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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
You don't hear about many mad clerics these days. Usually it's mad mages. Nice to see the other side getting some representation.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
I couldn't find the video intro sequence for Beregost on youtube, unfortunately.
Oh, I've been all over with Winthrop before we came to Candlekeep. You should know that! But... hehe, guess you're right. I was kinda little at the time. Let's find a nice place and gets some rooms. I haven't had a hot bath in ages! They say Feldepost's is a good inn, we should try there. After that, I'm going shopping. We need some supplies. Let's see... We need a new frying pan, since you ruined the one we have.
I ruined? As I recall, YOU were the one who left it on the fire all night...
Details, details. Was yer idea to have me cook.
Yeah, shame on me for assuming the adoptive daughter of an innkeeper could be trusted to make a decent meal.
Um... what else? Some new blankets, soap, lantern oil, spare tent pegs... er... I think I kinda misplaced your hunting knife so we'll have to get a new one of those. I need some new clothes, too. My pink tunic got ripped in that last fight.
You do realize all your tunics are pink? And cloaks... and boots... and gloves...
But that was my favourite one! Soooo... I'll need a new one! There's lots we need. Hope we have enough money... Well, c'mon, slowpoke. I wanna have a look around.
Beregost is a big place and there is a hell of a lot to do in here. More, with the Mini Quests and Encounters mod installed. Speaking of which...
So we follow the lady into the house across the street from the one she came out of and...
Sooo... Faulty performance enhancer?
Alanna: Please have a look around. I'm sure Eltolth wouldn't mind, if it helps you to find a hint of what happened here. Please, find a way to restore him!
Wait a minute. What would be in it for me?
Alanna: I... I can offer you 30 gold pieces. This is all I currently have. I... I am sure Eltolth will give you a reward, once this nightmare is over.
Don't worry, I'll see what I can achieve first.
... Faulty performance enhancer.
Alanna: Did you get more information?
Yeah, we found this diary. There's someone called 'Tulbor' mentioned. You wouldn't happen to know anything about him, would you?
Alanna: Tulbor? No, I am sorry. I've never heard of such a person. But please, do not give up the search.
Well, I've got no idea where to find him, so you're just gonna have to be patient...
And with that we leave the house.
How unlucky do you have to be to drink.. something like that and turn into a *slime*??!! Wasn't that the opposite of what he was hoping would happen?!
Well... Some people are into that. C'mon, let's go find this 'Turgid' guy before Alanna has her date with Rosie Palm.
But before they can go very far, Ajantis, apparently feeling the need to point out that he's not like Eltolth, strikes up another conversation with Jim.
Really? I am delighted. How much do you know?
Well, I know it's a famous order of knights and paladins.
You heard the truth, my lady. It is a very powerful Order. Many virtuous men and women combine their forces to fight evil and help the weak and poor across Faerun.
So I take it your order subscribes to the Good Newsletter and burns every copy of the Evil Newsletter they find, but not before checking it for nefarious plans to thwart?
Err... Yes, I suppose so.
Sorry, I was being facetious. Ajantis, how do you know that someone is evil?
Evil is in lawbreaking and in holding self-interest above the rules that men have agreed upon to enable peaceful coexistence.
What if, say, a father were to steal to feed his hungry child? Does that make him evil?
His misery is regretful and things have to be changed to give him and his child a better life. His deed is evil, however. He would have to take responsibility for his actions, my lady. Stealing is against the law and must be punished, otherwise the land would be reigned by chaos and the will of the strong who would oppress the weak.
... So what happens to the kid? Imprison the father, the kid might turn to theft himself. You had a quick and easy answer, but real life isn't so simple, I hope you realize.
I am here to gain experience, to learn, and to prove myself, my lady. Time will tell whether I am worthy of knighthood.
I don't like orders of this kind, Ajantis. It just seems like an excuse for paladins to get together and show off their power, and that kind of arrogance doesn't really inspire respect in me.
"Arrogance?" Is that your opinion of paladins?
Sorry. I guess I went too far. I'm just not a big fan of paladins.
Do not mistake our sense of duty for arrogance, my lady. We paladins are only human, fighting in the name of honor and righteousness. We confront evil wherever we see it, ready to give our lives, if need be. I hope I can convince you to change your opinion during our travels together.
I didn't mean to offend you. Maybe I've been a little arrogant myself in my assumptions about paladins.
I am happy to hear that, lady Jimothy. May I tell you more about how the Order is organized?
Sure, it's not like we have a purveyor of bootleg viagra to track down. Not that I'm saying I'd rather do that than listen to you talk about your organization.
A quarter consists of twenty-five members, chosen from the bravest and wisest paladins, with three prelates at the head. They are assisted by younger knights and squires, who have not yet gained the age or the experience to become full-fledged members.
(Note to self: Ajantis does not understand sarcasm.)
These knights and squires are also the ones who execute the field missions for the Order.
You mean, they do all the work while the higher-ups sit at home drinking lemonade?
Ah, no. I would not say so, my lady. Every member of the Order has already proven his or her fighting prowess sufficiently. As I said, I am a squire paladin. I must prove myself before I can be knighted. Once knighted, it will still be a long journey, but my ultimate goal is to become a full-fledged member of the Order, one day.
Yeah, but you make it sound like actual members do nothing with this 'proven strength' of theirs.
The biggest chapter of the Order is located in the capital city of Amn, Athkatla. That is where my mentor, the highly respected paladin Sir Keldorn resides.
You're not here because of the tensions between Amn and the Sword Coast, I hope.
The Order does not interfere in politics, Lady Jimothy. But we are watching local events with concern, as they are threatening peace in the region. The increasing bandit activity here on the Sword Coast is forcing us to interfere. I am here to investigate the situation. With our combined forces, we will find the ones responsible for these evil happenings.
This is the belt-fetish ogre Unshey mentioned. He drops two unidentified belts. One is her girdle of piercing, the other we get to keep.
Further south, we run into these guys.
