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IriaZenn

A warning for Sister V

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I'm giving Xan a whirl now. I generally dislike elves - have done ever since I read Lord of the Rings as a child and thought Aglaranna was elitist - and have found, in general, that the sort of people who play elves in MMORPGs tend to be ghastly emos or fat housewives trying to cyber with impressionable young lads.

I do rather like Kivan and Coran in BG1, but the idea of actually playing an elf myself was a bit of a turn off, so I've had to break the habit of a lifetime here. :)

 

I'm really having a bit of a Kulyok-fest - I've got IWD NPCs running but also trying out Xan and Dungeon crawl in my current BG2 game. I like Xan so far, though I doubt he'll replace Angelo in my affections. :laugh:

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I play elves in BG2 and in MMOs because I have pointy ears. Is that enough? :)

 

Icen

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I used to play them in PnP D&D and BG up till I was 16, because I thought the whole point of roleplaying is that you... you know, roleplay. I never played them elitist. Also, I was a gawky 11-16 year old girl and wanted to be pretty.

 

Now I like tieflings. More cool, less pretention :) (Stupid 4th ed ruins it, precious.)

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I'm giving Xan a whirl now. I generally dislike elves - have done ever since I read Lord of the Rings as a child and thought Aglaranna was elitist - and have found, in general, that the sort of people who play elves in MMORPGs tend to be ghastly emos or fat housewives trying to cyber with impressionable young lads.

I do rather like Kivan and Coran in BG1, but the idea of actually playing an elf myself was a bit of a turn off, so I've had to break the habit of a lifetime here. :)

 

I don't like playing elves too, so, even though I love Xan romance (bot paths and in BG1), I like his friendship path even more. Give it a try - it can have a romantic conclusion for non-elves and the content is different. BG1 Xan friendship mod is great too :laugh:

 

Angelo romance was the one I'd probably enjoy the most in real life, though.

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I guess Angelo and Xan have one major thing in common (which relates a bit to what people have been saying, as well)--they're both highly intelligent, with a sense of humor, behavior justified in the game by their INT scores (and in Xan's case Wisdom). This allows them to sort of stand outside the game world and comment on it--what I tend to think of as "Hamlet syndrome"--in a way that hopefully never verges on fourth-wall breakage. To say things like, "this is stupid," "why do it that way," "have you ever noticed...?" It's self-awareness taken to a sometimes painful extent, in Xan's case partly because of his Elven heritage and the broad perspective on life it gives him, in Angelo's partly because of his experience on both sides of the good/evil paradigm.

 

Of course, this mainly stems from the fact that their authors have played the game many times and have that awareness of the world. But it seems further justified to me because, after all, there are people like this in real life--who feel like they can "see through the game." And often those people end up profoundly depressed (like Xan) or at least profoundly lonely (like both of them). Anyhow...

 

 

Angelo romance was the one I'd probably enjoy the most in real life, though.

 

:) Thank you.

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What makes 'Xan' work is that Xan finds himself amusing and he has a realistic view of his position in the world (I adore the conversation with Minsc over the moonblade - pure Xan!) I can imagine that travelling around with a half goddess might be just a smidgen trying and being in such a band of heroes too must have its moments and I guess what endeared me to ‘Xan’ as a mod is that it raises a glass to the game world but at the same time immerses in it. In any case Xan appears to understand irony and even sarcasm up to a point. Some of the other NPCs take themselves way too seriously and in reality I doubt I’d take them with me and I might even be tempted to polymorph a couple of them…

 

Without saying too much because it is much better to experience ‘Xan’ for yourself, I’d say that I enjoyed the mod because it came to conclusions about the nature of friendship and love that seem appropriate to the circumstances. Of course, imagining yourself into a Bhaal’s child position is quite difficult but I figure that given the circumstances I might well have reacted in the way the mod allowed me to. There were a couple of places were my own irony would have been a lot more ironic but maybe Xan would have found that tiresome and taken himself off somewhere. I have played mods where I know the answer I’ve given is not anything like what should be the response of my PC but ‘Xan’ didn’t do that to me. Never did it leave me tossing a coin or wondering what reply I was ‘supposed’ to make. In ToB on the non-bonded route there is even chance to be very angry and quite rightly so. Forgiving and compassionate though my PC is, I figured that Xan would have got a couple of (well-deserved) temper tantrums too! It was nice to be able to be able to have them in the game world without the usual black and white situations which a temper tantrum produces there – in reality most relationships are a smidgen stronger than collapsing at the first: I hate you leave me alone! Or at least mine have been…

 

It’s a great mod. I have also played it along with 'Kivan' and the two work very well together in SoA. I can imagine a PC emerging from those two relationships in a number of different ways and Xan’s remarks in Spellhold and beyond take on a poignancy when seen in the context of Kivan… But I shan’t say any more than that; it needs to be experienced first hand.

