mishisings: (Jimothy)
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Jaheira starts getting impatient if you take too long to get to Nashkel. She even has a voiceclip for it: "How long must we wait here? Things stir to the south as we sit!" But we're not quite ready to head south just yet. First we head west for some shopping.

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Permidion Stark: 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 these two hideous flesh monsters guarding him and no shadows where I can lurk! Brute force is useless against the monsters, 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.

That's the home of Thalantyr, a wise and powerful mage. I'd, uh, caution against trying to rob him, Jimothy.

Permidion Stark: Good luck!

We're not going to rob the guy, that would be a huge waste of one of the best sources of magical equipment in the game.

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Plus the long lost Lord of Winterfell isn't kidding about the flesh golems. You need to use magic or magical weapons to even have a hope of scratching them. Jim doesn't have enough magical firepower to get past them, and the only magic weapons we have are Jim's +1 quarterstaff and Imoen's +1 dagger that we picked up way back in Candlekeep and that I forgot to mention because it was one of the rewards for one of those boring fetch quests. And putting those two on the front lines is a good way to get killed at this point.

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Thalantyr is kind of a jerk and he'll make us go through this dialogue every time we want to trade with him but his selection is worth the annoyance. For now all we can afford is one or two spells and a scroll case where we can put our spell scrolls and important documents, but eventually we'll be able to buy the Robe of the Good Archmagi and the Robe of the Neutral Archmagi from him, among other great items.

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This is the other guy we could have picked up to fill our roster of non-love interests. Kivan is an elf ranger on a crusade of vengeance against the orc bandit that tortured and killed his wife. You can play your female player character as having an unrequited crush on him, but he's too focused on his grief to even really notice. There's a mod for Baldur's Gate II that brings him back as a recruitable character, and I think you can either bring his wife back to life and have her in your party too, or help him get over her and romance him yourself.

... And then my companions all started talking at once. Starting with Ajantis because I really, really shouldn't have set the frequency of everyone's lovetalks down to 45 minutes.

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It will depend on his behaviour, Ajantis. If he forces us to fight, I'll kill him with satisfaction.

We will fight them until they are beaten and lie broken at our feet. But should those evildoers surrender, I will help you to bring them to a proper court of law. There they will feel the power of justice! I swear by my honor! And if I say honor, Lady Jimothy, then remember: My honor is my life!

I doubt I could forget if I tried. You say that a lot.

Tell me: what do honor and justice mean to you?

Honor is a very flexible term, Ajantis. There have been decent men accused of dishonest behavior because people didn't know the whole story!

Still you would not lose your honor - before your god and yourself.

Well... I wouldn't betray those who trust me, if that's what you mean.

And justice?

I dunno, Ajantis... To me, justice is like a myth - I don't see that it truly exists.

But it *is* there! Strengthen your belief in honor, Lady Jimothy, because with honor comes justice. Let us strike onward and bring it to the people, and you will see that it is not a myth! My lady, in you I have found a like-minded comrade. I'm proud to fight by your side. Let us move on and carry out our duty.

Like-minded? I think you're wrong about that, but you're clearly a good guy, and I don't hate having you in the party.

Jaheira might be regretting inviting Ajantis into the party, because this happened next:

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My devotion to her cause will outweigh any other considerations.

Yes, if that devotion is mutually understood and shared between you and Jimothy...

And have you the reasons to doubt such an understanding? I do not.

Still, I would advise you to take Jimothy's decisions amicably, even if it will go against your idea of what is honorable.

And m'lady herself will be amicably accepting if Jimothy decided that it would be the best for the party, if Khalid and herself were replaced?

But she would not do that! Khalid and I... *sighs*

Of course not. I won't worry about Lady Jimothy rearranging her companions yet, m'lady, though I appreciate your concern.

Well, now I feel kind of guilty for planning on dismissing Jaheira once we get to Nashkel.

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Sometimes I get the impression you see a completely different person when you look at me.

So that was a thing. Don't worry, Ajantis, we're not going to dismiss you yet, if ever.


mishisings: (Jimothy)
So even though we had to pay the scumbag, we got the antidote and we went back to Alanna and her boyfriend. There was a bit of dialogue that I forgot to screenshot but it's not particularly important. Alanna gives the antidote to Eltolth and they have a reunion that was way too long to transcribe but I did it anyway.

