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Thoughts on NPC Conflicts, (spoilers obviously)

I was inspired by the Hexxat thread and discussion about how any good-aligned charname would really probably just murder her on the spot. Which I happen to agree with. And it got me thinking about NPC conflicts, and how much I like them and they make sense, and also some cases where I hate them and they make no sense.

Copy/pasting from @Mechalibur in this thread, here's a list of NPC conflicts in BG2EE:
Aerie - Korgan, Anomen (if test failed)
Anomen (if test failed) - Aerie, Keldorn
Anomen (regardless of quest) - Dorn, Hexxat
Dorn - Anomen, Keldorn
Edwin - Minsc, Valygar, Neera (won't actually fight, but can't be in the same party)
Hexxat - Anomen, Keldorn, Mazzy
Keldorn - Anomen (if test failed), Viconia, Hexxat, Dorn [could anyone confirm if he fights Korgan?]
Korgan - Aerie [could anyone confirm if he fights Keldorn?]
Mazzy - Hexxat
Minsc - Edwin
Neera - Edwin (won't actually fight, but can't be in the same party)
Rasaad - Sarevok (if evil)
Sarevok (if evil) - Rasaad
Valygar - Edwin, Viconia (on speaking to specific NPC)
Viconia - Valygar (on speaking to specific NPC), Keldorn [does this still happen if her alignment changes?]


The good:
* Aerie/Korgan makes perfect sense; it's a clash of paradigms, and I love that it doesn't actually come to blows. Aerie basically says you either agree with her worldview or you agree with Korgan's, and that's that.
* Anomen going crazy and attacking excessively good-aligned NPCs after failing his test is one of the most honest things about him, IMO.
* Dorn getting into a fight with the members of the Order of the Radiant Heart is the most "no duh" interaction ever.
* Edwin/Minsc is likewise such an obvious conflict.
* Hexxat gets into fights with lawful good NPCs? Again, such a shocker!
* Viconia/Valygar is actually one of my favorite conflicts. I didn't know about it for years, but I tried it out once, and I've got to say... I totally buy the whole "you've pushed me just a little too far this time" aspect of it. Too often, these conflicts are portrayed as irreconcilable personality differences, as inevitabilities. In this case, there's nothing irreconcileable, it's just that there's a line that one party likes tiptoeing up to and then backing away from, and one time she took it too far and went all the way across. It's nice to see that portrayed, too.
* There aren't a lot of instances among original BG2 NPCs where I think they really should conflict, but don't. I mean, I'm always surprised that every NPC in the game doesn't eventually try to murder Edwin just a tiny bit. But otherwise, I think the writers did a good job at identifying which pairs simply wouldn't be able to coexist and explaining why.
* The Haer'Dalis / Aerie / Charname love triangle is so ambitious and fun. Since BG2, romances in video games have become almost commonplace, but I can't think of another example where the player character actually has a credible rival for someone's affections. Most of the time, the PC expresses an interest in someone and then that person is essentially "claimed" to be romanced at his or her leisure.

The I don't know:
* I've never actually seen the Valygar/Edwin or Rasaad/Sarevok conflicts, but both seem plausible on the surface. I likewise don't know if Keldorn and Korgan come into conflict, because I've never had them both in the party at the same time. (There's only one set of gauntlets of dexterity, yo!)
* I like 50% buy Edwin/Neera, and 50% see through it to "it would be so broken if we let players have both at once, so let's make them mutually exclusive".

The bad:
* Others have pointed out, and I wholeheartedly agree, that it makes no sense that half the NPCs in the game don't want to murder Dorn and especially Hexxat. Realistically, there's no way in hell Aerie, Nalia, Minsc, Valygar, Rasaad, Jahiera, and Cernd wouldn't try to stake her at first opportunity, or else stake you for not doing it first. I get that the devs had an idea for a cool NPC and didn't want to limit her so she could only play nicely with a fraction of the available choices, but... I don't buy those interactions for a second.
* Keldorn trying to kill Viconia is a big reason why I don't like Keldorn, and it's not just because I love Viconia or anything. He shows so much promise of being more than Lawful Stupid and then he tries to chunk the drow for being a drow. He needs to sit down and take some lessons from Mazzy, who is ten times the paladin that he is.
* Hell, if they really wanted to give Keldorn another nemesis that actually made sense, they should have gone with Haer'Dalis:
Keldorn: "I am the embodiment of law and order!"
Haer'Dalis: "I just want to watch the entire universe descend into chaos and maybe give it a little help along the way."
Keldorn: "Keep it down, Harry, I just realized that swarthy lass we've been traveling with for the last two months is a drow and I must murder her immediately."

