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Kivan (and Jaheira/Khalid) quest timers and juggling party members?

BGMattBGMatt Member Posts: 11
We had Kivan join our party and now realise he has a quest timer after wandering around for a bit longer than we should have - yet we have had no info on the whereabouts of how to actually complete his quest. Is that information revealed as a part of the main quest, or do we just need to go about exploring to find it?

In addition to that, we're just about to pick up Jaheira and Khalid (with the hope that progressing the main storyline might reveal info about Kivan's quest), but Kivan is the party member we'd like to kick (we're playing mulit-player with a couple of people so we don't have as much space to play with for NPCs). At the end of our last game we spoke to Jaheira and Khalid and let them join our party just to see what the quest was, but didn't save it so that we could figure out the best thing to do.

Any recommendations on how to juggle this? Would any of the following work?
  1. Can we leave Kivan in the Amn Inn until the next step of his quest is revealed by the party without him (we're fine to use console commands to stop his quest timer if necessary), and then go back and pick him up again.
  2. Leave Kivan in the Amn Inn until Jaheira and Khalid's quest is complete (looks like we just need to the Mayor of Nashkel, or is there more time sensitive stuff after that?).
  3. Can we just talk to Jaheira and Khalid but not take them into the party until Kivan's quest is done?
  4. Any other ways to deal with this?

Thanks!

Comments

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 892
    If you're playing on PC, you can use the console to reset Kivan's timer so he won't quit the party (unfortunately I believe the timer keeps ticking even if you kick him out of the party, so you can't just drop him somewhere and come back for him later.) I forget what's the variable that keeps him from leaving, however. Maybe one of the others here will know. :)

  • darknickdarknick Member Posts: 16
    on ps4 kivan's timer never stops sadly. I met him, leave on campside as other found companions, did several quest areas, did mine+bandit cove, come back to kivan but he left for good.
    Kivan stay on party only after he battles with tazok.

    About jaheira and kalhid (or monty/xzar) is enough enter nashkel town, see intro movie, then you can leave safetly.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,192
    For what it's worth, for Khalid and Jaheira you just have to take them to Nashkel and speak to the Mayor to end their timer. It's quick and you'll have to do it for Kivan's quest anyway.

    Kivan's timer was bugged in the originals and never ended. I've never used him in the Enhanced Editions, where you must actually complete his quest in a timely fashion. So I've got no advice there.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,299
    Kivan's quest is resolved as part of the main quest. So you can't really miss it with him in the party. Might need to curtail extra exploration until then.

    JuliusBorisov
  • kalekale Member Posts: 22
    May I just add that this ... terrible game design from my point of view? I just recruited Kivan and found out about his quest timer (my least favourite feature of the BG series?). I'm still level 1 (on a F/M), so I can't just rush off to the Nashkel Mines and beyond to do his quest. Imho this should be changed - either remove the timer or give the player some warning ... meanwhile, I'll hope that cheat codes will keep Kivan from leaving the group while I'm levelling up....

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,063
    But he tells you when he joins you and also gives you a warning 5 days before the timer stops? So there is a warning.

    ThacoBell
  • kalekale Member Posts: 22
    edited March 25
    Ammar wrote: »
    But he tells you when he joins you and also gives you a warning 5 days before the timer stops? So there is a warning.

    From what I remember the "warning" upon joining is extremely vague ("he seems to be eager to do this" or something like that). Nobody tells you that the quest is basically linked to the main story line (which isn't the case with any other companion quest in BG1/2?) and that, if you pick him up that early, basically have no chance of finishing his quest, unless you're committed to a no-rest run and rushing the main quest.

    Well, the game would be generally better without these timers (it makes no sense in BG1, where you're basically free to explore the land, and then out of nowhere are forced to commit to the main story line; and it's annoying in BG2, where you're bombarded with timed quests). Reassuring Kivan that the party is committed to his task should be enough - why would he leave? (Same with Viconia; why would you abandon the party that rescued you, just because its "rep" has become too high? I mean she literally almost died because she was on her own....)

    #rant Sorry;)

    ilduderino
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,299
    @kale The timers suck, I hate timed stuff in games. Luckily the BG games aren't super awful with them. The characters tell you what they need done when hey first join, and you get multiple warnings before they leave. Also, Kivan's timer is longer if you recruit him early, so that eases the pressure a bit.

