Chapter 4: Character Creation
One of the most important facets of D&D / BG is the ability to create the character you will "inhabit" for the course of the game. There are dozens of options available to you, which when combined allow for a spectrum of
literally billions of possible characters. The Character Creation process itself can be deceptively simple: Choose what race you want to be, pick a class to play, select an alignment, roll a decent set of stats, put some proficiency
points into a couple of weapons, maybe choose a couple of spells, done. Actually understanding the reasoning behind all of those choices, however, is a lot of work, and there is much data to be absorbed and weighed. I have arranged this
page so that the various aspects are not in the order in which they appear during the actual Character Creation in-game, but rather in the order of greatest importance to your character as a whole.
Click Here to learn about class combinations.
Your Class is essentially your profession, the set of skills that determine your role as an adventurer. Each class has its own relative strengths and relative weaknesses, as well as abilities unduplicated
by any other class. There are four "super-classes": Warrior, Priest, Rogue, and Wizard, and each superclass has at least two "classes" descending from it. In BG2, almost every class has at least three "kits" descending from it.
Click Here to jump to the page where I start delving into the class structure.
Dual-classing and Multiclassing are ways to combine two (or three) very different classes, or even one class and a kit of another class, in the same character. Both methods increase your end
versatility at arguably little cost, so in general Dual-classes and Multi-classes are a bit more popular than trueclass characters.
Your Race is the species from which you are descended. Although this decision has little influence on actual gameplay, it has great importance in determining what classes (especially class combinations) you
Click Here to read about the various races.
Your Stats are measurements of your (character's) personal abilities; things like physical strength, ruggedness, brainpower and charm. Different stats are important for different classes, and each class
and race will influence your stats somewhat: Minimum values, and a few bonuses & penalties here and there. But by far the most important factor in determining your stats is the roll of the dice; getting good stats is easily the most time-consuming
part of Character Creation, which is why going through the process is most frequently described as "rolling" up a new character.
Click Here to jump down the page to where I talk about your 6 stats and what they do.
Weapon Proficiencies are indicators of your levels of skill with various types of weapons, and BG2 introduces Weapon Styles as well. Most of your proficiency points will be allocated during the course of
the game, but you have enough at the start to get you going. Your character is affected a good deal by what weapons they use: A Warrior who uses a Flail and Darts from behind his Large Shield is very different from another Warrior (even one with the
exact same race, stats, and kit) who uses a Crossbow and Spear, who in turn is very different from one who Dual-Wields Short Swords.
Click Here to jump down and read about the various Proficiencies.
Your Alignment has hardly any influence on the game—even if you're Lawful Evil, you can still behave in a manner more consistent with Chaotic Good, and vice versa. It serves mostly as a reminder of how you
should be playing than any sort of real restrictor on your actions. In BG2, though, there are a few items that have Alignment restrictions, so it does matter in that regard, and it has some small effects at the beginnings of both BG1 and 2,
and also determines what Familiar you will get (if any).
Click Here to jump down to the section on Alignment.
Selecting your starting Spells is pretty trivial: If you're a Wizard, you pick what spells you know at the start of the game (people typically go with either the most-commonly-used ones, like Magic Missile
and Identify, or the hard-to-find ones like Glitterdust and Spook), as well as which spells you have memorized on Day 1. If you're a Priest, choosing your memorized spell(s) is your only option.
Picking your memorized spells only happens in BG1, because in BG2 you always start with no spells memorized at all. There is no section to read more about your starting spells, because I just said all there is to say about it.
Character Creation — Stats
Every creature in the game has six basic, fundamental statistics that play a large part in determining that creature's capabilities and influencing its secondary statistics like hitpoints and THAC0. The stats are
Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIS), & Charisma (CHA). The "normal" range for each of these stats is 3 through 18, with the average score in each stat being 8 or 9; most commoners and townsfolk have
average stats, while adventurers' stats are almost always considerably higher, for the simple reason that if their stats were only average, they wouldn't have become adventurers. Here's a description of the 6 stats and what they do:
|Strength: Your Strength is, obviously, a measurement of sheer physical muscle. It affects your odds of hitting an enemy with a melee weapon, how much damage you can do with that melee weapon, your
chances of forcing open a locked door or chest (in the event that you don't have a Thief), and in BG2, what weapons and armor you can use: If you want to wear Full Plate, you need at least 15 Strength. Your Strength also determines how much weight you
can carry and still move at your normal walking rate; if you go even a single pound over your Weight Allowance, you become Encumbered: Slowed and lumber along at half speed. Exceed your Weight Allowance by more than 20% or so, and you're Encumbered:
Can Not Move. Warriors can also get something called "Exceptional" Strength, which is a modifer that the AD&D people threw in because everybody was giving their Warriors 18 Strength. If you're a Warrior and your STR is 18, the game will also
roll a D100 that determines your exceptional STR. 18(01) is the lowest, as it's only a tiny bit more powerful than a flat 18, and 18(00) is the best, it's almost 19. Most party members will not need a high Strength, but they should be at least average
. . . this goes for every stat, actually.|
CON scores allow you to actually regenerate lost hitpoints; this starts at a CON of 20, in which case your wounds self-heal at the rate of 1 hitpoint per
turn. It's not much, but it sure is nice when you can heal yourself just by sleeping, or walking from one map area to another. Despite what the manual says, your Constitution has no effect whatsoever on your odds of being successfully Resurrected.
