Alone Against the World: Baldur’s Gate. The Path to the Friendly Arms Inn [EPISODE 2]
This is episode two of Eltimar’s journey, a psychopathic mage-thief, half-elf with an affinity for killing unwitting travelers.
December 3, 2019
Welcome back everyone! Apparently the first part of this little series was well received, so I have decided to continue the journey of Eltimar. Where we left off last time we were about to leave Candlekeep and journey into the wilds of the Sword Coast beyond its walls.

An Anticlimactic Revenge Story

Our first stop upon leaving the safety of our home is the brutal murder of our foster father Gorion. This brave man, who we have only known a matter of seconds, is thoroughly trounced by a terrifying man in spikey black armor, and a few of his followers of course.

During the night I was ambushed by a strange man in a really cool set of armor. I mean seriously, where did he get his armor? I want to find that blacksmith and commission him to make an even cooler, spikier set for me. Anyways, Gorion said something about not giving me up, really nice foster father. He told me to run away, so I took a passive jog about 200 feet south and set up camp for the night. I think I am pretty safe here despite the explosions earlier.

Like all good protagonists at the beginning of a revenge story arc, we run away, unable to really help in this clash of powerful NPCs. We awaken in the morning some two hundred feet south from the fight and apparently no one really went to follow us, because it would have been pretty easy to do. We are now on our own again… or are we?

No. We are not. First we have to deal with our friend Imoen who, despite being called a brat and sent skulking away in the first part, has decided to come along and help us. No matter what we say she will join the group, but not for long. A few arrows will put her out of commission and we can safely loot her body and remove her from the group, ensuring she stays dead forever. Hopefully she doesn’t have an important story-centric role in Baldur’s Gate 2… oh wait.

I think I have some strange power over people. Imoen insisted she come along with me. A decision I found completely unacceptable. But even when I shot her with a few arrows to drive her off, she just stood there with her big dumb eyes watching me. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and put her down. I will need to test this power further.

Hunting for Vict… XP

From here we have a few things to do. The first of which is to get some “free” experience. There are a number of wolves and bears in this area. You will not be able to kill them on your own, but luckily we have our rabbit. What you need to do is get the wolf to chase your rabbit in a circle around your main character while you shoot it until it dies. This should net you some pretty great early game experience.

This strategy works very effectively because the AI is really, really dumb, it targets the closest enemy, which should be your rabbit all the time. Make sure your rabbit is consistently closer to your enemy than you are and you should have free reign to fire away.

You should also probably head north to where Gorion died and pick up a belt and a letter. The letter is a little long winded, but basically it boils down to “Hey your ward is in danger, maybe GTFO of Candlekeep.”

For those of you in the know, “E” is actually Elminster, the sage of Shadowdale and arguably one of the most powerful characters in the Forgotten Realms mythos. He also could have pretty easily solved this entire situation single-handedly if he had deigned to show up when Gorion was getting beaten to death, but I digress. Grab the loot (including the goodies dropped by the dead attackers) and continue on.

Now, explore the whole area. I am not going to do a blow by blow of each animal and fight. Just be careful and kill all the wolves, bears, and gibberlings you find. At some point you will come across our next two unwitting vict… uh… friends… our next two very temporary friends.

Montaron is a neutral evil halfling fighter/thief. Xzar is a chaotic evil psychopathic necromancer. Both of them make great additions to your team if you are playing an evil character, and both of them make an absolutely terrible addition to your team if you are playing a good character. Either way, we need their gear because… well we don’t really, but it would be nice to have.

Welcome them lovingly into your group and then get one of them to kill the other, before finishing the last one off. I have always found it amusing that people who join your group will immediately submit to your absolute will and do things like kill their own friends just because you ask. Remove them from the group just like you did with Imoen.

Another display of my strange power. I met a crazy man and his little friend. When they joined my party, I told the mage to kill his friend and he did! Even though I am pretty sure they were evil, the halfling just stood there and let the rest of us murder him in cold blood without even trying to get away or fight back. Then after he was lying dead on the ground, I killed the crazy man, and the same thing happened. He just stood there with his insane eyes and let me finish him off. I should talk to someone about this effect I have on people.

The Danger Zone

Just north of our corpsey new friends is a man named Binkos. He apparently has a message for the Grand Dukes of a caravan being raided at Beregost. Surely this has nothing to do with the iron shortage or the troubles plaguing the Sword Coast we heard about earlier. Spoiler: It does.

So the first thing that will happen when you arrive one zone to the east is that a man in a strange wizard hat will approach you. Unsurprisingly, he is a wizard, and is also the aforementioned Elminster. Look who finally decided to show up a few hours late.

Well, he wants you to indulge him. Call him out on his stupid behaviour. Pestering people on the road is not very well adjusted (said the man who just murdered three playable npcs in cold blood). Anyways he will again remind you to go to the Friendly Arms Inn. The game really takes great pains to remind you where to go. He then wanders off.

