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About Estelindis

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  1. Issues related to Thaos might be more interesting if it turned out that, overall, more lives were saved via his methods than were lost. However, I don't know how one could ever know such a thing. It's fun to speculate about alternate history, but because of the impact that events have on each other, it's very difficult to know just how much would be different if a single thing changed. Regardless, I personally don't believe that the ends justify the means. People are ends, and must never be treated like means. It's not okay to hurt and kill them for some supposed greater good. As such, I know in advance how I'd answer this question about Thaos, even if he was right about folk needing gods to prevent great injustices.
  2. Thanks very much for the quotes, mph! I think they reflect a broader range of views than what I encountered at the end of my game.
  3. If we had time to verify the findings of the Engwithans/Iovara ourselves, maybe it wouldn't be an overreaching claim, but to me it seems like it is. The kind of thing I'd find more interesting/compelling would be foundational texts or artefacts for these gods' faiths being shown to be much newer than people thought they were, e.g. through the presence of loan-words or crafting methods that can be clearly shown to be relatively recent. There could be many ways to show a total lack of any historical evidence related to these gods from before the time of the Engwithans who created them. I'm not sure why it even makes sense that Iovara would be able to replicate the research of the Engwithans that led them to believe that there were no "true" gods (for whatever reason, whether they didn't exist or simply couldn't be found). I mean, I only played the endgame once, so I may have failed to pick up on something she said, but if the Engwithans wanted people to believe in the gods they made, why would they have left evidence of their research behind?
  4. Thanks to all for replying! Thanks for the clarifications. Subsequent to her saying this, so many dialogue options seem to run along the lines of gods not existing or being lies that I thought she was saying she could prove there were no creators (because she seemed to associate being a genuine god with being an uncreated creator). Pretty much this. Part of why I find it so weird here is that, in many fantasy settings, gods like this are accepted as being perfectly unproblematic. (Certain other things, like the Wall of the Faithless, less so. Was I the only one who saw a similarity between the PoE plot and Mask of the Betrayer, btw? On that note, why didn't Wizards let us destroy that Wall in MotB when they got rid of it on the sly, with no mention how, in 4e FR? But I digress.) Also, Iovara's statements don't seem to lead the characters to question what a god is and why them being created should necessarily matter. You can be outraged at inventing gods or you can support oppressing people via god-creation but, unless I missed it, you can't say that how or why the gods were created matters less than what they are now. For myself, as an outsider looking in, I've always had problems with pantheons of the type you see in, for instance, Forgotten Realms. However, I'm less sure that people living in such universes would necessarily have the same problems. If you're never presented with the option of believing in an uncreated creator, would you feel the lack keenly? If you would, why might that be? Is it saying something fundamental about divinity that, for us, it has to be associated with being an uncreated creator? The thing is, that's dealing with a past that my character can't undo. If we're talking about the future: had she been given the option to make a new "Eothas" from the souls in the machine at the end, she would have absolutely refused. Whatever Eothas was, she doesn't believe he would have wanted that. So, whatever about the past, going forward she's relying on the ideals of Eothas being inherently good and trying to appeal to and help others via those ideals. This all seems very fair to me. As you say, I feel like their methods don't inspire much trust. Iovara seemed to represent their probing of existence as being in some kind of lab-like setting, but for me a more interesting approach would be seeking signs of inconsistency via methods of historical analysis. It would be less certain but perhaps more persuasive (since, for me at least, over-reaching claims don't inspire confidence).
  5. Just finished the game, so this'll contain endgame spoilers. I want to discuss the differing approaches to philosophy/religion as the game progresses. Initially, philosophical/religious questions in the game seemed very interesting, e.g. why souls cycle, why some remember, whether guilt is carried from life to life, nature of Waidwen/Eothas, etc. The questions seemed too big for it to be realistic that the player would find completely comprehensive, solid answers (which is why I appreciate Edér not getting answers in his own quest), but it was still interesting to ask them, to hope that we might find some meaningful scraps that could help us paint a slightly bigger picture. Then we get to the endgame and I feel like the approach up to this point was turned upside down. Mystery was taken away and we were straight-out told that the gods generally worshipped aren't "real" in the sense of not being creators, and, furthermore (if I understood Iovara correctly) that the world definitely, absolutely wasn't created by a god or gods. This was quite a jolt, to my mind, from the nuanced portrayal of philosophy/religion up to this point, which was full of maybes. The very idea of being able to prove that the universe certainly wasn't created by a divine being (which I believe Iovara claimed the Engwithans did, and she replicated) is absurd, as it requires encapsulation of a system that contains the person making the reasoning (in a manner somewhat similar to Gödel's incompleteness theorems). One can easily argue that it's just as absurd to be able to prove that the universe was created by a divine being, or that the onus of proof lies on those making positive claims, and that's all very fair, but no characters in the game actually seemed to be claiming that they could prove creation by gods (e.g. Thaos didn't rely on scientific/logical proof but on charisma/popularity and intimidation/fear). And at once it seemed like the PC just had to accept what Iovara said, and the party did too - ironically, on faith! I found this change especially odd because I was playing a priest of Eothas, a god that might very well not exist anymore. My character had been dealing with this for years and managed quite well, as evidenced by some of the conversation options that she had early in the game (which, unfortunately, seemed to dry up as it progressed). Edér seemed to cope well also, continuing to find some solace and inspiration in the positive qualities of Eothas even in a situation where Eothas seems to have been totally annihilated. Maybe it was lost in a branch of the conversation tree that I didn't reach, but I saw no option to make comments in this vein to Iovara or Thaos, comments that reflected the mystery, the "don't know, but hope and believe" aspect of faith in a god that might be dead. At the endgame, it seemed to come down to a dichotomy of "people should be free and bravely face the truth that gods don't exist" or "people need to be controlled/manipulated, so inventing gods was right." There was no "maybe gods created the world, maybe they didn't, but I'm going to believe in good wherever I see it, in people or 'gods'." No choice to say "maybe my god wasn't just blown up, maybe he was actually never a god, but I still believe in what he represents." Also no option to logically challenge a "proof" (by Iovara/Engwithans) that I think can't be logically consistent (not that I *really* want to get into logical one-upmanship with a brave woman who has suffered for a long time; I just don't like having to mindlessly accept her views). To me, it seemed like an impoverishment. What are people's views on this?