So yeah, that's my rant. Vanilla BG2 NPC conflicts are phenomenal and have motivations that make total sense, except for Keldorn/Viconia where the motivation is I guess essentially that Keldorn is a prick.

I like the EE characters a lot as standalone NPCs, but I think they were designed as cool characters with cool stories first and then attempts were made to fit them in among the existing constellation of NPCs, and a lot of compromises were made in the attempt to make sure they still got played. Except for Rasaad/Viconia, which I think is an exceptionally well-handled potential conflict.

Anyone else with thoughts on NPC conflicts? Love them, hate them, love to hate them, hate to love them?

Anyone want to try to defend Keldorn, perhaps?

NeverusedBlackravenThacoBellRavenslightArtonathespaceBalrog99BeetleJuliusBorisovMarkos

Comments

  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 330
    Neverused said:

    The Drow are, with the sole exception of Drizzt, 100% evil, and Viconia's constant usage of Drow terminology and ideals aren't really helping.

    One of Mystra's Seven Sisters was a not-evil drow. And then there's the existence of Eilistraee which would take a few worshippers.

    But I would agree that probably 99.5% of all drow would be evil, probably like 95% Lloth worshippers, 4.5% everything else evil in the drow pantheon, and then coming in at 1 in 200, the non-evil unicorns.

    In a city of what, 20-30k, that'd be 100-150 Good (or at least not-evil) drow.

    Blackraven
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    edited April 17
    Neverused said:

    I'll defend Keldorn, I suppose, just to be contrary (and I can understand where he's coming from.)
    Keldorn is, as shown in his own personal quest, a soldier of the Radiant Heart. And he's old; he's seen much, and fought against much, and has probably seen many comrades die over the years. Now to Viconia. The Drow are, with the sole exception of Drizzt, 100% evil, and Viconia's constant usage of Drow terminology and ideals aren't really helping. Plus, even if she's not worshiping Lolth, she changed deities to Shar, the betrayer. I can totally understand why, as a veteran of many fights, he would assume that Viconia would betray them again. And if I were on a mission that could be life or death to many people in the city? I sure as heck wouldn't want a Drow alongside me, especially a Drow that still refers to non-drow as Rivvin, keeps the matriarchy idea from her people, claims to worship a goddess known for betraying, and still pings as Evil. I wouldn't trust her as far as I could spit, if I were Keldorn.

    Here's my problem with "Keldorn is killing Viconia preemptively rather than risk her betraying them": Korgan pings as evil and his personal quest is literally seeking your help to betray his previous travel companions, who in the course of the quest reveal that he totally gutted one of their number for no good reason. And as far as I can find on the internet, Keldorn has no problem with him whatsoever.

    Edwin is pretty up-front that he's not really all that trustworthy, and he also pings as evil. According to this, Keldorn/Edwin also eventually fight... but Edwin, not Keldorn, is the one who starts it. Absent Edwin losing his mind, I get the sense that Keldorn would happily continue on with him in the party. (Since Edwin is usually back row and Keldorn usually front row, most of the time they never come into conflict, anyway; I've definitely run a party with both with no issues.)

    So Keldorn has no problem with evil NPCs, some of whom give you explicit confirmation that they are prone to betraying their traveling companions for no reason. He just has a problem with Viconia. Because he's a racist prick. (Compare to Ajantis, who attacked all evil NPCs making him the definition of lawful stupid, but since he was so consistent about it he wasn't a racist prick, he was just a regular prick.)

    If the Keldorn/Viconia conflict had been scripted instead of random, I think that could have been very interesting. Like, if after Adalon gave you your drow disguises Keldorn went off on a "I'm not going into a nest of her people with her at my back waiting to sell me out" tirade, I could buy that.

    But it's random, which means a lot of the time it's happening in chapters 2/3/4 before you ever have an inkling that you're heading to the underdark. And who would Viconia betray you to then? It's already been demonstrated that you're the only surfacer who isn't trying to kill her on sight.

    And worse, sometimes the conflict happens in chapter 6 after Viconia has already proven her trustworthiness by not betraying you as you took down a city of her kin.

    Like I said, I really think Mazzy is the best Paladin in the game. She hates evil actions, will turn on you if you side with Bodhi, I think she might be one of those who turns on you if you take the evil option in Refuge for the Elves in ToB, etc. But she doesn't have a problem with evil people *existing*. In fact, she gets along rather famously with Korgan, and her interactions with Edwin mostly involve nothing worse than deflating his ego a bit. There's none of this "pre-emptive killing" nonsense that's the hallmark of Lawful Stupid.

    Maybe Keldorn should squire with her instead of Valygar.

