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Are there any novels about the Baldur's Gate series?

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  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    jacobtan said:

    Grum said:

    @Blackraven

    Thank you! I feel so much better about the novels now. Abdel was not Gorion's Ward. He has nothing really to do with the games we have come to love. Even if you have to 'accept' canon, he can still be safely pushed aside.

    Personally, what I really want to see is a mod that brings in Abdel Adrian to the game for you to kill. Now *that* would be worth installing.

    Considering that the Abdel Adrian in the novelisation is a horny man-child, a superior punishment would be to... emasculate him, but leave him alive to live down his agony.
    You mean give him a Nether scroll? I don't think he could even read it...

    I mean, just imagine walking into him alone. The dialogue pops up, he tries talking to Jaheira or Imoen like he would in the books, and they initiate conflict. Alone, because all of his party members have already died gruesome deaths, he gets ripped apart by Charname, who goes on to finish the story. I'd love it.

    BlackravenkcwiseBladeDancerJuliusBorisov
  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 2,127
    @scriver
    Thanks that is indeed the source I was assuming at. My memory was a bit vague there. It's good to listen to the interview because it gives good insight on how every rule change and realm change is received by the authors

    PhillipDaiglekcwiseJuliusBorisov
  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477
    DreadKhan said:

    I seem to remember in ToB novel (if it existed), Balthazar actually wins. It was not cool, or interesting even.

    Actually, Bathazar kicks Abdel's a** without breaking a sweat, and nearly kills him. I forgot what happens next. But I remember Balthazar was such a tough monk, he parried Abdel's sword... With his wrist.

    NonnahswriterkcwiseQuartz
  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477
    edited April 2015
    Grum said:

    @Blackraven

    Thank you! I feel so much better about the novels now. Abdel was not Gorion's Ward. He has nothing really to do with the games we have come to love. Even if you have to 'accept' canon, he can still be safely pushed aside.

    That's right. At first, I didn't plan on "accepting" the BG canon, I went against it mostly, (except for killing off Xan) when I was writing my BG1 fan fiction, but when I heard about The Sundering FR table top game, Murder in Baldur's Gate before BG2EE was released, and how Abdel is in it, I thought my plans on unofficialy canonizing my story was ruined before I started on my BG2 fanfic, but I had an idea. I had a friend who sent me the official novels in PDF files. I'm glad my plans got changed, I got encouraged to exploit the weaknesses in the canon story, and I found a way to make it my bitch. ;)

    Blackravenkcwise
  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    edited April 2015
    Grum said:

    jacobtan said:

    Grum said:

    @Blackraven

    Thank you! I feel so much better about the novels now. Abdel was not Gorion's Ward. He has nothing really to do with the games we have come to love. Even if you have to 'accept' canon, he can still be safely pushed aside.

    Personally, what I really want to see is a mod that brings in Abdel Adrian to the game for you to kill. Now *that* would be worth installing.

    Considering that the Abdel Adrian in the novelisation is a horny man-child, a superior punishment would be to... emasculate him, but leave him alive to live down his agony.
    You mean give him a Nether scroll? I don't think he could even read it...

    I mean, just imagine walking into him alone. The dialogue pops up, he tries talking to Jaheira or Imoen like he would in the books, and they initiate conflict. Alone, because all of his party members have already died gruesome deaths, he gets ripped apart by Charname, who goes on to finish the story. I'd love it.
    I was thinking of castration actually, or wear the PnP version of the Girdle of Gender (effects cannot be undone by Remove Curse). The thought of the horny man-child growing breasts and other lady parts... such things only happen in B-grade movies right? Even as a woman, he would be horny enough to experience frequent ovary explosions.

    Generally, I'm averse to fan fiction (usually badly written), but the writing in the novelisations is in a class of its own. Granted, the relative open-endedness of the story as played out in-game would have made it exceedingly hard to write a novelisation that is least offensive to fan sensibilities. However, the one-dimensional characters, strains on credulity, the immature writing that reeks of a teenager drunk on sexual fantasies and violence, and the lack of an overarching narrative can't simply be overlooked.

    The full Baldur's Gate saga is an epic adventure of a youth coming of age. He loses his sense of identity at the start of the adventure, discovers his heritage in bits and pieces, then through the choices he makes, establishes a new identity of his own. He struggles against mighty forces beyond his control, and leaves his mark on the history of the realms and all those he has encountered, whether friend or foe. With a premise like this, it's nigh impossible to do this story justice with merely a few hundred pages of text.

