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How does Sarevok actually intend to ascend to godhood?

124

Comments

  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 2,636
    The lore and knowledge of the posters in the thread is impressive. So first and foremost, thanks for a very interesting read.

    Hopefully this isn't a hopelessly naive question, but I'd like to explore even further up the chain, past Sarevok and to Bhaal himself. Did Bhaal actually have a plan for being reborn? I mean an actual blueprint for it, rather than a vague 'gather my essence from my prodigy and let's see what happens' plan. After foreseeing his own death, his subsequent actions have always struck me as poorly thought out and essentially slapdash. As such, I'm not sure if he would actually have something of value to communicate to Amelyssan, whether he trusted her or not.
    brunardo
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    edited July 14
    CamDawg said:

    The lore and knowledge of the posters in the thread is impressive. So first and foremost, thanks for a very interesting read.

    Hopefully this isn't a hopelessly naive question, but I'd like to explore even further up the chain, past Sarevok and to Bhaal himself. Did Bhaal actually have a plan for being reborn? I mean an actual blueprint for it, rather than a vague 'gather my essence from my prodigy and let's see what happens' plan. After foreseeing his own death, his subsequent actions have always struck me as poorly thought out and essentially slapdash. As such, I'm not sure if he would actually have something of value to communicate to Amelyssan, whether he trusted her or not.

    This is from a mod dealing with it - like the mod or not - the underlying reasoning makes sense to me:
    Bhaal during the Time of Trouble did his preparations to actually return after his foreseen death. God's don't die and they don't plan for successors (Mystra excluded).
    But he was in a difficult situation - he was in a mortal avatar, so not in his full power. He was hunted by fellow deities and some mortals as well. He was under time pressure. And there were forces knowing about his plan and trying to counteract it. All in all, Bhaal did what he could under these circumstances.
    He even had a plan A and plan B so to say. Plan A was the one that Mystra and the harpers spoiled, the sacrifice of the children right after the Time of Troubles. Gorion and others stormed the Bhaal temples and rescued some children and killed many of his remaining priests.
    Plan B was the long term contingency plan of the essence slowly returning to the Abyss. For this, a significant number of spawns needed to die. One often overlooked factor is that simple *death* of a bhaalspawn was not sufficient. It needs to be a *violent death* otherwise Kelemvor will make his claim on the soul and essence of the dead. Thus the prophesy of the massacre where the children would kill each other. It wouldn't do for Bhaal to just wait until all his spawns would eventually have died a normal dead over the years. It's the god of murder we talk about, associate with murder, assasination, violence and bloodshed - not dying of old age in your bed, which could have been a long time in Abazigal's case.
    johntyl
  • johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 371

    johntyl said:

    somebody who put an extra line into the prophesy...

    I'm really interested in this extra line. Mind telling me which line is it? Thanks

    First of all, I don't think that the Bhaal prophesy really was ever given to Alaundo himself. Bhaal was one of the younger gods himself, a former human who inherited part of Jergal's portfolio along with Bane and Myrkul. Alaundo was much older and prophesised this and that but not about a god of murder which didn't even exist. It is not unusual that such institutions like Alaundo and Candlekeep are later used to spread other propaganda and give it credibility through the respected name.

    The chanting of the prophesy at Candlekeep started about the time of protagonist's birth. Nothing about that was known from the times prior Ulraunt. The whole Bhaal episode had been added to Alaundo's heritage during the Time of Trouble. As said earlier, it's a self-fulfilling prophesy and planted to set the later events in motion. Bhaal foresaw his death and made preparations for his return - but he was not the only one, he had enemies who knew at least part of the plan and counteracted it. Whatever the *original* version said, the final one had the line of *good and evil spawns* and one of them becoming the successor.

    I would even go so far as to say that Ulraunt knew about the forgery as did Gorion and it's part of the reasons why Imoen's and protagonist's upbringing in Candlekeep was tolerated (see the *raven* dream of protagonist in BG1). And after all, the Harpers had worked at all times to prevent Bhaal's return.

    Those are pretty grand theories you've got which I find really interesting but do not have the adequate knowledge to refute or add on.

    I'm not sure how Alaundo's prophecies work but wasn't all his prophecies properly recorded down and stored in Candlekeep b4 he died many many years ago (in 76DR to be exact)? So even if Bhaal or any other god had somehow managed to alter the prophecies, wouldn't the Readers and scholars be aware? I'm sure given their strict codes regarding the preservation of knowledge, any attempts to tarnish it would not be left unnoticed.

    And I thought Alaundo did foresee the coming of the Bhaalspawn? Perhaps it wasn't known to be Bhaalspawn specifically, but I guess he did foresee the arrival of the spawns of a Lord of Murder?

