May 8, 2011

Let's Play Baldur's Gate - Part 19: "The Duke's Speech"

As I said, the solution to the gamebreaking bug I've run into may be available through sidequests, namely the pair of sidequests Scar, the Flaming Fist captain, presented us with back when we first met, on the bridge of Baldur's Gate. As those were, apparently, stealth missions, I was reluctant to do them, but it seems that I have no choice - most playthroughs I read mention Scar "leading" you to Lord Eltan, the guy I need the book from, which I can only assume is done through another "teleportation" to the required map, and may be the only way to access it, get the book and move the main quest forward. And. even if it doesn't work and this ends up my last BG post, it gives me something to write about.

And so, the access to Candlekeep is denied to us. But we won't sit idly by while our enemies move their nefarious plans ever further. There is one more venue we haven't researched that may bring us information about the goings-on in the Iron Throne, and that venue is located in Baldur's Gate. The Seven Suns trading guild, as well as the Merchant League, have given the Iron Throne permission to use their assets for trade and distribution of iron (and establish a complete monopoly on it in the process), presumably to alleviate the widespread shortages caused by the same, but something tells me two trading organizations won't hand their keys to the market to a third one so willingly, at least not without a gratuitous amount of backroom scheming.

We've been given a permission, of sorts, to investigate the situation and thus travel to Baldur's Gate and, after a brief nap in one of the many seedy taverns of the city, go into the Seven Suns compound.
You can tell they're merchants because they're fat

One of the merchants at the door greets us. When I tell him I want to see the manager, he makes a strange face and abruptly tells us that the manager is unavailable and we better leave, but cracks after I repeat the same question again (and drop the manager's name - Jhasso - even though I have no idea where I learned it), and tells us that Jhasso has been missing for a few days and that he suspects shapeshifters have infiltrated the organization, as he saw other traders "change faces". We've seen a doppelganger at work, impersonating a liason from the Grand Dukes, back in the Iron Throne tower, so this makes our suspicions about their involvement more valid. We ditch the stealthy approach and start sweeping the building.

We run into more merchants, which take a strange interest in my name. The most direct approach is the effective one, for once, as once I tell them about myself and my adventuring buddies, they drop their disguises and try to "feast" on us.

Apparently, the Iron Throne has killed and replaced absolutely everyone who worked here, except the guy at the entrance, as we fight off crowds of doppelgangers. Fortunately, they aren't much of a threat, so we quickly clear the place and check the basement. We find Jhasso, who has apparently been imprisoned here since the shapeshifter agents took over, and talk to him (but not before we pilfer all the crates and chests for loot, of cource). He doesn't tell us much new, just that the monsters infiltrated and took over his business a few months ago, and have been keeping him in the basement and torturing him for information.

This is such a grand occasion it gets it's own pre-rendered cinematic
That's the first "mystery" dealt with. We move on to the Merchant League. The door is locked, and the lock - protected from lockpicking and the "Knock" spell by plot armor, so we have to find an alternate entrance. Adjacent buildings don't appear to be connected with the compound, so we do what adventurers have been doing since the beggining of times and go through the Sewers.

We meet (and fight) a lot of interesting characters while traversing the foul-smelling grand halls of sludge.

Schlumpsha the Sewer King...

...Ratchild the overconfident kobold...

...Shvertszche the, um, talking, uh...zombie?

...and, of course, legions of undead and fucking annoying spiders. However the entrance is nowhere to be seen, so I consult Google and find out that the Merchant League quest is not actually given by Scar, but by that noble hunter guy we've killed with the druids a while back, so I've been wasting my time trying to find an entrance to a quest that has been closed off forever.

I report back to Scar, get a smattering of cash and XP and get the next quest in the chain, ironically involving the Sewers. The good captain asks us to look into the recent disappearances of people and find the person (or creature) responsible, and advises to check the eastern sewers.

We quickly clean up the sewers from giant centipedes, find the lone Ogre Mage responsible for the mess and steamroll him. Back to Scar. Scar sends us back to the sewers to find the body of some noble family's daughter, so that she may have a proper burial. Wow, he's milking my precarious position for all it's worth, doesn't he? Back to the sewers, get the body, back to Scar, who takes the corpse off our hands and walks away somewhere to "finish some paperwork", body in tow... Yyyeaaah. He tells us to meet him at the entrance to the Flaming Fist barracks to discuss the Iron Throne situtaion (and, hopefully, get to Duke Eltan already).

We go outside and talk to Scar. This is it. The moment of truth. This is the part where the journey will continue or end forever. This is.....


Everything goes as planned. Scar, through a cutscene, takes us to Duke's room upstairs. The Duke is onto the machinations of the Iron Throne, and sends us to find conclusive evidence of their ill intent in their tower, which won't be the first time we were hired to do a job we have already done. I tell him about Rieltar and Candlekeep, he gives me the book and "teleports" us to the gatekeeper, marking the start of Chapter Seven.

Time to get to the bottom of this! We go into the keep and, after a token nap in at the inn, storm into the central library.

There, we are greeted by Karan, the Player Character's tutor, who speaks of a strange fellow, Koveras, who has been reciting prophecies of Alundo (which are important, I guess), but abruptly left for another part of the building when he heard us coming. I keep asking people in the library and soon learn that the Iron Throne people have been meeting up with representatives of Amn on the third floor every day since they arrived to the keep.

We start going up the ladder. On second floor, Koveras himself approaches us. He knows much about the PC and late Gorion, even going so far as to recite the exact circumstances of his death, which is strange. He gives me a ring of protection and advises to strike the leaders of the Iron Throne now, while they are least protected, which would be useful if I was planning to have a tea party with them.

On the third floor, we find the ones we have been looking for, as Rieltar himself asks me to get a move on and stop eavesdropping. Instead of directly engaging him, I try the sneaky approach and get Imoen to spy on them. Unfortunately they don't actually say anything, they just stand around and wait for me to start a fight, so all it accomplishes is getting a sniper behind enemy lines.

We drop the pleasantries, walk up to the conspirators, inconspicuously buff up with spells and get ready for a showdown.

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