When we last left Xen and her party, Cloakwood was imminent! So I did Cloakwood. It’s an area broken up into four smaller areas, one of which is filled with traps and spiders! The first area only had these poor little creatures called Talsoi, plus some other relatively minor nuisances. The third area has some druidic stuff going on and is only important because you can get a bastard sword that’s great against shape-shifters. This weapon is the sole reason I gave Xen proficencies in bastard sword use. The fourth area is notable only for its wyverns, which are annoying to the extreme but not as annoying as the second area of the Cloakwood.

The second area of the Cloakwood is filled with traps and spiders, as I said. Traps that will web up your party if you don’t find and disarm them. While this isn’t that hard, sometimes the spiders will inadvertently cause your party to trip traps you haven’t tried to find yet, resulting in getting killed by spiders that have swords for legs and can teleport. Also, ettercaps, which are weird little humanoid spider things or something? In any case, the most notable thing about this area is the old spider-woman living in a web hut in its center. She has ties to the villain of the second game and also a sword that renders the holding traps useless for its wielder. This went directly to Minsc.

After the Cloakwood proper, the party went to the Cloakwood mines. These are better than the Nashkel mines in some ways, but in other ways, they’re filled with various wizards. Knowing this going in, I equipped Branwen with a lot of silence spells and told Neera to dispel lots of magic. Formerly powerful wizards were reduced to hitting my party with slings and sticks, including the mine’s master, Davaeorn. Everything was taken care of and Baldur’s Gate was finally open to me. So, of course, I opted to do more sidequests. Ankhegs were hunted (and Minsc got himself an Ankheg plate armor) and various creatures were slain in the name of experience. Furthermore, I felt this might be an ideal time to attempt some areas that were originally expansion packs (which is DLC you had to physically buy and install on a disc) and my main focus was a little place called Durlag’s Tower. It is probably the most difficult area of the game, but well worth exploring. The upper floors were a piece of cake, save for some basilisks I made a note to kill once I could properly protect my team. The lower floors were where the terror lay, and I had Imoen find the first trap.

She could not disarm it.

We left Durlag’s tower. Imoen needed to get better before we attempted it, but there were lots of other areas we could possibly explore. Our next stop: The Firewine Ruins.