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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Baldur's Gate 2 Retrospective Walkthrough: Chapter One - Part II

   B A L D U R ' S  G A T E  I I  
   S h a d o w s  o f  A m n    &    T h r o n e   o f  B h a a l   
   W a l k t h r o u g h P a r t  I I   

• Announcement — Parameters of Play & WeiDU log • Part I — Chapter One: Prologue, Chateau Irenicus - Lower Dungeon (Imoen, Jaheira & Minsc) • Part II — Chateau Irenicus - Upper Dungeon (Yoshimo) • Part III (this write-up to be reprised soon!) — Athkatla - Waukeen's Promenade (Aerie)

The previous post in a nutshell (recap):
—Imoen, Jaheira, Minsc & Charname took the opportunity to escape imprisonment while their captor and tormentor (an unknown mage) was distracted by an assault on his hideout by assassins.
—We learned that at least one member of the canon party is dead (Dynaheir).
—The party explored the Lower Dungeon of the Chateau, looking for a way out (and any sign of Khalid).
—Dryads revealed the name of our captor (Irenicus); that he built an elven suite in memory of his lost love. We took her key from the suite, used it to activate a teleport portal, and were whisked away to the Upper Dungeon!

This post in a nutshell
—The party explores the Upper Dungeon of the Chateau
—Yoshimo becomes our fourth party member. 
—Khalid is found! - or, at least, what is left of him. 
—We learn that Irenicus' lost love is an elf noble (and that he was cloning her).
—The assassin infiltrators announce that they are Shadow Thieves. They are after Irenicus on the grounds that he is orchestrating a Guild War. He may also be allied with vampires...
—The party escapes the Chateau and steps out into a sunny day in Athkatla, only to have both Irenicus & Imoen apprehended and whisked away by Athkatla's arcane authorities, the Cowled Wizards!

  P R O L O G U E  C h a t e a u  I r e n i c u s   
    U p p e r   D u n g e o n  — A R 0 6 0 3  

Upon entry to this dungeon a fourth prospective companion will approach and force-talk you: it is Yoshimo, a bounty hunter who hails from Kara-tur. Yoshimo reveals that he was kidnapped while a guest at the Copper Coronet tavern in Athkatla (the capital city of Amn). He is not sure if we are still in Athkatla. Yoshimo warns of mephit portals and pedestals that blast people who don't have the keys to them. You should have two of the six keys already (Frost & Lightning). Hold onto them. We'll find the others soon.
Crate: Hold Person scroll.

   C o m p a n i o n — Y o s h i m o   
I can dance on the head of a pin as well!

When asked about his past, Yoshimo seems disheartened that you are not already acquainted with his reputation. By his own account, he is apparently well known among people in the know, both as a daring rogue and as a dashing man about town. While the story sounds impressive, he seems ungainly for such exploits, possibly a bit more hapless than debonair. He wears it well, however, and perhaps even capitalizes on it. He seems to know that his kind of good-natured humor is well appreciated by most everyone he meets.

Yoshimo is a completely new companion; i.e, he does not appear in Baldur's Gate. If you decline his offer to join he will escape by himself and return to the Copper Coronet, no doubt hoping not to be kidnapped again.
True Neutral Human Bounty Hunter (10)

 Yoshimo's stat-line  Strength 17 (to-hit +1, dmg +1) | Dexterity 18 (AC -4) | Constitution 16 | Intelligence 13 | Wisdom 10 | Charisma 14 | THAC0 14 | ApR 1
There is nothing wrong with this stat-line. He can backstab, he can fire a bow. But what he's best at, is setting traps (once you increase his skill, that is).
 Yoshimo's utility skills & abilities  Open Locks (65), Find Traps (100), Pick Pockets (25), Move Silently (60)Hide in Shadows (50), Detect Illusion (10)Set Traps (35), Backstab (x4), Lore (30).
What's this "Set Traps 35 nonsense" for a Bounty Hunter? Well, my theory is that BioWare just wanted Yoshimo to cover the "necessary" thief skills (OL+FT). You wouldn't want newbies crying because they have no way to open a chest or disarm a trap, would you? But I find that the old, common skills are the least useful in this campaign, whereas the new ones are the most useful (ST & DI).
 Yoshimo's special abilities  Set Snare (x2), Alchemical Trap (x2), Paralytic Toxin (x2).
—Rogue Rebalancing's "Thief Kit Revisions" component replaces the Bounty Hunter's Magical Traps with Alchemical Traps. Here is a comparison:
  • Magical Traps (vanilla): Slow (1st lvl), Hold (11th), Otiluke's Resilient Sphere (16th) and no-save Maze (21st). 
  • Alchemical Traps (RR): inflicts subdual 2d4 Dazzle (1st lvl), 4d4 Slow (6th), 6d4 Entangle (11th), 8d4 Blindness (16th), and 10d4 Unconscious (21st). The effects last for 5 rounds and Save vs. Breath negates.
So yeah, this is a major nerf balancing tweak; f.e, No more "Maze enemy, set Spike Traps, enemy un-mazes and dies". Also, you can no longer throw traps!

