The Candlekeep Annex: RPed Baldur’s Gate No and Low Reload Adventures

Alesia_BH

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The Candlekeep Annex: RPed Baldur’s Gate No and Low Reload Adventures

Greetings, fellow wayfarers! Welcome to the Candlekeep Annex, your online home for RPed Baldur’s Gate no and low reload adventurers!

No reload play has thrived in the BG community for over twenty years now. It’s been a ride, and I’m glad to have been a part of it. But one thing has been lost in that two decade journey: stories. No reload runs predictably and inevitably emphasize tactics. This is fun, beautiful even. But when that tactical emphasis is pursued at the expensive of the narrative and the logic of the game world, the richness of the adventure is lost. We at The Annex seek to rediscover that richness. Innovative tactics. Compelling stories. Respect for the game world. That’s what we’re about. Here’s how it work.

Guidelines and Principles

1. Reloading: The Annex is for low and no reload adventurers. Players will be expected to attempt a no reload. If and when that no reload fails, they’ll have two options: 1) withdraw from the thread, 2) continue with a reload counter at the bottom of each update. Ex- Reload Count: 2

NW: Reloads are only permissible for the death of the main character, not for strategic advantage. If a NPC is lost, the player will be expected to suffer that loss. Likewise if a player, say, fails an attempt at thievery. Think of our low reloads as no reloads with forgiveness, not Power Word: Reload runs.

NW2: In the event of a bug, the player may reload to the last save. If something happens and you're not sure if it qualifies as a bug, ask and we'll figure it out.


2. Allowable Tactics: The Annex is a place for adventurers to share their journeys, not an episode of the Cheese Police. No one here has a desire to police tactics. Instead, players will be expected to form their own judgements, with the sensibilities of their audience in mind. Norms will emerge over time. Pay attention to them. When in doubt, ask yourself these questions.

i. Does it make sense? Is the tactic consistent with the logic of the game world, or does it subvert that logic, exploiting features of the engine?

ii. Does it radically simplify the adventure? If a single item or tactic solves a vast array of game questions, consider limiting it.

iii. Can I write the tactic into a story? If you can write the tactic into a story, and that story sounds sensible, interesting and fun to read, the tactic is probably ok.

iv. Will my fellow players enjoy reading about this? If a tactic will bore your readers, or turn them off, restrict it.


Once again, this is not an episode of the cheese police. But we at The Annex are on a low cheese diet. Hold the dairy, to the extent that you can.

3. Posting Style: Players will be expected to narrativize their runs, to tell their character’s story in a compelling fashion: that’s the point of the Annex. Is this hard? Yes. Will some of these attempts be terrible? Absolutely. As I said, it’s hard. We don’t expect perfection, all we ask is that you try. Flex your creative muscles! You’ll get better over time.

That said, writing a readable narrative for an entire adventure is extremely challenging and we want to be inclusive. If your runs meet the following criteria they are welcome at The Annex:

i. Your character has a backstory and personality, they make decisions in the game world that flow from that backstory and personality

ii. Your tactics respect the logic of the game world

iii. Your posts tell a story, or have prominent narrative elements: they’re more than a summary of battle tactics.


I expect we’ll run the gamut from lightly RP low cheese adventures to full on novelizations. Diversity is welcome. But let’s try to improve as writers, as well as players. The best way to improve your writing is to write. The second best way is to read. Let’s build a list of fantasy novels that we can read for inspiration. My personal favorite is Ellen Kushner’s Swords of Riverside series. What’s yours? DM suggestions to me. A running list of suggestions will appear in post two.

4. Entry Procedure: Players will enter the thread by submitting an introductory post. Please use the following format:

A. Character Record and Proficiencies
B. Mods
C. Difficulty Setting
D. Character Description

NW: An example will appear shortly after this initial post is submitted. See the character "Amara" below.

5. Challenge Fulfillment

Whether you are a no reloader or a low reloader, please clearly state when your run has ended. Runs of special significance will be honored as Deneir’s Favorites, our hall of heroes here at The Annex. A successful no reload will automatically qualify for inclusion. Low reloads may qualify, too, under a different category. Also, any well written adventure can qualify for the hall -a great story will be considered a success even if the character fails to complete the journey. Admission in these cases will be decided by nomination and consensus.

That, my friends, is enough administrivia! Welcome to the Candlekeep Annex, everyone! May we play and share together! If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Best,

A.
 
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Alesia_BH

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Deneir's Favorites: The Candlekeep Annex's Hall of Heroes

No Reload Honorees

Character Name: Alia
Race: Halfling
Class: Kensai
Notable Mods: SCS 34.3
Difficulty: Insane
Episode Completed: Baldur's Gate 1 and Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn
Entered by Alesia_BH

Low Reload Honorees

No one yet! We're just getting started!

Excellence in Writing Honorees

No one yet! We're just getting started!

Honorable Mentions

For excellence in writing

Character Name: Arwen
Race: Gnome
Class: Cleric/Illusionist
Notable Mods: SCS
Difficulty: Insane
Episode Completed: Baldur's Gate 1
Entered by Alice Ashpool

The Candlekeep Annex's Recommend Reading List

In this post we'll maintain a running list of recommended fantasy novels to serve as inspiration. DM me with suggestions and I'll put them on the list!

Ellen Kushner, Swordspoint (2003)
Ellen Kushner, The Privilege of the Sword (2006)
R.A. Salvatore, The Crystal Shard (and many others, from 1988-2023)
 
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Alesia_BH

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Amara, Halfling Swashbuckler: Introduction

Ok, everyone! Let's get started! Meet our first adventurer here at The Annex. Some of you know her already: Amara, Halfling Swashbuckler.
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Proficiencies: Daggers, Darts

Mods: SCS 34.3, Ascension, G3 Fixpack- FreeAction Protects Against Stun

Difficulty: Hardcore (All tactical components, most nerfs, no Icewind Dale spells)

Character Description: I often compose a description for my characters. Amara has insisted on writing that description herself. I'm not surprised. She's irrepressible. And so here she is, in her own world. Please forgive her flair for the dramatic. It's who she is.

“Fantasy has a way of becoming reality. How many times have you seen in your mind’s eye a path you would soon walk? Do the fates touch our visions, hinting at our destiny? Or do we the dreamers turn our imaginings to truth, guided by a hunger to be?

It’s a good question. Alas, I have no answers. I am a wit, not a philosopher; a woman of action, not of knowledge. And even if I did have an answer, what would it matter? Answers are final. They disappoint. It’s the game of asking that intrigues.

And so I ask of you this: Can you imagine a halfling whose dreams aren’t bound by home? Can you imagine a halfling bold and free, daring and brave? Can you imagine a halfling making her mark on the Sword Coast- not as a footnote or a sidekick but as a legend in her own right, a hero true? If so -if you can imagine these things- then you, my friends, can imagine me. I, Amara Lightfoot, am the reality to your visions. I will not disappoint.”

Amara Lightfoot, DR 1368


Personal Item: Swish-Swash

The library fortress of Candlekeep never suited Amara, but her imagination took flight within its stacks. Amara spent her youth devouring tales of adventure and often re-enacted scenes, standing atop her bed, watching herself in her mirror. Amara’s buckler, Swish-Swash, was a key prop, wielded alongside a wooden sword, fancifully dubbed Rascal.

Rascal is by now long lost, a plaything of youth. But Swish-Swash, a modest yet viable tool of combat, remains with Amara to this day. In anyone else’s hands, Swish-Swash would function like a normal buckler. Amara, however, derives confidence and aplomb from the comfort of her childhood companion, aiding her in all her endeavors. Amara also has a preternatural sense of Swish-Swash's dimensions and balance, stemming from years of childhood play. For her and her alone it functions more like a small shield than a buckler.

