I returned to the Sword Coast, the setting for the series of Black Isle Studios PC games called ‘Baldur’s Gate’. I am playing through the introduction dungeon of ‘Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn’, the Enhanced Edition (‘BG2EE’), pointing out the differences between BG2EE and the original version from nearly 20 years ago, and which of thee features I like and don’t like. This is Part 3, where my character, a Human Ranger (Archer kit) named “Crimson”, and his comrades – the Half-Elf Fighter/Druid named Jaheira, the Human Ranger Berserker named Minsc (and his trusty Miniature Giant Space hamster, Boo!), and the Human Mage/Thief, and long-time childhood friend, Imoen – continue their search for freedom from the dungeon.
Day 1, Hour 18
We are deeper into this complex.
We are in rough shape.
But we are alive….!
One of the most widely used spells, and one that I recommend every party’s spell casters have, is Identify. Identify does exactly what it says: identifies magical objects whose natures and descriptions are unknown. The interfaces did not change much, other than some minor cosmetic changes:
Memorization of spells (for your Mage) remains one click of the left and right mouse button: right-click on the spell scroll, left-click on “Memorize”. Successful memorization is not guaranteed, unless you are playing in “Easy” or “Story” modes.
We had left the chamber with the Djinn and worked our way through a couple of long hallways. Imoen and Jaheira filled me in on some of our shared history that I was struggling to remember. They had just started when we stumbled into a band of Goblins:
Goblins, normally, would be outmatched in melee by Minsc alone, let alone adding Jaheira and myself. Goblins with bows and arrows…. against an unsuspecting party?
We fought off the Goblins but nearly lost both Minsc and Jaheira. A rebounding Lightning Bolt from Imoen took out 3 of the Goblins… after it hit Minsc and Jaheira. We had to stop for 16 hours: to cast healing spells, memorize and cast them again, then repeat a second time. Imoen also adjusted her spellbook; it wasn’t her fault, about the lightning bolt, no matter her feelings.
After licking our wounds, we continued on. We came to a right turn; there was a door to our left and a door to the right, down a short hallway. We went to the door to the right, first:
Inside the door, there was a small, circular room. There were a few chests of varying sizes along the walls; there were also a few glass cabinets and cages against the walls. In the center of the room was a long, wooden table. There was another Golem, standing behind the table. At the door, a Mephit hovered. A few moments later, a Mephit no longer hovered. Stupid, annoying Mephits.
We tried to communicate with the Golem. It was a Sewage Golem – never of that before then – but couldn’t do anything without its Activation Stone (“I have no eyes to see you, Master”):
We left the Sewage Golem room, went back in the hallway, and went back to the door at the bend in the hallway.
Inside was a gigantic rectangular room. In our immediate field of view, there were large glass containers; about 10-12 feet tall, these containers were full of some kind of liquid. A few of them had bodies of different sizes and types in them; no one of the bodies were moving or appeared to be alive. There were 2 larger but not-as-tall containers. These 2 were more of a spherical shape and each had what I hope was a dead, floating monstrosity, full of eye stalks and teeth, in them. ANOTHER blasted Mephit attacked us!
After dispatching this latest Mephit, Imoen started whimpering, turning ghostly white. I was afraid that that Mephit had poisoned; it was something different… and more chilling:
Imoen and I have been here before. Whoever captured us…. he used this room as some kind of experimental chamber. Whenever he was finished doing whatever it was…. he just discarded them…. in these containers.
He will pay. For ALL OF THIS.
If you hover the mouse over an item, you can sometimes get info on the item by pressing ‘Tab’ or by clicking the ‘?’ on the side panels of the screen. With the snapshot below, the ‘Tab’ describes what exactly we see in the below picture:
Yeah, I totally agree, Imoen. This isn’t an easy piece to sleep in.
We were refreshed and ready to move on. Boo was getting squirrelly.