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Alanna: How could this happen, Eltolth?

Eltolth: Well, I... You know, there was this elixir vendor and he said...

Alanna: yes, go on?

Eltolth: Oh my lady, it's exactly this look in your eyes that made me drink this potion! I wanted to impress you, Alanna, my lady.

Alanna: To impress? Me? What...

Eltolth: Lady Alanna, I have to tell you now, after you saw me like this. I bought a potion that is reputed to... make a man more, well, masculine. You know, more muscles, broader shoulders, flatter belly... Alanna, today I wanted to impress you so much. I wanted you to be stunned by my appearance, not only intellectually but also by my *ahem* looks. Well, after drinking from the elixir, everything was going well, but somehow I wanted more and more, finally I drank too much. The process of body-reshaping got out of control and... well, you saw the result. What an awkward situation! I only wanted to change my looks into something more...

Alanna: There's no need for that, Eltolth.

Eltolth: ... you know, more masculine...

Alanna: I like you the way you are, Eltolth.

Eltolth: ... to make my appearance a bit more... What was it you said?

Alanna: I said, I like you the way you are! *tender smile* You beautiful, naive fool! Did you think I would listen to a lecture about plants if I'm not interested in the man talking?

Eltolth: Alanna... Is... is that true?

Alanna: As true as the sun rises every morning.

Eltolth: Oh, sweet Alanna! You have made me so happy! Come into my arms!


*sitting cross-legged on the floor with Imoen, eating popcorn* Now kiss!

Eltolth: Er... Who are the people standing beside us, by the way?

Alanna: Oh, this is Jimothy, the one who rescued you, Eltolth!

Oh, don't mind us. Carry on.

Yeah, it was just getting good!

Get up, you two. Stop acting like children. Greetings, Eltolth. We are glad you are well again. Here is your journal back. We are leaving now. Balance be with you.

Eltolth: Wait, noble helpers! I'm very thankful indeed. You did more than it might seem for us. Please, let me give you these 200 gold pieces to cover your expenses! I would very much appreciate it if this incident would remain our 'little' secret. Now please excuse us. Alanna and I have a lot to talk about. Farewell.

We leave.


See, I told you they weren't together yet.

Weren't you the one who assumed the potion was for sex?


You did too!

I cannot believe they weren't already boning.

We do indeed get 200 gold from the deal, so we come out 100 ahead minus the expense we incurred for the elixir. We also get 500 experience. And, despite Eltolth's asking us to please keep this whole thing to ourselves, SOMEONE must have blabbed because our reputation gets a 1 point boost. I blame Garrick.

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Ajantis continues being sweet.

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Garrick continues to not impress Jim by starting a conversation while she's robbing from the rich. I can only assume he's yelling his lines from outside the house. Imagine Jim's lines are dripping with sarcasm.

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That's good. I've been having a lot of problems with bandit activity lately, but they've always only taken the cargo and let the caravan go afterward. I've been catching flak from the family of some of the passengers of this caravan, after all it was the job of my mercenaries to make sure everyone got safely to Baldur's Gate. Normally i wouldn't give one damn about some stupid whiner, but one of the passengers was the son of Entar Silvershield, and in this part of the world, his word is law. So, do you want the job or not?

Well, there sure is trouble on the roads. I have seen some myself.

Never is enough hirelings around t'do the job proper. D'ya have any experience?

We battled a bandit group that had just killed everyone in a caravan up north. Any chance this pin was from one of yours?

Well, this is Silvershield's son's marker. Dead, y'say? That was one of my caravans. Guess I'm in a lot of trouble now. With him dead, I'll be a wanted dwarf. Well, since my reputation is now mud, how 'bout I help you gain revenge on those scumbags? P'rhaps you can put in a word for me with the Silvershields. Whaddaya say?

Sure, we could use your skills.

