Most of the followers from the NWN2 core campaign are lost to you, either killed in the collapse of the cave at the end of that game, or simply removed from you by the fact that you've been spirited away for thousands of miles. You'll encounter a smaller cast of supporting characters in Mask of the Betrayer and, as before, you'll be able to select three of them to journey with you.
Note that this section has SPOILERS in it, so don't read unless you really want to know!
Safiya is the first follower you get, as sheís with you from the beginning of the game. If your character isnít an arcane spellcaster (and perhaps even if you are), youíll probably want to keep Safiya by your side from the beginning until the end; she brings a lot to the table, and her neutrality makes it relatively easy to increase your influence with her, unless you wind up being downright cruel to her.
In combat, Safiya is your basic wizard. Unless you set her AI to let her cast spells autonomously (not recommended), sheíll usually sit back and fling away with whatever crossbow you give her. She wonít deal a huge amount of damage with it, but it keeps her busy when youíre not casting spells with her, and sheíll stay away from the enemies that would likely pound her to death.
If you do want her to cast spells in combat, then keep in mind your difficulty level. If youíre playing on the Normal difficulty setting, then you canít hurt your teammates with area-of-effect spells like Fireball, so you can just cast whatever your most powerful AOE spells happen to be, with stuff like Meteor Storm, Horrid Wilting, and Wail of the Banshee probably being good bets.
If youíre playing on Hardcore or higher, though, then your AOE spells will damage your teammates, so youíll probably want to stick to summoning spells or single-target damaging spells. One thing to note is that Conjuration is one of Safiyaís opposition schools, so she wonít be able to actually cast Summon Creature IX, which is something of a weakness for her. However, she can cast Mordenkainenís Sword and Create Greater Undead, both of which will probably serve your needs until you get Gann. When you reach the epic levels, Epic Gate winds up being a good choice, although it takes a while to cast. So far as single-target spells go, Polar Ray will be a biggie early on, and you can also Empower Disintegrate as a level seven spell, or use Avasculate.
Safiya is one of the best utility characters in the game, as she can buff every party member quite thoroughly, create magical arms and armor, create wondrous items, and use her familiar to pick locks and detect traps.
Weíll start with buffing. Youíll want to memorize a lot of buffing spells for Safiya here. The ones to look out for are Stoneskin, Premonition for Safiya herself, the Mass Buff spells at level 6 (with Mass Bearís Endurance arguably being the most important), and, perhaps most importantly, a Persistant Haste spell. Although Persistant Haste will take up a ninth-level spell slot, itíll be well worth it for all members of your party, as everyone will get an extra attack per round and move 50% faster, and the spell will last until dispelled or until you rest. The movement bonus alone is worth the slot, as itíll let you cover dead ground that much more quickly.
Crafting magical items has taken on a new role in the expansion, and Safiya will be on the forefront of it with her Enchanterís Satchel and Shaperís Alembic. We wonít go into the details too much, but one thing youíll want to do is examine the essences that you find and note the types of spells that you need to cast on them in order to craft the items, as Safiya wonít necessarily have them available at the beginning of the game. Hereís a short list of what youíll want to have her learn. Weíre only going to list the spells needed for crafting arms and armor; we never bothered much with wondrous items, although in retrospect it probably wouldíve been handy. You can always right-click on an essence itself to find out what spells you need to cast on it in the Enchanterís Satchel to enchant an object.
Note that most of the essences will require Protection from Energy in order to enchant armor; make sure Safiya picks that up.
- Air Essences: Chain Lightning
- Earth: Acid Fog (note that this is apparently unlearnable by Safiya)
- Fire: Delayed Blast FireballFireball
- Water: Ice Storm
- Power: Greater Magic Weapon/Stone Skin
In addition to crafting, Safiyaís familiar Kaji will perform most of your lockpicking and trap disarming throughout the game, unless your main character is capable of doing so. Heíll do it automatically when you click on a locked door or spot a trap, or you can control him manually. Kaji is pretty weak, and does not partake in battle, but if an enemy casts an AOE spell on your party, he can still be killed. Even if he is, though, you can simply resummon him after you rest.
