Alone Against the World: Baldur’s Gate Without Companions [EPISODE 1]
For many, Baldur’s Gate represents the pinnacle of late 90’s CRPG’s. Released in 1998, the game is over 21 years old at this point and has been played to death by millions of rabid fans, myself included. What is there that I haven’t done in this game?
November 29, 2019
Well, I have never completed a solo run through of the game. Now there have been countless solo runs performed throughout the years, so what makes this one different? A strong narrative. This will be a multi-part article focused on the lone adventures of Eltimar, a half-elf mage/thief of indubious true neutral alignment. For the most part the narration will be both first-person and third-person perspectives. So, without any further delay let’s get started.
Baldur’s Gate is not necessarily an easy game. There are challenging encounters that require punishing damage. There are also events that require powerful magic or tricksy skills. To this end I have made our character a mage/thief, who will hopefully be able to adapt to any scenario thrown at him. In terms of stats, I think we can safely agree that he is fairly overpowered.

Strength 18: As strong as a Minotaur. Capable of breaking wood with his bare hands.
Dexterity 18: Quicker than a lion. Capable of hitting small targets at a distance.
Constitution 18: As enduring as a Polar Bear. Able to stay awake for days on end.
Intelligence 18: Smarter than a succubus. Genius-level intelligence.
Wisdom 18: Almost as wise as a unicorn. Often looked to as a source of wisdom or council.
Charisma 7: The beauty of a troll. Generally unpleasant to be around.

So there we go. A well rounded lightning-fast behemoth genius sociopath. Time to set out into the world.

And So it Begins

My foster father Gorion has tasked me with preparing to leave Candlekeep suddenly. He has not provided any inclination as to why the need for haste, but it clearly cannot be THAT important because I still have errands to run before we go.

Our first steps into the world of Baldur’s Gate are identical to those that so many others have taken throughout the decades. Our first stop is going to be the inn, owned by a sop named Winthrop. The most important thing here is to pick up a Short Bow. This will come in handy when we need to perform the invaluable negotiation tactic of “shoot them in the face.”

Now that we have our trusty bow, it is time to pick up one of our errands. There is a self-important mage by the name of Firebead Elvenhair who needs our help.

Firebead has tasked us with retrieving a scroll from old man Tethtoril. I think that this is a ruse and that they are instead using me to transport illicit correspondence. Perhaps they are involved in an illegal magical substance trade… or maybe they are planning a late-night rendezvous.

Why else would an elven sage need to provide a Chosen of Mystra with a scroll of identify, literally one of the most basic spells in existence? I attempted to stab the truth out of Tethtoril, but it appears the old man is powerful beyond measure, after a quick lightning bolt and a trip to the great re-roller in the sky I was back to pick up the scroll again. This time with minimal grumbling.

To get the scroll simply take a quick jaunt out of the inn directly to the south-east. You will enter the inner cloister. Hug the south wall, go past some chanters (we will get to them later) and talk to Tethtoril. He will give you the scroll for Mr. Elvenhair, and you can simply head back and turn it in.

So, with the scroll returned, Mr. Elvenhair has deigned to cast protection of evil on us. Luckily we are neutral or else the spell might have had some adverse effects on us. It is time to acquire some extra capital for our trip. To the second floor of the inn we go. There are a few locked dressers in rooms with sleeping people which you can lockpick and pilfer. Just don’t steal from the people who are awake.

It is a wonder that some people manage to keep their belongings at all. Almost none of the inn’s rooms have a door, and most tenants leave their belongings in easily picked dressers. Largely there is nothing of value, but of the room directly to the right of the stairs has a Star Diamond inside of it. Winthrop paid me 1000 gold for a gem stolen from his own guest. Who is the humorless one now!?

Airhead Phlydia

Okay with some light larceny out of the way we need to head out into Candlekeep again. The next stop on our list is to the absent-minded Phlydia located just to the north of the inn. It appears she has another job for us to do, and surely we will be suitably awarded for our trouble.
Phlydia appears to have the memory of a gerbil and has misplaced the book she was reading. Honestly, I am not even surprised anymore. It seems that everyone that lives in this place has endless minor issues that they cannot work out on their own. Well, I will keep my eyes open for her book, surely it wouldn’t be left somewhere silly like in a pile of straw…

With this task in mind, it is time for us to head off to the east. There are a couple of tutors around that we can largely ignore unless you are new to the game. Take a quick stop into the Priest’s Quarters. There is a man inside who requires the deft diplomacy of arrow to the face. Make sure you introduce him to your weapon of choice, loot the place and leave.

From here we are headed east to the smallest stable in the world. I know technology was a little bit limited in 1998, but relying on one cow to supply the library with, presumably, milk, defies the imagination. Talk to Dreppin, who notes that Ms. Phlydia left her book in a pile of hay… it’s almost like I have done this before. Go grab the book and take it back to our… intellectually challenged friend.

