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What the heck is Caelar's deal? (SPOILERS, very probably). Is she really as terrible as she seems?

Arsene_LupinArsene_Lupin Member Posts: 181
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.

Post edited by Arsene_Lupin on
RathenauBalladButtercheesedradam
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Comments

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,108
    First off, yes, the Dragonspear wars were worse than other wars. If you get killed you just go into whatever afterlife you deserve. Being dragged into hell means the devils have you... forever.

    If you knew your loved ones are being held and probably tortured in hell *right now*, would you know one moment's peace? Makes sense that you would try to help then in any way possible.

    As for this being all there is to Caelar, maybe you should finish the game first?

    Artona
  • Arsene_LupinArsene_Lupin Member Posts: 181
    Uh-huh. Well, that provides plenty of motive to the dead--but for everyone else just toiling around in the real world, what do they care? Why should they be so easily convinced to take up arms to adjust the afterlives of the long-dead?

    And how does rampaging about the Sword Coast randomly killing people help?

    And let's not even get into how tired the old "obviously manipulative badguy tricks righteous noble-type to do bad stuff" cliche is.

    In her big intro, Caelar raised just about every red flag there is.

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636

    Uh-huh. Well, that provides plenty of motive to the dead--but for everyone else just toiling around in the real world, what do they care? Why should they be so easily convinced to take up arms to adjust the afterlives of the long-dead?

    Because they're misguided by her lies.

    And how does rampaging about the Sword Coast randomly killing people help?

    It doesn't.

    And let's not even get into how tired the old "obviously manipulative badguy tricks righteous noble-type to do bad stuff" cliche is.

    In her big intro, Caelar raised just about every red flag there is.

    That's kind of the point.

  • nysinysi Member Posts: 54
    As Ammar said, you should finish the game, or risk to be spoiled by answer :)

    Buttercheese
  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    Caelar is everything I hoped she wouldn't be.

    Big SoD and ToB spoiler...
    She's just a copy of Amelyssan from Throne of Bhaal. All through the game she's pretending to be "good", then right at the end she reveals her evil and selfish goals. Atleast Amelyssan's goal made some sense... But Caelar does it all for the dumbest reason possible, and admits to having no regrets. She belives all those that died in her name would have only had meaningless lives otherwise, so they should be glad to have died for her UNCLE.

    I read she'll side with demons to get what she wants. And her alignment is Lawful Good...

    BalladRathenau
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    The crusade is a cult, with a heretical belief system and brainwashing evangelistic preachers.

    If there was ever anything "political" in SoD, it is an attack on religious fanaticism.

  • DasieqDasieq Member Posts: 135
    edited May 2016
    Well shes not That Bad! in my opinion. What I mean, what she talk about still is just manipulation, what she is saying is a lie to all of those people. In some way for sure! She want her uncle back bcs she probably love him and maybe its the last person she really care of. So what she need is army, how to get it? Cheap salvation talk and being 'shining' to cover motives. What we have here? All that folks r broken, they want turn back their loved ones. Caelar talk to us like we r similar to her, she want us on her side to use us. After all there is a possibility to turn her on our side. Compare to Amelissan isn't totally wrong. Caelar don't seek power however, Amelissan do. Shining Lady want uncle and nothing else really matters. Amelissan is Pure Evil, she want be powerfull, she want be destruction itself. Slight Difference. People r just similar sometimes, they lie, they manipulate, its normal. thats my opinion. I really don't like this Character but whole expansion is good to play and it all seems to fit.

    Post edited by Dasieq on
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,108
    edited May 2016

    Uh-huh. Well, that provides plenty of motive to the dead--but for everyone else just toiling around in the real world, what do they care? Why should they be so easily convinced to take up arms to adjust the afterlives of the long-dead?

    So you wouldn't care if your spouse/child/parent/best friend was trapped in hell and being tortured for eternity? Many of the most devoted followers of Caelar are the friends and family of the victims of the Dragonspear wars.


    And how does rampaging about the Sword Coast randomly killing people help?

