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BG1: What happens if I enter BG City early?


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Greetings, all!

What happens if I enter BG City early?  For example, what happens if I warp across the moat and enter BG city in chapter 3 before I'm intended?  I was concerned about glitches and messed-up switches due to sequence breaking.  (Assume I can reliably enter and leave the city.)

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Posted (edited)

You can. The problem comes if you proceed in the main quest, as then you'll have chapter numbers off .. it can work itself out good, but I wouldn't trust it.

And technically you can't warp across the moat. You can jump into the map with the console command with will place you into the upper right corner of the map, which will get you across, but you have no exit out of the city then, until you jump to another location.

Edited by Jarno Mikkola
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Cheat your way into the city and talk to the characters, then you'll get an idea. My experience is that wihtout changes, all character inside the city are talking as if the bandit thread is over.

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Posted (edited)

Hah! I might just be the person to answer this question... I'll start with the background-related stuff.

Background

The dialog for commoners and rumors mostly focuses on the Chapter 5 stuff and the Rising Tensions with Amn angle. There are very few comments about the bandits, and some talk as though they are still a problem regardless of the chapter. And it isn't just the generic commoners - for example, the named commoner in the Elfsong, Cauternus, complains about the bandits. There are more comments that refer to Nashkel being done and identify you as being responsible.

As far as the named NPCs are concerned, several will talk as if you are familiar with the Iron Throne. You'll get an incongruous conversation with Gorpel Hind in the Helm and Cloak, where you get to tell him tall tales of a hidden mine in the Cloakwood that you never visited.

It isn't all that bad, bearing in mind the standards the game itself sets. It's just more of the same as what you experience outside of BG City after Chapter 3, where the game goes all-in on changing dialog in Nashkel and Beregost once Chapter 3 begins, but does little to reflect the fact that the bandits have been dealt with.

Variables (Chapter 5 content)

You will not be able to do Aldeth's quest in the Merchants' League Estate. And you know what? That is just about it. Unlike most of the chapter transitions, you can even advance the game a chapter by doing the Chapter 5-6 transition (the Iron Throne). Eltan will still send you to Candlekeep, and the Chapter will get a +1. But this WILL introduce problems if you're wanting to go back and do the Nashkel mines or wherever later. See the post below for the explanation.

Variables (Chapter 7 content)

The Chapter 7 content will entirely fail to function if you go to BG City early and don't manually set the Chapter variable with the cheat console. Actually, I'll clarify though that the Chapter 7 content isn't messed up by going to BG City early. It's just that the content for Chapter 7 won't appear until it is Chapter 7.

Mod content

Sorry, not something I'm going to try to advise you on.

Edited by The_Baffled_King
Added qualifier to bit about variables and C5 content
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@Endarire

BG:EE manages the progression of the game in two ways: (1) Use of a global variable "Chapter"; and (2) by blocking access to certain areas on the world map.

Note that it is the value of the global variable "Chapter" that is checked in AR0900 in the script that opens the bridge to Baldur's Gate city, and the value of the global variable "Chapter" that is checked (once you have Davaeorn's letters to Tazok) in the script that makes the first Cloakwood area accessible. But once you're in Cloakwood, or in BG city, the game mostly just assumes that it is Chapter 4+ or Chapter 5+, and doesn't check the global variable "Chapter".

It manages the progression of the plot in much the same way, although there is an additional method it also uses for this, which is to sometimes check various other variables. I'm not going to get into the details, but I'll give you two examples to illustrate this third method:

One example is 'Dead("Mulahey")', and that is exactly what it sounds like. If you don't mess around with the game order, then 'Dead("Mulahey")' is effectively the same as 'you are on Chapter 3 or higher, except for corner cases where you didn't collect Mulahey's letters from his body. Another example is the variable 'FLOODED', which is set to 1 when - you've guessed it - you flood the Cloakwood Mines, and is otherwise at 0. This is used for Yeslick's quest timer.

Now, about the Chapter global variable. When the ambush with Sarevok is over, the global variable "Chapter" is set to 1. When you arrive in Nashkel (or the Carnival, or the Nashkel mines) WITH the global variable "Chapter" at 1, the global variable "Chapter" is advanced by 1, putting it at 2. When you pick up Mulahey's letter from Tazok WITH the global variable "Chapter" at 2, the global variable "Chapter" is advanced by 1, putting it at 3. And so on. As you can see from the 'WITH' part, the game stops you from advancing Chapters out of order.

As I said in my previous post, the progression from Chapter 5 to 6 is different. Once you go to the top floor of the Iron Throne building, AND then speak to Duke Eltan, AND tell him about the meeting in Candlekeep, the global variable "Chapter" is advanced by 1 regardless of what Chapter you are on. This will mean that it's impossible for you to get to Chapter 7 without using the cheat console to change the Chapter variable on at least one occasion. So, just don't do that, I guess!

Bear in mind that the blocks of game script that advance the Chapter variable also delete quest entries from your journal, and add completed quest entries. If you advance the Chapter using the cheat console, and then go back to do some of the content relating to that Chapter, you might end up with entries that don't get erased. It's possible to deal with this by going back to the areas where the Chapter is meant to change over, but if you can't figure that out from here it's a bad idea for me to explain how to do it.

Bear in mind if you advance the Chapter using the cheat console that you will get dreams about things you haven't done, and Bhaalspawn powers ahead of time. This is because of the global variable "Dream". From Chapter 2 onwards, when the global variable "Dream" is less than the global variable "Chapter", there is a chance of getting a dream. Once you have a dream, the global variable "Dream" is increased by 1. When the global variable "Dream" is at 1, the dream is always about Gorion and the woods. When the global variable "Dream" is at 2, the dream is always about Mulahy and the mines. It is possible to manage the dreams by using the console to set the value of global variable "Dream". If it's not reasonably clear to you how that would work, I strongly advise against doing it.

