Baldur's Gate (Games)

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If looking for the namesake city from the Forgotten Realms, see Baldur's Gate (City).

Baldur's Gate is a fucking awesome series of 2e Dungeons & Dragons CRPGs based in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. They were made by Bioware between 1998 and 2001, and comprise four games in total; Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and their respective expansions Tales of the Sword Coast and Throne of Bhaal. The games follow the story of a Bhaalspawn (the player's character) as they discover their identity and have to deal with both the effects it has on themselves and the threat of outside agencies who wish to use the player's character for their own goals.

The series uses the isometric Infinity Engine common to many of Bioware's titles, also used in such games as Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale series. Alongside Planescape: Torment, the series (especially BGII) is regarded by many as one of the best CRPGs of all time. The games are notable for being remarkably freeform and presenting a wide variety of options for resolving the problems that are faced, as well as supporting virtually any sort of alignment the player character chooses. The choices available and sheer number of side-quests that can be undertaken provide a vast amount of replayability to the game.

The games are also known for the great amount of dialogue and conversation options available, especially in BGII, where NPC party members frequently held conversations with the player and other NPCs in the world. These could range from hilarious (as in the case of Edwin or Minsc) to darkly serious.

If even the vast options available in the vanilla games were not enough, dedicated players have access to a wide variety of user-made mods that have been produced for the game, which vary in scope between fixing bugs in the game and improving AI to adding entirely new potential NPC party members complete with their own dialogue and quests. There are even conversions that allow for porting the Baldur's Gate content into the visually superior BGII interface - useful considering BGI's inability to support a higher resolution than 640x480.

Some crazy bastards in the early 2010s actually managed to get the rights to officially create an updated version to both games, and to Icewind Dale. Known as the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Editions, these can now be bought off of Steam and downloaded; they come with a lot of fixes, including a bunch of new characters. While there's some skubbery about how good a job they did (the lack of support for the popular, semi-official "Ascension" mod is a particular bone of contention), most agree they're well worth getting for the history alone. Both games include a bonus campaign, respectively titled The Black Pits and The Black Pits II: Gladiators of Thay, in which you create your own party from scratch and fight enemies from throughout the series in gladiatorial arenas you've been abducted to fight in while seeking ways to escape your confinement.

They also released an expansion to the original Baldur's Gate, Siege of Dragonspear, even managing to get almost the entire old voice cast back for the job, more than two decades after the fact. While a few one-off characters led to bloody bare-knuckle brawling between the usual suspects, at the end of the day, it was a pretty decent one. Even featured a brand new character class, the Shaman, which is basically a druid-y sorcerer. Or possibly a sorcerer-y druid. It's a divine caster with spontaneous casting, is what I'm getting at.

All that being said, there's also a mod for Neverwinter Nights 2, called Baldur's Gate Reloaded. It’s an entire port of BG1 to NWN2, carrying over all the voice acting and plot of that game whilst putting it in a 3D engine with a 3rd edition ruleset. It only came out a few months before Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition, but has never got much coverage.

In late May 2019 Larian Studios (Divinity series) launched a teaser with a mysterious III logo on their home page. The metadata for the logo says "BaldursGate_logo_III_retouched.png". No further details are confirmed, though Brian Fargo indicates it was in the works since at least late 2018 so there will likely be something to actually show when the actual announcement happens.

UPDATE 6/6/2019: The Trailer has dropped. We're going back to the Forgotten Realms boys. WARNING: Do not watch if you have eaten less than 3 hours ago, unless you enjoy violently vomiting up all your food. You have been warned.

UPDATE 6/10/2019: At the PC Gamer Show, Mike Mearls confirmed that there will be a 5th Edition prequel adventure to the game, due out September 17th. It takes place about 100 years after Baldur's Gate 2, allowing players to catch up on what has been going on and setting up for the PC game proper. This adventure, Descent into Avernus, released in September 2019.

Storyline[edit]

Baldur's Gate[edit]

You begin the game as an orphan raised in Candlekeep, a massive "fortress of knowledge" created by the faithful of Ohgma to preserve and store texts, tomes, manuals, scrolls and other forms of literary knowledge from across the Forgotten Realms. You were brought here as an infant by the wizard Gorion, and have never left the security of Candlekeep... until today. Amidst strange rumors of a mysterious "plague" that is afflicting iron in this region of the Sword Coast and a budding war between Baldur's Gate and Amn, Gorion instructs you to gather your belongings and leave, promising explanations once you have united with two friends of his: Jaheira and Khalid.

Unfortunately, he is struck down defending you against a mysterious assailant who ambushes you in the night; a hulking armored warrior who demands your life. At Gorion's instructions, you flee for safety, which he buys at the expense of his own life. You are left without any guidance at all, and alone save for the arrival of Imoen; your foster sister from Candlekeep. With no other purpose, you set about becoming adventurers, and slowly unravel the mysteries of the "iron plague".

It turns out that the "iron plague" is a result of a ploy by a Baldur's Gate merchant house called the Iron Throne; having discovered a lost and flooded iron mine in the Cloakwood, they have restored it to functioning condition under the leadership of someone named "Sarevok" through the use of slave labor. Following Sarevok, they used kobolds to begin sabotaging the iron ore at Nashkel, the region's premier iron mine, and encouraged bands of bandits to begin plaguing the Sword Coast. Likewise, they have fed the rumors of impending war, hoping to profit from their dark deeds.

