Yes, superhuman, but without cheating. You do remember all those lovely tomes in Baldur's Gate 1? They were there for a reason. The developers did say they unbalanced the game a bit. For a mage such as myself, the 19 Int. was the most important statistic; this enables me to have unlimited spells in my spellbook, though I am constrained by the rules fair Mystra has imposed on we spellcasters as are others for memorization. If only my enemies were!
There was one tome for each statistic, except Wisdom. There were three for that...those of magery can tend to be a little unwise at times. I am glad of these tomes. I still had to roll stats. for two hours to be able to put four 18's into important stats. and reasonable numbers in less important ones, but I think you will agree it paid off in the long run.
Why does a mage need dexterity anyways? Well, if he is to survive, he had best not be hit, and an 18 dexterity gives a 4 bonus to his Armour Class as well as helping his performance with his sling or darts. His high Constitution gives him the hit points needed to survive, and high strength is required for lifting all those items he will find, And like it or not, if he is alone he will become involved in melee combat quite often and had best be able to deal damage with his staff...strength is paramount for this as mages can never gain weapon proficiencies that increase the amount of damage or improve the hit chances; the best a mage can do is to use a weapon without penalty and all other modifiers must come through strength, the weapon's enchantment, THAC0 and luck. As well, without a thief to open locked chests and doors for him, he had best be able to force the important ones or become stuck if he doesn't have the Knock spell.
Some teenaged girl arrives (do I remember her from Candlekeep? I think she was from there too) and claims that she knows me, but I travel alone, so brush her off. There are two other annoying people in cages as well...a haughty druid, and an obnoxiously loud ranger. I free them but though they wish to cling to my presence (why do these pathetic souls do so?) unfortunately my privacy and independence are of paramount importance.
My initial spells are: Dire Charm, Chromatic Orb, Find Familiar, Spook, Blur, Detect Invisibility, Invisibility, Dire Charm, Minor Spell Deflection and Stoneskin.
I rest immediately to memorize spells. Now, I finally can have a companion worthwhile. I cast Find Familiar. My new ferret friend is 50% magic resistant, has a 0 Armor Class, and 75% Pick Pockets, 40% Stealth, and 20% Find Traps abilities (Good for starting but I won't be relying on that too much.) She will keep me safe, and from being broke. I am sure to return this favour, so I can remove Find Familiar and memorize something else now. If I am to value her companionship and keep her safe, she will need a name so that I think of her as someone worth protecting. My namesake's scribe and companion is Lhaeo, and I've often heard the name "Lazarus" for someone who was conjured forth. I will call her "Lhaeozarus."
And she does keep me safe, finding several traps. While she can't disarm them, I can use spells such as Minor Spell Deflection and my Slow Poison ability to avoid their effects. I know, were I a thief, that I could gain a lot of experience for disarming them.
Such a shame...soon I hope to be a force in the Realms, and here I am getting kicked around by simple mephits and goblins! My tutor would have had my hide for such lax magery. My greatest triumph today comes in the form of two Lesser Golems. They would prove an imposing obstacle to most. Noticing that they are "idle" I surmise that they must be guarding something, something I probably want; I won't give them the pleasure of surprising me. I cast Stoneskin and Monster Summoning II. Two gnolls appear. I set them on the golems one at a time. The golems' force is wasted on the gnolls while I take them down with the magical quarterstaff +1 that I found in a trapped box, and paid a price of lightning for as well.
My spells exhausted and my body hurt and aching, I rest again.
I dream...a dream I cannot see but I know it is true...I feel it. There is a Staff Of The Magi near this place! Somewhere...close by here. It is probably formidably guarded, but I shall not rest from this goal. If I am to accomplish any mission, it is a necessity.
I managed to defeat some Mephit Portals by summoning a gnoll and dire wolf to distract the mephits while I whacked the portals. Also found a nice pair of Bracers Of Defense AC 8. While I hope to have a much better pair soon, I will take what I can and any improvement is welcome. A rather tricky mage had escaped from her jar; rather than waiting for her to attack me, I stunned her with Chromatic Orb where she stood and pounded her into a well-deserved oblivion. She yielded one of six strange keys. By far the most annoying opponents are those mephits, though.
Finally, a doppelganger, some thieves and a few Duergar later. I leave the dungeon. I have six unidentified wands...well, correct that, I know what they are. I don't want to waste Identify scrolls on them though. I am reading back over my journal and note a lack of detail caused by my disorientation and loss of memory. I will correct this for later entries and try to be more thorough in my accounts if this is to mean anything to me in future.