Jim tried to get fancy again and tried to cast magic missile on the bandit leader. She ended up polymorphing her into a wolf. Not that it helped.
We find this among the wreckage of the caravan. I really hate this thing, because it's a quest item for a quest that we won't be able to complete until we enter Baldur's Gate, a whole four chapters from now, so it'll sit in our packs, cluttering up our inventory space for most of the game. And it's not as though the NPC Project doesn't add useless items that I will feel compelled to keep in my inventory forever, for sentimental reasons.
We were probably meant to find this caravan first, but never in any of my playthroughs did that happen. If you're wondering why we're heading west...
Gorion needs to have his funeral before Jaheira can spoil it with grisly trophies.
I'm right here, you know.
I just don't think Candlekeep is into rare books made from the skins of our enemies. Or heads on spikes. It's a library, not a necromancer's den.
You are never going to let that go, are you?
Don't you think you could make an exception? You've known Jimothy for years!
Keeper of the Portal: I... I am saddened to hear of Gorion's death, Jimothy. Your father was a good man and my friend. I'll inform the most high Ulraunt and Tethtoril of his passing. This is grave news indeed. However, I do hope you understand that I just cannot allow you in, Jimothy. My hands are tied in this matter.
That's not why I came. I think Gorion would have wanted to be buried in Candlekeep. Can you arrange it?
Keeper of the Portal: We will send a search party and Gorion will be interred properly. I wish that I could do more for you... Perhaps I can help in some small way. Here, please take this. It's not much, but I hope that it will be of some assistance.
The Party Has Gained Gold: 100
Keeper of the Portal: Imoen, you, however, are free to enter if you wish. Winthrop is quite worried over your disappearance.
Wait, what?! Oh, I see how it is. You won't bend the rule for me, but for Imoen, you're like "Sure, just come on through! Those rules are more like guidelines anyway!" Thanks a lot, you bunch of jerks.
No way! Jimmie and I are in this together, through thick and thin! Puffguts has my letter. And he taught me a thing or two... ol' Imoen can stay outta trouble! Tell him I love him, though, will ya? And tell him not to worry 'bout little old me.
Keeper of the Portal: I will, Imoen. Take care, both of you. And Jimothy? Be wary of strangers, and don't be too quick to give out your name. Just a bit of advice. Safe travels.
True to his word, we pass the search party bearing Gorion's body on our way back east.
However draconian the entry fees for Candlekeep are, they at least honor their dead.
Lots of walkthroughs recommend just keeping the magical items that questgivers send us to find, since they won't care when they're returned. A girdle of piercing is a fine piece of equipment for a mage, since it protects against arrows and things. But the thing is, the other girdle is cursed, and since both belts are unidentified and I can't tell which one is which just by looking at it, it's easiest to just let Unshey sort it out.
I followed a reader's advice and found this Ring of Wizardry on the ground outside the Friendly Arm. Now Jim can cast FOUR spells a day!
And while we're looking at item descriptions, here's the unidentified description of the Golden Pantaloons, just for fun.
There's a lady living in one of the houses in the courtyard of the Friendly Arm, wants us to do something. I let Khalid handle it because Jim's turning out to be quite the potty mouth.
This isn't a bug. NPCs coming up to talk to us will talk to whoever's nearest, and you can have any of the NPCs in your party handle the talking. It's usually better to leave that kind of stuff to characters with high charisma, like Jim, but in this specific case it doesn't matter, I think. This arrangement can, however, lead to some pretty out-of-character responses, like, say, Viconia agreeing to help a lost urchin find her cat.
So maybe I should do the talking after all?
Last time you did that you ended up flirting with a married man, remember?
That wasn't on purpose! Let's just go!
Uhh... Jimmie? Pretty sure south is the other way.
Okay, fine. I know I'm not ready for ankhegs, let's turn around and -
Wait! Perhaps it would be better if we traveled together.
In that case, why do we not join forces against these contemptible lawbreakers?
Sounds good to us, we're always on the lookout for another sword arm.
Wait, what? He's a paladin, me and Imoen are thieves. Is this really a good idea?
Calm down, Jimothy. I have a feeling the increase in bandit activity may have something to do with the iron crisis. He will be useful.
Here's Ajantis! He's a paladin, which means he's obligated to have a stick up his butt, on pain of losing his paladin abilities. Also, he's stats-wise the best-looking of our male suitors, with 17 Charisma to Xan and Coran's 16. Jim is still the prettiest, though.
There's a joke in there somewhere about his 'lay on hands' ability, but I'm not smart enough to come up with it.
We pass by the Friendly Arm again to deliver the ring to Joia and Jaheira decides to address Jim directly.
That is one of the silliest things I have ever heard. But I'll wager that has become a popular myth in more than one realm, imaginary or not. Be serious.
Forest lore, hmmm... How did you and Khalid first meet?
And how is that forest lore?
Well, you're a lady of the forest, and Khalid is a man of the woods...uh. Nevermind. It was a huge stretch and a bad joke but I was curious.
I'll indulge your curiosity, Jimothy. The first time I saw Khalid was at a ball. We both were... we both had to attend on business, but neither of us knew the other. I had done what I had to and was about to leave, when I saw him standing all by himself. He looked so awkward and shy that I felt sorry for him and came over to talk. I found him surprisingly charming, and we got to know each other better...
Huh, that's funny. I heard the same story from Khalid, only in his version, you were the one who was standing all by yourself.
Oh? That's an interesting... piece of lore.
Ahem! A-actually, we were both standing by ourselves... but getting back to wood lore - did you know that grubs can be quite tasty?... No one can cook them like Jaheira!
I, however, am not so smooth. I forgot to screenshot the opening lines of the next banter, which triggered after we delivered the ring:
Here we are, traveling the good road. Some grand 'adventure' we're having, huh? not exactly what we used to daydream about, but still, kinda exciting, I guess. I'd rather be out here, going places and doing things, than be stuck in Candlekeep, cleaning out stables and turning down beds.
I have to admit, you're right. It's been interesting. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it's not like I have a choice.
