The Let's Play Archive

Baldur's Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal

by Shugojin

Part 50: I think the forums failed basic math.

Chapter 37 - I think the forums failed basic math.

Archival Commentary - how the hell did I not notice that Bodhi somehow ended up with an A right by her portrait every damn time I used it when I first posted this update? Fixed for the archives.

And thus, with nothing else really open to do, it was off to... The final confrontation with Bodhi!

Honestly, Asim, I simply do not know what to do with you. I grow tired of seeing you in my shadow.
And I grow tired of you. I will have your head on a pike before we are through here!
Oooh, you are no less the fighter for having been through the drow, are you. A pity you are not of more use. Regardless, I have not the time to stand here discussing what you will or will not do. I have more important duties to take care of. A simple warning, one that you would do well to heed. Follow Irenicus no more, Asim, or your end will be dire indeed. I will speak no more to you. Fight, and if you survive, be thankful and go home.
Nay, fiend! Thou shalt never take my Asim! In Tyr's name I defy thee!
Little mousey, your god is nothing to me! I spit on Tyr, and I will defile you to spite him!
No, thou shalt not! Tyr, Maimed God, save now thy servant as she fights for thee and for her love!

And she kind of, uhh, got stolen away. Teleportation style.
Is it REALLY too much to ask for me to be able to cast Dimension Door?

Anyway, into the tombs to be threatened by vampires.

Silly vampires. You cannot hope to stand up to Minsc with a Helmet of Charm Protection. In fact, he pretty much did this entire thing himself. Oh, and I'd kind of forgotten that we'd invited Drizzt and Company to this fight.

Minsc purified this pool of blood. Nothing cool like the Mace of Disruption this time around, though.

Silly vampires, when will you ever learn?

Also, the blood pool in the spikey room held a pair of Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise this time around. Not bad.

And so, after much killing we made it down to Bodhi.

I do not see Imoen with you. Has she withered to nothing just as I was destined to, or are you hiding her away from me? It doesn't really matter. I'm sure your reasons for coming are all very important to you. Do spare me the boredom of hearing them.
I have come for the Rhynn Lanthorn, Bodhi. You will not escape me this time.
You help those treacherous elves?! They deserve all they receive, and more! They will not even approach us while we destroy them, such is their arrogance! Let them shiver in fear that they will die between me and Irenicus! They would not even acknowledge us as their own, and now we will bury them all!
Why should they acknowledge your filth! I do not blame them in the least!
Fool! They would have you think we are some foreign intruders, attacking their city for no reason! Their shame is that Irenicus and I are very familiar indeed! No *elf* would dare turn against the others, no *elf* would endanger the very fabric of their society, no *elf* would do as Irenicus and I have done! Who was it that plead their case? Elhan? He stood by while they echoed our crimes in their punishments! Well, Elhan can be vexing. But he is nothing compared to the powers I now possess. With Imoen's soul and my mastery of Unlife, nothing can stand before me. Cantrips that fell other foes from beyond the grave are beneath my notice. My eyes pierce all. You have learned little since our encounter beneath Spellhold if you hope to challenge me in my own lair, Asim. For I shall call the darkness, and I shall call the cold, and I shall call the grave. And I will give to you ... the Kiss of Death. Before my fury, you matter not. Imoen's empty shell matters not. Elhan matters not. I should almost let you live so that he could have the shame of an outsider questioning him about this whole matter! Almost! Your part in this ends here, Asim. I shall feast on the blood of the gods, while you enter death with questions unanswered!

Aaaaand she healed herself midway through the really long fight.

But she finally went down. And we found Saerileth.


So, guess what Asim got right after Bodhi died? If you guessed "high level abilities that would have made this shit so much easier" you would be ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. There's actually a crapload of nice abilities for mages, but I took

Summon Planetar. It's actually really fucking useful thanks to PnP Celestials. It's pretty nice vanilla, too.

And so, we staked Bodhi.

And took from the coffin Cutthroat, her heart, and the Rhynn Lanthorn.

Bodhi's heart is for any of the default romances, in which Bodhi turns them into a vampire, you kill them, and then take it and the person's corpse to the temple of Amaunator in the Umar Hills and somehow the dead god performs a miracle and restores them. Yeah, I'm not remotely fucking clear on how this works, since dead gods can't do anything.