My first task is to sell off all of the useless weapons, armour and other knickknacks I picked up in the dungeon. I need money to survive, and I may need a lot more of it than I can hope to find here, even with my familiar's pickpocketing. I will have some lean times.
I feel like resting, so visit a nearby Inn. On the second floor, a tough group of nasties start taunting me. There is a human mage and his imp familiar, a dwarven warrior with a hammer, a human warrior with a two-handed sword, and a human thief. Though I am weak, alone, and injured in a city where I cannot put my only strength to use, I will not stand for that sort of treatment. I cast Fireball into the centre of the room... and no wizards arrive to arrest me. I have learned something! Magic may be monitored here, but those who do can only see outdoor spellcasting. Immediately the group attacks me. I hightail it out of there. Little do I know that the sudden force of my attack has caused the thief to turn berserk; I will have one less opponent to deal with than I had planned on. The human warrior follows me out of the inn, and suddenly, though he is armoured and equipped with a powerful two-handed sword, I am at the advantage: he does not have a ranged weapon. I run him around and around a strange machine in the centre of what I know now to be called Waukeen's Promenade, never allowing him within sword reach, and attacking him with my sling when he is far enough behind me. Ten minutes later he is dead. I know immediately upon retrieving his sword its name and history: it is the two-handed +3 cursed berserking sword placed in my hands by Captain Bragh of the Amnish guard of the border town of Nashkel, after I lifted its curse from him by correctly answering his riddle. The poor man was distraught, having murdered his family and others while influenced by this weapon, and I had shown him safely to the temple of Helm, whose kind and wise priest knew the real reason behind Bragh's actions, and gave him sanctuary. I would forevermore respect the priests of Helm and their god for this insight into their character. I had sold the sword at the nearby shop, and it had returned to haunt me.
I still have remaining opponents. The Imp proves to be difficult. It has followed me onto the streets and casts several spells at me. No wizards arrive to stop it! How bloody unfair! It appears that they are all just watching ME and waiting for ME to cast a spell before pouncing. I make a silent vow to never befriend these rogues guised as law and order; if the law is not upheld equivalently it is worthless, as are its upholders. I pound the imp to putty with my slightly magical quarterstaff and re-enter the inn. The next opponent to make the foolish mistake of following me out of the inn is the dwarf. Though he never gets a hit on me, he proves to be the most difficult of all, as it turns out that he is wearing Full Plate armour and has about 200 hit points. I exhaust my sling bullets on him and have to run out in the middle of the battle to buy more of them. Even worse, he has three Potions Of Extra Healing, and drinks one whenever he gets Badly Injured. Only 15% of my sling bullets strike him. Two hours and 400 bullets (and four dead Amnish guards that got in his way) later, he falls. I collect his useless but saleable Full Plate with a tired feeling of triumph, but dreading what still lies ahead.
My fears are unfounded. The thief has killed the mage in his berserk state, and is the last of the opponents to remain. I cast Stoneskin and his backstab merely takes out a stoneskin. His flexible leather armour is weak against my quarterstaff, and in seconds he is fleeing the battle. I collect the possessions of the dead mage, and I have found a treasure...worth only a few hundred gold pieces but priceless in its use, its lifesaving ability, to me: the Cloak Of Non-Detection, a must for the invisible mage who wishes to stay that way! It makes my desire for the Staff and the invisibility it provides all the more powerful.
Even better than all of this, my wonderful familiar has pickpocketed the storekeeper at the Adventure Mart for a truly useful item: a Ring Of Regeneration. I can now heal spontaneously though slowly. I will never run out of healing potions or have to purchase healing at a temple again. As long as I can survive a battle by any tiny amount, I can just stand around until fully healed. Boring, but necessary.
When I dispose of the fiendish gnome who usurped the circus, he drops a nice belt that improves my armor class by 3 against piercing weapons (like bolts and arrows) and a Ring Of Human Influence that puts my average Charisma up to 18. This is very good; now I will get a nice discount whenever I buy anything, especially if I cast Friends first, and will also help with general conversation helping me to get a favourable response. He also drops a few spell scrolls that I read or sell.
There is a thief fence named Roger peddling his wares down there in the sewers, and he asks me to kill off a sea troll that has been pestering him, for a reward of 500 gold pieces. In melee this is hopeless; it regenerates as fast as I can damage it. Instead, I do what I am good at, casting Chromatic Orb (petrifies at 11th level) and then Flame Arrow to permanently kill it when it is down. The 500 gold are mine.
