edited 08/14/2007 by Dan Huling and Ben Smedstad.
Special thanks to
Kelju Ivan for helping compile some of
When is the release date?
A: Street date is
set for Fall of 2000 (3rd quarter).
Who is developing Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
(BGII:SoA)? BioWare or Black Isle Studios?
A: BioWare Corp is
the developer for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. BioWare
Corp developed Baldur's Gate, Tales of the Sword Coast, and
created the Bioware Infinity Engine. Black Isle Studios is
the publisher for all of these titles and is developing both
Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment using the Bioware
Infinity Engine. Bioware Corp and Black Isle Studios have
been and will continue to work together very closely on
Will BGII:SoA use 2nd or 3rd edition AD&D rules?
A: The game will be
using 2nd edition AD&D rules, much like the original
Baldur's Gate did. In this incarnation of the game, we will
be implementing some of the optional rules, such as
character kits, to enhance the Forgotten Realms experience.
There will be a section in the manual dedicated to
explaining the basics, and the rules for the new player.
Are you changing/adding many AD&D rules?
A: We will be
adding new classes, spells and items, so that means that we
will be adding new rules to accommodate these additions. As
always, playtesting can and will change how the game is
played, and this means the rule set used as well. Fun and
immersion are always our top priority.
Is the game first person (like Quake)?
A: No, the game
uses an isometric (3/4 angle), top-down view.
Is BGII:SoA real-time or turn-based?
A: The BGII:SoA
engine (the BioWare Infinity Engine) is real-time but the
game is pauseable and actions may be assigned to characters
in your party at that time. This is just an option that a
player may use if the action gets a little "out of
hand." In general, the AI scripting will permit easy
control over the six character party with minimal need to
resort to the space bar for pausing. For those of you that
recall the excellent Microprose game, Darklands, the
real-time combat and pausing system can be considered to be
similar. X-Com 3 uses a similar pause feature as well.
But turn-based is so much better than real-time.
A: The game is
real-time but we have provided options to permit a
pseudo-turn-based system. Beside using the space bar to
pause game, you can set options which will automatically
pause the game, such as your character being hit, reaching a
low number of hit points, or their weapon breaking. It can
also be set to pause each time it is the character's turn.
Can I assign hotkeys to actions?
A: The hotkey
system will be very unique and totally customizable. You can
set up different hotkeys to perform different actions with
the same weapon. For example, you can have a hotkey to fire
normal arrows from your bow as well as a hotkey to fire
magic arrows. You can have a hotkey to throw a dagger and a
different hotkey for melee with your dagger. In addition,
you can set up hotkeys to cast spells.
Will there be more choices for character sounds, scripts
and portraits in BGII:SoA?
A: Yes. We plan to
provide additional sounds, scripts and portraits for the
player characters. You will also be able to use all the
portraits from Baldur's Gate. If you don't like what we
offer, you can still import your own custom ones as before.
Also, the new character sound sets have more selection
sounds and special sounds, such as "Inventory
Can I import custom pictures for my character?
A: Yes. You will be
able to import custom character portraits as well as
digitized speech for your character. The dimensions for the
custom character images are: 40x62 8-bit BMP for the main
GUI (this is to allow for the overlapping color to indicate
character status) and 110x170 24-bit BMP for the Character
Sheet. Custom sounds should be 22 kHz, 16-bit mono WAV
How many frames of animation are there in the game?
A: At last count
there were roughly 108,420 frames of character and monster
animations rendered for Baldur's Gate at BioWare for your
viewing pleasure. We are adding 171,000 more frames for
BGII:SoA. This does not include things like animated water,
waving flags or other animated objects of any kind.
Have the character animations been improved in BGII:SoA?
A: Yes, each avatar
now uses twice as many animations as in Baldur's Gate making
them look smoother.
Will the paperdolls on the inventory screen be changed?
A: Yes, the
paperdolls have all been replaced with new versions in
Will if be possible to hide the interface?
A: It is now
possible to hide the left, right and bottom panels of the
interface, in any combination. The full-screen mode provides
better immersion into the game. When you press pause in
full-screen mode, the interfaces will reappear as they were
last set, and disappear again when you unpause.
What will the new interface look like?
A: The graphical
user interface will feature a Byzantine brown stone instead
of the gray stone from Baldur's Gate. There have been
literally hundreds of improvements to the interface.
Everything from General layout and aethesthetics to cleaning
up the functionality to improve the "ease of use"
of the game.
Will the Rest button be moved?
A: Yes, the Rest
button will now be found on the main game screen. The
Guard/Protect button has been removed as most people did not
Will it be possible to exit cutscenes before they are
A: We are planning
to allow you to press ESC to skip the cutscenes.
What are the minimum requirements for BGII:SoA?
A: The minimum
system requirements are currently a P200, 32 megs of RAM and
a 2 meg video card. As with any minimum requirement, it is
the minimum. Bigger is better, more is faster. For 3D, you
need any 2 meg 3D card that supports OpenGL.
Is a 3D required?
A: No. There will
be 2D as well as 3D versions of all the effects than can use
3D. If you don't have a 3D card, the 2D version will be
What 3D cards are supported?
A: 3D is
implemented via OpenGL. So any card that supports OpenGL
will be able to take advantage of BGII:SoA's 3D effects. We
have found that the TNT line of cards to be faster (due to a
full good implementation of OpenGL). As well, the 3Dfx line
of cards will not run in a window, so BGII:SoA will not run
in a window if you are using one of these cards to run the
Does it use a 3D engine?