    As for your level, the game is pretty non-linear for 80-90% of it, you can just stumble on main quest plots while exploring up to a certain point. If you just go through the main quest, you'll hit the levels necessary to survive what comes next. Go up to the point where Kivan gets a crack at the guy he wants dead, then put everything on hold to explore as much as you want.

    JuliusBorisov
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 475
    There are two other companion quests linked to the main quest in BG1; both Faldorn and Yeslick demand that you flood the Cloakwood mines within a week or so. Since you pick them up in the Cloakwood, the timer isn't likely to be an issue ... unless you have a party member die, and head back to the Friendly Arm to raise them. Then you'll be in trouble, because a round trip from the mines to the Friendly Arm and back is more than five days of travel.

    ChroniclerThacoBellJuliusBorisov
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,192
    jmerry wrote: »
    There are two other companion quests linked to the main quest in BG1; both Faldorn and Yeslick demand that you flood the Cloakwood mines within a week or so. Since you pick them up in the Cloakwood, the timer isn't likely to be an issue ... unless you have a party member die, and head back to the Friendly Arm to raise them. Then you'll be in trouble, because a round trip from the mines to the Friendly Arm and back is more than five days of travel.

    Khalid and Jaheira's as well as Xzar and Montaron's Timer is also strictly speaking tied to the main questline, but it's such a tiny quest it's barely worth mentioning. Meant more to helpfully point a new player in the direction of the main questline than anything else.

    Dorn is a late addition to the game, but his questline requires you get access to the city of Baldur's Gate to complete it. Notably it gives a much longer timer than the original companion's questlines to accomodate this, but even then you don't want to dilly dally too much.

    ThacoBellJuliusBorisov
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,063
    edited March 26
    Does Dorn even have a timer? Never recall him complaining and I picked him up early and took my time getting to the city.

    I am a bit conflicted about the timer myself. Are they a hassle? Yes. Does it suck when your party member desert just because you took a detour, maybe even because of another companion? Yes. But same as with the within-party conflict it helps the world not turn entirely around you, the player. It suggests your companions have agency of their own. It is good wordbuilding.

    Even look at the statement make here:
    kale wrote: »
    Well, the game would be generally better without these timers (it makes no sense in BG1, where you're basically free to explore the land, and then out of nowhere are forced to commit to the main story line; and it's annoying in BG2, where you're bombarded with timed quests).

    "Makes no sense" as used here is purely in terms of gameplay. It makes perfect sense from the story, the perspective of the NPCs and the worldbuilding.

    I think the game has some elements that are individually annoying, but if you take them all out you would lose something valuable... a depth to the world that would be missing.

    Even if it's a MMO I think the success of WoW classic is due to the same reason. They eliminated the hassles and streamlined a lot of things but lost something in the process.

    EDIT: I am not trying to sound like I am a more hardcore player. I've manipulated some of the timers via console or Keeper myself in the past.

    ThacoBell
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 892
    Yeah, I'm not a fan of timed quests in RPGs myself. I agree that they can help make the world more believable, but I just dislike the time pressure. When I first played BG all those years ago I wasn't aware that Kivan's timer was bugged, so when I went through the EE his sudden departure was quite a surprise. Thankfully, since I was on PC I was able to do some fiddling with variables and keep him around.

    ThacoBell
  • PingwinPingwin Member Posts: 246
    Kivan's quest timer gives plenty of time to complete it.

    You might not be able to wander through every wilderness area in the game but you certainly don't have to rush the main quest. I've recruited Kivan, hung around the Beregost area for a few days, gone down to Nashkel, detour to the Gnoll Stronghold, back up to Beregost to buy more stuff, return to Nashkel via the area north east of Nashkel, complete the mines, back up to Beregost and then over to Larswood or Peldvale and finally the bandit camp.

    There probably wasn't time to go off seeing much else of the world but that's a reasonable chunk of the game done without feeling like I was rushing anything.

    From a RP perspective, you want to be following the main quest fairly quickly after the mines anyway - you'd want to get to Beregost before news of the mines reaches Tranzig in case he disappears leaving you with no further leads. After that, you know roughly where to find the bandits and Kivan obviously wouldn't be happy at that point if you decide to go on a merry jaunt along the coast for a few weeks.

