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Room for new content in BG - where?

chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
New content added to BG sometimes makes me feel kind of cramped. I mean, they put Dorn's necromancer Kryll in a half-empty area in the southeast - all right, had a "random" encounter with him between maps - that was clever... But there is also fan-made content. The Friendly Arm is stuffed (but only downstairs, for some reason), and putting more encounters on the old maps is a bad idea, space is the most important thing about this game. There are also too many people trapped in stone lately.

So where else to stick "new" places or just NPC? I'm putting "new" in quotes, because the areas will usually, of course, be rehashes and imports from IWD or some other game...

Some modders found smart solutions. @DarkDogg used the abandoned house while still keeping it abandoned (which is just right), and hacked a cave entrance on another map. (It would be good to hear ideas about which areas in the Infinity games are the least known and used, by the way.) Now, I don't make areas myself, and probably never will, but I'm eager to play in them. I hate stepping on toes, too. So let me think of possible destinations for added content and ways to avoid filling up the game. Here is what comes to mind:

1) Make more caves on the existing maps, with small entrances. A cave entrance is a hole in a wall, so it doesn't clutter the map any or interfere with its theme. For instance, there are enough sand and loam banks on the lonely, muted Firewine map for one or even two holes behind a bush. New caves should also be easy enough to draw up. It is probably better not to staff caves chock-full of creatures, that looks unnatural, especially for a place like Firewine. An empty cave is just fine, it makes the game feel "roomy." An empty cave is a valuable contribution to the game, no less than a full one.

2) Open up the top of Durlag's Tower. When you walk out on the terrace, you see that there remains enough space up there, above the highest floor, for a couple of good-sized rooms. And there must be rooms, too. It can't be just solid stone, can it? The shape of the tower is so irregular, it can probably accept almost any room. There is a also a door, next to the stairs, that is enticing.

3) Use the right river bank of AR0400 (Farmlands north of Baldur's Gate, with the zombies). For some reason the right bank is impassable. Well, there is enough space there for an encounter or two.

4) Use houses in Baldur's Gate itself. There are a lot of blanks with generic NPC. Evict them and put some interesting folks instead. Planescape: Torment had no "generics" in houses, everybody had a name and a quest, and the game was the better for it. But these NPC and their quests, of course, won't be accessible until after Cloakwood.

5) The Nashkel Fair is just what the doctor prescribed if you don't know where to put gamblers, tricksters, idlers, entertainers and wandering heroes. The Fair is, to be frank, not much fun at the moment and never has been. If you have Unfinished Business, there are two or three merchants, fat of course, who sell the same usual boring weapons... you know you want that non-magical sling... but also, let's be Fair, overpowered equipment and duplicates of weapons you thought your party has already come by... The huge gambling tents are next to empty of anything interesting, and you can't even really play. Well, if the Fair really does attract many people from distant parts, as Volo says, you can expect many unusual types there and in the tent of the lotus smokers... Or better, so as not to clutter it, put someone outside.

By the way, when a farmer comes to a fair, he usually wants to buy or sell something practical. Buy a new plow, sell a pig. He's not there to play the roulette... Ahem. If we want to keep a toehold on common sense, should the place not reflect this medieval reality?

6) Place more people on second floors of inns, including the Friendly Arm. Felderpost's is huge. There is enough space in city inns as well. It's okay to make players look for an NPC outside of the bar room. Legwork is a good thing more often than not.

7) Combine NPC. This is a trick, but it works: instead of adding a "realistic" number of servant-type NPC like guards, roaming ass-scratching peasants and so on, add enough to make the impression you want to convey. A certain mod places several merchants in the courtyard of the Friendly Arm, each with two or three guards, and the guards all have flaming swords out... Aside from making Doom Guards less impressive and just being in bad taste, this crowd throngs the map. Two-three or three-four guards would have been enough for all of the merchants. They symbolize strong security, and that's all the situation calls for. It's not like more guards can prevent the player from killing everybody, if he really wants to. It's always best to keep numbers down, this leaves more player attention for the surroundings. And a crowd of people with near-identical avatars looks ridiculous. Sorry, SoD.

