Showing posts with label Legends of Baldur's Gate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legends of Baldur's Gate. Show all posts


D&D comics history part 34 - Legends of Baldur's Gate (IDW)

   In October 2014, IDW launched a brand new series set in the Forgotten Realms and part of WotC's Tyranny of Dragons event :

Legends of Baldur's Gate

2015 TPB cover 

   This 5 issues series -as well as the following ones- will be written by talented author Jim Zub (who worked, among dozens of titles, on Pathfinder and Red Sonja comics by Dynamite) and drawn by artist Max Dunbar with colorists John-Paul Bove & Joana Lafuente. The lettering will be done, as usual or so on these IDW's publications, by Neil Uyetake (who's here also in charge of the collection design). The series will be compiled in a TPB in April 2015.

    The story takes place in the well-known city of Baldur's Gate. First described in Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast (TSR, 1994 - see below), this place of adventures will become more than famous after the release of the eponymous video game by Bioware/Interplay in 1998.

Baldur's Gate PC Big Box (UK version)

Baldur's Gate Map (PC Big Box, 1998)

Baldur's Gate as described in Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast (PC game manual version, 1998)

   The link between IDW's comic and the video game is far more consistent than just a place's name as the comics will focus on a character who first appeared in Bioware's RPG. In Legends of Baldur's Gate (subheaded in the first single issues as Tyranny of Dragons), we're following a certain Delina, moon elf wild mage (some particular type of sorcerer) who's looking for his missing twin brother Deniak that she believes being in trouble due to their special bond. Being chased by gargoyles, her unpredicable magic will cause to turn into flesh a statue of Minsc, known as the beloved ranger, former hero of the city. Whether Delina's magic gave life to stone or removed Minsc from a petrification state remains an uncertain aspect of the plot.

Beloved Ranger Statue - Dunbar's art & Description as found in Murder in Baldur's Gate (p.13 - WotC, 2013)

   Soon, our 2 heroes (3 would say Minsc...) will be joined in their quest by the rogues duo Krydle the half-elf & Shandie the lightfoot halfling. The party will then have to deal with underground guild, politics, city guards and secret cult to finally achieve their goal in a fun and entertaining chain of events.

The full crew (Delina, Krydle, Shandie, Minsc - and Boo)

   One interesting plot point -among others- is that Krydle is the bastard son of Baldur's Gate former hero and actual member of the Parliament Coran - who appeared to be a recruitable companion in the original video game but also in the adventure module Murder in Baldur's Gate where he's a main protagonist as well as the Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard). As for the Beloved Ranger statue, it's obvious this adventure module was an important source of inspiration for the comic's design.

 Coran in Baldur's Gate - Tales of the Sword Coast expansion (Bioware, 1999)
Coran & Ulder in Legends of Baldur's Gate

 Murder in Baldur's Gate adventure module cover (WOTC, 2013)

 Coran & Ulder's description - Murder in Baldur's Gate module (p.38,39 & 43)

   Minsc, as for him, is originally a pen-and-paper creation of Cameron Tofer (video game producer and progammer) who played this character during Dark Sun sessions held by James Ohlen, lead designer of Bioware's Baldur's Gate. He was incorporated in the video game as a playable companion. He's a human ranger berserker who appeared in the video game storyline as bodyguard of the witch Dynaheir. Badly head-injured in the past, Minsc is a not-so-clever (to say the least...) character who spends his time talking to (and mostly taking advices from...) his hamster familiar Boo, that he claims to be a Miniature Giant Space Hamster. (Tho, this has never been proved and most consider Boo as a simple rodent...). His main purpose in life is to defeat evil everytime he's confronted with...

Minsc vs Evil - Less cogitation, more action... 

   We will note that in the comics, Minsc is stubbornly calling Delina "Neera". Neera was a half-elf wild mage who appeared in the 2012's Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition. Once again the link between the 2 medias is obvious.

 Minsc's character sheet - Baldur's Gate (Bioware, 1998)

   And as an endless ping-pong pass, Minsc, as well as Delina -and other character from the comics to come (but that's another story...)- will be part of the latest D&D video games as 2017 Codename Entertainments' Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. And in 2018, the single issues of Evil at Baldur's Gate, the 4th adventure of our heroes, will contain exclusive codes to obtain bonuses in the game... This same year, ICOTFR will release a DLC containing an unique skin for Minsc (the Giant Boo costume) in support of their Extra-Life campaign. (All the money acquired by the sales of this special DLC went to the BC Children's Hospital Fundation.)

Minsc & Delina chara-sheets and buyable familiar Boo (Idle Champions of the F.R.)
   Note that, if we're not granted with RPG materials yet, each single issue -or so- of Legends of Baldur's Gate will also contains some Max Dunbar's concept art sketches :

  Max Dunbar's concept art sample (TPB release version)
   Full of humor and granted with an amazing art, this first adventure of Minsc and his crew is a real success. The party will have more stories to tell in the upcoming years and as of 2019, 3 other comics will be published : Shadows of the Vampire, Frost Giant's Fury and Evil at Baldur's Gate. Once again, IDW did the job and proposed the D&D fans some piece of value as in its form as in its content. Jim Zub did an amazing work on the telling but also in his capacity of integrating existing references and materials, some under raw plot bedrock and other as "simple" winks. Anyway, it's fun, it's pretty, it's accurate... it's just a must-to-read.