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SoD story discussion

13

Comments

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Artona said:

    I think there are two suitable answer for that question: he would either start look for new subject (probably Imoen), or intervene. From what we know about a guy from SoA, Belhifet wouldn't be a threat for him.
    Ehh, let's not go overboard here in estimating Irenicus' power: he still needed Bodhi, the Shadow Thieves and the drow as go-betweens at various points in BG2. What's more, he himself tells Hephernaan that he's not interested in crossing the "Umbral Accord", so clearly sticking his head through the portal to see how you're doing against Belhifet wasn't necessarily a step he was willing to take.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    In an interview that was linked from here, it was said quite explicitly that Irenicus was incorporated into SOD because the voice actor David Warner was unexpectedly available.

    Before I read that, it was quite obvious to me from playing, that all of the Irenicus involvement is nonsense, utter hooey (and boring).
    He appears freely whenever and wherever because he has been inserted into the story.

    I grit my teeth and try and ignore it. :D
    shawneislandkingSkatansemiticgod
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    I mean, I'm never going to complain about more David Warner in anything, the man's a treasure. But with a little more thought, subtle writing and careful planning, Irenicus could have been used to much greater effect. As it stands, you just don't need this part of the story.
    ArtonaSkatansemiticgod
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    @filcat88

    "D&D is not our world. Fiction follows different rules.

    I would ask why. What are these rules the fictions must follow? A story is a story, there is the freedom to characterize the characters as complicated as one wants"

    BG2 you are asked to investigate the Unseeing Eye Cult. Within that quest you question whether this is perhaps a new God/cult and you are told that Helm has given his followers no indication that it is.

    In other words, In FR, the Gods are in contact with their followers. Literally.

    In SOD, is there any involvement of the various Gods?
    That would be following the internal logic of the FR, there isn't the "freedom" to just make up a story and then set it where rules are different.
    So here's CA doing her crusade. The various Gods would be telling their followers/priests whether or not they should join.
    And everybody, far as I can work out, has a God they follow. They would be praying to their God for guidence.
    CA doesn't appear in a world where there is a vacumn of faith.
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 700
    IMHO games leaves pretty wide margin for speculation, so we may have different visions of how powerful Irenicus is, and both wouldn't be straight up wrong, @shawne. :)
    The way I see this is Irenicus - as you said - isn't interested in conflict with the Accord, but still has means to observe what's going on in Avernus. It's more probable that if both Cealar and Bhaalspawn died he would think that they were to weak, and move on to somebody else, but possibility of intervention isn't out of a question.
    Guy's dying, so I'm sure he would risk crossing Umbral Accord, if he decided that Bhaalspawn or Argent are the only way to save him.
    filcat88ThacoBellSkatansemiticgod
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    shawne said:

    I mean, I'm never going to complain about more David Warner in anything, the man's a treasure. But with a little more thought, subtle writing and careful planning, Irenicus could have been used to much greater effect. As it stands, you just don't need this part of the story.

    Absolutely.

    Would have been interesting to see some background about what he was doing before "our" Bhaalspawn came to his attention.
    Maybe about Bhodi and how she became a vampire and why he refused.
    Parrellel but unconected cut scenes rather than the clumsy "lets throw away all the dream surprises of BG2".
    Skatan
  • TheGreatKhanTheGreatKhan Member Posts: 104
    I think it's pretty clear Irenicus could take on Belhifet one vs one. BTW does Belhifet die permanently if he is killed in the Hells?

    Irenicus does have a lot of go betweens in BG2, but I wouldn't take that as a negative for his power. That's smart, why not build up allies and helpers. He's not going to run around killing everything in sight if he doesn't have to.
    semiticgod
  • spacejawsspacejaws Member Posts: 218
    I kinda got the impression that even though Caelar wanted to save her Uncle, she supposed in doing so that she could save others aswell who's souls were trapped.

