Jump to content

What would people like to see?


Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, ithildurnew said:

2. Make it so that there's in-character reason to do quests that were skipped in ch2 and 3 to get to Imoen quickly. i.e. Don't penalize parties for making sensible in character decisions by making them miss out of huge chunks of the game's content silly Bioware! 

How? The oldest trick in the book for adventure/action plots -  Mcguffins. In chapter 6 you're racing against the clock supposedly because your soul is missing and you need it back; plotwise it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time chasing after the quests you didn't get to in ch2/3... But what if in order to get your soul back, you NEED to chase those quests to fetch Mcguffins that are required to be in your possession to ensure you'll get your soul back?

I discussed an idea like this a long time ago.  It wouldn't be that hard to implement, for a modder who deals with quests and dialogues and such.  (Alas, I am not that modder.)  Something like, you can't leave for Spellhold until you find the Macguffin.  Where is it?  Could be in any one of several dangerous dungeons nearby.  Every time you complete one of the man ch. 2 quests, increase a global variable; when the variable hits a certain number, present the Macguffin among the treasure.  The number could be set during installation, so the player can decide whether they want to be required to do 2 quests, or 4, or 6, or whatever.

The Macguffin to get your soul back is a nice idea, but is a bit involved.  How about something simpler: the Macguffin is needed to get to Brynnlaw.  Think about it, the place consists of mad wizards and pirates... what kind of social/economic situation leads to that?  Well, the wizards have both a reason and the means to keep the island magically hidden.  But the pirates are useful for simple sundries like food etc.  How great would it be for a pirate, if your base of operations was magically shielded and hidden?  You could raid with near-impunity!  Heck, maybe they weren't pirates to begin with; maybe they were trusted professional sailors, hired by the Cowled Wizards.  But then, over time, they turned to piracy because with a magically hidden island as their home, how could they resist??  It's too perfect.

Anyway, so you need this magical sextant or whatever - all the Brynnlaw pirates have one on their ships, but one was lost long ago, a pirate defected and fled to the mainland to be with his beloved, but he was killed and nereids took the sextant, eventually their cave was raided and yadda yadda yadda the Macguffin made its way to somewhere east of Athkatla.  Maybe a dragon ended up with it; maybe a plane-hopping lich; maybe a shadow druid.  Etc.  You'll have to go out and find it and offer it to Saemon Havarian, who knows how to use it and, conveniently, has a ship that can make use of it.  (This also explains his role in the game; the Shadow Thieves alone cannot use the Macguffin; but Saemon, being a multiclass pirate/mage, is both uniquely positioned to make use of the sextant, and uniquely motivated to get his hands on it.)

Like I say, I think a very lightweight mod could achieve this, it would only require a very very small amount of added dialogue and scripting.

Edited by subtledoctor
Link to post

Timewise, doesn't Irenicus not even takeover Spellhold until the start of chapter 3 (At least shown via cutscene.)? So the torturing doesn't really start until then IMO. Storywise, at the start of chapter 2 you just know she's stuck in prison. With some of the stakes of other quests in the area, I can see validity in helping these other people out first and preparing yourself in equipment before attempting to get Imoen away from the Cowled Wizards. After all, you don't know what you're getting into.

Thus in my opinion, it makes no sense to weaken her or drop reputation, especially the latter, in fact if anything, rushing to Spellhold would seem to have the bigger consequences due to lack of preparation, and that does naturally in the form of your xp and equipment.

My preference is some mod expanding Throne of Bhaal instead or adding quests or unique content specific to its chapters. 

Edited by Skitia
Link to post

ToB could indeed use some more interesting content beyond Wheels and Reunion; it's surprising how little content storywise there is for it.

