Baldur's Gate help

dr_jo

Fledgling Freddie
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I've got my hands on a copy of Baldur's gate, with Tales of the Sword Coast (expansion, I think) from Shovel.
I tried playing it once, and failed so dismally that I uninstalled it, and put it in a draw, and sulked! But now I'm ready to give it another go (once my computer works, but I'll not go into that!) and I'm looking for some basic tips.

Like, which species should I choose? And how about which skill to go for?

Just basic stuff really, to help me get past the first half hour of play.

Thanks, Jo
 

Custodian

Loyal Freddie
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How the hell did you die in half an hour?
I would suggest a Half-Elven Fighter/Thief. That way you are fairly tuff, but can also sneak about - handy for sussing out what is ahead. (Yes, that is what my character was, and I finished the game.) He will need strength and dexterity, but don't let the other scores get to low. Spend a little time rolling the dice to get decent scores.

If you die a lot save often, BG has the quicksave. Use before you walk through the door and if you die you can just reload and try again, better prepared ;)
 

dr_jo

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Dying in half an hour is very very easy, if you forget about pausing the game, and have no idea whatever what you're doing! When you're used to playing Simcity, or Transport tycoon, the whole thing comes as a bit of a shock!
I'm saving it about every five minutes at the moment! Hopefully I'll actually get into the game this time. We'll have to see.

Thanks for the tips.

Jo
 

Custodian

Loyal Freddie
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Well, a complete RPG newbie. Carefull, they can swallow your life ;)
Feel free to ask anything then, I'll try and help without spoiling it.

DO avoid the cheat sites, reading a walkthrough will make the whole thing a waste of time and money.
 

dr_jo

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To be honest, I'm not enjoying it all that much at the moment. It gets more than a little tiresome when you have to do each part about 12 times before you get past it without losing one or more group members.
I can't help thinking I'm missing something... Any hints?
 

Custodian

Loyal Freddie
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OK... more thoughts.
I seem to recall BG was biased towards missile weapons, that is... I found I could kill a lot with a bow and arrow before it even reched me.
Use your characters to their strengths. Have a couple of tough guys at the front with armour and pointy things, keep the weaker ones behind hurling missles (bow, crossbow, sling, spells. etc.)

Explore each map thoroughly, to make sure you get as much treasure and experience as possible before progressing through the game to the harder levels.

Save the game before a level up, and if ya don't get maximum hit points (or very close) reload and level up again (BG2 took away this hassle by letting you click a option to get max points every time).
 

Louster

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Yeah uh, from what I remember, BG was a lot tougher and had a lot more instant-death situations than BG2. This was partially down to the freedom you had to explore lots of areas that were potentially way above your level all at once. I remember specifically, having a lot of trouble fighting the guy that attacks you at the Friendly Arm inn (I think that's what it was called, I'm never certain - where you met Jaheira and Khalid.) (I don't really consider this a spoiler as it happens so early in the game that it doesn't really have any huge significance.) Anyway uh, did you get past your teething problems, dr_jo?

Oh also, yeah that "reload a ton of times to get maximum hitpoints" thing was a HUGE goddamn pain. I think the first time I played through I was wondering why my paladin, or fighter or whatever it was - some supposedly tough tank-class - was having a hard time surviving, even though my constitution was pretty high. Of course, it was because I hadn't realised about the random hitpoints crap, and had been generally unlucky.
 

Louster

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Oh also also, as far as character classes go, I would've recommended, like myself, a bog-standard fighter guy as your main character, especially if you're new to the game/genre. Maximise your hitpoints and survivability. You can use Imoen or whoever for thieving stuff.
 

Louster

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Egh, one last thing.

Custodian said:
I seem to recall BG was biased towards missile weapons, that is... I found I could kill a lot with a bow and arrow before it even reched me.
That would be because you were a fighter/thief - they seem to make easily the best archers out of anyone, assuming you/they have enough dexterity. I only found this out when I tried playing with Coran - the guy was doing more damage, more quickly, than Minsc. Most of the other people I've tried equipping with bows have kinda sucked.
 

dr_jo

Fledgling Freddie
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Thanks for the information.
Yeah, that guy outside the friendly arms inn was a nightmare. It took me forever to get past him. And then, after I discovered I could run inside, and he wouldn't chase me, I died once I came out again!

