven Fighter/Druid:  B+ / Berserker->Druid:  B+
    Ranger/Cleric:  A- / Ranger->Cleric:  A-
    Warrior and Priest go perfect together, because being a fighter or a priest are
    not necessarily full-time jobs.  You can wear plate and still cast spells,
    fight as well as heal your wounds.  With the base THACO and total XP capped as
    it is, a Warrior/Priest will eventually have just as good a THACO as a
    single-class Warrior.  Also, a Warrior/Priest will know just as many spells as
    a single-class Priest.  A disadvantage of a fighter/cleric multi-class compared
    with the dual-class is that the Turn Undead rank isn't as high.  However,
    fighter/cleric multi-classes get fighter HLA's whereas dual-classes don't.
    Fighter/Druids are slightly better than Fighter/Clerics because druids have
    faster spell progression and this is more compatible with multi-classing. 
    Also, "Ironskin" (D5) is useful for fighters especially for the first half of
    BG 2.  Berserker is a good fighter kit to dual to cleric or druid because of
    the immunities and also because you're not missing out on much when you miss
    out on cleric or druid missile weapon specialization.  But even better than
    Fighter/Clerics and Fighter/Druids are Ranger/Clerics because they get both
    Cleric and Druid spells as well as stealth and racial enemy.
    Jaheira has good stats in everything except for strength, and for that she can
    easily boost it to 19 or more with a girdle of giant strength.  Also, she gets
    a level 5 raise dead spell called "Harper's Call" which other druids don't get.
     In any event, Jaheira is as good a fighter/druid as a fighter/druid can be
    expected to be, and fighter/druids are very good indeed.  The same cannot be
    said for Anomen, who has worse stats and personality than an average fighter
    dualled to cleric.
    Halfling Fighter/Thief:  B+ / Kensai->Thief:  B+
    The Fighter/Thief is another great combo.  Neither warrior nor rogue are
    necessarily full-time jobs and a F/T will eventually be just as good in both. 
    F/T can backstab and use the assassinate ability more effectively and more
    often than regular thieves.  If you want to do the most damage possible in a
    single blow, then dual-class a Kensai to a Thief and try a Kai-Backstab. 
    Fighter/Thieves can take advantage of the Use Any Item ability to wield the
    Carsomyr even though they're not paladins and wear armor even if they're part
    Gnome Fighter/Illusionist:  B+ / Kensai->Mage:  B+
    Fighter/Mages are ultimately one of the most powerful class combos in BG 2.  A
    Kensai dualled to Mage is even better than a fighter/mage multi-class because
    it gains more spells much faster and has more hit points.  The Fighter/Mage
    multi-class though has the edge in terms of fighting because it gets fighter
    HLA's.  The Robe of Vecna makes a huge difference here, not only because of the
    faster casting speed which is essential if you want to cast spells on the
    frontline, but also because it's armor which Kensai->Mages can wear and as such
    improves their AC considerably.
    Gnome Illusionist/Thief:  B / Swashbuckler->Mage:  A-
    Again, the dual to Mage is much better than the Mage multi-class.  The reason
    is simple:  In terms of progress and power, thieves are front-loaded, while
    mages are back-loaded.  Regarding backstab, I'm not too comfortable with having
    my mage frontline as a fighter/mage, but I'm even more against the idea of
    sending my mage behind enemies lines to try to backstab an opponent.  Once he's
    discovered, he's dead.  Swashbucklers dualled to mages on the other hand are a
    great idea because they get AC bonuses, something which mages can definitely
    use, and also because they can function as backup fighters with their attack
    bonuses and dual-wield.  This is on top of the fact that they can acquire basic
    thief skills and still become a high-level mage.
    Nalia and Imoen are practically twins, except that Imoen has better stats and
    Nalia has worse thief skill points.  Jan is an Illusionist/Thief with bad
    stats.  I'd say go with Imoen even though you lose her for part of SoA.
    Gnome Cleric/Illusionist:  B+ / Cleric->Mage:  B+
    It is very convenient to have all the cleric and mage spells in a single
    character, and it is very strategic to be able to mix and match cleric and mage
    spells in contingencies and sequencers as well as be able to cast both at a
    fast rate of speed thanks to "Improved Alacrity" (M10) and the Robe of Vecna. 