Anyway. I've said all I'm going to say about how the progression of the game is managed.

Do you have NearInfinity, and have you backed up your game? If the answer to both of these questions is "yes", I'm happy to show you how to make 3 simple changes that will let you go to Baldur's Gate early in all of your games. But you have to bear in mind that, if you then say to me "this thing that is meant to happen in this mod quest hasn't worked properly", then I'm not going to help you with that. One change is to have the bridge to BG city lowered. One change is to stop the guard from initiating dialog (which summons Scar). And one change is to stop Scar from initiating dialog (as he will appear outside the Flaming Fist compound if you don't speak to the guard at the bridge). That's it.

Edited by The_Baffled_King
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Thankee for your thorough replies to me!

I've never used NearInfinity and I'm cautious about changing things for a megamod install considering all the factors involved.  I'd much rather have a well-tested mod that does this.

Thankee.

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1 hour ago, Endarire said:

I've never used NearInfinity and I'm cautious about changing things for a megamod install considering all the factors involved.  I'd much rather have a well-tested mod that does this.

It's good to be cautious! You could consider installing a second copy of Baldur's Gate and using that to try out mods without worrying about the stability of your main installation. The same thing can be said for NearInfinity; ie only use NearInfinity to look at the second copy of Baldur's Gate if you're worried about messing something up with your main installation. I have several copies of the game installed at the moment, including both 2.5 and 2.6.

I doubt I'm going to change your mind about NearInfinity if you have over 600 posts on here and haven't installed it yet, but it's very useful and very straightforward (in some respects its just like using a web browser, or a word processor; you're working with a graphical user interface, unlike with Weidu). The only other thing I'll do is show you exactly how straightforward it is to change the script so that Wyrm's Crossing is open from the start.

This is the block of script that lowers the drawbridge in Wyrm's Crossing in Chapter 5:

IF
	Global("Chapter","GLOBAL",5)
	Global("Drawbridge","GLOBAL",0)
THEN
	RESPONSE #100
		SetGlobal("Drawbridge","GLOBAL",1)
		CloseDoor("DoorDraw")
END

And this is what that block of script would look like with the drawbridge open from when you leave Candlekeep:

IF
    GlobalGT("Chapter","GLOBAL",0)
    Global("Drawbridge","GLOBAL",0)
THEN
    RESPONSE #100
        SetGlobal("Drawbridge","GLOBAL",1)
        CloseDoor("DoorDraw")
END

All I've done is change a 5 to a 0, and type "GT" (which stands for 'greater than') at the end of the word 'Global' on that same line. Another way of doing it would be to delete that second line (the one after the 'IF') entirely. I would have to click my mouse button 3 times to get to that stage, then it's 2 more clicks to compile and to save. Job done.

1 hour ago, Endarire said:

Thankee for your thorough replies to me!

You're welcome!

Edited by The_Baffled_King
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@The_Baffled_King
Greetings, Kingy!

By following your methodology of opening the Baldur Gate from around the game's start, how does that alone change the game's mechanics?  I was concerned about bugs due to sequence breaking or unfinishable quests or flags not being set properly.

Thankee!

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10 hours ago, Endarire said:

By following your methodology of opening the Baldur Gate from around the game's start, how does that alone change the game's mechanics?

It doesn't.

But you're overstating the importance and/or complexity of the issue. For the most part, there are no great unknowns here. I've given you a reasonable run-down of how the game manages the advancement of the main plot, and I'm not going to add to that explanation, but's totally fine to not feel confident with variables.

10 hours ago, Endarire said:

I was concerned about bugs due to sequence breaking or unfinishable quests or flags not being set properly.

My earlier posts emphasised that, as far as unmodded content in BG city is concerned, you need only worry about talking to Eltan after you enter the Iron Throne building, which is a VERY BAD THING, and will stop you finishing the game unless you reset the Chapter variable with the cheat console. At least until you install my mod, that is : )

Then, there is modded content. What you have to ask yourself is this: do I know what my mods do? This can come from using NearInfinity, but to a large extent it can come from playing the mod. If you know what a mod does, you're in a better position to judge if going to BG city early will have any effect. I don't know what your mods do (I'm not asking).

I'm not willing to make generalisations because if you have a mod that falls outside of the scope of my generalisation, we run the risk of arriving at a conversation that begins like this: "The_Baffled_King told me this would be fine, but now this mod quest I like isn't working properly, and I'm 40 hours into my game". And that is not a good place to be.

10 hours ago, Endarire said:

I was concerned about bugs

What do you consider a bug? If we're talking about things that make your game crash when you enter an area or talk to an NPC, these kinds of thing tend to be introduced when mods don't install properly or have mistakes in their script, not when you travel to an area early. I am however not an expert on everything that might cause the game to crash.

10 hours ago, Endarire said:

unfinishable quests

If you go to BG city early, you'll get journal entries for quests earlier than you normally would. This in itself makes no difference. Journal entries are added to the current Chapter. There is no flag which says "This is a Chapter 5 quest", so the game is not going to say "This a Chapter 5 quest, but it is not Chapter 5 - DOES NOT COMPUTE!!!!!!!!". Similarly, when a journal entry is erased, the action erases that entry regardless of the Chapter in which it was made.

Edited by The_Baffled_King
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