This is Part 4 of the walk through of the Introduction dungeon of “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Enhanced Edition”, 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 that they found themselves trapped in.
Part 3 ended with the discovery of Rielev and the deactivation of the power cells that were keeping him alive in some kind of holding tank.
We were all still shaken by the encounter with Rielev but we continued on. We exited Rielev’s room, turned right, into another series of hallways, with Goblins waiting for us at the end of a dark corridor. We took care of them fairly easily.
We came across a large, oaken door, set at the end of a hallway. I opened the door and Imoen slipped in. A short moment later, I hear Imoen chanting softly… then WHOOOOOMMSHHH!! A bright orange glow streaked away from the doorway, followed by a massive explosion! Squeals sounded briefly. Imoen came back out, smoking a little bit, and announced that the room was clear.
We were greeted to the unique smell of charred flesh, smoldering clothes, and burnt Goblin bodies. A Mephit erratically hovered towards us, until Imoen finished it off with an arrow to its face. Once the haze of smoke cleared somewhat, we discovered that we were in one of the largest libraries I’d ever seen, outside of Candlekeep. There were rows and rows of books, scrolls, and tomes, stacked on shelves taller than myself and Minsc.
There were Histories of the North; books about the Time of Troubles; maps of Sambria, the Sword Coast, and even Calisham; myths and legends; I even saw a volume of Volo’s Traveling Guide! On a few of the shelves were vials and small bottles of various potions; we took 2 of those that resembled Healing Potions, plus one in a small vial that had a milky liquid inside. Jaheira recognized that one as a Haste Potion.
We left the library at the northern end. The hallway branched to the right, went a few dozen feet, then turned right again. There was a large doorway – no door – that led into a gloomy, dark room. 2 figures, previously standing at the doorway, spotted us and ran into the room. We followed them but I could feel Jaheira starting to cast something. Inside the room, there were 5 figures, a foot or so shorter than Imoen, with grey beards and balding heads on 2 of them. Dwarves! All but one were heavily armored with what looked like chain mail and plate mail. One of them was wearing a golden-colored hybrid of chain mail and maybe banded mail? Two of them had nasty-looking crossbows. The one in the golden armor stepped forward:
The fight was on!
Jaheira steered the battle in our favor with a successful “Charm Person or Mammal” spell-casting on Ilyich; she then sent him after the other group’s Mage. The spell only lasted a few moments but Ilyich managed to get a couple of powerful hits on that Mage – I finished him off with a couple of arrows.
Minsc was taking some heavy pressure from one of the fighters, plus a crossbowman. Imoen had her sights on a 2nd Mage; Jaheira was engaged with Ilyich but was taking some big hits. I switched to my ax and went after the other crossbowman.
Minsc took out the fighter. Imoen finished off the Mage; she went after Ilyich went Magic Missiles. Ilyich’s morale failed: he panicked. When Minsc joined in, Ilyich fell under the onslaught of the 3. My guy started running…. bad choice. Never turn your back on an Archer. He learned that lesson about 5 seconds later.
We survived but everyone but Imoen was at least moderately wounded. Jaheira tried to heal herself earlier but lost her spell. So, she tried to cast a healing spell again, this time with no distractions, and it worked. While she and Minsc healed (Minsc had some Minor and Moderate Healing Potions), Imoen and I searched the bodies for possible clues to this group’s identity or their master’s identity. We didn’t find either, but we did find close to 300 gold pieces on the bodies, various weapons and arrows (Imoen and I took the arrows), such as a sling and bullets (Jaheira took those), swords, and crossbows and bolts, and armor, including that golden armor. We also found this:
The Equalizer – a blade that I heard stories about, back in Baldur’s Gate! If the Pommel Jewel exists, then maybe we can recover the rest of the sword. I’ll keep a very keen eye out for it.
Imoen rearranged her spell book so that she could memorize 4 Identify spells, Jaheira added multiple healing spell to her book, and we rested.
Music and Graphics
Music in BG2EE is pretty much the same. Some of the battle tracks have a few extra seconds but the overall theme remains. Overall graphics are cleaner: movement seems smoother; animations are sharper and faster, although I can’t be for certain if that’s the PC I’m playing the game on now vs. the PC I had 7 years ago (the last time I remember playing Baldur’s Gate 2). The health colors on the character’s portraits – when a character is in good to max health, to when they are in bad shape – ‘pop’ a little more.
We Identified the items that were needed, spell books were adjusted again, and we rested again. I wish there was a way to memorize spells without wasting so much time! Bah…. this dungeon is getting to me.
We continued on. There was a hallway leading out of the room with Ilyich; after a quick turn to the right, the hall stretched on – complete with a trapped section – until it ended at a rectangular room. The room had an odd metallic contraption in the center: a large globe spun on each end of 3 long, metallic rods. The rods were attached to a wider central rod, about 15 feet tall, planted into a base on the floor. The base had some kind of double switch on it. There was a magical 4th globe, also on the floor. What was inside the globe but a 7 foot tall, black-armored fiend, with horns and red eyes. A vicious smirk appeared on its face when we locked eyes. A Cambion! We immediately left that room – we might be 4 but we are not equipped enough to go after a Cambion, especially when we don’t know what else is in this place…. or who or what was strong enough to imprison a Cambion in the first place. Perhaps another time, Cambion.
