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Imoen (MASSIVE SPOILERS) (MASSIVE RANT)

Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192
There now follows a rant on behalf of the Imoen Fan Club (of which I am Un-elected President for Life)

What have writers got against Imoen? BG2 was bad enough, they turn her into a mage and then lock her in a dungeon for half the game. Then SoD comes along. Imoen is in the game but she won't join your party. She will, however, follow you through the first dungeon. If she can walk through the dungeon why can't she be in the party? It makes no sense and it is absolutely infuriating.

The reason we are given for Imoen not being able to come on the big adventure is that she has to learn magic (though she herself says she doesn't want to help fight Caelar Argent because she wants some peace and quiet - seriously Imoen wants peace and quiet?) but if she is going to be an 8th level mage by the time she is in Irenicus's dungeon she must already have started to do that. I think you can only go up one or two levels in SoD so wouldn't she have been a 6th level mage at the start of it? That would be perfectly adequate for the start of the game. People who like continuity (me) could have dualled Imoen in BG1 at the right point so that it all made sense. (I might have got the actual levels wrong here - I'm in mid rant and can't be bothered to look it up - but you get the point).

Now, in fairness, I knew all of this before I bought SoD. I didn't buy it when it came out because when I discovered Imoen wasn't going to be a joinable NPC I realised that this wasn't going to be the game for me. However, once I had calmed down a bit (it took over a year) I thought I would give the game a go. And at first I was enjoying it. Once I had got over the disappointment of not being able to have Imoen in my party it didn't seem like a bad game.

And then I got to the end. And I changed my mind completely. It is terrible. And it goes on forever. And the worst part is:

I'm locked in a prison cell and I've lost all my friends. All except Imoen. She still believes in me. And she comes to save me. Except she doesn't. Apparently my incredibly smart Mage/Thief best friend can't find a way past the Flaming Fist guards . But what she can do is hire a thug who can get into the prison and slit the guards' throats.


At that point I was sitting there with my head in my hands saying please let this end.

Only it didn't end it just kept going on and on and it just kept getting worse.

Here endeth the rant on behalf of the IFC.






Mush_MushlefreutOrlonKronsteenKilivitzUnderstandMouseMagicBeetle
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Comments

  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 414
    You got the "bad" ending because you either did something that is considered evil (like poisoning the food) or your PC didn't defend him/herself at the trial.

    I did the latter because I was too stupid to realise my paladin-20-rep-only-good-deeds PC would have to, so I got that evil-assassin-cut-throats end, as well.

    I didn't have so much problem with Imoen going her own way (definitely do not qualify for the Imoen Fan Club, although I like her in BG1 very much and hate her role in BGII), but I was absolutely shocked by this ending for my super-duper paladin heroine. (I even made a bugreport at BeamDog's Redmine. They changed it to "Feature Request" aka "We won't change this.")

    (There exists another ending for PCs that qualified by the game engine for a "good" ending, but I didn't know that until later. And it doesn't soothe me - I still think it's total nonsense if a PC like mine has to list the things she did herself, after Belt just said "Our diviners have presented evidence of your deeds since leaving Baldur's Gate, deeds that speak to your character." - Stupid me.)
    Permidion_StarkAedanJuliusBorisovMantis37
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 414
    You know, Imoen being the one that gets the PC out of the prison herself is a really good mod idea.
    Permidion_StarkRaduzielMantis37Mirandel
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192
    @jastey
    I was playing a paladin as well and I tried to only do good stuff all the way through (I lost Viconia for the umpteenth time just before the end because my rep was too high, so I went into Hell without a cleric) . I did poison the food but I argued for the poison that just made the crusaders sick (and I would love to hear an argument that says that is worse than blowing them to kingdom come).

    And I didn't really try to defend myself because by the time of the trial I was so annoyed with the game that I just wanted it to be over. I hated the 'plot twist' involving Skie and I felt I was being railroaded in a particularly stupid way. At this point the game couldn't end quick enough for me and it just seemed to go on forever.

