So I was having a rather one sided discussion with my wife today about how clearly Minsc is the best character. She had no counter for Boo, mainly because she hasn’t ever played any of the Baldur’s Gate games. “Minsc is clearly number one!”, I exclaimed as I raced to the internet in search of lists to validate my claims. Alas, I found no such lists. Only forum posts littered my search results discussing the best party from a strategic perspective. Look, I know there wasn’t a lot of voice dialogue but party members in the Baldur’s Gate series (especially the second one) had character! Also, I realize Baldur’s Gate has nothing to do with MMORPGs, but BG1EE is soon to be released, and this is a blog post so I do what I want.
Spoiler alerts, etc incoming. Seriously, if you haven’t played the game by now why are you even reading this list? OK on to the top 10!
10. Garrick - “Brave, brave Sir Garrick, Sir Garrick ran away.”
Garrick, it’s going to take more than a Monthy Python reference to get on this list. Wait, what’s that? Ah, OK we have room in spot #10 so come on in. Garrick is a romantic opportunist who lives a carefree life. He thinks more of himself than everyone else who lives in a non-make-believe world. His personality is best expressed in BG2 where he falls in love with a beautiful girl, attempts to woo her with a friend’s help, that friend ends up marrying that girl, so he shrugs his shoulders and runs off with a bridesmaid. Garrick may be able to teach some good lessons on the fluid nature of love, but other than singing bardic songs of bravery I can’t say he’s an ideal contributor to combat.
9. Xzar - “I ate his liver with a nice chianti and some fava beans.”
Xzar, half the time you are one of the most perceptive wizards I have ever met. Unfortunately, the other half you are a rambling mass of nonsense. It’s hard to differentiate between the two when they come seemingly at random. His bouts with sanity are a thing to behold and while not playable in BG2, he does make short lasted appearance.
8. Edwin - “O, YES, MASTER. What shall I FETCH NOW?!”
Edwin, you are a douche but there aren’t any other pure wizards that seem to be available for god hunting so come along now. What’s that? You are a really powerful mage so we should be glad to have your company? Then why did you muck up reading a scroll that changed your gender and then later contest the powerful Elminster (i.e. the D&D version of Gandalf/Merlin) which led to a permanent change into Edwina? There’s nothing more fitting than seeing a douchebag getting toyed with by forces far more powerful than his own.
7. Anomen - “There is no glory in watching the grass grow”
At first was I like “ugh”, but then I was like “awww yeah”. Unfortunately from time to time I still get reminded of why I used to feel “ugh”. Anomen is an interesting character because my opinion of him changes throughout BG2. Like many characters, he is overconfident, and he loves flattery. He’s also the son of a lord who would rather spend his life as a noble warrior of the Order of the Radiant Heart than take over the lucrative family business. He begins to show his “weak” side when family duties later conflict with duties of the order. His internal conflict between two powerful forces opens our eyes to the depth of Anomen’s sometimes annoying character. In the end, he’s a good guy who wants acceptance to a fault.
6. Jan – “I’ll do it, for a turnip.”
There isn’t a single thing you can say that I will trust, but I’ll still listen to every word. Part inventor, part thief, part businessman, and all eccentric, Jan is as much an opportunist when it comes to making money as Garrick is when it comes to making love. It’s quite convenient that he makes his own crossbow ammo and he’s pretty good at getting out of (and into) sticky situations. He’s useful in a lot of ways, but none more so than his storytelling abilities. Got to keep morale up one way or the other!
5. Sarevok – “Face ME! FACE THE NEW LORD OF MURDER!”
Hey bro, care to fight for the ascension of godhood? No? Well maybe you shouldn’t have tried to kill him! Despite killing Sarevok in BG1 he makes a return in BG2:Throne of Bhaal through some improbable events involving the protagonist or Imoen giving up a piece of their soul to progress their adventure forward. No longer blinded by power, he is pretty confused on where to go in life. You can slowly direct him towards the side of good if you like, but whatever you do it’s pretty hard to go from being a full fledged Bhaalspawn close to ascension to just a big, beefy fighter. Redemption is out of the question but props to Sarevok for trying to figure out his life.
4. Imoen – “Heya! It’s me, Imoen.”
Seriously, I know your name. Stop reminding me. Imoen would probably be a fun girl to hang out with in short spurts. She can act really childish and that’s not something I like to deal with when I’m fighting powerful mages and spawns of various gods. However, she’s the protagonist’s bhaal-sister and has some godly powers so it’s probably best if she stays close to your side. She darkens/matures after Irenicus’s torture, but handles it all like a boss. Her biggest asset is her nearly unflappable loyalty to the protagonist, and she is the staple of a good adventuring party.
3. Viconia -“I am beginning to tire of spending my time with fools”
Viconia, you are a bitch and for some reason I’m turned on by it. This drow cleric is an interesting dichotomy of personality from Jaheira. They’re both strong, secure ladies with healing abilities to keep parties going. While Jaheira has led mostly a happy life, Viconia’s life has led to a crueler personality. She was nearly sacrificed by her mother, saved by her brother who was then turned into a half-spider, did time as a sex slave, and was buried alive. Coming out of that with a “neutral evil” alignment and not a “murder everyone” alignment takes some strength of character. She has absolutely no patience for weaknesses or silliness and pokes fun at many characters while showing intrigue in characters such as Sarevok.
2. Jaheria – “Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure?”
Jaheira, how on earth did you marry Khalid? He is a baby and you are a strong, stubborn, proud, and beautiful woman. You fight fiercely and offer assistance to the party through druidic magic. How she handled living with him was almost as impressive as how she handled his death at the start of BG2. Clearly broken up over losing her husband, she manages to stay focused and continue assisting the protagonist with his journey. Jaheira is with the protagonist practically at the beginning of his journey and for many, she lasted until the end. Her inner strength and depth of character places her at #2.
1. Minsc - “Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!! RrraaaAAGHGHH!!!”
Minsc, you are batshit crazy and you give 0 fucks. That’s why we love you. Minsc talks to his “mini giant space hamster” often and his sanity ebbs and flows pending the status of his current “witch” (Dynaheir from BG1 and Aerie from BG2). It’s pretty easy to set him off if he believes evil is afoot and he is a brutal warrior. Despite his mental issues he has a good heart that can be directed well by others of similar values. Minsc’s value as an ally, his amusing bouts with mental clarity, and references to him in Mass Effect makes him an easy #1.