What do you mean by the hitpoints thing when you level up? I'm confused!

No, I haven't really got past the "teething problems". It was getting so frustrating, and frankly, boring, to have to reload each situation about 12 times before I actually survived it. After a while, I had no inclination to keep going, nothing wanting me to go back and play it.

Maybe I'm missing something kinda basic, who knows?
 

Louster

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The hitpoints thing is that, every time a character levels up, the amount of hitpoints they gain is a random dice roll (with the size of the, er, die (? dice? I can never remember) being determined by the character's class) plus a modifier based on your constitution. Since it's essentially random, you can end up with a pathetically low number of hitpoints even if you're a tank class.

Uhm. From what I remember there weren't tons of situations that were as hard to survive as the Inn encounter from then on, but I don't remember why that would be. It's a hell of a long time ago that I played it. What goes wrong? Any specific situations you can mention that have you dying fast?

Generally I think I did what that guy said and explored the maps thoroughly before moving on. You'll find that, usually, the level, and hence difficulty, of the monsters is pretty consistent throughout the specific maps - so I'd usually run around until I found one, or one group of, monsters, see how hard they were, and if they were killable, continue to explore the map. Of course, you can run across situations that you can't really prepare for, so it's best to quick save often. Uhm.

Ehhh. I guess I should spoiler the next lot, though it seems a little like overkill, anyhow:

From what little I can remember, what I'd usually do is first head to the Friendly Arm, pick up Jaheira and Khalid from there (to bring my group to 6 - having picked up Imoen, Xzar and Montaron already) and then head south to the village with the mines quest (Nashkel), that you probably learn about via Jaheira/Khalid (I'm really not sure, actually). You come across one town a little way down (Beregost) which is good for restocking, and which has a number of easily completed quests in (and one really hard one, which is linked to one of the quests gotten in the Friendly Arm, I think - talking of which, the Friendly Arm area has a bunch of fairly easy quests also. Doing the quests and exploring the areas are both pretty essential ways of getting your character's levels high enough to survive.)

Then I'd talk to, er, Dynaheir, on the bridge at Nashkel, I think, and find out about the quest to save Minsc. Minsc is a great fighter, and once found (in an Orc stronghold to the west, or something) I dump Xzar and Montaron and take Minsc and Dynaheir instead. (You might actually have to dump Xzar and Montaron when you meet Dynaheir, I forget.) THEN, having formed a decent group (my character (usually a fighter of some sort), Imoen (thief), Jaheira (fighter/druid - moderately good healer, in other words), Khalid (fighter), Dynaheir (invoker - basically a mage) and Minsc (Ranger, though really, he's a better fighter than Khalid, despite being a theoretically weaker class) - the group's a bit fighter heavy at this point, and I'll usually swap out Jaheira and Khalid later for either Branwen or Viconia (both clerics, better healers than Jaheira) and someone else) uh. Yeah anyway, THEN I'll head to the Nashkel mines and do that big main plot quest. And after that I usually diverge and do totally different, random stuff.

But yeah, it's a good idea to explore the maps really thoroughly. Make sure your fighters have the best armour you have, and make sure that they're the ones to take the brunt of the damage in a fight (assuming they didn't get totally screwed over by the random hitpoints thing). It's hard to advise for general battles, without knowing any specifics, though. Like I said, there are quite a lot of situations you can encounter where you die instantly, pretty much regardless of your level. I can think of at least 4 areas/encounters that, every time I play, I have insanely hard times beating. So yeah, sometimes it's best to run or reload, I guess - though the Friendly Arm Inn encounter shouldn't be quite that hard.

Eugh I'm rambling.
 

Louster

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Oh, one tip with that Friendly Arm guy, is that usually I'd have Xzar memorise as many offensive spells as he can - they seem to have a higher chance of hitting the guy, generally, than plain melee or ranged attacks. I think mainly my tactics for beating that guy so early in the game relied on Xzar's spells working, and reloading if they didn't.
 