AC + 1
Luck + 1

Usable by Amara

NW: My characters occasionally receive a personal item, modeled after those granted to in game NPCs. While they are designed to be tactically relevant, their primary purpose is to enhance to the role playing experience. I've found that I play and write better when I have a connection to my character. The personal items help with that.
 
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Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: Early Adventures, Part 1 (Or A Coin on its Edge)

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I’d like to begin by apologizing for the grandiose title. Amara insisted. I guess I’m going to have to get used to that. She’s taken an interest in happenings in our world. None of my characters have done that before. I’m not sure what to make of it.

Amara doesn't entirely understand the connection between her and I. How could she? She lives in Faerun. She doesn't even know what a computer is, let alone a computer game or an online forum. What she does understand is that I live in a different world, and yet somehow influence her fate in hers. She also gets that I'm kind of like her biographer in this world, our world- that I'm recording her adventurers for others to read. Now, that’s not unusual- all of my characters have gotten that, to some extent. What’s unique about Amara is that she seems to care about her legacy here, in our world, almost as much as her fate in hers. Strange. And so for this run, I guess I have a writing assistant? Or an editor? Or a taskmaster? I’m not sure which, to be honest. I guess we’ll just have to see. In any case, she'll make requests from time to time, and I think it best that I oblige her. She is the hero, after all.

So: back to the title. I usually title my posts with my character's name, race and class, ex - Ayla, Halfling Thief: Part 1. You get the idea.

Well, Amara didn’t like that. Amara said her race is irrelevant- that she should be defined by her actions, not her origins. Fair point. She also said my usual style lacks pizzazz, panache- je ne sais quoi. That hit close to home. I’ve been doing this for years, and I like to think of myself as a stylish player. I’ll admit she has a point, though. And so we’ll do it her way. It’s for the best.

Right then: Let’s get to the action, shall we? Oh! But first: Actually, one more request from Amara. She wanted me to share a passage from The History of the Fateful Coin. She's an avid reader, and apparently it conveys how she felt in those early days. Here it is:

For some rare beings, the coin lands edge on, and these luckless few can forge their own fates, for they have more freedom over their destinies than the powers themselves.

I may be over analyzing, but I think that Amara’s way of dealing with how vulnerable she was in those early days- an attempt to find power in powerlessness. After all, she was very small and the world seemed big. A coin on its edge, unsure how she’d land.

Ok! To the adventure! And this time I mean it!

The road from Candlekeep heads in only one direction: east. And so Amara went. East to the Coast Way, then north to the Friendly Arm Inn. She found a diamond, a ring and then another ring along the way. Fortunate was with her. Or was it fate?

Her finds made her rich. Potions proffered from fellow adventurers gave her a workable kit. Two days from Candlekeep and things were looking up. The coin leans true.
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South to Beregost, where Marl and Firebead brought level 2. Thief points went to move silently and find traps.

Amara’s next stop was High Hedge: wand of sleep, potion of mirror eyes, protection from undead and fire darts.

The wand of sleep would see immediate use in the grounds south of High Hedge. One wand of sleep charge, twelve darts: one wolf killed, one chicken saved.
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Amara hoped rescuing Melicamp would get her to level 3. Alas, her luck had run out.
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Intelligence, then. Like fighting slow footed ogrillions with darts…
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Racing away from fleet footed xvarts with fast blades…
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Finally, a proper score: a speed factor zero dagger, and a tomb ripe for exploration.
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Tombs can be dangerous. But Amara came prepared: protection from undead and fire darts won the day. Amara reached level three.
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Level four followed soon after. Suddenly the world didn’t seem so big, or at least Amara didn’t feel so small. Thief points went to set traps and move silently, once again. Her proficiency point went to short bows.
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Amara was feeling better about herself. And yet she was still at risk, oh so at risk. A bandit ambush proved that. Sometimes you can’t run away quick enough.
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Licking her wounds, Amara spoiled herself with a royal room at the Feldepost. She then planned her next move. She needed a shield amulet, a necklace of missiles and a magical bow. More importantly, she needed more experience and a better reputation. She started small, talking to Oublek and recovering Joia’s flamedance ring.
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Next, the belt ogre and his much desired girdle of piercing.
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Caldo and Krum followed. They went quietly, thanks to Amara’s wand of sleep
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Onto Drienne. With Amara’s reputation at fifteen, Drienne gifted Amara a protection from undead scroll, a timely replacement for the one just spent.
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Now at level five, Amara was ready for her first big adventure: A basilisk hunt. With a protection from petrification scroll, and her new friend Korax, Amara was unstoppable.
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Amara appreciates a helping hand, especially when its paralytic. Good dog, Korax! Good dog!
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Mutamin was defeated, Tamah was freed; Amara reached level six. The coin, it seems, has landed. Amara is heads up.
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Amara's next stop is the Black Alaric Cave.

Best,

A.

NW: Amara's run started in a conventional no reload thread. Her early adventurers could have been RPed better. As a consequence, this post isn't a perfect illustration of the thread concept. It suffices nonetheless.
 

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Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: Early Adventurers, Part 2 (Or The History of the Fate Spirit)

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Amara has taken to calling me her Fate Spirit. I guess it makes sense from her point of view. I do guide her, and I do know her destiny, in a way.

Credit to her, though: she isn’t intimidated. She stands by her beliefs, and she makes her opinions known. She’s a natural adventurer. Or is it all that reading?

Speaking of reading, funny thing: Amara asked me to share another “quote,” although this time I need to put quote in quotes. I’m pretty sure she made this up. The “quote” comes from a book called The History of the Fate Spirit, or so Amara claims. Here it is:

And so the Fate Spirit learned that she did not know all: no being can or could. The Realms are vast, the Planes vaster still- the possibilities that spiral from them are myriad beyond comprehension. Knowledge can guide, but it is small in the face of infinity.

Calling bs? Yeah. Me too. I’m pretty sure that’s Amara’s way of saying don’t get cocky. It’s good advice, though, so I have no complaints.

Anyways, let’s get back to the adventure.

Amara’s early successes snowballed- one leading to another, and yet another. As that happened, her physical limitations became painfully clear. Amara is a strong woman, but she’s not physically strong. With a strength of 11, carrying her gear quickly became a challenge. Guided by her Fate Spirit, she sought a solution in the Black Alaric Cave.

The cave was defended by flesh golems. That wasn’t a concern: slow footed melee fighters never are- especially not where shadows are found. Amara was however troubled to learn that sirines lived near the cave. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve always just killed the sirines for experience, chugging the potion of clarity from Candlekeep and shooting them down. I haven’t always felt good about it, though, and Amara’s perspective made sense to me. Amara has read much about sirines. She knows they are neutral creatures, not evil. She knows too that they live in harmony with their environment, killing only enough to eat, never taking too much. Further, they are beautiful creatures, who find beauty in the world and create beauty from it, through art. Faerun could use more sirines. Maybe our world could too.

Alas, conflict proved unavoidable, as Amara struggled to find shadows. A potion of clarity and a Shield Amulet charge won the battle with ease, but there was a price to be paid. A world in need of harmony and beauty was made less harmonious and beautiful. Amara vowed to never make that mistake again: principles over prizes, from this day forth.
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Amara was heavy hearted as she made her way through the cave, cutting down the flesh golems with her magical arrows.
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Her Cloak of the Wolf will be worn in service of right and good, in the memory of those fallen sirines. Their sacrifice must be worth it, their memory held true.
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I thank Amara for reminding me that not all red circles are foes. Some should be left to live. Others, though, must die, like the bullies, Vax and Zal.
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Amara is by now a capable ranged fighter, and an expert trap maker. That’s a dangerous combo, to be sure. Wearing her Cloak of Displacement and Girdle of Piercing, with her Shield Amulet at the ready, Amara is a hard target for arrows to find. And what of the enemies who charge her with melee weapons? They meet the traps. It’s a deadly combination, as the Sword Coast is learning.
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Amn is learning that lesson to. Here we see Sendai charging Amara, tripping the traps.
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And her ranged fighters cut down by Amara’s arrows, as they launch their projectiles fruitlessly.
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Amara now has a battle plan, and that’s what a great warrior needs. Not strength, not power, even: A plan. And what of a hero? What does a hero need? A hero needs a plan, but also a vision. It didn’t take Amara long to show she has both.