Oh, yeah, and Drizzt actually got killed by Bodhi. Here's his two scimitars and his chain mail. Nothing special nowadays, though I might have found it wonderful way back when.

This stuff was absolutely fucking wonderful in BG1, though it's all pretty drab by comparison to other things now.

Minsc reached a new level of understanding, much like I did.

Rangers get the same general set of HLAs as warriors, but they get the ability tracking.

Yeah, I'm not really sure what it's good for. I set him towards the path of Critical Strike, so that every attack he makes in a round can be a critical hit. Also, I was pretty happy when Drizzt died, since it meant I could show Malchor Harpell.

Outside, this guy came along and took Drizzt's equipment. I wasn't really sorry to see it go.

Good of you to fight such an evil, powerful creature. If Drizzt and the others have fallen, I suppose it will be up to me to revive them and collect their gear. Ah! I forget myself! I am Malchor Harpell... an associate of Drizzt's. How rude of me to forget such a thing as simple courtesy. Speaking of courtesy, I see you have collected some of the party's gear for them. Now that I am here to revive them, I will take their items for safekeeping.
Of course. Take them.
Thank you. Now I shall go below and see what I can do. Good day to you, my good lord, and pleasant journeys.

She has been turned into both a ghost *and* a vampire!
Can Tyr fix it?
Yes he can.
He totally did go back now and it'll all be well.

Heeeeey you're still all ghost-vampirey.

Oh well that's all right then.

And so, we set off to return to Elhan. Right as we got there.

Reader's Digest version yay. The comparison isn't far off!

It will be over soon.
I want to marry you.
But thou must!
But thou must!
But thou must!

Archival Commentary - such unbelievable hate

With that out of the way, we went and talked to Elhan.

You have the Lanthorn! It is in the hands of the murderous vampire Bodhi no longer! I feel the tide of this crisis is certainly changing.
Yes, Bodhi... but you claimed you did not know who stole the Lanthorn..
You must have made mention of it. You obviously had some idea who it might have been. We questioned you for quite a while, you recall.
Possible, but I never said she was a vampire. Why lie about knowing of her?
Perhaps not, but you did ask for Holy Water and stakes. One needs only put two and two together to make the correct assumption.
That is quite the reach in logic. Come now, should I go into detail about what Bodhi said?
Anything said by her or the Exile Irenicus must be treated as suspect! You would do well not to repeat their tales to those that do not need to know them!
So, Irenicus is now 'the Exile.' That's not a name for a stranger. Perhaps I should ask around.
No! This is... This is not for you to know. I can't tell you, Asim, it is not my place to do so. The Exiles, this Irenicus and Bodhi, are criminals. Their crime was great, their punishment greater.
So a great evil befell you with these outsiders, so what?
You do not understand, and I am not prepared to make you. If you wish to know more, you'll have to talk to one of those involved. Demin the high priestess, she will tell you. We will have to breach the city to find her. Fortunately my sages have instructed me in the use of the Lanthorn. We must go, but most of my elves must remain to hold the Drow. We must not be struggling on two fronts when we face what is in the city. Follow, Asim, we must let the Lanthorn lead us to Suldanessellar. I can only hope that the Exile will have left us a city to find.

We kind of followed Elhan while he walked around with the Lanthorn held at arm's length like a moron until we got here.

Oh HELLO there giant arch out of nowhere.

Walk with reverence when you step. You are going where precious few outside of the elven community have even seen.

Also, Jan reached an epiphany as well.

God. Motherfucking spike traps. The "ahaha fuck you enemy" of the Thief's arsenal, and commonly regarded as the single cheapest way to end any fight before it starts - literally. Not a bad way to start dragon fights in Tactics, really, since it seems to bypass any spell protections they might have and do that lovely 20d6 damage right from the start.

Through the aaaaaaarch!

