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Found 7 results

  1. Hi! I thought y'all might be interested in a new fan fic I've been writing. I've basically taken the character Keldorn Firecam and dropped him into the world of Harry Potter. I've had to tweek Keldorn's story and abilities a bit to make him work in the setting and in the narrative, but I think I've stayed true to his character. The story can be found over on FanFiction.net. I figured some people here might be interested in something like this so I thought I'd let you know. I've been hanging around gibberlings 3 on and off for years now, and while I've benefited from the mods available here, I haven't contributed much. I figured this might be considered my contribution to the BG community in a strange, roundabout way. Anyways, here's the info: Title: Harry Potter and the Knight of the Radiant Heart Author: Raven3182 Rating: T Status: Work in Progress, 5 chapters, 21,395 words so far. Summary: During the battle at the Department of Mysteries, something strange happens, and a knight from a place far, far away suddenly finds himself in the strange world of Harry Potter. How will the wizarding world react to having a paladin thrust into their midst? Evil closes in on all sides, yet the Light still shines in the Darkness. Link: http://www.fanfictio...e-Radiant-Heart
  2. "Go on, wi' ye, then. I can write fine, but my speakin' is not so good, unless I really try. Here - let me give her a shot. Hrmmpf. 'Fair Ladies and Gentlemen, I bid you good morning. Please pay no attention to the minor inconveniences of last evening's disturbance. Our uninvited guests of yester-eve have passed on to other occupations, many of them involving plant fertilization. Our chef has prepared a special meal for your enjoyment; due to the small matter of our cookwagon being set ablaze last night while defending the camp, we have prevailed upon him to create a special morning repast of Frison Rodentia and Flatbread Carbona. This way, if you please, for your morning repast.' " *cough* "See, I can put it on, but it takes a mite o' effort, at that." Aran Whitehand is a human fighter and scribe for BG2, dual classable into either cleric or mage. Basically, a human utility player taken along for the friendship/cuddling. "Specials" include creation of minor scrolls through dialog and timer when in a party with another canon mage. Primarily a male friend who can grow into an extended courtship/romance, romanceable by female PCs, Aran has his own sense of humor and specializes in bringing others into the conversation. Functionally, Aran is a Companion mod. He has a minor optional quest with a new area, but comes with no special weapons or upgradeable items - his specialty is in interacting with the members of the party and adapting to situations. For him, the job is paramount, and his job is supporting the player. He is no stranger to having to carry out orders which bend morality, though he hates doing so. It should be noted that this mod is designed by adults for adults, and should not be installed unless you are comfortable with Faerunian swearing, occasional adult themes, and NC - 17 to R rated content in the Romance portion. Statistics immaterial these days, as folks can patch them how they want, but to start him off with some basics, a reorder based on Gavin. Berelinde did a bunch of soul searching and came up with a good 'common adventurer' set of stats, and why mess with success... power players can adjust him to build a Kensai/Mage dual class quickly enough "Warrior" configuration [player options on install, fighter] Strength 17 Dexterity 16 Constitution 15 Intelligence 12 Wisdom 13 Charisma 12 "Poet" configuration [player options on install, for Cleric dual class] Strength 16 Dexterity 13 Constitution 15 Intelligence 12 Wisdom 17 Charisma 12 "Thinker" configuration [player options on install, for Mage dual class] Strength 16 Dexterity 13 Constitution 15 Intelligence 17 Wisdom 12 Charisma 12 "Survivor" configuration [player options on install, for Thief dual class] Strength 16 Dexterity 17 Constitution 15 Intelligence 13 Wisdom 12 Charisma 12 Alignment Neutral Good. He thinks. "Bugger off, you sorry old jackass - I never said naught 'bout my alignment. Tymora's Bright Coin, you take liberties, you do. Tymora suits me fine. She even don't mind my speakin' so free, swearin' on th' gods, most times. At least, not yet." Friendship Aran will befriend any protagonist of any race or alignment,though how he reacts to situations will definitely let the player know how he feels. A rough - around - the - edges man, accustomed to mercenary service and caravan work both in front of and protecting the books, Aran hires on as a scribe or accountant as well as protection. He has learned to work with practically anyone not Drow, and chase any female within arms reach. His language is rough, his approach unrefined. And if you don't like it, he will gladly tell you exactly what your opinion is worth. Folks he would like and respect: Keldorn - Minsc - "Mad Minsc. That's not quite right, though. Make it Magnificent. I'd take him 'side me on a shield wall any day o' the week, 'giant space hampster' an' all." Ajantis - "Ajantis, laddie. There's fightin' fair, an' then there's winnin'. See, if you shine your armor like that, they knows you are an officer, an' the archers take you out first. Aint' no honor in dying before you can swing yer sword." Yoshimo - "Aye, then, deal th' cards again,. I'm down four tradebars an' three iron cresents, an' I want a chance to even the score, eh? While you are at it, tell me anouther tale o' Kara-Turan womenfolk, an' I'll buy th' next round." Angelo (Aran wasn't in BG, so he knows Angelo only by Flaming Fist contacts - "Hey, old man, lend some expertise here, eh? I'm havin' troubles wi' this parryin' position. Show me again, eh? A mug o' ale if you teach me..." Azure - "Now, she's a right fine lady, she is. Sharo's got one eye on me most o' th' time, though, so I'm not rightly sweettalkin' her any time soon." Alora - "Tymora's Smile, that halflin' lass is th' sprightliest an' happiest bein' I know! If <CHARNAME> ever drops me for good, me an' her, we should think o' teamin' up an' goin' on some adventures. She's right fun, she is!" Ninafer - "Pity she looks right through me, as if I'm not there. Bad taste in men, she has. But she's a right stalwort companion." Keto - "That lass is a right fine storyteller. She can drink me under th' table, sing like an angel, an' she's as smart as a whip. What's not to love? If <CHARNAME>'s not available or interested, now there be a lady what I would love to spark wi'. A real equal. I wonder what kind o' thinkg she might like as a courtin' gift?" Folks he would like and understand a little: Aerie - "Hey there. Come over here, girl. I have some drills you can do what's to strengthen your lips. Called 'kissin', I believe, among th' fair folk." Imoen - "You doin' all right, Imoen? You got someone troublin' you, let me know. Never met an argument I couldn't solve, thogh I do admit some were by fist an' sword instead o' words. Aww, who am I kiddin'. Who needs swattin'?" Nalia - "I don't quite understand you, Nalia. But you are a fine lookin' young women. You like dancin'?" Jaheira - "Awww, quit motherin' me, Jaheira. Here, I got these for you. They'll do fine in that stew you like to cook. Here, let me cut 'em up for you." Gavin - "Hey, watch it.... damn. Lathander's Golden Poop, Gavin, you gotta stop that backswing. Here, let's go work on it. I'll teach you to not knock me silly when I'm on the battle line with ye, and you argue wi' me about my immortal soul. Fair trade?" Sarah - "I don't blame ye for likin' the womenfolk, lassie; I sure as hells do! Say, next inn, let's go bar hoppin', an' I'll watch your back, you watch mine. If they swing your way, I steer 'em to ye, and vice versa. Sarah? Sarah? Mask's Left Hand, where'd that lassie disappear to..." Ainshai - "Sune's Slender Wrists, that one will drive a man to drink, she will. I suppose I should be keepin' my eyes on' th' business an' not on her, but the lass is right pretty. An' she can whup my arse on hand-to-hand. What's not to like?" Haldamir - "Helkaer Haldamir. Means 'icy one' in lammen Tel Quessir, that does. Good fighter, keeps to himself. I suppose you get that way if most o' th' folks you are fightin' alongside are younger than pre-apprentice age, an' will die out afore you blink your eyes a couple o' times. Never did understand why elves bothered wi' us mayflies." Alassa - Now why do some o' th' finest females come in evil, self-servin' packages? At least she's got spine an' gumption. But somehow, I don't rightly think she'd back me unless there was somethin' in it for her." Branwen - "That Tempus-lovin' girl is a sight for sore eyes, she is. I'd make a pass right quick, if every time I wandered by she didn't start all that serious discussion about dyin' an' goin' to fight alongside her god. I'm a mite more comfortable on this here plane o' existence, thank you very much. That whole dyin' thing, well, I tend to try to avoid it." Dynaheir - "Now there be a true lady. If we had more nobility like that, well, there'd be a sight more happy people in th' world. A little formal an' stuck on th' law, but what do you expect for a