South of Nashkel, she found an artist, Prism, at work on a masterpiece, hunted and hounded by a bully named Greywolf. This was not a time for restraint. This was a time to intervene. Amara set her traps, both of them. She then activated her Shield Amulet and awaited the bully’s arrival.
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Arrive he did, all seven levels of him, equal in every way to Amara. Step aside, he commanded. It was music to Amara’s ears.

“Step aside? Step aside I shall not! For I have no fear of coming between a puppy and his bones. Run back to your den, little wolfing. Or I shall make you my lap dog.¨

Greywolf was enraged, turning his attention from Prism, he charged Amara, just as Amara had planned. Amara’s traps fired. Greywolf howled, lurching at Amara with his swords. Amara danced away, smiling, sheathing her dagger and reaching for her darts of stunning. Greywolf, for all his strength, was helpless. And once Amara’s dart landed, she showed him who the real wolf is. A fitting end for a would be thug, in memory of the sirines.
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When the battle was over, I instinctively reached for the emeralds. Amara stayed my hand. ”No. They stay right where they are,” she said, smiling, the golden light of sunset illuminating her hair. I think I’ve found my hero. And yes: This Fate Spirit still has much to learn.
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Best,

A.
 

Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The Nashkel Mines (Or A Fool in a Hole)

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Amara has a theory. A defeat of a foe is most artful when that foe is bested in the way they know best. And so a thug who fancied himself a wolf could only be felled by tooth and paw. As for a priest of Cyric, he must fall to trickery.

With a string of successes behind her, Amara was by now well known in the environs of Nashkel. Some called her a hero, a legend, even. And so when Berrun Ghastkill announced that Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast, would be investigating the mines, a note of optimism swept through the beleaguered and sleepy town. That optimism was not misplaced. Amara was up to the challenge.

In the Naskel Mines stealth was the order of the day. Amara is a hero, fighting kobolds is beneath her. She had but one target: the mind behind those kobolds, Mulahey. Hidden in shadows, wary of traps, Amara made her way through the mines.
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At times the path before her was unclear.
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But Amara understands that patience is a virtue. Kobolds are fidgety. They move. Needle thread.
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And yet again, this time squeezing behind a shaman and his well laid traps. Hurdle cleared.
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Passing through the shaman's archway, Amara met a lone kobold. It was time to attack. Cloak of the Wolf.
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In her wolf form, Amara could smell yet more kobolds ahead. She approached in shadows and spied them. A commando wielding a bow led the pack. Amara pounced from the shadows, seeking advantage against her bow wielding opponent.
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Soon Amara's growl was met by those of kobold guards, wielding their poisoned daggers. Amara, with the caution of a hunter, pulled back. It was time for the bow. And so Amara remained unscathed, with naught but Mulaney's cave ahead.
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Amara approached the cave with caution, checking for traps. She then hit the shadows and slipped in, just for a look. The cave had three sections. The entrance opened north to one. To the east there was another, inhabited by kobolds, all at rest and unwary. Mulahey inhabited a nook to the south, surrounded by his accoutrements, but no allies. On his own, Mulahey could be taken- of that Amara was sure. As for reinforcements, they could only come from the northern and eastern cavities. A plan formed. Amara set one of her traps in the eastern section, another in the north.
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Next, she found an isolated corner of the mine where she could rest and build more traps, something for the pocket in combat. Amara knew just how she'd use them. Eight hours passed. It was time. Amara approached the cave and made her final preparations: Shield Amulet, potion of strength, potion of regeneration, Greenstone Amulet. Let's begin. Amara left the shadows and approached. Mulahey, mistaking Amara for an envoy of a superior, launched into a preemptive verbal defense. Amara, sensing an advantage, played along.

Yes! Tazok is most displeased. And I can't say I blame him. Your minions are useless. I walked past each and every one of them. And as for you...Why, I've been in this cave for hours, watching. You haven't even noticed.

Amara could tell by the glint in Mulahey's eye that the insinuation of threat had registered. Mulahey now knew the game was afoot. He ventured a gambit, inviting Amara to view documents in a chest to the south. Amara knew it was a trap, but she also knew she could turn it to her advantage. She made her way to the chest, watching Mulahey's eyes along the way. Eventually Mulahey turned his attention to the north, to his allies, as she knew he would. This was the moment Amara had been waiting for. She hit the shadows. Mulahey cried for help. But alas, to no avail. Amara's traps fired, Mulahey's minions were slaughtered. And when Mulahey turned over his shoulder to look for Amara, he saw nothing. The priest of Cyric had been gamed. Mulahey was terrified. And rightly so. He was no match.
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Amara, still in the shadows, slipped northward. Mulahey's remaining minions gathered around him. And when they were in a tight formation, Amara, who had been preparing a gambit of her own, revealed herself. Necklace of Missiles. Only Mulahey remained. Amara hit the shadows again, heightening Mulahey's panic. He knew by now that all was lost.
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Allowing a moment for drama, Amara revealed herself one last time.

"I have no idea who Tazok is. But surely he is disappointed. How could he not be? Look at you. Mulahey! Priest of Cyric! Terror of the Naskel Mines! Should I tremble? I think not. For all I see is a fool in a hole. Prove me wrong," Amara said, smiling, pointing her dagger at Mulahey's heart.

With naught left to do, Mulahey charged, a fatal mistake. Amara had lain her remaining traps, the ones she had prepared in the night. A last trick for the priest of Cyric. Another fitting end for an unworthy foe.
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Soon the bandits of Peldvale will have their turn.

Best,

A.
 

Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: Bandit Camp (Or Not With a Dagger in My Hand)

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Young warriors know their strengths; old warriors know their weaknesses. This is not a coincidence. For only those who know their limits make it to old age. Amara understands this.

Amara fancies herself a woman of the sword. Some day she will be. But here, now -at this stage of her development- Amara understands that bows, darts and daggers serve her best. With her dexterity of 19, Shield Amulet, Girdle of Piercing, Cloak of Displacement, Claw of the Kazgaroth, Boots of Avoidance and Bracers of Archery, Amara can build a strong comparative advantage at range against all but the most powerful foes. In melee she can have no such edge. Melee assaults should be rare. And if she is to strike in melee, if there is no other choice, she must strike quick- quicker than a desirable sword would allow, quick enough to avoid retaliation. Bows, darts and daggers it is.

And yet still: the sword retains its appeal. And yet still: the sword remains her destiny.

And so at night -at camp or in her room at the Feldepost- Amara trains with a scimitar, much as she did with her wooden sword, Rascal, in her youth. A woman of the sword Amara shall be: the time will come. And while that time is not yet here, Amara now carries a sword, mostly for show, but also as a reminder, a reminder of who she will be.

When Amara learned she would be raiding a camp full of bandits- the bulk of the force that has been plaguing the region- she didn't shirk. All she did was nod and speak a simple vow: "Not with a dagger in my hand."

There were, of course, small matters to attend to first: an assassin to best, a contact to interrogate. But they were in fact small matters, scarcely worthy of note. Our story is best served by moving forward to the bandits.
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The camp raid would be Amara's greatest test yet, for only a hero true could take on an entire troop of bandits alone. The plan must be impeccable, no corners cut. And like all good plans, it must be tested first, starting with a smaller bunch.

In Peldvale Amara encountered a band, led by a magical hammer wielder, Raiken. He was supported by young bandits, all novices, but capable of fortunate hits. They must be separated. And the hammer wielder, Raiken, must be taken down quick, with blunt weapon defenses at the ready, just in case.

