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Video Game / Icewind Dale

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"They say that history is the greatest of all teachers. That the tales of past deeds define who we are in the present, and what we shall be in the future. It is said that such tales shall, with each telling, illuminate us all with the light of truth. I shall tell you of such a tale."
—-Narrator, Icewind Dale

Icewind Dale is a pair of games set in the Forgotten Realms and made by Black Isle Studios using the Infinity Engine. As you may guess from the title, they occur primarily in the Icewind Dale region, a windy, snowing valley in an area called the Ten Towns in the Spine of the World mountain, far to the north of towns like Neverwinter and Luskan.

The first game starts off in the humble fishing village of Easthaven, where your party has Jumped at the Call of adventure to accompany the hunter Hrothgar to Kuldahar, a village settled in the soothing warmth of a gigantic oak tree that lately has been getting a bit too chilly. As you investigate the source of this, it turns out that the tree's vanishing warmth is part of a larger plot between two warring Eldritch Abominations seeking to seize control of the region. The second game picks up thirty years later and similarly starts off with the village of Targos being beset by goblin attacks, and leads into a plot about an army of monsters preparing to conquer the region.

Interestingly, Icewind Dale (and its sequel) has the player create an entire party (rather than one character), lending the games more of a dungeon crawl theme than Black Isle's previous Infinity Engine titles Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. Plot is sparse, but not shoehorned in; rather, the game is written in such a way that the player can follow the plot as tightly as he desires, or ignore it entirely in favor of some quick monster-bashing.

Both games have been rereleased for current Windows operating systems on Beamdog Studios have released an Enhanced Edition of the first game on October 30, 2014. A fan-created Enhanced Edition of Icewind Dale II by Red Chimera Group was released on November 4, 2023.

Both games provide examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • The more of an item you sell to a merchant, the less they'll pay for more of it.
    • Conlan's wares are absurdly overpriced. They have unique names and some neat lore behind each of them, but once you scroll down you'll quickly realize he's charging tens of thousands of gold for glorified +3 weapons.
  • All in a Row: The party has several tactical formations options, including follow the leader. Life-saving at several points in II.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Generally the case. Goblins, orcs, drow, giants, and other monster races are all simply deserving targets for the party to clear out. Most notable in the case of the yuan-ti are depicted as completely villainous. Even though Iselore decided to spare them when he could have easily wiped them out after their crushing defeat in the first game, they're right back at their warmongering again in the sequel, and the archdruid voices his displeasure at how they've chosen to repay his mercy.
      • Averted with Weenog, a goblin who is an apprentice to Orrick the Grey in Kuldahar. While he's not that bright and understandably takes offense if insulted for the idea he could become a mage, he's rather pleasant and goes about his duties faithfully.
    • Deconstructed with the second game's villains Isair and Madae, children-by-rape of the devil Belhifet and an elven maiden in his service. Despite their heritage, they were raised by a priestess of Illmater and actually took to the teachings well, to the point that when their elderly foster mother died, they gave her a proper burial and performed the rites of Illmater for her. After that nothing went right; the fact they were half-devils meant that most humans hated and feared them and those that didn't were only interested in their powers, and among the devils they were viewed with contempt and disgust as half-breeds. This was their motivation for founding the Legion of the Chimera, to create a civilization where outcasts and half-breeds could find peace, but they were still spurned and insulted by the Ten Towns. It's discussed at length that there was legitimate hope that the two really could have been good in spite of their half-devil blood, but they were Driven to Villainy by the constant mistreatment they suffered.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Like many other D&D computer games, this game automatically lets you know that items detect as magic instead of specifically requiring a caster to constantly cast Detect Magic (and then frequently rest) like the tabletop version would require you to do.
  • Anti-Human Alliance: The forces the player fights in II.
  • Artifact of Doom: Crenshinibon, taken from The Icewind Dale Trilogy.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Oh, so very much so. When not controlling your party members, they will seeming randomly attack whatever enemy they find. When moving the party in a group, they will try to stay in whatever formation you have them in. This leads to a bumper car effect as the party members start bumping into each other due to Chokepoint Geography. The characters will eventually go the opposite way simply because they can. Often, this lead to unnecessary deaths.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Yxunomei makes several, helped by being a tough Climax Boss. Amusingly, these are spoken while she's in the form of a little girl.
      Yxunomei: I came into existence when your world took form. I am as persistent as time. Where I move, infernal tides crush foreign shores and nations of thought are drowned in blood.
    • Dreadmasters of Bane get a particularly nice one.
      Dreadmaster: Kneel before the Black Hand of Bane, or be destroyed where you stand.
    • Izebelah's is pretty good too.
      High Sorceress Izbelah: I answer to my self, my priest, and my God only, and in that order. Release me NOW, or incur the wrath of all three!
  • Bears Are Bad News: Those darn dire bears swarming you in that tiny werejackal cave.
  • Call-Back: Several in the second game. Yxunomei's ill-fated rule of the yuan-ti is mentioned in Chapter 5, with several of them name-dropping and discussing her. One even copies her illusionary trick. Lysan, a minor villain in the first game, is also referred to several times by high priestesses of Auril in the ice temple who seek to avenge her "murder," and is revealed to have been their idol and inspiration.
  • Character Customization: Can lead to Alt-itis as you have to make up to six.
  • Chokepoint Geography: It helps to know the Artificial Stupidity. Nothing like a Fireball on a narrow bridge to take out multiple enemies. However, due the above bumping, enemies can suddenly appear out of the Fog of War behind you.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Nym the Drow merchant, who single-handedly caused the fall of an ancient Elf/Dwarf alliance out of greed, gives you information about an alternative travel route so you'll have an easier time defeating an army that's hampering his business and then readily sells you out to them just because he could.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Heartstone Gem and Crenshinibon.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Hrothgar is rather unceremoniously killed off in a cutscene after the first chapter. A reportedly famed elven adventurer in the inn in Easthaven can later be found dead in a cave—approaching his body triggers a boulder trap, explaining how he died.
  • Elite Mooks: The Spectre Guards that creep in Maluradek's castle. In the sequel, the Slayer Knights of Xvim. They wear full-plate mails and carry Greatswords of the Soulless. The knights also double as Praetorian Guards.
  • Evil Sorceress: Several in both games, Limha the woods witch probably being the most memorable.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Explained in the Severed Hand's back story in both games. Both races initially forged an alliance to fend off invading Orcs. This lasted many years until a theft of magical weapons broke their alliance into deep hatred between the two races.
