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The_Rock

Time of Icewind Dale Content's Availability in the BG Campaign [SoD and IWD spoilers]

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Hi fellas,

I've read most of the threads on here from back to back and most of them are kind of old so I thought it would be a good idea to create a new one. My question (which is somewhat summed up in the title) is at what point in the main storyline will Icewind Dale be available to us? We all have our likes and dislikes so when it comes to me personally I much prefer the party I gather in Shadows of Amn to the one in the first game. 

Spoiler

I prefer them primarily because half the party members are not killed off like they are at the end of BG1 (now SoD). :(

Apologies if my thread is redundant.

Edited by K4thos
grammar and wording

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I'm also very curious about this. I also hope that it's written in a way that makes sense for "why" and "when" to go there 😃

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On 7/6/2019 at 10:05 PM, The_Rock said:

We all have our likes and dislikes so when it comes to me personally I much prefer the party I gather in Shadows of Amn to the one in the first game.  

 

Then you should use the non-EE game, and just play the NEJ's.

My assumption is that one just exits due North from BG1 map and you eventually end up in the Easthaven. Looking at the map ... one might have to travel to Ulgoth's Beard, and then "pay for transportation to North", which takes a boat trip there.

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28 minutes ago, Jarno Mikkola said:

Then you should use the non-EE game, and just play the NEJ's.

My assumption is that one just exits due North from BG1 map and you eventually end up in the Easthaven. Looking at the map ... one might have to travel to Ulgoth's Beard, and then "pay for transportation to North", which takes a boat trip there.

Oh. I have no qualms with that. Do you think I could delay my trip up north until the beginning of SoA though? I mean, depending on the difficulty I could progress in Icewind Dale up to a certain point during the BG1 campaign and come back later in SoA or even ToB. Perhaps I should have rephrased my question. Have you made a final decision as to the difficulty curve and how monsters will scale compared to Baldur's Gate's level progression? 

Also, thanks a lot for telling me about Never Ending Journey, Jarno! It seems like a real treat. It just doesn't seem very well-documented and I can't find a decent description of what it does exactly.

Edited by The_Rock

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I'm a bit busy right now and answering all these questions (content availability, balancing, scaling, NPCs) requires quite a lot work. So expect a wall of text in coming days, once I find some time to write it all down.

Just letting you guys know that the topic is not ignored.

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2 hours ago, K4thos said:

I'm a bit busy right now and answering all these questions (content availability, balancing, scaling, NPCs) requires quite a lot work. So expect a wall of text in coming days, once I find some time to write it all down.

Just letting you guys know that the topic is not ignored.

Yeah, no worries, mate. I've actually begun playing IwD just so I can get a feel for the setting, difficulty and gameplay. I see now why it gets so much hate. It doesn't hold a candle to the high-fantasy grandeur of BG but as a side story it works quite well I think.

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I kinda actually like the IwD's story... it's just that the PCs are quiet that might haunt you, but being a Fin, I can understand people that don't say a thing. "If you have nothing to say, the silence is gold."

Maybe the EET readme should contain all this stuff and I would expect that version to be published only after the IWD-in-EET comes out.

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4 hours ago, Jarno Mikkola said:

I kinda actually like the IwD's story... it's just that the PCs are quiet that might haunt you, but being a Fin, I can understand people that don't say a thing. "If you have nothing to say, the silence is gold."

Maybe the EET readme should contain all this stuff and I would expect that version to be published only after the IWD-in-EET comes out.

Oh no, don't get me wrong. I am very much in love with Icewind Dale's story and setting but the non-existent characters have made me import the portraits and sound sets from my favorite party members in BG2 into the game. They liven up the place with the few lines that are available from their sound files. Given the writing that has been done for this mod I am sure it will improve IWD by a wide margin.

Edited by The_Rock

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There's  also a IWD NPC mod that... makes the party a punch of NPCs. Well... that's a story for another time. Being that it was originally designed for IWD & IWD-in-BG2. Grhm.

