Jump to content
ping

We have gathered our party before playing: Baldur's Gate

Recommended Posts

GqzcETM.jpg

Spoiler

qnaYtPC.jpg

Ochmuew.jpg

EvgIsv7.jpg

vrGzLDz.jpg

AeQ2li2.jpg

lE5GUjG.jpg

E2EXn1t.jpg

SLFbkHa.jpg

"I will be the last..."

96zCtcZ.jpg

"There are others, I can show you! Please--"

VULOBso.jpg

fFmKib6.jpg

EmMut5Z.jpg

(I recommend checking out the intro from the original 1998 version. The Enhanced Edition shortens it a bit, and I find the original's choreography better overall. And, maybe the biggest reason: Kevin Michael Richardson is an amazing voice actor)

GqzcETM.jpg

Welcome to the city of Baldur's Gate, pearl of the Sword Coast! When you aren't been thrown off high towers, it's a pleasant enough place to live.

Baldur's Gate is also one of the great classics of western RPGs, and noteable for being the very first BioWare RPG, released between 1998 (BG1) and 2001 (Throne of Bhaal, the sequel's expansion). It's set in the "Forgotten Realms", one of the most popular Dungeons and Dragons worlds, and the game rules are indeed based on DnD's 2nd edition rules, adjusted for a pausable real-time video game, but still the occasional weirdness that you'd expect from early DnD ("...wait, do I want this number to be big or small?").

The "Enhanced Edition" that I will be playing was released in 2012 by the Beamdog studio. The changes are largely mechanical, with the original story and dialogue being virtually untouched, although Beamdog did introduce four additional NPCs for you to recruit to your adventuring party. In addition to a bunch of quality-of-life improvements and bug fixes, BG1EE also mostly uses BG2's rule set, including some classes and sub-classes not present in the initial release.

In 2016, Beamdog also released a new expansion for BG1, "Siege of Dragonspear", meant to cover the events between the games. I personally think that the attempt to set up BG2's beginning is the weakest part of the expansion, but it's still a fun little piece of extra content and I will be playing through it, as well.

LK1Q1cM.jpg

Throughout both games and their expansions, you follow the path of "Gorion's Ward", or [REDACTED - SPOILER], or "CHARNAME" (which is the placeholder for their name in the game's script). Fully customisable, as is appropriate for a Dungeons and Dragons game, and min-maxable all the way.

Our Weeblet is the embodiment of physical hobbit perfection, plus the most charming fellow you'll ever meet, in the knowledge that a non-spellcaster will almost never suffer from being dumb as bricks (although 11 Int isn't even terrible). Him being a Halfling probably isn't the most optimal choice for a Fighter/Thief - the rogueish "Sneak Attack" was still a "Backstab" in DnD 2e and can only be done with a melee weapon, which makes a Halfling's penalty to the Strength stat very impactful. That said, Weeblet is more dextrous than any human could hope to be, and Halfling rogues have overall the highest values in their thieving skills in the game.

hTpbbHf.jpg

We are going to play on "hard" difficulty, although I might dial back to Core Rules for Siege of Dragonspear (which already likes to throw hordes of enemies at you, adding more makes it really annoying). But to be fully transparent, I'm also using a modpack (plus one individual mod) which overall make the game a bit easier, so the resulting difficulty is probably more alike to vanilla Core Rules.

I'll mention my mods when they come up, with one exception: Some returning NPCs in BG2 have their stats increased, to make up for some general power creep. One of my mods puts those BG2 stats back into BG1, which does make two or three NPCs in particular a fair bit stronger than they normally are. I won't point this out individually to avoid spoiling who's playable in BG2, though.

With that: Story time!

wKfLLTl.jpg

During these quiet years, Weeblet has always been a bookworm, although it wasn't the books and scrolls in the library that sparked his interest, and even Gorions stories grew to bore the child. No, Weeblet was obsessed with illustrated stories from the faraway continent of Kara-Tur, especially about the realms of Kozakura and Wa with their Ninja clans and Samurai and Shogun (although Weeblet got a little misty-eyed when he read how the Emperor Showaji was forced to name Hojo Tademashi the Great Warlord and de facto ruler of Kozakura).

Weeblet is well aware that one is either born into the Samurai caste or not, but he can't stop dreaming of traveling to Kozakura and become a Ninja apprentice. With that motivation, he has been working hard honing his combat skills with Candlekeep's guardsmen, much to Gorion's delight. He also showed considerable talent for the other part of the Ninja business: stealth and subterfuge, which Gorion has been less thrilled about. His friend Imoen's foster father Winthrop, the owner of Candlekeep's inn, happily tutored the two of them in the use of lockpicks and how to remain hidden in the shadows.

Imoen has been Weeblet's best friend as far as the two can think back. They're about the same age and there just weren't many children around in Candlekeep to play with - and the few that were didn't have the same inquisitive mind and desire for mischief as the two little rogues.

vNj946B.jpg

liMupxe.jpg

UVsfFCY.jpg

Winthrop: "My 'otel is as clean as an elven arse!"

Every minor NPC you talk to has this type of short voiceclip, that may or may not be part of the actual, written dialogue. They're difficult to catch at times, at least for a non-native speaker like myself, but I'll try to include them as far as I can understand them (although I might skip some of the simple "Hello!" variations). I'll mark voiced lines with bold text, dialogue that I wrote myself in italic, and regular dialogue from the game without formatting.

Winthrop: "I fear ye have spent too much time around those stiff-necked monks and mistaken my attempt at humor for a serious demand. Perish the thought that I should charge for your company. Any child of Gorion is more than welcome in my inn."

Winthrop: "Now, a little bird has told me that ye're about to leave this humble abode. Ye might want to take a look at my stock. I think I might have somethin' that might interest you..."

0QYPTK0.jpg

Weeblet: "Wh-- how-- where-- Winthrop, you can't be serious! This is a genuine Kozakuran katana! Only the mighty Samurai are allowed to wield them! How did you get your hands on one? ...but, Winthrop, there's just no way I can afford this!"
Winthrop: "Aye, ya can't. By the by, did I ever told ye about the solemn oath that I had to swear when I took over this here inn?"
Weeblet: "What?"
Winthrop: "Those monks are an untrusting bunch, they are. Really hurt this old man's feelin's, they did. Made me swear to Oghma that I'd never nick anything, nor ask anybody to nick anything from my dear guests."
Weeblet: "Why are you--"
Winthrop: "No reason for me to burn this little nest I've gotten myself, I say. An' no point in judgin' a young lad with a difficult road ahead of him, right?"
Weeblet: "I don't--"
Winthrop: "Ahh, but don't let me keep ya. Ye should have a little time before Gorion will want to leave, so maybe there's some task ye can do for a few coins, ya never know. I need to talk to my newest guests. Odd couple, those. Enough coin to buy this entire inn and then some, but their heads so far up their own arses, it's a wonder nobody conned them out of their money yet. You take a quick look around the yard an' see what ya can do."

Kty13Th.jpg

Firebead Elvenhair: "It's so hard to find decent folks nowadays."

Weeblet: "No problem, I just now saw him on my way here. I shall be back in a minute."
Firebead: "Oh, and... I caught a little of your and Mr Winthrop's conversation. With apologies, I did not mean to eavesdrop. It seems that you and Gorion already have to leave?"
Weeblet: "We do, yes, but I couldn't tell you why. ...Er, I would appreciate if you would keep this to yourself, Mr Elvenhair, if you don't mind. Gorion didn't want me to tell anybody, but now the first two people I've talked with already know."
Firebead: "Of course, of course... In troubled times, some secrets need to be kept silent. My boy, please allow me to give you some small support for the start of your journey, as a friend of both yourself and Gorion. If you find your path leading you to Beregost one day, please do stop by at my home. It would give this old man peace to see that you're safe and sound.

0KFEZpI.jpg

So this is a funny little easter egg: Talk to Firebead exactly 30 times, and he'll give you 300 gold pieces, which is a fairly substantial sum this early in the game.

eJtPiK3.jpg

Phlydia: "Hello there!"

Phlydia: "Oh, hello! Hey, have you seen my copy of "The History of Halruaa" anywhere? You know how I can't stand the constant shuffling of arthritic feet up in the library... So I though I'd get a bit of fresh air just east of here and... Oh, I hate being so absent-minded! Please, if you find it, I really do need it back."

In the Priest's quarters, we are greeted by a friendly stranger:

rc8G7mW.jpg

Shank: "Oh, our encounter shall be quite simple for you. Plainly put, I have made it my mission to end your life. Success will mean a little respect among my peers. So you see, you can do very little except die!"

8ryVEaf.jpg

*bonk*

Shank is weak enough to make sure that a squishy mage with no useful spells memorised is still able to beat him, so Weeblet has no trouble winning this fight even wielding a Quarterstaff that he isn't proficient with.

bkrmu7H.jpg

(This is a RPG, gotta loot all the containers!)

5w3858R.jpg

Parda: "Hurry then, child. Equip yourself at the Inn and go join Gorion on the steps of the library... I had a sense something like this might happen."

heLMxYe.jpg

Weeblet: "Thanks, friend. But do you mind sharing your plans right away? I'm afraid I'm a bit in a hurry and I'd rather not run back and forth if I don't need to."
Dreppin: "Sure, sure. Old Gorion's running you ragged again, huh? Nessa here ain't enjoyin' herself, her bein' sick 'n all.
Dreppin: "I need to get her one of them potions of antidote of Hull. He stayed up drinkin' last night and got hauled outta bed to man the gates early this morning, so I bet he's got a few of them lyin' around somewheres.
Weeblet: "Ha, poor guy. Are you certain that Nessa will agree with Hull's hangover remedy?"
Dreppin: "Oh, th'girl is quite agreeable. 'sides, what's tested on bullhead Hull ain't harmin' Nessa here, I'm sure."

HuQMX7j.jpg

There is a ton of books like this to be found in this game, too many to show them all off. I'll show some of the more interesting ones, but you generally don't need to read these to understand the story.

(Still debating if including the mouse cursor in the screenshots in a good idea - it's useful to show what I'm interacting with, but I'd have to be more careful to not have it block any text...)

sDjrlIa.jpg

Watcher: "I shoulda joined the army..." [note: this line is shared by a lot of guardsmen all across the Sword Coast]

Watcher 1: "Winthrop has kept his prices as low as he could, but I expect that to change soon. It's been weeks since a trading caravan has made it here."
Watcher 2: "Thankfully quiet here today, as usual. I hear there are problems outside, though - something about an iron shortage."

pPPY9Wb.jpg

Jr2lCJK.jpg

Temples sell some basic healing items (although "Stone to Flesh" as an actual spell is so advanced that it's literally impossible to have your mages learn it during BG1), can identify magical items you pick up, and allow you to donate money to increase your reputation.

Reputation is on a scale between 1 (public enemy) and 20 (great hero) and our donation gets us from 11 to 12. Far from optimal to blow basically our entire wallet on this -  it'll just make buying the Katana slightly cheaper, but certainly not by 500 gold. And in a non-Murderhobo playthrough, you hit 20 rep basically just by doing sidequests, so it's not a good long-term investment either. But I'm sure it'll give us good luck if we appease the gods...

Priest of Oghma: "These walls contain the world's knowledge!" - "Wisdom is only possessed by the learned."

Priest of Oghma: "It's been really weird these past few months. Iron's been going bad, falling apart almost if it were rustin' for no particular reason. From what I hear, most o' this 'bad iron' comes from the mines at Nashkel. Can't trust those Amnian miners, probably some scheme they've come up with."

This actually reflects in gameplay: Every time you swing a non-magical weapon that contains iron, there's a small chance that it'll just break. Luckily, Weeblet is about to aquire a weapon from a place far from any iron crises - Katanas (and, I believe, Ninjatos and Wakizashis, as well) are immune to this.

0dim7t7.jpg

Reevor: "BY MORADIN'S HAMMER!" [note: this line is shared by a lot of dwarves all across the Sword Coast]
Weeblet: "Ugh, fine... Just don't forget the generous payment you've promised me."

hT5bGpV.jpg

The rats in the storehouse are completely harmless and don't even have any kind of attack. They just run towards you and wait to be killed for one whole experience point apiece. The cats (blue circle) just hang around and don't care too much about anything.

Reevor: "Ah yes, kill them like the rats they are! A glorious battle unlike any this world has ever seen... Here's 5 gold pieces. Don't spend them all in one place."

8GynVCN.jpg

Ha, the journal entries are actually pretty good. I tend to ignore them, just looking at the journal to see what sidequests I still need to turn in.

xbZSBQl.jpg

iI8JBPR.jpg

Gatewarden: "Our rules are very strict!"

There's a bunch of green-robed monks around giving you text-based tutorials, one 1v1-combat instructor next to Reevor and the storehouse, and this dude offering to show how confusing combat with a full group of characters can get. We'll get to that soon enough, so I didn't bother recording any of these tutorials. Instead, Weeblet moves on to the Infirmary...

fwUNyd4.jpg

Priest of Oghma: "All right then, take this potion."

jNmcvA4.jpg

He gives you a basic healing potion - quite useful early on - and we can steal a second one from a locked cabinet in the same building, as long as we carefully avoid the Priest and one other roaming NPC's vision.

In the Bunkhouse, we have another encounter:

kIbHAFV.jpg

Carbos: "I've a blade with your name on it..."

Weeblet: "Look, if you're thinking of a funny shorty joke, then I've probably heard it already. Just state your business, please."

Carbos: "Foster child. Gotta keep it staight. He raised you as his own, but you are not of his blood. Your head ain't worth nothing if you're actually his child. Nah, I know you're the right one. My ticket out of the gutter, soon as I snuff your lights."

1dEkg04.jpg

Like Shank, Carbos poses hardly any threat.

9AkU9Cj.jpg

Karan: "...something on your mind?"
[This line always stood out to me because it really isn't voiced like it's a wise teacher speaking here]

Karan: "It's not this place, child. It's you they're after. Gorion is waiting on the steps to the central library and wants you to go to him as soon as you have bought what your need at the Inn. Oh, Weeblet, I have been your tutor for so many years and only in this moment have I come to doubt that my teachings have been enough. Go to Gorion, child. It is safe for you here no longer."

kioHjjW.jpg

Fuller: "Errands? Yeah, actually. I need a quarrel of crossbow bolts. If you could get some off Winthrop at the inn, I'll reimburse you... Oh, very well, there'll be a few coins in it for you too, so you can stop giving me that look.

We run into Fuller in the barracks. Let's not be snitches here... There's a chest with Hull's sword and the Antidote for Nessa here, plus a few locked chests that (I believe) are impossible to loot without getting caught.

QRQNkdI.jpg

Imoen: "Heya! It's me, Imoen!"

First NPC with a portrait! I wonder if that means anything....

Imoen: "Little one? I doubt I'm younger than you, though you sure got real tall real fast. A journey, eh? I never get to travel. Wish I could go with ya. Yep, I really wish I could. Yes, sir. Really do."
Weeblet: "All right, all right. I get the message. I'll ask if you can go with us."
Imoen: "Oh, don't be silly, Gorion would never even let you finish the sentence. Especially after what that letter of his said... er... did I say that? No, of course I didn't. Never saw no letter. Nope.
Imoen: "Say, did you talk to Puffguts? He said he might have something in stock for you. Coincidentally. He wouldn't know of any journeys or anything."
Weeblet: "I did, and he showed me the 'something'. But he was really a bit rambling today. More than usual, even."
[...]
Imoen: "Oh Weeblet, that went right over your head, not that it had to fly very high. Now let sensei Imoen-sama explain..."
Weeblet: "Imoen you know that these honorifics--"
Imoen: "Not now, little one, we don't have all day for you to educate me. We also don't have all day to wait until they go to sleep, so lemme think for a second..."

xi3yRbe.jpg

lf7mkIZ.jpg

Going through the garden is a shortcut back to Winthrop's inn. We run into Tethtoril and then into a group of chanters who don't seem to agree on what pitch to sing in...

Tethtoril: "Greetings, young one." - "I am very proud of you, as I am sure Gorion is."

Voice of the East: "In the Year of the Turrets, a great host will come from the east like a plague of locusts. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."
Voice of the North: "When conflict sweeps across the Dales, the great lizards of the north shal descend with fire and fury. So sayeth the great Alaundo."
Voice of the South: "When shadows descent upon the lands, our divine lords will walk alongside us as equals. So sayeth the great Alaundo."
Voice of the West: "The Wyrm shall wander the earth and such a pestilence will follow in his wake, that all that know of his passing shall be struck down by the plague. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."

Chanter: "The Lord of Murder shall perish, but in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny. Chaos will be sown from their passage. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."

1QZ7q68.jpg

GqcYQhz.jpg

6KB8oLs.jpg

Weeblet: "Thank you, friend Elvenhair. The last hour has made me welcome such protection. May you walk in peace."

Imoen: (whispering) "Alright, you check that chest over there. I'll talk to the odd couple Puffguts pointed out."

FtRCmyV.jpg

I suspect that this chest has been put here to give every new player a taste of thievery. Its lock is weak that a non-thief can just smash it open, as long as their strength isn't terrible. However, since thieves get a little bit of XP for picking locks, Weeblet takes the more sophisticated approach. The XP reward is a mechanic that got imported from BG2, where lockpicking and disarming traps actually gives a significant amount of XP. But to avoid changing BG1's level curve, you barely get any XP here.