    Perhaps the author himself didn't really want to take up this assignment, but had to do so for one reason or another, so he simply wrote some junk to fill the pages. Regardless, the end product is so dissociated from the in-game story, so juvenile, so trashy even without using the in-game story as a benchmark, it's pretty much compost. His name will be forever burned into history as a terrible writer of fantasy literature.

    Quoting Dorothy Parker, these are books not to be tossed aside lightly. They should be thrown with great force.

    It feels good to rant against the books again. They deserve every bit of it.

    kcwiseQuartz
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    DreadKhan said:

    I seem to remember in ToB novel (if it existed), Balthazar actually wins. It was not cool, or interesting even.

    Actually, Bathazar kicks Abdel's a** without breaking a sweat, and nearly kills him. I forgot what happens next. But I remember Balthazar was such a tough monk, he parried Abdel's sword... With his wrist.
    As I stated, it wasn't cool, or interesting. It was kinda stupid actually. The only redeeming moment was Sarevok's Shade kicking several dragon's asses. Thats it, the rest seemed like total crap. YMMV, but I've yet to meet anyone that really liked those 'novels'.

    kcwise
  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    edited April 2015

    And unfortunately, even though the writers of fan-fics DO care, their skill usually falls flat and ruins the intent. I've seen countless people try and write their own tellings of the story and fail due to highly incorrect characterizations, unappealing main characters, improper grammar, spelling, usage of past and present tense, and just writing a boring story.
    (And yes, anyone is free to throw my own fan-fic of it into the pile of garbage fics that came before it if they don't find it appealing :wink: )

    Another issue with telling the story in another form of media, is the main character. Everyone has their own version of the protagonist, their own ideas on who Gorion's ward was and because of that, it's impossible to make one that everyone would like and accept, and if the audience can't accept the main character, the entire thing sinks.

    To compound the issue, we have countless wannabe writers with more imagination than skill trying to project their fantasies onto their version of the story. For a canonical version to please the majority of the fanbase, it has to be that one version that unites the majority of versions, even if it's only going to be grudgingly accepted. If it can't achieve that unification effect, then it has to be that version that is least offensive to the greatest number of people, and that is already a feat in itself.

    Fanfics are fun, and it's nice to have a community whose members will swoon over one another's fanfics within a cloistered setting - ego-stroking is addictive. However, many of them are really more for private consumption than anything else. As for canonical versions... it takes a lot of courage and skill to write one - the game left huge shoes to fill, and any writer who dares to take up this task should already expect to have his work panned. Perhaps this is why the novelisations are so lackluster, since they are already expected to fall flat no matter what?

    kcwiseQuartz
  • ThatTwitchyGuyThatTwitchyGuy Member Posts: 23
    Yup, why it's best to have the mindset of there not being a canon version of the story. If it was meant to have a specific protagonist or whatever, it would have had us play as him/her. And seeing as how the official stance on Forgotten Realms canon is "Whatever you want it to be" there's no point in even using the word canon really.

    Ed Greenwood's always said that if there's something about the Realms that the players don't like, then they're more than welcome to change it. As we play in the Realms they become our own, molded and shaped by our adventurer's actions, and no two versions are the same, so there's no real point to saying that something is or isn't canon, not when it can be so easily ignored ya know?

    The novels could be historically accurate and true events in one person's version of the Forgotten Realms, but to the next they could be just stories and tales sold in bookstores all around the Realms, famous people like Elminster or Drizzt are just characters like they are in our world. That's why there'll never be a true Baldur's Gate canon, too many different people with differing opinions, just the way it should be. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to have conversations like this would we? XD

    tl;dr version: There is no canon, only a kick-ass game.

    kcwiseQuartz
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    @ThatTwitchyGuy I wouldn't say we have no hints though about what the actual intended Charname would probably be like... For one, he traveled with Good companions we know, and nobody is scared of him, even those who know and understand who he is, they even mock him for not being terribly impressive.

    He's either a halfer, a gnome, half-elf or maybe an unimpressive human, and I suspect he should be a Rogue of some sort, Bard or Thief being equally viable. He constantly surprises everyone by surviving things, which doesn't sound remotely like a 7ft tall clod.

