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Minsc (Baldur's Gate) (Dungeons and Dragons) portrait

Minsc


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Minsc is a companion in the classic Baldur’s Gate video game, based on Dungeons & Dragon and released in 1998.

There are several other articles that may be useful for context :

  1. The Forgotten Realms setting primer explains the basics of Baldur’s Gate world. It’s the most recommended one before reading Minsc’s profile.
  2. The Jet Foundling character profile explain the Baldur’s Gate story.
  3. The Old-School D&D Genre article and the Vance-Arneson-Gygax Magic article dive into technical aspect of Dungeons & Dragons and DC Heroes.
  4. The video game FAQ is the more meta article discussing character writeups based on video games.

As explained in the Forgotten Realms primer, these profiles are based on a modded playthrough. Notably, these add intra-party banter. In the baseline game, the companions receive less characterisation.

This profile, he’s got S P O I L E R S. Howbeit, due to time constraints, our BG companion profile only cover them up to level 5 for now.


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Sword, meet EVIL !

Minsc (and Boo) seem to be the most popular characters in the classic Baldur’s Gate games.

By late 2010s standards there wasn’t much material. But there was just enough colour to catch the imagination – the “Boba Fett syndrome”. Especially with so many BG1 players also being tabletop RPG players.

BG2 would lean harder into this aspect of having colourful companions with story arcs, banter and catchphrases, characterisation hooks, possible conflicts… Which in turn would lead to major works such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

Minsc can thus, in a way, be considered patient zero for these developments.


Background

  • Real Name: Minsc.
  • Marital Status: Presumed single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Bodyguard of Dynaheir.
  • Base of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’3″ Weight: 230 lbs.
  • Eyes: Dark brown Hair: None.


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Powers & Abilities

Minsc is huuuge, and a strongman.

He’s a dangerous warrior, though his technique is a tad crude. He relies mostly on sheer aggression and semi-deranged bravery. This is a common approach among fighters of his land, where berserkers are lauded.

On the other hand, he was intensively trained and is tactically flexible. For instance he’s about as proficient with a two-handed sword than with a pair of maces, or a longbow.

Minsc is a berserker, though he can be persuaded *not* to work himself up into a blind battle frenzy under most circumstances. He’s also adept at wilderness survival, stealth and as a woodrunner.

Minsc has suffered brain damage. He can still function to a surprising degree, but he needs a guardian not to get into terrible trouble. He’s also fixated on his pet hamster, whom he insists is a wise and intelligent advisor.

Go for the eyes

When he joined Minsc sported a greatsword and leather armour. CHARNAME quickly upgrade the armour and weaponry. Especially since greatswords in a time of “diseased” iron have a poor lifespan.

But in this playthrough, Minsc remains a hitting-things-hard-with-a-big-weapon expert. His bow has the party’s highest draw strength by far, and he gets a greatsword +1 – being magical, it’s far more durable. For protection he relies on one of the party’s two ankheg plate armours, which is both stout and light.

The rest of the melee rank has a more defensive slant with Jet, Khalid and Jaheira all wielding a large shield. They coordinate so that the shield-less, freewheeling Minsc doesn’t end up with an exposed flank.

He thus represents a good chunk of the party’s sustained killing power. As he would put it, his sword of justice is HUGE.

Animal instinct

Minsc’s companion Boo is, as far as Jaheira can determine, a normal hamster . Though Minsc often exhorts it to “go for the eyes”, the small rodent doesn’t play a role in combat.

One bit of banter implies that Boo did bite something in the eye at least once, though. Perhaps Minsc drops his pet on the body of slain enemies as battle progresses, to maintain the fiction that his hamster fights at his side. If so, the rodent might bite out of fear.

As a ranger, Minsc can communicate with animals to an extent. For instance, he can persuade some wolves or bears not to attack and perhaps even tag along for a bit. However in BG1 it is difficult to obtain a genuine advantage by doing that.


Täällä itätähden alla — the land of Rashemen

Minsc is a Human from Rashemen.

Rashemen is far away to the East-North-East. With the Sea of Fallen Stars being in the way, trekking from Rashemen to the Sword Coast is about the same as trekking from New England to the central Californian coast.

Rashemen is East of Ashanath and South-East of Narfell, if that helps. It is part of the so-called “Unapproachable East”. Lake Ashane and Lake Mulsantir separate Rashemen from lands to its East and South.