  • Flunky Boss: Every end boss love this trope. Belhifet is flanked with two iron Golems (and a couple of lower ranking devils if you have the Heart of Winter expansion). Icasaracht is backed-up with Sahuagin. The Luremaster has Spectre Heroes. Isair and Madae has a demon knight, a chimera, a wizard, Drows and other nasty creatures.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Leather armor will conform to a female warrior's bust, which not only risks deflecting weapons at the face but is well-designed to guide weapons towards the heart. Also, it may not be steel, but it's still put a wedge of hard material right against the sternum, which probably isn't any fun to take a blow on (This is hardened boiled leather, mind you, not supple worked leather). Metal armor is even worse; in addition to boob cups the entire area above the cleavage is left exposed.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Pale Justice, the game's best sword (for Paladins), found on the corpse of a hapless adventurer in Dorn's Deep. Its inventory icon is the same as that of a regular longsword, and shopkeepers will buy or sell it for a pittance. Word of God says that merchants don't realize its' worth because it's an ordinary longsword to anyone but a Paladin. The weapon's lore explains why this trope is invoked, as it was blessed by Tyr, the god of justice, at the prayers of a priest:
    "Justice always pales in comparison to vanity and ostentatious displays of power. I expected Tyr to manifest his divine will in this blade with lightning and fire. I should have remembered how the blade was given to me... with simple charity and humility. Justice is the right of every man, no matter how rich or poor, no matter how educated or ignorant. It should be found as often in the fields of farmers as it is in the fields of battle."
  • Harder Than Hard: The Heart of Fury mode in both games.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Saablic Tan was one of Big Bad's lieutenant until he got thrown out and turned into a umber hulk. He helps the party and regrets the terrible things he did in the past.
  • Heel Realisation: In the first dungeon area of the game, an enemy minion chastises you for invading their tomb and slaughtering its inhabitants, while you are there to investigate an evil that has plagued Kuldahar.
  • Horny Vikings: Set in the harsh north of Faerun, the Dale is populated by people with names like "Hrothgar". The Uthgardt and Reghed barbarian tribes in the game's backstory owe a considerable amount to the pagan Nordic warriors of old. A lot of the available portraits of the game also seek to encourage you to be like this. You can purchase a Bardic Horn of Valhalla, pretty much a viking war-horn, from a merchant in Kuldahar, while the Face of Death helmet, a Reghed artifact, looks like a real Viking helmet — so no horns.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: One elf is already dead when you meet her ghost. She asks you to kill her in combat so she can move on to the afterlife with honor.
  • Idle Animation: Much like in Baldur's Gate, your characters will start looking around and stretching if you stop giving them orders, along with banter complaining about being bored.
  • In-Game Novel: Both stories are told as being read from in-game texts where the story of the player party has been recorded by someone who was present in the Dale at the time, complete with illustrations.
  • Karma Houdini: See Chronic Backstabbing Disorder above. Hope you're not expecting to get back at Nym.
    • If you know when he makes his escape and are appropriately prepared, it actually is possible to drop him before he teleports away for good.
  • Lawful Stupid: Paladins and Monks will routinely refuse rewards. The best way to get around is just have another party member claim the reward. Which is just another kind of Lawful Stupid, come to think of it.
    • Further, if a paladin identifies a malicious, but presently friendly character (thanks to their class-unique evil detection), this will usually skip further discourse and force a fight - even when more information and profit could be gleaned by keeping the conversation going before dishing out justice.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: The dungeon of Dragon's Eye is much in the shape of a dragon's head, hence the name.
  • Narrator All Along: In the first game, the kind old man reading the story is Belhifet. The second game has it as an older Maralie Fiddlebender (the gnome girl you meet early in the game after she grew up and became Iselore's apprentice.) The game doesn't bother hiding her identity, since about the time you meet her as a child her narrations will refer directly to "Uncle Oswald."
  • Numbered Sequels: Only one, but it's just Icewind Dale II, with no subtitle.
  • One-Man Army: Technically six, nevertheless, your party in both games plows through entire armies in their quests.
    • In the first game, the two opposing demon armies of Yxunomei and Belhifet never quite get the chance to duke it out simply because the group infiltrates Yxunomei's stronghold and slaughters the entire army in small-scale room-by-room battles, all to get a MacGuffin that would point them towards Belhifet's stronghold, where they proceed to do the same. It gets better when considering that nobody around actually had any idea that the demons so much as existed, and the party goes to both locations following a partially unrelated investigation.
    • The struggle against the Legion of the Chimera is what the whole story of the second game is about. Predictably enough, you end up solving the entire thing by yourselves.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: The class choice of a solo option in Targos.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: You'll encounter both Frost and Fire giants. There's also Verbeegs, a smaller kin of giants. As expected, they are arrogant toward smaller races and hit really hard.
  • Pausable Realtime: Built in the Infinity Engine, which pioneered this gameplay style.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Only on the world map, showing the various locations as thumbnails on a large hand-painted map.
  • Point of No Return: Painfully with Oswald in the second. Happens multiple times in both games. Basically, when you are told to go over the pass or to Kuldahar, you can pretty much count on it.
  • Proper Lady: Ginafae, a loving and kind lady.
  • Random Drop: Both games have semi-random loot drops. Some items will always drops while others will be randomized when you enter the area for the first time.
  • RPGs Equal Combat
    • Played very straight in the base game; while several villains will engage you in conversation, you can never come to peaceful resolutions and it devolves into a fight. However, attempting to talk to them at length will occasionally get you plot information and/or a reward of Exp for at least attempting to talk it out.
    • You can actually avoid combat in several encounters in Heart of Winter, and get experience for trying to reason with your opponent in another.
  • Snake People: Yuan-ti appear in both games. Amusingly, their leader, not a yuan-ti herself, will call you an "ignorant pig" for using this crass terminology to describe them.
  • Spiritual Successor: Neverwinter Nights 2's second Expansion Pack Storm of Zehir is a lot like IWD in many respects: less plot, more dungeon-crawling, construction of a full party from scratch. Helps that they were made by many of the same people.
  • Starter Equipment: In both games, all party members begin with a quarterstaff and nothing else. The second game is a little merciful, you can fetch equipment on the ground that were dropped by slain adventurers and goblins.
  • Stereotype Flip: Ginafae in both games. She's a drow elf, a member of a cruel and evil elven race, and yet, she's kind, loving and caring to people close to her.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Unlike in Baldur's Gate, all the PC voice sets have unique dialogue for this, just like recruitable party members.
  • Suffer the Slings: Includes magical slings and magical/bonus ammunition! A good way to ensure your wizards and healers don't just sit back and remain useless when not casting spells.