    With that said, it takes a while for cleric/mages to become powerful and also,
    it may be wiser to combine cleric with fighter rather than mage because a
    fighter/cleric is more likely to survive a difficult battle.
    I have mixed feelings about Aerie.  On one hand, it's nice to have cleric and
    mage spells together in one place, and Aerie seems nice when you first meet
    her.  But then you start realizing how superficial her spell book, stats, and
    personality really are.  It's up to you if you want to stick with Aerie, and
    it's also up to Aerie whether she wants to stick with you.
    Half-Orc Cleric/Thief:  B+ / Swashbuckler->Cleric:  B+
    The Cleric/Thief multi-class is one of the most-improved class combos with ToB.
     The Use Any Item Thief ability enables the Cleric/Thief to wear the Robe of
    Vecna and wield the Staff of Magi.  "Righteous Magic" (C5) and the Thief's
    Assassinate ability result in maximum backstab damage in broad daylight.  And
    let's not forget "Globe of Blades" (CQ) while stealth is in effect.  It is for
    these reasons and more that this class combo is called Cyric's Favored.  The
    Swashbuckler dualled to Cleric cannot backstab but is still a good utility
    character, with basic skills and cleric spells as well as being the best
    non-fighter fighter.
    Elven Fighter/Mage/Thief:  A-
    This is a multi-class that works really well together.  Being a Fighter as well
    as a Thief enables the F/M/T to assassinate several times a round.  Being a
    Mage as well as a Fighter/Thief means the F/M/T can cast "Mislead" (M6) and
    backstab again and again for up to 20 rounds.  The F/M/T gets tons of XP from
    fighting opponents, learning spells, and taking care of locks/traps.  And in
    the end, the F/M/T can fight almost as well as a fighter, cast mage spells 1-8,
    and have plenty of thief skill points.  This is one of the easiest class combos
    to solo with.
    Half-Elven Fighter/Mage/Cleric:  A+
    And now we come to what is in my opinion the best class combo for ToB.  I call
    this class the "Commander-In-Chief" because it controls most of the major class
    skills and abilities.  If you're a F/M/C, you can fight almost as well as a
    regular fighter especially when you factor in buff and protection spells from
    both mage and cleric sides such as "Improved Haste" (M6) and "Righteous Magic"
    (C5), "Protection from Magical Weapons" (M5) and "Armor of Faith" (C1).  You
    can fight on the frontline as a Fighter, then heal because you're a Cleric, and
    heal quickly because you're a Mage and can wear the Robe of Vecna.
    You also get unique contingencies and sequencers from being both cleric and
    mage, such as "Spell Trigger" (M8)-"Mass Cure"x3 which can heal an entire
    party, or "Sequencer"-"Holy Smite"x3 which will hurt evil monsters a lot but
    spare non-evil party members.  When going solo, my favorite is "Spell Trigger"
    (M8)-"Heal"(C6)-"Improved Haste"(M6)-"Righteous Magic"(C5).  You can even
    simulate some of the more important thief abilities.  You can pick a familiar
    who can pickpocket.  You can open locks with "Knock" (M2).  You can find traps
    with "Find Traps" (C2).  You can go into stealth mode with "Sanctuary" (C1) or
    "Invisibility" (M2).  You can detect illusions through "True Seeing" (C5). 
    Finally, you can set the rough equivalent of traps with "Skull Trap" (M3) and
    "Glyph of Warding" (C3).  Whatever your party needs, the F/M/C can fill the
    Regarding weaponry, there are many different ways to outfit a F/M/C.  In a
    party, I would go sword-and-shield style but not put any points into
    sword-and-shield style.  The best single-handed cleric weapon that you can get
    early on and upgrade as the game progresses is the Flail of Ages with its extra
    elemental damage and slow effect.  Other weapons to consider are the Improved
    Mace of Disruption and the Stormstar, both maces, as well as the Crom Faehr and
    the Runehammer, both war hammers.  There is also the Sling of Seeking.  Why
    sword-and-shield style?  The reason is because although dual-wielding would
    give the F/M/C an extra attack, in a party, the role which a F/M/C plays is
    that of a spell-caster and a backup fighter.  The Flail of Ages with its slow
    effect is perfect for dueling against the monster which occasionally slips past
    the frontline, and the Reflection Shield is perfect for being able to cast
    spells at a distance without being interrupted by missile weapons.  When the
    enemies are pressing in on you and you need more than one attack, do a Greater
    Whirlwind with the Stormstar for the chain lightning effect.
