These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Abandon Shipping: Any amorous ideas you may have had about Imoen in the first game are likely to get shot down in the sequel when it's revealed she is also a child of Bhaal. However, it is highly unlikely she and the player character are actually biologically related (the player character can be of a completely different species, after all), so it didn't stop stop everyone, and at least two Imoen romance mods were made.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Bodhi. Is she a simple-minded monster, tunnel visioned on getting her next fix of blood and carnage, or a surprisingly lucid killer whose machinations are solely responsible for the systematic downfall of an underworld organization that dwarfs her own?
A budding theory on the forums is that the Solar from ToB was actually lying to the player about their past and the parts Gorion, their mother and Sarevok played in it, among other things, manipulating them towards a prearranged outcome.
On a similar note, a few players have raised eyebrows about the nobility of Gorion saving CHARNAME and only CHARNAME, especially when several Harpers are shown to violently dislike Bhaalspawn. The leading ACI is that he adopted the player out of pragmatism, as part of a Harper plan to track the progression of the Bhaalspawn Crisis, but came to genuinely love CHARNAME as time went on.
Imoen. The girl goes through torture, losing her soul, and discovering the truth of her heritage, but seldom complains.
CHARNAME, depending on how you play them. Faces the same stuff as Imoen, with the added bonus of turning intothe Slayer at random times and being wanted dead by pretty much everyone, but they can be rather nonchalant about it.
Ascended Fanon: Almost. Beamdog tried to contact the authors of the BG1 NPC Mod (a mod which greatly expanded the characterizations of the companions from the first game) for permission to include it in the Enhanced Edition, but were unable to. Pretty much every fan accepts it as canon anyway.
Base Breaker: Many, many characters have incited this, with many people even changing their opinion of certain characters over the course of the game:
Anomen: Although he is still the most loathed character from Shadows of Amn thanks to his behaviour, many people will regardless point out that he is also gameplay-wise very, very useful, unless CHARNAME is a Combat Cleric himself. He possesses many important skills that other party members lack, such as the ability to destroy lesser (and, as time goes on, also, major, Undead by turning them. Viconia and Aerie may be better spellcasters, but they come with a pathetic amount of strength and health, not to mention Attacks per round, making them completely unsuited for melee combat, something which clerics in the second game are particularly good at (thanks to the ludicrous amount of good blunt weapons). Anomen on the other hand, is a competent warrior, and still good enough of a spellcaster to get all of the necessary buffing and debuffing spells (with some damage spells on top), making him an excellent asset that can only be properly replaced by, as mentioned, CHARNAME a Combat Cleric him/herself. It probably helps, that finishing his personal quest the right way makes him much more tolerable.
Jaheira, especially as of the second game. Is she an overly nosy woman who pries into other people's business even though she has no right to do so? Is she the Only sane person in Athkathla, trying to restore some sense of order and decency in a Wretched Hive? A tragic widow, who overworks herself in order to deal with and forget the loss of her husband (and, optionally, her attraction to the protagonist)? The fandom has very differring views on her.
Xan is a particularly divisive example. While many find his pessimistic attitude hilarious, there are also some who feel that it makes him rather pathetic as a character and bogs down the player's morale. There is also some segment of the fanbase that considers him a Tier-Induced Scrappy because he can't cast the popular Invocation spells such as Magic Missile and Fireball. His Moonblade, while cool, also isn't particularly useful in his hands, because as a mage with miserable health, Xan is the party member that you'll want to keep away from the frontline.
Jan, naturally. Many players consider him the outstanding example of Crazy Awesome in the series, and his behaviour funny beyond everything else. Others find his tall tales to be bizarre and irritating, and consider him an Small Annoying Creature who needs to be permanently silenced with a Power Word.
Haer'Dalis: Although almost universally considered superior to Garrick and Eldoth from the previous game, some players don't think he fits his role as a Magic Knightas well as he should. He has neither the THAC0, attacks per round or hit points of a warrior, nor the higher level spells of a wizard, and his class-specific special abilities, while powerful in effect, only last for four rounds (24 seconds, i. e. too short to properly use them on more than one or two enemies, and sometimes even for that).
Aerie, whose intense hatred seems to primarily stem from a Vocal Minority. On the one hand, her romance arc does involve her being a little whiny, mostly because most of it was cut for time constraints, making her seem like something of a Broken Record. That said, most the players seem to like her just fine, and her romance seems to be rather popular, too. Like in Anomen's case, many experienced fans will point out, that she is actually one of the more powerful characters gameplay-wise (in particular, by the end of Throne of Bhaal, she is usually considered the most powerful party member). Likewise, it helps that she receives a lot of character development over the course of the game and Takes A Level In Badass by the end of Shadows of Amn.
The Enhanced Edition characters. They all occupy niches that the original cast didn't, so none of them are really redundant, and they all have their own storylines to work through without feeling like rehashes of the original cast's. On the other hand, some people think that they are a bit overpowered (Dorn, Baeloth and Hexxat in particular), and there is debate about how memorable they are and how well they fit in with the rest of the cast.
A particularly contentious point about the new characters (barring Baeloth and Wilson) is that the game blatantly tries to make them sympathetic to the player; Whereas the NPCs from the vanilla game were either firmly good or evil, ultimately the game always retained a neutral stance towards them and their plight, leaving it up to the player to decide just how much sympathy each of them deserve. In the case of the new NPCs on the other hand, the game does its best to woobify them almost to Narm-like levels (mostly by painting their adversaries in such a vile light that they simply had to be seen as sympathetic), that they ultimately can easily come across as being forced upon the player. Rasaad for example is so ridiculously unlucky in his quest that his plight feels more like a Diabolus ex Machina that is meant to turn his plotline into a Shoot TheShaggy Dog Story. Dorn and Hexxat on the other hand commit crimes so heinous and selfish (not to mention their Moral Myopia which is blatantly handwaved) without karmic backlash, that they can come across as Designated Heroes despite being technically villains.
Bizarro Episode: Despite having several interesting plot threads, the additional content from the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion to the first game ultimately has no impact on the overall plot, making it more of a Mission-Pack Sequel.