  • Updated Re-release: The Enhanced Edition which add new items, spells and classes from Baldur's Gate.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The Chain Lightning spell. It can hit several units, but it has a strong chance of hitting you or your party members, no matter how far or remote they are. It's averted in the sequel where the spell is party friendly.
  • With This Herring: While the adventuring band in both games is presumed to be mostly inexperienced, one has to question what in the world all twelve were thinking when they decided to head to one of the most inhospitable regions of Faerun with nothing but a bunch of quarterstaves. The sequel is particularly bad in this; while the band in the first game were just random travellers Hrothgar asked to accompany him, the band in the second game are mercenaries who travel to a village under seige, and again bring nothing but quarterstaves.
  • You No Take Candle: Many of the monster races (goblins, orcs, and ogres) speak in this manner.

The first game provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • The exact reason why Kuldahar's tree is losing its warmth is never revealed. While it's heavily implied short of outright stated that Belhifet and/or Crenshinibon was the cause, it's unclear why they would do it since they don't care about Kuldahar and specifically mention that they wouldn't want bands of adventurers and heroes traveling to the town to investigate its disturbances. The only other candidate for the cause is Yxunomei, but her followers note that her ultimate plans for Icewind Dale are the exact opposite of freezing it, they want to return it to a warm jungle climate. In the end it's ultimately irrelevant, as by the end the game the issue is comparatively minor to other things happening and things are resolved eventually, but being that its the inciting incident of the plot, it is a bit odd that the party seems to lose interest in the matter.
    • Late in the game you find an old aquatic museum that's been frozen over to be a fortress for a tribe of ice salamanders. A group of humans slaves who escaped them tell how they did it by manipulating the heating systems for the aquarium to increase the temperature in certain areas so the salamanders would avoid them because the heat caused them physical pain. The journal/your party comments that this knowledge may be useful to them, but it isn't; while you can find the heating systems in the aquarium, there's no way to manipulate them to turn up the heat on the salamanders, and you'll end up having to kill them the direct way.
  • Affably Evil: Presio the necromancer, who speaks to you through her skeletal lieutenants. Choose the "nicer" dialogue options and she'll be reasonably civil towards you in turn, eventually conceding that you are a very powerful opponent when she's down to her last mouthpiece. If your speaking character is a mage, she'll even address you as "my friend" and accept a duel to decide your quarrel if you issue one.
    • Kresselack is also quite polite for an undead Evil Overlord reaping the consequences of a lifetime of villainy, but it seems time and regret have mellowed him out a bit: he's had an eternity to mull over his decisions and agrees that he probably got what he deserved in the end.
  • Artifact of Doom: Crenshinibon. Even the Big Bad can't completely control it in the end.
  • Benevolent Boss: Zigzagged with Yxunomei, who thinks highly of her yuan-ti servitors, intends to leave behind a kingdom for them once her work is done, and angrily insults the player if they mislabel the race as "snake people". On the other hand, she welcomes you to try and take the Heartstone Gem from them by force once she's finished with it, apathetic to your success or failure, as she has no tolerance for ineptitude.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Yxunomei takes the form of a child as her avatar because she's observed that people are more hesitant to attack a child, but this is merely her exploiting a weakness; she has no real concept of male, female, or child on her home, and considers anything that lives fair game to kill in warfare. Where she comes from, physical shells are irrelevant, and she considers the PC's "loose grasp on morality" as indicative of their inability to truly grasp the nature of the universe.
  • Captain Obvious: There are many objects in the scenery that you can examine by clicking on them. The appearing text will tell you most of the time exactly what you already see (see a winged statue with stretched hands? 'This is a winged statue with its hands stretched')
  • Chekhov's Army: Don't pay much attention to Hrothgar. Now, everyone else is Easthaven...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Yeah, all that stuff the priest in Easthaven says about Jerod's Stone? Totally not important.
  • Creepy Child: Yxunomei's human form.
  • Dem Bones: You'll encounter a lot of them. In the sequel, not as much.
  • End of an Age: Icasaracht mourns the death of her once proud dragon culture at the hands of man. She joined forces with Wylfdene out of sympathy for the similar plight of the barbarians.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Luremaster
  • Evil Is Hammy: Poquelin in the Final Battle.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Poquelin vs Yxunomei.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: Pale Justice, also a Grail in the Garbage.
  • Fan Remake: Using the modding toolset from Neverwinter Nights 2, the game is available here.
  • Flaming Sword: IWD has several examples of this as a random treasure, not the least of which is the Flaming Long Sword +2.
    • A certain NPC in Dragon's Eye also carries this weapon, provided you don't mind killing him to get it.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Yxunomei in her true form goes topless, making her the only attractive naked person in all of the Infinity games, and is probably the biggest Wake-Up Call Boss in the game besides the Final Boss. The final installment of Baldur's Gate uses her sprite for other mariliths.
  • Genius Bruiser: Kresselack was a barbarian king, so he was most likely a strong person in life. He's also clever enough to trick you into helping him without lying.
  • Godiva Hair: The Seer in the Heart of Winter opening movie. She's also completely naked in the arctic and is in her senior years.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Pale Justice, which looks like a perfectly ordinary sword and is found in Dorn's Deep among vast amounts of generic, non-magic weapons. It's actually a powerful +4 longsword (+7 against evil creatures) which grants immunity against a variety of mind-affecting spells. It can only be wielded by paladins, however, and merchants will pay bottom dollar for it, never recognizing what they have.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Harpies are found in Maluradek's castle. They have the ability to charm you with their songs.
  • Haunted Castle: The Severed Hand, Upper Dorn's Deep, and Maluradek's Castle, a few among many ruined fortresses scattered across the frozen north, each infested with undead spawned by the countless deaths which occurred within.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jerrod the shaman, who long ago led the barbarian tribes against an invasion by an Evil Sorcerer, finally giving his life to seal the portal through which endless demons poured into the Dale. Comes full circle in the ending of the first game, where Everard, Easthaven's local priest of Tempus, makes the same sacrifice to seal the portal once again.
  • Hidden Depths: Spend some time to talk to the NPCs, even the ones without names. Unsurprisingly, Chris Avellone wrote all of the dialogue.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the opening cinematic, Arakon opened a portal to the Abyss to fight off the barbarians. This turn out to be his undoing as demons appeared and tore everyone apart.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Ginafae truly believes that her lover Marketh is a good person, despite having been abused by him several times. Several of Marketh's other enslaved and mutilated victims would like to disagree.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place:
    • The Vale of Shadows is a valley and canyon populated by undead, yetis, and cultists of the winter goddess Auril, lined with extensive tombs carved out by the barbarian overlord Kresselack the Black Wolf, who slew the builders and buried them with him to serve as part of his deathly retinue.
