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The Pocket Plane in the game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and its expansion Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal is a plane within a plane unconsciously created through the power of their Bhaalspawn blood by the player character to shield themselves within Bhaal's realm.
The Pocket Plane first appears at the end of Shadows of Amn when the player character is dragged into "hell" together with Irenicus who has stolen most of their divine soul. In order to find their soul, the player character must get to know it better, and to that end the Pocket Plane forms to contain a number of tests for self-discovery. The same theme continues in Throne of Bhaal, when more tests appear in a newly-designed Pocket Plane that are part of the protagonist's road to knowing their divine essence in preparation for when they will gain the overwhelming majority of Bhaal's essence at their disposal at the end, if they succeed.
The Pocket Plane is stated to be in the Nine Hells or the Abyss, though on the other hand it's also supposed to be in Bhaal's realm, which is officially in neither. Though there are two versions of it, both have a central chamber with a large gate and a number of smaller passages leading to rooms for testing. They also have the same general appearance, with twisted statues around the floor and on walls, and with everything being generally monstrous and large. In the first version, the "sky" (which also seems to go on underneath the plane's structures) is solid red; in the second, it's swirling with green, formless shapes.
In Throne of Bhaal, the player character becomes able to move to the Pocket Plane at will. It ceases to exist when the player character is ready to face Amelyssan and chooses to dissolve it, ending up at the Mana Forge instead.
Features and charactersEdit
- The Gate of the Watchers. This monstrous gate, surrounded by five unnatural eyes, dominates the central hall of the first version. The eyes turn to follow the player character, and the gate cannot be passed until all five are closed. This can only be done using the Tears of Bhaal. Once opened, the gate will send forth Irenicus, ready for a final battle.
- The Tears of Bhaal. According to one of the demons guarding the Tears, "Death causes many tears to fall -- and Bhaal collected many while he lived". Whatever the exact nature of these small gemstones is, each is gained after completing a challenge, and each will close one of the eyes on the gate.
- Irenicus. Irenicus had also been exploring the soul he shares with the player character, and he is able to draw on some of its power. When he is finally summoned from behind the gate, he will immediately proceed to summon two glabrezus and two balors to match the protagonist's party, and to turn into the Slayer himself.
- Sarevok. Sarevok's essence has been dispersed after he was killed at the end of Baldur's Gate, joining that of Bhaal. It is summoned forth again, however, in one of the tests in the first version of the Pocket Plane. After the protagonist defeats him a second time, a part of him is left behind, trying to re-form in order to live again. At the beginning of Throne of Bhaal, Sarevok's shade then appears in the second Pocket Plane and makes a deal with the protagonist, who has no chance but to comply in order to get ahead - either they or Imoen have to give up a small portion of their souls to let Sarevok be returned to life, now as a mortal. He may then either leave, join the player's party, or wait in the Pocket Plane.
- The Solar. This female solar appears before each of the tests in the second version of the Pocket Plane, telling the player character about themselves and giving them a chance to speak of their own feelings. The real test in each case is failed or passed at this point; what follows, mostly needs to be survived. The Solar can summon parts of souls of persons, living or dead, mortal or divine, that can speak for themselves, telling a part of the story that needs to be told each time. The people so summoned are not necessarily aware of it in their real forms. The Solar is bound to the task of guiding the protagonist, and will do so impartially even if they turn out to be evil and ascend to become the new Lord of Murder. Her manner is perpetually unaffected, but friendly in a distant kind of way.
- Cespenar. An imp, Bhaal's "butler", who has re-formed along with the second version of the plane and works on items.
- The Spirits of Fate. In the second version of the Pocket Plane, these talking statues can summon anyone whose fate is tied to the player character's, that is to say any old playable NPC from the game, except for Yoshimo. Those summoned are not simply teleported in, but their history is altered somehow.
- The Exit Gate. Replacing The Gate of the Watchers in the second version, this gate can take the player character to some places they need to go in order to fulfil their destiny, or simply back where they came to the Pocket Plane from.
- Cyric. The Prince of Lies appears in person in one of the tests in the second tier, talking to the player character for a while and trying to determine if they pose a threat to his position as the god of murder.
