Getting (and keeping) the Candlekeep NPCs

Roaming around the Southern parts of Candlekeep during the Prologue, you will be greeted by the Gatewarden, who will lead you to the cellar of a particular building, and encourage you to go inside and talk to Obe the Illusionist, who will create some illusionary monsters (which are not real—they can't hurt you) for you to fight. The reason for this is to give you practice directing a party of 6 people in battle. This means 5 people will join you—they are:

NameClassSexRaceAlignmentSTRDEX CONINTWISCHA
Arkanis
Canderous
Deder
Mordaine
Osprey
Fighter
Cleric
Fighter/Thief
Invoker
Cleric/Mage
M
M
M
F
F
Dwarf
Human
Halfling
Human
Half-Elf
NG
LG
TN
LG
LG
18(53)
16
11
11
16
12
13
18
17
9
19
13
16
16
13
15
12
12
18
15
11
18
13
15
10
8
14
9
12
6

Let's look at each of the 6.
indentArkanis would make a good Tank if it wasn't for his mediocre Dexterity—Tanks should really have at least 15 DEX to get some kind of an AC bonus. Still, Arkanis looks capable enough—you certainly can't fault his Strength or Constitution. He doesn't need those extra points in INT, but if that's the way the dice fell, we'll have to live with it.
Judgement: If you could find any items to enhance his Dexterity, he'd be a perfect Tank. As it is, maybe you can collect some Potions of Agility and save them for difficult fights.
indentNext comes Canderous, the Cleric. His Str is good, but his DEX and CON are nothing to write home about; he won't get bonuses to his AC or his hitpoints. Still, he might make a decent substitute Tank in a pinch. Where he shines is his WIS: 18, the maximum, ensuring the highest number of spells per day.
Judgement: Sounds like a darn good Cleric.
indentDeder, the Fighter/Thief, looks excellent: His excellent DEX ensures hefty bonuses to his Thieving skills and AC, and his CON is nice and healthy, so he'd make a good Tank as well—better than Canderous. The only thing is that with his average STR, he'd be much better with ranged weapons than Tanking. His INT, WIS, and CHA are almost irrelevant, but they're all decent anyway.
Judgement: A very useful character.
indentMordaine looks like a good sturdy Mage: I'm not fond of the Invoker kit, because its Opposition Schools rule out a large number of spells. Her STR isn't good, but that makes no difference on a Mage, and her DEX, CON, and INT are all spectacular, and she has a nice WIS score, too, ensuring good Lore.
Judgement: An outstanding Mage, if you can get around her lack of Enchantment and Summoning spells.
indentLast comes Osprey, a Cleric/Mage. Now, the Cleric/Mage can be an extremely powerful class combination if used correctly....Osprey is not an example of how to use it correctly. Her STR is good, her DEX pathetic, her CON is decent at best, her INT is all right, and her WIS is laughable. The only thing she did "right" was not put too many points into Charisma.
Judgement: Damn, does she suck.


indentThe folks at BioWare also decided to play with the Candlekeep NPCs a bit, and "cheated" each of them some benefits: For instance, Arkanis is Level 2, and the maximum number of hitpoints for a Level 2 Fighter with 19 CON is 30—Arkanis has 39. This isn't much of a benefit in the long run, but 9 extra hitpoints could really save your butt in the early stages. Canderous has his already formidable spellcasting abilities enhanced with 2 more 1st-level spells than is legal, and also has the Special Ability of Lay On Hands. Again, not that much difference in the long term, but 2 extra Cure Light Wounds and a Lay On Hands per day will be a huge bonus to a low-level party. Next comes Deder, who's been hacked an extra 120 Thieving points, making him the equivalent of a Level 8 Thief when he's only Level 2. I wouldn't use Deder, personally—too much like cheating for my tastes. Too bad, really, as he's otherwise a good character. Mordaine has only a tiny augment—she has the Special Ability of Slow Poison, once per day. And Osprey? Well, despite her unique skill of making the PC want to feed her to the bears, she has 1 extra Level 1 Wizard spell slot, and has the Special Ability of being able to cast Invisibility, once per day. So Arkanis and Mordaine are almost entirely non-hacked, Canderous and Osprey are sort-of legit, and Deder is cheated beyond reason.


indentNow that I've made you pay your penance by wading through all that text, here's how to keep the Candlekeep NPCs through the whole game: All 5 NPCs will join your party, and help you massacre a few Kobolds and Gibberlings. You can shuffle their equipment around, and even give all of it to yourself. You can't really keep their gear, though, as when you talk to Obe and say you're ready to leave, all 5 NPCs will be automatically booted from the party, you will be teleported outside, and if any item belonging to the Candlekeep NPCs is still in the party's inventory, it will be deleted. Here's where the trick comes into play: When you talk to Obe, there is a split second before you are teleported outside, and you can eat a LOT of cheese in that split second. After you've killed the first batch of enemies (or 2nd, or 3rd, or whatever), choose one of the 5 NPCs to be your "anchor"—it doesn't matter which one—and give all their gear to somebody else (not you). Boot the other 4 NPCs from the party. Now, have your PC stand right next to Obe, with your anchor right beside you. Boot your anchor. Save your game. Talk to Obe and say you want to go back outside again. The instant Obe's dialogue box closes, immediately pause the game. When you un-Pause, you need to click on your anchor (to talk to them) and then press 1 (to say, "Yes, I want you back in the party"). If you did it fast enough, you will wind up outside, and your anchor is still inside—and still in your party. If you didn't do it fast enough, well, that's why I told you to Save before you tried it. Now, have your anchor go talk to each of the 4 remaining NPCs and re-recruit them into the party. Once you've got all the party members (and their equipment) that you want, have your PC go talk to Gorion and say you're ready to leave. (This whole trick should be done just before you want to exit Candlekeep, as Obe tends to get impatient and boot the NPCs you just worked so hard to keep.) Now, during the fight with the Armored Figure, you'll notice that all 5 portraits are still in your party. And the next morning, when Imoen runs up to you, BAM! There they are, complete with all their gear. Ah, cheese.

This trick was originally found by Rob Zehb—God knows how he found out.

The Candlekeep NPCs are boring: They will never leave you due to interparty friction or Alignment conflicts, and they're also monotonous to listen to: Arkanis will never say anything but "I need a swig of some strong, Dwarven ale," and Canderous's vocabulary is even smaller: "Hello there." It's so much like making a Multiplayer party that you might as well just make a Multiplayer party.
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