Regarding the old argument 'party should take it's sweet time to gear up to the nth degree to prep for trip to Spellhold', sorry, there's a point where I just don't buy it because it becomes outright ridiculous. There's a degree of planning and preparation, gearing up, etc. that's sensible and wise... after all you just lost a boatload of equipment to Irenicus and saw a glimpse of his power. Then there's just procrastinating/ignoring the plight of a friend or companion to finish the other quests so you get your grubby hands on more and more loot and xp. That might make sense from a powergaming/metagamed standpoint, but at a certain point it becomes a ridiculously lame excuse (unless someone is intentionally RP cautious cowards or someone who just isn't all that concerned about Immy).

I mean, by the time you finish a mere 2 or 3 Ch 2 quests you usually end up with a mountain of coin (more than the vanilla game requires to advance to ch3) and have a boatload of treasure/magic items... yet there's still so much content left to explore. Storywise it just doesn't make sense to keep putting off the rescue for a lot of characters... heck, how does CHARMAIN even know that there are 4, 5 other major quests that will yield Belm or Celestial Fury or similar? They might turn out to be duds or distractions with no substantial payoff (this is one of the reasons I like Item Randomizer) - precious time lost while a friend is locked up and who knows what is being done to her. 

'Hey, I've got tons of money and good gear now, but if I linger a couple more months and take more jobs I'll be better prepared and have more stuff that'll make life easier'... It's metagaming at it's finest and makes little sense in character, unless you are in fact portraying a character that may not care much about Imoen, has procrastination issues/is actually afraid to go after Jon, etc. At some point that makes more sense than months of 'preparation' which is really thinly disguised (self) preservation or a desire to 'get all the goodies in the game' (which is fine in a game, just don't pretend it's something else).  People who claim doing all/nearly all the quests in Ch2 is just 'being prepared' for Spellhold - don't get jobs as firemen or police, etc. - which is fine, most of us are not real life adventurers or heroes - but please don't try to sell me that metagaming risk aversion or gaming the system is in-character 'preparation'.

Edited by ithildurnew
Link to post

 

18 minutes ago, ithildurnew said:

Regarding the old argument 'party should take it's sweet time to gear up to the nth degree to prep for trip to Spellhold', sorry, there's a point where I just don't buy it because it becomes outright ridiculous.

...

'Hey, I've got tons of money and good gear now, but if I linger and take on several more jobs I'll be better prepared and have more stuff that'll make life easier' is metagaming at it's finest and makes little sense in character, unless you are in fact portraying a character that doesn't really give a crap about Imoen or has procrastination issues/is actually afraid to go after Jon. That's motivation that makes more sense than 'preparation'.  People who really try to justify delaying the trip until they complete just about every quest in ch2. in the name of 'preparation' - I'll say this, I wouldn't count on them to come through for me in a sticky situation, or work in any kind of a profession where lives are on the line in a risky situation... which is fine, most of us are not real life adventurers or heroes - just don't try to sell me that metagaming risk aversion is 'preparation'.

The thing is that it isn't necessarily risk aversion, or powergaming for that matter. Anyone who knows enough about the game to meticulously collect every useful item around Athkatla in all likelihood also knows enough to do an undergeared solo trip through Spellhold as soon as they raise 15k gold. It's not that difficult. Some people just prefer the story to flow one way or the other, and come up with their own RP reasons for it and add mods that support it -- the macguffin you mentioned. If you prefer to explore in chapter 2 and 3 you might come up with reasons why it takes a long time to gather intel and resources and remove obstacles to get to Brynnlaw, and if you prefer to explore in chapter 6 you come up with reasons for why getting your soul back becomes a more complicated process. I don't even see why it should be controversial: a lot of games impose a sense of urgency while having something of a disjunction between the critical, narrative path and the less critical content you're free to go through at your leisure.

Link to post
7 minutes ago, Shin said:

... a lot of games impose a sense of urgency while having something of a disjunction between the critical, narrative path and the less critical content you're free to go through at your leisure.

But that's the problem; there is no actual sense of urgency in SoA because it makes absolutely no difference whether you take 2 weeks or 2 years to go to Spellhold. The game is built this way. People play it and pretty quickly realize this, and pretty soon it becomes more about 'collect as much goodies as you can, level up, take your time and enjoy the scenery, get to Spellhold when good and ready' rather than 'there's an urgency to rescuing this character' or 'there's an urgency to getting our souls back'.

