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Discussion on Jahiera in BG2

Split off from the Party Members You Always Use thread in General Discussion.

@SomeSort

You can't have it both ways.
Either Jaheira had made her own mind up about Charname, (time traveling together is about 2 years?) or she was instructed to do so.

If it's the first, just the same as all the other NPC, then it's a no brainer that she doesn't allow any organisation to kill you for nothing.
All the examples you give are about betrayal, this was about murder.

In fact, now in BGEE, Edwin faces down the RWof T in Beregost when you help Neera.
Viconia doesn't betray you in Ust Nathar when the advantages she could gain are huge.

If it's the second, well she's been lying for a long time.

The Harper's are not the good guys are they?
Wasn't there something about not thinking of the organisation as some sort of "justice league"?

How can you compare not wanting to travel with somebody to eternal imprisonment underground in a small box?
Because that's what was on offer from the Harper's.
As I said, she would have to be irredeemibly evil to go along with that, and even more evil simply to do it because she was just "following orders".

She has nothing to say should you take the view that she is no longer trustworthy because she put you in that situation in the first place. Yes, she made a mistake, well own it, Charname is the one who was nearly killed.

You cannot call her out on the organisation she is associated with and give her an ultimatum. Instead you have to put up with her carrying on with them or she accuses you of this, that or the other.

It doesn't matter in the slightest that the group in Athkatla was rogue, it reflects very badly on the Harpers that anybody ever thought they weren't.
Not forgetting this happens after they have assasinated a possible former traveling companion in front of you, used you to deliver the hit.

Jaheira is no martyr though she is incredibly passive/aggressive. Charname has done nothing to deserve being accused of anything by her. Charname didn't ask Gorion to send them to her and K, didn't ask Irenicus to kill K, and certainly didn't ask the Harpers to start interfering with their life.

First off, I just wanted to say that I appreciate the different perspective; video games are an interesting medium because even in a game like BG2 that was praised for the frequency of the banters, we're really basing opinions on characters off of maybe 20 conversations over the course of the game.

Things are pretty sparse, and the player is left to read his or her own interpretation into the empty spaces, which is cool. And it's cool seeing the interpretations other players are reading in. A while back I had a discussion with @Kilivitz, who called Jahiera a mother-figure, when I'd always read her as more of a peer. This kind of head-canon is what makes the game our own, and I'd be loathe to try to talk someone out of theirs. But I was enjoying the discussion and, (provided you're enjoying it as well), would love to continue it.

To address some of your smaller points first: the Harpers assassinated Xzar, which... is totally unsurprising. The Harpers and the Zhents are standing enemies. If you have Harpers and Zhents in your party together in BG1, they'll kill each other there, too. The Harpers assassinated the Zhents after they first attempted to break into the Harper stronghold, and after they already started some pretty vile experiments nearby. Plus, Xzar is unabashedly evil. You can quarrel with their methods, but not their motives.

The Harpers themselves make a pretty solid point that it's kind of rich for you to get mad at them for lying to you and using you when you... gained access to their compound by lying them and tried to use them. Basically the complaint is "you did the thing that I tried to do to you, only you did it better". So you know, what's good for the goose...

(Also, if you're the type of Charname who is mourning the loss of a traveling companion like Xzar, then that goes a long way towards explaining why the Harpers wanted to imprison you.)

Speaking of, if it's irredeemably evil to go along with sentencing someone to eternal prison underground in a small box... well then, many of my good-aligned charnames have been irredeemably evil. Because I frequently do literally exactly that to Demogorgon.

Ah, you might say, but Demogorgon is evil incarnate! Well, sure, and charname is the progeny of the Lord of Murder, who foresaw his own death and spread his immortal essence among the races in an effort to achieve immortality. There's totally a non-zero risk that YOU are evil incarnate, too.

Even if you've been good to that point, (and the exchange is the same regardless of your rep, so that's no guarantee), it's abundantly clear that things could still change in the future. Elminster in all of his encounters with you reinforces that your future is not set.

Jahiera doesn't exactly have a crystal ball to know it's coming, but just over the horizon you are going to gain access to the Slayer form, the avatar of Bhaal himself. A little further down the road you'll be tested in hell, and there's a really substantial chance that you will fail, succumb to the taint, and become evil (if you aren't already).

So obviously the Harpers are right to be concerned about you. And honestly, I don't even think they're wrong to have "We can always imprison him in a tiny room deep underground" as a fall-back plan should it look like things are going south with you.

This doesn't make the Harpers an evil organization, but a pragmatic one. And a meddlesome one. But again, they're close associates of Elminster, which is really all the proof which should be required that yes, they are a strong force for good in the universe. There's plenty of disagreement over their methods, but not over their motives.

The Harpers contact Jahiera and say they want to evaluate you. They say they just want to ask you some questions to see if things are going south. Jahiera, reasonably enough, acquiesces. She's loyal to you, but she's loyal to the Harpers, which isn't really a contradiction since you spent your entire early life closeted in Candlekeep with someone with the same divided loyalties.

During the course of the questioning, it looks like they're railroading you and reading your answers in the worst possible light. Jahiera objects to this, and things come to blows. The thing is, on the one hand, as the person closest to you, Jahiera is the harper best positioned to gather information on how you're turning out.

