Q: So, what's this do, then?
A: You're offered a list of the NPCs who can join your party and share your kooky adventures. You can choose to tamper with some or all or none of them. Let's say you've chosen Minsc. You can assign him any class that a PC could have (Ranger Minsc! Fighter/Thief multi Minsc! Sorcerer... erm, Minsc!). After selecting a class, you can assign a kit (if you like). The list of kits you're offered is any kit that's installed in your game that the class you've chosen could select. Thus, if you've turned Minsc into a Fighter/Thief multi, you can give him any fighter kit or any thief kit (Berserker/Thief? No problem. Rather have Fighter/ Swashbuckler? No problem. Weimer's Anti-Paladin/Thief? Well, if you're sure....). Note: you can advance in only one kit at a time and cannot have two. This is hardcoded and will not be changed by this mod.
After, say, turning Minsc into a Berserker/Thief, you get to spend his forty thief skill points that he gets for first level. Put them all in Move Silently if you want to replicate his old ranger ways, or put them into Pickpockets and Detect Illusion if that's more fun. It's your game. Then you get to pick your starting weapon proficiencies. Lastly, if you're a Sorcerer you pick your two first level spells.
Now when you meet Minsc in game, whenever you meet Minsc in game, he'll be a level one Berserker/Thief - but while his level has been changed, his experience hasn't been. So when you meet him in Chateau Irenicus, you'll be able to immediately level him to whatever level his 89,000 experience would allot him, and reap all the usual benefits
Q: That sounds complicated and time consuming. Why didn't you just set the NPCs to level zero like I do with Shadowkeeper and skip this long sequence of selection menus?
A: Because leveling from zero to one doesn't give you the correct amount of thief skill points nor weapon proficiencies. If I'd done that, your party members would be permanently short - or - I'd have to pick where to assign this stuff for you, which rather defeats the purpose of the mod, doesn't it?
Q: Isn't the concept here kind of cheesy?
A: Perhaps It really depends on what you do with it and where your threshold for cheese lies. For example, I've always thought it silly that Jaheira shows up in BG2 specialized in club just because the game designers wanted to show off their absurd-looking and weak new weapon type. No one likes clubs, and she's carrying a quarterstaff in her BG portrait for crying out loud! If this bothers you, you can change her into a fighter/druid with no kit and put her proficiencies where Ms "Speak Sharply and Carry a Huge Blunt Object" ought to have them.
Q: That's fine. But you can do sillier things with the mod too, right?
A: Sure. It's worth noting that BioWare was quite content to break the "rules" whenever they thought it would make a character more vivid or interesting. Minsc lacks the requisite wisdom to be a ranger. Aerie is a multi-class that elves can't have. Anomen's wisdom is too low for him to have legally dualed to cleric. You're just getting that option now too.
Q: Yeah, but I turned Kagain and Korgan into paladins with your mod, and it was stupid.
A: I bet. Don't do that. I can't tell where you draw the line, so you will have to make your own choices.
Q: What about the NPCs' stuff? What happens to it?
A: All of their "generic" items (e.g. Chainmail, Longsword +1) are removed. They get a new outfit of "generic" items based on the class that you've picked for them. If you make Imoen a Swashbuckler and give her proficiency in short bow and short sword, then she'll show up in Candlekeep with a short bow, twenty arrows, a short sword, and some variety of leather armor.
Signature items are a little more complicated; in the case of, say, Haer'Dalis's Chaos and Entropy blades, he'll keep them, and the weapons themselves will be altered so that he can use them regardless of whatever class he is (Fighter/Mage? Fine, they're Fighter/Mage usable now. Cleric? Uh... okay, he can still use them, and he'll get his special bonus star in shortswords even though Clerics can't normally use this kind of weapon.)
In the case of Monks some difficulty ensues: their offhand slot is permanently occupied because of the kludgy way they're implemented. So it does no good to make a shield Monk usable if they can't ever equip it. Signature items for Monks are converted: two-handed sword becomes katana, shield becomes cloak (shields can be worn over the back ), etc, etc. It's not perfect, but I can't change the way Monks work.
Q: So, it's possible I might get better stuff when I recruit an NPC?
A: Yep. Since it's always been possible to take NPCs on the "Quest to Find What's at the Bottom of that there Woodchipper" and pawn their worldly possessions, I'm not too worried about this. The items they end up with should be fairly close to what a standard NPC gets: if you notice any glaring omissions or errors, let me know
Q: Lots of NPCs have special flavor innate abilites, what about those?
A: They're kept; innate abilities are not changed by this mod. Branwen will still have her Spiritual Hammer if she's a Fighter/Cleric. Minsc will still have his headwound rage if you make him a Berserker. NPC-only priest or wizard spells, on the other hand, have to be explicitly assigned. I can make sure that Jaheira always knows Harper's Call if she can cast spells (and in fact, that's already done ) but I have to know in advance that it's a "special" spell. Anything I've missed, let me know
Q: What about NPCs added by mods? Keto wants to be a skald!
