When you arrive at the Friendly Arm Inn you'll be treated to a video... or what passes for one in the Enhanced Edition. Rather well-fortified for an inn, eh? There's a story there, sure enough, and you'll get to it in due time, but for now, it's time for some exceptional loot.
Remember the Did You Know? note earlier about items having their names changed, sacrificing a clear description of rudimentary functionality for flavor? Another great example can be found nearby. Make your way east from where you enter the area and hold down Tab to search for treasure, as at precisely (x=2553, y=3761) there's a Ring of Wizardry hidden in the terrain, now less effectively known as "Evermemory". This delightful finger-hugger doubles first level Mage spells, and is belongs on the hand of you party's main Mage.
For the good party it'll go on the protagonist until Imoen dual-classes, while for the evil party the protagonist will keep it warm a much shorter length of time - only until we recruit Edwin. Speaking of which, it's particularly devastating on Edwin, as it'll give him a whopping eight 1st-level spell slots when he's merely a 2nd-level Mage, allowing him to memorize enough Sleep spells to pacify a small army, or enough Magic Missile spells to whittle down more dangerous fare.
With that treasure claimed, venture back west and follow the road north and across a drawbridge.
|x=2553, y=3761 : Evermemory|
Just after you pass through the stone gatehouse of the inn enter a house to the left at (x=1520, y=2500) (AR2306), inside of which you'll find Joia (x=250, y=260). Talk to her and pick dialogue option #1 ("Tell me what you need, but make it quick!") and she'll decide that your gruff demeanor makes you suitable for a task. Seems some Hobgoblins stole a Flamedance Ring from her, and its sentimental value makes her eager for recover and revenge. This starts the quest Joia's Flamedance Ring, which you'll get around to once you've explored the Friendly Arm Inn properly. Full party, much safer, all that rot.
You can, however, claim an advance on your reward before you leave however, as Joia has some paltry loot lying about and she doesn't care if you pilfer it. Loot and leave, and if there's not enough treasure for you, turn your attention to a house to the north (x=1430, y=2000) (AR2605) where you can also loot without consequence. In both cases, the reward is barely worth the risk.
|x=300, y=200 : Andar Gem, 7 gold|
|x=300, y=200 : Agni Magni Necklace, Silver Ring|
|x=200, y=200 : Long Sword|
Attacked by Assassin - Tarnesh
Head back outside and make your way east until you reach the stairs leading into the interior of the Friendly Arm Inn. When you get near these stairs, however, you'll be approached by a Mage named Tarnesh, and despite the venue he's anything but friendly.
Tarnesh can be a real pain, which is why we brought along Xzar and Montaron; he likes to cast Mirror Image - an excellent defensive spell that has a chance to absorb hits - which will buy him time to cast Horror, a spell that can debilitate the entire party. After this he'll follow it up by pelting your panicking party with with damaging spells like 5th-level Magic Missile spells. At level one you can't really weather too much and if he gets off his Horror spell there's a very good chance he'll kill somebody. That being the case you'll want to keep your party together and make sure to get on him fast, which is a learning opportunity.
When Tarnesh spots you he'll chase you down and try to initiate dialogue with the nearest character in your party, which is something many NPCs will do in this game. You can use this to your advantage by simply walking away and luring the overly-talkative NPC somewhere more conducive for whatever interaction is to follow. You can also choose which character the NPC will talk to by simply moving said target character closer. For Tarnesh, there's not much point save to get him off the stairs and into more open ground, should you be keen on surrounding him for the inevitable clash.
Fortunately, there is a bit of scheming you can get up to if you wish to make this encounter easier. As Tarnesh nears you, you can pause the game when he's a short distance away and preparing your first barrage of attacks/spells before he talks to you. It may take some trial and error, but if you time it right, your spells will start casting/projectile weapons will be in the air by the time Tarnesh talks to you, allowing you to essentially get a free turn with no consequences - something very handy for defeating Tarnesh.
If you can interrupt his first spell (having Xzar quickly cast Larloch's Minor Drain is a great interrupter) he'll likely fall with no problem. If he gets his spell off, you're in for a fight. If you have it at your disposal, the Spook spell can debilitate Tarnesh, forcing him to wander around in a panic, single-handedly winning the fight outright. This is not an isolated case - debilitating spells are incredibly useful, and the sooner you get into the habit of using them to trivialize your opposition, the better off you'll be. Not like your foes will refrain from using them on you, after all. It's also worth noting that for once the guards are on your side and will likely attack Tarnesh... but you shouldn't rely on them for much.
