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  1. The topic title pretty much explains itself, that's the question I'd like to ask, since I saw mention of July in one of these previous posts, and since July has come and gone, I'm just curious...
  2. A tough one to write for. /* SoA Banters: Aran<>Tsujatha : What are you... : cmorgan */ CHAIN IF ~Global("c-aran1tsujatha","GLOBAL",0) InParty(Myself) !StateCheck(Myself,CD_STATE_NOTVALID) InParty("TSUJATH") InMyArea("TSUJATH") !StateCheck("TSUJATH",CD_STATE_NOTVALID) CombatCounter(0) !See([ENEMY])~ THEN C-ARANB c-aran1tsujathatalk ~[ARAN] What in th' nine hells are you? I never did see a Tel'Quessirim so tall. An' you don't rightly look natural.~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-aran1tsujatha","GLOBAL",1)~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] I am a necromancer. I do manipulate death. And this serves me well. It serves <CHARNAME> also.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] You blighted well know that be naught in th' way o' an answer. An' don't try that cold stare wi' me. I have seen th' worst o' death, an' I don't rightly scare easily.~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] Have you walked the planes, brought animation to the dead, and weilded the powers of a Prime?~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] Well, seein' as I don't rightly know what two out o' th' three o' those really mean, mayhap not.~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] You have much to learn, then, before you can truly fear me.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] You are a strange one, Tsjuatha. I don't know if havin' you around be a blessin' or damnation for us all.~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] I have embraced damnation with open arms--and open eyes.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] Well, I blighted well haven't.~ EXIT /* SoA Banters: Tsujatha<>Aran : Pride and Prejudice : cmorgan */ CHAIN IF ~Global("c-tsujatha1aran","GLOBAL",0) InParty(Myself) !StateCheck(Myself,CD_STATE_NOTVALID) InParty("TSUJATH") InMyArea("TSUJATH") !StateCheck("TSUJATH",CD_STATE_NOTVALID) CombatCounter(0) !See([ENEMY])~ THEN BTSUJAT c-tsujatha1arantalk ~[TSJUATHA] You are a sword for hire, and a commoner of this land, Master Whitehand?~ DO ~SetGlobal("c-tsujatha1aran","GLOBAL",1)~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] Sellsword, aye. Commoner, well... common enough. Mayhap there be a bit o' social distinction between us non-nobles around these parts, but th' adventurin' an' sellsword life pulls to th' bottom o' th' heap most times.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] Put it this way; a merchant's son you can bring home to th' family. A sellsword, well... you have a nice little affair, some kissin' an' sparkin' in th' bedchamber. Then you smarten up an' go find some nice boy o' th' settlin' down type to actually marry.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] What about you? Do they all be so dark an' nihilistic where you be from?~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] I was born the only son of an ancient and proud house, one of the noble houses amongst the Fair Elves. Before my second century I was Prince of the Golden Desert.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] I have naught in th' way o' experience talkin' wi' no Prince, let alone some sandy gold-lovin' plane-travelein' one. But I have had plenty o' experience dealin' wi' braggarts an' those what think they are superior.~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] (A smirk crosses his face at Aran's quaint phrasing, but his eyes are serious as he responds.)~ == BTSUJAT IF ~GlobalGT("NaliaTsujathaTalk","GLOBAL",1)~ THEN ~[TSUJATHA] I believe that I have said this to Mistress Nalia...~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] It would be best for your health if you gave up these assumptions. I am of higher birth than you are, but it hurts your pride to think so.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] Higher birth on account o' you bein' not from this plane, on account o' you bein' born an elf, on account o' your family's bloodline, or on account o' you bein' a wizard what studies death?~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] All four of these. And none of the four.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] Th' thing is, you talk a right fine game. You act an' look colder than death, mincin' about superiour to us poor blighted inhabitants o' this backwater plane. But you stay here, desperately pickin' fights an' pushin' at others around you so's to see yourself in th' reflections o' their conversations. So you want to live, that be sure, no matter how much you play wi' words n' shadow.~ == BTSUJAT ~[TSJUATHA] I would not recommend mocking those whose power exceeds your own.~ == C-ARANB ~[ARAN] It were naught in th' way o' mockery. An' there you go again, bein' all dark an' threatenin'. There be comfort an' strength in bein' part o' a group o' "lesser powers". I might not touch you one on one. But get a few o' my mates together, an' death magic or no, we'd balance you out right fine.~ EXIT This second one needs to be revisited. It is part of the way that Tsujatha is written that he is smarter, darker, wiser, and more angsty than anyone else in the party. He *always* wins, and other NPCs *always* admit he is right, albeit sometimes grudgingly. Even in the limited Crossmod Banter Project entries, NPCs discussing things with him are kind to him. Do I like this? No. Do I care deeply? No - this is fiction, and they are both toys. Do people like this? Yes - he is downloaded and played even today. SO... I should probably keep the banters in character with Tsujatha's character, and make sure he has a suitably dark comeback. I'll log it on the to-do list, after I have read more about him.
  3. As of 10/30/2010 Idea followups Ideas from PM from folks reading the forums, plus stuff I need to remember to recheck on throughout the mod to make sure that they are not single instances of "concept demo code', but actually integrated as part of the content in a way that makes sense and furthers the characterization. This could also be the "hey, make sure to check this list against current content and be organized about settling in and finishing the writing, so that the mod doesn not take another 5 years to actually get into player hands". FRIENDSHIP: Revisit interjection points in both SoA and ToB. Almost all are covered - double-check to see what is purposefully skipped, and log it. FRIENDSHIP: Current SoA 10 talks are fun, but probably need extension of at least 2 more to cover SoA. Canonical Bioware have far less - modern mods have as many as double that amount. No need to pad - but look for a topic/friendship discussion that makes sense to be having that might be fun to play around with. The current timing at 1 hour has 11 hours of playing before the friendtalk sequence is finished, and from then on, it is interjections, PID, quest/area related, and chapter-driven talks. Look for ways of having Aramn realistically engage in a discussion that avoids all the materials other mods have covered well, and in deatail - avoid the following: how did you get here? What are your feelings about being (potentially) a god? What was candlekeep like when you were a kid? why are you doing this? is Aerie sleeping with you now, or just leading you on? So, that Noober guy... does he have a sister, becuse she might be just my cup of tea... Gorion - daddy figure or kind uncle? Hey, those Shadow Thief outfits for the ladies... wow. Cool tattoos, and lots of skin. I wonder how they stay warm in winter... ...looking for fun, interesting, "friends chatting" stuff. May have to relook at StarGate:SG1, Buffy, SportsNight, Firefly, et. al, for inspiration. Need to avoid angsty pathos, as there will be some of hat at the end of the romance. And if I am playing with an NPC dude who is supposed to be watching my back as a friend, and he goes all gushy emo goth dark unhappy, well... I have no complaints about it. But when it comes time for combat, I'm like "hey, get a frackin' life. We have enough troubles - let's show this biatch how we do things downtown, and then we can go get you laid and improve your mood." FRIENDSHIP: Check timers and look for ways of making a bigger opportunity to save after a boattle if a talk has become active. This mod relies ofn replayability, but some folks play and experiment from saves. It won't help them if they can't save before a dialog, so they can try the different options. ALL AREAS; CODING SUGGESTION: Look for ways of accomplishing independent replies that are more writer-efficient. Sample schematics for inspiration: 1 interested 2 not interested 3 vamping, or teasing 4 aggressive 5 cruel/shutdown (may need one additional, of STFU) 1 interested/aggressive 2 teasing/seductive with or without any intention of following through 3 tender/shy 4 not interested 5 cruel Berelinde's "Benett Rubric" PC reply 1 (Lydia/Kitty): narcissistic, attempt to turn the conversation toward the PC PC reply 2 (Jane): all compassion PC reply 3 (Elisabeth): practical, full of advice PC reply 4 (Mary): inappropriate, sometimes wildly so PC reply 5: exit the dialogue FREINDSHIP AND ROMANCE: Recheck of action dialog sequences. Multiple sources, but Jastey put it best - ..