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Is Sandrah Saga worth it?

Hi everyone. I'm planning on doing an EET playthrough for the first time (finished the EE games a couple of years ago) and i'm having trouble deciding wether or not to play with the Sandrah Saga mod. At first, i was surprised by the amount of content that it has (quests, character interactions, new zones, extended main story) and got really excited about playing it, so i made a full installation of the EET with all the big mods including it. And then... god it was so cringy. I had her in my party for five minutes and it felt so out of place and badly written that i couldn't continue.
So the question is: Has anyone ever completed the whole mod, and if so, does it get any better character wise? i'm not asking for Chris Avellone levels of writing but come on.
I am also aware of all the drama surrounding the creator, but i am more interested in the overall quality of the mod and how it integrates in the main game + the other quest mods.

Thanks for reading!

brunardo
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Comments

  • LavaDelVortelLavaDelVortel Member Posts: 1,266
    I am simply going to leave this link here:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/64857/sandrah-saga-for-eet/p1

    I think the last 2 pages are mostly helpful as it was after some people already read and played the mod a bit.

    ThacoBellAngulimala
  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,764
    edited January 2
    These are just some of the issues within the first 10 minutes of the mod, taken from here:
    • Typos/grammatical errors in nearly every other sentence.
    • A low-res, low-quality portrait taken straight from NWN (which I don't understand given that NWN has portraits with bigger than 210x330 proportions) with no efforts made at making it fit in and doesn't even match the colors on the character paperdoll.
    • An impossible starting level (fighter 3/cleric 2 multi-class????) with incorrect stats.
    • A dreadful soundset that's far too quiet and doesn't match the subtitles given.
    • Items with no displayed stats, probably to obfuscate the fact that everything is too strong and granted too early for free. You get a longsword right at the start of the game that is as good or better than everything in the rest of the game. But you might not realize it immediately BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT DOES. Too bad you didn't spec longswords, huh? Oh wait, it GIVES YOU AUTOMATIC GRANDMASTERY.
    • Banters happen way too frequently. Within the first 10 minutes of recruiting a full party she has bantered five times, and none of the other party members have started their own banters once.
    • Stuff happens for no reason with no context and no warning. Suddenly she decides to leave the party giving a stupid melodramatic reasoning that came out of nowhere. Why does it happen? Can I stop it? Can I get her back? I have no idea! Turns out it only happens if Branwen's in the party! Does any of it make sense? No!
    • Every time I see double exclamation marks used in this mod, which is extremely frequently, I feel as though I am reading preteen fanfiction. And honestly, it actually suits what's being said most of the time. Juvenile, bloated but ultimately empty.
    • There's no way this girl is Elminster's daughter. Absolutely not. It totally isn't beaten over our heads like a Bhaal-damned dead herring every time someone opens their mouth. This is NOT how you do foreshadowing!

    This is, frankly, not a good mod by any means. Its only followers are likely people who are hungry for any content, regardless of its quality. The creative decisions are questionable, the character is utterly charmless and a complete stand-in, and a lot of the plot points that are supposed to be epic are just plain stupid and do not make sense. I would not recommend, at all.

    ThacoBell
  • CamDawgCamDawg Member, Developer Posts: 3,338

    I am simply going to leave this link here:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/64857/sandrah-saga-for-eet/p1

    I think the last 2 pages are mostly helpful as it was after some people already read and played the mod a bit.

    Man, that thread is now a depressing read. There are so many of Roxanne's alts talking with each other.

    ThacoBellmegamike15Raduziel
  • LavaDelVortelLavaDelVortel Member Posts: 1,266
    @CamDawg - I know. Really. It's not the only thread like that. Take a look here:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/951013/#Comment_951013

    It started on the previous page, but that part is the weirdest one.

    ThacoBell
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 864
    This isn't really an helpful answer to the OP but I tried this mod a couple weeks ago and when playing it I couldn't suppress a strange feeling of nostalgia. The mod just feels ancient, almost as if I had gone back in time when TeamBG was run by Ken and total conversions were all the rage. It displays the same ambitions as The Darkest Day and some forgotten TC concepts in that it tries to out-epic the game sometimes, if you see what I mean. At the same time the entire mod revolves around a character who also feels like an old mod NPC - some kind of black hole who is more important than anyone else, utterly overpowered in gamepley, acts like a total jerkwad but who is inexplicably adored by everyone.