The chest contains two basic spell scrolls which, unlike the Stone To Flesh scroll sold at the temple, can only be used by mages and bards. We'll have a look once we recruit a mage to our group.

PASLijF.jpg

Noblewoman: "A pleasure to meet a socially acceptable person such as yourself!"

Noblewoman: "I'd much prefer it if you would leave me be!

Nobleman: "No time to chit-chat."

Nobleman: "Step up to the heat young one. You'll NEED a good fire to warm the chill stares of those monks. Most inhospitable, they are. Isn't that so, Lovey?"
Lovey: "Oh yes, darling, they are MOST standoffish.
Imoen: "Oh, I would not let it concern you, milady. Perhaps they are not used to wealth such as yours. You are quite wealthy, are you not? Bring a lot of expensive jewelry with you?"
Lovey: "Perhaps that was it? It may have looked as though we were showing off. I'm going to lock all my jewelry back in the room dear, so I don't offend them again.
Darling: "A capital idea, Lovey. Perhaps I should do the same? Leave the finery under lock and key whilst we brush up on our reading? I can think of no safer place than here. I doubt very much that a scoundrel would pay the book fee into this place to burgle the Inn. Laughable!"

Imoen: "You heard? Good, now get to it. You have the brains of a beetle sometimes, but you are the better lockpick between us two. I gotta get back to my chores, but I hope we can meet again soon."

[You don't actually have Imoen in your party during this segment, so game-mechanically, this has all been Weeblet's doing.]

Zf5gLOU.jpg

6CeH2lR.jpg

Upstairs, there's a number of locked chests with nobody, or at least nobody awake, around to spot you loot them. Most of the loot is pretty minor, but the Potion of Clarity is quite valuable and useful against certain enemies.

OahcYg9.jpg

And because we tricked the two nobles downstairs, there's some very expensive jewelry in this room's cabinet.

The entire Candlekeep segment actually has a bunch of NPC reaction checks that require maxed Charisma to get the best outcome. Most of them are really minor - for example, Winthrop will be annoyed that you don't play along with his joke, and Hull will give you only half the money while being a lot more dismissive, as well - but if you're playing a thief and focus your initial skill points into lockpicking, you can get a lot of initial money from this little racket.

GXToaNV.jpg

Nobleman: "Away with you, beggar!"

Nobleman: "My name is Quincy. Beyond that is my own business and none of your concern. Leave, lest I report this intrusion to the guard."

bjJLTxt.jpg

Nobleman: "Don't touch me! I might catch something..."

Nobleman: "I MIGHT very well be anyone, but I AM Christian of Waterdeep. Likely you would not know my family name or history, and that suits me well and good. These trips to Candlekeep are a bit of an extravagance on my part, and while I neither use illicit substances nor consort with 'hired' company, I spend quite enough here that I should not like it common knowledge. To this end, I should appreciate it if you would forgo your odd little attempt at introductions and leave me to my thoughts."

erkxEa1.jpg

Other rooms do have occupants that will call the guards if you try to steal their stuff. You can still get around this in a violent manner: Attacking them without a weapon will render them unconcious, and because neither of those noblemen has somebody else around to see you punching them in the face (or stomach, probably, in Weeblet's case), you can get away with that.

That said, I don't envision Weeblet to be that violent, so I'll just skip those chests. But let's make a save and see what happens if you get caught:

iS7TAxJ.jpg

Well.
Picking fights with guardsmen is a quick way to ruin your reputation, even if you're able to beat them. Low rep will make shops charge you more; really low rep will make every law enforcer hostile towards you, and even spawn additional coppers trying to kill you. Reputation hits are generally a bad choice, unless you have some specific reason otherwise.

Which means: *POWER WORD: RELOAD*

zPkDl1o.jpg

Weeblet: "Honoured shopkeeper, I believe the fruits of my labour shall be sufficient to aquire your finest blade!"
Winthrop: "Glad t'see that honest work still pays off, m'boy. (...) Well, I'll be arsed."
Weeblet: "Please don't tell me this won't be enough, Winthrop"
Winthrop: "Oh, oh contrer... Didn't think I'd need to fetch my stash to pay ye what ye're owed. Nice handiwork, lad. I reckon you passed your final exam in my crafts, eh?"
Weeblet: "...thank you, Winthrop."
Winthrop: "Doncha worry, we both ain't none the poorer this eve"
Weeblet: "No, I mean--"
Winthrop: "Haw, I know. I'll miss havin' ye around, lad, and so will Imoen. Now let's finish our trade like the gentlemen that ye are and me ain't."

p3dq07P.jpg

Now, since this is the first real Katana Weeblet's ever seen, it stands to reason that he has never practiced wielding one. This is purely a roleplay decision on my part (there's no mechanical reason not to start with two proficiency points in Katanas), but Weeblet will have to use a lesser (but still Kara-Turan) weapon until he levels up a bit.

l3OdJ2y.jpg

Here's Weeblet's initial equipment. He'll eventually be dual-wielding (because of course he will...), but right now, that would come with some terrible hitrates, so he goes with a shield instead, as un-ninjalike that may be. Helmet to prevent critical hits (very important!), no armour because meta knowledge. As a ranged weapon, he bought a lot of Throwing Daggers, because Ninja Stars aren't a thing in this game.

You can actually see one of my mods in action here - if I recall, you can only stack up to 40 arrows/bolts/... in one slot, so I made my life a lot easier by increasing that to 120.

To go over the less obvious numbers on the screen:

  • Armor Class is evasion, not damage reduction. The latter is only available through magical means. Important: In old DnD, the lower your AC, the better. 10 is the AC of a naked man with no Dex bonuses, while the best armor has a base AC around zero. Since To Hit rolls are done with a 20-sided die, every point of AC is equivalent to 5% evasion.
  • Thac0 stands for "To Hit AC Zero", as in "You have to roll this high to hit an enemy with zero AC". Against other armor classes, the required roll is simply Thac0 minus AC, so Weeblet would have to roll a 18-5=13 (40% chance) to hit his evil clone, or a 18-10=8 (65%) to hit a naked, not too agile man.
  • You probably guessed it through the process of elimination, but 4-11 is Weeblet's damage output with his Ninjato.
  • From the previous screen: The Ninjato's Speed Factor does not influence the time between two attack. It decides when you attack during a round of combat - 0 means right away, 9 at the end of a round.

CZP51HP.jpg

Before finally finding Gorion, there's some side quests to finish...

avFN2zj.jpg

(Nope, this is not the meta knowledge why I didn't get armour for Weeblet)

2vrhGzQ.jpg

Fuller's reward is probably the biggest impact of 18 Charisma for any non-thief. Instead of 10 bucks, he gives Weeblet a ~magical~ dagger. It's still not a particularly strong weapon (Weeblet does more damage with the non-magical Ninjato), but once we identify it, we can sell it for a decent price.

(Sorry, Fuller, Weeblet is an ungrateful little runt)

(I also just notice that Firebead's protection spell being so very visible reveals that I did things in a slightly different order than I presented them in - namely, Weeblet tricked the two nobles out of their valuables right away during his first visit at the Inn)

nVr8Q5R.jpg

With that, all the sidequests are marked as finished (very imporant!), so Weeblet finally goes to find Gorion.

Gorion: "Oh, my child, I am glad I have found you."

InygUaA.jpg

Gorion: "Alas, I cannot, for I have not truly decided yet. All that is certain is that we will be far safer on the move. Perhaps the woods might offer some secluded security, or perhaps the city of Baldur's Gate would offer cover amidst its teeming throngs of people. I do not know where we shall end up, but I have a few friends here and there. Hmm, I will think on this.

Weeblet: "I... I have been assaulted by two thugs hiding in the Priest's Quarters and the Bunkhouse. Father, how is this possible?"
Gorion: "Oh, my child, then matters are even more pressing than I feared. Candlekeep is indeed a formidable obstacle for ne'er-do-wells, but it is not insurmountable. No matter how thick the mesh, at least one mosquito always finds its way through. No my child, we must leave as soon as possible, for our safety, and for that of our friends here.

Gorion: "My dear child, you shuld know yourself well enough to purchase the gear you need. I have given you what I can spare, so hurry off to the inn and speak with Winthrop. Use your skills as a reference and buy what basics you must, though spend wisely. His prices are fair, but you may not have enough gold to purchase all that you would want."
Weeblet: "I have already been to Winthrop and I've said my goodbyes to him and Imoen.  I'm ready to go right now."
Gorion: "I understand, but child, we must make sure to keep out of the public eye from now on. Avoid speaking my name, even when talking to friends. You never know who might be listening in."

5gOPayC.jpg

Gorion: "There, you will meet Khalid and Jaheira. They have long been my friends, and you can trust them."

5FZwkUp.jpg

The priest next to us casts a healing spell on Weeblet. A small piece of added consistency in the Enhanced Editions - in the original, Gorion would cast this spell on his ward, even though as a Mage, he should not have access to it.

skhksMX.jpg

Gorion: "Don't worry, I will explain everything as soon as there is time."

Gorion: "Wait! There is something wrong. We are in an ambush. Prepare yourself!"

VrdL2ZC.jpg

Armored Figure: "You're perceptive for an old man. You know why I'm here. Hand over your ward and no one will be hurt. If you resist, it shall be a waste of your life.
Gorion: "You're a fool if you believe I would trust your benevolence. Step aside and you and your lackeys will be unhurt.
Armored Figure: "I'm sorry that you feel that way, old man."

v9KfLD2.jpg

A fight starts - Gorion has a Spell Contigency prepared, which immediately sets up Mirror Image, Protection From Magical Weapons, and Vocalize (mages do not like to be silenced) on himself.

gpKIqON.jpg

Magic Missile on the Ogre! Meanwhile, the Cleric casts Draw Upon Holy Might on herself, while the Armored Figure still remains passive.

qx1SSqL.jpg

Weeblet got hit by an arrow at the start of the fight, and right before he runs out of range, a second one barely misses him.

PxbDrnt.jpg

Gorion takes out one of the Ogres with a Flesh to Stone spell, but gets hit by a Flamestrike from the Cleric.

rBK2zi7.jpg

The other Ogre goes down to a Lightning Bolt. Unfortunately, the enemies spread themselves out so that Gorion doesn't hit anybody else.

xczp5ZQ.jpg

He then retreats a few steps and casts Stoneskin on himself.

AtvODhO.jpg

The Armored Figure starts fighting Gorion at this point, who still focuses on taking out the support first. A Fireball roasts both the archers, but the Cleric is still alive...

8NzkTkD.jpg

...so Gorion tries to imprison her for a short while with Otiluke's Resilient Sphere. However, you can already see the projectile of the Cleric's next spell:

ufQPqFV.jpg

Dispel Magic, which nullifies all of Gorion's magic protections.

IHqxIxp.jpg

And one of Baldur's Gates golden rules is: If you can hit a mage, that mage is very dead. The Armored Figure easily strikes Gorion down.

qatgbhu.jpg

 

 

Edited by pong

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, joevar said:

"You must gather your party before venturing forth"

Spoiler

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

"Heya"

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update 2: The Friendly Arm Inn

Spoiler

Starting chapter 1 of the game, Weeblet immediately gets approached by an old friend.

iwgL3r4.jpg

Imoen: "Heya! It's me, Imoen!"

Imoen: "I... accidentally... read a letter on his desk the other day. Can't remember exactly what it said, but he might still have... It might be on his... his body. Anyway, I'm not gonna let you wander around out all alone. Never let a friend down, no, sir! Stick with you until you say otherwise, I will!"

lU7tKNe.jpg

A quick peek behind the curtains: Imoen was added to the game very late, because the developers noticed a distinct lack of non-psychotic thieves available before the first dungeon. Because of that, all of her voice lines are taken from a character out of an early tech demo with an entirely different story - the guardswoman Pique. For example, Pique at one point says: "Good on you if you save the day. I care not, for I am gone", when she feels that the plot is getting out of hand. Imoen says:

  • "Good on you if you save the day" if you gain reputation
  • "I care not" as one of her selection quotes
  • "I am gone" if you tell her to go somewhere.

Aaanyway, Imoen is pretty good, for two main reasons.

  1. Her defensive stats are a good as they can get. 18 Dex is the maximum for any human character, and a non-Fighter doesn't gain anything from more than 16 Con.
  2. Thanks to her high Intelligence, Imoen can dual into the Mage class. "Dual-classing" is basically the humans' special ability: Once Imoen decides that she has gotten all she wants out of the Thief class, she can completely swap over to Mage. This comes with some downtime (she loses her Thief abilities until she has more Mage levels than Thief levels), but because she doesn't put any XP into the Thief class ever again, she becomes a more powerful Mage much quicker than a non-human Mage/Thief.

5Nb7V0w.jpg

For reference - Weeblet gained 404 XP in Candlekeep doing sidequests and picking locks. But because he's a multi-class, those XP are split equally between his two classes, which means that he really needs 2500 XP to reach Thief(2) and 4000 XP for Fighter(2).

7R6ddS7.jpg

But back to Imoen. As a pure thief, she isn't quite as good - I mentioned it in the previous update, but the main combat feature of thieves is their backstab ability, and with her bad Strength, Imoen isn't that amazing at that.

9836KsH.jpg

Instead, Imoen is best off using her shortbow and keeping away from enemies. For now, she actually does really good with them, since all bows have an additional attack per round. Imoen doesn't hit nearly as hard as Weeblet (4-11 damage), but she does get more attacks in. It takes a few levels until the Figher class's better scaling fully kicks in.

nLScgkC.jpg

Imoen comes with a Wand of Magic Missiles with 10 charges, which doesn't hit particularly hard - but it hits without requiring an attack roll.

PgZxo1y.jpg

And, before we finally get on with the game, Imoen's good Intelligence (and not-terrible Wisdom) give her enough "Lore" to auto-identify the magical Dagger Fuller gave to us. It really isn't anything special because Daggers have the lowest base damage in the game: 2-5 is still worse on average than a non-magical Ninjato's 1-8.

F3hbBFW.jpg

Just a few steps down up the road, we run into a man that seems nice enough...

Kolssed: "I doubt these are the ones you seek. They do not seem the friendly type, and are far afield of the inn. If you wish to meet them, I left them not a moment ago just up the road. You will have to pass them anyway if you wish to go to the Friendly Arm. There is a crossroads a ways to the east and the Inn is north of that.
Weeblet: "Could you help us? my foster father and I were attacked last eve, and now I'm not sure where to go."
Kolssed: "I have little to give besides advice and goodwill. Make friends where you can, as traveling alone is almost certain death. You will want to surround yourself with like-minded companions lest you risk making enemies in your own party. Aside from this little tidbit of wisdom, I'd say you're on your own. Luck be with you."
Weeblet: "To you as well."
Kolssed: "Fare thee well, as they say."

Imoen: "We should be wary. Who knows, the twosome he saw might be in cohorts with Gorion's... with that huge man. I... know what happened at Candlekeep, Weeblet. Dreppin dragged a corpse out of the priests quarter and I asked Parda what happened. And then I asked him another seven times until he finally told me."
Weeblet: "But the man also advised to find, what did he say, 'like-minded companions'. Who knows, maybe they're just gruff like Reevor?"
Imoen: "I guess... And if it is more assassins, I guess it would be easier to deal with a stab in the front than in the back."

5o9cu3C.jpg

Montaron: "Ye already be disturbed, now leave me be! Yer company be toil enough as is."

Weeblet: "Greeting, friend! It's good to meet a fellow halfling! I met many good people during my childhood, but mostly humans and elves--"
Montaron: "Ye're still talking to me?"
Weeblet: "Er... ...and I really missed talking to--"
Montaron: "Kid, I. Don't Care. My COMPANION has something to say to ya. I don't. Now leave me be, lest your head leave yer neck."

(that last part is actually one of Montaron's voicelines)

Xzar: "Montaron! You're so AGGRAVATING! 'tis disturbing to my demeanor!"

Xzar: "Now do as you're told, Monty. Smiles, friend!"

2TJtHqD.jpg

Montaron: "*sigh*  And ye look a bit scuffed, too. A fine pair of troubles all your own."
Xzar: "Indeed. I can offer you healing potions, if you wish, as a token of goodwill."
Weeblet: "I'd... be grateful for any assistance.  I think.

Xzar: "Nothing to fear from these simple potions, and I'll not even hold you in debt, though your conscience knows otherwise.
Montaron: "Just like all good people."
Xzar: "Perhaps as payment you would go with us to Nashkel. It is a troubled area and we mean to investigate some disturbing rumors surrounding the local mines. Some acquaintances are very concerned about the iron shortage. Specifically, where to lay blame in the matter. You would be useful, though I'll not hold you to it. We are to meet the mayor of the town, a man named Berrun Ghastkill, I believe."
Montaron: "Your conscience be your guide."

