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Tales of the Sword Coast

Tales of the Sword Coast (TotSC) is an expansion pack for Baldur's Gate that adds 20-40 hours worth of new areas to explore that was released in May 1999. Not only does it provide more quests, items and monsters, but also improvements to the game engine.

New Design Features

TotSC builds upon Baldur's Gate adding four new map areas as well as numerous interiors and dungeons. The new areas are the small town Ulgoth's Beard, an ice cavern, the dwarven fortress Durlag's Tower to the east in the Woods of Sharp Teeth, and an uncharted island off the coast to the west. The original game must be installed to use the expansion as they share resources and the older areas are still accessible. The expansion inserts prior to the final battle with Sarevok which would have to be refought at the end of the expansion in order to have the accumulated experience count towards the sequel. The reason that TotSC does not take place after the final battle of BG is that it would require rewriting and retesting the dialog from the entire game to take into account the absence of Sarevok and his threat, the changed political climate, your knowledge of your past and the fact you saved the day.

If you have not yet completed the game when you install the expansion, then the new areas are added in and you just continue your game as normal. There will be new high level areas, but they should be avoided until your party is stronger. This scenario is also true if you start with a saved game that is not the final save.

If you have already completed the game when you install the expansion, your final save will direct you to appear in the town of Ulgoth's Beard when you load it. This situates you in the new areas so you can only explore those or go back to areas of the original game with the only difference being that the final battle with Sarevok has been made more difficult.

The expansion occupies 1 full CD, and comes with a 40 page manual and an improved command card. Depending on your current installation, the expansion will add 5 MB if you did the recommended install for the main game or 150 MB if you had done the minimum install. The system specifications necessary to play TotSC are identical to BG. Once the expansion in installed, all players in multiplayer must have it even if you are not in the new areas (because it updates the game engine). TotSC has versions available in French, German, Spanish and Italian as with BG.

The maximum total experience points a character in Baldur's Gate could earn was 89,000. This cap was introduced so that BioWare could design and balance the game for characters of the appropriate levels (in both the main game and the expansion). Once TotSC is installed, the cap rises to 161,000.

New Features

The following features have been added or changed in the expansion. These changes would be expected to affect all areas after the expansion is installed.

  • There are no additional character classes.
  • The scimitar has been added which requires Large Blade proficiency. Druids rejoice.
  • Greater than 70 new items.
  • There are 17 new monsters although the majority of them use models of monsters that are already in BG.
  • 11 new wizard and 6 new priest spells of 4th and 5th level.
  • ~100 NPCs, 20-40 of which have major parts. Major NPCs have some spoken lines but none of the new NPCs will be able to join your party.
  • Thieves will only be able to backstab if behind the victim. Enemy Thieves will now backstab as well, an ability they lacked in the original game.
  • The Stealth mode for Thieves and Rangers (Hide in Shadows and Move Silently) is now sensitive to the amount of illumination on the character. This will prevent backstabbing by Thieves in broad daylight unless the character is in the shadows.
  • The "which-way-am-I-facing" code has been changed affecting Thief backstabbing, summoned monsters, random encounters, and other situtations. Summoned creatures now start facing random directions.
  • Character toolbars have been revised so most classes have two quick weapon slots. The three that will not are Cleric/Thief, Mage/Thief, Fighter/Mage/Thief.
  • The speed of all projectiles (normal and magical) has been doubled.
  • Web and Grease spell animations have been changed so they better reflect the area effect of the spells.
  • All area effect spells have been altered so they only affect people still within the area of effect (ie. you can now run out of the Fireball blast radius).
  • TotSC includes a special edition of Roger Wilco voice communication software. The software will accomodate up to 6 players on a channel, allowing the entire party to strategize, react to situations in real time and interact on a more personal level while adventuring through Baldur's Gate and Tales of the Sword Coast.