    I actually agree with you about Imoen in BG2. I love her in BG1 and hated what they did with her in BG2 (it's not a game I play much. I usually lose interest before I get to Spellhold to get her back). That's why I initially had high hopes for SoD. I thought I'd be able to go adventuring with the real Imoen, the happy-go-lucky one who hadn't been subjected to torture. No such luck.
  • Mush_MushMush_Mush Member Posts: 465
    There is alot about SoD that I found disappointing and Imoen not being a joinable NPC was definitely one of the more baffling. There's literally no reason she shouldn't be able to join you. even if they gave her to you as a level 7 thief and a level 1 mage I'd take that. Surely the developers must have known she was a popular NPC choice...it boggles the mind.
    Permidion_StarkOrlonKronsteen
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192
    Grond0 said:

    Alternatively just scrap the existing ending entirely :). There's a surprising amount of content after defeating Belhifet, but it all seemed a waste of time to me.

    I agree. I found myself thinking if I ever play again (which seems a bit unlikely) I will export my character as soon as I get out of Avernus and give the last half-hour a miss. Because the last half hour felt like I was stuck in the Nine Hells for all eternity.
    Mush_Mush said:

    There is alot about SoD that I found disappointing and Imoen not being a joinable NPC was definitely one of the more baffling. There's literally no reason she shouldn't be able to join you. even if they gave her to you as a level 7 thief and a level 1 mage I'd take that. Surely the developers must have known she was a popular NPC choice...it boggles the mind.

    I agree. I found it incredibly frustrating. Imoen's character serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever in SoD. They might as well have left her out completely. And the fact that they had found the money to bring Melissa Disney back to do some great voice acting just adds insult to injury.
    Mush_MushOrlonKronsteen
  • Mush_MushMush_Mush Member Posts: 465
    Whether or not Imoen dies is a moot point though, Jaheira and Khalid are alive at the end and you can chunk them if you want to...(I presume I havn't actually tried).
    Permidion_Stark
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192

    Andrew Foley has once explained the Imoen-in-SoD situation.

    "I was actually surprised to hear Safana had replaced Imoen in-party in the opening dungeon. I guess it makes sense from a game balance perspective, but I had assumed players would (unfortunately) start one NPC down if they finished BGEE with Imoen along.

    How to approach Imoen in SoD was hotly debated for months. Why she was taken off the board boils down to this:

    -Imoen is story critical to BG2. It was decided by folks higher up the chain that she had to be there for the final moments of SoD, at least partly so the BG2 intro would be valid. Therefore:

    -Imoen could not be put in a position where she'd be allowed to die in SoD. But:

    -At least one higher-up believed very strongly that in a BG game (I think any game, really, but they were very specific that it should def. be the case in BG), players should be allowed to attack and, if they had the power, kill any other character in-game with very few (they would say absolutely no) exceptions.* So:

    -Imoen and any other character we wanted or needed to stay alive until a certain point in the game (or BG2) could only interact with Charname via dialogue and cutscenes.** Which, in addition to being a royal pain in the posterior for pretty much everyone from writer to implementer to (I suspect) player, also meant:

    -Imoen couldn't be a party member at any point but the very end of SoD, because Charname and everything else couldn't be allowed to kill her.

    And that's why Imoen wasn't able to be in-party in the opening dungeon. If it had been allowed there, I can't imagine a scenario in which she wouldn't have also been a joinable NPC for the rest of the game.

    *Whether a PC should be allowed to kill a plot-critical NPC or not and what should happen if they did was a debate/argument that was still going on up to the day I left the company.

    **Modal dialogue and cutscenes were the guidelines we had during the writing of Siege. I don't know if that was followed 100% in the final design of the game. Off the top of my head, I don't remember if the player was cutscene'd through the whole end of the game starting with when they met Imoen or if there's a brief time they have control of her."

    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/808056#Comment_808056

    If the 'higher up" insisted that all NPCs should be kill-able fair enough. I've got no problem with that. But it is easily worked around.

    If you kill Imoen (or Imoen is killed during the adventure and you don't resurrect her) then Jon Irenicus turns up takes her body and brings her back to life so he can torment her in his dungeon. Problem solved. Everyone is happy.
    Mush_MushOrlonKronsteenAndreaColombo
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192
    edited September 8
    Mush_Mush said:

    Whether or not Imoen dies is a moot point though, Jaheira and Khalid are alive at the end and you can chunk them if you want to...(I presume I havn't actually tried).

    In my game Khalid died in the battle at Boareskyr Bridge. Or at least I think he did. I wasn't aware that it had happened but I couldn't find him after the battle, which means I probably looted his corpse (in fact there is a one-in-six chance that I got Jaheira to loot his corpse). Later in the game Jaheira said she had to talk to me about something important but she never got round to it. So maybe it was about Khalid?