    I didn't think her campaign was necessarily a lie, but it's not as selfless as her followers believe. With her army I think she truly believes she can save the thousands of souls alongside her uncle but you get in there a mess up her army ruining her chances and she takes that oppertunity to at least save her uncle after coming so far.
    typo_tillysemiticgod
  • filcat88filcat88 Member Posts: 115

    I think it's pretty clear Irenicus could take on Belhifet one vs one. BTW does Belhifet die permanently if he is killed in the Hells?

    Irenicus does have a lot of go betweens in BG2, but I wouldn't take that as a negative for his power. That's smart, why not build up allies and helpers. He's not going to run around killing everything in sight if he doesn't have to.

    Yes theoretically every devil or demon killed on its home plane is dead for good.
  • filcat88filcat88 Member Posts: 115
    @shawne

    If both Caelar and Charname happened to die in Avernus, Irenicus simply would have found someone else. I believe he knows there more Children of Bhaal (I don't remember the line if someone knows it, please post)

    About how Caelar is portrayed in SOD: ok I belive we all here agree about the fact that Calear is not a "linear" character, there are many angles to see her. I believe that Charname has always three option of dialogue with her: 1) sympathetic or at least trying to stop her gently; 2) I want to kill you because you tried to kill me; 3) I have to stop you because what you are doing is evil
    in conclusions, it up to Charname to judge what kind of person is Caelar, if you want to redeem her or not.
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 12,219
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited April 10


    I believe this was a reference to The Hooded Man getting ahold of Sarevok's sword wih the hope of examining Charname's blood upon it, which was alluded to in the prologue (quite possibly without sufficient clarity), followed by the Grand Dukes/Flaming Fist receiving word that someone wanted the Bhaalspawn's blood (which with various cuts may not actually have made it onscreen at all).

    So: Caelar's guys were supposed to knock Charname out and kidnap them alive--Charname needs to be alive for their blood to open the gate--and they screwed it up. Another party Caelar isn't aware of until the parley and which the Dukes/FF assume is Caelar but isn't, has been looking for some portion of the Bhaalspawn he can study to determine its power.

    I *think* that's how it was intended, but again, I don't have access to the documents to confirm it.

    This reminds me of an old skit from Dinosaurs: the family is watching a promo for an upcoming TV show about a hard-boiled detective who travels through time to adopt seven interracial children, then marries a ghost with seven adopted interracial ghost children of her own, they all move to the country to become district attorneys and then the detective's mother moves in. The show is called "Way Too Complicated" and it causes the baby to suddenly go crosseyed.

    First, I'm reasonably sure there's no in-game reference to the notion that the PC's blood is on Sarevok's sword. Second, if Caelar knew from the start that she needed Charname's blood to open the gate, why does Irenicus spend the first half of the game thinking she's a viable alternative? If Irenicus knew, by the time the alliance reached Dragonspear, that Charname was the one he needed, why would he allow them to then jump into a portal to Avernus with no guarantee they'd survive?
    filcat88 said:

    If both Caelar and Charname happened to die in Avernus, Irenicus simply would have found someone else. I believe he knows there more Children of Bhaal (I don't remember the line if someone knows it, please post)

    If Caelar and Charname are both expendable, then what's the point of any of this? Why bother with such a overcomplicated plan with so many moving parts when there must have been more accessible Bhaalspawns out there? (This is, after all, before Saradush.)
    filcat88 said:

    About how Caelar is portrayed in SOD: ok I belive we all here agree about the fact that Calear is not a "linear" character, there are many angles to see her. I believe that Charname has always three option of dialogue with her: 1) sympathetic or at least trying to stop her gently; 2) I want to kill you because you tried to kill me; 3) I have to stop you because what you are doing is evil
    in conclusions, it up to Charname to judge what kind of person is Caelar, if you want to redeem her or not.

