Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Baldur's Gate

Go To

"OK, I've just about had my FILL of riddle-asking, quest-assigning, insult-throwing, pun-hurling, hostage-taking, iron-mongering, smart-arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer ANYWHERE in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster AND his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the nine hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I MADE myself perfectly CLEAR?!"
Gorion's Ward, to Portalbendarwinden

Baldur's Gate is a Western RPG released on December 21, 1998, and the first game in the Baldur's Gate series. The game was developed by BioWare and published by Black Isle Studios and Interplay Entertainment.

Set in the Dungeons & Dragons' Forgotten Realms universe, the game puts you in a shoes of the young ward of a former adventurer named Gorion. After leaving your home of Candlekeep with your foster father, you are attacked by a mysterious Black Knight in a demonic skull mask and his allies, who kill Gorion as he urges you to flee. Thus begins your journey to discover what the evil warrior wanted with you, leading you throughout the lands of the Sword Coast and into the political intrigue surrounding the city of Baldur's Gate.

The game has a 1999 Expansion Pack, Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast, a 2000 sequel, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, a 2012 Updated Re-release, Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, and a 2016 expansion, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Baldur's Gate III was annouced in 2019 and is set to be released in 2022.


The game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Mine: Downplayed. It's mentioned that the lower levels of Nashkel's iron mine are all but abandoned, due to creatures killing the miners. The main reason you're there is to determine what's going on in said lower levels, comprising the first major quest of the game. Also to kill things.
  • Adventure Duo: Several sets of NPCs come in pairs, and you can't keep one in the party without the other unless you use an exploit. Of course, an available "exploit" is entirely natural — let one of them die. It's easier than keeping them alive, really. Their companion will get over it easily enough.
    • Jaheira and Khalid.
    • Minsc and Dynaheir (and Boo!)
    • Xzar and Montaron.
    • Eldoth and Skie, by far the least known pair, since both are only available comparatively late in the game.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Theodon and Jessup – your mentors or Honorary Uncles rather than parents per se, still manage to be this in their one scene: regale your friends with embarrassing facts about you as a baby? Check. Talk about one of your more ridiculous childhood antics (in this case, stealing the cape of Khelban Blackstaff for yourself and running around wearing it and nothing else, until he caught you and took it back, leaving you buck naked in front of everybody)? That's a double check. Mention they have embarrassing baby pictures of you, including one of you naked on a bearskin, and offer to show it to any of your party members who're interested? Check again!
  • Advertisement:
  • Anti-Frustration Features: For the first dungeon of the second game, Jaheira is your only healer, and is given a resurrection spell called Harper's Call to avoid penalizing players who don't make Charname a Cleric.
  • Archer Archetype: Bows are considered one of the best (if not the best) weapons in the game; they deal as much damage as a short sword, can be (obviously) used to attack from range, get THAC0 bonuses from high dexterity, and, especially, have, unlike just about every other weapon, two base attacks per round instead of one, which makes them a veritable Game-Breaker. As a result, party members who specialize in Longbows, such as Kivan or Coran, tended to end up top tier on NPC ranking lists.
  • The Atoner: The skeletal traitor in Firewine ruins, who beseeches you to strike him down and return his armour to his brethren, breaking the curse that binds them all. The bard just outside has composed a ballad about it.
  • Battle Couple: Khalid and Jaheira are a notable example.
  • Beneath the Earth: Significant portions of the plot occur in mines.
  • Bowdlerise: In the original release of the game, the opening cutscene shows the blood of Sarevok's first victim filling the depressions in the game's emblem, after which the eyes of the skull light up. This is removed in the three-disc rerelease. Reversed by the opening sequence for the Enhanced Edition. The victim's blood is a huge pool that turns into Bhaal's symbol.
  • Boring Yet Practical:
    • The quarterstaff. Cheap, readily available, can be used by everyone regardless of class, and one of the few melee weapons not subject to the Breakable Weapons issue below. A fighter with two-handed weapon specialization and a few ranks of quarterstaff proficiency is actually a very excellent damage-dealer. There's even a Quarterstaff +3 that can be purchased in Ulgoth's Beard, which is the most powerful weapon that can be purchased rather than found.
    • The lore mentions that most of the Red Raven mercenaries wear studded leather armour. The player character can get access to much more powerful armour than that, even before getting into the various magical protection items that are available. But studded leather is cheap, not too heavy, available for purchase pretty much anywhere, protects against all three forms of non-magical damage, and is usable by almost any class except pure spellcasters. It's a sensible, effective choice for outfitting a company of 200 soldiers.
    • Simple unenchanted helmets. They're incredibly cheap and you can get one within 5 minutes in the first game by looting them off Hobgoblins. They also give you immunity to critical hits, which can easily mean the difference between life and death.