But at the same time, as the person closest to you, Jahiera could easily be emotionally compromised, lacking the objective distance required to determine how you're turning out. And she knows this. So yes, a part of her thinks you're being railroaded. But a part of her wonders if she's just not seeing what the rest of the Harpers are seeing because she's too close, because she's under your spell.

The former part is bigger than the latter part, so she betrays her friends, her surrogate family, the only cause she has ever known. But this doesn't silence the doubts that she made a mistake.

And when her mentor, the man who trained her as a Harper and taught her their worldview, shows up and aligns himself against you, those doubts only intensify. She stood by you, but she did so knowing that it very well could have been a colossal mistake.

Perhaps she was willing to make that mistake because she believed so long as she remained close to you she could help guide you, help steer you away from succumbing to your taint. Or perhaps she just had such an innate sense of rightness that she was willing to throw away everything she had ever worked for because she thought it was more likely than not that an injustice was occurring.

If you send her away immediately after that, what's the first thing she's going to think? Is it that she won't be there to guide you after all? Is it questions about whether you were playing her and are now discarding her now that she's no longer useful?

She sacrificed everything she had for you, and she did it despite being racked with doubts about that course of action, and by sending her away you're adding fuel to those doubts. So no, I don't think meekly accepting it and letting you know that she'll be standing around in a foreign city where all of her allies now lie dead and bleeding on the off chance that you deign to come back for her is really in character.

And yeah, I think she's totally permitted a little bit of bitterness.

Really, I love the entire sequence with Jahiera starting as such a (superficially, at least) obnoxiously self-assured character in BG1, but then having her world rocked with Khalid's death and her black-and-white worldview upended by the Harpers in such close succession, and coming out of it just completely racked by doubt.

And I love the quest to regain that self-assuredness, but this time to ground it in a firmer foundation so the next time a storm comes along it's not going to be buffeted so severely. I love how at the end, she either succeeds in the quest, or else she fails and her punishment for her actions is being left with her doubts for the rest of her days.

I love that the ending slide in ToB if you romance her really reinforces that she did manage to rebuild her self-perceptions on a firmer foundation, an unshakeable foundation that's capable of weathering any further storms life throws at her without any signs of wear.

I think it's by far the most complex, compelling, and believable character arc in the game. BG1 Jahiera was an obnoxious bore, but BG2 Jahiera is fantastic.
recklessheartThacoBellAttalusSkatanStefanONightingaleNeverused
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Comments

  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 320
    Maybe all posts dealing with Jaheira could be moved here? As it is now, it's like coming to the discussion midway or reading both threads.
    SomeSortAttalus
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    jastey said:

    Maybe all posts dealing with Jaheira could be moved here? As it is now, it's like coming to the discussion midway or reading both threads.

    That would be fantastic if a mod could do that.
    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    @SomeSort

    Oooh, that's a lot of points.
    Ok.

    Xzar, Montoron, the Harpers.

    Either the charname has agency or they don't. The game gives you agency, you can use Zhents ect. and you can, for the whole of BG, stop them doing anything bad.

    To then say it's acceptable for the scenario to change (what? because history? FR lore? which you are told nothing about in game) and have the player not able to choose to be good/evil or judge NPC on actions alone, cannot work.
    From Charname's POV, what the Harpers do is wrong, it's murder. It's said X/M have been "spying" on the Harper base. From Charname, the reaction could justifiably be " so what? these two helped me stop a war".

    Xzar asks you to find out what happened to Montoron, nothing more, and you are led to believe he has been turned into a bird. Which you rescue, why wouldn't you, it's kind of in keeping with what Charname has been doing since they left Candlekeep.

    And the experiments up the road, hmmm, so the Harpers know what's going on, won't do anything to stop it until you come along, and of course that's not a set up?
    Just trying to work out the difference between what we find in the house Edwin directs us to, the Mage who captures Haer Dalis, the Guarded Compound, Irenicus, Firkrag ect. ect, ect. and X/M's supposed home.

    And don't even get me started on the "Harper contact" Bernard working front of house at the CC.
    How do they explain that one?
    Attalus
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    Demogorgon

    You can "kill" him, which means sending him back to his plain, yes?
    That's more of a choice than the Harpers offer Charname.

    Helm's in charge of this gig, are you really saying the Harpers are on that level of making decisions?
    And I presume that there's some history going on here that points to Demogorgon needing to be imprisoned. A bloody great prison was built for that purpose years before which I'm pretty sure wasn't done just for the exercise.
    Attalus
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    "Even if you've been good to that point, (and the exchange is the same regardless of your rep, so that's no guarantee), it's abundantly clear that things could still change in the future. Elminster in all of his encounters with you reinforces that your future is not set."

    So this is then a nature versus nuture argument?
    The game favours nuture, or at least pushes the Charname to take that path. It's difficult to play evil, won't even allow evil choices all the time.

    So for the Harper's and by extension Jaheira, in the context of the game, "evil nature" shouldn't matter. It's inconsistant to have one NPC judging you on "nature" without Charname being able to justifiably say "you are a risk, you have divided loyalties"
    She shouldn't get special treatment.
    And after the Harper business, Charname is proved to have been correct.

