There are 11 classes to pick from in the OC. Due to the fact that 3rd edition D&D rules are being used, there are far fewer restrictions to multiclassing than before. There are no set combinations, meaning that you can multiclass as whatever you wish for up to three classes total. Dual-classing is gone for good, and no race is barred from any class (common sense still applies, though), but alignment comes into play in some cases. Each class gains a Feat every three levels, but also obtains different amounts of bonus Feats. While each class has its own main attribute, Charisma plays a role for all, as it affects persuasion skills in conversation with NPCs. A minimum of 13 Intelligence is also required to obtain some Feats. Constitution is always helpful for extra HP, but more so for melee classes. Dexterity helps with Armour Class (AC). Levelling past 20 in any class puts them in the “epic” category, granting them better bonuses.
For people who still find character creation to be too bothersome, the game provides the possibility of selecting a pre-made “package” for your chosen class at the beginning of the game. This essentially lets the A.I. define a role for your protagonist – a bit like the kits from Baldur’s Gate II; some of them even have the same names –, giving them the attributes, Feats and Skills it deems appropriate for that particular role. There’s a “Standard” package for each class, which represents the middle-of-the-road stat and ability distribution, and some more specialised ones, including ones that build your character to be able to access one of the prestige classes made available through the expansion packs (you need to have the appropriate expansion pack installed to actually be able to access the prestige class though). If you choose a package, hitting the “Recommended” button when the character levels up will keep her/him following that role, but you can also decide upon their subsequent progression yourself, which makes it less restrictive than the kits from BGII. The “Recommended” button can also be used during character creation for such choices as race and class, but that begs the question of why you would want to play an RPG at all, if you leave every customisation option up to the A.I. The general opinion is that neither packages nor the “Recommended” button are worth it and can even be detrimental.
Fighter: The most straightforward class of the lot: grab a weapon, slap on some armour, go hit things. Fighters can use all simple and martial weapons, shields and heavy armour, making them both fearsome in melee and durable. They have a d10 HP progression base and gain one point of Base Attack Bonus (BAB) per level. Their primary Saving Throw is Fortitude. They start out with a minimum of eight skill points, then gain two more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They start out with a bonus Feat, gain another one at level 2, then one more every two levels, making them the class with the most Feats and giving them quite a lot of versatility in their development. They’re also the only class able to acquire the Weapon Specialisation Feat, giving them an extra edge in melee. In terms of attributes, Strength is obviously the main focus here, as well as Constitution, which reinforces the Fighter’s already strong Fortitude Saving Throws. One extra point in Dexterity and Intelligence also helps. Half-orcs and dwarves make the best Fighters in terms of bonuses, but the latter are a better choice if you plan on multiclassing. Due to its lack of special abilities, the Fighter is very well-suited for multiclassing, either as a main class or as a supplement for another class. Fighter packages are Finesse, Pirate, Gladiator, Commander and Katana Weapon Master, which allows your Fighter to become a Weapon Master later on if you have Hordes of the Underdark installed.
Finesse: This package focuses on light weapons, rather than the typical longsword, but it essentially tries to turn your Fighter into a Rogue- or Monk-type character, which isn’t really what they usually do. Strength-based builds are usually a better way to go for a Fighter.
Pirate: This package focuses on dual-wielding and counterattacking.
Gladiator: This package also allows you to dual-wield and focuses on combat feats.
Commander: This package focuses on persuasion and charisma.
Katana Weapon Master: This will build your Fighter to enable them to take up the Weapon Master prestige class, but focuses on the katana by default. So if you wanted to make a Weapon Master character with a different weapon in mind…do it yourself!
Rogue: There are many traps, locked chests and doors in the game, so having a Rogue as a henchman or your own character is a good way around the problem. Rogues also have the ability to use Sneak Attack, which deals an extra 1d6 of damage if the enemy is incapacitated or not targeting them at level 1, and an extra 1d6 every two levels thereafter. Rogues can only wear light armour and use a limited selection of simple weapons, such as short swords, short bows, daggers or clubs. They have a d6 HP progression base and gain 3 points of BAB every four levels. Their primary Saving Throw is Reflex. They start out with a minimum of 32 (!) skill points, then gain eight more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses, making them the class with the most Skills. They learn improved versions of Uncanny Dodge (improves their Saving Throws against traps and being attacked unawares) every three levels starting from level 3. They start gaining bonus Feats every three levels starting from level 10, then one every four levels starting from level 24. Dexterity is their main attribute. Elves make the best single-classed Rogues, due to their racial bonuses, but halflings are the way to go if you plan to multiclass, which is usually a good idea for a Rogue. Among the henchmen, Tomi is a Rogue. Rogue packages are Gypsy, Bandit, Scout and Swashbuckler.