    • Fighters. Sure, wizards can cast awesome spells, but they're squishy and once their spells slots are expanded they're basically useless. Thieves have a lot of utility by picking locks and disarming traps and can cause massive damage by backstabs, but can't handle direct fights. Fighters can take damage and beat the crap out of 95% of enemies in the game. In a world of magic and monsters most problems can be solved by waking at them with a sword. Becomes much more awesome late in the game with high-end enchanted weapons and armor.
  • Breaking Speech: You get LOTS of these. Mostly from your Enemy Within.
  • Breakable Weapons: Non-Magical metal weapons will break without warning. The reason given is the iron plague upon the ore coming from the mines. It's annoying, but at least there's an in-game reason, rather than just some kind of poorly contrived added difficulty, and it applies to enemies as well as the player's party. Also, as soon as the iron plague issue is resolved, weapons stop being breakable. And weapons that aren't made of metal, like clubs and quarterstaves, are entirely unaffected.
  • Brick Joke: In the prologue, you can encounter two would-be bounty hunters, after the price on your head. Five chapters later, in the city of Baldur's Gate, you can meet a woman named Sanadal Gwist, at an inn in the southeast section of the city, who says she's worried about her missing brother and cousin and asks if you can look for them. She mentions their names, and they're the same as the two guys who tried to kill you. No reason to feel too bad about it though, since she finally admits that she's really looking for them because they both owe her money and then asks you to smack them for her if you see them. (Way ahead of you, Sanadal.)
  • Broken Bridge: The city of Baldur's Gate is closed off until you solve the ore problem — it's even an actual bridge, the Serpent's Causeway.
  • Cain and Abel: Played straight (unlike later in Throne of Bhaal).
  • Call-Back:
    • One notable example is the Temple of Umberlee; if you'd completed an (entirely optional) earlier quest for Priestess Tenya, then you can ask to summon her within the temple. She'll give you what you're searching for for nothing, while if you didn't meet her prior or ended up killing her to help the fishermen, then you have to pay the temple's high priestess 2,000 gold for it.
    • Another happens with Thalantyr. Pick the right conversation options when talking to him and you discover that he dislikes people who want magical power without the knowledge to go with it. Bring Melicamp to him, and you'll find out that he was Thalantyr's apprentice before being turned into a chicken because of a magical item he has stolen from his master. Thalantyr warns that not everything magical will be beneficial. In Nashkel, you will meet with Bardelan, Nalin and Volo, who will all tell you that Brage went on a slaughtering rampage after procuring a new sword. It turns out the sword is magically cursed.
    • When Minsc is tired, he will say he's getting a bad case of armor chafe. Much later in the game, you will run into Aldeth in Cloakwood and he may ask you to guard him against some druids. The response you give Aldeth if you decide to side with the druids is that they make an aloe vera mixture that helps with armor chafe.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: You can't hide at Candlekeep forever which why Gorion decides to take the player character somewhere else at the beginning
  • Can't Catch Up:
    • Several characters can't be recruited until well into the game. Although their experience level will be roughly the same as CHARNAMEs if they're added to the party, their skills, weapon proficiencies, spells, and/or amount of HP will be determined by the game in a sub-optimal fashion. As a result, they're likely to be underpowered compared to characters who have been in the party for the entire game, and since due to the experience cap you can't level them further, there's no way for them to catch up.
    • A human character who dual-classes can do this to themselves, dual-classing too late to ever level past their original class, and thus locking themselves out of the abilities of that class permanently.
  • City of Adventure: The city of Baldur's Gate itself, naturally.
  • Climbing Climax: Inverted in the intro, which has the Big Bad chasing a guard up a tower.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Some odd examples. The hobgoblin that has Joie's flamedance ring near the Friendly Arm Inn wears yellow, while all the others wear red. The two hobgoblins that carry Boots of Stealth (one south of Beregost and the other near the Ulcaster school) have dark blue skin instead of the usual reddish shade.
  • Combat by Champion: Some gnolls west of Nashkel will demand a fee from the party. If you refuse, the gnoll leader will challenge your strongest fighter to a competition. Shar-Teel will also challenge your strongest male character to a duel to show off her strength.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Iron Throne pretty much consists of them.
  • Crafted From Animals: The shells (exoskeletons) of ankheg monsters can be made into armor.