    Khalid being killed is a complete irrelevence. Charname was not responsible in any way. There was never any doubt that Charname would be seen as a target right from the beginning of BG, in fact that's given as the reason Charname was hidden in Candlekeep by Gorion.
    J/K took their own decision to travel with him/her.

    Jaheira can't treat you like a child one minute following her orders, possibly following Harper orders, then turn round and say "Khalid was killed and it's all your fault".
    No different from Khalid being killed in Nashkel Mines.
    Her bitterness is seriously misdirected. If anything she sould be full of loathing for the Harpers, including Gorion and Elminster, as they were the ones who put her on the path that ended up with Khalid killed.

    It's kind of silly to think that the Harper organisation cares anyway. How old do you have to be to realise that no large organisation cares as much for you as people you surround yourself with, friends/family ect.?

    So Jaheira's blown it, putting her trust in an organisation that has goals far away from the personal and messing up the personal by being too stupid to figure that out.
    And the attitude you get should you dare to drop her shows that she still hasn't learnt.

    (projection here from me just playing the game, but she has always come across as being thick. I think it's the remarks beginning BG2 when she says something innane about traveling with Charname is never boring...after she watches you being tortured. And the Bernard business in the CC. As you say, it leaves gaps, as a player that's how I fill them in.)
    Attalus
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 110
    Harpers are more of an intelligence gathering organisation, they usually only get involved more overtly when powerful factions make big moves that can dramatically effect the balance of the realms politics. As such it's not really that much of a stretch to see them "involved" with the Bhaalspawn prophecy, it's just that the Athkatla branch leadership is attempting to use the situation for personal gain which is why Jaheira gets so miffed.

    She probably feels that they have messed up her "cover" and since establishing it cost her Khalid as well as a bit of Torture from Irenicus it's unacceptable. Considering they get involved in all sorts of power struggles in a much more covert manner, much like Jaheira is doing, it is very much out of character for them to attempt to cast Imprisonment on an individual especially when they have an agent already planted.

    On top of that merely casting imprisonment does not guarantee the protagonist would actually be taken out the game, given the rest of the storyline one must assume that the other powerful Bhaalspawn would easily find out the last location and free him/her just to gain the essense, that assumes Irenicus would not get there 1st which is more likely.

    As for Bernard in the CC then what better place to place an Agent than the seediest bar in town where many shady deals go down? ;)
    AttalusDJKajuru
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,818
    I love threads like this. I never get tired of reading Alternate character interpretations.
    AttalusSomeSortDJKajuruSkatan
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    @Borek

    You have kind of backed up my objections to Jaheira. She turns on Charname if you drop her, not physically, but along the lines where my only desired response is
    "where do you get off talking to me like this, I've stood by you, I've been attacked by Harpers, both in their headquarters and on the road".

    Bernard in the CC.
    Hendak tells you he's been a slave for years. Years where he has watched slaves thrown to trolls and worse.
    Bernard, a Harper agent, has stood and watched.
    Charname frees them within days.
    (just hate that you don't get to at least imprison Bernard for his part in the set up)
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    Very, very interesting and insightful thread, given that I always take Jaheira along (that Summon Fire Elemental and Insect Plague spell are well worth having, not to speak of Defensive Harmony) but only tried to Romance her once out of 30+ trips through BG2. It was like Romancing an aunt to me. I guess I have never found Khalid's ex to be attractive in that way. Speaking of which, I have found it hard to equip Jah with weapons and armor and have settled on Blackblood +3 and the Shield of Harmony
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    ...Shield of Harmony +2 along with Full Plate, the Helm of Balduran and the Ring of Earth Control, at least till the Underdark. That puts her at -8 AC. Any help appreciated
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 110


    You have kind of backed up my objections to Jaheira. She turns on Charname if you drop her, not physically, but along the lines where my only desired response is
    "where do you get off talking to me like this, I've stood by you, I've been attacked by Harpers, both in their headquarters and on the road".

    Bernard in the CC.
    Hendak tells you he's been a slave for years. Years where he has watched slaves thrown to trolls and worse.
    Bernard, a Harper agent, has stood and watched.
    Charname frees them within days.
    (just hate that you don't get to at least imprison Bernard for his part in the set up)

    To be honest i wasn't surprised at her comments when removing her from the party, she goes above and beyond when it comes to defending the protagonist and then you just dump her after she's pretty much burned all her bridges, at least depending on what your Rep is when and if you complete her quest chain.

    As for Bernard then we never get to find out what he has done when planted at the CC, it seems slavery is fairly common even if it is illegal, i look at it like most agents working undercover in so far as they are required to turn a blind eye to some bad things in order to gather info that can prevent or stop worse crimes.

    The advantage of being the Bhaalspawn is acting for the moment without really having to deal with the consequences, by this i mean a lot changes in a short period of time, but for all we know the freed slaves just end up being owned by someone else or one of the various powerful organisations step in to the power vacuum left behind in our wake. Heck even the "good" option is to side with the Shadow Thieves, which are decidedly evil, once the party sweeps away Bodhi they are free to operate with impunity again and i would reason are likely to profit greatly from the aftermath of the Bhaalspawn.

