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To my grandmother

 

Table of contents:

1. Summary
2. Compatibility and limitations
3. Sweeping creature changes and revamps of old items
4. The inn selection
5. Other
6. Money for me

1. Summary

Here I introduce a number of new and, for the most part, original items for the Infinity Engine games - the Baldur's Gate line and the Icewind Dales. The emphasis is on role-playing and finding occupations for characters and players other than to go from point A to point B in search of the next power-up. Some have fighting applications, others help eke out experience for the party or move neutral NPC where it is convenient to have them. There are apples to juggle, torches to light, oil to make people slip, disguises, snapshot-taking gliders, wigs, soot, glowing but illegal shields and a game of dice to play with NPC and strip them of their treasures instead of killing them - if you manage to win. Yes, and wine!

With the exception of dice, where the rules are explained in detail in the item's description, I made a conscious decision not to reveal the exact mechanics for the items. The reason is simple: it is better that way. Once upon a time equipment in games came with short or even no descriptions, and it was a difficult but very, very enjoyable business to try to figure out what some cryptic tinderbox or padlock key did, if anything. In those days players had to draw area maps by hand, too, which gave a real sense of accomplishment. Over the years for the sake of "ease" and mass appeal all of that was streamlined away for the sake of - emptiness, really. Here I go back to that method. The items in this mod invite you to figure them out. The descriptions tell you no numbers, but they are not filler. Read them carefully, because every important feature or side effect is touched upon there. If an item's function is not obvious at once, experiment with it. Think what it might do, try it on, see if any statistics change or abilities appear. Most of this equipment is inexpensive and you will not Lose Out On Advantages if you squander a few cans of soot.

2. Compatibility and limitations

At the moment the module has only been tested for the Enhanced Edition. It may cause problems or crash your game completely on a "classic" (BG2-era) installation. I plan to get around to testing it for the old versions in a few days.

That said, I always make modules for Beamdog's Enhanced Edition engine, because it has functions the "classic" engine, meaning Shadows of Amn, Throne of Bhaal, Icewind Dale 1 and 2 as they were, does not. The items here have been well-tested for the Enhanced Editions, though problems may still crop up. Write about them in the thread if they do. As for the "classics," I don't know how much of the functionality from here will work there even when I do test. Here is what will be definitely missing from the items in "classic" installations, even if they basically do the job:

- my helpful custom portrait icons and text for when the items are used and worn are not supported by the old engine, so you will see instead standard and nonsensical icons such as Dire Charm or Hold Person. I can try to choose something more palatable there from the fixed list if people request it;

- the whole-creature glow effect, used to underscore some on-off events, is not supported. Alternatives exist, but they are not so good. With the old engine you will just have to do without this feedback;

- after oil is used to make a slick, coal is used to make a fire or flares are presented to an innocent, you will not be able to save the game while in the area. Lead the whole party to an adjacent area, a room, a house, a cave, something like that, and you will be able to save there. This is reiterated in the items' descriptions.

3. Sweeping creature changes and revamps of old items

Although this mod focuses on new items, the world had to be prepped for them a little. The statistics and alignments of innocents, those levelless bystanders - commoners, noblemen and noblewomen, courtesans, boys and girls, beggars - and also Flaming Fist mercenaries, Amnian soldiers and Candlekeep Watchers - have been randomized somewhat. The innocents are no longer 9-9-9-9-9-9 True Neutral no-inventory stand-ins, although they are generally still in the middle range of things. But some will be smarter than others, some stupider, and alignment plays a role when dicing. They also have a few items on them now, mostly small stuff, but on occassion decent treasure. This is so that they can participate in a game of dice when you suggest it, and it gives your pickpockets something to do. Commoners not too fancy and with clothing size under XXXL (men and women, boys and girls) will all have clothes on them that you cannot steal, but can pick up from their lifeless bodies if you are playing nasty and an inn is too far away. Too many people wander in the wilderness for their own good. Children wear small-size clothes usable by dwarves, gnomes and halflings. Clothes are a component of disguise (in combination with either soot and oil or a wig to change the hair).

