Jan 20, 2011

Let's Play Baldur's Gate - Part One

After the character creation is done, the game shows the 3d intro movie. The animation is ridiculously awful, models look like they are being controlled by a hungover puppeteer with involuntary finger movements. But hey, it's 1998, when people had to use horses to power their computers and somehow lived without the great advancements of modern bling-mapping (savages, I know!).

 We are introduced to the main villain, chasing some guy in a pretty pimp suit of armor. The guy begs for mercy but, of course, gets thrown off a roof.

Then a window with a static background shot appears, with text scrolling up, slower than it really should, and a narrator, with a surprisingly young and un-dramatic voice, giving you the usual RPG rundown: you are %username%, an orphan raised by your foster father Gorion in Candlekeep, a small fortress guarding a huge library. You've spent all 20 years of your life here, running various fetch quests. But today Gorion suddenly decided it's been a while since his last road trip, gave you some spare change (140g) and sent you to pick up some traveling essentials (which is to say armor and implements of violence).

Just like any good fantasy adventure, ours starts in an inn. I talk with the barkeep (who, apparently, doubles as an arms dealer), buy a bastard sword and a chainmail, go talk with a pair of nobles staying in one of the rooms, who show amazing hospitality by having a nice chat with the heavily armed man who just barged into their quarters, instead of calling the guards. I'll be missing that attitude when I barge into other people's houses later on in the game.

I also talk to the wizard near the fireplace, and get my very first fetchquest. How exciting! I spend the rest of my stay in Candlekeep looking for the guy who is supposed to give me an "identify" scroll for him (some mage he is, needs a scroll to cast a trivial level 1 spell). As I run around the fortress, I accidentally start the group combat tutorial, get 3 more fetch quests and fight some rats.

That's how you know who the main protagonist is

Having gotten some additional cash from fetchquests, I grow bored of the place and go talk to Gorion and stumble into a young lass called Imoen. She's an obvious "Rogue" party member, but I can't recruit her just yet, so we chat and I leave her be.

I talk to Gorion and we finally hit the road. I wonder, how quickly is he going to get killed?

As we enter some nondescript woods, a bunch of thugs approaches us and their leader asks Gorion to "hand over his ward". Apparently it means that he wants me, so Gorion tells me to run away and, wouldn't you know it!, stays behind fighting the thugs.

He gives as good as he gets, but runs out of spells and goes into melee. That works out about as well as you might imagine.

Well, THAT didn't take very long!
After some awkward flailing (the fight happens within the game engine and, apparently, with legitimate dice rolls and saving throws, so it takes a while for either of the opponents to connect a strike), the old mage falls over, marking the start of chapter 2.

I find myself camping out on the road about 15 meters away from yesterday's slaughter (I guess the bad guy couldn't see more than 2 meters ahead of him in that Sauron helmet of his, and left me unmolested).

Imoen! Whatever are YOU doing here?! I act surprised and take the thief into my party (not that I have a choice, she sticks around no matter what you answer). I contemplate whether or not I should give my foster father a proper adventurer burial: take all his stuff and leave his naked corpse for the wolves to take care of; but the probability of running into the same group of brigands stops me from honoring the tradition and, with a heavy heart, I decide to come back later. As we go down the road, a fat man approaches us and tells me about two strange men on the crossroad ahead. I find them about 10 meters away and we have a chat.

These men are strange indeed, offering me free stuff like that. I take their potions, which they immediately use as an excuse to join my party and give me a quest to go to Nashkel and figure out what is causing the iron shortage in the mines. They are a halfling Fighter/Thief and a human Mage, and they are both of Evil alignment. I'm sure I won't regret hiring them later on. We travel through some more woods and come across an odd looking old man.

I answer his questions and he leaves me alone, Probably just a random NPC. Finally we arrive at the, surprisingly well fortified, Friendly Arm Inn.

As we look for the entrance, a robed man approaches us. Ah, must be one of those "friends" Gorion asked me to meet before he got killed!

I have a good feeling about this!

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