However, Sarevok has other plans. He had discovered that he is a Bhaalspawn - a demigodling created by Bhaal, the God of Murder, as an insurance against his destruction during the Time of Troubles. The Iron Throne believes Sarevok seeks money - instead, he fully intends to plunge the Sword Coast into a bloody war on a massive scale, hoping to ascend and take his father's place as the new God of Murder.

This is why Sarevok sought your death. For you too are a Bhaalspawn. Once you discover this, you must unmask Sarevok's true role in the troubles plaguing Baldur's Gate, and then confront him for a final showdown in an ancient temple to Bhaal in the Undercity. But even as he dies, you can feel it in your bones that this is only the beginning...

Tales of the Sword Coast[edit]

The second game released in the original Bioware lineup, this glorified expansion pack to the original Baldur's Gate introduces four new major plots centered around two new areas on the world map; Ulgoth's Beard and Durlag's Tower.

Durlag's Tower is a sprawling dungeon complex erected by an epic-level dwarf adventurer as a personal home for himself and all his kinsfolk... unfortunately, rumors of his massive stash of treasure lured invaders, in the form of an army of doppelgangers directed by illithids. Only Durlag survived, and the experience of being hunted through his own home by creatures wearing the faces of his wife, children and family left him unhinged. He turned the fortress into a maze of lethal traps and filled it with monsters, and it still remains a death-trap even now. Whilst there are two quests you can receive in Ulgoth's Beard that send you here, you can also come here on your own for a good old fashioned dungeon delve - especially because a "demon knight" has set up shop and is hoping to use the place as a base to launch a fiendish invasion of Faerun. It lies in the extreme south-east of the Baldur's Gate world map, close to the Firewine Bridge and Gullykin.

Ulgoth's Beard is a small fishing community to the northeast of Baldur's Gate proper. This is where the majority of the new quests introduced in the expansion pack are to be found:

  • The local mage Shandalar will ask the player to retrieve his cloak... which entails him teleporting the player's party to a small, inhospitable island and navigating a dungeon full of imprisoned mages driven mad by isolation and hunger, forcing you to kill them all or be killed before he brings you back. He is the kind of guy who would make Elminster go "dude, you're a dick".
  • A dwarf in the local tavern will ask you to recover a special dagger from Durlag's Tower. Said dagger gets you jumped by a bunch of cultists when you return, which causes the dwarf to admit that there's a nabassu stuck in that dagger. You have to fight your way into the basement of a nearby house and kill the cultists, but not before they release the demon, resulting in a stupidly tough boss fight (he keeps respawning when killed so long as there are "Cult Guards" alive, and he has a special gaze attack that causes whoever it hits to explosively gib and be replaced by a ghoul).
  • A woman wants you to rescue her son, who went off to become an adventurer by exploring Durlag's Tower.
  • A mysterious nobleman in a house near the docks wants you to undertake an expedition to an island he claims is the place where the legendary hero Balduran, the founder of Baldur's Gate, ran aground on his final voyage. This requires "acquiring" some sea charts from a merchant house in Baldur's Gate, and then a sea voyage... to an island infested with werewolves and wolfweres.

Siege of Dragonspear[edit]

This is not part of the original quadrilogy of games released by Bioware, but is instead an "interquel" to Baldur's Gate & Shadows of Amn created by Beamdog.

After the events of Baldur's Gate, you have become the hero of the titular city. So of course you are chosen to aid Baldur's Gate's army when Caelar Argent, a mad aasimar paladin on a mission to invade the Nine Hells of Baator begins leading a crusade that ravages the Sword's Coast, especially since it's rumored that she may also be a Bhaalspawn. And all the while, a mysterious hooded mage is spying on you, observing your efforts.

You eventually succeed in stopping the crusade, possibly even saving Caelar from the machinations of her treacherous right hand and getting her to help you undo some of the damage, but when you return, a murder you've been clumsily framed for, and the political machinations of the city's leaders, see you sent off into exile, with the same party you start the next game with.

All in all, not a bad interquel per say, but it loses major points for the hamfisted ending, which relies on the idea of Baldur's Gate courts being skeptical of the idea that Gorion's Ward could have been mind-controlled into murdering somebody by an evil wizard... despite living in a world where A: wizards being able to control people is very common, and B: people know this happens. It just speaks of obviously wanting to shove "Drama!" into the story and being willing to ignore canon for the sake of it.

Also, it actually creates a continuity snarl: if you talk to Imoen, Jaheira and Minsc in the original Shadows of Amn game, they make it clear that Gorion's Ward went missing first and then they all got together to try and locate their missing friend, rather than being grabbed whilst actively adventuring together.

Shadows of Amn[edit]

You awaken to pain, your memories cloudy, a prisoner in a dungeon overseen by Jon Irenicus, an insane mage who torments you with hideous magical experiments. And then a battle rips through the dungeon. A woman comes to you; Imoen is her name, she tells you, a thief turned wizard, and your foster sister from Candlekeep. You were abducted some time ago by the mage who has been tormenting you, and she led a band of adventurers to your rescue, only to be captured. With the aid of the other survivors, Jaheira and Minsc, you set about escaping from your captor, fighting your way to the surface and discovering you were imprisoned beneath the streets of Athkatla, the capital city of Amn.

Unfortunately, Imoen's attempt to defend herself from your captor with a Magic Missile spell occurs just as the Cowled Wizards arrive on the scene, spiriting the two of them away for "public use of magic". To pursue them, you must reach the isle of Spellhold, where the Cowled Wizards imprison criminal and crazed magic-users of all sorts... there's just the little matter of building up the extravagant fee to get there first.

