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PST-in-EET feasibility


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Guest Kerosiini
10 hours ago, bob_veng said:

nobody knows. an overarching design is needed first - how to connect the two stories together? - who is the protagonist: does CHARNAME become TNO? when... how... why...

I'm sure nobody is never going to do this, but it could go something like this: After BG saga CHARNAME has made some powerful enemies, and s/he knows they'll be coming after him/her. Either while s/he's alive, or after s/he's dead. Alive, and with allies, no problem. But dead? Alone? Not a chance s/he's willing to take. So s/he scours the planes for an answer and the rest is history...

Done something like that there could be an act where CHARNAME seeks help across multiple planes, arrives on Sigil and hears about Ravel. Then s/he must seek her, get her to agree to help, and from there... I dont' know, fade to black and start PS:T?

Huge amount of work surely, and not entirely feasible, but still... 😍

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Well, there's the whole Demons, Devils and other outer-worldly entries can only be killed at their plane of origin, so a god of murder on one plane needs to kill all the demons, devils etc on their plane of origin... or they come back after 100 years and threaten the world again.

Sigil being the city of gates, is just a bridge to cross the planes. Do they ever even run into The Nameless One, might not. And what happens if TNO crosses their path and dies in Sigil, that has consequences especially if it's at the hands of the Bhallspawn. Remember, unlike all the others, he can't die... but the fact that he died on a time, can change what comes next. Aka, you can agree and help or disagree and kill TNO... which will then lead to another encounter where the same possibilities can arise. But the circumstances can be very different.

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If the general idea is to splice together the ending of Bhaalspawn saga with TNOs origin story, and make PS:T act as BG3 with TNO = CHARNAME, there's a much easier way to do it (than making a big content mod where you scour the planes, arrive in Sigil etc, before PS:T even starts).

The final state of a CHARNAME that has not ascended and the origin story of TNO are not in any major kind of conflict. The major missing part needed to flesh this out can be a slightly reframed Heart of Winter which conveniently shares one of it's themes and a vital character with PS:T. Below is TNOs origin story from a wiki and how it could be relatively simply adapted to match existing elements:

Spoiler

The Nameless One was once human. Ok. You retain your race, sex, and sprite
He sought the advice of a man named Morte (then named Mortimer i think) No conflict. Mortimer is inserted or fused with an existing character (not many candidates tho; Mortimer is generally a last name btw, which may be handy). This seems to be the most problematic part.
who ended up tricking him into committing the most terrible crime imaginable, This is incorrect i think, the protagonist commited the crime willingly
the crime itself is unknown, save the implication that the planes are still slowly dying because of it. Ok. You have refused to ascend, which has caused a disturbance in the divine order. The remaining essence of Bhaal is dissolved (gods don't like it when that happens). The planes don't really have to be dying for any of this to work, but maybe that can be worked in too.
a probable implication of the above: the first-Incarnation TNO was a powerful person, capable of momentous deeds; the beginning of TNO marks an endpoint of his original incarnation's an epic journey, that ended tragically. Ok.
The Nameless One was contracted to a lifetime of servitude in the Blood War. Ok. The punishment for denying godhood is being made acutely aware of your mortality, with an eternity in Hell looming; god/s be like "you didn't want to ascend - now you will realize the true burden of mortality". Instead of contracted, more accurately consigned.
In order to escape his punishment of being damned to an eternity in the Blood Wars and perhaps to atone for his crime, he sought the help of someone powerful enough to make him immortal, so that he could spend the rest of his life doing nothing but good. Ok, proceeds logically. Ethically loaded bits are not necessary but they work perfectly for good characters.
Morte, also trying to atone for his actions, directed him to the Gray Wastes, where he would find the night hag, Ravel Puzzlewell. Ok. Ravel is already present in one other waste - the Gloomfrost, and appears as a character in IWD-HoW through her aspect, the Seer; this is confirmed by Avellone; the Seer also has this line: "I have seen visions of the past, of death, of spiraling cities and a black-brambled garden". Morte's motivation can be developed in various ways - maybe he directs you to seek immortality because he's curious what would happen and might want the same for himself?
Spoiler

