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09 August 2015 @ 04:40 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part IX: Shouldn't the City Guard Be Handling This?  
Back in Athkatla, I head for the slums and stroll into the Copper Coronet to talk to Gorje and...he's not there. Unger Hilldark starts what's obviously supposed to be the first line of an argument with his brother, and then with his brother not there, the quest breaks in half. Unger refuses to talk to me, no ore is available, and the temples will never get their statues. At least, that's what would have happened in the old days. Poking around the internet, I find that several people have had the same problem and I find the code to spawn Gorje into the world. Talking to him just leads to a snapped order to talk to his brother, and his brother won't talk to me, but when I reload the game to before I talked to anyone, spawn Gorje in, and then talk to Unger, the dialogue proceeds properly. Back on the railroad!

Unger: "So there ye are, me dear, sweet, thick headed brother returns."
Gorje: "Aye, and with no help from ye, ye cowardly sack o' drow dung. Ye had to hire these bloody surfacer "adventurers" to bail me out, while ye sat here an' drank yer ale and moaned like a woman!"
Unger: "Ye ungrateful bastard! I nae shoulda told 'em where ye were! Shoulda left ye to rot in that godsfersaken hole! Now where be the illithium?!"
Gorje: "The illithium?"
Unger: "Aye, the illithium, ye gravel-brained kobold! The illithium!! Ye know, the final shipment that ye promised to deliver? So as we can be makin' a bit o' coin and recoup some o' the damn bribes? That illithium!?"
Gorje: "Oh... er... illithium. Aye. Well, brother, it be like this. There be none left. I scoured the mine and nae found an ounce. Someone poached the mine on us. At least ye still have the last shipment."
Chiyo: "So, you don't have it, and you don't have it? Where am I going to get my illithium?"
Unger: "No illithium?! None left?! I have a business to run and ye waltz back in without the illithium! Ye pile o' troll droppin's! Yer going to ruin me! I needed that shipment and ye had the gall to get captured and stuck somewhere, forcin' me to ask these tree huggin' surfacers to rescue yer, and ye dinna have the decency to die rather than come back with some illithium!!"
Gorje: "Bloody hell. There was none left to bring ye. But ye still have the last shipment right? The one I sent a few weeks back?"
Chiyo: "And where is this illithium? I told you of my need!"
Unger: "As I said surfacer, I nae have any illithium right now. His delivery was supposed to replenish me stocks."
Gorje: "So, ye already managed to sell the whole consignment?"
Unger: "Er... Not exactly. The consignment went more... missin'. Err, stolen as it were."
Gorje: "STOLEN?!! And yer yellin' at me fer not findin' any more when there was none! Ye illithild-humpin' dirtbag! Ye pile o' succubus drippin's! Ye had 200 pounds o' illithium STOLEN from ye?!!"
Chiyo: "So one brother can't find any and the other loses the rest? Now what do I do?"
Gorje: "Don't be blamin' me fer this! I told ye, there was none left. Yer lack o' illithium is me pig headed brother's fault. How did it get stolen? Did ye ferget to pay off the Shadow Theives? Or did ye just leave it out in plain sight like the pile o' goblin spit that ye are."
Unger: "Nae, it was an inside job. That dwarf I hired to help me move it, he took ther whole shipment, the rotten arse bastard!"
Gorje: "Him!? I coulda told ye he'd try somethin' like this! Wait, I seem to be havin' a revelation! Divine recall if it were. I did tell ye he was trouble. Too shifty... on the run. But ye said that he was too cost effective to pass up. Really cost effective, huh? Bloody piker took off with all o' our merchandise! I can nae believe this. Yer incompetence is unbelievable! I'd rather be rock huntin' in umber hulk caves than deal with this any longer. Robbed o' all our profits!"
Unger: "Shut yer bleedin' hole. If ye had found a better source... blast it all. It nae matter now. We be needin' to find a new source and a new way to be gettin' it in. As to the illithium, surfacer, I think I may still be able to help ye, and get that bastard back... if yer interested."
Chiyo: "After all this, yes!"
Unger: "Ye want to go chasin' after him, that's yer business. It be lost to me anyway. I show me face and I'll have the guards on me just for being duergar. Typical of this city. I'm just a poor businessman, but I'll be jailed just for me shadowed face. The bastard that robbed me looks just like a bleedin' hill dwarf, so he's welcomed with open arms. They nae guess at what a fiend he is. After I hired him, I found out what he had done. I do suppose that's why he cheated me and took off. Thievin' bastard..."
Chiyo: "Don't you worry. Just point me in the right direction."
Unger: "Yes, well, ye can go after him if ye like. Last I heard he was holed up in the Bridge district. A derelict little place bought with me gold... Here, I'll even mark it on yer map, there. He won't nae be movin' much. He was on the run from Baldur's Gate when I met him. Oh, I suppose ye'll want his name as well. The name was Neb. He left a few families cryin', or so I hear. Tell his corpse that Unger Hilldark sent ye."
Neb is a serial killer who I last saw in the Flaming Fist cells in Baldur's Gate I. I wonder if we've found our bridge murderer?

