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illegal abilities on NPCs - how do you feel about them?

245

Comments

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    elminster said:

    Those abilities are cool, they make NPCs more unique. But, I don't like them, when they are making an NPC too strong. For example, It is cool for Edwin to have a one more spell per level, but having two is just too much. And he doesn't have any weakness that could make up for this.

    Imoen and Nalia both have better health and much better dexterity. Jan gets much better saving throws and more versatility. Like Aerie Edwin's weakness is his squishiness without protection spells. I think Edwin is actually fairly well balanced.
    Yeah, boy is Jan more versatile. he is my main lock picker and trap remover and scout, and when he isn't doing all of that stuff, he is pretty handy at spell protection removal and supplementary ranged damage dealing (either via the Xbow or spells). couldn't ask for more.

    Yeah, Edwin has more spells. but i agree that he is pretty much on balance with other party members.

    elminsterJuliusBorisov
  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,702
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong
    Not to mention use of bows :D

    Not going to cast spells all of the time, eh? :3

    elminsterSCARY_WIZARDJuliusBorisov
  • EntropyXIIEntropyXII Member Posts: 656
    No - NPCs shouldn't have any abilities that I can't have with my character
    No, i'm not a fan. CHARNAME is CHARNAME. Child of Bhaal. The protagonist. It makes sense that he/she should get powers other don't. It would make sense that they would be more powerful than others. It irks me to no end that Coran has 3* in longbows. It also annoys me that Haer'Dalis has 2* in short swords. No matter what I do, if I do it legally - if I play a Blade or a Fighter/thief my Blade or Fighter/thief will never be as good as those two (admittedly this is made up by the inclusion of the Archer in BG:EE). I do not mind too much about Edwin and his super necklace, because it is a magical item.

    I just feel there is perhaps a little TOO much emphasis on the power of NPC's. Like they were one of the dev's PnP characters in ages past and they wanted them too be as cool as possible.

  • Dragonfolk2000Dragonfolk2000 Member Posts: 342
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    I would be alright with characters having special or unique abilities that no one else has if it adds to the story or to the metagame (preferably both). Some abilities should have a build in balancing feature (such as Baeloth only having one ring slot or Edwin not having a useable necklace slot).

    Charname is the main character and already gains certain 'abilities' and 'privilages' as a result. Charname is the only character that is transferrable between save files and between BG1 to BG2 (and thus could acquire the tomes and other such permanent buffs). Charname is also the only character that could gain a familiar.

    What I would definately want to see included is an opportunity for PC generated characters that are NOT the main character to gain special abilities or buffs, such as maybe a tome that someone without 'Charname's special connections' could read to gain a special ability or increase an ability score. The existing tomes (and other things that grant permament powers) can be used by anyone but since the main character is the only one that is transferred (or is important for the game's continuance) then most of these go to this character anyway, even in multiplayer. In my multiplayer game we agreed that the barbarian would get the str and con tomes, the kensai would get the dex tome, and my thief-to-cleric would get the rest. But we also agreed that if a character is permamently killed (I believe the word is 'chunked') then we wouldn't reload to save that character (we're doing this for scrolls too). But I'll also be getting the Bhaalspawn powers in addition to these tomes, so how do we make my awesome buddies stand out as well?

    10% resistance to an element of the player's choice? 10% magic resistance? It's something to think about.

    typo_tilly
  • karnor00karnor00 Member Posts: 679
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong
    I always felt that the P&P rules were simply guidelines for the game, and not rules to be slavishly followed.

    When I was running games, if a player wanted an illegal class combination (or something similar) and had a good enough reason for wanting it then I'd generally allow it (provided I didn't feel it would be overpowered). So, for example, in my world while almost all paladins would be human, very occasionally you might come across a non-human paladin. Or if someone wanted to play a brash, obnoxious paladin with a 5 charisma then it could be very interesting to see where the character goes.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong
    As long as their abilities don't trivialize/overshadow the main character.

  • BanexBanex Member Posts: 127
    No - NPCs shouldn't have any abilities that I can't have with my character
    Most of the NPCs in BG1/BG2 aren't too bad and i'm usually happy with whatever Bhaalspawn powers you get in BG2,they're useful but no more than that.NPCs that are OP though i just don't take or don't like.These would be Coran(Archery skills),Haer Dalis(2 pips and 2 great swords).Edwin(too many spells) and Dorn.Now i actually like Dorn but put him up front and actually the rest of your party isn't needed.I took him once and he was lethal.He was kicked shortly afterwards with the words "you scene stealing bastard,go and find your own game" in his ears.