Amara equipped her Cloak of Displacement, Claw of the Kazgaroth and Boots of Avoidance- more than enough to thwart the bow wielders. For the hammer wielder, Raiken, she wore her Girdle of Bluntness, and kept a potion of absorption at the ready, along with darts of stunning. She also laid her two traps, just behind her, for insurance. Win first, then go to war: that is Amara's way.

It was time to begin. Wand of Sleep.
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Amara's Wand of Sleep charge took out the bandits, separating Raiken from his support. Raiken charged with his hammer, only to be stunned by a dart. Amara switched to her wolf form, striking Raiken down first.
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His helpless crew soon followed.
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A success, and an effective test of key tactics. It was time to put away the dagger, time for the big dance.

Amara arrived at the camp at night and scouted from the shadows. To the east she set a stack of traps -as many as she could muster. She took a deep breath, grasped her scimitar, and began her preparations: protection from fire, potion of fire resistance, potion of regeneration, oil of speed and shield amulet. Amara then hit the shadows and passed through the camp, heading straight for the central structure where the leaders must be.
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She then found an isolated corner to apply one last protection: a Greenstone Amulet charge. Time to begin.
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There was no need for trickery. By simply being there -boldly in the open- Amara had the element of surprise.
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This was not a time for words. It was time to explode.
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Amara's opening potion of explosions stunned her foes, but they remained on their feet, and scrambled their defenses. This would be a battle true. Countless arrows flew. And while most missed, some hit. Amara launched a second potion of explosions, thinning the crowd.
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But those arrows kept landing, against all odds. Amara sensing a need for a reset, activated her newest acquisition, Sandthief. Once invisible, Amara healed and collected herself. She then focused on the mage, Venkt, seeking her foe, amidst his illusions.
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Soon there was but one mage before her. He would be her target: dart of stunning.
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With the mage out of the picture, and the herd thinned, the scales now tipped in Amara's favor. Victory was inevitable.
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And soon it came.
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But this was just stage one of the assault, for outside, there were countless bandits, bandits who surely heard the commotion in their midst, bandits who were on their way. Amara slipped into the shadows to take them on.
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Surveying her foes, Amara knew that the hammer wielder, Taurgosz, must be the first to fall. She attracted his attention, and then headed east, straight to the traps, all set for him. There was nothing Taurgosz could do but fall.
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The bandit leaders were by now decimated, but the horde remained, and a horde it was.
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Amara knew that to stand her ground would be to take an unnecessary risk. And so she struck and faded, struck and faded, again and again- leading the bandits all around the camp, carefully sniping the most powerful among them, the Black Talon elites.
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It was a long and arduous process, but eventually the last of the Black Talons fell, leaving only the lesser bandits, the lesser bandits who, as Amara had by now learned, are vulnerable to her Wand of Sleep.
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It took a few charges, but soon the last of the bandits were at rest. Cloak of the Wolf.
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So ends the Black Talons, so ends the Chill, so ends the bandit threat to the Sword Coast. And so Amara's star rises: Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast, indeed.
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And while Amara may not have swung that scimitar, she had it in her hand, just as she promised. So a legend grows.

Best,

A.
 

Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The Cloakwood Mines, Part 1 (Or Less Than Amends)


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It's hard to be a fate spirit. It's like being a parent. You want to see your charge thrive, you want to gift them all you know. And yet you understand that there are somethings they must learn for themselves. There's a balance to be struck. No one knows where it rests.

And so as I watched Amara painstakingly research the history of the Sword Coast's magical scimitars, aided by her old friend, Firebead Elvenhair, at the Feldepost Inn, I wondered whether I should reveal what I knew. Something told me that I shouldn't. Something told me that the blade would mean more to Amara if she found it herself. I was not mistaken.

Amara's passage through the Cloakwood was silent, contemplative. She sought to observe, to learn- not to disrupt. Amara seeks to make her mark in the world, but not in places like this. The wilds of the Realms have suffered enough from the touch of the races, the so called good included. A hero knows pride; a legend knows humility. This was a place to be humble, a place to be reverent.

It was also a place for caution, for the Cloakwood is rife with danger. The wilds are not a place of peace, or good, or tranquility. They know nothing of the values -the fictions- that the races create. The wild are a place of being, of becoming, of unfolding- a grand equation of action, balanced by opposing forces. Chaos is part of the formula: life thrives on its edge, so too does death.

In the Cloakwood Amara kept two tools at the ready: her Sandthief ring and her potions of freedom. They and they alone were all she needed for safe passage.

Amara passed by the spiders under invisibility. She raced from the ettercaps and wyverns who accosted her in every clearing. She slipped through the rest of the forest in the shadows, observing what she could, absorbing what she could. She only stopped once.

Just a few hours from the mines, Amara encountered a hamadryad, a protector of the forest. Amara was struck by its beauty and dignity, but also its sadness. After hours of watching and pondering, Amara hesitantly chose to reveal herself. It was a risk in more ways than one. Conflict would be a tragedy almost as great as death.
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"Begone, halfling: You are not welcome here," The hamadryad cried, burning with anger.

Amara expected this. "I should leave. And I will. But first I wish to speak. I've walked these woods with reverence, through day and night. I have seen much and learned much and I am better for it. What I've seen in you is pain, undeserved pain. Tell me what ails you most, and I will seek to remedy it. A service, offered with respect."

The hamadryad paused for a moment, puzzled. She reached out with her mind, touching Amara's. She probed the surface, then moved deeper. Suddenly the hamadryad understood. It was best to make the halfling say it. "Why do you make this offer, halfling? It is not like your kind. Speak plain and true and I will hear you."

For the first time in her adventure Amara was shaken. For the first time she didn't know what to say. For the first time she laid herself bare. "I...I have made mistakes. I seek amends." The words were brief, but they spoke much. It was all the hamadryad needed to hear.

"Yes. I see in your mind. My watery sisters, the sirines: killed by your hand, laying at your feet. There is a part of me that hates you for it. But just as I can see that you have failed, I see that you have learned. And I have long known that one can't expect right or justice from the races of the Realms. All you can ask is that they grow. Very well. I am most troubled by the mine to the east. It is a festering wound that withers all it touches. I would see it ended and I would see the men who made it punished. Will you do this?"

Amara couldn't have been more pleased. "I will. I planned to anyways, but now my purpose is-"

"Silence, halfling! I have more to say. I see something else in your mind. You seek a sword. A magical scimitar. I know of one, not far from here, along the path you traveled. I will reveal it to you, in exchange for your word that you will do what you claim."

"I thank you, most graciously. You have my word," Amara said, with a bow. The hamadryad nodded. Amara began to walk away, the location of scimitar shinning in her mind. Amara's pace quickened with excitement, but then a thunderous call halted her. The hamadryad had one last thing to say.

"Before you leave, halfling: understand this. What you seek to do is just, and I support you. But it is less than amends. Now find that sword and stick it in the hearts of the men who made that mine."


Amara understood that those should be the last words. She bowed once again and walked away, at a respectful pace. That is how Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast, found her sword. It is also how the legendary blade, Rashad's Talon, found a new name: hence forth known as The Dryad's Vengeance.

Days passed, days of walking and reflection. Just when it seemed the forest would go on forever, the trees gave way to a palisade. Amara had arrived at the mine, her new blade in hand.

The entrance to the mine was defended by a fearsome party. Two mages, two warriors, each more experienced than Amara. This would be yet another test, just as challenging as the bandit camp had been, albeit less grand in scope. Amara, guided by her fate spirit, knew just how to proceed.