    • The Severed Hand is a large ruined tower with five smaller towers, also crawling with rampaging undead. It was originally named the Hand of the Seldarine, in honor of the elven pantheon, before a siege by an orcish horde and a final botched mythal (a spell of protection) turned it into what it is now.
  • Large Ham: Belhifet, specifically his human incarnation, Poquelin.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: The game gives the player the option of letting their party be controlled by AI (although micromanaging them is a better option during boss fights).
  • Marathon Level: Dragon's Eye — five floors full of lizardmen, trolls, wights, and yuan-ti. Every floor up to the fifth has at least one mini-boss and several Elite Mooks, and by the time you get to the fifth floor the latter basically make up the entire enemy line-up. Further, there's no place to resupply along the way, forcing you to trek all the way back to Kuldahar. The one respite is that you can rescue a priestess on the second floor who offers healing services and will watch over you if you rest there.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Heartstone gem.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Razorvine Extract ("property of Mourns-For-Trees") is a nod to Planescape: Torment.
    • When asked about her gift of sight, the Gloomfrost Seer makes a cryptic reference to a "black-brambled garden", thus making her one of Ravel Puzzlewell's avatars.
    • Erevain's Journal mentions Xan from Baldur's Gate.
  • Narrator All Along: The man telling your story is first thought to be a common omniscient narrator, until the ending cinematic where his calm and serene voice suddenly turns hateful and he reveals that he is Belhifet himself.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The Heart of Winter trailer narrates "She is the spirit of one who died in the North long ago." with footage of an old woman. This is then followed by captions "Something wicked chills the heart of Icewind Dale" complete with dramatic music, implying the old lady is responsible for the evils in the North. In the game however, the 'she' actually refer to a huge female white dragon, while the old lady helps the party of adventurers.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • At one point, you are sent to investigate a series of crypts to find out if they are cause of the problems plaguing Kuldahar. After killing everything and reaching their master, Kresselack, you find out that not only is he is not involved at all, but you just destroyed the only defense between him and an ice priestess who wishes to plunge his tomb into darkness.
    • Another quest has you going to Dragon's Eye to retrieve the Heartstone Gem from Yxunomei. After retrieving it and butchering yet another army, you later find out that Yxunomei was Belhifet's greatest rival and killing her removed the only hurdle in his quest for world domination. Considering that the Gem was needed to find Belhifet in the first place, you pretty much had no choice in the matter.
    • One that isn't your fault: in the Heart of Winter expansion, you find out that dragon's soul had been trapped at the bottom of the lake with the blade that killed her, only to recently be freed. This was because of the water spirit in the prologue, who brought the blade to the surface in order to give it to the descendant of the hero who wielded it (and in an ironic twist, if you've completed the core game already you can kill her again with the same sword).
  • No Name Given: The Luremaster.
  • Noob Cave: Outside Easthaven you can find a small cave inhabited by a tribe of orcs with a few shaman among them and led by an ogre. It's your first taste of what the game will be like and an optional challenge to make sure your party can handle the much longer areas with more dangerous enemies to come.
  • No-Sell: Belhifet is completely unaffected by magic of any kind. Like, it doesn't even say "Belhifet: Magic Resistance" when he gets targeted by a spell, it just flat out does nothing. This means that buffs and summon spells are the only useful spells to memorize for the fight with him, but he's in a room filled with traps that dispel your magic or unleash Area of Effect spells like Fireball and Cloudkill when they're triggered.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Icasaracht made her own unborn children into soulless vessels so that she could be reborn as a dragon again in case of death. Her mate — their father — naturally objected to this insane scheme, and she killed him. She blames the humans for this too.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Arundel send you on a quest to retrieve the Heartstone gem from the Temple of the Forgotten God. During the raid, you never learn the name of the God.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Everard, head of the Temple of Tempus in Easthaven, makes no secret of the fact that he sees Jerrod, the Barbarian Hero mentioned in the opening cinematic, as having committed one of these, claiming he could have just destroyed the portal by other means. If the player tries to argue the point long enough, he'll yell at them that a Heroic Sacrifice has to be meaningful to count for anything and if it isn't or was avoidable, it's not a sacrifice, but a waste. He even provided the page quote.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Shadowed Orcs in the Severed Hand say "Zug Zug" when they attack, just as in Warcraft II.
    • The elven bladesinger Lethias in the Severed Hand can sometimes be found muttering "The needs of the many...", a likely reference to Leonard Nimoy's Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
    • The original owner/creator of the Black Bow sounds a lot like Keyser Soze.
    • In Lonelywood, Quinn Silverfinger tells the player how he wishes a "smart halfling" would come in and take over as the town's council representative. Many years later, a little fellow named Regis does just that.
    • Some of the Stop Poking Me! mention going to Baldur's Gate and Black Isle.
  • Sole Survivor: When you clear the Kuldahar's Pass, you find a small boy named Jermsy. He's the lone survivor of his family who has been slain by orcs. You meet Jermsy 30 years later in Icewind Dale II.
  • Talking Weapon: Heart of Winter added a broad sword with the trapped spirit of a pessimist master thief, appropriately called Cynicism. Besides providing the wielder with thieving abilities, it randomly insults the wielder, which is why the weapon passed through so many owners. Sadly unlike its counsin Lilarcor, Cynicism is not voiced.
  • Teleport Spam: Poquelin, Belhifet, and the Luremaster's favorite tactic.
    • This demon comes at the end of a five-level dungeon (with no place to restock unless the group treks all the way back to Kuldahar), has a pack of henchmen and is fought is a restricted space (no hit-and run tactics allowed). As if it were not enough, she can only be hurt by +2 weapons (which not every party member might have so far acquired).
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The party is confronted with a dilemma: kill Marketh, a cruel thief who works for the Big Bad and abuses his lover Ginafae among other things. Several of his victims will want you to deliver justice to him. However, doing so will doom Ginafae as she's been cursed with a geas. Only by sparing Marketh will the party be given the option of freeing her.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Elisia is a sea spirit you meet in Easthaven at the start of the game, and bids you give the shattered pieces of a legendary sword to its wielder's descendant. Removing the shards of the sword from the lake allows Icasaracht, the ancient white dragon the blade killed, to be freed to be reborn, causing the events of the Heart of Winter expansion.