  • Cursed Item: There are cursed items like the Bracers of Binding or the Ring of Idiocy that gave nasty penalties to your ability scores. It also had the Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity, which caused whoever put it on to change from male to female, which was rather useless given the game's almost Purely Aesthetic Gender, the Helm of Opposite Alignment (good characters become evil, evil characters become good, actually useful if you wanted Viconia in a good-aligned party), and the Two-Handed Sword of Berserking, which was a powerful sword that caused the wielder to automatically attack the closest character every time combat began.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted with Silke, thespian extraordinaire. Garrick describes her as a victimised musician in need to protection from a local villain, but she shows herself to be patronising and ruthless even before it becomes obvious that she's set three innocent men up to die; she's a dangerous combatant besides who's confident in her ability to slay you if you refuse to help her commit her crime.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Whoever you romance tends to have a pretty short life-expectancy, probably because it's pretty tough to get involved with a Child of Bhaal and escape a violent death.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The game adapts the rules of Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Enough of them to have their own page.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Justified, as the party's feats are ostensibly being hidden by the Iron Throne. That said, if you talk to the right citizens in Beregost, Nashkel, and Baldur's Gate, they will thank you for what you have done (sometimes you have to leave town and come back later for it to work).
  • Early Game Hell: The game is infamously difficult during its first chapters, as your characters are only level 1, with little to no equipment and gold, your thieves can't successfully pick most of the locks or detect obvious traps, your mages are quickly out of spells (that is assuming they are able to cast useful ones at all, and new players usually have no idea which spells are good, which are situational, and which ones are a complete waste of spell slots) and unable to hit anything with weapons, and a couple of bad rolls (or, worse, getting on the downside of critical hits that are likely to kill someone on the spot) can spell the death of your party. Also, if you don't happen to find and recruit Jaheira early on, you will find yourself in a dire need of a healer. Once your characters reach level 2 and get their hands on decent armor, the extra health points and armor class will give some much needed breathing room, but overall your party will remain quite weak for a long while, and you will more often than not use and abuse of quick saves. Rule of thumb is as follow: save all the time, especially before transtioning to a new area.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The game starts CHARNAME off in his/her hometown killing rats and incompetent assassins.
  • Empty Room Psych: Some wilderness areas are like this. If you explore them thoroughly, you'll find you got nothing out of it besides some fights with a smattering of randomly generated enemies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Kagain sees a caravan of slaughtered women and children and realises that he could make a lot of money from salvaging it, but decides that it's not worth robbing innocents - as greedy as he is, he's a mercenary, not a bandit.
    • An Evil-aligned CHARNAME can be played like this.
  • Eviler than Thou: Sarevok to Bhaal, since he plans to take Daddy's place, and an evil CHARNAME if they claim they're going to hijack his Evil Plan.
  • Evil Mentor: Winski Perorate for Sarevok.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Played straight with Sarevok, who was voiced by deep-voiced villain specialist Kevin Michael Richardson.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • You can get caught in the middle of a feud between invoked Umberlee and Talos.
    • The whole main plot becomes this if CHARNAME is Evil him/herself.
  • Evil Weapon:
    • You can acquire several weapons that are described this way, though only a few have this reflected in any way in their mechanics. Two are in the hands of Dorn Il-Khan.
    • This is the entire reason for Brage's out-of-character behavior. Talking to him or killing him will allow you to obtain his weapon, which turns out to be a Two Handed Sword of Cursed Berserking +3. Though it's easily the most powerful sword in the game, you would be insane to equip this on Minsc.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: No matter what you do, the quest at Candlekeep ends in disaster.
  • Final Boss Preview: Sarevok shows up in the introduction to kill your mentor, though he's only identified as "Armored Figure" at the time.
  • First World Problems: A rare fantasy variant. A particularly snobbish nobleman in Baldur's Gate complains that the iron framing to his mirror broke and goes on like it's the worst that could happen in the world. Never mind all the people who are starving because their farmer tools are broken or the soldiers and other people trying to defend themselves are having their swords broken when they need them the most.
  • Flaming Sword: Xan's Moon Blade is alight with blue flames, and gives him resistance to fire. But since Xan is a very Squishy Wizard, it won't see much use in combat.
  • Foreshadowing: The aptly-named Lord Foreshadow tells the player about how the city of Neverwinter will be opening up soon — an in-game advertisment for Neverwinter Nights.
  • Forest Ranger: Kivan fits this trope to a T.
  • Friendly Ghost: Ulcaster. He will even swap his Cursed Vampiric Sword with you if you've got what he wants.
  • Game Mod: Lots.
    • Baldur's Gate TuTu, which lets you play BG in the BG2 engine.
    • Baldur's Gate Trilogy, which does the same while also uniting BG, BG2 and ToB into one single game.
    • One of the most famous ones is the "BG1 NPC Project", which adds banters, quests, interjections and even romances to the original BG NPCs.