Gypsy: This package focuses on lockpicking and pickpocketing.
Bandit: This package focuses on sneak attacks and traps.
Scout: This package focuses on invisibility and facilitating scouting.
Swashbuckler: This package focuses on both combat and persuasion.
Cleric: These healers are basically war priests of their chosen deity, gaining spells and abilities in return for championing her/his cause. They learn spells by levelling up, and their casting is not affected by heavy armour. Clerics are frontline characters, and can use shields and simple weapons. Clerics can also Turn Undead – i.e. make them flee –, which they can use minimum three times a day. In this game, Clerics can choose two domains on character creation. There are 19 in total, and each grants a special ability and at least two extra spells that reflect the chosen focus. Normally, the Cleric should only be able to pick the domains that correspond to their chosen deity, but NWN gives access to all of them. Air, Earth and Magic are the most useful ones, but Plant can be interesting, as well as War or Protection, if your character has high Charisma. Clerics can also spontaneously substitute a healing spell of the corresponding tier for any spell they have memorised, if needed. They have a d8 HP progression base and gain three points of BAB every four levels. They also have two primary Saving Throws: Fortitude and Will. They start out with a minimum of eight skill points, then gain two more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. However, they only gain bonus Feats every three levels starting from level 23. Wisdom is a Cleric’s primary stat, but Charisma is also important, as it affects Turn Undead. Strength also matters, since they are frontline characters. Humans or half-elves are probably the best picks, whether you plan to multiclass or not. Among the henchmen, Linu is a Cleric. Cleric packages are Shaman, Dead Walker, Elementalist, Battle Priest and Champion of Torm, which builds your Cleric to be able to become a Champion of Torm later on.
Shaman: This package’s chosen domains are Animal and Plant. The latter can be a useful domain in some circumstances.
Dead Walker: As the name implies, one of this package’s domains is Death. The other is Trickery, and they have a focus on persuasion to back it up.
Elementalist: Again, as the name suggests, this package has two elemental domains: Fire and Earth. Earth is one of the most useful domains to choose.
Battle Priest: With a name like that, it’s unsurprising that this package’s chosen domains are War and Strength. The former can be useful in some circumstances.
Wizard: The typical arcane caster class. Wizards can learn a wide array of spells by scribing them from scrolls, then memorising different selections of them, as the situation requires. Spellcasting is hampered by armour, so they can only wear robes. Considering they also have the worst HP progression (d4 base), this makes them particularly vulnerable. They can use clubs, daggers, quarterstaves or crossbows, and gain one point of BAB every two levels. They start out with a minimum of eight skill points, then gain two more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They also gain a bonus Feat every five levels until level 20, then one every three levels. Their primary Saving Throw is Will. A Wizard can choose to specialise in one of the eight schools of magic, which grants them one extra spell per tier (not necessarily from the chosen school), but prohibits spells of the opposing school, although the correlations are different than in Baldur’s Gate. It also affects their ability to identify scrolls of these respective schools. On top of their spells, Wizards can summon a familiar once per day. These are magical creatures that help out in combat and exploration. My favourite is the panther, which is a Rogue-type, so it can scout, spot traps and use Sneak Attack. Other good choices include the hell hound, the pixie (which can actually pick locks), the faerie dragon and the pseudodragon. A Wizard’s main attribute is Intelligence. Elves and gnomes are the best picks, whether you plan on multiclassing or not. Wizards only get one package, which builds them to be able to become a Pale Master later on, if you have HotU installed. Otherwise, you can choose to specialise your Wizard in one of the eight spell schools, or just keep them as a Generalist. Choosing a specialisation gives the Wizard one extra spell slot per spell level, but bars them from all spells of the opposing school. A Generalist Wizard will have one less spell slot per level, but will not be restricted from any school.
Abjurer: The Abjuration school focuses on protective magic, i.e. creating and negating barriers. In exchange, Abjurers are barred from the Conjuration school, which mainly covers summoning spells. Having extra bodies on the battlefield is always useful, especially in this game, but you can live without it, so it’s not a bad choice.