Breather Boss: Winski's Cambion in the first game. After a dungeon full of Demonic Spiders and deathtraps, facing a boss whose only tactic is simply to charge into melee combat is surprisingly refreshing.
Canon Defilement: The novels. Dear God, the novels. It'd be easier to make a list of what they get right then what they got wrong.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: There is a strong tendency among players of Shadows of Amn to avoid certain class kits / combinations for their main character, even though said classes don't fall into Tier-Induced Scrappy at all, but rather, because the game already provides the player with said classes in the form of NPC's who are of that class, or close enough to it. This is probably why Fighter/Druid (Jaheira already is one), Inquisitor (Keldorn already does a good job of it) or Thief/Mage (Imoen, Nalia and Jan already are of that class) CHAR's are relatively rare. After all, why make your own Stalker, when the game already gives you Valygar, who has pretty good stats, a great weapon selection and comes with an unique piece of armor that a CHARNAME Stalker could never wear? This is especially noticeable in the case of the Single-class mage, which, despite widely considered to be a very solid and also interesting and amusing class to play in both games, is avoided like the plague by some players, because they're convinced that they couldn't do anything as a mage which Edwin couldn't do just as well or better. Players who still wish to try out a wizard will thus instead opt either for the popular Fighter/Mage (or, more accurately, Kensai/Mage), or a Sorcerer.
Try to find a player who ever made a Fighter/Mage. It'll always be a Kensai/Mage instead.
Players who use Keldorn, but do not use Carsomyr are almost unheard of. It's so bad actually, that the fact that he also happens to be the only NPC in the second game who can use Longswords (which are considered the most versatile weapon), is often not even mentioned!
Min-Maxing your character stats, in both games. Some game guides even deem it outright necessary. This is, because having high character stats grants nice bonuses, while the penalties bestowed by low stats are considered trivial or even non-existent, as those are not very important, if you're traveling with a full party. While in theory having a Charisma score of 3 means that you are about as appealing as a Zombie, in practice most quests can still be completed, most people still talked to, and your party can still be filled with companions, and, in the few cases when the engine measures your Charisma stat, you can simply switch your party leader for a more charismatic person (in particular, the first person to join your party in both games, Imoen, has very good Charisma).
Joneleth Irenicus of Shadows Of Amn introduced himself by putting the hero and his sister through Cold-Blooded Torture, having already murdered one of their companions and dissected the other in his experiments. An inspection of his lair reveals twisted abominations he has created, living in endless agony, and a host of Dryads he has kept enslaved as his concubines. Irenicus forces the hero to awaken his power as a child of the dead god Bhaal so Irenicus can steal his soul, powering his magic with the souls of luckless captives who he states have no purpose but to die by his hand. It is revealed Irenicus was one an elf named Jonoleth who attempted to seize power by usurping a God of the elven Pantheon and killing their tree of life, for which he and his sister were stripped of their souls and banished. Irenicus tries to repeat the same action, and when confronted by his former lover, the Elven Queen Ellesime, Irenicus says he no longer remembers their love, and he feels nothing. He is only "Irenicus," meaning "Shattered One," and all he desires is power and vengeance.
In Throne of Bhaal, Amelissan the Blackhearted, The Annointed of Bhaal, poses as a kind figure, saving the children of the dead God from the brutal blood purges and giving them sanctuary in a city. However, behind the scenes, she is the one manipulating the purges, killing any with any connection to Bhaal, while simultaneously forming a clandestine group of powerful Bhaalspawn called The Five to plunge the world into war. Amelissan manipulates the heroes into eliminating the Five, but not before she allows their armies to invade the city, slaughtering everyone within, including the refugees who trusted her. Having gathered all of their Godly essence, Amelissan is willing to throw the cosmos into disarray to, instead of resurrecting her God, betray him and take his place as the new Lord Of Murder.
Crazy Awesome: Minsc, a heroic version of the Psychopathic Manchild who loves children, believes his pet hamster talks to him and instructs him on what to do, and relishes flying into berserker rages so he can chop people apart and imprint his bootprints to the buttocks of evildoers. FOR JUSTICE!!
Also Korgan. Especially in the epilogue, where he murders a dwarven clan-leader, seizes control of the clan by blaming it on the drow, and leads them to a bloody crusade that ends up with him committing suicide to crush an entire cavern's worth of drow.
Epilogue: Korgan was last seen burying his axe in the gullet of a High Priestess of Lolth, laughing as he struck. Dwarwen legend immortalized the image, and his bloodlust is now called a crusade. History, it seems, finds more heroes than madmen.
Sarevok inspires some of this when you realise that he and Charname could have easily ended up in swapped positions or even as siblings if Gorion had rescued him instead/as well. The player can be/is a hero because they had a loving, accommodating father figure in Gorion and a source of sibling love and friendship in Imoen; after his loving foster mother was murdered (in front of him, no less), Sarevok had no one like that in his life.
The Five inspire this as well, some members more than others, though to a much lesser extent. They all have a handful of Woobie-points because Bhaal hated them and wanted them dead just as much as the rest of his children, but it's harder to feel sorry for them than Sarevok (or any of the Jerkass Woobie characters listed below for that matter) since they don't, as a rule, have a context or backdrop for their evil deeds because we don't know about any personal hardships or struggles they may have faced before the events of Throne of Bhaal. However, there are moments — for example, if as a good-aligned player you plead with Balthazar that you're just a victim of circumstance and your unwanted heritage, he replies, "I know. So am I."