(watch out for)...the amount of "tell PC what she is doing / feeling", as it is at the side of too much for my taste. ...not too fond of description texts that descripbe the whole action to the end without the PC having the chance to interact again. Check for places where I am not describing the setting/surroundings/physicality, but am trying to script a player's response to that description (unfortunately most of these are in adult land). Ideas from Berelinde to curb this on rewrites: limit Aran's lines to Aran's words or actions. If it has [ARAN] in front of it, you can only say what Aran is saying or doing. ...second way is to include a sense of delay... Preference is for the first, but in some instances I am going to have to follow the principle of "pc response is actually Aran acting, but player chooses his response. I need to go back and reread what went into Renal Bloodscalp and Sheri in RE to regain thsi - getting too much like a short story, and this is an interactive computer game. FRIENDSHIP AND ROMANCE: recheck for purple prose that turmns out to be more of a dirty yellow or green. KathStoneDog has the best examples to watch for similar "logic disjuncts" - IF ~~ a1111 I do not think I can do this. In fact, I know I can't. I should leave.~ + unfulfilledexitstate Again, it's her room! IF ~~ a1113 (Roll quickly on top of him, your hips questing to bring you both as close together as the cloth barrier allows.) OK! I'll admit ignorance. How do hips quest? Before this hits playtesting, center in on states and make sure that things like "eyes grab", "legs swallow", "nose searches". It is going to be hard enough for translators to deal with colloquialism (both FR and english) - no need to make them fight through purply oxymoronic descriptors that confuse and mix metaphor, too! FRIENDSHIP: Check for consitent application of the opportunities templated in dealing with events. Samples to follow up on - story pool IF ~~ a1671 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 a1674 IF ~Global("c-arandadtrade","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1675 IF ~Global("c-aranfistfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1676 IF ~Global("c-aranmoonfight","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1678 IF ~Global("c-arankravitchstory","LOCALS",0)~ GOTO a1677 IF ~Global("c-arankravitchstory","LOCALS",1) Global("c-arancarbonara","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",3)~ GOTO a1685 END + ~Gender(Player2,MALE) !Name("c-aran",Player2)~ + ~[PC] A joker, eh? Two can play that game. I have always wanted <PLAYER2> instead, but you will have to do...~ + a1844 + ~Gender(Player3,MALE) !Name("c-aran",Player2)~ + ~[PC] A joker, eh? Two can play that game. I have always wanted <PLAYER3> instead, but you will have to do...~ + a1844 + ~Gender(Player4,MALE) !Name("c-aran",Player2)~ + ~[PC] A joker, eh? Two can play that game. I have always wanted <PLAYER4> instead, but you will have to do...~ + a1844 + ~Gender(Player5,MALE) !Name("c-aran",Player2)~ + ~[PC] A joker, eh? Two can play that game. I have always wanted <PLAYER5> instead, but you will have to do...~ + a1844 + ~Gender(Player6,MALE) !Name("c-aran",Player2)~ + ~[PC] A joker, eh? Two can play that game. I have always wanted <PLAYER6> instead, but you will have to do...~ + a1844 Global("c-arangift","GLOBAL",1) -> 5 followup /* LEAT21 // Human Flesh +5 evil armor equipped complaints */ IF ~HasItemEquiped("LEAT21",Player1) Global("c-arskinarm","LOCALS",0)~ THEN GOTO a1799 IF ~HasItemEquiped("LEAT21",Player1) Global("c-arskinarm","LOCALS",1) GlobalTimerExpired("c-aranskin","GLOBAL")~ THEN GOTO a1798 IF ~HasItemEquiped("LEAT21",Player1) Global("c-arskinarm","LOCALS",2) GlobalTimerExpired("c-aranskin","GLOBAL")~ THEN GOTO a1797 Global("c-pcstalker","LOCALS",0) -> 5 SetGlobal("c-aranREinn","GLOBAL",1), moon, stars, etc. /* big not-followed-through thing: */ ++ ~[PC] I am not beautiful.~ DO ~IncrementGlobal("c-aranpc_nsc","LOCALS",1)~ + a289 OTHER MODS: Several sources, several suggestions made about holding off on adding more of the 'awareness of other mods" and materials, from a time and energy standoint - the suggestion I need to hold myself to is creation of as many of the vanilla NPC materials as i can manage with a single pass, with the understanding that I will be able to go back and add more to those CHAINs and such later. Sidecheck - RE responses. Most written and integrated; make sure all are appropriate to both non-romance and romance folks, and perhaps add one or two that are romance-specific (if teh romance or the pghysical side of hthings has progressed far enough). c.f. commentary built into "Stone heads and Stone Hearts" materials for folks who get the Fighter Stronghold, and side commentary to Chanelles materials if RE variables for her are set. ROMANCE: ...an attempt to play a character who was raised in a cloister and kept from the world who is now out-and-about within it, with all the terrors and overwhelming busyness, who has had no romance whatsoever in the vanilla BG to then have it suddenly, err, thrust upon her and to not have that acknowledged, seems a bit rough of a transition. Revisit and recheck "innocent" options. Some given, but not consistently - need to make sure Berelinde's Bennet Rubric gets a workout. I have found a bunch of states which *look* like they give tons of options, but they favor bold brassy and not shy introverted. Some people play Emma, some people play Buffy, some people play Guenevire, and some people play the ingenue (the lyric soprano part; cosette, etc.). I may be leaving out options to play the latter. ROMANCE: That thought leads me into my next suggestion of making it clear to the player where Aran's and the PC's relationship stands... ...I don't know if you are planning on Aran and the PC having one of the many "the talk" talks, but as a player it might be a useful dialogue to have. And considering the relationship may be more 'open' for the first while, another "the talk" about "we seem to be getting more serious" may be necessary for the player to know for certain what is going on. Recheck the progress of "check-in" talks, and make sure that I have not relied solely on PID and romance conflict talks to bring this up. Some of this is covered in regular talks and recations, but mame sure that while players can be as waffly and chaotic as they want, if they want to committ they can actually have that discussion, and set up the issue. Right now, the way I read it, the player who wants an on-again off-again romance can have it, but someone who wants him to settle down only has physical options. There is a lack of "the big C talk". That is a mistake that needs to be corrected. I suspect it was left on the cutting room floor early on, and no replacement was craeted - this is a serious loophole. FRIENDSHIP AND ROMANCE: recheck timing and stretching psychological imntimacy to cover most of the game - choice of crisis to be in SoA or ToB needs finalization and writing. Crosschek with other materials for coverage of BWP long, slow, completionist play vs. Speedrun play. Crosscheck for glaring inconsitencies between Friendtalk progression and lovetalk progression. FRIENDSHIP AND ROMANCE: timing and allowing more "silly/gentle/supportive" options. The checkpoint here is that players have plenty of options to tease, chide, or be mean to Aran. Need to