Amara first task was to lure out the guards. That was done with ease.
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Next, she would need to setup a batch of traps -and not just a days worth, as is her custom: a full stack. Amara proceeded carefully, resting to the west, returning, and laying her traps by the bridge, where the guards had been. This plan was not without dangers. Giant spiders inhabited the woods to the west, but Amara was prepared: potion of freedom.
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With the last trap set, Amara's made her final preparations: potion of mind focusing, potion of regeneration, oil of speed, Shield Amulet, Greenstone Amulet- potion of absorption at the ready. It was time. The mage, Kysus, was Amara's first target. She approached hidden in shadows, quaffed her potion of firebreath, and let out a mighty roar. Kysus was killed instantly. His brethren, Rezdan, followed soon after.
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Drasus, the party's melee warrior, charged Amara with his morningstar. Even with her oil of speed Amara could barely keep ahead of him. Alas, she didn't have far to go. Her destination was the bridge, and her traps. Soon the unwary speedster, Drasus, was no more.
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All that remained was the throwing axe wielder, Genthore. Amara was more than happy to settle into a ranged fight with him. A fighter of Genthore's skill couldn't possible best her bow. Amara prevailed, and with ease.
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By now nothing stands between Amara and the mine. That is well. Amara has a promise to keep.

Best,

A.

NW: Amara's post are now up to date, transferred from the other thread. To those who had been following her adventure there, know that from here on out new posts mean new content. Thanks for following!
 

Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The Cloakwood Mines, Part 2 (Or Adventurer, Yes; Stoic, No)

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With the would be assassins dispatched, Amara planned the next phase of her operation. She would need an onsite base of operations. Minimally, a place to hide the gear of her fallen assailants. The small room adjacent to the stables would do nicely. All that remained was to claim it.
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Enhanced with Drasus's boots of speed, Amara's wolf form has become all the more deadly. There is little a warrior can do against a lightning fast wolf lunging from the shadows.
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With the threats neutralized, Amara proceeded with her plan, stowing her excess gear, resting and then hitting the shadows in preparation for the descent.

The plan was simple: find the master, take his key, flood the mine. End the whole operation in one fell swoop. There was no sense in battling lackeys. There would be enough blood as is.

Amara activated Sandthief, donned her Cloak of Non-Detection, and slipped into the mine, descending with every step. The warriors had no hope of finding her, nor did the mage, Hareisham. Amara had slipped into the shadows when she was near. Nothing could stop Amara from reaching her target, the master of the mines, the mage, Davaeorn.

Eventually the long, silent descent ended and Amara found herself in a foyer, lavish by mine standards. The master must be near. A lone guard waited, ready to sound the alarm. Seeking a silent kill, Amara stunned the guard with a dart, and then dropped him were he stood.
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Just one foe remained, guarded though he may be. Acknowledging the threat of Remove Magic, Amara prepped lightly: protection from magic, potion of mind focusing, Shield Amulet. The plan was to win at range, maintaining distance through Drasus's boots. Strike. Evade. Hide. Strike. Evade again. So a lone warrior can defeat a superior force. History has shown, and Amara has learned.

Daveorn's traps were well laid, but they were no match for Amara. It was time to reveal herself.
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"So the stoic adventurer has made her way down to my lair," Davaeorn quipped.

Amara, as is her custom, smiled. Frustration and anger are valued allies.

"I'm afraid you've misread the situation, master of the mine, prisoner of the stone. Adventurer, yes; stoic, no. I'm here on a mission, but also for the joy in it. En garde, prisoner. Today your slaves rise. Today your walls crumble. Today you get what you deserve: the point of my sword and a watery tomb."


Alas, Amara did not deliver that sword point: her arrows and darts proved too effective. The master never gained traction, felled before his guards could meet him. Acid arrows foiled his spells, despite his protections.
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And when that last Stoneskin was peeled, Amara unleashed her darts. A quiet ending for a blustery foe.
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Time to see the city, time to seek the villain behind it all. Amara is off to Baldur's Gate.

Best,

A.
 
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Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The City of Baldur's Gate (Or Treachery Afoot)

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Resting on the Sword Coast, along the Chionthar River, Baldur’s Gate is the Western Heartland’s great shinning beacon of commerce. Opportunities await the enterprising, blades await the foolish. Where there is coin there is treachery. Always.

It's a city of contradictions: divided, and yet united. The poor of the outer city languish. The rich of the upper city fret and scheme, subject to the stratagems of each other. As for the mass of humanity in the lower city, they live mostly at peace, watched over by the Dukes and the Flaming Fist, seemingly unaffected by the tribulations above, below and beyond. This dynamic equilibrium has persisted for centuries. Amara is one of the few who know it is now under threat.

War is on the horizon. For who or for what remains unclear. Treachery is afoot.

Following a hearty meal and a good night's sleep at the Elfsong, Amara made her way to Sorcereous Sundries, seeking to replenish her supplies. She bought every oil of speed, potion of invisibility, and potion of strength she could get her hands on, and that was just the start. With the exception of her bow, Amara hasn't purchased a single piece of magical weaponry or armor. Gold is best spent on consumables. That is Amara's way.

With her potion case now full, Amara made her way through the city, seeking opportunity.

Acting on a tip from Scar, Amara infiltrated the Seven Suns. Doppelgängers had taken command. Thanks to a multitude of pillars and doorways, Amara finished them all with ease using her sword. A slow attack speed is acceptable when attacking from shadows.
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A tome was lifted under the surprisingly sleepy eyes of the Gate's so called Shadow Thieves.

A mage with an indecent proposal was relieved of his ring, aided by a potion of perception, a potion of master thievery, and a potion of mind focusing. His tower was looted, too, as punishment for his lechery.
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A basilisk was killed, removing a threat to the city and enhancing Amara's skills.
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And finally, a concerned halfling mother was aided in her search for her son, garnering Amara a second necklace of missiles, a timely replacement for her soon to be depleted first.

Refreshed, recharged and empowered, it was time to focus in on the investigation. Stealth with cover from the Cloak of Non-Detection was all that was needed to find the next lead.
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Amara is going home.

Best,

A.
 
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Alesia_BH

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313
The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The Return to Candlekeep

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Homecomings aren’t always pleasant. We all know this. I remember the last time I went back to Connecticut for the holidays. I wish I didn’t.

I may lament those hours spent listening to my drunk uncle pontificate while hunched over dismembed animal parts, but that experience was positively blissful in comparison to Amara’s return to Candlekeep. At least I wasn't ambushed by ogre mage assassins.
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This was, without doubt, the scariest moment of Amara's run so far. The screen flashed black for a moment after Amara's arrival. That threw off my timing and allowed the ogre mages to get a couple spells off before Amara could quaff her potion of magic blocking. Amara was never truly in danger, but I did feel out of control there for a fraction of a round. I didn't like it.

Amara didn't like it either. I, as fate spirit, felt the need to regain her trust after that one. In service of that goal, I delivered an uneventful passage through the Catacombs. A potion of master thievery allowed Amara to unlock the tombs. A Sandthief charge let her disarm traps without fear of detection. The Cloak of the Wolf helped her carry the tomes. Effortless.
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Slipping passed the spiders and the doppelgängers, Amara made her way to the outer cave. She paused only to disable a trap and kill the basilisks, under potion of mirror eyes, aided by darts of stunning. Effortless indeed.
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I'll post on the Dukes soon.

Best,

A.

NW: You may be wondering about Rieltar. Sadly, Amara didn't confront him. I have serious regrets on that front. I usually skip Rieltar, but it clearly would have been better for Amara to confront him, in light of the hammadryad passage. Unfortunately, I wrote the hamadryad passage after Amara had passed through Candlekeep, leading to an inconsistency here. In future runs I'll try to keep my posts and play in sync. In Amara's case that ship has already sailed, I fear, since Amara is by now, way, way ahead of her posts. Sorry about that 🙃
 
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Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The Dukes, Pt 1 (Or The Fate Spirit Has a Head Cold)

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Some of you may be struggling to interpret the subtitle of this post. Allow me to help you out. It's not a metaphor. I, Alesia_BH, Amara's fate spirit, have a head cold. It's unpleasant. And while I'm dutifully typing away, in service to Amara, I'd rather be unconscious. If this post seems dull, there's a reason for that. I'm dull. As I said, I'd rather be unconscious.

