I've never done a blog post before, so I'm not 100% certain of the appropriate etiquette to be using here. I do apologise if things are said here that I'm not supposed to say.
I only recently began playing Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn with the Unfinished Business mod included, but I found myself intrigued. Right out the gate I found myself stumbling across one of the promised new quests. Now, while I have asked an admin, I doubt that entries on such quests will ever be allowed on here. So, I figured: if I have inspiration for writing articles about UB-exclusive quests, why not make a blog serial out of them? And so, without further ado, the first in what I hope will be a series on the quests included in Unfinished Business.
- 1: Kalah, Jafir and Markesh
This particular UB Quest is born out of the canonical quest "Investigate the Circus Tent". As we all know, the point of the aforementioned is a gnome illusionist named Kalah has somehow acquired enough power to turn the interior of the tent into a twisted "paradise" for himself. In the canon game, it's never explained how he pulled it off, especially since everyone describes him as having originally been a petty bungler. There's also the mysterious riddle-asking genie, Markesh, who appears before you enter the "palace" of Kalah, and just where he came from.
Well, this quest explains how. When the party leaves the tent, they are greeted by a young girl who lives with the circus, Myarah, who explains how she oversaw Kalah purchasing an actual genie-in-a-lamp from a merchant named Jaffir. If the player doesn't deal with her too harshly, she will give them the lamp that she recovered from Kalah's former room, and tells them both that she can't make it work, and that Jaffir is staying at the Crooked Crane Inn.
When the player approaches him, Jafir makes no bones of the fact he is responsible, revealing himself as a rakshasa and offering the player the same bargain he gave Kalah; the command word to summon the genie in exchange for 500 gold pieces. If prompted, he explains he "loans out" the lamp and genie to mortals because it amuses him to see the chaos that ensues.
If the player agrees, they are told the genie may be summoned by the word "Markesh" and teleports away.
If the player tries to fight, Jafir is not as tough as he makes himself out to be. Being a rakshasa, he cannot be hit by mundane weapons, but is otherwise quite ineffective and the party won't find him too great a challenge. When reduced to near-death, he interrupts the fight, tells them the command word, and then teleports away in anger.
When summoned, Markesh explains that he can only grant the player one wish; he is part of an elaborate scam that Jafir is running, and as part of that, he can only grant three wishes total. He is then transported back to the rakshasa's lair, where he is reimprisoned under a new command word and given back again. He explains that Kalah used up the first two wishes; the first was for the ability to command the respect of others, to which Markesh gave the Gnome the Ring of Human Influence you found on his body, whilst the second wish was sorcerous power to equal an Ogre Mage's, to which the genie gave him the power and the body alike.
The player is then presented with their list of wish options:
- Restore Kalah to life that he may learn from his mistakes: Resurrects a humbled and grateful Kalah, giving the party +1 Reputation and 1000 EXP.
- Wish the genie free: Ruins Jafir's little scheme and gives the party +1 Reputation and 5000 EXP.
- Damn Kalah's soul for eternity: Traps Kalah's spirit permanently in some nameless place, giving the party 1000 EXP.
- Rescue Imoen: Does not work, though Markesh allows the player to pick again.
- Slay Irenicus: Does not work, though Markesh allows the player to pick again.
- Kill Jafir: Markesh notes that this means he will be trapped in the lamp until somebody retrieves it from Jafir's corpse, but eagerly obeys, giving the party 3000 EXP.
- Become new owner of the lamp: Does not work, though Markesh allows the player to pick again.
- Make own wish: Displays wishes as per the Wish spell, with options affected by the player's Wisdom score.
However they choose, once their wish is made, the quest is ended.
And that's the end of this first article. When will I post another? Who knows?