A: Yes and no. The
backgrounds are still 2D and utilizing the BioWare Infinity
engine. The Infinity engine has been updated substantially,
and one of the improvements is the inclusion of 3D support.
This means that certain things in BGII:SoA utilize the 3D
support for visual enhancement and speed. The most visible
benefactors of this feature will be the spell effects, but
other things, such as "fog of war" and water, now
use 3D as well.
What resolutions are supported? What card do I need for
A: You can now play
BGII:SoA in resolutions up to and including 800*600.
Technically, you can play at the 800*600 resolution with a 2
meg 2D card, but ideally you need a 4 meg card to get a
reasonable frame rate. You can also choose to use the
640*480 resolution. There will also be unofficial support
for resolutions such as 1024*768 etc., which you can use by
editing the game's configuration files.
Will 3D sound be supported?
A: We plan to
include 3D sound, most likely Creative's EAX and Aureal's
Which version of DirectX does the game use?
A: The game will
use DirectX 7.0 (which will be included with the game).
What is the minimum/full install size?
A: : Although not
finalized, it will be very similar to Baldur's Gate in
regards to install size.
How many CDs is it?
A: We are not sure
yet, probably four, five at the most.
Will there be a DVD version at the time of shipping?
A: We would like to
do a DVD version. As it stands, we believe there will be
one, but we aren't promising anything.
Will an editor be included to simplify writing custom
A: We will provide
documentation explaining how to write scripts. We have not
yet decided whether or not to include an editor.
Will I be able to create my own dungeons and modules?
A: No. The twenty
editors and other tools used to create Baldur's Gate are too
complex for us to release. We are, however ,working on the
multiplayer game Neverwinter Nights
(http://neverwinter.net), where allowing you to create your
own modules is a major facet of the design.
What level will a new character be in BGII:SoA?
A: New characters
created in BGII:SoA will start with 89,000 experience points
(XP), the XP cap from Baldur's Gate. Different classes will
begin at different levels, which for single-classed
Fighter: 7th Paladin: 7th
Ranger: 7th Wizard: 7th Cleric: 7th Druid: 8th Thief: 8th
How big can my party be?
A: When you start
BGII:SoA, you create one character of your choice.
Throughout the adventure, you meet many different people who
can join your party. The maximum number in your party at any
given time is six. You can get rid of NPCs and get other
NPCs to join you whenever you like. Six does not include
charmed monsters, familiars, or other NPCs that may be apart
of your party from time to time. We'll be releasing some
interesting party combinations of NPCs that you may want to
mix to see what happens, soon after the release date for the
game. Some may not get along very well - you'll see.
How much control do I have over my NPCs?
A: All NPCs have
their own AI scripting, outlining their basic reactions to
basic situations. At anytime, the player may
"override" what the NPC is currently doing. AI may
be turned off or on at will. The scripts can be modified to
some extent; they help create a NPCs personality and adds to
the immersion level of the game. There will be several
levels of scripting available. We want to allow players to
be able to modify scripts not at all (the scripts that come
with NPCs should be quite adequate), a little (e.g. load in
cautious mage, aggressive fighter, etc.), or a lot (e.g. if
enemy gibberling sighted then cast magic missile at it). It
will be up to the individual player to decide how much to
tinker with AI on his or her party members.
I loved Minsc. Will he return?
A: Like in Baldur's
Gate, NPCs with interesting personalities can join your
party. There will be 16 such NPCs in BGII:SoA, including
five which are returning from the original game. Four of
these are Minsc (and Boo), Imoen, Jaheira and Edwin. Each of
these NPCs will have as much scripting as all the NPCs from
Baldur's Gate combined to make them more responsive to the
protagonist and the world around them. For instance, they
may have romances with the main character or betray him/her,
and are now aware of your sex. Other NPCs from Baldur's
Gate, like Garrick, Coran, Tiax and Xzar can be met but will
not join the party. One of the new NPCs will be a gnomish
thief/illusionist Jan Jansen, who will invent different
items during the course of the game.
How will ability scores be determined?
attributes that have the minimum requirements for the class
chosen (with racial limits) are generated, so you can always
play the class you've chosen. You can modify the attributes
on a 1-1 ratio (meaning to raise one statistic 1 point you
must lower another by 1 point). This, of course, applies to
the one character you can create - the rest will join with
the ability scores predetermined in the single-player game.
Can I import my characters from Baldur's Gate?
A: Yes, you can
take your characters from the original Baldur's Gate or from
the expansion, Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast.
Because there have been some changes to the rule set and
character generation, you may have to reselect certain
skills during the importing process. You can use either an
exported character(s) or a saved game. All characters are
brought up to 89,000 experience, the XP cap from Baldur's
Gate, unless the character was from Tales of the Sword
Coast. In that case, the character may have up to 161,000, a
perk for those that decided to purchase the expansion pack.
If I import my character will I get to keep my ability
A: Yes. You will be
able to keep your ability scores, even if they are over 18.
You will also keep all your special abilities, gained
through the dreams.
Can I import my multiplayer party?
A: Yes, you can
import all characters that you created and start a new
multiplayer game. You cannot import any NPCs that joined
Can I import my character from Planescape: Torment or
A: No. At this
time, you cannot import characters from these products.
Can I use my Baldur's Gate II character in Baldur's Gate?