Rashemen is, *roughly speaking*, heroic fantasy Russia-slash-Finland with bonus Afghanistan. It is a tough and vital land of many mysterious spirits, and many traditions and rituals in order to cohabit with those.

It is also remote, cold, high-altitude and harsh. Northern Rashemen is but a large combination plateau and tundra.

Rashemen is locked into a conflict with the evil Red Wizards of Thay. The Wizards yearn to conquer it, but lack the unity and organisation such a military campaign requires. Thay also has too many enemies (such as the Harpers, or the Seven Sisters ) to be able to focus on any one for long.

Furthermore, Rashemen has its own organisation of magicians. These are the dreaded Witches of Rashemen.

Forgotten Realms map of the East with Rashemen and Thay

This map has Rashemen (and Thay) roughly at the centre, with the Sea of Fallen Stars visible for orientation. Click on the image for a larger version.

Float like a duck, maul like a owlbear

The proper name for the Witches of Rashemen is the Wychlaran. It is essentially the national conclave. For more about the masked magic women of Rashemen, see our Dynaheir profile.

Being a mighty berserker such as Minsc is a common ideal for Rashemi men. But this is provided that the warrior is able to restrain his battle fury. Those who can’t are seen as shameful maniacs and are usually ostracised.

Berserkers are organised in Lodges, each Lodge having a totem. The best-known Lodge totems are animal spirits, such as the wolf or the great stag. Major Lodges have chapters across the nation.

Lodge brothers (and the occasional sister) are a bit like a paramilitary unit, adoptive family, biker gang and nature cult all rolled into one.

They play an important role in defending Rashemen. When there’s fighting to be done, the berserker brothers and sisters will come in, man the front lines and organise and protect the locals.

Though individually powerful, the berserkers are of course poorly organised in battle. To truly be successful, they need the backing of the Wychlaran and local mages. These will use magic and allied spirits to exploit and prolong the impact of the berserker’s enraged charge, and prevent the enemy from outmaneuvering them.

The berserker Lodges and the masked witches of the Wychlaran have clear weaknesses on their own. But together they’re a devastating, doughty and dauntless combo.


Soundtrack

It’s either Finnish or Russian metal. And since the Rashemen chapter had a small Finnish joke let’s keep on keeping on.

Is there some suitable Turisas with tolerable sound quality… mmm… yes there is.

Available for download on Amazon .


History

Minsc is a muscular lad from Rashemen. His ambition is to join the Ice Dragon Lodge of berserkers.

From its name, one suspects that this Lodge (and perhaps Minsc) originates from the Rashemi shores of Lake Tirulag.

Butt-kicking for goodness

All young men in Rashemen are supposed to do a daremma (often spelled dajemma or darjemma). This is a sort of sabbatical and coming-of-age tradition to travel, discover the world and broaden one’s horizons.

It takes place at age 20. Having performed daremma is necessary to join the Ice Dragon lodge.

Daremma can be an incredible expedition into far-off lands to fight evil monsters. Or it might mean crossing the lake to drink gallons of the local alcohol, visit brothels and burn through your parents’ savings like yobs at a Spanish resort.

People will tell you that daremma used to be much more serious and demanding back in their day. One suspects that this has been said since the second person to ever make a daremma left.

The eager Minsc definitely got the old-school version, though. He was to travel far and know great danger. Further, he would accompany the young witch Dynaheir on her own daremma.

Apparently, a young berserker/young witch pairing for a daremma is traditional. But one gets the impression that, while prestigious and old-fashioned, it is not the most common arrangement anymore.

And the damage done

At an unclear point, Minsc suffered from brain damage – presumably in battle. He could still function, but he wasn’t rational.

Minsc (Baldur's Gate) (Dungeons and Dragons) charging

He also developed odd fixations, and adopted a pet hamster. Perhaps he sought to compensate for his difficulties to think clearly, by obsessing over certain subjects.

Later on, an ambush led to the capture of Dynaheir by a gnoll party in the Northwesternmost corner of Amn. Though Minsc survived the attack and made it to Nashkel, he had to find some way to rescue “his” witch as per his mission.

This is when CHARNAME’s party came to Nashkel.


Description

Minsc is a large, powerful warrior. His great strength is obvious.

That he is bald is noteworthy. The length of one’s hair is a mark of status and strength in Rashemen.