    Frankly at this point the mod only lacks AI powered by SuperScripts to provide the true old-school experience.

    StummvonBordwehrArdanisBlackraven
  • ArdanisArdanis Member, Developer Posts: 1,397
    CamDawg said:


    Man, that thread is now a depressing read. There are so many of Roxanne's alts talking with each other.

    My faith in humanity has just diminished a little. Was I really the only one who truly enjoyed the drama, savoring it like a connoisseur. If anything, I wish there were more folks like Roxanne around. Keeps the place alive.

    Ludwig_II
  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,764
    For you maybe. It was hell on my sanity and made me actively want to avoid any topic that was infested.

    ThacoBell
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 751
    edited January 5
    I'm curious, but when/how/where did Roxanne's alt army get unmasked?

    YEARS and YEARS ago (God, 2002), back when Everquest was THE MMO (in the West, anyways), there was a conflict thread started by someone on some server's EZBoard forum page. It went on for 8 forum pages with others chiming in to figure out what was going on and why two people were vehemently going at each other, when...the poster screwed up and didn't log off on one account before quoting and ranting at himself. Then the next post was basically "Well, crap." when he realized he had outed himself. (Actually it was a bit more explicit than that)

    It was famous for its day and had a webcomic post of it by GU Comics.

    Edit-I got some of the details wrong. There's a link to a link to a text doc of it in the above link, it's like 40 pages of text. Basically he was calling out a third person while logged in as one, while clearly describing himself and signing his post as another. And these two characters were supposed to have been different people. The net was closing in on him as others had already guessed that the two people were the same person. Apparently IP tracing wasn't something he'd considered possible.

    Post edited by Quickblade on
  • cmorgancmorgan Member Posts: 707
    Stanley? SuperScripts? I DEMAND A CORVIS SIGHTING. (Where is Tejumin et al? 😎).

    On the mod - still reading through the code, but it is definitely along the lines of a Total Conversion; an interactive fan-fic centered around Sandrah if you will. The scope far exceeds Tsjuatha or Saerileth, but it follows the same pattern. There has obviously been a ton of love, learning, and work thrown into coding and writing it - so kudos to her for that. (Lots of room in the i.e. community for different sorts of content. We have Improved Anvil, Imoen Romance, and BG1UB, to name three very disparate points on the philosophical spectrum).

    Is it worth it? Well, it is your time... if you are having that strong a reaction to the dialogue then I think you have your question answered! The dialogue remains stylistically the same throughout.

  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 1,000
    Part of me wants to try that mod out simply to see if it really is as fanficky as it sound. Could someone please make screenshots? I am really curious. :)

  • RVNSRVNS Member Posts: 279
    It changes many things about the base game. To say the least it adds a tremendous amount of content. That being said, I am more of a quality over quantity. You can tell a tremendous amount of time and energy was brought to bear in order to create this mod.

    I am not a fan of the mod myself, I find the writing and focus to be a pill hard to swallow. I also have a hard time playing a mod that I now know has content from other modders included, whose permission was never asked for. That irks me more than anything else about the mod actually.


    If you don't mind those things then I say give it a spin. It adds a lot of content. I would say too much even.

    cmorgan
  • cmorgancmorgan Member Posts: 707
    edited January 4
    OK, so to help out (add because I am still thinking through my own mod stuff) here is a rundown. It might help someone decide if this is the kind of play-through they might enjoy.

    @RVNS is right on the "writing for other NPCs" thing - most modders get itchy about their work being written for without permissions, and there is a fair bit of that that goes on in the mod. Not the "OK" kind, where Sandrah reacts to something happening with another NPC but does it strictly between her and the PC, but actual written lines being put into the mouths of other folks' NPCs directly. Long digression here about modders doing that to the official work but not liking others doing that to their own - go have the debate again somewhere else, please (for the millionth time in every modding community everywhere, probably! :smile: )

    Now, I don't have any trouble with this using my mod - but I wouldn't want to write other modder's NPCs direct lines the way she does. (I escape the conundrum with doing that on retired modders mods by asking, and if there is no one left I use actual .tra lines from the other mod so that Saerileth, for example, actually sounds like Saerileth - written by the original author. I also get permission and build cross-mod dialogues with the other modder if they are active, and put it in Crossmod), but since she is using my NPC to speak new lines, I feel comfortable using her stuff for my mod as an example of dialogue (in this case banters). To be very clear, most modders want creative control. I say right up front and all over the place that Aran is completely open - no worries.

