Baldur's Gate: Dual and Multiclassing

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Basic Information

Dual and Multiclassing can be VERY powerful if used right in Baldur's Gate. Playing the game hardcore can be a lot easier if you dual or multiclass, as they have abilities of both classes with the only drawback being that you do not reach as high of levels. Also, if considering the entire Baldur's Gate saga as a whole, dual-classing allows for the most overpowered, broken, and downright cheap meta-gaming characters possible.

Dual-classing favors starting with your primary class as the combat oriented class, and then dropping into a spell-casting class. Casters scale better later into the game, and this way you maximize the early game health and thac0. Fighter should always be the first class for any potential fighter dual-class, and thief should be the primary class for thief/mages.

Fighter Multi-Class Options

Fighter makes the most universal dual- and multi-classing option because it offers something every other class wishes they had: HP and thac0. They hit harder and can absorb more punishment than any other given class meaning your squishy thief who couldn't ever land that backstab suddenly has twice the HP and rarely misses from the shadows, or your mage suddenly has more survivability than he would have enjoyed at max level just by dual-classing at level 8.

Fighter/Cleric

Very powerful solo class and great for hardcore runs, as sanctuary is basically a free 'get out of trouble' card. Using Draw Upon Holy Might can get your strength to as high as 23(!) at higher levels, making you the best fighter in the party, and boosting your constitution to 20 or more with the spell before sleeping will restore all your HP upon sleeping.

Strengths:

                 1. Divine Spells and therefore healing
                 2. Sanctuary allows easy safe navigation of the battlefield
                 3. Draw upon Holy Might turns your physical stats into sheer godliness.
                 4. Highest possible combined saving throws in the game (especially ludicrous when combined with a high con dwarf)

Weaknesses:

                 1. BG1 only: Will only reach 4th level spells by level cap
                 2. Fighting abilities progress slowly due to splitting experience, although this is mitigated somewhat by the ability to self-buff.
                 3. Limited weapon selection  
  • What spells to memorize-
    Because of the fighter levels and therefore higher thac0 than a straight cleric, focus on buffs when you choose your spells (Draw Upon Holy Might, Sanctuary needed, strength of one also good), taking healing spells only as necessary. Your first and foremost concern is keeping yourself alive, so leave debuffs and holding spells to your secondary divine spellcasters.

  • Dual or Multi?-
    Multi-classing is preferred for a BG1 only character, as the early game survivability matters without sacrificing much potential end-game power. However for those planning on playing the character through the entire saga, dual-classing to cleric at level 13 of fighter will maximize the attacks per round fighters get over typical clerics while still allowing you to reach level 38, a whole two levels shy of the default cleric level cap. Berserker is the only viable kit to dual-class into a cleric because heavy armors are a must in order to utilize the unique tanking ability fighter/clerics fulfill. Additionally, multi-class fighter/clerics are limited to mastery level in any given weapon type but a dual-classed fighter/cleric, even if he dual-classed at level 2, can obtain grand mastery in any given weapon type.

  • Choosing a Multi-class Race-
    The only races which can even roll Fighter/Clerics are Dwarves, Gnomes(BG1EE), Half-Elves and Half-Orcs. Half-Orcs are obviously only playable in BG1 if you install BGtutu or BGT. Half-Orcs fill this well due to the extra strength, constitution, and their ability score penalty applies in the preferred fighter/cleric dump stat. If that isn't possible or you feel it's cheating, Gnomes(BG1EE) allow 18 DEX for better AC, etc and have superb saving throws!. Dwarves are excellent as the dexterity penalty isn't very severe, the extra constitution is extremely helpful and most importantly, dwarven saving throws make him very difficult to crowd control. There is no meta-gaming reason to roll a half-elf over either of these choices.

  • Recommended stats-
    Max strength, dexterity and constitution. Get at least 16 points in Wisdom. Intelligence should be at least at a 9 to read scrolls, a vital thing for clerics. Charisma is the dump stat of choice.