Weeblet: "There is little else for us to do. (looking at Imoen) Maybe this could be a first adventure for us?"
Imoen: "I don't know--"
Xzar: "Goody good good! We should make haste to Nashkel, just a short ways south of here. Onward, intrepid friends."
Imoen: "Just wait one second--"
Weeblet: "But there is safety in numbers. I am told that two good friends of my father wait for me in the Friendly Arms Inn. If they agree to travel with us, I'm sure we shall not fear anything coming our way."
Xzar: "Eh...? Oh yes, that might work. *ahem* My dearest friend, there is little time to waste. But if we were to detour to the north, maybe there's one tiny little errand before we go on our great adventure. For you see, there's a pair of Harpies, disgusting creatures, that requires our attention. And with your invaluable help, maybe that attention could be more... intimate."
Imoen: "Harpies? In Faerûn?"
Weeblet: "'Intimate'?"
Montaron: "Oh, hells... Wizard, keep the flowery language for the bards. Two Half-Elves, not 'Harpies'. Jaheira and Khalid be their names. And this blade, I shall put 'intimately' in their guts"
Xzar: "Montaron, must you be so... moody all the time? We're on a great adventure! Lighten up!"
Imoen: "...you want us to murder two Half-Elves we've never met before?! Why would we ever agree to this?"
Xzar: "Ahh, have we found a connaisseur to travel with? We will find some full Elves for you, I am certain. Aren't their screams just the most beautiful symphony you've ever heard?"
Imoen: "Aren't you just the creepiest bastard I've ever seen? Let us leave, Weeblet. Quickly."

v2QAqMI.jpg

And off they go.

(Well, not really, NPCs that you dismiss just wait in place, although I have a mod installed that allows me to send them to one of a few spots for my convenience)

Note that I only dismissed Xzar, but he took Montaron with him. Baldur's Gate has a few of those "NPC couples" that you can't separate, although there's a few ways around that (and only some of them end up with one half of the pair dead).

rhlGOjO.jpg

Behold! The psychotic thief that Imoen is meant to be an alternative for! Mechanically, Montaron is basically Weeblet with worse stats (and different weapon proficiencies) - although that's not to say he's bad at all. NPCs just tend to have worse stats than an optimised CHARNAME.

During character creation, you can re-roll your stats indefinitely until you roll a high total (Weeblet has 89; Montaron has 82), and then min-max those numbers at your heart's content, something that NPCs don't do nearly as much as CHARNAME can and should do.

Montaron is fairly decent, as far as NPCs go. His physical stats are what we can expect from fighter-y characters in general, and he's the only Fighter/Thief you can recruit (although there's a human Fighter that can dual into Thief). Not the greatest companion, but far from the weakest, too.

zS70k6Z.jpg

Stats actually don't have any impact spellcasting at all, but Xzar's low Constitution does mean that he only starts with 4 HP, so you *really* don't want any enemy to target him.

"Necromancer" doesn't actually mean that Xzar has any special Raise-the-Dead abilities. It's just one of eight specialisations that a Mage can choose. All of those have very similar effects, most importantly:

  • More spells per day / rest, compared to a regular Mage.
  • Lose access to their school's "opposing disciplin" - in Xzar's case, he can't use any Illusion spell. This includes a couple basic defensive spells (most notably Mirror Image, which we saw Gorion use earlier), so this really doesn't help alleviate Xzar's frailty.
  • Hostile spells usually allow the target a "Saving Throw" to weaken, or even negate, the spell's effect. Xzar, for example, would have to roll 12 or higher on a D20 to resist the effects of a Blindness spell. However, a Specialist Mage hit by a spell from their own school get a -2 bonus to that roll (so Xzar only needs to roll 10+ to resist a Horror spell).
  • And in the opposite direction - if Xzar casts Horror himself, any target gets a +2 penalty to their Saving Throw.

Anyway, Mage = Good. Xzar = Mage, so Xzar = Good.

Well, not "good" by alignment, though. He and Monty are evil, which does have gameplay implications: If your reputation grows too high, they will start complaining that "Ye goody goodies make [them] sick" (Montaron), until they will finally leave the party once you hit 19 Rep.

As I mentioned before, a completionist playthrough will have you hit 20 Rep more or less automatically. There's two ways around this - one, you can be a total douche when turning in quests (which consistently gives you worse rewards than being nice) or two, you can be the nicest adventurer in the world, get the better rewards... and occasionally stab a random bystander when your reputation becomes too good.

The Rep system is very rudimentary (and unfortunately, it doesn't change between BG1 and BG2), not really distinguishing between morality and fame. If you murderise an old lady, but you've also been polite with everybody else... that makes you an overall decent person, as far as BG1 mechanics are concerned.

KbEAS6G.jpg

Before kicking the two psychopaths, we do what heroes do and steal their shit. Xzar has the scrolls for two Mage spells...

VVxTFKA.jpg

...and Montaron wears some Studded Leather Armor that happens to be Weeblet's size. As a reminder, "naked AC" is 10, which means that this improves "avoid" by 15-25%, depending on what the enemy is hitting you with.

(No, armor size isn't actually a thing. Imoen can wear this, too, but Weeblet is the melee guy between the two, so he gets armour first)

Lf1V6QP.jpg

A bit further down the road, there's another guy to talk to, but we are attacked by a wolf before we have a chance to do so. Weeblet thows a dagger and misses before he has to swap to the Ninjato to go into melee, but Imoen lands a max-roll crit to make up for that.

These fuckers can actually be really dangerous for a duo of Lv.1 adventurers - they hit for 3-6 Dmg (I think - you can't really find enemy stats anywhere and I'm not really familiar with the program to read the ingame files) and they have 24 HP, which is twice as much as Weeblet has. If RNG isn't on your side (and/or you're playing a more squishy CHARNAME), it's very easy to just die to a wolf on this map.

2QkPsxv.jpg

Weeblet: "Ha! These wretched creatures are no match for my superior skills!"
Imoen: "Gosh, do you see that arrow in the wolf's eye? Or that one in its flank? I wonder if those small details had any impact on the fight..."
Weeblet: "Yes, OK, fine, our superior skills. But did you see that lunge? So cool!"

4KARFkG.jpg

7C9OLt9.jpg

The second of... I believe five hidden treasures you can find before the first dungeon. First of four if you don't count Firebead Elvenhair's 300 gold. This diamond even sells for 500 gold.

wO5zlnd.jpg

In the old BG1, this gemstone is basically impossible to find, unless you either know where it is or you pixel-hunt literally the entire map. The Enhanced Edition makes this a lot easier - you can hold TAB to highlight containers (and have every PC and NPC's names displayed).

Imoen: "Weeblet, we're just east of where the ambush happened. Are you alright? I... I can look for leads on my own, and for the letter I saw."
Weeblet: "N-no, I can do this. Besides, we need to keep our eyes open. You shouldn't go onto the clearing without me watching your back."
Imoen: "Right back atcha. Never let a friend down, remember?"

1RlaatQ.jpg

Imoen: "...We should bury him. He deserves better, but it's all we can do."
Weeblet: "..."

KnKNI31.jpg

Imoen: "I found the letter that I saw yesterday. But... I don't get it. Anything. Did Gorion ever mention any 'E'?"
Weeblet: "I don't think so. Did Winthrop? He and Gorion have known each other forever, I know that much."
Imoen: "Well, he sometimes gushed about his old lover Eilistraee..."
Weeblet: "I guess that's a start..."
Imoen: "...but the one nice Drow goddess wouldn't sit down and write a letter if she wanted to talk."
Weeblet: "..."
Imoen: "And you know Puffguts and his stories. Remember when he told us how he stole Asmodeus's scepter and how he smuggled... Oh, I'm sorry. But you do know him. He probably told stories about a hundred 'E's and ninety-nine of them were just fairytales."

Nn8hKaq.jpg

At the ambush site, we find a piece of Leather Armor for Imoen - the weakest armor in the game, but it's better than nothing. We also find an enchanted belt on Gorion's body (*sigh* and RNG logic dictates that we take it), but Imoen doesn't have the necessary Lore to identify it.

aKIdptv.jpg

The only enemy type on this map other than wolves are Diseased Gibberlings, which are mostly harmless. 4 HP and they only deal 1-2 damage per hit.

DnZMgtu.jpg

Imoen: "Whoa, stop!"
Weeblet: "Huh?"
Imoen: "Bear at eleven. Don't get any closer!"
Weeblet: "Oh come on, we had zero problems fighting a wolf. How much tougher can it be?"
Imoen: "That thing is like ten times bigger, Weeblet. Let's not push our luck. 'sides, it spotted us and it's not trying to kill us. Let's not be cruel."

Most types of bears are peaceful by default, but become aggressive if you step on their toes. And they'd most likely kick our butts pretty badly: 3 attacks per round, dealing 7-12 damage (!!!). Not sure about their hit rate because I don't know if their Strength stat is already factored into the Thac0 that the file-reading program finds, but it's either a 35% or a 50% chance to hit Weeblet.

EahxKgq.jpg

Chase: "Okay...? You aren't going to do a thing? Wow. You... must have incredible faith in my will to live. No one has ever shown such trust in me, not ever! Not even mumsey! Thank you so much for your quiet faith! I choose to live! I CHOOSE TO LIVE! Oh, no! I hae to get home before mumsey finds the note! She has no stomach for such things. I'll have Jeeves double her usual cocktails and tell her of my new resolve! Thank you so much. Tra la! Life is grand once again!"
Weeblet: "What a tool."

No matter what answer you pick here, Chase will always walk away unharmed: If you show compassion, he'll muse that it's "such a long walk" to threaten to jump from this cliff and he should have "mumsey construct a cliff closer to town". And if you decide to be callous, he'll decide that because nobody would be sad if he died, he'll stay alive out of spite.

zwLX1Ei.jpg

With that slightly offensive depiction of depression, we've found everything of note on this map.

5tuahFk.jpg

You unlock new maps by reaching and clicking on the edges of the map, which is also how you leave the current map. From the current map, we can unlock High Hedge to the south (which we'll probably visit after reaching the town of Beregost) and another unnamed map to the east (which is where we need to go to reach the Friendly Arm Inn, because there's nothing to our north).

Directly after entering the next map, we run into an unnamed wizard...

nIlxxoV.jpg

Weeblet: "1: Not to imply anything, [...]"
Inconspicuous Old Man: "Point well taken, and thou hast answered my query most adequately. I shall think of thee as determined instead. I shall trouble thee no more, as thou art more than capable of the task at hand. North is the Friendly Arm Inn, where I am certain thou shalt find trustworthy friends awaiting. I have said too much and taken too much time from thee. Fare thee well."

gFFqv2t.jpg

Weeblet: "Well, that was... odd. People really talk like this?"
Imoen: "Not if they're younger than 300 years, they don't. Even old Firebead doesn't go 'thee' and 'thou' and 'hast'."
Weeblet: "And... why did he think he 'said too much'? He gave us directions, not some ancient lost knowledge."
Imoen: "Hmm... You didn't mention Jaheira or Khalid or the Friendly Arm Inn, did you?"
Weeblet: "Maybe he's a friend of theirs?"
Imoen: "Yeah, maybe. But why wouldn't he just say so? We should ask Jaheira and Khalid about him. And about those weirdos from earlier."

oZ1MQN1.jpg

We're going to pass through this map again after visiting Friendly Arm. And since there's one fairly dangerous encounter here, we go directly north instead of exploring the map. We still run into the third hidden treasure, though: a magic ring, not identifiable by Imoen (at least not yet).

Weeblet: "Oo, precious."
Imoen: "Hey, no fair! Who said you have first pick?"

4kucdJi.jpg

Me knowing that this is a Ring of Protection, which improves Armor Class and Saving Throws by -1 each. Sorry, Imoen.

6FNd9MH.jpg

DkzOWrg.jpg

1XKHFed.jpg

Guard: "Perhaps 'rule' is a touch too formal. It is unwritten, but accepted, that while herein you will act with the utmost of civility to all other guests. This is neutral ground, and all grievances are left at the gates. If the grievances come in, then you will go out. Enjoy your stay"

Weeblet: "I understand. You won't have any trouble from us."

jgTq0yZ.jpg

Following RPG logic (and despite it being past midnight), the first thing we do is bother some local in their home.

f8GDq8v.jpg

Joia: "Such manners! Well, I need a gruff hand for this task, so keep you 'please and thank you' garbage for the nobles. I was robbed blind by some hobgoblins within sight of this very inn's walls and I need you to return the favor. They took my ring, and that's all I want back. Will you do it?"
Weeblet: "Far be it from me to let such injustice befall..."
Joia: "..."
Weeblet: "I will help you."
Joia: "I thank you. The creatures were just north of the inn. I swear I could almost see them from the upper rooms. Bring my ring back here when you get it. You'll know it when you see it. It's a flamedance ring, and very striking."

Weeblet: "You heard that, Imoen? Our first real quest! Let's do this!"
Imoen: "*yawn* Or maybe let's have some sleep first?"
Weeblet: "No! The cover of the night shall protect me and I shall strike from the shadows like the passing wind... What?"
Imoen: "*snrk* Nothing... I guess that oldtimer's speech wasn't that weird, after all. But you have a point. You can pass your wind more easily in the dark."
Weeblet: "...oh."
Imoen: "And then you can work on your heroic speeches once we're done. Although I doubt that 'm'Lady' will be too impressed."
Weeblet: "Alright, lay it off. Let's just go."

F4NVVhu.jpg

Weeblet actually isn't all that great at the whole "stealth" business, at least not yet. His 35s in "Move Silently" and "Hide In Shadows" both fully come from him being a Halfling with max Dexterity, while he put all the freely distributable points into Open Locks.

The chance to successfully stealth is the average between Move Silently and Hide In Shadows in %, with no actual distinction between the two stats. There's a penalty during the day (chance halved) and indoors (chance reduced by one third, as far as my googling tells me)...

vQmzE2U.jpg

...although you can apparently avoid the former by standing standing in a shadow. Indoors, everything is well-lit, as far as BG mechanics are concerned.

If you fail to stealth, you can't try again for another round (= 6 seconds). If you succeed, there's a roll every round to see if you remain hidden, although there's a two-second warning before enemies will spot you.

AXg4DXs.jpg

There's a bunch of actions that also end stealth - casting a spell, looking for traps, grabbing any loot, but most importantly, any kind of attack (note that Weeblet's portrait has the Ninjato displayed, to show that I told him to attack something). However, if a thief attacks an enemy from behind, while stealthed, with any melee weapon that a single-class thief can use...

tOZ5Naq.jpg

...they perform a backstab, multiplying the damage dealt. It's still comparatively tame this early in the game, but the multiplier goes up with your thief level...

VorqCte.png

...and things can get pretty silly at later stages of the game. Now, twenty internet points for anybody spotting something odd with those damage rolls!

Spoiler

*ding* That's right, doubled damage should't result in 7 dmg, nor should a x10 multiplier (crit and backstab) give you 164 damage.

For whatever reason, Strength bonuses to your damage are not multiplied by a backstab. Weeblet gets +1 damage from his Str, so that's why he ended up with an odd damage roll.

Mahiir, during that fight in BG2, had a +7 Dmg bonus from his strength. So he rolled 22 base damage, or 15 without the Str bonus. 15*5 = 75. Then his strength bonus was applied, which brought him to 82, which was then doubled by the crit, to get him to 164 damage.

Old DnD rules and maths, easy and intuitive!

BTy5hzO.jpg

Anyway, we still have two Hobgoblins to slay! Imoen running into sight of one of them is a bit of a blunder - she hit him with two arrows, but now has to run to avoid his melee attacks. The backstabbed Hobgoblin failed a morale check and is about to run in panic, as indicated by the yellow circle.

Weeblet can't re-stealth at this point: This is only possible when there's no enemies in sight, unless you're playing the specialised Thief kit "Shadowdancer".

You can cheese this restriction very heavily with the "Ostrich Strategy": If your thief is blind, there's never an enemy in sight. And while this sounds like a technicality that the world's worst rule lawyer would torment their dungeon master with, this is actually how line of sight is implemented in Baldur's Gate.

IYKhWR8.jpg

*stab*

Imoen: "Found anything?"
Weeblet: "No ring, just some gemstone... and I think this is a spell scroll? What would a Hobgoblin raider do with that?"
Imoen: "Oo, I'll take that. Should come in handy some time soon."
Weeblet: "So, we're even on treasure now?"
Imoen: "Guess."
Weeblet: "Worth a try. C'mon, let's keep looking."
Imoen: "Fine. Looking... looking... Hey! I can see a window up there and I know there's a warm bed behind it."
Weeblet: "I'm so sorry, I thought we were adventurers? You know? People who adventure?
Imoen: "I'd settle for adventurer by day and asleep by night. *sigh*"

GaAVmgf.jpg

Hobgoblin: "FORWARD MARCH!" - "*snarl*"

Next, three more Hobgoblins. They're not a particularly dangerous enemy type, with only 8 HP and no Str bonuses to their Thac0 or damage. They wield Bastard Swords, which hit reasonably hard (2D4, or 2-8 dmg), but I believe they only hit Weeblet if they roll a 20.

tqbCD8r.jpg

Weeblet: "There it is! That's a Flamedance Ring!"
Imoen: "Our Smiling Lady, thank you..."
Weeblet: "But I didn't manage to sneak on them! I need to practice! Let's get all around the fortress and see if there's any more Hobgoblin bandits trying to prey on innocent merchants! I'll go scout ahead!"
Imoen: "Tomorrow is a great day to improve your sneaking, Weeblet."
Weeblet: "Hey, if you want to invoke Tymora, then Fortune Favours The Bold. Don't fall too far behind!"

By the way, Hobgoblins will drop their equipment (which is generally not worth picking up - most non-magical gear doesn't sell for a lot) plus one random piece of loot (gem, some money, Lv.1 spell scroll). I don't really know how drop tables work exactly, but these clearly draw from a low-level pool.

9F17vdo.jpg

Better! This time, Imoen stays far enough back to avoid line of sight until Weeblet strikes, so the remaining Hobgoblin aggros on Weeblet, too, while Imoen shoots arrows from afar.

pXRqedH.jpg

There's two more locations to unlock from the Friendly Arms Inn, both of them still outside of our comfort zone, especially Peldvale to the east.