    This can give you an idea of what sort of thing you would see in game (so spoilers, probably):

    [BANTER 1]
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Ah, good! Wish we had some like yours in th' Cloakwood Campaign when I was in th' Fist.
    [SANDRAH] You had no healers?
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Too few - but on top of that they wouldn't be in the middle of the battle like you. Girl, few of your gender can fight like that. And even if, they weren't in th' Flaming Fist.
    [SANDRAH] Aran, CHARNAME and me were fighting against the Flaming Fist most of the time we spent at Baldur's Gate, even if against our will.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Hate to say it but I guess we might've lost that battle. Glad I wasn't there any more.
    [SANDRAH] We are on the same side now.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Good to know, really good to know.

    [BANTER 2]
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Hey, Sandrah, here's a really good wine tonight, come move over, I know you like that stuff.
    [SANDRAH] I was not aware you had a taste for it, Aran. I thought quantity means more to you than quality.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] In wine 'n' in gals, yeah, maybe. But try a lot of both an' you find there's good 'uns and bad 'uns all by yourself.
    [SANDRAH] (Takes a sip from the offered glass.) Maybe I was prejudiced. This is a good one.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Like th' gal that keeps me company...

    [BANTER 3]
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] ~Hope I haven't challenged your job here in that troupe, Sandrah gal.
    [SANDRAH] Which *job* do you refer to, Aran?
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Thought you're keepin' accounts in that mighty book of yours.
    [SANDRAH] Oh, no, that job may be all for you. This tome here holds a lot of useful knowledge and has helped us already quite a bit in our past adventures.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Aye, useful lore's a good thing - I mean, if ya can trust the source. There's an awful lot of windbag storytellers 'round.
    [SANDRAH] My father has written most of it and I complete it with my own observations.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] An' yours father's been adventurin', yes? Hey, maybe I met him even?
    [SANDRAH] Elminster.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Mystra's Doubtful Virginity, he's your father?
    [SANDRAH] Yes.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Huh - that tome's def'nitly worth its weight.

    [BANTER 4]
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] I see you dig girls and men alike, Sandrah. Per'nally I prefer girls only. But knowin' both - which ones do you like better?
    [SANDRAH] The one willing to suit my needs tonight.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Ha, say no more... [Cutscene inferring intercourse]

    INTERJECT into passing dialogue
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Enigmatic Sandrah. they say in ol' Times o' Trouble there was goddesses walkin' round here.
    [HAERDALIS] Seems AO left one of them here for us.

    INTERJECT into passing dialogue
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Sandrah gal seems to be th' only one who's no trouble with this place.
    [SANDRAH] I am not really enjoying myself here. We must stand together and give each other strength.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Th' strength of one of theirs matron mothers, yeah. Looks like you really fool 'em into thinkin' you're one. Mystra's Soaked Panties, we should be outa here before th' hype's up.

    So, from my perspective...

    POSITIVES: Well coded, and the PiD (Player Initiated Dialogue) updates to reflect if the NPC Aran and the NPC Sandrah hook up. Strength of the project: lots and lots of "Sandrah is aware of what is going on/has happened". Interjections that make sense in terms of Sandrah NPC. The 'fade to black" cutscene is a good idea .

    CHALLENGES: Some oddities in grammar. Colloquialisms not FR-usual ("dig girls"). Odd inference about Aran being sexist (gender-biased) when there is no referent in his mod. Huge number of examples of Faerunian swearing in Aran Whitehand and on the forum pages, but author chose some new ones that are more directly sexual (not something alluded to, like "Mystra's Bouncing Bosom" - just too directly on point). Each banter and interjection is about Sandrah and focused on Sandrah; no conflicts. Coding loophole - in the version I have, this plays regardless of PC romance status - the PID materials reflect that is intended, as PC gets to comment negatively about it - so potentially PC is forced into Sandrah and Aran having an affair while PC romance is active. (Not a problem for me - I would not write it that way but it seems to fit Sandrah as equal to or greater than the PC - might rub a player the wrong way though).

