I was attempting a documented no reload run of Baldurs Gate and somehow it turned into more of a story/journal. It was in the No Reload Thread, all scattered around. I want to carry on with it into SOA, but as it has got so storified, moved it here to keep it all in one place. Then I can carry on with the SOA playthrough.
I've also added quite a bit and tidied it all up a bit, so anybody who read this on the no reload thread will see some changes.Introduction
Ayla is something of a rebel, that's why she's a Swashbuckler and uses a katana, a rare weapon on the Sword Coast. No boring endless studying of magic scrolls, no prostrating to a diety, far more sneaking around places she shouldn't. Somebody tells her she ought to like something, ought to do something, she will automatically object even if she ends up doing exactly the same thing later on. Her relationship with Gorion is problematic, he's just so good and patient and wholesome. She recognises his virtues, just doesn't want to follow them exactly. Nothing too bad, basically teenage bratishness.
After his untimely demise running away from Candlekeep, she finds herself on the road alone. Imoen turns up, and is sent back to Candlekeep (no, just no, if I wanted cute and cheerful I would have bought myself a puppy).
It was only after being chased in circles by a wolf that she realised that she had made a hell of a mistake.
So like an idiot, having met Xzar and Montaron, agrees to travel with them. They're cool and edgy, what's not to like? They hit the Friendly Arm Inn, Gorion had told Ayla to meet some friends of his there. They bumped into Tarnesh and Ayla finds out there's a bounty on her head. So avoids entering the FAI, could be more assassins, and they head to Beregost, killing an ogre on the way who drops some belts.
In Beregost they needed cash so take up an offer from some bystander, and Xzar bravely sacrifices himself to save Ayla from a spell throwing actress. Monteron and Ayla then enter the nearby inn to recover, and guess what, Montaron too has to make the ultimate sacrifice for Ayla from another bounty hunter.
I knew Xzar and Montaron were cool, not so edgy though, actually quite soft and squishy.
Shocked at this turn of events, Ayla heads to the temple for some spiritual guidence and finds out that one of the belts can change gender.
Now spiritual guidance is all very well, but it's not going to save your arse if there's a price attached to that arse. So Ayla uses her quite high intelligence and decides that the best way to run south, get herself away from all this mindless violence, is to use the gender change belt and become "Alan". Nobody is looking for a young man, (albeit a rather effeminate young man), and keep off the roads.Chapter OneSay Hello To Alan
So "Alan" after practising a bit out in the wilderness to get "his" head round the new plumbing arrangements (you can target things!) headed back into town to buy some new clothes (oooh shopping).Chapter 2All The Fun Of The Fair
I tried to keep my head down, (though the courtesans seemed over interested), but had to defuse some drunken father in an inn looking for a fight, deliever a book all the way across a road (good test, the mage didn't see through my disguise), asked to find out what had happened to a husband and told to sort out some half ogres (I must look more capable than I thought). Later that night I blitzkrieged the town opening every chest and door (except for one with strange noises coming from behind it). Then I went for a well deserved sleep and next morning sold my ill gotten gains (this town sure has dumb shopkeepers, do they never do stock inventory).
I didn't have enough money for a better shortbow but I managed to afford some +1 arrows which is a help, I kept the "stupifyer" I'd found as it may come in useful and started my journey south. On the road I took down a couple of what? I dunno what they were but they were dumb and slow, a few ghasts and lots of hobgoblins. I found a letter from the missing husband and a cave with a good stash of potions and arrows and lots of jewelry (what is it with these monsters and their taste for jewelry? Some lovely bits and pieces but you never see them wearing any of it).
I left the road as it was so overcrowded with things that wanted to kill me and found a talking chicken who needed help, was in fact, in dire need as the wolf chasing him was much faster moving. An unfortunate accident with some unidentified piece of equipment, I sympthised and smugly considered my own "experiment" with a properly identified piece of clothing. I killed the wolf using the speed potion I had knicked from Imoen (God I'm such a bitch, sod off Imoen the innanely cheerful but give me everything you have before you go...but I was nice about it so that's OK). Took the chicken to his Master to be unenchanted, had to get a skull for the Master for the spell, then the Master 'accidently' killed the chicken. So, all in all a bit of a waste of time, we could have had a nice roast instead. Headed back to Beregost as too late to carry on south, carefully avoiding the morose but Good Looking Elf on the way (I don't need that sort of complication) and had another well deserved sleep.
Next morning, I decided to travel west for a bit past the temple then south as the road had turned out to be so perilous. I was accosted by a friendly ghoul called Korax, (as you do, surprised, why would I be surprised?) Just as well as the area was even more dangerous than the road and full of basilisks. Which thankfully my new best friend Korax wanted to eat. After killing lots of basilisks which seemed to cheer up Korax no end, we ran into a very rude adventuring group who wanted to kill me. Korax took exception to this attack on his new best friend. I'm afraid I scarpered and left Korax to it. Well Korax was undead anyway... I think.
I was beginning to realise being on your own is not that efficient a way to stay alive so returned for the morose, Good Looking Elf I had seen near Beregost. And he must be better than a hungry ghoul who thinks he's a dog. Kivan is the name, and oh my, is he miserable, (on second thoughts the ghoul was more of a laugh). Hunting bandits because they killed his wife, very sad, but time to move on methinks, happened years ago. Yeah but elves, what can you do? The eye candy is welcome though.
