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  • Re: "Justice" and its implementation in the Forgotten Realms

    I summon the expert on this topic, Vhailor.

    I have AWAKENED. I am VHAILOR.

    Welcome! Please tell us why we should listen to you on this topic.

    I am Vhailor. I am a Mercykiller. I am justice. It is my past. It is my present. It is my future.

    Vhailor, what is justice?

    Justice purges evil. Once all have been cleansed, the multiverse achieves perfection.

    I...I see. But doesn't justice and mercy go together hand in hand?

    Mercy is for the weak. Punishment breaks souls and makes them worthy of service to their superiors. When the number of martyrs is great enough, rebellion crumbles.

    That doesn't sound particularly good. I-

    Let my words carry you: JUSTICE is a TEACHER. In your PUNISHMENT, gain STRENGTH. Through your PUNISHMENT, achieve PERFECTION.

    Wait, what? My punishment? But I've done nothing wrong.

    JUSTICE shall be served. You shall FALL beneath my blade, Grum, even if I have to stand over your struggling remains for ETERNITY.

    Vhailor, everyone! Please give him a round of applause and thank him for this interview. But we really must be moving on...

    You will not escape my axe again. YIELD!
    Post edited by Grum on
  • Re: Half-dwarves

    I’d like to pick the brains of those here who possess much more knowledge of Forgotten Realms lore then I do.

    The possibility of a half-dwarven child, (human/dwarf) makes me wonder how that child would be accepted by the races of his parents. I’m not looking for modern, politically correct logic here, but the possible reactions of people within the setting and societies of Baldur’s Gate.

    For example, dwarves have always seemed like such a proud race to me. Tightly knit clans with proud and ancient traditions. I wonder if such a child would experience any prejudice, subtle or otherwise. Especially as he became a man.

    I know that some humans within the setting hate drows. Is there reason to believe that some would hate dwarves as well?
    Well we know half dwarves exist because there was one in Durlag's Tower. Also:

    But as to your questions, I'd expect their experience to be similar to half-elves when living with humans, but would have an easier time in Dwarven lands.

    "Like half-elves, dwelves would adopt the cultures and gods of whoever raised them.[3]

    Non-dwarven mates who entered into dwarven culture were honored and respected by dwarves for their bravery and loyalty.[1]"

    That said there would likely be subtle prejudice. Such as expecting less from his craftsmanship and stamina due to a 'weaker' bloodline. Luckily, being physically almost indistinguishable from dwarves would make blending in easier for the half dwarf.

  • Thoughts on Dorn's Deep

    So, after my xth playthrough of Icewind Dale, I started thinking abit about Dorn's Deep. I figured that I'd share my thoughts and open it up for discussion.


    So, looking at Dorn's Deep, the first thing that strikes me is how "unfinished" it appears when you first come to it. There is only a cave entrance leading to the huge cavern. Sure, there is a watch tower that looks like it was made by the dwarves, and there is a large statute of an elf and a dwarf. Besides for that it is just a large cave. There isn't even a gate for blocking it off from the outside world!

    Well...this must mean that the dwarfs came to this very late in their existence. There is no evidence of any living quarters here, nor of any true inhabitation like the rest of the hold. So most likely this was the foreign quarter. Where merchants would have stalls (beneath a statue of them with their largest and most important trading partners, something which would have helped them in making favorable deals). No gates existed blocking it off to show that it was open, and only a solitary guard tower was built for security. But to get into the hold proper, there were only two bridges leading to it, meaning that these were easy choke points incase there was an invasion or things got out of hand.

    This would also be the only area that outsiders would be allowed into. As evidenced by the book "Rock eaters, they are not." There, an elf writes about being given a tour of the hold, which amazed him enough that he had to write back to the other elves in the hand telling them about it. This shows that the elves of the Hand would have only been allowed into the merchant quarter, giving a skewed impression to them of what the dwarves were capable of building.


    This leads us to the meeting hall of the dwarfs. Notice that unlike the market district, how defensible this is? If you can get over the narrow bridges, you get funneled into an area where dwarven crossbowmen could fire from both sides while warriors could have a shield wall to get through them. So this really isn't so much a meeting hall, or a barracks, but the actual gates to the dwarven hold.

    Now, as further proof that this was one of the last areas to be built, you can see the entrance to the orrog caves. Those are just that...caves. Where the settled hold shows intricate splendor everywhere, these caves are completely bare. This most likely shows that there was planned expansion that they didn't get around to.