    But i do agree that it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy in that Bhaal sees himself as the one mentioned in the old prophecy. That's why he knew about his imminent death and plotted his revival.
  • johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 371

    "One often overlooked factor is that simple *death* of a bhaalspawn was not sufficient. It needs to be a *violent death* otherwise Kelemvor will make his claim on the soul and essence of the dead."

    That's interesting and I wonder how you come to that conclusion?

    My thought is that regardless the *violence* of the death, the essence of Bhaalspawns will ultimately go back to a source in the Abyss which will be used as fuel for Bhaal's revival. I wonder how Kelemvor comes into the picture?
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    johntyl said:

    "One often overlooked factor is that simple *death* of a bhaalspawn was not sufficient. It needs to be a *violent death* otherwise Kelemvor will make his claim on the soul and essence of the dead."

    That's interesting and I wonder how you come to that conclusion?

    My thought is that regardless the *violence* of the death, the essence of Bhaalspawns will ultimately go back to a source in the Abyss which will be used as fuel for Bhaal's revival. I wonder how Kelemvor comes into the picture?
    It is implied by Balthazar's plan to stop Bhaal's return. Yes, you could argue that he was just another fool, but he gives the impression that he knows what he does. His plan was to remain the last of the Five and instead of claiming his birthright, he would sacrifice himself in suicide. Means that such a death would defile the essence in such a way that it becomes unuseable for Bhaal.
    Kelemvor is the god (raised after the Time of Troubles from a human murdered by no other than Cyric) who judges where the souls and essence of the dead would go, either his Fugue Plane or the Abyss.
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    johntyl said:

    johntyl said:

    somebody who put an extra line into the prophesy...

    I'm really interested in this extra line. Mind telling me which line is it? Thanks

    First of all, I don't think that the Bhaal prophesy really was ever given to Alaundo himself. Bhaal was one of the younger gods himself, a former human who inherited part of Jergal's portfolio along with Bane and Myrkul. Alaundo was much older and prophesised this and that but not about a god of murder which didn't even exist. It is not unusual that such institutions like Alaundo and Candlekeep are later used to spread other propaganda and give it credibility through the respected name.

    The chanting of the prophesy at Candlekeep started about the time of protagonist's birth. Nothing about that was known from the times prior Ulraunt. The whole Bhaal episode had been added to Alaundo's heritage during the Time of Trouble. As said earlier, it's a self-fulfilling prophesy and planted to set the later events in motion. Bhaal foresaw his death and made preparations for his return - but he was not the only one, he had enemies who knew at least part of the plan and counteracted it. Whatever the *original* version said, the final one had the line of *good and evil spawns* and one of them becoming the successor.

    I would even go so far as to say that Ulraunt knew about the forgery as did Gorion and it's part of the reasons why Imoen's and protagonist's upbringing in Candlekeep was tolerated (see the *raven* dream of protagonist in BG1). And after all, the Harpers had worked at all times to prevent Bhaal's return.

    Those are pretty grand theories you've got which I find really interesting but do not have the adequate knowledge to refute or add on.

    I'm not sure how Alaundo's prophecies work but wasn't all his prophecies properly recorded down and stored in Candlekeep b4 he died many many years ago (in 76DR to be exact)? So even if Bhaal or any other god had somehow managed to alter the prophecies, wouldn't the Readers and scholars be aware? I'm sure given their strict codes regarding the preservation of knowledge, any attempts to tarnish it would not be left unnoticed.

    And I thought Alaundo did foresee the coming of the Bhaalspawn? Perhaps it wasn't known to be Bhaalspawn specifically, but I guess he did foresee the arrival of the spawns of a Lord of Murder?

    But i do agree that it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy in that Bhaal sees himself as the one mentioned in the old prophecy. That's why he knew about his imminent death and plotted his revival.
    Not many have access to the original scrolls of Alaundo (if they even existed still when our story takes place). The knowledge was preserved by copying the parchments again and again while the originals would already have been decayed. Not every scribe and scholar had access to all of them. They were stacked on the various levels of the library, the more common ones downstairs, the rare tomes up at the top level. Access was regulated by the level co-ordinators (all that is in the vanilla game). Ulraunt would have sacrificed his life for the truth, so much is true, he would only close his eyes to a forgery if all of Candlekeep and maybe more would have been at stake. Which was the case.
    johntyl
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241

    johntyl said:

    "One often overlooked factor is that simple *death* of a bhaalspawn was not sufficient. It needs to be a *violent death* otherwise Kelemvor will make his claim on the soul and essence of the dead."

    That's interesting and I wonder how you come to that conclusion?