  • Updated Re-release: The Enhanced Edition, which uses the upgraded version of Infinity developed for the two Baldur's Gate Enhanced Editions, adds in class and spell content from BG2EE, and un-dummies some of the cut/unfinished content left in the game. It also comes with Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster already packed-in.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Belhifet during the end cinematic.
  • Woman Scorned: Icasaracht. From one point it seems like she had Aihonen's ancestor as a lover then later died because of him, thus invoking this trope. The other, and most likely case, is that she was just doing what dragons do and then came along the Hero Aihonen's Ancestor who then killed her, depriving her of everything she ever cherished.
    The Seer: A woman knows a woman's heart, and a strange, beautiful, and cruel thing it is. But the cruelest of all is a heart of winter, for it beats not with love, but with loss, and *nothing* may comfort it.
    The Seer: When a human heart breaks, it may heal and forgive. When a heart of winter breaks, it is like ice... it shatters and can never be made whole again.
    PC: Why does this... creature that's possessed Wylfdene... why does she want to destroy the Ten-Towns?
    The Seer: Seer - Her heart was broken once by a man of the Ten-Towns. A *mighty* breaking it was, for in it she lost her kingdom, her love, and her life. Now, her heart beats with the vengeance of winter.
    PC: Surely she can be reasoned with. There is no need for war...
    The Seer: A woman's fury is a terrible thing.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Kresselack's tomb full of the living dead has nothing whatsoever to do with anything that's going on in the rest of the Dale. Meanwhile, Yxunomei did steal the Heartstone Gem, but she did it because she was actually working against your real enemy. That being said, the latter was certainly going to be bad news for the Ten-Towns in the long run, and they did kidnap all those townsfolk.

The second game provides examples of:

  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Malavon Despana and his allies are drow who oppose Lolth's matriarchal tyranny, having turned their worship to Vhaeraun. The alignment system being what it is, they're still technically evil, but prove themselves entirely hospitable allies who trade, heal, and deal with the party fair and square.
  • Anti-Villain: High Priestess Lysara, despite her choice of deity. The player can even note that they detect a good person under the surface.
    • High Sorceress Izbelah too, who is imprisoned and murdered by one of her unforgiving captors after she casts an imperfect time stop spell. Her only motive in doing so was to protect her unwitting people on the surface from annihilation. Unfortunately, when time loops back to the day she cast her spell, she does not believe the player's warnings and considers any such fallout a small price to pay for averting catastrophe.
  • Art Shift / Covers Always Lie: The pair on the game's cover, often assumed to be Isair and Madae, look rather humanoid; in the game itself, they far more resemble their baatezu heritage.
  • Avenging the Villain: The Aurilites are out to avenge Lysan from the first game, whom they believe to have been brutally and unjustly murdered by "a band of villains in heroes' clothing".
  • Barefisted Monk: The PC can choose this class. You'll eventually run into the Black Raven monastery which are full of monks.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ilmadia joins Belhifet's army in the first game so her elven ancestral home, the Severed Hand, would be restored to its former glory. She got her wish in the second game: she gave birth to Belhifet's children. 30 years later they rebuilt the Severed Hand, only it's now a haven for Red Wizards, slavers, demons, general outcasts, and the rebuilt tower is dedicated to the worship of Iyachtu Xvim.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Isair and Madae, twin brother and sister, lord and lady of the Legion.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Poor, poor Ilmadia. Just after she gave birth to demonic twins, she was so horrified that she threw herself off a cliff.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: An inversion. There is an axe that will always land hilt first.
  • Bilingual Bonus : The icons for the high level "Symbol of" spells, such as Symbol of Pain or Symbol of Death, are all more or less accurate Chinese/Japanese ideograms.
  • Bonus Boss: Icewind Dale II has two of these, both within the same chapter. The first is a black dragon in the "Crossroads", which can be killed to close the teleport to Kuldahar. Players don't actually have to fight it, and can achieve their goal in a much easier way, but the difficulty of the battle alone makes it worth it for many players. The other boss is the Six Lost Followers, in the Kuldahar graveyard. This is regarded by many to be the hardest fight in the game, because A) there are six different enemies to fight at once, B) they are several levels higher than your party, and C) because each has only a few specific weaknesses, being immune to all other forms of attack, and with the weaknesses being different between each member. Victory gives the player the Holy Avenger, arguably the best weapon in the game. Unfortunately, this pisses off quite a few people itself, as the weapon can only be wielded by a Paladin, meaning that there is no reward for anyone without a Paladin in their party.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: The backstory of Ilmadia, Big Bad's mother.
  • Call-Back: Plenty of leftover stories and tales about the original party in Icewind Dale I.
  • Came Back Strong: Oria, high priestess of Auril, will destroy her staff of power when brought to low HP in an attempt to make sure her voyage to the afterlife isn't a lonely one. You can survive the blast, but it turns her into a functionally invincible ghost. The only way to deal with your spectral opponent is to rush to her game room and shift yourself to the same plane as her.
    Oria's Essence: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I'm invincible in this ethereal form - UNTOUCHABLE! Nickademus' Inner Sanctum is complete - and now my enemies will feel the kind of pain that exists ONLY in the nightmares of the GODS THEMSELVES!
  • Couch Gag: Run the game on day time and the title screen will be set during the day. Run it at night and the scene will change to night time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Whoever happens to be writing your journal, and possibly whoever does the talking as well. Someone isn't taking this adventure seriously.
  • Defector from Decadence: Xavier Torsend, Isair and Madae's minister of foreign affairs, is a pretty reasonable guy, a Punch-Clock Villain at worst. He can be convinced to resign from his post after convincing him that the Severed Hand's “conscripted workers” are in fact slaves.
  • Desperation Attack: The Heroic Inspiration feat that can be taken by Barbarians, Bards and Paladins. If your health is lower than half, you receive extra bonus to hit, damage and saving throws,
  • The Dragon: A literal dragon. Well, half 'a one anyway.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Thvara, a cleric of Auril, who was sent by High Priestess Cathin to recruit the local barbarians for additional manpower at the ice temple; she was still on this mission when the glacier fell. The player can offer her an out, as you've already destroyed her superiors and she stands to gain nothing from opposing you now, but she's too arrogant to take it.
  • Driven to Villainy: Isair and Madae have very good reasons to be pissed at the world. They were mistaken for their foster mother's murderers by the townsfolk (they were just enacting burial rites after she died of natural causes), and forced to flee their home. Due to their half-elf half-devil nature, they found no acceptance in either the Blood War or Faerun, either being looked down upon, feared, exploited for their abilities, or all three. They formed the Legion of the Chimera under peaceful ideals, trying to unite other ostracized outcasts into a new civilization. However, no one wanted anything to do with them, save for one of the leaders of the Ten Towns, who sent them an envoy with a gift of cakes... which were secretly baked with holy water and burned the siblings when they ate them. Little wonder they finally snapped after this.
