Strange/dangerous choice of characters in Varnholds lot (spoiler)

When you play the game the mandatory party members are a rogue and a wizard. So far so good, thats what every party needs. Too bad they leave at some point of the story.

I created a fighter tank as main char, because non of the default chars looks like a good tank. I also made a cleric, a ranger and a paladin as custom chars. So now I have a tank, a mage, a cleric, an archer and a 2h pala for my group. Great, a very good set up.
Then suddenly the rogue leaves and I have nobody for traps and locks. I continued and gained a level so I gave my ranger trickery skill and opened the chests I missed. Then my mage leaves and I have no arcane caster any more and no one can identify the items I find (the helmet that helps identification was on the rogue when he left).
The default other party members would be a ranger, a cleric and a monk, so you are out of arcane casters in any case.

Unless there is an ingame hint that the game wants you to be a bard (arcane skill monkey that can be a good tank if you build them right, maybe vivi as alternative) the game really wants to kick your ass.

Well, the main story has a certain house to drive you insane, including possible death of companions.

Neither Rogue nor Wizard is needed by every party. I’d put them both near the bottom of essential classes.

That depends on the dungeon and traps really. Without mages and rogue in most dungeons you will miss out on hidden doors and magical puzzles. With regards to Varnhold i would say not neccesary but you will miss some of the magic elements and mechanics of the dungeon.

I finished the game.
But it was frustrating when first the only char who can pick locks and disarm traps leaves and then leaves the only char who could cast some of the spells that helped a lot until then (enlarge, haste, stinking cloud) and who can identify items.
These companions had very good stats. When I created my own party I tried to cover every role, so I had a fighter tank, a 2h str pala, a ranger archer with leopard, a cleric of shyln (glaive) with luck and protection domain and the mandatory rogue and mage.

Int is not needed (except for int based casters) because its easy to have each skill covered in a full party. One skill monkey in the party is enough (the rogue in this case).

Yes, a bard or eldritch scoundrel may be better than fighter as tank.
Nobody will take ES because you already have a rogue in the party.
So using a bard as tank is the only way to have a tank, a skill monkey and an arcane caster in the party at the end when using the default party.
Edit: well, not the only way, but the easiest one.

note: I do not use any mods, so I cannot say anything about aditional classes, feats or whatever.

Edit: The base game has many different companions, so no matter what main char you have you will always find a party where every role and skill is covered. Thats a big plus for me.

Mages and Rogues have nothing to do with finding hidden things. That’s Perception and it’s a WIS-based skill. The base Rogue class gets Trapfinding, but that - or something similar - is available to many other classes. It’s natural to bring your pre-existing ideas from other games into playing this one, but not to giving advice based on those instead of the way this particular game works.

In this particular game i was thinking about puzzles with elemental cantrips, but i admit thats my completionist speaking. Also like you stated its more my general knowledge regarding fantasy games speaking, a trap or mechanic specialist and a spellcasting specialist for arcane stuff

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I just happened to roll a bard(Thundercaller) on my first run through. Boy, was I glad I did! On subsequent playthroughs I at least had the forewarning that those departures were coming and could prepare. But, I could see having that happen without notice really screwing you over. At least it’s a short module.

[spoiler] I mean, it’s the same deal with Linzi in the main campaign, and Woljif in WotR. It’s really tough when something happens to your regular party. [/spoiler]

But, if it serves the story. I don’t mind that much.

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Linzi is bad, but

  • If you did all ( or at least most ) companion quests you will still get a full party.
  • I think you can hire mercenaries at the house entrance (not 100% sure, its been ages)

So while it is bad to lose her, you still can have an arcane caster or skill monkey in your party, no matter what main char you have.
Here you lose them in a dungeon with no chance of replacement.

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In the house you can pick up your other companions, sure. But, it would be really easy for some players to ignore gearing them up before you get there. And, if you take a wrong turn, you might be getting smoked by a bunch of ability draining/blinding ghosts. There are definetly some challenging parts to the game. Probably why so many of us keep going back!

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Game isn’t designed to have regular party.

Yeah, that’s why they gave you the Identify glasses. Definitely designed to be replayed.