That's 'we', remember? And yeah, 'spose we don't have much choice at that. Still, we can do a lot of good, I think. Wonder if they'll make a tale of our adventures? Just think, one day folks will be in the common room of some inn, maybe even the Candlekeep Inn, and ask a bard to tell 'em a tale of 'Imoen the Quick and her trusty sidekick, Jim!'
Hey, I'm no one's 'sidekick'!
Oh, okay. We'll be partners, I 'spose. What ya think? 'Imoen the Quick' sound good to you? Quick with the blade and wit! All the best heroes and heroines have handles. Hmmm, maybe 'Imoen the Terrible'? Nah, too dark. 'Imoen the Bold'? 'Imoen the Sly'? 'Imoen the Magnificent'? Hey, that sounds pretty good!
You already came up with 'the Magnificent', remember? Though actually I think 'the Terrible' suits you better. Or maybe 'Imoen the Annoying'?
Well! You're being rude today! Guess I'll just keep quiet and wait for ya to come beggin' for something from little old Imoen.
I can't believe it's already been forty-five minutes since I've had Ajantis in the party, but I managed to trigger his first lovetalk. I dunno if you've noticed, but I've been cheating with these and editing responses to multiple dialogue options together into longer conversations. If you'd rather just the straight conversation from whichever options I pick first, let me know, otherwise I'll continue jazzing these up.
My lady, we formed our alliance to fight the bandits threatening travelers in this area. May I ask your motivation for pursuing such a tedious and dangerous task?
Who, me? We have an alliance? Just put away the handcuffs and we'll get along just fine.
I mean. I'm a mage with phenomenal cosmic power. Or I would be if I could cast more than two spells per day. And I have nothing else to do, so I might as well make life less shitty for other people? It's definitely not because everyone here is dirt-poor and I'm shit at pickpocketing.
My lady, I do not have the authority to arrest you. And I can see you are indeed doing good. But you could do good at many other places. Why the bandits of the Sword Coast? Is there any specific reason you need to be here?
These bandits might have something to do with the murder of my foster father, Gorion.
By Helm! This is very sad news, my lady. Let me express my deepest condolences for your loss.
Gorion died defending me. It pisses me off that they were after me and not him.
You mean, our unknown enemy might have an interest in you?
Well... "Hand over your ward and no one will be hurt. If you resist it shall be a waste of your life." That's what the spiky asshole said when we were attacked. That sure sounds like interest to me, Ajantis.
That is very strange indeed, my lady.
Gorion was the closest thing I had to family. I'm gonna make that guy pay for taking him away from me.
My lady, I fully understand your grief and pain. But do not let yourself be overwhelmed by vengeance and hatred. You can only hope to hunt down these murderers if you are not blinded by hate, and if you do not let your thirst for vengeance affect your fighting prowess. Be assured: I will fight at your side against these criminals with all my might. Let's continue our search and bring justice to the Sword Coast.
Well, I wasn't planning on making a creepy little book out of the skins of my enemies like Jaheira said, but I see what you mean. Thanks, Ajantis. That's actually pretty sweet of you.
Character sheets! This is Jaheira. She's got her BGII stats because they're better and I'm a cheesy cheater. Another thing you might notice is her alignment. Druids are supposed to be true neutral, and Jaheira will go on at length about "the balance" but the creators of the Baldur's Gate Tweak Pack felt that neutral good suited her true morality better.
And damn, Khalid is lookin' fine. This is the interpretation of the portrait mod I'm using, and I like it because the original portrait makes him look shifty and unreliable, and Jaheira never would have married him if he was either of those things. Khalid may not be the bravest guy around, but he'd never let down a friend in need.
I could have used the tweakpack to make him a fighter/mage, but I didn't because we already have a mage and I didn't want to spread the early game experience further around.
Jaheira expresses her condolences:
Oh, they shall let us in eventually. I wish that we had a tome of leather parchments made from the hides of the bandits who attacked you, to pay for our entry. That of the one who had slain him shall be saved for the cover. I am sorry, Jimothy, for sharing such a grim thought, but Khalid and myself... we loved Gorion dearly. It is not easy to speak of burial, when his murderers still walk unpunished.
Wow. Maybe True Neutral is the better alignment after all. Jaheira's... pretty brutal when she's pissed.
We do a little bit of shopping.
The goons Gorion killed will drop maces and random valuables when they die, and we were lucky and looted some pretty fancy gems and jewelry from them, so we sold them for a tidy profit. We have enough to buy this gem bag, which will be useful for carrying all sorts of non-magical valuables that we can then sell to merchants for cash. The gem bag I believe is part of a component called 'bags of holding' which adds containers to various merchant's inventories. Bentley only has the gem bag for sale, but later we'll find a scroll case, an ammo case, a potion case, and probably some others along the way, which will make inventory management a lot less of a hassle.
There are a couple of small quests that start in this Inn, and I won't bore you with all of them, but this one will be important.
Also this happened.
I... guess I can find a buyer for these? Why the hell did I even nick them? What do you want me to do with Golden *Pantaloons*?
If you hang onto them for the entire game, and carry your save over into the sequel, you'll eventually find a use for them. Come on, they're the famous Golden Pantaloons!
This is so weird.
So while Jim is upstairs talking to quest givers and robbing from the rich, in an attempt to distract herself from the embarrassment of realizing she just hit on her godfather, Jaheira takes the opportunity to ask Imoen some things:
Huh? Did I say something wrong, Jaheira?
I am sorry, Imoen, but I need to know. I don't know how to ask this delicately, so let me put it straight. You are the only person besides Gorion who knows Jimothy well. Have you ever noticed anything especially different about her?
Eh? What do you mean?
I am interested in certain aspects or behaviours that seem... out of balance, or haunted.
Yes, sirree, definitely! Jimmie has this annoying habit of leaving her clothes all over the place! That's just so rude, and... haunted! Plus she has this irrational fear of partridges. Won't even eat 'em. But I bet you'll find out other weird stuff about her as we go along.