  • Proficiencies-
    Warhammers and Slings are musts. The best cleric weapon in Baldur's Gate 1 is a warhammer and is relatively easy to obtain early on, and slings are literally your only option for a ranged weapon until you get a returning hammer in BG2. Clearly sword and shield spec is a must as well, for those going into BG2 who can afford to split the proficiency points away from weapons.

Fighter/Thief

Fighter/Thieves are capable of significant damage output. They give up the ability to tank on the same level as a raw fighter because they lose some health, but they can hold their own. If you are focused on thief skills you'll want to stick to light armors, making them less studry, though detect traps and illusions will work in heavy armor. Thieves have the added ability to use certain wands, which is very useful. A dual-classed kensai/thief who manages to hit epic levels in BG2 and unlocks Use Any Item is one of the most devastating melee fighters in the game. They are very slanted toward end-game content, however, so they are not typically very good for hardcore runs as a main character. Swashbuckler/fighters are also very powerful, while multi-class characters have excellent power right from the start of BG1.

Strengths:

                 1. Thief abilities on a character who can actually take a hit if he misses spotting a trap or fails a disarm roll
                 2. Better thac0 and damage from fighter masteries means bigger backstabs that miss less often.
                 3. Borderline broken damage capabilities at epic levels once importing to BG2

Weaknesses:

                 1. Splitting experience means both fighting capabilities and thieving skills progress slowly.
                 2. To maximize damage potential requires ranking hide in shadows early, which slows more important survival thieving skills.
                 3. Tanking ability of a raw fighter is lessened if you want to backstab a lot.
  • Dual or Multi?
    Dual-classing presents some significant end-game bonuses and borderline broken possibilities, but doing so requires you to have a dedicated thief in order to handle trap disarming and lockpicking for quite some time. Also, you're limited to being human meaning no racial bonuses. At the end of BG2 a dual-class character will be slightly stronger than a multi-class one, though the difference will not be especially pronounced. A multi-class character will be much stronger through BG1 and the early-mid part of BG2 as it will only slightly lag in levels early on and not have to deal with an inactive class at any point. Multi-class characters will also receive both rogue and fighter HLAs. Both options have strengths depending on your focus.

  • Choosing which Fighter Kit-
    Typically a dual-class fighter/thief is simply a typical fighter so you can utilize higher ranged weapon proficiencies. Berserker is also acceptable because it's not like thieves on their own can get more than a single point in ranged weapons normally, which is the only real downside to this kit. Alternatively, you can roll Kensai and get ungodly damage bonuses at the expense of even less tanking ability. Only do so if you have the party to support a reckless suicidal warrior. The payoffs for leveling Kensai to 12 or 13 and dual-classing to thief are tremendous, however, as getting Use Any Item to negate the rather significant disadvantages of Kensai makes for a seriously overpowered character. Wizard Slayer is an interesting choice because this is potentially the only way to negate their pretty significant downside, but it takes so long before you unlock Use Any Item it is generally not worth it. Fighters get an extra 1/2 attack at levels 7 and 13, and stop rolling for health at level 9, so it is recommended you dual class at one of these points to take full advantage.

  • Choosing which Thief Kit-
    Alternatively a fighter/thief might dual class from a thief kit. The Swashbuckler and Bounty Hunter kits are the most useful choices here, as the Assassin does not have significant lower level advantages. Thieves get improved traps at levels 6 and 11 and stop rolling for health at level 10, so it is recommended you dual class at one of these points to take full advantage - though Swashbuckler advantages also make levels 5, 10, and 15 good options.

