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IriaZenn

A warning for Sister V

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Well I can agree on a few things. Branching dialogue isn't as easy to do as it looks. I've done one lousy contribution to a mod (Romantic Encounters, as it happens) and that took long enough. I was having a bash at writing a short friendship mod for one NPC and I've still not got it done. You keep coming up with new variables and it gets more and more complex. It does take a certain amount of discipline to do, that's for certain.

 

As for the romances themselves, well, the abuse thing seems to hold true. I've played male characters plenty of times and the three romanceable girls are all annoying: Aerie whines until I feel like beating her to death with her own severed wings; Viconia is a big biatch and Jaheira is bossy.

 

Still, any one of them is better than Anomen. I know he has his fans, but as a woman, I can't understand why anyone would put up with his s**t (or his ridiculous voice) for more than five minutes. They way I see it is, the PC has just been tortured for, probably, months (going by the start date of SoA and the Yoshimo's diary component of UB, here), has had her best friend kidnapped and two other companions killed; is likely tired, stressed, hungry and traumatised and would hardly be likely to entertain Anomen's boasting (which his first couple of talks are, after all). Under the circumstances, my PC, at least, would be more likely to mesh well with someone cynical like Angelo or gloomy like Xan.

 

Zixi - definitely give Angie a shot in ToB - that's the best bit of his romance!

On a sidenote: Edwin, yes, give him a try - he's rather amusing. Beatrice and Benedicit is pretty apt. Conversations tend to be wordy, though, and as for the epilogue...well, Kelsey's is longer, actually, but it's pretty long. But entertaining nonetheless. You're right about the Int checks - you need 14 just to romance him, which is fair enough.

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Cal

That’s interesting about Aerie. I added ‘Tortured Souls’ to get the Valygar Romance because I’d played it years ago when it was a stand alone and I liked the music. But actually, I don’t want whatever her name is in the party which means no Yoshimo. Nalia grates on my (political) nerves so I SKed Haer’Dalis into a fighter-thief and I took along Aerie SKed into fighter-cleric to see the romance. Anyway, she grows with HD there and their romance is sweet. I really liked her and at the Tree of Life I was so proud of her. She needs a girdle of strength but then that girl can hit and she’s so giggly and fun and strong once she stops the self pitying. I'm pretty certain she'd be sweet as the romantic interest for a male PC. Other than that it would have to be Viconia - that girl is a challenge and she's sexy. Jaheira would be like dating your boss!

 

BTW I feel sorry for Anomen and his romance really amuses me and if you manage to steer him through it he does emerge a lot better. As Sister V says finding the right response isn't the difficult bit; the difficult bit is not casting polymorph on him! 'Xan' gives him some SoA content which in ToB Xan admits was good advice so the mod assumes that Anomen has been able to emerge wiser and nicer. I think that's right.

 

I did start 'Angelo' in ToB – we did A’s Lair and got to the final seal in WK but Irenicus had begun to grate on my nerves. I’ve seen him through this lot before and this time I got really fed up with the semantics. The guy is as slippery as an eel. There was him on the one hand, Sarevok wanting to go to Baldur’s Gate, Imoen having the jitters and Angelo's motives were unclear; I had enough of them all and the game became unstable, Irenicus’s signature tune had a profound effect on me and I couldn’t concentrate so I uninstalled all the zillions of mods and released Angelo and Irenicus – as I say, they said goodbye and off they went… But the weather has been bad since… :)

 

 

PS Will look at your contribution to RE. Will start a new game with Angelo and will add Edwin's mod as well :D

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I won't go off again, since I'm interested to see if other people have thoughts (I know I like to see myself type), but can I just say I find this discussion fascinating? It makes me proud to be a member of the NPC modding community. The debate is still going over whether much more linear video games, like the Final Fantasy series, constitute a valid art form (Roger Ebert being one of those who's most notably weighed in), and this is a whole new turn of the screw.

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And hey, other people posted while I was writing mine :)

 

 

[The Anomen romance is sort of funny because, just as the PC is usually creating a "love story" with the love object of an NPC, you can tell that at the beginning Anomen is creating his own love story. The friction in the initial lovetalks is sort of his own narrative (handsome, brave but perpetually under-appreciated knight meets beautiful, awestruck maiden) colliding with yours (world-weary Bhaalspawn meets abrasive knight errant who is really kind of sweet when, after great effort, you sand off his rough edges).

