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9/19/2018

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run: Candlekeep

Candlekeep is a large citadel built on a sea crag along the Sword Coast, containing a great library run by mages and seers.
Regardless of what type of player character you built when you started a new game, you will start out in the role of an orphan raised as the ward of a high-ranking mage named Gorion at Candlekeep.
Outside the Candlekeep Inn, where you begin the game. (The halfling thief is pictured here.)
You'll be able to complete about five small nonviolent quests for around 250 experience points (xp) before you leave, as well as a small amount of additional bonus xp if you do things like scribing spells with a mage or opening locks with a thief.

The Candlekeep Inn
You'll begin in the northwest corner just outside the Candlekeep Inn. If you enter the inn, you can speak with the innkeeper Winthrop, and buy and sell items from him as well (unless you were too rude to him, or tried to steal and got caught). Note: You will need to purchase one inexpensive quarrel of crossbow bolts from Winthrop for one of the small quests here, so you might pick that up now.
Speaking with Firebead Elvenhair inside the Candlekeep Inn for a short quest...
Firebead Elvenhair
There is a tall elven mage inside the Inn at left, who will introduce himself as Firebead Elvenhair and ask for your help retrieving any Identify spell scroll. You can solve this by heading out of the Inn and walking through the inner walls of the citadel around the castle until you find a man in a red robe named Tethoril, who will give you the scroll if you tell him that Firebead asked for it. When you return to Firebead with the scroll, he'll reward you with  50 xp and a potion of healing, as well as casting Protection from Evil on you for a short time.
Tethoril holds the scroll sought by Firebead Elvenhair
(Tethoril seems to move around the interior of the keep. If you also approach the front of the temple, you can have a brief conversation with a young thief named Imoen, and also find a group of chanter's singing a prophecy concerning the evil deity Bhaal.)

Other remarks about the Inn:
If you're playing as a mage and want to cast any spells, you can memorize them now by adding them to your spellbook and resting in a "peasant" class room for only 1 gold piece. If you're playing one of the Baldur's Gate Extended Edition releases and began as a mage with the Find Familiar spell, you can immediately summon your familiar as soon as you memorize the spell.
After resting one night at the Inn, our Elven Mage casts "Find Familiar", causing a Fairy Dragon to emerge...
You will also receive a small amount of xp every time you scribe a new spell into your mage's spellbook (i.e. when you learn it for the first time, not just each time you memorize it). The xp gain in our version was around 10 xp / spell level (i.e. a level 1 spell yields 10xp, and a level 2 spell would yield 20 xp, etc).

Phlydia's Lost Book
If you travel just a short distance northeast of the Inn, you'll meet a young acolyte named Phlydia who lost one of her books ("The History of Halruaa").

She will ask you for help finding the book, which she turns out to have lost over near the haystacks attended by the caretaker of the cows, Dreppin. (When you return her book, you'll receive 50 xp and a gift of a Lynx Eye Gem from Phlydia.)


(If you're heading east to find Dreppin, you may want to glance at the section below on hostile encounters before entering the small building pictured containing Priest's Quarters, which you'll find just west of Dreppin's haystacks along the north wall.)

Drepppin & Nessa the Cow
When you reach the haystacks with cows in front of them, you can talk to Dreppin (the caretaker) to learn that Phlydia left her book in the haystack.

Dreppin will also tell you about his cow Nessa, who has fallen ill: He will ask you to help him by bringing an antidote to cure her with. He'll suggest you talk to Hull to retrieve it. (You'll end up finding an antidote in the  Barracks in Hull's chest, but he'll give you another quest to go and get his sword in the same place.) When you bring Dreppin the antidote, you'll receive another 50 xp.

There is a Temple of Oghma east of Dreppin and his cows, and if you turn south you'll find a warrior named Jondalar who will offer you fighting lessons (which you can decline if you want, though you won't be injured if you decide to train), and also a Storehouse with a retired guard named Reevor. Reevor will try to commission you to exterminate some little mice inside, but we of course declined this and continued our attempts at a minimum-violence/kills pacifist run. There is also a Gatewarden who is even more insistent that you engage in combat training, though you can avoid this by repeatedly refusing and being verbally castigated for obstinacy, or just running away from him when he approaches.


Hull
Further south near some battlements (just southeast of the main entrance to the inner keep's walls), you'll find Hull, who will tell you that he is suffering the aftermath of a late night at the tavern, and forgot his longsword when he showed up for duty. He'll ask you to go retrieve it for the barracks, and mention that Dreppin's antidote is in the chest as well. When you bring him back his sword, you'll get 50 xp and also some gold if you have a high enough charisma score.
If you want to stop by a northwest-facing building just south of here (right up against the outer walls in the southeast corner), you won't see the entrance from your point of view, but can hover over where it should be to find an entrance to a clinic, where a Priest of Oghma will give you a free healing potion. (There is also a Gatewarden who will try to rope you into some more advanced combat training, covered below, but you can give him a wide berth if you're not ready yet. Either way, you won't have to kill anything in the training.)

The Barracks & Fuller's Crossbow Bolts
You'll find some barracks further in the west on the lower side of Candlekeep, just west of the bunkhouses. You can find Hull's chest on the right side of the building, and pick up the antidote for Dreppin there at the same time.

If you speak with another guard named Fuller inside the Barracks, he'll poke a little fun at Hull, and also ask you to run an errand and buy him a quarrel of crossbow bolts (which you can buy from Winthrop  at the Inn, if you haven't already). When you give him the bolts, Fuller will reward you with some gold and 50 xp, but if you also built a character with high Charisma (18, in our test), he'll give you a +1 Dagger as well. (The +1 Dagger is worth some gold, even if you never fight in the entire game).

Speaking with Gorion & Leaving Candlekeep:
When you're ready to leave Candlekeep, you can speak with Gorion, who will tell you that you are in much danger and must leave with him on a journey as soon as you can possibly prepare. He will also tell you that if he himself were killed, that you should seek out his trusted friends Khalid the warrior and Jaheira the druid, both of whom you can  find at the Friendly Arms Inn some distance northeast of Candlekeep.
When you're ready to leave, tell Gorion this and you'll watch a cut-scene in which you both depart.

Note: After you leave Candlekeep the first time, you won't be able to come back for a long time, so be sure to do whatever you want to do here first before speaking with Gorion and telling him you're ready to leave.