Once you arrive, you find your captor has slaughtered the Cowled Wizards and taken over. He imprisons you again and rips out a portion of your soul, having already done the same with Imoen for his sister, a vampire named Bodhi - as it turns out, Imoen is also a Bhaalspawn! Abandoning you to die, the wizard leaves, forcing you to give chase. It will take traveling through the depths of Underdark before you can finally confront him, and learn the truth behind this whole mess.

As it turns out, Irenicus was originally an elf wizard who sought to become divine by stealing power from a sacred elven relic called the Tree of Life in the elven city of Suldanasellar. So, in a display of stunning stupidity, the elves punished him by ripping out a portion of his soul, effectively reducing him to a human, and exiled him... without taking away his epic levels in wizard. (He was the elf queen's main squeeze, and she hoped he'd find redemption instead of further damning himself, but still. Damn.) Fueled by rage, he sought to absorb your soul to restore himself to his full power, after putting Imoen's into his sister who'd infected herself with vampirism to stay immortal, and now he wants to complete his original goal and become a god.

This leads, of course, to a climatic battle... and then you being dragged into a fiendish demiplane, the last remnant of the realm of Bhaal, to slay Irenicus a second time and finish him off once and for all.

Watcher's Keep[edit]

This is a dungeon complex similar to Durlag's Tower in Tales of the Sword Coast. It was introduced as part of the Throne of Bhaal expansion pack, but can be accessed during both a Shadows of Amn game and a Throne of Bhaal game.

During your adventures in Amn, you discover an ancient fortress turned dungeon, whose resident guardians beg you for help. The Watcher's Keep is used to imprison a powerful fiend - no less than Demogorgon himself! - but the wardings are starting to fail. Only you are powerful enough to have a chance to fight your way through the monsters and traps to reach the lowest level and restore the wardings to their full power... or slay the beast and banish it back to the netherrealms from whence it came.

Throne of Bhaal[edit]

The inevitable has come. The Five, a band of powerful Bhaalspawn have united, plunging the Sword Coast into a bloody war as the children of Bhaal seek each other out and slaughter each other, determined to be the last ones standing. And you have no intention of just rolling over and dying.

An unfortunately rushed expansion. Not unfinished or anything; just kind of unsatisfying. A semi-official mod put out by the game's creators, called "Ascension," adds a great deal of extra content.

Characters[edit]

The Baldur's Gate series is home to an enormous cast of characters. In general, the sequel's were more fleshed-out and popular than the first game's, save for, you know, those who went on to appear in the sequel.

Introduced in BG1[edit]

Bhaalspawn - Your Player Character, child of Bhaal. Sometimes referred to in-universe as Gorion's Ward, nicknamed "Charname" by the fandom after the character name variable used in dialog scripts. Very variable depending on how you play them, with seven possible races, a large variety of classes and class kits to choose from and the option of being anywhere on the Alignment spectrum. We do NOT talk about the atrocity that is "Abdel Adrian". Canonically lived to see the end of the Spellplague, and became one of the Lords of the city of Baldur's Gate, only to be ganked by the other remaining Bhaalspawn in the introduction adventure to 5th Edition "Murder in Baldur's Gate".

Imoen - A spunky, cheerful, whimsical female human thief who was raised at Candlekeep alongside the Bhaalspawn. Spied on the PC and Gorion when the latter made plans to retreat from Candlekeep and followed them out of loyalty to her best friend, the PC. Reappears in BG2 as one of your initial party members, she was originally planned to be killed off in the game by the developers, but they rewrote the plot when they realized how popular she was. Having dual-classed to Mage in the interim between games, she has been traumatized by the experiments of the mad wizard Irenicus, who gets her kidnapped by the Cowled Wizards and taken to Spellhold with him so that he can continue experimenting on her. She's ultimately revealed to be another Bhaalspawn, but one of lesser power and will than the PC, which might explain why you can't be raised from the dead but she can.

Jaheira - A tough, no-nonsense female half-elven Fighter/Druid; originally married to Khalid, a meeker half-elven fighter, she was one of Gorion's old friends and planned to help him smuggle the PC away to safety when he fled Candlekeep. In BG2, she is one of your initial party members, her husband having been murdered by Irenicus. This opens her up as a romance option. She's a member of the Harpers. Has rock-solid-but-not-incredible stats for both fighting and casting, and while she won't outdo any specialists, she fits into every party.

Kagain - A male Fighter dwarf, head of a mercenary company. Joins you to look for a caravan of his, but says "fuck it" and decides to help you adventuring instead when you find the smoldering remains. Lawful Evil is his alignment, but it's more because he's grumpy and greedy than outright malice. With 20 constitution, he is the best tank in the entire game. Did not return in the sequels. In many ways he was a prototype of Korgan, being a grumpy and anti-social dwarf fighter specialised as in axemanship.

Khalid - A half-elven Fighter and Jaheira's wimpy, loser husband. Long resented for being a necessary component of any party with Jaheira in it despite being completely overshadowed in damage output by every other fighter, ranger, and paladin in the game, having a very low morale score that often sees him running for the hills, and only having decent-but-not-incredible tanking stats to make up for it. He also had no real personality besides being spineless and prone to talking like Porky Pig. There is some question as to whether or not this was due to his originally being intended as a fighter/mage, but changed back at the last minute. Is gratuitously and irreversibly killed off in the sequel (though admittedly in such a way that is consistent with the rules governing resurrection in the setting) to free up Jaheira for male Charnames, and in such a way that a lot of people who hated him still felt bad for he and her.