You are right, Imoen. There is plenty of time and opportunity for us to get to know Jimothy. If only Khalid and I could have visited with Gorion more often... But what's done is done. We will acquaint ourselves with Jimothy now.
The Friendly Arm Inn isn't so much an inn as it is a castle town roughly the size of Candlekeep. The biggest thing there is the actual inn, but there's also a temple and two residences.
I forget which NPC tells you this, but the story behind this inn is kind of interesting. It was established by Bentley and Gellana, a couple of retired adventurers who liberated the fortress from an undead priest of Bhaal and turned it into the best damn hangout for adventurers on the Sword Coast. It's a pretty sweet retirement plan, if you ask me.
The big crisis on the Sword Coast is the iron shortage. Iron weapons and tools are turning brittle and breaking, and we'll eventually find out why.
Candlekeep? Never heard of it.
Tarnesh: Really? I would beg to differ. You fit the description, so I think it would be safe to assume you are the one I seek. Don't me. I have something for you.
And then he attacks. Tarnesh is a pushover and he's pretty much dead after a few shots from a shortbow from both Jim and Imoen, but I decided to switch it up with wild magic and nearly died. Yes, I'm playing this on Novice mode with a bunch of anti-difficulty tweaks installed, why do you ask?
In the base game, Tarnesh is inconsequential, but he's a little more significant in an NPC Project game. Here's why:
Yeesh, some sense of humour YOU have! Those 'spells' or whatever, the things in the back? they look kinda important. I won't mess with those. But these lil' old things in the frong... Betcha even I could learn some of them. I'm gonna try, anyway.
Well, I suppose it will be all right. Just be careful, okay?
Pshh, this coming from the girl who tried casting a magic missile and ended up making a poison cloud? Dontcha worry 'bout me. I'm no dummy. I know what I'm doin'. I'll be 'slingin' spells' in no time. Haha!
Imoen's thing in the NPC mod is sort of a set-up for her class-change in the sequel. This won't be the last we hear of her trying to do magic.
Aside from a spellbook that Imoen apparently found before we did, Tarnesh was carrying one other item of note. This bounty notice.
"To all those of evil intent..." Is there like, an "Evil Newsletter" or something that all these nobody assassins subscribe to? I mean, who actually calls themselves 'evil'?
Mishi's Modded Miscellany: See that big guy in the black and white outfit? He's a bard, and if we were planning on having any evil people in our party while not being evil ourselves, he'd be the best thing that every happened to us. See, in the base game, no matter how many guards you killed and puppies you kicked, you could always go to a temple and donate some gold and you could keep your reputation flying high and your good party members happy, or at least unhappy, but not so much that they would leave. But there was no such equivalent for good-aligned parties that wanted to blacken their reputations. So the NPC Project adds these bards, one in each major settlement, that will blacken your reputation for a price. I've lost count of the amount of gold I've spent on them to keep Viconia in my party.
But we came here to find someone specific, right Jim?
Wow, that guy's pretty cute... Hey, handsome, what's your name?
I'll thank you not to flirt with my husband, girl.
If... if he has passed, we share your loss.
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.
We could t-travel with you until you get settled, help you find your l-lot in life.
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 rumours of strange things happening at the mine. 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.
Isn't it great, Jimmie? We made it through the forest full of gibberlings and wolves, and now we are meeting *real* adventurers! Things are lookin' up! Hey, Auntie Jaheira, I am Imoen. A friend of Jimothy's... Actually, more like a guardian than a friend, ya know? Lookin' after her, and all that.
Try the other way around, squirt. I'm the one always getting you out of trouble.
Adventurers generally do not call each other 'auntie', Imoen. But enough distractions. Gorion had mentioned you in his correspondence, praising your fast friendship with his ward. You are welcome to come along.
Your company would be welcome.
Well good! We'll leave as soon as you're ready, though it should be soon.
Yeah! Uncle Khalid and Auntie Jaheira are coming with us! This is going to be a great adventure, after all!
You saw two people in the wood? I was told to meet some friends at the Friendly Arm Inn. Perhaps they and the ones you met are one and the same.
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.
Could you help me? 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 good will. 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.
Ya hear him? 'Like-minded companions'! That'd be me! Yer doin' alright, despite bein' thicker than Candlekeep's walls! Imoen the Magnificent is gonna make an adventurer out of ya yet!
Who's thicker than Candlekeep's walls? Come here where I can whack you with my stick and say that!
This has to be the fourth or fifth time the game has told us to gather a full party quickly. And just to hammer the point home, the next people we run into are potential party members...
It'll be alright Imoen. Just let me handle it.
I'd be grateful for any assistance.
Nothing to fear from these simple potions, and I'll not even hold you in debt, though your conscience knows otherwise.
Just like all good people.
The Party Has Gained An Item
Perhaps as payment you would go with us to Nashkel. It is a troubled area and we mean to investigate some disturbing rumours surrounding the local mine. 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.
Your conscience be your guide.
Aw, man, y'know, I'd love to pay you back I really would, but see, you're going south, and I'm going north. And I don't think one health potion is worth it to me to go so far out of my way.
You won't do this for me? You're bad, and I'll have someone hurt you! You'll see! That one's a meany, Monty; not a nice child at all!
Now you've gone and set him off! Blasted mage will will blither for hours. Off wit ye! I'll not suffer the both of ye!
And the two storm off.
... So much for not holding me in debt. Oh well, free potion!
... So naturally the first thing we do upon encountering recruitable NPCs is piss them off.
The one new piece of information that Kolssed character had to give us was essentially to make sure your party members have compatible alignments, lest they start fighting amongst each other. In the base game, evil characters will also just straight up leave if your reputation gets high enough, and good characters will leave if it gets low enough. There's an optional component to the NPC project that can work around that limitation, but we won't need it, since all of our potential love interests are good-aligned. Reputation conflicts won't be a problem for a while yet, but eh. They're evil, little sister didn't like the look of them, end of story.
