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Roll the Bones (NPC Mod for BG2/BG2EE)


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(Author's note: Hi guys! For all five (X3) of you who read my Under the Night 2 romanceable NPCs idea a few months ago, I'm happy to say I actually am making some progress on that end. I've gotten a potential voice actress as well and have a lot of the initial questing and banter writing completed~ I'm not 100% certain about my ability to code a cold fish, but maybe when I've gotten something more substantial I can get some help on that end. In the meantime, my creative insanity have been hard at work brewing another possible NPC I've been doing a lot of writing and work on I wanted to get feedback on to see if there was any interest. I think writing these elaborate things and getting feedback also helps me sort of get a better grasp on what clicks and what doesn't click with the audience and the NPC character themselves. I'm really big on trying to create some BG2 npcs who have some real depth and teeth to them. Anything anyone inputs is much appreciated! So anyway, enough stupid mod author rant and more longwinded character information. I would actually also have an interest in some male voice acting talent for this one so if one does have any recommendations~ -Windfallen)


(reprinted from the BG2 Item Book):


In ages past there was but one god of strife, death, and the dead, and he was known as Jergal, Lord of the End of Everything. Jergal fomented and fed on the discord among mortals and powers alike. When beings slew each other in their quest for power or in their hatred, he welcomed them into his shadowy kingdom of eternal gloom. As all things died, everything came to him eventually, and over time he built his power into a kingdom unchallenged by any other god. Eventually, however, he grew tired of his duties for he knew them too well. Without challenge there is nothing, and in nothingness there is only gloom. In such a state, the difference between absolute power and absolute powerlessness is undetectable.


During this dark era, there arose three powerful mortals - Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul - who lusted after the power Jergal wielded. The trio forged an unholy pact, agreeing that they would dare to seek such ultimate power or die in the attempt. Over the length and breadth of the Realms they strode, seeking powerful magic and spells and defying death at every turn. No matter what monster they confronted or what spells they braved, the three mortals emerged unscathed at every turn. Eventually the trio destroyed one of the Seven Lost Gods, and they each seized a portion of his divine essence for themselves. The trio then journeyed into the Gray Waste and sought out the Castle of Bone. Through armies of skeletons, legions of zombies, hordes of noncorporeal undead, and a gauntlet of liches they battled. Eventually they reached the object of their lifelong quest - the Bone Throne.


"I claim this throne of evil," shouted Bane the tyrant.


"I'll destroy you before you can raise a finger," threatened Bhaal the assassin.


"And I shall imprison your essence for eternity," promised Myrkul the necromancer.


Jergal arose from his throne with a weary expression and said, " The Throne is yours. I have grown weary of this empty power. Take it if you wish - I promise to serve and guide you as your seneschal until you grow comfortable with the position."


Before the stunned trio could react, the Lord of the Dead continued: "Who among you shall rule?"


The trio immediately fell to fighting amongst themselves while Jergal looked on with indifference.


When eventually it appeared that either they would all die of exhaustion or battle on for an eternity, the Lord of the End of Everything intervened.


"After all you have sacrificed, would you come away with nothing? Why don't you divide the portfolios of the office and engage in a game of skill for them?" asked Jergal.


Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul considered the god's offer and agreed. Jergal took the heads of his three most powerful liches and gave them to the trio that they would compete by bowling the skulls. Each mortal rolled a skull across the Gray Waste, having agreed that the winner would be he who bowled the farthest.


Malar the Beastlord arrived to visit Jergal at this moment. After quickly ascertaining that the winner of the contest would get all of Jergal's power, he chased off after the three skulls to make sure that the contest would be halted until he had a chance to participate for part of the prize.


Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul again fell to fighting as it was obvious their sport was ruined, and again Jergal intervened. "Why don't you allow Lady Luck to decide so you don't have to share with the Beast?"


The trio agreed, and Jergal broke off his skeletal finger bones and gave them to the players. When Malar returned from chasing the skulls, he found that the trio had just finished a game of knucklebones.


Bane cried out triumphantly, "As winner, I choose to rule for all eternity as the ultimate tyrant. I can induce hatred and strife at my whim, and all will bow down before me while in my kingdom."


Myrkul, who had won second place, declared, "But I choose the dead, and by doing so I truly win, because all you are lord over, Bane, will eventually be mine. All things must die - even gods."


Bhaal, who finished third, demurred, "I choose death, and it is by my hand that all that you rule Lord Bane will eventually pass to Lord Myrkul. Both of you must pay honor to me and obey my wishes, since I can destroy your kingdom, Bane, by murdering your subjects, and I can starve your kingdom, Myrkul, by staying my hand."


Malar growled in frustration, but could do nothing, and yet again only the beasts were left for him.


And Jergal merely smiled, for he had been delivered.


-History of the Dead Three


A select bit of information--


On Jergal himelf (reprinted from Forgotten Realms Faiths and Pantheons, 3rd edition):


Jergal, also referred to as the Lord of the End of Everything, is the seneschal of the Lord of the Dead who keeps records on the final disposition of all the spirits of the dead. Jergal is unfeeling and excessively formal, he never angers and always speaks in a dismbodied, chilling voice. He cares little for anything besides an orderly accounting of the fate of the world as it slowly sinks into death, and he now serves Kelemvor as he previously served Cyric and Myrkul before him. He is not evil or malicious, but impassively records the death of all things.


In ethos, Jergal is colder and more inhumane than his master, sanctioning the use and creation of undead by his followers, provided they serve the cause of advancing death in the world. He is not evil or malicious, but impassively records the death of all things.