Deconstructor Fleet: Not immediately obvious, but Baldur's Gate masterfully deconstructs typical character clichés: Imoen is a fairly realistic take on how a Tag Along Kid would fare in such a fantasy world (she would get herself in huge danger and almost killed), Aerie deconstructs the image of the White Magician Girl, who doesn't get nearly as much help and compassion as she would in other stories, Anomen and Keldorn deconstruct the archetype of the Knight in Shining Armor by showing that life doesn't just consist of slaying Dragons and strictly following a Badass Creed and can occasionally be arrogant and judgmental, and Valygar, instead of getting accepted as the brooding, mysterious Byronic Hero, gets Mistaken for Gay and has to deal with his Dark and Troubled Past anyways. Jan, instead of being flat Comic Relief, turns out to be Smarter Than You Look and only capable of having survived so long because of how Genre Savvy he is, Viconia shows that neither of the two parts of the Jerkass Woobie trope are more important than the other (and thus functionally deconstructs Draco in Leather Pants and Ron the Death Eater as a whole), Edwin proves that an eccentric and Cowardly Sidekick is not going to be successful in life, and Korgan, seemingly being an Expy of a Hack and Slash protagonist, demonstrates that there isn't a place for Ax-Crazy people in society, no matter how Crazy Awesome they are. Further, Cernd debunks the idea of a Smart Guy who speaks entirely in parables, with some people confused by his misplaced metaphors and some treating him like a moron, Nalia fares about as well as you might expect as a Left-Wing Democrat in a country which has been an arch-feudalistic aristocracy throughout history, Yoshimo makes light of the dashing Gentleman Thief role by demonstrating you can't really rely on him in a pinch and being less sure on his feet than he likes to suggest, Eldoth deconstructs the Lovable Rogue trope by being a Gold Digger, a raging sexist and intolerably cruel towards his girlfriend, Skie demonstrates how a Rebellious Princess without formal combat training would not fare well on the road and her lack of world experience leaves her open to exploitation and Garrick demonstrates that being well-meaning and a good person doesn't make the ladies want you, and as a dashing bard he's more than a little lacking. About the only one who plays any classic tropes straight is Minsc, but then again, as Dynaheir says, "Minsc is... well, Minsc."
The Enhanced Edition characters also deconstruct Dumb Muscle, Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Blessed with Suck, It's Personal and even Friendly Neighbourhood Vampires, along with other character archetypes. Dorn, contrary to the image of half-orcs as simple-minded, brutish thugs, is intelligent, charismatic and well-spoken, and he can be persuaded to abandon being a blackguard to focus on his personal freedom; Neera acknowledges the dangers associated with Wild Magic and wants to find a way to control it, but also enjoys having random, whimsical powers that are full of surprises, and makes it clear that there are many things that upset her but she chooses not to vocalise those feelings too much, preferring to be cheerful and easygoing because it's more social; Rasaad is as kind and just as you'd expect from a Warrior Monk, but his once strong faith in Selune has been shaken by the death of his brother and the repeated triumph of his rival, and his pursuit of revenge, although sympathetic, is discredited by the immense losses he has suffered as a result; finally, as a vampire, Hexxat is almost universally reviled — it would be easier to count the people who don't leave, try to attack her or express concern about her presence than those who do — and she assures the player her enhanced power and abilities are not worth the loss of her soul, and what she wants the most is to die.
And this isn't even getting into how Charname will inevitably experience first-hand how having superpowers and divine heritage sucks.
Beholders and Mind Flayers. They're both extremely dangerous as Beholders can bombard you with highly destructive spells and Mind Flayers can stun you and eat your brain (if your INT score reaches 0, you instantly die). To make matters worse, they're often in groups.
Umber Hulks also fit into this category, as despite having an easily exploited Weaksauce Weakness they are exceedingly fast and their ability to stun targets at a distance can easily cripple a party if you're unlucky, low-level or ill-prepared.
Sirines who cast dire charm and cause chaos in the party. To make matters worse, they also shoot arrows of biting. Plus, they love to stick in groups with their Sirine Queen. Not fun at all.
Vampires. Especially those in Athkatla's streets if you haven't bought magic licence by the Cowled Wizards. They can level drain you unless you're protected by spells or items and can Mind Control you.
Hell, any undead with the Level Drain ability. The status effect stacks and if you reach Level 0, you die.
Liches. They have a lot of protective spells at their disposal and can and will bombard you with spells.
For that matter, any sufficiently high-level mage, unless you manage to dispel his weapon protections quickly.
Drow. They often come in groups, has high magic resistance and and are difficult to hit, thanks to their AC. Their priestesses also cast Blade Shield and Confusion, making it literally a pain to take them head-on..
Die for Our Ship: Due to the novelizations, Jaheira is the canonical love interest of the hero, but lots of players prefer Aerie or Viconia, so she draws some hate for it. Others would never dream of thinking the moron in the novels is our Jaheira, or that the novels can be thought to be in the same canon as the game.
Edwin is the poster child for this trope in the BG community. A very popular and high-quality mod exists that features a romance.
Viconia's fanboys tend to forget or handwave her evil actions and attitude.
Also Dorn. Many like to push away the fact that he's a super evil blackguard and a mass murderer, as he's rather handsome for a half-orc and has a sympathetic backstory. Alternatively, some like him precisely because of his evilness.
A lot of fans like to play up Irenicus' tragic backstory and feel more sympathetic towards him than to the elves he slaughtered. While he is sympathetic, he did mostly bring it upon himself.
Imoen, in sort of an inversion of a Creator's Pet. The writers never seemed particularly fond of her, and in fact wanted to kill her off in the second game, but she was so popular with fans they reconsidered.
Minsc is probably the most popular character in the series, all things considered. And this is considering that unless you use a mod, he has no personal quests whatsoever, but his hammy butt-kicking-for-goodness attitude wins him over many fans, so much that not only he's the unofficial mascot of the game, he's pretty much the only returning character in the Legends of Baldur's Gate comic.
Quite a few people were disappointed Xan didn't make it into the sequel. He makes the most of his screen time in the tutorial, where — judging by his delivery — he seems to find teaching the basics of magic to CHARNAME incredibly tedious.
People wanted Xan in the game so much, two different mods were made to add him in.
Paladins tend not to be particularly popular characters in these types of stories, being cartoonishly uptight, cardboard Knights In Shining Armor most of the time, but lots of players feel Keldorn's an extremely well-written character who retains the essence of the character type while subverting the flatter and more stereotypical aspects of it. Gods bless the Video Game Caring Potential. And now there are even mods making him a possible romance option!