It's all good, the Friendly Arm Inn isn't that far, and we'll meet up with the famous Jaheira and Khalid soon enough.
Bandit raids are on the rise. Good to know.
Wait, wait! how d'ya know my name?
Old Man: One can acquire such knowledge in more ways than one, child. But let the quiet one speak.
Not to imply anything, but how do you measure up to your own standards? Pestering strangers about their mental state doesn't seem all that well-adjusted to me.
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.
So that was something.
And here is the world map. It's pretty barren at the moment, because we haven't unlocked very many areas. We started in Candlekeep and when we regained control, we were in that rocky looking area right next to it. The coat of arms is where we are now, and to the south is Beregost, which we can't get to because we didn't exit from the bottom of the map of our current area. Because we exited from the top, we have two choices: the Friendly Arm Inn, and the Cloakwood.
Mishi's Modding Miscellany: Some of the joinable NPCs in the base game can't be met until chapter 4 or 5. That's fairly late in the game, and by the time you get there, you've most likely already assembled a solid party. NPC Project remedies this problem by adding optional components that move most of these NPCs to more accessible locations. Most of these NPCs are originally found in Baldur's Gate, though one is found in the Cloakwood. Coran is not one of these. Coran gets a different component to facilitate his recruitment. Fans of the original game will notice that I can technically go to the Cloakwood and recruit him right now. This is because of a component of the NPC mod that makes all areas of the Cloakwood but the Mines accessible as early as chapter 1. Unfortunately, Coran has a quest attached and if it's not completed within ten game days he may leave, and I'm fairly certain we don't have the levels to complete it at the moment, so we still won't be meeting him for a while.
Well, perhaps we should leave her alone, it's not every night one's foster-father is killed protecting one from nefarious villai-
Heya, it's me, Imoen!
You're really gonna do this? We just had that conversation yesterday and after the night I've had I am in no fucking moo-
Sorry I followed ya, but I never get out of Candlekeep and those monks are such a bore. Never any decent coin in their pockets neither.
You're really not doing much to help your case, you know.
I... I saw Gorion, and I am SO sorry! Kinda figured something bad might happen to you out here.
How could you have known? Gorion didn't even tell me.
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 here all alone. Never let a friend down, no sir! Stick with you until you say otherwise, I will!
Aaaaah, engine limitations. In the first Baldur's Gate, there wasn't much in the way of party interaction, so for any NPC that wasn't HUGELY IMPORTANT PLOT NPC, they didn't usually get anything but their greeting, and for joinable NPCs, a soundset that consisted of variations on the theme of "Stop clicking on me, jeez you're so demanding!" Imoen's greeting doesn't make much sense from a roleplaying perspective the first time you hear it, since she's the player character's childhood friend, and the second time you hear it, it's incredibly, inappropriately hilarious. In Baldur's Gate II they fixed that somewhat, in that the first lines of most banters were voiced, so you didn't keep hearing the same greeting whenever they decided to talk to you.
Since Imoen is our first party member, here is her character sheet, and bio.
Imoen starts as a trueclass thief in this game, and she's probably the best thief for a good-aligned party. She's not as useful to us since we're already a thief, and we'll be getting another one later, but she's still good to have in the party. A lot of people like to dual-class her into a mage later on, since her intelligence stat is so high, and it's even canon, as she does turn up as a thief/mage in the sequel.
I know what you're thinking. "Childhood friend path, GET!" Except there isn't one. At least not in this game. There's a mod for Baldur's Gate II, but it's had mixed reviews. Personally, I think if she wants to act like the player character's little sister, it suits me just fine to consider her such. Imoen's a fun character with lots of entertaining banters, so we'll be keeping her around for a while until we can start building our lovelove party.
That and the chapter one narration really wasn't kidding when it said we wouldn't last long on our own. When I was testing this set-up for bugs, I kept getting killed by wolves. It's best if we can assemble a full party as quickly as possible, regardless of who's in it.
But first, maybe that letter of Gorion's Imoen mentioned might hold a clue as to what's going on.
In the time-honored tradition of RPGs, our first action upon the game opening up is to loot the corpse of our beloved mentor. Let's see what he's got in his pocketses.
There's not much in this letter that we don't already know, except Gorion and this E guy have apparently been expecting something like this for a while now. Now that we're done with the letter, Imoen has something to say.
Hey! You were hiding your butt under a bush while he was fighting all these monsters, weren't ya?
I know! I just. I never thought he'd die. Especially not against a big dumb thug like that.
Don'tcha even know who attacked you? Whoever it was, looks like it was vicious.
Some big jerk in spiky armor. He said...
So ya remember what he said?
Well, he didn't say much... besides, obviously, wanting my corpse to be where Gorion's is now, or at least alonside it, he mentioned he had been looking for me.
Well, aren't ya the popular one? Sorry, just tryin' to liven things up here. Anyways, if that guy was lookin' for ya, he'll come for ya 'gain.
Don'tcha worry, though! This time, with Imoen the Magnificent at your side, you can't lose!
Imoen the Magnificent?
'Course! It's the perfect name for me, someone who has so many talents!
Look, as magnificent as you are, I don't want to drag you into this mess. This is going to be dangerous, and I don't want to lose the last family I have left. You should go back to Candlekeep.
Leave? And if I did, who would keep ya entertained? Who would keep your spirits lifted in the darkest hour? And who would keep up the practical jokes?
I could do without the practical-
Leave! Hah! You'll have ta force me ta leave ya now!
Well, now that that's settled, let's be on our way, shall we-
Okay, cards on the table, Imoen's really chatty in this early portion of the game. But she's a sweetheart, so I can't really hold it against her.
I'd hate to see this eat away at ya. We'll get him, ya know. That guy, whoever he was, who killed your dad. We'll find out who he is, and pay him back good! And don't you even think of ditching me, either. I know what I'm doing, and I'm in this as much as you. I liked Gorion, and you're my best friend. I'm your best friend too, whether you know it or not. you can count on me, and don't you forget it.
