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.)
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...
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
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...
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.
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:
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.
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..
|The halfling thief just manages to succeed at hiding in the shadows and sneaking past the guard, escaping down the stairs without being seen...
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.
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
|"I'm ready to go right now."