    • There's an "Unfinished Business" mod, which restores a lot of cut content.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Dialogue will always refer to your group in the plural, even if you're making a solo run, presumably because the game was designed to be played with a party and not alone.
  • Geas: Lothander, a thief, is under a geas that forces him to do the Iron Throne's bidding. It results in a Sidequest for CHARNAME's party after Lothander reveals that your rations were poisoned by his associate.
  • Gender Bender: There's a certain enchanted girdle that does this.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: The game is written in an almost completely gender neutral fashion; only a small handful of conversations make reference to your character's gender. It usually works since many conversations are directed to your party as a whole rather than to a specific person. Sometimes it's rather jarring though, like your character getting mistaken for a local male human bounty hunter, even if you are playing as a female dwarf.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Davaeorn, in the Cloakwood Mines. He loves teleporting around the place.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Semaj, who unlike Sarevok's other "elite" minions (Tazok, Angelo and Tamoko) received no prior characterization or buildup and seemed to be at the final battle just so the bad guys had a wizard on their side.
  • Girls with Moustaches: In this game, female dwarves do have beards.
  • Glass Cannon: The mage class. They start out with small amount of HP (a mage can be easily one-shotted by critical hit) and very few means to protect themselves, but become a very good source of damage output and crowd-control after a couple of level-ups.
  • Godhood Seeker: Two of the series' Big Bads attempt to become gods by absorbing the essence of the dead god of murder while another antagonist has this as part of his backstory. The Player Character is the only one who can actually succeed in becoming a god if they so choose at the end of the series.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: The only characters with visible scars are Ajantis, Montaron, and Shar-Teel. Ajantis has a single scar running neatly along his cheek, which almost adds to his dignity if anything. Montaron's face is heavily scarred, which goes along with him being intended to be an ugly character, and Shar-Teel has single scar on her chin which is barely visible.
  • Gossip Evolution: After clearing Nashkel Mines, this can be noticed among the commoners.
  • Guide Dang It!: You can find hidden items, such as rare armour or rings. You can find these items later on in the game, but since the items are hidden very early on (an extremely rare ring can be found as early as chapter one), they'll give you a major advantage. Shame said items are in the most obscure, out of the way places, where you would never think to look, and are small you'd have a hard time finding them even if you knew where to look. This is less of a problem with the game running on the latest engine; holding TAB highlights searchable areas - very handy for locating that said ring.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: In addition to the usual, there are also half-ogres, as well as the Ogrillon, which is a half-orc/half-ogre hybrid.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?:
    Khalid: (to Montaron) I don't mean to be confrontational, but could you be a little less… evil?
  • Healer Signs On Early:
    • Jaheira, a druid, has access to healing spells and is recruited in the Friendly Arm Inn, as early as chapter 1. Gorion outright tells you to meet up with her in case anything wrong happens and you end up separated from him.
    • Honorable mention to Branwen, the Priestess of Tempus. She's found petrified in Nashkel's Carnival. Reaching Nashkel triggers chapter 2 and both Xzar and Montaron and Khalid and Jaheira who are encountered very early on in chapter 1 ask you to go there.
  • Healing Boss: Boss-level enemy parties usually include a cleric who is capable of healing their allies if they're given time to do so, and boss-level melee fighters will often carry a few healing potions to use mid-battle.
  • Honest John's Dealership:
  • Horrible Judge of Character: 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. Thankfully she realises what Eldoth is and dumps him in Siege of Dragonspear, making something of herself without him in the process. But that gave an answer to the above question: It took her getting dumped by Eldoth himself in favor of a random harlot to make her realize.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won: If the Flaming Fist guards of the first game confront you about a crime, fighting them almost always ends badly. Just run for it, okay?
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: In the original game, Imoen will say that she feels cold if her health drops to a critical level.
  • In the Hood: All thief and bard avatars have hoods, because the thief and bard classes use the same models.
  • Item Crafting: Taerom Fuiruim can craft a single item for you, ahnkeg armor. It's an incredibly light, strong plate mail armor that is one of the best in the game. The bad news? He will craft only one. (That said, you can actually find a second one lying around on the Nashkel fields.)
  • Jerkass: It seems like there are many NPCs that are more than willing to insult CHARNAME or even start a fight for no reason. A few that come to mind are Marl (Feldepost's Inn, Beregost), Thalantyr (High Hedge), Gurke (Jovial Juggler, Beregost), Sendai, Alexander, and Delgod (the area south of Nashkel), Portalbendarwinden (North of Nashkel), and various noblemen wandering around. It's no wonder game players choose the sarcastic options when talking with other characters, especially the rude ones. Marl has an excuse in that he lost his son, Thalantyr is tired of people that want power without knowledge, and Gurke's excuse is that he's a dwarf, his cloak got stolen, and people are making fun of him for losing it in Cloakwood. Interestingly enough, choosing the kinder responses when talking to Marl nets more experience points than provoking him into attacking you, even though you'd be more than justified in beating the tar out of him.