Jeez, Imoen, you already made it clear you won't let me ditch you. What's with you?
I'm just mad, that's all... mad, sad and a little worried, I guess. I'll get over it. Heh. I was trying to make you feel better, and now I'm all worked up. Come on, let's go find an evil dragon's lair or something to loot. Um, on second thought, a hobgoblin cave is more your speed. Or maybe a xvart village?
I know it's you, Imoen. Who else would wear something so obnoxiously pink? Not to mention I've known you my entire life.
Just in case you lost your memory.
Why the hell would I lose my memory? And where have you been all this time? I've been looking all over for you.
Can I just say that I really hate these responses? They're so... puffed up, to borrow an expression from from our current interlocutor. We won't always get these kinds of pompous choices, but when we do, I reserve my right to paraphrase.
I can't talk long, kid. I'm going on a trip with Gorion, but he won't tell me where.
Kid? I'm not much younger than you, though you sure got tall fast. Relatively, anyway. A journey, eh? I never get to travel. Wish I could go with ya. Yep, i really wish I could. Yessir. Really do.
All right all right. I get the message. I'll ask if you can go with us.
Oh, don't be silly, Gorion would never 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. I'll just get back to work now. You had better go. Gorion is waiting.
Yeah... Take care of yourself while I'm gone, will you?
Sure thing, Jimmie!
Hey, watch it! You're the only person who can call me that, got it?
With nothing left to do, we can at last approach Gorion.
Can you at least tell me where we're going?
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.
What could possibly harm us here? This place is a fortress. And those assassins I ran into were jokes.
Whoops. It just occurred to me that we probably should have gone to see Gorion earlier. This dialogue makes more sense if we haven't been attacked yet. Oh well.
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.
So let's go, already.
Listen carefully. If we should ever become separated, it is imperative that you make your way to the Friendly Arm Inn. There, you will meet Khalid and Jaheira. They have long been my friends, and you can trust them.
Come quickly, child. The night can only get worse so we must find shelter soon. Don't worry, I will explain everything as soon as there is time. Wait, there is something wrong. We are in an ambush. Prepare yourself.
Jim gets hit by a spell first thing, and Gorion urges her to run away even as he starts casting his own spells.
He kills the two ogres and puts the woman to sleep, but none of his spells are enough to stop the armored figure. When he runs out, he charges the man with his knife, but is slain. Thus ends the prologue.
Next stop: The infirmary. This place is super-easy to miss. I think my first two playthroughs I didn't even realize you could enter this building.
In the base game, the only things of interest there are a priest of Ohgma who will give you a potion if you ask him to, and a desk that can be unlocked and stolen from, though you have to be careful the guards aren't alerted. (If you're caught, the Watchers say they don't care who your foster father is, lawbreakers will not be tolerated, and demand you give them all your money. If you refuse, it's possible to die in the tutorial area like a chump.) We get another health potion out of the deal. With only five hp, we need all the help we can get.
But our main goal in coming in here wasn't health potions.
But... that was a compliment. I honestly wasn't trying to make fun, why would you even think that? Look, no offense meant. I talked with your fiancee. She doesn't feel well at all.
Sir Trun: *sigh* I know, and it tortures me that I am incapable of helping her. It... it is like I am paralyzed... My injury is no reason for my behaviour toward her. I... I fell in love with a beautiful young maiden and proposed to her, and now...
You can't handle the thought that she might be stronger than you?
Sir Trun: No, no, not that. I... *sigh* Since she already talked to you, it won't hurt if I do so, too. Actually I feel a great urge to talk about this with someone who cares to listen.
Sir Trun: We got into an unexpected fight. Everything was going well. Then all of a sudden, one of the creatures sunk its teeth into my arm. I wasn't able to free myself, and it was dragging me toward the portal... There was a pain at my shoulder, and the next thing I knew, I was lying in front of the portal, watching it close behind the last of the monters. Linda was standing beside me, pale as a ghost, my sword in her hands. She saved my life the only way it was possible in that moment, by chopping off my arm.
This option is unbelievable. Who talks like this? But it's the least offensive of the dialogue options that aren't "fuck if I know, good luck with your life, buddy" so we take it.
If Broken Forum has taught me anything, it's that good communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Also, never trust a partridge.
Sir Trun: We tried talking, but it didn't work. No, I have to bring something with me when I go to her. If only I could think of something appropriate...
She sounds like a badass, it physically hurts to see her torn up about something this stupid. I can only see one possibility. You're going to teach her how to fight. Take her as your squire.
Sir Trun: I beg your pardon? That is absurd. She is a young maiden, innocent and frail...
Do you even notice the shit coming out of your mouth? She chopped off your arm in one hit!
Sir Trun: Wait... I... I see what you mean. It is hidden inside her, isn't it? The gift shows differently in different people. Some know from early childhood where their path will lead. For others, the revelation comes all of a sudden, as a great surprise. Yes, it seems the only way to go forward, and leave this horrible memory behind us. She made the first step onto this path. To expect her to return to her former life would be cruel... and unrealistic. I will go to her now. I'll be approaching her with an unusual present for a woman of her origin: my sword.
Sir Trun: My body recovered a long time ago. It was my mind that felt injured and wouldn't come to rest. You dragged me out of my thoughts of despair, and I thank you deeply! We are in your debt. Now I will go to her... I am eager to see how she will react. Is she really ready for this? I am also bothered as to what I will tell her parents, who imagine their daughter on an educational journey in Candlekeep... *weary smile* Farewell, in case we don't meet again. May Tyr protect you.
We gain a small boost in reputation and 150 exp from this exchange.
Now that I've hugged Mrs. Stabby and I've got all my gear, I just need to say goodbye to one other person. I bet she's ditching chores in the bunkhouse.
Fuck, another one of these guys?
This one gets a lucky critical and hits her for 4 hp. Lucky we stole that potion. Two more whacks with her stick and he's down for the count, just like the other guy, though.
Y'know, I always thought it was weird how everyone in Candlekeep carried a stick around, even the guards, but now I'm starting to see why they all swear by it.