A: No, characters
from the sequel are not compatible with the original game.
What is the level/XP cap for BGII:SoA?
A: The current XP
cap is set at 2,950,000, resulting in the following maximum
levels for single-classed characters:
- Paladin: 17th
- Ranger: 17th
- Wizard: 17th
- Cleric: 21st
- Druid: 14th
- Thief: 23rd
- Bard: 23rd
Why does druid only get to level 14?
A: Because at level
15 and onwards, druids will gain many new extremely powerful
abilities which are very difficult to implement properly. We
do not want to put in a "half feature", it's all
the way or nothing. Maybe in a possible expansion pack...
But won't the druids be very weak compared to other
A: No. Druids will
still be very powerful and fun to play. We have added many
new spells, such as Firestorm. They will also have new
shapeshifting abilities, which are even more powerful if you
take the Shapechanger kit.
What about racial level limits?
A: We have decided
that we will not be implementing racial limits in Baldur's
Gate II: Shadows of Amn.
Can I play the assassin class?
A: Yes, you can
play that class as well as many others. We have added 20+
kits and classes to the already large list from the original
Which kits are there to choose from?
A: Although not
final, and subject to change, the current list of kits is:
Fighter (Berserker, Wizardslayer, Kensai), Ranger (Archer,
Beastmaster, Stalker), Paladin (Cavalier, Inquisitor, Undead
Slayer), Cleric (Priest of Talos, Priest of Lathander,
Priest of Helm), Druid (Shapeshifter, Totemic Druid,
Avenger), Mage (8 specialty mages as in Baldur's Gate),
Thief (Assassin, Swashbuckler, Bounty Hunter) and Bard
(Blade, Jester, Skald).
Can I choose a kit for my cleric at the start of the
A: No. You must
complete a quest in order to become a specialty priest. Each
priest type (including regular cleric) will have their own
Are there any new classes?
A: Yes. We have
added three new classes to the game, sorcerer, barbarian and
What are the new classes like?
A: The sorcerer
will be spellcaster which gains new spell levels very
slowly, but will be able to cast much more spells per day
than a regular mage. The monk will be a kung-fu fighter with
completely new animation. The barbarian... that's a secret.
Can my imported character have a kit?
A: When importing a
character, you are given the option of reassigning the class
and thus may choose a kit for that character.
Q: Will I be able to
change my class when I import a character?
A: No you won't.
What kits can multiclassed and dual-classed characters
characters are not permitted to use kits. Dual-classed
characters may select a kit for their first class.
Can I be a wild mage?
A: They are
difficult to implement properly, but we they are quite high
on the "to do" list. They might be implemented if
we have time. If we do not have the time to put it in, it
would be a great addition to a mission pack, wouldn't it?
What new races have been added?
A: We have added
the Half-Orc to the playable character races. These big
brutes make great warriors due to their strong physiques.
The list of playable character races are: Human, Elf,
Half-Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling and Half-Orc.
Can I be a Drow Elf?
A: Sub races have
not been introduced in BGII:SoA. You can choose skin and
hair colors for your Elf which will make you look like a
Drow, but you will not receive any special bonuses or
penalties for doing so. However, you will have the
opportunity to visit a Drow city and the Underdark.
What changes have been made to weapon proficiencies in
A: Instead of
becoming proficient in groups of weapons, you will now spend
your proficiency slots on single weapons as in AD&D (eg.
long sword instead of all large blades). You can also learn
weapon styles using weapon proficiency slots. If you
imported a character, you will need to reassign your
What are weapon styles? Does it have something to do with
A: The weapon
styles you can choose from are: one-handed weapon,
two-handed weapon, weapon and shield, and two-weapon.
Two-weapon style allows you to wield two one-handed
weapons, one in each hand (like Drizzt). You select weapon
styles from the same proficiency list as weapons. Each style
increases you combat abilities, for example, the two-handed
weapon style gives you faster attack speed and an increased
chance to score critical hits.
Will Rangers be able to use a weapon in each hand?
A: Yes. Rangers
will know two weapons style and have fewer penalties than
Will wizardslayer be able to use any magic items?
may use magical melee weapons, but nothing else (like armor
Can kensai use magical weapons?
A: Yes they can..
Are there new weapons I can use?
A: Several new
weapons have been added including the katana, wakizashi, and
Will weapon specialization be included in the game?
A: There will be
five levels of weapon proficiencies: Proficient,
Specialized, Double Specialized, Master, and Grand Master of
a weapon. The base level, Proficient, is available for all
classes. Rangers, Paladins, and multiclass fighters can be
Specialized. All other levels of proficiencies are available
only to Fighters.
Have the allowable character's skills changed in BGII:SoA?
A: Some changes and
additions have been made to the character's skills. For
instance, the Stealth ability of Baldur's Gate has been
split into Hide in Shadows and Move Silently as in AD&D.
Thieves will also be able to Set Traps and Detect Illusions.
You will need to redistribute your skills when importing a
How do I use my character's skills and abilities?
A: When a character
is selected he/she has a group of icons at the bottom of the
screen. These are the basic "attack" and
"move" icons, as well as class-specific ones.
These will include such skills as the thief's Hide in
Shadows and Detect Traps. Secret doors and certain traps
will be "noticed" by a character with the
appropriate skills. There are keyboard hotkeys for the main
actions and everything else in the game, which you will be
able to modify as you like.
Can my thief climb walls?
