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

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  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Jarrakul said:

    I mean, in fairness Abdel deserves it. And basically everything else bad. But you know.

    And he's still obsessed with wangs, and horrible things happening to said anatomy. Still #JustSayin

    wubbleJuliusBorisov
  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477
    Laws of the universe don't shove nightmares down people's throats.

    VallmyrQuartzCrevsDaak
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    Laws of the universe don't shove nightmares down people's throats.

    How certain of this are you exactly?

    NonnahswriterjackjacklolienCrevsDaak
  • ThatTwitchyGuyThatTwitchyGuy Member Posts: 23
    edited April 2015
    Someone hasn't read any Lovecraft it seems, that's EXACTLY what the Laws of the universe do XD

    QuartzCrevsDaak
  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477
    DreadKhan said:

    Laws of the universe don't shove nightmares down people's throats.

    How certain of this are you exactly?
    Very certain. Abdel's fate in the end of the Throne of Bhaal novel, for example. Let's just say that without his taint, there's no way he could live long enough to be in one of The Sundering games, "Murder In Baldur's Gate". WoTC just HAD to retcon his fate so he could be in it.

  • artificial_sunlightartificial_sunlight Member Posts: 601
    Mulder in BG and the Grand history of the Realms made the games really canon. Not to much detail, so anyone can think "that was my doing "

    The songs and swords series are one of the best series form FR

  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477

    Mulder in BG and the Grand history of the Realms made the games really canon. Not to much detail, so anyone can think "that was my doing "

    The songs and swords series are one of the best series form FR

    Now that I stop and think about it, you're right, it simultaneously makes both the novels and games canon, especially with the appearance of that Viekang guy who attempts to kill Abdel. And as far as I'm concerned, the character Abdel didn't do what our CHARNAMEs did, the people of Baldur's Gate figured out CHARNAME is a Bhaalspawn, they wouldn't call him/her the Hero of Baldur's Gate forever, no matter if he/she was good aligned or not, so they handpicked Abdel to be hailed as the hero who defeated Sarevok.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Iirc, he's not too bad Vanilla, but mods make for a substantial increase in power.

    lolienCrevsDaak
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    I'm not sure I've ever lost to Balthazar. I mean, I'm not some super badass, I'd had my ass kicked by a lot of things that aren't generally considered that hard, but I've never really had much trouble with Balthazar. I'm always very confused when people talk about how hard he is.

    lolien
  • jacobtanjacobtan Member Posts: 655
    edited May 2015
    Jarrakul said:

    I'm not sure I've ever lost to Balthazar. I mean, I'm not some super badass, I'd had my ass kicked by a lot of things that aren't generally considered that hard, but I've never really had much trouble with Balthazar. I'm always very confused when people talk about how hard he is.

    Since he has high MR, it seems intuitive to deal with him using sheer brute force - buff to the max, debuff as necessary, and swing away.

    As an aside, it's a shame he went down to Abdel as described in the books. As a monk, he should have had a variety of options to deal with Abdel's ass. Besides kicking, he could have punched with his fists or slapped with his palms. Supposedly, most body parts of a high-level monk can be used as deadly weapons, according to Oriental kungfu lore.

  • BladeDancerBladeDancer Member Posts: 477
    edited May 2015
    elminster said:

    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.
    Sounds legit. :D
    It's one of the few things I remember about the ToB novel. Illasera and Sendai never came close to killing Abdel because he used his Slayer form to rip them apart, but Yaga-Shura, Abazigal and Balthazar gave him a hell of a hard time.

    lolien
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Call me an SJW (I won't deny it), but combined with other things like Jaheira's portrayal, that makes me very concerned about the gender politics of those books. Of course, they're also overwhelmingly recognized as being terrible, so they might actually have the opposite effect.

  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    Jarrakul said:

    Call me an SJW (I won't deny it), but combined with other things like Jaheira's portrayal, that makes me very concerned about the gender politics of those books. Of course, they're also overwhelmingly recognized as being terrible, so they might actually have the opposite effect.

    The gender politics in that series are just one of many problems on the list. I don't think there's a soul alive that would deny it. Well, a reasonable soul, at least.

    JarrakulQuartz
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Jarrakul said:

    Call me an SJW (I won't deny it), but combined with other things like Jaheira's portrayal, that makes me very concerned about the gender politics of those books. Of course, they're also overwhelmingly recognized as being terrible, so they might actually have the opposite effect.

    To be fair, the gender politics of the games aren't that much better...

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    For an RPG, negstive gender issues are very, very minor in BG. Its more progressive than most games since.

    jacobtanJarrakullolienQuartz
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    There are a number of gender issues in BG (mostly male-defaultism and the sexual politics expressed by the game's romances), but it still does better than the average video game or, say, Hollywood movie. While it's important to acknowledge the game's shortcomings in this regard, it's just as important to remember that the game does better than most (and the EEs have mostly done as well or better than the originals). That's a trend that should be encouraged.

