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How your PC can survive the return of Bhaal (re. "Murder in Balder's Gate") [spoilers]

In the WotC module Murder in Baldur’s Gate Bhaal returns. To many fans of the BG CRPG series, I think, this is a disappointing development, as it seems to render much of the drama of the game pointless (the PC dies and Bhaal wins no matter what). Adding insult to injury is that Bhaal returns via the death of the hero of the trilogy (either by being killed by Viekang, or by becoming the Slayer after killing Viekang).

Now of course the BG novels are considered canon, despite being, I gather, quite dreadful (I never read them myself and have no plans to do so). But I’m sure that for many people, the PC that they create and play throughout the CRPGs takes the place of Abdel Adrian, and so it is (in their version of the Forgotten Realms) the PC who fights Viekang a century after the events of the games, thereby (inadvertently) bringing about the return of Bhaal. That’s a rather disappointing end for one’s PC, a hero used in (probably) 100+ hours of gaming (assuming that one plays through the entire trilogy).

So if one wants, on the one hand, to retain some element of continuity between the events of the game and the later return of Bhaal, but on the other hand, does not want their PC to suffer the grim fate of Abdel described in “Murder in Baldur’s Gate,” what are some plausible scenarios? (I’m assuming that, like myself, some others enjoy playing the game more thinking, in their mind’s eye, that eventually their PC will not suffer the fate of Abdel, whilst also wanting to maintain a rough continuity with the ‘official’ history of the Forgotten Realms. If that doesn’t matter to you, then obviously this post shouldn’t either!)

Here are three possibilities:

1. Imoen takes Abdel’s place.

Assuming that (a) Abdul does not exist at all in the player’s timeline, and (b) Imoen accompanies the PC all the way through the trilogy, then (c) it is Imoen who takes the remaining Bhaal essence into herself (it is released from the PC, who subsequently becomes like Sarevok). Imoen eventually becomes a Duke of Baldur’s Gate (in place of Abdel), is attacked by Viekang, and inadvertently brings about the return of Bhaal.

While this is perhaps unsatisfying for those who like Imoen (such as myself), it at least provides a way to explain how the PC escapes the grim fate described in ‘Murder.’

2. The PC takes Abdel’s place. But cloning!

Assuming that (a) the PC takes the place of Abdel (i.e., Abdel does not exist in this timeline), and (b) is a mage or sorcerer, then (c) perhaps she/he has the foresight to create a clone sometime during the century prior to ‘Murder.’ Upon the death of the PC (either by being killed by Viekang, or by being transformed into the slayer and then killed), the PC’s soul – with all remaining Bhaal essence now removed! – is transported to the clone. The clone wakes up, and the PC’s life continues, Bhaal-free.

3. Abdel is just another Bhaalspawn, in addition to the PC, Imoen, and Viekang.

Viekang was a loose end that never was explained adequately in the original game: a Bhaalspawn, other than the PC and Imoen, who seemed to survive the trilogy (assuming that the PC was kind enough to cast ‘Horror’ on him in Saradush). So why not think of Abdel in the same way? Abdel is a Bhaalspawn, who never lost the essence of Bhaal within him, like Viekang, and who eventually became a Duke of Baldur’s Gate.

This scenario involves the least discontinuity from the events as described in ‘Murder,’ and also does not requite ‘overwriting’ the ending of “Throne of Bhaal,” according to which the PC, if she/he chooses to remain mortal, loses the remaining essence of Bhaal, rather than retaining it (as apparently Abdel does, according to ‘Murder’).

This scenario also involves a grisly death for Abdel – a pleasant bonus!

Anyhow, if in ‘your FR’ the events described in ‘Murder’ do not take place at all, then this thought experiment is irrelevant. But personally I enjoy the trilogy more thinking that the outcome of the game can mesh with the official return of Bhaal.

Shandyr

Comments

  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 203
    4. Sort of. Since one might plausibly have rather accurate prediction´s of one´s demise due to all that has happened (for example, the three first assasination attempts in the first 3 villages in BGEE made me expect such an event happen eventually, though it is a mystery why Sarevok´s scheme of getting rid off Gorion´s Ward is over once the 4th and 5th assasination attempts fail.)... so the charname could´ve made a plan in case of emergency, such as becoming a lich.

    However, now that I think of the timeline of Bhaal´s return, wouldn´t a century have some effects on charname? Like, I´ve read that aging effects include cumulative minuses to physical stats, and comparable bonuses to mental stats? So, unless charname´s immortality due to the godhood included eternal youth. there´d be 100 years worth of aging which makes me think of old geezer, should the charname chosen to stay mortal. I´m not familiar with different racial aging tables, but I´ve a hunch that maybe non-human charname could still be considered to be in his/er prime.

    Dunno about the BG novels, never ever seen one, and given this scenario of charname aging a century and then unfortunately dying without an option of reload is intriguing. What happened during those years? If it takes approximately an year in FR life to complete a part of BG, it´d be like 3 years, if the expansions count for half a year. Lolz!