    • In the original expansion you have Shandalar, who sends you on a Fetch Quest to retrieve a cloak. Oh, and he teleports you there, with no way to return, without warning. And the cloak is inside a magical trap in the middle of nowhere, filled with crazed mages and traps, that is essentially the Firewine Ruins on steroids, and he never warns you about any of this. Your reward for doing this for him is a big fat nothing. Sort of justified on his half if you killed his family as part of the thieves' guild quest-line, but otherwise he just comes across as a jerk.
  • Joke Character: A few borderline examples. Tiax and Quayle in particular are severely underpowered and seem to be around primarily for comic relief. The Extended Edition changed some of Quayle's stats and put magic clubs into the game, making him less useless.
  • Joke Item:
    • There's a cursed girdle that does nothing when worn except immediately change the PC's sex and can only be removed (and the effects removed) with a spell.
    • There's a letter that is very rarely dropped by monsters. All it says is "Why does a chair have arms and legs like a man but cannot walk or hold things?" It looks important, but has no use in the game. However, the philosophical musings of monsters seems to be worth something, as it can be sold. Oddly enough, this can be dropped by monsters that don't seem to have the capacity or intelligence to write, such as gibberlings, so where it actually came from is a bit of a mystery.
  • Karma Houdini: Neb, as far as BG goes. Thankfully, he can get what's coming to him in BG II.
  • Kiss of Death: Shoal the Nereid.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: The thief Narlen:
    Narlen: Swiped the Duchess' knickers once… if you know what I mean!
  • Language of Magic: A different chant will be used depending on what spell is cast. The language is actually Latin. Each magical school has its own chant in the form of three words that roughly encompass the school's theme (e.g., divination is "Veritas, credo, oculus," or "Truth, believe, eye").
  • Laughing Mad: Will happen if you choose to take Brage to the Temple of Helm instead of killing him for the bounty on his head; once the cutscene conversation is over, click on Brage to hear a sound clip of this mixed with him crying for all the people he slaughtered.
  • Living Doll Collector: Bassilus.
  • Lord British Postulate: Drizzt was probably intended to be unkillable. A variable tracking whether you killed him carries into the sequel anyway. Technically, the second game just tracks whether or not you started the game with a piece of his equipment… which means that you can still get the same response even if you just pickpocketed his Cool Sword instead.
  • Love Triangle: Skie, Garrick, and Eldoth can have this if they're all in your party.
  • Loyalty Mission:
    • Two pairs of characters (Jaheira and Khalid; Xzar and Montaron) will join you on the condition that you head for the Nashkel mines, as a way of guiding you to your next story destination. Only Xzar and Montaron will leave if you take too long, though.
    • Minsc joins your party on the condition that you help him save Dynaheir. If you do so right away, the two of them join your team permanently (unless dismissed), but putting it off for too long makes Minsc leave the party after some time.
    • Eldoth joins on the condition that you help him "rescue" Skie. They remain as party members after this. If you take too long, he will leave as well.
    • Coran joins if you say that you're willing to help him hunt down the wyverns, and putting this off was supposed to make him leave... if it weren't for a bug.
    • Kivan wants you to find the bandit camp and destroy it so he can avenge his wife. While the bandits are connected to the problems at Nashkel, it's not until later that the player discovers that Kivan's quest is dovetailed nicely with CHARNAME's quest to find Sarevok. Due to a broken script in the original game, he never left no matter how long it took unless the player force-talked to him, making it seem like he was an inversion of this and his loyalty was unconditional (or that he was insanely patient) despite his initial request. As of the Enhanced Edition, though, he will leave if the player takes too long.
    • The same thing happened with Safana. She was supposed to leave if the player took too long raiding the treasure caves, but she never would. As of the Enhanced Edition, her script now has her leave if the treasure caves aren't cleared out in a certain amount of time.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: You are led to believe that Sarevok is The Dragon to the leaders of the Iron Throne company (specifically, to his father—the "CEO" of Iron Throne), but in reality, he has been the real mastermind all along and they are actually his pawns.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Early in the game, you meet one "Count Foreshadow", whose dialogue consists of plugs for the second game and for Neverwinter Nights.
    • Bassilus likes to hang out with… No. You know what, never mind, if you can't guess.
    • Noober, who acts like a total, well…
    • After defeating Davaeorn, you can rather quickly convince his cowardly apprentice Stephan to review the entire plot of the Iron Throne in the various components you have encountered through your journey thus far, as well as how they all fit together. When you record this information in your journal, you also note his full name: Stephan Re'Cap.