    This assumes you do not ascend to Godhood and force Aran Linvale into Servitude/kill him as penance for ordering you about and manipulating you for his benefit >:)
    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    @Borek

    It's not a matter of dumping Jaheira though. The dialog is polite and you simply ask her to drop out for a time, asking where we can find her later. Pretty much the same as all the other NPC. It's her sense of entitlement that causes her to berate you, and she doesn't even consider that after the Harper shenanigans you have reasons. She does leave you at some point to persue her own agenda as well, and expects you to behave decently about that but can't extend the same courtesy to you.
    She's a very unpleasant, rude individual IMO (that's me being polite BTW, everytime I take her along the titles I use tend to be more earthy) :D

    Bernard is working for a boss who uses children for troll food and slaves as bait in pit fights. Not sure how much worse it can get.
    That's a little more than turning a blind eye to slavery to collect evidence.
    The authorities seem to be quite keen to act anyway, you get listened to and taken seriously when you bring evidence of Roenall's misdeeds to their attention in the Nalia quest.

    I usually wipe out the Shadow Thieves in chapter 6 (ok, massive self interest, I want the boots and the XP). Doesn't Keldorn make some remarks about doing that as well? Which makes more sense than letting them carry on after seeing what they do.
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 110
    She is one of the few that stuck with you potentially from the start of BG1 and has suffered for doing so, plus she's always had a somewhat superior attitude so it was not unexpected that she would go a bit nuts at being dumped after turning her back on the Harpers, then being told "So long luv" as you stroll off to greater things lol.

    As for Bernard then, as i have already said, he's a spy, he'd end up being fed to a troll himself if he indicated he was working for the Harpers. Undercover agents often have to choose between maintaining cover for the good of their mission or trying to stop something unpleasant themselves, blow their cover and potentially let greater acts of evil occur. For all we know his info has been responsible for disrupting the slave trade and foiling far worse acts of evil. On top of that the Harpers are NOT a police force, it's up to the authorities in Athkatla to deal with the slave trade and considering there is the Roenail quest that uncovers a reasonably high up Noble deeply involved in the slave trade whilst being part of the "Law" it is not as simple as it would seem.

    Bernard is not the son of a God with a party of adventurers, dripping in magic items and itching to poke their noses into anything that seems remotely shifty just on the off-chance they can cash in and fund a boat trip to a mysterious Island-Jail. He's just some nobody trying to do a bit of good by passing on info to people in a better position than him to make a difference. The fact he has to watch some pretty horrific things going on in a public tavern says more about Athkatla than him. Also, unlike the Protagonist, he has to actually LIVE in Athkatla, probably has a Wife and Kids as well, and like 99% of peasants he probably doesn't earn much.
    DJKajurutbone1ThacoBellBalrog99
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 303
    Overall. The Harpers as an organization sit somewhere in the good to Neutral Range. Exactly where changes over time and what area you are in. Their interest in various minor affairs like slave trading also varies by area and who's in charge. They are a wide spread organization that doesn't have large day to day muscle. The times that they throw weight around it's usually by pulling together their informants and operatives over a very large area backed up by People like Gorion and Eleminster who basically work in effect as Elite Powerhouses they can support.

    Between that and the fact that they sometimes like to act pre-emptively while often being heavily involved in politics which more often than not complicates rather than simplifies pretty much anything they try to do. They end up being an organization that is both loved and hated not just by Enemy organizations but even people in the communities that they reside and work in and their known members are often seen as unmitigated trouble makers.

    CharName actually has a level of Autonomy that the Harper's just can't achieve that allows them to shake things up much more thoroughly and on large and smaller levels than the Harper's can do on a day to day basis. This is both good and bad to the Harpers. Add in the fact that At any moment they fear the expectation that your will might not be your own and you might just become an active vessel for an Evil God. Realistically it all means that it's only a matter of time that somewhere some part of the Harper's is going to take issue with you. And if they find they can't properly use you. They are going to want to neutralize you.

    This all plays out in the Xzar/Monteran incident and the Harper Incident with Jahiera. it seems to me that Jahiera's own mentor does a good job of outright trying to manipulate her and tell her that her grasp on the situation is flawed because of emotions for CharName all in pursuit of such. She sides with you over people that she has dedicated a great deal of her life and energies to. Whether you find it reasonable or not. It's actually very realistic for her to get upset if you shove her off right after she does so. Even if it's only temporary. Most actual people after doing something like that would. Whether you feel it's justified to receive such or not. people aren't the most rational. Specially in world view altering moments.