    It doesn't. However, she has plenty of mercenaries and evil followers in addition to those who genuinely support her cause. More critical, feeding an army takes lots of food - keeping an army in the field without a country supporting you basically requires you to pillage.

    In addition, she needs charname for her plans and her crusade is a way to get him to come her. Whether it is the most effective one is doubtful, but other options would depend more heavily on the character of charname, which is left up to the player to decide.


    And let's not even get into how tired the old "obviously manipulative badguy tricks righteous noble-type to do bad stuff" cliche is..

    Since you claim to not have completed the game, I am not quite certain and want to avoid spoilers. However, if you see Caelar in the tricked righteous noble role, then you are only right about the tricked part.

  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    edited May 2016
    Caelar is not going around randomly killing – she has gathered an army of people who either lost loved ones to the devils in the Dragonspear wars or who are otherwise of an alignment that is sympathetic to rescuing them. While the goal is arguably noble, the crusaders' fanatical devotion to it has allowed them to justify pillaging towns in order to support the needs of their army. It has also left them unable to see the improbability of their goal or the dangerous effects on the region should it fail.

    Blind and single-minded devotion to a goal without care for the ramifications is the running theme and is fully embodied in Caelar's reveal in the final chapter. I would suggest finishing the game.

    As for the writing, Caelar's motivations are more nuanced than any of the other villains in the series save Irenicus (Sarevok: kill a whole bunch of people and hope that makes me a god. Melissan: kill a whole bunch of Bhaalspawn and hope that makes me a god). A character who has deceived herself into believing her motivations have good intent is at least an interesting change from the enemies we're used to facing.

    Post edited by Purudaya on
    kanemisparkleavLore
  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    edited May 2016
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 949
    I think the fairest read on Caelar is that she has multiple motivations for her actions. Some of her "team" is corrupt, and a lot of her drive comes from her "personal circumstances," but even when all of those things are revealed, she still insists she was partially motivated by the desire to free all of the captured souls.

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    Dasieq said:

    She want her uncle back bcs she probably love him and maybe its the last person she really care of. So what she need is army, how to get it?

    Yes, but she's going about it the wrong way. Raising an army is really just an excuse, imho. Creating chaos as a means to an end, that's not the right way to do things.
    Dasieq said:

    Cheap salvation talk and being 'shining' to cover motives. What we have here? All that folks are broken, they want turn back their loved ones. Caelar talk to us like we are similar to her, she want us on her side to use us. After all there is a possibility to turn her on our side. Compare to Amelissan isn't totally wrong. Caelar don't seek power however, Amelissan do. Shining Lady want uncle and nothing else really matters.

    As I alluded to before, "the ends justify the means" is terrible reasoning. Caelar's reasoning basically consists of that. There's a reason that she never actually became a full paladin.
    Dasieq said:

    Amelissan is Pure Evil, she want be powerfull, she want be destruction itself. Slight Difference. People are just similar sometimes, they lie, they manipulate, its normal. thats my opinion. I really don't like this Character but whole expansion is good to play and it all seems to fit.

    I don't think it's "normal" to lie and manipulate. And that's basically the whole problem with Caelar's crusade. She manipulates her followers into believing that they're doing right in the long term and then allows them to do wrong in the short term. At least Caelar has the self-awareness to realize that her followers are doing wrong in the short term, however.

  • JurisJuris Member Posts: 113
    My read on Caelar was she DID intend to free all the souls of hell, but was primarily motivated by wanting to save her uncle. That's 'good' with a selfish motive, which is still 'good' - maybe not paladin good but she's not a paladin.
    Also, don't forget that she was being manipulated by Hephernan, who was secretly an agent of the real bad guy. Hephernan perverted Caelar's quest and gave her bad information. One of the legitimate beefs people have is there is no way to convince Caelar about the truth of Hephernan. Even though charname finds out about Hepharnan being evil, there is no way to communicate this to Caelar when she makes her final demand before attacking your camp.