Lilarcor isn't even an NPC. He's a flavor weapon that gained so much popularity that the fans treated him as a core party member and created mods which let him interact with the world around him. There's even a mod out for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind which lets you use him.
The Spectator Beholder. A non-evil Beholder is bound to get attention. It helps that he's cartoonishly snarky, flunks being an evil minion and even seems rather fond of the player.
Viconia because (1) Evil Is Sexy and (2) being the game's best healer.
Solaufein from the Underdark arc. He's well-liked for being a good-aligned Magnificent Bastard and many fans lamented that he wasn't a recruitable NPC, and a good-quality mod exists to make him just that.
For many, Edwin, who is amusingly over-the-top in his grumpiness and who, two games, two expansions and a revamped edition on, still reigns as the king of arcane spellcasting.
Also another enemy, perhaps the Master Wraith deserves mention. By all means, his role in the game is something of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere when you're trying to face off Yaga-Shura. However, he's such a master of Break Them by Talking that he brings... gut-wrenching dialogues with your romance options that he really stands out.
Even Better Sequel: For many, Baldur's Gate II is far and away one of the most uncontested examples of this trope, improving upon almost every conceivable facet of what was already considered great.
Evil Is Cool: Sarevok and Irenicus are widely considered to be among the coolest characters in the series. Playable characters like Korgan and Xzar are pretty cool as well.
Female CHARNAME and anybody but Anomen. Who "anybody" is depends heavily on who you ask; This can be Haer'Dalis, Valygar, Edwin or even Sarevok!
Korgan/Mazzy seems to be fairly popular despite the fact that it seems to have primarily been a joke on behalf of the developers.
Fanon Discontinuity: It's pretty much universal that all fans of the series agree that the novels don't exist.
Fashion-Victim Villain: Irenicus and Bodhi. His outfit somehow manages to combine leather bondage harness, a high collar, and enough empty space to show off much of his muscled body. He looks so ridiculous that it's a good thing he's such a powerful spellcaster and Magnificent Bastard, because otherwise he'd be impossible to take seriously. Her outfit looks fit for a dominatrix/sex fiend, which makes no sense because Bodhi is a sexless creature. Of course given that neither of them has a soul, you could argue that they've stopped caring about their appearance, especially since they have more pressing issues to deal with.
Fountain of Memes: Almost every party member (and even some NPCs) has reached this status among the fanbase, but Minsc is the one who even people outside of the active fandom tend to be able to quote.
The "talk-fight" bug. Keep trying to initiate dialogue with a non-hostile character without ever actually talking to them and they won't go hostile... even as the remaining five members of the party are tearing them a new one. Only works on some very specific characters, however. This bug can also be used on certain quest characters, allowing for multiple quest reward returns (mainly XP).
Another bug can have you have an absurd amount of gems. You can use this bug to sell the gems as early as Chapter 2, making you filthy rich.
Due to an oversight, multiclassed Ranger/Clerics receive all available Druid spells instead of just the ones Rangers are supposed to.
Striking enemies with the Rod of Terror a.k.a. "The Ugly Stick" has a chance to lower your charisma permanently by one and can kill you via charisma drain. However, if you don the Ring of Human Influence, which sets one's charisma to exactly 18, when your charisma is one and then lose another point it causes the charisma stat to wrap back around from 1 to 25. Upon removing the ring you're suddenly the most likable person in Faerun.
Because of an error in the way Dual-Classing was coded, Yoshimo is able to set an infinite number of traps without resting. Since traps were already overpowered to begin with, this makes him, needless to say, ridiculously powerful.
More than any other character, Haer'Dalis benefits from equipping the Ring of Free Action. Since powerful abilities that root the user to the spot (such as his defensive spin) were coded in the same way movement-restricting status effects were, he can move around while in defensive spin if he's wearing it.
Some shopkeepers might sell you items for less than they'd buy. You can thus buy and sell the same goods over and over until you're filthy rich.
It is possible to not only keep holding onto a weapon in your off-hand while polymorphed (as long as you equip the weapon before transforming), but you also receive no THAC 0 penalties in that state! This is especially useful as it grants an extra attack per round. This Bug is particularly helpful for classes who may rely a lot on Shapeshifting (such as the Shapeshifter kit).
Buffing spells were for gameplay purposes coded so as to bypass all spell protections and magic resistance. Now, but if said buffing spells bestow an effect on the target that harms rather than benefits it, you can essentially make your enemies hilariously weak with buffing spells: Have a nasty enemy with high magic resistance? Cast Magic Resistance (level 5 divine spell) on them, and their resistance will be set to 2 * your caster's level, i. e. maximally 40%, and you just saved a whole bunch of Lower Resistance spells. Staring down a Fire Giant, an Iron Golem or Red Dragon, and wish your warriors could fight it with less risk of being bludgeoned to death. Cast Strength (level 2 arcane spell) on it, and suddenly the enemy is no stronger than Kivan. Fighting a demon with ridiculously low AC, so your warriors can't even hit the enemy? Barkskin (level 2 divine spell) set's it's Armor class to a minimum of 1...
Ho Yay: Particularly in the second game, there's a certain... subtext... to the things Xzar says about Montaron, despite his stated dislike for him.
There's oodles in the second game of this, such as between Keldorn and Minsc, or Keldorn and Korgan.
Les Yay: Unexpectedly, Skie has some rather... interesting things to say to Shar-Teel if you have them in the same party.
Skie: "You're a good friend./I feel safe with you in the party./I think you're a beautiful person." Shar-Teel: "Flattery will get you nowhere."
And in SoA, Aerie carries the stick for the women. Most of her conversations are with other women, she chuckles to a female CHARNAME that it's nice to have a woman in charge since "men always steal the blankets" and she has a rather suspect line where she nervously tells Jaheira the light makes her hair look pretty (though the main reason for that may be for Jaheira to get to tell her to be less flighty).
Hexxat openly flirts with Viconia, even attempting to seduce her. Viconia gives as good as she gets for a while, but eventually makes it clear she's not interested.