As for the old items, three pieces of magical gear in the first Baldur's Gate game have been revised:

- the ring of invisibility sold at the Ulgoth's Beard inn can now be activated any number of times, making it well worth its somewhat reduced price;
- the harp for sale in the same place now changes the bard song of the character to apply a weak mind-controlling effect to everyone around;
- the cloak of the wolf (a found treasure) gives sanctuary if used outside of combat, which makes it useful for reconnoitering an area, but you should stay away from strangers, or you will become noticed.

Two other items in the first BG are different: the glittering beljuril gemstone and the bottle of sparkling wine that you obtain in the first underground level of Durlag's Tower. These items can now be consumed rather than used for the quest. The stone can be sold for a heap of gold and the wine can be drunk with astounding benefits. This will, of course, preclude you from exploring the dungeon below.

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4. The inn selection

Every inn now has a store, offering a limited quantity of the following items. The Candlekeep inn in the first Baldur's Gate, both times that you get to visit it, is a little different. It has a small range and trades in a different and devastating variety of apple. In the second Baldur's Gate the drow inn sells nothing and the svirfneblin inn offers only some unique wigs. The inns of Icewind Dale games are few and I may increase their stock over the usual, when I get around to it.

Most of the items have a number of properties. Here I give a rundown. 

1) Prybar

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A handy door and chest opener.

2) Wine

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Makes characters tougher, dumber, uglier, fearless, with worse luck and better morale, unable to start a conversation - and rowdy. Keep an eye on a drunken party. One half-orc NPC in particular has trouble holding his liquor. Here it helps to remember that alcohol is poison... The severity and duration of the bad side effects are less pronounced for experienced drinkers. Wine is also a common random drop item, especially from some barbaric races who have it tough.

3) Live chicken

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The chicken can be released to roam or cooked in a fortifying stew (if you also have coal). You can also steal chickens from the streets if you are fast enough. In the first Baldur's Gate, which is the game I'm interested in, some of the more rustic areas and even a few places in the city have had a few hens put in, so you may notice some on your way. You can also dominate the chicken and command it into the pack!

4) Apple

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Apples can be thrown at people or juggled in an entertaining way, if agility suffices. This can earn you a little money and get neutral NPC to approach, which might help clear the way for your sneaks, move guards out of sight and so on. Also a common drop.

5) Buffor apple

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Only the Candlekeep inn sells these. Not for juggling, but they make deadly missiles.

6) Oil

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Has a variety of uses: rub it into the skin to get into tighter corners and receive an armor bonus, into gear and weapons to make them somewhat resistant to the iron plague (in the first BG) and always a little faster. Does have the side effect of making one flammable. You can also pour oil on the ground to render it slippery.

7)  Coal

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A coal pit burns for a while, singeing anyone who walks over it, warming those nearby and providing illumination. Light from a coal pit, or really any light, helps against the unnatural monsters and wild things... the light from a coal pit is strong enough to keep away the weaker monsters and all animals.

8 ) Soot

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Also has several applications, some of them in combination with oil. (Here is a good place to say that you should split stacks of oil, soot etc. before using them, or you might lose the entire stack for technical reasons. If you plan to mix soot with some oil, equip a can of soot, set aside a bottle of oil in the inventory, then use the soot.) Soot and oil can help with sneaking, a little for the hair is a component of disguise and makes you look stylish, and you can use soot by itself to leave a mark on the ground.  

9) Common dress, medium and small size

Disguise.jpg.29d313aa0c8855d354d4228ccdf24a08.jpg

Nondescript clothes are a component of disguise - for the body; you also need something for the hair, either soot with oil or a wig. From the picture you can tell that the disguise is not complete, because the characters have their former hair color. Medium-size dress is for humans, elves, half-elves and half-orcs, the small size fits dwarves, gnomes and halflings. As I already mentioned, you can slaughter innocents and pull the clothes off their dead backs, in addition to buying at inns. When the body component and the hair component of the disguise are in place, an icon will appear on the character's portrait. Disguise is for getting past those who would pick you in the crowd, but it does not work automatically. It is best not to hang near people for long, or you might be discovered. The more witnesses are looking and the closer they are, the greater the danger. Characters' ability to succeed in getting around disguised is tied to their intelligence. Minsc is not good at it... While disguised you cannot attack or use abilities, and it puts you at a disadvantage if you are discovered and a fight does break out.