Powered by a Forsaken Child
After heading to the bridge district and dealing with a mugger who made poor life choices--though not that poor, because he had enough money to equip his mugging band with potions of invisibility and potions of healing; thanks Sword Coast Stratagems--I stop and talk to Rampah, one of the people that the guards mentioned had been witness to the murders. Rampah is not particularly interesting in talking to me, but Chiyo's kindness and repeated assurances that she doesn't work for the guard eventually convinces him to part with what he saw...which is nothing. Because he's blind.  photo emot-doh.gif

He does have an object he found, though, which he's willing to part with for 100g. I pay him because that's nothing to an adventurer and he hands over an item called "exotic hide" that he insists is absolutely not human flesh. It sounds like he protests too much, but the icon looks like a leopard skin, so I suspect he's right and let him go without bothering him any further.

I also find a lovers' quarrel:

The screenshot doesn't convey the utter disinterest in her voice acting. Those exclamation points are lies.

The man on the right is victorious, after which Bubbles expresses disgust over the gore he's splashed her with during the duel and storms off. He follows, protesting his love to deaf ears, as Xan comments to Chiyo that he hopes he didn't pursue her affections with as much violence.

After Yoshimo picks the lock, I enter the derelict house and confront Neb.
Neb: "Have you reason to be here? I do not recall summoning such as you. Do I... know you? I do not think it is so."
Chiyo: "Is your name Neb?"
Neb: "Why friend, who told you my name? Who... who is it that sent you here?"
Chiyo: "I hear that you are on the run from Baldur's Gate."
Neb: "So, my former life does come back to haunt? So be it, though I shall miss the children so. Ah yes, the children... Come then, attack! And your deaths shall be a riddle for some other fool to solve!"
Xan: "I remember him! The child-killer from Baldur's Gate! He must have escaped from the Flaming Fist's quarters!"
Jaheira: "Chiyo! This... this is the same child-killing dwarf from Baldur's Gate! I remember! For the greater balance, his head must be brought to the authorities!"
Neb makes his death easy to justify by summoning the ghosts of children he's murdered to defend him. He then quaffs a potion of invisibility--seriously, there have to be slave-alchemists churning them out by the thousands by the number of NPCs I run into that have a bandolier of them--but true seeing from Xan takes care of that, and the other five potions of invisibility he tries to drink. The ghosts move to attack and drain levels with a touch, but I ignore them and concentrate on Neb, who offers no resistance at all other than drinking potions. When he dies, the ghosts thank me for releasing them and cast lesser restoration on the whole party...which due to mods, fatigues the target instead of the caster. Well, it's the thought that counts.