    ThacoBell
  • kalekale Member Posts: 22
    edited March 26
    Ammar wrote: »

    "Makes no sense" as used here is purely in terms of gameplay. It makes perfect sense from the story, the perspective of the NPCs and the worldbuilding.

    I think the game has some elements that are individually annoying, but if you take them all out you would lose something valuable... a depth to the world that would be missing.

    Even if it's a MMO I think the success of WoW classic is due to the same reason. They eliminated the hassles and streamlined a lot of things but lost something in the process.

    EDIT: I am not trying to sound like I am a more hardcore player. I've manipulated some of the timers via console or Keeper myself in the past.

    I don't think they make sense the way they're implemented. Again, see the issue with Viconia; it makes no sense for a drow (!) to abandon the group if that leaves her stranded on the surface (i.e. certain death). And you can't do anything against it. It would be logical to be able to convince Kivan to stay and persuade him that you're still committed to his task. No character (unless they're an extreme version of CN or lawful stupid) would pursue their own agenda with complete disregard of charname's/the group's interests, especially if that endangers their own interests (I mean Kivan is part of a powerful group - he can't fulfill his task on his own). This makes the timer simply a tool for annoying the player.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,192
    kale wrote: »
    Ammar wrote: »

    "Makes no sense" as used here is purely in terms of gameplay. It makes perfect sense from the story, the perspective of the NPCs and the worldbuilding.

    I think the game has some elements that are individually annoying, but if you take them all out you would lose something valuable... a depth to the world that would be missing.

    Even if it's a MMO I think the success of WoW classic is due to the same reason. They eliminated the hassles and streamlined a lot of things but lost something in the process.

    EDIT: I am not trying to sound like I am a more hardcore player. I've manipulated some of the timers via console or Keeper myself in the past.

    I don't think they make sense the way they're implemented. Again, see the issue with Viconia; it makes no sense for a drow (!) to abandon the group if that leaves her stranded on the surface (i.e. certain death). And you can't do anything against it. It would be logical to be able to convince Kivan to stay and persuade him that you're still committed to his task. No character (unless they're an extreme version of CN or lawful stupid) would pursue their own agenda with complete disregard of charname's/the group's interests, especially if that endangers their own interests (I mean Kivan is part of a powerful group - he can't fulfill his task on his own). This makes the timer simply a tool for annoying the player.

    "Safety of the group".

    Like, we provide a certain amount of protection against mob justice, but the only reason Viconia's "safe" fighting demons with you is you reload every time she dies.

    Not everything's a persuasion roll either. Some stuff isn't up for negotiation. Kivan's pretty dead set on his quest for vengeance and he doesn't necessarily wanna dilly dally with you while you explore the whole sword coast. He may not be able to achieve his goal on his own but you're hardly the only band of capable adventurers in the sword coast. He can find one that can stay on task if he needs to.

    AmmarThacoBell
  • kalekale Member Posts: 22
    Chronicler wrote: »

    "Safety of the group".

    Like, we provide a certain amount of protection against mob justice, but the only reason Viconia's "safe" fighting demons with you is you reload every time she dies.

    Not everything's a persuasion roll either. Some stuff isn't up for negotiation. Kivan's pretty dead set on his quest for vengeance and he doesn't necessarily wanna dilly dally with you while you explore the whole sword coast. He may not be able to achieve his goal on his own but you're hardly the only band of capable adventurers in the sword coast. He can find one that can stay on task if he needs to.

    :D Fair enough, I think there's some truth to what you say about Viconia, BUT: staying on the surface for her means immediate death - she is no Drizzt, she can't live off the land, she can't hide, no one will help her (quite the opposite). Staying with charname still makes more sense, because it helps her survive, at least in the short run (heck, drow society is no joke either and there's a reason why drow are organised in houses, i.e. larger collectives).

    Regarding Kivan: I think you're sugar coating the game's shortcomings. I'm all for role playing around the logical errors of the game, but everything you said in your post is your opinion and doesn't feature in the game (I *think*, this is my first time with Kivan, but there's basically no NPC interaction without the NPC mod?). If the game punishes you (and losing a party member is big punishment), then the game should make more of an effort of telling you why and how to prevent it. BG1/2 are sometimes very unforgiving, because you run into disasters that you could have only prevented with hindsight. Later games (Kotor, NWN, Mass Effect) aren't really like this anymore.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 475
    The tweak I'd make: only start Kivan's timer once you find out where the bandit camp is. Before then, he's searching for clues about where to find Tazok, and scouring the wilderness with your party is just as good a way as any to do so. Throw in some dialogue at that point to indicate urgency, and you're good to go.

    ilduderino
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,192
    kale wrote: »
    Chronicler wrote: »

    "Safety of the group".