Corruption magics, illusions from a race of spirits, the Rakshasa. Such creatures are very predatory. It would appear that there is no depth to which Irenicus will not sink. Suldanessellar is under siege. With this number of beasts under his command, Irenicus will be very hard to unseat.
Whatever will get me to Demin the quickest.
We must proceed with caution. Not everyone in the city can withstand an onslaught like this. Their safety must take priority. You must seek out Ellesime. She will know what to do. She has a link to the divine not unlike your own, though through a much more benevolent spirit. Failing that, find the high priestess Demin. If anyone had warning of Irenicus and made preparations, it would be one of those two. Go, Asim, I will garrison this area with my elite War Guards. We will shepherd people to safety as you secure the inner city.

So, we set to exploring the city, dispatching Adamantium Golems and many other enemies not as noteworthy along the way.

Oh, I suppose I should be official about this... uh... You there! All citizens must stay indoors under threat of death. The High Priestess is being punished for her part in our Master's curse. You shall be slain for even thinking to approach her house.

Aaaand he got smacked with a Planetar's vorpal sword right after he finished saying that. We entered the house he was guarding, since it seemed to be Demin's by what he had said. Inside, we found rakshasas being annoying. They rapidly ceased being annoying in favor of being dead.

One of them had a Belt of Stone Giant Strength.

This was not a link because I find its backstory to be just . Sets strength to 20.

After that, it was time for explanations. I love explanations.

Our city is not usually found by outsiders, doubly so with the Exile employing his magics to hide us. It is beyond fortuitous if you stumbled here unknowing.
I seek the one you call "the Exile". Irenicus has taken much from me.
It is our folly if we think his terror would be isolated. I apologize if he pained you, for we are partially to blame for each act of evil he survives to commit. We will seek to make reparations when this matter is done, but the Exile is firmly in control at the moment. We are at his mercy.
Elhan was particularly vexing, demanding help while also refusing information.
I am not so concerned with the shame of our people over Irenicus and Bodhi. What good is our silence if the city is crushed because we would not seek help? You are not an elf. It must be difficult to fathom why we are so hesitant to speak of this. Hopefully you will come to understand. The Exiles were not always as you know them now. They once had names that I would have been proud to speak, and were as worthy as any other of praise.
Then they have fallen far from that lofty perch. I see no trace of worth in them now.
Certainly you are entitled to your misgivings. You would not be here if you were not driven by powerful emotions, and the Exile is good at provoking a reaction. He has garnered the strongest of reactions from we, his own people, for he wronged us greater than any other. He is a criminal that knows no bounds. Yes, he was elven as we are, but no longer. Queen Ellesime cast him out, for he had proven he was not elven at heart.
And Bodhi? Was she involved in this too?
She and He were well known in the elven court of Suldanessellar. He, at least, was a great asset to our kind and kin. He was the greatest of our mages, as skilled as any of elven blood could be without divine assistance. He even had the favor of the Queen. It was not enough. Of the two, the 'sister' was the insatiable one. She was not as regarded, but she held great influence over her 'brother,' and pulled him into her madness.
How lovely. It's nice that those butchers keep so close.
Together they sought more than was possible; they wished the power of the gods, and they were not concerned about the consequences. He of the Exiles performed a dark ritual, and committed a grave offense against the greatest symbol of our longevity: the Tree of Life. He sought to merge his essence with the divine tree, draining it and stealing its energy. He failed, but there was a price to pay for the rest of us. He disrupted the elven connection to land and nature. There was a great shock that ran through Suldanessellar, and many of our weaker citizens lay near death. That he would endanger so many for he and his sister's selfish goals was one thing, but to threaten the very nature of what makes us who we are was unfathomable.
Then why was he not killed outright? It would have saved a lot of trouble.
It fell to Ellesime to judge the crime, and she was harsh. Having forsaken everything elven, they would be outcast so they might learn how precious our ways are.
Not to be critical, but Irenicus does not appear to be in the business of learning what he does not wish to know.
Of spiritually high regard, Ellesime petitioned the gods and a divine curse was placed upon the Exiles. All their connection to the elven spirit was severed. Ellesime thought it a punishment worse than death. A life no longer than a human's, and their elven spirits banished from the paradise all elvenkind are entitled to. The sister exposed herself to vampirism to try and counteract the divine curse, but gods are not routed so easily. The brother did not risk the same. A better man would have learned to appreciate what he had lost, perhaps learning humility and seek to make amends. He did not prove to be a 'better man.'
Wow, what was your first clue, genius?
We had hoped this would turn out better. The Exile has found a way to restore himself, has made pacts with our most despised enemies, and has resumed his original plot.
And this is where I come in. He stole my divine soul through some sort of ritual.
I have no way to accurately measure the cost of our decisions on you. Reparations will be made, if there is anyone left here to make them. I... I am still in shock that this happened. So much of Suldanessellar's defenses were away, battling the Drow and their incursion at the temple. We were left weak. One group of exiles helping another, both so full of their petty hatred and jealousy that they would stop at nothing to strike at our hearts. The Exile brought to the city magical constructs and demons, and a... a black dragon, which landed to the northwest. I have been trying to fight, but there are too many.
Elhan spoke of Ellesime, and how she might be able to help.
The Exile has seeded the streets with his minions, and taken Ellesime into the palace. I have made an attempt to enter, but it is sealed tight. Whether you search for the Queen or seek the Exile for reasons of your own, you will have to get into the palace and also deal with the monsters in the streets. And I believe there is a way to do both at the same time, though it will not be easy. No, we have seen to it that it will not be easy.
Of course we'll help! I can feel the Tree of Life calling out in pain... and the pain of the elves is its pain as well! We must do what we can, Asim!
I obviously do not have the strength, myself, to complete the task. I think perhaps you do. If I tell you what is to be done, will you do it?
I will. How can the creatures be stopped?
The temple is dedicated to Rillifane Rallathil. He can summon the spirit defenders of the forest to protect us... and has the power to break the seal on the palace. But the Leaflord must be awakened, his avatar summoned, in order for the spirits to come. The Exile's creatures have desecrated the temple and stolen the artifacts I need. The artifacts are lost in the city, held by the Exile's minions, perhaps even the black dragon in the northwest. There are three: a talisman of Rillifane, a golden cup, and a moonblade. Go into the temple, which will most likely be guarded, and place the items on the statue in the center. This will summon the avatar to our defense.
Are you certain this is the solution?
I believe so, stranger. I cannot be sure, but only Rillifane has the power. Go, please... the longer you wait the more elves will suffer. Quickly!