    When it comes to Bernard on the other hand. Most of the arguments that are leveled against him come with the assumption there is even much he can do about the situation that he's in other than pass information along that might hopefully free a few slaves and wait for some kind of real help to come along. when the reality is he's probably the poor unfortunate peon of a sod that finds himself in a bad place. Trying to keep his affiliations secret so they don't get him harassed or worse on a daily basis while just hoping his superiors haven't just left him out to dry with empty assurances. Afterall. somebody has already pointed out. Some of your biggest help comes from the Shadow Thieves when it comes to the city, A Neutral to Evil Organization depending, if you don't go the wholely evil route of advancing a vampire epidemic on the whole coastal region by siding with Bodhi.
    BorekThacoBell
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    edited April 24
    As to the Shadow Thieves: I have always felt they were the lineal descendant of the Thieves' Guild of Lankhmar from Fritz Leiber's Grey Mouser stories. It is significant that the password (in BG) is "Fafhrd" who was the Grey One's barbarian buddy. I have done a "check Alignment" on Aran Linvail and he is Neutral, presumably CN, as is Annah in PS:T, one of my faves. Bodhi, OTOH, I abhor.
    Heh, on one of my early runs through BG2, I kicked Jah out from a female CHARNAME's party right after dealing with Galvanney, and she says, "Damn you, CHARNAME, now I have nowhere to go."
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    edited April 24
    @fateless

    I appreciate your explainations but if anything they support the view that any Charname, for their own self interest, should have nothing to do with Harpers or anybody affiliated with them.

    In game, not fics, not mods, the only contact we have with the Harpers is J and K until Athkatla. I'm not sure if it's the case as I haven't played with them for years, but isn't it only X/M that reveal they are Harpers?
    Again in BG2, Xzar asks for your help and tells you that the building you were just outside is a Harper Base.

    Does that change if you have Jaheira in party? What has she said up to that point?

    So from Charname's POV, without Jaheira, the Harpers are bad news. They trick you, they use you without your consent to commit murder. The argument that that was what you were trying to do to them doesn't follow. In game you are looking for somebody they are holding, that is all. A quest just like all the others, it being a Harper Base is irrelevent.
    The bottom line for Charname is raising money to rescue Imoen and the "morality" of Charname dictates which quests they take. Finding out about a possible former companion is quite low down on the "evil" scale.
    If anything, killing the apprenticies of Xzar is worse and the Harpers were the ones who told you to do that.

    The Montoron quest is very like a few in BG, the Tenya quest and the Ragefast Quest for example. Both start from one direction and then with more knowledge, end differently. The difference is that Tenya doesn't turn up after you have said you will get her bowl and then kill the fishermen as they hand it over.

    Edited To Add

    And if Tenya did turn up and start killing the fishermen, what would Charname's reaction be? Just shrug and put it down to "oh those are evil fishermen"?

    I don't see that having Jaheira in party changes the course of what Charname experiences in this quest, basically being used to commit murder. Both of the apprentices and Xzar.

    So that's Charname's experience of the Harpers up till that point, and then it gets worse.

    At what point can Charname legitimately ask Jaheira to choose?
    Forget all the outside knowledge, in game, why would any Charname allow somebody still affliated with this group, anywhere near them?
    Attalus
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    When Ployer asks me if I am affiliated with the Harpers, I always respond, "I don't like to meddle in other people's affairs," or words to that effect. I, like most of the rest of you, am not a Harper Fan. I won't say that is the main reason I never Romance Jah, but it is not out of my consideration, either. Note that they get a more positive spin in NWN, though.
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 303
    Kicking Jahiera out stands partly on you know the person more than the organization. ARe you going to Do it on her merits or simply the behavior of the organization. Which doesn't necessarily reflect Jahiera herself. It's a twist on the whole Viconia thing really. Are you going to hate Viconia for her race or because of who she is as a person? If your going to do it by the Race your going to probably never save Viconia in BG1 (note if you don't pick her up she was forced to fight and flee and people died anyway and she was technically a victim. The fact that her alignment is evil is a separate issue.)

    The Apprentices actually are doing something bad when your sent to kill them. The Fact that the Harper's send you shouldn't hold as much weight. had they kept going you likely would have had to deal with them helping out some other citizen of the city. Just like a great countless many others across both games. In fact. you could say the journey of the bhaalspawn in some respects is the story of being sent to kill people. What is Irking many is that it's perceived as not their choice to go in and try to investigate and things turn ugly or deciding they are bad for yourself combined with an overshadowing of what the Harpers do to you later. The Quest to take out the apprentices is functionally very identical to many many quests in the games. It's that extra knowledge about the Harper's that changes things. We can't separate that Meta aspect out of it.

    As for Xzar and Monteran. Both are evil. There is no escaping that. As I recall on your first interaction with them with the right choices one of them makes an offhanded comment that they might as well travel with you because they can kill you later if they need to. If you deal with them or read through the stuff about Zhents in BG1 in particular. you learn the Zhents are anything but a nice organization. You could argue on par and similar to Sarevok's Iron Throne. What little you deal with both organizations. Neither is actually kind to you and so the issue of dealing with evil organization comes up as a wash except that it can start up an argument that killing both sides is wholely justified(maybe even inevitable). Certain individuals that happen to be part of these organizations however do treat you rather decently.

    This is where we come back to the issue here and so if you choose Jaheira to stay, Your not choosing the Hapers in any way shape or form. Your actually choosing her as a person. If you can't separate her from the Organization after she has defied and fought against the organization for you? That can cause some very sore feelings no matter how you try to rationalize it. Some very understandable feelings when looking at it from the outside and not being the one they are directed at. (A hard distinction sometimes because we gamers tend to put some piece of us into our main characters. Specially ones we get to create and develop purely ourselves.) Your not choosing anything to do with the Harpers. She doesn't have any real further dealings with them that you don't for the rest of the series and even questions her continued place with them despite learning very quickly that this is a rogue fringe group that was actually defying the overall Harper's directive to do what it did as well as throwing further Mud on the Harper Organization itself.