    Like, we provide a certain amount of protection against mob justice, but the only reason Viconia's "safe" fighting demons with you is you reload every time she dies.

    Not everything's a persuasion roll either. Some stuff isn't up for negotiation. Kivan's pretty dead set on his quest for vengeance and he doesn't necessarily wanna dilly dally with you while you explore the whole sword coast. He may not be able to achieve his goal on his own but you're hardly the only band of capable adventurers in the sword coast. He can find one that can stay on task if he needs to.

    :D Fair enough, I think there's some truth to what you say about Viconia, BUT: staying on the surface for her means immediate death - she is no Drizzt, she can't live off the land, she can't hide, no one will help her (quite the opposite). Staying with charname still makes more sense, because it helps her survive, at least in the short run (heck, drow society is no joke either and there's a reason why drow are organised in houses, i.e. larger collectives).

    Regarding Kivan: I think you're sugar coating the game's shortcomings. I'm all for role playing around the logical errors of the game, but everything you said in your post is your opinion and doesn't feature in the game (I *think*, this is my first time with Kivan, but there's basically no NPC interaction without the NPC mod?). If the game punishes you (and losing a party member is big punishment), then the game should make more of an effort of telling you why and how to prevent it. BG1/2 are sometimes very unforgiving, because you run into disasters that you could have only prevented with hindsight. Later games (Kotor, NWN, Mass Effect) aren't really like this anymore.

    Literally no part of BG1 or 2 is what you'd call "Intuitive Game Design". Just figuring out how Thac0 and Armor Class work alone is an elaborate process for new players which the game provides little to no instruction in. And that's just step 1 of figuring out the game.

    But the companions quests I think are a pretty mild example of that. You walk up to the guy, he says "I wanna kill bandits" and joins your party. You go too long without dealing with the bandit situation, he says "I'm leaving because we're not killing enough bandits". The game might not have BG2's elaborate dialogue trees but there's enough dialogue to communicate what's going on there.

    The only one I can think of who's particularly esoteric is Coran, who joins your party saying he's been hired to kill a wyvern, but neglects to mention that it's not enough for you to just kill it with him, you must take its skull to some random priest he's never mentioned to collect payment with him, or he'll leave.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,299
    @Chronicler "Just figuring out how Thac0 and Armor Class work alone is an elaborate process for new players which the game provides little to no instruction in."

    Wait, what? Its just "lower numbers better". Its golf, and not remotely complicated. I learned this game when I was 8.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,192
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    @Chronicler "Just figuring out how Thac0 and Armor Class work alone is an elaborate process for new players which the game provides little to no instruction in."

    Wait, what? Its just "lower numbers better". Its golf, and not remotely complicated. I learned this game when I was 8.

    With all due respect, as somebody who's been playing this game since you were eight, I think you may have glossed over some of the pitfalls of learning its mechanics.

    The game came with a manual the size of a novel and expected you to read it. Its mechanics are notoriously Opaque. "Low Numbers Better" would at least be a simple premise to wrap your head around if the numbers were as low as they seemed at all times. But of course every kind of armor had modifiers against every kind of weapon that weren't even displayed in the originals. Attacking out of stealth, attacking somebody who's unarmed, both these modify your "Low Numbers" in ways that aren't really explained anywhere. Certain diseases modify your Thac0, and certain others do not, while both display the same. Those same diseases can also sometimes stack on top of themselves and not display any differently. So on and so forth.

    Like every week the Baldur's Gate subreddit has some new player come in and need some basic mechanic explained to them. The game doesn't explain it to them. The game doesn't really explain much of anything, but it does lay out the basic situation with the companion quests for you. They have some simple goal they express when you recruit them into the party, and if you don't help them with that goal they leave.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,299
    @Chronicler If you're referring to every mechanic in the game, yeah, you're absolutely right. THere's a LOT of obtuse stuff (not to mention the sheer number of spells to be learned). But I read your post as just referring to THACO and Armor Class. There I have to disagree. It really is just as sinple as "lower numbers better." If I misunerstood, I apologize.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,192
    edited March 29
    @ThacoBell If we're in agreement about the general sentiment I don't think we need to quibble about specific examples.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,299
    Chronicler wrote: »
    @ThacoBell If we're in agreement about the general sentiment I don't think we need to quibble about specific examples.

