Baldur’s Gate as a tale
1. Polish pronunciation
2. it is about the plot, not the graphics or music or whatever
3. NOT ABOUT THE GOD-AWFUL BOOK!!!
Baldur’s Gate I
It is here to introduce us into the world. The protagonist’s life has been sheltered and nothing is known about his past. The world outside is implied to be dangerous. It is implied that today is a special day, as Gorion acts oddly. Later we learn that there is a danger that forces us to leave – and there is the feeling that Gorion knows more than he lets on…
You and Gorion depart in the evening, his words a severe warning and an advice to seek out his friends, Khalid and Jaheira – no more than names at the point.
The protagonist finds himself in a middle of nowhere, with only the knowledge that his foster father is dead, that the killer demanded Gorion hand you over and that there is no return to the past life. The identity of the killer is unknown – he’s just the “armored figure”.
There is no other choice but to go on. We have a chance to try to find Gorion’s corpse – in that case, a letter is found – it confirms Imoen’s story and the suspicions that Gorion had known his killer.
The protagonist meets two shady characters on the way – Xzar and Montaron. We get the feeling that one or possibly both of them are mad; that they have known each other for some time, and that they work for an outside organization. They provide a measure of help in the form of healing potions and want to go to Nashkel – a town on the coast.
Soon afterwards, a mysterious old man advises the protagonist to go to Friendly Arm Inn, insisting that he’ll find Khalid and Jaheira there. Going there is not mandatory, however, but so strongly recommended…
Khalid and Jaheira turn out to be long-standing friends of Gorion, deeply saddened by his death, and a married couple. Khalid is memorable mostly due to his stutter. It is immediately obvious that it is Jaheira who wears the pants in the relationship. It is implied that they have been married for long and that they work for an organization.
In the case that Xzar and Montaron are in the party, we shall soon discover the names of the respective organizations – the Harpers and the Zhentarims – as the foursome come to blows. If the crazy duo is not in the party, we’ll be left in the dark.
We are also attacked by a bounty hunter in the Friendly Arm Inn and discover that there is a bounty on our heads, which adds to the mystery. There’s a possibility of encountering another bounty hunter up in Beregost – a town you have to pass through. In this case, it turns out the bounty has risen. Someone really wants the protagonist dead. It’s an added incentive to go south to Nashkel. Additionally, a smith of coastwide fame hints at low quality of the iron (as do the rumors in all the taverns). It is also implied that there is trouble with bandits, further confirmed by the appearances by Flaming Fist on the roads.
The bandit troubles are also confirmed by Kivan – another prospective companion encountered near Beregost. He is an elf consumed by a desire for revenge – if asked, he’ll mention his wife being killed by the bandits, presumably the same ones that are terrorizing the region.
The way to Nashkel is littered with hobgoblin and human bandits. Therefore the first stop will probably be the tavern. Alas, there is a bounty hunter waiting – a priestess of an evil god. The protagonist’s sleep is not restful, either. There is a nightmare about Gorion’s death and his old home being sealed. It ends with an ominous voice “You shall learn…”
The protagonist can visit the local fair, where a maiden in stone waits. After being revived, she reveals her name is Branwen and she’s a priestess of the war god. She’s implied to be a sort of a valkyrie – her name, attitude and northern homeland all hint at this. She has been turned into stone by a mage called Tranzig.
Both Kivan and Branwen serve the same purpose – to push us into wanting to learn more. Both of them are strongly tied to the main plot and the further happenings.
A meeting with the mayor reveals Khalid and Jaheira were expected. The problem lies in the mines. There, the party is confronted with tales of devils and disappearing miners and traps.
In Nashkel we can also meet Minsc, a berserker who talks to his hamster – and is therefore not right in the head – and who wants to find his companion, the witch Dynaheir. In the same city we encounter Edwin, a mage who also wishes to find Dynaheir. The difference is that Minsc wants to save her and Edwin wants to kill her. All because their countries are at war with each other.
The iron has been indeed tampered with and the ‘devils’ are puny kobolds. Deep down, a half-orc named Mulahey is found in a lavish chamber. He serves the same god the bounty hunter from Nashkel served – Cyric. Treasure and letters can be found in his chest – and a magic sword. The letters tell of Tranzing – if you met Branwen, the name should be familiar.
The sword belongs to Xan – an elf taken prisoner. He is from Evereska, a far away elven realm and has been sent to investigate the iron crisis. Thus we get the feeling of the importance of the quest.
After the protagonist exits the mines, the cave collapses. Sounds familiar? Also, we are attacked by a force of bounty hunters. They are the first to mention an organization being behind the crisis. Yet another killer for hire awaits us in the city, this time with a particularly boastful call ‘I am Death, come for thee’.