    Edit: more Mazzy love. IIRC, she's the only character who if your rep drops low enough won't just leave the party, she'll *actually attack you*. Which is exactly what a LG paladin-type should do! She doesn't punish people for innate alignment, but she won't hesitate to try to kill them for specific actions. That's the perfect example of Lawful Good, not Lawful Stupid. Best NPC in the game.

    Also, here's a link to a thread that has all of Keldorn's dialogues with Edwin, Korgan, Sarevok, and Viconia. Comparing the Korgan dialogues to the Viconia dialogues makes the difference really stark. With Korgan, Keldorn flat out says "Your axe has claimed a few close to you, we know. I'd not put a revisit to the same impulse past you." But then he just devolves into a mutual-respect love-in again. And to Charname regarding Korgan he explicitly confirms that even Evil can have its place and its use, and the thought makes him uncomfortable.

    But Viconia? Nope.
    Keldorn: Not a word in my direction. EVER.
    Viconia: Stay your hostility, paladin, I seek no conflict with you or your order. I've witnessed your sargh and streeaka firsthand. My humblest apologies, suliss.

    Another interaction:
    Viconia: Do you have a problem with my presence, male?
    Keldorn: Aye, I do, drow. And if you last another day within this party, I shall do us all a favor and spit you on my blade.

    Verdict? Racist old man.

    Post edited by SomeSort on
    ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Neverused said:

    Aerie/Hexxat fight as well, if I'm not mistaken, in ToB. About Hexxat literally going into the night and murdering civilians, and not even hiding the evidence. ALL the good NPCs should be attempting to stake her at this point, definitely agree with you here. Heck, I'm pretty darn sure every good NPC should attempt to stake her after she offs Clara after she begs for mercy after being mind-controlled by a vampiress.

    Considering Neera's entire questline is fighting against Red Wizards, I can understand their inability to work together, so I'd bump that to pretty plausible.

    I agree that Neera/Edwin is narratively supported. I'm just saying the cynic in me wonders if they only invented that narrative support just to prevent you from running them together, (perhaps with a Sorcerer charname), and breaking the game.

    Aerie/Hexxat fighting in ToB raises an interesting point. In vanilla BG2, by the time ToB rolled around all character conflicts ceased, and at the same time characters stopped leaving for having too extreme of a reputation in one direction or the other. Which I've always felt was kind of cool; once you've literally been to hell and back, it kind of puts some of that stuff into perspective.

    The EE adds at least three ToB conflicts: Hexxat/Aerie, Rasaad/Sarevok, and Rasaad/Viconia. I haven't seen Hexxat/Aerie or Rasaad/Sarevok, so I really can't comment. I did really like the Rasaad/Viconia conflict, though, which felt like a natural culmination of their relationship to that point and made perfect narrative sense.

    But at the same time, it does kind of make ToB lose that feeling of specialness where you knew you were at the end of your journey and all petty personal disputes were set aside because the stakes were too high.

    Also on the topic of conflicts, almost all of them are along the good/evil dimension. In vanilla BG2, every conflict was between a good NPC and an evil NPC, with the singular exception of Anomen going crazy if his life's dreams were destroyed, (which as I've said I think is such an authentic, honest reaction).

    Now, the conflicts weren't necessarily coming about *because* one character was good and the other was evil. Valygar/Viconia was about insults and going too far, Edwin/Minsc is shared history, Valygar/Edwin is about a character whose life was ruined by an evil power-hungry mage and an evil power-hungry mage. Korgan vs. Aerie is a tale of two worldviews, one of nurture and support vs. every man or woman for himself or herself.

    But at the same time, all the conflicts were between a good NPC and an evil NPC, so new players might not know exactly who would fight, but they knew that conflict was a potential risk when mixing good and evil.

    The more I think about it, the more I think Keldorn and Haer'Dalis should have had a conflict, too. Keldorn is the embodiment of order, Haer'Dalis the embodiment of chaos. They're as far apart on the law/chaos dimension as two NPCs could possibly be. I think it would go a long way towards adding some sense of meaning to that law/chaos dimension for the player.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,833
    One thing I really like is in SoA, Korgan and Aerie will conflict and Aerie will tell you that you need to choose who you will support. This is one of those random banters so you might never see it. But when 24 hours pass Korgan will it up again, and Aerie will just leave wanting to avoid potential conflict. Thats not the great part. The great part is that if this banter never triggered, it can trigger when you reach ToB. The difference being that this time AERIE CHALLENGES KORGAN. Korgan backs down, saying something along the lines that he pushed her because he wanted her to be strong. I love all the interparty interactions and its this reason that I still play this game after all these years.