    Jahiera for the Monteran quest doesn't change much overall. She has a couple of comments that suggests she wasn't entirely ok with it. But is trying to keep that "Greater Good" mentality of the Harpers that some things just need to be done sometimes. In the Vanilla game and the right circumstances she was even able to help get you in the door as I recall.
    ThacoBell
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 303
    edited April 24
    shoot forgot to put it in the last one.

    Aran Linvail does run his operation more on the Neutral side of things compared to the shadow thieves in some other places in the setting. he does some good. he does some bad. he turns a profit and it all comes out even in his books. They may have evolved down from something like that when the setting was first created. Or the writers may have enjoyed that work and that password is one of the wonderful easter eggs from back in the day.

    edit: As for Tenya. I do have some of my PC's that refuse to deal with either side when I'm more into RP'ing and less into power gaming(There is a use for keeping the little girl alive later in another quest.
    Post edited by fateless on
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    @fateless

    So we are not allowed to judge Jaheira with regards to the company she keeps but she can judge Charname throughout the quest based on reputation?

    But, but, but....she knows us, she's close to us. She was there in that nasty fight when an AOE spell accidently caught a bystander?

    If your rep is less than 16 and you are not romancing her, she doesn't believe she has done the right thing by standing by you (after Terminsel)
    16?
    Again, who does she think she is?
    So 16, that's high for a mixed party, anything less, well you should be in a box underground, she made a mistake.

    Please explain what loyalty, what "standing by you through thick and thin" depends on reputation?

    Funny thing is that should you be in a relationship, reputation can be as low as 9.
    Such a principled stand from Jaheira.
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 303
    edited April 25
    Reputation was always just a bit broken in my opinion. It's a correlation of How good or Evil Others see your actions and got you benefits for that. But only for being good. All while initially being influenced by your chosen alignment never has a tie to your alignment after that point. In fact your alignment is mostly static in BG which I have always felt was a flaw to the BG series as much as I love it.

    Why I call it broken. Because even if your alignment is good. If you've lowered it. partly to keep a mixed party happy and together because you've tanked Charisma or just don't want to listen to Edwin and Viconia complain the entire game.

    But Jahiera unless you truly get close to her. i.e. in a relationship. She doesn't tell you a lot about herself. She keeps you at a bit of a distance and she stays quite stuck up and self righteous. Making it possible for people to sway her for far longer that your a problem. And the fact that you are commiting acts to lower that are lowering your reputation could be seen as Bhaal's influence indeed being over you. She behaves differently to you as you progress through the romance. This is why some call her motherly or the aunt character. She's there. she guides somewhat. But there is a line drawn that things just do not cross and keep her at somewhat of a distance and can even imply that you are successfully hiding things from the party.

    In that relationship she knows you on a deeper level. There is implication that you two have spent a lot of time talking to each other about very personal things and possibly doing more as the relationship advances and she becomes much less concerned with your reputation as she can feel that she really can trus you and that you aren't hiding any dark secrets from her. Perhaps some of those downtime conversations we never see are even about your bhaalspawn blood and worries or affirmations that it's not taking you over. This approach does not actually compromise her principles. it just changes how she applies them as the situation changes in those small ways. Something that we all as people do.
    ThacoBell
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 762
    Keep in mind that Galvarey was using you to increase his prestige/power in the organization. Also, one of the Harpers who talks to Jaheira afterwards is surprised to hear this, so it certainly looks like he's doing it off his own bat, not on orders from above. That the Harpers confront you later is not a surprise because of who you are and no other witnesses survived; they need to know why five or six of their people are dead. So while I get their nosing around to find out about Galvary or Cavalcade or whatever his name was, keep in mind that Jaheira stands by your side and tries to convince the Harpers of your innocence in this matter, putting the last thing she has (other than your friendship) on the line.
    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,818
    @UnderstandMouseMagic "So we are not allowed to judge Jaheira with regards to the company she keeps but she can judge Charname throughout the quest based on reputation?"

    Yes. She explicitly leaves the organization because of/for you. I used to work for Chik-Fil-a, should I be called a homophobe because of a previous association?
    fateless
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 277
    fateless said:

    Overall. The Harpers as an organization sit somewhere in the good to Neutral Range. Exactly where changes over time and what area you are in. Their interest in various minor affairs like slave trading also varies by area and who's in charge. They are a wide spread organization that doesn't have large day to day muscle. The times that they throw weight around it's usually by pulling together their informants and operatives over a very large area backed up by People like Gorion and Eleminster who basically work in effect as Elite Powerhouses they can support.

    Well, and I'm now going to talk out my posterior without backup, I'd assume that open slavery is banned from all nations except those ruled by explicitly evil groups (Thay, Zhentil Keep and it's satellite places). While there will be shady slavery rings in those places. See Jaheira and one of her romance quests for what Harper actions resulted in. Namely, a Baron being stripped of titles, land and property, and that was...Calimsham I think? Not exactly a socially liberal place IIRC.

    I would concur about the "good to neutral" range. I just reread Spellfire and Crown of Fire, and that has a lot of talk about Harpers.