  • Choosing a Multi-class Race-
    First, look at the thief class page and the racial bonuses to thieving skills. Because you will progress slower, the racial bonuses to all the important areas Halflings get as well as the extra 5% across the board for the bonus dexterity helps dissuade that somewhat at the expense of reaching percentage bonuses on character creation 18/?? rolls. As a multi-class character you will eventually have enough thief skill points no matter your race selection, however, so do not place undue emphasis on these starting values. Fudging strength scores with equipment is a necessity on halflings which can be a significant drawback. Secondly, consider just how much you care about early game vs. late game explosiveness. If you are building a raw ginsu blade murderer assassin type, Elves are excellent fighter/thieves because they get a +1 thac0 to longswords, the weapon of choice early on for any BG1 fighter/thief and obviously benefit from the bonus dexterity. Gnomes are good to roll as a fighter/thief because they get fun thieving bonuses, don't lose the important dexterity a dwarf does, and doesn't lose the important strength a halfling does while still gaining significant saving throw bonuses. Half-orcs make fun fighter/thieves for the raw damage potential natural 19 strength causes. Dwarves are also a great option as their improved constitution and saving throws give a significant advantage, and their dexterity penalty can be dealt with by equipment, or permanently through stat improvements in game.

  • Recommended Stats-
    Because you are making this character to run around, stealth, and gib people with backstab damage, all three physical stats should be maxed out. The damage from strength bonuses apparently doesn't factor in to backstab damage multipliers but thac0 is very important due to the slower level progression and gaining it that way. Try as best you can to at least get 18/51 or better. Thieves actually have decent Lore skill so attempt as best you can not to go below 10 on either Int or Wis. Charisma can be shafted, yet again.

  • Proficiencies-
    You can backstab with any melee weapon a solo class thief can use. Because backstabbing is a percentage of your weapon's damage roll, you should take Longswords over Short Swords and definitely invest in Katanas come BG2. The difference between rolling an 8 vs. a 6 when you've got a backstab multiplier of x5 is an extra 10 damage, plus just about the best possible melee weapon in BG1 is obtainable as soon as you reach Nashkel Mines. Only your main hand's damage can be applied toward backstabs so single weapon proficiency is better than dual-wielding or equipping a buckler for sword and shield. If you are less focused on backstabbing then dual wielding is the way to go, as it will give you the best overall damage potential by far. (Special note: A kensai planning on dual-classing to thief should level up daggers as throwing daggers are their only long-ranged attack until unlocking Use Any Item.)

Fighter/Mage

Fighter/Mages are excellent targets for buff spells. They utilize mage self-buffs better than a single-class mage would, and can use Touch spells (like Vampiric Touch) to greater effect because of their increased thac0. Plus, it alleviates a lot of the downside of playing a single-class mage in that you'll have significantly better hit-points and saving throws. Lastly, they can equip armor. This is usually a bad thing as nearly every armor also negates the ability to cast spells but there are a few pieces which do not and therefore make you fairly tanky. (They are all BG2 equipment.) The only major downside is the inability to pick a specialist wizard class for the bonus spells.

Strengths:

                 1. Significantly increases survivability of your mage, who is already one of if not the most important character in your party
                 2. Improved thac0 means better use of Touch spells
                 3. Fantastic target for buffs
                 4. Ability to equip Elven Chain for improved AC over a straight-forward mage without giving up spellcasting power
                 5. Kensai dual-class specific: Can still equip robes in chest slot.

Weaknesses:

                 1. Inability to pick specialist mage class (except for Gnomes)
                 2. Multi-class splitting XP significantly reduces the overall effectiveness of your mage powers.
  • Dual or Multi?
    Multi-classing works fine here should you choose gnome, because then you get epic saving throws in addition to the only way to gain a mage specialty. Being an illusionist helps off-set the slower pace of leveling. However, dual-classing is really where this combo shines. A level 4 fighter can dual-class to mage without affecting the mage's ability to reach the level cap in BG1, and a level 8 fighter who dual-classes to mage can reach the highest level of mage without penalty in Throne of Bhaal so there is basically no reason not to gain that extra 24 or 48 HP respectively, let alone the bonus thac0 you'd receive.