That said, those areas have one recruitable NPCs each, an overzealous paladin to the north and an evil cleric to the east, who both can be reached without running into any enemies. They're both pretty good, as long as they don't conflict with your team, but I'm not planning to recruit either of them for this playthrough.

7idrsp1.jpg

Fourth out of five hidden treasures! This one's arguably the most powerful, but...

Imoen: "Ha! This one's mine!"
Weeblet: "Well, yeah. Makes us even."
Imoen: "Sure.. I... (blast) guess...."
Weeblet: "Huh? What's wrong?"
Imoen: "Can't get... this thing over... my finger."
Weeblet: "Elven ring? Some of them have really thin fingers."
Imoen: "No, not like that! Here, look, I can't even bring it close to my fingertip."
Weeblet: "Oo, a magic ring then? We'll have to ask a mage to see what the deal is. This is strange."
Imoen: "Here, you try it. Do Halflings make any special enchanted rings?"
Weeblet: "Gee, good question. Maybe somebody who grew up in Halfling society might be able to answer it?"
Imoen: "They don't. At least there was no Halfling in the books about famous magic rings. More a dwarf and elf thing, I think."
Weeblet: "Yes, you followed our lessons more diligently than me. Good job. Proud of you. Now if only you would learn how not to be such a know-it-all..."
Imoen: "Oh, sorry, I get a little cranky when I don't get enough sleep. Can we get to the inn already?"

4Pz1aFt.jpg

Imoen: "Good on you if you save the day. I care not, for I am sleepy."

vuq47FR.jpg

And because Joia leaves after you complete the quest, the cold logic of RPGs dictates that we plunder her now unguarded chest... (well, more like "pong's completionism dictates". There's just a minor gem and a few coins in that chest)

By the way, 400 XP is still a decent amount at this early stage. The enemies we've encountered so far give far less than that, wolves with 65 being the most rewarding.

SOVoQnR.jpg

Commoner: "Glad to meet you, friend."

There's actually a number of unnamed commoners giving some small bits of background information, and a number of commoners just telling you to piss off.

Commoner: "You said something?"
Commoner:
"You don't go believing every little thing being bandied about. A lot of it is just people getting worried 'bout nothing. Those gossips in Beregost are always coming up with new rumors to tell travelers. Us here at the Friendly Arm, we should have more sense."

Commoner: "Wife's been gettin' prickly on me arse..."
Commoner:
"The iron crisis has taken everybody off guard. Why plan for a shortage when the resource is nearly unlimited? I guess we're paying for it now. I guarantee that if we survive through this it will never happen again. People will be hoarding metal for months."

t8U6aND.jpg

Commoner: "Gellana and Bentley are husband and wife. They've run the Friendly Arm for as long as anyone can remember. Bentley likes to run tend the bar in the inn, while his wife Gellana is the high priestess at the temple to Garl Glittergold. They're real good people.

Guard: "There is to be no fighting or stealing within sight of the walls of the Friendly Arm Inn! Aggressors will be punished to the full extent of frontier law!"
Weeblet: "No stealing, no... fighting, got it..."
Guard: "Oh, don't worry. We've seen you move against those Hobgoblins just north. We're better off with them gone, that's for sure. But do not pick a fight with any civilised folks, is that clear?"

PXGJ2KN.jpg

Tarnesh: "Oh, you must be whom I am to meet then. I will take you to your friends, but first I should be sure you are the correct person. Is your name Weeblet?"
Weeblet: "Why, yes it is."
Tarnesh: "Perfect. You are indeed the person I seek. Hold still a moment, won't you?"

PrTR0L6.jpg

Journal: "Another stranger tried to kill me today, this time at the Friendly Arm Inn. Who keeps sending these assassins?"

6d8kxJk.jpg

Guard: "Oh no you don't!"

Tarnesh opens the fight with a Mirror Image spell, creating three illusionary copies of himself. The Guard hitting him actually connected with an illusion and so did Imoen earlier, "killing" them. As you'd expect, they had a 1/3 and 1/4 chance, respectively, to hit the real Tarnesh. Imoen missing her second attack means that she missed all Tarneshs altogether.

UUQc59o.jpg

Next up: Horror, which is a genuinely dangerous spell. Everybody in its area of effect must make a Saving Throw or run in panic like a headless chicken for an entire minute. Luckily, Weeblet resists, Imoen is out of range, and allied NPCs don't seem to be affected by the spell.

Weeblet being a Halfling comes in play here: All "shorties" (Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings) get bonuses to some of their saving throws: Spells and Wands for all three, plus Poison and insta-death effects for Dwarves and Halflings. The bonus scales with Constitution, and Weeblet with his 18 Con gets a massive -5 bonus, or +25% chance to succeed. Combined with his new Ring of Protection, it gets him from a 15 to a 9, so I guess it technically wasn't needed in this case. Still, "Shorty Saves" are a great feature for those three races.

9skne88.jpg

And while he's trying to cast a Magic Missile (you're seeing the lingering magic animation), Tarnesh gets hit by an arrow and then Weeblet's Ninjato.

This looked (and was) all very smooth, but Tarnesh is another big early roadblock. He has three Magic Missile charges prepared, which is likely to kill even the most tanky CHARNAME you can create, since unless you're wandering all over the world before getting to the Friendly Arms, you're still at Lv. 1. If Horror had gone through Weeblet's saving throw (and it had a 40% to do so), this could easily have been a reset.

V5pN4Zg.jpg

Guard: "I'll take this. (...) Mr Weeblet, it seems like you've made some dangerous enemies somewhere. I'd like to say that you're save at the Friendly Arms, but... Well, this here bounty hunter is the only guest that arrived within the past week and is still around, so I don' think you're in immediate danger anymore. Still, keep an eye open, and I'd recommend against a bed in the dormitory, should you decide to spend the night."

Imoen: "Weeblet, you're my best friend, you're great, but you really need to stop telling every scary-looking stranger your life story."

Ah7Yksw.jpg

In the smaller building next to the big-ass inn, you can buy some potions from Gellana - rather expensive for now, but we might want to take a look at her stock at a later point.

AaAzkjO.jpg

*title drop, credits roll*

You have to have your party together to move between major areas - the Friendly Arms Inn is one of the few buildings that count as such. The "You must gather your party" voiceclip that plays when you have some stragglers is rather infamous.

4SurHgB.jpg

Jopi: "Hey, friend! Good to see such a fine sod such as yourself!"

Jopi: "'E's a mage and a crotchety ol' one at that. Goes by the name of Ragefast, though as kids we always called him Grumpleskin! Har, if he ever caught us at it, he'd cast barkskin on us so we'd wander around all brown-skinned and green-haired and funny-lookin' for a few hours."

Barkskin is a Druid/Cleric spell and its duration is really short. IMMERSION RUINED!

Anyway, there's a ton of unnamed and named-but-not-important NPCs running around in the inn. More than I want to include in this LP, but there's actually a number of interesting ones.

Commoner: "You're a long-tongued lout, ain't ya?"
Commoner:
"Travelers, huh? You're the first group to come into town all day. Not many have braved the roads since the trouble started up. We've seen only ten new faces in the last month. Found a lot of bodies, unfortunately."

raXSjdY.jpg

Commoner: "Pleasure to meet you."

Commoner: "Excuse me, but I think I recognize you from some descriptions I've been given. Is your name Weeblet?"
Weeblet: "Yes, that would be my name."
Imoen: "Lord Oghma, send wisdom..."
Commoner: "Well, I think you should know that there's been a lot of people asking about you. There were a man and a woman who were asking about someone named Weeblet, and then there was this spooky fellow who was doing the same. A few days ago there was a big man who was looking for someone with your name. I don't know why ye're so popular, but I'd watch it: Some of these people didn't look too sociable."

Whelp: "I need some ale! *burp*"
Whelp:
"Aargh, look at these forks and tankards! This iron shortage shows no mercy on us drunkards and gormands!"
Weeblet: "Whatever could be wrong with your fork and tankard?"
Whelp: "They be made of iron yet they bend under the weight of this inn's meager offerings and the handle breaks on me tankard to spill this rat spit of an ale into my lap! Aarrr, Nessie, get me another!"

Commoner: "Lots of work in Nashkel I heas, but I says no 'cause I ain't going down no mine. You gotta be a fool to work underground at the best of times, but you would be completely crazy to do it now."

Commoner: "You aren't from Nashkel are you? I hope not, because we don't trade with them at all anymore. All the iron we get from the mines there is tainted. Weak as tissue it is.

dDXxJNW.jpg

Surrey: "I was an apprentice blacksmith under Taerom Fuiruim in Beregost. With the iron situation being what it is, however, I thought I'd better head somewhere else. Waterdeep, maybe. Taerom's having enough trouble making a go of it as it is..."

You can see Khalid and Jaheira standing there to the left, but we'll keep ignoring them for another short while.

mSBEH3F.jpg

Dorn: "Then why do you bother me? Begone."
Weeblet: "Nothing would please me more."

tyBAnLF.jpg

Dorn's portrait betrays him as another recruitable NPC, and both of his lines being fully voiceacted betray him as an Enhanced Edition addition. He doesn't join you just yet, but you have to talk to him here to trigger another encounter a bit later.

KYDW011.jpg

Commoner: "That I was, and I ain't afraid to say it neither. But those bandits out there now, they're different, I tell ya. They've got a mean streak in 'em and their minds set on taking over the whole area... Most of my old pals have gone missin', and I don't like it one bit. That's why I'm holed up here. I've been good to Bentley and Gellana in the past, so now it's their turn to look after me."

uqlddLd.jpg

Nessie: "I hope our establishment is to your liking?"
Nessie:
"Bentley wanted the inn to be a safe haven for all sorts of travelers. Anyone can stay here but we don't tolerate any troublemaking within these walls."
Weeblet: "Did Bentley build this place? It's so solid, it looks like it's been here forever!"
Nessie: "Oh no, Bentley and Gellana didn't build the inn! They found it... They were part of an adventuring party, not unlike your own. In the first few years following the Time of Troubles, when all the gods were walking the surface of our world, the inn was actually the hold of a powerful, undead priest of Bhaal, god of murder. With the evil cleric weakened by the death of his god, Bentley and Gellana were able to destroy him once and for all, thus laying claim to his troubled fortress."
Weeblet: "There's more to this place than I would have guessed."
Nessie: "The present is always a thin veneer over the past. Look closely at any building in the Sword Coast region and you can be sure that its stones are held in place by history's mortar."

The Forgotten Realms' timeline has since moved on (BG3, which is currently in early access, is set 126 years after this game), but at this point, the Time of Troubles has only been 10 years ago and it was kind of a big deal. On a meta level, the ToT "explained" changes between DnD's first and second edition.

In-universe, it had the uber-god Ao force the regular gods to walk the earth as mortals because they had been naughty. And yes, god died, and mortals raised to godhood. As Nessie mentioned, Bhaal died, slain by Cyric, then mortal, now god of lies. Mystra, goddess of magic, tried to circumvent Ao's verdict and was killed by Helm, the Vigilant One, tasked by Ao to prevent that sort of thing. Tiamat, three-headed queen of evil dragons, was slain and her essence transferred into three powerful dragons, then resurrected as the five-headed queen of evil dragons when the strongest of those three 'nommed the other two.

All in all, it was a rather unpleasant four months, and we'll occasional run into its fallout - hard to avoid that so soon after the big bang.

TBwvMsX.jpg

Anyway, back to the mundane: Upstairs, there's a number of personal possessions to loot. Yoink!

vBoMHTn.jpg

Nobleman: "A man shouldn't speak to his betters, unless spoken to first."

Nobleman: "My business is just that: MY business. If this answer is not good enough, I suggest you complain to Bentley at the bar. Tell him that you broke into my room and demanded to know my personal affairs. I'm sure he will express sympathy for you as he has the guards 'escort' you off the property. I trust you will be leaving now? Good day to you."

Weeblet: "Fine, I'll bother the guest next door..."

sHbHj5o.jpg

Unshey: "You cannae get better than the stability stone walls provide."

Weeblet: "I smell another quest!"
Imoen: "Girdle of piercing, huh...? We don't have to return that immediately, do we...?"

Yeahh, this quest's reward is not as valuable as the item we're supposed to deliver, honestly. It's not the first time that this is the case (the Antidote we brought Dreppin back in Candlekeep is arguably worth more than the 50 XP reward, for example), but this magical item stands out even more in that regard.

3nuVpJK.jpg

Landrin: "A pleasure it is to meet you!" - "A stout hammer will fix most any bandit!"

Aaand the third and final floor, with more stolen goods and another quest. Landrin only gives Weeblet those six antidotes because he's just so darn charming - with less than 18 Charisma (well, good Cha and good Reputation might do the trick) you don't get anything. Anyway, this time, the reward is actually more than the items she wants fetched are worth.

Now, to the most important quest of them all...

SxaSlXE.jpg

Nobleman: "No time to chit-chat!"

Nobleman: "Service with a smile and a snap in your step. That's what we like to see. Now get going damn you! Not a coin for a tip if there's even ONE tear!"

(whoops, I forgot that he requires 18 Cha for a tiny extra reward. *reload*)

RIPqZqC.jpg

Nobleman: "Here's an extra couple of coins... put in a pleat that would make Daddy proud, if you know what I mean. Now get!"
(2 gold received)

Weeblet: "Imoen, what does he mean?"
Imoen: "I'll explain when you're grown up."
Weeblet: "Oh ha-ha, very funny... oh. Ah. Ahhh."

The Golden Pantaloons are an item of utmost importance. We shall carry them around for all of BG1 with literally zero effect. Now, back to the ground floor...

yIY3kta.jpg

Khalid: "C-c-calm yourself, dear, we must proceed c-c-carefully."

Khalid: "Jaheira! M-mind your m-m-manners! This must be the child that Gorion wrote of so often."
Jaheira: "We are old friends of your adopted father. He is not with you? I must assume the worst. He would not permit his only child to wander without his accompaniment."
Khalid: "If... if he has passed, we share your loss."
Jaheira: "Gorion often said that he worried for your safety, even at the expense of his own. He also wished that Khalid and I would become your guardians, if he should ever meet an untimely end. However, you are much older now, and the choice of your companions should be your own."
Khalid: "We could t-travel with you until you get settled, help you find your l-lot in life."
Jaheira: "It would be a fitting last service to Gorion, though we should first go to Nashkel. Khalid and I look into local concerns, and there are rumors of strange things happening at the mines. No doubt you have heard of the iron shortage? You would do well to help us. It affects everyone, including you. We are to meet the mayor of the town, Berrun Ghastkill."
Weeblet: "Your company would be welcome."
Jaheira: "Well, good! We'll leave as soon as you're ready, though it should be soon."

Imoen: "'In the morning' soon, please? We haven't had rest since we left Candlekeep, and I am sooo tired."
Khalid: "O-of course. You can ask B-b-bentley for rooms and see that you are well equipped, s-so that we can leave early."

BjZ17FS.jpg

Jaheira: "How long must we wait here? Things stir to the south as we sit!"

(Speaking to Jaheira instead of Khalid only changes the opening dialogue a little bit. No difference past these two lines)

qqQMP0V.jpg

New characters! First, Jaheira, who like Weeblet is a multi-class character, splitting her XP between Fighter and Druid. I generally like Fighter multis, because they can do whatever their other class does while also being good at fighting, but this very specific case of "F/D in BG1" is a bit of an exception.

The Druid class has a really bad spell selection at low levels - Jaheira can use healing spells, which is nice, but her other low-level spells are much worse than those of the other healer class, the Cleric. Jaheira still gets a couple nice tools somewhere in the midgame, but at BG1's XP cap, the F/D multi is a frustratingly small amount of XP away from gaining access to the big guns in the Druid's arsenal.

That said, I have installed a mod that adds Druid and Cleric spells from BG's sister series Icewind Dale to the game, which genuinely helps Jaheria out quite a bit. And besides, she is still competent as a Fighter. High Dex and Con make her a competent tank.

aHlPqE7.jpg

Khalid is a single-class Fighter, and despite his physical stats being a tiny bit worse than Jaheira's (-1 Dex...), this does make him better at raw combat, although it'll take a few levels.

WJ1auEW.png

A big advantage of a single- or human dual-class Fighter is that they can specialise in a weapon type even harder. Jaheira and Weeblet are stuck with two pips, Imoen even with just a single one, while Khalid can put a third and eventually fourth pip into his Longsword proficiency. Reaching grandmastery during BG1 requires a specific dual-class set-up, so it's not available for Khalid. Two points to both Thac0 and damage isn't huge, but definitely significant.

And a very obvious advantage: Since Khalid doesn't split his XP, he levels faster than Jaheira or Weeblet, once their XP head starts aren't as significant anymore. As a result, he gains more HP more quickly, also helped by multi-classes using the average HP of their classes. It's not quite as drastic as you'd expect - early level curves are almost logarithmic (Fighters, for example, need 2000 XP for Lv.2, 4000 for Lv.3, 8000 for Lv.4), so Khalid is generally just one level ahead - but that still makes a difference.

A very valid alternative is to specialise Khalid in Longbows, which he starts with only one pip in, which means that he can only reach Mastery before the XP cap. However, the third pip is much more impactful than the fourth, and Longbows are inarguably the best weapon type in the game. Khalid ends up as the 2nd-best archer in the game, and his only better joins fairly late.