More Optional Mischief Inside Candlekeep

We did our pacifist runs with two groups of contributors: Our Elven mage who passed through Candlekeep virtuously (more or less as described above), and G.W. Trevelyan's halfling thief, who made several more experiments involving using the "Open Locks" skill, among other things:
The Second Floor of the Candlekeep Inn contains several amusing noblemen you can have conversations with on the second floor of the Inn, though nothing essential. If you're playing as a rogue/thief class character with lockpicking skill, you can also find a number of locked chests (mostly on the 2nd floor of the inn), but you won't ever actually be forced to steal in order to gain a small amount of xp for picking the locks: You can just pick them open to receive the xp, and leave the contents inside if you prefer to be virtuous and not steal from anyone who doesn't deserve it. (In our versions of the game, picking locks for small amounts of xp did not cause nearby NPCs to become hostile, either: They only become hostile if you actually reach into the chests and try to remove items.)
Group 2's halfling thief is observed becoming overly inquisitive about the contains of locked chests..
One caveat regarding lockpicking: At least some version of Baldur's Gate (possibly all) seem to give you only once chance to open a lock, so if you fail, you can't just retry over and over again until you level up again and increase your lock picking skill (unlike RPGs that let you try the same lock repeatedly, with only the risk of breaking lockpicks if you fail).
The halfling thief just manages to succeed at hiding in the shadows and sneaking past the guard, escaping down the stairs without being seen...
The Gatewarden and Combat Training with Obe the Illusionist
If you want to accept the offer from the Gatewarden for combat training, you'll meet an illusionist named Obe who will summon some illusionary Gibberlings so you can test out combat with a party of NPCs.
If you're playing a mage with a "Neutral" alignment mage with a familiar Ferret (or Rabbit or Cat, who have lesser but still usable pickpocketing skill), you can probably send your familiar to repeatedly pickpocket the NPC party of a number of valuable items (including a Wand of the Heavens and a Wand of Magic Missiles).
If you tried to just take the items by opening the NPC's inventory screen and giving them to your own player character, Obe would test for them and automatically remove them when teleporting you back out of the building after training: But the trick is to have your Ferret (or Rabbit or Cat familiar) hang on to the items until after he teleports you out. Once you're back outside in the main Candlekeep grounds again, you can talk to your familiar and ask it to give you the items it has pick pocketed (which it will).
Opinions will vary about the ethical ramifications of this action, but the mage and ferret argued that if the combat trainers were willing to let you use all the wand charges just to blow up illusory monsters in training, they ought not to mind your keeping the same wands for other purposes either.

Hostile encounters inside Candlekeep:
There are also two minor hostile encounters inside Candlekeep, but you can easily evade both of them without having to fight, and minimal risk of being killed yourself: One of them takes place in the Priest Quarters buildling just west of the haystacks where Dreppin keeps his cows.

If you go in this building, you'll be confronted by a thief named Shank who has been sent to kill your character, and you'll learn that there's a price on your head. Shank is not very dangerous, though, and it is very easy to just leave the building (or run away from him inside) with minimal danger, after which he won't dare come outside and risk being caught by the guards.
The other similar encounter takes place in the Bunkhouse in the southwest, on the opposite side of the inner keep walls, next door to the Barracks. Here you'll encounter a similar low-status criminal named Carbos who also wants to boost his status and claim a bounty that has been placed on your head. However, he is also not very dangerous, and won't follow you outside the Bunkhouse if you just leave.
Alternately: If you want to practice casting some nonlethal spells such as Charm, Sleep, or Color Spray on these two criminals, you'll have a reasonably good chance of succeeding on either even at level 1.
This might be an optional opportunity to practice charming + pickpocketing, if you are either a mage/thief type character, or happen to have one of the pickpocketing familiar animals such as the ferret, rabbit, or cat: In this case, you can charm Shank (perhaps also Carbos) and have your familiar pickpocket them before the spell wears off.
If pickpocketing fails on a charmed creature, they still won't become hostile again until the charm spell wears off, so you can try  rapidly over and over again until the pickpocketing succeeds. (Sometimes this is the only way we know of to claim key quest items from otherwise-hostile foes that you can't get the item from in any other way in a pacifist run— though in this case the two would-be assassins have so little of value that it may not be worth the trouble, unless you want some practice.)
A string of 10xp rewards results from picking (but not opening) locked chests in the barracks
Finally, there are also some more locks you can pick open, notably in the Barracks. If you have a rogue/thief and want to pick the locks for a small amount of xp without actually stealing, our version of the game allowed this for a small reward of xp (about 10xp per lock) without making Fuller or the other guards hostile.
If you inspect any items inside the chests too closely, however, the guards will confront you, denounce you for thievery, and demand you give them all of your gold. Halfling thief McGibbits' response "I don't have any gold. Can't we just forgive and forget?" resulted in further denunciation, and the guards attacking with quarter staves. This made a fitting time to run away from the barracks and proceed to the inner grounds to tell Gorion that we were ready to depart for the Friendly Arms Inn.
"I'm ready to go right now."

9/18/2018

Magical Familiars: Optional "Secret Weapons" for a Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run

When running Baldur's Gate Expanded Edition to play the original Baldur's Gate 1 campaign (as opposed to the original edition of Baldur's Gate engine from the 1990s) you'll have access to the Find Familiar spell from character generation. Anyone playing any mage character other than a Diviner (who can't use conjuration/summoning spells) can consequently get a magical familiar companion from the very start of the game. (Hopefully this is still the case with the even newer re-released editions of Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition that just came out recently as well, but we're not sure.)

Like the faithful magical animal companions in dozens of "casual" adventure or hidden object games, these faithful companions will stay with you and help with various tasks, and each has its own set of unique abilities.

Many Baldur's Gate RPG'ers overlook familiars because they are not fighting machines (though the Monty Python sorcerer "Tim's" line "this is no ordinary rabbit" still applies even to the fluffiest of them).
However, familiars are more powerful for a pacifist run than they would be on a combat-heavy run, and can easily constitute a "secret weapon", both because of their special abilities, and because they add another party member who can help you with a lot of miscellaneous tasks without causing any xp rewards from nonviolent quests to be reduced. This is because familiars don't level up on their own, so don't divert any share of xp divided away from your other character(s).
The main caveat is you have to be careful to protect the familiars: They aren't built like tanks, so they have to be kept out of danger for the most part. Fortunately, they can be protected by talking to them and asking you to let them pick them up so you can put them inside your pack, where they will be safe until you bring them back out again...

There is one unique familiar for every individual alignment in the game (e.g. lawful good, chaotic good, true neutral, chaotic neutral, etc.)

