The GWJ cRPG Club - Game 18: Baldur's Gate 2 (in Progress)

For more information on the GWJ CRPG Club, go here.

Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn is the GWJ CRPG's Club's 18th winner, relegating Skyrim to second place for the second successive vote in a row.

Baldur's Gate 2 is a role-playing video game developed by BioWare and was published by Interplay Entertainment. It is the sequel to Baldur's Gate (1998) and was released for Microsoft Windows in September 2000. Like Baldur's Gate, the game takes place in the Forgotten Realms—a fantasy campaign setting—and is based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition rules. Powered by BioWare's Infinity Engine, Baldur's Gate II uses an isometric perspective and pausable real-time gameplay. The player controls a party of up to six characters, one of whom is the player-created protagonist, while the others are certain characters recruited from the game world.

An expansion pack, Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal was released in 2001, adding a multi-level dungeon called Watcher's Keep to the game and completes the main plot. There were several new weapons, a higher level cap, a further refined Infinity graphics engine, and new class-related features and magical skills.

In 2013 Beamdog & Atari released a Remastered version of the game, Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition including both Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal. It also included new content and widescreen compatibility support. It is now available on multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, Mobile platforms, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One.

We'll be playing this game until September 31st, 2022. This thread is for friendly discussion as we play through the game. Share your reflections, successes, defeats, tactics, wishes, impressions, and whatever here! The more conversation the better, so post away.

While I recommend the Enhanced Edition for this play through, you are free to play which ever version of the game you have available to you or feel like playing on. Completion of Shadows of Amn will be sufficient to have completed the game for the club, but Throne of Bhaal is widely recommended to complete your experience.

For BIG spoilers, please use the spoiler tag. (No! I am your father!) Tactics, strategies, general story progression likely won't need them.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate, and can start at any time, so join the fun! One quick favor: If you decide to play, make a post here along the lines of "I'm in!" to let us know. If you start and finish the game before the end, you'll level up your GWJ CRPG Membership.

Links to the Enhanced Edition (note Dollar prices are estimates, I can't be bothered to use a VPN)

Steam - £15 / $20
GoG.com £2.99 / $4 SALE
Epic Game Store - an oddly specific £3.19 / $5 SALE
Apple App Store £8.99 / $12
Google Play. $9.99 (no UK Price)
Playstation Store BG1 & BG2 pack £47.99 / $60
Xbox Store BG1 & BG2 pack. £41.74 / $55
Nintendo Switch Store BG1 & BG2 pack £39.99 / $52
Metacritic
How Long to Beat ~ 79 Hours.
GameFaqs Walkthrough. Yeah! Old School!

Member's Complete

Members Playing

Sorbicol (when he's finished Wrath of the Righteous. He may be some time)
Math
WizKid
jdzappa
RedHerring
Budo
ubrakto
tboon
Mr GT Chris
Shawnosaurus
Alien Love Gardener
Hardek

I'm in. Going to dig up that old BG1 savegame (has it really been 2 years??) and complete Dragonspear before going into BG2 proper.

I'm in.

I’m in too - unless finishing BG 1 is pretty much a pre-req. Not sure if I’m going to be lost or not jumping straight in.

Math wrote:

I'm in. Going to dig up that old BG1 savegame (has it really been 2 years??) and complete Dragonspear before going into BG2 proper.

In.
Thinking the same thing, should still have the saves.

Math wrote:

I'm in. Going to dig up that old BG1 savegame (has it really been 2 years??) and complete Dragonspear before going into BG2 proper.

I have to say I'm really impressed with how Dragonspear tied both BG1 and 2 together.

In. I’m in an Elden Ring pit, but hopefully can dig out enough to make it back through this one too.

I'm in. Never finished BG2 despite multiple attempts.

BG2 is one of my favorite RPG's of all time, although overshadowed by my love for Planescape: Torment from the same era. I've won it at least twice, maybe three times. I never finished BG1, so that's definitely not a requirement.

The beginning area is a bit tedious, but it gets significantly better once it opens up.

I think I'm gonna sit this one out. Partly because the pile is so big, and if I'm going to do one of these huge RPG's now, I'd probably run through one of the Pathfinder games instead of a game I've already played multiple times. Maybe if the Beamdog additions were more highly acclaimed...