1OmfMTv.png

One thing I need to mention: Jaheira and Khalid are both exactly as strong as Imoen.

cbP8yX9.png

No, really, old DnD is weird like that. Now, it technically isn't correct - Jaheira and Khalid have a much higher weight tolerance, and you do need 15 Str to equip the heaviest (and best) armour in the game. But as far as pure combat bonuses go, there is literally no difference between 9 Str and 15 Str.

This means that Khalid and Jaheira both effectively have terrible Strength, even if it doesn't look like it. However, there's a bunch of ways (potions, magic spells, lategame equipment) to boost your Str to (not by) a higher value, which means that they still have quite good physical stats overall.

NnbUAYx.jpg

Bentley: "It's been dreadful slow business lately." - "My inn is open to all those who behave themselves!"

UyJ8z7i.jpg

hVROXUO.jpg

Bentley has some pieces of nice, but also fairly expensive, stuff to offer. I generally avoid big purchases until my Reputation is maxed, or close to, so Khalid and Jaheira will have to make do with slightly worse armour. And I think that AC vs. missile and piercing attacks from larger shields is more valuable than the +1 HP/Lv. that Buckley's Buckler would grant to our three Fighters, anyway.

FfPIu85.jpg

And while a Bag of Holding for gemstones and (magic or mundane) jewelry is really, really handy for inventory management, I know that we get one for free quite soon.

ciVv6PW.jpg

In the end, Jaheira gets a Chain Mail that Weeblet found ownerless upstairs in the inn. Clubs are the only weapon that Jaheira has two pips in (she got one each in Sling and Quarterstaff) and Club+Shield is a surprisingly solid weapon choice to begin with.

EZZvj4p.jpg

Her ranged combat isn't terrible, either, thanks to her good Dex - but Slings work a bit differently, to her disadvantage: Unlike bows, they only have one attack per round, but they get bonus damage from high Strength. Since Jaheira doesn't get that, she really wishes that Druids would be able to use bows.

OZCx6FI.jpg

Khalid goes with Splint Mail, one of the few armour types that has a better AC against crushing attacks. He's not too different from Jaheira (or Weeblet, outside of backstabbery) at this early stage, all things considered.

One thing to note: While Weeblet is also able to wear these types of heavier armour thanks to his fighter "half-class", these also disable his thieving abilities including stealth. For Khalid and Jaheira, the only downside to heavy armour is their bigger tax on their weight capacity. They don't impede their combat at all.

F41R6gW.jpg

OijYauW.jpg

With that, I think I'll end the update. We haven't gone too far from Candlekeep, but many tongues were wagged, another assassin thwarted, and our first main quest location has been revealed: Nashkel, the northernmost outpost of Amn, a nation that's been a long-standing rival to the city of Baldur's Gate. But on our way, we'll pass through the town of Beregost, where we're sure to pick up some new rumors, as well as a sidequest or ten.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update 3: To Beregost

Spoiler

zezv5RB.jpg

Jaheira: "Everybody ready? Good. Beregost is a good twelve hours away on foot, so I don't want any delays."
Imoen: "My legs are still sore... But unless we rest for another three days, I'm as ready as I'll be."
Khalid: "Y-you're not used to long marches, s-s-so don't feel embarrassed if you n-need a break. I would prefer to reach B-beregost today, but we have the supplies to set up camp if n-necessary. And between the four of us, holding watch isn't as b-bad as while traveling as a pair."
Weeblet: "Umm... A dwarf upstairs said that there's an ogre near the road south who robbed her..."
Jaheira: "Yes, Unshey. She warned us, too. Don't leave the road, and we should be able to avoid it."
Weeblet: "A-actually, I think we should fight it. The ogre is threatening poor citizens, so it would be the heroic thing to do."
Jaheira: "Heroic? Before you play hero, you first need to learn to be an adventurer, Weeblet."
Weeblet: "But it would be a fight four on one! We should be able to win that!"
Jaheira: "Win the fight? Probably. Win without any of our own heads smashed in? Maybe. If you charge into every battle that you might win, your career as an adventurer will be a short one."
Khalid: "I-if I may, dear, I believe it is a f-fight we can take."
Jaheira: "Hm?"
Khalid: "All f-four of us are adept with some form of ranged weapons. If we s-spread out, nobody needs to expose themselves to the ogre. Whoever it t-targets draws back, staying just outside of the reach of its weapon, while the other three keep attacking."
Jaheira: "You're right, that would work. But it would need four disciplined fighters to pull it off."
Khalid: "Y-yes. Jaheira speaks the truth, Weeblet. An ogre is a dangerous foe even for a full group of adventurers."

YLBAGcm.jpg

With that lecture, we get back to the Coast Way, the part of it that we mostly skipped on our way to the Friendly Arm Inn. We're once again greeted by an NPC:

lViupeR.jpg

Aoln: "The most dangerous thing I intentionally went after? Stalked an ogre mage for a few days once. Had a party of me own back then. Killed the ogre, lost the party. Not really worth the trade, if you ask me. I've seen more dangerous beasties, but usually over my shoulder as I'm making tracks as fast as I can. No shame in running when your life is on the line. Off with you now, I've meat to catch.

Jaheira: "If you weren't going to listen to me, I hope you've been listening to this man."
Weeblet: "Actually, what most Faerûnians call 'ogre mages' are in truth 'oni', spirit creatures originating in the far east. While some scholars argue that they are distantly related to the brutish ogres of Faerûn, I think that their magical talent and their disposition to far more sophisticated weapons..."
Imoen: "Not the point, Weeblet."

R4mZRXU.jpg

Most enemies on this map really aren't any threat to our group...

Gk7qPlN.jpg

... but there is indeed an ogre waiting in the eastern part of the map.

BRnMJat.jpg

Jaheira opens the fight with an Entangle spell - mostly because I didn't remember to change her memorised spells before we rested at the Friendly Arm. This spell honestly kinda sucks. It creates an area in which everybody has to roll a saving throw every round (6 sec) to avoid being immobilised for a round. However, it's not party-friendly and the saving throw is done at a +3 advantage.

fmsSOm2.jpg

Still, it holds the ogre in place...

4t44nwM.jpg

...for a very short while.

Weeblet: "Alright, it's weakened! I got this!"
Jaheira: "No! Get out of there!"

tQNLTWZ.jpg

Khalid: "R-run! T-that way!"

The +1 damage bonus comes from the difficulty setting. However, the fact that it's only +1 instead of the advertised +25% boost comes from a small anti-frustration feature, which prevents Lv. 1 characters to be one-shot from full health.

The "Critical Hit Averted" is courtesy of the Helmet Weeblet is wearing - the ability to do so is a very important feature of the Fighter class, since every incoming attack has a 5% chance to roll a natural 20.

XixpRb3.jpg

(Healing Potion)

It doesn't heal Weeblet to full, which means that the ogre would potentially kill him with a second attack. And while drinking a potion happens immediately, there's a rule to prevent you from spamming them: During a round, a character can only drink one potion, or cast one spell, or use one innate ability. So after drinking the potion, Weeblet still has to turn around and run. Luckily, Baldur's Gate doesn't have any "Zone of Control" or "Attack of Opportunity" mechanisms to punish this simple form of kiting.

Gt3FT8K.jpg

And the ogre is felled.

In a fair fight, ogres do still outclass our party pretty hard. 30 HP, 14 Thac0(*) (40% chance to hit Weeblet), 7-16 damage before the difficulty bonus. Even their Armor Class (5) isn't too bad.

(*) Base 17, -3 Strength bonus. Judging from the +6 bonus displayed when it whacked Weeblet, I think it's very likely that NearInfinity (the file reading program I'm using) gives the base Thac0 without that bonus.

Jaheira: "I really hope you learned something today. Consider yourself lucky that the lesson didn't come at a higher price."
Imoen: "Ah, this should the belt that Unshey is looking for. I wonder if the effect is something you can feel..."
Jaheira: "NO!"
Imoen: "Wow, I do feel different... Wait... What's wrong with my voice?"

fYilMGu.jpg

Weeblet: "What in the nine hells?!"
Imoen: "What? No! That's not... No!"
Jaheira: *sigh*
Imoen: "I can't take it off! What is happening?"
Khalid: "P-p-please, c-calm yourself, everyone. Imoen, do not worry. There is a temple of Lathander near B-beregost. Most Radiant Kelddath Ormlyr w-will be able to lift the spell."
Imoen: "Oh thank goodness... Let's hurry, then! Come on, I really didn't need this to happen..."
Jaheira: "Then tell me, what curse *did* you need to happen, child? One that would turn you into stone?"
Imoen: "I'm sorry, Jaheira! But... I couldn't have expected this!"
Jaheira: *sigh* "I guess not. Life hopefully taught both of you today: A fight is not a game, and magic artifacts aren't just toys. Heed those lessons, and we need not speak of this again."
Khalid: "We will only reach Beregost past midnight, e-even if we don't run into any more distractions along the way. Th-that means that we can't see Kelddath b-before next morning. Will you b-be alright, Imoen?"
Imoen: "I'll manage. But drat, my clothes are really tight around my shoulders... I guess I shifted weight..? Say, Khalid, d'you think I can borrow some of your clothes until tomorrow?"
Khalid: "I d-doubt that they would fit any better, I'm afraid. You're c-currently a lot, er, b-broader than a Half-Elf."
Imoen: "...I am pretty buff, aren't I?"

I quite like that this girdle is the first cursed item that you run into. In general, cursed equipment makes it so that you can't blindly equip magical items and see what they do that way (unless you save-scum, of course), and the sex swap is a way to warn the player through an effect that, as far as game mechanics are concerned, doesn't actually hurt them.

JB5QjlF.jpg

The rogue ogre is the only really dangerous enemy on this map. Some gibberlings are not diseased anymore, which means that they have 8 HP and hit for 1-8 damage now. Their Thac0 is 20, though, so they're really unlikely to land a hit.

wOuZhF3.jpg

Xvarts wield Short Swords (1-6 dmg) with slightly better Thac0. Nothing to worry about, either.

TNrG6cL.png

To give a tiny bit of lore, just from what the Forgotten Realms wiki provides: Both xvarts (left) and gibberlings originated in the Underdark, a giant system of caverns (or systems, plural, they aren't all interconnected) beneath the entire world of Toril, and home to a lot of nasty creatures: Drow (or dark elves), Mind Flayers, Kuo-toa (fish-humans of sorts, driven mad during enslavement by the Mind Flayers) and Beholders, just to name a few.

Gibberlings seem to usually appear as a ravenous swarm despite their vaguely humanoid appearance, with no language or culture. Xvarts, however, descent from gnomes that were enslaved and magically warped by evil Underdark giants, until one day they managed to escape. They live in tribal societies that sustain themselves through hunting and pillaging, but they've also been given the Always Chaotic Evil stick, making them morally acceptable sword fodder for low-level adventurers.

U48OTdG.jpg

The Xvart did get a lucky hit against Weeblet, so Jaheira patches him up after the fight.

GDaS0Hq.jpg

Jaheira: "Vita... Mortis... Careo... What is it?"
Weeblet: "Oh, nothing. ...Well, I was worried you'd be angry. You know, that I let myself get injured again."
Jaheira: "I'm not going to lose patience over that, Weeblet. Injuries like this are, unfortunately, part of our profession. Earlier, you and Imoen carelessly invited danger for no reason. Now come, Khalid and Imoen are getting impatient."

All spells that anybody casts are accompanied by three Latin words, depending on the spell's school. Apparently, compromises had to be made in terms of grammar, but there is meaning behind the short phrases - I found this forum post a while ago.
Healing spe
lls count as Necromancy in old DnD, so Jaheira is chanting "I separate life from death" while treating Weeblet's wound.

A general note about healing spells: The simple HP regeneration spells are mostly not very well-suited to be cast during combat. They take a bit longer than half a round (so 3.5-ish seconds) to cast and this first one's effect isn't even as strong as a healing potion (8 vs 9 HP), which can be used instantaneously.

CCZCveb.jpg

Khalid: "Another raid..."
Imoen: "Another?"
Jaheira: "Word of a raided caravan reached the Friendly Arm about a week ago. But this ambush must have happened maybe a day ago... We should hurry and get back to the main road, quickly."

biWhDKV.jpg

Towards the west of the map, not far from where an inconspicuous old man approached Imoen and Weeblet in the previous update, we run into a named character:

Eldoth: "Gentlemen, Gentlewomen, may I introduce myself - I am Eldoth Kron."
Eldoth:
"It is a surprise to find such beatiful people wandering these woods. All of you look rather weary, down on your times I might say. Why don't we all rest and I'll treat you to some refreshments, perhaps some Berduskan amber wine?"
Weeblet: "Yes, we're sort of thirsty right now."

zM4jYP7.jpg

Jaheira: "Are you always this slimy, or is this one of your better days? Go find someone else to help in your worthless schemes."

Jaheira: "I apologise for speaking for the group there, but I am not traveling with that sort of sleazeball."
Imoen: "Yeah, no. Ew."
Weeblet: "Agreed."

oN7q8VG.jpg

Had we not been so judgemental, we would've welcomed a bard into our ranks. In the base game, Eldoth joins a fair bit later than this, which is why he starts at Lv.3. Not joining at Lv.1 is partly a disadvantage: Instead of the 21 HP that he could have had, Eldoth starts with a meager 15.

This is because he didn't use an Enhanced Edition feature when he rolled his level-ups before the start of the game: Max HP Upon Leveling Up. Normally, every class has a "hit die" - D4 for mages, D6 for thieves and bards, D8 for Druids, D10 for Fighters - but since this encourages save-scumming, the Enhanced Editions just give you the option to always get the best roll, which I am gladly taking.

gYy46IO.jpg

But back to Eldoth, and a quick rundown of the Bard class. As far as combat goes, they don't start all that great - basically the same as a pure thief, but without the ability to backstab. Their main feature is their ability to cast mage spells, which unlocks at Lv.2. Over time, as they reach higher spell circles, bards (and mages) gain access to a number of defensive spells, until they eventually become better at tanking than a fighter.

Compared to mages, bards have the advantage of higher HP and lower Thac0, but they reach more advanced spells later and can generally not cast as many spells per day. Because they level up faster than mages (but not fast enough to make up for the slower spell progression), their spells are actually more powerful than the same spell cast by a mage: If a spell scales at all, be it in duration, power, or both, it scales with character level and nothing else. However, this isn't as much of a factor in BG1, where a Bard's basically ahead by only one level throughout the game.

Basically, even though I'm not a huge fan of the class in BG1, bards can cast spells, and thus they are good. They also have some utility on top: They can pickpocket, they have an excellent Lore stat (at BG1's max level, Bards can auto-identify literally everything), and of course they have a "Bard Song" ability. Used in combat, it makes the party immune to any fear effects, and it also makes them a little more lucky. As a very short summary, it manipulates a lot of dice rolls by one in the players's favour - for example, a weapon dealing 1D6 damage can roll [2|3|4|5|6|6], while an incoming Fireball will use [1|1|2|3|4|5] dice instead of the regular D6.

About Eldoth specifically: His stats lean more towards melee combat, which is a bit of a shame: His unique ability is to produce poisoned arrows that only he can use, and those are very powerful against enemy Mages, because the poison effect keeps interrupting their spellcasting. Ideally, you want to fix his Dex and have him use a Longbow, which is already an amazing weapon type to begin with.

XqCv1lY.jpg

But since Eldoth is such a slimeball (and of evil alignment), we remain a group of four.

8Vy85c7.jpg

CCZCveb.jpg

With that, the map is pretty much cleared. In the south, Andout gives us a little foreshadowing of things that may or may not come to pass, and we find the raided caravan that (my version of) Jaheira mentioned earlier.

0od1APP.jpg

4gAuLdB.jpg

So, on to Beregost. Immediately upon reaching the town, we're greeted by a guy who seems to be ready 24/7 to welcome any visitor from the north:

lboTHhG.jpg

Golin Vend: "We have many inns for the frugal adventurer. The Red Sheaf has basic rooms, though the clientele is a touch rowdy. There are also the Burning Wizard and the Jovial Juggler, which also have finer suites. The Red Sheaf is near the center of the town, as is the Burning Wizard. The Jovial Juggler is a bit further along, and sits on the southern edge of the city."
Weeblet: "I need some well-made weapons and armor. Do you have a good smithy?"
Golin Vend: "We have the best smithy in all the realms. Taerom 'Thunderhammer' Fuiruim runs the Thunderhammer Smithy in the eastern side of town. He has a few exceptional items as well, though you could also check Feldepost's Inn. They carry trophy items, though you had best be rich as kings. Feldepost's Inn is in the west, closer to the south edge of town.
Weeblet: "Thanks for your help."
Golin Vend: "No problem, friend. Enjoy your stay."

830PqWx.jpg

Beregost is a town with around 3000 inhabitants, one of the more important trading centres of the region. For us, this means that there's a lot of very minor treasure to loot, with the 86 gold in the chest at the top of the picture being one of the greater rewards you can find. The boy isn't very good at watching over the place, and won't call the watch on us.

Boy: "Mother said not to talk with strangers!"
Boy:
"Nice house, huh? My buddy is Dason Greycart, and he says his daddy makes good money as a merchant. Not so much nowadays, I guess. Especially if he don't come back soon. He's got customers here waitin' for him. I'll wait right here and help him unload, like I always do."

cXby5OK.jpg

Boy: "Loser-loser-loser!"