Ultimately, there's always an option to represent this as Morte telling you not to ascend because if you do it will actually be a restoration of Bhaal through your sacrifice, not really you becoming a god, thereby the blame falling on him so he would want to atone

 

The Nameless One travels to the Gray Wastes, to find the "Greatest of the Gray Sisters" Ok. This part can coincide with the HoW campaign; Instead of the Gray Wastes you go to the Gloomfrost.
Ravel tells him that he must pay for her services, and the Nameless One presents her with the challenge of answering the question: "What can change the nature of a man?" He manipulates her with the challenge of making him immortal... Ok:

- Upon denial of the ascension the remaining essence of Bhaal is dissolved. With your soul being purged from the taints of a foreign entity and made whole in and of itself for the first time, you undergo a spiritual rebirth of sorts*. Your nature is changed.

- In Gloomfrost: scrambling to think of a riddle at the spot, you cunningly frame your very particular experience as a riddle:"what can change the nature of a man?". The seer has no answer to this vacuous and open ended new age deepity (which is exactly what it is in PS:T) but is still able to divine that a true answer does exist. She is therefore forced to accept it as your part of bargain. 

* in this is reflected the severity of the punishment that you were handed, because an eternity of mind-numbing soldiering in the Blood war is a really bad outlook after living in this exalted state.
...seduces her to bend her to his will. Ravel agreed and performed the ritual, out of love Dunno. I guess the "seduce" and "love" bit can be developed but doesn't feel necessary. Needs a critical look. Basically the Seer accepts the bargain, that's already covered above.
(Ravel) succeeded in making the Nameless One immortal, but the ritual was flawed, for every time he died, he forgot his memories and became another person. Ravel, in order to perform the magic, split the Nameless One's essence in two, and stripped his mortality from him, which turned into "The Transcendent One". Ok. Doesn't have to be covered in detail. I guess a short cutscene can convey the gist of all this, vaguely enough that there isn't total disconnect, but full explication only comes later in PS:T.
In order to test that her spell had worked, Ravel stabbed the Nameless One to death and when he awoke, without his memories, she realised that she had not entirely succeeded in her spell. NOT OK. Precludes completing HoW. The Seer simply doesn't stab you, but knows you will die soon "on your own". You are now truly immortal in the game - you die and rise again. Instead of completely forgetting everything, during this time you are feeling progressively worse; each time you die /if you die at all during the last stages of HoW/ you forget something, which is mainly conveyed to you by your followers, whom you also start forgetting. A sad time for everyone.
The Nameless One's immortality comes at the terrible price of suffering the torment of not bearing his mortality with him and he will pull tormented souls towards him because of it. Ok. Shadows start shyly appearing in Icasaracht's tomb but don't attack yet. You meet Icasaracht who figures as a meaningful character with her dialogue already touching on some of the relevant themes. She is the primordial tormented soul you interact with. She tells you of her age old suffering and her own, different, plan for immortality. When you kill her and crack her soul gem open, a powerful emanation of her dying soul's torment lunges towards you, dealing you 999 dmg. This traumatic event causes you to certifiably lose the thread. Game proceeds straight to the Mortuary. How you ended up in Sigil in the span of 1000+ years becomes a moot point.

In conclusion: no new areas have to be created and only Morte has to be developed and some additional dialogue written (less is better imo), to formally connect the games in a pretty coherent way.

The big problem comes aftwerwards: if the continuation will play just like PS:TEE with shrinked assets - why do it? The above might as well stay headcanon. 

The biggest promise in this would be the possibility of greater freedom of travel through portals and across planes (something the original PS:T was meant to have in much greater abundance), but it doesn't seem that the expanded world of EET can be used to further this without major new content. During BG2, you shouldn't be allowed to travel to PS:T areas using the Planar Sphere. It makes no sense to "pre-cannibalize" and spoil them. A dozen centuries have passed, The Sword Coast is transformed, old characters are dead. Probably the technology is different at this point. So enabling travel to existing FR areas from PS:T areas doesn't make sense either.