8) Take over NPC. Do you see a wandering Reader with no name? A guard called Guard? A little girl called Girl? Don't make your own actors - grab and christen these, already available. You can even sign up a wandering cat if you have a mind to. Beregost or Nashkel aren't metropolises to teem with people (including the little crowd gathered to look at a monk). They are small, boring places, or there wouldn't be any adventurers.

9) Phase out NPC. So you really need a peasant woman to appear at X to answer the party's question, it has to be outdoors, and you can't take over an NPC already there. Why shouldn't, then, she disappear after the party leaves the area, or after 1 minute? Nobody will miss her, surely. She doesn't have to remain, when the only thing she will have to say until the end of the game, if the party stumbles across her again, is "Hello, how fare thee?" We fare fine, thank you, and don't you have better things to do than stand there with your one-liner and block the view?

Those are my suggestions. Obviously there are going to be exceptions, but the important part, on the whole, is to find unexplored spaces instead of jamming it all in a world not meant to hold so much magic, so many weapons, such throngs of people, in short, this amount of content.

shay5525LoldrupCaradocwinterslolienStummvonBordwehr
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Comments

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,087
    There are a few "sweet spots" in BG with plenty of space and not much around that mods don't add to. A few spots in particular I recall being around the Gnoll Stronghold, specifically to the north of it. There's a whole little island there, I think maybe even more than one, that is accessible with nothing on it.

  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 1,690
    8) Take over NPC. Do you see a wandering Reader with no name? A guard called Guard? A little girl called Girl? Don't make your own actors - grab and christen these, already available. You can even sign up a wandering cat if you have a mind to. Beregost or Nashkel aren't metropolises to teem with people (including the little crowd gathered to look at a monk). They are small, boring places, or there wouldn't be any adventurers. I would refrain from reusing any game resource but create your custom one if you want to be sure your mod works as intended and won't get corrupted by another mod/tweak.

    And yes, mod characters could disappear after the quest is done, but if I populated an (empty) house with them, what use would it do? The house is still occupied by (my) mod characters and no longer available for another, unless you want to risk to run into both mod added families at the same time. (Crossmod content would be fun to see here.)

    I tried to start some kind of list for used locations for my bgqe mod, but it's no longer included in the package. I didn't even remember when I excluded it. It would be a nice community effort to collect such a list.

  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 1,690
    You know, I never really *noticed* that door in the Nashkel Store. Maybe because I always run straight to the shop keeper?

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    There is a also a ladder in the back of the Nashkel Garrison, if it comes to that. But yes, the ruins of the ancient city under Baldur's Gate should probably be more interesting, even though it would take away from their eerie emptiness as you rush single-mindedly to deal with Sarevok. To @jastey : I think there is no point to trying to assure complete compatibility of new content. There isn't that much, but even if two families ended up in the same house, it would just be an opportunity to role-play.

    On the whole, though, this thread of mine isn't too useful. As I played and kept finding nooks, crannies and whole are devoid of encounters (almost no one in deep Cloakwood), I realized a modder can stick his content just about anywhere.

  • winterswinters Member Posts: 252
    Oh, two more!

    - Lighthouse with the boy that cried wolf quest. You can peek inside and see only rubble, pity, lighthouses are fascinating!
    - Cloakwood mine, ground level. I only recently discovered that it has one extra door! Such discoveries after so many years of playing those games are amazing and I always count on something interesting being there, and not just a drunkard :smiley:

  • AstroBryGuyAstroBryGuy Member Posts: 3,414
    winters said:

    Oh, two more!

    - Lighthouse with the boy that cried wolf quest. You can peek inside and see only rubble, pity, lighthouses are fascinating!

