Baldur's Gate 2 Online Walkthrough by Montresor
BARD STRONGHOLD QUESTS: THE THEATER
When you leave the Planar Prison at the end of the Free Haer'Dalis quest, if you are a Bard, you are approached by Samuel Thunderburp. Show him the deed to the theater which Raelis Shai gave you, and he will send Higgold to you.
Prelude: The Director
Higgold is the director who will help you set up a play in the theater. Just hire him when he asks if you have a deal; otherwise you don't get a stronghold.
Higgold goes about finding actors and settling on a play; in the meantime you should raise money for the initial investment. He tells you to be back in half a week's time.
You will get to make a series of important decisions regarding the play. Your decisions will determine how well the play is received on the opening night, and thus how successful your stronghold will be.
When you are called to the theater, go there within three days; otherwise the play will suffer from your absence.
Act One: Assigning Roles
Three or four days later, when you are travelling outside, a boy named Meck shows up and tells you that Higgold needs you at the theater.
- Go to Five Flagons Inn, and find Higgold at 9 in the cellar. He has decided on a play called "The Sorcerer's Bane" and found a troupe of actors.
- First, he introduces you to the actors. At this point you will first hear of the curse that is supposedly attached to the play. Higgold assures you there is no curse on "Sorcerer's Bane" but the actors insist on calling it "The Turmish Play".
SIDE NOTE: This is a reference to the "Curse" that some believe is attached to Shakespeare's MacBeth. Real world actors are often afraid to name this play and instead call it "The Scottish Play". I suppose you couldn't have a Bard stronghold without at least one reference to The Bard! :-)
- Then you need to make an important decision: Which actress gets to play the female lead role as Karenina? You can choose between the young hopeful Jenna and the snobbish Iltheia. Higgold sends the actors backstage before you make the decision.
- Now, Jenna may be the better fit for the role but as Higgold says, Iltheia is the better actress. Picking Iltheia for the lead role will benefit the play.
- Next, you need to decide how much you want to invest in the play. The bare minimum is 1,000 GP but the more you invest, the more the play will benefit in the end. You can choose between 1,000 GP; 2,000 GP; 3,000 GP; 4,000 GP; 5,000 GP; and 10,000 GP. Try to make it at least 5,000.
Act Two: Actresses Acting Up
Four days later, Meck will approach you again. Some "important business" has come up.
- Go to the theater and seek out Higgold. He will be where you met him last.
- Higgold calls out the two actresses Jenna and Iltheia. Seems like there is a bit of jealousy between the ladies. Assuming you let Iltheia play the lead from the start, you can solve this in four ways:
- Give the lead role to Jenna instead. You gain 6,750 XP but it will hurt the play.
- Tell Iltheia off but let her keep the large role: Again you get 6,750 XP but harm the play in the end.
- Tell them to solve the problem themselves: You get no XP and harm the play quite a bit.
- Offer Iltheia a raise: You get 11,500 XP and Iltheia demands 500 GP. Your best option is then to give her the 500 GP; this will benefit the play most.
- Once you have made your decision, Higgold orders everyone back to rehearsals and you can go your own way again.
Act Three: The Improvising Actor
Three or four days later, Meck is back again. Higgold has a problem with one of the actors.
- Back to the theater you go. Higgold is at the usual place in the cellar.
- The problem is that Zeran, who plays the male lead role, feels he is too good for the original script and is improvising. Your options are:
- Tell Zeran to follow the script. You get no experience for that solution.
- Allow Zeran to keep improvising. You get 11,500 XP for this.
- Allow Zeran to rewrite the script. Zeran will be happy, and Higgold won't, but you get 15,750 XP and the play's quality is greatly improved.
Act Four: Too Many Changes
Three days is all you get before Meck meets you again. Apparently it is urgent... what else is new?
- You probably already guessed that Higgold is waiting for you at the usual place in the cellar of the Five Flagons Inn. And he is most upset!
- This time all the actors are in rebellion because Zeran is making too many changes! You have to decide what to do. You can:
- Threaten them that they won't be paid if they walk out! The actors will stay because they need the money, but they won't be happy. You get no experience and the play will suffer.
- Express your faith in Zeran and his changes, and you get 11,500 XP.
- Offer the actors a 500 GP bonus, and you'll also get 11,500 XP, and the play is improved.
