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Shadows of Amn Spoilers

Welcome to the new Computer Game Spoilers section of my gaming website. I added this section because I recently received questions about the plots of two different games which, to my surprise and embarrassment, I had totally forgotten the answers to. Then, to my further surprise, I was unable to find any existing website that would refresh my memory about the plots of computer games... lots of puzzle solutions, but no basic plot summaries.

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So I figured I'd better write some of them down while they're still fresh in my mind, just in case I or anybody else wants to refer to them at some point in the future (or in case anybody suffers a major game glitch and just wants to know what was supposed to happen in the end-- I get letters like this from time to time.) If you haven't finished Shadows of Amn yet and you don't want the plot of this game to be revealed to you, then you don't want to read this page. Please go back to my main Shadows of Amn page, where I give tips and reviews without giving away any of its plot.

But if you are looking for plot spoilers, just scroll further down the page to find them!

Plot Summary

The plot begins with the player character and his companions captured by a villainous mage named Irenicus, who kills some of them and tortures others. Eventually the surviving party members escape and Irenicus is cuaght by local law enforcement, but the player character's friend Imoen is arrested along with him, so rescuing her from the high-security prison they have both been sent to becomes the party's goal. When they finally make it there, they are captured again by Irenicus, who finally reveals the purpose behind the torturous experiments he's been performing on them: he and his sister, the vampire Bodhi, want to steal the powerful souls of the PC and Imoen to replace the ones they have lost. Now soulless, the PC begins manifesting the monstrous form of the Slayer (no, not Buffy, a sort of Lovecraftian demon monster avatar of the evil god Bhaal.)

After a long pursuit, the party manages to find and defeat first Bodhi and then Irenicus. Imoen's soul is restored to her upon Bodhi's death, but Irenicus manages to drag the player character into Hell with him, where the PC has to pass five diabolic trials before the rest of the party is able to come to the rescue and vanquish Irenicus once and for all.

Character Subplots and Secrets

Nearly all of the playable NPC's in Shadows of Amn have at least one subplot beyond any involvement they have in the main plot. Here are the basic summaries:

Imoen: Imoen has a backstory with the PC from the previous game, Baldur's Gate: they were both orphans raised by the kindly mage Gorion, whose murder was the impetus for the first game's plot. In Shadows of Amn, Imoen is revealed to have something else in common with the PC: she is also a child of Bhaal (which is why Gorion was trying to protect the two of them in the first place.)

Jaheira: Jaheira was also one of the PC's friends from the previous game, who was captured by Irenicus at the same time you and Imoen were. In this game, her husband Khalid has been killed by Irenicus, so she understandably spends a lot of time grieving. If your character is male, you can pursue a rebound relationship with her; despite some rocky moments, Shadows of Amn ends with the couple still together. Whether you have a romance with her or not, Jaheira has a subplot with her guild (the pretentious "Harpers") in which she ends up renouncing them in favor of her friendship with the PC. She also has a smaller subplot in which a criminal whose slaving operations she had broken up tries to take revenge by cursing her, but she can easily avert the curse just by killing him and taking the lock of her hair back.

Minsc: Another of the PC's friends from the previous game who was captured along with you by Irenicus. Minsc also lost a loved one in the process, his partner Dynaheir (in his culture warriors and magic-users form pair-bonded teams.) If Minsc and Aerie are in the party together, he will choose her to replace Dynaheir as his new witch.

Aerie: If you're male you can pursue a romantic relationship with her (which ends happily.) If not, she will strike up a romance with Haerdalis instead, but that one doesn't last very long before breaking up. Her backstory hardly qualifies as a secret, since she practically screams it in your face as soon as she meets you, but here it is: she was a winged elf but she lost her wings to infection while she was enslaved in a circus, so now she cannot fly or return to her people.

Viconia: If you're male you can pursue a romantic relationship with her-- it ends unhappily, with Viconia dumping you because she feels she's getting in too deep and fears commitment. However, you will still have a chance to rekindle the affair in Throne of Bhaal if you like. Her backstory is interesting: she is a drow elf (an evil subterranean race), but even though she is also evil, it turns out what she was actually exiled for was an act of kind-heartedness-- she didn't want to sacrifice a captured child. So she is no longer welcome among her own people, but she hasn't been welcome on the surface either... all the other races hate and fear the drow, plus Viconia herself has a pretty prickly personality. The last time she came close to making friends, it was with some human thugs who ended up raping her, so she's understandably a little mistrustful of everyone at this point.