K4thos: Sorry for turning this topic into The Imp's mod recommendation thread. 😛

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On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 8:33 PM, Jarno Mikkola said:

There's  also a IWD NPC mod that... makes the party a punch of NPCs. Well... that's a story for another time. Being that it was originally designed for IWD & IWD-in-BG2. Grhm.

K4thos: Sorry for turning this topic into The Imp's mod recommendation thread. 😛

Nah, not very interested at the moment. I might try that sometime in the future. Actually, EET is the first mod that I'll be installing into Baldur's Gate ever once I'm done with my current run. Should be exciting.

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WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SIEGE OF DRAGONSPEAR AND IWD1 SPOILERS (obviously also spoilers regarding the mod itself)

Regarding content availability:

- separate campaigns

You can start any of the campaigns using EET campaign system, selecting them from main menu:

sRUEIRD.png

Playing IWD1, HoW or IWD2 like this means that you're making a new party and play the game normally, without ties to the Bhaalspawn saga.

- IWD2, HoW, TotLM as part of Bhaalsaga

IWD2 content can be started at any point during the game (BG1BG2, even ToB). There is a captain in Ulgoth's Beard that can sale you there as part of the mercenary expedition to help rescue Ten Towns from goblinoids hordes in exchange for promised wealth and fame (see IWD2 intro). So it's just another quest in a game. Once there, you can either progress through the IWD2 story or travel to IWD1 expansions areas (Heart of Winter and Tales of the Luremaster content).

- IWD1 base as part of Bhaalsaga

There is a direct conflict between IWD1 story and SoD villain, as well as some characters and even different iterations of the same locations showing up in both IWD1 and IWD2 story. Due to these reasons it has been decided that IWD1 can't co-exist alongside SoD and IWD2 content in the current timeline. Doing so would require major story overhaul, which is not planned. Currently the exact implementation is not yet 100% finalised, there are a few ramifications, regardless of the outcome, though:

- there are NPC interjections ready for all vanilla NPCs in BG saga, which means the content should be available at any point during the game (BG1BG2, even ToB),

- the story should take place in the past in order to avoid conflict with SoD (where we fight Belhifet, the final boss of IWD1, who is banished to Baator at the end) and IWD2 story (which takes place some years after IWD1 events, featuring some returning characters and locations),

- the IWD1 story should be tied to the Bhaalspawn saga in a way that requires as little changes to the IWD2 script as possible (ideally without need to re-write characters like voice acted Oswald Fiddlebender, who doesn't recognize the party in IWD2). In order to achieve this, alternate timeline concept is preferable to reactive timeline. If the party goes back in time, changes the past and returns to the "present", they may find things not as they remember. The characters know a different history to the people inhabiting the timeline they're in.

There have been few ideas how to implement it while still fulfilling these goals:

1. IWD1 story as part of the  twisted Wish outcome - old D&D trope (well, ok, not only D&D[1][2])

Here is description of the Wish spell from D&D 5th Edition Compendium:

Quote

You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of the above examples. State your wish to the DM as precisely as possible. The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance, the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the effect you desire might only be partly achieved, or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence as a result of how you worded the wish. For example, wishing that a villain were dead might propel you forward in time to a period when that villain is no longer alive, effectively removing you from the game. Similarly, wishing for a legendary magic item or artifact might instantly transport you to the presence of the item's current owner.

You get the idea, it’s a matter of coming up with a wish that can be twisted in a way to allow the party experience IWD1 story at any point of the game. Considering final IWD1 boss is also one of the main villains of the Bhaalspawn it should be doable, without feeling totally off (although the exact wish has not been thought up yet - feel free to suggest one).

2. Belhifet's book used as a framing device

You know the one, present in all IWD1 cinematic, where Belhifet himself, as a narrator (see IWD1 ending), tells the IWD1 story. It's another popular trope in which after opening a book we fade to see the story itself being played out, just as if it came from the book itself. Implementing it like this would be a matter of leaving this mysterious book somewhere in a BG world.