    Then check out The Lure of the Sirine's Call: http://mods.pocketplane.net/bg1tutu/sirine_readme.html

    megamike15wintersCrevsDaakMantis37
  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    I wonder if new content should turn back the straight arrow of time... of the plot... or not. It's possible to put a quest later in the game that would send one back to Cloakwood, or even back and forth, to and from Cloakwood, or give the players some reason to come back to Durlag's Tower, but if places like that became common destinations like the post office on the block, that would disrupt the mystery. The important thing about dungeon-delving is that you delve and then you are THROUGH with the place. Also the first Baldur's Gate is so harmonious because it's very simple, and it should stay that way.

    But horizontal expansion, with more things to do and people to talk to while you are somewhere, that would be welcome. This is why I see the map of BG, the 70% that aren't plot-locked, as a perfect picnic destination. A fantasy picnic, with hobgoblins and wizards. You can go left, you can go right... It's open on all sides, and content doesn't clash here.

    Another "place" for content that I haven't mentioned are major NPC. Thalantyr, Ulraunt and Tethtoril, the mayor of Nashkel (where does he run off to?), the head of the Thieves Guild can all hand out more quests, this won't take up any more space in the world and will also flesh the characters out.

  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 1,690
    chimeric said:

    Another "place" for content that I haven't mentioned are major NPC. Thalantyr, Ulraunt and Tethtoril, the mayor of Nashkel (where does he run off to?), the head of the Thieves Guild can all hand out more quests, this won't take up any more space in the world and will also flesh the characters out.

    Sure, but here it is extra important to write it compatible, because (some) of these important persons are already modded by others (Thalantyr for example).

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    Who modded Thatantyr and how?

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,087
    There are a lot of unused houses in Baldurs Gate that could easily be turned into new quest locations. Lot of empty spaces in the wilderness maps as well. Maybe we should map this all out.

  • KaliestoKaliesto Member Posts: 265
    edited March 2017
    There is plenty space actually for BG1, and to some extent BG2. Hell, I want people to play around with making aquatic areas (though I admit that means drawing paintings, and animations).

    Besides that here are my thoughts on what could be expanded for BG1:

    1) Baldur's Gate City has a lot of intrigue & mysterious buildings, but a few of those buildings you'll will never enter, I do believe something could be done with that.

    2) The Sewers of Baldur's Gate City could use a expansion, I always like exploring Sewer Dungeons, and the most weird things can only be found there.

    3) Firewine Bridge could use some lore & dungeon expansion, I always thought it lacked certain things like Ulcaster Ruins did (though Dark Horizons fixed that issue with the Ulcaster Ruins).

    4) Ice Island could be made to be more interesting if one is willing to expand upon that.

    5) The Friendly Arms Inn could have a Basement Dungeon, Mirrorshade could send you down to the depths of Friendly Arms Inn to take care of a evil that was once thought defeated, The Cleric of Bhaal somehow manage to comeback from death as one of the undead, but what circumstances could have caused that? (Honestly I'm surprised no one took advantage of this idea yet).

    6) The Gnoll Stronghold - We never really got to go inside the Gnoll Stronghold, and it was a bit of a mysterious place. I think a expansion to fight the Gnolls deeper within their lair would be a nice added bonus. Maybe a Priest of Yeenoghu could be made as a boss inside the Stronghold?

    7) Nashkel Mines - There is plenty of ideas to be put inside the mines, there could be paths that lead to mysterious places, maybe a Duergar encounter is one possibility.

    8) Dryad Falls - I believe something can be done with that Waterfall area..maybe a underwater cave?

    9) The Farmlands - You all remember this optional place right? Filled with Zombies? Seems a bit of a let down, and across from the river is a inaccessible piece of land. Sounds like a good place to put a quest!

    10) Carnival - I believe this can be expanded, and adding tent graphics shouldn't be a problem for most Modders. If some Modders can come up with some more games & interesting side quests, that would be pretty nice. I always thought the Carnival was really underrated, and really could use some shine to it. Also all that wilderness is going to waste!

    11) Shipwreck's Coast - This place is bit barren, and I think it could use some improvement.

