I did not read everything above, so here are my 2 cents about origin characters:
I play the game with my custum char and consider the others as companions in the same way as BG1+2 or many other games. This way it feel like playing any other RPG and my companions seem to be more reactive than in most other games which is good. By reactive I mean comments, suggestion or they like/dislike my actions when I talk to other people or do stuff.
There are 2 problems, at least for me who plays single player only: - NPC tell the same stuff again when I talk to them with another party member. This can be irritating when you (the player) think: Why do you tell me that? I already did this. solution: always talk to people with the same char, usually the one with highest charisma and talking skills.
- If your custom char is not the one with highest cha you will usually talk to NPC with another char, This means you are role playing someone else. solution: Talk to NPC as your main char and role play someone who may be very strong or clever but not the best talker. OK, this will be hard for me I admit.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Mad S. Tist
World leading expert of artificial stupidity. Because there are too many people who work on artificial intelligence already