Chapter 9: Spoiler-Free "Walkthrough"

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          Most online walkthoughs of games tell you exactly where to go, in what order to do which quests, who drops all the best items and how to beat them. But not mine. Instead, I simply warn you about the possibly unexpected and/or confusing aspects of the game, which have the potential to turn what should be a positive gaming experience into a negative one, through no fault of your own. I'll also provide a little bit of prodding in the right direction, at points in the game where the Main Plot may be unclear. And that's as close to a walkthrough as I'm going to get.

Notes for Baldur's Gate I:

      Prologue/Chapter 1:
  • Railroad Plot: Turning Gorion or Tethtoril Hostile to you will result in your immediate death.
  • Telling Gorion that you're ready to leave will end the Prologue, perhaps before you're ready. Make sure you've done everything you set out to do, and collected everything you want to take with you, before you say you're all set to go.
  • Railroad Plot: Do NOT turn the Keeper of the Portal Hostile. He is unkillable, and you will screw up the Main Plot if he's mad at you.
  • You will encounter fights where the enemies will drop notes. These notes are usually important, as they provide clues to the Main Plot. You may want to keep them for a while, or copy the important parts down somewhere.
  • Some Flaming Fist officers are more adherent than the actual law than others. If you find yourself a victim of police brutality when you have in fact done nothing wrong, you may be within your rights to fight back.

          Chapters 2/3:
  • In the Nashkel Barracks, there is a chest that can't be opened by any means. This is a bug.
  • In a place where you'll find two Gray Oozes together, keep a sharp eye out for your mouse turning into the "Travel" pointer. I mention this because if you click there, you'll be taken to a completely unrelated map area that's literally miles away from where you're trying to go—and you won't be able to go back the way you came (at least, not directly). I don't know why BioWare ever put in this transition in the first place.
  • The 'Fog of War' doesn't always work properly in areas with narrow passageways, sometimes obscuring them when it's not supposed to. If you think there's more space to be explored, but you can't see how to get there, send somebody to go stand in every corner of every room, and this will disperse the Fog.
  • An awful lot of people have trouble finding Dynaheir, even when they've searched the place thoroughly. Again, the Fog of War is at fault. When exploring the area, just looking there is not enough—you actually have to go there. If your mouse pointer says you can walk there, try walking there.
  • Unless you've Saved your game recently, do not use your PC to initiate conversation with Shoal the Nereid.
  • The Antichickenator spell seems to have a 50% failure rate. So don't get discouraged if it does—it's probably not a result of anything you did wrong, just plain bad luck.
  • If you find yourself in an underground maze filled with Kobolds, do not leave your Mage unguarded: That place has a very fast respawn rate, and more Kobolds are always ready to appear from around the corner.
  • Follow the notes, listen to what people tell you, and read your Journal.
  • The start of Chapter 4 is triggered in exactly the same way Chapter 3 was: By opening a guarded chest and taking (and reading) the important papers inside.

          Chapter 4:
  • You must talk to Aldeth Sashenstar during Chapter 4 if you want to talk to him at all. If you save him until Chapter 5, he'll act like you were rude to him and refuse to have anything to do with you.
  • There is a particularly nasty Waylay here that annoys the heck out of me: You're facing dangerous enemies, you're in a lousy starting position, and you have about one second to position your men before the bad guys are in your face. If you get Waylaid between areas made accessible in Chapter 4, let me remind you that running away is almost always an option—sometimes your best option.
  • Even if you completed Coran's quest properly, he'll still remind you that you haven't finished it yet. This was evidently a low-priority bug that they never got around to fixing. Don't worry, Coran won't leave your party because of it (provided you did it right, of course)—he'll just keep bugging you every once in a while. Ignore it.
  • The conditions for starting Chapter 5 are somewhat nebulous. Sometimes it will trigger the instant you defeat the "boss" of Chapter 4, sometimes it waits a little longer. If you have a) Beaten the boss, b) Opened the boss's chests and read the documents inside, and c) Used the "Key to River Plug," Chapter 5 should definitely have started. If you're still in Chapter 4, however, then you have a bug and should Reload to a Saved game that you made before encountering the boss.