  • MacHurtoMacHurto Member Posts: 726
    God point. I guess the cannon I propose could only accept a human charname (and people think that Abdel must have elven blood or something) as he has given divinity up. He would be dead for the sundering and would have died thinking he stopped Bhaal.

  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 859
    - I'm telling you, that Abdel guy is not a real Bhaalspawn! He's just a imposter!
    - Yeah, right...
    - Argh, why can't you see the TRUTH!
    - That cursed gnome and his conspiracy theories...

    But seriously, that's a good idea, @MacHurto. ;)

  • MacHurtoMacHurto Member Posts: 726
    @artona not my idea, tbh. I just dont know how to search for the original post in the forum

  • ThrasymachusThrasymachus Member Posts: 590
    MacHurto said:

    I like an explanation in another thread (cant remember from who, sorry) where Abdel was just a pawn placed by the Baldur's Gate leaders to hide the real "hero of Baldur's Gate" as Charname was a bhaalspawn and all that. They rewrite history (through Garrick perhaps? The novels are bad) so it seems Abdel did all the stuff charname *actually* did while charname is off the grid having given his divinity away, not caring what people say. Turns out that Abdel is, unknowingly, also a Bhaalspawn and, 100 years later, Murder in Baldur's gate happens.

    The only explanation for the Solar not caring about Viekang or Abdel is that being so amazingly weak (no way a lv5 character can do the trilogy unless you are @CrevsDaak who I think made a lv1 solo run) they could not do anything given the rest of the essence is lost.

    Of course, Ao comes and changes the rules of the game (literally! :-D) and that plan goes down the drain.

    Oh, and for it to fit the canon, charname cannot ascend as there is no Charname god anywhere official

    Cool idea! I see this as an elaboration of the 3rd scenario. I especially like the idea of a (terribly written) cover story from Garrick.

    And yeah, I'm assuming that the PC does not choose divinity in any case, since that would suck up most of Bhaal's essence and prevent him from returning in 1479.

  • ThrasymachusThrasymachus Member Posts: 590
    edited May 2016
    Regarding the PC's age at the time of "Murder in Baldur's Gate" (@Tarlugn ):

    According to "Murder" Abdel was still alive, despite being human, because of his divine blood (so he appeared to be around 60 years old, despite being over 130).

    But yeah, a standard human, half-orc, and (I think) halfling would have died a natural death by the time of the events in "Murder."

    Of course, mages are known to extend their lives in various ways (not just via lichdom, but cloning, potions of youth, and so forth). And I think high-level druids age more slowly as a class ability.

    Finally, most other races (dwarves, gnomes, elves, and half-elves) would still be alive a century after ToB, even without magical assistance.

    Post edited by Thrasymachus on
  • MacHurtoMacHurto Member Posts: 726
    Well, you could become a God and lose your essence during the spellplague, I suppose. A bad ending for Charname, though

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,081
    MacHurto said:

    (no way a lv5 character can do the trilogy unless you are @CrevsDaak who I think made a lv1 solo run)

    I wanted to do a lvl1 run from BG1 to ToB like @bbear (IIRC he only did this for BG2 anyway) did but actually I stopped in early BG1 because I'm a lazy ass and by that time I had created a nice install of BGT so my attention went into that instead.

  • ThatTwitchyGuyThatTwitchyGuy Member Posts: 23
    I prefer to take the DM route of going through a module, saying "Yeah, no this bit's garbage." and completely taking out what we don't like and just using the parts that we want. Saves on grief and headaches that way.

    For example most groups that I know that have run that module have just replaced Abdel with the descendant of an unnamed Bhaalspawn that slipped through the cracks.

  • LegendaryLegendary Member Posts: 52
    I usually maintain the novels as non canon but still use Abdel Adrian. He makes a decent enough representation of the Bhaalspan and nothing in Murder of Baldur's Gate reinforces the Novels awful habit of making significant story changes to the game (which is why they are usually regarded as trash and often non canon by most people who have read them). We still follow that Abdel was raised in Candlekeep, went to Friendly Arm Inn, then to Nashken, then North to the Woods then, you know the drill.

    I don't have any problem with Abdel dying, that kinda seems like an attachment issue to be honest. By the point of Murder in Baldur's Gate he's the equivalent of a 60 year old man and when you consider that he got 100+ years with his companions it's hard to truly consider it a bad end. Everyone's luck eventually runs out. It's not exactly worthless either because it gave the world 150 years or so without Bhaal mucking it up and even now he hasn't been able to do much yet.

  • MacHurtoMacHurto Member Posts: 726
    @BladeDancer awesome! Happy to give credit where it is due :-)

  • JumboWheat01JumboWheat01 Member Posts: 1,028
    I still prefer the theory that Ao just hit the big, red reset button and bam, gods came back because the last system back up was before they died.

    I also subscribe to the "Alternate Timelines" theory, where what happens in Wizard's Forgotten Realms isn't exactly what happens in mine. And because of the way D&D works, I can totally get away with that one.