    Following this, we get to the halls of the dead. So a question that always hit me was why the halls of the dead were so close to the gates/merchant halls. Well...this would have originally been pretty far from the actual living areas of the dwarfs. They placed this pretty far away, and it was probably very well hidden for a long time. To get there, you had to leave the hold proper and go through an overland area of ice. An overland area which for a long time did not have a large temple complex in it. The gates leading into the halls of the dead were likely hidden so you couldn't see them at first glance, just like how they are hidden inside the gates to the hold. So we are really going into this backwards.

    The dwarfs would have entered via the overland ice valley. They would have first walked through the halls of the heroes, so that all would pay proper homage and respect to the greatest of the dwarven dead. From there, they would have entered the image above, where they would be able to go to the resting places of their kinsmen. Beyond that is


    An area for the dwarven priests. Only later when the dwarfs kept expanding and needed a place to interact with the elves was the hold expanded into the caves that we first entered. They continued to go to great lengths to keep the halls of their dead secret (we know that there was at least one dead adventurer in the orog tunnels who couldn't find the secret door, and we can see how intricate and complex the gears in place were to even get to the halls of the dead).


    This was likely just an empty tundra for much of the dwarfs' history. It was the cousin of one of their kings who convinced them to build this huge complex. One thing to note is how hidden this place is, showing how the dwarfs chose it for its secrecy.


    Only one overland entrance, with a very narrow pass to get in. Finding this in the mountains would have been exceedingly hard. We can also see that rather than have huge gates, the dwarves had he preference to remain hidden. Every actual entrance to their lands is just a cave entrance, one that in the height of their power they would have probably kept hidden by blending it into the rocks.

    We can see that the elves of the Hand struggled throughout their entire existence with the hordes of greenskins in the north. We can also see that the dwarves took a different route. Where the elves had a huge, grand fortress out in the open, the dwarves preferred to keep their hold a secret from the greenskins. As the dwarves were probably living there before the elves arrived, this makes the most sense.

    We can also tell that the dwarves likely lived here for a long time, but never in any real numbers. In the halls of the dead, it is said that there were "hundreds" of skeletons, ghouls and ghosts that assaulted them, and that the dwarves were "greatly outnumbered." We can also see that tombs only house "hundreds" of interred dead. In the hall of heroes, there weren't even enough heroes to fill the entire place, with one going to an elf! This shows a lack of conflict in their history.

    Ironically, we know that while it was the orcs who destroyed the dwarves, the orcs were not their traditional enemies. The axe of caged souls was created to fight against the waves of corpses that the drow would send against the dwarves. We also know that the evil elven maiden and her fire giants were attempting to destroy a nearby drow outpost.

    So what this shows is that the drow were the traditional enemies of Dorn's Deep. That the Drow never invaded in any large numbers, and instead sent waves of the undead against their defenses. That this was also likely because of the gate to the negative energy plane being so close to the dwarven lands which would have made doing so easier than normal.


    This takes us to the actual Dorn's Deep. The place where the dwarfs actually lived, and the only place that wasn't designed to deal with outsiders or the internment of the dead.

    The first thing you notice is that there is actually a gate house. You can't see it from the outside (it looks just like it would have been part of the mountain side), but the entrance was actually fortified. If you got through that, the dwarfs built a large guard tower they could fall back to outside of the palace. You can also tell that this is the only living space of the dwarves, because this is where you find their mines, their living quarters, and the palace.

    Of note is how small this area actually is.


    The actual living area for the dwarves of Dorn's Deep holds no more than two-three dozen or so houses. If each of these houses was for a family unit, which might include the elderly as well as their children who move in/out depending on marriage (likely given how clannish dwarven society is), the actual propulation of Dorn's Deep couldn't have been more than a few hundred dwarves.

    And this fits in with everything we know of the place.

    (1) Low numbers of dwarves who lived for many years in an area overrun with orcs
    (2) Unlike other dwarven holds (such as the clan hold we see in Throne of Bhaal), the gates leading into Dorn's Deep are always hidden. They look like they are just part of the mountain.
    (3) The only overland area they built was because of the crazed cousin of a king, and even then if you look at the area chosen it only has one narrow entrance. A narrow entrance that, as with all of the other entrances, would have looked like it was part of the mountainside.
    (4) They continued to keep their actual living area hidden from outsiders, even their elven allies and trading partners (they built their market area far, far away from their living area).