3. Yxunomei's vendetta against Belhifet

Currently travel to base IWD1 has been implemented as an optional quest from Yxunomei (disguised as a mysterious hooded woman) that tricks the party into this adventure via misleading pact ("I cannot lead you to him, or speak plainly his identity. It is not yet time for you to know. But I can show you their nature, reveal their past, and in doing so provide you a means to strike first. Context is the gift I offer you and with it knowledge that is greater than any sword. Will you accept this gift?"). After coming back her dialogue hints that it was part of an ages-old vendetta between her and Belhifet, although how exactly your actions in the past lead towards achieving her goals and the exact nature of it is left vague.

This quest, for obvious  reasons, can be initiated only before Belhifet is killed in SoD, so either option 1 or 2 should be also enabled once this way of travel there is no longer available.

--------------------------

Initially the concept of this mod was to have IWD1 story in the current timeline and some of the IWD2 content alongside it. As you can see, after SoD release, this has been changed - now IWD2 story is the core of the mod, alongside HoW and TotLM (IWD1 expansions), which can be also visited in the current timeline.

Feel free to leave your feedback.

--------------------------

Regarding difficulity, scalling, XP etc.:

When it comes to game balance of course we can't provide the same amount of challenge for level 1 party and level 20 party, but there will be an optional level scaling feature toggable in options. Here is a quote from my older message where I explained how it works:

Quote

you can do whole IWD2 content whenever you like (via quest that sends you north to fight goblinoids invasion, as mentioned in IWD2 intro). Technically the content should be doable even on level 1, but realistically if you're installing IWD-in-EET you're expected to decrease XP gains in whole game to at least 50% or more, so if you're going on low level you will likely not level up fast enough. When it comes monsters difficulty I've come up with following system:
- all IWD2 creatures are converted to 2nd ed rules,
- each area will have area scope variable set with value = average party level the content is aimed for
- each IWD2 creature file triggers Lua code that handles level scaling based on the creature level in comparison to party level
Level scaling is not some arbitrary stats buffing but actual hit dice and size increments. No workarounds, all calculations are done via Lua code and use actual dnd tables storing bonuses for each level/hit dice and class.

Example: if creature is a Fighter level 2 and the new level should be 7, following bonuses are granted:
- Level + 5
- DEATH st +2
- WANDS st +2
- SPELL st +2
- HP +5d10 (if humanoid, up to level 10, later just +3 per level) or +5d8 (if monster, 1d8 per level) (actual dice rolls, not some arbitrary value)
- THAC0 +4
- +1/2 attack per round
- Melee damage +5 (1 additional point per hit dice)
- while spell selection won't be adjusted CRE level affects damage dealt with spells like fireball, magic missile etc.

Here is how the new level is calculated. Let's say that:
1. Creature level = 6
2. Area difficulty level (party level expected by the content) = 10
3. Average party level = 18
In such case the level scaling kicks in giving that creature 5 additional levels (6 * 18 / 10). Considering you're fighting lot's of them at once this makes quite a difference.

In other words even if you visit the content in ToB it shouldn't really feel like something designed for low levels (with such level disparity the level scaling will turn the content into something more like a Legacy of Bhaal mode, even if you don't use it). I know that level scaling is not a popular feature, but as mentioned, this content should be enjoyable for all parties, not at some particular point of the game (and this feature is optional anyway).

edit: added links explaining framing device trope mentioned by Istfemer.

edit2: added more context for Yxunomei's quest.

Edited by K4thos

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Uh oh! I really hope someone figures out a clever way to tie IWD1 into the Bhaalspawn campaign alongside everything else!

 

I mean I'm sure the mod will be great no matter what. I'd just really love to eventually see everything get combined into one single epic adventure =D

Edited by Ser Elryk

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I kind of like the idea of time travel in a sense. Make the party earn NO xp during the IWD sections of their journey and are acting as merely part of some grand scheme as some pawns for either a wish spell or some gods. That way you can experience it with your current party and still have it make sense. 