    Anyway, he didn't show up at the end of the game, though for some reason Safana, who got fried in Hell, was still showing up as a dead character in my party. (She was with me as a dead character in my prison cell as well, which seemed a bit odd)
    Mush_Mushtbone1OrlonKronsteen
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 3,192
    edited September 8
    bob_veng said:

    ...and all this because of a single casting of magic missile

    Which all could have been explained away with the Wand of Magic Missiles that Imoen happened to be carrying right at the start of the game.
    OrlonKronsteen
  • Mush_MushMush_Mush Member Posts: 465
    I think it would have been better if they had witnesses come forward and make statements to charnames character rather than having to list off your deeds yourself (since when can the accused become a valid witness in their own trial? lol). I mean any evil character could just reel off a bunch of BS to get out of execution.

    But then again like Permidion said I think I would have preferred to just have it end after you leave Avernus, the rest drags on a bit imo.


    Permidion_Stark
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 414
    edited September 8
    @JuliusBorisov thank you for the list, I figured as much. It's like @Mush_Mush said. Having others state the PC's deeds would have been useful. It wouldn't have changed much of the "cutscene" character of the last 15 game minutes, either. The deeds are known, obviously, or the PC could lie about them, which (s)he can't. But they are only taken into account if the PC states them him/herself? What sense does this make?

    And why making the "Villain" ending the default? For some PCs it's absolutely not justified. It leads to experiences like I had, which spoiled the whole game to me very much. I am all with @Permidion_Stark with this one. The game starting with the last rest after returning from hell dimension were a great WTF in cutscene style. Well, I'm just one player so I understand that my opinion doesn't count. I still don't get why my opinion on this trial-evidence counting is wiped away as irrelevant as it is done. Making the "villain" ending default really doesn't fit nor makes sense for some PCs.

    Maybe it's me being ESL, but after Eltan stating "Our diviners have presented evidence of your deeds since leaving Baldur's Gate, deeds that speak to your character.", I really thought I get a fair trial without my PC having to gloat about her deeds. Next thing my paladin PC had to walk by was dead guards with their throats cut. I let her stand in her cell for like 5 min thinking "Is this it? I am supposed to leave now? My PC doesn't want to leave. She trusts in the justice the Dukes will bestow on her." I guess she'd sit there, still, if I hadn't given in to the game design. I did so, grinding my teeth. It's a real pity, after I enjoyed SoD up until then very much.
    Grond0Permidion_StarkMirandel
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 402
    tbone1 said:

    This shows one of the inherent problems with the game. Sequels are easy; you have a starting point and can run with it. A prequel is easy enough, too; you have to get to an ending but you are free to get there in a lot of ways. A mid-quel, or whatever, hems you in both ways.

    I don't know what the right decisions would have been here; in fact, maybe there wasn't a good set of decisions, just a least bad set. (I have done enough software development and parenting to know that "least bad" is often the best you can do.)

    Still I do plan to get the game once the OS X/iOS updates come through. Partly because I want to support Beamdog's efforts, partly because I'm a completionist, and partly because it's new BG adventures! Yay!

    This is why, in my opinion, the expansion was a terrible, terrible idea. As a writing exercise it's fraught for so many reasons. I think they should have done what Star Wars did with 'Rogue One' - an independent adventure with new characters.

    I hope you do enjoy it when you get it. There are good things about it. There's some fun dungeon crawling, for instance. I too was happy to support Beamdog, and hope their future is bright.
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,206
    Mind you, a mid-quel can be done well, but it takes time, money, and commitment. Miss one of those and it becomes iffy. Miss two and it's practically impossible.

    We know Beamdog isn't a big company, and it's known that they were under a tight deadline. From what we've heard, there was disagreement about how to link BG1 and BG2. Maybe, given all that, SoD is a pretty darn good game.
    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,513
    Why would somebody ever think NOT defending themselves in a trial is a good idea?
    semiticgod
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 449
    edited September 8
    jastey said:

    @JuliusBorisov thank you for the list, I figured as much. It's like @Mush_Mush said. Having others state the PC's deeds would have been useful. It wouldn't have changed much of the "cutscene" character of the last 15 game minutes, either. The deeds are known, obviously, or the PC could lie about them, which (s)he can't. But they are only taken into account if the PC states them him/herself? What sense does this make?

