So I'm not really very far into Siege of Dragonspear, but for the most part I was really enjoying the expansion. And then I met Caelar Argent, the Shining Lady, and everything just kind of fell apart.
Villains are important in any narrative, but they are especially important when they're the driving force of a narrative--so it seems very strange to me that Caelar doesn't really seem to be able to withstand even the most cursory of scrutiny.
First, she introduces herself with this little gem.
"We stand poised on the cusp of a new age. Someday, all of Faerun shall look to this moment and say, 'Then. That was when everything changed.'"
Which is 100% pure, stock bad-guy meaningless nonsense. Which she follows up with the equally trite "we're not so different you and I," speech.
"It may seem that we stand on opposite sides, but it is not so. Our goals align closer than you know, and there is much we could achieve together."
At this point in the encounter, I was groaning. But it was the last bit that really made me facepalm--when she outlines her goal/motivations. I mean--really?
"In our lifetimes, two Dragonspear Wars have ravaged this land. Fiends set out from the castle, bringing ruin to the land and dragging thousands of innocent souls into the inferno before being beaten back for a time. Those who follow me lost wives and husbands, parents, children, friends... But what was lost can be restored. I will bring those tortured souls back to Toril."
So much is wrong with this.
Everything is wrong with this.
Okay, so the takeaway from this is that there were two Dragonspear Wars that were... somehow more noticable than the other dozen or so wars that are constantly flaring up in the sword coast. And a bunch of people were killed by demons. So... Caelar wants to resurrect all those random people, who are long dead? And was able to raise an army of like-minded folks? Really? And how, exactly, does invading and torching all of the nearby villages, towns, cities, etc., help further that goal?
Even assuming she's so stupid that her plan is to invade hell, it's hard to swallow that she thinks the best way to reach hell is to just march along the sword coast.
I mean, really? Really?
Please, please tell me I'm missing something. Please tell me Caelar gets some development later on that retroactively gives her some kind of coherent, viable plan. Because that speech at the bridge was nothing but nonsensical posturing and tired cliche--so much so that I'd have though it intentional had the speech options not played it completely straight. I'm really, really hoping the script does something to salvage this later on, because this kind of poorly written nonsense is pretty hard to overlook.