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[Major spoilers] Thoughts about Aribeth after finishing the OC

ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
I've just finished the OC for the first time, with a roleplayed Paladin of Tyr.
I spent Chapter One looking up to Aribeth and Fenthick, distrusting Desther, and was right to do so. I watched helplessly when Fenthick, feeling deep guilt for his only failure of being too trusting, surrendered without a word to defend himself and got hanged as a traitor.

I spent Chapter Two worried about Aribeth, asking her questions between missions, trying to comfort her, listening to her story how she became a paladin: Saved by Tyr himself when she was dying in a blizzard during a vengeful killing spree, learning then to follow the path of true justice instead of revenge.
Then, she told me about her dark dreams, Fenthick's ghost, her growing doubts in her faith and finally seeing Tyr turning his back on her in a dream.

Then, worries in Chapter Three when she disappeared, but Aarin insisted that I had to continue my mission. Later, the utter shock in the Host Tower, learning that she had changed sides, and then having to watch her abjure her allegiance to Tyr and become a Blackguard of Morag, leading the Luskan army against Neverwinter.

Then, I met Lord Nasher, who admitted having sacrificed an innocent Fenthick to satisfy a bloodthirsty crowd, recognizing that his actions might have driven Aribeth into her decision, regretting his judgement.
Haedraline (I'm sure I've got the name wrong) told us that Morag had been influencing Aribeth's dreams, feeding her anger and thirst for revenge.

When I had to fight Aribeth, I accepted her surrender, learned her story (I've shared the dialogue in the NWN Minimal Reload thread, if anyone is interested and has never seen the peaceful outcome) and convinced her that she could still make amends to some extent. She agreed to surrender to Lord Nasher and to give him information about the Luskans, to save people, even if it meant her execution.

Before entering the Source Stone, I talked to Nasher again, suggesting that he could atone for his mistake with Fenthick by showing mercy to Aribeth. He seemed to be ready to give it a thought, at least. Then I talked to Aribeth again in her cell. She had made peace with her fate, even if she might be executed, and seemed grateful for the chance she had to make amends.

Well, and then, not a single word in the epilogue about her fate! I'll never know if Nasher had her executed or not.

My conclusion, my thoughts, especially for a paladin?

First of all, vengeance is not the same as justice. If the failure of one representative of the system makes you question your whole faith, how strong was your faith to begin with?

But Morag influenced her dreams. How much responsibility did Aribeth have for her actions, if she truly thought that the god who had been the center of her life was no longer supporting her?

Where was Tyr? I mean, it's not real life, it's a world where gods are real and intervene all the time. How much is a god of justice worth if he just watches, in a time of crisis where an old race raises to enslave the whole world, while his people are in danger and one of his most loyal servants is executed, guilty only of trusting the wrong man, driving his other most loyal servant into despair?
Where was Tyr when Morag was haunting Aribeth's dreams? Didn't she deserve a fair chance? She had already fallen into vengeful bloodthirst once in her life, before becoming a paladin, and Tyr had saved her.
Did he really lose his trust in his servant, that he didn't protect her, giving her a second chance?

Or maybe that had already been her second chance? She would have died in that blizzard, had Tyr not saved her. Died from the consequences of blind, angry revenge after losing her loved ones. She got saved, got her second chance, to learn and make different decisions in the future. Even with ancient evil infiltrating her mind, and a weak government killing her loved one, she still had her free will, and should have learned from the past. And yet, she fell into her old pattern of anger and vengeance. Does that mean she lost her chance and deserved to die? Does that mean her attempt to make amends doesn't count?
And Nasher: Would he really make the same mistake twice?

I'd like to hear some thoughts, if anyone feels like sharing them. And yes, I know, it's just a story in a game, but I think it's an important lesson and can be seen from a philosophical perspective, considering revenge, justice, mercy, redemption, free will...
(I'm writing on a phone screen during a break at work, so I can't preview or save draft. I apologize in advance for typos or lack of structure)



  • jglvz256jglvz256 Member Posts: 52
    Aribeth is a traitorous floozy who deserved everything she got.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @Arvia , I love this thread. Congratulations on your two promotes. That's the highest honor any forum moderator can bestow on a forum member. :)

    I'm hesitating to speak too much to the issue until I have finished my upcoming Hordes of the Underdark run. I don't remember my conversations with Aribeth there at all. I need to read all of that again, and I'd prefer to do it live in a game run rather than looking it all up.

    I had one thought - could the Time of Troubles and the Bhaalspawn crisis have anything to do with the gods taking a much more cautious approach to direct intervention into mortal affairs, even into a crisis as dire as the Neverwinter plague, the Luskan attack that followed, and the threatened return of the Old Ones?

    I'd need to look up some timelines and try to piece together the relationships among all the years listed for the various game events.