    Which leads us to the fall of Dorn's Deep. So how is it that a place designed for secrecy and defensibility could have fallen as it did? Well...Nym. But I'm not so sure he acts alone, as he would lead you to believe.

    We know that there still is a drow settlement very close to Dorn's Deep. We know that Drow sorcerors and mages constantly sent waves of the undead to test the dwarven defenses. So why is it that we have no accounts of the Drow actually attacking? Well...they did. I can see why and how.

    Attack Dorn's Deep would have been costly, even for them. So they used the orcs. The waves of the undead were not just for testing out the defenses, but for mapping them out. We can see from Presio that a powerful enough mage can create undead lieutenants from whom the mage can see and hear anything that the corpse does. So what likely was happening was that the Drow were sending these waves of the undead just for the purpose of seeing what they run into.

    Once the Drow had the information they needed, they waited. They knew that with the alliance between the dwarves and the elves that the two would likely stand well together. So they sent Nym, using the information gleaned from probing the dwarves for so long, to steal the dwarven mage weapons. Nym then sold the weapons to the orcs.

    Of great note, is that up until this time it was the elves who were battling against the orcs, as evidenced by...well, everything you see and read in the Hand. So the orcs turned against the elves with the dwarven made weapons. This caused Laurel to turn on the dwarves and start a small war with them (as seen by Anatha the paladin trying to stop the two from fighting, and dying beneath elven arrows and dwarven boots). The alliance fell apart, and Laurel's daughter traveled to the dwarves to restart the alliance.

    She would have succeeded if the orcs didn't appear. And when the orcs did appear, they took the dwarves completely by surprise. How could the dwarves have been taken completely by surprise if they already knew that huge numbers of them were using their weapons to fight the elves? Easy. Because Dorn's Deep was designed to be hidden and had always been hidden. They had every reason to think that the orcs would keep fighting the elves. Laurel's daughter came to get reinforcements to relieve the siege on the Hand...

    ...well, with the elves locked down and desperate, the Drow just used their information to tip off the orcs as to where Dorn's Deep was. And the second the orcs knew, the inevitable happened. Dorn's Deep never had ostentatious gates like other dwarven strongholds. Every piece of art shows them just being in a mountain without any hint of their presence. The orcs found it, and simply overran all of the dwarven defenses.

    And thus ended the Drow's long war with the dwarves. The drow never attacked themselves. They never made themselves out to be enemies who had to be destroyed. They never made themselves into a priority. They just used the orcs to do their dirty work for them.

    Even when Dorn's Deep is taken over by Belhifet, you can see the drow are still up to their planning. Sure, Belhifet plans to flood the drow outpost with magma, but what are the chances of that going according to plan? Nym is still there as an operative. As (at least one of) the Drow who originally snuck into Dorn's Deep and stole the dwarven weapons, he knows the area better than ayone. He also is hiding out among the escaped gnomish slaves. The drow mercenaries in upper Dorn's Deep come across as a feint. So that Belhifet thinks that they are the spies and that by keeping them so far away he has escaped the gaze of the Drow. But it is Nym who is once again their real operative, most likely sent to sabotage the effort to destroy the Drow outpost. Something which he is more than happy to do by helping to supply the brave adventurers who have cut their way through all of Belhifet's other minions. Given that the adventurers destroy the effort to destroy the Drow outpost, all he did is reveal himself to further that cause and get his job done.


    And thus ends my thoughts on Dorn's Deep. The little dwarven hold that couldn't remain hidden from the Drow. Anyone else have any thoughts, criticisms or the like?

  • Baldur's Gate Bedtime Stories

    877. You've been telling your six and five year old boys the story of Baldur's Gate as a bedtime story and when you get home from work, the six year old shows you this:


    from here:

    P.S. kambalder - kobold, gnaler - gnoll (swedish)

    This inspired me to do the same with my kids. I've decided to share with you all how it is going.

    My son is 5 years old, my daughter is 3 years old. I started off by having my boy design Charname. Here is what he came up with.