    I lean towards human though, due to making the ageing thing the least problematic (nothing to explain away then), and some kind of fighting rogue has excellent survivability throughout the series actually.

    kcwiseQuartz
  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477
    DreadKhan said:

    @ThatTwitchyGuy I wouldn't say we have no hints though about what the actual intended Charname would probably be like... For one, he traveled with Good companions we know, and nobody is scared of him, even those who know and understand who he is, they even mock him for not being terribly impressive.

    He's either a halfer, a gnome, half-elf or maybe an unimpressive human, and I suspect he should be a Rogue of some sort, Bard or Thief being equally viable. He constantly surprises everyone by surviving things, which doesn't sound remotely like a 7ft tall clod.

    I lean towards human though, due to making the ageing thing the least problematic (nothing to explain away then), and some kind of fighting rogue has excellent survivability throughout the series actually.

    I lean towards human too, because the long lifespan thing of an elf, dwarf and gnome is a problem when you try to mesh it in the BG story, especially when you romance Aerie or Viconia and have children with them, makes me wonder do 21 year old male elves reach sexual maturity at that age. I made my OC a fighter because I can imagine Jondalar, Fuller and Hull training my OC with swords and bows and arrows. I don't know how to factor in classes impossible to learn from inside Candlekeep like Bard and Barbarian.

    kcwise
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Pure elves reach maturity QUITE old compared to humans, IE a human would be dead already, even for a Drow IIRC, and Drow develop fast for an elf.

    Bard would totally be fine in Candlekeep, people are chanting in the courtyard all the time, and Deneir is hardly unwelcome. Barbarian would strain credulity, but so would Ranger and Druid. Any Rogue class could be developed quite easily in Candlekeep, requiring nothing unusual consideration-wise. A bard is not going to be at his best without travel, but you can actually learn a great deal from books, if you are careful what you read. ;)

    kcwiselolienQuartz
  • ThatTwitchyGuyThatTwitchyGuy Member Posts: 23
    Some people think that Bhaal's children age faster for some reason. (No I'm not one of those people) So you see what I mean? Everyone has their own ideas for what the protagonist would be like, class, race, personality. It would be impossible to please everyone. The simple fact is that because we were able to make our own main character, any attempts to claim one as canon would fail, because we all have our own ideas on the subject.

    The same sort of thing happens in other RPGs, Fallout, Dragon age, and Mass Effect to name a few. We have a few clues as to what the main character was like, sure. But if any piece of media came out and claimed that theirs was the true commander Shepard, or the real Hero of Ferelden they'd be universally hated and mocked just like the BG novels do.

    kcwise
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    DreadKhan said:

    YMMV, but I've yet to meet anyone that really liked those 'novels'.

    I have. An old friend of mine read them as a teenager, and couldn't stop talking about them. No accounting for taste, I suppose.

    kcwiselolienQuartz
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Well, *I* haven't met anyone still. ;) Thats the first I've heard of such a person though, kinda disturbing. Was he... well?

    The thing is, Bhaal's children aging differently is pure headcanon afaik, its never been out rightly stated. Gorion's ward is repeatedly underestimated though, and if anything, was clearly not that intimidating. Renal isn't an idiot, and if he was confident that the Bhaalspawn was a rampaging engine of destruction, he'd be less flippant. I agree you'll never please anyone, but I don't think the 'titanic CN brute' is really what the game TELLS us the Bhaalspawn is supposed to be. I'd say its okay to offend people if they are clinging to headcanon, but if examples can be drawn from the original narrative to support a position, its at least a valid one.

    I think Abdel was more an example of a playthrough almost everyone has tried, character-wise, IE a max stated warrior that was assuredly not a nice person.

    kcwiseJuliusBorisovlolienQuartz
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    He was basically well. Just... not exactly someone with good taste in general.

    Bhaalspawn aging differently isn't explicitly stated, I'm pretty sure, but it is implied. Imoen mentions being the same age as Charname at some point, in reaction to being called a child. That statement doesn't make any sense if Charname is an elf, unless Bhaalspawn age differently.

    kcwise
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Yeah, but we know the cannon Bhaalspawn is a human anyways, and the fact that the game makes available an option like Elf doesn't mean it's internally coherent, and thus worth taking seriously.