    Could any of our resident Forgotten Realms lore experts who know the whole timeline really well give us any insights into the behavior of the gods before and after the Time of Troubles, and whether the year of the occurrence of the Neverwinter plague and the threat of the Old Ones vis a vis lack of direct divine intervention could have been influenced by the "larger" crisis of the Godswar?

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    edited July 2019
    @BelgarathMTH , I was only referring to the OC, I didn't know there was so much more content with Aribeth in Hordes of the Underdark. Then I guess I'll wait for your opinion on the subject until after we've finished the extensions. Maybe it will change my own perspective, too.

    I didn't even consider how the Time of Troubles and the Bhaalspawn crisis might have affected the gods' desire or possibility for intervention. I've checked timelines mentioned in other threads, people said that:

    Time of Troubles: 1358
    Baldur's Gate 1: 1368
    End of ToB: Around 1370 (although I doubt a period of just two years is realistic)
    NWN1: 1372

    It might also be interesting to know how long ago that "saved by Tyr from the blizzard" had happened. She's an elf or half-elf, I don't know if we're talking about years or decades here.

    In-game lore is an important point, but I'm interested in personal opinions, too.

    @ElysianEchoes, I've been thinking along those lines, too. At first I thought that Morag's influence had started her doubts, but she must have been shaken already, otherwise she wouldn't have let Morag into her mind. Remember the dream sequences in Baldur's Gate? Charname was able to resist the taint, if he wanted to, and Morag's influence over Aribeth was not as strong as Bhaal's over a Bhaalspawn, I think. She was influenced, but not charmed or dominated.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    edited July 2019
    I only forgot that Bhaal was already dead, he couldn't intervene directly anyway. There was only his essence remaining, so I'm not sure any more if what I said makes sense.

    Edit: What I meant was if comparing the two situations still made sense.

    Post edited by Arvia on
  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 359
    edited July 2019
    Yeah I hated how Fenthick was sacrificed for the Mobs blood lust but I suppose that was the point.

    I really don't like Nasher but yes Fenthick allowed those false helmites to operate and encouraged others to trust them, at the very least Fenthick should've been punished for his foolishness but execution was too far, I think imprisonment or banishment would've been appropriate.

    You've been continuing your playthrough in SOU which leads to HOTU and I can only say keep going, your doing great 🙂.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @Cerabelus , he was openly associating with Desther, everybody considered them "normal" Helmites, everybody knew they were working together. He didn't know that they were spreading the plague, and he didn't know that Desther had no interest in distributing the cure, right until that moment after the ritual.

    Do people deserve imprisonment or banishment for being too trusting and naive? He made a mistake, misjudging a person, but did he commit a crime? I don't think so.

    "Allowed them to operate and encouraged others to trust them" sounds as if you thought he knew who they were and what they were doing. I think that he really believed they were working together to find the cure. And he still let us investigate the matter and find the Waterdhevian creatures, although Desther insisted that his Helmites were better suited for the job.
    He was not a fellow conspirator, he was the victim of Desther's manipulation, in my opinion.

  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 359
    edited July 2019
    Arvia wrote: »
    @Cerabelus , he was openly associating with Desther, everybody considered them "normal" Helmites, everybody knew they were working together. He didn't know that they were spreading the plague, and he didn't know that Desther had no interest in distributing the cure, right until that moment after the ritual.

    Do people deserve imprisonment or banishment for being too trusting and naive? He made a mistake, misjudging a person, but did he commit a crime? I don't think so.

    "Allowed them to operate and encouraged others to trust them" sounds as if you thought he knew who they were and what they were doing. I think that he really believed they were working together to find the cure. And he still let us investigate the matter and find the Waterdhevian creatures, although Desther insisted that his Helmites were better suited for the job.
    He was not a fellow conspirator, he was the victim of Desther's manipulation, in my opinion.

    Yeah he didn't know but his position allowed them easier access to people and i suspect people would've taken his word to trust them and not question it, I'm not saying he was guilty but a high ranking position comes with higher accountability and I'm forced to wonder if Fenthick even checked Their story to confirm Their identity.

    If i where in Nasher's position Fenthick would've been kick out of Neverwinter, i wouldn't have told the public of his mistakes but the blind faith in people he knew nothing about likely helped spread the plague faster.

    Executing Fenthick was Nasher being afraid of the Mob and protecting his position at the expense of a convenient target, the crime to me was Nasher's but Fenthick's mistake is blind faith and access.

    There where multiple times Dester was suspicious and if you point that out Fenthick refuses to even see it and defends him without question.

    A terrible mistake made worst by Nasher.

    Edit: "worst" lol i mean't worse.

    Post edited by Cerabelus on
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @Cerabelus , I agree, a terrible mistake. The kind of mistake that would force a politician, or anyone in a responsible position, to resign, perhaps even leave the city. It doesn't justify imprisonment or execution.

