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StoneCraft

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  1. Iovora is a pretty decent example of what Obsidian would need to do with romances to avoid becoming what Bioware has become. If featured, romances need to be represented differently. For example, rather than being primarily an issue of mutual attraction between two characters developing in dialogues over time (as in a Bioware game), the protagonist would be able to pursue marriage with an NPC as a solution to a quest. Applying a haemneg on top of that later would improve my reputation with whatever elf faction exists in the narrative of Pillars of Eternity 2, giving me options for alliances and such that wouldn't exist otherwise. Ideally, the NPCs who could participate in this marriage and/or haemneg would be interchangeable. For example, I could enter a haemneg with my elf companion, or convince the elf I saved from the bandits at the crossroads to marry me -- in either case, my reputation with elves improves. The issue of of love or attraction would probably feature in a dialogue or two (perhaps if you admit you don't love the character you are proposing to, you need a higher Resolve score to convince them to go through with it), but it wouldn't be the catalyst or focus of the relationship.
  2. The game has a lot of subtext that isn't clearly spelled out for the player. Examples, the implication that humans, elves, dwarves, etc evolved from a common ancestor in similar natural conditions as prevail in our own universe, and that the sterile relations between them are a result of the same biological barriers that prevent procreation between homo sapiens and near human relatives like chimpanzees. That being the case, to someone like Thaos, relations between these species must necessarily go the way of homo sapiens and Neanderthals, with each sapient species trying to wipe the others out to become the dominant race on the continent. Creating a religion that maintains that races like Orlans are the intentioned creations of Galawain (who is allied to Magran, etc) or bringing elves and humans together in the Aedyr Empire under the watchful eye of Woedica, helps organize intelligent species into a web of obligations that allows them to create a shared society despite the absence of extended blood and kin ties. If you look at a lot of the instances of conflict in the game, you can see many of them are driven by race. For example, the Glanfath tribal rivalries are *mostly* characterized by tensions between the older elves that began the culture, the newer Orlans, and humans, etc.
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