A: No. As the game
is 2D, you cannot climb walls. However, certain areas on the
map are higher than others so it is still possible to gain a
How will thief skills improve with level gains?
A: Thieves will be
able customize their character by allocating points to the
different thief skills at each level gain (as in AD&D,
Can my thief Hide in Shadows?
A: Yes. The thief
is invisible (to other monsters) until he/she fails his
proficiency check. The brightness of where the thief is
standing is sampled; as well, the number of visible enemies
in the line of sight determine the proficiency check to
determine if the hide was successful. It lasts a certain
time, or until the next attack, which is a backstab (for
extra damage). This is sort of a modified AD&D Hide in
Shadows - the first time, we think, that it has actually
been properly implemented in a computer game.
Will my Ranger be able to Hide in Shadows in the
A: Yes, the Ranger
will be able to Hide in Shadows, essentially making them
invisible to monsters until he/she fails his proficiency
check. The proficiency check is determined by sampling the
brightness of where the Ranger is standing as well as the
number of visible enemies in the line of sight, and the
density of the foliage to determine if the hide was
successful. It lasts a certain time, or until the next
Will Druids be able to Shapechange into animals?
A: Yes. At 7th
level, Druids will be able to Shapechange into a selection
Magic resistance made it impossible for me to heal some
of my party members. Can you change that?
A: Magic resistance
in BGII:SoA will only affect offensive spells cast at the
character and not defensive spells such as healing or Haste.
How many new spells are there in BGII:SoA?
A: BGII:SoA will
feature 300 spells, compared to 130 in Baldur's Gate. This
includes 7th level priest spells and 9th level mage spells,
the most powerful in AD&D. Some of these spells are:
Contingency, Chain Contingency, Gate, Spell Turning, Delayed
Blast Fireball, Time Stop, Disintegrate, Power Word: Kill,
Finger of Death, Resurrection, Chain Lightning, Conjure
Elemental, Blade Barrier, Meteor Swarm and Cacofiend.
Can my mage learn 9th level spells?
A: Yes and no.
Because of the XP cap, a player's mage will not be high
enough level at the end of the game to memorize 9th level
spells from his spellbook. However, it will be possible to
find scrolls with these spells which the character can use
to cast the spell.
How do I copy a spell into my spellbook?
A: You must copy
spells from scrolls. Right click on the scroll and select
write magic. Whether you are successful or not depends on
your intelligence. Intelligence also limits the number of
spells you can have for each spell level in your spell book.
If you are not given the option to write the spell in your
book, it means that you already have the spell in your book,
you have reached the maximum number for your intelligence
or, in the case of specialist mages, it is from an
opposition school so you cannot learn it. Priests do not
write spells in a book. Once they reach the appropriate
character level, they can choose to memorize any spell from
a given spell level.
How do I cast a spell?
A: To cast spells,
you must first memorize them by selecting them in your
spellbook or priest scroll, and then sleep overnight,
without interruption. Click on the spell icons to move them
around in your spellbook or priest scroll. Once the spell is
cast, it is erased from your memory until you relearn it. It
is possible to memorize multiple copies of the same spell.
AD&D does not use spell points or mana.
At what age will my character start the game?
A: You start at
approximately 20 or so (more for some of the older races).
This doesn't impact much in the game.
Are there diseases in the game?
A: Yes. BGII:SoA
will have disease so Cure Disease will be an important
skill. One of paladins' abilities is immunity to sickness,
which will com in handy.
Are there horses in BGII:SoA?
A: Ones you can
ride? No. We thought about this carefully and decided
against it. We took into consideration that using horses
would unbalance combat, break scripts, add a layer of
complexity to Gameplay AND add tons of animation. It does
not benefit the game as much as it would cost to implement.
Can I run (as opposed to always walking) in BGII:SoA?
A: No. Very similar
to the horse debate. However, we did speed up the overall
walk speed (1.5x), and there are far fewer "empty"
areas. The "long walks with nothing happening"
issue has been addressed.
Do you have to manage things like eating rations and such?
A: No, there is no
ration management. We thought this was kind of mundane -
BGII:SoA is epic and heroic. You don't have to worry about
going to the bathroom either (your characters are smart
enough to do that when you aren't looking).
How long is BGII:SoA?
A: BGII:SoA is
shaping up to be a very large game. The "critical
path", or main plot, of the game will be around 50-60
gaming hours. If you do every quest, go for the best armor
etc. and class specific sub quests our estimates are between
200-300 gaming hours.
Where does BGII:SoA take place?
A: An epic
continuation of the plot that was started in Baldur's Gate,
BGII:SoA is set along the southern portion of the Sword
Coast, a detailed and rich area of the Forgotten Realms
called Amn. This region includes such varied environments as
the Elven forests of Tethir, underwater cities, the
Cloudpeak Mountains, cities of the Underdark, the Astral
plane, the Abyss, and the capital city of Amn, Athkatla. We
are working closely with the talented group at TSR and they
are very excited with what we are exploring in BGII:SoA.
With all of the source materials from the AD&D world to
work with, we have the ability to create a detailed setting
that is truly immersive.
In which year is BGII:SoA set?
A: Baldur's Gate
was set in the year 1370 DR (Dale Reckoning), 12 years after
the Time of Troubles. Shadows of Amn takes place several
months after the fall of Sarevok and the city of Baldur's
Gate has been saved from a war with Amn.
What is the plot?