 

But mainly I feel bad for Anomen. He's naturally proud but especially proud (and justifiably so) of having become something in spite of his father, and understanding that goes a long way toward bridging the gap over his massive ego.]

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Can't resist...must comment...

 

 

Aerie: It is arguable she whines too much, given her problems are no worse than anyone else's. It provides quite a contrast to Valygar who says something like, "after my mother raised my father as an undead abomination, I was forced to kill them both. Anyhow, we should be moving on." But it's all worth it for this bit in ToB (roughly paraphrased):

 

Aerie: I had a dream, blah&etc.

 

PC: Was I...in it? Was I...naughty?

 

Aerie: Oh CHARNAME, you are so bad!

 

 

Jaheira: She certainly takes more than she gives. The SoA romance is grueling, promising some fantastic payoff, but I didn't find many sweet or funny moments in ToB--except that, as one guide notes, she cuts you significantly more slack.

 

 

Viconia: I could never escape the sense that the romance is founded on this premise: Viconia knows from the start the PC is after her body (it certainly can't be her fantastic personality), and so in a sense, he deserves all the abuse he takes.

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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,

I never got through any of the Bioware romances - the character choices are just awful. I can't really imagine romancing with someone like Aerie, Viconia or Jaheira in RL.

 

Members of my own gender feel free to rebut me

 

But you know it's true

No, it's not.

 

But mainly I feel bad for Anomen. He's naturally proud but especially proud (and justifiably so) of having become something in spite of his father, and understanding that goes a long way toward bridging the gap over his massive ego.]

I never went through Anomen romance - for some weird reason this guy makes me feel like his mother. Also, he has so low Dex that usually he's the first one to die.

 

Aerie: It is arguable she whines too much, given her problems are no worse than anyone else's.

Yeah, sure. She was just kidnapped and abused in circus to the point where she got sick and then instead of calling a priest they just crippled her, taking away a big part of her racial identity. Yeah, it's nothing...

 

Sorry, but taking in account that There Are No Therapists in Forgotten Realms, it's completely justified.

 

Not that she doesn't annoy me. Somehow I would prefer if she wasn't Lawful Good. Some hate and bitterness would be nice (I hate humans -desu!).

Edited by Sorrow

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And hey, other people posted while I was writing mine :D

New members ought not to make ironic comments especially to mods but I’m about to break the cardinal rule: Il vaut mieux perdre un bon mot qu'un ami (It’s better to lose a witty remark than a friend) and say that anyone who has ‘Time waits for no one’ shouldn’t be surprised (nay should expect) to be interrupted by Sorrow…

 

The Aerie characterisation is just plain clever and it’s done in very few lines – players hate reading from the screen (everyone does) so it had to be succinct.The real beauty of it is that it fleshes out HD (I love that guy!) who genuinely wants to get Aerie to do the self-healing. However, he finds that his protégée develops in ways he hadn't anticipated;she doesn't 'need' him either!

 

Anyway – Sister V I’m glad you find the discussion interesting. I most certainly have and you’ve made me consider the real nature of story telling by rpg. I tend to think in terms of managing interaction rather than managing narrative as art.

 

Sorrow - I’m still laughing over the Shadow Keeper comment!

 

I apologize for my long posts - the irony isn't lost on me either :party:

 

Update - Angelo picked up again though I really don't trust someone who hires a henchman in case semantics fail partly because he reminds me of some of my colleagues who more or less do the same thing. I suspect in an alternative universe he'd be polymorphed and I'd be reloading... :)

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Of course Aerie has her trauma but she's not alone. If you're just talking about the canon crew here, Minsc has lost Dynaheir, Jaheira has lost Khalid, the PC has lost Imoen (temporarily, although she/he doesn't know that yet) and Gorion and, depending on what perspective you take, may not feel too good about having to off the brother he/she never got to know even if he did turn out to be evil. As for the rest, we have Nalia (parents, and possibly home), Valygar (parents, who he had to kill himself), Anomen (mother, sister and disowned by horrible drunk of a father), Mazzy (Patrick, who is turned into an abomination who she then has to kill...no wonder she relates to Valygar), Keldorn (wife is cheating on him, though admittedly that's his own fault), Viconia (outcast)...they've all lost something, but they don't all whinge and moan about it constantly. (In fact, Val's lack of whining is one of the reasons he nearly always makes my team).