After looting the room and the illithium ore and hacking off Neb's head to prove he's dead, I head to the government district to talk to Sir Sarles after a brief detour to city hall to turn in Neb's head for the reward.
Sir Sarles: "Well, I did not expect to see you back here so soon. Perhaps next time I should request to work only in blood-forged meteoric adamantite. Ahh, illithium ore in its rawest form. Can you feel the primal energy wafting off of it? It practically screams for a firm hand to shape it... mold it... caress it..."
Xan: "Oh, yes. Yes. Not exactly illithium, though. Rather, a beautiful woman standing next to me... but the rest is better left unsaid."
Sir Sarles: "Er... yes, well, you have met my demands. I will work for your lord, and compose a fitting tribute to his glory... or some such. My muse will decide."
Chiyo: "I thank you on behalf of the followers of Helm."
Sir Sarles: "Our business is concluded. The piece will be delivered when it is done. I will dispatch a messenger to collect my fee and tell your church of my decision."
I manage to keep myself from killing him, the traditional murderhobo solution to trivial annoyances, and leave. On the way out of the government district, night falls with customary suddenness, and several Amnish soldiers accost me, demanding to know why I'm out at night. The commander reins them in, and when Chiyo asks what they problem is, they say that with the guild war going on, people are going missing. With parting advice to stay off the streets, the patrols leaves, and I head off to the temple district, where Guardian Telwyn thanks me for my service to Helm, hands over some money and the Helm of Glory, and then mentions that there are other tasks to be completed. When Chiyo asks about them, he says:
Telwyn: "I have a duty for you to perform. It has been requested of us that we assist the temple of Lathander in their dispute with the worshippers of Talos. We have remained neutral in this matter, but the balance of the situation has shifted, and should one side gain dominance over another there will be chaos. Go. Speak with Dawnbringer Sain, my counterpart in the hall of Lathander. Helm be your guide through the halls of friends, and the trials of enemies."
I don't see how chaos follows here, since Lathander is the god of dawn, renewal, spring, and creativity, whereas Talos is the god of storms and destruction. On the other hand, he does send me to the temple of Lathander instead of Talos, so perhaps he's not as disinterested as he claims.

Sun and Storm
The temple of Lathander continues the trend of extremely overwrought religious architecture:

The sphere rotates but doesn't cast any light. Seems like a missed opportunity.

At the temple I talk to Dawnbringer Sain, who rants about the treacherous priests of Talos for a bit before he gets around to telling me what I actually have to do. Apparently, the cult of Talos hired a thief named Travin to rob the temple of Lathander and steal a ring of great symbolic value to the priests of Lathander, and Sain wants Chiyo to get it back--peacefully if possible, violently if necessary. The criminals are in the slums, of course, and that's where I head next.

Travin's on the north end of the slum, and he folds like a bad poker hand as soon as Chiyo shows a bit of an edge.
Travin: "'Ere you, what do you want? Can't a man walk the streets at night without bein' bothered? Get off."
Chiyo: "I think you are the one that has done something to bother me. You Travin?"
Travin: "W-what of it? You... you from them Talassans? I gots what you be looking for, but only for a price."
Chiyo: "Of course. Tell me what your fee is and I'll make sure you get it."
Travin: "I ain't gonna wait for payment. Now or never, that was the deal. 400 gold or no ring."
Chiyo: "I was not told of this large price. Are you lying to me? Do you wish to anger the gods?"
Travin: "Hey, can't blame me for trying to make a buck. Go to the red brick house on the roof of the Copper Coronet. Speak to Borinall, he's the man. I'm just the contact."
Chiyo: "Good. Now leave, and consider how close you have come to death."
Travin: "Y-yes, of course. I am very, very sorry. Very sorry."
And he runs off into the night, suitably chastised.