 

As for 'class' requirements, I do have some issues about them but not the ones mentioned here. However, I did play elf in BG1 - you have to comply or the romance won't work!! :D But in BG2 Shadow Keeper-ed the PC to half-elf which at least makes some kind of sense genetically.... :) and made the talks about elf culture feel more comfortable.

 

Anyway, I have said thanks for 'Xan' on PPG but there's no such thing as too much thanks so have some more here. It is a great mod and it isn't at odds with the game as it was envisaged. Some mods leave me feeling that the game is being bent out of shape and I'm unable to continue with them but I've never felt that 'Xan' is distorting the game and sometimes I forget he wasn't there before you put him there. He feels 'right'. Bravo!

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I must say I am enjoying this mod a lot, even though I generally don't like to play elves, as I've said before. He is comically pessimistic, but given the outcome of the bonded path, it's quite justified. I'm playing non-bonded, though. Just finishing SoA and awaiting the resumption of activities in ToB. I'll definitely take him along again to try the friendship path (though probably not in the same party as Angelo...that would be confusing!) Mm and I really must try Kivan, now that his bugs have been fixed. I always did like him in BG1.

Edited by Cal Jones

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I must say I am enjoying this mod a lot, even though I generally don't like to play elves, as I've said before. He is comically pessimistic, but given the outcome of the bonded path, it's quite justified. I'm playing non-bonded, though. Just finishing SoA and awaiting the resumption of activities in ToB. I'll definitely take him along again to try the friendship path (though probably not in the same party as Angelo...that would be confusing!) Mm and I really must try Kivan, now that his bugs have been fixed. I always did like him in BG1.

 

Cal 'Kivan' works well with 'Xan' on the unbonded route - without giving too much away, Xan's few remarks in Spellhold and beyond are much more poignant with Kivan along and their reactions to what happens are diametrically opposite. Xan has a lot to apologise for in ToB and he knows it. On the bonded path Xan does what has to be done and it makes for a very dark ToB. I've played both paths and I suspect the bonded path along with 'Wheels of Prophecy' would make for a very gloomy and evocative ride.

 

I had Angelo and Xan in the same party but as the PC is a bard it felt like a strange party and not really enough people could whack things. I also came to the conclusion that Angelo showed distinctive psychopathic tendencies so I let him and Irenicus loose in the ToB - they kind of wandered off and I must admit I have been wondering if that was wise...

 

However, to return to the 'Angelo', I didn't find it hard to differentiate between Xan and Angelo; Angelo and I just didn't hit it off! It's a super mod, well constructed, Angelo's personality is very well drawn, voicing was convincing - I just didn't like him and I can't quite say why because I didn't finish SoA with him and I imported him into ToB mostly to see what Sarevok would do. Unfortunately, a party consisting of Sarevok, Irenicus and Angelo is bad news :) It felt like taking a party of psychopaths on a murdering spree. I really did wonder if it was doing anyone any good.

 

At that stage too my ultra modded game became very unstable and I didn't put 'Angelo' back. I must pick up Angelo again and try him with a less psychologically damaged crew; if there is one!

 

But retournons à nos moutons, I agree that voicing in both 'Angelo' and 'Xan' is excellent and convincing and that along with the stability of the mods makes them both very appealing. I particularly like Xan in ToB - the exchanges with Anomen and Sarevok in particular are very well done indeed and there is a real sense of 'conversation' taking place. I'm not surprised that Sister V is being told he will be in demand. :D

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Kivan and Xan sounds like a plan (ooh I'm a poet and I don't know it!)

 

I must say I really, really loved Angelo - he's actually the first mod NPC I played from start to finish (I did briefly try Kelsey and found him a bit too young and not to my tastes...although subsequently I have played him all the way through and found him not as annoying as I'd feared in SoA. In ToB, however...well, let's just say the more he tried to sell himself as the better option to godhood and immortality, the more I wanted to shove him away. And if you do choose godhood, talk about major guilt trip...But I digress). I generally like the fact Angelo's a grizzled old sod as I'm a bit grizzled myself. Despite being a young whippersnapper himself, Sister V's done a good job writing a convincing middle-aged character (although it amuses me that Angelo refers to Keldorn as grandad or somesuch when they're roughly the same age).

 

I've played Longer Road too, and the bickering between Irenicus and Sarevok is quite comical. Next time you should definitely take Edwin along as well. It is a little buggy, though. I generally avoid playing too many different mods together for that reason (I figured I was safe running the Eddie romance with Longer Road as both are by the same author, but I definitely avoid mega installs.