 

Admittedly I've not played with Aerie and HD in the same party and I will at some point, but I'm not keen on multiclasses, to be honest, so I nearly always leave her with Quayle.

 

One interesting nugget is that there was originally going to be a story arc where one of the outcomes was that she became stronger and more vengeful (I can't remember the details - it may be on the UB board somewhere) with a different, ballsier soundset. But like a lot of content, it was left on the drawing board.

 

Jaheira...well I found her the least objectionable of the female NPC romances but even so, she is hard work. The one moment I really, really just want to punch her in the head is when you are talking to Adalon and she tells you to shut up.

 

I actually find I am becoming less tolerant of the various NPCs as time goes on. Familiarity does, indeed, breed contempt.

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Of course Aerie has her trauma but she's not alone. If you're just talking about the canon crew here, Minsc has lost Dynaheir, Jaheira has lost Khalid, the PC has lost Imoen (temporarily, although she/he doesn't know that yet) and Gorion and, depending on what perspective you take, may not feel too good about having to off the brother he/she never got to know even if he did turn out to be evil. As for the rest, we have Nalia (parents, and possibly home), Valygar (parents, who he had to kill himself), Anomen (mother, sister and disowned by horrible drunk of a father), Mazzy (Patrick, who is turned into an abomination who she then has to kill...no wonder she relates to Valygar), Keldorn (wife is cheating on him, though admittedly that's his own fault), Viconia (outcast)...they've all lost something, but they don't all whinge and moan about it constantly. (In fact, Val's lack of whining is one of the reasons he nearly always makes my team).

Except that all of them are adults and Aerie is just a kid which for some weird reason happens to have a power level of an experienced adventurer - also, the conditions under which she experienced her trauma could lead to to bigger damage to her psyche. Also, some of them have pretty unpleasant methods of copying with their trauma - Anomen and his delusions about glory, Valygar and his hatred for mages, Viconia and her hatred and disdain for everything that moves...

Jaheira's and Nalia's and near-lack of mourning is almost creepy.

Yeah, great people.

And CHARNAME doesn't even get a chance of expressing her feelings about traumatic experiences like being tortured or being forced to be in team with Imoen, Jaheira and Minsc (Thank you, Bioware!).

 

Also, frankly, all these people, including Aerie are in surprisingly good mental condition and Aerie copes with her problems surprisingly well - she may talk about her feelings, but we don't see her having nightmares every night, getting panic attacks, drinking excessively, having flashbacks, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, aggressive behaviour, depersonalisation, derealization, all the other crap that people can suffer after much less than she went through.

 

One interesting nugget is that there was originally going to be a story arc where one of the outcomes was that she became stronger and more vengeful (I can't remember the details - it may be on the UB board somewhere) with a different, ballsier soundset. But like a lot of content, it was left on the drawing board.

Yeah, it would be nice. Actually, it would be nice if PC could shape Aerie's character^^.

Edited by Sorrow

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Yes, I suppose having a party of characters who do nothing but moan, cry drink heavily and suffer flashbacks would quickly grate on the nerves. Interesting idea for a mod, though. :)

 

It really does bother me, though, that not one single Bioware NPC checks on poor old CHARNAME to see how s/he is bearing up after having his/her soul ripped out. (Ditto for Imoen, in fact). Oh no, instead you're expected to just get on and clear out the Underdark, Ust Natha and Bodhi's lair while you're actually dying. Um, hello? Hug and a cup of tea might be nice? Anyone?

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Hello Cal

The stuff you have to say about plans for Aerie is interesting - there are shreds in the game now. It’s a shame they didn’t do more with that.

 

Jaheira’s loyalty always moves me. I do the curse bit because I don’t want her to face that on her own and then I wait for her to go and I don’t pick her up again; I don’t read the letter or my resolve will crumble. I avoid the SW corner of the docks because I feel guilty that my loyalty can’t match hers.

 

I agree over Valygar - I like him but Viconia doesn't complain either despite what's been done to her. Having seen the Underdark and listened to Solaufein, I always want to race back to the graveyard but when I see her she’s sarcastic and I find myself realising it ain’t gonna work. The others believe that being ‘good’ is a fairly clear line and I can’t bear them being nasty to her. I fear that underneath that amazing control and courage there’s a lost little girl.