The familiars we experimented with in pacifist runs were:

THE FAIRY DRAGON
If you play a Chaotic Good alignment mage, casting the "Find Familiar" spell will present you with a Fairy Dragon, a friendly flying creature about the size of a cat.
In our version of BGEE (Baldur's Gate Expanded Edition) this was the most overpowered familiar, since it can cast the powerful 10' invisibility spell. This spell (normally a tier 3 mage spell that we never found available in any shops in BG1) turns you, the dragon, and any other allies within 10 feet invisible for up to 24 game hours. As with all invisibility enchantments, you can't grab any treasures or items, talk to anyone, or open locks without breaking the spell— but it's still extremely useful for nonviolent players, since it won't ever fail like stealth skills can, and can be used on an entire group instead of just singly by a thief.
Caveat: Exactly what abilities your familiar has might vary depending on which edition of BGEE you have. We saw some accounts indicating that the Fairy Dragon's invisibility spell got taken away in some versions of Baldur's Gate Expanded Edition(!). If so, the fairy dragon would remain a charming creature, but not the most powerful of the bunch. Also, while this spell is extremely useful, a pacifist run through BGEE doesn't critically rely on it, since any normal mage can get the level 2 invisibility spell after a few level-ups.

THE FERRET, RABBIT, AND CAT:

The Ferret
The Ferret accompanies a "Lawful Neutral" alignment mages who cast the Find Familiar spell. The Ferret is the best pickpocket, with 75% skill in this ability, as well as 40% in stealth, and 20% in detecting traps. It also has at least some skill level in opening locks, though the in-game description doesn't say exactly how much. Like the other familiars with thieving skills, the ferret can only pick the locks— it can't actually open the lids of chests and take items. However, it can pickpocket items, and then be talked to afterward, to ask it to hand over the items. If you wanted to go solo, then playing a solo Enchanter with a Ferret familiar to pick pockets for you might be one of the best choices, since you could cast invisibility on yourself, cast charm on foes you want to steal an item from, and have the Ferret pickpocket the charmed foe without having to split the XP equally with a thief. (Note: The reason this can work well is that a Charmed foe won't become hostile after a pickpocketing attempt fails, so you can repeatedly use the pickpocketing ability on the same Charmed target over and over again until it succeeds— unlike with a non-Charmed NPC, who would become impossible to pickpocket the moment they turned hostile to you after the first failed attempt.)

The Rabbit
Perhaps the cutest of the familiars, but one with rather modest skills, the rabbit accompanies "Neutral" alignment mages: The Rabbit's description doesn't mention pickpocketing or lockpicking skills, but it still has them to some degree. Its relative strengths are its 50% detect traps ability, and it also has modest stealth abilities, but they're not powerful enough to justify the risk of putting it in dangerous situations where the stealth might fail. (However, when it comes to being white and fluffy and hopping around through flowery meadows, it excels.)

The Cat
The cat accompanies a "Chaotic Neutral" alignment mage. The cat has at least some ability to pick locks and pick pockets, but its main strength is its stealth skills: It has 99% skill in stealth. However, like most cats, it isn't in any particular hurry to obey its caretaker, and seems to have the slowest movement speed of any of the familiars. (Even if you're patient, the major problem with this is that it will put the cat in greater danger when its stealth skill fails, since you can't equip familiars with special equipment like the Boots of Speed.)
Also: 99% stealth skill is very good, but not quite as powerful as it sounds, since in Baldur's Gate (and similar games based on AD&D rules), "modifiers" are applied to the continuously re-checked stealth rolls so that stealth still actually fails intermittently even when the skill score is well over 100%.

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run: Dealing with Scarce XP & NPC Allies

Like many AD&D games and campaigns, Baldur's Gate lets you encounter various interesting characters on your journey, some of whom may offer to join your band of adventurers and become a permanent or temporary member of your party.
There is strength in numbers in many cases for obvious reasons, even for pacifist challengers: More treasure can be carried away, varied skills and abilities only certain characters have can be used together, and (of course) the more allies are with you, the more "moving targets" there are for the bad guys to take a shot at without scoring a "kill" of their own.

There is a major disadvantage of doing this though:
Pacifist challenge players who can't kill things to gain experience points face a scarce finite supply of experience points, the majority of which are only available through nonviolent questing.
This is also the case in a lot of other games, but in Baldur's Gate (following D&D tradition) the scarce experience points you receive are automatically evenly distributed between every single character you have in your party at the time they're awarded. (In other words, if you receive 500xp and have 5 characters in your party, each one only receives 100xp each— whereas if you were doing a solo run with only one character, that character would get all 500xp for themselves.)

This makes bringing allies with you very costly, but there is one twist you can use to your advantage:
A player can recruit NPC allies and being them along, and then (anticipating the ending of a given quest) can politely ask other party members to temporarily leave the party, so that only active members of the band receive the XP when the quest is solved. Then they can just talk to their old ally again and re-recruit them right afterward.
Pacifist run players who don't kill anyone or anything for xp can bring NPC allies with them for as long as they want without a penalty, since no one gains xp from "kills" in the first place.
This is arguably not an unfair "exploit", by the way, since the party members excluded from the band don't get any XP at all and therefore can't be leveled up past whatever level they began with (unless you cut them in on an equal share of the xp elsewhere).
It's just a somewhat odd way of distributing scarce xp to where it's going to be most effective: Either entirely to your own player character, or split just a few ways between the team members with the skills that most urgently need to be leveled up.
This especially useful in some cases where you need to rescue characters from dungeons and bring them to safety, but then ask them nicely to wait outside the band rather than stealing your xp when competing quests.

Another big advantage is that you can also bring a strong fighter-type character or two, cast invisibility on them, and convert them into pack-mule-like allies who can carry over 100 pounds of treasure away while you're nonviolently looting enemy strongholds. (The invisibility spell will only be cancelled if the strong characters tried to grab the treasure themselves, but you can use a thief or mage to pass it off to them without breaking the spell cast on the NPC ally.)

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run Builds: Attributes

Baldur's Gate uses a classic D&D system of attributes that determine how well each character does particular things: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma.

Pacifist run players are faced with far more challenges and constraints overall, but when it comes to attribute scores at character generation, they actually have a definite advantage, since combat-related attributes can be significantly downgraded during character generation.

Generating Attribute Scores
To get your initial scores, you roll virtual dice to get various starting numbers for each attribute, then allocate these to the various attributes your player character has throughout the game. (Note: In D&D tradition, BGEE is a game where you have relatively few chances to increase your initial starting attributes, which typically don't change at all during level-ups in which only new skills are increased.)

Strength (STR)
Impacts combat damage, but also isn't useless on a pacifist run since it determines how many pounds of treasure or items each character can carry around. However, before investing points in strength, it's worth nothing that you can easily recruit lots of strong warriors as NPC allies throughout Baldur's Gate. (All you need to do to stop them from automatically trying to slay all who oppose you is to click off the automatic AI button.) These strong NPCs can then help even the weakest mage or thief carry hundreds of pounds of treasure out of various lairs of iniquity— as long as you've also got a mage with you to cast invisibility on them to keep them from getting slain by multitudes of foes while they're busy carrying around your treasure. (An invisibility potion could also be used, but these are rather scarce in the first half of BG1.)