    My thought is that regardless the *violence* of the death, the essence of Bhaalspawns will ultimately go back to a source in the Abyss which will be used as fuel for Bhaal's revival. I wonder how Kelemvor comes into the picture?
    It is implied by Balthazar's plan to stop Bhaal's return. Yes, you could argue that he was just another fool, but he gives the impression that he knows what he does. His plan was to remain the last of the Five and instead of claiming his birthright, he would sacrifice himself in suicide. Means that such a death would defile the essence in such a way that it becomes unuseable for Bhaal.
    Kelemvor is the god (raised after the Time of Troubles from a human murdered by no other than Cyric) who judges where the souls and essence of the dead would go, either his Fugue Plane or the Abyss.
    From Balthazar's speech I get the impression that he had found a lot out from Melissan and knew that as the last, by killing himself he would be able to avoid accepting Godhood.
    Nothing about defiling the essence.
    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    The sad thing is that if Balthazar succeeded, Bhaal would have been reborn anyway. All of the essence would have returned to him. I got the impression that if Mellissan and the Solar had not gotten involved, Bhaal would have succeeded.
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    edited July 14
    ThacoBell said:

    The sad thing is that if Balthazar succeeded, Bhaal would have been reborn anyway. All of the essence would have returned to him. I got the impression that if Mellissan and the Solar had not gotten involved, Bhaal would have succeeded.

    There is no reason why the Solar should not have reacted to Balthazar's success (lawful good monk) in the same way as to the protagonist. Solar *counselled* the PC during the final stages since our poor hero(in) was lacking so much background information and Balzthazar had some deeper insights from his envolvement with the Five.
    But finally, he would have been offered the same choices - become a god (he surely would have rejected this) or destroy the essence with Melissan. The Solar stepped in when Melissan's defeat became inevitable, same reaction would be in Balthazar's case. With the options put before him, there would be no need for B to kill himself, he could go back to re-build Amkethran and lead a happy mortal life. It is what he does when the protagonist wins and you have persuaded him to stand by your side in the final battle (option provided by Wheels of Prophesy). For Balthazar the heritage is a burden but he has accepted the responsibility his blood and his significant power have given him.
    All in all, the outcome for a good Ward of Gorion or Balthazar would have been the same. Bhaal stays dead.
    ThacoBelljohntyl
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    @PaulaMigrate Only if Balthazar was the prophesied charname ;)
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    ThacoBell said:

    @PaulaMigrate Only if Balthazar was the prophesied charname ;)

    But that is the issue about the prophesy, there is no requirement who that bhaalspawn is and how he or she decides about the heritage claimed.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    ThacoBell said:

    @PaulaMigrate Only if Balthazar was the prophesied charname ;)

    For me, "Gorion's Ward" does not refer to any particular Bhaalspawn. But to any Bhaalspawn (Saverok, Yagu Sura, Gromir whoever), who was adopted by Gorion.
    It's not a name, it's a title that any Bhaalspawn could have inherited by dint of being grabbed by Gorion.
    (Though Abizagal might have caused some confusion in Candlekeep).

    And that's why I hate the SOD interpretation that there was really some link between Gorion and the mother.

    TOB is unambiguous about "Gorion's Ward", it has the scene where it's quite plainly suggested that it would make no difference whether it was you or Saravok picked up.

    BG quite clearly poses the question "nature or nuture" throughout.
    Having charname's mother as an ex of Gorion messes up that balance.
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    edited July 14

    ThacoBell said:

    @PaulaMigrate Only if Balthazar was the prophesied charname ;)

    For me, "Gorion's Ward" does not refer to any particular Bhaalspawn. But to any Bhaalspawn (Saverok, Yagu Sura, Gromir whoever), who was adopted by Gorion.
    It's not a name, it's a title that any Bhaalspawn could have inherited by dint of being grabbed by Gorion.
    (Though Abizagal might have caused some confusion in Candlekeep).

    And that's why I hate the SOD interpretation that there was really some link between Gorion and the mother.

    TOB is unambiguous about "Gorion's Ward", it has the scene where it's quite plainly suggested that it would make no difference whether it was you or Saravok picked up.

    BG quite clearly poses the question "nature or nuture" throughout.
    Having charname's mother as an ex of Gorion messes up that balance.
    Gorion's relation to the protagonist's mother was not that of a lover, definitely not. The woman in his letter was the woman he may have loved once and why he stayed a loner all his life, even with a child. It was not the priestess of Bhaal (In a mod I played there was a hint that this woman chose Elminster over Gorion but the men still stayed friends). He *adopted * that woman to give his ward a mother whom the youngster could accept at that stage when the Bhaal heritage became apparent and he - Gorion - would not be there to help.
    Gorion may have known the priestess of Bhaal from spying and maybe trying to infiltrate the temple. The blind and half-insane survivor in SoD made a story out of it (whoever in beamdog wrote that stuff just had a bad day.) I would rather say that Gorion saw that woman only once in his life, at the moment he killed her and rescued the child. Fullstop.

