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Estelindis

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Everything posted by Estelindis

  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...
  15. I agree with everyone who has said that romance is just one path through relationships with various characters in a game, neither superior nor inferior. It shouldn't get more or less attention than relationships like friendship, rivalry, student/mentor, family, etc. All writing in the game should be well done, each subplot having its own theme and evoking particular feelings, connecting to other subplots, etc. I look forward to romance and all other relationships getting this treatment. A particular problem for romance to avoid is the harem situation where half of all plot-central characters are vying for the PC's romantic attention. However, I also think it's nice to have some choice in romance. To have the best of both worlds in this regard, there could be some romances that are only initiated by the PC. These should not be lampshaded; I think it would be brilliant for the PC to have several conversation options to tell various characters of his/her romantic interest, only to find out they don't feel the same way. Only one or two of these should lead to a fully-developed romantic subplot. There are particular Bioware problems that I would like romances in Project Eternity to avoid. One is ninjamancing - that is, locking a PC into a romance as soon as they show the faintest bit of romantic interest, or even as soon as they're remotely nice to the other character, such that they can't break out of it for a long time or without being a total jerk to the other character. Some of the romances in Mass Effect 1 were a bit like this. Bizarrely (though maybe it's just due to different writing teams), the opposite was sometimes true, where every conversation with the PC's significant other contained an option to break up, usually totally consequence-free. I don't mind if the option to break up is always available (in fact, that's good), but it should have an impact on the relationship. A severed romance state should not be identical to a non-romanced state. The reason for breaking up should have an impact too (though at least DA:O did this well with Alistair; that had plot implications later). Another strange opposite of ninjamance is a situation where your character wants to commit to the significant other but dialogue won't allow it. In Mass Effect 3, I played a character who had romanced one person in Mass Effect 1, nobody in ME2 (because she was waiting for the chance to resume things with the first person), and then was reunited with them in ME3. The ME3 situation was far too tentative. There should have been an option to tell the other person that Shepard loved them, had waited all this time and would never be interested in anyone else, period. Instead, it felt like just having to redo the romance almost (albeit not quite) from the start. Furthermore, a different character who had been a potential romance since ME1, who my Shepard had turned down repeatedly, kept on getting shoved in my face, given much more dialogue, nicer cutscenes, etc... Bioware seemed to be telling me "you should have chosen this one, silly you!" It's one thing if part of the character's writing is that they can't give up being in love with the PC, but the impression I got was much more than someone in the writing staff couldn't give up being in love with the character and felt like everyone else should feel that way too. This may give the impression that I hate Bioware romances, but I think some of them have been great. The romances with Alistair and Morrigan in DA:O are really integrated into the main plot, though if you don't take part in their romances the relationships remain interesting and the characters are still plot-central. For the most part, I've even enjoyed the ones where I've seen serious flaws. But some of those flaws... No need or desire to see the same in Obsidian. Not that I think they would write that way, necessarily; just thought I should say my piece nonetheless. Not so much in the case of KotOR2, please. Certainly, the example of Mira not being interested was great. But my female Exile liked Atton only for the game to decide she liked Disciple. Disciple... He was such a wet, limp character that even I, who genuinely enjoyed playing romances with such notoriously shiny, lawful (and, at times, annoying) guys as Anomen and Casavir, rebelled in revulsion. Disciple was a bridge too far. Neither the Atton nor Disciple romance was properly finished anyway, what with the game not being properly finished. On that note... Please, if romances are going to be written, let them be finished in an interesting, satisfying manner! This doesn't have to mean flowers and rainbows, though I think it should be possible for at least one romance to have a non-heartbreaking ending... Just let the storytelling threads actually be tied rather than left dangling! I don't mean that every little thing should be wrapped up; of course it's good to leave material for sequels. But complete cliffhangers, unless done really well, are evil and wrong. Well, actually, they're still evil and wrong then, but at least there's good writing to console one! I get that a lot of the "please finish X, Obsidian!" stuff won't apply in Project Eternity because they don't have to dance to a publisher's whim, but I still thought it was worth mentioning.
  16. Thank you for explaining! I didn't understand you properly before. I think I agree with you that the state could play a role in making the situation less grimdark... I tend to think, however, that many states would not be so idealistic and that it would lead to a "points of light" situation (as I seem to recall WotC describing Forgotten Realms 4.0; I stuck to the previous iteration since it meant our campaign area would not be underwater). In actual fact, though, I don't seem to recall much consideration being given to this subject in Infinity Engine games. Maybe my memory is just poor, but the healing made available by clerics and druids seemed to be very much oriented around the player characters rather than cohesively integrated into the world of the game.
  17. What's this "it" that you think I'm assuming is a culture of everyone for themselves? The campaign setting is whatever one feels it's appropriate to be. The DM decides that, s/he doesn't assume anything... I come from a country with public health care, but in my opinion these modern kinds of systems usually feel quite anachronistic in a medieval/renaissance-esque D&D setting. Whether or not its appropriate to have a system of state-supported free healthcare will depend on a range of political, cultural, economic and religious issues. It might make more sense in a forest-realm where many resources are shared, druids and rangers are common, and part of the law of the land is an obligation to provide care to all in need. In terms of the example from my Forgotten Realms campaign, there were actually a bunch of reasons why the leader of the city wasn't in a position to run a healthcare system that was wholly state-funded: his power-base was precarious, the Waukeener had a huge share in the city's commercial lifeblood, the Tyrrans had just liberated the city from a Banite theocracy and people were overly-sensitive to the possibility of them setting up their own theocracy in its place (the leader being a Tyrran himself), etc. For me, it's important to work within the confines of the campaign I've set up, not impose social mores of the real world. It's a game for my friends to enjoy, not a platform for one ideology or another.