A: None at this time. While I find it hypocritical for modders to declare their work sacrosanct, there's certainly a contingent who expect to have free reign trampling BioWare's intentions and other modders intentions and the player's intentions while expecting their own work to be pedestaled higher than, say, Shakespeare. So mod NPCs aren't and won't be included without permission. With that said, Wes Weimer won't care if his NPCs are included, and J. Compton will probably allow PPG NPCs to be included if we all buy stock in Broken Hourglass, so it's possible some will show up later
UPDATE: The following mod NPCs have been added in 1.4, based on permissions/availability:
- Adario Kalvaras
- Ajantis Ilvastarr
- Alora Alora
- Angelo Dosan
- Anomen Delryn
- Aran Whitehand
- Artemis Entreri
- Auren Aseph
- Avaunis Adelez
- Bardo Furfoot
- Bruenor Battlehammer
- Bub Snikt
- Conchobhair Strongblade
- Drizzt Do'Urden
- Edwin Odesseiron
- Eldoth Kron
- Ferthgil Trollslayer
- Jan Jansen
- Jarlaxle Baenre
- Jon Irenicus
- Keiria Silverstring
- Keldorn Firecam
- Korgan Bloodaxe
- Mazzy Fenton
- Nalia De'Arnise
- Selence Hillstar
- Shar-Teel Dosan
- Skeezer Lumpkin VI
- Skie Silvershield
- Thorfinn Hauskluniff
- Tomas Tomalson
- Tyris Flare
- Valygar Corthala
- Viconia De'Vir
- Will Scarlet O'Hara
- Yeslick Orothiar
A: If you're playing on core or below, maximum. If you're playing on difficult, anywhere between half maximum and maximum. If you're playing on insane, random.
Q: Let's talk about install order.
A: I sure don't like mandatory install orders. Install BG2 or BG2 and ToB. Make sure they've got the latest patch. If you're playing Tutu, install the latest Easy Tutu version; if you're playing BGT, install the BG2 Fixpack and the latest BGT version. BG2 Fixpack is gently suggested; if you decide not to include it, I may not be able to help you with any in-game bugs or bugs added by Baldurdash.
Other than that, it doesn't really matter. If you want to assign a kit from a mod, you'll need to install that kit first (otherwise I've no way of telling that you plan to install it later). If you want to use Ashes of Embers or something else that changes the rules for weapon proficiencies around, then that also should go earlier so that this mod will follow the changed ruleset.
Loosely based on Gebhart Blucher's "Alternate BG2 NPCs" mod from way back in the day, suggested for update by Azazello, supported by cmorgan and coded/made monstrous by Nythrun (hi there!).
This serves two purposes: the first is that it corrects creatures using the wrong .eff version, the second is that it allows you to "batch uninstall" all components you might have installed by uninstalling it. That's about it.
Optional: Tweak the weapon proficiency rules
When you're altering the joinable NPCs, this mod follows whatever rule set is in place. So if you want mages to be able to use crossbows, and you want Edwin to have to crossbow proficiency, you'll need to change the rules so that this mod will know what rules to follow. Most of the content here mirrors other mods and is presented as convenience, or as an alternative to the many mods that must be installed last.
- Allow druids one star in any weapon type a fighter can use.
- Allow grandmastery for fighter multiclasses - some will find it cheesy, but if you were going to get this elsewhere (e.g. BG2 Tweaks) then you might as well have it for party joinables too.
- Allow thieves and thief multi-classes three stars in dual-wielding - a la aVENGER's Rogue Rebalancing
- Allow backstab with any weapon a mage/thief, fighter/thief, or cleric/thief can use - Backstabbing with a two-handed sword shouldn't be less effective than backstabbing with a quarterstaff, yes?
- Make quarterstaves unusable for backstabbing - by request.
- Restrict Fighter/Druids from armours single class Druids cannot wear - by request, seems closer to the arbitrary 2nd Ed rules in any case.
- Allow clerics one star in any weapon type a fighter can use - If your deity's weapon is a sword, you should bloody well be able to use a sword!
- If you refused "one star in anything for clerics", Allow fighter/clerics and fighter/mage/clerics two stars in any weapon type - just using the fighter restrictions rather than the cleric
- If you refused "one star in anything for clerics", Allow cleric/thieves one star in any weapon type a fighter can use - otherwise cleric-thieves can only backstab with quarterstaves and clubs, and it's a bit dull.
- If you refused "one star in anything for clerics", Allow cleric/rangers two stars in any weapon type - I'm sure you can make up your own mind
Optional: Mod exported PCs
Currently deprecated as it's dangerous to uninstall. Brave users can, if they so desire, undeprecate it, change an exported PC, copy that PC elsewhere, and uninstall this component. Most people who'd consider doing that will probably use an editor like DLTCEP or NI instead Since I know of no method that will allow this work both correctly and unintrusively, for now it's staying unavailable.
Optional: Joinable NPCs more closely match the PCs experience
NPCs, upon joining, will have their XP total adjusted to something closer to the PC's. This component is new to the last beta, and I don't much like the implementation at this point. It'll be revised, eventually.
Optional: Mod an NPC
Pick one and go nuts. Or don't