In addition we have:
  • Paralytic Toxin: Coat your weapon with a toxin that inflicts on-hit paralysis for one round per 10 levels (save vs. Paralyzation negates).
  • Alchemical Expertise: The saving throw difficulty class for Alchemical Traps & Paralytic Toxin increases by 1 point for every 10 Bounty Hunter levels.

 Yoshimo's Weapon Proficiencies  Katana (Proficient), Dagger (Proficient), Shortbow (Proficient), Single Weapon Style (*).
 Yoshimo's Custom Equipment  Yoshimo's Katana +1 (THAC0 +1, dmg +1), Leather Armor, Shortbow, Arrow x60.
 Yoshimo's Perks  Yoshimo is a great companion to take along to the Docks, where all the thieves hang out (Yoshi is in fact a Shadow Thief himself). I also recommend taking him to Spellhold for the betrayal scene.

Ok, head into the next room.

   M e p h i t  P o r t a l s   

Gah! - more mephits! Worst still, once slain, these ones respawn from the portals installed along the eastern wall. Ignore the mephits and destroy the portals. This will also kill any mephits flitting about (the portal being their life-source). Don't bother casting spells at the portals because they are 100% magic-resistant.
Portal x4 (5000 XP ea).

Loot the place for three more wand keys.
Table: Gold Ring, 1GP. Chest: Gold Ring, Potion of Extra Healing x2, Wand of Cloudkill Key. Barrel: Bolt +1 x3, 10 GP. Table: Zircon Gem, Wand of Summoning Key. Chest: Wand of Fire Key, Bastard Sword, Arrow x5. Shelves: Spell Sequencer scroll, Cursed Scroll of Weakness scroll.

   K h a l i d   

Khalid's mutilated body is found outstretched on a table.. and Jaheira is VERY upset about it. Showing blatant disregard for her Nature beliefs, or otherwise making callous remarks, results in Jaheira leaving the party FOREVER. She will not even appear outside of the Galvarey Estate in Chapter Two. So yeah, you might like to be extra-careful in this particular dialogue with her; unless, of course, you don't need one of the more powerful and interesting companions available to you in this campaign.

Ok, there are two doors on the western wall. First, take the southernmost one.

   C l o n i n g  C h a m b e r   

Here you will find an Escaped Clone and an assassin duking it out. Either stand back and watch or take sides, it doesn't matter. The clone is that of an elf noble, a crude copy of Irenicus' lost love. She speaks in a posh accent and fights in the name of the Seldarine, the elven pantheon of gods. It doesn't matter how you respond, the clone turns hostile and you are forced to slay her.
Escaped Clone (1,250 XP, Wand of Missiles Key, Potion of Extra Healing, Potion of Invisibility), Assassin (14 XP).
Barrels: Fireball scroll, 1 GP, Pearl Necklace, Arrow x7.

Next up, take the other door and slay the foes lurking in the hall leading east.
Ice Mephit (420 XP), Assassin (750 XP), Smoke Mephit (420 XP), Duergar x4 (420 XP ea).

The hall leads through another door and onto a rickety bridge that crosses a room with a noisy generator. Step through the opposite door and into the next chamber...
Proximity Trap (1,750 XP).

   W a n d - f i r i n g  P e d e s t a l s   

From its entrance you will witness an assassin's death as he tries to close in on a duergar unit. What happened is, the former tripped a trap on the mosaic and was blasted by a wand mounted on one of the pedestals lining the western wall. This should dissuade you from charging blindly on, but let me make it clear: Do NOT step onto the mosaic and walk around on it unless you enjoy being fried, gassed, electrocuted and frozen to death.