    SomeSortsemiticgodCvijeta
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    SomeSort said:

    Neverused said:



    Edit: more Mazzy love. IIRC, she's the only character who if your rep drops low enough won't just leave the party, she'll *actually attack you*. Which is exactly what a LG paladin-type should do! She doesn't punish people for innate alignment, but she won't hesitate to try to kill them for specific actions. That's the perfect example of Lawful Good, not Lawful Stupid. Best NPC in the game.

    .

    First, Imoen won't leave you even if you do sink low. "I'll stick to you no matter what, but shouldn't we be better?" Gotta admit that I know little about Mazzy, even though I play a Paladin most of the time. Can't stand her portrait or sprite. I'll go to bat for Keldorn, one of my fave NPCs. He is a Paladin, and what is more, an Inquisitor. His "Detect Evil" would detect Viconia pretty quick and that would be that. He doesn't notice, go out of his way to kill her (though he speaks against rescuing her) unless she joins the party.

    I fully agree with what everyone has said about Hexxat. No NPC in their right mind should tolerate her in their party.



    Artona
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Attalus said:

    First, Imoen won't leave you even if you do sink low. "I'll stick to you no matter what, but shouldn't we be better?" Gotta admit that I know little about Mazzy, even though I play a Paladin most of the time. Can't stand her portrait or sprite. I'll go to bat for Keldorn, one of my fave NPCs. He is a Paladin, and what is more, an Inquisitor. His "Detect Evil" would detect Viconia pretty quick and that would be that. He doesn't notice, go out of his way to kill her (though he speaks against rescuing her) unless she joins the party.

    I fully agree with what everyone has said about Hexxat. No NPC in their right mind should tolerate her in their party.

    Ajantis was that kind of Paladin. If you were evil, and you were in a party with Ajantis, sooner or later that dude was going to try to murder you. Period, full stop, end of discussion. It's an extremely simplistic way to view the world, but at least with Ajantis you know where you stand.

    But Keldorn? He's awfully selective about what kind of evil he's going to up and murder. An evil wizard who makes no secret that he's just using you all as a means to his own ends? Keldorn's perfectly happy to live and let live until the wizard turns on him first. An evil dwarf who murdered one of his last traveling companions for no good reason and makes no secret of the fact that he doesn't regret it? Keldorn admires his fighting prowess and talks about how perhaps Evil has a purpose after all, as uncomfortable as that is to admit.

    But a drow who has been nothing but respectful towards him? Nah, screw that, murder the broad and don't think twice about it. Keldorn doesn't have a problem with evil, he has a problem with drow, seeing as that's the only evil character in the vanilla game that he ever attacks without provocation. (Especially given that Viconia is actually the *least evil* of the three evil NPCs, given that you can persuade her to change alignment in ToB.) Ajantis' approach might have been incredibly narrow-minded, but at least it was internally consistent. See evil, kill evil. For Keldorn, it's see evil, live and let live, unless that evil happens to be drow.

    semiticgod
  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 656
    I think there is a lot of humanity in the disagreements between NPCs in the original roster. You get some really fun differences cropping up between the likes of Keldorn & Cernd, Nalia & Viconia, Jaheira & Mazzy, etc. There aren't really any two PCs who are 100% aligned in their opinions and I find that so pleasant, and a lot of the time it is all reconcilable because of the magnitude of the quest. There are very few combinations that are guaranteed not to work out, and they all are very enjoyable to watch play out; the writers found nuance between PCs that share an alignment grouping, and it's pretty hard to put together a big happy family of 6.

    Keldorn actually commends Korgan's fighting talent in SoA. I'm not sure what occurs in ToB, but contrary to the idea that they conflict, Keldorn appears to respect Korgan. Keldorn is a grizzled veteran, and the 'Lawful Stupid' argument is too simplistic in my opinion. Edwin and Nalia both reference The Most Noble Order of the Radiant Heart as an organisation that is as much political as it is religious: Edwin accuses The Most Noble Order of being a party to the kind of colonial horrors committed by the European Empires. Keldorn being racist does not disqualify him from being a Paladin. He has an identity beyond his class and ideas of right and wrong that are influenced by other aspects of his background. From a societal perspective, a Paladin who deems it appropriate to kill a Drow probably doesn't flag as bad press for a Goodly God that needs to be cut from the roster.

    I agree with the OP about the incongruity of the newer NPCs in the setting. Sometimes I think they have been a little facetious, and seem to have gone out of their way to make the new NPCs irreconcilable to the style of opposition that was written between the original roster. They knew a Red Wizard NPC could join you, and centred the quest of one of their NPCs around the atrocities of Red Wizards. Obvious conflict. Monk of Selune chasing down Shar cultists vs. Cleric of Shar. Obvious conflict. A mass murdering Blackguard & a Rogue Vampire. Conflicts guaranteed. Between them, the EE NPCs manage to pull double the numbers of conflicts than the number amassed among the entire original cast, and it feels unnecessary. Could Beamdog really not see a way to work Neera's quest so that it didn't need to involve Red Wizards? What if it was Cowled Wizards, or any opportunistic homebrew organisation that wanted to throw a ton of resources at investigating Wild Mages without coming from the opposite side of Faerun?