  • Choosing which Fighter Kit-
    Kensai, kensai, kensai. Kensai/mages are incredible. There is essentially zero downside. The biggest detractor to picking up Kensai is the inability to equip armors, but you can still use robes for your chest slot. It isn't like mages would equip otherwise for a significant period of time anyway, and Robes of the Arch-Magi or the Robes of Vecna both give 5 AC so it's the equivalent of chain mail. That just means you lose out on Elven Chain armors (not a big deal) and dedicated ranged weapons (not a big deal because you can specialize in axes, hammer or daggers and simply use the magic returning versions of each.) The ability to roid yourself up with both Kai and various Mage buff spells to inflict major punishment makes this class supremely deadly. If you don't want to give up ranged weaponry, I'd say you're better off as just a regular fighter than the other two kits. Berserker is unnecessary as mages have ways to go immune to the vast majority of things berserk makes them immune to, which is the main reason to choose that kit. Obviously wizard slayer is out because you'd have to give up too many essential items, like, the ability to use scrolls.

  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    Gnomes are excellent here. Giving up necromancy is not a big deal compared to the crazy saving throws of gnome, nor the bonus spell per spell level of illusionist. Elves gain bonuses to hit with Large Swords and Bows and therefore are potentially deadlier early.

  • Recommended Stats
    You need at least 15 strength and 17 intelligence to even dual-class in the first place, so make sure you have at least that. Maxing dexterity and constitution is obviously important, with intelligence closely behind. I wouldn't worry about maxing strength too much though clearly it's preferred if at all possible, simply because you can bolster your strength to workable fighter levels with the level 2 mage spell "Strength" and various higher level spells which are even more beneficial. Plus, there's a lot of gear which can supplant your strength skill entirely. Charisma and wisdom are dump stats. Attempt to keep wisdom above 11 so you can utilize Valygar's armor.

  • Proficiencies
    For BG1, I recommend two-handed swords and bows. Spider's Bane and the Free Action it grants lets you spam Web on baddies without worrying about it tripping you up, plus your roid spells will let you whomp out some serious damage with a two-hander. It's worth looking into katanas come BG2 if only for Dak'kon's Zerth Blade purchasable in the Adventurer's Mart as it grants bonus spells per level, and you can use the Celestial Fury to obliterate bad guys for most of the length of the sequel. A regular fighter/mage is actually a wonderful archer character should you go that route. Many people don't like their mages in the thick of battle because a lot of spells take awhile to get off so there's the chance you lose it due to taking damage, and without those fighter levels the mage would be hanging back with just a sling or darts anyway. It's a good idea if you want this character to be more of a support mage than your heavy nuker.

Fighter/Druid

Fighter/Druids are one of the funkier multi-classes in the game but are well worth rolling. The difference between a fighter/druid and a fighter/cleric comes down to less self-buff spells, more disables, and better summoning. Plus, it's the only way to give decent armor to a druid.

Strengths:

                 1. Druidic summon spells are superior to cleric summoning spells, giving you extra artillery as you whomp on people.
                 2. Plenty of buff spells to roid out your punching powers.
                 3. Slightly more offensive spellpower than a Fighter/Cleric
                 4. Iron Skins.

Weaknesses:

                 1. Misses some of the most signficant buff spells clerics posess, such as Sanctuary and Draw Upon Holy Might
                 2. Limited Weapon Selection (though you can still use Scimitars)
                 3. Forced into a high base charisma, limiting dump stats
  • Dual or Multi?
    Dual-classing is preferred, but MAKE SURE YOU DO IT AT LEVEL 13 OR EARLIER because it takes a bajillion years as a druid to get from level 14 to 15. Ideally, do it at level 10 because you will exactly hit the level cap as a fighter 10/druid 30. (Max druid level is 31 and they quit gaining new spells per level at 25 anyway.) Multi-classing still works but to a lesser extent because splitting the level difference between two classes means that leap from 14 to 15 is going to be even that much more significant. Obviously neither of these come into play for just BG1 proper.