Anyhoo, by the time Amara returned to the Gate she had a clear purpose: save the Dukes, kill Sarevok. This part of the adventure is a challenge for some characters. Not Amara. She breezed through, like the legend she is.

Amara rescued Duke Eltan with ranged fire, aided by boots of speed and an abundance of shadows. A Greenstone Amulet charge was used since I wasn't 100% certain that the greater doppelgangers had been stripped of their disablers, found in earlier editions of SCS.
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Amara delivered Eltan to the Harbor Master in wolf form. A screenshot wasn't needed here, but I think it's cute, and my needs trump the reader's right now, because I'm sick and have an obligation to pamper myself. Simple comforts.
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The Slythe and Kristin battle can be a struggle for some characters. For others it's a breeze. For Amara it was on the deck of a sailboat in the Caribbean while drinking a daiquiri and listening to calypso music breezy.

Advised by her fate spirit, Amara set a full stack of traps. Prior to my break, six years ago, I restricted my thieves to using a days worth of traps only. I didn´t allow them to rest in order to hit the area limit of seven. In Amara's run I've been allowing full stacks, but only in key storyline battles. I was happy with that compromise at the time, but by now I've outgrown it- especially in this thread where it seems doubly inappropriate. In any case, Amara used a full stack against Slythe, and you'll see a few more full stacks going forward, since I just rendered this decision and Amara is way, way ahead of her posts. In future runs I'll go back to my custom of using a days worth only. For now, here's a big juicy stack of traps awaiting Slythe's arrival.
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Amara's buffs for this fight were potion of mind focusing, potion of defense, potion of magic shielding, potion of regeneration and oil of speed. She had wanted to use a potion of firebreath on Slythe to open combat but the proximity of innocents put the kibosh on that plan. Instead Amara just pulled up and said howdy.
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Since Slythe has a super aggressive stab'em-in-the-kidneys mentality, leading him to the traps was a simple matter. Killing Slythe shouldn't be so easy, hence my desire to restrict trap use going forward. The simple move of laying traps is answering too many tactical questions, so it fails the cheese test. Again, you'll see that adjustment in future runs. For now, here's Slythe: he's dead.
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Killing Krystin was ever so slightly tricker. The battle began with a game of cat and mouse. Krystin and Amara were both invisible with no way to detect each other. Amara had steath and the Cloak of Non-Detection available to her, thwarting divination magics. Krystin's invisibility spells were vulnerable to Amara's detect illusion but her stealth was not.
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What to do? Amara chose patience. She waited. Eventually Krystin refreshed a buff. That cast revealed her position, allowing Amara to deploy a potion of firebreath, targeted on a nearby item. And so the duel begins, with Amara heavily in the lead.
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And here's the finish. A panicked Krystin ended with a dart.
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The ducal palace and Sarevok are all that remain. Amara is ready. I still have a head cold.

Best,

A.
 
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Alesia_BH

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The Legend of Amara, Swashbuckler of the Sword Coast: The Dukes, Pt 2 (Or Houston We Have a Problem)
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Amara isn't happy with me. And I can't say I blame her.

Since I've been sick I've been playing a lot, dissociating from my discomfort. Writing, however, has felt like a chore, and so Amara's progress has sailed passed her posts. How far passed, you ask? This far.
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It's a problem, and I'm not sure how I'm going to resolve it. Composing that many catch up posts is a daunting task- especially in the context of this thread, where writing is substantially the point. As a no reload challenge candidate Amara is doing great, but as an Annex adventure her run may have reached a dead end. I can't write that many catch up posts, certainly not well- not at this stage, at least.

Oh, well. Whatever. We can worry about that later. For now let's finish up BG1, and celebrate Amara's victory over Sarevok. We'll start with the Dukes.
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Hot take: It's easier to solo no reload BG1 with SCS than without SCS. Why, you ask? Because the ducal palace is the most dangerous fight in the BG1 story line and SCS makes it safer by granting Liia Mantle and Teleport Field. In the original adventure the ducal palace fight is a mad probabilistic scramble. You could do everything right and the dukes -might- still fall. You always felt you were one false move and a string of bad rolls away from a scripted death. In SCS all you have to do is keep it steady, and Mama Liia will take you home. Amara didn't take anything for granted, though. She buffed to the nines.

The buff list was protection from magic, violet potion, potion of agility, potion of fortitude, potion of mind focusing, potion of defense, potion of power, potion of regeneration and oil of speed, in that order. Traps were laid at the edge of the combat area prior to entering the hall took out one of the doppelgängers. Amara opened with an arrow of dispelling on the doppelgänger mage

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Amara's traps and dispelling arrow gave her a solid start. The doppelgänger assassin countered with a backstab. Ouch.

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Happily, that turned out to be a speed bump on the road to victory. Amara responded with a potion of extra healing, bringing her back into the green.

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From there on out the plan was simple: stab the dopes to death. That's it. Gravebinder is a wonderful weapon, but Amara's offensive buffs, violet potion + potion of power + oil of speed, did most of the work here.

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Just clean up now. Only the final confrontation remains.
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Post quality has fallen off dramatically. Sorry about that! When Amara's progress got ahead of her updates I saw a reckoning ahead and lost motivation. I've run into this problem every time I've tried to narrativize a run.

Composing an enjoyable
narrativized run is kind of the holy grail for me BG wise. It's the one thing that feels left undone in my playing career. Getting there will be a process, though. I hope some of you will support the journey.

Best,

A.
 
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Antimatter

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I would say it's impossible to do a narrativized run if combat details still take about 80% of the text. The further in the game, the more complex the combat becomes. So it only becomes harder. I'm glad to hear Amara has reached Irenicus already, but sure, such a dissonance in time would make it impossible to write these for me for example.
 

Alesia_BH

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I would say it's impossible to do a narrativized run if combat details still take about 80% of the text. The further in the game, the more complex the combat becomes. So it only becomes harder.

The question is what is the right balance between narrative elements and tactical details.

I think the honest truth of it is that the correct balance depends on the skill of the writer. I'm a solid (if rusty) player and a so-so writer. For someone like me I think it makes sense to aim for a 20-80 or 30-70 balance, possibly with narrative interludes at key points, say, between chapters.

I'd love to hear from a player who could pull off a 80-20 balance. That's something I admire more than a successful NR run, at this point. My hope is that this thread will draw someone out.

Message to everyone: If you love the game and you write well, please do free to post, even if your tactics aren't anything special. This thread is 100% for you too!

Best,

A.
 
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alice_ashpool

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Hi all, this is a repost, but I thought I would put it here since I did this 2 years ago and it languishes deep in the larian studios forum.

Original link: https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=742825&page=1

Technical Notes:
BG: EE
SCS mod mostly installed inc the IWD spell bits
Insane Difficulty



Arwen’s Diary – DO NOT READ

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Picture of me, think I look cute


Day 1 - Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down.

Another day just like any other. Well, not quite true, Gorion says we have to leave Candlekeep! What the hell?! I was just getting the hang of this magic stuff, after sooooo long practicing: I can make magic armor, summon a shield and even make people blind. And now he wants us to leave?!

I hope he didn’t find out about what happened with the praying. You see, I had started praying, like, I thought it might help with the magic studies, only for some reason the prayer’s weren’t like, directed to anyone Gorion would have approved of (“Gorion approved list of gods and goddesses” heh). I didn’t think anything of it, but something answered, and before I knew it I could channel like a some holy power like right through me. It was incredible, as good as the magic. Wow, first the acrane, then the holy, and now we need to leave Candlekeep. I was all like better keep all this secret for now, Gorion doesn’t need to know.