  • ThrasymachusThrasymachus Member Posts: 590
    Legendary said:

    ...
    I don't have any problem with Abdel dying, that kinda seems like an attachment issue to be honest. By the point of Murder in Baldur's Gate he's the equivalent of a 60 year old man and when you consider that he got 100+ years with his companions it's hard to truly consider it a bad end. Everyone's luck eventually runs out. It's not exactly worthless either because it gave the world 150 years or so without Bhaal mucking it up and even now he hasn't been able to do much yet.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "an attachment issue" but it doesn't seem unreasonable, I think, to prefer that one's PC not suffer the grisly death described in "Murder."

    So yes, I do consider the death described in "Murder" as "a bad end"! A very bad end. Hence my initial post...

  • ThrasymachusThrasymachus Member Posts: 590

    ...
    For example most groups that I know that have run that module have just replaced Abdel with the descendant of an unnamed Bhaalspawn that slipped through the cracks.

    I'm not sure the 'descendant' idea quite works, as I assume the 'Bhaal essence' would be released upon death no matter what (that is, I'm don't think it can be passed down to one's descendants -- otherwise what happens while the parent and child are *both* alive?).

    But the key point is that all that one needs in order to keep the resurrection of Bhaal happening, as described in "Murder," is another Bhaalspawn like Viekang who somehow "slipped through the cracks." That Bhaalspawn need not be the protagonist of the BG series.

  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 444
    edited June 2016
    MacHurto said:

    @BladeDancer awesome! Happy to give credit where it is due :-)

    @MacHurto Thanks! Like I said before, in favor with @Thrasymachus third possibility which I have believed in for the past several months even before Siege of Dragonspear came out, if our own world's history has taught us anything, it is that not all recorded details are 100% accurate, sometimes they are written by people who have only heard what happened whether it is true or not, so why should D&D's recorded history be? Sometimes the true hero is forgotten and replaced for the wrong reasons, like the protagonist of Neverwinter Nights 1, though the Wailing Death devastating Neverwinter is canonically recorded in the Forgotten Realms lore, who was truly behind the plague and who saved Neverwinter from the plague had been omitted from history because the hero had a falling out with Nasher over Aribeth's unjust execution. That's a sad but realistic truth.

    Also in favor of that third possibility, I believe that Gorion adopted Abdel first, then Charname a few years later, and then Imoen, and Abdel left Candlekeep when he was old enough to just like in the novelization, which explains why he does not appear in the game, at least in my personal canon. Though certain people would argue that Abdel and Charname are the same character, I've played the games and read the novels to realize that their backstories are different enough to make my theory that they can be considered separate characters a possibility.

    Post edited by BladeDancer on
  • helmo1977helmo1977 Member Posts: 357
    MacHurto said:



    The only explanation for the Solar not caring about Viekang or Abdel is that being so amazingly weak (no way a lv5 character can do the trilogy unless you are @CrevsDaak who I think made a lv1 solo run) they could not do anything given the rest of the essence is lost.

    Of course, Ao comes and changes the rules of the game (literally! :-D) and that plan goes down the drain.

    Oh, and for it to fit the canon, charname cannot ascend as there is no Charname god anywhere official

    errr... WHAT¡¡¡??? somebody did a lvl 1 solo run of the whole trilogy???? (no leveling up) That is NOT possible. I know about poverty (no equipment and no money at all) solo runs (but with leveling up), but NOT lvl 1 runs. I even saw a lvl 8 run (no leveling up), but the player got stuck in the Irenicus fight.

    Regarding the charname not ascending to goodhod as there is no Charname god anywhere, remember that Gods sometimes supplant others, taking their names (example: there have been several different beings incarnating Mystra. Different beings, same name). And sometimes the very same God is known by different names (example: some Gods in Maztica had different names than in Faerun, but they were the same God). Concluding: I think there are possibilities to make Charname ascension to godhood possible.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 5,799
    edited June 2016
    @helmo1977 I believe it was @semiticgod with a level 1/1/1 FMT

    Edit maybe not as I can't find. Well it was someone with a FMT anyway

  • ShandyrShandyr Member Posts: 8,263
    edited June 2016
    Wow, thank you @Thrasymachus!
    Your third option sounds very appealing for my headcanon.


    So if one wants, on the one hand, to retain some element of continuity between the events of the game and the later return of Bhaal, but on the other hand, does not want their PC to suffer the grim fate of Abdel described in “Murder in Baldur’s Gate,” what are some plausible scenarios? (I’m assuming that, like myself, some others enjoy playing the game more thinking, in their mind’s eye, that eventually their PC will not suffer the fate of Abdel, whilst also wanting to maintain a rough continuity with the ‘official’ history of the Forgotten Realms. If that doesn’t matter to you, then obviously this post shouldn’t either!)

    The above has been a problem for me for a long time. Exactly like you say. On the one hand I dislike
    deviating from the official canon too much. On the other hand I loathe the official canon in respect to the Bhaalspawn saga, which is the novelization of Baldur's Gate and the module "Murder".

    So your third option provides a nice solution for me, so that my PC and Aerie can live happily ever after.
    *(/# you, Abdel Adrian! And good riddance!

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 10,408
    Though I am flattered that @FinneousPJ thought it was me.

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