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I haven't ever played a game like BG 1 & 2 before. Do you guys reckon they are still accessible to me? And by that I mean do you think I will be able to pick it up and figure out how to play without much frustration? (I am not familiar with DnD combat rules or whatever I always hear mentioned when people talk about these games.)

I just picked up Planescape: Torment for $7 and am deciding whether or not to pull the trigger and put the $14 down for BG 1 & 2.

The reason I picked up PT and am thinking about the BG series is because they are classic RPGs hailed far and wide by the PC gaming community as some of the best RPGs ever created. (Derp, I'm preaching to the choir.) I feel like it would be wrong to call myself a PC gamer without having played them.

Also I've heard that I should play BG2 before 1, I figured since I may as well buy them both to just play them in order...thoughts?

p.s. Trying to make a decision soon due to the GoG Atari sale ending.
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I used to be on the Baldur's Gate forums at bioware before they moved it to the social site. Back then, someone noob was always starting a thread about how "the game and it's rules are clear as mud" and how "I keep getting one-shotted right out the door". Others had no such problem. So it's hard to say, as it's ultimately up to you.

I can tell you that the BG community is active and I've never seen friendly noobs not get the help they ask for.

I was already familiar with DnD rules, and found picking up a breeze. Doesn't help you, but 2e DnD isn't that hard if you're patient. I'd post a reply on rules if I saw a question.

And BG1 first, all the way. The pacing of BG1 is excellent. The character transition from level 1 to ~8-9 is amazing. It sets the stage for BG2. BG1 can help you get used to the system before the plethora of magic and specials in BG2.
Thank you for your help strixo.
Well, best of luck. I rationalized picking up quite a few games before the atari sale deadline passes, and don't know if I'll enjoy them all or not. And I'll probably buy more before the full sale expires. Stupid deadlines and pressure.

$7 for each saga really is a steal. Short of actually stealing.
Why don't you try Planescape first to determine if you like and can handle this type of games?
I faced the same dilemma before I decided to buy the game regardless; however, I only picked up the Baldurs Gate 2 Complete edition, since I do have the first games in German (which I stopped playing after around 30 minutes because the German voice acting was terrible).

Anyways, the game needs some getting used to; it is nowhere near as simple as Diablo 2!
However, you do not need to go online and search for all the D&D rules if you ask me. The only problem I had was with item descriptions (as stupid as that may sound), since the game does not just tell you "+15 DMG on ogres" , like any new RPG on the market, but says something like 2D5 (which still does not make sense to me since I am too lazy to look it up and it seems obvious at this point in the game which weapon would do more damage).

So I would suggest you pick up the game right now, because I am having a really good time with it. I must say that this RPG is what I've been looking for!

Have fun :3
~ Hope that encouraged you to buy it if you haven't already...
Post edited December 20, 2010 by Cardskeeper
Cardskeeper: the game does not just tell you "+15 DMG on ogres" , like any new RPG on the market, but says something like 2D5
Baldur's Gate describes damage in the form of dice rolls.
The first number is the number of dice rolled.
The second number is the number of sides on each die.

The first number is typically the minimum damage possible (as the lowest you can roll on each die is a 1). The maximum damage can be found by multiplying the second number by the first (as the highest number you can roll on each die is equal to the number of faces on the die). Any modifiers (such as a strength bonus or magical effect) are added afterwards.

So, say for example I had a Bastard Sword +1.
The sword deals 2d4 +1 damage, therefore the minimum base damage is 3 (2+1) and the maximum is 9 ((2x4)+1).
Ooooh, so that's how it works..! ~

Thank you, DreadMoth! :D
Sort of. The technical answer is that the first number is how many dice are being rolled, the second is the number of sides on each die. It comes out to the same answer though. In fact, I wish someone had explained it to me the way DreadMoth did, because that's a lot easier to understand.

Anyway, I started with BG 2 and didn't really have much trouble getting into it, so that's obviously how I would recommend starting. One problem though is that it gave me a certain level of disgust for the low levels that most dnd games start you out at, because it's completely different at low levels.
My first rpg was Neverwinter Nights which is also a d&d game. I spent a lot of time on it, finishing original campaign, both expansions and some custom modules all on the highest difficulty. I must admit I still have no idea how that d&d system works, except for some very basics like counting how much damage "2d4 sword" does, which I found out only when I had already finished original campaign o_0

Planescape was a lot harder for me to get into. First few (or more) hours I was struggling to keep going and not to turn it off. I'm glad I did not give up because I'm starting to understand why it's getting so much praise.
An important thing to know if you are new to the AD&D 2nd edition rules Baldur's Gate is based on, is there are three stats where lower is better. These are:

Thac0 (to hit Armor Class 0): your 'to hit' score. Trying to say it simple: it is the score you have to roll or exceed on a 20-sided die to hit an enemy with AC (Armor Class) 0. If the enemy has higher AC, 1 point is subtracted from your Thac0 for each point of AC above 0.
Example: A first level character witrh a Thac0 of 20 tries to hit an enemy with AC0: he/she would have to roll 20 on a 20-sided die to hit AC 0. Enemy has AC 1: he/she would have to roll 19 or 20, to hit AC 2: 18-20 and so on.