    Finally, the historical crusades were pretty bloody - the real crusaders slaughtered everyone in Jerusalem [see Kingdom of Heaven]

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited May 2016
    The Crusaders also slaughtered everyone in Byzantium, a Christian city, for the fat loot.

    The real world crusaders where far more vicious and irrational than the ones in SoD.

    ArtonaKamigoroshi
  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 226
    Caelar is trying to do something she believes is right. She believes people are trapped in hell when they shouldn't be. She believes she can save them. She believes she needs help. Everyone in the Shining Crusade either believes as she does, or wants to believe just because she does. She's charismatic as hell, and can even persuade remorseless butchers into joining the rank and file and keeping their word even to their enemies. And it's important to note that she is not lying. She believes every word of it. The only lie she tells is the order of the priorities on her agenda.

    While what she is doing may be noble on paper, it remains very stupid to anyone who knows about the setting. You don't upset the status quo the multiverse is built on, even if a hundred or so innocent souls get dragged to hell as a consequence. She overestimates her power and her ability to get things done (she's only level 15), and puts her faith where it doesn't belong. She's also blinded to most of the worst of her order's methods.

    Personally, I liked the fact that Caelar was a hero who just had a different agenda than you. I liked the fact that here you were trying to save your own arse from various threats while this lady was raising an army to storm the gates of hell to save the innocent damned. And it really frustrated me when the game kept telling me I couldn't join her. Yes, it's stupid. Yes, it's insane. I'm an adventurer! Stupidity and Insanity are my sun and stars! Without them, the impossible will always remain impossible.

    Anyway, the finale (as such things do) casts the conflict in a different light. Nothing turns out to be quite what it seems. Personally, I wasn't satisfied with the outcome, but that might just be me.

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited May 2016
    Calemyr said:

    You don't upset the status quo the multiverse is built on, even if a hundred or so innocent souls get dragged to hell as a consequence.

    By the way, just to add to this, the devils were practically invited. A portal to Avernus was opened by an enemy of Daeros Dragonspear.

    http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Dragonspear_Castle#History
    1290 DR
    Ithtaerus Casalia creates the first portal to Avernus in Dragonspear Castle,[10] binds Halatathlaer, tricks Daeros Dragonspear into entering the portal (and effectively killing himself), and lures other dragons to the castle with vision of a free dragon hoard. Three hopeful dragons arrive and battle each other, slaying Halatathlaer and demolishing most of the fortress. The surviving dragon, Sharndrel, is incensed by the deception and slays Ithtaerus.[8][11] The ruins are soon claimed by bandits and humanoids.[1][12]
    Then, later (remember that devils take a long view of things), the devils came through the original portal and created new portals. The original portal still remains, btw.
    1354 DR
    Devils take Dragonspear Castle, arriving through new portals.[1][12][7][4][16]
    1356 DR
    The Dragonspear War. A strange mist cloaks the ruins of Dragonspear Castle, said to resist even the dispelling efforts of Khelben.[17] The forces of Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate once more converge on Dragonspear Castle, setting fire to the structures there and defeating the devils.[1][12][18]
    1363 DR
    The Second Dragonspear War. Devils retake Dragonspear Castle and build an army of humanoids, plus a dominated dragon. This fiend-led army destroys The Way Inn and attacks Daggerford before being defeated by a motley force led by adventurers.[19][20]
    In terms of the status quo of the multiverse, the devils were well within their rights to invade Dragonspear Castle and seize souls.

  • SirBatinceSirBatince Member Posts: 817

    the devils were well within their rights to invade Dragonspear Castle and seize souls.

    hah. devils and rights.

    comical

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited May 2016

    the devils were well within their rights to invade Dragonspear Castle and seize souls.

    hah. devils and rights.

    comical

    You do understand how the whole devils/demons dichotomy works in D&D, right?
    Devils are Lawful Evil, meaning they tend to be more into pacts and being invited, etc. They're sleazy as possible and play fast & loose with the rules, but they do follow a general set of rules. Demons are the ones who tend to have no rules, other than the rule of force.