So now with a disguise and a believable covering story because travelling with the revenge monkey, decided to head back to the Friendly Arm Inn and see if there was any information I could glean about why people were trying to kill me. We had a few inconsequential fights on the way, but two bows now, enemies don't get close. This time I checked out the inside of the Friendly Arm Inn and spied on Jaheira and Khalid from a corner. Decided not to approach because that would blow my "Alan" cover and raise too many questions, also they didn't look that friendly. Kind of fed up and impatient.
So back on the road once again heading south. Kivan is a ranger, so we ate well on the way, spit roast partridge bought down with his bow, it made up for the missed chicken. We had a straight run down to the next town (that's a little flattering), Nashkel. Checked in the inn and another bounty hunter attacked. I used the wand (nicked from Imoen, the guilt is killing me) and lots of arrows from Kivan to kill her. How she recognised me is a mystery, (actually a goddam cheat), must have some kind of truesight operational, she did have spells.
Later, as we had a look round the "town" we were waylaid by a very loud nutter demanding that we help rescue a witch. Of course the GLE wanted to rush to the rescue, a woman in peril and all that. I however prevaricated a bit toooo much, surely a witch could look after herself? Next thing, the maniac attacks, "run away, run away" was the cry that went up, so I did. Straight into a mage who took the nutter out with a spell.
Said Mage is looking for the same witch to kill her and asked us politely if we would aid him. Or it might just have been a string of insults, but the accent made it hard to tell. Now of course the GLE wouldn't have any of that, so I suggested we just find her and decide then, she could well be evil. Lets face it, the bodyguard wasn't exactly Mr Goody Two Shoes what with attacking an innocent passer by who just hesitated a bit when they saw him speaking to a rodent.
Introductions were made, Edwin Odesseiron, flashy name, I thought that just "Alan" wouldn't impress so blurted out the first thing that came to mind, "Partridge, Alan Partridge of the Norfolk Partridges". Whatever, he's from Thay, what's he going to know?
So now our little group headed west across the bridge ostensibly to track the witch. We bumped into an odd fellow called Noober who didn't seem like they were all there, a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Left Kivan with him, while we poked around. I didn't know who to feel more sorry for. Kivan who interrupted every five minutes to wail about missing his lost Deheiriananana (something like that) or this "Noober" who just wailed, well about nothing much.
The upshot was that "Noober" (probably to cheer Kivan up or shut him up, who knows?) told us about some buried treasure.
We found an absolutely beautiful pearl...oh, and some old green armour. Kivan was almost (I say almost) animated about the find, apparently it's ankheg plate, valuable and as strong as iron. He promptly donned it and paraded around.
I said something about it matching his beautiful eyes...awkward.
Edwin, (no way am I going to address him as sir as he suggested, I am a Norfolk Partridge after all) shot me a very strange yet interested look, gonna have to watch that one, there were books in Candlekeep about Thayvian perversions.
As it had got quite late afternoon, we decided to haul back to the inn rather than start a trek cross country. The mayor stopped us and apologised for the earlier attack, he said if they'd realised the big bloke was such a nutter they would have kept him locked up (you would have thought talking to a rodent would have given them a clue). I don't really believe him, there's another nutter just up the road demonstrating kick boxing, bothering passers by and preaching about "the moon being in danger". Then there's Noober. Nashkel obviously attracts them, probably because they are free to wander around. Then the Mayor asked us if we were interested in a spot of detective/adventuring work.
Now my plan was to hightail it south, but the mayor was a crafty one, mentioned gold to the Thayvian and evil needing to be routed to the Elf. I was outvoted and pouting and threatening to sulk really doesn't work in this body. So it looks like we are going to have to find some stolen gems and investigate the local mines (coal? diamond? iron? don't know, don't care) tomorrow. The only bright spot is that we can visit the carnival this evening. So after a quick check in, wash and shave at the inn, (actually the shaving is a bit superfluous for me, seems like the belt isn't quite as powerful as I thought, I was going to go for the bluebeard/blackbeard wife murdering look), we headed out.
What can I say?
The carnival was rather subdued, all to do with the problems at the mine affecting the local economy (it's iron BTW, diamonds would have been nicer). Though the exploding ogre was spectacular...and messy...and made me throw up. Kivan thought that was hilarious (of all the bloody things to make him laugh) and said I looked the colour of his armour. Edwin sneered (not bothered, it might make him forget his earlier interest) and muttered something about barbarians.
There was one interesting attraction, a stone woman, very lifelike. Or as Edwin eulogised, "very likelike almost as if you could lose yourself in the magnificent twin orbs of her bosom which the sculpter has lovingly shaped and carressed" (so Edwin swings both ways huh?). Turns out there was no "loving carressing and shaping", just a nasty petrification spell that was able to be reversed with a scroll I'd picked up in Candlekeep.
And so we met Branwen. I like Branwen. Particularly when she explained that although petrified, she could hear what was said and took exception to men who fetishsised about her "magnificent twin orbs".
Edwin prepared to cast invisibility on himself.
Kivan, ever the gentleman (muttering under his breath about not seeing a woman undressed since the loss of his Deheirianananana), offered her the ankheg plate when she pledged her swordarm to our cause. Branwen is a priestess of Tempus the God of battles, from the north, who fell foul of a bandit leading mage named Tranzig. So she was only too keen to join us when she heard about Kivan's unrelenting hunt for bandits. Great, now I travel with two revenge monkeys. And all I wanted to do was get as far away as possible.
On the way back to the inn, we killed a mad mage, (no not Edwin) and rescued a witch he was trying to kill, (no not that witch, another witch, too many witches). I had drunk quite a bit by then.