    Name: Gorgia
    Race: Human
    Class: Fighter
    Equipment: Sword and "lightning shield"

    So I started off with candlekeep and Gorion, letting my boy design the character. I described it as a castle filled with books where Gorgia and his father lived. Then one day, his father...well, you know that part of the story. So they run away and come across "a big man, covered in armor. Seven feet tall! The big man has two ogres with him." I then recite the dialogue from memory, because all of us can.

    As I do this my boy has his eyes wide and is listening intently. I don't dwell on the part where Gorion dies, instead just saying that the armored man won and Gorgia ran away. I then bring in Imoen, Gorgia's sister. My girl bubbles with excitement at this, and likes that she has a bow. Well, or just likes that there is a sister involved. She is sitting on my lap, but has to get off to talk excitedly about...something. Her pronunciation isn't too good.

    So I tell them what Gorion's letter says, about how there are friends in the Friendly Arm Inn, another castle. I ask my boy what Gorgia does. He tells me that Gorgia goes to the Friendly Arm Inn to meet his friends.

    So Gorgia meets Khalid and Jaheria, hereafter called 'his friends.' So his friends tell Gorgia that because he is so strong and has practiced with swords (good timing, given that I just bought my boy a toy sword and shield) that he should use it to go help people. My boy informs me that Gorgia indeed does want to go help people. So 'his friends' tell Gorgia about the problems in the Nashkel mines.

    I stop here to ask my boy if he knows what a mine is. I end up explaining it to him, and getting him to the point where he understands why making the metal break is bad. He tells me that Gorgia will go help.

    I say that is enough for this night and my boyo insists that I keep telling the story. So...we go on.

    Gorgia gets to the mine and I tell him that the owner of the mine says: "So you want to take a look at me mine, do ya? Well, I'll give you one day. But I warn you! People who go into that mine, they don't come out. And I don't know why. It is really dark down there. Are you sure that you want to go in"

    My boyo tells me that Gorgia runs away.

    I tell the boyo that Gorgia has a sword and lightning shield and that his sister has a bow, and that they should help people. So Gorgia gathers his courage and goes down.

    They get ambushed by kobolds. As the arrows come in, hitting Gorgia's shield I hit the bed, making it shake. I describe how his sister uses her bow to shoot he kobolds. My girl is quite happy at this.

    Now, I ask my boy who he thinks is behind this. His response? "A green piggy." (He is an Angry Bird fanatic)

    Ok, I can work with this. So Mulhay is green. That makes everyone happy. I go through the dialogue and Gorgia decides to trust Mulhay and to read the letters. My boy is quite surprised when Mulhay betrays him. It is a good thing that Gorgia has this 'lightning shield', which he uses to beat Mulhay down and take his letters.

    So...score one for the good guys.

    I try to stop the story there and to get them to bed, but my girl is excited and the boyo refuses to let me go, asking me to keep telling him the story.

    So Gorgia tracks down the green man's friend, a wizard, to find out why Mulhay was poisoning the metal (yes, I know it should be ore, but there is already enough info here for a 5 year old). The wizard threatens Mulhay. And what comes of this?

    Gorgia hits the wizard and knocks out his eye.
    His sister shoots the wizard and knocks off his leg.

    Good thing that combat was described for me! Saves me the effort, I suppose. So the wizard tells Gorgia that someone was paying him and the green man to poison the metal and that there were other people stealing all of the other metal, so no one could have it.

    I then had to explain to the boy the economics of stealing all of the metal so you can sell your own for a higher price. I ended up explaining it using pizza as an example. It was easier.

    When this was done, the boy said that the wizard is now Gorgia's friend. As such, the wizard has his eye and leg back. I ask the boy why the wizard is Gorgia's friend. There was a small pause. Apparently Gorgia gave the wizard a new wand, so now they are friends. Ok, I'll go with it.

    I tell the boyo that we are ending it there. He refuses again and demands that I keep going. I am firm this time. I give him and his sister a kiss and a hug and say that we'll go on tomorrow night.

    (For anyone who is wondering why the boyo gets more attention here, it is because my girly is only 3. So just mentioning the sister is enough for her. I gave her choices, but it always meant her going off on a tangent which doesn't fit into any of the above. As such, the boyo gets to be Charname).