There isn't quite 3000 people to talk to, but still more than I think I should show here. I'll go over some, in a more thematical than temporal ordering. First: The iron crisis.

CpJWAN7.jpg

Commoner: "My damn shovel broke today, then my hoe, and then, to top it all off, my scythe. They're all new tools too, bought from that flam, Taerom. He's gettign a piece of my mind."

Commoner: "All the iron that comes from Nashkel has been tainted. It's those Amnian, up to their bottle-headed tricks I bet. We should just march over that little mine of theirs. I bet they are just faking all the trouble so as to weaken our guards and soldiers. Well, we will be ready when they come.

Commoner: "The shortage of iron has been gradually building for some time now. People have had plenty of opportunity to get paranoid. Not me though, no, sir. Nope. Eh, could you stand a little back from me, please?"

Commoner: "Tensions are high all across the coast. Many a person's livelihood depends on the iron that is now in such short supply. I sure wish I could get my hands on whoever is behind it all. So do a lot of folks around here. Heh, nothing like a common enemy to bring people together."

7eOG5Ox.jpg

Intertwined in all the rumors are plenty of distrust against the neighboring nation of Amn, and how they might be behind the entire thing.

RjyZYAP.jpg

On our great sightseeing tour, we do happen upon a handful of noteworthy items. In a large estate in the northern part of the town, we find a Wand Of Giving Pong 'Nam Flashbacks, although we'll have to wait and see what exactly I'm flashing back to until we identify it. We also find a Potion of Invisibility, which Weeblet certainly can make use of (...unless I do my usual stunt and hoard all of them until the game is over).

cnZnd9E.jpg

The two guards at the mansion's entrance aren't too inviting, but don't do anything about it...

ys7JT1O.jpg

...because their boss is actually quite welcoming, considering we just picked the lock to his front door.

Gerard Travenhurst: "Away with you, beggar!"

Voiced line nonewithstanding.

Gerard Travenhurst: "That is an unfortunate possibility. They do seem to take a touch too much pleasure from their positions, but I'd sooner have them than not. I doubt I should feel safe without them, what with the banditry rampant about the countryside. Mayhaps when things have settled I can maintain a more open house. Leave me please, as a member of the town council there is much that weighs on my mind."

yeg5SHt.jpg

The aforementioned Thunderhammer Smithy isn't manned during the night, which allows access to some locked chests in the back. The only loot of note is this magical bastard sword. These are their own proficiency class, and we probably won't be recruiting the only NPC using them, so this'll go right into our traveling funds. And no, Thunderhammer doesn't notice if you try to sell him his own stolen sword.

N1FXi8r.jpg

In the sleeping rooms upstairs in the Burning Wizard (we'll come to who/what's on the ground floor later), there's a magical mace. I do have someone in mind for this one, so we'll hold on to it.

H7XRH7o.jpg

Algernon is lodging in Feldepost's Inn. His model doesn't show it, but he's wearing a *really* swanky cape. Alas, neither Imoen nor Weeblet have the Pickpocketing skills to nab it from him, but I absolutely want it at some point.

4lnDWW5.jpg

zlG1L92.jpg

We also hear some rumors about some mages, one of them more sinister than the other. But speaking of mages - who is that mage clothed in a red robe following us around? Maybe I should go back to when we arrived in Beregost and fill in the gaps...

9lJylHZ.jpg

Going east from where we entered Beregost, we run into a mage clothed in a red robe, although it's hard to tell while it's night and she's standing in the shadow. Like with Dorn, the half-orc we briefly met in the Friendly Arm Inn, this entire scene is fully voiced (and I'll refrain to write it all out in bold), which marks her as one of the Enhanced Edition's added characters.

Neera: "There's Bandits! Vicious, magic bandits! And they must have gone to advanced bandit school or something. They're trying to capture me!"
Jaheira: "A group of spellcasting bandits? This sounds like a tall tale."
Neera: "Listen, I'd love to give you a really long and detailed explanation of what's going on but--oh look! WE'RE OUT OF TIME."

Our party gets into formation closer to Neera, and a mage clothed in even redder robes approaches from the east.

yIaqfBQ.jpg

Neera: "You're the one trying to capture me! And I still don't know what you want, so I'd rather not let it happen. Get out of here before me and my new friends decide to inject a fist into your mouth!"
Imoen: "Goodness, she's even less intimidating than Weeblet..."
Ekandor: "You there! Stand aside and give me the girl. Surely you won't risk your life for a stranger?"
Weeblet: "I won't let you harm her. By what right do you hunt this woman?"
Ekandor: "By my right as a wizard of Thay, we must study her anomalous powers... whether or not she comes willingly."
Weeblet: "Back off before I see whether you're as red on the inside as on the outside."
Imoen: "See, that woulda been a decent threat if it'd come from a mouth higher up'n three foot."
Ekandor: "If you wish to die for this wild mageling, so be it!"

aKTFUgY.jpg

(That's Neera talking)
Both Ekandor and Neera start casting spells...

aFp5oCW.jpg

...and Neera's goes off first, shuffling everybody's positions around and teleporting Ekandor out of the fight entirely.

70ASQWn.jpg

Undeterred, the unnamed Wizard from Ekandor's entourage starts a fight.

xF6TAkX.jpg

Neera apparently didn't get the message, but everybody else knows: "Kill the one in the dress first!"

d1T8WPJ.jpg

Well, a bit of tactical deliberation is still necessary. Khalid swaps to his longsword and attacks one of the bodyguards, to keep him away from Imoen, who uses her Wand of Magic Missiles for a guaranteed hit against the wizard. Unfortunately, he gets his Mirror Image spell up first, though - it's a pretty quick spell to cast.

Neera: "Incertus... Pulchra... Imperio..." (according to the forum post, this might mean "I control beautiful mysteries")
Neera then casts Chromatic Orb on the bodyguard facing Khalid. This spell deals a bit of damage and inflicts a secondary effect based on the caster's level - her target being blinded means that Neera is a Lv.1 mage. And that she got lucky, since Chromatic Orb allows for a saving throw with a +6 bonus to avoid the secondary effect.

dZLiEOb.jpg

The effect is very short-lived though - only one round, and both bodyguards are fully ready to fight again. You can also see the wizard running southeast - his AI is a bit smarter than that of OG BG1 enemies and he tries to gain some ground while his ability to cast spells is on cooldown.

URAvpRn.jpg

That went well. Before the wizard can use another spell, Jaheira rolls a crit, targeting the real wizard and not one of his mirrored images. The bodyguards are still there, with one of them going after the squishy Neera...

H1A8YtL.jpg

...but they're not particularly dangerous on their own. Imoen gets the one targeting Neera with an arrow, and Jaheira finishes the other one soon after.

Y6BGlD8.jpg

Neera: "Since you were kind enough to save me from those wizardly thugs, I was wondering if I could stay with you for a while. For your protection as well as mine. I swear, I'm quite a skilled spellcaster. I can hurl a fireball like you wouldn't believe!
Weeblet: "Very well, your company would be appreciated."

Lies! Mages can only use Fireball once they reach Lv.5! ...wait, no, Neera is actually an exception to the rule, kinda. But she doesn't have Fireball in her spell book yet, so still: Lies! Lies!

Neera: "Fantastic! Let me just get my... well, nothing. I'm ready go go now!"

ccW5rmr.jpg

Jaheira: "Say, Neera... that teleportation spell you used earlier was unlike anything I've ever seen. I'm curious, where did you learn that?"
Neera: "Welllll... I didn't LEARN it, as such. It's more like I willed for something to be done about that creep, and then I let my magic flow, and POOF! Just like that!"
Jaheira: "...come again?"
Neera: "I'm a wild mage! I can cast spells that would make Elminster green with envy! Sometimes. When I'm lucky. When I'm not, I can set my own hair on fire. But that hasn't happened for at least a week!"

dpaPGv7.jpg

Our fifth hero on the team: Neera, the Wild Mage. This is another mage kit similar to Xzar's necromancer class, giving Neera more spells per day, but not a preferred school of magic, nor a banned one. Instead...

  • Every spell she casts has a 1/20 chance to result in a "Wild Surge", with effects that range from beneficial effects (e.g. the caster gets a Haste effect) over inconsequential (caster becomes shiny and golden for a while) and kinda bad (caster gets polymorphed into a squirrel for 40 seconds) to really fucking bad (caster summons a horrible Pit Fiend). Most effects replace the intended spell, so even good/inconsequential effects can be pretty annoying.
  • Caster level, and thus the power and duration of many spells, is variable.
  • Wild Mages can cast the spell Nahal's Reckless Dweomer.

cnEg5PC.jpg

This spell is potentially incredibly powerful - if we pick up a Lv.5 spell scroll somewhere (the highest it goes in BG1) and Neera learns its spell, she can use Nahal's to then unleash that spell. Or try to, because it's very likely that the Wild Surge caused by this will just override it. I'm personally not a fan of this, simply because of the low chance of success.

I will say one thing in this spell's (and the Wild Mage's) favour: At very high levels, this becomes a *reasonably* risky, very powerful tool. Even if Neera has access to all the most powerful spells anyway, the Dweomer does not follow the "One Spell Per Round" rule I mentioned earlier, and in the endgame of this game's sequel's expansion, she can get up to a 77% chance to cast the right spell. This means that she can reasonably pump out a bunch of Abu-Dalzim's Horrid Wiltings, hope that the majority of them actually happen, and that the ones that don't won't screw her over. But this is still lightyears away - we're talking "BG2 expansion mid- to lategame" to get beyond 70% chance of success.

For now, let's get back to exploring the city.

ZCLxTZY.jpg

Sidequest!

P28Il5Q.jpg

Toxic Relationship!

5zrNbq5.jpg

...sneaky Weeblet?
(Silke is the bard with the Quarterstaff standing in the foreground. We'll interact more with her later)

3l1D7zL.jpg

Apologies, but I can't help but metagame a little from time to time. When entering the Red Sheaf Inn near the center of Beregost, we're approached by a dwarven fighter named Karlat...

Karlat: "You're at the end of your rope, I'll wager."

...and he doesn't sound friendly.

7KeGuWJ.jpg

Karlat: "Aye, that I do. The will AND the way. Shall we get to business then?"

Because of that, Weeblet sneaks behind him while Jaheira does the talking...

uM0wZg8.jpg

...and the fight ends very quickly.

Not gonna lie, this is very cathartic. Karlat is usually another tough fight for a Lv.1 party, thanks to his impressive staying power: 35 HP and 0-4 AC (depending on your weapon's damage type).

AFWC4xq.jpg

Weeblet: "This is almost getting silly at this point. Should I be proud or concerned that the bounty went up since yesterday?"
Jaheira: "I vote 'concerned'. With any luck, this hasn't reached outside of Baldur's Gate's sphere of influence yet and we won't run into trouble in Nashkel, but I wouldn't count on it."
Neera: "Wait, this is a daily occurance for you?"
Weeblet: "Well, two days ago, two assassins somehow managed to breach the defenses of Candlekeep. When my foster father and I left to try and find a safe spot, we were ambushed by a group around a towering man, who killed my foster father. And when we reached the Friendly Arm Inn yesterday, some mage tried to kill us. 'Daily' is shaping up to be good word, yes."
Neera: "Maybe I should look for another group of nice people that are willing to save my brain from being probed by those red-robed freaks. ...kidding! I think!"

4Qp8Bma.jpg

Lachluger: "Hahahahaha! Ahahahah! *burp*"

♫ I cut down trees, I shkip an' jump, I like to pressh wild flowersh ♫
♫ I put on women'sh clothin' an' hang aroun' in barsh ♫

♫ He's a lumberjack and he's ok, he sleeps all night and he works all day ♫

Apart from a singalong, there's also a sidequest to pick up in the Red Sheaf Inn:

wqDtxpr.jpg

Perdue: "You 'eard me. A dog's 'ead. And breath that could peel paint, too."
Imoen: "Oh, a gnoll!"
Perdue: "Yeah, a gnoll. There's one 'oled up in the hills due west of 'ere, close to the High Hedge. Damn thievin' ball-o-fur stole my short sword two days back."
Imoen: "Never liked them myself. How much would that blade be worth to a runty guy like you?"
Perdue: "Yeah, yeah. Lay off the short-guy jokes, they're older than your grandmother's uncle. The damn blade ain't worth nothing. It's a pride thing. I'll give ya 50 gold pieces if ya wipe 'is arse with it."
Imoen: "You've got yourself a deal."
Perdue: "Yeah, yeah."

IoDXH3X.jpg

Upstairs, a friendly fella is around to give some exposition about the iron crisis, as well as point us towards some opportunities to go adventuring. He tells us about Mirianne, who we already visited, and also about two magic locations that some commoners mentioned earlier:

Raleo: "If you're up to the task, I hear there are strange things in the Ulcaster School ruins southeast of town. I would nae go down there unless you are quite sure of your abilities though. Many a well-meaning fellow has gone and not come back. Only for those adept in battle. Anything else you would like to know of?"
Neera: "Nothing in particular. Just intereted in the sights. Perhaps shopping."
Raleo: "Shopping? [...] If you really have coins to spare, I'd suggest going west of the city and seeking out Thalantyr. He has a shop in his keep, though he does not welcome visitors. Trust me, you will want to speak with him immediately if you go there. Wandering about his shop without permission is downright deadly. I think he likes scaring folks a bit."

Jaheira: "I doubt that we have the budget for any magical artifacts, but with a Mage in our group, it might be a good idea to still pay Thalantyr a visit. Maybe she can learn to summon magic effects that are actually intended."
Neera: "Oh, ha ha. I can already do that just fine. Most of the time."

There's a bunch of locked and unguarded chests in the sleeping rooms, too, although none of them have any noteworthy loot in them.

Just west of the Red Sheaf, in front of the Burning Wizard, we run into another portrayed (and thus recruitable) character.

APVdEbu.jpg

Garrick: "Hello there! I have a pretty proposal for you."

Garrick: "I'm Garrick, and I work for Silke Rosena. She's the most skilled musician and actor along the Sword Coast. In fact, she's to play at the Ducal Palace before the month's done. However, she's been having some problems of late. Some thugs have been hired by Feldepost to hurt her bad because she didn't perform at his inn when she was supposed to. You can't blame her for not showing up, what with a villain like Feldepost running the place. She needs mercenaries to protect her until she's ready to go to Baldur's Gate. She's willing to pay about 300 gold. What do you say?"
Weeblet: "That sounds fair. I think we saw her just a while ago just down the road, so shall we go meet your mistress immediately?"
Garrick: "I think you've made a good decision. Now just meet me outside of the Red Sheaf Inn."

Cc9ASvb.jpg

Garrick actually just cutscene-walks the group back toward Silke, although things only pick up again once you actively talk to her...

w6NqKtf.jpg

...which gives Weeblet opportunity to go into stealth. Y'know, just for the unlikely case that a fight breaks out in the near future.

QCFlx7R.jpg

Silke: "Greetings, mercenaries! I am Silke, thespian extraordinaire!"

Garrick: "I offered them 300 gold, just like you told me."
Silke: "Well then, I assume that Garrick has explained what your duties are. You must simply dispose of the ruffians when they come to threaten me. They shouldn't be too hard to deal with, but I would advise you to strike fast. Whatever you do, don't speak with them. One of them is a mage whose mystic words can sway even the most wise of men."
Neera. "Well, that's not suspicious at all, is it?"

Like with Karlat, Jaheira does the talking. If Weeblet with his higher Charisma had done so, then Silke would've offered an extra 100 gold because she's just so nice. But it should be abundantly clear that things aren't quite as they seemed...

Silke: "Here they are now: Feldepost's thugs. Strike when I tell you to."

h85IaVG.jpg

Silke: "Don't try to threaten me! I won't be easy prey for you to beat on, I've brought friends!"
Faltis: "What are you talking about? We're here with the gems that..."
Silke: "Shut up! There'll be no weaseling out of this one. STRIKE NOW! Kill them all! Don't let a single one escape!"
Jaheira: "Stop this madness. We won't murder those who are obviously innocent men."
Silke: "Our deal is off! In any case, you're probably too cowardly to be any good in a fight. I'll deal with them myself, after I deal with you!"

c44ZWMS.jpg

Excellent! Neera hits Silke with a Magic Missile before she can protect herself with an Improved Invibility spell, which is an advanced illusionary protection spell: Unlike regular Invisibility, the Improved version doesn't fully break when you attack or cast a spell, making sure that the caster can't be targeted by spells, and giving them a +4 bonus to their AC (and saving throws).

On9dik7.jpg

And because Silke doesn't wear any armour (doing so would disable her spellcasting abilities), she is now pretty easy to hit...

0ZxLetI.jpg

...and goes down before she can even start casting another spell.

That was easy - but let's see how this fight can go if you don't get that good start:

D5BTeU6.jpg

Not as well, to say the least. Don't take the "damage resisted" messages too seriously - Weeblet definitely took the full 33 damage here, while everybody else is protected by the "can't be one-shot at Lv.1" clause. Not sure why Neera only took a single point of damage, though - maybe a strange interaction between that clause and her successful saving throw (which halves Lightning Bolt's damage).

Silke is a Lv.10 Bard, and although her 29 HP is a bit low, considering, this also means that she shoots out Lightning Bolts at full power, dealing 10D6 damage to everything in its path - friends, foes, innocent bystanders.