Constitution (CON)
This determines how much endurance, hit points, and stamina a character has, and having too low a score can cause the character to be damaged easily, or get fatigued more quickly after hours of travel. We never noticed any particular problems using scores as low as 9-10 for our Enchanter of Thief characters though, other than the predictable "modest" number of hit points.

Dexterity (DEX)
This skill is important to the Thief, since it supports their skills and the probabilities of success with actions like picking locks, hiding in shadows, pickpocketing, etc. I believe there is also value in it for non-thief characters when it comes to their chances of dodging attacks successfully.

Wisdom (WIS)
This is one of the more counter-intuitive attributes: For a cleric, Wisdom is the most important attribute, determining how many spells they can cast, and how well they cast them. However, it rarely seems to be important as it sounds for other types of characters (as far as we know), other than that you may need a minimum score of no lower than 9 to be able to use wands, which are definitely very useful assets in a pacifist run.

Intelligence (INT)
Intelligence is the prime attribute for all the "Mage" classes (i.e. normal Mages, and specialist mages like Enchanters, Illusionists, Conjurers, etc). It determines their ability to learn new spells (which they scribe into their spellbooks and then memorize during rest), and how effective the spells they cast are when used. (Apparently "Wisdom" is not as important to a mage as one might guess, and the same is true for Clerics and "Intelligence".)

Charisma (CHA)
This attribute comes into play in several ways:

In the first place, there are a number of unpredictable situations scripted into the game in which an in-game character will change their reaction to your lead character based on his or her Charisma score. Sometimes this results in a nice but non-essential bonus, like being given a larger reward than anticipated, or other situations where it determines the difference between an NPC becoming hostile or not. (We've also seen remarks indicating that it might impact the effectiveness of Enchanter spells, but we're not sure if that's true or not since the actual formulas the game uses are hidden.)

At shops, a high Charisma gives you a bonus by having merchants reduce costs to somewhere around a maximum discount of -20%, which adds to a lot of gold saved in the long-run. (And it's usually worth saving as much gold as you can: There are a number of particularly excellent magical items in BG1 that are only available in shops for high prices, and which can make a pacifist run a lot easier and more fun.)

One note: Those unafraid to use game guides and maps to locate pacifist run treasure can pretty easily come into possession of a magic book that increases CHA by 1 point permanently, and thieves can also optionally nab a cloak fairly early in the game that increases CHA by 2 points as long as the cloak is being worn.

NOTE ON ALLOCATION FOR PACIFIST RUN:

After doing the research needed to figure out what to do at character generation, a pacifist run player can take advantage of their non-combative nature:

Our Elf Enchanter in group 1 started with 18 INT, 18 CHA, 14 DEX, and a meager score of only 9 in each of STR, CON, and even Wisdom, but was still able to use wands with no obvious penalty, as well as easily scribing any mage spell.

Our Halfling Thief from group 2, in contrast, started with 19 DEX (since a +1 bonus is given to Halfings, as well as Elves), 18 CHA, and 15 Strength (since we'd already maxed our more important DEX and CHA scores), leaving CON, INT, and WIS at 10 each.

What both of them had in common was that they needed to temporarily bring physically stronger NPC allies along with them at certain times— not to fight, but rather to carry away all the treasure and heavy quest objects that these two leading men were both too physically weak to pick up and carry away by themselves...

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run Builds: Multi-Class & Dual Class Options

Baldur's Gate Expanded Edition also provides optional features of Multiclassing and Dual-Classing.

MULTICLASS MAGE/THIEF
A multiclass character can choose a combination of two classes that the game provides, such as mage/thief, fighter/mage, cleric/thief, etc., and then use the abilities of both classes at once.
This might sound like a good idea at first, and we started out experimenting with a multi-classed Mage/Thief, but in the end decided against continuing:
Xp in a pacifist run is limited to what can be gained by completing nonviolent quests (and a few very minor gains from things like memorizing spells and picking locks), making XP extremely scarce.
The problem is that using a multiclass character automatically splits the experience points gained equally between the two classes. This means it takes roughly twice the amount of experience to level up as a single class character, but without any of the many advantages of having two characters instead of one.
A Mage/Thief multiclass pacifist run is still very doable, but demands higher levels of xp whether you go solo, or join forces with other characters. (And if you decide to bring another team member into your band and intend to share xp with them, it means level-ups take even longer still, because xp won't just be spread two ways: Your share as a multiclass character will also split your own 50% share of the xp acquired between your own multi-class characters' two classes.)

NPC RECRUITS VS MULTICLASS
It's also worth noting that Baldur's Gate provides you with a lot of chances to recruit interesting NPC allies from various classes and alignments (who can also be customized, including changing their portraits).
This also diminishes the advantage of multiclassing and spreading one's xp out between two classes in a single character.
NPC allies who join the party can also be temporarily removed from the party at almost all times if you don't want to share XP from quest rewards with them, and then re-recruited right afterward in most cases, so that all desired XP goes directly to the player character (or 1-2 selected favorites, at the player's discretion).

For example, being a player who favors the enchantment and thieving skills:

Our Enchanter was joined near the very beginning by Imoen (a thief with 18 dexterity, the highest score a human can have when playing a thief), forming the ideal team of an Enchanter and Thief from near the start of the game. (If we'd multiclassed, we'd have had the spread of the same amount of xp split in the same way as with two characters, but only have been able to carry half as much treasure around, among other disadvantages.)

In our other run, our halfling Thief character originally started out on his own, but while exploring the Nashkel Mines, he ended up rescuing a saturnine enchanter named Xan from a cave, and relying on the latter's  "Charm," "Color Spray," and "Invisibility" spells to more efficiently solve numerous key encounters. There were also several critical points where Xan was enlisted to use non-lethal wands to acquire items our Thief could never have acquired himself...

In both cases it ened up paying off to recruit the help of NPC allies, regardless of how you chose to distribute the XP by strategically adding and removing active party members at key points.

DUAL-CLASSING

Dual-classing is a feature only humans have, in which they can choose one class until they're leveled up to satisfaction, then change their class to a second one. They will never be able to advance further in the first class, but after reaching the same level in their second class will be able to use the abilities of both.

This is a viable strategy, though we ourselves decided against it for various reasons:
The biggest problem with it is that dual-classing causes players to lose the ability to use their first class's skills until they even things up in their second class (after which they continue to level up in the 2nd class, and regain the abilities from the first, even though the first class does not advance).
This could be tough for a pacifist player during their first run, since XP cannot be gained using violence, and an awkwardly dual-classed character runs the risk of becoming troublesomely handicapped in a pacifist run (since "grinding" by killing things to rack up XP for a level-up is never an option).
Prior to having already won a pacifist run or two through any specific game, it would be difficult to predict exactly which skills will be needed in which situations.
Even if you end up falling back on NPC allies for help (e.g. recruiting a thief or mage when you lose your own abilities before leveling up in your 2nd class), the dual-class character will also have had to "start" over after reaching level 2, and so be less effective than any character with a single class for a long time.