AC (Armor Class): decides how hard you are to hit. AC 10 is unarmoured without bonusses: the most easy to hit. Someone with a Thac0 of 20 (as a starting character without bonusses does with a weapon he has spend 1 point of proficiency in) can hit AC 10 with a roll of 11-20 of a 20-sided die. Lower AC makes it harder to be hit. Negative AC is the best, therefore (but in BG1 you will only manage to get that for your 'tanks' (aka meatshields, the fighters up front) later in the game.

Saving Throw: you must roll above your saving throw stat with a 20-sided die to be free from or have lesser effects from for instance a spell cast at you: so lower is better. If for instance a spell has na effect if you 'save vs. spells' and your save vs. spell is 11, you would be safe on a roll of 11 or better, so the lower your saving throw score, the easier it is to exceed it with a die-roll and save.

These are the counter-intuitive stats in AD&D 2nd edition it's good to know about. For other things (like damage, characteristics such as STR, DEX etc, hit points), higher is better.

If you feel confused about something, read Dan Simpson's excellent AD&D faq and don't hesitate to ask things here or on the Bioware social forum for BG.

Simpson's AD&D FAQ can be found here on Sorceror's Place on the bottom of the page.

*edit: tried to write more clearly, if it's still unclear ask - though an answer might come late due to celebrating christmas*
Post edited December 25, 2010 by DubConqueror
Actually that is not a simple explanation at all, you just explain all the component and leave it up to the reader to figure out. While the explanation is useful, here is how it actually works when used:
If you attack a creature, you need to roll a number on a d20, you hit if you roll a number equal or greater than your THAC0 - its AC.

so if it has AC5, and your THAC0 is 18, then 18-5 =13. Thus you need to roll equal to or greater than 13 on a d20 in order to hit it.

if you want, you can easily convert from thac0 type attack and AC To 3e type,
3e Attack Bonus = 20 - 2e THAC0
2e THAC0 = 20 - 3e Attack Bonus
3e AC = 20 - 2e AC
2e AC = 20 - 3e AC

Thus in DubConqueror's example, the thac0 character has a 20-20 = 0 attack bonus, and the defender has 20-0 = 20 AC
so you roll a d20 and add 0 to it, and it needs a result that exceeds 20 AC to hit.

that way it is not counter intuitive anymore.

I suggest that you get BG1 and BG2 and install something called Baldur Gate Tutu.
tutu takes BG1 and converts it to run on the much improved BG2 game engine.
EasyTutu is the easiest and simplest way to get that done.
there are some other great mods too (wide screen resolution mod, etc).
BG2 starts off where BG1 ended, but it makes certain assumptions for you (aka, on your choice of henchmen, etc), which is:
1. a shame
2. a good reason to select the specific henchmen it starts you off with and make sure they live to the end. I have been trying to work out a guide for selections that match continuity that way, but I just can't seem to find the time anymore (what with work and college)
Post edited December 26, 2010 by taltamir
Check out Game FAQs for a good list of guides and walkthroughs.
Dan Simpson has an excellent guide there and also an intro to ADnD rules that will set you up.
Very important to set up the autopause section under 'gameplay' so that combat is handled more or less in turns - otherwise you wont live long.
Even then the game system does take some time to get into and used to.

strixo: And BG1 first, all the way. The pacing of BG1 is excellent. The character transition from level 1 to ~8-9 is amazing. It sets the stage for BG2. BG1 can help you get used to the system before the plethora of magic and specials in BG2.
I agree somewhat with this comment but must say one thing about it. BG1 is FAR more diffcult than BGII, the HD ( available hit points per level etc.) makes it so that you WILL see one hit kills especially on mages ( a lvl 1 mage could be killed by a simple dagger in one hit) .

It is infact one of the reasons why NWN was so dumbed down on difficulty to make it more accessible (and allow countless noobs that could not play DnD games to be able to play nwn.

For someone who hasnt played a DnD game before BG1 is gonna be rough. PT on th eother hand is not as Difficult and is just as great, a nice "get-to-know-and-used-to-DnD-game"
Sadly though BGII's userbase on MP has prety much died, till around 2006 you could still find server rooms on GameSpy Arcade and even what i liked most, Legit Duels!!!!
but clans and all that are gone now, so its up to just find ppl on forums and set it up that way, pitty.

All in all it say play PT first to get used to DnD and then play BG in order, mostly cuz you wanna follow the story and use your BG1 char in BG2 (you can export your BG1 char.

Other Advantages to playing it in order is the fact that there are items in BG1 that are not in BG2 and that will GREATLY improve your Char and that is TOMES, that give a +1 to a certain stat, there are i think 3 or 4 of these tomes. Besides that any char exported from BG1 that has TotSC will start BG2 with bonus XP (cant remember how much).

The BG Series is the best there is as far as i know ( im not old enough to have played the Ultima series or Fallout 1+2 so im not counting those :P)

Have fun child of Bhaal!,
SDE_Bellisarius a.k.a "SelfDestructiveEntity"
SDE_Bellisarius: I agree somewhat with this comment but must say one thing about it. BG1 is FAR more diffcult than BGII, the HD ( available hit points per level etc.) makes it so that you WILL see one hit kills especially on mages ( a lvl 1 mage could be killed by a simple dagger in one hit) .
I suppose it's mostly meta-gaming for me now, but I do remember the game ending rather abruptly and unexpectedly for me at my first visit to the FOA. Stupid MM.