    12) Archaeological Site - The main quest of this area is a bit of a let down because of how quickly it ends, I believe the cave should be expanded a bit, and adding of some lore to it as well.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    I'm working on a reworking of the Carnival. The computer with the information has been busted, but after I get it back from repair, there should be some interesting quests there. As for the other areas, the Gnoll Stronghold is probably the number 1 candidate for more content. The Friendly Arm Inn was originally a stronghold of Bane that Bentley and the clerics of their order (they are some kind of group, I don't remember) took over. Bane comes back to life eventually, but not yet at the time of BG. Still, there could be a former priest of his plotting against the Mirrorshades or some such.

    The one consideration that applies everywhere is that it is next to impossible to get new areas, there are no fan artists who can paint them as well as the professionals at Bioware. And we don't want to see recycles of old places.

  • KaliestoKaliesto Member Posts: 265
    edited March 2017
    Odd, the Baldur's Gate wiki was calling that guy a Bhaal Priest, I guess someone over at wiki fudged that up.

    Also I could recommend the community to contact Deviantart Artists, they have similar art talent to what is made for Baldur's Gate Areas, but it all depends how everyone goes about it.

  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,580
    I always wanted to meet a gnome NPC in the Jovial Juggler :) It just seemed appropriate.

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    Who is "the community"? It's not like there is a hive mind here. If a modder knows someone over there, he might call them over. But the kind of artist who can paint an area as well as the original artists in Bioware - who were better than the people Beamdog employs, by the way - isn't likely to be found there, and amost certainly won't work for free. Hey, if we could overcome the Write All You Want But There Isn't Enough New Stuff To See problem, we could as easily make a new game.

    The information on Bane is from an FR module. "Forgotten Realms Adventures," possibly.

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,087
    If it was just a matter of paying the right artists, like the ones who did great work in SOD, to paint more new areas for modders to play around in, i'd throw money into that faster than you could blink.

    Mantis37
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,076
    What I would like is a decent low level dungeon. Never found Firewine or Ulcaster very compelling. Interior of the gnoll fortress would be good. Or an evil temple, but not Bhaal (too early)

    Expanding on the half halfling village could also be good. Maybe also some more class specific content, eg a short apprenticeship with Thalantyr for mages.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,087
    Apprenticeship quests for particular classes like the stronghold quests of BG2 would be a compelling project I think. I'd gladly contribute to it.

  • KaliestoKaliesto Member Posts: 265
    edited March 2017
    chimeric said:

    Who is "the community"? It's not like there is a hive mind here. If a modder knows someone over there, he might call them over. But the kind of artist who can paint an area as well as the original artists in Bioware - who were better than the people Beamdog employs, by the way - isn't likely to be found there, and amost certainly won't work for free. Hey, if we could overcome the Write All You Want But There Isn't Enough New Stuff To See problem, we could as easily make a new game.

    The information on Bane is from an FR module. "Forgotten Realms Adventures," possibly.

    Well..that is bit of pessimistic view of things, I only was making a recommendation. Also don't underestimate Deviantart Artists, I've seen some work over there that is pretty darn good, but you have to dig around to find them.

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163

    If it was just a matter of paying the right artists, like the ones who did great work in SOD, to paint more new areas for modders to play around in, i'd throw money into that faster than you could blink.

    Well, who are the artists who worked for SoD? I'm not that fond of their style myself, I think it's overdone with glows and acid colors, and there is too much detail for the basic gameplay of the series... I guess they were told to go all out at it, when they should have been reined in. But if they can be, and if people are ready to pay, why don't we contact them? Sounds like a nice excuse for a little Kickstarter project. Who knows the names of the people in charge of the backgrounds?

  • KaliestoKaliesto Member Posts: 265
    edited March 2017
    Well if this does become a thing, I wouldn't mind DSOTSC got a upgrade.