Gorion’s ward must now proceed north, to Beregost. The old man you met on Lion’s Way is there again. This time, he reveals himself to be Elminster – an immensely powerful wizard. For those who know FR, he is a Chosen of Mystra… Tranzig turns out to be a contact for the bandits – he’ll reveal the location of their camp. What a pity Branwen does not recognize him. More letters reveal his master was Tazok – the man, or rather ogre, who killed Kivan’s wife.
The protagonist’s sleep still is not restful – he’s plagued by a wraith of Mulahey and a memory of the mines. The ominous voice is still there, too.
We meet Tazok in person when we arrive at the bandit camp. Alas, Kivan doesn’t recognize him. We’re also robbed of a chance to kill him as he flees. Regardless of whether he came peacefully or with weapons drawn, the protagonist will find Tazok’s tent, in which something important is stored – there are guards on the outside and the inside.
The prisoner and the letter will reveal that the ogre’s master is somewhere in Cloakwood, also, he shall mention the Iron Throne. The forest is north of Candlekeep and filled to the brim with spiders and evil druids, one of whom is a potential companion. Jaheira will not like Faldorn, though.
A well-armed group of bounty hunters awaits us in front of the mines. Apparently somebody had anticipated (or followed) the protagonist’s move. In the mines we can meet Yeslick, a dwarf who was tortured by the Iron Throne – now we have the name of the mysterious organization behind the iron crisis. We shall find Davaeorn at the bottom. He is hiding behind some ingenious traps, probably of dwarven making. Once again, after he’s dead, we’ll find some letters and his cowardly student will tell us that orders came from Baldur’s Gate.
In the city itself we’ll have to help the Flaming Fist. Also, a friend of Khalid and Jaheira’s will point the protagonist to the Iron Throne building. Elminster can be encountered again, this time with cryptic words about the mother of Gorion’s ward.
In the building itself, we learn that Rieltar, the Iron Throne leader, has a son called Sarevok. At the top waits a group of said Sarevok’s accomplices. The letters reveal that the leaders have all gone to… Candlekeep. Therefore the protagonist has to return to the very place he’d started from.
Alas, Candlekeep is no longer as peaceful as it once was. The locals behave weirdly – one, if pressed, reveals himself to be a doppelganger. In the library, which we can enter now, we find prophecies made by the legendary seer and books on the wider world. The protagonist also can meet the Iron Throne leaders and has a choice of whether to kill them or let them live. There’s also Gorion’s room, where his letter reveals the truth of our past and parentage. Soon after we meet a suspicious character, Koveras, the entire party is arrested. In the cell, someone makes a remark about the name being Sarevok, albeit spelled backwards. The party is thrown into a dungeon, where further doppelgangers and traps await – the former can be quite upsetting. Near the exit, there’s another group of killers for hire, with explicit written orders from Sarevok himself.
The protagonist has to go after Sarevok into Baldur’s Gate, all the while being hunted by the Flaming Fist. In the city we meet Tamoko, Sarevok’s lover. (If you recall, she was present at Gorion’s death). She’ll tell us more about his plans and motives. It is now obvious Sarevok is the big bad of the story – we just have to get his diary and confront him. The diary reveals doubtlessly that it was Sarevok who killed Gorion…
The confrontation does reveal Sarevok’s crimes, even though most of the attendees are doppelgangers. He is not allowed to become a Grand Duke of the city. The man fights the protagonist, but then flees. Immediately after, we have no choice but to chase him. There’s an irritating maze, filled with tough skeletons. On the other side, we see an underground city. Tamoko awaits us with her goons – the protagonist has a choice of persuading her to leave and live or to stay and die. This is one of the highlights of the plot.
Sarevok himself is in a temple to the very same dead god who is our father and who is mentioned in the prophecies. Among his accomplices we see Tazok and Angelo, the corrupt guard leader. We have to kill Sarevok – and here the story ends.
Gorion’s ward always has a choice whether to let the prospective companions join him or not. Alas, the companions do not talk much and most of the information is implied or inferred – little is stated directly, usually in the biographies.
Baldur’s Gate II
The protagonist is kidnapped from Baldur’s Gate after the “victory party” for defeating Sarevok. He finds himself in a madman’s dungeon, being tortured. The man mumbles something about true power and godchild. Three staunch companions are imprisoned with Gorion’s ward – Imoen, Jaheira and Minsc. The dungeon is rather boring if not for a room decorated as though for an elf woman and some dryads, and a plane of Air with Sarevok’s sword… and a major Kick the Player/Dropped a Bridge on Him when we discover Khalid’s mutilated corpse. If that weren’t bad, it’s also implied Dynaheir was killed or turned into a vampire in Minsc’s starting dialogue.