leader-type." Fade - "She be th' kind what sees what she wants, an' gets it. As long as I can keep th' goals coincidin' wi' hers, I get a great advantage. If our goals ever differ, I'd best watch my back. Wouldn't want to see nothin' sharp stickin' out o' it." Andrei - "A smart lad, just a raw recruit. A bit sheltered. But he listens to my stroies, an' takes pointers, an' all. I like him fine." Ghareth - "He tells some nice stories, he does. Good lad. Not much more to say, eh?" Hubelpot - "Corelon's Blade, he knows his food, he does. It's a right fine pleasure to watch him cook! Th' fightin, well... he's gettin' th' hang o' it. We are on a barter system, see. His recepies, my swordskills." Kelsey - "He knows merchant, he knows some fightin' ways - an' I do think he's a right fine party member. Th' boy's got some serious magic, he does. I just wish he weren't lookin' to spark wi' all th' available females. Puts us at odds, sometimes, on account o' that bein' *my* job!" Auren - "You look her direction, an' your eyes get stopped in their tracks, they do. In a good way, o' course. But she seems to like Nalia right propr, an' wears th' flower in th' other ear, so there's no use barkin' up that tree." Folks he would like alot and have absolutely no respect for at all: Bruce - "Barroom Bruce, named such on account o' I keep havin' to drag his sorry arse past, around, or out o' every single one we venture on. Good drinklin' companion until he gets drunk, an' not so much a fighter as an arrow-holder. I keep tellin' him that gettin' nekkid an' runnin' screamin' at kobolds weildin' short bows is not a valid battle tactic. O' course, he just tells me to sod off an' get us somethin' to drink." Kari - "Nice enough furrball, an' she's developin' some skills. Still scared o' her own shadow, though. She blushes about as much as I do, an' somehow I think th' gods have a nasty sense o' humor. Now where is she goin' to find someone to love her, eh? That just stinks. I spent way too long fendin' off kobold raids, an seein' them as scavenging animals. Not sure I can ever take her serious, as a party member an' all." Folks he would be neutral/unsure towards: Touchstone - "Not sure what to think, there. Nice enough on th' shield wall, an' strong. But I think either he's done taken one to many hits to th' head, or else he needs a decent tutor in common. Talks funny, he does. Hey, what are you laughin' at?" Callisto - "Nice enough to look at, good at her job. Wouldn't want to go carousin' wi' her, though. You don't rightly want to be around when she gets enraged, eh? There's no tellin' where her weapons get pointed." Nikitalleria - "Lathander's Light, what that girl can do wi' her fingers... But I am not sure she sees me th' same way. Somehow, I don't rightly think she likes me." Biddlekorak - "Not so bad for a shortaxe what's heard th' call. I get right tired o' all th' evangelical stories, but ghe don;t rightly get to talkative, so he's fine by me." Coran - "The boy's got charm, an' he's sharp, he is. But not much else goin' on, I think. I wouldn't trust him to hold my purse, or anythin' else, for that matter. Don't see what the ladies see in him." Iylos - "I suppose that insolent bastard knows his job. But th' backtalk, well, he could be a mite more respectful. <CHARNAME>'s been a force for a long time, an' here comes th' big bad investigator. If he plays fair an' backs <CHARNAME>, I might readjust my opinion. But if not, we will have to see if he really can stop a blade wi' his hand an live to tell the tale." Folks he would not like, but would respect and back up: Korgan - "Alright, ye black hearted Son o' Cyric, pass over those dice. You are cheatin' again." Valygar - "You are fine with a blade, friend, but magic is a powerful weapon. Why do you hate it when it'll save your arse nine times out o' ten?" Cernd - "Look, Cernd. Stop with all the talk, an' let's get down to brass tacks. What do we have to kill, an' how do we do it?" Saerileth - "Are you kiddin' me? A fifteen year old? I wouldn't kick her out o'... well, she's fine, I guess. But she don't know squat about livin', let alone fightin' proper. Tyr's Blasted Buttocks, don't send a child to do adult's work" Xan - "Doom an' gloom, all talk and no action. Shut up, ye pansy arsed jackass. Grab that Moonblade an' use it right proper, now - we got business to attend to. Don' understand quite a bit 'bout you, but you can kick arse when you've half a mind, for sure." Tashia - "Look, you are an eyeful, an armfull, an' just about the best sorceress I ever met. But when are you gonna get settled down an' take things serious? We aren't on a picnic, an' you already cost us pretty dear draggin' all that baggage onto th' party. Get with the program, lassie." Sarevok - "You made your play, an' lost. You backin' <CHARNAME> now? Fair enough. Just make sure you're on th' right side o' th' shield wall. I don't take kindly to triple crosses." Sebastian - "He be a slippery devil, that one. I 'm not rightly sure I have gotten a straight answer out o' him. Nine times out o' ten, I think he knows more than he lets on, eh?" Keen Kachiko. Keen mind, keen sword, keen tongue. Best to keep out o' all three's way." Folks he would dislike and not trust: Jan - "You talk too much, boyo. An' you keep blatherin' 'bout all those inventions. Ain't never seen a turnip soup worth eatin', neither. Keep out from underfoot, shorty." Amber - "You can take th' girl out o' the hells, but you can't take the hells out o' the girl. Only thing I can say for her is she aint' a drowess." Chloe - "I'm not sayin' nothin'. Anyone wi' divine blood's a damned sight scarier than findin' yourself penilless in Calimport. Well, exceptin' <CHARNAME>, o' course." Cassius - "Mask's Left Hand, the skald never shuts up, eh? Hey, don't be lookin' at me like that, Haer'Dalis! I shut up. Occasionally. When th' wind is right." Gozaloth - "That floatin' eyeball never did say what all that goo was. And I'm not rightly sure I want to know, anyways. Ten iron crescents says th' bastard gets skewered before th' second fight is over. An' whio do you think is gonna have to haul his goey stinkin' oozy bady back to a temple for to be healed? Well, it's not rightly likely to be <CHARNAME>, to be sure." Horace - "I still get th' shakes just lookin' at him reachin' for a weapon, straight through his own bony ribcage. I think I'm not likely to sleep at night wi' a skeleton for a companion. After all, what do you buy a skeleton to drink? Can't rightly buy him a round. That's just not right." Sheena - "Yeah, right. I know, you think I'm a racist son o' a bitch, but there be two bein's where you'd be right 100% o' th' time. I don't trust no dragon larger than a pseudodragon. An' wi' that... lady...well, th' language is all pretty an' correct, but I keep expectin' to wake up as th' main course for her when she goes all firedrake random-like." Folks he would hate: Tsjuatha - "Stay away from me, necromancer. Y'ain't natural. I respect the Tel'Quessirim, but anyone be dabblin' in the dark arts is not to be trusted." Viconia - "Move one step closer, Drowess, an' you are a dead woman. Sorry, a dead spider. Didn't mean no offence to women by associatin' you with 'em." Edwin - "Come on, Edwin, it ain't that bad. At least in that dress, your legs look good. In fact, that's about the only thing redeemin' about not kickin' you out in front o' the dragon, an' having you scout forrard." Anomen - "The worst of the officer class. Give me a crossbow, an' turn the other direction - I think there's gonna be an accidental 'friendly fire' incident." Faldorn - "Hey, wolf-girl. Get your smelly arse out where I can see you. An' keep your hands away from that spellpouch. Wouldn't want to have to disturb *your* balance, by loppin' off one o' your legs or arms, or such." Miriam - "Bane-blighted bloodsucker. I need to get me a new holy symbol an' some more garlic. An' a stake." SilverStar - "Keep that psychotic creature away from me, eh? Dangerous." Irenicus - "Bloody mad, an' evil. But I guess <CHARNAME> can handle him. As for me, well... when a dog goes mad, they try to cure him, an' if that don't rightly work, they put him down. This whole 'resurrect you opponent an' try an' redeem him' thing, that sounds way too complicated to me. Kill th' Bane-buggerin' bastard, disintegrate his head, toss his bones to th' wolves, then blow up th' wolves. An' blot his name out o' th' history books, just to make sure." Kindrek - "Bloody evil Cyric Buggerin' Bastard. Gotta keep both eyes open while I sleep, wi' him around, I do." Romance Aran will romance any female protagonist of any race save Drow, or any alignment. Again, how he reacts will definitely let the player understand his position. Good men fall for bad women as quickly as for good ones, and sometimes opposites really do attract. But romance on the trail is awkward, with a group of adventurers around, and the road to romance is both rocky and complicated. Exactly how does a strong man feel when his significant other turns out to be infinitely stronger than he, on so many levels? Can the two of you negotiate the attraction into something of an equal relationship, or is this destined to fail? When Aran Whitehand meets the party, he is looking for work having dropped from the rolls of a mercenary regiment.