    To quote Storm Silverhand in Spellfire:
    "A Harper is one who tolerates many faiths and deeds, but works against warfare, slavery, and wanton destruction of the plants and creatures of the land. We oppose those who would build empires by the sword or spilled blood, or work art heedless of ther consequences.

    blah blah blah we oppose blah blah We treasure knowledge and art for future hands blah blah

    We seek to keep kingdoms small, and busy with trade and the problems of their people. Any ruler who grows too strong and seeks to take knowledge and power is a threat. More precious knowledge is risked when his empire falls, as fall it must."
    That's not out and out good. It's definitely neutral and good because it is GENERALLY opposed to evil. But would also oppose a good king looking to rule an empire. Say if Azoun decided to, for the sake of things, try to annex the dalelands so as to promote more law and order there. Sounds to me that the Harpers would oppose him, a CLEARLY good and just king, and try to keep the status quo the status quo.
    fateless said:

    Add in the fact that At any moment they fear the expectation that your will might not be your own and you might just become an active vessel for an Evil God. Realistically it all means that it's only a matter of time that somewhere some part of the Harper's is going to take issue with you. And if they find they can't properly use you. They are going to want to neutralize you.

    This all plays out in the Xzar/Monteran incident and the Harper Incident with Jahiera. it seems to me that Jahiera's own mentor does a good job of outright trying to manipulate her and tell her that her grasp on the situation is flawed because of emotions for CharName all in pursuit of such. She sides with you over people that she has dedicated a great deal of her life and energies to. Whether you find it reasonable or not. It's actually very realistic for her to get upset if you shove her off right after she does so. Even if it's only temporary. Most actual people after doing something like that would. Whether you feel it's justified to receive such or not. people aren't the most rational. Specially in world view altering moments.

    Yep, which is why I love Jaheira romance. I agree wholeheartedly with all this.

    "To the box with ye."
    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145
    ThacoBell said:

    @UnderstandMouseMagic "So we are not allowed to judge Jaheira with regards to the company she keeps but she can judge Charname throughout the quest based on reputation?"

    Yes. She explicitly leaves the organization because of/for you. I used to work for Chik-Fil-a, should I be called a homophobe because of a previous association?

    Sorry, haven't got the foggiest what this is referring to. And I would prefer to keep this discussion within the game.

    The point I've been trying to make for ages is that Jaheira doesn't leave the Harpers, you cannot ask her to leave the Harpers even after how they have treated you.

    You nor Jaheira know that the Harpers in Athkatla are rogue (and that's questionable anyway, deniable plausibility? plan didn't work, it wasn't really us).

    Charname is isolated, has been attacked many times since they stepped out of Candlekeep. Charname, to survive, recruits people along the way. Charname needs their recruits to be loyal to Charname, that is all. Doesn't matter their motivations, just need them fighting by your side.
    No other NPC is affiliated with a group that attacks Charname.

    Why the special treatment for Jaheira?
    Why, as Charname, would they put up with somebody who has divided loyalties after those divided loyalties nearly got you killed or worse?

    In the OP the point was made that the game leaves gaps which we fill in ourselves.
    This whole Jaheira discussion started because I found her reaction to being asked to drop out unbelievably arrogant and ungrateful compared to any other NPC. And that happens after you have nearly been imprisoned/killed by the group she belongs to.

    She's as dismissive then as she was in that first meeting in the FAI.
    What character progression has there been?
    Oh, but if you romance her, and if you don't?

    Attalus
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 277

    No other NPC is affiliated with a group that attacks Charname.

    Edwin and the red wizards?

    For the most part, the NPCs aren't aligned with groups. Anomen and Keldorn with the Radiant Heart. Mazzy the leader of a now defunct adventuring group. Minsc the berserkers of an insular nation literally on the other side of the continent.

    That's all I can think of, and Mazzy is a stretch to be a "group". Berserkers of Rasheman are a non-entity, but sure, you could make a case that the Radiant Heart should come after you if you're an evil PC.
    ThacoBell
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 110
    I tend to do the Dorn quests every play-through myself, always have a chuckle at being given the Paladin Stronghold AFTER completing Dorn's quest line :dizzy:

    As for the nature of the Harpers then you have to remember that they do not have a massive membership and they operate small, autonomous cells in most regions, even with Magic there are serious limits when it comes to keeping track of what each cell is doing.

    The game (as in SoA) definitely paints a less than great image of them though, the 1st quest involves being asked to murder a couple of apprentices for no given reason (at the time), then you get duped into releasing an assassin who murders someone right in front of you lol. Even Jaheira seems somewhat shocked that they would act like that when she is in the party, which of course leads up to the whole betrayal/rep thing.

    I guess the problem is we players do not get to know what, if anything, would be considered "out of order" for a "normal" Harper operation in this situation. The assumption by the Athkatla Cell is that you are basically evil incarnate and should be treated like a Lich or evil Dragon, but this does not match the bg1 experiences of the Harpers. Gorion actually steals you as a babe from the clutches of Bhaals priests and raises you as his foster child, then dies as he tries to protect you and sends you to his close friends Jaheira and Khalid, plus you have 4 separate encounters with Elminster himself as he tries to guide you (or in my evil case 4 Elminster clone deaths muhaha).