    I'm not trying to be spiteful to Beamdog. I appreciate their effort. The conflicts in the original game were not a major feature, and were implemented very sparingly (or indeed, circumstantially in the case of Viconia-Valygar, or Anomen, so you could always bypass them). Beamdog seemed to set its NPCs on a direct collision course with the original roster and I find it jarring. I have just finished a run with Neera and Wilson. Aside from Hexxat (who is terrible) I have used them all now, and truth be told I'm probably not that likely to do so again beyond maybe doing their SoA quests.

    UnderstandMouseMagicArtonaSomeSortJuliusBorisov
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,833
    As an explanation to Keldorn (not a justification), as stated earlier, he is a grizzled war veteren. Self interested mercenaries, and especially mages are nothing new in Amn, and not being lawful stupid for most part, won't pick a fight without a reason. How many Drow do you Keldorn has encountered? Probably none, sure he has heard of Drizzt, who hasn't, but here is a living drow in front of him that pings evil. The unfamiliarity of it probably throws him off. I can see Keldorn attacking Viconia based on the stories he has heard of Drow, basically being Faerun's boogeymen.

    Artona
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,451
    Everybody putting Keldorn's attack on Viconia down to her being Drow.
    Personally I think it has more to do with her being a woman and coming from a society which is a matriarchy.
    I'd bet money Keldorn would find a way to live alongside a male Drow.

    Come on, the guy has issues with women. Never goes home but lives literally round the corner. We all know what the guy she was going out with was hinting at in the speech he gives.
    All that guff about parched lands and welcome rains...........lol.

    SomeSortBalrog99
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 330
    edited April 18
    SomeSort said:

    Especially given that Viconia is actually the *least evil* of the three evil NPCs, given that you can persuade her to change alignment in ToB.

    Well, technically then Mr. S. in ToB is even less evil as he can go from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Good and skip Neutral altogether.

    Balrog99
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    edited April 18

    SomeSort said:

    Especially given that Viconia is actually the *least evil* of the three evil NPCs, given that you can persuade her to change alignment in ToB.

    Well, technically then Mr. S. in ToB is even less evil as he can go from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Good and skip Neutral altogether.
    Sure, which is why I specifically limited to the original three evil NPCs. Though in Sarevok's case things are a little bit trickier, given that he only changes once he's been given a piece of your incorruptible soul, a soul that has weathered the trials of hell without any taint to show for it. Is it that he's got latent goodness within him, or is it that your spirit is so powerful it can actually overwhelm the evil within him?

    Edit: the thread title has suitable spoiler warnings, no sense in me tiptoeing around big reveals.

  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 656
    ThacoBell said:

    How many Drow do you Keldorn has encountered? Probably none, sure he has heard of Drizzt, who hasn't,

    Fun fact (sorry for derailing): Mazzy Fentan has not heard of him. If you take up arms against Drizzt in SoA, Mazzy will tell you that she hasn't heard of him and will follow you in to battle, hoping that you have valiant intentions by battling him. This pairs up nicely with the fact that at the end of ToB, she supportively advises you to give up your destiny and live a normal life, stating that she would be saddened if you took a Godly role and ended up being Evil. She is a decidedly non-hostile type of Lawful Good, and goes along with your quest without any out-and-out conflicts with anyone - perhaps because she believes that she will does a lot to fight Evil by your side, even if you might not be a force of Good.

    As such, to loop back to the OP, one might argue that Beamdog once again 'got it wrong' by pitting Mazzy against Hexxat. There's a very conscious decision on her part to travel with you even if there are Evil connotations to that journey, it would seem.

    tbone1SomeSort
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    ThacoBell said:

    How many Drow do you Keldorn has encountered? Probably none, sure he has heard of Drizzt, who hasn't,

    Fun fact (sorry for derailing): Mazzy Fentan has not heard of him. If you take up arms against Drizzt in SoA, Mazzy will tell you that she hasn't heard of him and will follow you in to battle, hoping that you have valiant intentions by battling him. This pairs up nicely with the fact that at the end of ToB, she supportively advises you to give up your destiny and live a normal life, stating that she would be saddened if you took a Godly role and ended up being Evil. She is a decidedly non-hostile type of Lawful Good, and goes along with your quest without any out-and-out conflicts with anyone - perhaps because she believes that she will does a lot to fight Evil by your side, even if you might not be a force of Good.

