Friendly Arm Inn

4 Mirtul 1368

We enter the inn and start to ask around after Khalid and Jaheira.

The patrons don’t appear friendly. I notice a half-orc nursing an empty glass, a fairly unusual sight on the Sword Coast.

Dorthon: I am not your servant. Get your own ale!

Dorn: Then why do you bother me? Begone.

Dorthon: Nothing would please me more.

Yes, the patrons here aren’t very welcoming…

I try asking the serving wench about my father’s friends.

Well, at least I know they are here somewhere. I am approached by someone who seems to actually want to talk.

Dorthon: How come the roads are cut off?

Jopi: Where you been these last few months? The roads are crawling with brigands and bandits after every scrap o’ iron you got on ye. Surely you must have fled some on your trip here… lest you came by the west road, that is.

Dorthon: Why is the west road still open?

Jopi: If there’s ever a book shortage, that road to Candlekeep will be the most dangerous of them all, I assure you. But these folks are after metal so they’re sticking mainly to the larger trade routes between Baldur’s Gate and Amn… An’ guess what: This here inn is smack dab in the middle o’ it all.

So iron is scarce and bandits are stealing any they find on the trade ways.

At one table I see a gnome who seems frustrated about something.

Ygnatz: What a large weapon you have…

Dorthon: It’s alright, you need not fear me. I come in peace.

Ygnatz: Oh… good to hear. Yes. Very appeasing. I thought I would end up in one of those bar fights I heard about. But you seem to be more civilised than you look.

Say, you would not happen to be of the adventuring kind, would you?

Dorthon: Well… I think we could be described like that.

Ygnatz: Alright, here goes. First I should introduce myself to you. My name is Ygnatius Bombastus II, mostly called Ygnatz. You certainly know all the stories about the great Karlini and you’re probably aware of how valuable his spellbook is.

Dorthon: Uh… no?

Ygnatz: What?! You do not know the great Karlini? So… you leave me speechless.

Dorthon: Why do you not tell me about him?

Ygnatz: As you wish… Hey there! A round for me and my friends!

Attention then. Karlini was not always called Karlini. His real name is Karl Jansen, and his origins lay in Amn. His family has long been established there and is great in the turnip trade, so they say. But that was not enough for the great Karlini. He wanted more! He wanted to fly high! He wanted to fly as high as a gnome could go.

And he managed it, Garl Glitzergold be my witness!

He has developed the basic formulas for probably a dozen spells, invented the soaring marble cake and he created a hybrid between tapir and macaque (do not ask me what has become of it, though).

He is the originator of the formula “Gold to Stone” (his only flop in more than 100 years) and “Karlini’s Cold Cobblers Clutch” (an evolution of Bigby’s work, I think).

And he was the first gnome who… but I think you don’t want to know that, not in this detail. In any case, Karlini wrote down all his discoveries and records in one book. This spellbook bristles with irreplaceable knowledge of gnome wisdom… however Karlini has been missing for some time, and nobody knows what exactly happened to him.

But you can rejoice! I have localised the book! It is here on the Sword Coast! More precisely in Ulcaster’s School!

Dorthon: And now you wish that I secure the book for you?

Ygnatz: That’s right, young man.

I can mark the ruins on your map and when you come back then I will pay you 300 pieces of gold cash in hand. How does that sound?

Dorthon: Okay we’re in business.

Ygnatz: That’s to my liking, my liking! Let’s waste no more time and wooshy-wooshy set off! The Ulcaster ruins are waiting!

He marks the location of the ruins on our map. Imoen seems excited at the prospect of finding another spellbook.

Gameplay Note
This is a part of Ascalon’s Quest Pack by Ascalon, who also created Braegar – the NPC we met in the Candlekeep Inn.

After hearing Ygnatius’ tale, I get talking to a lady here in the bar.

Dorthon: I guess you could call me that, yes.

Lina: And how is it? Running around and killing monsters, I mean.

Dorthon: It’s been life threatening, more than once.

Lina: I bet! And you must be quite a hero, too, if you’ve still got all your limbs!

She laughs at this.

I know it sounds as if I’m making fun of you, but I swear I am not. I am impressed. I never wanted to be an adventurer, but I respect the courage it takes to live on the edge of a weapon.

Tell me one of your adventures, please!

Dorthon: Imagine walking through the wilderness. You hear a strange sound, like an animal you’ve never heard before. You walk around the next bush, and five gibberlings come running at you, screaming!

