We find a bunch of scrolls, some magic items mainly good for mages, potions, wands and so on and so forth. We also find the obligatory correspondence containing more info and leads on the Iron Throne. The letters report further progress on the grand iron shortage scheme and talk about additional side-operations. Throne agents are everywhere, the letters mention Tazok assigned to lead another mercenary camp in the Wood of Sharp Teeth (must be a lovely place), an agent placed among Seven Suns traders and the main base of operations running in an old noble estate inside Baldur's Gate. Since Baldur's Gate is the only location we have marked on the map, it shall be our next stop.
We also notice an apprentice hiding in a sideroom. Well, we've "noticed" him before the fight with his master ended, we've just sort of been hanging around ignoring him.
|"Ehm... would you mind telling us where the loot is?"|
As is becoming a good tradition, I hear him out, don't learn anything useful and let him go. He does tell me the Baldur's Gate base is located in the southwestern part of the city, but, as experience shows, directional aid is about as useful as randomly poking at the map and declating: "somewhere around that area".
We go back to the first level, find the magic seal and use Davaeorn's key to flood the mine.
With that out of the way, we're off to Baldur's Gate!
We spend a night at Friendly Arm Inn, unload some of our trophies at the Innkeeper and move north.
We meet a Waterdeep paladin Ajantis on the road. He claims to have come to battle the bandit infestation and is, of course, another companion I won't take. Geeze, how many party members are there in this game? I must have seen more than a dozen so far, and I don't think I'm even halfway through the story! I dread to think how many times you have to replay the game to use all of them.
We also come across a small farmstead. I remember that I haven't done any sidequests in a while and approach the owner when...
|Remind me to never go picnicking around these parts. Naps are perfectly fine though.|
GIANT ACID-SPITTING BUGS! Well, okay, to be fair they aren't that dangerous. Party members easily dodge the spit and pummel the bugs into the ground, allowing Lexter to add their heads to his ever-increasing disgusting trophy collection (bet you anything there is someone out there who will buy them).
I approach a lonesome farmer who has been standing there terrified the whole time. He recovers admirably fast though, making no mention of the incident. His name is Brun and he is worried about his son, who went looking for their missing cattle, a seemingly futile exercise given the kind of critters we've just witnessed inhabiting these lands, and never came back. The farmer suggests we look to the west, where some strange trails were recently spotted. He immediately says he can't offer any reward, but experience is reward enough for me! Oh, and the happy smiles of a reunited family, I guess.
We go west, fight some more SyFy Original Movie rejects and find a... huge hole in the ground?
|Now I just need some rope and Rad-X...oh wait, wrong game.|
We descend the hole and find some more terrifying(ly ineffectual) green bugs to fight. Each one brings the party whopping 1000 xp, but my gamer senses are tingling - whenever there is a featureless cave full of giant bugs, it's reasonable to expect a Bug Queen boss fight at the end, so I try to stay sharp. In one of the many twisted passages, we find a hole in the wall, filled with treasure. It contains some enchanted items and... Brun's dead son?
|Another one for the collection!|
After fighting the urge to rob the grieving father's house, and the desire to go back into the bug caves and find the queen, we get back on track and keep moving to Baldur's Gate until we reach Wyrm's Crossing, which is a huge bridge connecting Baldur's Gate with the mainland. Some farmer initiates conversation before we get a chance to cross it, and complains about someone polluting the surrounding forest. I don't know what you can pollute a forest with in a medieval fantasy setting, but take note nonetheless.
At the entrance, a single Flaming Fist guard asks for a fee of 6 gold per party member (if you are going to charge entrance fees this weak, why even bother?), and inquires about our "point of origin". I confess that it's Candlekeep and prepare for an inevitable stream of threats and needless hostility, but instead get to chat with the guard commander (who has apparently been so eager to talk to me, that he was willing to stand by the gate for days, waiting for us to show up). He introduces himself as
|This is why I love RPGs - you're beheading giant bugs with a sword one minute and decide the socio-economical climate another.|
|Baldur's Gate - here I come!|
|If you are going to use "Thou" and "Thee", put it everywhere or don't bother!|
But let's keep our priorities straight - first things first - SHOPPING!