Internet Backdraft: Try to defend, or in some case even mention, the novels on an Infinity Engine fansite and see how far that gets you. This can reach levels of The Scottish Trope for some of the most reactive communities.
Iron Woobie: Mazzy, who loses her entire adventuring party to a shade, including her true love Patrick, but pauses only for a few moments to build a memorial to them before she dries her eyes and sets forth with the player to further adventure and excitement.
It Was His Sled: The fact that the Player Character is a child of the dead murder god Bhaal was a fairly major twist in the original game. In the sequel it is revealed right away in the intro, and since the sequel ended up being one of the most beloved games of all time it is now common knowledge even among people who haven't played the games.
The very first thing anybody who has played through Shadows of Amn will tell you about Yoshimo is that he is the resident Crutch Character and that he will die halfway through the story. Most character guides (and some sections on this very wiki) don't even bother to spoil it.
Viconia is a huge jerk towards encounters and companions alike (not to mention Aerie), but she's often harassed herself, mostly because she's a drow and not because of her attitude.
Dorn, overlapping with Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Sure, he's a blackguard and a mass murderer, but all his life he's been on the receiving end of anti-half-orc prejudice. Even in-game, good characters attempting to criticise or denounce him always address or describe him by his race rather than his class kit, as if being a half-orc is somehow more evil than being a blackguard! Speaking of which, his initial motivation for becoming a blackguard in the first place was a betrayal by those he considered his friends, which leaves him constantly on guard and distrustful of everyone, and willing to call the player a fool if they're even a little less cynical than he is.
Jaheira. She is occasionally rude and/or condescending towards other party members, but it's largely because of losing Khalid, her husband and soulmate, and perhaps lingering memories of losing her friend Gorion, and she always apologises after being exceptionally rude.
Tamoko. She wasn't exactly a good guy, but she just wanted the man she loved to give up trying to become a god and stay with her instead. Their relationship ended with him telling her to throw herself on Charname's sword.
Solaufein and Phaere. On one hand, Soluafein is an arrogant and rude jerk who often comes across as needlessly contrarian or argumentative, while Phaere is a cruel little bitch who treats the player like her own personal errand boy/girl and engages in a few minor but bizarrely spiteful and low-down acts; on the other hand, even before you learn that Solaufein is a deep-cover Eilistraeen drow who believes his people can be redeemed, the sheer amount of shit Solaufein has to put up with as a hapless male stuck in Lady Land inspires some pity, which is made worse when you realise he puts up with it all for the good of his mission, and when you learn that Phaere used to be a better person, not to mention a better girlfriend, until Lolth's handmaidens tortured her kindness and love out of her, leaving only cruelty and ambition, it's almost impossible not to take pity on her, and when you eventually have to kill her, even Solaufein's delicious dose of Laser-Guided Karma feels more like a Mercy Kill than anything else.
To a lesser extent, the Five. They have very little screen-time or characterisation, so most players remember them solely for the challenging boss fights they put up. In fact, the Ascension mod was created solely to make them all even tougher.
Amellysan/Melissan. She had almost everyone convinced that she was a kind of activist dedicated to helping the weaker of the mortal children of Bhaal, the dead god of murder, while she was secretly herding them all in one place to be killed. She had the most powerful five convinced they could become demigods by destroying their lesser siblings in order to resurrect Bhaal, while her intention was to destroy them as well. And she had the dead god himself convinced she was going to resurrect him from the essences of his children, when she intended to use the power to become a god herself. When she encountered the Player Character, she had them kill all the other powerful Bhaalspawn while making sure they stil couldn't save the weaker ones in the city where she had led them.
Aside frome the main villains, another one is Solaufein. A rogue drow who have kept his true allegiance a secret for many years. Not only that, but he also give an epic f-you to Phaere near the end of the quest line which is truly something to behold.
Jarlaxe who somehow saw through your disguise that even fooled the Lolth clergy, lures you to a trap, tricks and blackmails you face-to face in stealing soulgems containing his companions (actually jewels) from a rival house and being completely untouchable. All this while being so Affably Evil that you almost won't mind carrying out the job.
Bhaal himself qualifies as well. After foreseeing his death in the Time of Troubles, he began a remarkably elaborate fail safe plan by walking the mortal realm before the Time and knocking up the women of nearly every race and culture, giving birth to thousands, if not millions of mortal children that each carried a sliver of his divine essence. After his death, he and his high priestess began orchestrating the mass slaughter of those children so that their essences could return to Bhaal, eventually causing him to be reborn stronger than ever. And he may very well have succeeded, if it wasn't for that fact that his high priestess decided she wanted his power for herself.
Magnum Opus: Baldur's Gate II is still considered a milestone of the genre and BioWare's high point.
Memetic Badass: Keldorn, or, more accurately, his Infinity+1 Sword, Carsomyr. According to quite some fans, Keldorn with Carsomyr can beat the rest of the cast by himself with his eyes closed.
Moral Event Horizon: Irenicus attempting to enter the elven pantheon is treated as this In-Universe, not so much because of the hubris involved but because of the collateral damage he caused seemingly without caring about it. What the elves did to punish him for it (stealing his soul) is pretty dark too.
Seemingly enforced in the final dungeon of the second game. If your Character Alignment is good or neutral and you take any of the "evil" options, then you'll be automatically bumped down to evil with no way to undo your shift in alignment.
When your Reputation falls down to 1. Every non-evil companion will leave you, almost any shop will refuse to sell you goods, you run into cit guards and bounty hunters on almost any map, and you are listed as Villain.
"You must gather your party before venturing forth. You must gather your party before venturing forth. You must..."
This was sufficiently annoying to repeat players that there's a hack to remove the "You must gather your party" noise, incorporated into the Tweak Pack mods for both games.
Fridge Logic makes it worse when you realize it's the same guy who killed Gorion. Why are you taking orders from him again? Maybe it's because you have been waylaid by enemies and must defend yourself. you have been waylaid by enemies and must defend yourself. you have been waylaid by enemies and must...
Actually, being waylaid by enemies happens much less often and will never happen underground, so people found that message less annoying than the "You must gather your party..." message.