  • Choosing which Fighter Kit-
    Berserker or bust. You are limited to slings or darts for ranged weapons anyway so I see little reason to be upset you can't progress either past rank 1. Kensai is not worth it as you probably will not be able to roll a max strength score, and the point of mixing fighter with a divine spellcasting class is for added tanking prowess. You do get barkskin, however, which is essentially equipping your guy with chain mail so there is that to consider. This would probably be the best bet for a Wizard Slayer to dual-class into simply because Druids are not very dependant on gear as they can fill a ranged roll using an army of animal summons pretty well on their own so that could be an interesting build for you to try should you want a challenge.

  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    You are limited just to half-elves here, sadly.

  • Recommended Stats
    To successfully roll a dual-class fighter/druid, you need at least 15 strength, 17 wisdom and 17 charisma. It's a tall order for someone not coming out of BG1, because you'll also be wanting to maximize Dexterity and Constitution. There is no way your guy won't be dumb as a brick, but considering you should ideally dual-class at level 10 and cannot achieve that level til BG2, you can start with 14 WIS and 16 CHA. You'll rely on the tomes to bring you up to snuff but it allows you start as a more kick-ass fighter with better dexterity and constitution. If you're going to gimp a stat, favor strength at just the 15 mark. Utilizing "Strength" from your mages is acceptable and preferred to gimping dexterity or constitution. Multi-class druids may actually consider dumping Wisdom to the minimum 12 value and forgoing bonus spells from high wisdom in favor of better fighter stats, depending on their preferences.

  • Proficiencies
    Slings or darts are an absolute must as they are your only ranged weapon options. For your main weapon, I highly recommend Scimitars. Drizzt's Icebrand scimitar is the best weapon for druids in BG1 and for most of BG2, but it's still a really solid +3 weapon. Clubs are a solid choice in BG2 because of the Blackblood's ease of find for being a +3 weapon, or the Gnasher's awesome bleeding ability when you fight things that don't require a high weapon enchantment to damage. Quarterstaves is probably your safest bet all around, though. The most damaging weapon per strike in the entire saga is a quarterstaff anyway, so you really aren't giving up that much damage.

Other Multi-Class Options

The other four multi-class options all offer something extremely unique just to them. Also, there are conveniently four other options not with "fighter" in the name so it works out to a nice, round parsing. Yay, parsing!

Mage/Thief

Mage/Thieves do not have quite the same durability a Fighter/Mage has, nor the combat prowess. However, it's still beefier than a straightforward wizard, gives you the ability to disarm traps, and gives you an escape mechanism should you manage a way to break line of sight and drop into stealth.

Strengths:

                 1. Allows your mage to disable traps
                 2. Can forego leveling open lock for quite some time, relying on the level 2 spell "Knock" instead
                 3. More durable than straight mage
                 4. Can use invisibility spells on self to supplement backstab attempts

Weaknesses:

                 1. Slower leveling of spells and thieving skills
                 2. Not quite as thick as a Fighter/Mage combo could be
                 3. Still can't wear Elven Chain until Use All Items ability
  • Dual or Multi?
    Dual-classing is often prefered as you never really need much more than 8 or 9 levels in thief anyway, at least for the important stuff. Even though you can go all the way to level 15 as a thief and then dual-class to mage to maximize overall potential without running into XP cap issues, it's generally not worth going to such an extreme level because it takes a really long time to get your thief skills back.

  • Choosing which Thief Kit-
    Depending on if you want Backstabs or not, Swashbuckler is probably your best bet. If you do decide to go all the way to 15 before multiclassing, you're in for a nice +3 AC/hit/damage bonus that syncs well for mages, all without giving up any thieving points. Bounty Hunter is also a fairly nice kit for a Mage/Thief to dual from because the specialty traps do not require any ranks in the use traps skill, but the penalty to thief skills per level is a turnoff. Just a regular ol' thief is not a bad idea if backstabbing matters to you.

  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    Hands down my money is on gnomes, for the same reason Fighter/Illusionists are so good. Necromancy syncs up poorly with thief-style combat, anyway. The bonus saving throws are always good, too. Still, unlike with fighters, you don't necessiarily need more than 16 constitution so being just an Elf for the extra dexterity which equates to +2 thac0 with attacks with bows is worthwhile too. But really, if you're not going as a gnome then you should be dual-classing instead.