Conjurer: Unlike in BG, this is a pretty handicapping specialisation. The Conjuration school focuses on summoning spells, but cannot use any Transmutation spells. Unfortunately, those include things like Haste, several status-enhancing and protective spells, and Knock, which can be helpful if not travelling with Tomi or Sharwyn.
Diviner: The Divination school focuses on detecting hidden things, but has to give up Illusion spells in return. This includes all invisibility spells, which can be problematic, but isn’t a complete deal-breaker, especially if your character has a Familiar that can scout.
Enchanter: The Enchantment school focuses on manipulating enemies’ perceptions and gives up Illusion spells in return, making it a lot less crippling than in BG. The same assessment applies here as for Divination: if your character has a Familiar that knows how to scout, you won’t have a problem.
Evoker: The Evocation school focuses on damaging spells, in return for giving up Conjuration. The same assessment applies here as for Abjuration: it’s always nice to have extra bodies on the battlefield, but you can live without it.
Illusionist: The Illusion school focuses on deceiving the senses, without actually manipulating minds, but is barred from the Enchantment school. This means no Mass Haste, but that can be mitigated with multiple castings of Haste. Gnomes automatically gain a bonus to the effectiveness of their Illusion spells, regardless of their specialisation or even of their class.
Necromancer: The Necromancy school focuses on spells that deal with life and death, but is barred from the Divination school. This includes spells like True Seeing, Find Traps and Identify, which can be problematic in some cases.
Transmuter: The Transmutation school focuses on spells that modify the physical properties of things, being barred from Conjuration spells. The same assessment applies as for Abjuration and Evocation: it’s always nice to have extra bodies on the battlefield, but you can live without it.
Druid: Divine spellcasters who get their abilities from nature rather than from a deity, although this doesn’t prevent them from worshipping one. A Druid’s main goal is maintaining balance, so only Neutral characters need apply. They learn a mix of offensive and defensive spells by levelling up, and while there is some overlap with Clerical spells, they also have unique ones. They can use light or medium armour and shields, as well as clubs, daggers, darts, quarterstaves, scimitars, sickles, slings and spears as weapons. Druids have a d8 HP progression base and gain three points of BAB every four levels. They’re also one of the classes with two primary Saving Throws – Fortitude and Will – and become immune to poison at level 9. They start out with a minimum of 16 skill points, then gain four more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They gain bonus Feats every four levels, starting from level 24. Starting from level 5, Druids can shapeshift into an animal–badger, bear, boar, panther or wolf–, first once per day, then an increasing amount of times until level 22, when it’s no longer restricted. From level 16, they can also shapeshift into elementals–air, water, earth or fire–, first once per day, then an increasing amount of times until level 26. Druids may also summon an animal companion – very similar to a familiar – once per day. Good choices include the dire wolf, the boar, the panther, the hawk or the giant spider. Wisdom is a Druid’s main attribute. Elven Druids have a larger weapon selection, but no race is inherently unsuited to being a Druid. Druid packages are Interloper, Grey, Death, Hawkmaster and Shifter, which builds your Druid to become a Shifter later on. The Standard package gets a wolf as an animal companion.
Interloper: This package aims to strike a balance between melee abilities and spells, and gets a panther as an animal companion.
Grey: This package is more focused on melee abilities.
Death: This package gets a giant spider as an animal companion. Arachnophobes beware.
Hawkmaster: This package is focused on Dexterity and animal control, and gets a hawk as an animal companion, as the name implies.
Ranger: Dedicated protectors of nature, Rangers are a mix between a Druid and a Rogue. They are more skilled in melee combat than the former, but can use Druidic spells up to tier 4 and summon animal companions. They can use all simple and martial weapons, shields, as well as both light and medium armour, although their innate ability to dual-wield only works with the former. Rangers have a d10 HP progression base and gain one point of BAB per level. Their primary Saving Throw is Fortitude. They start out with a minimum of 16 skill points, then gain four more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They also start out with one bonus Feat, then gain an extra one every five levels until level 20. Starting from level 23, they also gain one bonus Feat every three levels. Rangers can choose a favoured enemy at the outset, then every five levels (up to a maximum of nine), which grants them increasing bonuses to damage against said enemy, also every five levels. If you want to take advantage of the Ranger’s dual-wielding abilities, high Dexterity is very useful, as it mitigates their restriction to light armour, especially if you invest in Weapon Finesse. Alternatively, it also makes ranged weapons a viable alternative. Wisdom is also important for a Ranger’s spells. Elves make good single-classed Rangers, but humans are better for multiclassing, even though it’s not necessarily a good idea. Ranger packages are Marksman, Warden, Stalker and Giantkiller.