HRFgt1K.jpg

Little tip for any munchkin players out there: Instead of talking to Faltis after killing Silke, you can also just murder the three of them anyway and take three tokens of appreciation from their dead bodies, plus the gems that Silke was after, with zero repercussion. The reason being that while you get a -2 hit to your reputation, you're not supposed to walk away with your rep completely down the drain, which is what would normally happen if you kill three innocent bystanders. So instead, the -2 rep hit happens through dialogue, and the three gem merchants are coded to not be "innocent".

But of course, we're good people who don't murder people just because the game engine isn't watching. The quest still gives pretty good rewards:

lLJt5AJ.jpg

A Potion of Defense from Faltis. Pretty good for Weeblet, since the base AC of his body armour is only 7 and he tends to be in the thick of things.

F3NjQQ3.jpg

Silke drops an even better version of it, even though she wouldn't have been able to use this version herself. In addition, she drops her magical Quarterstaff, which Jaheira can use (although I prefer the defensive bonus from the Large Shield she wouldn't be able to wield alongside it), and the 400 gold she would've promised Weeblet if he had done the talking.

1UVGKME.jpg

And finally, Silke is worth a whopping 900 XP, which is quite a lot this early in the game.

I should mention that XP is shared between party members, which means that each character only gains 180 XP from this. You don't gain levels particularly fast in this game...

mmXkc92.jpg

...although Jaheira does so right now, reaching Lv.2 in both her Fighter and her Druid class. The most exciting reward is that she literally doubles her HP, with the reminder that this would normally be a dice roll - D10 for her Fighter class, D8 for Druid, both halved because she's a multi-class, and then a fixed +3 from her Constitution stat.

Otherwise, +5% hit chance with any weapon and an additional Lv.1 spell are both much more incremental.

uvkKQNE.jpg

Still, going from three spells per day to four isn't too bad, and Jaheira fills her memorisation for the next rest with another Cure Light Wounds. In the fourth slot, she replaces Entangle with Sunscorch, which is a spell added by my Icewind Dale-ification mod.

Th1P1nZ.jpg

Jaheira: "Boy, you just helped her set up a trap to murder three innocent men just to steal a few gems. And now you expect us to trust you enough to let you come with us? Run along."
Garrick: "Ahh... fair, fair."

To be fair, despite this first impression, Garrick doesn't seem to be a bad egg, as far as BG1's very limited dialogue builds his character. I just don't really have room for another pseudo-mage on the team, with Neera and (eventually) Imoen covering that well enough already.

c4wpTuf.jpg

Mechanically, what I said about Eldoth earlier still applies to Garrick. The Bard class doesn't fully "unlock" until maybe the lategame of BG1, but they're still competent enough at slinging spells. So even though Garrick has the most underwhelming stats (his Dex is decent, at least, so he isn't terrible with a crossbow), he's still far from useless.

JsZvDPW.jpg

In the Burning Wizard inn, we run into Zhurlong the halfling thief, who nabs 15 gold from Weeblet and still thinks that we will return his Boots of Stealth. You know, the Boots of the Thing That Weeblet Is Going For.

zYgSJaV.jpg

Upstairs (where we also find the magical mace), we hear some new rumors:

Spen: "Firewine Bridge ruins is what I mean. She be pretty far to the south and east, but a strong pair o' legs will get ye there just fine. I would make sure that they are strong enough to bring ye BACK too though. The Firewine ruins might be quite the deathtrap for the inexperienced adventurer. Mind ye remember that, and don't blame old Spen if ye lose a few of yer fellows stumbling about within.
Weeblet: "What else can you tell me of it?"
Spen: "What? Do I look loke I be fool enough to go tromping about in such a place? Not likely. Ye want more info, ye go talk to them halflings in Gullykin. They be curious about such things, and will probably help ye. I warn ye again though, it ain't no place fer a young 'un! Ye go there and ye're just looking for tough trouble. Best ye cut yer teeth somewhere else before ye throw yer lives down that hole."
Weeblet: "And what of Beregost? Anything interesting here?"
Spen: "Hereabouts? the temple to the east be an interesting view, if ye like that sort of thing. I don't! Don't like much, actually. Don't think I like you, either. Ehh, leave me to my readin'."

N4loUcQ.jpg

At this point, I decide to go ahead and spend the night - no particular reason to pick this inn or any other.

Neera: "So, now that we have the opportunity to talk... I don't think I even caught your name yet."
Imoen: "Oh, er, hiya! I'm Imoen!"
Neera: "Imoen? Isn't... No, sorry, that's a beautiful name. Say..."
Imoen: "Hold up, just in case this steers towards awkward: Yes, Imoen is a girl's name. I just had an accident involving this belt..."
Jaheira: "...and your recklessness..."
Imoen: "...and I thought you didn't need to bring that up again, thank you very much, Jaheira."
Neera: "And thank you very much for not eavesdropping!"
Imoen: "Anyway, we're going to see the local priest of Lathander. Jaheira says that he can lift this spell."
Neera: "Man, that would've been useful three months ago..."
Imoen: "Huh? Wait, you mean..."
Neera: "Oh, no. Nononono. I'm a woman. Always have been. Except for maybe... four hours, as a less awesome result of my otherwise awesome magic. Wore off on its own, thank Tymora. I would not have had the money to pay anyone to fix that."

Resting allows Neera to memorise two Identify spells, which she then uses the next morning:

1mIVuxc.jpg

First on the ring that we found just outside the Friendly Arm, which neither Weeblet nor Imoen were able to use. It's mage only (another blow against bards as pure spellcasters) and it's really good. Lv.1 spells are obviously the weakest of them all, but it's also all that Neera can cast right now. And even at the end of the game, there's always something useful in the first circle of spells. Magic Missile isn't an iconic spell without reason.

JjcnpYu.jpg

The bastard sword we stole from the Smithy is "just" a +1 weapon, although that's still a pretty good find for anybody using this weapon type.

LE8W47y.jpg

Weeblet: "Yeah, aren't they the worst?"
Commoner: "Very funny. Keep your distance, I'm not about to lose my hard-earned money to some scoundrel."

FgoWbFd.jpg

Imoen: "Five thousand gold?!"
Jaheira: "We'll go meet Kelddath shortly anyway, so we might as well ask him about this. We have a mission to fulfill before we should run around looking for the next one, though."

FtUF0H3.jpg

Kagain: "I run an escort business. I hire mercenaries to escort caravans on route from Amn to Baldur's Gate. Right now I'm lookin' for some strong sword arms, and I'm willing to pay high. It seems that one of the caravans under my protection never arrived at Baldur's Gate, and I need ta know what happened. You look like a strong group of warriors. Interested in a job."
Jaheira: "Sorry, we need to move southward. But we came here yesterday from the Friendly Arms and we saw a caravan that had been raided recently. A Fighter and a Mage seemed to be the guards."
Kagain: "For the love of money... Did you see any survivors, or other bodies?"
Jaheira: "There was a body of a human boy, maybe fifteen years old? Very expensive clothes, as far as I could tell."
Kagain: "You moron, that was Duke Silvershield's kid! Oh, this isn't worth dying over. Piss off, I need to pack my things and get away from here before Silvershield hears from this... Why are you assholes still staring? You like watching a dead dwarf? Get the hell out of here!"

m5rK3Hq.jpg

If you take Kagain's job offer, finding the caravan in the east of the previous map is his very short "companion quest". He'd be willing to keep traveling with you both to lay low and to take revenge against the bandits who did the raid. And if you let him come, he's probably the best NPC tank in the game, as long as you're willing to keep your reputation low(-ish).

Between shorty saves and his illegally high Con, Kagain is pretty hard to kill, but he suffers from his bad Dex and, as a result, no bonuses to his AC. However (small spoiler, I guess), you can pick up some magical gauntlets that raise a character's Dex to 18 pretty early in the game, at which point he's just the ultimate tank.

As a small side note, the difference between 19 (which is the normal maximum for a dwarf) and 20 Con isn't that big, because it doesn't result in any additional hitpoints. However, 20 Con gives a character passive regeneration - way too slow to be useful in battle, but it helps when you don't have enough healing spells to top everybody up before resting, or when you're traveling to a new map.

JfXIq5l.jpg

He also has a very swanky helmet. Or had, because it's Weeblet's now. It doesn't have any additional traits to the normal protection against crits, but it is very swanky.

SUgQ7tj.jpg

Even though Kagain doesn't actually leave his shop, he doesn't mind if you grab all his money. He didn't put it into any locked container, and almost all of the time, BG1 NPCs do not care if you rummage through everything without a lock. You can loot around 250 gold, including the selling price for the gems.

mxreUqu.jpg

Dunkin: "Heh! You tell 'em, Marl."

In Feldepost's Inn, near the western edge of the map, we immediately get antagonised by one of the patrons. It's very easy to start a fight when talking to him, but...

Marl: "...are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?!"

Marl: "Hey! I told you to get lost! Ain't no room here for ye troublemakin' strangers!"
Weeblet: "No need to get all bent out of shape. There's plenty of bar for us all."
Marl: "Hey, I take whatever shape I want! I'm sick of you freakish adventurers going out, consorting with gods know what, and dragging your trouble back into my hometown! What do you say to that?!"
Weeblet: "I just do what I think is right. We solve a lot more trouble than we cause. Well, very nearly anyways. Heh heh."
Marl: "Oh you think it's funny, do you?! You mess up the local economy with your treasure, you upset the balance of nature, you flash your magic around, and because of it maybe somebody's son thinks it's fun and goes out and gets himself killed! It's a bad example and somebody ought to kick your ass for it!"
Weeblet: "Hold on! Everybody goes their own path, and I'll not be held accountable for what the Fates deal."
Marl: "He was a good boy till your kind came through town! Filled his head with nonsense they did, and because of it he's dead! Now why shouldn't I take THAT out of your hide?!"
Weeblet: "If you knew him like you think, then ask yourself if he wouldn't have gone anyway. It's a calling you're born with. Nobody gives it to you."
Marl: "Tain't true! He was going to take over the farm and settle down. Maybe apprentice with Thunderhammer during the winter. He never wanted to adventure."

adqdimM.jpg

Marl: "No! He was settling down! He wanted... he wanted..."
Dunkin: "That new plow ye bought last year, he got the gold by helping clear kobolds near Ulgoth's Beard. He wanted to make a difference, make the realms a bit safer. Just like these folks most likely."
Marl: "By Chauntea, why couldn't he just stay home?!"
Weeblet: "The realms call, and you go. He sounds like a fine lad taken too soon, but doing what he was meant. If you'll suffer my company, I'll buy a round and toast his memory with you."
Marl: "'Twould be fitting, I suppose. To Kennair Nethalin! Rest ye well! I... I would be alone awhile."

R1aIeCj.jpg

...if you pick the right dialogue prompts, you can calm down Marl, which even yields more XP than murderhoboing your way through the encounter. I quite like this little "quiz" - the correct answers aren't too obvious (you can't be too confrontational nor too evasive) and it's a nice change of pace that the best solution to this little quest isn't violence for once.

(that said, the life of adventuring was kinda sorta "given" to Weeblet and Imoen, wasn't it?)

ofYN32R.jpg

Dunkin: "Hey, don't click me! I don't want any trouble!"

QPf2KRv.jpg

The XP for talking down Marl is enough for Imoen to reach Lv.2, as well. Thieves gain 25 skill points per level, which Imoen completely puts into Find Traps. Traps have two "challenge levels", one to spot them and one to disarm them, and 60 is enough to deal with any trap that we'll encounter for a long while. The plan is to get Imoen two additional Thief levels so that she can reach 100 Find Traps (which is enough for the entire game) before dual-classing her.

dnLSNh5.jpg

Apart from the usual snippets about iron crises and those pesky Amnians, and a lady enjoying herself ("I do enjoy my daily tipple, I do! (hic) Is it time for scones yet?"), we also find Tiax, who rules.

Tiax: "You! Tiax would speak at you, for 'tis destined to be so..."

83J9yBE.jpg

He's a cleric/thief, which is a pretty neat utility class combination. Cleric to heal and buff the party, thief to deal with locks and traps. His physical stats are actually quite decent, once you find ways to boost his strength, at which point he's an Invisibility spell plus a cleric self-buff away from opening a fight with a very nasty backstab (or rather backwhack, since clerics can never use bladed weapons).

On top of that, Tiax has the unique ability to summon a Ghast, a mid-tier undead monster (i.e. quite strong this early) that can stun its targets.

jxfWgwB.jpg

Tiax is another NPC that was mod-moved to an earlier location, which is why he starts at Lv. 2/2. Normally, you meet him in Baldur's Gate, potentially as the very last recruitable NPC you run across, depending on the order in which you explore the city. At that point, you're likely to have a fully staffed team already, but joining this early, he's a really good (and entertaining) pick for any evil-accepting team.

dMurrxt.jpg

Feldepost is one of the two shops in Beregost, and while their stock is less varied than the smithy's, they have some good stuff for sale.

Sjm6mXB.jpg

Namely, a bunch of "+1" enchanted equipment, although even the items we can affort aren't really worth the price at this point.

iQzznNt.jpg

What would be a pretty good purchase, if we had a) the money and b) an archer with 18 Str, is the Composite Longbow, which is one of the two best bows in the game.

There is actually a little cheese that would allow Khalid to use this all the time, once Neera learns a spell to buff his Strength: If he equips the bow while at 18+ Str, the game won't check for that again when the buff expires.

jWWiOuE.jpg

Bracers of Defense are generally quite good for Mages and Bards, but AC8 is the weakest one out there, only boosting AC by 2 points (= +10 avoid). Not worth 3810 gold.

371IU8e.jpg

(Narrator's voice: They would, in fact, bother Mr. Colquetle.)

Mr. Colquetle: "Strangers tramping about my home? Bah, what does it matter? I have heard nothing from my son and his wife for nigh unto a week now, and all else pales in importance until I do. I should have known better than to allow his travel in these dangerous times. Leave me to my sorrows."

b5n2HhX.jpg

Commoner #324 is telling the truth here, and it makes navigating the ruins a giant pain, because your pathfinding keeps getting screwed up by your characters blocking one another.

vOYX5ie.jpg

As we promised back in Candlekeep, we pay old Elvenhair a visit. A nice touch is that he initiates dialogue if he can see either Imoen or your CHARNAME, but won't even give out his little fetch quest to anybody else if they talk to him.

ghyGCt9.jpg

You can either buy the book he's looking for at Feldepost's or, if 2 gold is too expensive for you, yoink it from Elvenhair's next door neighbors.

iflegRD.jpg,

uXgJas6.jpg

Gaining +1 Rep for this very simple fetch quest is nice, but the real reward is the Scroll Case, which like the Gem Bag that Neera came with is a "specialised Bag of Holding" and helps quite a bit with inventory management.

taMOEVJ.jpg

Elvenhair's reading material isn't only a "touch darker", but also a touch longer than most other books that you can find. Although the fact that Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul initially tried to settle their deal by bowling with the skulls of liches is also a morbidly funny picture.

In case you're wondering why they're called the "Dead Three": That's another story. You might remember me mentioning the Times of Troubles in the previous update - these were kickstarted by Bane and Myrkul stealing the Tablets of Fate from Godfather Ao, and both they and Bhaal, then still called the "Dark Three", were killed while all the gods were forced to walk the earth as (very powerful, but still) mortals.

lUfYgzu.jpg

Jaheira: "Alright, strategy talk."
Weeblet: "Hm?"
Jaheira: "That's Landrin's house over here, I think. The one with the spider infestion."
Weeblet: "Oh, yes. Well, there might be a central spider's nest somewhere, right? I thought that maybe Neera knows a fire cantrip to smoke them out."
Jaheira: "If this was the kind of infestation that could be dealt with that easily, I doubt that Landrin would have tasked a group of adventurers with it. No, these are going to be Giant Spiders, and we should act accordingly."
Khalid: "We sh-should avoid fighting them ins-side, I think. We could easily be surrounded coming through the door. I-if we can lure the spiders outside, the fence and the b-barrels would form a chokepoint that one of us could block while everybody else shoots them from afar."
Jaheira: "Weeblet, do you think that you're up for the task? Halflings are more resiliant against spider poisons, so I believe you would be in less danger than any of the rest of us."
Weeblet: "Err... how "giant" are we talking here?"
Jaheira: "Oh, maybe about up to your shoulders, I would guess. Spiders larger than that are very rare."
Weeblet: *gulp* "O-ok, I got this."

JmEpaml.jpg

XK43zFW.jpg

Commoner: "OH WHAT IN THE NINE HELLS?!"
Khalid: "Y-yes, that's the right position! U-use your shield to keep their fangs away from you!"
Weeblet: "Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew!"

fhsnbDP.jpg

(Critical Miss doesn't do anything other than guaranteeing a miss regardless of AC and Thac0. Chance to hit is capped at 95%, just like Kaga intended)

This little strategy does work pretty well, preventing more than one spider to attack your designated tank.

They're fairly dangerous to our low-level party - 18 HP and 6 AC (which means a 40-ish chance for our characters to hit them) on the defense, and 16 Thac0 and 1-6 damage on the offense. On top of that, a successful attack also carries a poison effect, dealing 10 additional damage over the course of 30 seconds.