Minsc - A male human Rashemi Berserker (though mechanically he's a ranger with a unique ability that mimics the berserker kit's) who came to Baldur's Gate looking for the chance to kick butt for goodness in the company of his witch, Dynaheir. He's one of your initial party members in BG2, as he and Dynaheir joined Jaheira and Khalid in looking for the PC and Imoen after Irenicus abducted them. Dynaheir's death left him even loopier. Fortunately, his animal companion, a miniature giant space hamster (who may or may not be just that) named Boo, is there to steer him properly. Also, he will readily adopt either Aerie or Nalia as a replacement witch if you have them in the same party long enough. Easily the most popular character in the series, for his gloriously-hammy voice acting, wacky but endearing personality, and just being a very fun guy to have around, hence his getting his own spin-offs. Modern audiences have a slightly more complicated relationship with him, though, with some viewing him as an overrated one-trick pony who keeps getting whored out to sell Forgotten Realms crap to an audience too shallow to recognize his flaws. Which interpretation is valid depends on whether you like his personality gimmicks; if you do, you're pretty much set, but if you don't, he'll be little more than a pain in the arse. Also, his berserk ability makes him uncontrollable and prone to attacking other party members, so use with caution.

Edwin - An arrogant exiled male human Red Wizard of Thay, beloved by the fans for his endless snark and delusions of grandeur, as well as being the best wizardly party member a player can get. Has a silly subplot in the second game about trying to gain ultimate arcane power as a lich, only to end up becoming a woman.

Viconia de'Vir - A renegade female drow cleric whose path crosses the PCs in both the first and second game. Tends towards throwing mean-spirited insults at almost everyone else in your party, but to Charname she alternates between being kind of nice and a total bitch at times, like that "tsundere" thing your weeaboo friends keep going on about. The origin of all sexy-but-morally dubious-and-dangerous Bioware women who are actually not so bad deep down, such as Morrigan and Isabela from Dragon Age or Jack and Miranda from Mass Effect. Another potential love interest character, but we probably didn't need to tell you that. Her only major weakness is her very low strength score; equip some kind of item that sets it nice and high for her (like a Belt of Giant Strength or Gauntlets of Ogre Power) so she can wear heavy armor, and her incredible magic resistance and dexterity scores will make her a fantastic tank. On top of that, her good wisdom and pure-caster status make her one of or the best clerics in any game she's in.

Safana - Classic "sexy seductress" female human rogue archetype. Flirts with any man around her, including the player character. Gets more time to shine in Siege of Dragonspear, where she is the "default" thief character and the only pure-classed thief in the game. She even has a potential romance with the player character... which goes nowhere, because she is a cheating selfish slut and she breaks up with them for being boring after stringing them along. For added humiliation, if Voghiln is in the party, she reveals she was sleeping with him behind your back. Proof that if it's not broken, don't fix it.

Introduced in BG2[edit]

Mazzy Fentan - A female halfling fighter who worships Arvoreen, the halfling warrior god, with such fervor that she is as close to being a paladin as AD&D 2e rules allow. (Namely, through getting a bunch of unique powers that mime those of a pally.) Doubles as walking proof that Halflings can get shit done too and a critique of the race/class restrictions of the edition she was born into, what with Paladins being a humans-only option and all. Well-liked for being something other than the stereotypical stupid/timid/goofy halfling thief in an edition that was rife with those, and for having a bunch of fun interactions with the rest of the cast. Was voiced by Jennifer Hale, who later voiced Samus, KOTOR's Bastila Shan, and the female Commander Shepard.

Haer'Dalis - Male tiefling bard from Sigil and a Doomguard. Was considered as a romance option for females but it never went anywhere. Has a lot of good voice acting and witty lines. Likes to nickname the party by calling them animals. As he has a Bard kit designed for frontline combat (Blade), he is considered much more viable than Garrick and Eldoth, the playable bards from the first game. Sheds some interesting light on another D&D setting.

Keldorn Firecam - Rugged, world-weary but still badass male human paladin. His class kit, Inquisitor, is designed to help with fighting mages, which makes him very, very useful because mid-to-high-level enemy mages are a complete pain in the ass. Popular among the player base the latter reason, for having solid stats and being able to use a really powerful two-handed sword called Carsomyr, which basically makes him a monster in close-combat, but comes with two major caveats: one, he'll refuse to be in a party with, if not actively try to kill, a number of useful but Evil-aligned potential party members, which may make you want to just make your own paladin if you want an Inquisitor that much; two, there are several moments in the game where he'll either leave the party or turn his blade on you if you take the evil path in a quest, and that's if he doesn't force you to take the good path. His personal quest is well-regarded for being more about roleplaying and moral dilemmas than meat-grinder combat, and for tackling his struggles to balance the demands of his lifestyle and calling with being a good husband and father.

Anomen Delryn - Arrogant, wanna-be "Knight" male human fighter/cleric. Only male love interest in the base game. Fans have a complex relationship with him. On one hand, while he starts out as a dickhead and glory hound, he's actually got a very fleshed out backstory and a well-written personal quest (one wacky final twist aside) that gives him a lot of depth and, potentially, the deepest character arc in the entire game, complete with two possible outcomes and an alignment shift either way: one where he becomes a better person (and gets a hefty Wisdom boost), and one where he sinks into despair and bitterness over his failures; on the other hand, he's such a douchebag that his inauspicious beginnings incurably colour many players' opinions of him, since he'll spend a whole awful lot of time insulting other party members for petty reasons (like spitting on Mazzy for being a halfling or Cernd for being a druid) and even you if you dare to suggest he's not the invincible badass he claims to be, and on top of that he starts with a crummy Wisdom score, making him a sub-par caster. Consequently, he's been near or at the top of many "Characters who just aren't worth it" lists for years.