The house is locked, but Yoshimo makes quick work of it. Inside is a man named Borinall, who demands to know what we're doing in his house:
Borinall: "What in the hells do you want in here? I don't deal with common streetwalking trash. I got clientele that makes appointments, and I ain't got time for you."
Chiyo: "I thought you might want to talk to me. Travin said you have something I want."
Borinall: "That would be the Dawn Ring, would it not? I shall be glad to be rid of it. I have felt the eyes of the celestial upon me each and every minute I have had it. Just one more simple test before you go."
Chiyo: "Can we dispense with this? I am expected back."
Borinall: "This will only be but a moment. I must be sure I am giving it to the proper person; when dealing with Talassans a mistake would be the death of me. It is a simple matter, really. Swear your devotion to Talos."
Chiyo: "And what would you gain by my refusal?"
Borinall: "It is a simple matter, really. I am to deliver this to a servant of Talos. If you are said servant you will not balk at declaring your allegiance; you would most likely revel in it. But if you are not a follower of Talos, you will not swear to him even in jest. To do so would be to deny your own faith, or even worse, to bring the attention of Talos upon you."
Xan: "Now we are in trouble. Big trouble, I would say. Chiyo, do you really need the ring that badly?"
Borinall: "So I ask you. Are you currently in service to Talos? Are you loyal to him and him alone? And may he strike you down if you are lying."
Chiyo: "I cannot speak the words you wish to hear."
Borinall: "Then you will not have the item. Leave me."
Chiyo: "I beg of you, give me the item anyway. I must return it."
Borinall: "In a word, no. You are not who I was to meet, and now you know my crime. You will not leave here. Our business is finished. Permanently!"
One against six is a quick fight, even when it turns out that it's not actually one because he has three henchmen who've drank potions of invisibility and leap to attack. Aerie's detect invisibility spell stops that tactic, and Chiyo takes the Dawn Ring from Borinall's corpse.

I actually saved before this exchange, so the first time I lied to see what would happen. When Chiyo said, "May Talos strike me down if I speak falsely!"...Talos blasted her lightning. I wonder how much time the gods spend smiting people in the Forgotten Realms? It must be all hustle, all the time.

Work, work, work.

When I walk outside, a woman named Moiya's Detect Murderhobo pings and she hails Chiyo and asks if shecan help with a problem.
Moiya: "Um, hello there. Would you be willing to help a woman in trouble?"
Chiyo: "Certainly. What is it you want?"
Moiya: "Oh, bless you, my lady! Now, you see, let me explain the problem. My name is Moiya...I am a poor woman. My husband studied as a mage some time ago, and earned enough from that to keep us both going. That is, until the Cowled Wizards came. They took him, one day. Said he was a "deviant" and that he would be kept in Spellhold. That was four years ago, and I have not seen him since. And so I was left, to raise a family of five children. Alone. It was difficult, but the Temple of Ilmater helped me along. It was not enough, however. Raising children comes at a cost in the city, you know. I needed money badly, and so I went to a man, Celile, to borrow some. He provided me with enough to keep going. But I have no way of paying him back, and he is not a nice man, let that be said. I don't know what will happen if I can't pay up."
Chiyo: "How much do you owe him?"
Moiya: "I borrowed 5000 gold from him, and there was a 1250 gold repayment. That makes...uh...uh... I am a simple woman! My husband was the wizard! I...er...6250 gold in total, that's it!"
Chiyo: "Perhaps I can speak with him and see if an agreement can be met."
Moiya: "Oh, thank you! Perhaps you could ask if I can have longer to pay it back?"
Chiyo: "Very well then, I will speak with him."
Moiya: "That is a relief! Celile can be found in the Copper Coronet. Oh, I do hope this can be sorted out. I have been so scared...and I haven't the heart to tell my children."
But before I do that, I head over to the temple district to drop off the Dawn Ring. Dawnbringer Sain laments that Chiyo is not devoted to Lathander, but wishes her well and sends her off with a thousand gold. If the PC is a cleric, this is a chance to gain a stronghold--evil clerics headquarter in the temple of Talos, neutral clerics in the temple of Helm, and good clerics in the temple of Lathander. I'm holding out for the wizard stronghold, though, because it has to be better than all the ones I've seen so far.