Lina: Wow, that makes me shiver! And you survived it! Well, obviously…

She laughs again.

Your shoulders must be all tense from the excitement. Here, I can feel all the knots even by just touching your neck!

Dorthon: Ah, that felt nice. I am all knots indeed.

Lina: How about I massage your shoulders, like this?

Dorthon: Ahhh, that is good!

Lina: I would love to be helpful. How about I give your tense muscles a massage?

Dorthon: That sounds great.

Lina: It would be better if you would remove your gear. Actually, it would also be best if you would lay down, as well… Don’t you think?

Dorthon: Yes, please, I could use that.

Lina: Well then, I would suggest we go to my lodgings. No worries, it’s just a bit more private than the hall, and the couch is more comfortable than the tables here.

She laughs yet again.

Or do you have a room you’d prefer?

Dorthon: No, let’s go there.

Lina: Then let’s go!

We leave for her lodgings. She shows me to her room when we get there. I’m a little nervous. I’ve never done anything like this before…

Mature Content Warning
Click here to skip

She starts to stroke and work my shoulders and back with firm hands. Using fingers, palms and thumbs in turn she tries to soften every knot she finds in my muscles. Just at the moment I thought she finished, I notice a change in her massage. She is moving her fingers differently now. With strong yet tender hands she caresses my skin…

I feel her hesitating. Then she resumes her caressing. I can feel her breath on my back…

I feel my body respond to the caressing. Besides her stroking hands, I suddenly feel her lips kissing my skin. I sit up and take her into my arms, my lips searching for hers.

Lina: You… you want it too, don’t you? I see your naked torso, feel your muscles, and I…

She kisses me, her lips warm and soft on mine.

Lina: Oh, I want you!

Dorthon: I want you, too!

Lina: Let’s… let’s do it! Quick, before I come to my senses…

I undress her. Lina tears at my clothes too. I take her hands.

Dorthon: Not so fast… Let me look at you.

She is standing before me now, completely naked, slightly wincing under my gaze.

Lina: Do you want to let me freeze? Please!

I undress myself. Linda spreads herself on the couch, pulling me with her.

Lina: Take me!

I take her slowly.

Lina: Oh, gods, yes!

I move slowly. Lina is moving eagerly with me, her arms holding me. I continue the slow movement.

Lina: This is great but… a bit more… a bit more!

I increase the pace, possessing her fully.

Lina: Not so fast! Not so…

I reduce the pace of my dance.

Lina: Oh! Gods… this is good!

I continue my pace.

Lina: Oh, gods… Oh! I… I am…

Her breath in rapid gasps, arching her back slightly, her eyes shut, Lina makes sounds of excitement while her passion claims her.

Lina: This was… wonderful!

I continue the movements until I feel myself coming. I surrender to the excitement rushing over me, the blood throbbing in my ears. I lay myself beside her, catching my breath.

Lina: Mmmm, that was good. I hope I succeeded in releasing your tension. I would love you to linger, but you better go. Have a nice day…

Gameplay Note
Our first mature encounter from the Romantic Encounters mod. I was on the fence about whether or not to include this as it’s kind of cringe, but hell, I want to showcase the mods, warts and all. Still, it felt weird choosing how fast the “pace of your dance” should be…

When I get back to the Inn, Imoen and Helga are both watching me knowing smiles. Xzar is in a world of his own.

We get back to asking after Khalid and Jaheira and I end up talking to another of the patrons.

Dorthon: What brings you here, traveller?

Surrey: I was an apprentice blacksmith under Taerom Fuiruim in Beregost. With the iron situation being what it is, however, I thought I’d better head somewhere else. Waterdeep, maybe. Taerom’s having enough trouble making a go of it as it is…

Didn’t Braegar say he was in Beregost? I wonder if this iron crisis is effecting him as well. He’ll probably be pretty angry about that.

Gameplay Note
I could have sworn Surrey was from a mod, but when I looked him up it turns out he’s from the vanilla game. Guess I just managed to skip over him every time I played through previously…

At the bar I meet a bard playing a mandolin.

Dorthon: That depends. Exactly what sort of services can you offer?

Lake Poet Sam: Well, I can spread the word of your accomplishments, perhaps in a different light. For a small amount of coin, I can sing your praises to the countryside in a way that makes you appear more powerful, more intimidating, perhaps more worthy of fear.

Xzar: Mummy always said it paid to make friends in the right places.

Imoen: Wow, Dorthon, we could be famous without ever leaving home. Just think of what old puffguts would say if he could hear about Imoen the Great and her bold party of intrepid adventurers.