Minsc is voiced by Jim Cummings .


Personality

Minsc is thick as two short planks. But :

  1. His heart is very much in the right place.
  2. He is heedless of danger.
  3. He is particularly friendly and loyal.

This Rashemi is a genuine champion of goodness and justice, no matter what the odds are. He will always defend the innocent.

Minsc has a grandiloquent, elaborate delivery. He is often making forceful yet articulate declarations of intent. He has endless reserves of panache and élan.

Hamster shelter

Minsc is convinced that Boo talks to him, and provides smart and wise advice as well as rousing encouragement. His friendship with Boo is very important to him. He will often explain how smart, fair, wise and righteous his hamster is.

See the quotes for more, because… this has to be experienced, really.

If it’s pointed out that Boo doesn’t talk, Minsc defensively explains that hearing Boo is ranger magic. If it looks like he and Boo might be separated, Minsc will become lost and despondent.

Minsc randomly oscillates between treating Boo as an innocent child in his care, and as a wise and scholarly advisor. This seems tied to Minsc’s current mood and emotional needs.

Khalid’s theory is that Minsc had made Boo an external symbol of his lost intellect, and that it somehow allows him to bypass the more severe effects of brain damage. The staid Dynaheir, on her end, simply sees Minsc as a handicapped young man in her care.


Quotes

“Take heart, fellow adventurers, for you have curried the favor of Boo, the only miniature giant space hamster in the realm ! My friend and companion ever since my h-h-head wound, he will lead us to victory ! Onward ! Tarry not ! We must go soon !”

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you better watch out, I’m huge !!”

(Panicking as he fears he lost his hamster) “Please Jaheira ! You are a great druid ! You must know hamster-saving magic ! Minsc needs Boo ! Jet needs Boo ! Khalid needs Boo ! We need Boo’s help in our glorious buttkicking quest !”

(Drawing his sword) “My hamster speaks truth, ugly ones ! Surrender or face HUGE JUSTICE !”

“This is no rodent, madam. Boo is a miniature giant space hamster of great courage and wise wisdom !”

“Sword, meet EVIL ! Evil, meet SWORD !”

Jaheira (sneering): “In this place, if you see a bear it’ll most likely be a caged one.”
Minsc: “A cage ? That doesn’t sound comfortable.”
Jaheira: “Ah ! Comfort ? They do not care about comfort. All they care about is to rake in the gold.”
Minsc (puzzled): “Why would a bear need gold ?”

“There be safety in numbers, and I am two or three at least.”

“Go for the eyes, Boo ! GO FOR THE EYES !”

(Telling a bedtime story to his hamster) “… and then the little Steam Dragon  said: ‘I knew I could do it, I knew I could’.”

Minsc: “Boo the wise says we should watch out for blue-skinned women therein, for they are as deadly as their magic and beauty are enticing !” (beat) “Err, what does ‘enticing’ mean ?”
Boo: *squeak * *squeak*.
Minsc: “Oh, right.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Minsc (Level 1)

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 03 Motivation: Neutral Good
Int: 03 Wil: 01 Min: 02 Occupation: Bodyguard
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Wealth: 003
Init: 009 HP: 004

Powers:
Speak with animals: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Speak with animals is Mystic-Linked.

Skills:
Martial Artist (EV): 04, Military science (Survival): 04, Thief (Stealth): 03, Weaponry (Melee): 04, Weaponry (Missile): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Martial Artist only when wielding those weapons that his Weaponry (Melee) is specialised in.
  • Weaponry (Melee) is specialised in two-handed swords, and maces. Other melee weapons are at 02, to simplify.
  • Weaponry (Missile) is specialised in bows. Other missile weapons are at 02, to simplify.

Advantages:
Familiarity (Subarctic climate survival), Language (Rashemi).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Dynaheir, 0 points), Dependent (Boo), MIA toward making thunderous and righteous speeches.

Equipment:

  • Longsword [BODY 04, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing, Recommended STR 02]. The BODY has started to lower due to the iron crisis.
  • Medium bow [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 03, Ammo: 01, Recommended STR: 03, R#02, Bow Advantage (EV is 04, Range is 06), Limitation : Low Penetration]
  • LEATHER ARMOUR [BODY 03, Blunting: 01, Damage capacity: 02, Enhance (Cold RV): 01 (cap is 05), Enhance (Piercing, Slashing, Bludgeoning RV): 01 (cap is 05), Bonuses & Limitations: Damage Capacity has the Full Recovery Bonus ; Partial Coverage (Jacket)].