check to amke sure that I don't consitently "gentle teasing" as a "good' option, therefore not allowing players who want to be supportive/loving to have options. ROMANCE: little people vs big people, and differing racial options for roleplaying, in a non-specific way. [ADULT REFERENT] ROMANCE: Adult Materials - roleplay options that allow/account for choice of chastity - roleplay options that reflect in other dialogs rather than ignoring them - concept of "action progression" that reflects in other materials, so that there is not a fierce disconnect. Idea to play with: c-aranfirstsex = 1 : self-identified no experience (no need to look for whether or not RE content, etc. is in play - leaves the option for play as a manipulative PC "Oh, I have never done this before" is something that could be said many many ways, including being the truth) c-aransex = 0 : no intimacy c-aransex = 1 : kissing c-aransex = 2 : touching c-aransex = 3 : heavy innuendo touching ("petting") c-aransex = 4 : full physical intimacy ToDo list for standard materials: revisit/rewrite ToB Banters. Write ToB friendtalks and lovetalks. determine crisis point for "big C" and place those final lovetalks (4 I think) in either SoA or ToB content. Tackle and finish/simplify adult materials in romance, and clone similar states into ToB. Finish Teldra's first and second quest materials and retest vs. current mini-quests. Look at how gender checks and wild surges interact, and determine feasibility of adding comedic/pathos with friend or romantic partner suddenly switching teams. investigate idea of the "single playthrough encounter", where a different encounter might be available based on .bcs evaluation of party composition, class, etc. So a bard PC might get something related to FR lore about bards, a cleric might get an 'opposte alignment' encounter... remembering the biggs comments on this, because creating one-off encounters like this may be prohibitively costly in terms of development and testing time versus the amout of time players get to see the content. Search all files for "capped off" states, where an idea that was more efficiently tied in to other content being developed in other files got forgotten/sidelined. Example: c-fidpcbath; c-arantalkstomuch, etc. Repair these states (hopefully) with links to existing content, or (if no option) into relevant templated states, so that players get more of the content on a single playthrough (and it doesn't take another year of tinkering closing off states like ~[PC] Hey! You never said you had visited Windspeare Hills before!~ + c-where_the_hell_was_i_going_with_this_idea). Build valid "tinker, tailor, spy" variants of the .cre file, and decide if the distribution will be one blank .cre copied and patched to match install cjoice, or four .cres valid for the chosen stat distribution. Decision already made on the "build your own at install" option - I am leaving full rebuilds to Level1 NPCs. 4 base stats configurations are fine - and the player already gets the choice left up to them as to when to dual-class. He will start with 7 levels of fighter, and then folks can dual-class him into whatever they like. The references to Class('c-aran",PALADIN_ALL) should cover the Level1 NPC-ing him into strange and wonderful new lifestyles... check with SHS big-world folks on the area insertion (currently replacing an info-trigger with an area travel trigger on the Promenade) for any possible conflicts. Journal entries. Journal entries. Damn it, Journal entries. Recheck and add. So far, there are very few. Recheck Petals&Thorns suggestions on romance to see how current materials measure up to their suggestions. Ad as necessary. Recheck 'bromance' materials for dudes who want a good friend, paying attention to potential opportunities like the Swordfight routine. Same encounter, but the boyz shoot hoops, while the girlz can move from shooting hoops to flirting a bit (or more). Integrate and recheck MoveToArea(), LeaveAreaLua(), and Wait at An Inn materials; finalize whether or not there will be any place besides Aran's custom inn where he can spawn.... or if I have to actually follow up on the thread about where to put him and allow him to spawn in a few different areas, as player choice.
  4. done [Q] Xan quest initiation error followup (should not need action, but just in case) http://forums.gibber...showtopic=23112 [A] Test installed and the quest initiation worked as expected (but then again it already did). Adding positional data via cutscreen is probably dangerous to do across platform and with BG:EE changes - it appears relatively bulletproof as coded. to do Repair of potential interrupted actions/spawning mishaps in Dynaheir Quest http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20596 Recheck Karris' script assignments and make sure Karris does not go hostile (check against SCS, SCSII, and BP) http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s...st&p=181515 Make block in Coran's de-charming more robust - probably either cutscene mode or set interrupt/noninterupt sequence http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s...st&p=175544 Strengthen/push docs and pinned forum post for difference between BGT and Tutu on Dy's final lovetalks, and for the zillionth time recheck LT 26/27 in reference to BGT. http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20649 Kivan/Faldorn Ankheg Quest vs. Gerde Quest on BGT repairs http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20878 On BGT, listed hiccups (check for Tutu equivalents): Journal Entry - "Rescue Dynaheir from the gnoll stronghold." - If you have both Minsc and Edwin in your party Minsc's journal entry isn't deleted when you rescue Dynaheir. http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20698 Journal Entry - Protect the Tree - make sure the JOURNAL entry is carried through with Xzar's interjection http://forums.gibber...showtopic=18691 Coran's Quest "Amelia" isn't removed from the Journal and nothing is created under Done Quests. http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20698 Andarthe getting killed before banter (no minhp1.itm) http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s...st&p=172164 Maretha in Jaheira's Quest spawning with "nothing to say" recheck on vars. http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s...st&p=178515 http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20740 Recheck Winski P and his encounter, and see when/to whom we are adding the Protection and possible scroll. http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20038 Repair nonexistent area resrefs for NI users to have less cruft in their checks. http://forums.gibber...showtopic=19610 Recheck and confirm BGUB and BG1NPC mutual (identical) repair of Coran's Wyverns http://www.shsforums.net/topic/43745-bug-c...post__p__472421 Update information and check against existing code, BG1NPC vs BG1UB as per Ascension64's work http://forums.gibber...showtopic=18979 Recheck Minsc's interjection into Thalantyr's dialog possibly blocking Journal entry updates http://forums.gibber...showtopic=18494 Tiax Quest bluff mismap, journal entry (may require a minor modification of 1 tra line, to add the name of the inn) http://forums.gibber...showtopic=18888 Recheck Seasnake timing code for Day/night appearance http://forums.gibber...showtopic=18855 Looks like a local problem, but recheck Kivan's reaction to Monty clobbering Sendai anyways: http://forums.gibber...showtopic=18859 Recheck SharTeel Romance incrementing block (internal and external threads) http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s...14430&st=15 http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?s...mp;#entry144515 notes Probably not fixable, but doublecheck: Xan Pinkification/Depinkificaton issue with custom portraits - see if there is a way to determine/read/copy/manipulate assigned portrait with some sort of overlay or something so PC doesn't end up with a shapeshifing Xan when Imoen Punks... errr Pinks him. http://forums.gibber...showtopic=20963 no action : not currently possible ingame to detect what custom portrait is assigned and swap in a copy that is "pinked' and then swap back to player's custom portrait. Save for GemRB implementation (and someone far smarter than I) . Side note - still not possible in BG:EE, as far as I can see. The trouble with player choice is that people... choose!