  3. ADVERTISEMENT: ADVERTISEMENT: History: Managing a small family Trading Coster is an awkward business on the Sword Coast. Whitehand Trading was no exception. Born (literally, in a wagon trailing into Waterdeep) into the family business, Aran grew up alternating between the open road of Trade Way and the harbor of Baldur's Gate. While his father managed clients and gladhanded trade deals, and his mother organized accounts receivable and drafted contracts, Aran learned the family business from his first word, "bandits". When his younger sister was born, the family rejoiced at the prospect of a new generation of Whitehands building the family business into a worthy competitor for the major trading companies. The varied life suited Aran well, shadowing both his mother and father. The short but fierce oar pulling to load and unload ships, standing watch and training with the hired swords, hard riding, running off bandits and gibberlings, and nightly contract copying and accounting by candlelight fed both body and mind well. If things were not always profitable, Aran was not likely to complain. As he grew, Aran built a strong supportive presence in the family business. Unfortunately, life's dreams and expectations do not always match the measure of a man. Aran was dedicated, strong, and followed his family well. But while his father could charm mithril from a dwarven smith for an elven artist's use, Aran stayed in the backround, acting notary. While his mother could master the intricacies of contract law and work with ombudsmen and creative contracts, Aran copied documents and watched from the sidelines. The hired swords were not the best of teachers, and from them he learned odd lessons, like how to stay silent when you should speak, when to brag when you should be silent, and most of all that laws could be twisted and not always to benefit the greater good. When his younger sister was born, she was the light of his life, but as she grew it became painfully obvious that in comparison Aran was just not smart enough to truly master the diplomacy, leadership, and smooth talking necessary to make a family Coster competitive. Hard work could just not compensate for a lack of innate ability. Aran would have been content with the secondary support role, riding out with caravans and handling the bookkeeping, and letting his sister become the beauty and brains for the business. He idolized his younger sister. Fate plays her tricks on everyone, though. Elena was more gifted than any in the family, and showed precocious magical talent. On a standard trade run, her beauty and intellect caught the eye of a courtier mage to the Lady of Waterdeep. With Elena offered a chance to apprentice with the young woman mage at court, the family faced some harsh economic choices. Establishing Elena in court would take more, and steadier, resources than the family could provide. Reading the future, the family decided to sell the business to a larger Baldurs Gate Trading Coster and abandon their independence. The 14 year old Elena would apprentice, and the family would retain employment with the larger firm in the central offices. 20 year old Aran would finish the last year of his "apprenticeship" in a real apprenticeship with a major trading family. "Either he will learn to work the system", the senior Whitehand said, "or it will work him." Aran lasted two weeks at the larger firm before an unfortunate remark sent a Coster hireling through a window and Aran out on his own. His restraint at not following through on the beating saved the man's life and Aran from prison, but it was obvious that the Company Life was not a good fit. Disliking the harsh dicipline (and wary of being turned into a procurement officer or staff scribe), he avoided the standard Mercenary outfits, and struck out south to build his own trading company. Rowing crew with trade galleys, hiring on with small trade caravans, and selling his services as a copyist, he gradually drifted south seeking an opportunity to begin again. Several years as a hired sword and pen have provided some harsh lessons for Aran, but he arrived finally in Calimport with some experience under his belt. Business plans have been built and abandoned, temporary travel companions come and gone, and Aran now faced a rather uncertain future. He has learned to keep silent, to hit the door with shield and shoulder hard, and to not always look carefully at what he is copying. He has also learned that there are things that he is not willing to do in the name of profit, and that generally people who write things down do not actually mean everything they write. Most of all, he has learned that going it alone is lonely, food is best shared with others, and getting too drunk is not worth the trouble. He is definitely ready for a change and a chance to forge a new direction. Psychology/Interest In the past, mostly humans as adversaries and as companions. Mostly riding travel with some sea rowing in Trade galleys. Slight awe of Elves and Dwarves, sight distrust of Dwarves and Gnomes, solid distrust of halflings. Never seen any other demi-humans. No magical ability at all; not afraid, just convinced he is not smart enough. Prefers to fight cooperativelty with companions and to write alone. Would rather fight than talk, would rather write than speak publically, and would prefer to cooperative ventures to having (or being) a leader. His one (hidden) interest is puzzling out older documents. Not the contents, which he is pretty sure he wouldn't understand anyways, but the form and structure, rebuilding documents and figuring out what should go with what. His one constancy is his letters home to Elena, which he scribes in small script to save paper and keeps (two copies; you never can be too careful, you know) in a parchament case in his belongings, searching for times to send them via post or messenger when opportunity arises. DM Notes: Scrivener rather than Sage, Copyist rather than Writer. Unlikely to tolerate heavily evil actions, but definition of "evil" is slippery, as is definition of law. Letters home are the most telling of inner workings - will be provided as he wries them (Aran is smart enough to keep to himself, but may not be smart enough to avoid snooping eyes, so material will be provided for DM subterfuge in case it is warranted). Outdoor combat oriented; longsword, shield, composite longbow. Favors shield tactics and defensive fighting but is learning other ways. Rather cautious.
  4. OK, letters sidestory. One of the things that makes characters interesting is *not* knowing everything up front. With Aran, that is accomplished a few ways - primarily by the use of RandomNum() as a way of making things a little different every time you try the same talk, or at least giving a chance to have that happen. The second way is "backstory", filled out via some dialog, some storytelling (if asked) and through the possibility of being a born thief and rummaging through his stuff. For male PCs, the letter thing is very short, with some fun after three letters. No need for tons of stuff, as it is unlikely a guy would do more than peruse some letters, figure out Aran isn't spying on him, and let it go. Unfortunately or fortunately, from a storytelling standpoint, I once had a girlfriend who snooped into everything. Natural curiosity combined with a jealous nature combined with low self-image... let's just say, never date proto-sopranos or proto-ballerinas unless you are fully aware of just how far personal lines can be crossed. Luckily, in a story, we don't have to worry about it - if the Heroine™ doesn't 'accidentally' read a letter, someone sends it to her, or (like Downton Abbey) the rumor mill reaches her. With our PC, we can even allow for some roleplay, where she (or he) can play the search any way s/he wants... "I was just cleaning up your stuff. Didn't mean to see it." "So, who is this Elena chick you are writing to? Should I be jealous?' "Who do you think you are, a dirty version of Volo?" There are a few other implementations dropping into these states, but a2913 summarizes this pretty straightforwardly. Dudes see the general letters, and if a female PC is a persistent little stalker, she can get a view of some of the things Aran is thinking about her "behind the scenes" in the form of letters to his sister. CODE IF ~~ a2913 SAY ~[ARAN] (The normal clutter of tools and gear, neatly rolled and folded clothing in oilskins, and the occasional odd trinket catch your eye, but there is little of interest you have not already seen. The scraps of parchment, though, show signs of use.)~ + ~Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",0)~ + ~[PC] (You examine his writings.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",1)~ + c-aranletter1 + ~Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] (You examine his writings.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",2)~ + c-aranletter2 + ~Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",2)~ + ~[PC] (You examine his writings.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",3)~ + c-aranletter3 + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatGT(Player1,12,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",3)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",4)~ + c-aranletter4 + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatGT(Player1,12,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",4)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",5)~ + c-aranletter5 + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatGT(Player1,12,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",5)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",6)~ + c-aranletter6 + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatGT(Player1,12,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",6)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",7)~ + c-aranletter7 + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatLT(Player1,13,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",3)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",4)~ + c-aranletterblocked + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatLT(Player1,13,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",4)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",5)~ + c-aranletterblocked + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatLT(Player1,13,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",5)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",6)~ + c-aranletterblocked + ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) CheckStatLT(Player1,13,INT) Global("c-pcletter","LOCALS",6)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage in search of interesting things to read.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-pcletter","LOCALS",7)~ + c-aranletterblocked + ~Gender(Player1,MALE) GlobalGT("c-pcletter","LOCALS",2)~ + ~[PC] (You take advantage of the opportunity to rummage through his pack. There are any number of odd scraps of writing and sketches to shuffle through.)