Korgan Bloodaxe - A dwarf berserker with a silver tongue, a long blue beard and a foul temper. Starts out optimally-trained in axemanship, is willing to kill allies who become dead weight to him, is only fond of those who can hold their own against his insult tirades should he choose to unleash them and has an irrepressible lust for bloodshed and battle. Khorne is infinitely pleased by his existence. His stats are built for kicking ass and taking lumps aplenty, but he can't use any wands or spells. A popular choice for equipping him is to train him for dual-wielding and improve his hammer-wielding skills, ultimately kitting him out with the Axe of the Unyielding (an awesome axe that can kill in a single swing on the right roll) and Crom Faeyr (a warhammer that boosts the wielder's Strength to 25) for maximum carnage. He inspired a LOT of boisterous, fight-happy mercenaries who're technically bad people but have so much charisma you barely notice, fond of telling stories about past exploits in later BioWare game such as Dragon Age's Oghren and Iron Bull or Mass Effect's Urdnot Wrex and Zaeed Massani; he also might have influenced Bioware for AN ENTIRE RACE in Mass Effect - the super-tough war-like aliens the krogan (the aforementioned Urdnot Wrex is a member of this race).

Yoshimo - Smooth-talking not-Japanese thief who turns out to be reluctantly spying on you for Irenicus because his sister was Sarevok's lover and canonically either died at your hands or on your watch. His class kit, Bounty Hunter, makes him handy with traps. Has some funny lines about the way weeb settings like his seem to work out, and can potentially get a very small bit of closure.

Jan Jansen - Crazy male gnome illusionist/thief. Fights with his array of wacky inventions, is absolutely fucking hilarious, and enjoys telling silly stories just to get a rise out of people. Has a shockingly heartbreaking personal quest where the woman he loves is stuck in a bad marriage to an abusive asshole and the only way to save her daughter's sanity is to make her lose the memories that might cause her to leave him in the first place. Fortunately, in his ending, he manages to save the day and get the girl with a legion of well-armed apes that he smuggled into the city, then trained into his private army.

Aerie - Female avariel mage/cleric. She was kidnapped by slavers in her youth and her wings had to be amputated after the awful conditions she was kept in led to them becoming infected. She whinges about this a lot, primarily because, well, her actual character arc/quest was left on the cutting room floor partway through development. Fortunately, the expansion pack gives her a bit more willingness to stand up for herself and fleshes out her relationship with the protagonist a bit better. The origin of all the "socially awkward sweet girl with a tough core" Bioware women like Leliana and Merrill from Dragon Age or Liara T'Soni and Tali'Zorah from Mass Effect. Also a potential love interest. She's even the only party member who gets pregnant and gives birth during the series, and spends the rest of the game adventuring with her child bundled up on her back.

Valygar Corthala - A male human ranger, with the Stalker kit. Was also considered as a romance for female players but it never got finished. Hates magic due to his family history of being mages who either a) become shifty necromancers or b) become body chow for his evil ancestor Lavok. He's black, closer to Moorish black than African black, and specialised in the use of Katanas, spears and longbows. His kit lets him sneak around more easily, backstab like a thief and cast three low-level mage spells as third level ranger spells. He's pretty useful in Shadows of Amn where backstabbing is damn useful, but falls off in Throne of Bhaal due to so many enemies being either immune to critical hits or backstabbing, sadly.

Introduced in the Enhanced Editions[edit]

Dorn Il-Khan - A male half-orc blackguard (implemented as a paladin kit) who benefits from the best Strength score among recruitable NPCs. Unlike the half-orc stereotype of being dumb, ugly rudeboys with no impulse control, he's intelligent, handsome, charming, articulate and pragmatic, if, you know... evil. Is openly bisexual and can be romanced regardless of gender. Starts out hostile and suspicious to most people but by the sequel has mellowed somewhat and is willing to make friends with people who share his interests.

Neera - Female half-elven wild mage, with a running gag about being mistaken for a full-blooded elf. Angsts about her magic causing wild and crazy effects on and off the battlefield, but otherwise prefers to be cheerful and upbeat. Lives up to the Chaotic Stupid archetype, in that she's a classic Chaotic Neutral of the "is naturally selfish, as well as acts on first impulse and doesn't think about the consequences" type, which is often cited as a reason for disliking her. Is a romance option for males.

Rasaad yn Bashir - A human male monk (specifically a Sun Soul monk) whose character arc involves him dealing with the death-except-not-really and corruption of his brother Gamaz and his attempts to get revenge on the perpetrator. Sadly, he has one of the most depressing and downbeat epilogues in the series, right down there with Cernd and a romanced Viconia, making his entire adventuring career with you a waste of time. Has a poor ability to recognize or tell jokes, which forms the bulk of his humour. Is a romance option for female PCs.

Baeloth Barrityl - A flamboyant, motor-mouthed male drow sorcerer, he serves as the big bad of the first "The Black Pits" spin-off game, and can be recruited as a party member in both Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition (where he was banished to a pocket plane prison on the surface after having his gladiators rebel) and in Siege of Dragonspear (where he's trying and failing to run a new "Black Pits" gladiatorial arena) if you let him live in the first game.

Captain Schael Corwin - A female archer serving with the Flaming Fist, she is the first companion that the player acquires after beginning the Siege of Dragonspear campaign proper. She's a great rear-rank warrior, but that does mean putting up with her personality, which is basically Lawful Stupid and a shameless shill for the Flaming Fist. Whilst she's technically romanceable (she's a bisexual woman), she is held back in fans' eyes by A: being used goods (she has a daughter, Romah, from a deadbeat boyfriend she had... and whom she's murdered 5 times), and most importantly B: being such a Lawful Stupid asshole that when your PC is accused of murder in the final chapter, she actually advocates that they make a guilty plea in order to "quell the civil unrest" that their situation is causing as swiftly as possible.