Louster

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Oh! One other thing - rest as often as you need to. It's vital that you rest regularly to regain hitpoints and prepare spells, and there are only a very few situations in which you need to complete things within time limits (saving Minsc is one of them - I found this out the hard way, yep yep).
 

dr_jo

Fledgling Freddie
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Main problem I have is when going between maps, if I get stopped by raiders. I always seem to die.
And in beregost, the spiders are really hard. They always kill off at least 2 of my group members.
I haven't got any further than that.
 

Louster

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Yeah actually, the spiders in that house were the "one really hard quest" that I was talking about - I usually save that quest till quite a while later. But, going between maps and getting stopped by raiders? I don't remember that, though it kinda rings a bell. Is that the situation where you end up in a small, somewhat random area, surrounded by enemies? Isn't it usually possible just to try and run off the edge of the map at that point?
 

Custodian

Loyal Freddie
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Minsc is the guy you meat on the road in Nashkel, and he wants you to rescue Dynaheir. Minsc is ace. His voice comments alone make him worth having in the party, and his fighting prowess is just a bonus.
"You point, I punch!"

The guy on the bridge is the wizard chap. Evil I think. I never took him with me anyway.

I think Xzar is the guy you rescue from the mines, not the guy with Montaron on the road. I did take him.

It has been a while since you played this, innit ;)

I like Jaheira and Khalid, although Khalid is a bit feeble until you can get him some stuff to boost his powers.
 

Louster

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It has been a while yeah, and it would make more sense if you meet Minsc and rescue Dynaheir, yep. But no, Xzar is the guy with Montaron - it's Xan you find in the mines (I looked this up on planetbaldursgate.com beforehand because I couldn't remember their names at all, oho.)
 

dr_jo

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Well, Ben was down for the weekend, so we decided to have another go at the game. There's actually a number of settings which help make it all a bit easier. You can make the game auto pause after certain events, such as a weapon becoming unusable, a target dying, etc. And there's also a difficulty slider. Reducing the difficulty means I have now actually managed to get to Chapter 3 of the story.
I've rescued the man from the mines. I went looking for the magical school thing, but couldn't find it, so ended up in the mines instead.

Is there any way to look at your journal entries for the previous chapters? I'm really struggling to remember what I'm supposed to be doing next.

My current party is Me and Imoen, the two from the friendly arm inn, the guy from the mines, and the guy with the hamster. I did have the Bard from Beregost, but he got annoying.
 

Louster

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Heh. Again with my limited memory, I have a feeling the journal organisation of Baldur's Gate was absolutely dire. Have you got the latest patch and such? I don't know if it makes any difference, but it might. It was certainly a pain just having tons of text in your journal with no order to it, and no way of searching or filtering or whatever.

One thing. I also have a vague memory that if you don't rescue Dynaheir before a certain amount of time passes, Minsc gets pissed off, and either attacks you or just leaves, or something.

Oh and yeah, auto-pause is great. You mentioned that you had the addon, I think, and that adds the option to automatically pause on sighting an enemy, which is very useful, yep.
 

dr_jo

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I've rescued Dynaheir, and she's now part of my group, because the guy from the mines died, and he wasn't all that useful anyway.
I don't seem to be able to get the hang of the whole magic thing. I've got one Invoker, and one druid/fighter. I understand about writing scrolls into your spell book for the invoker, but how does my druid get new spells? She doesn't appear to be able to write them, and yet when she leveled up, she got no new ones. I'm probably being stupid, but currently, I've got 4 strong team members, and two extras.
 

Custodian

Loyal Freddie
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Druids just gain spells at next level, they can't learn them. They can cast them direct from the scrolls though. Wizards can do the same with magic scrolls, they can cast it from the scroll instead of learning it. Kust stick a scroll in a quickslot and use it to cast direct. Wizards tend to be weak early on, but if ya manage to keep one till a high level they get pretty useful. Maybe summat to try on ya second play through of the game :)

You can go back and forth thru the chapters in the log, but I also found it limiting as well. I resorted to writing my own notes to remember what I had or hadn't done yet.
 