A: In BGII:SoA, you
face an uncertain future, with a lineage that tempts the
unscrupulous to use you and the ignorant to fear you. You
will face a foe that views you as no more than chattel, that
toys with you at every turn; a villain whose goals go beyond
a quest for power, and who threatens to use a lost companion
as a tool for destruction unparalleled. The choices to be
made will not be easy, and you may have to align with the
lesser of evils, when all evils cannot help but seem equal.
In the end you will have mourned lost loves, celebrated new
ones, and had adventures that profoundly shaped the Realms.
Where do I begin the game?
A: You awake
imprisoned in a cage. Imoen appears, releasing you and
saying that you need to escape. Nearby, you find Minsc and
Jaheira, also locked up, but no key. And because of your
imprisonment, you lack your equipment and money from
What do you mean I've lost all my stuff? What about my
A: You will be able
to recover some of your equipment as you explore BGII:SoA.
For instance, instead of a longsword +1 that a new character
will find, you might find your longsword +2. However, some
magic items will be removed for balancing reasons, such as
your Defender +5. Don't worry. Hundreds of new magic items,
many more powerful than what you had before, can be found in
BGII:SoA. If you imported many characters (from
multiplayer), you have bigger chances to find the items you
had (assuming that they have different items).
Will there be magical tomes to increase my ability scores?
A: No. There will
be no tomes in BGII:SoA. They unbalance the game as we
learned in Baldur's Gate.
Will there be any sub-plots in the game not related to the
A: There will close
to 100+ sub-plots in the game. Some of them will have
something to do with the plot, while some are completely
unrelated. Some may take a matter of minutes, while others
could take days (real time not game time). Some are
rewarding, others are painstakingly difficult, and some are
even lethal. Some are very important to the game as a whole,
while some are insignificant except for the characters'
reputation scores. All of these are up to the player's
discretion whether they will accomplish a particular
sub-plot or not.
Can I own a castle?
A: Each class will
be able to posses some sort of stronghold, once they reach
the appropriate level and complete a major quest for it.
Which stronghold you get depends on your class with
multiclasses being able to choose which one by deciding
which quest to pursue. Some examples are a keep for
fighters, a hall with many secrets for wizards, a temple for
clerics and a thieves' guild for thieves. You do not design
the stronghold as it is pre-rendered art. You can only own
one stronghold and for multiplayer games, only the
protagonist may possess a stronghold. The stronghold quests,
although interesting, are optional and not part of the
Will my paladin get a holy sword?
A: By completing
his quest to find a Holy Avenger sword he may gain entry
into the Order of the Radiant Heart. This is the paladin's
"stronghold". At the opposite side, there will be
a life-draining sword that only evil characters are able to
use. There will also be a Sunblade, which is extremely
powerful against certain evil and undead creatures.
What are the Holy Avenger's attributes? What type of sword
A: The Holy Avenger
is a two-handed sword which will work as a regular +2 weapon
if used by non-paladins. In the hands of a paladin, it will
act as a +5 sword, which inflicts additional +10 damage to
chaotic evil creatures. It will also give the wielder +50%
magic resistance and the ability to dispel magic.
How do I become a Great Druid?
A: You earn this
position by completing the character-specific quest for the
Do I need to manage my stronghold?
A: Yes. Owning a
stronghold has certain responsibilities. You must give
orders to your underlings and listen to your subjects or
risk losing your stronghold. In return, you will gain
information, money and other rewards. Take the bard's
stronghold, a playhouse, as an example. You need to hire
actors and choose their roles, separate two competing divas,
possibly rewrite the music and the play itself, and live
through opening night. If you are a fighter, be prepared to
defend your keep from attacking enemies.
There were too many FedEx-like fetching quests in Baldur's
Gate. I hate those types of quests.
A: We've made the
scripting much more complex and thus the quests in BGII:SoA
will be more intricate. There will also be more puzzles to
solve. You'll be hard-pressed to find a simple FedEx quest
Can I have a familiar or a pet?
A: Yes, we have
permitted wizards to have familiars, such as Imps, and
rangers may have animal companions.
I haven't played Baldur's Gate. Will there be a tutorial to
help me play?
A: Yes, there will
be a detailed tutorial unrelated to the main story that will
familiarize you with the interfaces and teach you how to
control your party.
Is there an Automap feature in the game?
A: A map of the
areas that you have explored will be generated
automatically. This map will be a smaller rendered version
of the ground you walk on. You will now be able to annotate
the map. Clicking on a location brings up a dialogue box in
which you type your text. This then appears as a
"flag" on the map, which can be viewed by pressing
the TAB key when over the flag, or double clicking the flag.
Can I annotate my journal?
A: There will be a
journal that will automatically chronicle your adventures
including the quests you have agreed to accomplish and the
major milestones in the story. The journal will be separated
into four sections: active quests, completed quests,
critical path notes, and player comments. The new journal
and ability to annotate maps will make record keeping easier
and more comprehensive than before.
Will I have to walk all they way across the world every
A: You will have
the option to travel to previously visited places
instantaneously (in real time), although game time still
passes and there is still a chance of random encounters.
Will I be able to tell the alignments of other characters in
A: Alignment will
be stored on the character sheet. Once a PC or NPC joins the
party, you can access their character sheet.
Do actions not in accordance with my alignment have any
A: There will be a
"reputation" for your characters as well as an
alignment. Reputation is something you build during the
course of an adventure, and it will generally parallel your
alignment. It represents how much people know of your
previous history of choices - and guards may react
differently to you in the next town you visit! Alignment
will help determine how people, NPCs especially, treat your
character, and how well or poorly they get along with him.