Safiya can only be leveled as a wizard, so thereís little flexibility there. As a wizard, she wonít get feats very rapidly, but that doesnít matter much, since she already has the most valuable metamagic and crafting feats. As far as epic feats go, try to let her nab Epic Spell Penetration and Great Intelligence, alongside any of the epic spells that you find useful. (We got Vampiric Feast and Epic Gate and were pretty happy with those.)
Gann is probably going to be the second follower you encounter, and if you treat him right, heíll be quite valuable to you. Like Safiya, his neutrality makes it relatively easy to gain influence with him regardless of your own alignment. Try to be flattering whenever possible; heís a bit of a peacock.
Gann is immediately useful to you in combat if your character isnít a cleric or a druid. He acts as something of a Sorcerer for divine spells, meaning that he has fewer spells available to him, but he can cast them more times per day. Thatís great news, since it means that youíll be able to cast more Heal spells and Summon Creature spells before having to rest, both of which are going to be mainstays of Gannís combat abilities.
Beyond his spellcasting, though, Gannís combat feats mostly revolve around the shortbow. Heís not going to dish out as much damage as a fighter or barbarian, but heíll ping away at targets from a safe distance and contribute to the fight as well as he can. One thing to note is that Gann seems to chew through ammo pretty quickly. There isnít anyone in the game that appears to sell regular arrows, so youíll have to buy lots of Arrows +4 for his inventory before you head out into the wilderness. If you poke around, you may be able to find an infinite ammo shortbow for him to use. Alternately, you can make a habit of casting Shapechange and transforming Gann into a powerful frontlines fighter.
Gann also has a number of spirit-related abilities, but weíll be honest and say that we never used them and still got through the game just fine. Recall Spirit is a resurrection spell that will work well if any of your members accidentally dies. Warding of the Spirits is a good buff to cast on your party members after you rest. Chastise and Weaken Spirits can both be handy when taking on a large group of spirit enemies, but again, itís probably not necessary to use too many of these abilities if you donít want to learn all of their ins and outs.
Since resting in Mask of the Betrayer will sap your spirit energy, youíll probably want to use Gann to heal up your party members instead of healing every five minutes of gameplay. Even with his extra casts per day, you can still run through your Heal spells pretty quickly, so you may want to use healing kits and increase his Heal skill after Spellcraft and Concentration. Another good healing spell is Rejuvenation Cocoon at the fifth level, if youíre healing after combat. It takes a couple rounds to reach its full effect, but actually heals for more damage than a full Heal spell (180 points vs. 150). It prevents the target from acting, though, so itís less useful in combat than the regular Heal spells.
Gann isnít much of a buffer. His Barkskin spell is probably going to be the most useful buffing spell that he has to offer, as itíll offer a +5 bonus to natural armor when cast. Safiyaís Spiderskin spell will offer the same bonus as well as bonuses to poison resistance and Hide checks, but in most cases Barkskin will effectively be the same spell, so just have Gann cast it on all the party members and save yourself some buffing time after each rest. Warding of the Spirits is a party-wide buff thatíll be pretty handy when facing off against spirit enemies.
Gann doesnít come stocked with any kind of crafting abilities, but if you give him Craft Magic Arms and Armor, heíll be able to do most of the same functions as Safiya. So…you probably donít need to.
Gann doesnít really have a lot of spells that benefit from Empowerment or Maximization or Persistance, so the metamagic feats arenít really worthwhile for him. By the time you unlock him, heíll probably be ready to start learning the epic feats, so stick with the epic spells and Great Charisma/Wisdom. If you wind up summoning with him consistently, then the Augment Summoning feat will be worthwhile, but you can probably find that as a bonus feat on an item along the way.