On Jergal's church (reprinted from Forgotten Realms Faiths and Pantheons, 3rd edition):


The church of Jergal is small and secretive, a rigidly organized, almost monastic order of scribes known as the Scriveners of Doom. Based largely in lifeless stone mausoleums and dry, dusty crypts, its members sprend their days maintaining and extending vast archives of scrolls and listing how sentients under their purview passed away and their destination in the afterlife.




Introducing Gerard Thanatos, a Lawful Neutral male human cleric of Jergal (planned to start about one level above the PC when joining the party) He and a tiny handful of helpers (mostly lower lever priests, adepts, or common folk) serve in a civic role in the graveyard and crypts of Athkatla for the city government assisting in preparing bodies for death and maintaining records of the dead.


Gerard is in his late 50s or early 60s, and prefers to be dressed almost all in pure white (I'd like to give him starting out a functional set of white robes and/or white-dyed leather armor). Age has had its effect on him, but he is certainly a man who takes care of himself. He gives the impression he may have been a handsome lad in his youth with olive skin. but wrinkles have weathered his face, and his full head of short hair is stark white. He keeps his face and body well-kempt, and has a surprisingly strong physique that contradict an aging man who has spent so many years tending to the deceased. The most notable feature are his rather striking blue eyes, however, which for a man in such a somber religion betray a mystifying insight and clarity only come out of his many years in life.


Given his somber faith, patron god, stoic duties, and the general hermit-like credence of his faith to not get involved in the greater workings of the world, Gerard’s personality stands in stark contrast and will probably take a lot of players off guard. He is highly intelligent, but he is also hot-headed and impulsive. He's a highly passionate and animated individual who has a great many opinions on a great many things. He seems to wear a lot of faces, in fact. He can be charming, he can be cool and collected, he can be loud and obnoxious. He loves gambling and is not afraid of taking risks no matter what the stakes. He is an encyclopedia of knowledge of many aspects of lore related to his faith and experiences. He finds those detracted or disgusted by his beliefs rather insulting and insists on educating them of the importance of his work to the world as a whole. He has an extreme interest in the Child of Bhaal bordering on sheer obsession and fanaticism (Author's note: basically he's a massive fanboy) and exhibits an almost slavish devotion to the main character, viciously lashing out at those who oppose <charname>, whether they be friend or foe. He takes a vested interest in seeing that you succeed in all your goals and listens intently when you speak. For being a priest of a religion that takes it creed in not being involved in affairs of the world, he seems to wish to be deeply involved.

And yes, before you ask, he will be romanceable for both genders. The author thought the challenge of romancing someone of such a different age bracket and experience as something not explored a lot in previous mods.

After completing one of the first quests (probably the copper coronet/slavers quest) you will receive a note from an Athkatlan guardsman simply requesting a few moments of your time in one of the local Athkatla crypts. He realizes it is a rather suspicious and bizarre request, but the note actually includes an official seal from the City of Athkatla with assurances it will be worth your time for a long-term investment far more lucrative than mere money or favors could acquire you.

Despite being full of life and oddly likable and/or dislikable depending, Gerard Thanatos is a complete enigma. Why would a priest of the Lord of the End of Everything be so interested in someone who isn't dead? Most mysterious about him (author's note: of COURSE there's a twist!), however, is his past and true motivations. He freely admits he has his own reasons for wishing to help you (he calls it "protecting his investment"), but is not particularly forthcoming about his own past nor does he have a lot of wish to discuss it. He does, however, counter with the fact he is far more valuable to you than any single other person in your group (he freely admits he has an inflated opinion of himself) and the "investment" you made in trusting him could take you farther than you could ever imagine.

His description is as follows.


When asked about his past, GERARD chuckles and shrugs you off. The old priest in white claims in his civic duty to the city he has recorded within the pages of hundreds of tomes the records of thousands of deaths, seeing body after body of the fallen cross his altar on their way to the other side. He claims to have been in the service of the priesthood of the Lord of the End of Everything before he could remember, and has witnessed factions and religions, heroes and villains, races and cultures alike rise and fall with such frequency over the years, wondering which side would emerge victorious. He has a fondness for gambling, a mouth that makes you love and hate him simultaneously, a passion for life, and a sinister wisdom floating underneath the surface of a simple priest. Most unbecoming for his faith, you can't help but wonder if there is more to this "investment" of yours than just a recorder of the dead.


I do not yet have a set of stats planned for him. I want to basically just make him a functional, reliable pure cleric. The favored weapon of Jergal is the scythe, so I was considering programming him with a special scythe weapon (perhaps upgrade able in the higher levels) that I assume would function with slots in an axe or halberd as scythes are more exotic weapons. I don't really intend to create a custom class for him, but I might consider a couple of "spell-like abilities" themed for the god he worships. (much like a classed cleric of Lathander gets Boon of Lathander, for instance)


Gerard will have a lot of dialogue (much, much more than a normal NPC), interactions with all NPCS AND EE NPCs, interjections, etc. You can also force-talk to him and learn all sorts of strange things. I advise taking him if you want a richer, more lore-ful experience than you're used to in a normal Baldur's game.


Gerard is designed to be more than just an NPC; he is designed to fill some FR lore gaps I feel are really lacking in the original SoA and especially ToB. He more than anything arms the player with something no other NPC could ever offer them--knowledge and lore specific to their destiny, something even the solar from ToB is vague about. Knowledge of who they are, who their father and his associates were, knowledge of the prophecies of Alaundo, knowledge of the role the Child of Bhaal will play in the trials ahead.


All knowledge comes with a price, however. A priest of Jergal isn't helping you if he doesn't want something equally as valuable in return. There is no gamble without big risks. What will you be willing to sacrifice?


Somewhere Jergal smiles and rolls his knucklebones, for he has been delivered.

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