Minsc (Level 5)

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 03 Motivation: Neutral Good
Int: 03 Wil: 01 Min: 02 Occupation: Bodyguard
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 02 Wealth: 004
Init: 010 HP: 020

Powers:
Speak with animals: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:
Speak with animals is Mystic-Linked.

Skills:
Martial Artist (EV): 05, Military science (Survival): 04, Thief (Stealth): 03, Weaponry (Melee): 05, Weaponry (Missile): 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Martial Artist only when wielding those weapons that his Weaponry (Melee) is specialised in.
  • Weaponry (Melee) is specialised in two-handed swords, and maces. Other melee weapons are at 03, to simplify.
  • Weaponry (Missile) is specialised in bows. Other missile weapons are at 03, to simplify.

Advantages:
Familiarity (Subarctic climate survival), Language (Rashemi).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Dynaheir, 0 points), Dependent (Boo), MIA toward making thunderous and righteous speeches.

Equipment:

  • Longsword +1 [BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 09), Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing, Recommended STR 03, Advantage: +1].
    I’m assuming that Minsc’s two-handed sword is bigger than average, hence the raised Rec STR.
  • Composite longbow +1 [BODY 05, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 01, Recommended STR: 04, R#02, Bow Advantage, Limitation : Low Penetration, Advantage: +1].
    A larger-than-average weapon with something like a 90 lbs draw strength.
  • The stupefier [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 08), Flash: 02, Descriptor: Bludgeon, Bonus: Flash is Combined With EV but it has to make its own rolls (without the possibility of doubles since it’s the secondary), Note: Flash is based on pain rather than bright light, Advantage: +1 ].
    This magic mace is carried as a backup weapon. It is enchanted to occasionally cause blinding pain with a hit. I’ve approximated this 10% proc with low APs of Flash receiving an independent roll.
  • Ring of the Princes [BODY 02, Advantage: +1].
    A ring of protection.
  • Boots of senses of the cat [BODY 06, Enhance (OV vs. missiles): 02 (cap is 10)].
    These enchanted boots confer a preternatural ability to step out of the way of arrows at the last instant. Ankheg armour plates have been retrofitted on (BODY would otherwise be 02). This helps compensate for Minsc not having a shield.
  • Healing potion (x5) [BODY 01, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken): 02, Grenade Drawback].
  • Antidote potion [BODY 01, Medicine (Treatment): 08, Grenade Drawback, Bonus: Medicine takes place within a single Phase and without requiring any equipment or conditions, Limitation: Medicine is limited to treating toxins.]

Equipment – body armour:
ANKHEG PLATE ARMOUR W/ EYES OF TRUTH HELM [BODY 06, Conditional Soaking (Slashing damage), Blunting: 02, Damage capacity: 06, Enhance (Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing, Acid RV): 02 (cap is 09), Enhance (Laser, cold, heat/flame, Ballistic, Electrical RV): 01 (cap is 06), Enhance (RV against Critical, Devastation and doubles): 04 (cap is 10), Enhance (Unarmed RV): 04 (cap is 11), Miniaturisation: 01, Shade (Audial): 01, Thermal vision: 03, Stealth penalty 2/2, Drawback: Audial Perception rolls have +2CS to their OV/RV, Drawback: Visual Perception rolls have a +1CS to their OV/RV when the face protector is on, Bonuses & Limitations:

  • Damage Capacity has the Instant Recovery Bonus.
  • Damage Capacity only for Slashing and Piercing damage.
  • Miniaturisation only affects weight].

Through a fertile mix of hard work, overconfidence and blind luck, the party has two such mixed suits. The main protections are ankheg chitin plates, supplemented by high-end steel gauntlets, helmet and supplemental parts.

These suits are as good as the best non-magical field plate armour. They are also markedly lighter and less noisy.

Minsc was also issued a heavy helm called The Eyes of Truth. This helmet has been enchanted at the behest of famous dungeons runner of yore Babette Maelstrom to confer thermal vision.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Baldur’s Gate computer RPG.

Helper(s): Boo.

Writeup completed on the 26th of August, 2019.

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