Baldur's Gate 2 ToB Arcanum Wizardry 8 Syberia Black Mirror

Low-Spoiler Guide to Baldurs Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal



There are a lot of good Throne of Bhaal walkthrough and hint pages out there, but none of them told me what I wanted to know, which was whether I was missing any cool quests, subplots, or character interactions in the game. Strategy and riddles I can figure out on my own, but is it worth playing ToB over again with Edwin in the party this time? So I've written my own Throne of Bhaal guide, with the intention of pointing gamers towards things they might not have tried in the game rather than divulging puzzle solutions or giving step-by-step instructions. There are plenty of other ToB sites that do that already... besides, some people don't want that stuff spoiled, they just want tips on where to look for more things to do. If you want a more explicit hint, please check out my Links page, where several good Baldur's Gate/Throne of Bhaal walkthroughs and messageboards can be found.

Hopefully this site will help you locate anything Throne of Bhaal has to offer that you haven't found yet.

Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Hints and Tips
Throne of Bhaal Review
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal NPC Guide
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Quests List
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn Walkthrough: Chapters 1-7
Baldur's Gate II: Watcher's Keep Walkthrough and Hints
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Walkthrough: Chapter 8
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Walk through: Chapters 9-10
'Is That All There Is, Or Did I Do Something Wrong?': ToB Solutions
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Cheat Codes
Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Links (Patches, Trainers, Forums, etc.)


Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Hints and Tips

Continuity: Play a character through Shadows of Amn and into Throne of Bhaal. If you just start Throne of Bhaal from scratch, your character will have a lower level, less interesting inventory, less well-developed NPCs, and no backstory. You'll never be able to get any of the old dialogues amongst your party members, and from a straight game-design perspective, the beginning sequence of Throne of Bhaal just doesn't work well as the start of a story, but does very well as the continuation of an epic in progress.

It does not, however, matter whether you play your character through both games at once (i.e. play through Shadows of Amn while Throne of Bhaal is already installed on your machine). Playing this way will have a few effects, but they're all very minor. A few bugs and oversights are corrected in SoA if ToB is also installed (ioun stones work differently, and Aganazzar's Scorcher--that kind of thing); a few spell effects will change; you'll have a new character class, the wild mage, available to you. And each of your NPCs gets two bonus sounds which you'll hear after cycling through all their sounds a couple times--the way you could get Dynaheir to say "These boots were made for walking" back in BG1. Despite playing through all of SoA very carefully both before and after installing ToB, however, I found NO difference to gameplay or character interaction. None of the existing SoA text, characters, or quests have been edited at all. The only real difference between installing Throne of Bhaal before or after playing Shadows of Amn is that if you install it first, you will have access to any XP in excess of 2 million as soon as you earn it, whereas if you wait, you will get it all in one lump sum upon beginning Throne of Bhaal.

Once you pass into Throne of Bhaal, there will be no going back. You can still summon old friends who weren't with your party at the time of Irenicus' defeat, but they will not have any of the items, experience points, or special abilities (such as Anomen's knighthood) that you might have given them before parting ways with them. You will not be able to get back to your old stronghold, nor anyplace else you might have left items (the only exception being the top of Watcher's Keep). Nor will you be able to return to any quests you might have left pending (again, except for Watcher's Keep, which is accessible from both halves of the game). Bottom line: Have everything in order before going to face Irenicus. Have all the NPCs you want for the duration of Throne of Bhaal in the party with you, have all the items you want to be able to access again in your inventory with you, and don't leave Amn until everything you wanted to do there is done.

NPCs: You will probably enjoy Throne of Bhaal most if you keep the same characters throughout the entire expansion game. Though in Shadows of Amn it was a valuable and fun strategy to swap characters in and out of the group in order to access everybody's personal plots and learn more about them, Throne of Bhaal is much more linear and any time you spend with one NPC will be time lost from another. Additionally, switching NPCs in and out of your party has become even more painful in Throne of Bhaal--not only do the NPCs lament and complain about being removed from the party (something I strongly resent as a player, since the six-person party limit is an arbitrary decision by the programmers rather than an in-game decision the PC would ever make)... but now you have lost the ability to send them home. If you remove them from the party, the only thing you can do with them is leave them stranded in a pocket plane of Hell, where they will eventually be destroyed. I am not kidding. Luckily there is only one new NPC available in Throne of Bhaal (your half-brother Sarevok from BG1), but trying to add even one new character to the mix can leave you with something of a dilemma. How you address this is really up to you: you can tell Sarevok to get lost when you meet him, or leave an NPC you were getting sick of anyway in Hell, or go to face Irenicus with only four companions. This is the single thing I liked least about Baldur's Gate II. I got to liking these characters, and it ruined my suspension of disbelief completely to have to keep abandoning them in Spellhold and Hell (and have them remark upon the abandonment, no less!) just because the game can't handle more than six characters at once.