Another reason is that I didn't particularly enjoy Pillars of Eternity recently. I'm not sure if it's that game in particular, or if I just don't enjoy real time combat and juggling in and out multiple party members like I used to. Part of me worries my high esteem for BG2 will be tarnished if I play it now. I'm curious how you guys who didn't play it way back in the day will like it.

I’ve got the Enhanced edition on Steam. I’ve beaten the main game BG2 4-5x but I always run out of steam at the start of the Throne of Bhaal expansion. Maybe this time?

This will be my first GWJ CRPG Club game!

BG2 is an old frenemy of mine. Over the past 20 years I've taken several shots at finishing this beauty. Perhaps this is finally the time.

jdzappa wrote:

I’m in too - unless finishing BG 1 is pretty much a pre-req. Not sure if I’m going to be lost or not jumping straight in.

I wouldn’t say so. While you can import your BG1 character, it’s not essential. The game itself does start quite abruptly true, especially some of the NPC reactions to events in the opening dungeon (you won’t really know why they are so upset or my Minsc keeps going on about his hamster for example), but on the other hand 20 years of memes, internet lore and general background gaming history knowledge will
Likely see you through.

Shawnosaurus wrote:

This will be my first GWJ CRPG Club game!

BG2 is an old frenemy of mine. Over the past 20 years I've taken several shots at finishing this beauty. Perhaps this is finally the time.

.
Welcome to the club! I’ll add your name to the list.

jdzappa wrote:

I’m in too - unless finishing BG 1 is pretty much a pre-req. Not sure if I’m going to be lost or not jumping straight in.

Nope, I played BG2 through at least twice before touching BG1 (which was for this club). BG2 is a far more enjoyable experience and a quick cruise of a wiki page will give you all the backstory you need.

Anyone know what the mod scene for this game looks like, particularly specific to the Enhanced Edition? Recommendations? I remember it being super robust for the base game, but not sure if the old stuff works with EE or if any of the good stuff got updated to work with it.

What character are y'all playing with? I just rolled a new Paladin that I'm pretty excited to play. I clicked reroll on that stats about 5 times to get these which I think are pretty nice.

IMAGE(https://ucbd63ca7fb931cf6fb1ff029c24.previews.dropboxusercontent.com/p/thumb/ABezOio6bIyq-AgjzpLtjqMTGgjoltpvdvcaP6yhMdaS3hqU1PKR-TBNS_s1sUbm_vF3tUAaePEG3P663PO93PdRGM4dVSU5l5H_cI-uEtuahy3htPkSJ6ZZqyur0NrUeHuAKUElNKk1Lv5saGMcNk3BeY3ocHEJvnUea_OBG75MBgQkKZUZ-1CujcWUiqdRBYL72cJurkLOynXMBAL9Lodo1vLmdGKWomEx2YMusj4-3Vfl51Uky0N-GkfkyMwyZBv2D-0Lw0QrF7VuumD3iaS7Qry9VnRYTA19mEVUl--BCsElTWu7lqDiJrUmGeWPwgaZR6ByWCMCjplwD_oXgnFSBvrg7lT1G0jxQ4hN8T8StAG7Rpm1it33j6ETbpT5qVFg55dAihqvA4iexz4vLLO8/p.jpeg)

ubrakto wrote:

Anyone know what the mod scene for this game looks like, particularly specific to the Enhanced Edition? Recommendations? I remember it being super robust for the base game, but not sure if the old stuff works with EE or if any of the good stuff got updated to work with it.

I found this. I installed "The Tweaks Anthology", I really just wanted a "walk even faster" mod: this game has too many environments that are too large and a lot of backtracking. I am too impatient to put up with much of that.

I ended up with a bunch of other stuff (but 150% walk speed ). We'll see if the game even launches now.

I am bringing my GWJ CRPG Club BG1 save over. If I can find it.

Shawnosaurus wrote:

What character are y'all playing with? I just rolled a new Paladin that I'm pretty excited to play. I clicked reroll on that stats about 5 times to get these which I think are pretty nice.