However, Weeblet is very well-equipped for this fight. He's still wearing the (still officially unidentified...) Girdle of Piercing that we're supposed to deliver to Unshey at the Friendly Arm, which puts his AC against the spiders to -3, and their chance to hit him to 10%. He ends up not taking any damage, and would've had the antidotes that Landrin gave us ready if he would've gotten hit and failed his saving throw.

c4gufHV.jpg

Imoen: "If you thought this was gross and scary, just wait 'til we get to the spiders that jump at you tryin' to impale you with their sword legs."
Weeblet: "...what."
Neera: "Ooh, or the teleporting spiders. Those things are nasty. I heard that their poison kills a horse in two minutes."
Weeblet: "OK, now I know that you're making fun of me."

M6E9oDN.jpg

Laudrin asked us to pick up three items for her - the spider body from the previous picture, plus the boots and the wine from this one. Since we're going to Nashkel first, they'll clog up our inventory for a while - we could just leave them here for the time being, but I know that I would forget about them when we're ready to pay the Friendly Arms another visit.

8ofiPkq.jpg

In the southeast of the town, we find the Jovial Juggler tavern (and I'm sure Jaheira is thrilled that we're wasting our time here) and another sidequest. Kill multiple half-ogres? Sounds easy and fun and morally acceptable!

Well, since Bjornin is a paladin, he's intrinsically good, so a quest given by him should also be good by extension, right...?

1w8Zyyj.jpg

Upstairs we find somebody who might disagree:

Oogie Wisham: "That... that Bjornin. I can feel his eyes  looking at me. He's a paladin, you know. They ain't right in the head. They... they just look at you and you've been judged. What right do they have to do that?"
Weeblet: "Why? What have you done to deserve their stares?"
Oogie: "What... nothing! Nothing at all! He just... they just... LOOK at you, and you know they are thinking that you deserve to be punished. I can't stand 'em. They're worse than the guards.
Weeblet: "Has he threatened you in some way?"
Oogie: "Well, no, but I KNOW he's looking for me. Why else would he be down there? Sure, he SAYS he's resting and chatting up the locals. but I just KNOW he's here for me. Well, I'm just gonna stay up here till he's gone.
Weeblet: "Why doesn't he just come upstairs and get you if he is so interested in you?"
Oogie: "Well, that would just be too easy, wouldn't it?! No, he wants me to sit up here wondering if he knows that I know that he knows that I know that he knows I'm up here knowing what he knows! I just know it!"
Weeblet: "Have you... talked to someone about this? You seem... agitated."
Oogie: "Recent evidence suggests that a barrel full of monkeys is not half as much fun as previously claimed, and is, in fact, rather horrifying!"
Weeblet: "Oooooooohkaaaaaay. Goodbye now."

But he's crazy, so that proves the hypothesis that everything Paladins do or task you with is holy and righteous.

xQBv4AS.jpg

Gurke: "Me temper's bad enough without ye botherin' me!"

The second of the (iirc) three "I'm a dwarfly dwarf" voice lines. The Cloakwood is west of the Friendly Arms, but doesn't unlock before we've progressed though a couple story quests, so Gurke has to have a little patience.

BPBvQhY.jpg

Taerom: "I can make whatever you wish for a wee little bit more than me competition. "

The final visit we do before leaving the map is at Taerom's smithy...

wGIOt0i.jpg

...to sell him a sword that really should look quite familiar to him.

mIozwZX.jpg

We don't buy a whole lot from him just yet, because his good stuff is pretty darn expensive - just a Sling +1 for Jaheira and an Ammo Belt, which is yet another specialised Bag of Holding. Still, I'll show off what Taerom has in store for us later:

bawEGFL.jpg

The description doesn't lie, full plate is indeed the best armor in the game. As a point of reference, studded leather has an AC of 5-7 (depending on damage type), and regular plate mail, the second-best armour in the game, has AC 3 (0 vs. Slashing).

mi2UWYI.jpg

The Shadow Armor is what Weeblet wants to wear eventually, with a neat little bonus to his stealth on top of the -3 AC in comparison to non-magical studded leather.

M2rEunR.jpg

I don't think we'll use it in this playthrough, but the Army Scythe is what makes crossbows competitive with longbows and shortbows in BG1. Normally, bows have two attacks per round at base, which is an immense advantage that crossbows other than this one lack.

pbzFhqm.jpg

And this is the best dagger in the game, and potentially the weapon with the highest damage output, too. Realistically, fights rarely last long enough to get full value of the poison, but this is still a darn good weapon.

K29Vvtz.jpg

But with that, we're done with Beregost for now...

ujPHSfX.jpg

...and it's finally time to lift Imoen's curse.

5Ld5H3d.jpg

We're not going to explore the entire map just yet - there's a group of enemies further east that's quite outside of our league for the time being. Luckily, the temple itself is very close to the western edge of the map.

ONvuJ7R.jpg

Weeblet: "..."
Imoen: *nudge* "Stop staring!"

Kelddath, high priest of Lathander and governor of Beregost, is surrounded by four Sirens in his temple. Normally, these are hostile and quite dangerous.

ECkgSSC.jpg

Kelddath: "Welcome! The traveling adventurer is never turned away from a house of Lothander!"
Kelddath: "Don't touch me - I'm super important."

Imoen: "Hiya, I'm Imoen! And I have a big little problem..."
Kelddath: "Ah, I think I can see what is wrong... That belt you're wearing was given to us for savekeeping, but an ogre smashed open the room we kept it in and stole it. I assume that you managed to kill that ogre and I commend you for that, but young lady, you must be quite reckless to just put on a magic belt you just found."
Imoen: "Yes, I heard this lecture already. Please, can you just tell me if you can cure this? I've barely been in this shape for a day, but I'm already dead sick of this."
Kelddath: "Yes, of course. I do have the necessary spell prepared. If I may just ask for a small donation to our cause..."

41YCj3T.jpg

Well, "small" is relative. 500 gold is what merchants pay for a diamond.

WRujgN0.jpg

But with this, Imoen is back to her old self. Mechanically, all this didn't actually make a difference, except that her Belt inventory slot has been blocked, but let's not be cruel to poor ol' Imoen.

AXSQ3c4.jpg

I also buy two Stone to Flesh scolls, mostly so that I don't forget later. We (hopefully) won't see them used for a couple updates.

Jaheira: "One more thing, Most Randiant Ormlyr. We heard about the mad priest Bassilus, and I would like to ask what is known about him. We might be willing to pursue him, but we would rather not do so when unprepared."
Kelddath: "Certainly. Bassilus is a priest of Cyric, and madder even than those are to begin with. From what we know, he hails from Zhentil Keep, but was driven out alongside all the other Cyricists during the recent siege of the city. I cannot say why he ended up here, but he has killed several of our citizens and raised them as undead. For what purpose, or if for any purpose at all, I do not know. But we would really be quite indebted to you should you be able to take care of that problem."

bI0XFbJ.jpg

Drunk: "Wrongs answer, boys. *hic* You shoulda givens me the moneys when I ahsked ya. Ya know what I am! I'll lets ya into a little shecret... I'm a LICH. Yessh I am, powerful magicsh I wields, and now you've made me mad. You've gots one last chancesh, give me alls your money *hic*!"
Jaheira: "Look, guy, we're not gonna give you any money. Now bug off."
Drunk: "Wha, ya guys jusht don't get it, do ya. I'm gonna killsh you with my alls mighty magical powers. So nows what's it gonna be, death or... or... or somethin'."
Jaheira: "We're leaving now. Bye."
Drunk: "Hey! Whats are you, uhhh..."

tHahYcZ.jpg

(Yes I know that Weeblet technically did the talking, but Jaheira seems more fitting to be the one dismissing the guy)

NSt5cxG.jpg

Next to the main temple, there's a smaller building with two priests sweeing the floors. Nothing important to see here, but for this LP, it's canon that the rogue ogre stole the girdle from here.

qTln4On.jpg

Ashen: "A man shouldn't speak to his betters, unless spoken to first."

Ashen: "What do I NOT find displeasing?! Aesthetically, the air is absolutely THICK with manual labor. If this is what the land is like with most of its miners out of work, I could not imagine it in full swing. I simply MUST get out of here. If not for the bandits, I would be on the FIRST caravan out of town. Curse this merchants' trade! Father must wish me dead to inflict this upon me! Away from me! I need my air."

oIINCL1.jpg

Well, that's that for now. Next, a short trip to the other direction from Beregost...

IdjlMWS.jpg

Near the High Hedge estate, you run into another recruitable NPC. However, he has a companion quest with a timer that I don't want to set off just yet, so I just walk past him for now. We will get him on our team for a short while at some point, though.

If you don't mind going through the early story missions without much sidequesting, Kivan is a pretty good companion. Better archer than Khalid is right now (and it takes a while until Khalid can overtake him), and still decent as a melee fighter.

32X9qdM.jpg

Permidion: "Okay, okay, here's the plan: There's a big-time mage living just over that rise. Magic items scattered all over the place, I'm betting... Trouble is, he's got those two hideous flesh monsters guarding him and no shadows where I can lurk! Brute force is useless against the monster, everything is useless. There must be a way to outwit the witless, but damned if I know how... Ah hell, I guess I'd be better off just finding a halfling village somewhere to pick on. This dive is all yours."
Weeblet: "Um, excuse you...?"

Xnm7WH8.jpg

RSrYi4h.jpg

Inside the estate, it's a bad idea to wander around before talking to the master of the house - this Flesh Golem is way too strong for us to deal with, and if this screenshot hadn't been taken after meeting Thalantyr, it would've been trying to kill us.

TCm8vuc.jpg

Thalantyr: "I be Thalantyr, mighty mage of Beregost!" - "Why do I live in such a pissant town...?"

To actually trade with Thalantyr, you have to talk to him again:

Thalantyr: "I sincerely hope you have some reason for bothering me. I've already stated that I wish you to leave."
Weeblet: "Rumors talk of a powerful mage that lives out here. If it is you, I would like to speak with you."
Thalantyr: "Rumors? Bah! There is no mage here that wishes to speak or be spoken of. Unless, of course, if you have magic that you wish to sell."
Weeblet: "We're interested in selling or even buying magical items. What do you have?"

fq2o6Qz.jpg

The answer to that last question is "quite a lot", with magical ammunition being one of the main goodies to get here.

eSNH8NE.jpg

Specifically, the Acid Arrows are a big reason why bows are really bonkers in BG1: Using these with the Comp. Bow +1 from Feldepost's Inn, an archer can deal 7-22 damage per shot, before factoring in weapon proficiency, with higher attack rates than most other weapon types.

GCVeajY.jpg

Crossbows aren't too much worse, either, as long as you get the Army Scythe from Thunderhand.

Jt7po21.jpg

Thalantyr has a few very strong equips for sale, too, most expensively the Robe of the Good Archmagi and one for the Neutral Archmagi with identical stats. They're easily the best "armour" that a mage can equip, but they cost 26000 gold apiece, which we don't quite have the budget for right now.

a0WUc2k.jpg

The other big one is the Claw of Kazgaroth - a cursed item worn as a "ring" that's overall beneficial for many wearers. Because there's a wide range in which constitution doesn't have an effect on a character's HP, many NPCs (including Neera) can use this at very low cost. "Save vs. Death" also includes poison effects, so even though BG1 doesn't really throw insta-kill effects at you, you still don't want whoever is wearing the Claw getting bitten by, say, a teleporting huge spider with a deadly venomous bite.

Still, once we can spare the 12700 gold to buy this (well, a bit less with our growing Reputation), this is a pretty strong item, too. The extra +5 AC (or rather -5, because this is a bonus and low AC = good AC...) against missile attacks is really nice on a spellcaster.

i5JfaeA.jpg

For now, we have to be content with some smaller purchases. First, yet another specialised Bag of Holding, this time for potions. In addition, Neera gets a couple spells:

jQgJvhr.jpg

...oh god, I need to explain "percentile Strength" now, don't I?

QGWieLb.png

("bashing" means "Open Lock Like An Ogre")

Behold: The reason why halflings do struggle a bit as melee characters. Basically, if a Fighter, Ranger, or Paladin starts with 18 Str, they also roll for "percentile", or "exceptional" Strength. This functions as another five "stages" of a character's Str, so even though in theory, Weeblet only had a -1 Str penalty during character creation, he's effectively three or four "stages" below what a non-hobbit could realistically re-roll stats for.

Since the Strength spell only sets your Str into the lowest percentile category unless your character already has 18.xx Str, it's not as powerful as it seems at first glance, but it's still very nice for characters like Khalid or Jaheira.

I5Ur82U.jpg

The Invisibility spell has some nice advantages over a Thief's mundane hiding ability - the one I use the most is that an invisible thief can still look for and disarm traps without breaking the spell.

27oDJw8.jpg

Skull Trap is effectively a slightly better, if more clunky version of the classic Fireball spell: Same explosion radius, same damage, but fewer enemies are resistant to the raw magical damage it deals. The flip side is that you have less freedom where to throw the center of explosion, or you risk that it doesn't trigger.

With that, we're done with shopping. Back to Beregost!

x7ZWdTH.jpg

But first, we have to deal with some enemies on the way. South of the High Hedge estate, we run into a lonesome flind, which, in lore, is a particularly dangerous kind of gnoll.

sgZCcIY.jpg

Gnoll-like enemies in general are very willing to change their target during combat, running past your tank(s) and going after your ranged fighters.
Khalid: "S-split! Make sure he can only go after one of us at a time!"

iBkd5nv.jpg

Flinds are reasonably tough for a (mostly) Lv.1 party to handle, but a single one isn't too bad. They're also a bit weird: They drop a Two-Handed Sword, but it seems that their weapon is coded as a Bastard Sword, but it deals 1D4 crushing damage instead of 2D4 slashing damage as it should.

ahThAyI.png

This might be because they used to be supposed to wield nunchaku in lore, which aren't implemented in the game in any form. It would explain why they use a "false" Bastard Sword, although them dropping a Two-Hander is still strange.

(And it appears that the lore changed at some point, and now flinds use flails imbued by the magic of Yeenoghu, the demonic prince of all gnolls, and the status as a "flind" can be inherited by a gnoll killing a flind. Interesting.)

eeQ4fzS.jpg

Weeblet: "Whoa! Stay back, more of these gnoll creatures! I don't think they spotted me."
Neera: "Leave it to me! I might not have a Fireball in store for them but..."

59pGn5x.jpg

Neera: "Cupio... Virtus... Licet..." (I desire bravery; let it be permitted")

spZ0RYR.jpg

Neera: "Aw shoot, bad aim. You do the rest, yeah?"

kwCuF8W.jpg

So... Sleep is, without a doubt, the best spell in all of BG1. Area of Effect, party-friendly spell that completely takes out any enemy that doesn't make a -3 Saving Throw? Hot damn. Sleeping enemies do not wake up upon taking damage and even the initial 5 rounds (30 seconds) duration is generally enough to last for an entire fight.

Of course, this doesn't affect enemies with 5+ Hit Dice (roughly the equivalent to a character's level), but outside of fights against named enemies, those are exeedingly rare in BG1, and even the most dangerous trash mobs can be disabled (or at least severely weakened) by this spell.

VePJpgh.jpg

In this case, it didn't quite have the effect I was looking for - the regular Gnoll was probably hiding behind that tower and the Veteran still made a successful save, so only the Gnoll Slasher was disabled.

lFD7io3.png

It's a bit backward that we ran into a "special" gnoll before these regular ones. Hyana-men, very tall (7'0'' and more, with flinds being a bit shorter but heavier), tribal society. Most of them evil (they generally worship the aforementioned demon prince), with a penchant for excessive violence.

While the Forgotten Realms wiki mentions that there are some less over-the-top capital-E Evil gnoll clans, it seems that like the Xvarts, they have been created as a target for adventurers to attack on sight without any pesky concerns about morality.

Gnolls use Halberds, proper ones even, which deal 1-10 damage at base. But while that makes them fairly hard-hitting, their Thac0s aren't too spectacular (19 on the regular Gnoll, 17 on the Vetaran and Slasher). They do have a decent AC 5, and 15 (regular, Slasher) or 22 (Veteran) hitpoints.

pW5JIwb.jpg

A small demonstration of the modded-in Sunscorch spell: A little bit of fire damage (1D6 + caster level), a bit extra against undead (caster level is doubled), and it blinds the enemy for a little while (3 rounds). A successful saving throw halves the damage and prevents the blindness effect. It's a decent little spell, about what you'd expect from a Lv.1 spell.

TCrFXSe.jpg

One of the trio carried Perdue's sword with him, which means that we could turn in that little sidequest if we wanted (and if the person playing the game didn't forget). Most of the Beregost sidequests are resolved in the areas surrounding the town.

jkoWM6j.jpg

And another one had a scroll for one of the most useless spells on his body, as a random piece of loot. I can imagine that this is a useful spell in pen-and-paper, but in the game... well if they attack you, they're likely evil.

Now we're finally done with this area, until we go explore the lands around Beregost and look for the other sidequests we picked up. Before going south towards Nashkel, we still make a little detour to Beregost proper, just to talk to some respectable ladies that are only around during nighttime:

5E6xOPL.jpg

Courtesan 1: "I'm a fine-looking strumpet, ain't I...?"
Courtesan 2: "Are you interested in some thrills, darling?"

"I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it."
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly."
"It is better to be looked over than overlooked."

pQ3bBRV.jpg

"Ooo love. You're a cheeky money, aren't you?"
"Too many girls follow the line of least resistance, but a good line is hard to resist."

7MMcuCD.jpg

rMQ5S32.jpg

But with that, it's time to leave for Nashkel, if only to keep Jaheira happy.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...