  • Recommended Stats
    Dexterity and Intelligence should be maxed, no exceptions. Constitution needs to be at least 16, though gnomes should max it if possible. Beyond that, nothing is terribly important. You can get away with lowering strength to 10 because it's easy to self-buff to 18/50 utilizing "Strength." Ideally you should aim for 18 dexterity and 11 wisdom so you can use Valygar's armor in BG2, because it's amazing. As they only have two and a half major skills, it's possible this could be your charisma monkey. There is no need to raise it beyond 14 because you can just use Friends to get the big money discount.

  • Proficiencies
    Sword swords are probably best in terms of speed and damage at least through Baldur's Gate 1. BG2, Katanas should rule the day for a mage/thief. I would also recommend daggers if only for returning throwing daggers. If you don't go daggers, take up archery over using a sling, simply because there are some supremely powerful short bows in BG2.

Cleric/Mage

Cleric/Mages essentially give up top-end spells in either class as a single endeavor for a huge overall pool of spells between the two. Combining so much of your spellcasting into a single character has a lot of significant advantages in it's easier to set up neat combos (protection from fire as a level 4 divine spell and then making your entire 3rd level mage spell list fireballs, for example) but the slower growth and inability to reach the highest ranks of spells by the end of BG1 hurt slightly. Still, it is probably the "best" solo class.

Strengths:

                   1. Huge amount of castable spells per-day between both classes
                   2. Decent selection of equipment, and ability to use any and all scrolls and wands
                   3. Being a gnome multi-classed Cleric/Illusionist covers up a lot of the deficiencies of barring Necromancy

Weaknesses:

                   1. Unable to equip armors without gimping arcane spellcasting
                   2. Lowish HP
                   3. Takes awhile to really get rolling
  • Dual or Multi?
    Unlike just about every other multi-classing option, this one really is best left as multi-class. If you do decide to dual-class, the reasons would be to have up to however many spells in a given class without sacrificing the other class. Should you do this, cleric is probably the better bet to begin with, and you'd want to dual-class at level 11. This gives you a second casting of your innate roid spell for whichever cleric kit you took, and you'll only miss out on level 7 divine spells, while only losing two possible levels of mage at the XP cap. Should you want all 7 levels of divine spells, you'd have to go all the way to level 14 first and if you're going that far into cleric you may as well simply multi-class.

  • Choosing a Cleric Kit-
    My money is on Priest of Talos. Storm Shield frees up a significant amount of spells slots you'd normally devote to anti-damage buffs, plus it gives you a few free castings of Lightning which is always nice. If you would rather roid your character out with buff spells, Priest of Lathander is not a bad choice as Boon of Lathander syncs well with Tenser's Transformation and other high-level mage buffs. Priest of Helm is thrown out because mages already have access to spells similar to Seeking Sword but still allow them to cast spells.

  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    Gnomes are again the kings of this multi-class. The boost to intelligence is a more significant boost to your arcane spells than the penalty to wisdom detracts from divine spellcasting, and you get extra mage spells due to the illusionist kit. Most of the significant low-level necromancy spells you'd miss out on have a divine spell equivalent which is not affected by the barred school, meaning you could still cast Animate Undead- simply as a divine spell rather than the arcane version. Plus, saving throws! Elves still make a good choice here because the bonus to dexterity helps your slinging powers and you don't need more than 16 constitution anyway. Pick them if you're adamant about wanting access to all arcane spells.

  • Recommended Stats
    Max dexterity and at least 16 constitution are musts (try for 18 constitution if you're a gnome). Max intellect is also a requirement. Try to keep at least 10 strength for carry capacity purposes and for the ability to wield hammers and maces, and dump the rest of your stats into Wisdom (aim for at least 15). Charisma will likely be decimated.