  6. Edér is my favourite party member. I loved his writing. He's someone with every right to be angsty, and he *is* a bit troubled by difficult questions, but on the whole he's incredibly laid back. He come across as a person worn smooth by life, like a stone in a riverbed. A very deep guy and very relaxing to be around. Refreshing accent to come across in a fantasy RPG too!
  7. Tried clearing it by myself as a priest of Eothas. Felt like it was a roleplaying thing: she should try to keep it secret, as the faith of Eothas seemed frowned upon. Needless to say, I only got so far!
  8. I don't have much to say except that the game so far is enthralling. I love the characters (especially my party members), the lore, the visuals, the music - I don't dislike anything so far. Thanks very much to Obsidian.
  9. As some others have said, it depends on whether the books are engaging. I've been playing the "Prophet" series of NWN models by Baldecaran and, with a few boring exceptions, its books are fantastic - and I even read the boring ones just in case there's a zinger hidden in there somewhere. It's the only time I can remember frantically searching every bookshelf whenever my character gets into a library location or a home where books are strewn around. The main reason is because the central story of the series is really emotionally involving. At several points, my character has found books that help her to better understand the present story in the context of past historical events or philosophical reflections. She is desperate to "solve" the plot of the game and thus anything that could help her to do so is fallen upon voraciously.
  10. Really? People in favour of romance subplots are monsters who exist to be fought and slain again and again? Do you think you could lay off the hyperbole? It's Obsidian's choice to include romantic subplots or not. What matters is that, either way, the relationships they write into the game are interesting and nuanced. If they don't put romances in, well, this whole discussion doesn't matter. If they do, though, the romances could take all kinds of forms; this seems like a more fruitful area for discussion. In my opinion, then, it would be better to discuss features you do or don't want romances to have, pitfalls to avoid or strengths that could be added to romantic subplots, rather than just arguing for or against point blank.
  11. Dude the promancers aren't overly interested in fact. They just want romances. And they only take 6-9 days to write. I am in favour of well-written romances (as well as other relationships) and I found Lurky's post extremely interesting. Having had some experience writing romances in the Neverwinter Nights module I've been working on for some years, I would agree that whether or not a character has a romantic aspect should be part of their initial conception and be structured into the planning phase of their plot and dialogue. The same is true of any other significant relationship. Maybe a romance only takes 6-9 days to write (though I would doubt that), but it matters a huge amount when those days happen in the writing process! In my opinion, this should be quite obvious.
  12. I would like reactivity to actions by the player to be visible in romantic subplots (and also in other relationships with companions and NPCs, such as friendship, rivalry, family, student/mentor, etc.). I don't just refer to player actions that are directly part of those subplots. I mean that characters should not romance you, be your friend, or admire your wisdom and guidance, if at any point in the game (of which they are aware) you do something that clashes profoundly with what they value most in the world. I'm not just talking about a situation where opposites attract or where each character learns and grows from the differences of the other. I'm talking about an action that would horrify the character and/or show a profound difference between the two of you that it would seem nothing could overcome. I really think that there should be no way of giving "gifts" to make up for something like this. The only way would be for the player character to actually come to believe that they had done something wrong and try to make up for it. Of course, this is a general rule that can be broken in interesting ways at times, such as Deionarra's extreme self-sacrifice in spite of the way that the Nameless One used her. But I think that's really only interesting when contrasted with those who aren't so hopelessly in love that they've lost all their other senses. It shouldn't be the norm. This kind of thing can, at times, lead people to roleplaying inconsistently. A person doesn't take a particular action because it would upset the character they want to romance, not because they are actually roleplaying someone who would be opposed to such a thing. However, to this, I raise two points: 1) nothing can stop people metagaming if they really want to, and 2) one could write the relationship subplots in such a way that the game gives the player a chance to incorporate this motivation, actually explicitly stating "my feelings for you stopped me from doing something that I knew would hurt you." That's all for now. More thoughts later, perhaps.
  13. I love comedy in general, but what you described trivialised the issue of consent when drunk and reinforced a gender double standard that says that guys don't really mind "surprise sex." You're free to think this is hilarious and I am free to disagree.
  14. Not really a fan of "surprise sex," I must say, doubly so when used as so-called comedy...
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