    As such, to loop back to the OP, one might argue that Beamdog once again 'got it wrong' by pitting Mazzy against Hexxat. There's a very conscious decision on her part to travel with you even if there are Evil connotations to that journey, it would seem.
    Mazzy is my favorite NPC precisely because of that. She's every bit the LG paragon of virtue, but that doesn't mean she's condemning people left and right.

    I like the "tolerate evil for the sake of good" angle, but my take on her is a little bit different. I always felt that she's willing to judge people by their actions rather than any innate "alignment" they might have. She doesn't hate Charname (potentially), Korgan, Edwin, or Viconia just because they're evil. Only if they do evil things, like side with Bodhi or stand by while the elves are killed in Saradush, or steal/murder until your rep is trashed.

    Viconia / Edwin / Korgan won't really do evil things in BG2. Selfish things, for sure, but nothing that truly qualifies as "evil" unless you're specifically telling them to. But Hexxat is a completely different animal, so to speak. She'll do evil things whether she has your say-so or not, so it makes sense that Mazzy, as someone who judges by actions, would fight her even if she got along fine, (sometimes famously!), with all the other evil-aligned NPCs.

    tbone1ThacoBell
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 753
    Verdict? Racist old man.


    Now I want Gran Torino with Keldorn and Viconia.

    SomeSort
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,833
    Really I think what we have learned is that Mazzy is the best.

    SomeSortrecklessheartAttalus
  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 752
    ThacoBell said:

    One thing I really like is in SoA, Korgan and Aerie will conflict and Aerie will tell you that you need to choose who you will support. This is one of those random banters so you might never see it. But when 24 hours pass Korgan will it up again, and Aerie will just leave wanting to avoid potential conflict. Thats not the great part. The great part is that if this banter never triggered, it can trigger when you reach ToB. The difference being that this time AERIE CHALLENGES KORGAN. Korgan backs down, saying something along the lines that he pushed her because he wanted her to be strong. I love all the interparty interactions and its this reason that I still play this game after all these years.

    Wow, totally agree, you learn something new all the time.

  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    ThacoBell said:

    Really I think what we have learned is that Mazzy is the best.

    Heh, still not letting her in my party, but that is just me. I'm glad you all enjoy her.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 7,502
    Jan also conflicts with Hexxat. I've seen him threaten to leave the party if you don't ditch Hexxat. I think Hexxat killed one of his family members.

    JuliusBorisov
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited April 20
    I think you people seem to have lost track of what the drow represent in the FR setting.

    A "typical" drow surface raid can be found in the Drizzt books. In it, innocents were butchered - tortured and murdered for no other reason than as a perverse kind of coming-of-age ritual for new warriors. Drizzt himself was supposed to murder a child. He refused, and so his father was sacrificed to Lolth as appeasement.
    Not very surprising in a setting where evil is a very real force which can actually manifest as demons and devils. Oh, and the drow know them. In the biblical sense. That's how many of their acolytes become priestesses.
    TLDR: In the FR setting, racism keeps you alive. Feel free how to argue how racism in such a setting shouldn't be the same as condoning cruelty towards other races, but you'd have to be stupid to willfully associate with demons and devils just to prove that you're not racist.

    Keldorn is man past his prime. He's a paladin who has beaten the odds and managed to live to around his 50s. We've already established that he barely goes home, so given what he does and the setting he lives in it doesn't take a lot to deduce that he's probably seen a lot of very, very horrible things. He's also lost a lot of people over the years.
    It makes much more sense that he's actually witnessed (at least the results of ) drow cruelty firsthand, and he carries the trauma of that experience with him.
    Younger people like Mazzy are much more flexible. It also helps that they grew up in a time when Drizzt had become famous. Drizzt left the Underdark about 30 years before the events of BG2, so Keldorn was probably already a squire or knight long before Drizzt's legend gained momentum.

    tbone1ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,451
    Nuin said:

    I think you people seem to have lost track of what the drow represent in the FR setting.

    A "typical" drow surface raid can be found in the Drizzt books. In it, innocents were butchered - tortured and murdered for no other reason than as a perverse kind of coming-of-age ritual for new warriors. Drizzt himself was supposed to murder a child. He refused, and so his father was sacrificed to Lolth as appeasement.
    Not very surprising in a setting where evil is a very real force which can actually manifest as demons and devils. Oh, and the drow know them. In the biblical sense. That's how many of their acolytes become priestesses.
    TLDR: In the FR setting, racism keeps you alive. Feel free how to argue how racism in such a setting shouldn't be the same as condoning cruelty towards other races, but you'd have to be stupid to willfully associate with demons and devils just to prove that you're not racist.