  • Enemy Mine: The party is helped by Riki, an agent of the drow in the final dungeon, who explains that the drow (for the most part; the bad guys do have a few drow, or at least half-drow, minions) oppose the Legion of the Chimera because they, as a proud and pure race, consider the idea of a kingdom of freaks and abominations to be absurd. However, according to Riki, the drow as a collective nation haven't bothered taking too active a role in the Legion's downfall because you've been doing such a fine job already; they're content simply to aid you in your quest.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: The bad guys get one for the final battle. Their hitherto unseen personal liaison, Buvai de'Naly, arrives in the War Tower to “grant” you a final audience with his masters, and teleports you to the throne room.
    • Thankfully, though, so do you. If you've done the Ormis quest in the Severed Hand, he makes good on his promise and storms the throne room with his Black Raven monks to help you kill Isair and Madae.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Downplayed. Iselore is mildly hurt by Cedra aligning her yuan-ti against Kuldahar again, as Iselore had often argued in favour of coexistence with the snakes despite their frequent belligerence, and avoided outright destroying them when they were at their weakest.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Members of the Legion of the Chimera have lovers despite the group practice slaughter, slavery, dabble with demons.
    • Mavalon is a typical evil drow mage, but that doesn't stop him for caring for his sister Ginafae, as he ask you to rescue her.
  • Evil Virtues: Sherincal and her foremost lieutenant are both warriors who have strong codes of honour. When told about Captain Yurst's fate, falling from her clutches to bleed to death alone on snowy hills inhabited by frost giants, Sherincal laments that such a noble opponent had to suffer such an undignified end.
  • Exploding Barrels: The orcs love these. If you can sneak up on them to remove the Fog of War then you can sometimes explode the barrels yourself, kill the orcs, and cruise on through.
    • Alternatively, you can lure the orcs into the path of the barrels and watch them blow themselves up.
  • Fantastic Racism: The entire reason that the Legion of the Chimera was founded in the first place.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Oswald's airship is prone to crashing. Still, you are unable to warn him about it and are just forced to get on the damn flying coffin anyhow, as being stranded in the middle of nowhere kick-starts your trip to the enemy stronghold.
  • Fairy Battle: Painfully subverted. Wisps are Fairies, but God do they hurt.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Limha, an evil child-stealing witch who tries to present herself as nothing more than a sweet, if eccentric mother to her precious Agog. Give even the barest hint that you know what she's really up to and the mask drops entirely, leading to much ranting and raving.
    • Madae as well, in contrast to her genuinely polite brother. If you poison the infernal twins' regeneration pool before the final battle, Isair will wearily compliment you for such a clever and resourceful maneuver; Madae, in the midst of a Villainous Breakdown, will angrily snarl at him to just shut his mouth and get back to killing you.
  • Final Boss Preview: Twice actually, once at the Legion of the Chimera's fortress you see The Dragon, and then at the Barbarian camp you meet Isair and Madae. They don't hang around, but do kill all the village guards and raise them as undead, which you have to fight.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: One half-dragon keeps a chimera as a pet named "Precious".
  • For Science!: In the Dragon Eye levels, you rescue Nheero, a mage who allowed himself to get capture by the Yuan-ti. He wanted to be turned into a Yuan-ti slave creature, a histachii, so he could study the process and its effects. Of course, he's not that stupid. His partner was to make an altered brew so the transformation wouldn't be permanent, a task that falls onto you.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The whole secret passage into the Legion of the Chimera base. The original game would lag so badly that it would take days to get through this area. A player patch fixes this.
    • Trugnuk, a mid-boss in Chapter 1, is an Orc Shaman with a nasty lightning spell. He's something of a glass cannon and not particularly difficult to deal with once you kill his guards, except that the game occasionally bugs out and allows his corpse to continue electrocuting your characters, roughly every two seconds. Thankfully the spell has a short range and you can still loot the key needed to continue off his body.
  • Get on the Boat: Well, technically off the boat first, then technically an airship.
  • Good Counterpart: Iselore to Isair and Maedae, although Madae at least considers it a false equivalence considering his relatively blasé human/elf parentage next to the twins' infernal heritage.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Your party is fighting a Legion of Doom allied to the cults of several malevolent gods with plans to conquer the Icewind Dale region, complete with slavery, forced interspecies breeding programs and racial transmutation rituals... on behalf of a bunch of racist humans who caused the Legion of Doom to abandon their peaceful intentions and embrace violence after the humans repeatedly assaulted them despite their overtures of peace.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Iyachu Xvim, the main villains' patron deity. An evil party can side with him in the final chapter, which shifts his favour to you and causes him to withhold his power from your opponents in the final battle. A good party instead sanctifies his altar, dispelling the invincibility granted to his arch-minions, and Xvim's avatar materializes to fight you.
  • Healing Shiv: Death's Bane, a large sword that heals, rather than damages, its target.
  • Hide Your Children: Subverted. The barbarian village has the children gone missing. A local sorceress stole their life force and turned them into minks, which the village hunts.
  • Hidden Depths: Lysan, Auril's evil priestess in the first title, is revealed in the second to have been the kindly mentor of the three sisters ruling the ice temple. Lysara recalls Lysan as a ray of hope and goodness in the otherwise bleak life the three children were going to face as poor commoners in Luskan with absent parents. News of Lysan's death at the hands of the Icewind Dale 1 party broke Lysara in particular, and led all three to swear to their inspiration's Religion of Evil.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: The above village.
  • Ice Palace: The Aurilites' beautiful temple.
  • I Lied: Strongly implied in Riki's barracks quest. She wants you to poison the soldiers in the Legion's barracks when their meal arrives, but she'll accommodate a morally straight party by giving them the ingredients of a "sleeping" potion instead. They still end up dead after ingesting it and Riki just shrugs her shoulders when confronted, claiming she probably just mixed up which poison was which...
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: Stairs, actually.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Yes but, War-Bears? And they bear collars?
  • Infinity +1 Sword: You can follow a sidequest to retrieve Light of Cera Sumat, a Holy Avenger that only a Paladin can wield. You just have to make it through a battle against six revived followers of Bane alive.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: If you don't have a Paladin to wield the Light of Cera Sumat, you have to settle for the evil sword Scimitar of Souls, from the corpse of Ichytu Xvim's avatar.