    The game should be looked at as an overly open version of the story itself, and no, even if Bhaalspawn age differently, that would make 0 sense. If Bhaalspawn age faster, Imoen should be dead by the time a Moon Elf is a young adult. So, its an inclusion that is clearly there to make the game more 'replayable', not to be taken seriously. Heck, what about Half-orcs? They develop even faster by a couple years. Plain silly this business.

    kcwiseQuartz
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Well, the idea wouldn't be that Bhaalspawn age faster, but rather that they age at a normalized, humanlike rate. For some reason. Let's examine this theory.

    First, let's rule out Charname as an example. As you note, the story doesn't necessarily fit all Charnames, and this could be one such inconsistency. However, we know human Bhaalspawn exist, as evidenced by most of the others. We also know that slower-aging Bhaalspawn exist, as evidenced by Abazigal, but this isn't really important. After all, no one said Bhaal had to sire all his children at once. But he can't sire children after his death, so all Bhaalspawn in the game are at least 10 years old at the start of BG1. So, do we know any Bhaalspawn that can't be that old naturally?

    I can think of one. A particular chinchilla makes a good candidate, since chinchillas only live about 10 years. The chinchilla in question is encountered late in the saga, and is tough enough to put of a fight (admittedly not a great one) against VERY high-level characters. We can infer from this that he's not exactly on his last legs, so we can see that lifespan is modified in some way.

    This modification could either take the form of 1) a normalization to human average, 2) an increased maximum lifespan, or 3) a combination of both. The existence of Abazigal and his son implies that 1. is false. A dragon can't have a grown dragon son in a human lifespan without some more serious shenanigans. So we're left with 2. and 3. Let's see if we can narrow this down more.

    Yaga Shura was raised by Nyalee, a human priestess of Bhaal. Assuming her heart shenanigans haven't affected her aging (not a safe assumption, but we have no inherent reason to suspect they do), that means an elderly human woman is old enough to have raised a fire giant. Now, FR giants live for about 400 years, but I can't find information on their maturation rate. Still, this generally suggests that Yaga Shura must have matured at least somewhat faster than average, or else it'd take him a century to reach adulthood. This information is vague, and subject to a lot of assumptions, but it does imply that 2. is also wrong.

    Taken together, this line of reasoning has too many assumptions to be deductively valid, but it does leave 3. as the most likely option. That is, that Bhaalspawn maturation rates are based on the human average, but that their lifespan is extended. Both of these make a certain amount of sense, given that Bhaal was a human god. But, while we can reasonably propose this as more likely than the alternative, based on the data, it's far from definitively true.

    wubblekcwiselolien
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    The chinchilla is obviously more than a mere chinchilla though. Charname started out completely normal for his race (unless he mix-maxed, or hacked his character sheet, which we will be ignoring as a possibility), provided you're human or maybe half-orc. So, given that we know the chinchilla has powers beyond a normal chinchilla, his age ceases to be an issue. He's not a normal chinchilla, the way even an elven Bhaalspawn charname is otherwise normal beyond aging bizarrely. So, the rules clearly don't quite apply to him the same; not all the Bhaalspawn are completely identical we know, and while charname has really crappy powers until he gets the Slayer, some of the others have really handy tricks unique to them. It's no secret Balthazar can out-monk any monk we can make in game; he has access to powers well beyond charname.

    Why are you bothering to make assumptions about Yaga Shura though? He could easily be hundreds of years old, Bhaal was around for quite awhile. As we know, he could have started popping out babies quite awhile ago. No reason any of the 'slower aging' Bhaalspawn are a problem other than Sarevok, Imoen and Charname, all have a 'known' (as in aproximately known) birth year.

    I think I can see why someone might take the angle that 'all Bhaalspawn develop at the same rate', but I think we'd have big issues, IE no Dragon would raise Abazigal at all if he was growing that fast, he'd be a huge threat, and he's not on friendly terms with the Dragon gods I'd wager, being a Bhaalspawn desperate to ascend. This is an assumption too though, its not based on hard facts, which are limited.