    About as much sense as getting interrogated by the elven diviners from Suldanesslar. (apparently that's the way to lead an interrogation in FR :D )

    My issue with the entire 'oh noes, you murderer!' plot is that there is not much point to it. You get ambushed left and right in BG1; there are plenty of opportunities on the road (and even in the city) for the Shadow Thieves to do it. Have the party ambushed on the way back to the city, have a mind-controlled Skie betray you, have the thieves infiltrate the camp and poison your supplies - there are so many possibilities that don't involve a farce of a trial, followed by the glorious battle against slimes in some caves.
    Permidion_StarkArtonaMirandelUnderstandMouseMagic
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 7,095
    ThacoBell said:

    Why would somebody ever think NOT defending themselves in a trial is a good idea?

    People who were speeding through the game as fast as possible and did not want to spend several extra seconds clicking on dialogue options they didn't think would matter.

    That was actually the only reason I discovered that there was an "evil" way to escape Baldur's Gate.
    Permidion_Stark
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 414
    ThacoBell said:

    Why would somebody ever think NOT defending themselves in a trial is a good idea?

    I tried to explain why it sounded a well anough approach at the time. If you don't see my point and why I think your question can be called victim blaming, I guess I won't succeed in making you understand.
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 414

    Andrew Foley has once explained the Imoen-in-SoD situation.
    (...)
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/808056#Comment_808056

    The problem with Imoen not available for joining is that it is obviously a "mid-quel game design" choice.

    PC: ~Imoen, why can't you train your mage skills while travelling with me, a way that is alright for all the other NPCs?~
    Imoen: ~Well, it's because, ummmmmm... oh look - a squirrel!~

    Don't get me wrong - I accepted this design choice when playing SoD. It still feels a bit forced.

  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 956
    jastey said:

    Andrew Foley has once explained the Imoen-in-SoD situation.
    (...)
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/808056#Comment_808056

    The problem with Imoen not available for joining is that it is obviously a "mid-quel game design" choice.

    PC: ~Imoen, why can't you train your mage skills while travelling with me, a way that is alright for all the other NPCs?~
    Imoen: ~Well, it's because, ummmmmm... oh look - a squirrel!~

    Don't get me wrong - I accepted this design choice when playing SoD. It still feels a bit forced.

    I always take Imoen in my party ever since the game was originally released. So count me a true Imoen fan, and even if I may know all her lines by heart in the meantime.

    Not having her in SoD but keeping her out of danger for that campaign and granting her the well deserved rest, did not feel odd to me at all. For me it was a new opportunity. For the first time ever, I took Safana for more than a day into my party. I did not regret it. I don't really like any of the new SoD NPCs except Corwin but Safana was a nice discovery, someone I always neglected, probably because of when and where she appears in BG1. Maybe someone else will have a similar experience with another NPC who was overlooked a bit in the past?
    Is it really so hard to do a little side step out of the old down-trodden path?

    My reason to play this game again and again after so many years and so many playthroughs is to always discover something new and do things differently from the last time.
    JuliusBorisov
  • PaulaMigratePaulaMigrate Member Posts: 956
    That court trial may be missed by many players the first time around.

    The cutscene feeling and the impression, that the result of that trial is pre-defined anyhow, may make you think that nothing really matters much what you may say to defend yourself. Only if you played several options (or read in some forum about it), you will become aware that there are different outcomes.

    There are several other occasions where your decisions have large impact in SoD. But you will only become aware of it when you tried the options. Most people who are fast to condemn SoD around here, obviously have not even found the options. They only find their proof of why they hate SoD.
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,206
    edited September 9
    @Illydth Thanks for the explanations and insight.

    Among the very few sci if/fantasy books I liked was the Thomas Covenant series, which I read in high school. One of Covenant's acts in the first book, Lord Foul's Bane, made me so mad I nearly threw the book across the room. It's a great book and I highly recommend it, but damn did that one thing really piss me off. So I can certainly appreciate a non-happy ending, and your explanation of how things had to tie in to CHARNAME in Irenicus' dungeon clears up a lot.



    Grond0JuliusBorisov
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,513
    jastey said:

    ThacoBell said:

    Why would somebody ever think NOT defending themselves in a trial is a good idea?

    I tried to explain why it sounded a well anough approach at the time. If you don't see my point and why I think your question can be called victim blaming, I guess I won't succeed in making you understand.
    Is there any legal system where refusing to defend yourslf/refute the charges is NOT seen as an admission of guilt?
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