The moment we leave the bunkhouse we run into Linda again.
Linda: Maybe... maybe he will fall in love with his fighting squire just as he fell in love with the maiden once... Maybe. For now he has a task as a knight, as do I as squire. May Lathander bless you with all his power. Farewell.
Uh, no problem. Hope things work out for you. Though if he acts like you're a different person now that you're his squire, I wouldn't hold my breath.
On our way to see Gorion, we pass by these guys. They're the Chanters, they just sing the Prophecies of the Wise Alaundo, all day, every day. The first time I encountered them I was like "What is this racket. Is my game broken?" but now their chanting is music to my ears. I dunno how it happened, they just grew on me.
Over this way is proof that I have no self-control. While I was looking for BGTutu mods I came across this NPC mod called Finch. She's a gnome librarian companion and I couldn't resist installing her. Since she's not romanceable and we're going to have enough trouble juggling party members as it is, we won't be seeing much of her, but I figured I'd introduce her just the same. In the interest of making this Candlekeep sequence a little less boring.
Why? It's really just a boring little castle town.
The wondrous books! Rows and stacks of scroll casings and leather-bound volumes covering every subject under the sun and stars! I can imagine no greater joy than the opportunity to learn something new with each passing day. Perhaps that explains why I found my heart's home in the service of Deneir.
Ah, you're a cleric of Deneir. No wonder you love this place.
Truly, my brief time here in your home town has been a great joy. I can imagine no finer occupation than living with my nose in a book! Alas, I have dallied in Candlekeep longer than I should have in service t of my temple, though I am certain Deneir would understand. Anyhoo, I leave with all haste. I have a list of works needed to establish a new library on the Amnish border. I located a likely seller of one volume in Beregost, so off I go!
And she heads off.
Can we get going now? Please? I've killed 6 rats, two assassins, done pretty much everyone's petty errands, and we need to get going before the Gatewarden tries to teach me about group combat like I haven't heard his lecture ten million times befo-
And now for an announcement:I've decided to take Shar-Teel out of the running. I've been thinking pretty much all week about how to manage it and the only way it would be possible is if we all agreed that we wanted to romance Shar-Teel and Xan and be unabashedly, unashamedly, Eeeeeeville the whole game through. And since Xan has nowhere near the same amount of votes as Coran, that's clearly not going to happen.
This is what I'm carrying right now. All I had initially was this stick that Gorion gave me. The gem Phlydia gave me in return for finding her book, the knives and hammer I found in the priests' quarters. What kind of priest carries a great big warhammer, though? I thought they all went in for clubs and maces and things? What I didn't find in there was Mrs. Stabby. She must be in the storage shed.
Hello and welcome to Mishi's Modded Miscellany. For our first installment, let's talk about the Infinite Ammo Stack component of the BGII tweakpack. In the base game you could only have up to 20 arrows in a bundle, which is somewhat realistic, but you've seen the inventory. If you're an archer you end up with half those little squares filled up with stacks of 20 arrows and it leaves no room for anything else, and that's not even taking into account all the different types of arrows. You got your regular arrows, your +1 arrows, your +2 arrows, your fire arrows, your acid arrows, your biting arrows. It's just much less hassle all around if you can have all your arrows of the same type in a single stack. I've also got the infinite gem stack component on and the infinite potion stack component.
Winthrop doesn't have much for sale, and we don't have much money. Once we sold the crap we picked up, we had just enough to get a shortbow, a stack of arrows and a set of leather armor.
We bring him his scroll, and the old guy casts Protection from Evil on us. Which would be great, if it lasted long enough to be of any use. In a previous playthrough I planned it so that I would have him cast that on me and then hightail it to the priests' quarters to face the assassin, but the spell expired before I got halfway there.
Ah, now this is more interesting. It's part of the Mini Quests and Encounters Mod.
Linda: If only that would be... You are Gorion's foster child, aren't you? Yes, I think I want to talk with you about it.
You can tell just by looking at me?
Linda: You don't look like a sage and you're not dressed richly enough to be a guest. I made an educated guess.
Oh. Fair enough. Continue.
Linda: Have you been to the infirmary? My fiance is recovering there from the injuries he got in his last fight.
No, I haven't spoken to him.
Linda: He has an obvious injury: he lost an arm. But the wounds that are still troubling him are his memories of what happened during this fight, and the conditions under which he lost that arm. I... I am troubled by it too. You see... I cut off his arm. It... it was the only thing to do.
Ha! How sweet. Is that some kind of courting ritual where you come from? (Never make the obvious assumption first. That's diplomacy, right?)
Linda: Keep your mockery to yourself, please. Of course it is not. We were on our way to Candlekeep, when suddenly a portal started opening near us. Monsters came out and started attacking. It was horrible. Sir Trun defended us, and it looked as if he would win easily. Then one of the creatures bit into his arm, dragging him toward the portal. He lost his sword...
Linda: There was only one possible way to save him, and I used it. Otherwise, he would be dead by now.
I don't get it. You saved his life. Would he rather have died?
Linda: No, it is not that easy. Sir Trun proposed to me, what seems like a long, long time ago, and we went on this educational journey to Candlekeep. You have to understand, I am the daughter of a noble family, and never touched any kind of weapon. His... his gaze upon me when he realized what happened...
Linda: Forgive me, but I do not want to talk more about it. I need to be patient, and hope that he will overcome his feelings. Poor Sir Trun... he is so brave. He grimly tries not to attribute any importance to the matter, but doesn't succeed in overcoming his feelings of horror. He is bound to his proposal to a woman he now fears, and is trying to convince himself it is nothing to worry about. I still see that look in his eyes...
So his precious flower turned out to have thorns and now he doesn't want you anymore? Sounds like a grade-A jerk to me. You're better off without him. Linda: I decided not to go to the infirmary until someone brings the news of his recovery, or until he approaches me himself.
Oh, fine. I'll play cupid for you. It's not like I'm in a hurry or anything.
