Minsc

Minsc

Minsc (Pronounced "Minsk") is a prominent fictional character in the Baldur's Gate series of Dungeons & Dragons computer role-playing games created by Bioware. Appearing in both games of the series, he served as a light-toned comic relief and was always accompanied by a pet hamster named "Boo", represented as an icon in Minsc's first quickslot. Minsc insists Boo is in fact a highly intelligent being in the body of a hamster ("the only miniature giant space hamster in the Realm"). Some suspect Boo may be just an ordinary hamster, and that Minsc has just taken a few too many blows to the head. (In Baldur's Gate II, he mentions that he was suffering from a head wound when he purchased Boo.)

Minsc has an assortment of absurd, but often hysterical, battle cries. These include "Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!", "Butt kicking for goodness", and "Squeaky wheel gets the kick!"

Ray Muzyka, co-founder of Bioware has stated that Minsc is his favorite character from the series.

Game appearances

Minsc is a bald, purple-tattooed ranger from the Forgotten Realms country of Rashemen. Originally a berserker on his "dajemma", a rite of passage, to gain entrance to the prestigious "Ice Dragon Berserker Lodge", he swore to guard the witch Dynaheir. Following his failure to do so, Minsc becomes a mercenary and self-proclaimed "defender of good".

In the first Baldur's Gate game, Dynaheir and Minsc are ambushed by gnolls near the Wood of Sharp Teeth. Dynaheir gets captured and taken to a Gnoll Stronghold west of the town of Nashkel and Minsc and Boo travel back to Nashkel, where the main characters can meet him. The player will encounter him as a bulging ranger wielding a two-handed sword who is talking to, and even taking advice from, his pet hamster whose cuddly noises make sense to Minsc. He asks for the main character to help him free Dynaheir before she gets eaten, and will hold the main character to his word, with violence if necessary, and if the player does not rescue her within ten days after Minsc joins the party then he will turn on the group and attack. It is possible to encounter a sworn enemy of Minsc and Dynaheir, in that the mage Edwin Odesseiron will engage the main character with the offer to assassinate Dynaheir, an offer which naturally outrages Minsc, and keeping the two, or three, of them in the main character's company is sure to erupt into physical fighting at any time. If Dynaheir is rescued, she and Minsc will become inseparable, and if any of the two are later dropped from the party, then the other will also leave.

In Baldur's Gate II, Minsc and Boo are found alongside the main character as the game starts. Together with Imoen and Jaheira, they have been captured each in a separate prison cell, and he is in a brutal rage as Dynaheir has been murdered by their captor Irenicus. Minsc travels with the main character, if allowed, and develops long-standing bonds with other PCs Jaheira, Imoen and Nalia. In the place of Dynaheir, he chooses the avariel elf Aerie (or, if she is not present and Nalia is, he choses Nalia instead), whom he protects as his new witch. If this happens, should she be reduced to zero HP, Minsc will automatically fly into a berserk rage. He also has some famous banter with the chaotic gnome thief-illusionist Jan Jansen. If his old enemy Edwin Odesseiron joins the party, Minsc is prone to attacking him after a while, for a fight to death; the outcome largely depends upon how well each of the combatants have been equipped by the player before, and if Edwin has enough spells left. Also after finding the Nether scroll in the Graveyard district, Edwin is in some point turned into a woman. Minsc is clearly confused by this turn of events and considers him as Edwin's sister, with some notations indicating, that he actually finds his new body appealing

In the released retail version of Baldur's Gate II, Minsc, unlike most other PCs in that game, did not have a personal mini-quest. However in a game modification called "Unfinished Business", a Director's Cut-style modification which adds quests left as unfinished code or hinted through interviews by the game developers, introduced a quest for Minsc called "The Kidnapping of Boo". This miniquest was stripped from the original version because Minsc's game voice recordings often included the squeaking of Boo, even if the game developers did not request this extra sound, and thus developing the miniquest would have required a new voice set not featuring Boo. The unfinished code also revealed the inner workings of a romance plot between Minsc and the main character.

Boo

Throughout Baldur's Gate I and Baldur's Gate II, Minsc repeatedly refers to Boo as the only "Miniature Giant Space Hamster in the Realms!" Many suspect Minsc's belief results from the past "head wound" he also refers to on several occasions. However, miniature giant space hamsters verifiably exist in the AD&D game. They are first referenced in the AD&D Second Edition supplementary sourcebook Monstrous Compendium - 7 - Spelljammer (1990), as a creation of a genetic engineering guild of tinker gnomes, the highly idiosyncratic gnomes of Krynn. The gnomes reportedly bred giant space hamsters to power the paddle wheels of flying ships, then bred these giant hamsters in miniature form after presumably running out of normal-sized hamsters. The publishing of this sourcebook predated the release of the original Baldur's Gate by several years.