10) Torches

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Torches do a little fire damage but are a very clumsy and inconvenient weapon. Their light makes one stronger against unnatural abominations and natural predators, just like with the coal. If you have some oil and a basic club, you can fashion a torch yourself. On the downside, stealth and invisibility are impossible with a torch in hand. And yes, they use the mace animation.

11) Flares

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Flares can be shot into unexplored parts of a map, a considerable distance away. They will eliminate the fog of war where they burst so that you can, for example, attach a rope to places you have not yet visited. Their blaze will also singe certain enemies, and the entire map will become interested who made this much commotion. Flare use is limited to the outdoors and the Undercity in BG1, where the ceilings are immensely high. You can also present a pack of these dangerous toys to someone stupid enough to accept and play around with them. The results vary, but nobody will blame the party for an accident.

12) Rope

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A shortcut to places, up walls and over streams. It can be attached to any explored point, even in the gray. A nimble character can then climb/swing on a rope (depending on how you turn your head in this two-dimensional world) to the destination and raise/pull others to him or lower them/send them across. This is for the party only, no minions. Characters are vulnerable while on the rope or holding it. In principle, the rope even lets you flit through walls in a cave, but here you have to decide not to exploit the mechanics and ruin the game for yourself. 

13) Parascopic glider set

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The glider is an automated contraption with a viewfinder and an image transmitter. It can be sent to soar around the map in the Exploration Cruising mode or the Strafe for Dirt mode. In Exploration Cruising it will zoom in on groups of creatures it encounters, which shows some of the terrain and is instructive for the party directly. When it strafes for dirt, it will snap up incriminating pictures. These are not transmitted but will be delivered once the glider is back in the pack. The dirt can be sold on the black market. To get a glider down from either flying mode, hook it: stand in the way of its shadow (you can't see it here, but they cast a shadow) with a dongle in hand. Dongles are telescopic poles, one is included in the glider set. It will appear in the backpack when the glider is launched. Snatching a glider is not so easy and may take a number of tries, but nothing prevents you from leaving it to fly in an area. Away from inns glider sets are a rare creature drop.

14) Dongle

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You may want to buy a few more dongles to involve the party in catching gliders.

15) Dice

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They may come across as a humble accessory after some of the other stuff, but dice are the most interesting, involved and potentially important item I made. Dicing is a complete minigame whose rules are explained in the item description, with a number of twists and surprises. You can play for the droppable items of anybody who has any items (except undead and children), so long as you put up something as a wager yourself, and you can have party members dice with each other, too, for roleplaying, to decide who gets the loot and whatnot.

5. Other

Three items are not sold at the inns.

16) Phosphoric shield

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This screenshot doesn't do it justice, but the phosphoric shield creates a halo when activated. Its light brings the same advantages as a torch, otherwise it is a standard round shield. In the first Baldur's Gate all Flaming Fist mercenaries now carry these shields and will switch them on in the dark hours. Phosphoric shields are only issued to Fist members, so you can only get one by killing a mercenary (and be prepared to lose reputation - I made sure there are no Fist members who "don't count" anymore) or on the black market. Either way do not wear these in sight of Fist mercs. There is no Flaming Fist in the other games, so this shield does not appear.

17) Wig

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Both sexes sport wigs in Faerun. They are rare random creature drops in all of the games, and in BG1 I planted some in a few places you may come across. Early on in that game you will get an opportunity to get a wig (and, if you procure basic dress, put together a disguise, which may get you past some unpleasant initial encounters). There are many different styles and colors, but all of the wigs radically change the wearer's face, expression, and, it seems, his character itself.

The third item is the svirfneblin wig. I will let people discover those on their own.

6. Money for me

Modding that goes beyond making arrows +1 into arrows +2 is not easy. If you think this module deserves a few dollars into my hat, send me a note.

Download

Edited by temnix

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Looks like several immersive and atmospheric additions. Any chance of getting a modular install option though, for when you'd like e.g. some campfires and flares in your game but aren't looking to make sweeping changes to virtually all creatures?

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No. The changes to creatures that I made only diversify statistics of some neutrals and hand out a bit of small loot.

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On 11/18/2019 at 2:35 PM, InKal said:

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Dice? Turnip for Carsomyr, eh??  I'll show you dice, you little twerp!!

Yes. Where the game does not let one discern value, one should use one's judgment and common sense.

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