          Chapter 5:
  • You can finally enter the city of Baldur's Gate. But you'll have to cross a bridge to do so, and halfway across you'll meet a man who will ask if you were "responsible for the fiasco at the Nashkel Mines." I don't know why BioWare had him use the word "fiasco," it's very confusing. What he really means to say is "Are you the ones responsible for entering the Nashkel Mines and discovering what was going on there?"
  • BEFORE you enter BG city, Save a separate copy of your game, and put it someplace where you won't delete or overwrite it. Inside the city, there's a very
    important quest that must be completed properly—if you mess it up, you will only have 10 game days until your entire party DIES. Granted, it's possible to beat the rest of the Main Plot in 10 days, but not on your first game. If you want more specific warnings against possible ways to screw up, click here. —>
  • The entryway into Baldur's Gate itself is somewhat difficult to see. Follow the road: It leads directly to an archway that you can't see until you've already walked beneath it. Once you're inside the wall, click on the west edge of the map to Travel into the first map of BG City proper.
  • Railroad Plot: Do NOT turn Scar Hostile to you. He is unkillable, and you will screw up the Main Plot if he's mad at you.
  • There are some containers in BG City that cannot be opened by any means: 2 cupboards inside a house in BG City North, a chest in a house in BG City NE, and a cupboard in the Splurging Sturgeon. Bugs.
  • The door to the Merchant League headquarters cannot be opened by anyone except officers of the Merchant League (presumably, they have secret keys). Also, there is a quest in here that can only take place in Chapter Five.
  • All the houses in BG City that are falling into disrepair are just because BioWare didn't feel like making an interior for every single building on the map . . . and I don't blame them.
  • The staff at the Helm & Cloak Inn don't like any rough stuff in their establishment—if you must get into a fight there, make sure none of your party members accidentally kill an innocent bystander.
  • Railroad Plot: Do not be rude to Duke Eltan, or even refuse to go on his quests, or you will die instantly. (Touchy!)

          Chapters 6/7:
  • Going on Duke Eltan's second quest means visiting an area to which you can never return, which means that if you leave anything there, you won't be able to go back & get it, which means that you might want to have a fairly empty Backpack (and be prepared for a journey) when you go to him to report on the completion of your first mission.
  • Railroad Plot: Refusing to obey a direct order given to you by the Gatewarden, or turning Tethtoril Hostile to you, will both result in your immediate death.
  • When you return from Duke Eltan's quest, it is extremely important that you LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE TELL YOU. If anybody directs you anywhere, go there—the worst that could happen is an ambush, right? I say this because there's a set of places you need to go, things you need to do, and items you need to collect, or you will NOT be able to finish the game, and you'll be left wandering around BG city without a clue as to what the hell you're supposed to do. If you need help, read your Journal.
  • Railroad Plot: Soon after you first meet them, either Belt and/or Liia Jannath must be willing and able to speak in your defense. If not, the meeting will quickly lead to your death.
  • Inside the Duchal Palace is a cupboard that cannot be opened by any means. This is a bug. Elsewhere in the building is a chest that cannot be opened in BG1, but yields to normal Lock Picking if you have ToSC installed.

    Notes for Tales of the Sword Coast:

  • The gateway to the TotSC areas is the town of Ulgoth's Beard; to get there, go to the east side of Wyrm's Crossing (that's the name of the bridge to BG City) and head north. In Ulgoth's Beard are two Mages who each want to send you to an island: I would advise against going on Shandalar's island until your party is at least Level 6, and Mendas's island until your party is at least Level 7. Also in Ulgoth's Beard are a few people who will talk to you about Durlag's Tower. Durlag's Tower can actually be visited before/without going to Ulgoth's Beard, but I would advise against going there until your party is at least Level 7.
  • The islands that Shandalar and Mendas want to send you to share the following characteristics: There are no shops, inns, or temples on either of them, and once you go there, you cannot return to the rest of the world until you've fully beaten the entire quest. This means two things: 1) If any party members die on the island, you'll have to beat the quest without them, and 2) If there's anything you'll need, you're going to have to carry it with you. May I suggest a buttload of Healing Potions? After you get back, when looking at the World Map, avoid Traveling to either of the two small islands just south of BG City: This will send you back to one of the TotSC islands, with no way to get back to the rest of the world. The fact that you can Travel back to them at all is certainly an oversight.
  • On one of the islands, there are a bunch of little quests given by the townsfolk, but the main quest is given by Kaishas. When you return, wrap up the sub-quests first, as the villagers will forget about them when you report back to Kaishas. If Kaishas mentions a curse, and you're concerned about it possibly having any permanent negative effects on you, don't worry—it won't. Also, if you find yourself at a loss as to what to do, try examining the mast.
  • You'll know it's too soon to go to Durlag's Tower if you get chopped to pieces before you can even approach the entrance. Once you're inside, go upstairs first. If you think it's tough, you're not ready for the underground levels.
  • One reassuring note in Durlag's is that the challenges and puzzles (if any) of each floor can be completed on that floor, so you don't need to go running up & down staircases to see if this item or that item is what you need. (Exception: Someone on the top floor gives you a quest that you may want to take the stairs to complete.) Also, things that you do on one floor will not affect any of the other floors.
  • On Durlag's -2 (meaning two floors below ground level), you will find 2 pieces of an item. To repair the item, you'll need to take the pieces to a forge and weld them back together. Keep a sharp eye out for the "Use This Device" mouse pointer.
  • To enter Durlag's -3, you will need a certain Wardstone, dropped by one of the enemies on Durlag's -2. This particular part is a bit buggy: Sometimes the enemy doesn't drop the wardstone, sometimes he doesn't appear at all. To be on the safe side, you should probably make an archive Savegame (under a different filename) soon after entering Durlag's -2.
  • Some doors on Durlag's -3 are opened by using specific Wardstones, and they will close by themselves every once in a while. It can kinda suck to discover that the doors are closed, and you left their respective Wardstones on the other side of them.
  • The conditions for leaving Durlag's -4 can be buggy. Make a backup Save after you find some talking stone heads, and before going down any of the 4 hallways.
  • On Durlag's -6 is door there that can only be opened by a certain person—to get him to open it, you must be teleported to a round room, three times. There are 3 things that can send you to that room (once each): You'll speak to one of them, and the other two are pieces of furniture: When you mouse over them, your mouse pointer will turn into the "Cast Spell Here" pointer.

    Notes for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

          Prologue/Chapter 1:
  • The game begins underground, and once you emerge into open air, you cannot return to the underground area, so you should try not to leave anything important behind. When you go down a metal staircase and come to a bridge made of rope & wooden planks, you're practically at the exit.
  • You will also be unable to re-enter Kalah's palace, so, again, don't leave anything important there.
  • In BG1, you may have developed the habit of, upon entering a new map area, completely exploring it and defeating all (potential) enemies, before moving on to the next area. That strategy will not work so well in BG2.