    Montresor_SP
  • Montresor_SPMontresor_SP Member Posts: 2,139
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong
    So long as they aren't overpowered and ruin the game experience, NPCs can have all the illegal abilities and classes/combinations they like. (Or rather, the developers like!)

  • LateralusLateralus Member Posts: 903
    No - NPCs shouldn't have any abilities that I can't have with my character
    I like to think of the PLAYER characters as the ones that stand out to the rest of the world, more than the opposite being true.

  • metalmunkimetalmunki Member Posts: 63
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    Sorry for the necro, but I think it's an interesting discussion and I'm making a mod at the moment that will add ADDITIONAL special abilities to some NPCS..(I think the discussion extends to unique character items as well, like Xan's Moonblade)

    To answer the thread question, i think they are great for the NPCs for a few reasons.

    Firstly, they add some additional character flavour to the NPC beyond their class/kit, which is fantastic for immersion and storytelling.

    Secondly, they can often address weaknesses with your party that the game can't otherwise foresee. When you've got a set number of NPCs to choose from, and can have them in any combination in addition to whatever the player character chooses to be, there is a risk of losing balance. I'm not saying any combination should be invincible, but it should never be frustratingly difficult. I did a recent run with a Kensai and Nashkel Mines was probably the hardest thing I've ever experienced in the game with the limited choices of NPCs you meet on the way there. Muluhay may as well be all of Durlag's Tower for the trouble I had taking him down! Some special abilities and items could have evened those odds a little. However, this does bring me to my one caveat:

    The abilities/items shouldn't be random and should always fit the character. Dynaheir's slow poison? Makes no sense, and if you're going for her as a caster (and presuming you have Minsc), she's good enough as she is without the extra stuff piled on. Xzar? Needs something. You need all the help you can get early on when you're forced to have him if you want a caster regardless of your alignment choice

    For example: personally, I'm planning to give him an 'insane babble' once/day ability which basically works like a miscast magic. So, it fits his character, it's a decent and useful utility spell without being too over the top (just adding, say, an extra spell per level would be overpowering as the game went on, making it an item which could be sold would be give the player too much agency IMO, and making it an direct damage spell would, again be too easy), and may be enough to make him a more viable choice to keep around for the full game. Swapping/changing NPCs (beyond alignment parity) should be an agonising decision. You don't want their to be a clear line between the NPCs that can and that the NPCs that can't.

    KidCarnivalelminsterAristillius
  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    As a necromancer I think he should get a summon zombie ability or something. Then again, that would make Tarnesh pretty easy.

  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    Abilities are there to add flavour to the NPCs. I'd get really bored if the NPCs didn't have anything that set them apart from Charname. I want Viconia to have her magic resistance and Edwin to have his extra spells, and Dorn to be an illegal character class. I want Minsc to have his berserk and his illegally-low wisdom stat, Mazzy to have her special abilities and Sarevok to have Deathbringer Assault. These are parts of what makes them interesting and diverse characters, and I think getting all uppity because Charname can't access Edwin's secret stash of special sauce is just rather petty.

    KidCarnivalDelvariandoomdoomdoomSCARY_WIZARD
  • metalmunkimetalmunki Member Posts: 63
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    The trouble with a summon zombie ability for Xzar, is that you'd expect it from a highly accomplished necromancer. It would then be quite strange seeing him at level 1 and wanting to team up with you - effectively a nobody that's just fallen off the turnip cart at this point. Getting something like that later in his spellbook for the trouble of sticking with his nonsense for most of the game would seem more appropriate!

    Aristillius
  • EdwinEdwin Member Posts: 480
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong
    Anyone who has used ShadowKeeper or CLUA has voted on this matter already :p

    typo_tillySCARY_WIZARD
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    I want Xzar to have a Summoned Dagger (like cleric's Flame Blade) with cold damage and gaining vampiric drain on higher levels. Because it's funny to see him run into melee. Necromancers have a high wisdom requirement, Xzar can dual to cleric and a crossover of arcane/necromancy spells and a cleric spell seems fitting.

    Eudaemonium
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,982
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    I think they are awesome!