  • Mind Rape: The greater doppelgangers specialize in this. In chapter six, a trio wearing the faces of Gorion, Elminster and Tethoril actually put together a half convincing case for your battles thus far in the crypts having been illusions, imploring you to stop this madness and to cease butchering your innocent friends as the monsters you only "perceived" them to be. They do this in such a manner that a player could easily be taken in, also dropping just enough information to let you think they're the real thing (the Gorion doppelganger even reveals Sarevok for you, and tries to justify evading his apparent death that night by putting together a story about Sarevok's blade being laced with poison). It takes a lot of skepticism and wordplay for CHARNAME to see through their tricks.
  • Most Gamers Are Male:
    • Human female fighter types look to be wearing a revealing bathing suit; most female mages wear low-cut robes with a slit up the side that goes to the hip, and female clerics and druids also have low cut necklines. Female fighter types in plate armor may look covered, but the party avatar shows that the chest and breasts are not covered. Female elves and half-elves wearing plate mail or splint mail also have low-cut necklines, back and front. And there isn't even a paper doll inventory model of a female gnome or dwarf, though they may not have made it in due to deadlines. In contrast, the men of all classes and races are mostly clothed, and all have paper-doll inventories. Maybe not as much Fanservice as other games, but it's there.
    • You can make it through the game with no problems if you want to have an all-male party. But what if you want an all-female one? Then you won't be able to recruit Shar-Teel at all, can't finish the "Arkion, Nemphre and Ordulinian" quest, as Nemphre will only speak to a male party member, and have to recruit Dynaheir, Jaheira, or Skie with their male companion first and then kill off the guy later.
    • When clicking on Garrick, he always calls you "sir". Never "miss" or "ma'am".
    • Safana. The comments she makes when you select her or command her are all flirtatious statements directed towards the game player themselves, even if CHARNAME is a female of any species. Since Safana only verbally flirts with Coran and her biography states that she attempted to seduce the male captain of the ship, it's obvious she was written with a male game player in mind. In fact, some game guides note that this is the only reason to recruit Safana, since she's obtainable quite a bit later in the game, is one of many thieves you can recruit, and most of her stats are not that impressive - especially her constitution, which is the fourth-lowest in the game.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Examples from this game include:
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: They don't admit this to you willingly, but if you Charm Person one of the Flaming Fist guards sent after you by Angelo, they will concede that while many don't trust their new boss and have misgivings about the veracity of his allegations against you, he's still the rightful leader and as such they must obey.
  • Named Weapons: Most named weapons are of +2 enchantment or higher. The names were All There in the Manual in the original release, but show up in-game in Enhanced Edition.
  • Necromantic: Bassilus.
  • Nintendo Hard: Oh yes. You start off with little more than rags on your back and have to build your character from there if you want to stand a chance. There's a low level cap - seven in vanilla, nine with the TotSC expansion - which means that you have a limited amount of spells and abilities as you fight enemies of much higher level, who have abilities you can only dream of. Your biggest advantage is that you generally outnumber your opponents (a full party of six is much more versatile and less prone to disaster than a party of one to three, which is your normal "boss" encounter). But the final battle has your party against Sarevok's party, and that advantage is negated.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • When you meet Duke Eltan, keep refusing to cooperate will get you killed.
    • When a pair of Iron Throne assassins poison your party, you have to get the cure within the time limit. Otherwise, you will just die, regardless of immunity.
    • As of v2.3.67.3 of Enhanced Edition, having your entire party charmed results in a game over. It is mostly only an issue for solo runs, though.
  • Not Me This Time: The Zhentarim are blamed for the Sword Coast's woes early on in the game, but aren't responsible for any of it. This is why they dispatched Xzar and Montaron to investigate the situation and put a stop to it.
  • No Social Skills: Taugosz Khosann, the leader of the Black Talons. By his own admission.
    "Taugosz Tenhammer has no need of people skills!"
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Don't approach the thieves guild unless you intend to join them or are prepared for a fight.
  • Overly-Long Gag: "Are you gonna throw rocks at me?" "What about now?" "What about now?" "What about now?" Repeat about 20 times. Appropriately enough, the person saying this is named Noober. At least you get XP for putting up with him. And if you get sick of his antics and kill him, you won't even lose reputation for it.