We searched the city for the artifacts, helping where we could with such things as golems

and rakshasas.

The first thing we found was the Talisman.

The correct order for the buttons was "Corellan Lotharian, Symol of Water, Symbol of Rillifane, Tree of Life, Suldanessellar.

There's an item in the building right above this one that helps you with this, but I've played this game so much that I have the solution memorized.

In this next house we found a very happy pair of elves, who we directed towards the city gates, as well as a Stone Horn and a Cloak of Elvenkind.

These little kids were convinced that their parents had been killed. I lied and said I had seen them at the city gates. Better that the little kids hate me than be dead, right?

In another building, we witnessed a little exchange between these two and took the Moonblade from the warrior's body, as well as a pair of Boots of Elvenkind from some container in there.

(The baalor was trying to get the elf to hand over the Moonblade, but the elf used some power of it to kill both he baalor and himself.)

Yet another house held a Stone Harp to match the horn we had found earlier. After that, it was off to see the wizard lizard DRAGON.

Why do you do the bidding of this wizard? Surely a great and *powerful* dragon could not be subservient to a mere elf?
Hah! What backwoods adventurer have you been listening to? What comes next? You try to convince me to turn against Irenicus by soothing my ego?!?
Fine. I suppose we shall have to do this the old fashioned way. Die wyrm!
Excellent! I do so enjoy it when they struggle!

Note - it IS possible to get the goblet in exchange for all of your gold and items and not fight him, but why the hell would I do that? Also just above this is a good example of what a spike trap can do. This was done in two separate things, I didn't set it and then talked to him. I talked to him, reloaded, then set it at which point he attacked me. (Worth it.)

We killed him and took the goblet as well as the Bladesinger Chain and assorted trinkets.

But it ends here. Irenicus must not be disturbed during his ritual.
You cannot stop me, slave. Your master does not realize what power I wield.
His curse is lifted. You are nothing next to Irenicus. He need not even be bothered for I shall kill you myself.