Glint Gardnersonson - Male gnome cleric/thief devoted to Baravar Cloakshadow found in Siege of Dragonspear, Glint's entire character can be summed up as "gay Jan Jansen with divine magic". He's a motor-mouthed brilliant yet absent-minded and socially awkward gnome who is also the only purely homosexual male follower in the game.

M'khinn Grubdoubler - Cynical, world-weary and bitter "redeemed" female goblin shaman whom is being held as a captive by Baeloth Barrityl in Siege of Dragonspear.

Voghiln the Mighty - A flamboyantly viking bard from Siege of Dragonspear whose life revolves around music, booze, women and seeking adventure. He'd probably be more popular if A: he didnt't feel so much like a slightly less crazy, more selfish and otherwise flatter drunkard version of Minsc, and B: he didn't have an affair with Safana behind your back. Yes, this happens whether you have a male PC who is trying to court Safana or a female one who is trying to court Voghiln.

Hexxat - A black lesbian vampire from the Enhanced Edition of Shadows of Amn. That about sums up everything there is to know about (or care for) Hexxat.

Bosses[edit]

Sarevok Anchev - Main villain and final boss of the first game, a male human Bhaalspawn who is manipulating events to trigger a huge war that will sweep the Sword Coast, hoping to ascend to Bhaal's place by harvesting a great tally of souls in the battle and through the slaughter of any other Bhaalspawn he can find. Proclaims he's doing it all because he's a Bhaalspawn, duh, but other sources imply he's the bad guy because his childhood was painful and he was influenced along the path to evil When it falls apart, you still have to fight him, and he's a motherfucker of a boss, with immunity to most magic and incredibly powerful weapons and armor that you can't even loot off him. In the third game, you have the option to resurrect his shade and allow him to fight at your side, potentially inspiring him to redeem himself and become a better person in the process. Voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, leading to an impressively deep and intimidating voice.

Caelar Argent - The Shining Lady, an aasimar fighter and leader of a crusade to reclaim the souls trapped in Avernus after a recent war, including her paladin uncle who got stuck there saving her when she read something she shouldn't've as a stupid kid. Unfortunately, she somehow fails to notice her incredibly obviously shifty second-in-command's very-telegraphed betrayal before it hits her. Depending on how persuasive you are, she can actually be recruited to battle the final boss with a dialogue check, but if you fail she sells her soul to become a blackguard and get revenge on her second-in-command and you.

Belhifet - A baatezu, and the true architect of the events of Siege of Dragonspear, working through his servant Hephernaan. (And also the first Icewind Dale game.) Depending on your difficulty, he might or might not be immune to any weapon with less than +3 and have a mountain of elemental resistances, on top of a bunch of fear and fire attacks. Happily, because Caelar shows up at the same time you do and has a +3 weapon, a player will always have access to at least one person able to deal weapon damage to him. Also one of the few bosses smart enough to open the fight by dispelling all your buffs, the bastard.

Jon Irenicus - Mad male elven mage who, in his former life as Joneleth, was the lover of the elven queen Ellesime... before, in a fit of arrogance, he tried to steal the power to become a god from the elves' sacred trees. The elves stripped him of his soul, reducing him to a dying, emotionally crippled husk who nevertheless retained his archmage power, and then booted him out of the city, alongside his sister, Bodhi, who was party to the whole mess. The whole plot of BG2 is his attempt to steal the PC's soul and use it to restore himself so he can take another shot at it, with the added bonus of killing all the elves in the process. Has tons of dark charisma and icy sarcasm that make him the most popular antagonist in the series. He even mocks you if you try to squeeze him for "villain exposition." Voiced by David Warner, who gives a chilling and legendary performance for this dude.

Bodhi - She tried to cure her newfound mortality and soullessness by turning herself into a vampire. It sort of worked. While her brother's empty soul turned him into an icy, calculating monster, hers caused her to become a nearly feral predator. She was the subject of a "test run," in which Jon put Imoen's soul into her to see if it'd actually help.

The Five - A band of five extremely powerful Bhaalspawn who have banded together to exterminate their kin in hopes of then ascending to Bhaal's old throne themselves. The main bosses of Throne of Bhaal. The most interesting ones are the fire giant, Yaga-Shura, a brilliant general who's completely invulnerable until you find his removed heart and undo the magic that makes him impervious to all harm, and Balthazar, a lawful good monk who's only hanging out with these freaks so that he can ultimately destroy all remaining Bhaalspawn in a special ritual, including himself, to permanently sunder Bhaal's essence and ensure he'll never return. Unfortunately, the rushed nature of the expansion means that none of them are really the powerful, interesting, or memorable figures they should be, even with the famous and semi-official Ascension mod, though it does certainly help.

Amelyssan The Blackhearted - The true boss of ToB, the last foe you face in the series; Bhaal's former high priest who seeks to betray her master, steal the collected essence of Bhaal, and use it to become the new Goddess of Murder. Unfortunately, also the least popular final boss in the series, mostly due to the expansion being kind of rushed and her not really having the kind of grand plans or charisma of the previous two.

Quotes[edit]

As described above, Baldur's Gate is remembered for the large number of witty and amusing quotes of its NPCs. A selection are given here. Minsc quotes are found on his page, as he is sufficiently awesome as to need a page all to himself.