    And since I don't like criticising someone without giving equal opportunity, here, for example, is how I'd make an adjustment to make it feel a little more "balanced" - Banter 3, alternative version:

    [BANTER 3 REWRITTEN]
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Aye then, Sandrah. What in Kelemvor's Name do you be doin' haulin' that tome around?
    [SANDRAH] Is there something wrong with that, Aran?
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] It be your own business. Mayhap you keep it out o' th' way when we be fightin', is all. Do you really need it so close to you all th' time?
    [SANDRAH] This tome holds a lot of useful knowledge, and has helped us already quite a bit in our past adventures.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Aye, useful lore be a good thing, if the source be worthy o' trust.
    [SANDRAH] My father has written most of it, and I complete it with my own observations.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Well, I suppose you have th' right. An' I have no cause to think you are wrong on your observations. But I don't know naught o' your father.
    [SANDRAH] Elminster.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Cyric's... bloody hells. You be havin' me on, eh? Elminster has naught in th' way o' children.
    [SANDRAH] Yes. Me. Not joking.
    [ARAN WHITEHAND] Forget I said anythin'. Elminster's own words an' observations. Aye, that tome be worth its weight in platinum.

    From my perspective, it is still a "Yay Sandrah Is Awesome!" banter. But it is written with the expectation of equality - Aran approaches to criticise, then doesn't immediately accept Sandrah's lineage (shows scepticism).

    RVNSMantis37
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 1,412
    it has basically become the new Saerileth in my eyes.

    ThacoBellArdul
  • ArdanisArdanis Member, Developer Posts: 1,397
    cmorgan said:

    (Where is Tejumin et al? 😎).

    He made an appearance when the drama went public, albeit not under his old username.

    it has basically become the new Saerileth in my eyes.

    If so, I don't see how it's a bad thing.

  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 751
    edited January 5
    Ardanis said:

    cmorgan said:

    (Where is Tejumin et al? 😎).

    He made an appearance when the drama went public, albeit not under his old username.

    it has basically become the new Saerileth in my eyes.

    If so, I don't see how it's a bad thing.
    The only way Saerileth touches my game folders was if I wanted to go full harem-mode with the Rjali mod (one male Bhaalspawn PC, up to twenty-eight (28!) simultaneous romances.

    I've downloaded the mod, I've read the dialogues, but that level of crazy is beyond my tolerance.

  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 864

    it has basically become the new Saerileth in my eyes.

    Saerileth has the reputation of making the game about her but this isn't exactly the same. Saerileth has a shit ton of dialogue and interjections and can also flip out if you do something she doesn't like but her own plot is somewhat self-contained; it doesn't hijack the Bhaalspawn story, especially if you don't romance her.

    Sandrah is a completely different beast since it's more of a mega quest mod centered around a character. I compared it to TDD in my previous post but I think it might be closer to Tortured Souls, albeit at a trilogy-wide scale. Sandrah herself, as a character, has a lot more in common with Chloe than Saerileth.

    StummvonBordwehrArdaniscmorgan
  • theacefestheacefes Member Posts: 81
    Ardanis said:

    CamDawg said:


    Man, that thread is now a depressing read. There are so many of Roxanne's alts talking with each other.

    My faith in humanity has just diminished a little. Was I really the only one who truly enjoyed the drama, savoring it like a connoisseur. If anything, I wish there were more folks like Roxanne around. Keeps the place alive.
    I mean, we could always ask Moongaze to come back.

    Ardanis
  • MirandelMirandel Member Posts: 475
    @cmorgan You are one of the most easygoing person (and a paragon of leniency among modders) I ever knew. She did that to Aran and you are fine? Amazing!

    As on topic - Sandrah is about Sandrah (as the name is implying). Baalspawn is secondary (or tertiary, or non significant at all) in the story. If for whatever reason (scientific? ;) ) you want to live through the teenage fantasy (as observant players mentioned) - this is the mod for it.

    Somthing to consider: it also combines a lot (if not all of them) other megamods and makes them work together (at list they did work sometime ago). You can refuse to accept Sandrah in your group and simply play the rest of the megamods.

  • cmorgancmorgan Member Posts: 707
    This forum needs a laughter emoji added to insightful.agree.like.

  • ArdanisArdanis Member, Developer Posts: 1,397
    theacefes said:

    I mean, we could always ask Moongaze to come back.