    When going solo, I would first go sword-and-shield with the Flail of Ages and
    the Harmony Shield, not just because the two gold-plated items match really
    well, but also because any of a number of debilitating attacks are fatal when
    soloing.  Then, I would dual-wield with any two of the single-handed weapons
    mentioned above.  Ultimately, I would specialize in Staffs for the Staff of the
    Ram and the Staff of the Magi.  Just give me those two sticks, and I can defeat
    any opponent.  The Staff of the Ram is the most damaging most debilitating
    weapon for physical attacks, while the Staff of the Magi has the most powerful
    magical properties and abilities.
    Regarding HLA's, Fighter/Mage/Clerics, like other multi-classes, start getting
    high-level abilities with each level obtained after 3 million XP cumulative. 
    And so that means they get quite a few HLA's.  I would choose two cleric quest
    spells, Globe of Blades and Energy Blades, and put the rest into the fighter
    HLA's.  The three most important fighter HLA's are 'Greater Whirlwind,'
    'Critical Strike,' and 'Hardiness.'  'Whirlwind' and 'Power Attack' are
    prerequisites, and 'Smite' although better than 'Critical Strike' can
    unfortunately only be chosen once.  While going sword-and-shield or two-handed
    weapon, 'Greater Whirlwind' is key, as previously mentioned.  While
    dual-wielding, you don't need 'Greater Whirlwind' because you already get 3 or
    4 attacks per round and that is doubled to almost 10 anyway when you cast
    "Improved Haste" (M6).  'Critical Strike' is better especially when in
    conjunction with "Righteous Magic" (C5).  'Hardiness' is always helpful as it
    confers 40% physical resistance and can stack with itself or with "Armor of
    Faith" (C1).
    Finally, regarding spells, I recommend the following spell book:
    M1:  Chromatic Orb, Find Familiar, Identify, Magic Missile, Protection from
    M2:  Invisibility, Knock, Melf's Acid Arrow, Mirror Image
    M3:  Fireball, Flame Arrow, Lightning Bolt, Skull Trap
    M4:  Greater Malison, Ice Storm, Minor Sequencer, Stoneskin
    M5:  Breach, Cloudkill, Cone of Cold, Spell Immunity, Sunfire
    M6:  Chain Lightning, Contingency, Death, Improved Haste, Mislead, Protection
    from Magical Weapons
    M7:  Finger of Death, Limited Wish, Prismatic Spray, Spell Sequencer, Khelben's
    Warding Whip
    M8:  Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting, Spell Trigger
    C1:  Armor of Faith, Doom, Remove Fear, Protection from Evil, Sanctuary
    C2:  Draw Upon Holy Might, Find Traps, Hold Person, Resist Fire and Cold,
    Silence, Slow Poison
    C3:  Animate Dead, Dispel Magic, Glyph of Warding, Holy Smite
    C4:  Cure Serious Wounds, Lesser Restoration
    C5:  Chaotic Commands, Magic Resistance, Mass Cure, Raise Dead, Righteous
    Magic, True Seeing
    C6:  Blade Barrier, Harm, Heal
    C7:  Fire Storm, Sunray, Globe of Blades, Energy Blades
    Although I've been meaning to write this strategy guide for a long time, this
    is the first draft I've posted online, and as such, I'm open to discussion and
    debate, as well as revision.  If you have any questions or would like to reach
    me, I can usually be found on the GameFaqs forum at 'www.gamefaqs.com' under
    the alias "Riverwind."  I can also be contacted via E-Mail at

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