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Oops! I'm usually a bit quicker on the reply :)

 

Thanks for your kind words on Xan, the credit for which is of course 99% (or perhaps 98%) Kulyok's. I have to admit, I never really understood the choice Xan makes in the unbonded path of SoA; although I suppose it's nothing so out of the ordinary considering

 

Spoiler for Xan

 

 

Viconia also breaks up with you at the end of SoA, only to get back together in ToB. I suppose it's just an indication of how much more "realistic" a view Xan tends to take of things. It did leave me quite a task in picking up with writing ToB: as Andy says to her husband in Bill Amend's Foxtrot, "Dear, get ready for some apologies!"

 

That said, the only writing I did for Xan I'm really proud of are the talks the other NPCs have about him about breaking the romance in SoA. One of Xan's best fanart pieces actually came out of one of these scenes (the one with Jaheira)

 

 

end spoiler

 

 

I'm playing Kivan now and I have to say I'm a fan; it's very professionally done. At first I thought he interjected too much, but now I'm halfway through the game, and it seems to have evened out. Not to mention it's a godsend to have an archer in the party--makes life so much easier :party:

 

 

I also came to the conclusion that Angelo showed distinctive psychopathic tendencies

 

I'm curious if anything has any thoughts on this, though. I was always troubled that Angelo seemed suspiciously well-balanced (I thought) given his history--to the point that berelinde suggested his alignment should be Chaotic Good. My response to that would be he never advises you to do a single good deed; but on the other hand, I'm pretty sure he never explicitly advises you to do something evil. If there's a psychopath in the game it's surely Korgan?

 

 

And thanks as always, Cal :D

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Cal

I’m listening to you – honest! I’ve just reinstalled ‘Angelo’ and headed for the last part of SoA – I’d got further than I realised. I think my irritation with Angelo is because he talks at me and not to me; his world is an egocentric one. Even Sarevok asks me what I think even if I’m not convinced he is listening.

 

I tried 'Kelsey' too but we didn’t get on. Edwin amuses me but unfortunately the creator’s of BG always give him the last word. When games allow players to put in their own ripostes, Edwin will discover the true meaning of sarcasm and irony. :)

 

Sister Vigilante

‘Kivan’ is an interesting mod. I prefer Kivan in SoA – in ToB he pressed his suit too ardently – I’m a hard girl to woo - and occasionally I couldn’t find ‘answers’. He didn’t seem to mind when I said no way sunshine – perhaps he had the same doubts about me. But I love having him in the party because his friendship is rock solid, his skills as an archer are amazing (I load him up with fire arrows) and he keeps out of the way! The two mods ‘Xan’ and ‘Kivan’ are great together. As I never tire of saying, it really is a ‘sum of the parts’ scenario. With both mods installed I can assume in the game world that at least some of Xan’s remorse is because he saw how Kivan handled the same situation.

 

Re Xan in ToB - You don't have time in a game situation to go through what in reality would be days of discussion. All you can do is to provide key arguments and I was able to emerge from the dialogue feeling that I'd had my say, so yes, you succeeded. :D

 

Anyway, to return to 'Angelo' (after all this is his thread) and to put this into perspective, my remarks aren't a criticism of the mod which I’m sure you realise; au contraire the fact that I’m concerned about Angelo’s psychology should tell you how good a job you’ve done in that he seems real to me.

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Anyway, to return to 'Angelo' (after all this is his thread) and to put this into perspective, my remarks aren't a criticism of the mod which I’m sure you realise; au contraire the fact that I’m concerned about Angelo’s psychology should tell you how good a job you’ve done in that he seems real to me.

 

:) Oh, I hardly took it as such; I guess I just view him as having a quite different set of problems (that he's self-centered is certainly true).

 

Basically if I would describe Angelo as having one big problem it's that he has a lopsided emotional maturity. Because he's experienced quite a bit, he feels justifiably wordly; but one can see he handles much of the romance in an astoundingly clumsy fashion.

 

Really, Xan has a similar thing going on, in that he realizes by ToB he doesn't know as much as he necessarily thought he did. Perhaps all stories involve this element.