If you imported your character from Baldur's Gate, your
reputation won't follow you as no one has heard of you in
How does the communication with NPCs work?
A: Upon initiating
dialog, you will be given choices to select from, usually at
least three different ones. Further choices will depend on
the first answers, as well as your charisma or other
statistics, such as intelligence. We figured this was better
for the story, and it avoids the frustrating "I don't
understand thee" NPC answers as you try and find the
What changes were made to the dialog in BGII:SoA?
A: Dialog is still
based on selecting choices, but has been made more complex.
We have broken dialogs into smaller pieces, normally 2-3
sentences, giving you greater chance to affect its course
and cutting down on non-essential material. The leader and
reputation will also have greater affect on conversations.
While you are talking, one of your NPCs might take part to
the conversation and let you hear his/her opinion.
How will magic items be able to be identified?
A: You will be able
to identify magic items either by casting the wizard spell,
Identify, or taking it to a store that offers item
identification. Most stores (particularly ones that sell
magic items or temples) will offer this service for a fee.
As well, each character will have a Lore attribute based on
wisdom, intelligence, race, class, and experience that can
be used to identify items. Bards in particular will have
higher Lore skills than other classes. Unidentified items
will have a blue shading over its icon.
How will infravision work?
A: Characters with
infravision will see everything in shades of red, not just
heat sources. Moving a character with infravision into a
dark area will automatically turn on infravision. It is
possible to select an option so that if any character in the
selected group has infravision, such a view will be used on
the screen, instead of having to select the actual character
Gems took up too much of my inventory. Can you give us a bag
A: We have added a
gem bag, as well as a scroll case. Now you can carry all
those precious gems and important notes without running out
Which currencies from AD&D are included in the game?
A: : Currently, we
are using only gold pieces. We felt that adding complexity
to the monetary system would not add to the gaming
Will there be banks in BGII:SoA?
A: No, each person
has a limit to what he/she can carry, based on weight and
strength of the individual characters. Money is kept in a
common party pool and has no weight. Extra objects can be
left on the ground, but sometimes NPCs or monsters may come
around and help themselves to those items. Objects stored in
containers, like chests and cupboards, are safe from these
Will encumbrance be a factor in determining how much I can
A: Yes. Encumbrance
will be tracked for each character and is determined by your
Will there be seasonal changes?
A: Yes and no.
There won't be any seasonal changes as the game is set in
the summer, although snow may be found in the mountains. It
may rain and there is a slight chance of being hit by
lightning in a thunderstorm.
Will there be traps in dungeons and on chests?
A: Yes. There will
be both mechanical and magical traps. Some traps may even be
a combination of both! A thief with high Find/Remove Traps
skill or a cleric with a Find Traps spell will be extremely
useful in the game. The traps on the floor have been changed
so that they will only take a portion of the space and don't
cross the whole corridor anymore.
In Baldur's Gate, characters had problems navigating small
passages and staying in formation. Has this been improved?
A: Pathfinding is
much better in BGII:SoA. Characters will now bump others out
of the way instead of "taking the long way".
How does the combat system actually work?
A: The combat
system is based on the rules set out by the 2nd edition
AD&D Player's Handbook. BGII:SoA uses these rules and
adapts them to the real-time format used in the game. In the
game manual, there is a complete rundown explaining all that
is needed to know how to play the game. Your characters have
a sophisticated AI system (using a scripting language) that
will allow them to independently and simultaneously execute
your orders. If you wish, you can turn their AIs off and
control all of them one by one, in a turn-based mode. This
is achieved by pausing the game and then giving orders to
each of the PCs you wish. We want the game to be enjoyed by
both real-time and turn-based RPG fans.
How does initiative work for combat and spell casting?
A: Each character
on the field is on a "personal initiative round."
This personal initiative round will be 6 seconds long - and
it corresponds roughly to one 60 second round in AD&D.
The rounds are equal in length but are non-simultaneous;
that is, they do not have exactly the same start and end
points for all characters and monsters. Within the personal
initiative round, the weapons and spells fire off at the
same proportionate time that they would get released in an
AD&D round. That is, a dagger is used quicker in a round
than a two-handed sword. A Magic Missile gets released
sooner after spellcasting starts than a Fireball, etc.
Initiative is determined each round and modifies the timing
of swings and spell casts slightly every round, so each
round will be slightly different from preceding and
following rounds. If a mage is hit between the time he or
she starts to cast and the time that the spell is due to get
released, the spell is disrupted. Thus, shorter cast-time
spells are a definite advantage, exactly as in AD&D. We
have been careful to adapt the AD&D rule set to a
real-time system maintaining the exact weapon weightings,
spell weightings, and the same proportionate timing.
BGII:SoA will follow the same system as in Baldur's Gate.
All in all, we hope the net result is a real-time adaptation
of the rules that maintains the original flavor and balance
Will morale effects be included in the game?
A: Monsters and
NPCs (even those in your party) will suffer and benefit from
morale-related decisions. Everyone engaged in combat will
periodically do a morale check, with failure or success
based on how well or badly the fight is going. This involves
how much you are outnumbered or how much you outnumber your
opponents, whether you have taken or given damage, if
comrades of yours have been hurt or killed, etc. The only
people immune to this check are PCs, because it is assumed
they are bright enough to get out of harm's way if they're
not doing so well. However, the NPCs in the party may have
other ideas if you insist on fighting a lost cause.