- Finally, you can rewrite the script yourself. The results will depend on your Charisma. With a high enough Charisma you will improve the play greatly and gain 11,500 XP.
Act Five: The Curse and the Priest
Another three days later, Meck approaches you again. Something strange is going on in the playhouse...
- Back to Higgold who is still in the cellar of the Five Flagons Inn.
- The curse seems to be real after all. Strange things are happening.
- Coincidentally, a Turmish Priest has offered to ward the playhouse against the curse, for a price of 1,000 GP. Your options are:
- Send her away: You hurt the play quite a bit.
- Ask your party's Cleric to protect the play: You need a high Charisma for this not to hurt the play.
- Offer the Priest 500 GP. If you have a high Charisma, you gain 11,500 XP and the quality of the play is unchanged.
- Pay the 1,000 GP. You gain 11,500 XP and the quality of the play is improved.
Act Six: The Music's Gone
Another three days later, you are once more summoned back to the theater.
- Find Higgold in the usual place. This musician who was going to write the score has disappeared and taken all his notes with him.
- Higgold knows a famous musician named Balmitance who knows the music to The Turmish Play by heart. Problem is, it'll cost another 500 GP. So, your options:
- Let the actor Marcus write the score: You get no experience and you hurt the play.
- Hire the famous musician: You get 15,500 XP and benefit the play greatly!
- Try to write the music yourself: The result, and the experience, depends on your Intelligence. You need at least 19 Intelligence to get as good a result as by hiring the famous musician.
Act Seven: The Invasion of the Barbarians
This time you get a whole week before Meck appears again. You must come quickly, he says; the theater has been invaded by barbarians!
- Travel back to the Five Flagons Inn. This time Higgold meets you at the stairs down to the cellar at 4. He tells you that a group of Turmish fanatics have stopped the production.
- Go down the stairs, and prepare for battle, then approach the scene. At the stage at 9 will be the fanatics: A Turmish Leader, a couple of Turmish Thugs, a Turmish Thief, and a Turmish Sorceress.
- Kill everybody, and Higgold will be back to announce that production can continue, and that the dress rehearsal will be tomorrow!
- Don't forget to loot the fresh corpses for anything useful. Besides mundane items and minor treasure, they drop:
Act Eight: Dress Rehearsal
As promised, 24 hours later you are summoned to the dress rehearsal. Do yourself a favor and pay attention, it just might be useful to remember the lines of the play you're setting up, right? Really, it is for your own best!
When the rehearsal is over, Higgold tells you that the opening night will be in a week or maybe a little more.
Act Nine: Opening Night
But only three days later, Meck summons you back to the playhouse again!
- Back to the Five Flagons Inn you go! And this time, Higgold meets you at the stairs at 4.
- First, a member of the Council of Six will be in the audience tonight so this could make you – or break you!
- Second, Zeran is too sick to act. So "somebody" will have to take over his role. In other words you have to play the lead role yourself. Aren't you surprised?
- If you refuse to play, you lose your stronghold. So accept, and you are transported down to the scene.
- If you didn't pay attention at the dress rehearsal: For the best performance, pick the options 2-1-1-1-2-1-2-1-2-1.
- The play is now judged according to two criteria, independently of each other: Your own performance and the quality of the play.
If you pull off a near flawless performance (at least 8 of the 10 lines must be right), the party gains 49,500 XP and you also receive the Azlaer's Harp. For a not perfect performance (4-7 correct lines), you get 35,500 XP. If you make a lot of mistakes (3 or less correct lines), the party gets 19,500 XP.
For the overall quality of the play, you can get 50,000 XP, 29,500 XP, or 19,500 XP. If the play is deemed outstanding, your theater is also named the official playhouse of Athkatla for a year.
Epilogue: To Sell, or Not to Sell
When all is said and done, if your playhouse is named the official playhouse for Athkatla, Higgold offers to buy the playhouse off you for 10,000 GP. Whether you accept his offer or not is up to you.
If you don't sell, the theater should make up to 1,800 GP the first week (depending on your initial investment and the quality of the play), and then drop off by 100 GP per week until you make 500 GP each week. You can find the money in the playhouse, in the chest near the stairs up to the main room of the Five Flagons Inn.
And that is that for the Bard stronghold.
The End !