So I did what he asked and went to buy some stuff for the journey. I didn’t really know what I would need but I’ve never been very strong, something to do with my mother Gorion said, so I just picked up a sling and some bullets, plus a little shield and a helmet so I don’t get knocked on the bonce. That still left a whole 82 gold pieces – Gorion has no understanding of the value of money, but what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, so I just pocketed the gold. Nice.

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check out my gear haul

Anyway, I was going to go see Gorion but I figured I had a few hours to kill before he would be out of the library so I thought I would take one last look around Candlekeep, and since I was leaving, maybe this was the perfect time to indulge in a bit of… not thievery, but just like, if they’re not watching it they’re practically begging me to put it in my pocket.

It was the usual rubbish in the keep grounds, Phylidia had lost a book, greeeaant, third one this week, but that was fine, since I’d seen her leave it in the stables earlier. Dreppin, the stablehand wanted me to fetch a potion to cure his cow – between me and you he doesn’t do a very good job since those cows are aaaalways sick, but what do I care, they’re just stupid cows and he offered me gold because he couldn’t be bothered to schlep his lazy ass across the keep. I got the potion, but not before Hull gave me a run around. I was actually starting to think that leaving this place is the best thing that has every happened to me ever. My prayers had been answered – figuratively, but also literally.

Or so I thought. Now this is where it gets weird: Hull told me to go get the potion for the stupid sick cow from his trunk in the barracks, but I was so busy thinking about leaving that I wandered into the building next to the barracks instead of the actual building. So as soon as I go in this asshole asks me if I’m “Gorion’s whelp.” Like wtf who talks to someone like that, so I told him to beat it, there's enough creeps around here as it is, and then he fucking attacked me! With a knife! Wow, I was not expecting that. I’ve never been more pleased that I spent hours trying to learn that shield spell. Or the blindness one. So I blinded him and then with a bit of divine pleading I managed to summon this fuck off massive club which I brained him with all while he was flailing around all blind like. Bits of motherfucker went everywhere. Eww. But on the other hand don’t fuck with Arwen. I’d never killed anyone before, and guess what, it turns out its easy. Hit ‘em ‘til their dead. Who’da thought it.

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he is kill

Someone must have heard the noise of me wailing on his skull because once I went outside the monks were all asking what was going on. I though, better not say that I just smashed someone’s brains out with the blessing of some unknown goddess, so I told them that some horrid assassin had just attacked me and id almost died – the fake tears were a nice touch (I 100% was NOT crying for real). They were pretty freaked out and told me to “make hast to see Gorion.” Mf’er I’m going, u don’t have to tell me twice. But not before I deliver this stupid potion – I want my gold, assassins or not.

Fortunately while all this was going on the divine club had vanished, and it took the bits of brain that were wedged in it with it. Gross. Well, maybe what’s her name likes that sort of stuff, idk, I have a lot to learn.

So after I pretty much throw the dumb cow potion at Dreppin I go to see Gorion, because yeah, someone tried to kill me, like, me in particular, like an assassin or some shit. That is fuuuucked up.

And guess what, just as I saw Gorion coming out of the library, Imoen ambushed me. I thought she was another assassin hiding in the rose bushes for a second, but no, just my favorite sister (stepsister actually, idk, its weird, Gorion keeps dodging the question). Most of the people here as dull, boring assholes, who just looooove books, but Imoen always makes me laugh and she’s good to piss around with, but I didn’t want to worry her with what had happened earlier so I kind of brushed her off to go see Gorion. Sorta regret that considering what happened.

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Candlekeep gardens. I like them they're pretty.

Gorion just repeated what I already knew, we had to go, and go now. He nodded when I told him about the assassin as if he wasn’t surprised at all. I didn’t know what to think. Except, looking up at Candlekeep from the gardens that I’d like to own a mega-castle like this one day, that would be sweet, don’t ever tell a girl that she got her priorities wrong: I’ll make sure to pray for a sick castle.

Yeah, so we left Candlkeep. I can’t remember the last time I actually went outside the walls – five years ago, ten? Freaky, but at this point I was still pretty worked up about that assassin, wondering if it was possible for things to be more fucked up that someone trying to kill you. Well, as it turns out yeah, it is possible.

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Out of Candlekeep

So fucking get this right, its raining its dark, and freezing cold, I can hear wolves howling and goddess knows what else out there in this disgusting, and I mean disgusting horrid, dripping wet forest. Gorion keeps telling me to hurry up and I’m thinking that I would literally kill someone to be back in Candlekeep, like bash their brains in no problem if it meant I could be in a warm dry bed with no slimy leaves trying to make me slip over. Well, things were about to get a lot worse.

Ok, I’ll cut a long story short. We were ambushed by, like, thirty, maybe fifty goons, including this massive one in some badass armour. Of course he was considerably less badass when he cut Gorion in half. I don’t want to say I ran away like a little baby but truth is I ran away like a little baby, fled right into the forest, praying as hard as I could. I don’t know if it was the prayers or just my stupid shortass gnome legs pumping as fast as they could but they never caught up to me in the dark. I ran until I collapsed into a hollow and literally passed out from exhaustion. Smooth Arwen, super smooth.

Had the strangest dream too. She was there, the goddess: all dark hair and twisting shadows. She told me she had saved me, and that I owed her my life. She said that power was mine for the taking. That I would kill the ones who killed Gorion so easily, I just had to trust in her, and trust in myself. That was key, I had to put faith in my own abilities.
 

alice_ashpool

Habitué
Messages
579
Day 2 – The morning after the night before.

Picking up where I left off. Well, a lot has happened since I last filled in this diary. The world outside Candlekeep is pretty messed up, someone ought to sort this place out.
I woke up soaking wet, terrible headache, felt like shit. Gorion was dead, I had no clue where I was. Literally stumbled in a random direction and what do you know, I was actually quite close to the Candlekeep road. And who should be bouncing (yep, bouncing) along it, heading east and right into me, Imoen, my sister. Well, I should take a moment to say something, she’s not actually my sister, since, like, I’m a gnome, and she’s like human, but Gorion was always saying we were sisters, so maybe half-sisters? Idk what he actually meant, I don’t look like a half gnome. Never really “got” it, but we are like sisters I guess, always doing stupid things together.

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me and imoen on the road together

Anyway, she “heard” (read: was spying) that we were leaving and followed, then got lost in the forest before we were attacked. I told her about Gorion and we took a moment to console each other. Pretty fucked up to watch your father cut in half in front of you. But my goddesses dream was as sharp in my head as Gorion’s death was, and I knew that there was something here, he might be dead, but this was a beginning, not an ending: there was no way, like absolutely no way I was going to end up like that. He told me to go to the “friendly arm inn” so, with a pouch full of gold, and Imoen to keep me company we set off east. At least the sun was shining and my clothes were drying out. Anyways ( I say that a lot don’t I) I know one thing: what happened to Gorion is never, ever, going to happen to me. I don’t care what I have to do, but revenge, power, wealth, a big (really big) castle, everything that can be had from this world - I’m going to take it. But first I just need a decent bed.

First off, me and Imoen walked for a few hours towards the Inn Gorion mentioned (she was already starting to annoy me actually but I’ve put up with it for years, so I guess I should just suck it up right about now what with everything that has happened.) you would not believe how much walking the world outside candlekeep requires. Hoooly shit you just walk for hours and don’t see anything but trees trees and more trees.

Yeah, where was I so we had been walking for a few hours, kinda lunch time maybe and this couple of creeps like stops us in the road, asks us where we’re going, one of them like literally asks us if we will “go to nashkel” with them then offers me a “potion”. No idea where Nashkel is, or what it is, but like, it sounded like a lame pickup line so obviously I said no. But Imoen, she’s all “Wow, that sounds interesting, why are you going to Nashkel?” And the two wierdos spill a whole story about some iron plague, like a literal sickness that affects only iron (wtf) and so everyone’s weapons are falling apart which is apparently bad, so they said they would go to Nashkel to see what was going on (I figure they’re basically mercenaries or something). So at this point I elbow imoen (quite hard) and tell them we have other plans, I am NOT going with two randomers to some mine a billion leagues away to “investigate” some iron illness (at least not without a pile of gold up front). I got bigger problems, plus these two are tier-1A wierdos: dude tried to offer me a potion like ten seconds after he met me. I had these flashbacks of bashing in that assassin’s head with my holy mace but these two kinda looked dangerous, so I just dragged imoen away along the road.

