|Readers submitted questions to the Dragon's Breath Forge, David Gaider from the Baldur's Gate team answered them. Here's a bit:
2. I read somewhere that a few BG/BG2 characters were old PnP creations from the designers' vaults. Can you tell us which ones were, and who created them?
A fair number of the original design staff actually grew up in Grande Prairie (a town north of Edmonton) and played for ages in the various D&D campaigns run by James Ohlen (the lead designer for BG and co-lead designer for BG2). A great number of the characters came from these campaigns, either NPC's that had been run by James or actual player characters run by some of the other guys. In a lot of cases, however, they don't have much more in common with their in-game counterpart aside from the name.
Xan, for instance, was a morbid and depressing elven magic-user in BG1. The character was originally a human kensai run by Ben Smedstad (the producer), with the personality exaggerated as a joke (although I hear Xan was always the first to complain and demand that the group run away from danger). Bodhi was a female assassin character run by Dean Anderson (artist), who kept stabbing the party in the back. Minsc was a brain-damaged ranger run by Cam Tofer (producer of MDK2) who used hamsters to set off traps in dungeons...until he became attached to one. Anomen and Edwin are characters that were run by friends of James's...and apparently their personalities are pretty much intact to the way they were played (both got the group constantly into trouble).
There's probably plenty more that I'm forgetting. Like I said, though...many used only the names of those old characters.