Actually a good question. I don't know yet. The club play through of BG1 I went with a DPS ranger who, by the end of the game, was pretty much one-shotting anything that wasn't a boss. I've attempted to play BG2 quite a few times now, I know some of the classes include Scorcerers (i didn't like the AD&D2 rules in the end) Thief (far too little knowledge of AD&D to play effectively) and a Paladin, which was by far the easiest class I've played.

I could dig up my old BG1 save I suppose, but I've got time. We'll see.

ubrakto wrote:

Anyone know what the mod scene for this game looks like, particularly specific to the Enhanced Edition? Recommendations? I remember it being super robust for the base game, but not sure if the old stuff works with EE or if any of the good stuff got updated to work with it.

The only "mods" I've tried are portraits I'm afraid. No idea what the rest is like.

tboon wrote:

I found this. I installed "The Tweaks Anthology", I really just wanted a "walk even faster" mod: this game has too many environments that are too large and a lot of backtracking. I am too impatient to put up with much of that.

I ended up with a bunch of other stuff (but 150% walk speed ). We'll see if the game even launches now.

I am bringing my GWJ CRPG Club BG1 save over. If I can find it.

I brought my RPG club Siege of Dragonspear save over last night (cavalier, a paladin variant) and have punched my way out of Irenicus's dungeon. It's been 20 years since I played and finished BG2, but it's pretty great how familiar it all feels. (Had some trouble getting the import to work; had to recreate the original BG1 save folder in \Documents.)

I've ended up going modless so far, but what I would give for a walk speed mod. Found this (the one from argent77) but haven't tried it yet to see how well it works. Might grab a banter pack to throw in as well before I continue.

I was finally able to import my BG1/Siege of Dragonspear game into BG2EE. It was trickier than I thought it would be, not helped by MS OneDrive deciding to make itself my documents directory at some point?

I made a cleric/ranger dual class, evidently? Super don't remember that. Anyway, onward to smite buttocks in the name of justice, I guess.

I went with an elf/cleric. I’m reminded that there are some useful cleric spells like lesser restoration and negative plane protection that are good to have early in the game. Lots of vampires and pesky level drains.

I'm in, with the archer i used for our BG1 playthrough. I might try to complete Siege of Dragonspear first though.

I’ve done a few quests so far, recruited Aerie, Viconia, Nadia and Mazzie. I wish there was a decent pure thief available but I’m sticking with Nadia for now. I usually roll with Jan but time for something different. I’d recommend Jan for first timers unless your main is a thief though.

I’m reminded how you just get bombarded with quests and encounters when walking around the city. Give me a moment to breathe!

I'm now on the road to Dragonspear. I don't know if it's the ~2 years since I played BG1 or what, but I have zero memory of any of the companions (except, funnily, Viconia and Misc who I remember from BG2).

Dragonspear is actually pretty great. I would absolutely recommend playing it before BG2 if you happen to own it. It threads the plot needle between BG1 and 2 more deftly than I would have expected.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

I'm in, with the archer i used for our BG1 playthrough. I might try to complete Siege of Dragonspear first though.

Added you to the list

I’m in.

Late to the party. I just started yesterday, running with a elven warrior bows n swords.

Steadily plugging away at Dragonspear. I really hate how miserly AD&D is with healing. Having to run back and sleep for 16+ hours at my tent every other fight is a) annoying from a gameplay perspective and b) nonsensical from a story perspective.

I'm not above tweaking my save for QOL stuff. For example, I start my game with a bag of holding, gem bag and scroll case for inventory management. Also, I give the hero a bunch of light heal spells (as part of their Child of Bhaal abilites) so I don't usually run into the problem of sleeping for 8 hrs and waking up still needing healing.

Is it just me, or are all the companions in Dragonspear terrible tanks? My PC is pretty much the only one who can frontline worth a damn...

Mr GT Chris wrote:

I'm not above tweaking my save for QOL stuff. For example, I start my game with a bag of holding, gem bag and scroll case for inventory management. Also, I give the hero a bunch of light heal spells (as part of their Child of Bhaal abilites) so I don't usually run into the problem of sleeping for 8 hrs and waking up still needing healing.

I've never thought of doing this, but damn it sure is smarter than spending huge chunks of time juggling inventory.

I'm currently mad about de'arnise keep..

Spoiler:

because I seem to have zero fire or acid attacks for these damn trolls