    But these are all facile scenarios: scratch the surface and all you get is more surface. The crux of Caelar's entire character arc is a single conversation in which, having just learned the truth of her motivations, 1) you essentially forgive everything she's done, which is ridiculous even for the most Lawful Good character - you'd have had more reason to forgive Sarevok's murder of Gorion, and that's obviously not an option in BG1; 2) you threaten to kill her for revenge, which is pointless given that Belhifet is already wiping the floor with her when you enter the room; 3) you want to punish her for her crimes, which would be the heroic scenario except that's not actually something you can end up doing.

    It's a pale imitation of Aribeth's character arc in Neverwinter Nights, in that it duplicates the structure but not the substance.
    Skatan
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 153
    I think one frustrating aspect to this is that there are glimmers of a potentially interesting storyline underneath the facile scenarios. When CHARNAME first meets Caelar and discovers the apparent nobility of her quest, why not let CHARNAME help her rather than being shoehorned into opposing her? When Caelar reveals her "true" motivation for her quest, why does the motivation have to be implausibly lame, and why not let CHARNAME discuss things with her at various points in the game and possibly get her to either stand down or fully embrace her stated motivation of freeing people? If she stands down, perhaps her henchmen could still open the gate anyway and then she could temporarily join the party while seeking to make things right; if she fully embraces it, perhaps there could be some dialogue with Belhifet that actually gets some or all of the hostages freed? There are a lot of possibilities here, such as Belhifet giving Caelar the option to free everyone except for his "prisoner" and then letting her interactions with CHARNAME determine her choice. And the great thing is that, because this storyline has absolutely nothing to do with BG2, it would have been fine to allow wildly different endings to Caelar's quest, which might have increased replayability as well.


    typo_tillySkatan
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    jsaving said:

    I think one frustrating aspect to this is that there are glimmers of a potentially interesting storyline underneath the facile scenarios. When CHARNAME first meets Caelar and discovers the apparent nobility of her quest, why not let CHARNAME help her rather than being shoehorned into opposing her? When Caelar reveals her "true" motivation for her quest, why does the motivation have to be implausibly lame, and why not let CHARNAME discuss things with her at various points in the game and possibly get her to either stand down or fully embrace her stated motivation of freeing people? If she stands down, perhaps her henchmen could still open the gate anyway and then she could temporarily join the party while seeking to make things right; if she fully embraces it, perhaps there could be some dialogue with Belhifet that actually gets some or all of the hostages freed? There are a lot of possibilities here, such as Belhifet giving Caelar the option to free everyone except for his "prisoner" and then letting her interactions with CHARNAME determine her choice. And the great thing is that, because this storyline has absolutely nothing to do with BG2, it would have been fine to allow wildly different endings to Caelar's quest, which might have increased replayability as well.

    Looking back, I think this was an overall problem with Beamdog's pre-Gaider writing team: their stories tend to lack any kind of connective tissue that feeds back into the overall narrative. Caelar's a perfect example: you chase her into Hell and find out she's trying to rescue her uncle, great. But saving Aun Argent is a completely meaningless act in the context of SoD itself: he doesn't testify at the trial on your behalf, his return doesn't impact anyone or anything in the world. So what difference does it make?

    That really goes to the fundamental disconnect in SoD's structure, the thing that pretty much renders the entire game moot: if you cut the Crusade storyline, nothing would actually change. The incident that bridges the gap between BG1 and BG2 is the player being framed for Skie's murder, but that could've happened at the Ducal Palace five seconds after defeating Korlasz - Irenicus is already there, that whole sequence could have unfolded just as it did. Nothing you do at Bridgefort or the Temple of Bhaal or Dragonspear affects the trial in any way (you have to be found guilty, so that Imoen can break you out, so you can get captured).

    Caelar doesn't matter. That's the real issue, I think. She's the antagonist/deuteragonist of some other story, and it's got nothing to do with the one you're playing. Small wonder nothing about her makes sense.
    Artonatypo_tillySkatanUnderstandMouseMagic
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    " Nothing you do at Bridgefort or the Temple of Bhaal or Dragonspear affects the trial in any way (you have to be found guilty, so that Imoen can break you out, so you can get captured). "

    Why is there even a trial?

