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So, which one?


Domi

Which Romance (if any) proved to be 'yours'?  

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Well, at least from her chit-chat with Shar'Teel i remember that Faldorn thinks that men have their place in the world and great balance etc., that's all.

 

Oh, yeah, Faldorn is not Shar-Teel, but in its way, I think she'll be harder to make believably romanceable, even if her age is left out of the discussion. I knew where I was going with Shar-Teel, and what could possibly work. With Faldorn, apart from failing to concieve/misscarriage story lines... I don't want to go there, I think. See, for me to become interested in the romance, I need a story-arc, a hook, and I don't think Faldorn provides an angle I haven't worked before.

Edited by Domi
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I'm in the midst of playing Tutu with the BG1 NPC project, and in the middle of the Dynaheir romance. I have to say, Tutu and the BG1 NPC project are the best things ever to happen to this game! When I played BG those many years ago, I was always torn. Minsc was so much fun, but Dynaheir was just... imperious and uninteresting. I always ended up dropping Minsc to avoid her.

 

With the mods, though, Dynaheir is absolutely fascinating. I didn't even want to play the romance. I'm gay and frustrated there aren't any male-male romance options in BG1, but really enjoyed interacting with Dynaheir. When Branwen mentions her dream about Dynaheir and encourages her to practice her combat skills, I had to pause the game for a moment. (I know, that dialogue is not romance-specific, but goes to show how much I've loved this romance.) How am I going to play BG2 without Dynaheir? I can only hope that Soulafein or Nathaniel are as well-written.

 

And I have to echo the writer who mentioned how compelling Kivan has become. In fact, because I hate to drop off Kivan or Dynaheir (which means Minsc must remain), I had great difficulty adding many of these other fascinating characters to my party. Everything that I've encountered that was added by the BG1 NPC project has been absolutely first rate and true to the spirit of the characters as originally written. Thanks to everyone involved.

 

(Now if I could only make myself play a non-good aligned character so that I could convince Branwen or Xan not to leave the party.)

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I am glad that you are enjoying the mod and Dynaheir's romance. The thing about gay romances is that it is a major statement in a character concept, and the character interpretation is a harsh mistress. Growing personality out of Bio's seedling is a tricky bussiness, an excersise in balance between what everyone else thinks, and what works for you (well, at least it has been my experience). Lean too much one way or another and you'll end up with the character that is either unrecognizable, or far too predictable. In other words, I was adamant that without Jaemal's same sex romance the IWD2NPC mod is incomplete, but it could be the 'it'll kill the character' case for, say, Coran.

 

Have fun with Xan, Branwen, Nathaniel, Solaufein and Co :)

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Well, at least from her chit-chat with Shar'Teel i remember that Faldorn thinks that men have their place in the world and great balance etc., that's all.

 

Oh, yeah, Faldorn is not Shar-Teel, but in its way, I think she'll be harder to make believably romanceable, even if her age is left out of the discussion. I knew where I was going with Shar-Teel, and what could possibly work. With Faldorn, apart from failing to concieve/misscarriage story lines... I don't want to go there, I think. See, for me to become interested in the romance, I need a story-arc, a hook, and I don't think Faldorn provides an angle I haven't worked before.

 

Well I'll just add in one perspective as to the lack of a proper romance for Faldorn, too many "grr's" to write methinks. :)

I remember discussing this with Choo Choo (over at SHS for those that don't know her) on the possibility of such a romance, and we pretty much hit the Great Wall of writers block before we passed phase one with it. :):)

 

But yeah, Faldorn's basically the twin (writing wise) of Safana only with one thing in common, they're both pretty much got epilogue's written for them already (BG2).

And I agree with you there Domi, its really too much bother without the right angle to work from. :p

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Domi,

 

I see that you were the principal writer on Dynaheir--kudos! I'm really enjoying it.

 

I've been thinking about what you wrote in response to my post:

 

"The thing about gay romances is that it is a major statement in a character concept, and the character interpretation is a harsh mistress. Growing personality out of Bio's seedling is a tricky bussiness, an excersise in balance between what everyone else thinks, and what works for you..."