DUAL-CLASSED MAGE-THIEF
One viable build if you wanted to dual-class might be an Enchanter-Thief (or general Mage-Thief), starting as a magic-user long enough to cast the "Find Familiar" spell and then immediately dual-class to a thief who would later be able to cast charm spells, color spray, sleep, etc.
This is more or less viable, but since dual-class can't be used until level 2, we decided to not bother with it, since we were happier with our Elf Enchanter or Halfling Thief, who both got additional magic and stealth bonuses in their own classes.
If you had the patience to level-up in the Mage class long enough to get the invisibility spell, the build would be even more viable— but our take was that this would take too long build up to, since it takes a lot of XP to get that far, and your Thief (after switching classes) might end up being frustratingly underpowered unless you start maximizing their stealth skills from the beginning of the run.

9/17/2018

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run Builds (Long Version)

As we mentioned in our short version, our Baldur's Gate players tried out two different runs through the game attempting a pacifist challenge run:
Our first was a team of an Enchanter (specialist mage), who would be joined early on by Imoen, the NPC thief who joins your party a short time into the game. They also chose "Find Familiar" as one of their level 1 mage spells, enabling us to be joined by a powerful pacifist run ally of a Faery Dragon familiar capable of casting a very advanced invisibility spell, giving them a huge initial advantage.

The second was G.W. Trevelyan's halfling thief McGibbits, whose run was originally planned as a solo thief campaign in which he'd attempt to solve all the quests alone (and therefore acquire all the xp points for his own use). However, McGibbits ended up changing his mind since many of the best pacifist run quests were only solvable using a combination of a Charm spell (an Enchantment spell) + the thief's pickpocketing abilities (since it's impossible to pickpocket hostile creatures).

So in the end, both groups of players ended up using a team of a Thief + Enchanter, making heavy use of the Stealth, pickpocketing, and lock picking skills of the thief, and the Charm Person and Invisibility spells of the Enchanters. (This enabled us to get almost all the way through the game, with the caveat that you'll eventually have no choice but to recruit a significantly tougher group of adventurers near the end, if you intend to take on the last boss without using cheats codes.)

A note on XP and leveling up your characters without fighting:
Baldur's Gate follows the D&D tradition of making you divide any yield of experience points evenly between any characters on your team at the time the xp is awarded. This + the pacifist challenge restriction against fighting in order to gain xp means that experience points are also quite scarce, coming mainly from solving nonviolent quests, so ideally the xp should be directed only at your most important characters.
However, it's usually also possible to bring along more allies most of the time, and then politely request that they leave the party temporarily so that only specific characters receive xp rewards.
(One last technical note: We used various custom portraits in our games for fun, but for those who might want to pick up the same NPC characters: The NPC thief seen in screenshots of group 1 was Imoen accompanying the PC enchanter, and the NPC Enchanter with group 2 accompanying the PC thief was Xan.)

CHARACTER GENERATION
A hallmark of Dungeons & Dragons RPGs is that players get to generate their own player characters to take on their adventures, and a player's choice of starting character for a pacifist run through Baldur's Gate is going to make a huge difference to how smoothly the campaign goes.

RACE:
You can be one of a number of fantasy races, including Elves, Halflings, Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, or Half-Orcs. Most have some type of special abilities and bonuses that make them better in some classes and worse in others. In our case, the races of interest were Elves (because they get magic, dexterity and stealth bonuses, among others) and Halflings (who get the best thief-skill and stealth bonuses).

CLASSES
The choice of "class" has a huge impact on what actual skills and abilities the player will end up with. For example, only thieves can use the pickpocketing skill, and only mages or clerics can cast many of the spells available only to their own class. (There are often treasures, potions, wands, and scrolls that create some overlap, but some of these are only usable to certain classes, making it difficult to predict what will/won't be available, or which ones will work.)

Players can choose whether to be fighters, mages (generalists, or specialists in one of many magical disciplines), thieves (later renamed "rogues", since they can be used with or without stealing anything), rangers, or clerics. There are also sub-classes of each of the above, such as druids (a cleric/priest subclass) who can charm animals and use nature magic.

The attributes (strength, intelligence, dexterity, and so on) one rolls and allocates will have a major role in determining how effectively each class uses its skills, but the fundamental abilities of each class are even more important.

BEST PACIFIST RUN CLASSES
There might be a lot of viable pacifist run strategies out there we never even thought of, but our top choices were the Mage (specifically the specialist mage, "The Enchanter") and the Thief. The Cleric also has solid potential.

THIEVES
You will never actually be forced to steal anything in Baldur's Gate even if you play as a thief, but thieves are still extremely useful classes to use in a pacifist run through Baldur's Gate I. Even if a "thief" character never steals anything (even from villains), the thief class excels at "stealth" skills that enable them to conceal themselves in shadows to avoid confrontations with enemies. This ability can also be used repeatedly (after a short cool down period after failure), unlike mages' spells that can only be cast as many times as their level allows after memorization. The ability to enter and leave the shadows repeatedly makes a huge difference in many cases while sneaking through hostile enemy-infested strongholds or wilderness areas, since simple actions like opening locks or chests will break the invisibility condition in most versions of Baldur's Gate.

Depending on how you allocate skill points, the thief's skills can also enable them to open locks, pick pockets (which is sometimes important to steal key quest items from villains without resorting to violence), and do several other useful things like detect traps.

If you're using a thief as your main character in a pacifist run, you will probably want to maximize stealth skills as soon as possible. (This will require some "legwork" to complete nonviolent quests while running away from enemies after low-level stealth skills fail, but that is often a lot of fun in its own right. Once your thief has passable stealth skills, a thief-oriented pacifist run starts to go even more smoothly.)

The only significant weakness of a thief is that they lack the ability to use magic, and in particular the "charm" spell, which is why thieves are even better when teamed up with magic users...

MAGES AND SPECIALIST MAGES

Three indispensable abilities during a pacifist run through BGEE are the ability to conceal one's self from enemies, to cast "Charm" to turn hostile foes friendly temporarily, and also to open locked doors and treasure chests. A mage with enough xp can theoretically do all three of these things, arguably making them the single best choice for a solo pacifist run, and a highly valuable asset for a run with some NPC allies.

Invisibility spells are available for purchase and can be learned after a few level gains, Charm is a level 1 "enchantment" spell from the very start (and works even better for Enchanters, since the spell comes from their specialist discipline of magic), and mages can acquire a lock-opening spell called "Knock" later in the game.