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6 hours ago, Ser Elryk said:

Uh oh! I really hope someone figures out a clever way to tie IWD1 into the Bhaalspawn campaign alongside everything else!

 

I mean I'm sure the mod will be great no matter what. I'd just really love to eventually see everything get combined into one single epic adventure =D

@K4thos I think a wish scroll that acts as a portal to Icewind Dale 1's timeline is the best way to go due to irresolvable conflicts with Siege of Dragonspear's storyline. In order to make Ulgoth's Beard less bloated as a quest-giving location, I would have a merchant at the Nashkel Fair sell the scroll just like your party is accosted by a guy who sells a stone to flesh scroll when you're passing by. It could be billed as a scroll that gives you the power of a mighty demon (i.e. Belhifet) but the wish is twisted in that you are transported into IwD1 upon invoking its magic and then you obtain his power indirectly by besting him in combat at the end of that timeline. I know I'm confusing wishes with scrolls but I'm pretty sure something along those lines could work. 

Edited by The_Rock

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3 hours ago, Anprionsa said:

I kind of like the idea of time travel in a sense. Make the party earn NO xp during the IWD sections of their journey and are acting as merely part of some grand scheme as some pawns for either a wish spell or some gods. That way you can experience it with your current party and still have it make sense. 

that's something I've been thinking as well as part of the above mentioned "Belhifet's book" story idea. The post was already long enough, so I didn't mention it, but it's actually possible to force the engine to clone whole party and continue playing with those cloned guys. So theoretically it's possible to implement it in a way that all XP you gather, any adjustments to characters, all items found, would be local to one party and not another. Based on my limited tests some time ago, it's also theoretically possible to switch between those parties (jump into past and present) at your own will (for example by "opening" and "closing" the Belhifet's book in inventory) or make it, so that when your party dies in the past you simply continue playing your present time party (with the assumptions that the party death is how Belhifet's book has ended), without game over. Or how about "Day of the Tentacle" style item transfers between past and present? (possible via bags of holdings or containers and MoveContainerContents script action)

While I think this idea sounds nice on paper the reception from the players would not neccessary be good, since many people finds stuff like XP, items etc. something that can be considered reward for your effort, so making them local to the party that stays in the past, could be frustraiting for them. With this in mind the "twisted Wish outcome" idea (in which you use your current timeline party to visit past) seems like a less controversial approach. Not sure which one is better.

2 hours ago, The_Rock said:

@K4thos I think a wish scroll that acts as a portal to Icewind Dale 1's timeline is the best way to go due to irresolvable conflicts with Siege of Dragonspear's storyline. In order to make Ulgoth's Beard less bloated as a quest-giving location, I would have a merchant at the Nashkel Fair sell the scroll just like your party is accosted by a guy who sells a stone to flesh scroll when you're passing by. It could be billed as a scroll that gives you the power of a mighty demon (i.e. Belhifet) but the wish is twisted in that you are transported into IwD1 upon invoking its magic and then you obtain his power indirectly by besting him in combat at the end of that timeline. I know I'm confusing wishes with scrolls but I'm pretty sure something along those lines could work. 

I've been thinking about just using existing Limited Wish and/or Wish scrolls for this purpose and just add another one-time option to the list of existing wishes. The only problem is that those are 7th and 9th level spells, so a bit too high level to make them available in early game (in case someone would like to start the adventure with BG1 party)

The wish you've mentioned indeed sounds like something that could be twisted by a jackass genie :) If anyone has more ideas regarding such wishes feel free to post them here.

------------

as mentioned the IWD1 base content implementation is open for discussion (currently only "Yxunomei's vendetta against Belhifet" option is in), so feel free to propose how you would prefer it to be implemented (just keep in mind ramifications mentioned in the previous post).

IWD2, HoW and TotLM content implementation is however set it stone – those stories are available in the current timeline.

Edited by K4thos

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