    The verdict was treason, and that was wrong. Nasher made the biggest mistake, in my opinion, and unlike Fenthick, he knew exactly what he was doing.
    He was afraid of a public riot undermining political stability (and his own position) even more after the plague, and took the easy way out by sacrificing a scapegoat.

  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 359
    Yes after what he did i was hoping not to see him in NWN 2...he's still there as "Lord" Nasher.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @Cerabelus , And, he does the same darn thing in NWN 2, only this time, *you're* the victim of his whacked out idea of "justice". At least he makes his mea culpas by giving you a castle and an army.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2019
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 359
    When I first played a D&D PC game it was BG2 but I seriously wasn't ready for that and yet I was totally drawn in, when I first played NWN the OC served it's purpose by teaching me 3rd edition PC rules and a moderate story.
    I agree that NWN 2 has a better story but for my first few experiences of D&D NWN OC was enough to teach me key skills I needed to go back to Baldur's Gate.

    I know Thier not the same in a lot of ways but I'm referring to how to play different classes, different damage types, recognising different creatures and weaknesses, what spells to pick.

    Then we got SOU and HOTU and to me they where much better experiences.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    chimaera wrote: »
    NWN's main campaign was just too linear for me. Most of the time I've had the impression that my character was trudging along well-trodden path, where nothing she did had any impact whatsoever. And I really disliked how in the end it all came down to yet again "go destroy that ancient evil no. 36578". Couldn't bring myself to care about the city, and good riddance to Aribeth.

    By comparison, MotB blows both NWN & NWN2 out of the water. It's one of the few games where the good path felt like the more difficult one to take, with no easy answers or solutions. (Kaelyn >>> Aribeth, as far as I'm concerned.)

    I have difficulty seeing how anyone could consider the vast territory of Chapter Two based in Port Llast as "linear", given that there are three huge areas to explore which can be done in any order, and many completely optional side quests that can be done or not.

    And I fail to see how anyone who's ever gotten an innocent Uthgardt man's head on a stake outside the barracks in Chapter Three, as a permanent testament to their failure as a defense attorney, and the entire Uthgardt culture permanently branding them as "the Oathbreaker", could claim that there were "no consequences" to their actions upon the world.

    And did you kill Aribeth, or did you convince her to return to Neverwinter to face the highly questionable "justice" of Lord Nasher?

    I'm sorry, but saying "no consequences for player actions" and "it's linear" just makes me think you were never paying attention when you played this game, what, one time, ever?

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2019
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    edited July 2019
    @chimaera , thank you for your opinion. I forgot to ask one thing when starting this thread: I made it specifically to discuss the ethical issues around Aribeth. I'm aware that many players don't like the OC, for various reasons, but I would like to ask them to keep that out of the discussion, unless it's still somehow related to the topic.

    I hope you don't take offense, but please discuss this in another place, because it doesn't have anything to do with my questions.

    Edit: I don't mean you shouldn't include dislike of the OC in your post. I just think that if it's the only content, it missed the topic.

    Post edited by Arvia on
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @Arvia , @chimaera , apologies. I should have just let it go rather than challenging an opinion I disagreed with in a needlessly provocative way. And you're right, it was totally off topic. Mea culpa for my part in it.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @BelgarathMTH, there is no need to apologize, you addressed some important points, and your question led back to the original subject.
    I'm not a topic nazi, rabbit trails in discussions are normal and okay, it's just that I don't understand why someone would participate in a discussion about a game that he doesn't like and a decision he has never made or cared about, just to tell me that.

    I already regret my last post, because it can be misunderstood easily, but there's nothing I can do about it now.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @Arvia , no problem. Hopefully the thread will get back to discussing Aribeth, now.

  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,033
    I like Aribeth and always hates to see her fall from grace.

    Being a young human being and having all that responsibility weighing upon you must be hard. Especially when your anchor/love is unjustly taken from you - and the task is for you to restore the city. If that couldn’t turn you from the straight and narrow, what could?

    Therefore I don’t see Aribeths fall as something unlikely or unthinkable given the circumstances. Her world is shaking to the core, and the enemy takes advantage of that - plain and simple.

    I like how the HoU tries to give her some kind of redemption - players choice off course. You really need to play that module if you haven’t yet - just for Aribeth

    Without spoiling, HoU is giving some hope for the paladin who has fallen: the act/quest of atonement. An act or several acts that can restore your name and reputation.

    I would like to think that no man or woman can fall in such a way that they cannot be restored. Off course serious offences needs very serious reparations - but us humans do sin and do fall, and I guess a paladin do as well, so I think restoration is a thing of its own for paladin. They fall from the highest pinnacles when they do fall.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @StummvonBordwehr , thank you for sharing this insightful opinion.