  • Pixel Hunt: Played straight: some of the best equipment or a ton of money could be obtained early on if you knew what pixel to click on.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Two. Both Bhaal's and Gorion's.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The player can run into a passing "Lord Foreshadow" NPC who tells the player about how he once went to Neverwinter and still keeps in contact with it, recalling that the "nights" there were memorable, and how he hopes to go back someday…
  • Red Herring:
    • For a good portion of the first game you are led to believe that the local iron crisis is a plot to instigate a war between Baldur's Gate and Amn. Then comes The Reveal
    • After killing Starter Villain Mulahey you find a symbol of Cyric - the god of lies and murder - on his body, indicating Cyric is instigating the crisis. However, it turns out that the actual divine influence in the plot is Bhaal, Cyric's predecessor.
  • Rescue Introduction: Branwen, Dynaheir, Viconia, Yeslick and Xan.
  • Screw Destiny: If you're very, very polite to Portalbendarwinden when you first meet him (he's the naked guy north of Beregost), he will tell you that he can't see your future because "your coin is on edge". If you read The History of the Fateful Coin (a book required for a quest), it states that individuals whose coins landed on edge when they were born are free of the influences of both of the goddesses of luck and misfortune and can forge their own fates.
    • Although you probably won't be very polite to him — he is the one to whom speaking the Trope Quote is an option. He will still tell you about your coin being on edge anyway.
  • Script Breaking: Upon entering a section of Baldur's Gate, two characters show up to deliver a warning, and then they quickly walk off and disappear. Quick players can launch ranged attacks at them to kill them before they vanish; doing so causes an otherwise mandatory Timed Mission involving them to never happen.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Koveras? Never heard of him.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: At the final fight, there is a wizard named Semaj.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Kahrk. A woman named Carsa located by the Firewine ruins has his jar.
  • Selective Condemnation: Despite slaughtering your way across the Sword Coast, leaving large piles of butchered enemies behind you... and, if you so feel like it, being allowed to kill just about anyone else you meet with only a drop in reputation that can be fixed with a temple donation... you are charged with murder and labelled a horrible criminal only after the deaths of the Iron Throne leaders at Candlekeep. This, of course, even if you barged into their tower earlier in the game in broad daylight and massacred everyone in sight.
  • Shout-Out: More than you can shake a stick at.
    • A Call-Forward during the practice fights which Obe the illusionist arranges for you at Candlekeep, one of the illusory fighters he calls up to serve in your party is named Canderous.
    • In one of the encounters the player can meet one Lord Foreshadow, talking about wanting to spend some nights in Neverwinter.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Slythe and Krystin, a married pair of bloodthirsty assassins for hire whose entire pre-fight dialogue consists of gushing over one another.
  • Sidekicks: Lots to choose from, most of them very memorable.
  • Side Quests: You can spend more time on these than the actual plot, easily.
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: Incredibly common. The millions of sidequests available often take more time into account than the main plot does (and are often just as thrilling). It can be shocking just how much time you spent checking out the gravestones at the cemetery in Nashkel or gambling in the tents at the carnival.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: High-level characters will be doing this quite often against weaker opponents by the end of the game.
  • So Proud of You:
    • All recruitable NPCs have a line in which they express their happiness at your reputation going up (Good-aligned), staying in the middle (Neutral-aligned), or going down (Evil-aligned).
    Khalid: Gorion would be proud of your actions!
    Xzar: I'm starting to find this group almost… palatable! Mad laugh
    • Tethtoril's first words to you in Candlekeep are this.
    I am very proud of you, as I am sure Gorion is.
  • Spoony Bard: Many players find the recruitable NPC bards somewhat lacking — Eldoth in particular might be the spooniest bard since the original himself. Garrick lampshades this in Baldur's Gate II (where he makes a cameo appearance), admitting that he isn't a very good bard.
    • In Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition a suit of Elven Chain Mail (allows spell casting and has an AC of 5) can be acquired, which means a bard doesn't really have to choose between spell casting and melee bashing anymore. A player created bard with good reputation can now fight up close, at range, cast spells, and be almost as good as a more specialized class at any one of these. While Garrick and Eldoth still aren't that great, a player created bard is one of the best classes to play, and quite good for solo work.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The Enhanced Edition introduced Story Mode. It makes your party basically invincible, but Non-Standard Game Over is still possible.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Innkeepers will boast that they "never had rats. No siree!"
  • Take Your Time:
    • If you want to recruit Jaheira and Khalid in your party at the Friendly Arm Inn in BG1 and don't go to Nashkel post-haste, every day (or two or three) you'll get one of them whining about not having made it to Nashkel yet. There may not be any time limit on the mines quest, but going to Nashkel just to shut the two of them up may become a priority depending on how annoyed you become with it.
    • Just don't try waiting too much with Xzar and Montaron, they will leave the party if you take too long.
    • Not saving Dynaheir as quickly as possible will upset Minsc and Boo. And when Minsc and Boo get upset, buttkicking ensues. You have ten game days to save her, but if you haven't made any progress after a few days, Minsc will remind you. After ten days is when the buttkicking happens.
