This was a very enjoyable read, thanks Chris. I do have a few notes which I hope you'll read; "The companion needs to ego-stroke the player in a variety of ways. Sometimes this can be romance, sometimes this can be simply reactivity (either brief barks or conversations about the player’s actions), or any of a variety of methods. Ultimately, however, any companion that simply sits around bitching, complaining, and haranguing the player isn’t someone you want to drag into the nearest dungeon to help clear it out… you may simply want to throw them in the dungeon and lock the door." I don't feel like this counts for every NPC. Xan in BG1 was one of my favorites, and all he does is complain. Kreia in KotOR2 strokes your ego occasionally by telling you how important you are, but most of the time she's tearing you down. I even enjoyed Skie in BG1 who constantly bitches about how awful life as an adventurer is, though that's mostly because I enjoyed the sounding board of having a relatively normal person in an adventuring group (because really, it's a horrible life). A friend of mine mentioned during the olympics that we should have 1 normal person running along with the athletes, just for a comparison. Skie was that normal person to me Err, anyway, "they don't all have to kiss your ass" was my general message here, though I'm sure you already have that covered. Another point I actually feel more strongly about; Companion's lives should not revolve 100% about the player character. In 90% of RPG's, companions live and die by their masters and drop whatever they want when their boss comes calling. They'll mention their sidequest but often happily drop it when they get told 'no'. Likewise, when they're not in the party they'll just stand about in a tavern, waiting to be picked up and in the party, they'll not antagonise NPC's if you don't want them to, you can completely dicate their life. I feel this usually doesn't do justice to the character. I liked how, in BG2, Aerie and Haer'dalis had their own (doomed) romance because it didn't involve the player character (who probably had his own romance) and one of the few things I liked about Dragon Age 2 was that while not in your party, your companions would be out doing stuff (Aveline worked at the city guard, Anders would heal people at his clinic, etc). These are after all people, not robots you just pick up in some random dungeon (and PS:T taught me, even those can have more free will than that). I really enjoyed reading what you wrote, it gave me new insights in character creation. Carry on, good sir, I will be following this blog closely!