Louster

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Yeah uhm, druids don't always get new spell types to cast when they level, though. I don't have the manual to hand or whatever but uh, they only get new spell types at certain levels, and then they get access to all the available spells of the next level at once. What they get when levelling normally is the ability to cast more spells of their available levels before having to rest, like all other casters, I think.
 

Custodian

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dr_jo, we aint heard from you in a while. Please don't say you gave up again :(
I was quite enjoying hearing your progress. Was like I was playing again but without the bother of actually playing ;)
 

dr_jo

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Nope, I haven't given up, I've just been a bit ill, and with a headache, sitting infront of a computer screen isn't the best of ideas.
I'm still finding Dynaheir an absolute nightmare. Every battle we're in, she dies, and then I have to resurect her. She's useful as a pack horse, but that's about it...

I'm currently wandering aimlessly around the map, visiting places I haven't yet covered, because I don't really know what I'm supposed to be doing.

I can't find the general from nashkell who's gone awol, or the artist/sculpter from there either.
I went to try and go to the ruins of Ulcaster, but I couldn't find it. Just an annoying map, with large areas that I don't appear to be able to get to.

I've probably just missed something major in my log that tells me what I'm supposed to be doing, but I really can't find it!

Jo
 

Custodian

Loyal Freddie
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I think the general was on a map to the left of nashkel somewhere. Surrounded by zombies or summat.
The artist was on the mines map, just lower down it.

If you have lots of gaps on your world map try walking off of each of the 4 edges of your known areas, cos sometimes you have to go from the map next door in order to find the new area. Once it is on your world map you can go direct to the area (but it will add up the travel time).

There are a lot of side quests in BG (part of it's attraction is the amount of stuff you can do) so the plot quests can get buried. The plot quest will be in your jounal somewhere. I like djust wandering around doing everyquestI could find, kiling everything that moved and getting as strong as I could before heading towards Baldurs Gate itself.

There are more fighter type NPCs to be found (a dwarf and a ranger spring to mind) if you really don't get on with the magic folk. Unfortunately, if you dump Dynaheir you lose Minsc :{ If she keeps dieng then keep her at the back, give her more protection (armour or whatever) and get her using ranged weapons and magic only.
 

dr_jo

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Yeah, I was worried that I'd lose Minsc too. He's being really useful.
I am planning on moving her to the back of the group, and giving her a crossbow. She doesn't seem to know any useful spells, and I still can't get the hang of which ones she can learn and which she can't.
She doesn't seem to be able to wear armour or helmets. She's currently wearing a magicians robe that we got off someone who was trying to kill me, but her armour class is still 10.
 

SilverHood

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For Dynaheir, just make her memorise lots of magic missle spells, and shield spells.

Spells in BG1 aren't very good sadly, whereas in BG2, they're the daddy.

I think Dyna can learn the clayrvoiance spell (sp?), which will reveal the entire map to you (outdoors only).

Have you considered getting another healer in your party if people are dying?
I found that having 3 fighers (me, Anomen the pally and Jaherias buddy warrior), Jaheira and Viconia as healers, and then Dynaheir as the spell caster at the back - she has some useful shield spells, and magic misile is pretty nifty too.
 

Shovel

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A little update on Jo's behalf. We eventually found the ulcaster ruins - manged to walk straight past the path that leads up to them.
We were doing alright and then met the flesh obsessed skeleton with the spikey ball on a chain (technical term) who, iirc, killed about half the party with just a couple of swings.

I'm wondering if we need a big stash of ranges weapons to use on him, having picked up some speshul arrows on general travels. Imeon is up to level 3 and starting to prove rather useful at this bowcraft business!

The village location next to Ulcaster also contains more people trying to kill us, who again appear to be rather more effective at the whole 'kill them' thing than we are. We could probably wander around killing rodents for a few days, but I'm not sure there're enough left to level anyone up at this stage.

Ta all.
 

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