          Chapter 2:
  • There are some quests that, depending on circumstances and what class(es) your character is, will cause the map to change. Leaving important items, or recruitable party members, in these areas is a bad idea, because if you leave them in the old area, which then changes to the new one, you will never again be able to go back to them. The list of areas that can change is as follows: The Five Flagons Inn, any Shadow Thief Guildhall, the de'Arnisse Keep, the Temple Ruins, the Ranger Cabin in the Umar Hills, and the main & lower areas of crypts in the Graveyard District. Do not leave any important items or recuitable NPCs in any of these areas, at least until after they've changed, and/or you have learned what causes the areas to change from one map to the other.
  • Railroad Plot: Unless you have been specifically instructed to do so, killing any Shadow Thief inside (or just outside) any of their guildhalls will result in your immediate and practically certain death.
  • There's a certain curse that can be put on one of the NPCs. After the curse has been broken, the party member tells you that she should be back to normal after a full night's rest. Actually, it's the passing of 24 full hours that does the trick, whether you Rest or not.
  • If you find or discover something that the police should know about, try the Council of Six building in the Government District. Local law enforcement is run by Chief Inspector Brega.
  • Normally, when you show an item to Cromwell, he'll tell you if he can upgrade it or not. But there's a specific weapon that can be upgraded with the addition of a certain metal, and even if you have the weapon while Cromwell's rooting through your bags, he won't mention it at all—you need to have the metal in your possession for him to notice anything.
  • In the Temple Ruins, there is a statue of a woman with folded arms. If you examine it, you get the message "This statue appears to be waiting for something to be placed in her arms." You can, in fact, give her objects to hold (her arms are a container where you can put stuff), but a few people have said that the objects they put there promptly vanished, which can be a real bummer. So I'd advise against putting anything there—unless you have a good reason to, I suppose.
  • Your investigations of activities in the Bridge District will eventually lead you to a dead end, in that the person(s) you were seeking managed to get away. This is not a bug, and you (probably) didn't bungle the quest, that's simply the way it goes. By the way, the Mage who Dimension Doored away before you could get his autograph was named Vellin Dahn.
  • If you take Lord Jierdan Firkraag's quest and go to the Windspear Hills, soon after you arrive you will meet a man named Garren, who encourages you to visit his home. I suggest you do so: The area has a plot to it, and if you don't enter Garren's house, you won't get the background story and you could get muddled. Note that entering his house runs a dialogue that makes the party Rest, so select tomorrow's spells before you go in.
  • The town of Trademeet is actually suffering from two problems—save yourself some time & frustration by not trying to solve the first one until you've learned what the other one is.
  • If a woman named Valen tells you her mistress wants to meet you, know that you will have to decide whether you want to accept her quest then and there—there is no "maybe" or "we'll get back to you on that" with this woman. Also, you will not be able to accept the mistress's quest if your PC is a pureclassed Thief—she doesn't trust Thieves.
  • Some quests should be postponed until at least Chapter 3, unless you know how to handle them. The next 6 quests can be very dangerous to attempt right off the bat, even for experienced players.
  • In the Book of Kaza / Nether Scroll quests, you will be attacked right after crossing a party-required map transition. It's very likely that at least one of your party members will get Level Drained.
  • It's advisable to hold off on the Umar Hills quest until all of your party members have +1 weapons, at the very least.
  • The Unseeing Eye quest contains some extremely dangerous enemies: Do not venture into the "Lower Reaches" unless you're feeling very confident in your party's abilities. Also, the "Pit of the Faithless" area is no-turning-back: You'll have to force your way forward to get out, but if you got through the Lower Reaches you should be fine. There is a "secret door" here that cannot be opened or lockpicked: The only way to open it is to walk toward it from the North.
  • The Planar Sphere contains many challenging enemies, and nearly the whole quest is no-turning-back: You cannot go home until you have beaten the entire thing. (You can leave, but you can't go home.) Do not enter unless at least a couple of your Warriors have +3 weapons or better.
  • Underneath the Five Flagons is a portal to an area that is very difficult for a young party: Full of quite difficult enemies, and you have to beat the whole quest before you can leave. Also, you have one and only one shot at the quest: Bringing a specific item to the basement of the Five Flagons will result in the portal opening, and if you then leave the area and come back, the portal will have closed forever.
  • Throughout the game are several doors and containers that are inaccessible through normal means; most of them are quest-related, meaning they can only be opened with a specific key (which may not be located anywhere near the lock that it opens), or by starting a certain quest. Eventually, all areas and containers can be made available, except for the following: Many doors in Waukeen's Promenade lead to shops selling stuff that you, as an adventurer, don't care about. The side door of the Delryn Estate can never be opened, and in fact leads nowhere. A couple of doors in the de'Arnisse Keep are similarly inoperative. In the Docks District is a door that "is not a door, but rather a clever bit of moulding and painting on the wall." Don't worry yourself over these—trust me, you're not missing anything.

          Chapter 3:
  • Railroad plot: Now that you have found an employer who will help you progress to Chapter 4, remember: If anybody directly affiliated with your employer turns Hostile to you, your entire party will be killed.
  • Before you embark onto Chapter 4, know that it's a very long journey, so be sure to pack wisely. Potions, ammo, spell scrolls, the works. Also, be warned that there are NO Temples at all in Chapter 5; pack accordingly.