What I would love to see (whether my mod idea pulls it off or not is debatable) is an actual sense of urgency with consequences in both ch. 2 and 6.

Edited by ithildurnew
Link to post

There are really two issues: 1) the 'OMG I can't sleep knowing Imoen is imprisoned!' thing, and 2) the 'Imnesvale, hm, sounds interesting, I think I'll go learn about its history' thing.  I think the urgency to rescue Imoen is adequately addressed by the "Imoen is Stone" mod - she may be in the clutches of unfamiliar powers, but they seem more or less lawful, and as a statue she won't even notice what's going on.  So it's okay to gear up and take the time to make a good plan.

A Macguffin mod would handle the 2nd issue: tying the motivation to do side-quests and gallivant around the countryside a bit more closely to the motivation to do the main quest.  Of course the player wants to do both, and of course the player wants to get the most XP and loot for Charname.  But within the story itself, it would be nice to bring those two parts of the game more into alignment.

Link to post
1 minute ago, ithildurnew said:

But that's the problem; there is no actual sense of urgency in SoA because it makes absolutely no difference whether you take 2 weeks or 2 years to go to Spellhold.

Fair enough, though a strictly narrative sense of urgency is also common; far from every game uses actual time limits, and far from all players enjoy having them. Hell, even the few present in some of the stronghold quests have resulted in annoyance over the years as players unwittingly lose their ranger status, etc.

That said, I don't oppose a mod that implements penalties -- just stating that lingering in chapter 2 and 3 can be at least as roleplay-based as hurrying along.

Link to post

@subtledoctorI've had Imoen is Stone mod installed on quite a few runs as well. 😄 Anything that helps alleviate the status quo related to SoA's handling of Imoen is an improvement imo.

Eventually I felt that it wasn't enough (which is why I was initially very enthused about ImoenForever - Jastey perhaps felt similarly enough to put forth another way to deal with 'the Imoen problem'). Being petrified might be less painful/less suffering for the subject (though this isn't necessarily canon) - it still doesn't address the issue of CHARMAIN quickly accumulating more than enough funds to pay for passage plus having heaps of fancy equipment only a week or two after arriving in Amn (I've hit the SCS modded 40,000gp mark on Day 6 once or twice). At that point, what's the character thinking when he goes to bed at night, assuming he placed value on Imoen as a companion? He has more than enough coin, tons of expensive magical equipment, a solid party of powerful adventurers that's been kicking ass and taking names; just because she's a statue (a condition that he's seen reversed many times previously), does it make sense to put off the trip and instead go seek out yet more 'jobs'? I found that for me, it didn't make enough of a difference. 

Edited by ithildurnew
Link to post

I always read what is being done to Imoen before irencius takes over Spellhold as just being a prisoner, and not a "Who knows what is being done". The last dialogue line literally is "Rot in spellhold", so to me, that means basically being a prisoner until you know more. It's why I actually don't see the necessity for the petrifying/turn to stone mod. That would be a worse condition to be in, even.

I can see some people enjoying a more time sensitive playthrough, mind.

My personal choice to do everything is based out of a completion-style stand point. In my RP the character wants to help everyone. Delay is born out of distraction and other high-stakes going on. Imoen is still important. If anything raising the fund limit is the only thing I would change. But it's not a change I would have advocated in the original game, because as it is it works to cater to many different play styles, and that's perfect.

I guess that is what modding fulfills, if something isn't to your taste, you can tweak it.

Edited by Skitia
Link to post
23 minutes ago, ithildurnew said:

(I've hit the SCS modded 40,000gp mark on Day 6 once or twice). At that point, what's the character thinking when he goes to bed at night, assuming he placed value on Imoen as a companion? He has more than enough coin, tons of expensive magical equipment, a solid party of powerful adventurers that's been kicking ass and taking names; just because she's a statue (a condition that he's seen reversed many times previously), does it make sense to put off the trip and instead go seek out yet more 'jobs'? I found that for me, it didn't make enough of a difference.