The priests have no further requests of me, so it's off to confront a loan shark.

More Money, Moiya Problems
Celile is standing near the entrance to the tavern, but he shoots down every attempt Chiyo makes to talk to him, which annoys me a bit because Chiyo is wearing a ring of human influence and has 18 Charisma. Even if he's as cold as ice, he should at least be pleasant instead of giving her the brush off. After chatting with a few other bar patrons about the monylender operating out the bar, Chiyo tries the direct approach and demands to know if he is that moneylender:
Celile: "Back again, are you? Do you want something from me?"
Chiyo: "Have you had dealings with a woman named Moiya?"
Celile: "I might have done, but that is no concern of yours. I am not in the habit of discussing my other clients."
Chiyo: "So you do know her. I understand she owes you some money which she cannot pay back?"
Celile: "Am I to assume that she has told you something of the situation? Very well then. I lent her the sum of 5000 gold. She was given six days to return the sum of 6250 gold, and now she is telling me she cannot. What am I supposed to do? I can't just let people keep my money like that, and so I am forced to demand payment."
Chiyo: "And what if she still can't afford it?"
Celile: "Then my associates visit her, remind her that payment is necessary, and determine whether she has anything of value to be repossessed. Rest assured, however, she is in no danger, if that is her concern. I'm not a monster. I am a very busy man, on the other hand, and I can't afford to talk all day. Good day to you. And don't come bothering me every time a woman off the streets asks you for help. I should hope you know better."
I go back to Moiya to inform her of Celile's business practices, and when I say that she's not going to have her knees bend backwards or her head staved in, she joyously thanks me and walks into a nearby house. The same house that Borinall lived in, which is probably just convenient for scripting and not evidence of some kind of conspiracy.

That seems a lot easily than I expected, which means Moiya will almost certainly be back later after Celile does something awful. And I should be able to figure this out, because I have a bunch of divination spells memorized to deal with the potion of invisibilty consortium. However, none of that works, and so I move on. Charity successfully delivered to widows and orphans, I head off to the bridge district to stop a serial killer.

Skinner Box
I've already talked to Rampah the beggar and now it's time to talk to the other two people that the guardsmen pointed out to me: Rose the courtesan and Faraji the child. I head for Rose first, and after handing over twenty gold for her time, she tells me that she barely saw anything at the murder. Just a man in a hood and the scent of guril berries. When Chiyo asks why that's notable, Rose says that she doesn't know, the guards just laughed and wouldn't tell her, and to talk to the merchant Bel on the other side of the street if I want an answer. So I do. Bel says there's three things that have that particular smell: the berries themselves, which are used as folk remedies for "ah, intimate afflictions"; oak bark, which is used in tanning; and solik berries, which are good in pies but are out of season. He gives Chiyo a sample of each and suggests that I talk to Rejiek the tanner about the oak bark.

Chiyo shows him Rampah's mysterious hide and asks him where it's from, and after a moment's consultation Bel declares that it's an elephant hide. Chiyo asks if he's mistaken, and he replies that he's positive, but I should ask the tanner if I want a second opinion. I'll do that, but first I head back to Rose and ask her about the smells. As soon as she smells guril berries, she turns red as she realizes why the guards were laughing at her, but says that's not it. Solik berries is a false start as well, but when I offer her the oak bark she says it's the same smell, and asks what it's used for. When I reply, she doesn't seem to pick up the tanner connection, but just bids me goodbye.