 

Now...really I've always personally had trouble making romances "realistic," in the sense of giving the PC a full range of emotional responses; and this goes for Xan as well as Angelo. Especially in giving the PC negative responses. If a player installs a romance, I always inwardly reason (although I'm fully aware this is not what many are looking for), they actually want to romance the NPC to the end. In both cases, Kulyok had to write in nearly all of the "snarky" responses: note especially in Xan's first ToB lovetalk, in which all the "booh on you Xan for what you did" bits are hers; and notably in Angelo, when he gives his grand talk about the "justice" if the PC ascended and left him, the PC's reply "I am not doing this to punish you, Angelo, the world does not revolve around you,"--Kulyok again (I should point out that she preferred not have coauthor [or even "contributor"] credit for this herself).

 

It comes down to laziness, I think--NPC romances involve an enormous of writing (something Kulyok was certainly willing to put into Xan). I'm a linear storyteller by trade and tend to want to tell just one story. It's like this in the original romances, where you generally have only three options at any given time:

 

a) be nice and sympathetic (romance continues)

b) be hideously rude (romance is broken)

c) make some feeble joke (romance might or might not continue, depending)

 

Especially visible in Anomen's first few talks, in which the PC must come off either dewey-eyed, or tell him that he is "arrogant" (and this is coming from an Anomen fan, mind you). The more responses you give the PC, the more the romance has to branch out, and each time it multiplies the amount of writing exponentially. This is also why Angelo, at least, will force the player to make some decisions that can't be postponed.

 

But all I really mean is, I find it more than understandable that Angelo wouldn't "click" for someone--since there's basically one "love story" that's told, and personally if I were a woman, I'm not sure it's the love story I'd want (not sure. Of course I can't really say :D)

 

 

I never played the Edwin romance. It's set up to be a classic Beatrix/Benedict thing, so if I were writing it, I imagine I'd give the PC INT checks for the witty barbs. It would be tricky to write, though (as I'm sure it was for the authors) since you'd have to come up with several layers of one-upping repartee.

 

As for Kelsey he has very fell spelling errors. I was also reading the text and it has one funny line, where Kelsey butts in on Anomen talking about the Order and Anomen says, "the only order you should be concerned about is for fabric" or something like that.

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I should note one major exception with Xan--while Kulyok had to add the negative responses, one fan felt the first talk was missing a "fall down weeping and clutching at Xan's robes" option, which I think is in there now.

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Finally while this may be controversial, I would put forward that it is much harder to write good male NPC romances. Men are pretty much trained to put up with any form of abuse, as the Bioware romances demonstrate, and are more concerned with what might be called the "tangible" aspect of romance.

 

Members of my own gender feel free to rebut me

 

But you know it's true

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Branching makes programming and dialogue tricky but you could use a variable to track accumulative effects. I'm assuming that's what Domi does in 'Kivan'; that way you don't have to watch for turnings off at any particularly moment, you just head north.

 

As regards linearity, a lot of detail will be filled in by the player’s imagination. In other words we view dialogue and narrative as synopsis. We do that as a matter of course in every day life because we have mental scripts of scenarios. It doesn't matter if the player in the process of ‘filling in’ builds a different story from the one you wrote. In fact, I’d say that was a pre-requisite since dialogue, the player's mind and even AI settings create the NPC’s character and at the same time shape the personality of the PC. For example, the AI I used for Kivan meant he constantly healed the wounded and I concluded he was caring, ie I created a personality trait to explain his ‘behaviour’ even though I understand AI and I attributed that AI to him, Domi didn’t. However, in the context of the game world the PC needs an explanation that does not consist of IF…THEN blocks!

 

Warning – Spoilerish…

If the player's response to dialogue shapes the NPCs then quite clearly your Angelo is different from mine and my Angelo next time might be different again. For example, Xan's taunting of Aerie seemed unnecessarily cruel; it shocked me. But given his state of mind, I can see how baiting someone – particularly a woman – would be understandable though I don’t condone it. Someone else might decide that Xan is spiteful and someone else might think he was right! I'm sure you see where I'm headed and that the story telling inside a rpg is multi-dimensional and that will be a combination of all of the aspects of the game and the player’s mind – some of which you (as a writer) can’t easily predict if dialogues are coded to be non-scenario specific. The Xan-Aerie exchange occurred for me in the Underdark and I felt impatience with Xan partially because of his timing. Had he said it after the circus incident I would have concluded he didn’t want her to come to any harm. Now, if those dialogues occur in a not entirely predictable way then you are indeed ensuring that each experience of the game stands a high chance of being different and you are as a by product producing a different personality for each game.

 

Anyway, enough! You've made me think too much for one day so your other remarks will have to wait till I've had some time to mull them over. In the meantime, 'Angelo' is reinstalled and I finished SoA with him but I’ll start again with a different party as I’ve now forgotten the thread of his argument. Have to say I loved his comment after the transformation in Spellhold… it’s the kind of thing Xan could have said if he had a better opinion of himself.

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