Apr 26, 2011

Let's Play Baldur's Gate - Part 18: "Bookworm Adventures"

I apologise for the delay, caused by laziness lack of sleep timetravel anomalies.

We are at the gates of Candlekeep, the fortress-library which was the tutorial home of my Player Character's childhood. Inside, the insidious forces of the Iron Throne are negotiating with their as-of-yet unknown, but nonetheless sinister, allies. And we can't get in because the guard is asking for a valuable book as an overly-specific, yet awfully vague entrance fee. Can't we just pay in cash, and let YOU pick up whatever books you want on your own time? Kinda busy saving the world here, pal. No? Fine! We'll be right back.

28 hours later, we're in Baldur's Gate scouring every bookstore we can find, taking everything that has letters on it. Turns out it's actually easier to buy enough weapons and armor to arm a battalion of marauders than it is to stock a half-decent home library, which, I guess, is in accordance with the "medieval" theme. I briefly consider buying all of the cursed scrolls from Lucky Aello's Discount Store and making a "book" of my own, but it'd probably be cheaper to just buy every single book in Baldur's Gate.

Not that there is an abundance of books on the shelves, but I know a few recently vacated houses and Iron Throne offices where we can look.

We check out the (ex)Thieves Guild but, apparently, burglars and thugs aren't big fans of literature, as we don't find anything. We search the late wizard Ramazith's home (I guess it's true that the murderer always returns to the crime scene), ascending his nine-story ladder, trying not to make eye contact with the monsters we couldn't be bothered to kill, only to find a bunch of boring history books. Even the Iron Throne library doesn't bring us anything.

All these books on the shelves? Decorative.
In desperation, we start breaking into noble mansions and confiscating every tome we can find, inquisition-style. And the first mansion we try brings a sudden surprise - a gang of ogre magi attacks us, claiming to have been offered a ten thousand gold bounty by "the son of Murder". It just goes to show: when you need to find a band of ogre magi, you spend hours searching forests and farmsteads and return with nothing, but when a band of ogre magi needs to find you, you practically jump into their hands.

Of course, the fight with three mages turns into another annoying clusterfuck. Everyone is getting feared and stricken by lightning, Resist Fear doesn't work, etcetera, etcetera. Reload, buff, haste, try again.
Finally, we search Tremain Belde'ar's house. He and his wayward son still haven't returned from their fun trip to parts unknown (probably the Infinite Pain Dimension), so we freely rifle through his stuf (again) and find ONE book which doesn't have the word "History" in it's title, so it has to be rare.

People of Baldur's Gate really love History.
I send the party to check Ragefast's house, just to be sure, predictably find nothing but Stephanie Meyer books and old issues of the Mad magazine, and hike back to candlekeep with our one decent trophy. And once again, the bibliophile tell us to go find something better for him to read. Fine! We'll go to Beregost.

We visit the ol' Thalantyr, who even offers us a ring made from the cursed claw of an ancient beast, but no books!

At this point I gave up and Google'd, and it turns out that you need to recieve the "tome of great value" from none other than the Grand Duke Eltan. Oh joy of joys, he is the duke I couldn't get to because ladder doesn't fucking work, no doubt due to some gamebreaking bug. Frankly, I don't know what to do. I'll try to patch the game, find some sort of a fix or use debug tools, but if I won't succeed I'll have to abandon the LP and try a different game. Bummer.


Supah_Ewok said...

Yeah, I never finished Baldur's Gate. I had gotten farther than you, past Candlekeep, and was supposed to talk to Scar, the guard captain whoever.

Yeah, he must've taken a vacation to the Astral Plane, because he wasn't anywhere. Couldn't find him. Even googled it, and he wasn't where it said he should be. Broke the game, because you could not proceed on the main quest without this conversation.

On a side note, I've never had any problems with Baldur's Gate 2, a far superior game, wink wink, nudge nudge.

Someone said...

I appreciate your errant winking and nudging, but I don't think I can take so much Baldur's Gate in one go. I must have spent 3 months on this one and, frankly, has started getting a little tired of it, and the sequel is probably even longer, so regardless of the outcome of this little conundrum I'll LP at least one other game before I move onto BG2.

As for Scar: while searching for a solution for my problem, I've seen a guide that says an Iron Throne agent can kill him at an earlier point in the game.

Anonymous said...

Why don't ye just create the book via old schoool cheat codes. Just type the book of value into exsistence.

Someone said...

@Anon: That's what I was thinking about. If there is an editor and/or debug tools, it should be possible to find the book's id and obtain it.

Supah_Ewok said...

Don't know if that's what happened to Scar or not, but my quest journal never updated to say to talk to someone else, so either we have bad game design or he just disappeared. I understand about not playing BG2 immediately after this, because yes, it's looooooong. However, there aren't nearly as many fetch quests, and the majority of the sidequests form into distinct plotlines within the game. So, there's not as much of what I call gamer fatigue from just running around. I'd say there are 15 of these or so, and they're designed to give you big payouts at the end of each of them to satisfy the plot of the 2nd chapter. Also, you start the game level 7-9 depending on class and if you import your character from BG or Tales, so there's not a lot of frustration at the beginning of the game from your fighter not being able to take a wack.

Anyways, if you do do another game, would it be an older RPG like this, or an RPG in general? Guess what I'm asking is if your limiting your LP's to a certain genre/ subgenre, or not.

Someone said...

@Ewok: My "official policy" on LP'ing games is for them to be fun to LP, although RPGs seem to provide the most material.

A game has to have something to riff on. I can't write about games like Crysis 2 ("I shoot some dudes, run through some scenery, shoot some dudes again, now dudes on my HUD are talking about my motivation for killing the next batch of dudes"), won't pick most RTSs or tactical games due to scarce story and the sheer amount of tedious-yet-important minutia I'd have to write about (I was planning on doing X-Com, but describing the goings-on in the Battlescape would require so much repetitive writing and screenshot work, it'd just be easier to leave it to video LPs). That leaves me with RPGs and TBSs, and TBS games have barely any story elements so I'd have to make up my own story, which is hard.

That said, there are a few oddball games I was planning to try. I was considering Space Rangers or even Pathologic, although I'm not sure either I or you, the readers, are ready for this particular chestnut. Fallout 2 would probably be the easiest choice though.