          Chapter 4:
  • You won't be able to leave Chapter 4 until you've completely beaten it—and once you do leave, you can never come back. Sound familiar?
  • The town of Brynnlaw has a small set of subquests. You don't have to do them, but if you leave town and then come back, the quests will be gone.
  • Outside Brynnlaw, there's a box that's impossible to get to, even though it's a container. Don't worry about what's in it, it's just a small amount of random treasure: A few gold pieces, or maybe a Silver Necklace. Pretty exciting.
  • There is a part in Chapter 4 that's a kind of dream sequence: You can control your PC normally, but your other party members are purple-circled and cannot do anything. I mention this because if you (for whatever reason) boot anyone from your party at this point, you will be unable to talk to them to get them to rejoin.
  • You see that hallway there, on the right? DO NOT WALK HERE. Those two Traps that are shown in red are so large that your Thief has to step on them before he can get close enough (to their centers) to Disarm them. Meaning, no matter what, you trigger the trap and your Thief is instantly crushed to death. How nice. So instead of walking here, just go around . . . and Save your game while you're at it, because your last Auto-Save was quite a while back.
  • There's a group of Hostile Kobolds here. Once they're dead, a second group appears, and you kill them too. Sometimes, however, the 2nd group does not appear (perhaps because you killed the first group too quickly), which will cause you to be trapped, because they drop an item that you need to continue down the Main Plot: If you didn't find a piece of rock and a piece of wood, Reload. (This bug was probably corrected by the Fixpack, I mention it here just to be safe.)

  •       Chapter 5:
  • You still can't go home yet. I told you it was a long journey, didn't I? You can't return to any areas you went through in Chapter 4, but once you're in Chapter 5, every place you go can be revisited, with two exceptions: If you have a wardstone (It'll actually say "Wardstone" on it) to a place, the stone will only work once, and then disappear (It doesn't matter which doorway you use, they both go to exactly the same place.) Also, the "Golden Rope" sidequest will take you to an area that can only be reached by following that quest. Both areas can be visited from Chapter 5 onward.
  • The main map of Chapter 5 has markers denoting the "Eastern Tunnels" and the "Southern Tunnels." The "Western Tunnels" are also marked, but for whatever reason, the map marker is in a spot that's out of your line of sight. This probably counts as a minor bug.
  • Both the Southern and Eastern Tunnels are filled with extremely dangerous enemies, and you cannot leave the Eastern Tunnels until you've beaten the entire area. Also in the Eastern Tunnels are a pair of doors that say "Only a powerful mind or godly strength can force this door open." Increasing your Strength to 25 (the maximum) will not work—BioWare wants you to be a little more creative than that.
  • If you find an inscription that begins, "Place an animal sacrifice . . ." know that the word "place" is misleading: Items will not work.
  • If you're in an area marked on your map as a "Bazaar," talk to people—3 of them are merchants. Annoyingly, they're not labeled "Merchant," so I missed them on my first game. Haven't they ever heard of advertising?
  • You may encounter a woman who gives you a quest, saying (in part), "The guards will try to stop you in the treasury, if they see you. Kill them only if you must." This is not strictly accurate, so you may want to make a backup-Save here.
  • If you meet someone who tells you to go see someone named Elhan, you are almost at at the very end of Chapter 5. Continuing onward means your very next area transition will bring you to fresh air and (probably) sunlight, and it will also start Chapter 6.

          Chapter 6:
  • You can finally go back to the areas (and quests) from Chapters 1, 2, and 3. But first you have to have a long talk with a guy named Elhan. He'll ask you a bunch of questions, and won't tell you why. He won't give you any answers, and won't tell you why. He'll order you to go on a quest for him, and won't tell you why. It's too bad you can't kill him, because Railroad Plot: If Elhan or any of his followers turn Hostile to you, they ALL turn hostile, and they'll keep respawning infinitely. Congratulations, you've screwed up the Main Plot.
  • After talking with Elhan, 3 new areas will be added to your map. I don't know why they were restricted earlier in the game; they certainly don't give away any of the Main Plot or harm any of the game's other quests. One of the new map areas, the Forest of Tethir, is a genuine pain to walk around in: Sometimes the fallen trees block your path, sometimes the fallen trees ARE the path. Keep that mouse pointer moving.
  • The Railroad Plot warning for Chapter 2, the one that warned you not to anger any Shadow Thieves, is no longer in effect. (If it is, you've got a bug.)
  • Following up on Elhan's quest may lead you to find that one of your party members didn't survive the encounter, and even though their body is intact, you will be unable to Raise or Resurrect them. Don't lose hope—the effect is reversible. I suggest you hearken back to your days among the tomes in Candlekeep, and seek your answers through study. This problem takes precedence over Elhan's quest, by the way.