We left that nightmare of a room and headed back to the hallway. As we headed back towards the Sewage Golem room, Imoen spotted a doorway that we missed before!, off to our left! We started to enter then Imoen stopped us. She slipped into the shadows and slid ahead, keeping close to the walls. After a few minutes, Imoen returned. She reported that there was a door about 1/4 of the way down, a wide hallway leading off of the left side, and a stone doorway at the end of the hallway. There are at least 6 Goblins in the left hallway.
We decided to try the closest door, first. It opened onto a small room, little more than a large closet. There were two more Golems inside. These Golems were smaller than the Sewage Golem and of a different material: that Golem looked like it was mode of stone but these 2 looked like they were made of clay. We tried to communicate with them but to no avail.
We left the Golems in their room and returned to the hall, figuring out how to deal with the Goblins.
These aren’t the best combat techniques but they are some techniques that work for me:
- Block off hallways and doorways with summoned monsters and/or your strongest fighters. I don’t usually use Summoned Monsters – my mistake, in hindsight; instead, Minsc and whatever strong, heavily armored melee fighter I have (Keldorn, Mazzy, my character, etc.) will usually do the blocking. Jaheira (usually with a sling) and/or Imoen (arrows) and/or Nalia (arrows) and/or Mazzy (arrows; she starts with 3 spots in Short Bow) will be on range and spell attacks. The enemies’ archers and spell casters usually can’t get to my ranged attackers due to the threat at the door. As long as someone is healing the blockers, you should survive the fight.
- At lower levels, Imoen and Nalia’s spellcasting and thief abilities can be lifesavers. Even if you play as an Evil-aligned party, either character can be an asset. Both characters can cast 4th-level spells, so each can have in their books big-hitting area of effect (AOE) spells in the Prologue (Imoen) and Chapters 1-3 (Nalia). This means that they can potentially memorize and cast “Color Spray” (different effects, depending on the caster’s level), “Fireball”, “Lightning Bolt”, or “Stinking Cloud” (which can knock out anyone that enters the area of the cloud), plus “Improved Invisibility” (can attack without coming out of invisibility for a few seconds). Have Imoen or Nalia try to Hide in Shadows; if they can’t, cast Improved Invisibility. Sneak up close to a group of enemy and cast your AOE spell of choice; “Fireball” is a great Goblin-killer. Run out of site, try to hide/cast I.I., and repeat, if you have the spell(s) memorized. You can clear an entire room or hallway out, with your front line fighters taking almost no damage.
- Have a character or 2 use the AI Scripts. When I originally owned this game, I didn’t tinker with scripts. With the Enhanced Edition, each character comes with a script that’s seemingly tailored to them: Imoen immediately casts Stoneskin on herself, then switches to ranged attacks, among other actions; Jaheira will automatically heal an ally, if they drop below 30%, plus she will attempt to cast Doom (reduces Saving Throws by 1) or Charm Person or Mammal on opponents; Minsc will melee attack the first enemy he sees. That can be a problem: Minsc might rush off to fight an enemy… and run into a group of 8 Goblins. You might want to manually control Minsc.
We settled on using Imoen as a ‘living bomb’, so to speak: she would sneak around the corner, cast “Fireball” at the group (her Agility should be enough to dodge the blast radius), then run back to the group, having any survivors chase her.
It worked like a charm.
Imoen saw 6 Goblins in the hallway and another 8 around a short corner. Her Fireball killed 5 of the first 6 and 4 of the back 8. An arrow from her killed that 6th Goblin. As she ran around the corner, giggling to herself, Jaheira and I picked off the other 4 Goblins with sling stone and beautiful arrow. Minsc was a little salty that he didn’t cleave something.
“Be patient, Minsc”, Jaheira soothed. “I have a feeling that we will find plenty of other Goblins down here.”
After making sure that the rest of the hallways were clear, we returned to the door and entered. We were not prepared for what we saw:
We found Rielev. He wasn’t in a cage; he was in a jar, forgotten by his ‘master’:
We removed Rielev’s power cells, granting him the released he so very wanted and deserved.
Part 4 will deal with the aftermath of getting Rielev’s power cells, plus note any other changes that I might encounter.