You can skip fighting everything here by just dashing over to the altar and putting the items on it, but again - why the hell would I do that?

The sorcerer, Jon Irenicus, has --
Why? What's he going to --
He... he seeks to actually join the Seldarine? The elven circle of the divine? But... Corellan Latharian would never allow it! He *is* mad!!
But Irenicus has sealed --

He gave us the Staff of the Woodlands which would have been nice if any of us had been a pansy druid. He also set forth the guardian spirits of Suldanesselar, which ran about and threw Disintigrate spells at every one of Irenicus' minions.

Also, this merchant pops up right outside.

I've never really needed any of what she sold, but she's a nice place to just dump any clutter you can sell, since in ToB that money is actually pretty nice, since all of Cespenar's recipes use lots of gold.

And so, we finally entered the palace and were immediately confronted with a tree.

Before we go on, let's take a look at what I was thinking at the time! Huh. Why I was narrating my own actions to myself? Probably something to do with - no, wait, I think I'll save that one for later...

[I pause, knowing that I may not survive the battle to come. I have little choice, however; without my soul, my fate is a grim and certain one. I turn and regard those who remain in my party. I feel a need, perhaps, to ascertain their loyalty, their friendship, or to offer a chance to reconsider. My eyes are drawn irresistibly to Saerileth, the young paladin whom I love and whom I have pledged to wed... though I am left with the lingering feeling that it is not at all my choice...]

Irenicus is the most powerful foe we have faced, Saerileth. Have you the strength to go on?
You give me the strength, beloved. I am with thee, love, to the end, however bitter it might be.

[Minsc, the scarred and loyal ranger, always ready to leap into battle with Boo ever at his side. I wonder if he truly understands the struggle to come.]

Minsc, you are a valiant warrior... but there's no need for you to risk your life in this battle. This is my fight.
Minsc owes much to the killer of Dynaheir! I stand with you! Nowhere shall I go until the heel of justice has been firmly imprinted once and for all into the wizard's evil backside! Nowhere!

[Jan, ever the irreverent jester; I wonder if he is serious this time... if he has considered fully what may come of the next battle.]

Jan... you do know how powerful Irenicus is, right? This might not end well. There is no need to endanger yourself.
You've done me a few good turns here and there, Asim. And besides... leaving now would be like turning your back on a three-copper-a-barrel turnip deal. It just isn't done. I would become a Jansen of infamy and ill-repute, never again allowed to involve myself in turnip merchandise anywhere. Tsk. Even Golodon the Unmanned would consider himself superior to me, and I've seen the man's underwear.

[Haer'Dalis, the tiefling bard who has been a unique companion, always enigmatic and obsessed with entropy. Why he continues to follow me, I don't really know.]

Haer'Dalis... you don't need to accompany me any further, if you don't wish to. This isn't your fight.
Ahh, but I have little choice in the way of it now, my cautious raven. Your life is an act of such vivid interest to me, I cannot help but remain at your side to see how the last act unfolds before me. My blades stand ready to fall, if entropy dictates it is so.

Aerie, at times innocent, at times determined, the young elf has come far since I took her from the circus in Athkatla. Is she ready for what is to come?

Aerie... you don't have to continue past here. This isn't your fight.
If... if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have escaped from Kalah. I... I wouldn't be out here, and I wouldn't have the chance to face this evil. I won't stop now no matter what the cost.

There is nothing more to be said. Without a further word, I turn grimly back to the stairs before me. My soul awaits.

Hah! I cannot be stopped! Nor will I, here!
I am Ellesime, Queen of Suldanessellar. Joneleth has me at the center of the tree, trapped in a cage of corruptive magics. This is as far as I have been able to send my image. Joneleth, the one you know as Irenicus, he... is drawing power from the Tree of Life into himself. There are... parasites attached to the Tree, draining it for him...
Parasites? What manner of creatures are these?
I do not know what manner of parasites these things are... but they are formed from corruption itself, I fear! They feed Joneleth the power and maintain my cage! Whether you are here to save my people or simply kill he who has tormented you, I care not. One thing must be done; the parasites on the Tree of Life must die! Do that and I can sever Jon's connection to the Tree. Then, and only then, may he be killed! I... believe he has protected the parasites somehow... I do not know. Hurry!
How do I reach the parasites? There is no route I can see amongst all these branches!
Yes... he has severed branches. Use the nuts... the nuts from the palace gardens! They will grow new branches on the tree! You can use them to cross! Do it quickly, Child of Bhaal! If Jon drains the Tree of Life, all of Suldanessellar is doomed... and Jon will have the power he craves! Please, you *must* stop him!!