Reevor gives us 5 gp to kill the rats in the storehouse.
So this is how Wild Mages work: like all specialist mages, they get to cast one extra spell per level per day. Unlike other specialists, they aren't barred from any school of magic, because no school opposes their own. In exchange, every time they cast a spell, no matter what the spell, there's a small chance that it will go awry in a wide variety of ways, some of which are incredibly beneficial, some of which are terrible, and yes, it's possible for one of these mishaps to make a cow fall from the sky onto the target. We call these Wild Surges. There's also a first level spell called Nahal's Reckless Dweomer that nearly guarantees a wild surge.
But enough about magic, let's talk about rats. These rats are ridiculously tough. They only have about 6 HP each (which is more than Jim has in total) but their defense is ludicrously high.
Hey, I think these rats are tougher than that assassin was. That's really sad.
And there's the cat.
Now you show up?! I could have used your help just now! Whose job do you think it is to kill rats?
Mrs. Stabby: ... *preens, as though nothing is wrong*
What an impudent creature. *scoops cat up and pets her despite her protests* That's what you get for being lazy.
It's not quite as... alarming as the opening video for Baldur's Gate II, but then, this is the first Baldur's Gate, and our player character isn't an experienced adventurer, she's a callow youth who has never left her hometown. Speaking of which, let's get her introduced, shall we?
This is our hero, Jimothy. While experimenting with wild magic a while back, she accidentally broke the fourth wall and doesn't know how to fix it, so don't be too alarmed if she occasionally makes references to, say, Hatoful Boyfriend or mentions a certain site by name. Or talks to you directly, like she's about to do.
So this is me! I'm not all that strong or durable, but I am pretty good with my hands, and you have to be smart to be a good mage. My favourite spell is Nahal's Reckless Dweomer, and that's not too difficult to cast, but you need to be clever to figure out how to get the cow down the stairs and out the door before Winthrop throws a fit.
Multi-classed characters aren't supposed to be able to choose a specialization, but Wild Mage is Best Mage, so I went into Shadowkeeper and added the Wild Mage kit. I also added 4 points to Charisma, because why not? We're going to be romancing everyone, so we need to be smokin' hot.
I'd have given you more of a blow-by-blow in character creation, but since I was going to cheat anyway, I figured it wasn't really kosher to act like she was lovingly crafted, and that I spent hours rolling and re-rolling to get just the stats I wanted. The extent of my fair-play is I left dexterity at 16 when I could have cheated it up to 19.
So, long story short, I grew up in this place called Candlekeep which is like a huge library-fortress, raised by a sage called Gorion who is pretty damn awesome, but won't tell me anything about my parents. Lately he's been acting all shifty and won't tell me what the problem is, and today he basically walked up to me all "No time to talk, grab your things, we're leaving."
The old man can hold his horses as far as I'm concerned. I'm not going to anywhere until I've said goodbye to Mrs. Stabby the cat.
So this is Candlekeep, the tutorial area. That green guy in the top right corner is one of legions of little green men whose only purpose is to instruct you in how to play the game and they can be safely ignored. There are, however, a few things to do here before we leave with Gorion.
Oh, brother, here we go again. Phlydia always loses her books. And she always forgets them in the same place too. I better go find it before the cows eat it. Damaging books is a serious crime here.
I'll make this simple for you, since these fetch quests are all super dumb. Phlydia's book is in the haystack next to the priests' quarters (shown here), and the cowherd, Dreppin, wants Jim to find him an antidote for his cow, which we'll find in the barracks. Hardly any of these early quests give anything other than very piddly amounts of experience. But Jim has other things on her mind.
Where's the pretty kitty?
Like petting a cat.
Shank: Far be it from me to keep you from your pressing matters, but I must insist on a moment of your time. The last moment, actually. I apologize for not fully explaining my motives, but I am on a rather tight schedule and exposition is not my forte.
And then he attacks. But he's pretty much the worst assassin in the history of ever. Jimothy has only 5 hit points, and her only weapon is a quarterstaff, which she isn't even proficient in, and she kills him in two hits.
Definitely not worth making a fuss about. Though if there are assassins after me, I probably should buy some equipment.
Romance Requirements Alignments: All Good alignments, Lawful Neutral and True Neutral. Races: Humans, Elves, Half-Elves and Half-Orcs Reputation: Has to be 11 or above for romance to initiate and continue
Pros: -Doesn't care if we're a half-orc! -Package deal with Minsc -Romance is relevant to the main plot
Cons: -Package deal with Minsc -Not as sassy as this portrait makes her look
Romance Requirements: Races: Elves (the romance guide lists half-elves too, but that is a cruel lie, as I found out first hand)
Pros: -Really doesn't care if we're evil, not even if we don't donate to the appropriate institutions -Moonblade! -The "Protag-chan gets in touch with her elvish heritage" route -Funny banter with Coran and Kivan
Cons: -Not going to win any awards for positive thinking any time soon, to put it mildly -Ridiculous constitution; what kind of a mage can't cast magic missile? -The reason we're forced to be an elf
Romance Requirements Alignments: All, except for Lawful Evil Races: Humans, Elves and Half-Elves Reputation: Has to be 11 or above for romance to initiate and continue
Pros: -Doesn't care if we're evil, so long as we donate enough to the appropriate institutions -Potentially steamy romance -BEST DEXTERITY HOLY SHIT
Cons: -Playboy -According to the NPC guide, romance qualifies as a gamer's worst nightmare. Pertinent quote: "His romance can randomly have a happy ending. Or not." -In a high-level area that might be difficult to get to early in the game
Romance Requirements Alignments: All Good alignments Races: Humans, Elves, Half-Elves and Halflings Reputation: Has to be 11 or above for romance to initiate Class: Will break off romance early with single-classed thieves
Pros: -Not part of a package deal -Romance is fairly straightforward according to the romance guide -Easy to find -I've never done his romance before
Cons: -Portrait not that handsome. May end up replacing it via Shadowkeeper EDIT: Done -Paladin