  • JAHEIRA: "You are amusing, in a 'what the hell is wrong with you?' kind of way."

  • EDWIN: "Oh, fine, fine! Kick around Edwin, is it?! Were it not for the gobs of wealth and magic that seem to fall into your lap wherever you go, I would never tolerate such insolence! (As it is, just waiiit until you sleep...)"

  • VICONIA: "Tell me, Harper, who was who with your parentage? Father the darthir, mother the rivvil? Or father human, mother elven? It's always confusing with crossbred mongrels."
  • JAHEIRA: "Two people in love, swine. A rain not likely to soak your parade of scabbed obscenity any time soon."

  • [After Edwin inadvertently turns himself into a woman while seeking magical power.]
  • HAER'DALIS:
"I once knew a Red Wizard of Thay,
Who dreamed of lichdom someday,
He said he knew how to do it,
But he still managed to screw it
Up, in the funniest way."
  • EDWIN(A): "Thank the gods he is not a better poet. This is one tale I would rather not see immortalised in print."

  • YOSHIMO: "Tell me, Edwina, would you like me to let out the seams on your robe? I am quite handy with a needle. You do, after all, have more, ah, bulk, in the upper chest area."
  • EDWIN(A): "Silence, you fool! Chauvinist pig! ...what am I saying? I mean to say idiot!"

  • EDWIN(A): "I feel your stares! Die! Die!"

  • KORGAN: "Be aware, Mazzy, I've something long, hard, and low to the ground you're free to touch and fondle. Child, no need to glare. 'Twas me axe I was referring to. It's a joke!"
  • MAZZY: "That's delightful, Korgan. Not lengthy, but effective."

  • VICONIA: "Tree hugger, I have a question for you. If a tree falls in a forest, does anyone care?"

  • HAER'DALIS: "Ah, my hound, this city be the great world of commerce! Perhaps we can sell Jaheira?"
  • JAHEIRA: "Cut your wit, bard. The day has been long already, without you adding hours to it."
  • HAER'DALIS: "Cut my wit? Why, certainly, if only I could use your nose's razor edge to perform the task."
  • JAHEIRA: "Aye, it seems I've sharpened it upon the grindstone of your heart."
  • HAER'DALIS: "Well, my frumpy ptarmigan, I must protest-"
  • JAHEIRA: " "Methinks thou dost protest too much." Aye, I can quote the poets too. If you must protest, I respond only to hunger strikes and, even then, too late."
  • HAER'DALIS: "Oh [PC name], raven of sympathy! Yon woman is stifling my creativity and stealing thunder from my wit! I swear I cannot work midst the lashings of her tongue!"

  • JAHABOAM: "Ho there, I have worked long and lonely hours and it is good to see a friendly face! Care to see some of my trinkets and far flung wares? Something special, something plain, whatever you wish for in these uncertain times, I can make accommodation. Something... for the lady, perhaps? Oh yes, I see a glint in the eye. There is romance afoot, and it needs the dancing partner of the adornments of affection!"
  • JAHEIRA: "N-no, that's quite alright. Do not make a fuss."
  • JAHABOAM: "Nonsense! Oh, but perhaps I have overstepped my bounds with my observant eyes. I apologize most profusely. It changes nothing, though. You sir, your name?"
  • PC: "[PC name]"
  • JAHABOAM: "[PC name]? The name of a man that knows his heart, but perhaps has troubles warming the lady's heart. By no fault of your own, of course! Perhaps a gift?"
  • JAHEIRA: "I said not to..."
  • JAHABOAM: "I believe I was speaking to the gentleman. Now sir, she is a lady of the battlefield, so a commemorative blade possibly? No? I have the perfect thing! A locket to carry an endearing portrait! A minor magic will instantly implant a likeness of the lady. A mere 20 gold, that you might but glance at my other items."
  • PC: "I believe the lady said she didn't want anything."
  • JAHABOAM: "As you will. Farewell for now. Good luck to you and the lady. Ahh, to be young. Jahaboam bids you not squander what there is to grasp. Farewell!"
  • JAHEIRA: "What a... charming fellow. Completely insane of course. Out of his mind. Blind as a bat. No idea what he was saying."
  • PC: "Yes... yes, of course. Out of his mind. Yes."
  • JAHEIRA: "Yes. Well. Let's... let's get going, shall we?"

  • MOOK: "Bloody fine to have some backup. I've heard a bit about you. Been makin' a name for yourself as an adventurer."
  • PC: "Thanks. I do my best."
  • MOOK: "Aren't you a bit too heroic to be guarding shipments for Aran?"
  • PC: "Tis merely a path on the road to another heroic feat."
  • MOOK: "I'm glad I could play a part in your little drama."

  • SIMYAZ: "You live! The illithids let you go? Astounding, unless you are in league with them. I warn you, if you serve them you will share their fate."
  • PC: "No, actually, I DESTROYED THE WHOLE DAMN BUNCH WITHOUT YOU!!"
  • SIMYAZ: "I sense hostility."

  • BEGGAR: "Excuse me... might you have a coin to spare my poor, venerable mother? She would ask for herself, but she lays in a cold, cold room nearly sick to her death, alas..."
  • PC: "She's sick, is she? Perhaps you could bring me to her... I might be able to offer her some help."
  • BEGGAR: "Hmph. You could just say 'no', you know... (Always has to be me that runs into them good samaritan types...)