    I also agree with *that it would make no difference whether it was you or Sarevok picked up.* It is a main idea in the trilogy that the protagonist (or anyone else in fact) can overcome the *fate* and be his/her own master. Sarevok was shaped by his foster father and Winski, the PC by Gorion and the monks. It could have been the other way round. The way of the bhaalspawns is not pre.determined but the consequence of their decisions. Imoen is never endangered because she has no ambitions that the taint can trigger, she is immune to the prospect of having power. Gorion gave his ward the education that enables the protagonist to make decisions and to fight the ultimate foe - the temptation to use the power inside because it's so convenient to use. Sarevok on the other hand was taught to use any opportunity to gain power and wealth (Iron Throne) and to hate and destroy (Winski).
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767

    And that's why I hate the SOD interpretation that there was really some link between Gorion and the mother.


    They were ill-advised in this point. The contradiction in the game between Gorion's letter in BG1 and the later revelation in ToB (a simple mistake in the beginning) was subject to forum discussions as old as ToB itself. Beamdog tried to solve it but made it worse.
    The better treatment I found in the Sandrah mod - here both versions are taken as given and the question is asked why does one say this and the other say that. Instead of resolving the contradiction, the mod rather asks for the intention each party has to tell their version. And makes a plot out of ithe contradictions rather than a weak attempt to resolve it.
    Everybody in the game tries to manipulate the protagonist (for good or bad, like Elminster or Melissan, Gorion or Irenicus). So be aware of who tells you which story and rather ask why they do it (not so much which one is right.)
    Another aspect I found in the above mod was the notion that what you find on a scroll or written in a book or letter does not automatically mean it's true. Someone puts a letter into a chest in a deep dungeon guarded by a beholder - you fight your way all the way through and finally hold that letter in your hand, ha, it MUST be the truth. But maybe somebody just made it so hard for you to get it because you swallow the bait more easily this way.
  • johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 371

    Ulraunt would have sacrificed his life for the truth, so much is true, he would only close his eyes to a forgery if all of Candlekeep and maybe more would have been at stake. Which was the case.

    I'm not sure Ulraunt would have done that - closing an eye to a forgery. I mean think about it: this is Candlekeep where books and knowledge are valued over people. For Ulraunt to do that would be tantamount to him desecrating the very precepts the keep is known for - a fount of knowledge. Unless you have a source to back up this claim, I remain sceptical.
    ThacoBell
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    edited July 14
    There are actually little things that most people probably throw away in BG1 that speaks of Sarevok preparing rituals to help him ascend combined with hunting other Bhaalspawn and starting wars as part of a catalyst. So I am basing it on the game. There is no mention of Melissan tied to this even in ToB when you can have Sarevok with you.

    There is also the issue that the final battle with Melissan feels very tacked on. You could throw a whole new character in there and it wouldn't have made much of a difference to most of ToB. And the story is so railroaded that you can't say that she's some kind of master manipulator for what little bit you do deal with her. perhaps that is because of a ton of work they couldn't do but she barely serves as a sign post of convenience to move plot along. Being a plot device rarely makes for a good manipulator, particularly in a game where you can say you don't trust her and yet don't get to act in any way towards actually behaving that way except with Balthazaar. A railroaded course does not prove her manipulative ability. It actually speaks against it a great deal when you don't even get the illusion of other options.

    There is also the issue that very little of any of the prophesy stuff even in ToB supports her unless you twist or add words of your choosing to make it work. They very easily read like Bhaal has left her out of details from not trusting her and expected her downfall from the beginning as much as any attempt to somehow have them speak to her greatness.
    ThacoBellUnderstandMouseMagicjohntyl
  • Wandering_RangerWandering_Ranger Member Posts: 116
    fateless said:

    There are actually little things that most people probably throw away in BG1 that speaks of Sarevok preparing rituals to help him ascend combined with hunting other Bhaalspawn and starting wars as part of a catalyst. So I am basing it on the game. There is no mention of Melissan tied to this even in ToB when you can have Sarevok with you.

    There is also the issue that the final battle with Melissan feels very tacked on. You could throw a whole new character in there and it wouldn't have made much of a difference to most of ToB. And the story is so railroaded that you can't say that she's some kind of master manipulator for what little bit you do deal with her. perhaps that is because of a ton of work they couldn't do but she barely serves as a sign post of convenience to move plot along. Being a plot device rarely makes for a good manipulator, particularly in a game where you can say you don't trust her and yet don't get to act in any way towards actually behaving that way except with Balthazaar. A railroaded course does not prove her manipulative ability. It actually speaks against it a great deal when you don't even get the illusion of other options.

