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FextraBot

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Advanced wares seem to be available when you help them and don't try to cross them. Looks like first encounter should be with caravan remnants, not hideout. Folks must survive, killing them or letting to die and bringing box to the Zarys doesn't help.
This is correct. Advanced wares include a heavy crossbow +1, longbow +1, and the best light armor in the game, studded leather armor +1. It's the most AC you can get on a rogue without taking the moderately armored feat, so highly recommended if you have a rogue in your party to complete this quest chain.
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Aveneo

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I can confirm. When I killed the guys from the caravan and delivered the box myself Zarys thanked me but I did not gain access to the better wares from Brem. When I let the guys from the caravan deliver the box instead Zarys thanked me A|ND gave me access to the better wares from Brem. Now my Ranger has a very nice set of Studded Leather Armor +1. :)
Do not free the artist. This guy is a bum who asks you for even more money after you paid to free him and it doesn't look like you'll be able to finish his quest until you reach Baldur's Gate so you'll never make your money back.
On the top left of the map, there is a wolf all alone next to a rocky wall, he does not wander around but just stays still, guarding. By getting close to that specific wall, it is possible to learn that it's actually an illusory wall that leads to a hidden room with an elevator (needs lockpicking or it won't move). It leads to a storehouse in the underdark, where it is possible to find a bunch of valueabes such as crystals and jewelry, some weapons too. It's a very easy access to the underdark especially for who does not feel like poking the spider matriarch yet, the spot is very close to the myconid colony too.
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Aveneo

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I delivered the sealed box to Zarys (from "Find the missing shipment"). She gave me a reward (and xp) and said I'm a friend now but when I went to see Brem again he still does not show me his better wares. Was there something else required in order to gain access to his items or is this a bug?
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Aveneo

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I reloaded an older save (also due to CtD issues tracked to another quest "Save the Grand Duke") and this time I helped the two men in the cave and let them take the box to Zarys instead of bringing it myself. This time both men were standing near Zarys and after giving me a reward (and xp) her conversation now switched to giving me access to the good stuff from Brem.

So it seems if you bring the box yourself you lose out on the items from Brem. When you keep the two guys in the cave alive and they bring the box you can see the items from Brem. :)
You can make a (very difficult) Intimidation check (mine was 20!) to get the price down from 1000 to 600 to purchase the Artist slave.
Then the artist wanted 200 more gold to get home. Presumably he pays you back or benefits you somehow in Baldur's Gate.
As far as I understand, the 2 conditions to get access to the Brem trader expanded merch are for Rugan (Olly) to return with the box. So you cannot steal the box and get access to the Trader items at the same time. However, what you can do is to lockpick the box and get the Iron Flask out of it with no consequences.

How I did it was, put my party next to the cave with Rugan and gnolls and send my main char to the hideout. Pass the check on the gatekeeper Salazon (High Dex check or Detect thoughts). Went down and talk to Zarys (Bunch of checks Detect thoughts included). Pick up the Find the missing shipment quest. Then kill the gnolls with the rest of my party. Lockpick the box. Rest in the camp 2 times until Rugan returns. Talk to Zarys with my main char - Rugan is back by then. Profit



Update: you can complete this either way. Just lockpick the box and get the Iron Flask out. The only difference is that if you pick up a quest from Zarys first - Brem will have a better selection of items. 2 extra items: Warhammer + 1, which you can also get in the druid village and The Whispering Promise green ring, which is a very good ring for your cleric/healer