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Kagain pronounces his name KAY-gan, which bugs me, because I always want to pronounce it Ka-GAIN. He's another recruitable character, and he's evil so we won't be taking him with us. So why did we chat him up and let him join, only to immediately kick him out? Because Kagain has one thing that none of the other potential party members have: a home of his own with plenty of empty shelves we can use as a place to store our extra things. We can leave quest items that are no longer useful, like the empty antidote bottle and the wanted notices we got from Tarnesh and Karlat. This is also a good place to leave Eddard Silvershield's Fibula so it doesn't clutter up our inventory for four chapters. We might be able to use his place without making nice with Kagain, but I've never tested that out. Also it would be weird to leave your stuff in a stranger's house. So now Kagain is our quartermaster.

While we're stashing our shit, Ajantis decides we have a moment to talk about his Lord Helm.

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Are you so sure, my lady? What powers your body and soul in the never-ending battle that is our life?

...People I know I can rely on to fight at my side. Like Imoen, but don't tell her that, it'll go to her head. And Jaheira and Khalid. And you.

... And we are fighting loyally at your side, Lady Jimothy. Yet I think you will see the truth of my words one day.

Maybe. So what's so great about Helm, anyway?

Helm, the Vigilant One, is the god of duty, vigilance, and protection. He is the eternal sentry, the ever watchful, the protector never distracted from his duty. His symbol is the staring eye with a blue pupil on an upright war gauntlet. Helm is neither cold nor emotionless. He dedicates himself to his appointed task with stern discipline, but he is fond of children, my lady. They are the only ones with whom he is tolerant if they offend his rules.

Helm's rules are: Never betray those who trust you. Be vigilant. Be fair and diligent in the conduct of your orders. Protect the weak, poor, injured, and young, do not sacrifice them for others or for yourself. Always obey orders, providing that those orders follow the rules of Helm. Demonstrate excellence and loyalty in your role as guardian and protector. We helmite clergy and followers are always vigilant and prepared for attack from our enemies. We never act on an impulse, as careful planning has been proven to be better in the end. We defend the weak and young, and never betray our duty. Duty to one's cause outweighs all.

Does it?

During the Time of Troubles, the gods wandered as mortal avatars on Faerun, and Helm was the only deity that retained his godly powers. His role was to confine the other deities to Faerun, and he served in this task faultlessly. Nevertheless, the avatars caused much destruction, and people blamed Helm for it.

Some say Helm let people down during the Time of Troubles, Ajantis.

But he did not! During the time of Troubles, Helm did nothing but his duty, my lady.

If Helm could have spared the destruction caused by the gods by allowing them to return home, then it was precisely because he did his duty that he let the people down.

It is regrettable that you feel that way, my lady, but I fear I cannot change your opinion right now. Maybe you will reach a different conclusion during the course of our travels.



NEXT: Nothing Much Happens
mishisings: (Jimothy)
Yesterday I googled "How to make a paladin Fall." Turns out, not as easily as I thought, but I did learn some interesting things. There are two types of paladins: rule-of-law paladins, who follow external laws set by their order or other authority they respect, and personal-code paladins, who, well, follow their own personal code. Ajantis is pretty clearly a rule-of-law paladin, but we might safely convert him to being a personal-code paladin without losing the more holy benefits of his 'lay on hands' ability.

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You don't hear about many mad clerics these days. Usually it's mad mages. Nice to see the other side getting some representation.

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Silke is really, really dumb. Garrick doesn't even help her out; she's just one woman against five adventurers, and she goes down fairly easy, but not before getting off a really nasty spell that took a great big chunk out of Imoen's HP.

We get the 400 gp she had on her, as well as a +1 quarterstaff which Jim immediately appropriates (+1 stick, woo!), and a potion of invulnerability which we give to Ajantis for now. The 'thugs' give us a defense potion for saving them from Silke. As for Garrick...

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I mean, she does. You're kinda spoony for my tastes. Look, you can join, but I expect a higher degree of commitment than you gave to Silke, understand? And if you make Imoen cry I will make you regret it dearly. I will keep you prisoner for as long as it takes for me to learn how to call meteors from the sky. And then I will call ten of them right onto your head. And then I will bury you in an unmarked, shallow grave, at a crossroads.

Oh my gods, Jimmie, stop being so embarrassing. I can look after myself, you know.

Welcome aboard, Garrick.