The parasites were, uhh, pretty obvious.

Repeat that twice, except replace the fire elementals with earth and air elementals. Also, this is pretty much how making new branches to cross on worked.

On the way, we passed a rather oblivious Irenicus in the middle of his ritual.

Also, Ellesime spoke to me again after I dispatched the second parasite.

Once you kill the last parasite, I will begin to sever his connection. You will need to come to the center of the Tree where Irenicus and I are quickly! The energy he has stolen from the Tree will be torn from him. I know not what effects this will have... but Jon will be disoriented, so you must kill him quickly! Finish it quickly! I feel the Tree of Life dying! Jon is drawing too close to his goal!

After the last parasite fell...

You had to know I wouldn't let you get away.
You... you live *yet*?! You have less than a fraction of your soul and yet somehow you *continue* to oppose me? The power... the power of the Tree is gone from me. You have been successful in your little scheme, insect, but now this ends! I will take great pleasure in eradicating such a nuisance as you. And then I shall... re-establish my link, join with the Tree once again... I shall find a way, I shall *have* the power --
No, Joneleth. You shall not.
Who...? Ellesime?
Yes, it is I, your Queen. Twice, now, you have attempted this sacrilege and nearly destroyed us all. You will not do this again, Joneleth.
Do not call me that! I lost all right to that name when the Seldarine stripped me of everything that was elven, as you well know.
And what shall I call you instead? 'Irenicus'? 'Shattered One'? Yes... it was a terrible punishment. But you violated everything we hold dear. You nearly destroyed us all! And for what? Power? Is that all that you exist for now, Jon?
It... is all I have now, Ellesime. There is nothing else beyond my revenge. Revenge for what you did to me, that the Seldarine did to me...
And your revenge has poisoned your heart. The Tree touched you once, long ago. Do you remember nothing of it? Is there nothing in your heart that remembers love? Is there nothing within you that remembers *our* love? What we once shared before this obsession doomed you?
I... I do not remember your love, Ellesime. I have tried. I have tried to recreate it, to spark it anew in my memory. But it is gone... a hollow, dead thing. For years, I clung to the memory of it. Then the memory of the memory. And then nothing. The Seldarine took that from me, too! I look upon you and I feel nothing. I remember nothing but you turning your back on me, along with all the others. Once my thirst for power was everything. And now I hunger only for revenge. And... I... WILL... HAVE IT!!
Then I pity you. Would that you had used your stolen mortal years to *earn* your return to this sacred place. I could have loved you anew, as I loved the man you once were. But I see nothing of him here. You are Irenicus. And all that awaits you now... is death.
We shall see, my former love. We shall see.

Your soul still courses through me. Come and make your attempt to reclaim it, if you like. I have power enough to deal with you!
For Dynaheir and all fallen comrades, for what is good and right, for all these things shall Minsc and Boo fall upon you today!! And we shall taste victory, evil man!!

Alright, so he popped up with some protection spells, so I countered with Time Stop and a Spellstrike. Then, I decided to summon a Planetar. Except...

Yeah, it was, uhh, pretty much over after that. Losing all of your protections and being descended upon by eight vorpal swords at once tends to end in death.

T-this is not... this... is not..

Time for more "why the hell am I narrating this shit to myself?" behind the scenes content! Gods but I hope these monologues were internal only.

If this is victory, there is a question burning in the back of my mind: What about what he stole from me. What of my soul?

Within seconds I cannot breathe, drawn inexorably to where Irenicus fell. I am still connected to my stolen soul, but it is no longer among the living. Released in death, my stolen soul does not return to me. It is falling away from the mortal world, and I am being dragged along with it.