|Dexterity: Your agility, reflexes, eye-hand coordination, and manual sensitivity. This is arguably the most important stat: It influences
your Armor Class, your aim with all ranged weapons, and (if you're a Thief, Ranger, Bard, or Monk) your Thieving skills as well. Of these, your AC is the most vital, as over the course of the game a lot of people are
going to want to insert a lot of pointy objects into you, and it would be much to your benefit not to be there when it happens. Therefore: Dodge.|
Constitution: This stat represents your toughness, endurance, gumption, and stamina. It controls a very important number: Your maximum hitpoint total. Actually, your CON score is only one factor in setting your total hitpoints; good die rolls are
every bit as important, but with things as precious as hitpoints, every one counts. Only Warriors gain any additional hitpoints for a CON higher than 16. Constitution also plays a major role in determining the Saving Throws of a Dwarf,
Halfling, or Gnome. One very interesting thing about Constitution is that extremely high
|Intelligence: This stat reflects your capacity to learn, remember, deduce and outwit. It is largely important only to Mages and Bards, as their odds of successfully scribing a Wizard scroll to their
spellbooks depends wholly on their INT. (Note: Intelligence is only required to scribe the spell, not cast it. The manuals show an INT table that says you cannot cast high-level spells without a high Intelligence, e.g., you must have at
least 16 INT in order to cast 8th-Level spells. This rule was not implemented in BG.) Also, when scribing spells, the game checks your INT and use it to determine how many spells (of each Spell Level) you can scribe to your Book. But apart from
spell-scribing purposes, Intelligence is only good for Lore, and the ability to use certain items: People with less than 9 INT are treated as illiterate in PnP, and in BG this is implemented by making all scrolls, even the green Protection scrolls,
unusable by anyone with under 9 INT, and the same goes for almost all Wands, as well. Some encounters in BG2 also roleplay your INT for you: Depending on the Intelligence of the party member doing the talking, the more clever or learned conversation
options might not be open to you.|
|Wisdom: A representation of your common sense, levelheadedness, foresight, and intuition. These four qualities are actually hardly touched
in the game; true, a high Wisdom does grant you the same Lore bonuses as having a high Intelligence, and some conversation options do check your WIS score as well, but the only thing that WIS is really good for is memorizing additional Priest
spells. Apparently Wisdom is also a measure of one's devotion to the gods, because Clerics and Druids gain extra spellslots for having a high WIS. (Paladins and Rangers do not get these bonuses, and of course the Monk cannot
cast spells at all.) In PnP, your Wisdom is used to determine a modifier on your Saving Throw against spells that affect the mind—Charm and Confusion effects and the like. Despite the fact that BioWare included a mention of this in the manual, this was
not implemented in the final game. Also unimplemented was a Spell Failure chance, wherein Priest spells cast by a Priest with a low Wisdom score would have a random chance to spontaneously fail, without any external source of Spell Disruption.
Regardless, for all classes other than Clerics & Druids, Wisdom plays hardly any role in a character's effectiveness.|
|Charisma: This is a measure of your character's willpower, personality, physical appearance, and leadership abilities. It is most commonly equated with good looks and sex appeal, but this is only a part
of what Charisma represents (it's a big part, but still). In your interactions with the hundreds of NPCs in the game, their attitude toward you is controlled by two things: Your party's Reputation, and your Charisma. (Actually, some conversations
check the Charisma of the party member who's actually talking to the NPC, while others check the Charisma of the Party Leader.) With a high Reputation and high Charisma, you tend to get offered more quests and recieve better rewards for completing
them—conversely, in one game of mine I couldn't even talk to a recruitable NPC because my Reputation and personal magnetism weren't high enough to impress him. (Yet another example of how the game favors roleplaying Good.) A prime example of how
Charisma affects various NPCs' Reaction scores to you is the prices in stores: Polite, pretty, persuasive people get discounts. Store prices are also greatly influenced by the party's Reputation, but the Charisma of the Party Leader tends to be even more