~ + c-aranletterallgone IF ~Gender(Player1,FEMALE) GlobalGT("c-pcletter","LOCALS",6)~ THEN GOTO c-aranletterallgone END IF ~~ c-aranletterallgone SAY ~[ARAN] (The scraps contain notes and ideas for a story of sorts, but not one that would be given a place at a family gathering. They read...)~ IF ~RandomNum(4,5)~ THEN GOTO c-aranstoryscrap1 IF ~RandomNum(4,4)~ THEN GOTO c-aranstoryscrap2 IF ~RandomNum(4,3)~ THEN GOTO c-aranstoryscrap3 IF ~RandomNum(4,2)~ THEN GOTO c-aranstoryscrap4 IF ~RandomNum(4,1)~ THEN GOTO c-aranstoryscrap5 END IF ~~ c-aranstoryscrap1 SAY ~[ARAN] 'Deborah sighed gustily as she looked out across the valley. She could not forget the sight of his chest, bronzed and muscular, glistening with sweat as he worked the forge. She knew it was wrong to have such feelings for a commoner of the Dales, but she could not help herself. The blush of wanton desire spread across her cheeks as she imagined him working her, rather than the forge, his hammer rising and falling to the beat of her pulse and the racing of her heart.'~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranstoryscrap2 SAY ~[ARAN] "No, no!" Deborah's broken pleas slipped from her lips, even as they pressed themselves to him. "I can not! I have never..." His strong hands held her poised above him, ready to go where no man had gone before. His desire was palpable. Note: where no man had gone before? Where no man had explored? To drive into the unknown?~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranstoryscrap3 SAY ~[ARAN] 'There were no words as Deborah created crafted crufted crinfalled There were no sonunds there were scratch this. Note: look for good descriptors that can translate to Dwarven without taking on the wrong meanings. Pradeep of Westhaven might buy this thing if I can just get the writing open for gnomish and dwarven translation. Second Note: remember that dwarves find beards appealing on both women and men. May have to rewrite. Third note, get a good proofreader before I send anything.'~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranstoryscrap4 SAY ~[ARAN] 'She flung herself in front of him, begging to be taken, begging to be his. Buck sat stone-faced, unmoving. "Do you think that a commoner has no feelings? I share everything with you, and you sleep with him. My forge may take on many projects, but only one heart commands it. Who's heart commands your forge, Deborah?'~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranstoryscrap4 SAY ~[ARAN] 'Buck's bronzed form glistened in the lamplight, his dark beard covering everything. Deborah could not help herself. Her eyes dropped lower, lower. Her face burned in the darkness, a beacon in the stone cave. "It is glowing", she whispered. "Aye." he answered.'~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END /* Letter Responses */ IF ~~ c-aranletter1 /* aran letter #1 (everyone, c-alttr8.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing...)~ = ~[ARAN] Mae Govannen Mae govannen. An lema? Amin naa lle nai. I'narr en gothrim glinuva nuin I'anor. Ohtar hanwa edan yesta sii'lle vakha. Amin tengwa Naug, i'lambe tel' Eldalie. Dwarven, Elven, and Common Trade Language spoken and written, contracts translated, copywork accepted. Experienced Caravan Guard and Scrivner. Reasonable rates. Inquire at Ten Veils Public House for Whitehand. Have Sword, Will Travel. No Job Too Small. No Dragons. Experienced Caravan Guard, Scrivner, OutRider, Oarsman. Trade Contracts and Copywork Drawn. Reasonable Rates. Inquire at Public House for Whitehand.~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT // c-alttr2.itm ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletter2 /* aran letter #2 (everyone, c-alttr2.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing...)~ = ~[ARAN] My Dearest Elena, I read your message with great happiness. Congratulations on your being advanced to choice! By the time you read this there will only be a few more months and you will be in your final year of apprenticeship. And Mystra is a good Goddess to serve, I hear. I always thought you would lean towards The Wise One, Oghma, and go with the Estelmer family nobility as benefactors, but you know your own heart. If your calling is to Mystra, then I guess you couldn't do any better than to Eltorchul family. There are some stories about a few of them, but they generally get written about as good people, for nobles and wands. Good but not lockstep; some of them are pretty wild, if trail stories and news broadsides talk about the same family. The Thunderstaffs follow Mystra, but from my end - plenty of warmages from that family, that is for sure! I was pretty sure you wouldn't end up following them, anyways. I am really glad your benefactor was happy, too. I thought it was like a trade apprenticeship, and you would be with The Lady Mage all the way. I guess I didn't understand about the schools, and how you work your way up. I love the emerald, and I will figure out what you mean about saying the inscriptions in private once we are on the trail. I hope this isn't one of your practical jokes, though. That is too fine a gem just to put a joke on. And the colors were beautiful. It lasted a full thirty seconds before dissolving into smoke, and it was a deep, shiny green with gold and silver and sky blue. Plus, it only erased a little bit of the parchament, so I got to read most of the message. That is so much better than the one where you tried the acid-flowers, and it burned through the whole letter. I know you want to have each message destroy itself, though I do not understand why all mages seem to need such secrecy. I do have some news. I have started working with a new group. There is not much to say yet, but it is not a regular mercenary group. <CHARNAME>, the one who leads, is different. I will have more to say later, I am sure. In the meantime, keep up your studies, and I will try to send you some of the spell components you asked about as best I can. Judging by the look of things, I may be able to get some very rare components for you just by keeping my eyes open and wits sharp. Yours Faithfully, Aran~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletter3 /* aran letter #3 (everyone, c-alttr3.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing...)~ = ~[ARAN] My Dearest Elena, I am writing from the trail, so please excuse the occasional blot or crease staining the writing. There is so much to report, but most of it is not to be trusted to letters. When I next see you, remind me to tell you about <PLAYER1>. Things are working out well enough on so far. Well as well as can be expected given our challenges. I have not had as much combat in so short a timeframe since the pitched battles back near Baldur's Gate. Even in the Axes, there were months with no combat, and now it seems to happen every day. I am glad to hear that your roommate is not making your life easy. I know that sounds unsupportive, and I am sure you don't appreciate it, but from my standpoint it means you are telling me things and not hiding the challenges and problems. You are smart enough to get past this. Just don't do what you did to Kimili when she called you those names. I bet now that you have some real training, it would not be a few curls set on fire... you might accidentally incinerate her head. I did hear from Nathan the other day, and his letter asked after you. I told him you were away in the Dale lands, rather than the truth. I know you think that he is cute, but I know him. He is not a nice person. I may sound overprotective, but he has done some things you just do not want to know about. Well, I must close, as I am out of room, and low on supplies. Time to mix up some more ink, too. As always. Yours Faithfully, Aran~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletter4 /* aran letter #4 (rom, c-alttr4.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing, but it takes awhile to figure out his cipher. He has started using a quaint childlike encoding.)~ = ~[ARAN] My Dearest Elena, I hope that all is well with you. For me, I am sorely in need of your guidance. I know we have written about this several times, but I need to clear my head and think and you are always good at helping me do that. I cannot stop thinking about her. I cannot stop watching her. It has me off balance, even worse than when I fell for that half-elven bard you warned me against. I simply do not understand how I could be pulled so far under her spell in such a short time. I know I am not an apprentice, but I certainly feel like one. I know I wrote to you of my feelings, and I know we joked about the difficulties of falling for one's employer, but now I am serious. I do not know if you would like her, or not. But do not believe the stories that must be floating around about what we are doing. All I can say is that she has captivated my attention in a way no other woman has. Yes, even more than SilverEyes. I just have difficulties seeing what I can offer her in return. I have no wealth or title, no real prospects, and I do not even know if she truly would have me. But that is how serious my situation seems to have become. For Sune's Blessing and for the love of your brother, help me. I need to know what a woman of power really wants. Yours faithfully, Aran~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletter5 /* aran letter #5 (rom, c-alttr5.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing, but it takes awhile to figure out his cipher. He has started using a quaint childlike encoding.)~ = ~[ARAN] My Dearest Elena, I hope that all is well with you, and with your pet lizard (yes, I know he is a pseudodragon, but someone has to put her in her place!). I am happy your work in runescribing is coming along, but please remember about spell duration. Half of your last message burned through your last three letters to me, and nearly turned my pack into a bonfire. I know you prefer secrecy, but surely I can keep one or two of your missives? There are many things going on right now, and I am not at liberty to write much about them. Our goals are being met, though the victories seem very costly. Perhaps it is more that I have made a stronger commitment to this quest than I have before. Your advice was appreciated. I am happy you see me that way, but I am pretty sure that you did not really mean "just kiss her and keep kissing her until she either kills you or professes her love". I understand what you are saying about power being of many kinds, and that sometimes just being yourself is what she might need. I do not know the best way to proceed right now, but I will take your advice under advisement and continue as best I can. In the meantime, I will be enclosing a small packet of wildspeare flowers for your component pouch when I get a chance to send this. I hope that it helps your studies. Please try not to turn Jill into a flowerpot again. I know that the polymorph spell usually results in squirrels, berrygobblers, or chipmunks rather than inanimate objects, so study hard and next time it might go better. Yours faithfully, Aran.