  • CAPTAIN EGEISSAG: "So you are the one who has caused so much trouble... I must admit, I am not impressed."
  • PC: "Does Sendai think she can stop me by constantly throwing these pathetic slaves in my way?"
  • EGEISSAG: "Your slaughter-filled progress has greatly alarmed my mistress. If I defeat you my reward will be truly worthwhile."
  • SPECTATOR BEHOLDER: "Oh, Captain, my Captain!"
  • EGEISSAG: "Eh? Why do you address me as such, beholder? You have a most peculiar attitude... I shall have to report it to the mistress soon."
  • SPECTATOR: "Oh, never mind that. I always wanted to say that, and there you go getting all upset. I just had a comment, here, before this Bhaalspawn squashes you into so much mush."
  • EGEISSAG: "Hmph. That may not necessarily happen."
  • SPECTATOR: "Uh... yes. Anyhow, on the off chance that you *do* manage to kill the Bhaalspawn, won't Sendai just go the matron mothers and take all the credit for her greedy *little self?"
  • EGEISSAG: "You... speak the truth, my mono-ocular friend. I would rather claim the credit for such a deed myself. Have you a suggestion?"
  • SPECTATOR: "I'm just thinking it would be *so* much better if you fought [PC name] in single combat. Then you could claim to have killed him all by yourself. Even the matrons couldn't refute that. Parades, gold, a new torture rack, it'd all be yours."
  • [The Spectator casts a spell; when either warrior dies, all of their followers will too. Egeissag and the PC fight. Predictably, it is a one-sided slaughter. Egeissag dies and so do his followers.]
  • SPECTATOR: "Ahhh... and so it ends. And so does my service with this particular drow dolt. I mean, what's with these drow? Have they nothing better to do than summon me for their stupid tasks?"
  • PC: "Hey... aren't you the spectator beholder from the Sahuagin city?"
  • SPECTATOR: "That's me. And can I say thank you again for releasing me from one of the most boring tasks in Creation? These drow will just never learn."
  • PC: "How is it that you didn't die with the drow?"
  • SPECTATOR: "Oh, what? Did you really think I would cast that Geas on myself, too? That would be stupid."
  • PC: "So what are you going to do now"
  • SPECTATOR: "Oh, you know. Find the nearest hive. Check out the ladies. The usual. You?"
  • PC: "Fighting for my life. The usual."

  • SOLAR: "When you return to the waking world, you will continue to speed towards your purpose... stopping the prophecy from coming true. My question... why will you do this?"
  • PC: "Errr... because if it wasn't for world-shaking prophecies, life would be boring?"

  • [The PC releases three novice adventurers from a stone spell.]
  • BONDARI: "Die, cursed eyeball! Wha? Uh...? ...Do I, uh, know you?"
  • PC: "I have freed you from your stone prison, young adventurer."
  • BONDARI: "Uh, thanks. Guys, are you okay?"
  • NANOC THE BARBARIAN: Yeah.
  • TIM GOLDENHAND: Yes. (No thanks to you... can't even backstab an eyeball!)
  • BONDARI: Shut up, Tim! Greetings, my, uh... Lord. I am Bondari Quickhand, a thief. These are my companions Nanoc the Barbarian and Tim Goldenhand. He's an elf. And a mage. Uh... I guess I should thank you for saving us. Is there some way we brave adventurers can repay your kindness? Something we can do for you to fulfill our debt of gratitude? Anything? Anything at all?"
  • PC: "A terrible evil has swept across the land and the lives of millions hang in the balance. You have been chosen, Bondari, and you must not fail in your quest!"
  • BONDARI: "A quest! Wow, this is great! What do we have to do?"
  • PC: "A fiendish beholder and his kobold cohorts have infested a cave to the east of here. An evil dragon threatens the land! I must have the beholder's eyestalk to slay the dragon and save the country from certain doom!"
  • BONDARI: "By Mask's mask! We can't let this happen!"
  • PC: "Go, noble adventurer, and retrieve the eyestalk. The fate of Tethyr lies in your hands!"
  • BONDARI: "What type of reward do we get?"
  • PC: "The satisfaction of a job well done. Do not argue, even now the dragon raises his army to crush the world!"
  • BONDARI: "Well, we will be saving the world... Alright, we'll do it! Let's go, boys!"
  • TIM: "Wait! I have to rest and memorize magic missile!"
  • NANOC: "Worry not, elf. Nanoc will protect you!"
  • [The next day.]
  • BONDARI: "(I'm telling you we can take [PC name]. Nanoc, you are unfettered by the weaknesses of the civilized world! Tim, you can cast magic missile! I will backstab. I bet he has all kinds of great treasure!)"
  • NANOC: "{But Tim is terrible. Remember the kobold king? He cast one spell then hid behind a rock while we had to slay everyone!)"
  • TIM: "(Hey! I have the healing potions! I heal you!)"
  • NANOC: "(I can shrug off a blow that would fell a normal man! Unfettered by your civilized ways, I...)"
  • BONDARI: "(Enough. Ready...) ATTACK!!!"
  • [The three adventurers attack the party. They are massacred.]
  • [Bondari reloads]
  • BONDARI: "Uh, here's your eyestalk sir. We found something else, too. I hope you like it."
  • PC: "You have saved us all, noble hero."
  • BONDARI: "Thanks. It was a good quest. I found a dagger and Tim here got a scroll of identify. In a couple of days he'll be able to tell me about my dagger."
  • NANOC: "I bid you a 'Farewell' suitably unfettered by civilization."

And of course, we must not forget the most awesome quote ever:

  • PC: "Ok, I've just about had my FILL of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer ANYWHERE in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster AND his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the nine hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I MADE myself perfectly CLEAR?!"