Every item tells a story
It's such a simple idea, and yet massively ambitious: Any item that is out of the ordinary – quest items, unique items, but also magic items – has a little bit of flavour text that gives a glimpse into its history.
Now for quest and unique items that's kind of expected. But for magic items, I have not seen this before.
Baldurs Gate suffers of the same problem Gothic for example does too: common loot. Every dude with a weapon drops that weapon upon defeat. You then pick up the sword. Put it with the others. Sell those 40 stabby bois later.
Which makes magic loot amazing: A break from monotony! Something better! And now you have it! Aha!
It is clear that it's special to you, but what Baldurs Gate archives goes far deeper: It is special to the world as well.
And it doesn't do that much different than other games. Nobody speaks of your glowing “Orc Fricker The Frisky +4” when you talk them.
It simply has flavor text in it's description.
Usually they tell of the previous owner of the item: Why was it made, how did it become special and how might it have reached your hands?
While none of these stories waste an opportunity to drop names that don't mean anything to me (maybe they do to Forgotten Realms nerds), my head cinema immediatly starts spinning. After a couple of magic swords, rings, chain mail and gems something entirely different happened.
The labor that went into writing so many short stories strikes me as impressive already, and after enough of them all these little snippets of far-gone deeds and people melt together. Each of them revealing little windows into what is becoming more and more obvious to be a giant miasma of history and lore.
Not some concrete “write a wiki about it” lore. The similiarities these tiny stories share tell more than a straight-forward story ever could. After a dozen nuggets of heroes past and clever plans, they can't help but paint the picture of People of Adventure in a World Full of Adventure.
Insignificant these blurbs may seem, so are they proof that me and my party are by far not the first adventurers the world has seen. Nor will the be the last. They also serve as both inspiration and warnings – ideas for types of adventurers you might want to become or someone you wish to avoid!
Because finding this ring or these boots or this helmet is not just neat loot. They are showing you that heroes existed, and they also sometimes loose – either the item or their life – yet they also achieved enough to have their unpronouncable name and sweaty robe world fucking famous.