The only thing I know of that a mage can't do by themselves is to pick hostile foes pockets (or anyone elses' pockets for that matter), a skill which is not 100% vital, but is extremely useful for quite a few quests where one wants to nonviolently reclaim stolen items. 

The big advantage the mage has over the Thief is that their invisibility spell is not only long-lasting (24 in-game hours, if we remember rightly), but it also works regardless of surrounding conditions, whereas a thief's stealth skill can only make them invisible to hostile foes with a combination of high skill and satisfactorily dark or shadowy conditions.

Even the best stealth assets have their limitations, though, since the invisibility and stealth effects are cancelled when the character picks up objects or treasure, open doors and locks, or tries to talk to another character in the game....

COMPARING STEALTH SKILLS OF THIEVES AND MAGES

The Thief's stealth skills have both advantages and disadvantages compared with the mage's ability to cast invisibility:
Stealth skills require a combination of either higher skill levels and/or sufficiently dark conditions to take effect, but even when they fail temporarily (e.g. if Hide in Shadows fails after stepping into a brighter patch of torchlight), they can be re-tried over and over again after running away just enough to get out of pursuing foes' line of sight. This is very useful (as well as fun and humorous) when grabbing foes' treasures, and then running away to re-conceal one's self in the shadows.

A wizard's invisibility spell, on the other hand, can only be re-cast a few times until the wizard reaches a high level, which can take a long time in a pacifist run where nonviolent xp is scarce.
Its advantages are that it lasts a very long time, it will work even in the brightest conditions, and most importantly: It can be cast while the mage is directly in enemies' line of sight, as long as the mage doesn't get hit with an attack that causes the casting to fail (which can easily happen if one is not careful).

CLERICS
Clerics, priests, priestesses, druids, and related classes usually combine warrior characteristics with their own special sets of spells, which vary depending on their patron deity.
Clerics would be a favorite class in a "normal" run through the game, and some players also choose them for a pacifist run since even level 1 clerics get a spell called Sanctuary that conceals their presence from enemies in a similar way to a thief's stealth skill and/or a mage's invisibility spell (though we personally found the latter two assets preferable).
Our impression was that the "Sanctuary" spell took longer to cast than the mage's spells, and also had shorter duration, but with the advantage of being available from level 1 at the very start of the game. However, there are plenty of nonviolent quests to complete to level a thief and/or mage up enough to get solid stealth and the invisibility spell even during the early part of the game.
If you didn't mind splitting experience points three ways, on the other hand, a Cleric might make a great addition.

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run Character Generation (Short Version)

This is the short-winded version of our post regarding our findings on character generation for a pacifist run through Baldur's Gate I:
Both groups of our players who tried a pacifist run through Baldur's Gate found the combination of an Enchanter + Thief to be the best solution for the vast majority of the game.
The Thief's ability to level up reasonably quickly and build up their stealth skill will enable them to intermittently hide in the shadows (becoming invisible to enemies), and Mages can also eventually learn to cast invisibility spells that last even longer, but with a limited number of castings before rest in an enemy-free area is required.
When both a Thief and Mage capable of casting "Charm" (an Enchantment spell) are operating together, many quests that require you to get a key quest item from a hostile enemy can still be solved by charming the enemy and pick-pocketing them while charmed, so you can still solve the quest. (Otherwise, the game unfortunately makes it impossible to pickpocket hostile creatures even if they're unconscious or incapacitated, such as through "Sleep" or "Color Spray" spells.)
The builds above allowed us to sneak through most of the game, gaining nonviolent rewards of quest completion experience points that was scarce, but still plentiful enough to allow our mages and thieves to achieve high enough levels to cast good spells and use effective stealth skills.
Depending on what version of the game you have, it might be possible to play a Chaotic Good Mage and select the "Find Familiar" spell at level 1 to get a Faery Dragon familiar. (Our version came with the Faery Dragon's ability to cast a high-level invisibility spell that could be cast on a whole group of allies at once, but we saw a few remarks online indicating that this ability might've been taken away with later updates of the game.) Using a familiar is optional, however, regardless of what abilities they have in your version: Our run with a halfling rogue/thief as player character did not use one at all.

9/16/2018

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run Intro

Baldur's Gate is a famous fantasy CRPG taking place in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Faerun, using a CRPG version of the "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" RPG system originally developed for paper-and-pen tabletop role playing gamers. Baldur's Gate and its "Infinity" game engine were quite successful, and were followed with direct sequels and expansions, as well as a lot of other RPGs that used the same or similar engines.
The underlying AD&D system uses a complicated set of rules (most determined by statistical probabilities originally based mostly on rolling polyhedral dice, which change as players level up from gaining experience points), and requires players to generate a player character before starting the quest.
You can choose from a wide range of fantasy races, classes (fighter, mage, thief, cleric, etc), allocate attribute points (strength, dexterity, intelligence, charisma, etc), and special skills that go with particular classes.
This type of flexibility could lend itself to a good pacifist run in theory— though in practice a lot of computer RPGs that use such systems still tend to make it impossible to avoid mandatory combat in lots of scripted situations. Fortunately, Baldur's Gate I held up quite well for a long and enjoyable pacifist challenge, with only around three key adversaries (all "evil" alignment key villains) that the game forces you to "dispatch" in some way, with no other option. 
For the purist, the first two villains could optionally be dealt with by casting "charm" enchantment spells on their own killer minions to go fight with them, which not only "gets the job done" where there is literally no other option, but avoids rewarding the player with any experience points for causing a death. 
On the even more positive side, the game is full of fun nonviolent skills like the thief's hide-in-shadows stealth skill, invisibility potions, and many inventive mage spells like "color spray" and "sleep" (to knock enemies unconscious without harming them), the essential "charm" spell (which bewitches adversaries for a short period of time to make them join your side), and the invisibility spell.
In AD&D tradition, the game is also full of treasures, including gold and gems, but also valuable magical relics to aid nonviolent adventurers: Magic books granting abilities, wizard's staves that allow wielders to cast spells that paralyze or enchant enemies into a temporary sleep without even injuring them, cloaks that allow one to remain undetected by hostile wizards, and even a cloak that allows you to transform into a wolf in order to run away from foes at a higher rate of speed.
Back when Baldur's Gate was developed, the "pacifist run" and the phenomenon of players wanting to complete RPGs without killing anything was pretty uncommon, so being forced to bump off "only" three evil villains by making their own minions attack them is pretty good, considering there are hundreds of enemies and dozens of encounters throughout the game that can be dealt with using stealth, enchantments, or negotiations without having to kill anything. 