    There is also the issue that very little of any of the prophesy stuff even in ToB supports her unless you twist or add words of your choosing to make it work. They very easily read like Bhaal has left her out of details from not trusting her and expected her downfall from the beginning as much as any attempt to somehow have them speak to her greatness.

    Sarevok was a moron when it came to the "end game." As the OP and I pointed out, he didn't even have the correct rituals (no amount of mental gymnastics helps here - he just didn't). He just had a very strong will, but not the best mind for tactics. He was brash and impulsive and could be goaded into a fight when he wasn't prepared for it.

    He simply didn't know when to quit. Even when it would have been smarter for him to withdraw, he didn't. He was convinced that the prophecy centered around him, and for him, that was enough. He let "fate" do the rest.

    Compare to Amelyssan who knew exactly how to manipulate not one, not even five, but an entire CITY. She was the guiding hand behind the destruction of Saradush. She even fooled a god. Sarevok is a choir boy compared. What she did in her spare time he spent his entire life trying to achieve.... and failed. Amelyssan was thrown several curve-balls and dealt with them brilliantly. She knew when to push you, when to back off, and when to simply offer guidance. She planned for everything (even masking her alignment). This is genius.

    There is a common saying - "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man he didn't exist." The more people that say that Amelyssan WASN'T the most badass of the three villains, the more they actually prove my point. Every argument against her is an argument FOR her - because anyone who doesn't agree simply doesn't get it. She has "convinced" the gamer that she wasn't "that bad." She gets away with it. She was subtle and clever and was simply outmuscled (not outmaneuvered) at the end.

    Unlike Sarevok, she actually fought AGAINST destiny. She made her own path against all odds (she wasn't some hyper-powerful character until she absorbed the essences). She didn't let that stop her and found clever ways to make up for her lack of strength... And succeeded! Sarevok is a barbaric savage with a strong will, whereas she is a brilliant tactician and strategist.

    Again, people will pull the old "plot device" argument. Stop looking OUTSIDE the game for tropes and design issues and such. This is called grasping at straws. People can't argue against her brilliance within the game as presented, so they have to look outside the game to say why she was crap. Was she the most likable villain? No. Was she the best? Hell yes.
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    edited July 15

    fateless said:

    There are actually little things that most people probably throw away in BG1 that speaks of Sarevok preparing rituals to help him ascend combined with hunting other Bhaalspawn and starting wars as part of a catalyst. So I am basing it on the game. There is no mention of Melissan tied to this even in ToB when you can have Sarevok with you.

    There is also the issue that the final battle with Melissan feels very tacked on. You could throw a whole new character in there and it wouldn't have made much of a difference to most of ToB. And the story is so railroaded that you can't say that she's some kind of master manipulator for what little bit you do deal with her. perhaps that is because of a ton of work they couldn't do but she barely serves as a sign post of convenience to move plot along. Being a plot device rarely makes for a good manipulator, particularly in a game where you can say you don't trust her and yet don't get to act in any way towards actually behaving that way except with Balthazaar. A railroaded course does not prove her manipulative ability. It actually speaks against it a great deal when you don't even get the illusion of other options.

    There is also the issue that very little of any of the prophesy stuff even in ToB supports her unless you twist or add words of your choosing to make it work. They very easily read like Bhaal has left her out of details from not trusting her and expected her downfall from the beginning as much as any attempt to somehow have them speak to her greatness.

    Sarevok was a moron when it came to the "end game." As the OP and I pointed out, he didn't even have the correct rituals (no amount of mental gymnastics helps here - he just didn't). He just had a very strong will, but not the best mind for tactics. He was brash and impulsive and could be goaded into a fight when he wasn't prepared for it.

    He simply didn't know when to quit. Even when it would have been smarter for him to withdraw, he didn't. He was convinced that the prophecy centered around him, and for him, that was enough. He let "fate" do the rest.

    Compare to Amelyssan who knew exactly how to manipulate not one, not even five, but an entire CITY. She was the guiding hand behind the destruction of Saradush. She even fooled a god. Sarevok is a choir boy compared. What she did in her spare time he spent his entire life trying to achieve.... and failed. Amelyssan was thrown several curve-balls and dealt with them brilliantly. She knew when to push you, when to back off, and when to simply offer guidance. She planned for everything (even masking her alignment). This is genius.

    There is a common saying - "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man he didn't exist." The more people that say that Amelyssan WASN'T the most badass of the three villains, the more they actually prove my point. Every argument against her is an argument FOR her - because anyone who doesn't agree simply doesn't get it. She has "convinced" the gamer that she wasn't "that bad." She gets away with it. She was subtle and clever and was simply outmuscled (not outmaneuvered) at the end.