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So this is Garrick. He's the last of our temporary party members, unless you guys prefer someone else, or he really does turn out to be too spoony. He's a bard, which means he's a sub-par fighter, a sub-par mage, and a sub-par thief all in one. His only thief skill is pickpocket, he can't cast any spells at level one, and his strength and constitution are not really optimal for a fighter. Might as well be a fighter/mage/thief, but no NPC, modded or vanilla, in any of the games, has that as a class. On top of that, I don't really trust that alignment. I didn't notice it until just now but. Chaotic Neutral is the weirdest alignment.

So why'd we pick him up? Because Imoen asked nicely.


When we enter the inn we'd been fighting next to, we're accosted by another assassin.

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Ajantis is totally sweet. Jim acts tough and runs away to let her companions swarm the assassin lest he depletes all 5 of her HP in one hit, then helps by shooting an arrow. On his body we find...

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Another wanted notice.

Hey, your bounty went up.

A whole extra one hundred and fifty gold pieces. Flattering.

What is this?! This is a 'wanted' description of you, Lady Jimothy. An evil enemy wants you dead, so it seems! Let us carry on with our search and not be discouraged by such developments. We are on the right path, and this enemy will be defeated in the end.

An 'evil enemy'?

Redundant, I know, but I like to cover all my bases.

We had extra help in that last battle.

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I have a list of future works to collect and my latest book in hand. I am free as a bird to continue my journey searching for the others. You... you have recently come from the road. Perhaps you could use my skills if more assassins give you trouble? It is a dangerous time to travel the Sword Coast alone, and I confess I have not enjoyed my solitude this trip as much as in the past.

Sorry, Finch. We're full up. Maybe if Garrick dies we'll take you with us.

What?

Yeah, sorry, that was crossing the line. I'm watching you, but I wouldn't want you to die in order to replace you with someone else. Even if that someone else can carry all our scrolls and stuff. And heal us. And call upon the god of librarians to make all enemy mages mute.

Are you sure you don't mind me coming with you?

Oh, sure, didn't I welcome you?

Oh, that is a bit of a disappointment. I had such high hopes... If you reconsider, I may be here a while longer. The barkeep's son has been having trouble learning his alphabet. Reading and writing are fundamentals, you know!

And in the tavern's darkest corner, we find our dealer.

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So, you sold that potion to him knowing that would happen? That's a little far for a practical joke.

Tulbor: Did I say any of that? I don't have to tell you anything. Do you have any evidence against me? Hm, you tell me. So, what are you still doing here? Go away and leave me alone... unless you want to buy me a drink of course.

Not so fast, Turgid.

Tulbor: It's Tulbor.

Exhibit A: The empty bottle. You'll notice the label is marked with a T. The rest of the name is illegible, but I'm sure you'd recognize your own signature. You are the guy who sells these things, after all.

Tulbor: oh, please... T as in Tulbor... So what? Could be T as in Torm, too. Why don't you go and ask him, then?

I'm not finished. Exhibit B: Eltolth's diary. Here's your name, clearly spelled.

Tulbor: Oh, how sweet. He mentioned me in his his *diary*

You are slimier than Eltolth is right now. It's right here, he says he bought the potion from you! Now you're going to tell me how to reverse the effect or I'm going to get... unpleasant.

Tulbor: Oh, dear, how pathetic. Now you listen: maybe I sold this elixir to Eltolth, but there was nothing wrong with that! I'm no criminal... the potion was absolutely fine! "Ah, now this potion *does* work... Let's take another sip... Ah, and another one... and another... But ooh, what happens now? I *told* him to be careful, not to overdose. Now he has to live with the consequences. That's my selling principle: no warranty! He knew that, so if he is in need of an antidote he has to pay for it like every decent customer!

I can't believe I'm asking this, but do you have the antidote?

Tulbor: Ah, you are a lucky one: I can offer you the last sample. It'll be yours for the amount of 100 gold pieces.

100 gold? But- fine. 100 gold for the antidote and for you to get out of my face.

Tulbor: It was a pleasure doing business with you. Oh, and make sure he takes *all* of it! Goodbye.

That guy was so gross.




NEXT: Jim Plays Matchmaker, Again.

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