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    DreadKhan said:

    For an RPG, negstive gender issues are very, very minor in BG. Its more progressive than most games since.

    I mean, I guess you can choose to downplay/ignore it, but the facts are what they are:

    -There are exactly two female fighters in the series. One's a cardboard man-hater (who you can't even recruit without first having a male character beat her in combat), the other is defined in part by how she can't be a paladin.

    -Male characters have three love interests. They're all elves, they're all spellcasters, and they all have to be rescued (don't even get me started on how BG2 treats sex). If you're female, well, I hope Anomen's enough to win you over with comments like how you couldn't possibly be a hero because you're a woman.

    -For all her supposed importance to the plot, Imoen is a completely passive character. (Yes, there are mechanical reasons for this - namely, that she was never supposed to exist in the first game or survive in the second, but that doesn't change how she comes across in-game.)

    -There are no female dwarven, gnome or half-orc party members in either game.

    Yes, the novels are so much worse, but Athans and Karpyshyn weren't working in a vacuum. And BioWare games have come a long, long way since.

  • wubblewubble Member Posts: 3,156
    edited May 2015

    shawne said:

    DreadKhan said:

    For an RPG, negstive gender issues are very, very minor in BG. Its more progressive than most games since.

    -There are exactly two female fighters in the series. One's a cardboard man-hater (who you can't even recruit without first having a male character beat her in combat), the other is defined in part by how she can't be a paladin.
    Whoa whoa. Mazzy? Mazzy can't be a paladin because she's a halfling and Second Edition Rules. Her gender has nothing to do with it.
    I thought he meant branwen, wasn't she rejected from something because she's a woman?

  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    wubble said:

    shawne said:

    DreadKhan said:

    For an RPG, negstive gender issues are very, very minor in BG. Its more progressive than most games since.

    -There are exactly two female fighters in the series. One's a cardboard man-hater (who you can't even recruit without first having a male character beat her in combat), the other is defined in part by how she can't be a paladin.
    Whoa whoa. Mazzy? Mazzy can't be a paladin because she's a halfling and Second Edition Rules. Her gender has nothing to do with it.
    I thought he meant branwen, wasn't she rejected from something because she's a woman?
    In her biography she was reviled for wanting to become a priest, which where she came from was a station exclusive to men. Not a paladin. Her response was to stick to her faith anyway and travel the Sword Coast, thus becoming a cleric (of Tempus, but not really because the kit didn't exist back then).

    lolien
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    1. The issue with female characters being non-fighters isn't so cut and dry as that. There are two pure female Fighters, Mazzy and Shar-Teel, and there is Jaheira. I think we can all agree that this could have been evened out a bit by adding a female Paladin, Barbarian or Ranger, its true there are clearly less female warriors, but its hardly none. Hexxat also offers a very combatative female, and Viconia is clearly a solid defensive warrior-priest. You might like Shar-Teel, but she's an interesting character if you bother to scratch the surface, and arguably both understandable and progressive, despite having been put in as a bit of a caricature if you only read her voice set. And Mazzy is a Truesword, its a different but equally honourable tradition of Holy Warrior. I agree that almost all female characters are more 'support or squishy', and thst more female characters would be a plus.

    2. Jaheira is a half-elf, and requires exactly as much rescueing as you do. Bad example? The EEs added 3 female Love Interests, so yeah, not seeing your point. You could take issue with Dorn being Charname Sexual, but thats his quirk, some people ARE omivorous. The others all tend to be choosier, and Aerie is pretty easy to offend. Anomen was a flop, and I hate to comment too much about him, seeing as I barely used him, but you can't be naive enough to think there aren't WAY too many D-bags just like him. There are even women that do like such men, even if I don't see much appeal. If you've seen the How I Met Your Mother, it had a gag about the 'crazy vs hot' graph... Anomen is the female equivilent I think, jackass vs hot.

    3. Well, EVERYONE is passive in BG1. In BG2, she was supposed to die iirc. She also might be a bit quiet after so long being tortured, both imprisoned by the Cowled Wizards and Irenicus, neither being decent.

    4. The shorty issue I agree on.

    Compared to the issues you could find in other games, there is much, much less to be complaining about.

    Nonnahswriterlolien
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239

    Whoa whoa. Mazzy? Mazzy can't be a paladin because she's a halfling and Second Edition Rules. Her gender has nothing to do with it.

    How many female paladins do you meet in the BG games? I'm not even talking party members, just NPCs hanging around the Order of the Radiant Heart or whatever. Taking that into account, the fact that she's configured the way she is doesn't seem like a coincidence.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    edited May 2015
    shawne said:

    DreadKhan said:

    For an RPG, negstive gender issues are very, very minor in BG. Its more progressive than most games since.