 

I completely understand this, and please know that my frustration with the lack of male-male romances shouldn't be taken as criticism of the BG1 NPC Project or those who created it. After all, you all went to the trouble to flesh out these characters, and did so to a fantastic extent. And certainly, writers should follow the path that moves them. If I were not to like a mod, well, I should learn how to write my own.

 

That being said, I also don't think that adding same-sex options for romances need be as radical for the NPCs' personality as you seem to indicate. I agree, Coran is pretty much a ladies' man, and I can't imagine him being interested in men in that way. Similarly, I imagine Safana is just into guys. I have no problem with that. On the other hand, many of the characters in the original Baldur's Gate did nothing to indicate either a sexual orientation or an exclusivity in orientation (at least in what I remember). For instance, I can imagine Dynaheir being as interested in a woman as a man. And other than any difficulty in addressing gender in actually writing the dialogues, nothing about that romance would have to be much different no matter who Dynaheir was involved with. And I'd say this could be as true for Xan or Ajantis as well. And as far as Montaron and Xzar, there's *something* going on there. I don't know what it is, and I don't know that I want to know what it is, but there's something there. :)

 

Part of the reason that I look at those npcs that way is that in the absence of specific clues given about a character, I assume that I can't assume a specific orientation for a character. Coran as written provides pretty clear evidence for exclusive heterosexuality. Garrick, on the other hand, provides evidence for interest in women (especially given what happens in BGII), but that need not mean that he might not be interested in men, if the right one came along.

 

Actually, the only way that a gay romance necessarily radically changes a romance is if we assume that same-sex relationships are as stigmatized within the Forgotten Realms as they are in the real world. If so, then there is a whole element of secrecy, hostility, and supportiveness among the other NPCs. And to be honest, that would be fascinating to explore. But it need not be explored--I don't think Westley Weimer took that track at all with Solaufein. In fact, I think he wrote the whole thing as gender neutral (which certainly has it's own advantages and disadvantages).

 

There is one more way that mods with same-sex options can be a little problematic, I suppose. If players are freaked out by the thought that if Ajantis were written to romance either males or females that that means that Ajantis is bisexual, it can alter their thinking about the npc. Just because Ajantis could be written to romance either gender, though, doesn't mean that within any individual game that Ajantis has to be bisexual, gay, straight, or asexual. Every romance goes down a path, and are typically written that players can close down options with responses pretty early. Let me tell you, despite the fact that Shar-teel is written (within the BG1 NPC Project) as a heterosexual woman, her sexuality has no impact on my games, because my character is not going to romance her.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry for the long, rambling, off-topic response to your note. Again, my first purpose in coming here was just to let the creators of this wonderful mod that Dynaheir is really well done and that I hope to try Branwen the next time I start a new character. (Oh, btw, I completely agree, Kivan *shouldn't* be romanceable, at least in BG1, for the same reasons that I feel weird about Jaheira being romanceable in BGII--both are dealing with a very recent tremendous loss. Much as I love Jaheira, it makes that romance kinda disturbing for me.)

 

Thanks!

Edited by Beelzenomen
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Opinions and interpretations differ; to be honest I can't see neither of the characters you mentioned as homosexual, from the way they were written. I feel that it's kind of stratching things too far in favor of what a player 'ordered'. It's like searching for a romance by the elimination method, and then just adding it to the last standing NPC (ie Jaheira is married -- out, Coran is a womanizer -- out...). In other words, yes, Garrick has a fling with Safana, and is smitten by Skie, but why can't he also fall in love with a man, even if he never indicated interest in one before? Montaron kills Xzar on an instant, Xzar has a fear of being touched, and the two hate each-other, but they travel together, and Khalid and Jaheira travel together, so... maybe they love each-other? In my view, this is a wastly inferrior method to introducing a new character who is a gay or bisexual from the start. Romance, I think, should always come naturally to the NPC's author.

 

If I were not to like a mod, well, I should learn how to write my own.

 

Oh, there are many more reasons than that to start modding! And if you will, G3 has tons of resources to get you started and we're friendly folk with someone always out there to answer questions etc :)

Edited by Domi
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I agree wholeheartedly with Domi. Writing a mod just because the existing ones don't fill a need is often a good first step, but there has to be a story in there to drive it to completion, or it isn't going to get done.