We also meet a new character here – Yoshimo. After we escape from the dungeon, Imoen and our captor are imprisoned by mysterious wizards.
The character leaves the Promenade and walks into the slums, where an informant of the Shadow Thieves feeds us all the information necessary, including the name of the wizards’ organization and the name of our captor. Time to get some money to save Imoen…
On the Promenade we can meet an old friend and a new friend (namely Quayle and his ward, Aerie). Also, it is implied that Jaheira knows the city and we even meet several her friends later on.
The entire chapter 2 consists of doing fetch-n-carry quests for a guild we chose (Shadow Thieves vs. mysterious Bodhi – implied to be evil). Then we pay the gold and presto, we sail for Brynnlaw.
Several new prospective companions can be met in Athkatla or outside – note that we can travel, albeit not as freely as in Baldur’s Gate I. There are, among others: Korgan, Anomen, Nalia, Keldorn (mentioned in BGI as Ajantis’s mentor), Haer’dalis. We also meet some old companions – Edwin, Viconia…
The fate of several of our old companions is revealed – it includes Xzar (trying to find Montaron, who’s dead); Garrick (in love with a paladin); Ajantis (killed in an ambush); Faldorn (poisoning the grove that Cernd tries to save, killed in a duel)…
Still, there’s a lot of plot threads unresolved. We never learn what happened to Xan, Branwen, Kivan or Coran, for example.
There is an interesting side-quest in the form of the Windspear Hills and the red dragon Firkraag, who was defeated by Gorion and wants revenge on us. Also, we meet Tazok there.
Hey ho, Brynnlaw awaits! We get there, we get into the Spellhold via killing the Cowled Wizard or playing the madman (Minsc is of great help here). The master of the place leads us on a tour only to end when it turns out he’s Irenicus – the question is, why didn’t the protagonist recognize him, he looks as normal… Plotline Dumb? – and Yoshimo is a traitor.
We escape from Spellhold, we have a chance to get Imoen to join (she’s now a mage in addition to being a thief)… we get a nifty alternate shape. That’s about all. The sailor turns out to be a traitor and we have to find other means of getting out of the island.
As a bonus, we can find Irenicus’s diary here – it isn’t nowhere as informative as Sarevok’s.
We get into the Underdark (with a possible and very annoying way through the Sahuagin City), and we go through a drow city in a magical disguise. Viconia (and others) have brilliant dialogues here.
Back to Athkatla to kill Bodhi on orders from an elven prince Elhan. Elhan fills all the missing pieces of the puzzle for us, even if there’s not much of mystery left, if there was any to begin with. Imoen gets her soul back.
We are able to get into the elven city of Suldanesselar only to find it in war. Irenicus is trying to destroy the Tree of Life and we have to stop him. It is revealed that Irenicus was once an elf and a lover of the elven queen Ellesime (who is mentioned in passing in Baldur’s Gate I).
After we defeat Irenicus, we get sucked into the Hell and have to get through several trials to be able to fight him again. The trials are pretty straightforward and you just have to stick to the good or to the bad choices. The most interesting one involves Sarevok.
That’s it for Baldur’s Gate II.
The protagonist also suffers from dreams, but they are much more clear than the ones in Baldur’s Gate I. There is blood and destruction and Irenicus egging the character on. Also, Imoen is often the scapegoat.
The mood is easily destroyed by the cutscenes which show clearly what happens to Irenicus and Imoen, even when the character has no means of knowing it.
There is, consequently, none of the mystery that played such a great role in Baldur’s Gate I.
The focus in Baldur’s Gate II seems to have shifted from the plot itself to the companions, who have much more to say. Their backgrounds are also much more clear. For example, we learn that Jaheira was a child of the nobles…
There’s even four romances available, three for male protagonist and one for women. Alas, Anomen is a jerkass and has a tendency to piss the players off. The men got the best choice – Jaheira, Khalid’s widow; Viconia, the drow; and the newcomer, Aerie.
It is not the end of the saga of the Child of Bhaal, yet. The expansion pack, alas, consists mostly of hack-and-slash, killing the Five (other Bhaalspawn)… and then the cleric that orchestrated the entire war between the Bhaalspawn.
There’s a nifty prophecy involved. Also there’s a revelation of our distant past involving Gorion and our mother, Alianna, which contradicts Gorion’s letter from Baldur’s Gate I.
The only good thing here is being able to get… drums please!… Sarevok to join us.
In conclusion, the longer the saga gets, the further it goes, the worse in terms of the plot it becomes. The mystery and the feeling of the plot have become degraded in favor of other improvements. Even the mods, which are plentiful for Baldur’s Gate II, cannot save the poorly done excuse-of-a-plot of the latter part of the Baldur’s Gate series.