Once he's defeated, loot Tarnesh for a Letter, a Scroll of Shield, a Scroll of Magic Missile, a Scroll of Burning Hands, and 58 gold. Scribe that Magic Missile scroll if you don't have it, as the spell will come in handy. Also take a gander at that Letter you got, which is a Bounty Notice. "Be it known to all those of evil intent"? How droll. At least you don't have to worry about killing these assassins if you're a do-gooder, because why bother with nuance? Anyways, can't be a good thing that you have a bounty on your head - and only 200 gold, at that?! Insulting.
When you're ready, head up the stairs into the inn (x=3500, y=1900).
Interrupting Spells: While it certainly wasn't his intention, the fight with Tarnesh illustrates an important gameplay feature. Spells are powerful, but their casters are often fragile, and if you can damage a caster while they're... casting... you can often disrupt the spell. Of all the ways of dispatching spellcasters, trying to poke them so their spells are lost is probably the most risky, but sometimes (like during the fight with Tarnesh) you won't have better options. A warrior with a bow can often disrupt casters admirably, but the humble Magic Missile spell is also effective throughout pretty much the entire first game. Better strategies will supplant these in the future, but they're worth noting in the meanwhile.
Note: Just a reminder, since it's rather relevant now, but you should hold onto copies of spell scrolls you find. Imoen will need them when she dual-classes, and Edwin will need them when you find him. A Mage is only as good as their spell arsenal, after all.
Jaheira and Khalid - Friendly Arm Inn, 1st Floor
Once inside the Friendly Arm Inn you'll be pestered by a commoner named Jopi, who will complain about the two central points of the early game: the iron shortage, and the bandit raids. You'll be hearing about these a lot. Sounds kinda questy, no?
Also near the entrance you'll find Dorn (x=1120, y=720), who'll mistake you for a servant, and dismiss you just as quickly. Be sure to talk to him, so we can get his quest-line rolling. It hasn't officially started yet, but you should get the journal entry How Rude!, for what that's worth.
Dorn can't be recruited yet, but that doesn't mean you need to leave this place without more company: Head to the north-west of the inn to find Jaheira and Khalid (x=300, y=710) and (x=330, y=660), who will offer to join you if you chat with them. Old friends of Gorion, or so they say, they claim to "look into local concerns", and the iron shortage in Nashkel has caught their attention. Between Montaron, Xzar, Jaheira, Khalid, and all the NPCs who have mentioned it, the game really, really wants you to move in this direction.
In any event, we suggest you take the both of them along with you, but Khalid's days are numbered in my party (die!). They'll make it that much easier to get to Beregost and Nashkel, not to mention other NPCs who may lie further afield, if you care to seek them out. Strength in numbers, and all. This starts the quest Jaheira and Khalid tasking you with traveling to Nashkel, which you'll get to... after many diversions. Jaheira has a Potion of Invisibility she doesn't need, and Khalid comes with a Potion of Healing and a suit of Splint Mail that can be reassigned to his lovely wife.
Note: Not all allies get along. Case in point, Khalid and Jaheira and Montaron and Xzar have divergent political interests, and if kept in the same party for too long they'll eventually turn on each other. Some characters will also disband (sometimes violently) if their own concerns (usually some quest or another) aren't dealt with in a timely manner. Don't worry, we'll discuss this when it's relevant. Anyways, the takeaway is that you should travel with like-minded comrades whenever possible to avoid unnecessary complications. As for your current companions... you won't be keeping them all for long, and it's best not to tarry.
Character Info: Jaheira
It's obvious who wears the pants in this relationship... metaphorically, anyways, neither of them technically wears pants. Anyways, Jaheira is a pivotal Baldur's Gate character, but she really comes into her own in the sequel. She's included in just about every party we've played... not so much because she's terribly powerful in the first game (in the sequel though...) but because... I might have a bit of a game-crush on her. Maybe it's the accent, or her general surliness?
Whatever the case, with that cringe-worthy author biased disclosed, let's talk about Jaheira's objective merits as a companion. Her Strength and Dexterity are both bad, and really, her only meaningful stat is Constitution, which will grant her some extra HP per level. She'll need it to cover for her Dexterity score, and her low Strength and slow progression as a Fighter means she won't stand near the top-tier of melee combatants. Her Druid limitations also prevent her from using a variety of weapon types, essentially leaving her with Daggers and Scimitars as your best one-handed options.
All that said, however, if you don't compare Jaheira to a Fighter/Cleric, or a Fighter in general, and compare her to a Cleric instead, you'll find that she does fine in this game. She'll end up with more Hit Points and a better THAC0, which excuses her cruddy Dexterity to an extent. She'll also get 4th-level spells just like any of the single-classed Clerics, so you're not really missing out on much healing-wise with Jaheira. She can also become Specialized (two ranks) with weapons, which beats a Cleric's Proficiency (one rank) any day. All in all she pans out as a slightly more melee competent Cleric, and it's easy to recommend her over Branwen and Faldorn, and the spells she brings to the table might be more useful than bringing along yet another bland warrior.