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yeah, no thanks.

So we hurried on, further east, towards the inn. Eight hours later, and I do mean eight hours, not some sort of exaggeration we meet another wierdo creep, but this time its some old man (nonce?). And just before he speaks I hear this voice in my head which tells me not to trust him. Nice to feel like you’re special, like you have someone looking out for you. But anyway, remembering what happened with the two creeps when Imoen started talking I told this old codger to piss off. You would not believe the hard time imoen gave me about that but im not about to ignore someone who let me summon a magic club and save my life; no way am I doing that. Imoen got over it.

It took another eight hours, and again I literally mean eight hours to get to the friendly arm inn from where we met the geriatric bellend. We’d been travelling all day and it was pretty dark by this point but we could see it, this massive fortress which was apparently an “inn.” Looked almost as big as Candlekeep and I was reminded that actually I would quite like a big castle of my own some day. I was also reminded that Gorion was dead somehweer in bits, which took a fair bit of the shine off our arrival. Imoen was dead tired as well, almost tripping over her feet, so the two of us stumbled over the drawbridge hoping for a bed. I still had Gorion’s gold pouch on me and I figured that the two of us could probably afford the most expensive room in the inn no problem. We deserved it after all the crap we’d been through.

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at. fucking. last.

I was absorbed with these fantasies of luxurious soft beds and delicious food almost running up the stairs to the entrance. That was until this berk interrupted us on the way in. I was so looking forward to that feather bed that I told him, um “fuck off” I think was what I said. Well, instead of doing that (fucking off pronto) he attacked us, asshole, didn’t he know how fucking tired I was???

So it got worse, obviously. He was a mage, and a better one that I am. Luckily we’d had a quick rest on the way so I could cast a few spells but still, this was not good – the only thing that saved us is that I had learned from what had happened – attacked by an assassin, Gorion killed by a group of killers, waylayed by a series of nonces on the road, there is no way, and I mean no way I am walking into any potentially dangerous situation unprepared ever again. By that I mean I had cast my magic shield on myself in case things went south, so to speak.

But really, it was the blindness spell that saved the day yet again – as soon as he attacked my fingers crooked and he was rendered blind as a bat, must be painful for that to happen to a wizard. I forgot to mention that Imoen was asleep at this point, that bastard got off a spell before I could mess his stupid eyes up.

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sleepy imoen

Anyway, have you ever seen a blind wizard? Pretty sad actually, he bumbled and stumbed around while I used my sling on him hoping that Imoen would wake up. He had some sort of mirror image spell, I haven’t learned that one yet, but it made hitting him super difficult, even with him being blind. I contemplated asking the goddess for a big club again but I didn’t want to get anywhere near this spellcaster, so instead I tried something new and asked her for a divine boon, something that would help me hit this dude with my sling, and waddya know, my prayer was answered – cool does not even begin to cover it. Imoen woke up too so she filled him with a few arrows and bammo, one dead wizard.

Only, when imoen was going through his pockets she found a literal bounty notice with my name on it! “Arwen, 200GP, dead only”, idk if I should be flattered or shit scared since like every asshole from here to Baldur’s Gate is going to be looking for some quick gold. Not cool!

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im a wanted woman, this fucking sucks

We stepped over his corpse and entered the inn, hoping to blend in with the packed crowd and avoid any more assassins, nonces, creepers, armoured killers or general “bad dudes.”

The first thing, literally the first thing, that happened once we were in was this half-orc with a big sword told me to get him more ale. I wanted to scream, fortunately Imoen delt with this one (using her middle finger) and we moved further into the crowd.

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FUCK. OFF.

I hired the innkeepers most expensive room and me and Imoen sank into blissful sleep. Whoever Gorion wanted us to meet here can wait until tomorrow.
 

alice_ashpool

Habitué
Messages
579
Day 3 – Ring the changes

I woke up remembering another strange dream – this time my goddess showed me a dark crevice in a cluster of rocks outside the inn. I somehow knew there was something interesting there. She wanted me to have it.

Nice room. Really nice room, which is good, considering the cost. Me and Imoen decided to stay here for another day – that second assassin has some magic scrolls on him, spells I’ve never seen before so I wanted to spend some time trying to learn them. Which I did! Easy as apple pie. Now I can cast a magic missile and make flames shoot out of my hands, that’s so cool. Only problem being that I still can only cast two spells before I am completely exhausted and have to sleep and I don’t want to give up my bindness spell. Imoen says I need to "work on my stamina" and i said like, girl we walked a million miles to get here, how much stamina working do you want me to do. Then I ordering some room service.

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More spells, more power to Arwen (me)

While I was learning the spells Imoen wandered off and It was only later that I found out that she had been stealing anything that wasn’t bolted down from the guests in the inn. Typical Imoen. She came back with some nice armour she had “found” in a chest. The other thing she found were a couple of rubes who wanted us to do things for them. Some old lady said she would pay anyone who could get rid of the spiders in her house, in Beregost (which is apparently south of here). I said eww, no way, aren’t there like people who’s job it is to do that? I do NOT like spiders. The other one was some rich idiot who somehow lost his belt when he met an ogre. I really really REALLY do not want to know how you lose you belt when you encounter an ogre. Nor do I want to meet an ogre tbh.

Anyway, me and Imoen decided to go for a walk outside the Inn grounds, to follow up on my dream. And what do you know, there was a magic ring tucked down between some boulders. This thing is the shit. I can literally feel it increasing my spellcasting power. I can cast a whole four, yeah four, spells now. Amazing. I stocked up on another blindness since that one rocks, and some magical armour, because I was hella jelly of imoen’s new leather armour and wanted some of my own. Yeah. No one is going to be a strong as me soon.

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I have no idea how this ring got in here, but I know exactly how I got it out

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It’s called evermemory apparently, this one’s a keeper

That afternoon we wandered round the north end of the Inn and you are never going to guess what. There were all these like, “hobgoblins,” I think I got that right because I’ve only ever seen them in books. They ATTACKED me and Imoen, fucking wow Is everyone outside of candlekeep an angry monster? But, with my magic armour, and my magic shield, and my actual shield and my divine club I am pretty much invincible so I smashed their brains in while imoen filled them full of arrows. Starting to think that yeah, its possible to be a badass in this world. We killed a whole five hobgoblins, then we lugged all the crap they had on them back to the inn to flog for cashmoney.

They had an engraved ring on them, which tbh wasn’t worth very much at all so in the end I gave it back to the peasant who claimed she’d lost it, thought it might get me a bit of goodwill with the local morons people.

The other big thing we did today was meet “Jaheira” and “Khalid”, who Gorion told me to find before he was, well before “that” happened. I immediately didn’t like them. For starters they didn’t seem very sad that Gorion was dead, for main course they had no idea who might have killed him, and for dessert they were going to Nashkel like those creepers on the road and said we could “tag along” Fuckers. Obviously I didn’t say that, I said “That’s very nice of you but I think me and my sister will find our own way in this world (of shit)” They didn’t hear that last bit.

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nice try, but mines are only one step above sewers

Me and Imoen chatted with some others in the common room and the nearest town was apparently Beregost, maybe we can find some information there about whoever it is who is trying to kill me. I’m also sitting on a fat stack of gold so maybe I can put it to good use in my plans to become a bad bitch. Only joking I’m going to spend it on fancy rooms and nice food.
 
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