Although, there are some characters that might see retreat
as a sign of weakness.
Are multiple simultaneous battles possible?
A: There can be any
number of battles within the same 8x8 area occurring
simultaneously. However when the leader pauses the combat,
all battles in progress are paused.
Will changing armor or weapons during combat occur
A: You can pause
the game at any time, but it will stay paused on the main
page only - if you switch to another page it will restart.
This is to simulate the effects of changing armor or
inventory on the fly. You will thus be allowed (real time)
to change the armor you carry, but if you do it in combat,
you'll pay a price! This is meant to compensate for dual-
and multiclass characters, and not make them too powerful.
The same applies to changing your shield and equipped
weapons (although you can rotate between quick weapons
during combat with no penalties, as these are prepared in
advance). The only way to maintain the pause mode is to stay
on the main GUI screen and just select your targets and
modes of attack for your party members.
Can characters cast spells while wearing armor?
A: Multiclassed and
dual-classed mages must abide by mages' armor restrictions
and will not be able to cast while wearing armor. The only
exception to this is a character wearing a suit of Elven
Chainmail, one that can be found in the game. Bards must
also follow these restrictions, although some special armor
for bards will be added in BGII:SoA.
Will invisible characters be able to been seen by other
members of the party?
A: Yes, the
character image will be transparent but still visible to the
rest of the party.
How can I find out how badly damaged everyone is?
A: Pressing the TAB
key over a character will tell you their current hit points
and maximum hit points. If the game is paused, the TAB key
will result in these statistics for all characters on the
screen being shown. For non-party NPCs and monsters,
pressing TAB over their animation will reveal how badly hurt
they are using descriptions like "Heavily Wounded"
or "Near Death". Damage will still be shown over
the party members' portraits using red shading as in
What are the rules on death and unconsciousness?
A: Being reduced to
0 hit points results in normal death, from which you can be
resurrected. If the character is reduced to -10 then the
character is irrevocably dead. Normally, dead characters
will remain in the party and can be revived at temples.
What happens when a party member dies?
A: When a party
member (other than the leader) dies, the character's body
disappears while all of the character's equipment drops to
the ground. The body can then be transported to a place of
healing like a temple. Your main character could conceivably
end up carrying 5 bodies if he/she was the lone survivor of
a battle (not a very pleasant task). The dead character's
equipment will have to be carried by other party members
until that individual is once again alive. If the main
character dies, the game must be reloaded.
Will bow specialists get bonuses for Point Blank range?
A: What we decided
was to implement a consistent bonus for specialists with the
bow. It is technically unfeasible to implement point blank
bonuses without taking up a lot of the CPU time by
continually checking the range. However, if you are using a
ranged weapon in hand-to-hand combat, there is a severe
penalty to hit.
Can I retrieve arrows that I shoot at monsters? What about
other thrown weapons?
A: No, you cannot.
Once you use an arrow or other missile weapon, it is not
My darts were always running out, forcing me to switch to a
new pile manually. Have you changed this?
A: No. We are not
planning to make changes to how darts are handled.
Will critical hits be in the combat system? ?
A: Absolutely! Not
only are they calculated, they are graphically displayed
with blood and gore! Of course, the level of graphic
violence will be adjustable to allow people of all ages to
enjoy the game.
Where will my party be able to rest?
A: You can rest
anywhere, but there is always the chance of a wandering
encounter. No need to post a guard - it is assumed that you
apportion guard duties out evenly. Rest is instantaneous,
but game time does pass during rest and you will wake up in
the next morning unless interrupted by a combat. There are
inns and taverns where you can get a much more secure and
restful night of sleep for a price.
Can my party travel in formation when the leader moves?
A: Party members
(PCs and NPCs) will be able to follow the party leader in a
formation. The formation is determined by the character's
relative location to the leader when he/she selects Follow.
You will be able to form and reform at any time. Quite a
number of formations are included - some are offensive, some
are defensive. Right-clicking the formations on the game
screen will bring up additional choices.
Will there be different sizes and shapes of shields?
A: Yes. There are
three types of shields of different shapes and sizes, as
well as bucklers. The AC of the shield is dependent both on
the type and material of the shield.
Will there be an option to select more or less opponents per
A: No. But,
encounters can be adjusted in the Options page using the
difficulty setting. Setting it to easier will weaken the
enemies that are encountered (and provide less experience
points), while choosing a more difficult setting will make
the encounter harder, although no extra experience points
will be gained.
How do experience points (XP) get divvied up?
A: Experience will
be divvied up among each member of the party equally
regardless of who kills what. This will ensure that the
mighty fighter that gets the killing blow does not get more
experience than the cleric that healed him throughout the
Will monsters just blindly fight or will they make tactical
A: Monsters have
AI. They will run away and regroup, swing around to attack
your flank or rear, and have morale that will break
according to AD&D rules. Some of the smarter ones may
plead for their lives.
How many monsters in BGII:SoA (and what)?
A: There will be
over 130 unique monster types in BGII:SoA (compared to about
60 in Baldur's Gate). Some of those that you will fight are:
Beholders, Djinni, Elementals, Githyanki, Golems, Kuo-Toa,
Leopards, Mephits, Mind Flayers, Otyughs, Sahaugin, Spectres,
Trolls, Umber Hulks, Vampires and Wraiths.