"So I kicked him in the head until he was dead! Nya ha ha!" Bad enough on its own, it gets even worse when you run into half-a-dozen bandits at once, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM uses that as his Battle Cry.
The Sirines in the first game. Are they supposed to be based on the Greek sirens? Because if they are, then they should have a singing voice that is so beautiful that it charms sailors into drowning themselves at sea. But they don't; in fact, they sound like they can't sing at all.
Because party members' situational lines will usually be heard several times during a run, some specific NPCs have these too, such as Aerie complaining about how her legs hurt when she's tired or Nalia's voiced concern that the party's dungeon crawling isn't helping the "less fortunate." Nalia will say this when you're fighting the trolls at d'Arnise Keep. When she's the whole reason you're there and she has no reason to complain because you're trying to save her family.
Most Wonderful Sound: That sound when your reputation goes up by a point or two, followed by your good-aligned party members congratulating you in awe! Good Feels Good indeed!
The leveling up sound in the first game, which was also used when you gained new abilities from dreams.
Never Live It Down: Sarevok waged a war from the shadows that resulted in countless innocent deaths, all to cause enough havoc and chaos to become the new Lord of Murder, so it's not as though he wasn't totally evil anyway, but many players instead treat his killing of Gorion as his most visible crossing of the Moral Event Horizon. They may not realise that Sarevok didn't want to kill him, which should have been obvious when he offered to settle the matter of Charname's existance without violence. He killed Gorion because the old man wouldn't back down — for obvious reasons, but even then. As a result, Sarevok himself sees it as what had to be done in hindsight.
For some reason, Dorn's ending involves him being convicted of a single crime: the slaughter of Barrow. While it was probably his first truly evil deed, Dorn has a laundry list of other terrible deeds, including but not limited to killing the servants of Good-aligned gods and trafficking with demons, but apparently the only thing the courts care about is a single village massacre. And this wouldn't even be that strange if Dorn hadn't mentioned doing the same with other villages, whose names were not mentioned. Maybe only Barrow was important enough for them to prosecute him for?
For extra silliness points, he wasn't even a blackguard when he carried it out — and in fact, it was the events of Barrow, along with the betrayal that followed, that led to Dorn becoming a blackguard in the first place.
This runs in the family. Bodhi/CHARNAME's Love Interest is not a particularly comfortable thought either...
One-Scene Wonder: The Master Wraith in Throne of Bhaal. You'll only meet this scumbag once, but what it does to CHARNAME, companions and especially lovers issoatrocious that it leaves quite the impression, both in-game and in real life.
Kangaxx and Firkraag are quite prominent characters in comparison to their highly optional screentime.
In Baldur's Gate II, Irenicus lands a barrage of Player Punches before you even escape the first dungeon — torturing both the PC and Imoen, killing former playable characters Khalid and Dynaheir off-screen, and abducting Imoen when you escape. Several more follow at intervals throughout the game, from both Irenicus himself and his lieutenant Bodhi. By the time the player finally has an opportunity to kill them, it's very satisfying to do so.
A large chunk of Throne of Bhaal centre around the besieged city of Saradush and no matter how hard you try, you can't prevent Yaga-Shura from razing the city and killing every single Bhaalspawn there. The same people you tried so hard to save.
The meeting with the aforementioned Master Wraith. No matter how whiny, douchy or evil your lover may be, seeing them broken is nothing short of a Player Punch.
Khalid was more or less The Unfavourite in the eyes of the fandom, due to being a weak-willed Generic Guy whose stats were outclassed by other fighters — Kagain was the better tank, while Shar-Teel, Montaron, Ajantis and Coran were better on the damage front. He also had the bad habit of running away because he was very prone to morale failures. It didn't help that he was attached at the hip to Jaheira and the player couldn't get rid of him without losing her as well. (Unless you killed him, that is.) That said, his death hit many players hard, no doubt in part because of the effect it had on Jaheira.
Quayle was probably the closest runner-up for the "honor" in the first game. His stats were godawful in everything except Intelligence, and his every quote made him sound like a Boisterous Weakling. Warming the players up to him in the second game required his completely unselfish tender loving-care for Aerie, and an admission by the man himself that he wasn't as nice then as he is now.
In the second game Anomen stands atop the pile as the most loathed party member several years after official release. Even if he is highly useful and gets better after his Character Development, the effort he puts into being a rude, judgmental asshole is incredible, as is the size of his ego. The fact is, at one point he decides that a group of religious zealots burning Viconia at the stake is just desserts (with zero context), disses Cernd for being a druid and protector of nature and asserts he wouldn't know anything about duty (that's just mean) and is ragingly racist towards Mazzy for being a halfling trying to be a paladin (ironically, racial restrictions notwithstanding, Mazzy is more of a paladin than Anomen will ever be) and seldom apologises for his behaviour. It didn't help his case at all that there were planned romances for Haer'Dalis and Valygar, but due to time constraints Anomen was the sole female love interest available outside of mods until the Enhanced Edition, when Dorn, Hexxat and Rasaad came along.
Aerie brought the vitriol of the fandom upon herself due to what seemed like near-constant Wangst and bemoaning the fact that her wings had been cut off, even though she should have had time to deal with it by now. Her romance didn't feature a great deal of depth apart from CHARNAME telling her to "Quit Your Whining" (apparently a side-effect of being completely reworked in a later stage of development, with most of the content being cut) and in love triangles, she strikes the first blow by lashing out at the (understandably frustrated) other woman, even going so far as to belittle Khalid straight to Jaheira's face, which many fans really don't like. What sets her apart from Anomen is that, without personal quests or romance, she becomes a more mature and level-headed woman, and in her romance she becomes sympathetic and supportive, falls pregnant with and carries the player's child to term, eventually giving birth and carrying on with the baby in a bundle on her back and upgrades from Cowardly Lion to Badass Adorable.
Noober. He's even hated by other townsfolk! This commoner will speak to you repeatedly and force you into dialogue mode in a harassing manner. If you get through the ordeal, you get 400 XP, but most player prefer to kill him without hesitation. You won't even lose reputation. Neeber, his Expy show up in the sequel.