The only new quality would be the purely mechanical freedom, more spells and classes, etc. Maybe starting from a lvl 0 or 1 tabula rasa character with flat attributes and as you level, you gradually regain your earlier powers such as attributes, known spells, proficiencies, skills, while having some freedom in how you reshape your character. So for example, instead of gaining extra WIS in dialogue you only regain those attribute points you already had. 

There could be references to the earlier course of the Saga. Maybe those references could be really strong and well developed. If you could interact with traces of your former followers in the form of ghosts, zombies, sensory stones, books, descendants etc, and learn their NPC endings, in an immersive context, and not by reading from the screens, that would be decent.

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@bob_veng My explanation for PST-in-EET was much simpler:

A portal to Sigil opens early in BG1, such as near the Friendly Arm Inn.  You can find The Nameless One and Morte (likely an inseparable pair) in or near Sigil's mortuary and proceed with the PST story as normal while still being able to return to Faerun via the same Sigil portal.  Once the party heads on its interplanar adventure to Ravel's Maze, The Grey Wastes, etc., it can't simply warp back to Sigil/Faerun.  That section of PST must be finished before being allowed to return to Sigil as normal.

According to this Christ Avellone interview, Ravel's incarnations coexist within the D&D cosmos having an unconscious connection to each other.  Imagine it somewhat like a Wizard who had a simulacrum army or a clone army with some sort of subtle mental link, but without knowing in-depth about their 'master.'

PST's ending can fit well within the EET framework:  TNO/TTO sends CHARNAME and anyone not from PST back to Sigil where they simply can't return to the Negative Material Plane.  Any items in TNO's inventory at the time of this ending would be dumped at the feet of CHARNAME's party or/and put in an easily-accessed place like the Friendly Arm Inn.

If ToB's ending occurs with TNO still in the party, the simpler method is to call the game won and imply that TNO and co escaped the final battle's plane somehow.  A more complex method is to turn TNO into the main character, drop CHARNAME's gear in a convenient place for TNO and co to reach (like Athkatla or Saradush) and warp the remaining party members there.

As for lore-based timeline distortions, either ignore them, use TNO's mysterious past to explain that he was some sort of powerful caster who bent time and space, just say that Sigil and the Outlands have experienced time at a different rate than the Sword Coast.

Sigil acts as a hub for EET modders who want to add to the planar cosmology.  Being able to travel to Greyhawk/Oerth for ToEE-in-EET would be wonderful as an option regardless of how many ToEE assets were used.

Edited by Endarire
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1 hour ago, Endarire said:

@bob_veng My explanation for PST-in-EET was much simpler:

A portal to Sigil opens early in BG1, such as near the Friendly Arm Inn.  You can find The Nameless One and Morte (likely an inseparable pair) in or near Sigil's mortuary and proceed with the PST story as normal

I don't understand - how would you proceed with the story? would you be saying TNO's lines?

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This is just an opinion, of course and as such it has no weight at all... but, I personally wouldn't need to have the story integrated into the Bhaal spawn saga at all myself... it'd be enough for me to be able to play the PST story inside BG2:EE engine as a separate campaign!

Also, I'd personally love to have PST areas available as resource for mods to use, perhaps integrated into the world map (or not... depending on the area's nature, I guess...) 

It'd cool to have PST story available as a Campaign in the campaign menu that you can play outside of your normal Bhaal Saga games, when you do as such then you're given the normal TNO character as a start, but you could be open to edit/change character, in a similar way to what IWD does (i.e. offer default party, being able to remove characters and add different ones...)

I'm not creative enough to even think of a way to link Bhaal saga timeline to TNO's timeline without contrivances myself if I was able to do so, but also, I haven't finished PST in totality myself yet, so I don't want to get into spoilers and at the same time, I don't have much idea of how the story goes over there :) 

(Don't ask! I tried to play the game again as soon as I bought the PST:EE version, but for some reason it started crashing on area transitions and I wasn't in the mood to troubleshoot it at that time 😢)

But I trust people here, and I'm sure if a way is implemented, it'll be a satisfactory one! ❤️

 

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@bob_veng My simpler explanation is that CHARNAME and TNO are separate characters.  Certain parts of PST require TNO to proceed.  TNO, Morte, and the PST cast are simply other characters that can join the party, just like Edwin, Aerie, and Viconia.