  • Proficiencies
    Having cleric is nice as it opens up the possibilities for equipment a little bit. Warhammers are nice as a melee weapon and slings are the obvious choice for ranged. Ranks in cleric allow you to equip a shield which helps significantly with your lousy armor class otherwise. It's worth noting you can swap on some heavier armor should you deplete your arcane spells, and you'll be able to equip elven chain or Valygar's armor should you meet the stat requirements.

Cleric/Thief

Cleric/Thief is probably the oddest possible combination of classes. The only weapons you can still backstab with are clubs and quarterstaves (the latter being your weapon of choice, by the way) but you only really give up using heavy armors. Plus, cleric and thief both level up faster than any other class out there meaning the split to XP doesn't really bother than overmuch. The best way to handle this odd duo is to run a Swashbuckler thief and dual-class him to cleric at level 10 (obviously we're talking BG2 now) because then you can still utilize the superior weaponry provided by warhammers and flails without giving up any facet of theivery, all while gaining a modest bonus to AC and hit/damage.

Strengths:

                   1. Divine Spellcasting on a thief provides strange opportunities (Sanctuary doesn't break "stealth" upon opening chests, allowing you to loot without fear of having the cops come attack you)
                   2. Can actively find traps without needing to concentrate on it because of Find Traps spell
                   3. Combines two essential survival classes into one

Weaknesses:

                   1. Extremely limited weapon selection to make use of all facets of both classes
                   2. Cannot wear heavier than elven chain if you plan to make use of thief abilities in battle
                   3. Combining these two classes is not really needed considering a single class cleric and thief with a kit are both extremely powerful in their own right
  • Dual or Multi?
    Thieves really do not benefit a whole lot from going beyond level 10, so dual-classing is a good option for people heading into Baldur's Gate 2. Multi-classing is limited to Gnomes and Half-Orcs, the former having a penalty to Wisdom and the latter only being selectable in BG2.

  • Choosing which Thief Kit-
    Swashbuckler is the only real sensible choice. It's hard to argue against a cleric with even better tanking ability, and allows you to focus on the better weaponry clerics can handle because the backstab choices are limited just to clubs and quarterstaves. Bounty Hunter is not really needed as you can rig up traps via Skull Trap should you really desire to kite enemies around.

  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    You are limited to just gnomes and half-orcs. Half-orcs are the logical choice for a character more focused on bruising. Gnomes are still worth picking, if only for their bonus saving throws alone. Keep in mind you can't get 18 wisdom with them but considering there are 3 tomes of wisdom in Baldur's Gate 1, it's hardly the worst punishment in the world.

  • Recommended Stats
    As usual max dexterity. If you are going the half-orc route, there is no pressing need to get more than 16 CON because it won't benefit you, but gnomes should max it for bonus saving throws. Wisdom should be at least 16, and strength should be no lower than 15. Keep int above 10 as possible, and dump Charisma into the mud.

  • Proficiencies
    If you plan to utilize backstabbing, quarterstaves are your best bet. Slings are your only option for ranged weaponry so invest. If you are going the swashbuckler route, Flails are my personal favorite as they have a wide variety of useful off-hand weapons should you chose to dual-wield.

Cleric/Ranger

The Cleric/Ranger is essentially a half-elven Fighter/Cleric. (Or, I suppose, another alternative for a human to dual-class.) While ranger progresses slower than fighter in terms of leveling up and dual-classed grand masteries for weapons, this has a significant advantage over fighter/clerics when it comes to raw spellcasting because it magically unlocks all druid spells for the cleric to use, even at spell levels beyond 3. If you want a slightly more spell-oriented Fighter/Cleric, think about trying this combo instead.

Strengths:

                   1. Access to every divine spell
                   2. Maintains the superior fighting edge of a warrior-class
                   3. Extra divine spells for ranks 1-3 due to stacking of classes

Weaknesses:

                   1. Can't drop below 8 reputation without gimping yourself forever
                   2. Can't go beyond two ranks in any given weapon when dual-classed, unlike fighter/clerics who can still obtain grand mastery
                   3. Limited weapon selection
                   4. Dual-classing from a kit hinders your ability to tank
  • Dual or Multi?
    Multi-classing this combo is fairly good because rangers scale better late-game than fighters simply because you'll gain even more divine spells to cast for the first three levels. However, Dual-classing still lets you halt the progress on Ranger and focus on Cleric which easily out-classes more ranger levels. It just takes a really long time to regain those ranger levels.