  5. Set up here with inlined just for reporting here - the related .baf is an independent file. CODE ACTION_IF FILE_EXISTS_IN_GAME ~ar6111.are~ THEN BEGIN // ToB dialog file COMPILE ~aranw/dialog/c-arantobdialog.d~ // USING ~aranw/dialog/%s/setup.tra~ /* ToB Scripts */ COMPILE ~aranw/baf/c-aranx.baf~ COMPILE ~aranw/baf/c-arn25.baf~ // USING ~aranw/dialog/%s/setup.tra~ /* Epilogues : Script */ <<<<<ar6200_epilog_ext.baf /* Epilogue: PC Refused Godhood, Low Rep, regardless of friendship or romance status */ IF Global("StartEndBios","AR6200",1) InPartyAllowDead("c-aran") !Global("PlayerChoseEssence","GLOBAL",1) ReputationLT(Player1,10) Global("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",0) THEN RESPONSE #100 SetGlobal("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",1) TextScreen("C-ARANE0") SmallWait(1) Continue() END /* PC Refused Godhood, Friendship */ IF Global("StartEndBios","AR6200",1) InPartyAllowDead("c-aran") ReputationGT(Player1,9) !Global("PlayerChoseEssence","GLOBAL",1) !Global("c-aranrom","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",0) THEN RESPONSE #100 SetGlobal("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",1) TextScreen("C-ARANE2") SmallWait(1) Continue() END /* PC Refused Godhood, Romance */ IF Global("StartEndBios","AR6200",1) InPartyAllowDead("c-aran") ReputationGT(Player1,9) !Global("PlayerChoseEssence","GLOBAL",1) Global("c-aranrom","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",0) THEN RESPONSE #100 SetGlobal("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",1) TextScreen("C-ARANE3") SmallWait(1) Continue() END /* PC Became God, Friendship */ IF Global("StartEndBios","AR6200",1) InPartyAllowDead("c-aran") ReputationGT(Player1,9) Global("PlayerChoseEssence","GLOBAL",1) !Global("c-aranrom","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",0) THEN RESPONSE #100 SetGlobal("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",1) TextScreen("C-ARANE2") SmallWait(1) Continue() END /* PC Accepted Godhood, Romance, Good or Neutral */ IF Global("StartEndBios","AR6200",1) InPartyAllowDead("c-aran") Global("PlayerChoseEssence","GLOBAL",1) !GlobalGT("PPEvilChoices","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranrom","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",0) THEN RESPONSE #100 SetGlobal("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",1) TextScreen("C-ARANE4") SmallWait(1) Continue() END /* PC Accepted Godhood, Romance, Evil */ IF Global("StartEndBios","AR6200",1) InPartyAllowDead("c-aran") Global("PlayerChoseEssence","GLOBAL",1) GlobalGT("PPEvilChoices","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranrom","GLOBAL",2) Global("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",0) THEN RESPONSE #100 SetGlobal("c-aranbio","GLOBAL",1) TextScreen("C-ARANE5") SmallWait(1) Continue() END >>>>> EXTEND_TOP ~AR6200.bcs~ ~aranw/baf/ar6200_epilog_ext.baf~ /* Epilogue 1: Low Rep, regardless of friendship or romance status */ COPY ~aranw/media/blankepilogue.2da~ ~override/C-ARANE0.2da~ REPLACE_TEXTUALLY ~PORTRAIT~ ~C-ARANWL~ REPLACE 99999 ~The years of following in <CHARNAME>'s shadow took their toll on Aran, though not a single instance of him complaining is recorded. After a time, he withdrew from <PRO_HISHER> side, claiming injury, and set out for the wild coast of Maztican. Rejoining the Flaming Fist there gave him one last brush with glory - his name still graces the List of Brotherhood in the Flaming Fist training facilities there. Discovering new love with a Cleric of Sune Firehair, his sons and daughters grew up listening to bard's tales of the adventures of <CHARNAME> and <PRO_HISHER> followers, but their persistence in trying to get Aran to speak of those days went unanswered. Of <CHARNAME> <PRO_HIMHER>self, Aran refused to speak.~ /* PC Refused Godhood, Friendship */ COPY ~aranw/media/blankepilogue.2da~ ~override/C-ARANE1.2da~ REPLACE_TEXTUALLY ~PORTRAIT~ ~C-ARANWL~ REPLACE 99999 ~There are few places in history for followers and companions, and Aran was no exception. He traveled the breadth and depth of Toril in service to <CHARNAME>, often dispatched to assist other companions and causes dear to <CHARNAME>'s heart. Discovering new love with a Cleric of Sune Firehair, his sons and daughters grew up listening to bard's tales of the adventures of <CHARNAME> and <PRO_HISHER> followers. As Aran tells it, the greatest moment in Aran's life came when his eldest daughter took up the way of the sword and pledged herself to <CHARNAME>'s protection. The second best moment was when his new wife finally managed to teach him to speak with correct pronunciation (though she never did erase his swearing completely).~ /* PC Became God, Friendship */ COPY ~aranw/media/blankepilogue.2da~ ~override/C-ARANE2.2da~ REPLACE_TEXTUALLY ~PORTRAIT~ ~C-ARANWL~ REPLACE 99999 ~There are few places in history for followers and companions, and Aran was no exception. He traveled the breadth and depth of Toril in service to <CHARNAME>, often dispatched to assist other companions and causes dear to <CHARNAME>'s heart. Discovering new love with a Cleric of Sune Firehair, his sons and daughters grew up listening to bard's tales of the adventures of <CHARNAME> and <PRO_HISHER> followers. Though he never claimed worship of <CHARNAME>, his children relate that the new oaths and blasphemies used when they did something particularly right or particularly wrong seemed to indicate he was profoundly aware of <CHARNAME>'s godhood.~ /* PC Refused Godhood, Romance */ COPY ~aranw/media/blankepilogue.2da~ ~override/C-ARANE3.2da~ REPLACE_TEXTUALLY ~PORTRAIT~ ~C-ARANWL~ REPLACE 99999 ~Aran's depth of devotion to <CHARNAME> continued to grow, serving for the following years without question or complaint. Though the histories never indicate precisely the nature of their romance, there is no question of his loyalty. His final act of devotion came giving up his life in order to protect her. There are no reliable sources, but bard's tales say that his last words were "Blighted hells, <CHARNAME>... did we have to come Planewalkin' here?"~ /* PC Accepted Godhood, Romance, Good or Neutral */ COPY ~aranw/media/blankepilogue.2da~ ~override/C-ARANE4.2da~ REPLACE_TEXTUALLY ~PORTRAIT~ ~C-ARANWL~ REPLACE 99999 ~Aran's depth of devotion to <CHARNAME> continued to grow, serving as Her right hand on Faerun. His constant work furthering her causes helped develop a respectable following, and his willingness to travel anywhere in Her name led others to regard him as some sort of high priest... a notion that often was dispelled in a barrage of blasphemy and cursing. As the histories recount, his last days on this mortal plane were spent comfortably on Evermeet, attempting to arrange a joint project between the followers of <CHARNAME> and Hanali Celanil's Order of the Ruby Rose to commemorate what would have been <CHARNAME>'s eightieth mortal birth-day celebration.~ /* PC Accepted Godhood, Romance, Evil */ COPY ~aranw/media/blankepilogue.2da~ ~override/C-ARANE5.2da~ REPLACE_TEXTUALLY ~PORTRAIT~ ~C-ARANWL~ REPLACE 99999 ~Aran's depth of devotion to <CHARNAME> continued to grow, serving for the following years without question or complaint. His constant work furthering her causes eventually corrupted him completely, though later writings indicate growing fear and desolation as his mortality left him increasingly unable to serve <CHARNAME> in the manner she wished. It is a mark of their love that when a Paladin of Helm finally ended Aran's life, <CHARNAME> herself personally blasted the woman into nothingness, causing a minor skirmish in the wars of the gods.~ END /* of ToB installation */
  6. Well, he pretty much works - there are several things still to do, but he appears pretty much playable. Every once in awhile, he says "PLACEHOLDER", which is jarring, but hey, the boy was literally born yesterday. (OK, so he is a few years old, but *you* try being a fictional character added to a fantasy game.) Successful integration of most adult materials into general files. So, if you poke, expect to run across some stuff that you might find offensive. Think bad fanfic sex with a decidedly "purple prose" approach. That turned out to be over a year of work just figuring it out - I highly recommend thinking several times before doing much besides "fade to black". Trying to implement player choice without dictating in something as subjective as that? Murder. One sacrificial pre-alpha tester reported problems with weighting in inns, still backtracking. Still to integrate and rework before beta test release: "Send him on to another place" materials need coordinates and coding to actually move him. bath in an inn romance materials (currently marked PLACEHOLDER) several swimming pathways, both male and female, are chopped off short. Quest materials and dialog for Teldra the Recruiter Revamp and integration of adult materials (the "booty call" PID stuff) into ToB ToB friend talks (still on the drawing board - may be very short (3) for the initial beta release.) Definitely not yet under control = marking all pathways with appropriate c-aranintimate registration - right now, there are plenty of places where you can kiss