    I miss Sikret more :D
    Mirandel said:

    As on topic - Sandrah is about Sandrah (as the name is implying). Baalspawn is secondary (or tertiary, or non significant at all) in the story. If for whatever reason (scientific? ;) ) you want to live through the teenage fantasy (as observant players mentioned) - this is the mod for it.

    Except that teenage fantasy fits best the power fantasy game set in high-magic universe. If I wanted something more serious and realistic, I'd read Song of Ice and Fire instead.

  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 508
    Still debating if I should try it but I think I can skip the bad banter and fact it centers on Sandrah as played a couple dozen playthroughs already so one wont kill me...op items can be bad but can just choose not to use them like darkest day...hoping for new/more quests addon's and fights so will try it is it delivers probably on next playthrough...

    StummvonBordwehr
  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,764
    edited January 6
    Ardanis said:

    Except that teenage fantasy fits best the power fantasy game set in high-magic universe. If I wanted something more serious and realistic, I'd read Song of Ice and Fire instead.

    Except it’s not just teenage fantasy. It’s BAD teenage fantasy. Self-indulgent power fantasies are at the very least supposed to be fun and this one is anything but. Everything is written in such a dull and monotone fashion that it’s impossible to even enjoy it in a so bad it’s good way.

    The BG novels were more entertaining for me. The. Freaking. Novels. Were. Time. Better. Spent.

    ThacoBell
  • ArthasArthas Member Posts: 563
    @Kurona
    Is tortured soul by Vlad, or are you comparing it to another mod I had in the past where you had to summon a npc via a wand you had to buy inside one shops?

  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 864
    If the Vlad mod is the one where you go to Kara-Tur before Spellhold then this is the one I'm talking about.

  • ArthasArthas Member Posts: 563
    edited January 6
    @Kurona ok it's nott the one I'm referring to.

    Did you enjoy Vlad's mod? (By the way, it is the one you're talking about where you go to kara-tur).

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 10,569
    edited January 6
    Ardanis said:

    If I wanted something more serious and realistic, I'd read Song of Ice and Fire instead.

    I resisted the urge to write "barf" in response to the posted snippets of Sandrah dialogue. But I can resist no longer.

    Barf.

    ThacoBell
  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 2,764
    edited January 6
    Arthas said:

    Did you enjoy Vlad's mod? (By the way, it is the one you're talking about where you go to kara-tur).

    Off topic but Vlad's Compilation is dated and horrible. No surprise considering the author is willfully ignorant and does nothing but hang around a near-abandoned forum spouting false information on the EE and insulting not only Beamdog but anyone who plays EE at all out of blind hatred and pretending he speaks for the modding community while knowing absolutely nothing about it.

  • ArdanisArdanis Member, Developer Posts: 1,397
    Still, Vlad deserves some well-earned credit. He singlehandedly coded several mods, one of them large (TS) and another one huge (NEJ). On top of that, NEJ has the best story out of all BG stuff I've played, written I believe by a professional writer.


    I resisted the urge to write "barf" in response to the posted snippets of Sandrah dialogue. But I can resist no longer.

    I can only judge by those very same snippets. I think people are expecting and demanding too much from a damn mod, and those lines aren't even that much different from vanilla BGs.

    Arthas
  • ArthasArthas Member Posts: 563
    @AionZ
    He was way more aggressive against EE in the beginning, nowadays his stance is neutral.

    @Ardanis
    Okay thanks, that's what I wanted to hear. Did you like TS?

  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 864
    I played TS around 6-7 years ago so my opinion of it may or may not be outdated, since I believe the mod is still being updated from time to time.

    Anyways, TS starts very poorly. You're on your way to Spellhold when Saemon Havarian just pulls a magic stone out of nowhere to teleport you to Kara-Tur. It pretty much kills all the pacing of the main quest, even more than the Chapter 2 sidequests already do. The place itself is very much about samurais, honor and katanas so depending on your tolerance for rampant Nippon Banzai elements you might either like it or really hate it. Gameplay used to be pretty hard, with some unfair battles during which you had to obey rules (like no items) while your opponents weren't bound by them at all. But again it may very well have changed in 7 years.

    It could have been a fun campy sidequest despite the poor start but what really killed the mod for me was the attempt to rewrite Irenicus' personality and motives, transforming him in some sort of cross between Kefka and Seymour Guado. Considering the mod used to be shipped with a FFX title screen it might very be have been intentional and I can only hope the author reverted these changes since then.

    StummvonBordwehr
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