I find this wizard named Mekrath, and rather than fighting him accept his proposal that I comb the sewers for his missing imp, who stole a mirror of summoning. The imp is an easy kill with a Skull Trap, but what he is summoned is nigh-impossible: a Lesser Earth Elemental. I don't have a weapon that will hit it, still being constrained to the +1 quarterstaff that has long outlived its purpose, and Elementals are magic-resistant. Instead, as it is not necessary to kill it, I lead it into the end of the dead-end tunnel the troll lived in, then cast Invisibility just before it reaches me. I will have to remember never to go down there again, at least until I have the Staff.
Returning the mirror to the wizard satisfies him and he departs. The kidnapped actor appears, but he still requires a portal gem (from his appearance he looks to be a tiefling, a human/demon crossbreed; some humans distrust tieflings due to their heritage but I am sure many are not deserving of this, so I will do what I can.) I would imagine he wants to return to his home plane and is stuck here. You meet the most interesting people around here, I tell you. I have to battle through several Salamaders and Yuan-Ti mages guarding the altar the holds the gem, but emerge battered but victorious. Though I had previously bemoaned my situation of having three Minor Spell Turnings memorized as I have no other 5th level spells, I end up using them all. There are some nasty trapped chests here that Minor Spell Turning proves useful for avoiding the effects of.
There are "thralls" here with magical collars controlling them, but with my new Boots Of Speed I can draw them out one at a time and always keep my distance if they are using melee weapons. One of the best tactics for plain fighting is to always use the opposite type of weapon that your opponents do. Archers and crossbowmen are very vulnerable to melee attacks (even from wizards), and melee fighters are helpless against ranged opponents if they cannot get close to them. There is a secret storage area by the strange "brazier" with the first group of thralls...it has a pile of sling bullets in it. Just what I needed. Several thralls and a wyvern succumb to the incessant pattering of slung stones.
The Master Of Thralls is a tanar'ri, and yet again a new Most Difficult Battle record is set for me. He has two Air Elemental companions, and once more my ridiculous +1 quarterstaff shows how stale it is; it can't hit them. There seems to be no way through this; he paralyzes me with his gaze, and anything I summon can't hurt the elementals. He's also somewhat magic-resistant. However, many tries later, I beat him. I summon monsters until I get Dire Wolves, one of the few summons whose attacks are considered "magical". One gets a critical hit on him. I run away a bit until I can see the wolves but not him, and cast Skull Trap, a potent and often overlooked spell as it gets 1d6 more powerful with every level without hitting the 10d6 limit Fireball has. As I am now 11th level, the Master Of Thralls fails his magic resistance save and it does 11d6 damage on him. He sinks into the ground. I figure this is at least a start; I will probably have to lead the Air Elementals into an area I won't go into and cast Invisibility on myself to trap them there...until I inspect what the Tanar'ri dropped: The Staff Of Air +2! I can finally ditch that nearly useless +1 staff. This one will hit Air Elementals, and they have to save vs. spell or be slain with each hit. Hallelujah! They fall quickly.
After that, the Warden, a demon knight or cambion, is not so difficult. Because I retrieved the control stone from his Master Of Thralls, I free them by burning it in the "brazier", and they do most of the work of killing him. A Chromatic Orb and Flame Arrow is all it takes to do him in, though a thrall's Cone Of Cold does the final damage. I don't get the experience, but at this point I have completed the quest to free the actors, earned some nice items and some saleable items, and actually survived, which is enough.
I meet with Gaelan Bayle, and he has knocked 5,000 gold off his original offer. I now have 6,000 gold to spare after payment, and I certainly need it! I pay the 15,000 and he gives me a key...the contact is the Shadowmaster, the leader of the infamous Shadow Thief guild. I will pay him a visit.
Of course, I get distracted for a short while...a mad cleric of Cyric (as neutral as I try to remain in the business of others, I cannot determine the attraction that faith holds) tells me I had best convert to Cyric's worship immediately. I ask him whether I'll have to remove my eyes first (a reasonable question given the other zealots I encountered) and he attacks me. Luckily his Hold Persons bounce off me while I pulverize him with my nice new staff. Stopping at a local inn called the Sea's Bounty for rest, I find there is a secret door. Behind it are several pirates (including a mage) who are not at all happy to be discovered. I cast Blur to avoid being hit, and then take out the knife-throwers and mage first with Horror, Dire Charm and Monster Summoning (I get ogres...very lucky as the opponents wear chainmail.) When only melee pirates and their summoned allies are left, it is an easy matter to keep away from them with the Boots Of Speed. Very happy to have acquired those. There is a secret treasure trove in a small pond here. Ahhh, money. I need it. Time for sleep.