  18. Double post. Whoops! I guess I'll fill it with something interesting. If we have this damage mitigation system, I think it would be paramount to make the numbers just as clear as in any other case. I don't want an ability that shields a character "from a great amount of damage." I want an ability that shields a character "from X damage to their stamina." I don't want a buff that "slows damage to the protected character by a moderate amount." I want a buff that "slows damage to the protected character by half," or what-have-you. In other words, I want to feel a sense of reward from levelling up and improving my mitigation abilities in just the same way that I'd feel rewarded by levelling up to heal for 3d8+5 instead of an initial 1d8+1.
  19. My first/canon playthrough of any Black Isle / Bioware / Obsidian D&D game has always been with a cleric (apart from PS:T, where that wasn't an option). I love healing. I tend to get very immersed in my characters from a role-playing point of view and thus think about what it means for them to have a healing role in their world. I've also run several D&D campaigns which, naturally, included PC and NPC healers. Essentially, I've had a lot of time to think about what healing means for the world in which it exists. My conclusions have often been troubling. From the point of view of game balance, healing services at temples have to be expensive in order to maintain the usefulness of having a cleric in the party. But this means that most ordinary people would never be able to afford temple services! Losing a limb would be a temporary setback for an adventurer who can afford a Regeneration spell, but for a peasant or craftsperson it could mean the end of their ability to earn what little they can.* As for resurrection, it totally trivialises the drama of the danger of death. Why rush and fight hard to save the NPC who is being threatened with being killed when you can just Raise them later?** Frankly, both of these issues create a huge class divide. Disease, injury, and death (due to any cause apart from old age) just become matters of money. If you're going to have a world like that, you need to make the tone of your campaign very dark to match. If you don't want to do that... Well, you have an inevitable consistency problem. The matter of how to create and maintain a sense of drama is also very problematic when these sources of danger are taken away by sums of money often less than what the player character will pay for an enchanted sword. Accordingly, I find the idea of changing combat healing in the direction of damage prevention or mitigation to be very interesting. I think it's vital to make sure that any particular combat mechanic doesn't have terrible implications for the way in which one can write one's fantasy world. I'm really looking forward to playing this style of healer (though I'm not sure if, strictly speaking, "healer" will be the right word for it anymore). --- * I tried to imagine how different people would deal with the healing framework of the D&D ruleset in-character. In the home city of my longest-running campaign, the two main religious factions took different approaches based on their ideologies. The temple of Waukeen always charged for temple services but grew wealthy as a result, trained more clerics, and was always able to offer a full range of services quickly and professionally to those who could pay. The temple of Tyr provided its services free of charge, but on the condition that no-one was entitled to be healed more than once per tenday (unless there was a very severe emergency case). If, by the end of the day, priests still had spells available that had not been used, then anyone could benefit outside that once-per-tenday system. The temple of Tyr depended on donations and often found it difficult to get by, but was beloved among the poorest of the city. Sometimes poor folk maintained their loyalty to Tyr if they became more prosperous, but just as often people who moved up in the world would take their custom right away to the more efficient, reliable temple of Waukeen as soon as they could afford it. ** In my campaign, I dealt with this by introducing a villain who employed soul-binding to trap and use the souls of the slain for power. It motivated the player characters considerably.
  20. I'd love to know upon what possible basis you are pulling up this number. Among the many women gamers whom I know, most were first introduced to games via Baldur's Gate and the like. Many have not bothered gaming much at all since then, and just watch their partners gaming, because they can't get that kind of RPG anymore. They miss it. Of course, this is just my personal experience.
  21. I agree with you very much. Certainly it's wrong to be a misogynist, but it's wrong to do lots of the things that one can choose to roleplay in a game, e.g. stealing, thieving, etc. Only with choice can one's character be evil or good.
  22. You say you don't care, but how often has your apathy been genuinely tested? How many examples can you give of works that have negatively stereotyped an overwhelming majority of the characters who have the same demographic, sex, and/or ethnicity as yourself? It's easy to say that you don't care about this happening to Caucasian characters if, in fact, there's very little chance of this actually happening to Caucasian characters. The fact of the matter is that everyone has prejudices. There's no such thing as the totally unbiased mind. While devs try to focus on writing an intriguing world and story rather than political propaganda, I think they also have to try to be aware of their own biases and try to work around them. Otherwise, works can end up being hopelessly dated when a particular prejudice is overcome but people still see it in the game/book/film/what-have-you.
  23. I am very pleased with update 7. I think a distinction should be drawn between having combat ability and choosing to use it and I'm glad that Project Eternity seems to be making that distinction. I may be able to fight and kill, say, the orcs... but do I want to? My choice to refrain says something about the character I am trying to roleplay.
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