    Keldorn is man past his prime. He's a paladin who has beaten the odds and managed to live to around his 50s. We've already established that he barely goes home, so given what he does and the setting he lives in it doesn't take a lot to deduce that he's probably seen a lot of very, very horrible things. He's also lost a lot of people over the years.
    It makes much more sense that he's actually witnessed (at least the results of ) drow cruelty firsthand, and he carries the trauma of that experience with him.
    Younger people like Mazzy are much more flexible. It also helps that they grew up in a time when Drizzt had become famous. Drizzt left the Underdark about 30 years before the events of BG2, so Keldorn was probably already a squire or knight long before Drizzt's legend gained momentum.

    I don't think you are wrong, but there always has to be room for exceptions, there always has to be room for acknowledging that some (even if it's a few, tiny amounts even, one in a lifetime) can leave whatever system and that individuals can be judged on their actions.

    I agree using the word "racism" for anything in the FR is nonsense. But it's the current climate that's causing that, lets face it, everything's racist (no different from "reds under the beds").

    So Keldorn can still hate the Drow, go for it, they are monsters. But losing sight of an individual when that individual has disassociated themselvesfrom the monsters is not good.

    ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Nuin said:

    I think you people seem to have lost track of what the drow represent in the FR setting.

    A "typical" drow surface raid can be found in the Drizzt books. In it, innocents were butchered - tortured and murdered for no other reason than as a perverse kind of coming-of-age ritual for new warriors. Drizzt himself was supposed to murder a child. He refused, and so his father was sacrificed to Lolth as appeasement.
    Not very surprising in a setting where evil is a very real force which can actually manifest as demons and devils. Oh, and the drow know them. In the biblical sense. That's how many of their acolytes become priestesses.
    TLDR: In the FR setting, racism keeps you alive. Feel free how to argue how racism in such a setting shouldn't be the same as condoning cruelty towards other races, but you'd have to be stupid to willfully associate with demons and devils just to prove that you're not racist.

    Keldorn is man past his prime. He's a paladin who has beaten the odds and managed to live to around his 50s. We've already established that he barely goes home, so given what he does and the setting he lives in it doesn't take a lot to deduce that he's probably seen a lot of very, very horrible things. He's also lost a lot of people over the years.
    It makes much more sense that he's actually witnessed (at least the results of ) drow cruelty firsthand, and he carries the trauma of that experience with him.
    Younger people like Mazzy are much more flexible. It also helps that they grew up in a time when Drizzt had become famous. Drizzt left the Underdark about 30 years before the events of BG2, so Keldorn was probably already a squire or knight long before Drizzt's legend gained momentum.

    This is true. "Racism" doesn't really have the same connotation in the deliberately-stripped-of-shades-of-grey Forgotten Realms where moral determinism is totally a force that rules 99.9% of the world. With that said, it's a quick and easy way to explain the fact that Keldorn kills Viconia solely because of her race, not her alignment.

    Also, all of this is well and good, and if he ran across a random drow somewhere and shot first before asking questions, I wouldn't really think anything of it. But we're talking about someone he's been adventuring with and observing for potentially months. If she'd done something to provoke him, then fine. But she doesn't. She's super-respectful to him, praises him, says she doesn't want any conflict. And then out of the blue one day he says "hey, I'm going to give you 24 hours to leave before I murder you. Just a heads up!"

    So I totally get the source of his prejudice. I just don't think it's a particularly good excuse here. If he had refused to adventure with Viconia in the first place, sure, I totally get that. If he attacked her in response to your reputation dropping below 10, calling her a corrupting influence, then awesome. But nah, he's just all "hey, it's a pretty nice out, today's a good day to murder one of my traveling companions, I guess."

    ThacoBell
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited April 21
    Just pointing out that Keldorn's situation is not so simple. His advanced age means that he's likely to be much more set in his ways, including grudges. He comes from a time when the drow have been on an evil-spree for like five thousand years or so. His profession put his him in a position where he deals with traumatic events all the time. Finally, he has this thing about taking his job too seriously (arguable, its the flipside of what makes him a good man).
    Apparently he'd rather spend all his time in the Temple District sewers investigating leads about a cult that's been actively hurting people rather than go home to his family just a district away.

    I suppose he's been forced to make a few compromises over time, but a discussion he has with Jaheira is relevant here. I remember him saying that he thinks gray is not a color but the blurring of another. His compromise seems to be that he doesn't seem to care if other people are "gray", but he personally would never put himself in that position of indecision.
    Now, on top of everything else that's been mentioned, Viconia does absolutely nothing to confirm that she's mostly only looking out for herself and that she's not in a position to be actively malicious (something she even keeps from the PC up until the very last romance dialog). Instead, she constantly flaunts her drow heritage (mostly the bad aspect) and openly glorifies Shar (basically a declaration to deceive, lie and manipulate).
    Being a party mate, her actions are going to affect Keldorn directly. Overwhelmed by so many factors, I suppose Keldorn simply acted. It's an escalation that is probable since the triggers are there.