If you do bring Jaheira along, have her become Proficient - then Specialized - in daggers, which will allow her to make the most of the Dagger of Venom +2, which you'll be able to buy surprisingly early. With heavy armor, a shield, and the aforementioned dagger Jaheira will more than hold her own in combat, taking a more defensive role than warriors like Ajantis and Dorn.
Character Info: Khalid
Khalid is a perfectly viable Fighter, if not a terribly impressive one. His Strength is objectively bad for an offensive role, but his Dexterity and Constitution will both give him bonuses sufficient to keep him in the fight longer and capable of holding the line, as it were. Other warriors like Ajantis and Dorn are more offensively impressive, but if you need staying power, Khalid is about as good as it gets... Kagain aside.
That said, Khalid rarely stays in my party for long. The evil party has nothing to do with him for obvious reasons - his alignment and the superiority of Dorn and Kagain are just too much competition, but even with the good party, Ajantis is sufficient as the lead warrior, and between Jaheira, Viconia and even Yeslick there are plenty of characters who can survive in melee combat well enough and do other things besides. Are they as offensively potent as Khalid? No, but the spells they bring to the table more than make up for a few points of THAC0 and damage, in our opinion.
Unfortunately Khalid and Jaheira are a package deal (he's way out of his league here...), but there's a work-around. First, you can simply just let him die in combat. Feeding him to some Ankhegs before you recruit Ajantis is always fun. If that's a bit too cruel for your tastes, you can take Khalid into a building you never plan on visiting again (there are numerous houses in Beregost and Nashkel that have little of interest inside you can use for the purpose) and simply disband him there. If he doesn't manage to talk to you after being disbanded, he won't take his wife with him when he's dropped from the party, and if you don't go back to said house again... well, he can't talk to you, can he?
If you bring him along, keep putting proficiency points in Long Swords. Simple enough build, but effective, and Khalid with a magical long sword, a large shield and heavy armor isn't to be underestimated in a fight.
Bartering with Bently - Friendly Arm Inn, 1st Floor
Finally for this area, note that you can buy supplies from Bently Mirrorshade (x=420, y=490). Ammunition and backup weapons are all good ideas at this point in time.
Before we go on, we might as well talk about stores a bit. Naturally their prices are dictated by how much the shopkeeper likes you, and this is largely a function of that Reaction score we talked about earlier, which in turn is based upon your Charisma score and your Reputation. The higher the two of those are, the lower prices will be.
One of the options offered at temples (if you head outside, you can find such a temple at (x=3900, y=2400)) is the ability to donate gold, an act which, if done in sufficient quantity, can increase your Reputation. Sometimes the price disparity between Reputation scores makes it worth donating to a temple to raise your reputation; this is especially true when buying very expensive items. For example, buying a suit of Full Plate Mail might cost over 7,000 gold for a neutral party, but a party with a higher reputation may only have to pay 5000. For big-ticket purchases, it can be worth it to donate a couple hundred gold to raise your reputation and lower prices.
You'll know when a donation raised your reputation, as the dialogue with the temple's donation screen will tell you. Donation amounts are not cumulative. If you donate 100 gold and it doesn't raise your reputation, you just wasted 100 gold. Therefore it's a good idea to save/load between donations, which are effective in increments of 100 gold. If donating 100 gold doesn't work, donate 200, if that doesn't work, 300, and so on... or just follow the table, below:
|Reputation||Item Cost||Donation Required||Reaction||Other Effects|
|5||+40%||500||-3||10% chance Flaming Fist mercenaries spawn and attack.|
|4||+50%||600||-4||20% chance Flaming Fist mercenaries spawn and attack.|
|3||+100%||1,000||-5||30% chance Flaming Fist mercenaries spawn and attack.|
|2||+900%||1,200||-6||50% chance Flaming Fist mercenaries spawn and attack.|
|1||+900%||1,500||-7||100% chance Flaming Fist mercenaries spawn and attack.|
Of course, it's cheaper to raise your reputation through quests, but that's not always convenient. If you're traveling with evil folks, be sure you don't raise your reputation too high-keep it below 19 or your evil allies will start to disband.
It's also worth noting that Baldur's Gate take market saturation into consideration. The more stuff you sell to a merchant, the less that item will be worth. If you sell a Two-Handed Sword to a merchant one time for 25 gold, the next time it might not be worth that much. The way to maximize your profits is to sell a number of similar items at the same time-and hence at the same price. So if you happen to have a dozen Short Bows in your inventory, give them all to the same character and sell them all at once.