    I replied to the only example you gave. Nothing more.

  • BGMattBGMatt Member Posts: 11
    edited April 5
    Thanks everyone for their input and the following interesting discussion! I can say from the perspective of a new-ish player that mechanics of the game are fairly obtuse and hard to really understand in terms of probabilities. I can't easily explain to my friends how likely they are hit something based on their THAC0 because we generally don't know the AC of our opponents without meta-gaming. Whilst I CAN say that lower THAC0 is better, we don't have the information we need to know whether a particular attack is worth performing (not until we have begun to understand roughly what AC various things will have). Same goes for the convoluted save system, and the occasionally inconsistent terminology used in spell descriptions (I have seen +/- bonuses AND +/- penalties, at least two of which are obviously just mistakes now that I know how it works, but it certainly hindered my ability to understand what was going on, and made it very hard to know whether the adjustment was being applied to the roll or the save number.

    All that said, it somehow works, and you do eventually get a feel for how the numbers will work out...which all things considered I think is more enjoyable than something that is too easily deciphered because I know I'm just to prone to meta-game the hell out of it then.

    With regards to the RP side of quest timers etc.. we have made the decision to allow ourselves to overrule the game with console commands/EE Keeper when we think that the constraints of the game mechanics don't allow us the flexibility that P&P D&D would. Kivan's quest is one example, it literally just consists of, "hunting bandits", which he provides no clues as to how to find, neither does he mention a timeline (other than he has been doing this for months already), nor are we provided with the ability to discuss these things with him and negotiate alternatives or temporary delays.

    When we got the quest we assumed the bandits were nearby, so we scoured the map screens around where we found him, and just got ourselves into a constant stream of battles that were quite problematic for our party...so we ended up resting a LOT, and way too much time passed as a result..at which point we were in Nashkel (dropping off Montaron and Xzar), and then Carnival, all just looking for leads to who Kivan was after.

    After all that he started complaining. What exactly does he think he's going to do better by himself than systematically searching nearby countryside with a group, then moving on to nearby towns to look for leads? If he actually had better ideas (which I doubt, since he said he had been doing this for months alone!) then we would follow his lead, but no, he's silent until he complains. In P&P D&D there's no way that someone would give up after such a little amount of time searching for something that is central to their character, especially when the adventurers you joined were ONLY trying to solve your quest and were not wasting time doing other things. There's literally no way for players at that point to know that the main quest has to be progressed to finish Kivan's quest, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and try to find information on the Bandits in Nashkel whilst dropping off Montaron and Xzar).

    A major disadvantage for us is that we have limited time now as adults, and we live in different time zones, so it will literally take us a few years to play through BG1 + BG2 and the expansions, so we want to make the most of what will likely be a single play through.

    Post edited by BGMatt on
    ChroniclerJuliusBorisov
  • PingwinPingwin Member Posts: 246
    Just out of curiousity, there was a timer on Kivan's quest in the original BG which never activated and EE "fixed" the code so the timer works now, but did the original devs ever confirm whether or not this was a bug? It is possible that the timer code was deliberately broken as his quest is vague and annoying if you have taken too long to find the right bandits.

  • Adam_en_tiumAdam_en_tium Member Posts: 17
    I used to always take Kivan when playing good oriented party.

    Now (BGEE) I never take him and this thread makes realize that it's because of the timer...

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,202
    @lolien once gathered all the quest timers here:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/63003/quest-timers

    Kivan's quest timer depending on the chapter you recruit him in:
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/702764/#Comment_702764
    Pingwin wrote: »
    Just out of curiousity, there was a timer on Kivan's quest in the original BG which never activated and EE "fixed" the code so the timer works now, but did the original devs ever confirm whether or not this was a bug? It is possible that the timer code was deliberately broken as his quest is vague and annoying if you have taken too long to find the right bandits.

    Even before the EE fix, the issue with Kivan had been present: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/230/request-modify-kivans-bandit-timer-mechanic-to-allow-for-more-flexibility-less-stress

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