    I mean, I guess you can choose to downplay/ignore it, but the facts are what they are:

    -There are exactly two female fighters in the series. One's a cardboard man-hater (who you can't even recruit without first having a male character beat her in combat), the other is defined in part by how she can't be a paladin.

    -Male characters have three love interests. They're all elves, they're all spellcasters, and they all have to be rescued (don't even get me started on how BG2 treats sex). If you're female, well, I hope Anomen's enough to win you over with comments like how you couldn't possibly be a hero because you're a woman.

    -For all her supposed importance to the plot, Imoen is a completely passive character. (Yes, there are mechanical reasons for this - namely, that she was never supposed to exist in the first game or survive in the second, but that doesn't change how she comes across in-game.)

    -There are no female dwarven, gnome or half-orc party members in either game.

    Yes, the novels are so much worse, but Athans and Karpyshyn weren't working in a vacuum. And BioWare games have come a long, long way since.
    I agree with most of this (although I think you tend to ignore how many male characters are similarly damselled or portrayed as more passive than is reasonable, which implies to me that some of this, although not all, is the result of the game format rather than of the characters' genders). I also think you'll find far more severe versions of these problems in most other media. For all its problems, Baldur's Gate has no shortage of competent female characters with some degree of actual depth, and it passes the Bachdel Test even if the main character isn't female, which is extremely rare in video games (the test is arguably a much higher bar for the game format than it is for other media if the main character is male, and much lower if the main character is female). By no means would I hold up BG as an example of gender politics done right in games, but I wouldn't characterize it as a disaster by any means. As I said above, I think it's pretty substantially above par.

    Of course, none of that excuses the game's flaws, but it should inform the way we criticize them. Something that's above par should be encouraged to go further in that direction (which of course requires pointing out how it could be better), not shouted down for being imperfect. Something that's below par, such as the books, should probably just be squashed into oblivion unless there's a really compelling reason to keep it around.

    I definitely agree with you that Bioware RPGs have come a long way on this front. I'm just not sure much else has.

  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    edited May 2015
    shawne said:

    Whoa whoa. Mazzy? Mazzy can't be a paladin because she's a halfling and Second Edition Rules. Her gender has nothing to do with it.

    How many female paladins do you meet in the BG games? I'm not even talking party members, just NPCs hanging around the Order of the Radiant Heart or whatever. Taking that into account, the fact that she's configured the way she is doesn't seem like a coincidence.
    There's absolutely zero evidence that Mazzy's lack of paladin-ness has anything to do with her gender. Nothing in dialogue text or her biography. I'm not saying there isn't a lack of female paladins in Baldur's Gate, I'm saying you're drawing conclusions concerning this particular character that have no base in fact.

    booinyoureyeselminsterQuartzThacoBell
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited May 2015
    @DreadKhan: There are 42 party members across the original games. 2/42 isn't anything to write home about. And bringing the EEs into the discussion misses the point - these are scenarios and characters that were added 15 years later, by a different company. They're not helpful for comparisons with the books at the time they were coming out.

    @Jarrakul: I don't see how or why this needs to be a discussion about what everyone else is doing wrong - deflecting attention doesn't change anything. As I've already said, the books are far, far worse, and should absolutely be relegated to the rubbish bins... but they're not an anomaly, just a gross extension of a problem the games already had.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    edited May 2015
    On the Mazzy issue, I can think of two female paladins in the game off the top of my head. There's the one that fights the gibberling horde in BG1, and the one guarding the Order of the Radiant Heart that eventually marries the gnome. You could argue that the latter is female specifically for the gag, but either way I don't think there's much evidence that Mazzy's gender is in any way related to her inability to become a paladin.

    As for deflecting blame, I actually strongly disagree, here. We have to take things in the context in which they're made. BG is more progressive than its context, and deserves credit for that. Is it as progressive as we'd like? No, absolutely not, and its flaws should be pointed out so they can be recognized, but if we want progress we need to encourage things that get closer, not blast down anything that isn't perfect.

    As for the books being the natural extension of the game's problems, I continue to disagree. The games are a contextual improvement. The books are a contextual step backwards. That's a very different trajectory, and is by no means a natural extension. It is, I think, a natural extension of the context itself, relative to the ideal world-state. But it is not a natural extension of the game's deviations from its context, so I don't see how it can be a natural extension of the game.

    EDIT: While we're on the subject, comparing the number of female warriors to the total number of NPCs doesn't make much sense to me, as it ignores the base rate of NPCs being warriors. If we instead compare female warrior NPCs to total warrior NPCs, we get 2/11 if we're limited to single-classed characters, and 3/16 if we're allowing multies and duals. These still aren't great numbers, but they're better than 2/42.

    JuliusBorisovlolienQuartzThacoBell
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