    Unlike Sarevok, she actually fought AGAINST destiny. She made her own path against all odds (she wasn't some hyper-powerful character until she absorbed the essences). She didn't let that stop her and found clever ways to make up for her lack of strength... And succeeded! Sarevok is a barbaric savage with a strong will, whereas she is a brilliant tactician and strategist.

    Again, people will pull the old "plot device" argument. Stop looking OUTSIDE the game for tropes and design issues and such. This is called grasping at straws. People can't argue against her brilliance within the game as presented, so they have to look outside the game to say why she was crap. Was she the most likable villain? No. Was she the best? Hell yes.
    Aside from all judgement whether she's clever or foolish, one aspect in your analysis of Melissan is correct - she has the will and the power to stand up against *destiny*. She knows the prophesy and she knows her former god but she doesn't accept what is written. That makes her stand out from the rest and puts her in a league with some other special characters in the game. I like this attitude. It's what makes Sandrah my preferred NPC in my current playthrough, this is exactly what she always propagates to the protagonist:
    *But is your and her fate really written? Have the two of you not gone your own unforeseen path regardless of the plans of any living or dead gods?
    At least Sandrah claims that the last chapter in the book is still to be written - and that you and her will hold the quill that writes the story down.*
    Sandrah continuosly points out that the future is not written anywhere until the very moment it becomes the present and then it will be what you make it. Fittingly, she seems to try and manipulate the protagonist to use the powers you (and your companions) gain in order to change destiny - just a different version of the future that Melissan has in mind nonetheless.
    Melissan from the beginning is identified as not being a bhaalspawn. This bit makes her interesting as to what her motifs may be. I agree with @Wandering_Ranger in so far as the material for a great character would be there, it's just a shame it wasn't really used by the writers. The *it's brilliant that you don't see anything of it* is not convincing, we play the game to see and experience the stuff, not to read between the lines. As bad as it may seem, but we simply need the grand speech of the villain before being defeated, call it bad habbit or too many bad movies, but something is missing without that.
  • Wandering_RangerWandering_Ranger Member Posts: 116
    "As bad as it may seem, but we simply need the grand speech of the villain before being defeated, call it bad habbit or too many bad movies, but something is missing without that."

    We got enough of it, though, through the Solar's tests. We got the motivations, enough back story, and the rest is left to imagination. But the key concepts were definitely explored in enough depth to paint a clear picture of what is going on.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241
    @Wandering_Ranger

    "Stop looking OUTSIDE the game for tropes and design issues and such."

    That can be used just as easily against her being the best thing since sliced bread as well.

    Her whole plot, as presented in game, relies entirely on the player not having any choice about how they proceed.

    At no point can charname investigate her claims, decide not to go along with the plan, negotiate with the other remaining Bhaalspawn including Balthazar. They cannot mount an effective defense against Yaga Sura using the Bhaalspawn collected in Saradush (which would be the obvious move). YS is invincible, so what, his army isn't. Kill enough and YS has no supply lines, no back up and, invincible or not, could be contained.
    In fact, even in game, you remove or deal with the plans to bring down the Saradush defenses and conveniently, in game, that counts for nothing which is never explained.

    Are you suggesting that she controlled the Solar and/or the pocket plane so that the awkward plot device that deposits you inside Saradush was her plan?

    I would have thought the most brilliant evil mastermind ever would be entirely delighted if their "nemisis" had so little choice about how they dealt with their grand schemes.

    Mind you, they might get a little frustrated by the idea that their brilliance was completely uneeded because their "nemisis" was compelled to constantly behave like a moron.
    ThacoBell
  • Wandering_RangerWandering_Ranger Member Posts: 116
    It's the way the story was told. Do try to deal with it.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,241

    It's the way the story was told. Do try to deal with it.

    "Stop looking OUTSIDE the game for tropes and design issues and such."
    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,023
    Even worse Melissan COULD have been AMAZING. Just imagine if her dialogue was written in a way that, after her reveal at the end, it completely changed the context and meaning of her words throughout the game. Something seemingly innocent suddenly sinister in the light of new context. Just imagine if Melissan's reveal made you look at the story COMPLETELY differently. This just makes Melissan's failure as a compelling villain that much worse.
  • johntyljohntyl Member Posts: 371
    After reading all your arguments, you guys are basically talking about the same thing. The only differing factor is in the execution of Melissan's brilliant scheming.

    One side argues that the fact that Melissan can manipulate the Five and even cities and towns to go into war is testimony to her charismatic brilliance and manipulative abilities.