 

Fortunately, most people have more stories to tell than they will ever have time to write as mods, even if they write as fast as Domi.

 

And there's all kinds of guidance available, if you're still interested.

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Domi,

 

But see, I think that Xan, Ajantis, and Dynaheir are assumed to be heterosexual in the absence of evidence. Now this is not meant to be criticism of those romances as written--certainly, mod writers should write how they see things, and a damn fine job was done. I'm merely saying that I can't think of anything (and it's entirely possible I'm missing something) within the original BG1 materials indicated *any* particular orientation for these characters (though there may have been BGII material about Ajantis, I can't remember). So, setting aside the BG1 NPC Project, why would we assume they are heterosexual? Isn't assuming they are heterosexual on the same ground as assuming they are homosexual? At least for these characters that don't provide evidence one way or another? Or is there something so fundamentally different about homosexuals that clearly none of the Bioware NPCs can be imagined as such?

 

Secondly, regarding Garrick, my parter and I have been together for many years now, and he had as many girlfriends as boyfriends before me. Certainly, just because one is interested in one gender is not, in and of itself, evidence that one is not also interested in the other. And Garrick seems vain and insecure enough to enjoy positive attention from anyone. Heh.

 

As far as Xzar and Montaron, that was more of a joke than anything--it's difficult to imagine either involved with *anyone*. :)

 

As far as doing modding myself; well, it is appealing, but it sounds like a very steep learning curve is involved, as well as vast amounts of time.

 

I do have a question for those who've written mods, though. Do you ever *play* your own mods? And not for playtesting purposes, but just to enjoy them? Or does all the fun come at the front end, in writing them, and then hopefully basking in the feedback of a job well-done?

 

**Spoilers coming**

 

I mean, when I read Khalid expressing his concerns about Minsc to Dynaheir, and his hope that Minsc might be "curable," I had a surprisingly powerful reaction to these two eventually doomed individuals so full of concern and caring for a third who will ultimately outlive them. That kind of magical moment is almost reserved for the player, who is taken by surprise. The modder knows that it's written, she put it there. Is there an equal reward for the writer?

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That probably depends on your memory. I remember nothing of what I write, and never have, so I can play my own mod as if somebody else had written it. I can also replay mods ad nauseum, and have to leave little notes for myself when I don't particularly enjoy a mod not to go installing it again. Other modders, with better memories, might say "Not the hells *again!*" with a rapid clicking through the continue button.

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Well, you are right, if it is not implied directly, it can be assumed, but then other people assume things as well....

 

Ultimately for me the decision is in the story-arc. Ie in Dynaheir's romance a couple of plot points makes it more interesting to romance a male (ie Dynaheir associating their relationship with Fyrra-Hathran relationship, which are gender-dependent roles, and Dynaheir's initial infatuation with the image of Bhaalspawn imbedded in Sarevok) - hence the roamcne for a female PC would have been quite different. And the same, only reverse was true for Shar-Teel with both her previous Czars not liking the far too primitive stereotype, and to me the idea of a 'reverse' of the abusive male who thinks all women are fools but will sleep with them right and left was more interesting.

 

My point is, the author writes a romance that makes sense to him/her, and simple pronouns substitution, much as I admire and respect Wes Weimer is not the way to go. I have an experience with writing a romance for a bisexual NPC, and to start with I paid attention to the fact that the NPC will be bisexual, and then I talked and discussed at length what sort of options are needed for the same-sex romance as opposite to the hetero-sexual romance, and went through every talk updating the options, substituting the talks, putting new ones in.... I think unless one does it properly, one kind of sells the whole romance short to both the male and the female player.

 

I do have a question for those who've written mods, though. Do you ever *play* your own mods? And not for playtesting purposes, but just to enjoy them? Or does all the fun come at the front end, in writing them, and then hopefully basking in the feedback of a job well-done?

