The other night, while attempted to do the NPC as CHARNAME trick, I inadvertently sent my PC sorcerer to a strange forest where magic didn't work as anticipated. Since it was my PC (CHARNAME), and she found herself there alone with spotty magical defenses, it was a rather short-lived misadventure. (You have to have your whole party to use the map)
However, I was intrigued, as this was an area supposedly made for Neera, one of the DLC quests. I never bought the DLC, but I guess most of the content is there, with just the initial encounter disabled. Figuring it would probably just be a nifty area to get the party built-up on XP, I returned with the whole party so the forest would show up on the map. They clear much of the place, with Imoen dealing with the traps.
Then, in the SW corner, I run into Neera herself. Obviously a version you are supposed to meet mid-quest, but she offers to join the party. I send Branwen back to the Bridge district and welcome her on-board. Which was when surprise #2 hit - she wanted to visit another area. Now it seems I have stumbled across Neera and her quest.
1) I'm tempted to buy the Neera DLC now, to see how this should have started, but...
2) Neera is a bit hard to work with at times. This is my first time with a wild mage in the party, and she definitely feels like she will be an additional challenge.
Also, one of the Thayans managed to turn Imoen to stone and the party lost a scroll case and jewel bag in the fight. That was a bit of a surprise, as I don't recall running into that spell/effect much in BG2.