Abdel Adrian from the novels. The playerbase despises him.
Scrappy Weapon: Spears. Try to find a player who uses them. They do less damage than two-handed swords and Halberds, require two hands to use (not good if you want to use a shield or another weapon in your off-hand), cannot be used to backstab (Rogues cannot make anything out of them), the enchanted spears you find do not offer any particularly remarkable special abilities, and in Shadows of Amn there is only one ]
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: By modern standards, Baldur's Gate is a Nintendo Hard game with a rather steep learning curve and some very unforgiving elements, most notably, the 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. At the time, it was praised for how user-friendly and accessible it was, being called an "RPG for a wide audience", in contrast to how ridiculously difficult older western RPGs tended to be. The sequel was more forgiving, thankfully, though no doubt owing partly to starting off with a more experienced party (not to mention a much higher level cap).
So Cool It's Awesome: The Baldur's Gate series, despite being already over a decade old, remain (at least in the Western fandom) one of the most popular Video Role-Playing Games of all time thanks to a compelling story, a colorful and enjoyable cast of characters and, especially among older fans, for being reallyNintendo Hard without being unwinnable by any stretch.
Brage, former captain of the Amnish guard and an all around decent guy—until he obtains a cursed sword of berserking. The curse drives him to kill his entire family, a merchant caravan (both people and horses), and who knows how many other people in between by the time you catch up to him. If you choose to return him to the Temple of Helm, Brage will be horrified by what he's done (even though he couldn't control it) and say that he no longer wants to live. Nalin, the priest, instead insists he atone for it all. Try talking to Brage after he comes to his senses and you're met with a mix of insane laughter and distraught sobbing.
Viconia's ending if romanced. It's such a downer that the above-mentioned Edwin romance mod comes with a happier ending for a romanced Viconia thrown in, though it only triggers if the player "redeems her" and causes her Character Alignment to shift to True Neutral.
Rasaad's endings; all three. No matter what comes, he dies in ignominy, whatever happiness he enjoyed ending with a miserable death. And no matter what happens, Alorgoth gets off scot-free, the vengeance that defined and shaped Rasaad's Character Development left unfulfilled.
That One Boss: Abazigal's son and literal Dragon Draconis, who's even harder to beat than Abazigal himself. As if a dragon fight isn't hard enough, he's also hasted (which he'll almost immediately recast if he's slowed down), regularly turns invisible, and summons hoardes of Invisible Stalkers. Fortunately, if you don't feel like playing fair, setting up a ton of traps in one spot before the fight and luring him into them finishes him off almost immediately.
The full Ascension mod for Throne of Bhaal, on top of turning the Final Boss into both That One Boss and Best Boss Ever, also jacks up the difficulty for the boss fights with Ilasara, Gromnir, Yaga-Shura, Abazigal and Demogorgon, turning them all into this. Yaga-Shura, for example, now loses his Healing Factor gradually over time instead of instantaneously, is accompanied by powerful lieutenants, can now chuck fireballs at will, and is surrounded by so many respawning Mooks that the fight becomes The War Sequence on top of everything else.
That One Puzzle: The chessboard fight at the end of the third basement floor in Durlag's Tower seems to be trying to be some sort of forced tactical battle puzzle. Unfortunately it has several issues. Your party of one-to-six adventurers can only move like certain chess pieces lest they trip infinite, invisible deadly traps, but it's not clear who represents what piece, and the AI will stupidly run all over the board if given half a chance. The opposing AI force has a full compliment of 16 pieces, a deadly assortment of high-level melee fighters, spellcasters and archers, unrestricted movement, and will immediately charge as a giant mob the second one of your characters moves a step forward. The end result is being stuck with a party you can't move (unless you get 100% electricity resistance and know where to avoid the non-lightening trapped tiles) while a giant army of end-game enemies stampeds towards you.
That said, there is a very easy trick to defeat them, if you know that they are there. Just have your mages throw Fireballs or other area damage spells (or some of those Wands of Fire that you should have picked up in and around the tower) at the enemy's direction until they are all dead, and the AI won't react. The chessboard also happens to be one of very few places where you can rest your party without the risk of being attacked by something, so if you run out of spells, you can just go to sleep.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: While justified in that the transition from the more quantity-driven first game to the far more intricate storytelling of the second would result in several familiar characters being cut—and not to mention the implausibility of the entire cast moving south to Amn—several popular and interesting party members from the first game were left out of BG2 with nary a reference given to them.
Kivan is a prime example. He was a memorable character and arguably the best archer in the game, with a distinct, gruff personality and some interesting racial (and moral) conflict with Viconia. His Arch-Enemy Tazok even survived the first game, reappearing as a minor villain in the second. Kivan himself was neither seen nor heard of in the second game.
Kivan's case was less because he was forgotten, but more because they already had a very strong Ranger who specialized in two-handed weapons and Composite Longbows, and he was even more popular. Otherwise, chances were that he would have made the cut.
It could also be that he was cut because the game already had two rangers, Minsc and Valygar, and there didn't seem to be any reason for a third, especially since Rangers in the Baldur's Gate games could only be Good aligned. The problem with Minsc, though, is that most players use him as a meatshield more than a bowman because of his high health and his ability to wear heavy armors (he's still a vanilla ranger in the second game precisely for this reason). It's also notable that Valygar's story was also something of a revenge story.
Xan too. One of the most iconic Baldur's Gate characters for his bleak, laughably nihilistic outlook and unique quirks (that awesome moonblade, anyone?), he was Demoted to Extra in the second, not appearing outside of the tutorial.
Xan had his fans, but not everyone liked him. That's why he's considered a Base Breaker. His sword may be cool, but he didn't have the health to be a melee character, which meant the sword went to waste. And not everyone appreciated his personality. It's interesting that in BG2 the person that sort of "inherited" his outlook on life was Haer'Dalis.