She sighs.

Imoen: It is an attractive offer. Though it might be nicer to find someone to spread words about our good deeds, instead.

Lake Poet Sam: I have a wide variety of things I can offer a discerning customer. What say you?

Dorthon: Thanks, but no thanks. For one like me, it pays to remain anonymous.

Imoen may be excited at the idea of building a reputation, but with so many assassins chasing me in the last few days it’s better to be discreet.

Gameplay Note
This is part of the BG1 NPC Project by the Gibberlings Three. One of the annoying things about Baldur’s Gate is how easy it is to build up your Reputation to 20. If you want to play an evil character you will eventually have to kill a random NPC to bring your Reputation down. This is a solution to that: you can pay a Lake Poet to lower your reputation. I may take advantage of this in the future, but for now I like our Reputation where it is.

As an aside, the reason they are called “Lake Poets” is because they are named after the three famous poets from the Lake District in the UK: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. I was raised in the Lake District and especially love Wordsworth so this is really cool to me.

I see a heavily armed dwarf at the back of the bar.

Dorthon: My name is Dorthon what’s yours?

Thorengrim Hammerfist: Me name is Thorengrim Hammerfist one of thee best forgers that Clan Hammerfist had. Me clan died out when Durlag fell. Me clan and Durlag’s were very close. Now what kin I do fer ye?

Dorthon: Yes, we were wondering what you have to sell. Anything special you have?

Thorengrim Hammerfist: Now that be music to me ears mate. Here’s what I ‘ave fer ya.

Gameplay Note
I think this is meant to be a Scouse accent? Thorengrim can also upgrade equipment, but unfortunately we don’t have anything he can upgrade right now.

This shop is another addition from the Dark Horizons mod by Solaufein.

He sells a lot of weapons and armour, including some magical equipment. We buy plate armour, a large shield, and some throwing hammers for Helga.

Gameplay Note
Helga has -1 AC now. She’s going to be our tank even though she has less hit points than Dorthon.

Gameplay Note
We can actually choose to use these as a melee weapon which is nice. They’re weaker than a normal war hammer when used this way, but could be useful if the iron crisis gets to Helga’s weapon.

Imoen gets a buckler and some extra arrows.

Xzar gets a helmet, a buckler, and some throwing daggers.

Gameplay Note
Turns out wizards can wear any armour! Of course if you want to keep using magic you have to stick with armour that doesn’t have spell failure. Pretty cool to see Xzar with a helmet and shield though!

Since we’re on a shopping spree, we see what the owner is selling.

Bentley has some nice rooms we can stay in, and sells some basic equipment for travellers. He also has beer on tap, and some bottled beer as well.

He only has 5 bottles each costing a coin. We have 5 gold left between us. It feels like fate, so we buy the remaining bottles.

Gameplay Note
I can’t find what mod added these. I’m guessing they’re part of a fetch quest, but I may drink a bottle or two at some point to see what the effects are…

I start a conversation with another of the barmaids.

Dorthon: Yes, the roads were crazy. Who are you, anyway?

Nessie: My name is Nessie. The Mirrorshades hired me to work at the inn almost five years ago and now I wouldn’t leave it for the life of me. It’s wonderful here, with new faces passing through every day.

Dorthon: So who are the new faces here now?

Nessie: With the roads being what they are right now, there aren’t too many faces around here that are new anymore. Unshey’s been taking his time to write a new book, and Khalid and Jaheira have been waiting anxiously in the corner over there, sleeping in shifts to make sure they don’t miss whoever it is they’re waiting for…

I look over and see two elves. Those must be my father’s friends!

Nessie: Dorn’s over there in the opposite corner, as far from Khalid and Jaheira as possible. I’d steer clear of him if I had a choice…

Too late.

Nessie: Who else? Let’s see, Landrin’s on the top floor, drinking up a storm, and then there was… well, Tarnesh… I’m really sorry he caused you trouble – he was all wit and charm until he heard there were visitors at the gate… We don’t allow fighting here. We have very strict rules about that sort of thing but the guards said he jumped out of the shadows at you and there was nothing you could do…

I’m starting to get used to assassins jumping at me out of the shadows now.

Nessie: That’s really about it. Everyone else has been here for the past two months, at least. We’re so full there’s even been talk of letting people throw down their bedrolls in the temple.

I’ve found my father’s friends at last. I’m hesitant. Do they know his fate yet? Or will I have to tell them that he…?

I guess I’m about to find out…

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