We backtracked, all the way to the Sewer Golem room. Imoen took the Activation Stone and had the Golem open up the locked doors, while the rest of us headed down a back passageway, meeting up with the Golem as it unlocked the door.
Imoen ran into trouble, in the form of 3 Goblins. WE ran into trouble, in the form of the aforementioned “Guardian”, an Otyugh!
My arrows didn’t harm it!
Jaheira’s sling bullets didn’t work, either! Imoen dispatched her Goblins and joined in the fight, entering the chamber through another entrance.
The Dialog Box in BG2EE is set, at default, to show 3 lines of dialog: this can be conversations between characters, characters and NPCs, Journal entries (which can be toggled on), and battle info. This can be collapsed to 1 line or expanded to 12 lines; I like mine at 5 or 6 lines. Pay particular attention to the dialog box during battles! It will tell you who’s attacking, what kind of damage they are doing (or not doing), if there are any resistances to said damage attempts, and changes in a character’s condition (stunned, panicked, berserked, petrified, dead, etc.). For example, the picture and below both show that Otyughs are, at minimum, resistant to piercing damage and damage from normal slings and bullets. Minsc, however, managed to do a big of slashing damage.
If you manage to do enough damage to kill a foe, the Dialog box will show you what died and if you gain experience from the kill. If one of your party’s characters die, it’ll only tell of their death (and maybe a reaction from a character). Depending on the difficulty, your characters can permanently die.
We killed the Guardian and found a strange looking Wand Key on it. Searching the chests in this room we also found quite a bit:
When finding a scroll or item:
- Blue backgrounds mean that only the basic info is known about the item or scroll – you need to cast an Identify spell (or give it to a high-lore-value Bard) to find out more details
- Green means that the scroll can be written to a Mage’s spell book. On some difficulties, this process can fail, wasting the scroll
- Yellow means that the (magical) item can be used by that character but it isn’t a normal act. Example: Jaheira might have a Use Wands spell cast on her, allowing her to use a Magic Missile wand. She normally can’t use wands, however.
- Red means that the item can’t be used by that character.
There was a staircase at the back of the Guardian’s chamber, leading to a door. We went through the door, up an inclined stone hall, to a massive door. We went through the door; a few steps in, Imoen stopped us – she didn’t like the way the room felt.
She searched the floors, the furniture, almost every inch… and her hunch was correct. Traps, everywhere! One was on the floor, mere feet from where Minsc stopped; the bookcase by the doorway to right; a picture on the wall.
Imoen cleared the path for us… and opened up the furniture. We found 6 or 7 scrolls that Imoen could use, although she only chose to write 2 to her book; a couple dozen gold pieces; a stone statue of an Air Elemental?; and a magical helmet – it was the Helmet of Balduran! It offered a boost to armor and seemed to make the wearer’s sword arm more accurate. What a find!
Another surprise came when we exited this room to the right. There was a grove of trees! It appeared to be a miniature forest, complete with bushes, grass, 3 large trees, a stone and dirt pathway… and 3 very beautiful, almost translucent women:
Dryads! They were captured – used as servants, possessions….
To free them, we must find their acorns… which we now have! Ilyich had them.
“Irenicus…. so we now have a name for our captive”, stated Jaheira.
Elyme says that this “Irenicus” travels between floors – FLOORS?!? – using portals. Those portals are unlocked using “Her” key. I don’t know what she means about Her room, although there’s a faint glow coming from the other end of this path, in the distance….
At the end of a path, a room. “Her” room?
Uh oh, that can’t be good.
A BOOMING voice, from behind us. No, not good at all.
Those are the two Clay Golems we saw back near the room with the tanks! They were sentries! We are in for a fight!
Clay Golems are magic resistant, so Imoen’s offensive spells are out.
Minsc and Jaheira got between the Golems and the rooms, just enough to get Imoen out of the way and allow me and her to pepper them with arrows from a distance.
The strategy was successful!
We found her key, in a trapped table, along with more Wand Keys, some gold, scrolls, and some armor. We left in a hurry – Imoen was becoming ill, more from anger and disgust at this room than anything else. We went back to the clearing, said farewell to the Dryads, back to the trapped room, and out the hallway we noticed when we entered. We ran into more Goblins but Imoen, with an assistance from a Lightning Bolt, made very short work of them.
At the far end of the room, a large liquid-appearing portal stood. We stepped through, exiting this nightmarish bottom floor….
Part V will deal with what (and who) they find on the 2nd floor. Part VI should wrap up this adventure, including a recap of what I saw and liked, didn’t like, and what stayed the same between the original and Enhanced Editions.