Several BG1 characters who did appear in the second game were treated to somewhat ignominious fates. While done very well with some characters (Faldorn, for example, was a much better-characterized individual in the second game, despite becoming a ruthless villain in the doing; even Tiax, while never a particularly serious character, actually had a fitting role to play in BG2, and even had an ill-fated showdown with the Big Bad), others reappeared simply to give the odd quest, shrug off any questions about their current status, and to die in short order. Safana, Montaron, Xar, Ajantis (whom you're actually responsible for killing, despite not knowing it), etc. Some of it evokes quite a bit of pity and feels rather well done, adding to the Anyone Can Die mechanics, though some felt it became excessive and predictable, especially if you had prior knowledge of who exactly the BG2 party members would be.
Coran could also be added to the list of ignominious fates, because he can be killed off very easily in the ensuing battle when you finally find him. Players quickly discovered that casting a spell (Minor Globe of Invulnerability, I think) on him would cause him to survive, but it's fairly clear the devs really wanted him to be killed off because his health is set rather low. (Rumor has it that it was to "flip the bird" at a very obnoxious board visitor who wanted Coran in the game and who used the name "Lanfear" as her handle.
It's also a good example of a subjective trope; players will naturally feel worse for characters who were a core part of their BG1 party only to be unceremoniously killed in the second, though not everyone will have taken the same characters.
The entirety of Throne of Bhaal is a waste. The idea of fighting your most powerful Bhaalspawn siblings and standing against the clergy of Bhaal is not a bad idea; the execution, however, is poor. The Five are flat, generic evil jackasses who are primarily remembered for their boss battles, and Amellysan, high priest of Bhaal, is so thoroughly over the top that she sounds and acts very narmy. Its storyline is too short to be an expansion pack, and it relies on hordes of recycled enemies and McGuffin spam to pad the length of its dungeons. Even the NPC interractions and banter, one of the staples of the series, get very little exploration. And as usual, the line between playing Good/Neutral and playing Evil is pencil-thin.
In fact, most players agree that the most interesting thing story-wise from the ToB expansion are the party interactions with (and potential Face-Heel Turn) of Sarevok. Otherwise it is little more than a Grand Finale in which they tried to top their intricate storyline from the previous game with hordes of vampires, werewolves, giants, dragons and insane wizards with something that had even more glamour, which actually worked out fine.
Cernd's personal storyline and Character Development reek of neglect and cop-out. He also has surprisingly little to say to fellow druid Jaheira, given that she admires and looks up to him as a higher-ranking druid.
The questline involving Rejiek the murderous skinner is wrapped up after extensive sidequest completionwith him skinning people in order to turn them into "skinless dancers", which is well and good, but the people who enabled and hired him are never confronted. In this case, they actually had a plan to avoid this trope: a hidden cabal of evil mages would be revealed as the masterminds of this and several other small questlines, but that portion of the game was left unfinished. The Unfinished Business mod restores it.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: Druids often get hit with this in the second game. Their level progression is massively slower, their armor, shield, weapon AND spell selection is much worse, and their class-specific special ability (to shapeshift into a low-level animal shape a few times a day) positively useless compared to a cleric (who has unlimited Turn Undead a day, which is very useful). One of the Druid kits gets hit with it even worse — the Shapeshifter, a kit that can shapeshift into a much more powerful form than generic Druids can (a Werewolf) but can't wear any armor. At all. Since the werewolf form doesn't get any more powerful over the course of the story, the Shapeshifter is often considered one of the worst kits — if not the worst in the entire game. Concerning specific NPCs Cernd, who is not only a member of the above-mentioned Shapeshifter kit, but also has terrible physical stats and no special items or skills to make up for it, naturally gets the most heat. A number of prominent Game Mods offer the ability to bring them more in line with clerics, offering improved shapeshifting and better spell progression.
Uncanny Valley: Aerie (and to a lesser degree, Jaheira) has been known to induce this in some players, probably because of those disproportionately huge eyes, which are bigger than her nose and mouth combined. All the more eerie when compared to Korgan, who has eyes only about half the size of the ones belonging to the human characters, but instead an enormous nose, and still looks more realistic.
The battle animation for BG2 can fit this as well. The animators must not have realized they were over-exaggerating the movement. The battle sprites will lean too far back before a strike (back perpendicular to the legs), and then lunge so far forward (front also perpendicular to the legs) that you'd have to wonder how they keep their balance. It's the most obvious on taller characters. It makes the characters look like they either have spines of rubber or no spines at all; humans just aren't capable of that kind of movement!
Similarly, Viconia has a large amount of supporters and her romance is one of the more popular in the game, and Dorn has a small but dedicated fanbase. This being despite the fact that in-game, they are only a few scant admirers away from being The Friend Nobody Likes — a thing they actually bond over at one stage.
Villain Sue: Most of the time this trope is averted, as the bad guys will get their comeuppance unless the player specifically chooses not to go after them. However, there is one baddie who plays it straight: Algoroth, the Arc Villain of Rasaad's personal quests, an urepentant villain who pulls off several plots of full-on villainy, with the shallow motivation "Because I'm evil!" He's completely untouchable and gets off scot-free every time, and even gets the upper hand on Rasaad in two out of a possible three character epilogues.
Wangst: Aerie is the only-sometimes-disputed queen of it among major characters in this series.
What an Idiot: Skie about Eldoth. What will it take to make her realise he's a gold-digging scumbag who's so slimy he could've slithered out of a reptile egg at birth?
Skie's biography states that she's hoping Eldoth will give her the life of adventure she wants. Too bad she can't see that she's neither suited for the adventuring life nor going to have a boyfriend once Eldoth gets what he wants.
Ellesime makes Skie look like a freaking genius. Take away everything that makes Irenicus, a powerful and villainous mage, at all human, but leave him with everything that makes him evil and let him keep his vast power? And then hope that he'll learn from his mistakes? Nice going.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: In the first game, right after you meet Elminster for the first time, you get to a crossroad. To heed Gorion's advice and reach Khalid and Jaheira you have to go up towards the Friendly Arm Inn. Xzar and Montaron whom you met shortly before, on the other hand, want you to go straight down to Nashkel. Bonus points if you're familiar with the story of the adolescent Heracles at the Crossroads.