You can easily up the SCS-modded limit to 300k gold, or whatever limit you deem feasible for the way you'd like to play. Or like subtledoctor mentioned, imagine that in order to get to Brynnlaw you need to gather pieces of an item held by Firkraag, Kangaxx and Shangalar the Black.

As for what Charname is thinking, that depends on how you play it: it's your character, after all. What was Frodo and Sam thinking while they were creeping through marshes, getting caught by Faramir and snared by Shelob? All this side stuff crap happening to them when all they want is to destry the ring. I'm sure they did everything they could to get to Mordor and Mount Doom as soon as possible, but in order to do so, there were a lot of other things they had to go through first. That's what makes it a story.

Edited by Shin
Link to post

After seeing @Subtledoctor's posts I think I'd amend my initial mod suggestion to introduce McGuffins in both ch2 and ch 6:

  1.  McGuffins in ch2 would help justify delaying the trip to Spellhold a bit, especially for people who easily and quickly hit 20k/40k gp. Alleviates the need to raise the amount asked by Gaylen Bayle to a comically astronomical amount. However, delaying it for too long undercuts sense of urgency which I fear would make it feel like an artificial extension (which is why I'm adverse to using the SCS option to raise the fee to some silly number...  40k, maybe even 60k doesn't seem too crazy, but 'ONE MEELLION GOLD PIECES MUHAHAHA'  feels clumsy. This is probably a fine balancing act - add real urgency, consequences for delay that I suggested, but still make it feasible to finish several quests so you're not cramming them all into CH6.
  2. McGuffins in ch6 in order to get soul back, unfinished quest bosses possess the needed Mcguffins -  believable motivation for pursuing chapter 2 quests that were skipped or unfinished because of the urgency of getting to Spellhold. Gameplay-wise, content like Twisted Rune, Kangaxx also probably makes more sense in Ch6 than cheesing/savescumming those encounters in Ch2 right out of Chateau Irenicus.

 

Edited by ithildurnew
Link to post
10 minutes ago, Shin said:

What was Frodo and Sam thinking while they were creeping through marshes, getting caught by Faramir and snared by Shelob? I'm sure they did everything they could to get to Mordor and Mount Doom as soon as they could, but in order to do so, there were a lot of other things they had to go through first. That's what makes it a story.

Right.  But I think the point it, Tolkien did a really good job of folding those other adventures into the overall mission.  Bioware, to put it mildly, did not.

Link to post
6 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

Right.  But I think the point it, Tolkien did a really good job of folding those other adventures into the overall mission.  Bioware, to put it mildly, did not.

They were definitely not taking their sweet time because they wanted to collect moar gold or trinkets they could stab Ringwraiths with... 😄

@subtledoctor hit it right on the head; the way BW handles it is the issue. The plot ultimately plays out like yet another harmless, fun game ultimately rather than an epic tale, because the implied consequences are fake; there are no actual consequences in the game in ch 2/3 or 6. You can imagine all kinds of story elements/motivations as you play through the game, but the reality is, it doesn't enforce some of the most critical choices available to the player (while oddly enough harshly enforcing other choices like 'you killed the wrong NPC, STAB STAB GAME OVER'). Which is good enough; it is a fun game, not a serious attempt at a novel... some of us just wish that it was a game that delivered a bit better on the story aspect at times.

Edited by ithildurnew
Link to post
7 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

Right.  But I think the point it, Tolkien did a really good job of folding those other adventures into the overall mission.  Bioware, to put it mildly, did not.

Well, Tolkien also wasn't faced with a division between main and side content. A lot of the non-critical Athkatla content is very well made and serves to make the player's journey a lot richer, but if all of it were mandatory there would be very little optional content left in the game and all players would be forced to do everything.

Link to post
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...