    I'm quite willing to accept I've missed something, perhaps somebody could point out where in BG2 there's some suggestion that Charname had trouble in BG.

    Far as I know the only times BG comes up is when various people call you the "hero of BG/sword coast".
    Kind of makes that a nonsense if you did as I did and killed as many FF as possible breaking out through the sewers.
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited April 11

    Why is there even a trial?

    I'm quite willing to accept I've missed something, perhaps somebody could point out where in BG2 there's some suggestion that Charname had trouble in BG.

    Far as I know the only times BG comes up is when various people call you the "hero of BG/sword coast".
    Kind of makes that a nonsense if you did as I did and killed as many FF as possible breaking out through the sewers.

    Well... there's the charitable answer, and the less-charitable answer.

    The charitable answer is that BG2's intro says the player leaves the city under dark circumstances, and Beamdog interpreted that to mean that something happened between saving the city from Sarevok and getting captured by Irenicus. The trial is meant to facilitate that scenario.

    The less-charitable answer is that, much like Caelar's last-minute turn or the penultimate multi-stage attack on the Coalition camp, Beamdog opted to ape past D&D successes (in this case, the Luskan Trial in NWN2) without bothering to put in enough effort to either justify or improve upon it.
    Post edited by shawne on
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    @shawne

    Thanks.
    Just watched the intro on YT, I'd forgotten all about it, it's so good.

    The implication is surely that it's simply because of your relationship to Sarevok though and being a Bhaalspawn.
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,384
    edited April 12
    shawne said:

    Why is there even a trial?

    I'm quite willing to accept I've missed something, perhaps somebody could point out where in BG2 there's some suggestion that Charname had trouble in BG.

    Far as I know the only times BG comes up is when various people call you the "hero of BG/sword coast".
    Kind of makes that a nonsense if you did as I did and killed as many FF as possible breaking out through the sewers.

    Well... there's the charitable answer, and the less-charitable answer.

    The charitable answer is that BG2's intro says the player leaves the city under dark circumstances, and Beamdog interpreted that to mean that something happened between saving the city from Sarevok and getting captured by Irenicus. The trial is meant to facilitate that scenario.

    The less-charitable answer is that, much like Caelar's last-minute turn or the penultimate multi-stage attack on the Coalition camp, Beamdog opted to ape past D&D successes (in this case, the Luskan Trial in NWN2) without bothering to put in enough effort to either justify or improve upon it.
    I don't have any link for it, but I've read a couple of times that SoD is based (loosely?) on the original scripts of what was supposed to happen between BG1 and 2, so the whole trial thing might have been an original idea they just went along with. I don't know for sure what is true or not with this though.

    Personally I kinda like the idea of the trial and the ultimate outcome of the CHARNAME becoming an outcast, but I would have preferred some more finesse around the dialogues offering more possible variables to the unavoidable outcome. Maybe Imoen would have been accused instead of charname and charname could have freed her, then both gets chased down and stigmatized or other different variations. It would have increased the replayability value for me.

    I also want to say thank you to all of you participating who keep this discussion civil and polite! This is exactly what I was hoping for by waiting this long before starting this topic :)
    typo_tillyThacoBellPapa_Lou
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    @Skatan

    The problem with the charname in BG2 being considered an "outcast/murderer" is that you have to deal with the authorities in Athkatla, the temples, the RH and the CW.
    The disconnect between being found guilty of murder in BG (and possibly escaping using violence) and then wandering up to the RH.
    In fact needing the RH at one point to believe your side after killing Ajantis and the other palidins.

    It requires far more suspension of disbelief than is already present in BG2. Some measure you can put down to "artistic licence".
    But the Temple of Helm, the "watcher", using and rewarding you when there's a Temple of Helm in BG that has witnessed a murder trial and the subsequent events?