Oh as just an interesting tidbit, Elminster is actually the creation of Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It is widely speculated that Elminster is Ed Greenwood’s persona in Forgotten Realms.

Anyways, back to the game. This is a zone that is chock full of danger. Be a little bit cautious with navigating this zone and save a lot. There are a few places you want to visit before heading north to the Friendly Arms Inn though. Just north of the center you will encounter a man by the name of Aoln. He will let you know there are dangerous beasties in the area and that he lost his whole group fighting an Ogre Mage. Ogre Mages are pretty nasty so this isn’t surprising.

Stick to the central part of the map for now. You are travelling east. We have an Ogre of our own to kill before we leave this zone. This fight will cause you problems if you haven’t mastered the art of making him chase your rabbit. Simply employ the same strategy you did with the wolves and bears and you should be fine.

I always knew ogres were dumb, but this one really takes the cake. He charged my rabbit, screaming something about wanting to smash it to goo. My rabbit of course had other plans and ran around me in wide circles while I peppered the ogre with arrows. It worked! Even after taking some pretty significant arrow-based pain, the Ogre kept chasing my rabbit! Maybe he just wanted to pet something soft, but I personally think he would have stroked my rabbit too hard and I would have had to find or summon another one.

Once you have taken out the Ogre, feel free to loot him for his two belts. Don’t put either of them on just yet. It is time to return to the road and head north to the Friendly Arm Inn. We will finish up this zone later on.

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The Not-So-Friendly Arm Inn

Okay. We have finally arrived in a safe place hahahaha… yes that laughter is some foreshadowing for how safe this place really is. But we did make it here, so that is a plus. Let’s head north into the keep itself.

First things first is to take an immediate left upon entering the wall. There is a house with a woman in it. Just barge in and talk to her. She has a quest for us. She wants us to get back a flame dance ring from some hobgoblins north of the keep. This is something we can easily help her with and it’s worth a bunch of experience so say yes. She also apparently does not care if you lockpick and take her belongings, so definitely rob her as well.

Head east towards the entrance to the keep proper. There is going to be a rather troubling fight here. I would advise saving before approaching the oddly robed man standing in front of the door. Hint… he is not your friend and is a higher level than you. Its advised that you shoot him before he talks to you, so that you can get the first hit, but if your honor dictates you wait for a good reason to fight then you do you. After killing him loot his body.

He will have a few scrolls on him. If you do not have those spells in your spellbook save and write them in. You will get some experience from this and it will give you a wider array of tools for later in the game. The scrolls he has are Armor, Burning Hands, and Magic Missile. He also has a letter that tells us there is a 200g bounty on our head. Kind of a small amount of gold for murder in my opinion but… I guess lives aren’t worth much on the Sword Coast.

Head on into the keep and you will be approached by another stranger named Jopi. It is weird that we know the names of these people that we have never met, but he will tell us that the roads to Baldur’s Gate are cut off. That is never a good sign. He will remind you that there is an iron shortage. The game isn’t subtle about reminding you of key plot points. Bandits… Iron Shortage… we get it. In the far left corner of the room are two named individuals that you have heard about before.

Jaheira is a True Neutral Half-Elf Fighter/Druid. She is actually a pretty good character no matter what kind of group you are playing, but she is also not going to be coming along with us. Khalid is a Neutral Good Half-Elf Fighter with only 15 strength. He is fairly awful aside from his con, which is a pretty respectful 17. Anyways, it is time to introduce them to the cruel hand of fate. Recruit them into your party, strip them of their gear to make the imminent murder easier, and get them to kill each other.

I did it again! This time with a married couple. Khalid and Jaheira, Gorion’s friends, joined my party for a brief time. I actually told the wife to kill her husband and she did it without question. This fills me with a strange psychopathic joy! I wonder how many more people there are in the world that I can just convince to let me kill them so I can take their possessions.

I also murdered the wife though, in the middle of the keep’s great hall I might add. Though she was very hot and probably would have made a capable companion, my rabbit and I journey alone.

End of Part II

This is where we will leave off for this episode. We got quite a bit accomplished. We made it to the Friendly Arms Inn. We killed quite a few baddies, including an Ogre. We also managed to murder 5 of the game’s rather astounding 25 playable NPCs (20% already!). Don’t worry. We will inevitably kill them all. It is our goal in life.

I hope you enjoyed this article and the murder-filled solo playthrough! I hope to see everyone for the next one!

Eltimar

Eltimar

Contributor

I was introduced to the world of gaming at a pretty young age. My dad would invite his friends over, and they would descend into the basement for hours. At first, I was too young to really grasp the games they were playing; Dungeons and Dragons, Ravenloft, Greyhawk. But it was when they began to shift their focus to computer games, that I became really interested.

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