Like with Leeux, the simpler approach treats PST as a separate campaign from IWD Saga/Bhaalspawn Saga that's playable within EET; hence, the ability to reach Sigil early within EET from BG1/BG2/ToB depending on where the player started the game.  I was quite surprised when I noticed certain people trying to make TNO and CHARNAME the same being.

Edited by Endarire
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If charname and tno are separate characters, i don't see how any kind of story resembling PS:T can proceed. The main quest makes no sense for someone outside who isn't experiencing what TNO is. Why would the Bhaalspawn look for a way to enter Ravel's maze? Where's the emotional impact of any of it when seen from third person? What about Deionarra? You'd just watch a cutscene where TNO talks to her? That would require someone make that cutscene, and do a similar thing at very many places. I don't think anyone will ever do that because it's so unappealing to turn an interactive media into a passive media. All the interactions where TNO remembers something don't work which affects more than half side-quests too. Actually just auditing the whole text to account for such incompatibilities would be a titanic effort. I could go on and on. Basically i don't just think it would a bad idea to just tack PS:T onto BG and have CHARNAME colonize it for the sake of a merry "interplanar adventure", i think it would be a travesty 

1 hour ago, Endarire said:

Like with Leeux, the simpler approach treats PST as a separate campaign from IWD Saga/Bhaalspawn Saga that's playable within EET; hence, the ability to reach Sigil early within EET from BG1/BG2/ToB depending on where the player started the game.  

That's not what Leeux meant. A separate campaign which you start from the campaign menu is not the same as your idea of PS:T as a side-quest that you solve as CHARNAME. Under the separate campaign you would play as TNO, but he would be a creatable protagonist (you pick sex, race, class, appearance...). 

Edited by bob_veng
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Apologies.  I misunderstood.  Thankee for clarifying that.

If Bhaalspawn = TNO, where would the game start?  (Sigil?)  Would TNO's current life be because of the current or a previous incarnation doing Bhaal-like things?  (Assumedly.)

How would the free transitions work between BG and PST?  (All a flashback?  Separate memories?  Time travel?  TNO was a very early Bhaalspawn?)

How is there a (seeming) contradiction between Ravel in IWD2 and PST?

Edited by Endarire
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@bob_veng After rereading your thorough post for which I thank you for writing, my questions are mostly answered.  To clarify:  Must the pre-PST section (BG1/SoD/BG2/ToB) be finished before PST?  (Seemingly so.)  Could TNO and co still freely visit the Sword Coast during their PST adventures?  (Seemingly not.)  Would the Gray Wastes ever be visited?  (Seemingly not.)

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Porting the assets and areas over to explore would be presumably far more simple than trying to bend the narrative to accommodate PST's story. Being able to screw off to Sigil at various points in EET would be fun, but trying to get everything ported as what's more or less a modder's resource until somebody decides to make a story with it seems kind of wasteful.
Then again, how to integrate IWD into the Bhaalspawn's story has been a matter of contention instead of just letting it be a time-bending romp.

There's multiple instances of the Bhaalspawn traveling to other planes in the canon games already, it wouldn't be hard to handwave a connection between these areas and Sigil. A door between the ToB Pocket Plane and Sigil, an alternate way out of Avernus in SoD, a way to supply the Planar Sphere with more fiend hearts to travel there. Even in BG1 you could probably find a connection somewhere, and this isn't even accounting for the fact that sometimes, people just take a wrong turn and somehow end up in Sigil.

On the other hand, PST isn't known for much of anything except its writing, and the areas and encounters without the writing would feel odd.

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what has been real problem was integrating Bhaalspawn saga with both IWD1 and IWD2 at the same time. having one or another in EET is not a problem, except a little bit for IWD1 (solvable with a mod after the IWD-in-EET comes out)

PS:T is totally different. as you say it isn't known for much of anything except its writing. Just exploring with all the content extricated from the actual story wouldn't work that well for several reasons: 1) many side quests are tied to TNO's past and would need extensive analysis and changes, 2) traveling between planes in PS:T is tied to the main quest (requiring new content just to enable traveling to Baator for example), 3) some areas don't even have anything to offer apart from serving the main quest

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