the lad (or do a heckuvu lot more) and it doesn't register to influence other talks. Stuff to ask Beta testers to do when the beta is available: Pathway Check - as a male PC, is there any place where a gender check has been missed, and suddenly a male PC has Aran's hand exploring his pert breasts? As a female PC, is there any place in the friendship talks where there should be options for the female PC to swing the conversation into a flirtation/lovetalk? When does the Girdle of gender-Bender not get checked for and his reaction modified? Female PCs - is there any place where he goes from 0 to 60mph in less than two lines, unasked? [PC] "Heya. How are things" > [ARAN] (His rough cheek presses close to yours.) This is a real concern with ESL, too. Subtlety and language play does not always translate well. Pre-tester reported a good "negative" - some of the wordy back-and-forth banters are too much where they are leading into action with an NPC. Many of them could be controlled for player enjoyment by adding PC responses to the initial Aran statement, so when he gets rolling with several NPCs PC could just say "TO BATTLE!" and the rest of the sequence would be dropped. That would match the "silencer" action of PID. In Adult-Land, the creation of having many different encounters and trying to make them unique used randomness extensively. Are there pathways that have ended up missing the opportunity to just hold hands? just kiss? Say "no"? Vamp him? Jump his bones? Tell him to f*** off? In Friendship-Land, does he react well enough to conditions to maintain interest for PC? Some ideas that will need to wait until after beta release; Traification will help cut codebloat/size dramatically, especially as I will be using the same master ,tra file for SoA and ToB. And help with spellchecking. But I am still tinkering, and don't want to mess with .tra yet. ToB Romance Pathway. I scrapped the whole run, and am starting over. It was all angst, no fun. Life is too short to be constantly depressed. So much detail, yet so many things that could be extended... the problem with being a hack amateur writer is there is no real edit/revision in the proper sense. Less is often more, but here, more is more and more and more.... luckily, I only have myself to please All those ideas about using the new inn as adventure initiation need to be set aside for a bit. resolution talks for romance in SoA (right now there are the standard Tree of life, but I haven't tackled the big "R Y T 1" finale. has to happen before beta, but will definitely need to be revised after feedback. Currently, when you ask him about the relationship, the player can create "revisionist history", changing the variables. This probably will stay in for the beta, so that when a playtester finds something that loops or doesn't like the way things are going, they have an additional way of changing stuff to new settings without using the console. So, backup of current dialog files, decompiled via DLTCEP/WeiDU for troubleshooting/recheck, as of 08.28.2011 deprecated - please follow on www.github.com Notes to file under "never do this" - or at least recheck 1. WeiDU "unterminated comment" is the most frustrating thing ever to recheck - and it is not WeiDU's fault. It is entirely PEBCAK. I have started using both JEdit and NotePad++ auto-completion to make sure ( has ), [ has ], and most of all, there is no /* /* */ */ One useful regexp I found was \/\*.+\/\* very useful for finding where block commenting as taken a turn for the bizzare. I have given up on single line // commenting, finding it too easy for my non-programmer brain to forget that a newline in there is a PITA. 2. I like the use of a simple standard numbering of added states, a.k.a. a1 to a3799, but when working with multiple files make sure you have a master list that you keep up to date. That way you don't end up with a mess when you go back and mass-replace HAVE_A_NEW_BRANCH with a3500, only to find out the master number is already at a3770. With my memory challenges, the conversion serves as a re-check for pathway, making sure that a3770 is actually matching conversational flow, but that only works when you are very careful with your record-keeping. Of course, most NPCs don't require this level of OCD, as weidu accepts MY_YOU_LOOK_GOOD as a state label. In Aran, though, I'd be very likely to write that as a state label multiple times in multiple places. 3. I am now a big fan of the "compile early and often". It has been hard with Aran, as there are so many places where dialog is crosslinked. But I seriously am happy with WeiDU and DLTCEP compilation after every blasted added talk, if necessary, even if it is probably not needed. + +, missing tildes, ~~~, etc. all can be searched and fixed in a good programmer's editor, but something always seems to make it through that process. Nothing more frustrating than having a file that compiles, another file that compiles, merging them into a master file, and then having "unterminated comment" be the bane of your existence for a 4 hour modding session...
  7. So, what is this "beta" thing? Officially, a "beta" is a version that has most of the good stuff already in place. According to wikipedia, "Open betas serve the dual purpose of demonstrating a product to potential consumers, and testing among an extremely wide user base likely to bring to light obscure errors that a much smaller testing team may not find." In this case, with the exception of the adult materials in the female romance portion, most of the content prior to tweaking/installation is already on the forums. There are some surprises, too, as installation and pre-alpha and alpha testing sometimes showed places where some tweaking needed to happen. BUT - I am releasing this as a check-up on how successful the code on the forums translates to actual play. The best dreams sometimes don't translate well into reality, and that is what we are going to find out here. What is missing? The major SoA quest is still under construction, and is not implemented. ToB has content, but very few LTs or FT's, and no banters (They stank - I'm redoing them). The LT sequence gets you up close to the Big Question, then drops you cold - there are several ways to make this a successful arc, and I am seeking feedback from the beta test before adding (writing) the final talks. Some of the swimming and bathing responses, both male and female, are currently marked with PLACEHOLDER while I track down better ways of entertaining more by saying less. So, what is in? Rough creature voicing and music for talks. Most of the SoA FT series. Most of the SoA LT series. Flirts, both PC and NPC initiated. (Hundreds. Literally hundreds. Randomized and stratified by your romance level.) Interjections. Lots of them. And the ability to tell him to shut up if he gets too mouthy. SoA Banters with all BioWare Canonical NPCs. Scroll creation. Moonlit Swordfights, male or female. Seduction, and a huge interactive tree of potential nookie in various forms (hopefully only found in female PCs without the girdle of gender-bender). Easter Eggs. The "click on me multiple times and something new probably happens at least twice, and often up to 5 or more times for the same worded reply" kind, not the one that hangs out with chocolate bunnies (Nythrun, i miss you!). Multiple replies to the same question both over time and dependent on area, time, friendship progression and/or lovetalk progression, or just plain asking him for advice in each and every area of SoA and ToB. Sometimes multiple times. Really, a huge amount of the content is PID-driven. A new inn with several interacting characters, and a minor quest if you keep on going back and talking to the bartender. Stories of war, love, and otherwise. Colorful and inventive swearing at inopportune moments. Flexible customization of Aran's stats/role, equipment, etc. ToB includes summoning, unsummoning, and sending him to an inn. You can even send him to Hell. Well, your little pocket corner of it, unless you are killing the dude. I think you can even send him "home" to Amn, though he'd sy home is wherever you are. ToB includes the "important" canonical talks; SoA the same (Tree of Life, Wraith Talk, Etc., Etc.) SoA includes sending him along to somewhere else, or having him stay put where you leave him - without breaking the romance, if you are so inclined. Watcher's Keep materials on both SoA and ToB. Awareness of several mod-added NPCs, whether in dialog or when they try to initiate PID with him instead of PC doing the initiating. Even some awareness and use of kit materials if you add the AranAware sub-mod at the end of your installation. Drunk talks. Multiple. Get him drunk once or twice, perhaps even three times. That is, if you can stand the belching. An occasional odd talk out of the blue, or green, or dark, whatever your current sky looks like. What if I really don't want to read bad purple-prose amateur crappy fanfic 'erotic' depictions? Don't play as a female. Or, play as a female, and shut him down when he tries to flirt - don't romance him. While every step of the romancing talks has exits and "just friends" and such, one of the