    EudaemoniumKidCarnivalAristillius
  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong

    The trouble with a summon zombie ability for Xzar, is that you'd expect it from a highly accomplished necromancer. It would then be quite strange seeing him at level 1 and wanting to team up with you - effectively a nobody that's just fallen off the turnip cart at this point. Getting something like that later in his spellbook for the trouble of sticking with his nonsense for most of the game would seem more appropriate!

    Well, zombies were the crappiest undead I could think of. They don't even have the skeletons' missile resistance, or a weapon. Players don't get to summon them, they just jump right to skeletons. Maybe a zombie gibberling would be worse...

  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    edited November 2013
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong

    No, i'm not a fan. CHARNAME is CHARNAME. Child of Bhaal. The protagonist. It makes sense that he/she should get powers other don't. It would make sense that they would be more powerful than others. It irks me to no end that Coran has 3* in longbows. It also annoys me that Haer'Dalis has 2* in short swords. No matter what I do, if I do it legally - if I play a Blade or a Fighter/thief my Blade or Fighter/thief will never be as good as those two (admittedly this is made up by the inclusion of the Archer in BG:EE). I do not mind too much about Edwin and his super necklace, because it is a magical item.

    I just feel there is perhaps a little TOO much emphasis on the power of NPC's. Like they were one of the dev's PnP characters in ages past and they wanted them too be as cool as possible.

    Haer'Dalis is balanced by the fact this his two pips are in SHORT SWORDS, which aren't exactly the most fearsome weapons in the game. Meanwhile, a CHARNAME Blade can use the stronger weapon categories like two-handed swords or flails and outpace him in damage quite handily. CHARNAME Blade also gets a familiar, can turn into the Slayer, carry over stat boosts from BG1, gets Hell Trial bonuses, and it's possible, however unlikely, that Overhaul might implement Gaider's ToB Bhaalspawn powers.

    Post edited by Schneidend on
  • CoM_SolaufeinCoM_Solaufein Member Posts: 2,599
    Its all good. I have no problem with them.

  • onanonan Member Posts: 223
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    I don't consider the abilities illegal, I rather like it when an NPC has something unexpected. Those things add nuance. The PC has his Bhaalspawn abilities after all.

    KidCarnivalEudaemonium
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    What can I say - I get to break the rules and meet new people - yes please!

    typo_tillySCARY_WIZARDlolien
  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    Yes - provided I don't think the abilities are too strong
    @metalmunki
    I believe Dynaheir's Neutralize Poison spell has something to do with representing her wychlaran powers.

    KidCarnivaltypo_tillyAristilliusSCARY_WIZARD
  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 1,824
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    Basically because she is a witch/"wise woman", yeah. The "wychlaran" (I just assume that is the name, I have no idea), if I remember correctly, also functions a bit like healers/priests in rashemen.

    Or maybe she's just that sucky.

  • zerckanzerckan Member Posts: 178
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    I don't see them as illegal at all.
    I think core rules are just a starting point on which you can build. Everyone has different past and experiences so I'm happy with the additional abilities. It doesn't have to be positive, I'd be happy with a npc who has penalties too. It just adds to their character.
    Also as bhaalspawn we have ours too.

    Fardragon
  • SceptenarSceptenar Member Posts: 606
    -other-
    Alternatives are yes and no, but the question posed is how do you feel about them, which is not a yes/no question.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    -other-
    My least favorite thing about the BG series is how it implements d20. TBH, d20 is a little unbalanced/broken to begin with, and BG just tips it over the edge. So, I'm not a big fan of this game further breaking, not just the core rules, but their own rules.

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong

    @metalmunki
    I believe Dynaheir's Neutralize Poison spell has something to do with representing her wychlaran powers.

    Indeed, although giving her actual cleric levels would have been closer to the PnP version.

    Edwin's extra spells are due to his gear, Minsc has a kit that is only available to rangers who have experienced traumatic head wounds, Aerie's multiclass is allowed by her race, and so on. Not being available to the PC, who has a specific background, does not make the abilities illegal.

    elminster
  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    And in Dynaheir's defense (that's a first for me, slayer of witches) - charname can get Cure Poison as ability.

  • FistandantilusFistandantilus Member Posts: 12
    Yes - even if I think the abilities are strong
    i like them, i like that they create a unique character. all about the story i reckon.

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