  • Interspecies Romance: The Legion of Chimera encourage this, since they would rather half-breeds be born of love (or at least mutually amicable lust) than the usual forcibly procreation. Most prominently, there's Saablic Tan (human Red Wizard of Thay) and Dracein (half-dragon). There's also a half-goblin who hooked up with, yet another half-dragon.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Sherincal executes Illium's lover as a punishment for entertaining the player as a guest.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The opening scenario could belong in the Deconstructor Fleet. Nearly all the quests in the first town don't just parody computer RPGs in general, they actually specifically skewer quests in Black Isle RPGs. One character has basically no other purpose but as a lampshade salesman.
    • To drive the point home, after you defeat the initial Goblin raid on the docks, your character can comment on how surprising was it to get thrust right into action, as opposed to being walked through a series of meaningless small chat and fetch quests. Which is exactly what you go do AFTER the raid.
    • During the introduction you can come across a dead cat. Any experienced player would probably pick the thing up and keep it with him hoping it's be the solution to some quest and he'd get some easy experience. After solving the, err, "mystery" of how the cat died, the "culprit" asks you why the hells are you carrying a dead cat around, to which your response is that you were kind of hoping it'd be the solution to somebody's problem and that you could learn something from the experience. And sure enough, the cat's owner is wondering about what happened to it, and you can get 300 XP for bringing the carcass to her and telling her who the culprit is after you have obtained his confession.
      • If for some reason you carry the cat during the entire game, a Barghest Whelp near the end is squicked that you carried around a dead cat all this time and asks what the hell is wrong with you.
    • There's a barrel atop the wall just to the north of the party's location. You might not be able to see it at the moment with that strange fog that comes up, but it's there.
  • Legion of Doom: The Legion of the Chimera made alliances with two of Kuldahar's enemies from the original game: the Yuan-ti of Dragon Eye and the Aurilites.
  • The Lost Woods: Fell Wood. Home to Will O' Wisps, Dark Treants, The Undead, traps.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Iselore frets that this is exactly what Kuldahar did when the villagers attacked and drove out the yuan-ti children and their mothers, and the half-fiend children Isair and Madae. Not many of his fellow villagers share his ambivalence.
    Iselore: "They are forged from evil, and nothing but evil can come from them!" I remember telling her that. Did we make it so? I cannot help but wonder now. Egenia believed with all her heart that the cambions could be good and virtuous creatures.
  • Happy Ending Override: In the first game, you've rescued kidnapped townfolk of Kuldahar from the monsters of Dragon Eye. The sequel revealed that the kidnapped women gave birth to yuan-ti halfbreed not long after. The men's town were angry and wanted to exterminate the halfbreeds, while the women wanted to protect them. They took the halfbreed to the only place in Faerûn where they'll be safe: Dragon Eye. Just to drive the point further, 30 years later, the new party of adventurers have no choice but to enter Dragon Eye and slaughter those now-adult halfbreed.
  • Massive Race Selection: Unlike the first installment, this game has a wider selection of races:
    • Human, assimar, tiefling.
    • Half-elf, half-orc.
    • Moon elf, sun elf, wild elf, drow.
    • Shield dwarf, gold dwarf, duergar.
    • Rock gnome, deep gnome.
    • Lightfoot halfling, strongheart halfling, ghostwise halfling.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Legion of the Chimera, which is classically depicted as a monster made up of several different creatures combined. They employ some actual chimeras to guard the Severed Hand.
    • Orrick the Grey, known as such because his penchant for avoiding conflict of any kind makes it difficult to call him good or evil, white or black.
  • Might Makes Right: Having abandoned worship of Ilmater, this is Madae's new philosophy gleaned from Ichytu Xvim.
  • Mugged for Disguise: After killing some Yuan-ti initiates, you can wear their cloaks to infiltrate their temple... unless a Paladin is in the party. He'll refuse on the basis that it is an act of cowardice... Of course you can always multiclass your Paladin, then he'll have no problem with the deception.
  • Multiboobage: It's hard to tell since the game's sprites are so small, but they're also incredibly detailed, and Madae appears to have three breasts.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Madae's modus operandi, but not Isair's. He instead pointedly lets you live about halfway through the game in the hope that you'll quit your crusade and tell the Ten Towns to follow suit.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Firtha Kedros mentions that in her dreams, she's seen visions of what is clearly meant to be Sigil, more noticeably ?a brambled garden, blacker than ink, and even goes as far as to unknowingly imply that she may be another of Ravel Puzzlewell's avatars. The latter was confirmed by Word of God.
    • A monk in the Black Raven monastery sells a book called How To Be An Adventurer. Its index titles, besides blatantly mocking pretty much the entirety of D&D and fantasy adventure as a whole, includes a peculiar entry under "Dungeons to Avoid Like the Crotch-Rot: Dominara the Erinyes Nine-Layered Brothel of Violent Emasculation (No Slating... Or Slaking... allowed)".
    • One random item found is "The Death Adder's Dragon-Shield". Its description matches story elements from Golden Axe and The Revenge of Death Adder.
  • Nerf: The druid spell Static Charge which shock all opponents in the room every round. In the sequel, it only shock one random monster per round.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the backstory, it's explained that a priestess from the previous game, Mother Egenia, buried EVERYONE that were killed in the first game. However, she resurrected Ilmadia, one of the Big Bad's generals of the first game, out of sorrow. This led to the birth of Isair and Madae, the Big Bads for this game.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Failing to stop Izbelah's temporal stasis spell causes one; the party is trapped forever in a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
    • After slaying the black dragon guardian in Chult, somehow failing to reach the portal back to Kuldahar before it closes also results in this.
  • Nostalgia Level: Your party can revisit Dragon's Eye, with almost the same layout from the first game.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Invoked mockingly by Isair in the final battle.
    Isair: At this point, I think we're supposed to say something to the effect of... “You're too late to stop us!” Isn't that the way it works in the storybooks, sister?
  • Pet the Dog: Nym the amoral drow merchant, a notorious Karma Houdini from the first game, warns the party that the Legion has noticed their presence and encourages you to leave Wandering Village before their arrival. Of course, he's the one who sold them this information in the first place, but he didn't have to warn you about it...
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Saablic Tan is one of the Legion's primary architects, not to mention a returning character from the original; you deal extensively with his underlings and creations. You even spend a good chunk of the final chapter interacting with his conclave, but the man himself is killed outside the Severed Hand with barely two words exchanged.
  • Shoplift and Die: By that one bi-- Deirdre, who runs the Gallaway Trading Coster's shop in Targos. No wonder her family wanted her far, far away.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Isair is clever, cool-headed, learned, creative in his villainy, and likes using five dollar words. Madae is bloodthirsty, quick to anger, dislikes reading, and solves most of her problems with murder. Interesting, Lysara considers Madae to be the better half of the Legion of the Chimera's leadership.
