Playing Baldur’s Gate: Extended Version (I) – Setting Off

I’ve made mention Baldur’s Gate around these parts.  As I owned the new fangled version, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  As the blog has run fallow of late, I thought I’d do a series on it as I played.  Spoilers abound.

Small note to any newcomers: this series might be stopped dead for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to a.) me forgetting to do an update, b.) me stopping playing Baldur’s Gate, or C.) me getting a social life.

Stop laughing.  That last part might still happen.

I also may switch games on whim.

And in November I stop all of this for NaNoWriMo.


Baldur’s Gate.

The portrait I picked for my Hero.
The portrait I picked for my Hero.

For those not in the know, this is a Dungeons and Dragons game.  It begins with some big, deep voiced scary dude offing some smaller, not so scary dude.  From there, we get introduced to Our Hero, a spunky orphan living with this Wizard name Gorion fellow in some library monastery called Candlekeep.  For reference, the Hero is named Cullen.  For some reason I can’t rightly think of right now.

Anyway, after running some errands for several terminally lazy characters in order to pick up a pittance (as well as well as needed Experience Points to reach my character’s far off next level), Cullen and Gorion head out into the world.  Seems like there’s some sort of problem heading towards the monastery focused around me.  In fact, a couple of assassins have already made a couple of half-hearted attempts.  Hard to find good help these days.

The two no more than get into the woods when who should appear but big, deep voiced scary dude (from here simply called Gary.), accompanied with a few expendable henchmen.  Gary is all “Your ward or your life,” which Gorion gives all due consideration.  Doesn’t seem like a bad deal, really.

Actually, he tells Cullen to book and tries to take on the bad guys on his lonesome.  To the surprise of no one, he goes the way of all mentor figures in these Fantasy stories.

It should be pointed out at this juncture that the magic in this world can resurrect people.  At no point will Cullen even try to use said magic to reunite with his fallen father figure.

Those two were tight.

Pretty girl.  Pity about... what happens.  DUN DUN DUN!
Pretty girl. Pity about… what happens. DUN DUN DUN!

Cullen spends the night alone in the woods within easy walking distance of the ambush.  You’d think that this is a good way to get killed.  Seems like Gary had things to do, you know, and split once Gorion stepped off the mortal coil.  Or something like that.

Soon, Cullen begins picking up companions like they’re going out of style.  First up is Imoen, his childhood friend and local pickpocket.  You might think that there’s some romantic tension between the two.  Don’t.  You’ll be happier for it, assuming we get that far.

Anyways, the two head off for this huge inn-town place called the Friendly Arm, in accordance to Gorion’s plans (which have worked so well up until this point).  Within a few minutes, they meet two more people, a Halfling Thief/Fighter called Montaron and a Wizard named Xzar.  These two are clearly evil.  So very, very evil.  Likely to slit your throat in your sleep evil.  Like bury you up to your neck in fire ants evil.  Like politician evil.

But Xzar is voiced by the legendary Frank Welker, so Cullen asks them to come along anyways.

He sounds like Freddy Jones from Scooby Doo!  How could Freddy Jones from Scooby Doo ever hurt us?

(He also sounds like Megatron, too.  But leave us not go through Mr. Welker’s list of credits, or we’ll be here all day.)

Montagard and Xzar, folks. Don’t they look friendly?

After a bit of shenanigans the four heroes (well, two heroes and the men who will murder them in their sleep if given the urge) arrive at the Friendly Arm inn.  Waiting there happens to be a third assassin, urged on by Gary to kill Cullen.

Now get this.  The Friendly Arm Inn is wall to wall guard.  These guards have a tendency to tell visitors not to incite violence least violence be incited upon them.  They’re very clear on this.

So what does this brainiac do?  He attacks Cullen and crew by himself.  In front of guards.  Who promptly attack him, too.

This goes about as well as you’d think it would.

Gary simply has to stop hiring his assassins off Craig’s List.

She’s judging you right now and you’re coming up… lacking.

From here, Cullen and crew enter the inn, where we meet the next couple of companions, the married couple Jaheria and Khalid.   Jaheria I described in an earlier essay thusly:

[She] is, how to put it politely?  Outspoken.  Yeah.  Outspoken.  If she has an opinion, she will share it.  And if someone gets his head battered in by said opinion, well so be it.

In case it matters, she’s a Druid/Fighter.

Her husband Khalid is just a plain old Fighter.  He is also a chicken.  So chicken you wonder why he even came along.  Nice guy, though.  Wonder what he sees in his wife (and visa versa).

In talking, Cullen learns that his four new friends want to head south to a town called Nashkel.  Since he and Imoen haven’t anything better to do, they decide to tag along with.

Thus the Fellowship of Cullen is formed.  And we take our leave of these boon companions, for the nonce.

"Wait, d-don't I get an appearance?  Everyone else did..."
“Wait, d-don’t I get an appearance? Everyone else did…”

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