 

Re tolerance for NPCs - Nalia in SoA is the one person I really can’t tolerate. I know it isn’t ‘her’ fault (at rpg and meta level) but when I hear the ‘how are we helping the needy’ as we trudge through her castle I find tolerance slipping away. But actually the real problem is that coding issues have to be dealt with somehow by the player and I’m not sure how much meta thinking one should do in an rpg.

 

I suspect that readjustment is down to having time to reconsider all of the ‘variables’ in more detail and that perhaps some of the ‘meta’ issues become more profound – a bit like mulling over what someone says long after they said it. First time through, perhaps all of those things have much less impact because everything is new. I’m not sure.

 

Spoilers ahead...

To return to Angelo, I’ve got the game running all the time on one of the systems here and I picked a pre-Spellhold state where everything had been done except the thieves’ guild so I won’t get any context sensitive banter before that - this isn’t a proper game: the slider is on novice and I’ve given the PC the cheat sword. He’s now back in the party and I find the same irritation with him. He has neutrality off to a fine art and won’t take responsibility for anything. This time round he’s kind of drifted us into (and drifting is what Angelo has a degree in!) what looks suspiciously like drugs. So, I end up in some smarmy guy’s house and it looks like he’s asking me to do some drug running. I turn to Angelo to ask him what’s going on and there’s zilch, zero, a big fat nought! Once again, Angelo expects me to sort it. So we’re out of there… and my polymorphing finger is itching. :party:

 

Incidentally, I asked him about his life and listened kindly enough and then I waited and waited and waited and eventually I figured out something wasn’t quite right (OK I was having a blonde moment I admit) and once I’d used the flirt options (as if!!!) he started up. I have the distinct impression that he dislikes me as much as I dislike him and as there’s only Aerie, I’ll have to do! I do like the dialogue options and the background music is perfect. But Angelo and I have issues and it’s mutual – I’m pretty certain he’s lying to me because he knows it’s the one thing I can’t stand!!!! :laugh:

 

Edwin is also in the party and actually tolerating him isn’t difficult. University is full of people like that! (I may be one myself). :D

 

Re hugs - Kivan kind of does that and Xan sort of does though with Xan I think comforting is something he doesn't want to do because he's scared what it might reveal. Anyway, rpg expects you to cope. My PC in 'Oblivion' is gorgeous, a lovely blonde, and it amazes me how huge, hairy, soldiers let this slip of a girl go through all kinds of situations because 'You look as though you can handle it'... Sometimes she's wearing a skirt and no she doesn't look like she can handle it to me!! If anyone needs laser eye treatment they do! :)

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It really does bother me, though, that not one single Bioware NPC checks on poor old CHARNAME to see how s/he is bearing up after having his/her soul ripped out. (Ditto for Imoen, in fact). Oh no, instead you're expected to just get on and clear out the Underdark, Ust Natha and Bodhi's lair while you're actually dying. Um, hello? Hug and a cup of tea might be nice? Anyone?

Maybe Bioware was afraid that players would hate <CHARNAME> (and thus themselves) for "whining" and would commit mass suicides. Imagine the lawsuits :D .

 

Re tolerance for NPCs - Nalia in SoA is the one person I really can’t tolerate. I know it isn’t ‘her’ fault (at rpg and meta level) but when I hear the ‘how are we helping the needy’ as we trudge through her castle I find tolerance slipping away.

Heh...

Poor Nalia...

She's so pathetic with that her political weaselspeak (I hate how <CHARNAME> falls for it when asking about enemies) and the whole noble upbringing/wanting to help the needy.

I wonder how far she would go to get help for her family when she would realise that <CHARNAME> is the only person that is willing to do the job :) ...

 

Edwin is also in the party and actually tolerating him isn’t difficult. University is full of people like that! (I may be one myself). :party:

I hate Edwin. Seriously, he should accept the superiority of my character and bow down and lick her boots or something. Her IntWisCha 19/18/20 is better than his pathetic 18/10/10.

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You know, Nalia is the only character I've never finished a game with (and well, Mazzy...but I finished SoA with her once or twice, at least). It's not just her attitude, but the fact she's also "Imoen lite" in terms of skills and therefore I can never find a place for her in my party. I really must try her one day, but...meh. I'm not very motivated, really.