    Next game, Sarevok wins, gets captured by Irenicus instead of Charname, ends up working for Amn the place he was trying to start a war with?
    And nobody notices, objects or says quietly to themselves, "wasn't he the baddie".
    Skatan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    How many people in Amn have any actual idea what is going on in Baldur's Gate?
    ArtonasemiticgodSkatan
  • Papa_LouPapa_Lou Member Posts: 264
    ThacoBell said:

    How many people in Amn have any actual idea what is going on in Baldur's Gate?

    That's what I was thinking.

    I assume the goings on in another part of the world wouldn't make their way to Amn as easily as news travels in the real world. The whole Iron Throne/Bhaalspawn thing is certainly a big deal to the people local to the area, but I can't imagine anyone living further away would care too much. They may hear a thing or two about it, but I doubt many of them would care enough to learn the face or any other specific details about it.

    How would they, after all? It's not like there are cameras or some sort of internet to share that kind of info. Their best bet is simply word of mouth, which isn't all that trustworthy, oftentimes.

    After all, I'm sure there are some interesting things going on in cities like Waterdeep or Neverwinter at the time, but we never hear anything about them. We've got our own things to worry about.

    Granted, my geological knowledge of the Forgotten Realms is limited to pretty much the maps in the BG series, so there's a good chance the two are a lot closer than I'm imagining.
    ThacoBellSkatan
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 700
    I assume the goings on in another part of the world wouldn't make their way to Amn as easily as news travels in the real world.


    I think it's other way around, actually. With teleportations, portal and divination magic information in Faerun may be easier to gather than in our world. And Baldur's Gate and Amn are neighbours, so I assume people will be interested what is going on in the other state. I'm Polish and I don't care much about who is prime minister of Brasil, but I'm very interested about Chancellor of Germany. :)
    SkatanPapa_Lou
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    ThacoBell said:

    How many people in Amn have any actual idea what is going on in Baldur's Gate?

    I presume all those who were preparing for war or preparing to defend Amn if BG did declare war ?
    Definitely the authorities.

    You meet quite a lot of messengers running around the SC spreading the latest news as well.

    The iron crisis is bigger than it is portrayed in game, captures the attention of the Harpers and the Zhents, possibly Thay, the Greycoats ect.
    semiticgodSkatan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    @UnderstandMouseMagic That makes sense, but no one seems to mention anything that went down up north, nor does anyone recognize charname except a couple npcs belonging to organizations that were already involved.
    Skatan
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 359
    ThacoBell said:

    @UnderstandMouseMagic That makes sense, but no one seems to mention anything that went down up north, nor does anyone recognize charname except a couple npcs belonging to organizations that were already involved.

    Yes, but that's not a proof it doesn't matter but only shows the oversight of the devs? BioWare probably didn't consider it, because it's always easier not to be interested in someone who is considered a hero in a far away land, and why would anyone in Amn care whether (s)he was considered a hero in Baldur's Gate. But with SoD escalation turning the PC into a Powerful-Evil-Bhaalspawn-Murderer I would expect some authorities in Athkatla to take an interest, because now (s)he might pose a threat.
    The Order of the Radiant Heart, for example: sending their knights from Amn to the Sword Coast for investigations, they surely heard about CHARNAME. And being an authority that wants to balance forces and keep peace, I can't imagine they wouldn't be very interested in such a powerful Bhaalspawn that had to flee Baldur's Gate under such circumstances if (s)he turns up in Amn (and, btw. just killed some of their knights in an "accident").

    Basically that is what I am blaming BeamDog for: that they introduce such implications which then have absolutely no reference in BGII. If they did all this to envision the "much darker circumstances" quoted in the BGII intro they somehow forgot all the other open endings and implications not to say can of worms they just opened / introduced. -.-
    UnderstandMouseMagic
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    jastey said:

    ThacoBell said:

    @UnderstandMouseMagic That makes sense, but no one seems to mention anything that went down up north, nor does anyone recognize charname except a couple npcs belonging to organizations that were already involved.