~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletter6 /* aran letter #6 (rom, c-alttr6.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing, but it takes awhile to figure out his cipher. He has started using a quaint childlike encoding.)~ = ~[ARAN] My Dearest Elena, Congratulations on winning your competition! I had no idea that things were so competitive at the academy, and I am very glad that the Priests of Ilmater were there when that boy got caught in the fireball. I am so happy you won, and you even gave me ideas for a new set of tactics to use. I doubt I will often be able to spread oil or grease before a battle, but the use of multiple layers of magic is not something I have studied very much. The way things are going around here, we may need all the tactical advantages I can come up with. As for your enquiries, she is holding her own against the power of her blood. I do not have any real answers for you as to whether she sees me as someone who she could be with forever, or just someone she can use temporarily. I hear her words, and I see her responses, but I often am not quite sure where she really is coming from. She may be shouting her truth at me all the time, for all I know, but I am simply not sure if I am hearing reality or something I have constructed all in my head. You know as well as I do that I have done that before, and the results have been less than positive. There will be time enough to write more later. I will be enclosing a few odds and ends gleaned from our last few combats, but I am unsure as to how to stop them from breaking when transported to you. If the letter you are holding is a bright black on one corner, then I would seek out the Priests for healing immediately. I am never sure why you want me to send you these things, as my training has been in writing, not herbalism, but you know that I would do anything for you. Yours faithfully, Aran~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletter7 /* aran letter #7 (rom, c-alttr7.itm) */ SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing, but it takes awhile to figure out his cipher. He has started using a quaint childlike encoding.)~ = ~[ARAN] My Dearest Elena, I hope my letter finds you in good health and spirits. I will get straight to the point and remind you that you are too special and to smart to fall into any traps. Be careful. I do not know anything about Court and have never really seen a Masked Lord or even an un-masked one, but I have been around long enough to be suspicious of anyone who makes bold passes at you. I wish I were there, so that he would know that you have a protector. I know you can take care of yourself, but it still worries me. If you need proof, remember how I have acted around Giselle and Rani, and how you had to send a spark at me to stop me from behaving badly with your friends. Yes, I know I have a double standard, but I have always been very interested in all of this romantic sparking, while you have avoided it like the plague. And our situations are not as similar as you made it sound. <CHARNAME> is more complicated than what we are talking about. If it were just for fun, that would be one thing, but I seem to have developed some attachments that make things more painful for me if I do things that she might not like. I always try to fit what she seems to want, but it is hard sometimes. In fact, it seems almost impossible at times. But I trust in Tymora, and She will make the coin toss. What is meant to be, is meant to be. In your case, though, your benefactor might not take kindly to that particular young man. Do not take this the wrong way, but you have to ask yourself if he is really interested in you, or if he wants information. I trust you to make the right choice for you, of course. I would send for you to join us for a little bit, so you could get away and think, but I am afraid things here have gotten very difficult. Our adversaries are the stiff of legends and folktales, only they turn out to be real. Usually, they also turn out to be able to crush me into goo. No matter what is going on there, things are worse here. Do not worry for me, though. I have always had an eye out for trouble, and I think I enjoy feeling part of something that will make a difference. Yours faithfully, Aran~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-aranlettertalk","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranletterblocked SAY ~[ARAN] (The rough parchment crinkles under your fingertips as you read through the carefully shaped lines of writing...)~ = ~[ARAN] (Unfortunately, Aran has begun writing in a language or cipher you cannot understand. You will have to ask him to read the letter to you.)~ ++ ~[PC] (You carefully slip the letter back where you found it.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranletterblocked","LOCALS",1)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You take the letter.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) SetGlobalTimer("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",ONE_DAY)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] (You hunt through his writing kit and find his quill, and print 'No Secrets' in Common across the top of his letter. Then you slip the letter back into his pack.)~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ EXIT END /* add bcs block to trigger, Global("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1) */ IF ~Global("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",1)~ THEN BEGIN a2908 SAY ~[ARAN] Hey, there, I got a question for you. Do you mind if I rummage about in your undergarments a bit, an' poke through your stuff? Mayhap I can ink up some o' your gear, random like?~ [c-aws107] ++ ~[PC] I meant no harm. You scribble and scrawl all the time, and I was just curious. I want to know what is going on.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2909 ++ ~[PC] I want to know if any member of this party is discussing anything with the outside world. Even little things.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2909 ++ ~[PC] Don't keep any secrets from me. I will not be happy if you hide anything, anything at all.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2909 ++ ~[PC] Well, perhaps I went a little overboard. But I don't like to be kept in the dark, and it seems like you are writing things I should know about.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2909 ++ ~[PC] I hold the coin for the party. I want to know how you are using it, and to what purpose.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arannosecrets","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2909 END IF ~~ a2909 SAY ~[ARAN] Right, then. I blighted well thought a letter to my sister were naught buy my own business. You want somethin' translated, I'll do it. I don't give a rat's arse if you want to poke an' pry, but th' inference be that you don't trust me. Lovitar's Lash, that hurts a lad.~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END /* add bcs block to trigger, ("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1) */ IF ~Global("c-arlettertake","GLOBAL",1)~ THEN BEGIN a2910 SAY ~[ARAN] Hey, there, I got a question for you. Do you know who has been messin' about in my pack, smudgin' up my writin' space?~ [c-aws108] ++ ~[PC] Yes, I do. I did. What are these letters you keep writing all about?~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranlettertaken","GLOBAL",2)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] No, I don't.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranlettertaken","GLOBAL",2)~ EXIT ++ ~[PC] You must be mistaken. I did not leave a single smudge or telltale sign of my browsing.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranlettertaken","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2909 ++ ~[PC] Search me.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranlettertaken","GLOBAL",2)~ + a2911 END IF ~~ a2911 SAY ~[ARAN] I would, but other than rufflin' my feathers, there be no real harm done. There be precious little what be private in a group like this. If you want to know what I be writin' to my sister, you don't have to poke about. You could just ask, eh?~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END Note to anyone looking for a good editor - jEdit rocks. Very configurable, free, and even I can manage lots of project files cross-platform. Serious editor for serious folks... I am barely touching its possibilities.
  5. Telling stories. I could go into a long intro here about the psychology and sociology of male and female bonding using storytelling, establishment of social hierarchies and patterns of mutual attraction as shown through trading of backgrounds, etc.... but really, it's just a toy, not a thesis. So, stories... folks like them. Let's let Aran have some more to share. We have some little "reveals" in place, where storytelling has a point, like Anomen vs Aran over swearing and the vignette about stuffing a stuffy officer in the hold of a trading ship bound for Calimport; we have a past/former/chick-is-toast story for the romance, and here and there we have other small reveals that slip little bits of insight into the character within the existing mod dialog. But one thing that people do while camping, hiking, sitting around in the workroom/lounge, etc., is tell stories to entertain and distract. War stories in particular, among people who are friends and 'been there, done that". Like singing, or telling jokes, or discussing things, these stories can serve as a distraction or as a way of opening up; most of the time, they don't involve bragging (though I am sure we all have a friend who drives everyone nuts by telling stories that do brag - or worse, things like "So, this one time, at Band Camp"... no points for the cultural referent, and shame on you for watching teen raunch flicks in the first place ). We have an extensive backstory for Aran already available to mine for ideas, and all of the areas he has visited for more ideas - writing the stories is not the problem. Keeping them short enough, putting them deep enough in the dialog structure so only players who really, really want that deep an engagement with Aran's dialog will see them (we don't want action-oriented players to have to be going "crap, he is talking again.... hit the spacebar 12 times quickly, and maybe we can page through all this and get to the good stuff"). We also want some of them to be scattered about, and some of them to be available via PID or friendtalk as a panel of stories, so if a player is in the mood for a diversion he or she can ask for a few of them in a single sitting. There ends up being three or four simple approaches to this. The first is to write a dialog response that asks or leads directly to the story, and never refer to it again: 1. The Straightforward Single-Shot Story CODE ++ ~[PC] So, Aran, tell me about this lost love of yours. Was she pretty?