I've given some specific pointers about NPC's in this section: NPC Guide.

Alignment: Your party members will no longer fight amongst themselves once you get to Throne of Bhaal. If Minsc and Edwin have made it this far without killing each other, you don't have to worry about them doing it now. Party members may still leave you if your reputation gets too out of kilter with their alignment (though I have never personally seen this happen--in my games the NPCs complain but never actually leave).

Stats: The conversational options open to you vary based on your intelligence, charisma, and in some cases wisdom. Playing Baldur's Gate 2 with a character that has high scores in these attributes really changes your options and gives the game an entirely different feel. If you're playing a second time, I highly recommend playing with higher or lower scores in these just to check it out.

Spells: The number of spells you can have per level is limited by intelligence. Therefore, if you give Aerie the first ten 4th-level spells you find, those will be the only ten 4th-level spells she'll ever get. Frustrating if, say, Fireball isn't among them. However, don't despair or reload a game from a long time ago. There are items called "potions of genius" which serve no other purpose but boosting your int long enough to learn scrolls. Go buy one and have your character learn as many scrolls as you want. You'll need to do this again any time you want him or her to learn more scrolls, of course. Still, it's a good recourse.

Sticky Fingers: People in Throne of Bhaal tend to notice and attack you if you open containers in their houses, the way they did in BGI. I don't know why they turned this annoying feature off in Shadows of Amn and then back on now. Save before you snoop--or come back at night, as people in houses often go to sleep in the dark hours.

Conversations: Though you can still talk to ordinary, unnamed people on the streets of Saradush and Amkethran for some general comments, these map NPCs do not, for the most part, interact with your NPCs anymore, so there's no benefit at all to be had in summoning everyone to the stronghold in Hell and taking them on tours of Saradush. I've noted any exceptions I've found in my area guide.

Playing Style: This is going to sound weird to say about a computer game, but you will have a lot more fun if you role-play Baldur's Gate 2. There are a lot of points in quests where the path forks. Sometimes the plot will change slightly based on much earlier choices you made, so it won't work to pick one and then reload and pick the other. You will not be able to see all of BG2 in one play-through. However, though Throne of Bhaal doesn't have quite the replayability of Shadows of Amn, it is much, much shorter, so it is very easy and enjoyable to simply finish the saga for each group you took through Shadows of Amn--and choose a different path for each one.

Finales: In a similar vein, you will get a little "where are they now" blurb about each NPC you finish the game with, telling about their life after the adventure with you. Some of these blurbs are better than others (the ones for characters who have changed their alignment are particularly bad). Anyway, if you're bringing multiple parties through into Throne of Bhaal, you may want to switch your NPCs around a little bit to see what eventually becomes of them all.

Romances: The romances from Shadows of Amn will all continue in Throne of Bhaal. This means that romance partners from the last game will remember you in this one, and pick up your romance in an appropriate place. It also means that a romance partner you have dumped or offended will remember that, too. Throne of Bhaal is not a place to "start over," only to continue. The one possible exception is Viconia. If you were romancing her in Shadows of Amn, she may have ended your relationship on friendly terms, in which case she may fall back in with you in Throne of Bhaal (even if she left the party, as you will have a chance to summon her back). If you or she ended the relationship angrily, of course, it's over and you won't be able to revive it. Remember not to kick your love interest out of the party, or let her die or become petrified, as all of these things can cut short the romance.

Interactions: Leave the game on paused sometimes. I did this, not through any conscious choice, but because I have a two-year-old, so I wind up spending more time away from the game than with it. However, as it turns out, Throne of Bhaal has a real-time clock and spaces character conversations (especially romance plotlines) based on that. There are also patches that can speed up the real-time clock if you're in a hurry, but by just leaving the game paused periodically I was able to get tons of interactions. Many of the character interactions occur during rest sequences, too, so try to make sure you get some.

Time Management: There is no time limit to Baldur's Gate Throne of Bhaal, nor to any of the quests found therein. Take your time and explore areas as fully as you want to. During my first attempt at BG2 I was charging everywhere, thinking that slowing down would have dire effects for the party. It doesn't. It has no effect. Take your time and enjoy the scenery--the interactions and side plots are the best part of the game.

Buy the Baldur's Gate world games!


 Shadows of Amn    Baldur's Gate I      Icewind Dale         Planescape            NWN plus          Dark Alliance      Dark Alliance II
& Throne of Bhaal  & Sword Coast     (all three CDs)        Torment           its expansions            for XBox              for XBox


 Shadows of Amn    Throne of Bhaal   Baldur's Gate I      Icewind Dale            NWN              Dark Alliance      Dark Alliance II
      for Macs                  for Macs            for Macs                for Macs            for Macs            for Gamecube            for PS2



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