Shadows of AmnEdit
These are the tests the protagonist goes through to discover their soul and Irenicus, gathering the Tears of Bhaal. Choosing the "evil" solution will immediately make the character evil. In each case, there are different but roughly equal rewards for choosing either option, in the form of powers gained by the character. All of these tests are run by a demon named after the test's object, except for Anger.
- Pride. In this test, the first one clockwise from the Gate of the Watchers, the demon will flatter the protagonist's battle prowess and tell them that a powerful creature guards the next Tear and must be defeated. The evil way is to do this and fight a dragon. The humble way is to stop and think, asking if the creature would not give the Tear without a fight, in which case it will do so when you encounter it.
- Fear. The demon offers an obviously vile cloak of nymph skin that will shield the character from fear. Only a character immune to fear can gain the Tear of Bhaal without going through a room full of beholders. Obviously taking the cloak is the evil choice.
- Selfish. Unlike the others, the demon hosting this test is named after the adjective form. There are again two paths that lead to the Tear. Going through one of them will permanently kill a party member trapped by the demon, or a random innocent if none are present. Going the other way will permanently weaken the player character in 2 permanent ways, but it's the "good" choice.
- Greed. In this test, the demon offers the protagonist Blackrazor, a particularly powerful if evil sword, saying it's the tool with which to deal with the one who guards the next Tear. This turns out to be a tormented genie, who cannot give straight answers as to what should be done with him but would welcome even being killed as a release. The "good" choice, however, is to give up the sword and just give it to him.
- Anger. This test is managed by Sarevok, who tries to goad the player character into turning into the Slayer and attacking him. That's the "evil" choice, but he needs to be fought regardless.
Throne of BhaalEdit
These tests each come after the Solar has spoken to the player character and revealed something about their past, present, future or destiny. They are more like simply challenges in that whether the protagonist comes out as a hero or villain at the very end is determined not by them but by the answers they give to the Solar in reaction to the revelations. Inversely, some tests have details that vary according to whether the game already perceives the character as evil or having previously failed, or the opposite.
(The names given to the tests here are simply descriptive.)
- The first test (Retribution): After the Solar has spoken to the player character for the first time and Sarevok has helped them to unlock the first gate, they must enter a room where the shade of Gavid talks to them and says that the only thing to fear after the killing to which being a Bhaalspawn leads to is retribution. After this, waves of creatures of the alignment opposite to the player character's appear and attack, continuing for some time.
- The second test (Exchanged fates): Before the test, the player character is told about their real mother and how the young Sarevok was in the same place that Gorion saved them from. The test that follows involves an "evil" or reversed version of the player character, who states that they had an unfortunate fate like Sarevok's and that they hate the player character for their easy beginning at life, before attacking along with a party that includes a version of Tamoko. If the player character answered "correctly" to the Solar earlier, proving themselves "good" in that respect, the cavern where the test takes place has pleasant, natural surroundings, with pools of healing water; if the opposite, it will be barren and littered with scalding pools of lava. In the latter case, the reverse version of the player character will also be different, with a paladin's weapon, but with the same murderous dialogue.
- The third test (Lost innocence): The player character will confront a version of themselves that represents their lost innocence. It will ask them to give up their power and current situation and return to their former state back before they left Candlekeep. When they refuse, it will turn into the Slayer and attack.
- The fourth test (Cyric): Cyric appears, makes the rest of the player's party vanish, and initiates a civil conversation, probing the player character's motives and intentions. As the god of murder, he's afraid of competition, but unable to interfere by Ao's decree. At the end, he will leave the party to fight against a number of his own assassins as part of the "test".
- The fifth test (The Ravager): The Ravager, the larger and more powerful avatar of Bhaal, awaits in the room and states that the player character would need to defeat it to advance, but that they cannot. It is very difficult to harm and pesters all characters holding back with bone blades that attack on their own. Once it is defeated, the player will be able to dissolve the Pocket Plane and proceed to the Mana Forge.
In the novelization of Shadows of Amn, the final "hell" sequence in the Pocket Plane is replaced with with Abdel Adrian sinking into an ill-defined non-dimensional space, where he has the sensation of reigning in hell for a moment, and then steps on Irenicus (possibly metaphorically) and tries to rise again, only to pop out of the ground when his friends dig and call his name enough, which also causes the Tree of Life to stop burning somehow.
The Pocket Plane appears in the Throne of Bhaal novelization.
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