    Notes for Throne of Bhaal:

    Watcher's Keep:
  • You can rush there as early as the very beginning of Chapter 2 of SoA, or you can postpone it until right before the final battle of ToB . . . or you could skip it entirely, I suppose (but why?), as well as leave & come back as many times as you want. Anyway, go ahead and visit it early on for the very best rooftop shopping in the whole game, but I advise against actually entering the Keep too soon: If you enter the first level when your average party level is less than 14, or you have fewer than 5 party members, the game will compensate and make the level less difficult for you, by removing some of the enemies. But one of those enemies has one of the very best weapons of the whole saga, so entering the Keep too early means screwing yourself out of an excellent weapon.
  • You'll never be trapped in Watcher's Keep. You can't progress to the next level down until you've beaten your current level, and there are some near-impossible fights in there, but at the very beginning of each level is a gateway to the outside.
  • The Portal Maze level is a lot more frustrating than it sounds. Make a map. I mean it, you'll find the level much easier to understand.
  • The level after the Portal Maze does something rarely done in RPGs: It presents you with a puzzle but does NOT provide the solution, it only gives hints. Try to be open-minded and you should figure it out.
  • If you do any part of Watcher's Keep while you're still in SoA, remember this: All weapons found in Watcher's Keep are potentially extremely valuable, even if you'll never use them. The same is true for bizarre, random items that don't seem to have any purpose. Don't sell them, and don't leave them in some SoA area that you won't be able to get back to once you enter ToB. Either carry them on your person, or stash them in Watcher's Keep itself.

    ToB (Main Plot):
  • There are two ways to take a character from the end of SoA to the beginning of ToB: You can either Import your character directly from the Final-Save of SoA, or beat the final battle of SoA and progress smoothly into ToB. If you Import from your Final-Save, the Tears will not affect you (because the Final-Save predates their use).
  • The party members who were with you in your Final-Save or when you beat SoA are still in your party, and soon you'll gain the ability to summon and recruit any of the other NPCs, too, even if you left them in some SoA area. You can only do this with NPCs who were still alive when you left them, though.
  • There is an all-new NPC available to you very soon after the beginning of ToB—right after the first fight, in fact.
  • Your party members will no longer leave the party through conflicts with other members, or over Reputation issues, no matter what their Alignment is. You can still piss them off with what you personally say and do, however.
  • The city of Saradush has a very hostile atmosphere, and moving your party through the streets can be a real chore a times. It is possible to leave Saradush and come back, but only for a while: Once you go a bit further in the plot, Saradush will be barred to you again, permanently.
  • As you go further and further down the Main Plot, you may get the feeling that the enemies are getting cheesier and cheesier. I doubt anyone will think any less of you for replying in kind.
  • Once you enter the Abyssal Fortress, a.k.a. the Throne of Bhaal, you will never again be able to Rest, no matter how much you want to.

              You may have found this guide too long-winded, taking up space with wordy explanations, and unneccesary, rambling discussions of Gaming Ethics and the like. You may prefer other online Guides, that tell you more of what you want to know in less time, and do so with less of an attitude. You may feel that my deliberately hiding facts from you and not providing Walkthroughs actually prevented you from beating the more challenging parts of the games, such as Durlag's Tower and Watcher's Keep. But actually, I didn't prevent you; You prevented you. The best challenge is the one you overcame by yourself, and if you didn't beat it, you didn't beat it! Just accept that, and try again next game. As I said before, I am not going to spoon-feed you all the answers. The other guides that I've seen were written for people who want to know the game. I wrote mine for those who wish to understand it.

    Enjoy your game.

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