    Post edited by Nuin on
    SomeSortThacoBellAttalussemiticgod
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    I do get that. And I get that nobody is perfect, even the Platonic Ideal Paladin like Keldorn is supposed to represent. If his interactions with Korgan and Viconia are inconsistent, well... people are inconsistent.

    I'm just saying I don't really like him because of it. The ignoring his family thing is a personal flaw that, to me, makes him more interesting. I think you see a lot of parallels in real life, where greatness requires a single-mindedness that pretty much precludes balance. See, for instance, Steve Jobs. Perhaps the greatest entrepreneur of our time, and by all accounts a sort of miserable human being. Talking about neglecting one's family, Jobs refused to even acknowledge his child for years.

    The irrationally biased against Viconia thing is one that, to me, makes him less interesting, though. I think even an acknowledgement of the double standard could have gone a long way, some indication that he was aware of his flaw like he was with his family. Make it part of his character development and I love it. As it is, it's something that's just sort of there. "Keldorn hates drow" is initially as surface-level of an attribute as "Keldorn is old". But the game explores his age and uses it as a launching point for more character development. The drow thing is just kind of there, like a Jan monologue that comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere and then disappears down the memory hole again.

    (Alternately, one could say he's appropriately biased against Viconia and irrationally approving of Korgan, but I always felt that his and Mazzy's appreciation of Korgan was part of their charm, and Korgan's as well.)

  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    The problem between Keldorn and Viconia is multi-tiered. What makes these two different from Keldorn and Edwin or Korgan however. Is there is no ground between them where they can kind of agree and appreciate each other.
    Keldorn and Korgan have battlefield experience and can appreciate each other on a combative level.

    Keldorn and Edwin can tolerate each other mostly on a mutual wariness and unspoken understanding of faults they don't want to admit about themselves and the fact that they are in some ways rather useful to each other but they will never say that.

    Keldorn and Viconia however, Race issues, Gods and backgrounds that are in opposition to each other's professed ideals. Even a nasty little underlying male versus female vibe in a superiority of the sexes kind of way. They butt heads on so many levels that these two fighting can be seen as inevitable as any other pair. Specially considering that out of all your party members. These two are the two that both have the strongest personalities for not backing down to opposition as well. Which gets them both into trouble.


    As For Sarevok changing alignment. part of it could indeed be your soul kind of transforming his. Part of it also could be we're seeing Sarevok's true alignment finally shine through. Up until that point his life and upbringing had been basically a polar opposite of CharName and he spends a fair bit of that time up to the alignment change asking himself and you questions he had never even thought to ask before. Up to the point you beat him he worked under a great many assumptions that were evil in nature and pounded into him by those stronger. Something that Bhaal was able to feed on and encourage in Sarevok that he wasn't necessarily able to do so with Charname. it's fun to watch. But not nearly the culmination that Viconia's alignment change is in my mind. Since with her there is kind of have a slow progression over the course of the whole BG saga that even comes with setbacks to that change in the form of mistreatment at the hands of others over petty things she has no control over. I would have liked to see Viconia's god change to something like Elistraea to go with it (and in my head cannon it does in fact). But that would be story fluff that there just wasn't as much of in ToB.

  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    fateless said:

    Keldorn and Viconia however, Race issues, Gods and backgrounds that are in opposition to each other's professed ideals. Even a nasty little underlying male versus female vibe in a superiority of the sexes kind of way. They butt heads on so many levels that these two fighting can be seen as inevitable as any other pair. Specially considering that out of all your party members. These two are the two that both have the strongest personalities for not backing down to opposition as well. Which gets them both into trouble.

    I don't agree with that last bit at all. Here's a specific exchange that happens between them at one point:
    Keldorn: Not a word in my direction. EVER.
    Viconia: Stay your hostility, paladin, I seek no conflict with you or your order. I've witnessed your sargh and streeaka firsthand. My humblest apologies, suliss.

    (IIRC, "sargh" and "streeka" are references to his prowess, something like "strength and skill". "Suliss" is a term of respect.)

    Viconia is a pragmatist with a very strong self-preservation streak. She has no problem backing down when she doesn't like her odds, and she wants nothing to do with Keldorn.

    I'd say Korgan, Anomen, Mazzy, and Jahiera would all rate way higher on the "stubbornness scale" than Viconia, just for starters.

    ronaldo
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