 

I actually quite like Edwin. The fact is, he's incredibly vain, so of course he won't accept that the PC may be smarter than he is. It's his vanity that makes his Nether Scroll transformation all the more hilarious - that and the fact he's a straight man (as in, a non-comic character, rather than as in a non-gay man) which makes his misfortunes so much more amusing. (Sister V posted something to this effect elsewhere - Edwin is, indeed, the game's Sideshow Bob). That and his general low tolerance for others and constant snarkiness rather reminds me of my other half...

 

As far as Angelo goes...it does sounds like you're overthinking things a bit. He's lying because he is reluctant to open up. Bear in mind, also, that as someone who was, first, in the Forgotten Realms equivalent of the Yakuza, and then the Iron Throne, he's not going to be squeaky clean. He drinks a lot, he hires prostitutes and he has dabbled with drugs, so of course he's going to be ambivalent when it comes to what you should do with the black lotus. He'll tell you exactly what he thinks you should do with Sawara's sword, though, should you ask him.

 

Fact is, he has attached himself to the PC because he's in a lot of trouble (with the bounty hunters, and with Sawara) and, seeing as the PC defeated Sarevok, he reasons she must be hard as nails. So initially, at least, he isn't joining you out of friendship, it's so he can save his own ass. His attitudes will change...slowly...but he's pushing 50 and set in his ways so it isn't going to be easy. If you can live with that, great, but it rather depends on how you envision your PC.

 

Personally, I view my PC thus: she's an orphan, with no family that she knows of (at this point in the game she doesn't know about Imoen), because Gorion has, helpfully, told her feck all. So when she finally discovers that the man who killed Gorion is actually her brother, she is curious, and then rather dismayed when she realises she can't reason with him enough to prevent the fight in the Undercity. I guess the Bioware bods intended that you should hate Sarevok and want to avenge Gorion. Personally, I think my PC would be more than a little resentful of Gorion for covering up the truth (the PC is 20 in BG, after all, not a child), and if there was any anger at his death, then my own feeling is that the PC would by more angry and disgusted with herself for fleeing, than with Sarevok. That's just me, of course...I know everyone has their own idea of how their PC should think.

 

Still, it's because of my view of the PC that I would find Angelo a logical hire. Yes, he is indeed the bastard who accused the PC of all sorts of crimes and sentenced her to death, but on the other hand, she is curious enough about her brother (and her own roots) that she would take Angelo along just for what he knew. Putting up with Angelo's "problems" is just the price she's willing to pay for that bit of self-discovery.

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Cal - Yes, I’d figured Angelo’s motives and I don’t like them. But your reading of the situation there is spot on! I’d rather take on board someone who tells me the score. I really don’t like the fact he is so willing to turn on the henchman.

 

I agree the Sarevok link will be what would make me 'hire' him too and I think I would but I wouldn’t romance him. There’s no way I could trust someone who has lied to manipulate other people for his own benefit. So Gorion – he was lying to protect the PC and I’d forgive that once I’d calmed down.

 

Sorrow

rofl

Agreed over Nalia though she’s much better in ToB don't you think? I still have this overwhelming desire to CLUA in a copy of ‘Capital’ and make her carry it…

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Sorrow

rofl

Agreed over Nalia though she’s much better in ToB don't you think? I still have this overwhelming desire to CLUA in a copy of ‘Capital’ and make her carry it…

I never really liked Nalia in ToB, but I played it long ago. IMO good Nalia = <CHARNAME>'s sex slave.

But from the other side, it depends on a character that I'm playing. Some of the characters may like her and some of her ideas or be annoyed or think about something else...

 

As for the Aerie - I don't mind her sharing her feelings and experiences - I often play rather emphatic characters. And if I want to not care about others/the state of the world/morality/whatever I usually play an over the top chaotic evil character that treats everyone as her/his toys. Or just an amoral jerk that doesn't mind doing anything to be on the top of the food chain :) .

Oh wait, it's Baldur's Gate 2.

 

Frankly, the character that annoys me the most isn't any of the NPCs - it's <CHARNAME> - whose dialogues suggest that he/she has 18/00,18,18,10,10,8 :D . Practically everyone can outsmart him/her.

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