    The other side argues that the abovementioned is not enough. It seems too deus ex machina. We are only told about Melissan's brilliance through her own mouth: that's like Trump saying how good Trump steaks are. We are not convinced. Moreover, Charname seems to have no choice but to be swept along this contrivance just because to do otherwise will destroy Charname's illusion of choice. The player is not happy as the player wants to believe that he/she has some free rein in this: like how in SOA we can choose between going the Shadow thieves route or Bodhi's route. But then we quickly realise, shit, Irenicus is still ahead of Charname - Damn, we thought we had a choice but in fact even if we did, Irenicus's scheming has already made contingencies for that. Everything was in his hands: his only failure was his arrogance - thinking that Charname was no longer a threat after his essence had been taken out from him/her. Imagine if he had killed Charname right away - his plan would have succeeded. Now that was brilliant story-telling. A grand villain make grand plans, but because of his arrogance he fails - the player can accept that.

    But Melissan, who is she? We don't really know. We are only given her backstory and history near the end of TOB and that was through her own mouth which we can't say for sure if it's entirely true or her ego that's speaking. We can only assume. But is she brilliant and ingenious? Yes, considering the scale and the destruction she had caused. But she lets her ego get over her head, considering how Balthazar has fooled her. That's her weakness. But we are not as convinced of her character as say Irenicus, because we don't really know her personally. She has too little screen time. We can't empathise.

    That's what you guys are differing in your argument, I think. But do correct me if I'm wrong. Peace out :)
    PaulaMigratetbone1UnderstandMouseMagicThacoBell
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 767
    johntyl said:

    After reading all your arguments, you guys are basically talking about the same thing. The only differing factor is in the execution of Melissan's brilliant scheming.

    One side argues that the fact that Melissan can manipulate the Five and even cities and towns to go into war is testimony to her charismatic brilliance and manipulative abilities.

    The other side argues that the abovementioned is not enough. It seems too deus ex machina. We are only told about Melissan's brilliance through her own mouth: that's like Trump saying how good Trump steaks are. We are not convinced. Moreover, Charname seems to have no choice but to be swept along this contrivance just because to do otherwise will destroy Charname's illusion of choice. The player is not happy as the player wants to believe that he/she has some free rein in this: like how in SOA we can choose between going the Shadow thieves route or Bodhi's route. But then we quickly realise, shit, Irenicus is still ahead of Charname - Damn, we thought we had a choice but in fact even if we did, Irenicus's scheming has already made contingencies for that. Everything was in his hands: his only failure was his arrogance - thinking that Charname was no longer a threat after his essence had been taken out from him/her. Imagine if he had killed Charname right away - his plan would have succeeded. Now that was brilliant story-telling. A grand villain make grand plans, but because of his arrogance he fails - the player can accept that.

    But Melissan, who is she? We don't really know. We are only given her backstory and history near the end of TOB and that was through her own mouth which we can't say for sure if it's entirely true or her ego that's speaking. We can only assume. But is she brilliant and ingenious? Yes, considering the scale and the destruction she had caused. But she lets her ego get over her head, considering how Balthazar has fooled her. That's her weakness. But we are not as convinced of her character as say Irenicus, because we don't really know her personally. She has too little screen time. We can't empathise.

    That's what you guys are differing in your argument, I think. But do correct me if I'm wrong. Peace out :)

    A fairly good summary in my view.
  • Wandering_RangerWandering_Ranger Member Posts: 116
    ToB is the final chapter in the Saga, and everything is neatly wrapped up (part of the reason I never want to see BG3). People who are saying "Amelyssan could be lying" are nothing other than conspiracy theorists who want to twist events because they were unsatisfied with the outcome of the tale and because they don't want to admit she was best in terms of scope, planning, and execution. Everything went her way and when it didn't - she made sure it did! That's how good she is. The facts are there. Stop trying to overcomplicate things. Sarevok was a moron with incomplete knowledge, Irenicus was great but he had a personal vendetta to settle, and Amelyssan was the best because she cast everything aside for a singular purpose... The highest thing imaginable. Nothing stopped her. That is mind-blowing ambition. What a villain. And the way she pulled it off... staggering quality.

    The fact charname did not have a choice in the story is beyond the point here (can't fight fate). It's a story being told, which you take some part in. BG1 and 2 are ultimately no different. You can't change the major events. The ONLY REASON Amelyssan is not appreciated is because we didn't "get to know her." Well, your feelings towards a character make zero difference. All you need to do is look at impact, planning, and overall ingenuity. Her aspirations are enormous, and she pulls it off.. aside from the fact that she gets beaten at the end in an epic battle. She is outmuscled, and destiny was against her.

    You do not need to know someone in order to appreciate them.
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 700
    Sarevok was a moron with incomplete knowledge


    If "incomplete knowledge" means "being moron", then Newton, Aristotle, Bohr and Descartes were all idiots.
    tbone1
  • Wandering_RangerWandering_Ranger Member Posts: 116
    Let's not go over the top and keep it to the context of Baldur's Gate.
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    Amelysan didn't do anything that Sarevok Didn't until you get to the contrived final fight sequence. There is only one difference. There was no Charname to stop her from starting her war but you come along in the middle of it. There are many things that you do in ToB that make no difference what so ever. Not even the perceived idea of having made a choice.

