Written by Reuben Bresler
The city of Baldur’s Gate is one of the dominant trading hubs on the Sword Coast and home to much wealth, greed, and corruption in all of Faerun, the main plane of existence in the lore for Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons. The city overlooks the River Chionthar, with goods coming from north and south by wagon along the Trade Way and by ship on the Sea of Swords, and from the east along the river from Cormyr and Sembia. A few days journey north of the great library of Candlekeep and south of Waterdeep, the city features prominently in the overarching story of the struggle of mortals in Faerun. From tangles with underworld connections to its prominent role in the eventual return of the nearby city of Elturel from the Nine Hells of Avernus, Baldur's Gate has a long and storied history. And one that is only added to by each passing adventurer such as yourself!
Historically, Baldur's Gate has been the subject of much consternation and political strife, not the least of which is as a result of deep connections to the Lord of Darkness himself: Bhaal. Despite this dark connection, a number of agencies keep a semblance of order in Baldur’s Gate. The most widely known among them is the Flaming Fist, a mercenary company that deals out violence freely to keep the middle and lower classes in line. The wealthy elite of Baldur’s Gate, known as patriars, generally keep to the Upper City, which is built on high ground. The Lower City, closer to the river, holds the middle classes and is the site of much of Baldur’s Gate’s long-simmering class conflict. And all around are a series of large gatehouses, each named for its location or a famed building or occurrence there. The city’s poorest folk live in the Outer City, a series of squalid neighborhoods located outside the city walls.
In fair Baldur's Gate is where we set our scene. Heroes and villains alike battle for prominence. The Council of Four keeps tabs above board, distributing justice and even-handed control. Defense of the Upper City is handled by the Watch, the official constabulary of the city’s elite. But The Guild holds true power, commanding the vast and powerful Undercity and all the trappings of their criminal network. And all around Baldur's Gate individuals vie for timeless, from dukes and mercenary captains to dragons and illithids, horrors from the deep places of the world often called Mind Flayers.
But even if you aren't in the great game of politics and power, you can make a living in Baldur's Gate. Merchants, business people, barterers, and tradespeople all can find success within the walled city. Travelers from near and far come to Baldur's Gate seeking knowledge, inspiration, and coin. Priests of every god, academics of every school, connections of every gang, crafters of every trade, and representatives of every institution from Luskan to Daggerford can find a place from which to do their duties within Baldur's Gate. A city of opportunity, but opportunity always comes with at least a little bit of danger.
This is the setting chosen by Wizards of the Coast to put one of their most popular videogame franchises. With 10 titles already released and an 11th in the works, Baldur's Gate is one of the longest running RPG franchises in videogame history. Since 1998 the series has won 6 Game of the Year awards and it shows no signs of slowing down. Lauded for its advances in roleplaying game storywriting as well as game play, the Baldur's Gate series continue to inspire to this day.
So it is little wonder why Magic: The Gathering elected to capitalize on this popularity, success, uniqueness, and intrigue by choosing Baldur's Gate for its latest Commander Legends expansion!
This Commander expansion features beloved characters, iconic locations, fantastic creatures, and of course plenty of both dungeons and dragons to go around. This set features some new mechanics that make it feel even more like the classic RPG. One such example is Taking the Initiative, which allows you to Venture into The Undercity, a brand new Dungeon and the first to appear in MTG since Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Another new addition is Background, a legendary enchantment subtype that allows your commanders to take on additional abilities. Returning abilities like Myriad, Goad, and assembling a Party also add to the flavor and fun. Fight with heroes and villains like Durnan of the Yawning Portal, Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant, and Bane, Lord of Darkness. And with classic monsters like Owlbear Cub, Ancient Copper Dragon, and Intellect Devourers behind every corner, Battle for Baldur’s Gate has something for every adventurer from level 1 to 20!
So pull up a stool and order your favorite beverage from the tavernkeep, adventurer. We've been expecting you!