Enough generalities, however, band back to Bently. The most interesting thing Bently sells is Buckley's Buckler. It's probably too much for you to afford right now, and it's not a great item, anyways. If you must get it, this buckler only gives you the standard +1 bonus to Armor Class (with no protection against missile/piercing attacks. It does, however, give a +1 bonus to Constitution, so strap it on a character who will actually gain Hit Points from it. You should save your money, as you'll be able to get better shields soon enough.
With all that out of the way, head upstairs (x=600, y=830) to reach the second level of the Friendly Arm Inn.
|x=1280, y=740 - 20 gold|
|x=920, y=230 - Potion of Healing|
Unshey's Ogre - Friendly Arm Inn, 2nd Floor
- Go talk to a Gnome named Unshey (x=1190, y=750) who will tell you about a "rogue Ogre with a belt fetish to the south", which apparently stole their Girdle of Piercing. This starts the quest A Rogue Ogre, which you'll deal with later. Head upstairs (x=550, y=800) when you're done looting.
Note: It's very possible that you won't be able to open some of these containers. Even if you can, you might not want to bother running from the guards right now. Without an absurdly high Strength score or a very high Open Locks skill, you have no real way of getting some of this loot. Your options are 1) return when you have the 2nd-level Mage spell, Knock, or 2) ignore them, because most of the gear here isn't worth much anyways.\
|x=900, y=1000 - Gold Ring, Potion of Healing, 23 gold|
|x=850, y=900 - Chain Mail Armor|
|x=1050, y=820 - 23 gold|
|x=1250, y=700 - Dagger|
|x=1220, y=570 - Throwing Dagger x5|
|x=1340, y=510 - War Hammer|
|x=1060, y=320 - Dagger|
|x=720, y=350 - Studded Leather Armor, Studded Necklace with Zios Gems|
|x=600, y=490 - Rainbow Obsidian Necklace|
|x=350, y=630 - Bastard Sword|
|x=230, y=600 - Zircon Gem|
Landrin's Infestation - Friendly Arm Inn, 3rd Floor
In the middle of the main room on this floor is a Gnome named Landrin. She'll ask you to clear out the spider infestation in her house in Beregost and return some possessions to her, specifically offering 120 gold if you bring back some of her husband's stinky boots. If she likes you, she'll even hand over six Antidotes, which will come in handy during the retrieval of said possessions. If she doesn't hand over the potions, you can always just steal them. Either way, this starts the quest Landrin's Possessions.
|x=350, y=630 - Andar Gem|
|x=230, y=600 - 12 gold|
|x=420, y=450 - 43 gold|
|x=750, y=350 - Bloodstone Gem|
|x=900, y=205 - Arrow x4|
|x=1330, y=510 - Battle Axe|
|x=1490, y=620 - Club|
|x=1050, y=830 - Onyx Ring|
|x=850, y=900 - Leather Armor, Quarter Staff|
Golden Pantaloons - Friendly Arm Inn, 3rd Floor
In a room along the western edge of the area is a Nobleman (x=340, y=680) who will demand you launder his Golden Pantaloons. Pick dialogue option #2 ("Sir, yes, sir! Pantaloons pressed and ready by tonight or breakfast is free, sir!") to snipe his knickers. If you have a high reputation and/or Charisma, he'll stop you and throw in some extra money for some... cosmetic changes to the Golden Pantaloons. It's a whopping 2 gold so... for once the Charisma-challenged don't have to feel too left out.
Hold onto the Golden Pantaloons-if you have them in your character's inventory when you export to Baldur's Gate 2 you will find them in the sequel, allowing you to fabricate the Big Metal Unit in Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal. Something to keep in mind.
If you talk to the Nobleman with the Golden Pantaloons in your inventory, you'll get a small reward at the cost of "your" Golden Pantaloons. The only way to get them back after turning them in is to kill the Nobleman... the reward in this case just isn't worth the reputation hit.
|For returning the Golden Pantaloons||100 XP|
Joia's Flamedance Ring
With that, you're done with the Friendly Arm Inn. The interior, anyways, there's still the small matter of reclaiming Joia's ring, which you might as well do before you leave the area.
Exit the Inn, cross the drawbridge to the south, circle around the Inn to the west, then head up around to the north. Your mission? Kill Hobgoblins and loot them until you find Joia's Flamedance Ring. Specifically you're looking for a trio of Hobgoblins just northwest of the Friendly Arm Inn, with the one at (x=2360, y=230) actually possessing the ring you're looking for.
Return it to her when you find it for your reward. When that's done, exit the map from any direction and return to the wilderness area south of the Friendly Arm Inn.
|For recovering Joia's ring||400 XP / Reputation +1|