goals of the beta is to discover places where you expect Aran to hold hands like a good little boy, and instead he starts taking his clothes of (or worse, starts trying to take yours off). That, and letting cmorgan know when the depiction just plain sounds as fun as watching paint dry. The standard lovetalks and flirts are not going to get you into heavy territory unless you have asked to go there through your replies, at least supposedly. The PID is the biggest access point, so if you flirt with him a lot or if you ask him to step around the corner with you, expect that he will have busy hands and a lecherous intent. Of course, you can always say no... sometimes he might get mad and go off in a snit for a day or so, and then you get to have a little spat. Or apologize to him. Or make him apologize to you. But it is darned hard to get through his thick skin enough that he drops the whole thing. Why should I try this out and risk a bug messing up my game? It is darned unlikely that there is a game-breaking bug. That was for the pre-alpha and alpha testing. The most likely scenario is some kind of weighting in an install with other mods, and a worst case scenario might be just kicking him out of the party; the good news with Aran in Beta-Land is that he comes with a PID that allows you to literally change history and reset globals by just talking to him. Running into an annoying stutter in a lovetalk? Break up with him. In a friend talk? Kick him out. Plus, I have a troubleshooting mod ready to go that the bigg came up with and berelinde pioneered, which proved extremely successful at tracking stuff in Gavin. But why try him out now? Well, primarily, feedback. If you see stuff that is just no fun, you get to suggest changes and watch me implement them if I can. Worst-case scenario, you tell him to shut up, and you have a relatively quiet configurable Dual-Classable that can create scrolls. Why would I not want to install this, but wait for the full release? Oh, thousands of reasons. Mod development can break games accidentally, though this one is unlikely to. And installing this on a BWP, well, it has never been done, so... who knows what will really happen? You could not be thrilled with the writing you see on the forums, or decide he isn't worth the hassle of seeing an occasional line where he just says "PLACEHOLDER" or "Blighted hells. Got naught to say. Must be a writer's strike." That can spoil the immersion for some folks - Shed's mods used this idea, and I like it, but not everyone does. You could be happier playing a finished product, and have the patience to wait at least 6 months (probably more realistically 9, or even a full year at next G3 Anniversary) for other people to wade through oddities like "Hey, I said I wanted Aran to kiss me, and he jumped into the sack and had his way with me, and then in the next dialog said he would love to explore more than just a kiss someday... yuch!" and for me to fix them. You could be a happy lurker who is not really into giving feedback, and not want to waste your gaming time when you could be running an All Elven Retrospective Party, with Haldimir, Kivan, Xan, Coran, PC, and Jaheira. (This is a legitimate excuse. For me, it is the ever-wished-for-but-never-attempted Aerie-Imoen-Jaheira-Saerileth-Tashia-PCPaladin runthrough, with multi-romance edits and reverse-engineering of the shutdowns. I am going to try that someday, just so I can write a girl's-gone-wild conflict banter and the ultimate juvenile male fantasy sequence.) You could be so hooked on the upcoming Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim that you just have to read the pre-release info every day instead of trying out a beta f a mod (f course, just remember that when ME3 hits the shelves, this boy right here is going to be definitely unavailable for a few days...) Where can I see if you are actually doing any work, instead of sitting back and watching me mess about? The forums, and actual integration of changes into the master copy at https://github.com/cmorganbg/Aran-Whitehand . Hey - I'm serious. If I just want to know what FriendTalks and Lovetalks are in, why won't you just list them? Here you go: SoA Talkity-talk Talks /* BG2 FriendTalk 1 c-aranfriendbg2 = 1 : Not Just Another Quasi-Invincible Band Of Protagonists */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 2 c-aranfriendbg2 = 3 : "My Pal the Shield Wall", or, merits of Heavy Metal (Whitesnake) vs Alternative (Feist) */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 3 c-aranfriendbg2 = 5 : "The Price of Fame", or, Whoa - *that* <CHARNAME>? Sux to be you, pal. */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 4 c-aranfriendbg2 = 7 : Mongo But Pawn In Great Chess Game of Life? */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 5 c-aranfriendbg2 = 9 : "Irresistible Forces and Immovable Objects", or, is the pen really mightier than the sword, or does he just have a better PR firm? */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 6 c-aranfriendbg2 = 11 : "Creative Culinary Conundrums", or, Whaddaya like to eat, 'cause I make this mean curry... */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 7 c-aranfriendbg2 = 13 : "Alternate Paths to Sun Tsu", or, tactics are fun, but sometimes you just gotta whack 'em. */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 8 c-aranfriendbg2 = 15 : "Warning - Objects Are Closer Than They Appear", or, why you want to check carefully behind your target area before firing that arrow. */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 9 c-aranfriendbg2 = 17 : "Bhallspawn, Shmallspawn. Meh.", or, Gods and Monsters. */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 10 c-aranfriendbg2 = 19 : "Weapons Practice for Fun and Profit", or, never bet with a Sicilian when death is on the line. */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 11 c-aranfriendbg2 = 21 : "Optimists, Pessimists, and Realists, Oh My.", or, the glass is half full, half empty, who cares - as long as it is a glass of good scotch! */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 12 c-aranfriendbg2 = 23 : "What's under all that Armor, Anyways?", or, take it all off, baby - take it all off. Emotionally, dude[ette] - jeeze, get a life. */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 13 c-aranfriendbg2 = 25 : "So once there were three men, sitting around a fire. And one of them got up and said..." TrailTalk, FR style */ /* BG2 FriendTalk 14 c-aranfriendbg2 = 27 : Bonus Round - Simple Word States, Maximum Effect: The Teacher's Workroom. */ FT 10 sets up a "shoot hoops FR-style" for Male PCs (no way of turning it into a romance) and a "moonlit sparring" encounter for female PC's (can end up having a flig with him even if not in a romance, or simply fight him for fun). This is added "scenery' content, and does not reset the FT timer. Perhaps is should? Separate UnderDark Talks: /* SoA UnderDark FriendTalk 1 : Nightmares on Elm Street */ /* SoA UnderDark FriendTalk 2 : Moving Bowels */ /* SoA UnderDark FriendTalk 3 : Don't Look Now, but your Isaiah 2:19 is showing... */ /* SoA UnderDark FriendTalk 4 : Weather forecast for tonight... dark. (George Carlin) */ /* SoA UnderDark FriendTalk 5 : "I believe that forgiving them is God's function. Our job is to arrange the meeting." ("Stormin'" Norman Schwarzkopf)*/ at the 30 minute timer, talks cover 7 hours of SoA outside of underdark and 2 hours 30 minutes in underdark. at the 60 (default), of course, 14 hours outside and 5 hours drow-ing. For the female PC, these play out as well if the PC doesn't shut down the romance: /* BG2 Love Talk 1 : Mary Chapin Carpenter - I Take My Chances : c-aranbg2rom = 1 > 2 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 2 : Dixie Chicks, Ready To Run : c-aranbg2rom = 3 > 4 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 3 : Queen - Somebody To Love, A No-Talk Lovetalk - or an extended Aran-Initiated Flirting Opportunity : c-aranbg2rom = 5 > 6 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 4 : ABBA - Name of the Game : c-aranbg2rom = 7 > 8 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 5 : Billy Joel - You may be Right/We Didn't Start The Fire mixology : c-aranrombg2 = 9 > 10 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 6 : ABBA - Take A Chance On Me : c-aranrombg2 = 11 > 12 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 7 : I want you - do you want me? : c-aranrombg2 = 13 > 14 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ /* BG2 Love Talk 8 : Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic : c-aranrombg2 = 15 > 16 c-aranromtimer,ARAN_LTT */ Need to finish romance arc for SoA; with the huge, way-over the top flirting possibilities, the occasional non-sequential scenery talks, the interjections, and the banters, it is a darned good thing much of that can be shut off via PID. The adult materials (including extensions to the streams, baths, garden, Inn, the "booty call through PID in a romance" and "the Romantic Encounters sparked from PC response in FT or LT") are almost finished, though it has been draft after draft and I'm less than thrilled - but hey, I wanted a challenge.
