This game allows only one player character that you create; the other four characters in the party have to be selected from a range of characters that you find in the game. My preferred party is cleric, necromancer, dark elf, vampire, and dragon, because that gives the party access to all the different forms of magic.
The most rounded character in my opinion is the dark elf. This makes a very good starter and you get a well-balanced party very quickly, consisting of dark elf, cleric, necromancer, vampire and knight. Later on, you can swap out any of these (except your created character, of course) for any of a range of other characters including a troll, a minotaur, and a dragon. The quickest way to get flight is to get the dragon and concentrate on developing him.
However, you can find a high-level dark elf (Cauri Blackthorne) relatively quickly, and an alternative plan would be to start off with either a cleric or a necromancer as the created PC, and fill out the other 4 places in the party with the four level 1 characters that you find in the Dagger wound Islands, which is where you start. Assuming that you started by creating a cleric, your initial party will be 2 clerics, a necromancer, a vampire and a knight, and my long term plan would be to replace the “other” cleric and the knight with Cauri Blackthorne and the young dragon.
You can find created characters of a range of strengths, and I did play one game where I aimed to get high level characters into my party as quickly as possible. I found this to give a very poor game for two main reasons:– first, I completely lost the pleasure of seeing my characters develop, and second, the party became so powerful that the game became far too easy.
I would go with creating a dark elf, getting a party of low level characters, and sticking with them until the end. The game replays quite well, and you can try the other races in later games.