    It's true that paladins fall harder, and are judged more harshly, because we expect them to be the perfect example of righteousness and honor.

    I share your opinion about redemption, that no person can be so taken by the shadow that they can't be brought back to the light again, if they want to. Like the thief on the cross, to give a biblical example.
    But they must be given that chance, or atonement will never be possible.

    I wanted to take my paladin into HotU, but decided to play SoU first, because HotU seems to contain references to that, too. I'm looking forward to seeing Aribeth's story continue there.

    I as an in-game paladin and as a real person can't condemn her for what she did. I can only take it as a warning to stick to our principles no matter how unfair life treats us, but I can't say that I would never, ever have lost faith in times like those, making myself vulnerable to evil influences.

  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,033
    I also play my Paladins with the motto:
    “Let the one who is clean cast the first stone”. The pride of thinking your self unable to fall, would indeed be a very great sin in it self.

    Enjoy SotU. I actually think that the OC is far better. I was astonished to see how unpopular the OC is, but that is how I fell. I eagerly await your judgement as well B).

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 2,072
    Arvia wrote: »
    Do people deserve imprisonment or banishment for being too trusting and naive? He made a mistake, misjudging a person, but did he commit a crime? I don't think so.

    When their trust and naivite aids and results in the death of thousands of people? Yes.

    I don't think he should have been killed either. But punished? Definitely. Banishment would have been getting off easy.

    Remember. At the level of involvement in the governing Fenthick had, he has a duty and a responsibility attached to it. His failure is not just a moral and personal failure that you can go "oh just fire him in disgrace" over. His failures killed people, caused mass death among the people he has a duty to protect. When you have that kind of responsibility to your citizens incapability to such a degree as Fenthick's is tantamount to treason against his subjects.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @scriver , But look at the consequences of the harsh judgement. Aribeth turns and becomes the Betrayer. Luskan attacks as planned anyway, now with Aribeth's help and knowledge of the city.

    I think either banishment or a long prison sentence was the appropriate choice, if it would have prevented Aribeth's betrayal. Surely she begged for Fenthick's life, and was ignored. Come to think of it, since the mobs were crying for Fenthick's death, he probably would have been safer in prison, where Aribeth could still visit him, he could have a chance to possibly atone for his failure some day, and Aribeth would be unlikely to fall or to betray Neverwinter.

    Luskan's attack would have been much less successful without Aribeth's help, and possibly even a total failure. Maugrim might never have been able to complete the ritual for Morag.

    I think Nasher's lack of a backbone, lack of mercy, and lack of wisdom are the worst failures, worse than Fenthick's, even, and what he says in dialogue after Luskan attacks seems to indicate that he sees that. I think he should have abdicated rule and named Aarin Gend as his successor, assuming Gend would agree to take the job.

    The game never says anything that I know of about laws of succession in Neverwinter, and whether Nasher has any children, but it would be interesting to have more information about that.

  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 475
    Like noble houses in the middle ages, oft times positions were granted for any number of reasons, and capability wasn't necessarily one of them.

    It seems to me Fenthick and Aribeth both were given positions they weren't ready for, and likely with little to no training. Yet they suffered due to the short sightedness of their government. They failed the people. The government failed them.

    But the government must save face to stay in power...

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    edited July 2019
    @JFK, that was an interesting point of view. I'm not sure if I agree about pride as the primary motive for Aribeth, though. I thought that she was experiencing (for the second time in her life) the violent death of loved ones and fell into the revenge trap again, especially because she had trusted Nasher.

    With your interpretation of Nasher's motives I can agree.

    I do wonder why Fenthick completely denied any evidence against Desther, when even Aribeth suspected him. Except for the obvious explanation "because he was written that way for the drama arc", of course. I thought that he was just so sheltered in his lawful-goodness and church service that he just couldn't imagine anything bad of another cleric he knew, even if he was from a different church.

    Too young for their responsibilities might be true, I didn't even consider that. Seeing that they're elves, I automatically assumed them to be older than they look.

  • JFKJFK Member Posts: 213
    edited July 2019
    I suppose it pays to realize the passing of years alone doesn't automatically equal wisdom, and in fact unusually long lives might even foster a sort of complacency: "Oh, yes. I've seen all this before you were born."
    On the matter of Aribeth's pride, I feel the existence of her pride in no way removes her anguish, nor her frustration/vengeful feelings. Only that feeling vengeful is not the same as taking vengeance, and perhaps it's pride that allows one to feel they are right to seek retribution, and to then do so, instead of letting time and prayer ease the loss, and bring understanding and acceptance.

    Great discussion. I find it interesting how much pathos can be found in characters in 'that awful OC'. (In fact, I've never found it awful, but de gustibus non est disuptandum)


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