~ + c-arans_lost_love_story This is simple, allows the PC one crack at hearing the story, and even can be varied by allowing players to reference the information later, as other materials in Aran's workthreads around here have already shown: CODE ++ ~[PC] So, Aran, tell me about this lost love of yours. Was she pretty?~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-arans_lost_love_story_told","GLOBAL",1)~ + c-arans_lost_love_story with later on, CODE + ~Global("c-arans_lost_love_story_told","GLOBAL",1)~ + ~[PC] You would think you would never look at another redhead in your life, after what's-her-name up in Moonshea broke your heart and croaked.~ + c-oh_yeah_I_really_appreciate_being_reminded_you_jackass We can expand this with three other variants, much like Cromwell's or Cespy's materials run, by creating a pool of potential stories and then either creating a list or creating a loop - or running it the way PIDs create more interest, using a Random approach. Lists A simple list just gives the player a set of options. the simplest of these goes like this: CODE ++ ~[PC] So, Aran, tell me a story.~ + c-aran_story_time // <-- snip --> IF ~~ c-aran_story_time SAY ~[ARAN] Well, to be sure, I can tell a tale, tall or not. What do you be wantin' to hear about?~ /* Pool of Stories to Tell */ ++ ~[PC] Tell me a story about cooking.~ + c-carbonanottold ++ ~[PC] Tell me a story about getting to Calimport the fiorst time you saw it.~ + c-arancalimportnottold ++ ~[PC] Tell me a story about that inn where we picked you up. What was his name... Gerris?~ + c-arangerrisnottold ++ ~[PC] Tell me a story about your childhood.~ + c-arandadtradenottold ++ ~[PC] Tell me a story about how you joined the Flaming Fist.~ + c-aranfistfightnottold ++ ~[PC] Tell me a story about fighting in the Moonshea Isles.~ + c-aranmoonfightnottold ++ ~[PC] On second thought, your stories are not that entertaining. Let's just keep going.~ EXIT END This works well - it can be repeated, or linked back in any number of ways, and is very efficient. If a player wants to hear a specific story again, it is right there. We could get fancy, and make a story unavailable after each one by adding globals, which is the way many folks handle giving information - clear out the talks already taken, so that the remaining ones are left for the player to follow. BUT - real folks don't walk around handing out a menu of available "stories". And sometimes they are in the mood or remember different ones. And very seldom do I find myself saying to a friend "Hey, tell me a story about how you became a musician". So, a more interactive approach would be to use the loop CODE ++ ~[PC] So, Aran, tell me a story.~ + c-aran_story_time // <-- snip --> IF ~~ c-aran_story_time SAY ~[ARAN] Well, to be sure, I can tell a tale, tall or not. Let's see...~ /* Pool of Stories to Tell */ IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ GOTO c-all_stories_told IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-carbonanottold IF ~Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arancalimportnottold IF ~Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arangerrisnottold IF ~Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arandadtradenottold IF ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-aranfistfightnottold IF ~Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-aranmoonfightnottold END IF ~~ c-carbonanottold SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I could tell you about th' rats an' th' Coster waggon...~ = ~[ARAN] <STORY_GOES_HERE>>~ IF ~~ THEN DO ~SetGlobal("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-all_stories_told SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I already done told you all th' stories I can think of. I'll think on it, but right now I be stumped.~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END This "loop" is designed so that each time a different state calls to it, the bottom-most story gets "peeled off" - it plays, sets a global, and the next time through the first reply from the bottom is evaluated false and skipped, allowing the second one to play. This construction is good for PIDs and such, or for (in this case up to 6 ) multiple references in several talks, as every time a player asks to hear a story, a new one is played, until all are exhausted. It has some drawbacks, too - you can't repeat a story, so one misplaced click and it is either reload from a previous save or break out NI or DLTCEP or wade through the .tras - it also does not mirror more natural talk patterns, where people can refer to or say "hey, that Moonshea stuff you were talking about... how did that go again?" The Random approach is repeatable as well, with a different focus. Here, only one story is told in the state, and it can be referred to any number of times, but if every story has been told you can still draw the player off of it: CODE ++ ~[PC] So, Aran, tell me a story.~ + c-aran_story_time // <-- snip --> IF ~~ c-aran_story_time SAY ~[ARAN] Well, to be sure, I can tell a tale, tall or not. Let's see...~ /* Pool of Stories to Tell */ IF ~RandomNum(6,1)~ GOTO c-carbonanottold IF ~RandomNum(6,2)~ GOTO c-arancalimportnottold IF ~RandomNum(6,3)~ GOTO c-arangerrisnottold IF ~RandomNum(6,4)~ GOTO c-arandadtradenottold IF ~RandomNum(6,5)~ GOTO c-aranfistfightnottold IF ~RandomNum(6,6)~ GOTO c-aranmoonfightnottold IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ GOTO c-all_stories_told END IF ~~ c-carbonanottold SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I could tell you about th' rats an' th' Coster waggon...~ = ~[ARAN] <STORY_GOES_HERE>>~ IF ~~ THEN DO ~SetGlobal("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-all_stories_told SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I already done told you all th' stories I can think of. I'll think on it, but right now I be stumped.~ IF ~~ THEN EXIT END This has some fun in that Aran can tell random stories, and even repeat himself, as people often do. After all possible stories are told, the dialog politely lets the player know that no matter how many million times they click, all potential pathways have been taken. But this one, well - let's just say that it is bad enough in RL to hear the story of how Jerry got into Harvard for the 17000th time.... so this one is a little too real for me. So, let's play with the loop variant, add a CHAIN to explore how we might allow a player to get an old story retold, and in general "prettify" the whole concept. Let's see what we can do to extend it to allow some repetiton and more interactivity for the player, too. CODE APPEND ~C-ARANJ~ /* <<WHATEVER_STATE_I_AM_COMING_FROM>> has three replies added- */ + ~!Class("c-aran",BARD_ALL)~ + ~[PC] This is depressing and dark. Come on, Aran, liven things up a bit. Tell me a story.~ + c-aran_tell_untold_story + ~Class("c-aran",BARD_ALL)~ + ~[PC] This is depressing and dark. Come on, Aran, liven things up a bit. Tell me a story.~ + c-aran_tell_untold_story_bard + ~OR(6) ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Hey, Aran, I remember you telling a story... can you tell it to me again?~ + c-aran_tell_told_story /* and then, the reply sequence to the above... */ IF ~~ c-aran_tell_untold_story SAY ~[ARAN] I can do that, though I be no bard. Let me see...~ IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1433 IF ~Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1432 IF ~Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arangerrisnottold IF ~Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arandadtradenottold IF ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-aranfistfightnottold IF ~Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-aranmoonfightnottold IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ GOTO c-aran_all_stories_told END IF ~~ c-aran_tell_untold_story_bard SAY ~[ARAN] I can do that. Just remember, my bardic days be relatively new, so I don't have them all embellished an' prettified, wi' proper pronunciation an' projection. Sorry about that spittle, there. Somethin' about 'p' words, eh?~ = ~[ARAN] Let me see...~ IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1433 IF ~Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1432 IF ~Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arangerris IF ~Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-arandadtrade IF ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-aranfistfight IF ~Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO c-aranmoonfight IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1) Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ GOTO c-aran_all_stories_told END /* (Of course, they could also be split up and added to several states, if wanted - it is likely that in the final implementation there will be more stories, and certainly two on this list will be screened out if the player has already had the friendtalk that tells of Calimport or the romance talk that tells about the trading incident. ) */ IF ~~ c-aran_all_stories_told SAY ~[ARAN] I can think o' naught that I haven't told you already. Mayhap I can tell you one o' them again?~ ++ ~[PC] No thanks. If you are out of stories, then I hope you come up with some riddles or something, or this will be a very long trip through the Underdark.~ + <<exitstate>> ++ ~[PC] That sounds interesting. Go ahead, tell me something you have already told. Your stories are always interesting.~ + c-aran_tell_told_story ++ ~[PC] I think we have had enough talk. Let's move on.~ + <<exitstate>> ++ ~[PC] Thank the gods you have run out. You stink at telling stories anyways. I was getting tired of humoring you~ + c-aranshutup75 ++ ~[PC] Never mind. I was joking, anyways. I'd rather cut my own throat than hear you blater on about things.~ + c-aranshutup74 END END // of append to c-aranj /* here, we play with CHAIN to allow an expandable state. It only gets triggered if one of those inner conditions is met, so it can build a longer conversation each time a story is told. */ CHAIN ~C-ARANJ~ c-aran_tell_told_story ~[ARAN] Sure thing. I can tell you what I be rememberin', anyways. Let's see...~ == ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1)~ THEN ~[ARAN]I could tell you about th' rats an' th' Coster waggon again...~ == ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1)~ THEN ~[ARAN] I could tell you about th' first time I got myself to Calimport again, if you want.~ == ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1)~ THEN ~[ARAN] I do remember tellin' you about Gerris an' me workin' short haul from Neverwinter to th' Moonshea Isles. That be a tale.~ == ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1)~ THEN ~[ARAN] I done told you about my father gettin' trapped in th' trade contract... you want to be hearin' it again?~ == ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1)~ THEN ~[ARAN] I think I told you o' th' time we run off those northmen up in th' Isles, unless you want to be hearin' it again.~ == ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ THEN ~[ARAN] I told you about gettin' in wi' th' Fist, but do you want to be hearin' it again?~ == ~C-ARANJ~ ~[ARAN] That be all I can remember tellin' you about, anyhow.~ END + ~Global("c-arancarbonara","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Tell the story about the rats.~ + a1433 + ~Global("c-arancalimport","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Tell me about Calimport.~ + a1432 + ~Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] That Gerris fellow - the one you talked about when we first met. Tell me that story again.~ + c-arangerris + ~Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Tell me about the trading gone bad.~ + c-arandadtrade + ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Tell me how you ended up in the Flaming Fist again.~ + c-aranfistfight + ~Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Tell me about that battle up in Moonshea again.~ + c-aranmoonfight ++ ~I think we have had enough talk. Let's move on.~ EXIT APPEND ~C-ARANJ~ IF ~~ c-arangerrisstory SAY ~[ARAN] Gerris were a right fine companion, way back at th' start o' th' Moonshea work I did, an' right before th' Iron Throne got busy makin' life miserable for honest folk. He trained wi' the Old Order, though sometimes he acted more Sun Soul than anythin' else... an' I be right sorry his daughter an' I , we made things right complicated. Happy, though, on account o' it put me in your path, eh?~ = ~[ARAN] But a long time ago Gerris an' I were workin' across to Moonshea on one o' them short-haul galleys what ply that route out o' Neverwinter. Gerris, he trained me right proper, too, an th' cookin' front. He had to be right creative, on account o' most o' th' crew were Luskan fisherfolk, an' thought a good meal were dried fish an' small beer.~ = ~[ARAN] Well, one o' th' older oarsmen, he took a dislike to Gerris right off. There was naught Gerris could do to please th' bastard. He tried cookin' just what th' oarsman wanted, an' makin' it as special as he could, on account o' a trade galley be a small place, an' a little bad feelin' gets magnified right large.~ = ~[ARAN] The bugger would have naught in th' way o' reconciliation, though, and kept gettin' into Gerris' face. Finally, Gerris told him that if he didn't shape up, Gerris would put a curse on him.~ = ~[ARAN] O' course, th' oarsman laughed it off, an' punched Gerris right proper. Gerris didn't say naught, just took the punch, then made some sort o' gesture. Th' two stalked off, an' everyone gave 'em both as wide a berth as possible.~ = ~[ARAN] Well, two days later, th' oarsman came runnin' up from th' head... that be th' latrine, on a boat, a bathroom, right? Well, he came up just hollerin' bloody murder, ran past us, an' dove over th' side. We looked downon him, an' lo an' behold, that bastard was passin' flame instead o' gas!~ = ~[ARAN] We fished him out proper, an' soon he was as right as rain, but Gerris, he just shook his head an' sighed, askin' after th' man's health. He made a few passes wi' his hands in th' air, an' from then on, noone messed wi' him nor wi' me.~ = ~[ARAN] Now, I don't rightly think there were no magic in Geris' hands, him followin' monks ways so short a time. So when I saw him back wi' his wife an' daughter when I got to Amn a few years later, I got him right drunk an' asked him how he did it. An' that's how I learned that a small amount o' fireberries be a great spice... but you put too many in a man's portion, you'd best be gettin' a new set o' clothes lined up right quick, an' some healin' salves on hand. ~ IF ~~ THEN DO ~SetGlobal("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1)~ EXIT END IF ~~ c-aranmoonfight // PLACEHOLDER SAY ~[ARAN] ~ = ~[ARAN] ~ IF ~~ THEN DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",1)~ EXIT END /* Boy, I have been playing a little Mount & Blade, i think... */ IF ~~ c-aranfistfight SAY ~[ARAN] Well, I had just come off o' Moonshea, about as down as a lad can be. My ladylove dead, th' Moonshea companies disbandin' on account o' we thrashed th' Iron Throne bastards... well, more like you thrashed Sarevok an' wiped out their command structure, but th' fightin' in the field was still fierce for a bit afterwards. Sometimes it takes awhile for an army to realize that th' war be over.~ = ~[ARAN] Anyways, I was wanderin' around Nashkel, when th' Guildmaster calls me in an' gives me some work punchin' north on th' Trade way. Small caravan, just a full fist, not anythin' big. A tag along, really, as there were a load o' more powerful costers what had hired th' Flamin' Fist to protect some serious tradin' waggons headed up Neverwinter way, an' we were just really for show more than anythin'. But it was work, so I was not goin' to be turnin' it down, eh? We headed out mid-winter, tryin' our luck.~ = ~[ARAN] Well, we made it up into th' hills north o' Nashkel, an' were just south o' Beregost when we ran into a snow squall in th' middle o' a clear day. Me an' Kalavi... she were th' Stave, but she fought well enough, as she had just recently taken up wi' Ilmater and had been a seasoned fighter same as me... we knew there was more to this than just some freak weather, on account o' no snow squall we ever saw had lightnin' accomanyin' it.~ = ~[ARAN] We spurred up ahead straight into th' storm, keepin' our eyes open, her wi' a big staff an' me wi' my trusty sword ready. Th' wind was somethin' fierce, an' we almost wew about to turmn back out when we broke clear into a bubble o' protection o' some sort. We found ourselves suddenly in th' open, at full gallop across a field o' icy cobblestones, runnin' right up th' arse o' two ice trolls an' a whole mess o' orcs.~ = ~[ARAN] Lucky for us Tymora's Coin was spinnin' our direction. They was too busy payin' attention to th' 'Fist in field plate whackin' at 'em, an' th mage what was holdin' off that magical storm wi' some kind o' big bubble shield. Good thing, too, on account o' we coulnd't have stopped short nohow, not at that speed an' wi' all that ice. Kalavi, she started sayin' somethin', some spell I suppose, but thought better o' it fast enough - tryin' to hold a spell while on horseback is way above what most seasoned clerics can do, an' she had no more than four or five spells total granted by her Cryin' God. Me, I don't fight cavalry-style, but beggars can't rightly be choosers, so I leaned forward an' swung wide, hopin' I wasn't about to kill my own mount leavin' me on th' wrong side o' th' shield wall, so to speak.~ = ~[ARAN] Kalavi came in fast an' brought her staff up like some kind o' fancy lance, an' I'll be damned if it didn't do th' trick. She hit at full gallop, nailin' one o' th' ice trolls in th' head an' knockin' it unconscious wi' one hit, an' then her mount leaped clean over th' shield wall, where she could join in on th' fun proper. Took out one o' th' strongest adversaries, did a nice trick, an' it were a pretty sight.~ = ~[ARAN] Me, on th' other hand... well, i hadn't ever fought no ice Trolls before. So I lopped it's head off beautifully, nice clean arc, before i slipped too far forward an' ended up takin' a right fast rollin' tumble off my horse. She jumped th' line an' was safe, but there I was, all th' wind knocked out o' me, actin' as a bowlin' ball in among the orcs. Well, I scared th' crap out o' some o' them, an' they took to their heels... so I thought I was all in th' clear. I rolled right up to my feet, dusted myself off, an' started walkin' forward to th' line. All those Fist an' Kalavi started whoopin' an' hollerin', and so I just sort o' took a bow, thinkin' they was cheerin' me for scatterin' th' whole mob. Just as I did, I feel a whiff o' ice cold air on th' back o' my neck, an' tripped forward flat on my face.~ = ~[ARAN] Well, long story short, I didn't know that ice trolls just grow back if there be no fire nor acid scattered. My lucky little bow an' trip saved me my sorry hide, as there was now two Ice trolls clawin' at me. Th' Fist an' Kalavi clobbered 'em both pincushionin' them wi' arrows an' sling stones spelled wi' fire, savin' my sorry arse. But th' officer in charge o' th' Fist didn't realize it were my own clumsiness an' a twist o' Tymora's Coin what did the trick. She thought I clobbered th' troll, bowled over th' orcs, took a casual bow in front o' th' two trolls, an cool as a cucumber stopped dropped, an' rolled to allow th' rest o' th' unit to take 'em out. She hired us both on th' spot, an' we never told naught about it.~ IF ~~ THEN DO ~SetGlobal("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1)~ EXIT END END // of append to c-aranj Now, a little tweaking, and a test in-game to see if the story can be consolidated into less screens, or perhaps tightened up, and we have successfully created a set of stories that can be used as a resource for several talks, with replication only if the palyer requests. Using the variables, we can even add replies into other states that reference the information, just the way we tell our friends things in referent to their personal experiences.... CODE + ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Oh no you don't... you stay back here and get those fire arrows ready. You don't want a repeat of that whole Ice troll incident, now do you?~ + c_great_you_used_my_story_against_me_you_bugger + ~Global("c-arangerris","LOCALS",1)~ + ~[PC] Hells no, you are not doing the cooking tonight. You have been fighting with Viconia again, and Gerris taught you way too many ways to get even!~ + c_who_me?_I_would_never_do_such_horrible_things