I found Phlydia’s book among some straw. I had to resist lobbing it at her stupid head to maybe drive home the point that she should pay more attention to her belongings, especially borrowed belongings.

But seriously, she even told me she was reading it east of here. This entire keep is a handful of buildings and a courtyard. Dreppin even told me right away she had left it there. All she had to do was walk like 100 feet east. I hate everyone in this place.

It appears that carting around a book was a life-altering experience for our character. But we have other tasks that still require our attention. Head southeast from Dreppin to meet up with a Watcher named Hull, who has yet another errand for us to accomplish.

Haggard Watcher Hull

Hull wanted to speak with me when I found him on guard today. He was looking a little haggard and unkempt, though this is not outside the norm. He told me that he left his sword at the barracks and asked me to retrieve it for him. He also let me know that he had an antidote for Dreppin’s cow.

I am still not entirely sure why Hull needs his sword. Looking around at the other guards, all of them have staves. It is of utmost importance we cure the cow though. Without the keep’s sole bovine everyone will starve to death or something.

The barracks is located on the south side of Candlekeep, but we have another small thing to do beforehand. Just north of hull is a storehouse and outside is a dwarf named Reevor. It seems he has a rat problem he needs taken care of.

Luckily, I have summoned my trusty familiar “generic rabbit” and as we all know, rabbits are vicious killing machines without equal. Get into the storehouse and lay waste to the rats.

Honestly, if you die to rats in this game, you should probably consider uninstalling. I would also like to point out, there are like 6 cats in the storehouse, further reinforcing my belief that cats are useless (I don’t actually believe this. Cats are adorable). Talk to Reevor, get your reward, and head south.

I was on my way to get Hull’s sword and the antidote, trying desperately not to stare at my blood drenched rabbit hopping happily beside me, when I was approached by the Gatewarden. He seems to know a lot more than I do, because he told me I would need to learn how to fight with a team. Ridiculous, I need no companions. I am an island unto myself. I, of course, turned him down. Teammates are basically cats and cats are useless.

If you want, you can take a quick stop into the infirmary and pick up a health potion, though you don’t have to. Heading west will take us to the bunkhouse where we will find our good friend… other miscellaneous attacker. Like the first attacker, introduce him to the business end of your weapon of choice, loot everything and head out. Finally, it is time to get into the barracks.

Just west of corpse number two is the barracks containing Hull’s sword and the antidote. There are also several locked containers. For a little boost of experience lockpick everything in the room but DO NOT loot the containers on the western side of the room. You will definitely be arrested for theft and probably executed. The chest containing the sword and antidote are in the northeast corner of the room. Grab them and it’s time to get out of here.

Your first stop is to Hull. Shove the sword in his stupid greasy face. Interestingly, he lets you know a tidbit of information of what is going on in the world… there is an iron crisis. This will become more important later on in the game, but it is neat that the developers introduced this major plot point in a relatively unassuming side quest.

Anyways, head up to Dreppin and drop off the potion, thus saving the entire keep’s milk supply. Head to the southern section of the inner cloister to see an acapella troupe.

Insufferable Imoen

There were some strange chanters singing about historical events in the inner cloister again today. They kept mentioning some bloke named Alaundo. I don’t know who this Alaundo is, but if he is their vocal coach, he should be fired. They kept mentioning something called Bhaalspawn; surely this isn’t some sort of foreshadowing.

Once you have had enough sing song time, head to the main steps of the tower and meet up with an undeniably irritating character. Imoen.

Heya, it’s me Imoen. She says that every time she sees me. I don’t know why she feels the need to tell me her name regularly. Maybe she says it to remind herself, otherwise she would forget? Also, she wears the same hooded outfit as me. Can she, like, get her own style!?

Anyways, I told her to take a hike because I can see Gorion standing no more than a dozen feet away from me and I need to disengage from this conversation before she tells me her name again.

So, once you resist the urge to knife Imoen in the throat, head up the stairs and talk to Gorion. He will tell you that you are in danger, though judging by the pitiful attempts made by the two assassins today, you would probably be just fine. He lets you know that you will be leaving immediately, so if there is anything to wrap up, you should do it now. There is no time like the present, so let’s go.

Just before nightfall I met Gorion by the gates. He told me that if we should become separated, I should make my way to the Friendly Arms Inn. For some reason he thinks we need “friends” and wants me to find Khalid and Jaheira. I wonder why he chose this moment to tell me. It couldn’t be more foreshadowing, and I will be witness to his imminent demise.

(Narrator): It was.

End of Part I

This concludes the first part of a several part series that I plan on doing cataloguing most of the key adventures to be had within Baldur’s Gate. I am hoping that this particular series generates some interest and if it does I will endeavour to provide a humorous and detailed walk through of the entire game, including side areas! Thank you for reading and I will hopefully see you all again soon.

If you’ve enjoyed this, you can hop on to the second part of the series:

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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