    In other words, I'm not sure what you found funny, when we consider how Devils in D&D tend to think.

    Artona
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,683
    edited May 2016
    just read the op, but here's my 2 cents:

    If you didn't finshed the game, know that she has selfish motivations to do what she does. in fact she
    want to free her uncle that's been a tortured prisoner
    .

    The point of her crusade is:

    1° - She's a carismatic leader, with heavenly offspring (Aassimar), a paladin of a noble and know family.
    2° - She preach to undo an evil, that is the imprisonment of many souls that died on dragonspear in hell. Apparently the souls of those who lost the battle with the devils in dragonspear were dragged to hell.
    3° - She intent to invade the first layer of hell only. Despite this still being ridiculous brave or insane, it's the weakest point of nine hells.
    4° - She's pratically an french foreing legion, no matter your past, whoever join her get a full restart.
    5° - Fanaticism is this, ppl follow blindly and don't think, and the more ppl togheter that think (or don't think) in this way, the hard is to reflect about her crusade.


    She sells a noble goal at the cost and suffering of many others. She sell the lesser evil for the greater good.

    So far in my view i see no problem with the plot.


    Of course that my only criticize is: Siege of Dragonspear is a too high level theme of adventure for Baldur's Gate 1 and 1/2. The game is great, if it wasn't bhaalspawn history, and i can see some difficult in put BG2 early adventure in line with Siege of Dragonspear.



    To end, the great point of SoD is the difficult. The game is clearly difficult to play, even unmodded. I don't mean SCS were each movment must be choosen wisely, but a blind walk in SoD can result in nasty effects.

    Post edited by kamuizin on
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    "I will save single person X at any cost." - isn't this good aligned CHARNAME's motivation in BG2?

    Artona
  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    "Remember this, then. When everything's said and done, you had a chance. You could have stood in the light. You choose darkness. You will pay for it."
    - So sayeth the woman that will side with devils.

    "And so we reach the end of a long, long journey. If you only knew the sacrifices I made to bring us to this point. All of them worthwhile."
    - So sayeth the woman who knows nothing of self-sacrifice.

    "I can scarcely believe it. Everything I did, every sacrifice I made, all to reach this moment... You are free at last, Uncle."
    - So sayeth the woman who still hasn't sacrificed shit. Her uncle could teach her a thing or two.

    "I'll not kill an innocent man. I've not fallen so far as that."
    - So sayeth the woman that hires assassins, starts wars, and will gladly sacrifice ANYONE for her uncle, a guy that doesn't even want rescuing!

    Maybe the biggest problem is that she's a Lawful Good aasimar and worshipper of Lathander, and yet all her actions go against that. Just pretend she's a lunatic and everything starts to make sense.

    @Fardragon
    Not quite the same. In BG2 you can tell any recruitable NPC that your end goal is to rescue Imoen or kill Irenicus. Caelar hides her true goal from everyone.

    RathenauStephburn
  • LoreLore Member Posts: 114
    Honestly we do not know what and who she have sacrifised before meeting her and not a lot of what she have been doing. She was not in the right but i can see how she can delude herself in thinking she was.

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,108
    Of those she has sacrificed - she has devoted her entire life to a single cause and in the end is perfectly willing to sacrifice both life and soul to rescue her uncle. Even when she becomes a Blackguard her uncle's freedom is part of her bargain.

    Caelar's flaw is not being unwilling to sacrifice - it is that she is perfectly willing to sacrifice other people for a cause she deems just. She does not even see it as selfish - she sees her uncle as so good a man, that sacrificing her followers for his sake is just.

    And this is one of the classical causes for a good character to fall, believing that the ends justify the means.



    Note that Caelar is not a follower of Lathander or any specific god.

    As for her uncle, he would be happy being rescued - he just does not want anyone to suffer for it. It's not as if he enjoys sitting in a cage in hell.

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511



    Maybe the biggest problem is that she's a Lawful Good aasimar and worshipper of Lathander, and yet all her actions go against that. Just pretend she's a lunatic and everything starts to make sense.