 

No, I don't play my own mods, apart from testing and bug-fixing. I do tend to forget the texts I've written because I write so much, so, sometimes I get pleseantly surprised, and sometimes unpleasently surprised when I test my stuff. But, yes, absolutely, my jollies with modding come from creating and the anticipation of a new project, finally getting into the new project, and upgrading the skills. I blush when I think of my early works, and I evolved from writing for someone else's characters because someone wanted me to, to writing for 1 non-original character because I wanted to, to writing for a bunch of non-original charcaters because I wanted to know if I can, to writing for a bunch of original characters 'cause I wanted to play a game other than BG1-BG2 in style, and I am finally scratching the surface of building s small story all of my own. It's an amazing feeling to know what you can do, and what you still need to learn.

 

Modding also gives you a critical eye. You play other people mods and commercial games, and you know what was done great, which makes you applaud the author (and envy him or her a bit in a good way), or yes, yes, it makes you roll your eyes and mutter 'been cuttin' corners, eh?'

 

Modding is an amazing hobby, both creative and technical, and basically holding an endless potential to evolve to the higher and higher level, the way you see those levels (ie my own progression from one non-original NPC to multiple original NPCs to a short story to a long story is not the same as the next modder's).

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Playing Coran's romance right now, and still can't understand what the heck is wrong with it. It's obviously well-written, captures him quite well, but... just doesn't catch me the way Kivan and Xan did (I think of all the romances I've played in computer games, I loved Xan BG1 romance the most, although Diriel may change this soon :) ). The more I think, the more I understand that maybe, a complex friendship-with-flirts would be more interesting for Coran than outright romance (at least for me). Of course that's just my opinion, but Coran and people like him (I've had a friend very similar to him in his ways to deal with women) make much better friends than lovers, and I like that Coran's romance can randomly have an unhappy ending - I even think it would be more fitting, at least for my PC.

Also, I could never understand what was the thing that attracted Coran to the PC. Only physical beauty? But having high Charisma doesn't necessarily mean being gorgeous. Xan and Ajantis are much more clear in their motives (at least I've got that feeling with Ajantis for playing uncommited stage, never gone farther and didn't read the dialogues). But Coran...

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Also, I could never understand what was the thing that attracted Coran to the PC. Only physical beauty?

 

Challenge. Playing hot and cold is the main raison d'etre of the romance. Unlike every other NPC, PC is not Coran's True Love the moment he puts his eyes on her, she's a lover; it's through a hopefully entertaining gamble that she becomes the lover, the Donna Anna, the Tatyana Larina, the Josefine of BG1. Or not. PC can be the most incredible beauty in the world, but if she does not want/can't play the game, Coran is not going to stick around.

Edited by Domi
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It is too early to ask, I guess, but what the heck :laugh: We did try to make a wide range of romances, so the question is if you found the one which suited your PC well and which one it was ;)

 

 

I loved the Dyna romance, so I voted for it. But I have to admit that I haven't tried the others. I should play this game again and explore some of the other options. (It'll only be my gazillionth time playing the game, but I never truly get tired of it. ;))

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For me it's almost a toss up between Dynaheir and Coran (though I really liked Branwen as well). I haven't done Shar-Teel or Ajantis yet (trying to get to them all, but it takes time), so I guess what I'm really saying is that of the four I've done, Xan was the only one I didn't like much, and that's really mostly cause I just don't like Xan much. I thought the Branwen romance really showed me another side of a character I'd never given much thought to before, and that was really neat. But the Coran and Dynaheir romances were extremely well written, well thought-out, and engaging.

 

If I have to pick one and stick with it, I pick Dynaheir for a couple reasons. 1. I'm male IRL, so I just like playing male characters better. 2. There was a lot more really interesting stuff in there, in the history chats, about the Hathrans and the history of the Sword Coast, and Minsc and Dynaheir's relationship, etc. 3. Coran's romance was sort of harder to keep going than I'd like. It was too easy to screw it up and end up on the wrong path and after doing that once and having to go back and redo all of Cloakwood because of it, I found myself obsessively checking the attributes after every LT to make sure I didn't do it again, and that was kind of a chore. Also try as I might, I never could get the post-brielbara stuff to start. I don't know why, but Coran never went back for Namara in my game. :shrug:

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Thanks for the kind comments. I'd like to mention that there is a way to 'force' the baby remorse talk with Coran, and that's by talking to Brielbara. It should set a far shorter timer to trigger the dialogue pretty much immediately.

Edited by Domi
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