Now, each of the six symbols on the mosaic corresponds to a pedestal from which a wand is fired. You will need to insert a key into each of the six pedestals in order to disarm the traps on the mosaic (the traps may be detected but they cannot be disarmed by conventional means). The order does not matter. You don't need to choose which key goes into which pedestal. All you need to do is click on each pedestal (twice) to insert the keys. Completing this task means the traps are disarmed and the wands are released from the pedestal and transferred to your inventory. Each of them has just one charge remaining.
Wand of Frost, Wand of Monster Summoning, Wand of Fire, Wand of Missiles, Wand of Cloudkill, Wand of Lightning
—You should remember from your Baldur's Gate days that wands may be sold to a vendor and "bought back" fully charged; ergo, you may not want to deplete them fully (because that makes the wands vanish from your inventory forever).

But how do I reach the pedestals without tripping the traps? Well, here is perhaps the most elegant approach: Just have one of your party members sneak into the chamber (under the effects of stealth or invisibility), hug the western wall, and insert the keys into the pedestals as they move along it. Once done, backtrack to safety and have your warriors charge in and slay the duergar.
Duergar x2 (420 XP ea).
Large statue of a god: Ring of Protection +1.

The door on the western wall leads to a chamber in which a trio of assassins are taking on the vampire, Ulvaryl. You will learn here that these assassins are Shadow Thieves (Realmslore: the thieves guild of Athkatla) and that Irenicus is allied with vampires. I suggest that you do all you can to gut the mage before she throws up a Stoneskin and starts hurling Melf's Minute Meteors at the party, because THEY HURT.
Ulvaryl (8,000 XP), Assassin Mage (270 XP), Assassin x2 (14 XP ea).

Ok, three halls lead east from the mosaic. Let's explore them from north to south.

   D u e r g a r  F o r g e   

At the end of the northernmost hall lurk several duergar, including an elusive mage. Slay them.

Duergar x8 (420 XP ea), Duergar Mage (620 XP). Table: 100 GP, Potion of Extra  Healing x2, Charm Person scroll. Crate: Ranged weapons and ammo. Chest (OL 400 XP): Potion of Healing x3, Girdle of Bluntness. Chest: Splint Mail, ammo.
—Note how the duergar refer to Irenicus as "The Exile".

   D o p p e l g a n g e r   

Next, take the middle hall to its end. Here, a portly man is standing behind a glass barrier, begging you to release him from confinement. Quest: Find the keys to release Frennedan.

You will find the key in one of the chests.

Chest (FT 1,750 XP): Key to Frennedan's Room, Potion of Healing x5, Knock scroll. Chest (OL 400 XP): Potion of Firebreath, Protection From Electricity scroll. Shelves (FT 1,750 XP): Elixir of Health x4, Invisibility scroll. Chest (FT 1,750 XP): Cursed Scroll of Foolishness, Oil of Speed, Blur scroll. Shelves: 101 GP, Color Spray scroll. Shelves: Blindness scroll. Table: Potion of Extra Healing x2.

Once released Frennedan will start following you around like a lost puppy dog. Problem is, he's actually a doppelganger. And it won't take long for him to reveal himself as such, so you might as well slay him at your first opportunity and be done with it.
Frennedan (3,000 XP).

   E s c a p e  T u n n e l   

The party will be ambushed by assassins when they explore east down the final hall. The leader of the infiltration declares that Irenicus is forming a rival guild to the Shadow Thieves, and orchestrating a guild war. Suddenly, you are part of this problem. There is no way to talk your way out of this one, so prioritize the mage and watch out for the backstabs targeting your squishy party members.
Assassin Mage (1,000 XP, 38 GP, Potion of Invisibility x2), Assassin x2 (750 XP ea).

When they have been dealt with head out the door and down the stairs to the sewers. The tunnel is littered with the fresh corpses of Shadow Thieves, courtesy of Irenicus. Head north along its length and you will spy the exit to the surface! TAKE IT.

  U p p e r   D u n g e o n — O v e r  
   C h a t e a u  I r e n i c u s — O v e r   

  A T H K A T L A  W a u k e e n ' s  P r o m e n a d e   

It seems we made it out of the tunnel in the nick of time, just before its collapse!

A second scripted cutscene fires showing Irenicus slaying several Shadow Thieves with his devastating arcane arsenal (Flesh to Stone, Power Word: Kill etc.) Basically, "chunks" of thieves are flying around like confetti and we're just standing there like idiots, presumably in awe.