    The only 'in game' stuff IMHO that supports Bhaalspawn possibly aging faster is Abazigal and Draconis, seeing as Draconis is his son, and is a fully developed Dragon. However, Abazigal could be the first Bhaalspawn ever made, AKA sired immediately after ascension. So that'd leave some time to work with. :neutral: I don't think the game really offers much proof though that Bhaalspawn age at all differently, but it does leave openings for conjecture, perhaps due to time-constraints in ToB, where everything falls apart.

    kcwiselolien
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    My point regarding Yaga Shura is that he was raised by a human woman. Nyalee's (ordinary) maximum age suggests a maximum on his age, which, given that he's an adult, informs us about his maturation rate. Now, again, it's entirely possible Nyalee's heart magic has extended her lifespan. This cannot be ruled out. But it's an extra factor that must be included in any theory that suggests ordinary maturation rates for Bhaalspawn, and if two theories fit the data equally well, the theory that explains the same data using more factors is less likely to be true (because math).

    As for the chinchilla, I would advance a similar argument. It's clear the chinchilla is more than an ordinary chinchilla. The most obvious explanation of this is that he's a Bhaalspawn, because we know he's a Bhaalspawn. Any other explanation includes additional factors, so you're going to have to provide compelling justification as to why such an explanation fits the observed data better. And of course if he's "just" a chinchilla Bhaalspawn, that suggests his lengthened lifespan is a result of being a Bhaalspawn. Although I suppose you could argue that as being one of his unique Bhaal powers. I wouldn't find that explanation very satisfying, and it still to-some-extent runs afoul of the same statistical problem I've been talking about, but it's not an absolutely terrible explanation.

    I don't find your suggestion regarding Abazigal compelling. We know absolutely nothing about how Abazigal was raised, who his mother was, etc. You're making a lot of assumptions when you say no dragon would raise him, without a lot of good reason for doing so. They don't even make the general model simpler, because we don't know what a "typical" dragon would do under those circumstances without making more unfounded assumptions. We do know that other dragons seem to dislike him and view him as dangerous, which supports my theory at least as much as yours. I *do* agree that he could easily have been born far earlier than the other Bhaalspawn, and in fact the existence of Draconis supports this idea under either theory, but all that tells us is that they don't fall to human life expectancy.

    kcwiselolien
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Nyalee is a witch remember, and a pretty high level caster. Old age in the realms is kinda a speed bump for high level casters, plenty are VASTLY older than they are supposed to be capable of being. Plus, she took out her heart... the benefit being iirc that she cannot be harmed in any way, and won't die.

    The thing is some Bhaalspawn have crazy powers, and since Bhaal's plan was to have lots of Bhaalspawn get killed at once, he probably allowed them extended lifespans to keep them around until he at least died. Which was more or less what Mellisan pulled off in Saradush. Considering that Bhaal was the god of death, not the growth, he likely would be better equipped to affect deaths in a profound way, IE bhaalspawn don't just die of old age vs how fast they develop. This is conjecture-y, but it makes some sense. He's if anything completely cut off from the growth aspect of things, Chauntea is iirc one of his big rivals.

    Dragon's have this mind-boggling arrogance thing, not quite as bad as Beholders, but almost. He's a blue, and they definitely stay with their young, but half-dragons are not well liked as a rule. If you played IWD2, note Sherincal was not accepted by either Dragons nor humans. This doesn't prove Abazigal would be killed on sight for being a half-breed, but if your 'develops faster' theory was combined with being a half-breed, it would create an obvious danger, and Dragon's would not take very kindly to a half-breed taking full dragon form, an ability he apparently has. That'd be an insult indeed, though again, not on par with Beholders infamous 'IT'S NOT EXACTLY LIKE ME THEREFOR IT IS AWFUL AND MUST DIE!' view of fellow beholderkin.

    I think we both agree though that Bhaalspawn likely have access to much longer lifespans, as dying is Bhaal's area of expertise. While he was alive, he simply didn't claim them, afterwords, they certainly don't die like other mortals would (IE soul goes to be sorted out). I wouldn't be surprised if Bhaalspawn have to be killed, rather than merely die. But that part does move into conjecture-land I admit.

    kcwiselolien
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    jacobtan said:

    Who remembers the "spell of withering" that Aerie threatened to cast on the "pathetic excuse of a manhood" that Korgan is "always scratching at between the legs"?

    You go girl, cast that spell on Abdel.

    ...You are REALLY obsessed with harming male anatomy. #JustSayin

    wubblekcwise
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