  • Choosing which Ranger Kit-
    Only one kit can even do this dual-class, that being Beastmaster. Beastmaster/Clerics are kings of summoning as you can equip Summon Animal in it's various forms for every spell level but are extremely limited in equipment. They can only use clubs, slings and quarterstaves; they cannot use any armors heavier than studded leather. A regular ranger is probably better. You'll still be able to equip plate armors and can utilize maces, flails and hammers.

  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    The only race who can pick this combo up is half-elf.

  • Recommended Stats
    Anything you'd do on a fighter/cleric, you'd want to do on this character. Max strength, dexterity and constitution and aim for high wisdom. If you want to dual-class, it's worth noting the prerequisite stat for rangers is constitution, meaning you would need at least 15 STR, 15 CON and 17 WIS to make the switch.

  • Proficiencies
    Quarterstaves for anyone dual-classing from a kit, and warhammers/maces/flails for a straight-forward ranger/cleric. Slings, as usual, is your only ranged option so it is essential.

Triple Class Options

Obviously you cannot triple class a "dual" class so this refers to the options presented for multi-classing. Triple-classed characters level up extremely slow compared to any other character, but make up for it in versatility. Fighter/Mage/Thief is great; Fighter/Mage/Cleric is significantly less so.

Fighter/Mage/Thief

F/M/Ts are capable of standing toe-to-toe with enemies while needed, disabling deadly traps, and nuking enemies into oblivion. What's not to love?

Strengths:

                   1. Can do literally everything but heal themselves

Weaknesses:

                   1. Splitting experience three ways means he takes a very long time to develop; recommended solution is running with smaller parties
  • Choosing a Multi-Class Race-
    You can only choose elf or half-elf. An elf is the the better choice, due to:

* The constitution bonuses split by a third when you tri-class, the extra bonus HP from going to 18 con doesn't apply til you gain the fighter level and even then, it's just one HP.
* Elves being practically immune to charm & sleep.
* Elves rolling that sweet 19 Dex.
* Elves getting a +1 THAC0 for both longbows and longswords.

  • Recommended Stats
    19 Dex, 17 CON, 18 INT. Favored stat after that is strength, which you want at least 15. Wisdom and Charisma are not needed.

  • Proficiencies
    Good-aligned F/M/Ts should invest in Scimitars to try and get Drizzt's Defender sword because the bonus AC really helps out a lot. Otherwise, longswords through BG1 and katanas through BG2. Comp. Long Bows are your best bet for a ranged weapon, especially for a stronger elf, otherwise go for the short bow.

Fighter/Mage/Cleric

Fighter/Mage/Clerics are not as versatile as Fighter/Mage/Thieves despite having divine spellcasting. The biggest reason being there is not really a pressing reason to throw Fighter into the mix of the already viable Cleric/Mage. Clerics have ways of boosting strength and thac0 to fighter levels through spells, so splitting the experience with a third class may not be worth it. Only half-elves can take this triple class.

Strengths:

                   1. Better HP than a raw cleric/mage

Weaknesses:

                   1. No significant advantages over picking just a cleric/mage, all while dealing with splitting XP three ways
                   2. 5 important stats leaves little room for dump stats and bad rolls
  • Recommended Stats
    Max intelligence is a must, as is 16 CON. Because you require so many different stats to be viable, it may be worth dumping DEX down to 7 and relying on the Gauntlets of Dexterity to bolster that. This allows you not to skimp on STR or WIS. There is no way your charisma will be above 3 on this character.

  • Proficiencies
    Warhammers are the most versatile weapon type you'll have access to so pick it up. Slings are a must, obviously.

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