Another sourcebook that predates Baldur's Gate is the Planescape sourcebook, In The Cage: A Guide To Sigil, which features a full-page advertisement on the final page of the book for a vendor within the city claiming to sell miniature giant space hamsters.

Lead developer Kevin Martens owned several hamsters. All of which were named Boo. It is noted that in an interview with gamespy, Martens admitted that none of the hamsters ever reached a size that anyone could be considered as "huge", let alone "giant".

Boo appears in one of Minsc's quick slots within the game. Any attempt to remove him is prohibited by Minsc, who glares at the protagonist in response. As a result, Minsc is the only PC to have one less quick slot than normal. Interestingly, if multiple Boos are cheated into Minsc's inventory, the effect applies to them as well; for other characters, the "This item may not be removed" quote appears.

Powers

Minsc is the strongest joinable character in both games (Strength 18/93) until the Baldur's Gate II expansion Throne of Bhaal that introduced Sarevok (Strength 18/00), which at that time was not that important as strength-enhancing items are quite frequent in the second game and the character level was at such point that it became irrelevant.

His other fighting stats - Dexterity and Constitution - are respectably high at 16 (15 in BG1), though he is best used as a second-liner, preferably wielding a two-handed weapon like halberd or sword with a bow for long-ranged attack, for example the strongest halberd Ravager combined with a deadly bow as Taralash or Heartseeker.

A funny detail is that Minsc's class is Ranger, a class that requires players to have high wisdom to be available to them, a trait that Minsc lacks. His development of clerical spells during the final stages of the game further boosts his overall effectiveness.

However, he has some weaknesses: 1)There are many other talented fighters in the game, especially when there are so many stat-enhancing items that make physical stats not that important. Jaheira, for example, can become a very deadly fighter with a strength-enhancing belt; Keldorn can be good with a strength belt and the gloves of dexerity. However, characters like Jaheira and Keldorn are not only great fighters: Jaheira's druid spells are equally powerful and she can combine her spells with her fighting skills, while Keldorn's ability makes him a natural enemy against enemy casters. Almost every other fighter has some unique abilities: Sarevok's Deathbringer, Valygar's backstab, and etc. Minsc however has some low-level clerical spells and fighting abilities, but most of all Minsc has humour;

2)Minsc's berserk ability will make him turn on his nearest target, whether it is an enemy or not. What's worse, sometimes this ability breaks out without warning. When he suddenly receives continuous strikes, when his own or Aerie's HP is low, and etc are all possible causes for his berserk.

References to Minsc and Boo

  • In the webcomic Megatokyo, Largo has a hamster as his conscience which is called Boo, a tribute to Baldur's Gate II of which Rodney Caston was famously a fan.
  • In the game Guild Wars Nightfall there is a skill called "Go for the Eyes!, probably named after one of the many battle cries that Minsc bellows as he charges into battle.
  • in the game Guild Wars Factions there is a henchman named Aurora with a pet named Hector with multiple battle cries resembling Minsc and Boo.
  • Occasionally in the game Oblivion NPC bandits will shout "Jump on my sword while you can!", which could well be a reference to Minsc's original line. It appears to be mostly Dark Elves or Wood Elves that make this comment.
  • In Neverwinter Nights : Shadows of Undrentide (SoU) , there is a special dialog with an imprisoned Rat character in the last chapter of the expansion. In one section of the dialog chain, the rat makes an indignant comment to the effect of "What do I look like, a miniature giant space hamster?". Despite its brief reference, the fact that both Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate are made by BioWare is a clear link to Minsc's furry little guardian.
  • In a Cartoon Network show "Codename: Kids Next Door" episode, a character voiced by Jim Cummings named Vin Moosk appears, who has a personality similar to Minsc, in being a tough warrior protective of the weak. Moosk is a fighter of ties; this is because he used to work as an accountant, until he discovered that he hated his job, and hated his tie even worse. Numbuh One confessed to him at the end of the episode that he was "the only cool adult I've ever met."
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer (MotB), an "Astral Rodent totem" can be found in the Thayan academy, which grants its user +4 to Strength and -2 to Intelligence, and has the words "For M" carved on it, a clear reference to Minsc and his spacefaring companion.
  • The french audio story "la Taverne de Kadelfek" features a paladin made explicitly of Minsc, and who speak and live with "Bouh" the giant minitature hamster (a very famous beer drinker).

References

  • (2000) Baldur's Gate II game manual
  • GameSpy interview
  • http://www.putfile.com/pic.php?img=5244165 Screenshot in-game.

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