Marksman: This package’s weapon of choice is the bow, and it focuses heavily on skills which improve marksmanship.
Warden: This package uses swords and bows.
Stalker: This package focuses on stealth and has goblins as their primary favoured enemies.
Giantkiller: As the name implies, this package’s primary favoured enemies are giants. It also uses an axe as its main weapon.
Sorcerer: Like a Wizard, but with a more offensive focus. In other words, if you just want to blast enemies into oblivion, this class is for you. Sorcerers learn their spells by levelling up rather than scribing them from scrolls, they can cast more of them per tier and don’t need to rest to change their spell selection. As a counterpart, they can’t specialise in a particular spell school, their spell selection is more restricted, and they learn them at a slower rate. What’s more, they only start gaining bonus Feats every three levels at level 23, which further affects their versatility. Sorcerers can use robes and all simple weapons, and can summon the same familiars as Wizards. They also have a d4 HP progression base and gain one point of BAB every two levels. They start out with a minimum of eight skill points, then gain two more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. Their primary Saving Throw is Will. Unlike Wizards, a Sorcerer’s spells are based on Charisma. Gnomes are probably the best pick for a single-classed Sorcerer. If you want to multiclass, humans are the way to go. Among the henchmen, Boddyknock is a Sorcerer. Sorcerers can specialise in the same eight spell schools as Wizards, or remain Standard and they also have just one package, which builds them to be able to become a Red Dragon Disciple later on, if you have HotU installed.
Barbarian: The meaner, rougher, but more interesting cousin of the Fighter. Barbarians scorn discipline and training, so only non-Lawful characters qualify. They can use all simple and martial weapons, as well as shields, but not heavy armour, although they can take a Feat to remedy that. They also have an innate boost to their movement speed, which makes them one of the fastest classes, alongside Monk. To compensate for their lower defence, Barbarians have a d12 HP progression base, the highest of any class. They gain one point of BAB per level and start out with a minimum of 16 skill points, then gain four more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. Their primary Saving Throw is Fortitude. They gain bonus Feats every four levels starting from level 24. They also learn improved versions of Uncanny Dodge, like Rogues, every three levels starting from level 2. Starting from level 11, they also gain a bonus to their damage reduction every three levels. A Barbarian’s main specificity is their ability to Rage, once per day at level 1, then one extra time every four levels. This gives them a temporary four-point bonus to Strength and Constitution, as well as a two-point bonus to all Will Saving Throws, in exchange for a two-point penalty to AC. At level 15, this becomes a six- and three-point bonus, respectively (same penalty), and the duration is lengthened. Strength and Constitution are the most important stats, and Dexterity is more useful than for a Fighter, due to the initial inability to wear heavy armour. Half-orcs and dwarves are the best picks, but the former are better for multiclassing, as Barbarian is their favoured class. Multiclassing isn’t actually the best idea, but some combinations can work. Among the henchmen, Daelan is a Barbarian. Barbarian packages are Brute, Savage, Slayer and Orcblood.
Brute: This package uses an axe as its main weapon and focuses on strength.
Savage: This package actually focuses on barehanded combat.
Slayer: This package is aimed at destroying spell casters as quickly and efficiently as possible. It uses slings as ranged weapons to interrupt spellcasting and swords as its melee weapons of choice.
Orcblood: This is aimed at half-orcish characters who want to make the most of their favoured class.