  8. Getting the subquest from Orin started requires multiple (7, I think) conversations before he feels comfortable giving the quest. I will need to recheck if that means Aran must be in the party each time, or only on the seventh time. Non-quest-giving characters all have at least 5 different random dialogs. But random numbers can roll 1,1,1,1,1... Same for Aran and non-quest character interactions. They will not trigger every time. The idea was to reward making the bar a 'home' for awhile. In the current alpha, Teldra has no conversation. (Becasue her quest area and relevant sub-characters are not done yet.) So Orrin points to her, Erika points to her, but she won't talk. Probable bug; while each character's PID tailored responses work fine, but for both male and female players, PID triggers the first friendtalk/interest talk. Either the initial timer is still on testing (10) or something else is going on. Several talks need smoothing out from the 'flippant' PC responses. For some reason, both "day" and "night" city PID responses show up at the same time. Need to recheck. Some PID responses have up to 5 random responses, some only have one possible. Not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, there isn't much to say in many places. on the other hand, if I am rewarding multiple passes at the same question in one area, but making a person read the same thing at least 4 times in another, meh. PID list for female PCs is too long. 17 or so responses in some areas. I may need to sub-menu them down.
  9. OK, a quest. Or quests. Or something that Aran brings to the table in terms of gently adding to the story or fleshing it out, without hijacking the plot. Does he need one? No, not really. There are lots of NPCs out there that are useful additions that carry no real plot beyond a copy of traditional themes, shadowing in-game ideas of betrayal, love, conquest, good versus evil, rescuing Boo, cooking Boo over an open fire, Slaying The Evil Ones And Gaining The Gratitude Of The Gods™ (all rights reserved, MGM Studios, 1929). We have NPCs that add no quest content at all. We have intricate plotlines like Beyond The Law that seek both entertainment and some social tweaking/thinking, controlling single-viewpoint storytelling quests like Saerileth, open character-building plotlines/encounters like Keto's quest, and a whole ton of romantic plots that can entertain a player. So, what could we possibly add to this mix that does not already exist in some form or fashion, and fits Aran? He is not Chloe or other god-children, or Sheena the half-dragon, Kivan of dark and sad twisted fate, or even Nalia who is at least a Noble and should darned well expect some quest-like content cropping up. I mean, really - running a darned fiefdom is no picnic in the Realms - and she has to deal with <CHARNAME>> to boot. So what is it that Aran brings to the party? He is supposed to be, well, normal. Or as normal as Faerun really gets, anyways. Kind of that gruff travelling trader/fighter/scribe type, a Have Gun Will Travel, only not so much into the Lone Gunman role... the guys that are one step behind John Wayne (OK, so perhaps Ms. Jonie Wayne, since the protagonist can be male or female) in the 5th Cavalry Charge. You know. The one who takes the bullet for our hero, or hands our hero the extra ammo, or holds his horse - bit actor parts at best. No secret angsty famly to save - his sister is a mage off in Waterdeep, and his family has all retired from trading oster work. No roots put down, so no former girlfriend to rescue - a hint of slaver work that he detested and decided against doing ever again, lots of mercenary battles, some study with itenerant scholars - a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Hmmm. Perhaps what Aran needs is not a Quest, but an Anti-Quest. Or a series of them. Traditionally, Quests are fun diversions. After all, we know the main plotline, and unlike Morrowind, you really can't ignore it successfully forever without simply abandoning your game and starting over (a nasty habit, that. I am opening my own chapter of "BG2 Plot-Restarters Anonymous", if anyone else wants to join. Anonymously, of course. To join, simply do not send me an email and never admit you joined to anyone, and voila - you are in). Some folks want tons of 'em. Some want specific ones. Most NPC quests require the NPC to actually be there, or involve her being kidnapped and having to be rescued, etc. But the predominant characteristic of BG2 NPC quests is that they seem to be attempts to play up the character in a situatiion that fleshes out thier backstory and provides a glimpse of what the mod maker though would be really cool for the NPC to do (or the PC to do to/for the NPC). This is to be expected - basically, it is the CRPG equivalent of literary sub-plots, which can enlighten and entertain while forwarding or obscuring the story, however the story works. C-3PO and R2D2 were just oddities in the first Star Wars movies - it wasn't until we saw the whole sequence unfold or read the books that we began to find out how deeply enmeshed in the action two little plot-device/comic-relief 'droids actually complete a nice little subplot and tie stories together, providing a thread to follow that enriches the whole. The best example of this device in TV Sci-Fi that I can think of is Babylon 5, which was a masterful use of entire story-arcs built entirely out of "sub-plots" - until the series writers twisted them into a rope that really became one big story. It is so important to us players/readers, that entire genres of fiction are based not on primary or secondary characters in the Forgotten Realms / Star Trek Universe / Honorverse / BuffyVerse / whatever - we create entirely new characters to live and breath in those worlds, interacting with those worlds. the paperback sci-fi/fantasy section of our local bookstore shows us that there is a large market for stories that expand or reinforce the playground universe of WarHammer, or Star Wars, or Dragonlance, or Forgotton Realms. We are either incredibly creative, or incredibly out of touch with day to day survival. Not that I care - I have a Morrowind game, BG2 game, Tutu game, and a good CoH RTS going, so don't talk to me about day to day survival unless you can tell me how to find more Ash Yams so I can punch up my Alchemy Skill and enhance my intelligence so that I can create better potions using Ash Yams. Or perhaps explain why I just can't seem to make my Rangers take Hill 101 by the timed deadline for the combat medal... so far, 9 tries, 9 failures. Bleh! Plotting Quests DM-ing by the anti-numbers In my book, good DMs provide four things every single time: a goal, a conflict or consequence of failing to attain the goal, an adversary or obstacle to overcome, and finally - plot points. For DM'ing, plot points are pretty similar to the screenplay/writer/author/novelist idea, in that they are a point at which the plot can pivot or change direction unexpectedly, or even cease to be important as a new direction is revealed. There are lots of folks who actually study this kind of thing, so if you are one, awesome - good luck on your next book, and I honestly hope you have success. Luckily, I have a paying gig and have no aspirations of being a real author (I starved and scraped and did enough things that I am ashamed of being a musician, thank you very much - I don't relish repeating it in yet another career that chews creative people up and spits them out without much regard for things like, say, a reasonable income. Or sleep. Or even food.) I am stealing the phrase 'plot point' and applying it in a personal way, so if you have already read the latest greatest "How To Write The Next Great Original American Novel In Twenty Days™" or just came back from a writer's seminar at Harvard (better yet Bennington or Oxford or Cambridge, because they have real writers