9/01/2018

Two Worlds Pacifist Run - The Final Confrontation

Having gathered the Relic Frame and all four elemental stone crystals needed to re-assemble the relic and perform the dubious rite to summon Aziraal's tomb for Gandohar and Reist, the time has finally come to reach the conclusion of our Two Worlds I pacifist run. (Note that proceeding from here will cause some changes that might make it impossible to finish some other side quests, so it's probably best to postpone this step until you're ready to win the game.)
After you bring the relic and all four elemental crystals to Gandohar, a cut-scene will take place at the furnace in Quidnar, in which the hero and Kira clash with Gandohar and Reist, who both intend to resurrect Aziraal, and force Kira to become a host for this extradimensional entity to inhabit in the earthly sphere.
Of course, that won't do at all, so it's time to chase after them and see just how non-violently we can foil their monstrous plans:
As soon as you find yourself back on your feet, you'll meet a paladin who will reveal more interesting plot details, and will notice that the sky is aflame with bars of fire forming a sinister pentacle between the five ancient towers that have been corrupted by necromantic energy...
It turns out that Reist and Gandohar are using these to form a magical barrier over the ancient ruins of Oswaroh Castle, where they aim to complete the final stage of the dark ceremony. Stopping this will require the protagonist to go and dispatch one of the "Pentagram Keepers" at the tops of one of the towers.
At this point we were admittedly expecting that the game design might throw a little obligatory conflict our way. However, while this was true, the end results worked out much better than we expected...
You will only have to choose one of these demonic minions to interrupt the rite. You can also still sneak into the towers pretty easily without harming anything else by using sneak mode, creep up the stairs, and then step onto the teleportation pentacle to be transported to the top of the tower.
These huge towers provide amazing view over the whole realm, but if the Pentagram Keeper sees you when you teleport in, you might be a bit busy to admire the view, since you might need to stay alive by running away from him as he swings a giant magic sword and launches magical projectiles at you.
Dealing with this individual was fairly difficult since we'd deliberately "handicapped" ourselves by loading all our attribute and skill points into a decidedly non-combat oriented build, but even without backtracking to visit a Soulpatcher, we finally succeeded in making the miscreant collapse by using spells and summoning creatures.
The miscreant we were forced to dispatch is promptly brought back to life by the Air Magic spell "Resurrection"

Then we discovered the first of three pleasant surprises during the epic conclusion: After banishing that nasty pentagram out of the sky, we were quickly able to cast "Resurrection" on the slain Keeper and bring him back to life as a friendly ally, entirely free of his former criminal inclinations...
After pausing for some pacifist challenge promotional photo ops featuring the friendly resurrected Keeper and the hero surrounded by a luminous aura caused by the "Strength of God" spell, we left the tower and headed for the sinister ruins of Oswaroh castle for the final confrontation...
TACTICAL ASIDES:
We noticed even some combat-oriented players remark about the high difficulty of dealing with the bosses of Two Worlds I in a non-pacifist run, but our non-combat protagonist (who some might even describe as "wimpy" or "fragile") undoubtedly would've had quite a bit of trouble with the last two bosses, if not for some special tactics:
Before going to the final confrontation, it might be worth dropping by some merchants of the realm and picking up as many "Holding Traps" as possible, because you'll probably then be able to deal with the last two villains pretty easily if you use these.
Also, if you'd just as soon make your own player character tougher than he was earlier in the run: No matter what kind of allocation of skill and attribute points you applied earlier, all you need to do to rebuild your character now is go find one of the blue-robed wizards named "Soul Patchers," who can "regress" you at a cost of around 500 gold to randomly un-allocate five attribute points and five skill points, enabling you to plug them back into wherever you want (if you're not already sitting on a surplus). And if you maximized your reputation with the Merchants Guild to optimize your profit margins, it should also be fairly easy to find more treasure in caves or orc or bandit camps all over the realm, just in case you're short of gold.
While looting enemy treasure hoards, you'll also inevitably have picked up an array of various different types of magic gemstones, many of which can be used to imbue weapons with special damage. Noting we had over thirty purple gems that added "spirit damage," we dropped those onto a large awkward trident-like melee weapon we'd purchased from a merchant, and found this was effective even after our other best weapons proved next to useless. (Even if you're outraged over this discussion of how to use weapons on a pacifist run, by the way, I'll bet you can guess which level 15 Air Magic spell we ended up using on both the final bosses.)
Finally, there's alchemy and herbalism, which lets you guzzle or chomp down a huge array of potions and herbs to add temporary buffs to your character's attribute scores, even if your character is normally a bit of a wuss in combat situations, like ours was.

THE FINAL CONFRONTATION AT THE ANCIENT CASTLE
After sneaking through the sinister dark ruins of the castle at Oswaroh past packs of nazguul-like death knights, you'll find the entrance to the impressive castle and spot Reist Tungard standing outside guarding the entrance.
Reist won't be too crazy about the idea of letting you into the castle on friendly terms, and will demonstrate this by transforming into a twenty-foot tall red demon, causing his name to be changed to the undeniably fitting "Demonic Reist."
Uh-oh!
Demonic Reist will then chase you around trying to smash and stomp you to a pulp. Fortunately, like nearly every other enemy you'll encounter, even Demonic Reist is so much slower than the Two Worlds protagonist that it's very easy to outrun him. How to actually get past him, however, was another matter...
Several more untoward incidents occurred at this point: We got a large pack of extremely evil-looking undead knights on our tail while running away from Reist, so we cast Chaos Rage on them to make them go attack Demonic Reist instead, which they did...
After running away and hiding, and then going to spy on the goings-on in sneak mode, we watched Reist pummel them all into silent heaps, and then stamp back to the Castle gates in a surly manner...
In our version of the game the Freezing Wave spell didn't work on Reist at all, but fortunately the holding traps did: Once we set those and then lured Reist out to walk over one of them, the traps would very effectively ensnare him and cause him to stand stock still for the trap's full duration, giving you ample opportunity to "give him back some of his own" in one way or another.
We then hit on the idea of setting traps around the dead knights, luring Reist back there again, and then casting "Resurrection" on the dead knights to make them hop up and give him a taste of his own medicine.

The trapping scheme worked, but unfortunately the resurrected dead knights didn't seem to do the slightest bit of damage to Reist...