Monk: The masters of unarmed combat and buttkicking. As opposed to Barbarians, Monks are all about disciplining their bodies and turning them into deadly weapons. As a result, only Lawful characters need apply. They can use some weapons, but are more proficient with their bare fists. Similarly, they can wear robes, but armour actually penalises their performance. To offset this issue, as well as their d8 HP progression rate, Monks add their Wisdom bonus to their AC, in addition to Dexterity bonuses. As a result, Monks tend to end up with the highest AC of all classes. They gain three point of BAB every four levels, but gain extra attacks faster than any other class and eventually become the fastest class in the game, alongside the Barbarian. Monks are also the only class to have three primary Saving Throws. They start out with a minimum of 16 skill points, then gain four more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They only gain bonus Feats every five levels starting from level 25, but acquire a plethora of offensive and defensive abilities prior to that. They also gain immunity to poison, disease and mind-affecting spells, as well as a certain amount of damage reduction and even a form of mitigation against ranged attacks. Heck, when they hit level 20, their damn eyes start to glow. While Strength is the Monk’s primary stat, both Dexterity and Wisdom are important, as they are pretty much its only sources of AC. Half-orcs and dwarves are both great picks for a Monk, although humans are also good. Due to its continuous skill gain, the Monk is a poor choice for multiclassing from, but can offer some perks if multiclassed into. Among the henchmen, Grimgnaw is a Monk. Monk packages are Spirit Warrior, Gifted, Devout and Peasant.
Spirit Warrior: This package gives the Monk some skill with a bow in addition to their fists.
Gifted: This package uses kama as its primary weapon.
Devout: This package has quarterstaves as its primary weapon.
Peasant: This package uses both kama and shuriken.
Bard: A very versatile support class that can do a little bit of everything: combat, Arcane magic up to tier 6 (learning spells upon level-up, like Sorcerers) and some Rogue skills. They’re also the best class for identifying items. The only restriction is that they can’t be Lawful. Bards can use shields, simple weapons, light and medium armour, although the latter interferes with casting. They have a d6 HP progression base and gain three points of BAB every four levels. They start out with a minimum of 16 skill points, then gain four more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They start gaining bonus Feats every three levels at level 23. Their primary saving throws are Reflex and Will. Bards can use Bard Song once per day per level. Its potency is based on the Perform skill. Initially, the Song gives the team a one-point bonus to attack and damage for 10 rounds. At its most potent – although this requires stat-boosting equipment –, it grants a two-point bonus to attack, Fortitude and Reflex Saving Throws, a three-point bonus to damage and Will Saving Throws, a seven-point bonus to AC, a 19-point (!) bonus to all skills anda temporary extra 48HP. Its effects can also last for up to 105 (!!) rounds. A Bard’s spells are based on Charisma, and, since light armour is better for casting, it needs Dexterity for AC. This means that it’s better suited for ranged weapons, unless you also learn Weapon Finesse. Elves are thus a good choice if you don’t plan to multiclass. However, since Bards gain little from high levels and Bard Song is difficult to max out, multiclassing from Bard is very common, in which case, humans or half-elves are better. Among the henchmen, Sharwyn is a Bard. Bard packages are Blade, Gallant, Jester and Loremaster.
Blade: This package aims to turn the Bard into more of a melee character. It allows you to dual-wield and focuses on parrying skill.
Gallant: This package aims to balance their Perform skill and combat abilities.
Jester: This package is more focused on skills and spells, rather than combat abilities.
Loremaster: This package focuses on the Lore skill.
Paladin: The most restrictive class of the lot, as only Lawful Good characters can apply. Like Clerics, Paladins are servants of a given deity, but where Clerics focus on magic, Paladins focus on combat, even though they can also cast Clerical spells up to tier 4. They can use all simple and martial weapons, as well as shields and heavy armour. They have a d10 HP progression base and gain one point of BAB per level. They start out with a minimum of eight skill points, then gain two more each level, plus any extras from Intelligence bonuses. They gain bonus feats every three levels starting from level 23. Their primary Saving Throw is Fortitude. Paladins have several unique abilities. They’re immune to disease and fear, gain a Charisma bonus to their Saving Throws, have a healing ability called Lay on Hands (on top of any healing spells they learn) and can Turn Undead just like Clerics. They also have an ability called Smite Evil that specifically damages Evil creatures, based on their Charisma score. This means that they have three key attributes–Strength for combat, Wisdom for spells and Charisma for special abilities–, which is a bit more to focus on than most classes. In view of this, the best races would be humans and half-elves, especially if you plan to multiclass. Paladin packages are Errant, Undead Hunter, Inquisitor, Champion and Champion of Torm, which builds your Paladin to become a Champion of Torm later on, if you have HotU installed.
Errant: This package uses the traditional sword and shield build.
Undead Hunter: This package has a crossbow and mace as its weapons, and is focused on defeating undead.
Inquisitor: This package uses a sword and focuses on intimidation and persuasion skills.
Champion: This package has a greater focus on combat abilities, rather than spells.