    @Fardragon
    Not quite the same. In BG2 you can tell any recruitable NPC that your end goal is to rescue Imoen or kill Irenicus. Caelar hides her true goal from everyone.

    You don't HAVE to tell them anything. You can just assume they are happy to go with you for their own reasons, which is what Caelar does: "I may want to save my uncle, but all these other people have people they want to save too, so it's fine".

    She is NOT a worshipper of Lathander, she is an EX worshipper of Lathander who is angry at Lathander and the other good gods for not rescuing souls from hell.

  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    @Ammar
    @Fardragon
    You both say she's not a worshipper of Lathander, so maybe I'm missing something... but...

    "I knew that had to change. But how? How might I redeem myself for my sins? For years, I prayed for guidance, and then one day, one glorious day, an answer was bestowed on me by the gods themselves."

    "I was brought up in the Order of the Aster. My aasimar heritage and the Argent name assured me a place of honor as a paladin of the Morninglord. Or so I thought at the time. I had such confidence then. Such certainty of purpose. I knew I would rise to greatness, knew it in my bones."

    "All that barred my ascent were my superiors in the Order. They sought to teach me humility; I see that now. But I could not bring myself to bow to their authority. To any authority but Lathander's, perhaps not even his."

    "Arrogant? I serve the gods—you serve the corrupt, the ignorant, ones consumed with territory, gold, power—is that also your legacy, ? Do you stand with them or for something greater?"

    "What gods? The pantheon shines its light upon me—Lathander, Tyr, Helm, Tempus—all see the righteousness of my cause. Soon, the Hells shall see that light as well."


    To me Caelar is the exact opposite of everything she's made out to be.

    In the end she gets EXACTLY what she wanted and suffers no punishment and sacrifices nothing. And her staying in hell is not a punishment, because it's exactly where she wanted to go. No doubt she'll take sides with the first demon she meets.

    Rathenau
  • LoreLore Member Posts: 114
    edited May 2016
    I dont think she would side with any demons she is not Evil and sees herself as a beacon of justice and goodness. Shes very misguided tho and able to delude herself quite a lot but joining anything Evil or doing anything evil ? i think not, seems to me you are misunderstanding her a bit, but maybe thats just me :smile:

  • TheGraveDiggerTheGraveDigger Member Posts: 336
    @Lore
    She sides with the demon in the final fight if you choose certain dialog options.

    Artona
  • LoreLore Member Posts: 114
    Ok well thats just me then :disappointed: i never pegged her as that, guess i took the nice router :smile:

  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited May 2016
    Fardragon said:

    "I will save single person X at any cost." - isn't this good aligned CHARNAME's motivation in BG2?

    Yeah, but even as an evil character, you don't choose to open a portal to hell in order to do so.

    In the end she gets EXACTLY what she wanted and suffers no punishment and sacrifices nothing. And her staying in hell is not a punishment, because it's exactly where she wanted to go. No doubt she'll take sides with the first demon she meets.

    I rather suspect that an Aasimar in Hell is going to being to be tortured and tormented and despised. Someone with a small trickle of blood from the upper planes in their veins doesn't strike me as someone that devils would find to be an ally. Rather, they'd see her as prey and a source of amusement.

  • OUT51D3ROUT51D3R Member Posts: 20


    In the end she gets EXACTLY what she wanted and suffers no punishment and sacrifices nothing. And her staying in hell is not a punishment, because it's exactly where she wanted to go. No doubt she'll take sides with the first demon she meets.

    Depends how you play it. I told her what she wanted to hear: that she was tricked, the demons were the true enemy, she could still fight them, etc. We killed the demons together. As she ran to release her uncle, she felt her blade in my blade in her back. I snatched her victory from her when it was within her reach.

    The uncle chose to remain in hell to close the portal. All the lives she traded, in the end, amounted to nothing.

    The above description isn't really an intended way to finish the game, but you can do it. You can, in fact, kill her after killing off the demons. And if you do so, her uncle stays behind in hell to close the portal instead of her.

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