In the end, the awkward solutions of either using explosive elemental traps or simply trapping and then prodding Demonic Reist with our spirit-gem imbued trident-like pole weapon eventually caused him to give up the fight and fall flat on his face...
After taking a curious look at him for a little while from a lower vantage point (where he was a lot easier to see than when towering 20 feet over our heads and trying to stomp us), we decided to cast Resurrection on him as well...
We found to our satisfaction that even "Demonic Reist" can be brought back to full health with the Resurrection spell, and that he was "mostly" friendly to us at this point, like every other resurrected creature always had been so far.
However, our Resurrection success photo-ops blew a fuse when resurrected Demonic Reist suddenly lumbered several feet ahead of us and (with his back turned) performed another giant stomping action with one leg....
Uh-oh...
Even though the hero was a good distance away from the stamping foot, the crushing impact of the stomp still caused enough residual damage to immediately one-shot our hero, causing him to collapse on the ground with his trident sticking into the air in an undignified manner for several moments, before he was teleported away and revived at a nearby Maliel Goddess Shrine...
We reloaded our latest save file and tried again, apparently confirming that resurrected Reist hadn't slain our hero intentionally, but that keeping one's distance from him was essential for survival.
Reist also turned out to be more than willing to lend a hand in the final confrontation, but was less effective than we'd hoped (in fact, doing no visible damage to the last boss whatsoever), and he also ended up stomping us and our summoned creatures often enough that we decided the benefits of bringing him along were outweighed by the costs.
We consequently ended up leaving resurrected Reist outside the gates, and confronting the final villain on our own:

GANDOHAR
Gandohar is inside the courtyard of the ancient Castle, where he has set up a giant glowing pentagram between a number of demonic statues. He'll engage you in a talk and explain some interesting metaphysical theories he has concerning why he thinks his actions are justifiable...
He will also offer you a chance to join his cause at this point, claiming you'll be able to live in splendor alongside Kira as she becomes the living host of Aziraal, enjoying immunities to common vexations like old age and death...
As keen as we were to avoid conflict, however, the overall proposal still didn't sound like a very good idea to us, since we suspected Gandohar's long-term plans to resurrect the extra dimensional orcish deity weren't compatible with most of our pacifist run scruples.
More or less as expected, Gandohar chastised us for our poor decision, and then started running around chucking fireballs and trying to kill us with a large sword.
(As a side note: We also looked up what would happen if you sided with Gandohar just in case there was a surprise nonviolent ending, but that dubious choice would have reportedly caused five righteous paladins to teleport in and try to kill you for your iniquity— so it looks like we did the best we could in retrospect.)
Exactly what type of defenses Reist and Gandohar both had remained fairly mysterious, but——just as swarms of death knights seemed unable to inflict any damage points on Reist——even the resurrected Reist himself seemed totally unable to inflict damage on Gandohar, even when he performed his devastating jump-and-smash attacks that had so easily dispatched swarms of death knights, along with everything else in his path.
The good news was that Gandohar was also easy to immobilize using holding traps, and also did some entertaining calisthenics while prodding at the traps with his sword— unlike Demonic Reist, who just stood stock-still each time he found himself ensnared...
However formidable he may be, Gandohar is still susceptible to getting his foot caught in simple snare traps...
After several sessions of prodding at Gandohar with the big red trident imbued with 30 purple spirit gems, the arch villain finally gave up the battle and fell on the ground. Before criticizing us for incurring any "kills" however, we were pleased to discover that casting the Resurrection spell on Gandohar at this point worked so quickly that he had barely even hit the ground before he was surrounded in healing white light and back on his feet in full health:
After being revived, Gandohar had just enough time (a few seconds) to swagger off toward the pentagram— possibly to go and start a kinder and gentler life.
Resurrected Gandohar walks away several seconds before the ending sequence triggers...
The ending sequence then began to play, and our pacifist challenge run through Two Worlds I came to an end, seemingly with a happy ending for the hero and his sister Kira, as they rode through a forest on horseback, disappearing into the light of a golden sunset.

In summary of the "pacifist challenge":
The excellent programming and design of Two Worlds I only forced us to bump off a handful of entities out of the many hundreds of potential "kills" combat-oriented players might have wracked up— but then it elevated its pacifist run status to even higher levels by giving us the level 15 Air Magic spell "Resurrection," enabling us to revive every single dispatched enemy in the game, including the last two "boss" villains.
Better still was the ability to use this same spell to resurrect every single inhabitant of the city of Ashos, after they were all killed off by a linear scripted plot event that caused the city to be sacked by orc invaders.

Quantifying the unavoidable combat encounters and "enemy dispatches" (+ solutions thanks to the most excellent Resurrection spell):

- Two killer groms at the very beginning (which we dispatched indirectly using snare traps as they chased us around trying to kill us, and then resurrected them both later on after placing flowers in the temple in honor of the dead).

- A handful of undead ghouls in a cemetery near Windbreak Village (or alternately a camp of orcs for the same mandatory goal of getting inside the King's Tomb), all of whom are optionally revivable.

- One "Pentagram Keeper" who was facilitating the villains' demonic misuse of the ancient towers, but whom we immediately resurrected free of criminal inclinations.

And finally, the two arch-villains:

- "Demonic Reist" (who we resurrected to help us out against his dark master) and Gandohar, who we resurrected so quickly that he was practically on his feet again before he even hit the ground...

We also were able to go on a healing and resurrection spree all over other parts of the realm, reviving various other creatures who had slain each other for no good reason, such as bandits, groms, ogres, varns, and wolves who had clashed with each other while chasing us around trying to kill us. (Just make sure any such creatures have enough personal space before you resurrect them, because if there are foes nearby, the friendly resurrected creatures might start fighting with the other ones again.)
The end of Two Worlds I. We look forward to finding out how a pacifist run through Two Worlds II holds up on some future occasion...

Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run Guide

This is the main page for all sections of our Baldur's Gate Pacifist Run guide. [Our pacifist run through this game is finished, but the pages here are actively under construction.]

Intro & Character Generation Sections: 


Pacifist Run Sections: 


Riverside Farmlands & Wyrm's Crossing

Journey to Beregost

High Hedge & Maps Surrounding Beregost

The Sword Coast

Nashkel

Mountains Around Nashkel

The Cloudpeak Mountains

The Gnoll Stronghold

The Nashkel Mines

Eastern Badlands & Return to Nashkel

The Ruins of Ulcaster

Gullykin & The Firewine Bridge Ruins

Infiltrating the Bandit Camp

Cloakwood Forest

Cloakwood Mines

Wyrm's Crossing: Entering Baldur's Gate

The City of Baldur's Gate:
City Gates & East District
The Thieves Guild
The Docks (South-Central District)
Iron Throne Headquarters (Dock District)
Flaming Fist Castle & Seven Suns Trading HQ (Southwest District)
Northeast District (The Blushing Mermaid, Splurging Sturgeon, etc)
[ UNDER CONSTRUCTION -- All other sections coming soon. ]

Version notes:
Baldur's Gate was originally released way back in the 1990's and became a classic, and has since been re-released multiple times. 
The version we played and featured here was the "Baldur's Gate Expanded Edition" which let you play Baldur's Gate I's campaign using the upgraded Baldur's Gate II engine. 
There is now an even newer version ("Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition") that contains the same Baldur's Gate saga we played and covered here, but made other changes that might impact some of the gameplay.