Will there be dragons?
A: The game engine
can now handle very large monsters. The largest monster we
have won't even fit one screen. Whether there are dragons,
is a surprise.
Can we meet Drizzt again?
A: It is possible
to meet Drizzt again, and he may not be happy if you killed
him in Baldur's Gate. Black panthers now roam the Realms.
Is BGII:SoA going to be multiplayer?
A: Yes. The
multiplayer and single-player games are actually based on
the exact same story. The whole point of this is that we
want to capture the feel of the old AD&D adventures,
where you entered a campaign world with friends and
adventured! The multiplayer game that we are creating is a
simulation of the old AD&D sessions of our youth. People
can join the adventuring party (up to six people per game)
by taking over one of the NPCs and, if they have to go for
supper, the party can either stop or continue (with an NPC
AI again controlling the character). We are not creating a
"story-less" multiplayer game; we are creating a
complex story-based RPG that can be played either single
player or multiplayer. All players can also create their own
PCs, with one being designated as the story's main
How many people can play BGII:SoA multiplayer and how does
it actually work?
A: Up to six people
can join a game of BGII:SoA. Each must have a copy of the
full game - this is because all of the graphics for the game
are still stored on the CDs. If starting the game together,
they each generate a new character, which is one of the six
in the party. If entering the game after it is already under
way with less than 6 players, the player who started the
game may assign them control of one or more NPCs. Each
player may take control of as many NPCs as they wish and may
trade control of them. The players now may play the full
game with their friends via LAN or the Internet with a
TCP/IP connection. Direct connections (two players,
head-to-head, cooperative mode) via modems or serial cables
are also supported.
What is the difference between multiplayer and an online
A: A multiplayer
game features a small group of players (six in the case of
BGII:SoA) that share the adventures and story together. The
persistent world supports only the six players working
together though a common story and quest. In contrast, an
online game (text-based MUDs and Ultima Online are examples
of true online games) consists of a persistent world in
which many (hundreds or even thousands) of characters play
together. Typically, there is not a strong story element as
the many players make their own quests. We'd love to do a
"Baldur's Gate Online" but recognize that it is
truly a massive undertaking, even larger than BGII:SoA.
How far can I separate myself from my friends when playing
A: You can go about
one 8x8 array of 640x480 game screens away from the rest of
How is the gameplay while in multiplayer?
A: The gameplay is
essentially the same as in single player except you play
with a group of your friends. It's either AI-controlled NPCs
or real, live, human party members.
How does the multiplayer combat system work?
A: In multiplayer,
only the leader, or someone that has been granted leader
permission, has the ability to "pause" the game;
you have to be ready for a little more action. But with
fewer characters to control, the task should be fairly easy.
Otherwise, combat is essentially identical to the
Can I duel with my friends in multiplayer mode?
A: Sure. This could
be a lot of fun actually. Just make sure you don't kill them
if you don't mean to! Of course, the multiplayer mode is a
long-term undertaking (you play through the same story as
the single player game), so the game is meant to be played
as a cooperative venture. You might want to be cautious
about attacking your friends!
Can I import my characters from single-player mode into
A: Yes, you can
import characters from single player into multiplayer mode.
You can also create all six characters in multiplayer, and
play through the game with them by yourself. It would be
just like playing the single-player game, except you have
total control over the creation of all six characters.
How much will the multiplayer service cost?
A: The multiplayer
service will be FREE (as it should be!), but each person
will have to own a copy of the game.
What happens when the leader of a multiplayer game dies?
A: If the main
character dies (whether in single- or multiplayer games),
the game cannot continue and a saved game must be reloaded.
The story revolves around a main character, THE main
character. If he/she dies, the story cannot go on.
What kind of control does the leader of a multiplayer game
A: You can think of
the leader as having some of the powers that the Dungeon
Master has in a pen and paper AD&D game. When the leader
spawns a new multiplayer game, others may ask to join (via
TCP/IP over the Internet or a LAN). The leader assigns slots
to the others and also sets whether they can import/export
characters with or without items, and with or without
experience, to/from other games. Hence, in some games, the
leader may not allow any items to be imported in, while in
others the leader may require setting the starting level of
any new characters to 1st level. The type of game is really
defined by the leader, and if the other players don't like
the type of game or the leader, they can form their own
games or find another! Once they have joined, the leader has
the only save game for the multiplayer, though players may
export their characters to back them up. Additionally, the
leader can remove any player from the game at any time.
Things that are assignable by the leader to other players
include the ability to initiate dialogue with NPCs, the
ability to leave areas that require the whole group to
leave, the ability to spend group funds on purchases, and
the ability to pause the game. In some games, the leader may
elect to reserve assigning these sorts of things to players
until they demonstrate maturity. Or, if all the players know
each other, the leader may assign these sorts of things to
What changes have been made to multiplayer in BGII:SoA?
A: Multiplayer in
BGII:SoA has been modified to remove some irritations that
were present in Baldur's Gate. Speaking with NPCs will no
longer pause the game for all players, except when that
dialog is important for the plot. Thus, you can chat with
the locals without bothering the other players, but won't
miss any of the story. For other players to learn what that
NPC had to say they will have to talk to them themselves or
the other player will need to relay the information. The
lack of pausing also applies to conversations with shop
owners, allowing you to buy and sell independently of the
other players. Finally, players can now write the histories
that appear on the character sheet, which other players can
read while the character is in the party.
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