    Yes, but that's not a proof it doesn't matter but only shows the oversight of the devs? BioWare probably didn't consider it, because it's always easier not to be interested in someone who is considered a hero in a far away land, and why would anyone in Amn care whether (s)he was considered a hero in Baldur's Gate. But with SoD escalation turning the PC into a Powerful-Evil-Bhaalspawn-Murderer I would expect some authorities in Athkatla to take an interest, because now (s)he might pose a threat.
    The Order of the Radiant Heart, for example: sending their knights from Amn to the Sword Coast for investigations, they surely heard about CHARNAME. And being an authority that wants to balance forces and keep peace, I can't imagine they wouldn't be very interested in such a powerful Bhaalspawn that had to flee Baldur's Gate under such circumstances if (s)he turns up in Amn (and, btw. just killed some of their knights in an "accident").

    Basically that is what I am blaming BeamDog for: that they introduce such implications which then have absolutely no reference in BGII. If they did all this to envision the "much darker circumstances" quoted in the BGII intro they somehow forgot all the other open endings and implications not to say can of worms they just opened / introduced. -.-
    This^^.

    It's the implications and the "can of worms" that was opened impacting on BG2 which is unforgivable IMO.

    BG2 is just about balanced, inconsistances can be ignored because it's obvious that they were in large part down to restrictions in development, money/time ect.
    They are genuine and you never feel like the developers didn't care enough to worry about them.

    The really silly thing is that BG, not BG2, had the room to be expanded. The blind Bhaal priestess you meet, her version of events should have led you backwards. Instead it impacts on TOB and makes a really crucial scene storywise in the pocket plain make no sense (the one with Alianna and the one with Sarevok).

    When the Solar asks whether you believe that had you been swapped with Sarevok, you would have turned out like him.
    What's the answer now when you have been told Alianna was a former lover of Gorion?
    That the reason you were saved was because of love/sentiment not chance, and so there cannot be a question about chance.
    Because of course, had Gorion grabbed Sarevok, I doubt he would have then completely ignored what happened to his former lover's child.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    Why would a single court case in Baldur's Gate have any impact on politics in Amn? Especially since, if you defend yourself well enough, your sentence is controversial enough to cause riots in BG, since half the population want you dead and the other half want you pardoned. Especially since half the Dukes try to downplay everything and let you out to keep the peace. I don't see why news of that would reach Amn.
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 921
    One thing about the SoD storyline is that there had to be a definite starting point and a more or less definite endpoint. BG1 was wide open, it could have been anything. BG2 had to take BG1 into account but still had a lot of freedom. SoD had to get you from A to B in a way that wouldn't screw up the story AND would meet expectations on iconic, beloved games that are considered among of the best ever for their writing, plots, and characters. That's a tough job.
    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    tbone1 said:

    One thing about the SoD storyline is that there had to be a definite starting point and a more or less definite endpoint. BG1 was wide open, it could have been anything. BG2 had to take BG1 into account but still had a lot of freedom. SoD had to get you from A to B in a way that wouldn't screw up the story AND would meet expectations on iconic, beloved games that are considered among of the best ever for their writing, plots, and characters. That's a tough job.

    Yes it was a tough job.
    But OMG did they do it badly.
    Sorry everybody involved.
    So much was good in game but set against really poor, substandard writing of the main plot.

    I've enjoyed this discussion but happen to have just finished the game five minutes ago and once again I'm so angry.

    From the Castle Dragonspear onwards, I haven't felt I was playing BG or anything like BG. Just this slog through more and more ridiculous scenarios, more and more OTT, contrived and illogical set ups. No balance, no choices, no enjoyment. For the first tme in all the years, I actually turned down the difficulty in the last fight (so I didn't have to reload, it's a crazy hard fight on insane) because I couldn't be bothered sitting through the endless explainations from people I care nothing about. Which are doubly annoying when you know what happens next without any agency from the player.

    Such a shame.
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