    • Coran will state that he has wyverns to kill if you delay that quest for too long - he's supposed to leave the party, but a game bug may prevent that from happening.
    • The Enhanced Edition version eventually fixed Kivan's broken script, meaning the player must reach the Bandit Camp within 5 days or he will leave. He's one of the first NPCs who can be reached, but the bandit camp requires more than 5 days travelling time from where he is unless you have already unlocked it (by completing the storyline quests as far as Peldvale or Larswood). This means that you cannot take and keep him in the party from the beginning of the game anymore without cheating.

      They later fixed it so that it is possible to keep him without cheating - the earlier the chapter you recruit him in, the more days you have. It's 20 days if you recruit him in Chapter 1, 14 if in Chapter 2, and 7 days in Chapter 3. However, the actual trigger to stop his timer is to talk to Officer Vai in Beregost with no bandit scalps in your inventory. Most players don't want to lose Vai until after the Cloakwood Mines are cleared, because she pays the most for extra wyvern heads. If that's your case, then the only way to stop Kivan from leaving is still through cheating.
    • Safana will remind you if you haven't gone to the treasure caves she told you about after a few game-days. She doesn't leave in the original game, but she will leave in the Enhanced Edition if the player takes too long.
    • There is a quest that involves Samuel, a Flaming Fist deserter. Most of these timed quests give you about ten days, which is plenty of time. You have three days to get from the Gibberling mountains to the Friendly Arm Inn or he'll die. You have to go right there, no excursions. And you'd better hope you don't get into too many fights on the way, because you'll have enough time for one rest tops.
    • When you reach Baldur's Gate, you will meet two thieves who tell you not to investigate the Iron Throne. One of them will approach you later and inform you that the entire party has been poisoned. You have ten days to find what he wants in exchange for his half of the antidote, then find his partner and get the other half from him, before the poison kills your entire party. There is plenty of time to do the quest, but if the player isn't familiar with Baldur's Gate, stumbling around the city trying to find where one needs to go can take up a lot of time.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • Branwen was turned to stone by Tranzig when she protested at him and his followers acting like common bandits; recruiting her requires the player to free her.
    • There is a number of NPCs that have been turned to stone by basilisks. Although Vail is the only one you are required to free in order to finish a sidequest, others can be freed to gain experience. The Unfinished Business mod adds another NPC statue that is also optional to free, but gives experience if you do.
    • Can happen to your party, usually from fighting basilisks, but occasionally from the odd wizard spell. If it happens to party members they can be saved with a Stone to Flesh scroll but will need to be re-recruited. If it happens to the Player Character it's Game Over.
  • There Can Be Only One: Sarevok's plan.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Telling a Blood Knight Chaotic Evil warrior woman that women are meant for "making babies and baking cookies" is definitely not one of Eldoth's more brilliant moments.
  • Unfortunate Names: Poor Maple Willow Aspen, whose parents were very fond of trees.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Nemphre is a standoffish, rude, haughty, and downright sinister necromancer, but uses the flighty, innocent voice clips usually recycled by well-meaning civilian ladies.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Tarnesh, who is guarding the entrance to the Friendly Arm Inn, is known to trip new players up. He can use a Mirror Image ability that forces you to hit him multiple times to dispel his illusionary copies. After using Mirror Image, he follows up with a spell that, if not saved against, causes you and your companion(s) to panic. After that, he goes in for the kill with Magic Missile, which will likely be fatal to any non-fighter PC.
  • The War Has Just Begun: You have just defeated the Big Bad, and the final cutscene shows his essence descending into the underworld and into a statue of his likeness, which promptly crumbles to dust. Then the camera pans out to show that the statue was standing in an alcove inside an enormous room filled with hundreds of other statues. Sarevok was just a particuarly ambitious Bhaalspawn, there are still hundreds of them out there, many possibly unawares like you were.
  • With Friends Like These...: Xzar and Montaron — to you and each other.
    Xzar: (upon Montaron's death) Montaron!? I… I never loved you!
    Montaron: (upon Xzar's death) The mad wizard falls! …Saves me the trouble.
  • World of Ham: So very much, especially when combat starts. Even the most level-headed characters will be shouting completely over the top battle cries.
  • Wrecked Weapon: The Iron Crisis means that most of your non-magical weapons would eventually break.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Referenced in-universe in the first game, in your journal entry for completing the side quest "A Rogue Ogre".
    "One dead ogre equals 95 gold pieces. Unshey claims to be a writer, but it sure is hard to argue with her math."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Candlekeep. Actually, you can, once. After that, you won't want to.

"You must gather your party before venturing forth"