    There is most definitely a huge gap between the Athkatla Harper Cell and the Candlekeep/Sword Coast Harpers. Heck Elminster even shows up again in ToB. Factoring in the BG1 storyline and Harper interactions then it seems clear to me that the Harpers are just watching and occasionally trying to guide, which explains Jaheira's attitude on being dropped as she would feel that she showed you the true face of the Harpers by standing up against self-serving interests even when they wore the same Pin.
    ThacoBellAttalus
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,145

    No other NPC is affiliated with a group that attacks Charname.

    Edwin and the red wizards?

    For the most part, the NPCs aren't aligned with groups. Anomen and Keldorn with the Radiant Heart. Mazzy the leader of a now defunct adventuring group. Minsc the berserkers of an insular nation literally on the other side of the continent.

    That's all I can think of, and Mazzy is a stretch to be a "group". Berserkers of Rasheman are a non-entity, but sure, you could make a case that the Radiant Heart should come after you if you're an evil PC.
    The RW don't attack if Edwin is in the group.
    They even don't attack in the Neera joining "quest" in Beregost if Edwin is in the group. He tells them to stand down and they do after she has teleported the leader away.

    And I know that's from the EE's, but it does underline my problem with Jaheira. The Harper quest resolves itself around Charname, Jaheira is not trusted or respected enough to have that authority. Yet you are not allowed to question why she is still affiliated with them when it will mean trouble for Charname, not Jaheira ultimately.
    She pulls you into her problems, Harper problems, without her they have nothing to do with you after the Xzar quest.
    For my Charname, that's unacceptable made doubly so by her reaction to Charname.

    Even if you romance her, if you refer to the "Harper problems" along the lines of "I'm glad that garbage is over" the romance breaks.
    Which is kind of absurd.
    A throwaway remark can be taken as so bloody insulting when you have had your life (and of course your other NPC's as well) put on the line by Harpers quite a bit by that time.
    Attalus
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 303
    edited April 25
    Gorion was also technically one of those Elite Powerhouses I talked about in the way they wrote him. He wasn't active in day to day but would be called out to help handle something significant for the group. (Many adventurer's who join the Harper's also tend to fill this role because they are more mobile as well as very capable).

    I want to say the conversation where your questioned after you fight the Athlatka Harper's Group makes a small mention that something wasn't right with them and there was suspicion they weren't working quite the way Harper's should anymore. They just happen to be dealt with by you before the Harper's could look into it. I'd have to play it again to double check but it's a very small mention if it's there. But yes there is a lot of gap that we are left to fill in ourselves as well in the actual resolution of the full picture.

    Plus as Pointed out. It's made even worse because She's the only one truly tied to such an organization. And she only deals with it really in your presence in the Athlatka situation. Otherwise we only see little pieces of it. They aren't all bad but without piecing together backstory we wouldn't necessarily know they are all Harper related either.

    Edwin and the Thay don't really count Because the RWoT are part government, part teaching body, etc. There is infighting amongst them all the time. Edwin killing his own in evil organization that rules Thay is almost nothing to him. Not like there is a big chance of him getting in trouble for it outside of Thay's borders and it removes potential rivals. We never see anything even remotely close to whatever circle or faction he might be tied to and he's overall rather unconcerned with all that it seems like.

    Keldorn and Anomen are technically part of an even larger group in the Radiant Heart and you can join them as well. But they are touched on so little other than to facilitate your class quests and deal somewhat with Anomen's personal quest that I hesitate to say we see anything at all about that organization. They are a group that really could almost drive a game narative themselves.

    Cernd and Faldorn in BG1 are both part of the overarching Great Druid Order(and the Shadow Druids which are an aren't part of that last I remember). But you don't really interact with their respective Groves too much which isn't surprising because they are all about nature and you don't spend too much time near them except for somewhat in the Druid Stronghold questline. Not to mention that the Druid Order is made up of various cells loosely tied together with somewhat small numbers much the way the Harper's are if not more so.

    Xzare and Monteran are Xhents but that particular organization/country has no real power in the area we are playing in. So there is no real structure and such to see there.

    Brawnwen and Viconia are both tied to faiths and Priesthoods. But Viconia's is secretive and underground so they don't get wiped out by the Drow and followers of Lolth. And I dont' remember anything really on Branwen's these days. But we don't see anything about either. And technically they are both smaller in comparison to other Priesthoods(helm, Lathander, Talos, Lolth, etc) from what little I do recall.

    Everybody else is independent really. Belonging to what could amount to a Large Adventuring group in some way at best that I can think of. Including Minsc by BG2. Because with the death of Dynaheir he can never go home as he's disgraced for losing his Witch.

    So we never really get that Organizational Comparison picture to put the Harpers up against and say what they are really like.
    AttalusDJKajuru
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,818
    @UnderstandMouseMagic "The point I've been trying to make for ages is that Jaheira doesn't leave the Harpers, you cannot ask her to leave the Harpers even after how they have treated you."

    Um, yes she does. Over half her questline is about dealing with the consequences of her leaving the Harpers. I am absolutely baffled that you continue to judge her based on an organization that she willingly leaves because she cannot condone what they are doing.
    Attalus
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