    It is not her manipulating everything so it all goes her way. Poor storytelling does not make Great Villain. The two do not equate and your trying to give poor storytelling structure greater importance.


    Some of us considered her evil and wanted nothing to do with her plan from the moment we met her. We are not given any option to even try to do such. Or forge our own path. We're only given a choice of which one we take down first. It is in no way even close to the idea in SoA that different choices lead to the same place. It's all the same choice. It's basically linear. Most people even fight the bosses in the same order pretty much every time because of it.


    There is also no mention what so ever as to the exact nature of the Rituals Sarevok has. By Anyone Anywhere. Just that he has them and he's working to set up enacting of them down in the temple when you pursue him and end up defeating him.

    it's not because we don't get to know her that I "don't get her". It's because the support really isn't there. She's also not fighting against Destiny. She's trying to usurp the destiny of others. So it means she's going along with Destiny. She's just trying to twist it to make it her own. So this attempt to argue she's fighting it falls fairly short. You can't fight destiny by trying to insert yourself in the place of a followed destiny. Irenicus should teach you that much with his arrogance and his end for doing the same thing.

    She's a ripoff villain and she does it poorly. Her only advantage is she didn't have the charname to step in and "ruin" her "plans" before they reached a point where they look like they succeeded and yet she still fails. Everything about her you can find in Sarevok and Irenicus but simply done better.
    UnderstandMouseMagicThacoBellArtona
  • Wandering_RangerWandering_Ranger Member Posts: 116
    There was no Charname to stop her from starting her war but you come along in the middle of it.

    Because Amelyssan's plans started decades ago, she obviously planned everything out so well she wasn't going to be stopped. By anyone. When you do come into the story, she merely incorporates you into her grand plan. You can't get better than this. Schemer and manipulator par excellence.


    "Some of us considered her evil and wanted nothing to do with her plan from the moment we met her. We are not given any option to even try to do such. Or forge our own path. We're only given a choice of which one we take down first. It is in no way even close to the idea in SoA that different choices lead to the same place"

    Yeah, it's the same thing. No matter what you do in any of the BG games, you end up at the same place.


    "There is also no mention what so ever as to the exact nature of the Rituals Sarevok has. By Anyone Anywhere. Just that he has them and he's working to set up enacting of them down in the temple when you pursue him and end up defeating him."


    His plans to start a war failed. Ergo, his ritual wouldn't have worked, since he himself admits that the entire plan was to invoke a massive slaughter via the war. The smart villain (like Amelyssan) would have at this point retreated and reformed some plans. He didn't because he doesn't know when to quit. He died because he is a showman villain, and nothing of substance.

    As for the ritual, we actually find out what is required to bring about Bhaal's resurrection in ToB (hint: it doesn't involve hanging around an underground temple with your last "bros").

    By who? Well, Amelyssan! Why? High priestess of Bhaal. Even fooled a god. This level of scheming is unparalleled, and not just in the BG world, but villainy in general. It's a plan that spanned literally decades. She merely loses to destiny. She is NEVER outsmarted or outwitted. She barely even gives you a villain's exposition (aside from the necessary details we needed to piece together everything for the sake of the story). Unlike the bumbling Sarevok, she's no showman. Just a calculating villain. We don't know anything about her because she keeps herself shrouded. She is not there to please you, but to advance her goals People can't emotionally connect with her so they write her off. They have missed the entire great scheme of hers as a result and will look for any way to write her off.

    "Everything about her you can find in Sarevok and Irenicus but simply done better."

    Sarevok - died in an underground temple after he had no idea what he was doing in terms of the ritual. Laughable villain and a total joke. Cheap showman and charlatan.

    Irenicus - Personal vendetta. Made too many mistakes which led to his downfall. Great villain, though.

    Amelyssan - The pinnacle of villainy. Apex predator. Simply was out muscled at the end, never beaten tactically or even discovered that she WAS the villain until the end. Always a step ahead. Shows long-term sound planning and the ability to deal with curveballs thrown her way.

    Not that Sarevok fanboys will get it. They're just mad that Amelyssan would wipe the floor with ten thousand Sarevoks at the height of her power. And they can't appreciate good planning. If they could, they wouldn't be Sarevok fanboys, they'd switch to Team Amelyssan and hope she forgives their transgressions.

    All Sarevok fanboys are good at is liking the comments of other Sarevok fanboys and ignoring anything outside their limited perspective. Kind of just like Sarevok, actually.

    Why am I not surprised?
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