    And that, thus far, is what happens when a 5 year old gets to be Charname in Baldur's Gate.
  • Re: You're now in the D&D universe

    The Beamdog Forums Adventuring Party

    (1) The Meatshield
    Tuth - Human Paladin
    (Sounds like a Cavalier)

    (2) The Other Meatshield
    PKMN - Human Paladin
    (Sounds like an Inquisitor)

    (3) The Healther
    Yannir - Dwarven Cleric

    (4) The Mage
    Elminister - Human Abjurer
    - With Nimran the Ferret safely in his travel sack, eating cookies. Comes out to pick pockets, scout, and disarm simple traps

    (5) The Ranged Damage Dealer
    Byrne - Half Elf? Ranger

    (6) The Last Guy
    Doggy - Human Skald?
    (A bard/jester/cleric/monk...well, Skald's sound like the kinds of guys who'd remember their father/ancestors, and get some combat bonuses while getting to sure)


    Their quest starts off when

    (7) The Quest Giver
    Tuth, a businessman with fighter levels, hires them to protect his business interests against an evil adventuring party, which has been terrorizing

    (8) The NPC Peasant
    Wubble, a human farmer

    The party finds clues by asking around. They talk to

    (9) The Middleman Quest NPC
    KCWise, petrified human

    Who is so scared of the myriad dangers in the realms that he knows of all of the latest going ons. The party comes to the farm and finds a dangerous slime that goes by the name of

    (10) Random Encounter
    Kamigoroshi, Oooze Slime

    The party comes out victorious, but only after Tuth gets snowballed, suplexed, tentacle whipped, disarmed and covered in hot tea. So the party goes to the temple to buy more healing potions before setting off again. This brings them to

    (11) The NPC Healer
    Deltago - Gnome Cleric

    Who would love to sell them potions, but he can't because of a spider infestation. The party goes down to

    (12) The Sidequest
    Semiticgod - Illusionist Spider

    The spider, disliking xp hungry adventurers, makes a tactical retreat. But not before Doggy gets tricked into a web and has his pants stolen. Needing new pants, he demands only the finest. As such they go to

    (13) The Shopkeep
    Grumbaki - Elven Mage

    Who sells Doggy magical pantaloons of great power and style with matching knickers. The pantaloons allow the bard to call upon...

    (14) The spelleffect
    Gallowglass - God

    By invoking the name of Gallowglass, Doggy temporarily gets the special abilities of a monk of the same level as his bard. There is much rejoicing.

    The knickers give +3 AC against cave ins, which he bought because they were on sale. They were created by

    (15) The fluffpiece
    Jarrakul - Dwarven Enchanter

    Now properly equipped, the party gets back to the main quest! They track down the evil adventuring party:

    (16) The Misunderstood
    dockaboomski - Kobold Wizard

    (17) The mustache twirler
    Vallmyr - Drow necromancer

    (18) The megalomaniac
    Montresor_SP - 3/4th elf sorceror

    (19) The 'swings both ways morally' big-guy
    Smilingsword - half dragon fighter/mage

    (20) The 'alignment means what?'
    Mikey205 - Tiefling Sorceror

    Who had kidnapped

    (22) The recruitable NPC
    Corvino - half/halfling cleric

    The battle raged on! The evil adventuring party was really big on magic. Sadly, the good party had an inquisitor who made short work of their spell protections, only to be incapacitated by a barrage of 'pewpew' 'omg broken!' spells from the evil ones. The half-dragon and the other meatshield swung away, with the cavalier knowing no fear, even though he really should because have you seen the bonuses half-dragons get? Luckily, skald singing done by a man with knickers that could survive cave-ins and magical pants kept the fight more-or-less fair.

    Great damage was done as magic missiles and skulltraps rained down, but the good guys had a stout dwarven cleric to keep them going, an archer to disrupt spells, and a mage who survived simply because he only knew protective spells.

    Which side would win? Well...neither. For what nobody knew was that...

    (23) The cheater
    Wubble- Dragon!

    The poor peasant farmer was actually a dragon!

    All sides screamed 'WTF? What do you mean we can change our choices? I want to be a dragon too!' and ran from the field of battle. Well, except the paladins, because one was still stunned and the other literally didn't know the meaning of fear (I'm not saying that he used Int as a dump stat, I'm just saying that he is probably a cavalier. That, and paladins do use Int as dump stats, right? I mean, swords really hurt, and they volunteer to always jump on swords for other people. I mean, really? Shouldn't you choose to make reality itself yours by waggling your fingers? But I digress)...

    ...and therein ends this chapter of our tale, of the Beamdog Adventuring Party. Good thing they bought those healing potions, eh?