  6. WARNING. WoT™ ( Wall of Text - n., Infinity Engine modder and forum slang, meaning long expository writing in a forum post that makes the reader's eyes glaze over and may result in said player loading up Oblivion, because bad eye-candy is better than semi-literate expository grandstanding by pseudo-intellectual wannabe posers. For examples visit any form and look at anything dealing with inter-community flamewars. ) I like to think about stuff like this, but just in case the WoT™ looks like I am taking this all a little too seriously, don't worry - I have not gone any farther off of the deep end than I usually do - just thinking about stuff and playing with ideas, just this time sparked by other folk's analysis and suggestions on what works and doesn't work for them in this mod. SYNOPSIS: Mods might be like FanFics, but they have significantly more flexibility, allowing interactivity. So far, Aran has been built with a "reply net", focusing more on player voice than on his own. range = "author-constructed fanfic unraveled by players" to "player-constructed fanfic with author-developed-and-given possibilities" Leaning so far to "player-constructed fanfic" can break down, resulting in characterization loopholes and inconsistencies. One suggested way out of this is to build parallel storylines through use of defined player psychologies. Examples given from existing mods and schematics and potential implementation in Aran given. To cut to the chase and skip all the talk, just getting to the new content, skip forward to <<this post>>. Fanfic construction vs. Mod construction A mod as an interactive fanfic. As a global idea, this seems sound - both are playing with other people's created worlds, and injecting the author's ideas and point of view into that already created world. I think that most mods follow varying degrees of this, from the point of view of the NPC and his or her story. On the other hand, mods allow something a fanfic cannot. Instead of the constrained story, I think a game 'story' can be built out of the freedoms given to a player. The question is, can I do it without losing focus and a sense of the NPC's personality? Can a mod allow the player to construct the story (whether intentionally or unintentionally) through direct interaction and choice, with minimal pre-scribing of player intent? Basically, if we give the player enough of a "net" of interactive possibilities that remain true to an NPC's personality, can the player construct the level of hijack/secondary plot-line they want? The range I am thinking about is "author-constructed fanfic unraveled by players" to "player-constructed fanfic with author-developed-and-given possibilities". Aran started out as a fun little experiment as a 'Companion' mod, with a single immutable plot-point - PC and Aran will be together for the entire game, if PC wants, regardless of choices (OK, except when PC has a reputation of 1, or sends him away specifically saying "never return", and/or kills him outright). This means the challenge is to allow players enough options to be able to explore why a character so obviously fascinated with PC will do this, regardless of player actions. Can he keep his personality, and tell a great side-story, and enrich the main storyline, while pretty much existing as window dressing and exploration of background material? He is a sidekick, not a hero, so his "story" is supposed to be the interaction between him and PC and the relationship they develop.Here, the player and player's motives/personality is unknown. That, by its very nature, has an opposite focus from a traditional fanfic. So What? Big deal. Who cares - a mod is a mod, and people want to play the game with some fun new content. Except... in this case, the materials I am working on have an odd point of view. When most modders write, they think in terms of the character they are writing (duh). So, an action comes up, and NPC talks about how they see the thing happening. But Aran has been written from the opposite point of view - what would PC say? What would he do? Coming up with Aran's stuff has been very easy. Coming up with what PCs reactions are and what a player would really like to be able to say has been very, very difficult. In essence, writing a construction set of possibilities and handing them to a player is an inside-out mod. Applying This To Aran: Strengths and Weaknesses As the mod has moved along, my focus has been on reply states that allow multiple types of PCs to have something interesting to have as a response. Game limitations and writing time limitations restrict what is possible; having 100 separate replies for each line is obviously a bad way to go (just imagining reading each one would be an instant "uninstall this POS and fire up Tashia and play again" for me). Early on, constraints were reputation-driven or good/evil/neutral driven, then loosened up to a blanket of no more than 6 undefined (malleable) replies that often branched out the way RL dialogs do (not always really returning to the topic). In PID's, we explored a bunch of ways of customizing to the player; in most materials, we have side branches in talks for specific kits, classes, and even ones for folks who have changed Aran into other class/kit types. Berelinde's 'Bennet Rubric' came into play in later stages, as she explored some great and intricate possibilities for dialog construction in Gavin (and we often trade ideas and work on implementations and recheck with each other, as two sets of modder eyes on the same code can sometimes catch things better than just one). But my focus, frankly, has been less about PC and Aran and more about Player Choices. And it has brought up an interesting point - how does this reconcile with storytelling, where we expect PC to have a consistent voice (because we wrote all her lines and fed them to him or her)? More importantly, are we (am I) making the Aran a player creates internally consistent enough that he doesn't sound insane? At first glance, way way back in the initial brainstorming for the mod, I passed on the idea of determining one single set of PC assumptions to respond to. I felt that CODE A [ARAN] I want to be talkin' about th' weather, now. [PC - EVIL] [PC - NEUTRAL] [PC - GOOD] [PC - EXIT] is very BioWare™. Not bad - just not where I wanted to play about. In one respect, I now understand why BioWare™ limits their dialog to this king of pathing - and why DA2 will have less possibilities even than DA:O (they have chosen 6 maximum possible, too, which makes me feel kind of good to have figured out a good boundary). This kind of dialog structure means they can use things very cleanly: CODE A [ARAN] I want to be talkin' about th' weather, now. [PC - EVIL] + B [PC - NEUTRAL] + B [PC - GOOD] + B [PC - EXIT] EXIT B [ARAN] I want to be talkin' about your response th' weather in a general way. [PC - EVIL] EXIT [PC - NETUTRAL] EXIT [PC - GOOD] EXIT This is incredibly simplified, and of course there are plenty of examples of where they went further, but the basic schematic is JCompton's "Looping Lovetalk Branch" technique. To be blunt, I figured that having a "net" or "cloud" of PC replies would be enough to cover all bases, especially as I wanted to allow players to roleplay chaotic as well as lawful characters. So, the inherent silliness that could result by purposefully choosing contracting and opposite reactions would be covered by a chaotic PC getting chaos in return - a talk where things didn't work out the way you would expect could be ignored, because it fit not choosing the expected pathway for the roleplayer. To put this more clearly, I figured without face-to-face human contact and all of the visual, auditory, etc. cues and social mannerisms, I can write CODE [ARAN] Now, what be th' idea, here... do I have naught in th' way o' counsel on this? and then I as a modder am free to re-purpose this statement based on where the player comes from and to: CODE [PC] I think you need a bath. You smell like a... well, you stink. [ARAN] Now, what be th' idea, here... do I have naught in th' way o' counsel on this? [PC] No. Get in there, and Korgan will be in with you in a minute with a stiff scrub brush. I'll heal you when you get out, if you have any skin left. [PC] I think I love you... I know Kivan is getting very fond of me, but... do you want to kiss me? [ARAN] Now, what be th' idea, here... do I have naught in th' way o' counsel on this? [PC] Of course you do. I just thought you might... you might want to kiss me. [ARAN] Now, what be th' idea, here... do I have naught in th' way o' counsel on this? [PC] No. I told you I would prefer to resolve things peaceably, but imprisoning a nymph is just wrong. Razzefelow needs to die. Stop thinking like a tactician, and start using your heart. In some respects, this works well. I can cross over between states in certain places, making content play out in many different ways, and avoid some state duplication. And having not specifically set out to create individual streams of thought (trying to make sure most if not all dialog states have responses that deal with as many possible player personalities as can be written for/imagined), many times the resulting play-through creates fun byplay more similar to RL conversation, where the results are sometimes not the way the player intended, because when PC says X, Aran can hear Y. Most of the feedback on allowing interesting and more involved player choices has been very positive; giving a player more potential options (even if they end up all leading back to the same end state) definitely works. What I didn't think all the way through is while many different ways a single statement may be taken can be a powerful weapon when crafting code, it can be a mess when it comes to storytelling - and it is a very sharp two-edged sword indeed. CODE [PC] (Kiss him gently under the chin) + [ARAN_RESPONDS] Did PC just ask him to sleep with her? Did PC just back him down from trying to make out with her by reducing the pace of the action? Did PC just nonverbally say "Hey, I like you a lot, but let's slow down" or was it "I like you a lot - you can go further" or "Hey, you like all this physical stuff, but I am ambivalent... why don't we play cards instead" or was it "Hmmm... I think if he lifts that jugular vein a little, I am going to get a good fresh meal out of this. Boy am I glad Valen made me into a vampire..." ? When I wrote it, I intended only one outcome - an escalation of physical contact by PC = "I want more action". It turns out that the flexibility given has some serous drawbacks. So now I have to figure out how to address this possible disconnect. I have plenty of options - I can ignore it completely, I can institute an "Aran Likes This" counter as several other mods do and use that to constrain possible outcomes,etc. But to explore the concept, let's take the complete opposite tack from what Aran started out with. Let's see what creating a follow-through between dialogs for player intent might look like.
  7. Bri

    Finished Works

    Now that the fanfiction forum has grown larger, I am putting up links to finished pieces. Just drop me a PM letting me know when you are finished, and I will put it up. Thank you. Also, if you see any mistakes on this list, or a desire to be removed from the list, then also don't be afraid to PM me. Asmodyan His Daughter BigRob Asadin's Learning Adventure\ The Picnic BevH Dreaming of Anomen Minsc and the Beanstalk BobTokyo Bad Guards: Soft Jobs Bri Allure of Heaven Are You Being Served? Harvest's End My Brother's Keeper Short Stories from the Attic Sleeping Beauty Tempus Fudge-it DalreïDal The Irony of Fate Disari Drielle's Tale Domi Bard's Song Biographer's Notes: Valygar A Comedy of Terror Getting Rid of Imoen A Hatchling Luck Be A Lady The Shades of Shadows EiriktheSkald The Story of Branwen and Eirik You are Fair, Branwen, So Fair... Garfield Recollections Turning the Last Page Grim Squeaker Danse Macabre IriaZenn Misery & Happiness Kendris The Hidden Bhaalspawn Sand and Water Loké After The End First BGII dark/fanfic Tormented BGII Megiltura The Thoughts of a Wanderer Menelanna Together at Last Noctalys Cinders and Rebirth Pen52 Choices Thieves Seifer Danse Macabre Threadspinner Beauty Tancred Professional Evil UUF GnomeBusters! How Mazzy Got Her Groove Back I Need A Turnip Naughty Bits: Part Deux
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