First I decide to meet with Aran Linvail, the Shadowmaster. To compensate me for my large cash outlay, he gives me two magical items. The first is a +2 Ring Of Protection which can supersede the other one. Armour Class now -3. The second is far more potent: a unique item called the Amulet Of Power. It gives me slight magic resistance, permanent Vocalize (I cannot be silenced,) makes my spellcasting faster...and provides permanent Negative Material Plane protection. This confirms unquestionably to me that the "rival guild" I have heard so much about, and seen a couple of the members of, are vampires. Vampires are attuned to the Negative Material Plane; when they attack, a victim's actual level is drained away. Wizards forget spells, fighters become less potent by losing skills, and everyone loses stamina. A terrible attack, which can only be cured by a cleric's Restoration spell or an expensive Restoration scroll, or actually earning the levels back through gaining experience in battle and adventure.
A vampire attacks a Shadow Thief on the street, charms him and he turns on me. I go after the vampire instead, however...and discover just how difficult they are to kill. It hits me with almost every strike, and while that deadly level drain does not occur, I am quite damaged. As well, I can't even hit the vampire as fast as it regenerates with my pathetically low allowed attacks per round. I didn't even know they regenerated! Perhaps it only healed by absorbing my life-force when it struck me...I hope. I will find them quite difficult opponents in future no matter what toys I am given to play with. As I cannot kill the vampire with my staff nor cast magic in the streets, I lure it into the Copper Coronet tavern and cast Disintegrate on it. This does the trick nicely.
I have already been to this location and cannot gain entry; I can't force the outer door and if I cast Knock in the streets, a wizard will arrive to tell me I have broken the law. Hendak says that there is another entrance in the sewers.
The sewers beneath the Copper Coronet are different than the others. I encounter a band of hobgoblins (easy...one fireball kills all but two of them.) An area to the east holds an ugly creature called a Otyugh or something of that nature. Grey and alien with diamond-shaped "hands" flapping about on long arms and an ugly, devouring maw, it slows its enemies with every hit, and is immune to piercing damage. Surprisingly, it is very easy to kill. It is so squat and wide that it can't fit through a narrow passage to the south. I lead it to there and am able to hit it with my staff while it can't touch me. Actually, I remember that there was one in the dungeon I found myself in at first, and I killed it the same way through a doorway, but being a little out-of-touch at the time I failed to journalize this. There are also two Mustard Jellies to deal with; I despise these ugly slimes...spitting poison, magic immune and only damaged by magical weapons, their acid missiles slow their target. I cast Stoneskin to avoid this...but even though I take no damage when struck, I am still slowed, which makes me very angry having to stand around waiting for it to wear off as I am tremendously vulnerable when slowed.
A man is down here, Quallo...a clearly insane man, though it sounds from what he says as if he is dominated; another uses him as his voice. He tells me to visit another area and speak with the "controller", and thinks I am there for some "blade." In this area he mentioned are four pipes, and each one requires a ward in the correct order. I collect the wards (a hand from the sewers, a staff from some kobolds, a ring from a skeleton hanging on the wall, and the blood of his "friend"...a Carrion Crawler.) When I place the wards in the correct order into the pipes, I am rewarded with...a really nice +3 two-handed sword which of course I can't use. Great. At least I can sell it. I talk to Quallo again and he has indeed been dominated; he is freed. His haunting words as he shambles off are: "Gods! How long have I been here? What has happened to my family?"
I rest again...and dream. My first dream is meaningless. My former captor, the mage, taunts me with my Bhaal heritage and shows me the power I could have. He tortures the teenage girl a little...perhaps he is trying to make me care about her.
My second dream is far more direct and meaningful to me. A shimmering stone, blue and green like a tiny planet...can I see Faerun amidst its iridescent continents? It is a Rogue Stone. They are very expensive and rather rare. I need one. I see a house in the Bridge District, but its door is nothingness...the stone is the key, the stone is the key. There is dark and ominous magic there, more than one man could stand in a lifetime. The Staff is there. I must have it, I must! I awaken in a cold sweat and am unable to sleep for over an hour.