there) way cool - go write that damned novel and let a musician misuse terminology. For my purpose, I am going to say that a plot point is the point where the players can completely and utterly screw up their DM. In a novel or screenplay, the author has a story (or stories) and the reader follows the story (or dumps the book at the next train station to inflict in on some poor unsuspecting soul who just needed to pass the time). The difference in really awesome DM'ing is that each one of the critical points of the story, the part where the author drives the story forward or teases the reader by tossing new light on the matter or whatever - the element of choice creeps in. A group of players doesn't "know" the story, so they can't make the "right choice". And that is really, really fun. It can lead literally anywhere, for any reason, and usually in the manner least expected. For example, the classic plotpoint, meeting the Lich who will give the quest to our party of intrepid adventurers. Deus Ex Machina is nice, but a little goes a long way. And having a quest forced on you just plain stinks, in my book - though I understand that for some NPCs, the modder feels that the characterization makes it an all or nothing proposition. Although she is not alone in the modding world in this regard, she is one of the absolutely classic examples of "directional"storytelling, Saerileth again springs to mind - one story, strong character, definite "yes" and "no" answers, and that means less player choice. You go through the story, but in order to fit Saerileth in the party, you go through *her* story. I actually am ok with that story, but Aran is the antithesis of "thou shalt do this or thy evilness shalt rip my teenage heart in two and I shall die of the pain thou hast caus-ed mine own". He would be more like Now, how much choice can we accomplish in the i.e. engine? lots. Tons. WAY TOO MUCH. Because although the concept of a freeform awesome DM'ing of player choice, you need to create your own game. We have Limitations™. There are Canonical Rules™. There is also the little teeeeeny consideration that the darned quest would never be finished if every single major point had a measly 5 choices, and their points had 5 choices, and so on, and so on (I hope Prell doesn't sue me for stealing their commercial). For that, you need real people, so you need a PbP or a gaming group, or an online group of some kind. For BG2, you have to draw some limits. Let's see what we might need to do to limit Aran. Has to be Faerunian, even if it isn't completely Old Skool Canonical Treatment. Should fit 2E rules and expectations, probably should reference correct timeline (even though they kind of screwed that up a bit in the game - fans are notoriously more picky about that than the original authors in almost every setting, except perhaps Tolkein Himself.) Has to take place in chapter 2 or 6, because we didn't make Aran a Drow or a pirate, or set him up with a backstory that puts him in Saradush somehow. And that is a pretty crowded set of chapters, let me tell you. Has to try to not spoil the main plot with info too early, and yet have some attraction to being done/accomplished that makes sense to the PC (no pulling a sword from a stone to become the next King Of Amn, and no suddenly discovering that Aran is actually Elminster's First Cousin and Future Ruler of a Moonshea Isle... it really needs to follow the goals of the PC, not Aran. Bit part, remember? Must be Equity, but not command a star billing and salary...) OK, some minimal stuff - what does that leave us with? How about a quick brainstorm. What would a JOAT (Stainless Steel Rat, a great story, go read it) do when hired by a Bhaalspawn bent on Saving/Dominating The World? After all, he is Pinky to <CHARNAME> The Brain.... GOALS: Help The BhaalSpawn Succeed. Potential plots that might fit that goal: gather information on OBE's (Other Bhaalspawn Enemies) (if you are British, you get it...) find scrolls of power or a secret cache of gold/items that could help the PC (Pirate Gold, ARrrrrrr....) arrange mercenary work for money using contacts (Conquerers For rent. Reasonable Rates. No Dragons. Apply within.) build a man from scrap parts labled "Abbey... abby something - abby-normal" and bring him back to life (Hey, how did Young Frankenstien get in here? Commonplace occurrence in FR, so scrap this one!) discover plot against PC by local authorities scared of the Prophecy and resulting business losses (Leave the guns. Take the canolis.) CONSEQUENCE/CONFLICT: Tasks Distracting From Main Goal. mercenary network of information can work for or against the merc - what happens when you are in the posse of the Notorious BiG (Bhallspawn Interest Group) and someone has hired your former friends and acquaintences to "detain and question" said BiG, for, say, perhaps... - the rulers of Waterdeep, who might want to see what is going on and see if this is a Good witch, or a Bad witch? (ok, or warlock, but you get the idea) - the followers of Ilmater/Cyric/Corelon/etc. who want to help/hurt a being who is rumored (correctly or incorrectly) to have chosen sides in the religious conflict rebrewing? There are other forces interested in the outcome, after all. - payment of taxes or service requirements by the local lords? The Cowled ones aren't the only game in Amn, and the Roenalls are not the only nobles by any means. Court intrigue might help here. Written communication is cool, but can spread information the wrong way, too. What happens if Aran's journal falls into the wrong hands, and Irenicus finds additional chinks in PC's armour - sending a bribery attempt against the party, with a loyalty check on participants (Korgan takes the cash no problem, Minsc squishes the messenger...) A mercenary's life is a hard one. What happens when PC finds himself accused of warcrimes against "innocent, law abiding" patrols that ambushed the party, like every time I try to go from point to point in the darned city? Especially when Aran is found to be wanted by the Crimson Tower for 'spying' during the Iron Throne conflict? negotiation is not Aran's strong point. There is a great Padme quote about this - something about negotiations - ah, Google is my friend; Anakin: You call this a diplomatic Solution? Padme: No, I call it an aggressive negotiation. So what happens when a guy can get you a job, but gets in over his head, and PC has to choose between breaking the contract or fulfilling it - better yet, what happens when you take the contract and find out there is*no* good guy present, and Aran's answer is "To hell wi' th' contract, anyways. I never did like that murderin' son o' a bitch, beggin' pardon to dogs everywhere. I says we kill em' all, an' let Kelemvor sort out what bastard gets sent to what hell." ADVERSARY/OBSTACLES well, on this one, it really depends on what form of goal and consequence/conflict we lay down. One sample scenario: > Aran gets job offer for group to negotiate peace between some nobles for some traders. > group finds out "traders" are really agents sent to test PC and gather info for other bhallspawn, or for Irenicus, or for some other political entity > peace must be negotiated or resolved through any number of means, from a game of chess through to personal challenges/champions, to perhaps the regular way (bug group battle, save, reload, try again). Well, that is the brainstorm - no answers yet, just floating out ideas. The "non-required-yet-fun-to-accomplish-subplot-for-normal-mercenary-faerunian-sellswords-that-builds-up-PC-and-fills-in-backstory" quest or mini-quests. An interesting uzzle. Help yourself to a brainstorm, if you like. When something moves along into focus, we can come back to actual plot points, and see how we can make the quest be one of those 'replayable because I actually have real choices' quests.
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