  • Spider People: Driders.
  • Taking You with Me: When weakened, High Priestess Oria stops the battle and threatens to destroy her staff if you don't surrender, as this will supposedly kill both her and your entire party. You can survive the blast, though, and so will she... after a fashion.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: At one point, you encounter a group of devils led by a gelugon, which will ask if you know what it is. If you succeed a very high Knowledge (Arcane) check, you'll deliver an hours-long speech about what gelugons are, their powers, their place in the Infernal Bureaucracy, how a devil gets promoted to the rank of gelugon, and what a gelugon must accomplish in order to be promoted to a Pit Fiend. The gelugon will be so impressed that it takes all the devils under its control and departs peacefully instead of attacking you.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Iselore, further empowered by the Heartstone Gem, when Madae and her forces come to kill him. It's polite to help him out, but in such a state he alone is more than capable of slaughtering the entire army that comes down on him.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Originally, the Legion of the Chimera had purely peaceful intentions; they just wanted to found their own settlement in the vast wilderness of Icewind Dale and live quiet lives without being abused for their mixed ancestry anymore. They even wanted to forge peace treaties with their new neighbors, and pacts for mutual defense. Then the Ten-Towns tried to assassinate the Legion's founders with poisoned cakes, and that was the last straw.
  • Tragic Villain: The Legion of the Chimera as a whole. For the most part, they're just people who are sick and tired of being hurt, abused and tormented for their mixed-race ancestry and want to be treated with equal rites. It's telling that the whole plot of the game was kicked off when the mayor of one of the Ten-Towns decided that he'd rather assassinate the Legion's leaders than sign a peace treaty with them.
  • True Neutral: Iselore's in-universe alignment, like any good druid. The behaviour that stems from this alignment plays into the story: Iselore refused to exterminate Kuldahar's local yuan-ti menace when they were at their weakest following Yxunomei's downfall in the first game. Of course, the yuan-ti return as villains in 2, again bringing death and destruction to Kuldahar under the Legion's banner. This has caused some locals to disapprove of the archdruid, as his philosophy to uphold balance has brought tragedy to his people. For his part, Iselore seems genuinely saddened that Cedra (the yuan-ti's leader) so eagerly joined up with the bad guys despite the mercy he'd shown her people.
    • Mind you, both sides are ignoring the abuse that Kuldahar's people showered Cedra and her kin with, starting with trying to kill them all at birth for being half-breed bastards born of rape.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Isair says as much. What he wants is to impose a new order, which will lead to an era of peace, tolerance, and equality that will benefit everyone, not just the Legion of the Chimera.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Xvim has a massive one as his avatar's power falters.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • The Legion of the Chimera as a whole has a point that half-breeds in Faerun are treated like crap, and they have the right to be expect decent treatment. Plus, they also have the point that it was the "purebloods" of Icewind Dale who started this war.
    • The more eloquent of a pair of driders encountered in the Underdark states that their people's alliance with the Legion has allowed them to finally deal with others as equals, without being scorned or feared. Driders are usually considered acceptable targets across the board.
  • The Voiceless: Cedra, the head yuan-ti invading Kuldahar, is perhaps the only notable antagonist who gets no dialogue whatsoever. Madae speaks on her behalf when she's fought as a boss.
  • Weapons Breaking Weapons: The flavor text for Pale Justice says that when Edan, the priest who prayed to his god for the weapon to be enchanted, realized that it already was, a visiting priest of another god laughed out loud (there was no physical change to the sword, nor any expression of the god doing the job), and held out his guard's sword, to show what an enchanted and blessed blade really looks like. In response, Edan took Pale Justice and swatted at the other blade. With only the hilt in his hand, the visitor was much less inclined to laugh.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: The Andoran druids holding up the Ice Temple's magical barrier. They are clearly far removed from the alliance Lysara struck with the Legion of the Chimera, and oppose you simply because it's their home and they have no other choice. They are cruelly punished for giving your lead character a fair parley with their leader, and unless you meet one of two very situational prerequisites for a peaceful solution (either threatening them into opening the gateway with a high Intimidation score, or ensuring Illium that the group means no harm to nature, which only a ranger can do), they must all be fought and killed.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • This can happen in Targos and can lead to an Unwinnable situation. See, you can pickpocket, but if you get caught then everyone attacks you. If you kill a plot related character?
    • If you take time out to initiate dialogue with Ormis during the chaotic final battle, he'll perhaps rightfully call you an idiot and tell you to focus on the matter at hand.
  • When Trees Attack: Evil ents. Best way to rid of them is using fire.
  • Women Are Wiser: Subverted with Isair and Madae. Their Aurilite allies (a Religion of Evil centered on a Chaotic Evil goddess) consider Madae the "better half" of the Legion's leadership, but when you meet the twins it's clear that Isair is the more cunning and reasonable. Madae goes straight for the throat and has very little patience for her brother's more convoluted solutions to conflict.
  • Worthy Opponent: If the character who talks to Sherincal's lieutenant, Lord Rengar, is a holy warrior, they have a dialogue option to express admiration for their opponent's battle strategy. This display of courtesy is reciprocated and Rengar welcomes a battle with a worthy foe.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child:
    • Zigzagged. The yuan-ti in the Dragon's Eye are the halfblood daughters of the women taken captive in the first game, who were raped on Yxonomai's orders. When they were born, the menfolk of Kuldahar wanted to kill all of the half-yuan-ti girls, and were only stopped because A: their mothers fled with them to Dragon's Eye, and B: the druid Iselore demanded the menfolk leave them alone. Even then, the women and the halfbloods were forced to hide in Dragon's Eye on pain of death if they left. Not surprisingly, they threw in with the Legion of the Chimera, and were eager to attack Kuldahar for revenge when the Legion turned violent.
    • Subverted in Isair and Madae's backstory; when the villagers found them burying their adoptive mother and performing an Ilmater burial rite for her, they attacked the twins and drove them to run away.
  • You Are What You Hate: Sherincal, a half-dragon, despises her humanity and is in the process of having it purged by the time she's fought. This makes her something of a hypocrite, as she is just as intolerant of her own biology as the people who scorn the half-breeds of Faerun, and seeks the “pureness” that no other halfbreed in the Legion of the Chimera can claim.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Xvim to Isair and Madae if the player becomes his champion instead.

"There are many roads left to travel, many deeds left to do, before the end of my days."

Alternative Title(s): Icewind Dale II