Irenicus then confronts the party, referring to Charname as "Godchild". The bitter exchange between Irenicus & Imoen results in the latter firing a Magic Missile at the former; you know, the guy who was just casting Power Word: Kill over and over like it was a cantrip. I guess she fired the spell in disgust for Irenicus' crimes against the party, because it's not like a first level spell is gonna do ANYTHING in this situation.

But little did they know casting spells in Athkatla without permission is illegal. In response to the offence the Cowled Wizards arrive instantly to the scene of carnage, charging them with arcane deviance. But, to their dismay the wizards become victims of Irenicus' next barrage of spells (Disintegrate, Power Word: Kill). However, Irenicus admits to being bored and outnumbered; so, he permits the authorities to take him in on the proviso that they apprehend Imoen, too. Hence, both Irenicius & Imoen are whisked away to Who Knows Where before the rest of the party can get a word in edgeways. Sigh...

Anyway, an amusing three-way banter triggers when the cutscene ends.

Each party member receives 34,500 quest experience points for escaping Chateau Irenicus. As a result, Charname, Jaheira & Minsc gain their first level of this campaign. Most notably, Jaheira gains +1/2 ApR for reaching her seventh Fighter level and Minsc gains divine spell-casting ability for reaching his eighth in Ranger (I usually forget that Minsc gains spells; not this time!)

Next Up: The party explores Waukeen's Promenade and its Circus Tent; after which, they are confronted by a "friendly" Shadow Thief upon reaching the Slums, one who makes them an offer they can't refuse (at least, not at this point...)

   B A L D U R ' S  G A T E  I I  
   S h a d o w s  o f  A m n    &    T h r o n e   o f  B h a a l   
   W a l k t h r o u g h P a r t  I I I  
  C H A P T E R  O N E  
  A T H K A T L A  W a u k e e n ' s  P r o m e n a d e   
To be posted soon ^_^

Chateau Irenicus served its purpose, I guess. I mean, compare the Prologues of the original Baldur's Gate, the Icewind Dale series, and Siege of Dragonspear: they are introductory doddles designed with newbies in mind. But Planescape: Torment's Mortuary proved that introductory areas need not be boring.

Normally, I would just bypass 90% of the Chateau. This is probably the first time since my second or third playthrough that I bothered to experience the entirety of its content. I guess that's why the Dungeon Be Gone mod exists, though I've personally never bothered trying it out.

I quaffed 7 of the 17 Extra Healing potions that were itemized in the Prologue. That was mostly due to lazy tactics... things like, not making sure my Kensai is in a flanking position against duergar mobs. Castings of Divine Might (DUHM) and Kai were exhausted, as were most of my companions' useful spells (we didn't have all that many, anyway).

All up we lugged out a LOAD of treasure: 2,000 GP aside, we are in possession of no less than one dozen magical items, six wands, 22 scrolls, 37 potions, two crafting components (pantaloons & pommel) and one quest item (the acorns). Just for the Prologue. This is a hint of what is to come, of course: a Monty Haul campaign.

Anyway, I felt relief finally getting out of the place, and I can't wait to dive in to Chapter Two, with its non-linear exploration, companion options and quest density. But the best stuff will have to wait until I cover the remainder of Chapter One in Part III of this walkthrough, coming up!



  1. Just to say nice walkthrough but especially your detailed commentary and analysis is always enjoyable- all the moreso in this case since I actually know the material you are talking about well.

    Personally, I find SCS mages with prebuffing but I suspect you like many players are significantly better than I!

  2. I still have fond memories of getting the demo of this game (which let you play chapter 1). Now many years later I still find myself revisiting this game more than any other... mostly thanks to mods.

    Looking forward to the enhanced edition trilogy project, which is nearing release. It limits mods somewhat but still a seamless romp across all of the bg series? Could be grand.

    Anyway just wanted to say thanks for posting this so far, enjoying it. Yes I do use dungeons be gone (there is also the less-fourth-wall-breaking 'Skip Chateau Irenicus' now too), would really struggle with getting a game underway without it.

    I play such mod heavy playthroughs now, it will be fun to read a more traditional party go through the series.

  3. You did an amazing job with this walk-through, its by far the best Ive seen out there.

    I used it from BG1 and DragonSpear :)


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