Anomen: The lone love interest for a female PC. Anomen's story arc is notable because his alignment will actually change depending on the actions you encourage him to take. During the course of the game, Anomen's beloved sister is murdered, apparently by his estranged father's arch-enemy Saerk. Anomen has to decide whether to take the law into his own hands and kill Saerk as his father urges, or bite his lip and wait for the law to handle matters. If he goes vigilante, he will fail his knighthood test because of it and his alignment will change to chaotic neutral. If he trusts the law, he will pass his test and become lawful good. If you're pursuing the romance arc, Anomen's sanity is further tested by whatever choice he makes turning out to be wrong-- if he has slain Saerk then Saerk turns out to be innocent of the crime and the real murderer is caught by the police, and if he let Saerk live then Saerk turns out to be the real murderer and kills Anomen's father as well. The PC then has to talk Anomen out of his despair or he will take bloody revenge and/or commit suicide; if you manage to do that, then the romance with the now-wiser Anomen ends happily.

Nalia: The PC meets Nalia when she asks the party for help reclaiming her family keep from trolls. She then learns her father was killed in the attack. It quickly becomes clear that Nalia's detested fiance Isaea Roenall was behind the troll attack, but since there's no proof of this, her family estate is transferred to Isaea. You never will be able to prove the attack was Isaea's fault, but you can find all kinds of other dirt on him, including underworld smuggling and slavery contracts, that will send him to jail and free Nalia from having to honor her arranged marriage. If you are a fighter, you can even become Nalia's champion and take possession of the keep yourself.

Valygar: This gloomy ranger comes from a family in which magic-users are corrupted by an ancient curse stemming back to their infamous ancestor Lavok. Valygar is the last of his line and intends to end the curse by dying childless. However, during the game, Valygar and the party encounter Lavok himself inside a Planar Sphere and realize that he was actually possessed by an evil spirit which was the true cause of the curse, not magic or Valygar's bloodline. Valygar chooses to forgive his dying ancestor and carries him out to see the sun one last time before his death.

Cernd: Cernd is a werewolf, though this isn't much of a secret. More of a surprise is that he's also a deadbeat dad. This isn't theoretically his fault, since his ex-wife, Galia, never told him she was pregnant. Of course, Cernd probably should have, you know, checked up on her once or twice or at least paid enough attention that he'd know if she had a baby, especially since they supposedly parted on decent terms. In any case, it's too late for Galia, who died of domestic abuse from her new boyfriend, an evil nobleman. Cernd is able to rescue his baby son though, and brings him to the druid grove to raise.

Keldorn: Keldorn's wife is so frustrated with his long absences from home that she's having an affair, which she'll blurt out at him the minute he next walks in the door. You can advise him to either throw her in jail for adultery or try to reconcile with her; the latter is a happier ending for him, since both of them still love each other and would prefer to work things out.

Jan: Jan has unrequited love for a woman named Lissa, but she chose to marry a shady gangster named Vaelag instead. Now she has left Vaelag because he hits her, but their daughter Jaella is sick and for some poorly explained reason can only be cured by an illithid (?) Jan successfully persuades an illithid to do this, but once Jaella is well, Lissa decides to go back to Vaelag anyway, claiming that he's changed.

Mazzy: Mazzy's previous party was defeated by the Shadow Lord. One of them was her boyfriend, Patrick, whose loss she grieves. With the help of the player's party, she is able to defeat the Shadow Lord and avenge her friends. She also has a short subplot regarding her sister, who is accidentally poisoned by her boyfriend when a love potion he bought for her turned out to be deadly. Mazzy is able to revive her sister and punish the priest who is selling poisoned potions to people. Halflings are forbidden from being paladins in this gameworld, which is Mazzy's unattainable dream in life, so she is bitter and touchy about this and occasionally picks fights with people who mention her size or race disparagingly.

Edwin: Edwin's subplot is just comic relief: he accidentally casts a spell that polymorphs him into a woman, a situation which amuses everyone else in the game BUT Edwin. :-)

Haer'dalis: The PC first meets Haer'dalis when rescuing him from a wizard he was caught stealing from, and then must rescue him and his friends again when they are attacked by astral beings. After that Haer'dalis tries to strike up a romance with Aerie, but even if she returns his interest, she ends up dumping him before long because their philosophies of life are so different.

Korgan: Korgan doesn't have any subplots, though he does open a quest for the PC and he can forge an interesting friendship with Mazzy if you keep them together in the party long enough.

Irenicus and Bodhi: Their story is the main plotline of the game, but they also have a backstory that is relevant-- they were once prominent elven mages in the city of Suldanessalar, with Irenicus was even courting the elven Queen Ellesime. But Ellesime stripped them of their souls and banished them from the elven kingdom when she found out they were trying to siphon power from the Tree of Life. The loss of their elven immortality is what led Bodhi to pursue vampirism and Irenicus to devise his elaborate scheme to steal the Bhaalspawns' souls. So in a way, the whole thing is Ellesime's fault for dumping her high-level problem criminals into somebody else's backyard instead of building a freakin' prison. Thanks, Ellesime!

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