I'm pretty sure I've got this case locked down now but figure I should talk to the child just to be sure. It turns out to be pointless--he's convinced it's mean ol' Miss Cragmoon, who smacked him for stealing cookies and therefore has a heart that slavers for the blackest of evils. I find that to be unlikely and head to the tanner to question him about the murders:
Rejiek: "I'm sorry, I'm closed at the moment. Come back when I've replenished my stock."
Chiyo: "I'm looking into the local murders and I wanted to see if you knew anything."
Rejiek: "The guards have already canvassed the neighborhood, so if you want anything, go talk to them. I don't know who or what you are, so I'm not talking to you."
Chiyo: "You had better. Elephant hide and tannin were found where people died."
Rejiek: "I see. You have gathered this...evidence? I suppose others will know of this as well then? Then it will not stop with your leaving. "
Xan: "Here goes the villain's exposition again. Shall we call the guards, or simply wait until he summons his allies and skins us all?"
Rejiek: "It's funny, isn't it? A simple piece of leather, and a whiff of tannin. If my leather had not been torn I would not have worn the new armor. No tear would have meant no smell."
Chiyo: "So...you are admitting to being the killer? Why did you do this?"
Rejiek: "I might as well try and explain the sun to the moon. You can't understand. My work must go on. There is only one place left for my craft to go, and you cannot stand in the way."
He flees downstairs. I immediately follow and discover that the Athkatlan guards are utterly incompetent:

You'd think they would have at least noticed the smell, but I guess that medieval tanneries smelled so horrible anyway that perhaps they didn't notice.

The basement is full of traps, and Yoshimo has his hands full checking the floor and furniture for everything that's hidden throughout, but fortunately has plenty of time since the tanner seems to have fled down a second staircase. In one of the cupboards he finds a note, writing about the "final ingredient" for some project to be delivered in the Umar Hills and containing a puzzle to be solved:
Our names are the same in their scale and their cut.
The last of his begins just as the first of mine.
The second of my first is the second of his first, though regressed a full four steps.
The third of my first is four more than the last of his first.
The entire last of my first is the last of his first, except the first one of these is the first of my last.
The first of his last is mine plus one.
The next of my last is the last of his first plus one.
The last of my last are third and second, coming in first for him.
However, it contains no names, so I pocket it for now and head downstairs.

Downstairs are two ghasts and a wizard who inadvertently lets his name slip as "Vellin Dahn" before teleporting away:
Wizard: "No, you will have no victory here! Rejiek must work on!"
Chiyo: "What is this? You support this fiend?"
Wizard: "He is chosen to work the gift and has escaped your reach. He will continue, and your skins will be the final touches! No talk! You will die here! Vellin Dahn does so command!"
I figure that this is going to be an easy fight before two Rune assassins--from the Twisted Rune, I expect--attack from stealth before quaffing potions of invisibility, but Jaheira's true seeing spell coupled with Xan casting haste on us and Aerie casting slow on them neuters their offensive capability. The tanner is nowhere to be seen, probably teleported by the wizard, and so I pick up the loot, including the Gesen bow shaft, but I leave the set of hide armor because I figure I really don't want to be touching that. That accomplished, I head back to talk to the city guard. Lieutenant Aegisfield thanks Chiyo for her work and says he'll have his men keep an eye out for Rejiek, but I have a feeling it'll be me that runs into him again first, especially when he adds that it's usually hard to find the manpower to investigate crimes against the poor.

And now I can answer that riddle: "Darcin Cole." Back to Umar Hills.

Game time elapsed: 23 days, 10 hours.
Imoen rescue fund: 16,390/?????????
Party levels:
  • Chiyo, female elf Fighter 9/Mage 11
  • Jaheira, female half-elf Fighter 9/Druid 12
  • Minsc, male human Ranger 10
  • Yoshimo, male human Thief (bounty hunter) 13
  • Xan, male elf Mage (enchanter) 12
  • Aerie, female elf Cleric 9/Mage 11

I really expected the Moiya questline to be harder than it was, and I think I'm right that it will be, since it's still sitting in my questlog. I bet Celile tries to have her sold into slavery and I'll get to go on a murderhoboing spree.

Otherwise, not much to add for this section, since it's mostly fetch quests. I do really want to find this potion of invisibility consortium that clearly controls the potion trade, because hopefully then I can convince them to expand into potions of extra healing and make my life easier. I can promise them an endless stream of gold in exchange for those potions.

Next: Part X: When Animals Attack.
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