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Modding to Improve Rumors: Suggestions Wanted!

The_Baffled_KingThe_Baffled_King Member Posts: 57
I'm looking for suggestions for new rumors and tweaks to existing rumors, particularly (but not exclusively) for rumors in BG:EE that relate to the main plot. In case it makes a difference, please note that these are for a mod in which Chapters 2-6 can be done in any order (Open World).

As things stand, I feel that rumors are not worth the investment in player time or party gold. They cannot perform actions, which limits them to providing information. Unfortunately, many rumors say nothing that commoners do not say - and some say even less than commoners.

A change I'm making that will facilitate more useful rumors is to deliver them via normal dialogue instead of the store inferface, as this will enable actions to be taken and variables set when a rumor is given - so, if anyone has an idea that depends on variables, that can potentially be accommodated.

I do consider rumors potentially worthwhile if they provide information that Charname is unlikely to know, even if the player knows the information from a previous game. I'll list a few rumors below together with sentence or two about why I do or do not consider them worthwhile.

Rumor 1 (Beregost) - Wholly/Mostly Useless:
"There's been a big influx of Flaming Fist into town lately. I don't know what all the extra troops are here for, but it puts me on edge. Certainly it does."

It’s silly that the talk among commoners about the Grand Dukes’ worries of an Amnian invasion apparently hasn’t reached the ears of the bartenders of Beregost... It’s also unlikely to be new information even to Charnames who don’t talk to commoners, as they probably did talk to Andout, the messenger on the Coast Way who says “Beregost is to be garrisoned in case of Amnian attack”.

Rumor 2 (Beregost) - Wholly/Mostly Useless:
"Those damn bandits! Just heard from my wife. They've struck again, slaughtered the men who were guarding the caravan, including two boys from here in Beregost. Such a sad thing."

This does nothing other than give Charname yet another reminder that bandits are a problem. That kind of dialogue could and should be assigned to commoners instead.

Rumor 3 (Beregost) - Wholly/Mostly Useless:
"Our smith in town, Taerom, he's been raging 'bout the iron he gets from the Nashkel mines. Seems like the stuff ain't very good. Almost like it's corrupted or some such."

This does nothing other than give Charname yet another reminder that there is some problem with the Nashkel iron. That kind of dialogue could and should be assigned to commoners instead.

Rumor 4 (Friendly Arm) - Wholly/Mostly Useless:
"It's been really weird these past few months. Iron's been going bad, falling apart almost if it were rustin' for no particular reason. From what I hear, most o' this "bad iron" comes from the mines at Nashkel. Can't trust those Amnian miners; probably some scheme they've come up with."

This gives Charname yet another reminder that there is some problem with the Nashkel iron, while also throwing in the Amnian plot angle. Not only should that kind of dialogue be assigned to commoners instead, there is a further problem which I will demonstrate below by reference to a similar rumor from the Friendly Arm that is not wholly/mostly useless.

Rumor 5 (Friendly Arm) - Worthwhile:
"Lots of trouble down in Nashkel. Monsters or some such are said to be killing the workers at the Nashkel mines."

This is a bit more useful than a rumor about bad iron: firstly, dealing with monsters is more obviously adventuring work; secondly, dialogue outside of Nashkel that refers to monsters, deaths, or danger in the Nashkel Mines is relatively uncommon, so the information is more valuable.

This rumor also highlights another problem that I alluded to above: it is perfectly possible for Bentley to tell you that monsters are killing workers in the Nashkel mines, only to follow up by telling you about bad iron from Nashkel that is probably an Amnian plot… can’t he put two and two together and figure that the monsters are probably involved with the bad iron?!

The lack of continuity is understandable for random dialogue with commoners sharing a dialogue file, as Charname might not be expected to talk repeatedly with the same commoner, but its weird with rumors given that it is natural to receive several rumors in succession from the same NPC

Rumor 6 (Beregost) - Worthwhile:
"That Tranzig fellow, he's a strange one. Always leaving town in the middle of the night and coming back in the morning. He thinks no one notices, but come on! With everyone so paranoid, it's impossible to go 'bout unnoticed."

I consider this worthwhile because it’s the only information about Tranzig’s location aside from Mulahey’s letters. It does nothing by itself, because Tranzig won’t actually be in Beregost until Chapter 3, by which time the letters will be read and the Confronting Tranzig quest has been assigned. However, in an Open World mod, where Tranzig could be encounted before Mulahey is killed, the rumor could provide a role-playing justification for seeking out Tranzig. Even better, if rumors are delivered via dialogue, then the rumor could set a variable that allows Tranzig to spawn.

Rumor 7 (Beregost) - Worthwhile:
"I wonder where those bandits come from? They seem to know exactly how to escape the Fist. Where do they hide? Must be somewhere in the woods."

I consider this worthwhile because it’s the only information about where the bandit camp might be found that appears prior to Chapter 3. Upon hearing this rumor, Charname could justifiably head to Larswood or Peldvale, whereupon they would encounter Teven and Raiken, and through them gain access to the bandit camp.

Rumor 8 (Baldur's Gate) - Worthwhile:
"I hear there's rumors of Shadow Thieves here in Baldur's Gate. I dunno if it's true, but if it is, I betcha they're here to scout out for an Amnian invasion." [this is a Chapter 5 rumor]

I consider this worthwhile because it’s the only direct hint before Chapter 7 that the Shadow Thieves are present in Baldur’s Gate. You meet Husam in Chapter 5, but it isn’t until Chapter 7 that he admits to being a member of the Shadow Thieves. I will say, however, that I’m not keen on rumors being flat-out wrong (unlike commoner dialogue), at least not until Chapter 7 when the **** has really hit the fan and Sarevok is on the verge of winning.

Hopefully my comments on the above rumors give an idea of what I’m looking for. Note that I appreciate that the rumors I’ve labelled as wholly/mostly useless still perform a function in that they help to set the scene, but commoners do that immediately and for free, and it is not as though one has to choose between a rumor setting the scene or being useful – they can do both!

I also appreciate that people who use player knowledge to do stuff like basillisk hunting in Mutamin’s Garden straight away are unlikely to be interested in the roleplaying opportunities afforded by rumors, but they might still have some cool suggestions, so please pitch in even if rumors don't appeal to you.

I haven’t put much thought into what rumors could be added, but I figure that rumors about some of the hidden treasure caches could be cool, as could rumors about the location of recruitable NPCs.

Comments

  • dukdukgoosdukdukgoos Member Posts: 16
    I'd like to see more rumors that allude to the side quest content off the beaten track of the main story quests. There is some of this is the game, but more would be welcome. Providing more concrete ideas about where to look for side quests would provide more role-playing justification for heading out into the wilderness.
  • The_Baffled_KingThe_Baffled_King Member Posts: 57
    @dukdukgoos

    I agree 100%. Interestingly, moving rumors from the store menu to dialogue with the bartender (the existing one, or a second one added just to deliver the rumors) would allow the game to include side quests that don't actually exist unless you get the rumor!

    The reason I went with plot-related rumors to kick off the thread is that getting them done is an essential part of a mod that makes this change, whereas side quest rumors could be gradually designed, coded, and implemented over a period of time.

    If you don't mind, would you be willing to pick a side quest - any side quest that might realistically have a rumor will do - and give a bare outline of the rumor that you'd like to see for it? It doesn't have to use in-universe language.

    It's just that there's a balance between giving enough info to roleplay the quest, and giving too much information so that the quest isn't much of a surprise. I'd like to see where other people stand on that debate.
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