Feb 27, 2011

Let's Play Baldur's Gate - Part 8: "The One Where We Kill A Bunch Of Guys"

Now that we've killed the bandit contact in Beregost, it was time to trash their raiding camp in the north-eastern woods.

We start moving from Friendly Arm Inn, and, before long, get waylaid by something largely unrelated to our goal. A druid sitting in a small camp accuses us of killing his druid buddies. The guy has clearly lost his marbles, and won't listen to reason, so we have to take him down. He summons a bunch of animals, which is not smart since Minsc has a "charm animal" class ability. While we are fighting, another druid comes to help. As he explains to us after the battle, the guy was his friend before the local bandits, the ones we're after, killed all the other druids in their group. He witnessed the slaughter and went nuts, and is now attacking every bipedal creature he sees. The druid tells us to go further north, and we keep moving until we find the "Bandit Camp" location.

We follow a conspicuous road and notice a bunch of igloo-looking tents in the distance, but don't charge them.
No, that's just what they EXPECT us to do. We follow the road until we hit the northern border of the zone and then go east, entering the camp from it's rear and taking out auxiliary groups of hobgoblins, before moving on to the main group waiting near the entrance. Rounding up all the loot is actually much more difficult that killing those bandits (I guess putting all the baubles and coins one at a time, in a bunch of different burlap sacks and crates is more "Feng Shui" than, say, piling them in one place in a great big hoard). After a while I get lazy and start sending party members out alone, just so I can cover more ground and speed up the clearing of the camp, which almost gets me killed as I miss the Miniboss guy with a +1 Hammer in a crowd of mooks. He actually gives us a what for but, thankfully, goes down without killing any of the party members.

See if you can find his corpse!
Half the party is red, so we take a nap near the fresh, warm maimed corpses, and proceed to the biggest tent in camp. It is surrounded by snipers, one of them comes over and officially declares calamitous intent, which seems polite but redundant since the other ones have already started shooting us. We make quick work of them, painstakingly clear out all the little chests and crates (why do you spend 50 gold on a chest if you are just going to keep 3 coins in it!?) and admire the architecture, before entering The Big Tent.

Look at that thing! This tent is so pimp it has A GAZEBO!
Inside we get jumped by 3 guys: a fighter, a mage and a gnoll (with a hobgoblin sniper hiding further in). It takes 2 tries to kill the mage but the other two fold like wet cardboard.

After the fight is over I make a beeline for The Big Chest but, unfortunately, am blocked by the bandits' prisoner named Ender Sai. He asks me if it's time for his execution, apparently confusing my group with his captors, which is strange since, while we certainly look the part, he has just witnessed us murder all of his guards. Which also raises the question why haven't the bandits killed him yet, but then again, he's a main story NPC so whatever.

"These aren't no ordinary bandits!". What are you, Canadian?
Apparently the bandits are actually two mercenary groups - the Chill (hobgoblins) and the Black Talons (gnolls), hired by Tazok to further the region's iron shortage, just like we suspected before. The leaders of both groups think their orders come from Zhentarim (it's a city...I think), but Ender is certain that he never gave Zhantarim a reason to capture him. The only group he can think of that had a beef with him is the Iron Throne, and that's what we should investigate next. Ender offers no additional intel on it but says that he knows Tazok has been frequently visiting Cloakwood lately, before he runs away. Who the hell was that guy, anyway? Either way, we get our next destination.

The plot thickens.


Anonymous said...

Nice synopsis of the plot finally I know what is going on
I was to lazy reading back when I played BG
I can't wait for the next issue!

bucaneer said...

That is no ordinary reference!

Also, nothing like a good nap in open air on cold hard ground to heal open wounds, broken bones, magical burns, etc. It is important to note, however, that the simplified system of the game doesn't track other major after-effects of combat, such as the kobold stench. It's generally easier to fix a dismemberment or two than to get rid of that.

Someone said...

@Anon: There was a plot synopsis? I did not know that.

@bucaneer: No, it's actually a touch of realism. You see: all adventurers, due to the nature of their trade, constantly emit a foul and viscious odor representing the combined fragrance of awful smells from the last 5 dungeons they visited, one of which is usually some form of a sewer. That's why the innkeepers always charge outrageous prices for most terrible accommodations and everyone seems intent on sending fresh faced heroes out on nonsensical fetchquests and suicidal dungeoncrawls, miles away from their place of residence. Which inevitably leads to them gaining a stench even worse than before, creating a vicious cycle of social pressure, loneliness and smelling of ogre entrails.

bucaneer said...

That is actually pretty much what I meant. The game engine makes you believe that health, mana, XP, item stats and so on are important metrics of your progress, whereas in reality, much of the narrative is shaped by something as ordinary as body odour (of extraordinary quality and intensity). The reason why the game doesn't have any kind of "smell meter" is because, on the one hand, it would be depressing for the player to look at, and on the other - because it can be reasonably estimated to stay at a constant level of "beyond ridiculous" throughout the game.

Since it can be assumed that your party will be surrounded by a thick wide cloud of more stinking substances and stench-producing life forms than is currently known to science, all NPCs it encounters can be assumed to be drugged into utter incompetence and ineptitude before you even get to talk to them, and all wildlife - trying to kill you at all times. Indeed, a triumph of realistic game design!

Supah_Ewok said...

Let's see just how nerdy I can be. I know a bit of the Forgotten Realms setting, and if I remember correctly, The Zhentarim are a semi-secret evil organization whose leadership consists of clerics of Bane and Cyric, and wizards. Their base, Zhentil Keep, is somewhere by the Moonsea, which is a ways off to the north then a bit to the west of Baldur's Gate. They want to conquer quite a chunk of the Faerunian North, and like to play economics in the form of illegal smuggling, slavery, and banditry to soften up their targets.

Also, I find additional humor in your discussion of heroes' Smell-o-meters. Baldur's Gate 2, made by Bioware, mostly, not Black Isle,(I think it was their first game, actually)allows you to romance with a select few of your possible party members. Yeah, that's where Bioware's interparty sex fascination began. It's tough to imagine how the romance would go with that smell.

"Oh! What's that fragrance you're wearing?"

"Chanel Sensuelle Ogre de Guts. What do you think of it?"

"It's so wonderfully horrendous!"