After many months of traveling and questing (literally: it's been about a week short of a year according to the game's internal clock), my party has finally arrived in the titular city itself. Baldur's Gate awaits and judging by its size and breadth on the world map I imagine it has enough activity to occupy me for many more (in-game) months to come.
The last time I checked in I (jokingly) lamented my tendency to recruit an unfeasibly large party. This has not, in fact, changed and what started as a small fellowship is quickly becoming an immense company of warriors, mages, thieves, clerics, and rangers, all bound together by my apparently irresistible charisma (of 11). I've actually lost two party members since last count (Safana, who died in the Cloakwood, and Montaron, who'd finally had enough of my altruism) but I've gained Coran, Yeslick, Faldorn, Dorn, and Quayle since then so... yeah.
In all fairness I did turn down Eldoth's highly suspect offer to assist in "rescuing" the Grand Duke's daughter. So I don't take everyone in.
The plot continues to advance at its regular pace, though it has been slowed down by my perhaps unfeasible attempt to keep all of my party members at roughly the same XP level (simultaneously inflating my own XP as a result). It's a shame Beamdog didn't implement a shared XP system similar to that used in BioWare's later game in their re-release, though I doubt very much I'm the typical player (re: my aforementioned army of followers) so it may not have even occurred to them. Fortunately, I've figured out a system that seems to work which allows me to cut down on the grinding a bit while still allowing me to advance quickly enough in the story (or the game's myriad sidequests) to satisfy my hunger for narrative gameplay.
I'm enjoying the story, which has begun to grow more complex as I move away from the rural south and towards Baldur's Gate itself, but I do have to question Elminster's (and several other characters') continued insistence on secrecy about my character's past. At this point it seems as though a deficit of information is likely to be more dangerous than a surplus and while I know they're supposed to be building up to a big story twist it feels like leaving my character to fumble in the dark isn't particularly wise. Perhaps my feelings on the matter will be different when I actually get to the revelation. For now though, it seems a tad forced.