    StummvonBordwehrWise_Grimwald
  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    Why not make a new poll on the General board and ask if people would donate for an open-license, free-for-all backgrounds pack? If there is enough interest and players vote in the hundreds, at least, and say that they would pay the artists, that will be something we can e-mail to those people. I can't start new threads right now.

    WarChiefZekeKaliestoStummvonBordwehr
  • KaliestoKaliesto Member Posts: 265
    edited March 2017
    That sounds like a better way to go in the long run, I like that idea. I did start a similar idea a few days ago, but I don't want anyone to think I'm double posting the same idea, but so far no one has commented on it.

    I will wait till someone here reboots the idea.

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,134
    edited May 2017
    @chimeric How is the carnival rework coming along?
    I esp. like the idea for opening up the gnoll stronghold. Would be interesting if there was someone or someTHING pulling the strings there. Would even give the idea behind Dynaheir being their a little more depth.
    As you said, the FAI has the background for it as well.

    Post edited by Zaghoul on
  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    The Carnival is on hold. I strayed into some side projects and I need to wrap them up before I go back to that. But one of them is a mod to rescue Dynaheir by climbing a rope to the fortress. It's something I wanted to do for a long time.

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,134
    @chimeric Rope is a good idea, I liked it in SoD.
    Also I noticed we have a nice new snow troll cave that is currently unused in Rassad's questline.

  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 2,801
    chimeric said:

    Who modded Thalantyr and how?

    Two different mods, and they are NOT compatible.

    There is romantic encounters. You get to date Mellicamp and you can have a meal with Thalantyr. A reward is available for bringing him a tome from BG.
    http://www.gibberlings3.net/bg_romanticencounters/

    There is also an item upgrade mod.
    http://www.shsforums.net/files/file/807-thalantyr-item-upgrade/

  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 2,801
    edited May 2017
    chimeric said:

    I'm working on a reworking of the Carnival. The computer with the information has been busted, but after I get it back from repair, there should be some interesting quests there. As for the other areas, the Gnoll Stronghold is probably the number 1 candidate for more content. The Friendly Arm Inn was originally a stronghold of Bane that Bentley and the clerics of their order (they are some kind of group, I don't remember) took over. Bane comes back to life eventually, but not yet at the time of BG. Still, there could be a former priest of his plotting against the Mirrorshades or some such.

    The one consideration that applies everywhere is that it is next to impossible to get new areas, there are no fan artists who can paint them as well as the professionals at Bioware. And we don't want to see recycles of old places.

    You could contact the creators of the "The Secret of Bonehill" Mod. There are vast unused areas there. They might be delighted if you were to make it EE and SoD compatible. Obviously you would not change the quests there or they might object. However there is vast opportunity to fill the empty spaces with exta sub-quests. Extra well-chosen content could well make the mod far more interesting.

    There is an orc from RE on the road to Nashkel on the way to meet his beau. I think that it would be great if he was recruitable and romanceable by another half-orc. Obviously permission would be required from devs of RE.

    Not enough recruitable half-orcs IMO.

    There is a ranger that you talk to south of Beregost. You could make him recruitable and give him a quest and romance options. Similarly the ranger who gives you advice about fighting ogres etc who is located on the road to the FAI. Currently I charm him to fight the nearby Dark Horizons Assassins. They waste spells on him rather than on the party.

  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,580
    I used to think the Nashkel Carnival was too dead, but honestly, if you talk to folks - its supposed to be dead. The problems in the region are causing attendance to suffer (you even get a journal entry about it).

    Rather than adding solely new content, I wish they'd polish up what's there. There's still a lot of work imo on things that don't jive or could be fleshed out more. 2018 marks like 20 years this game has been out there. Part of me still hopes for a 25th Anniversary Edition where they can bring back voice actors, revoice the lines of new dialogue, add more banter (like they did for the new NPCs), fully fix the journal, etc. etc.

    Keep in mind - this is a pipe dream.

    If I did have to pick something brand new to add in - I always thought a Ghost Ship would be cool. I made a post about it several years ago. Sword Coast is perfect for one.

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