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[SPOILERS] Thoughts: What is the story of Deadfire about?

Story Just for fun Theme Spoiler Deadfire

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#1
Harry Easter

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I finished Deadfire four months ago and then I let it rest a while. I didn't hate the ending, but what I mostly thought was "what was this all about?" 

 

I didn't think we would fight Eothas, but I thought there would be something. We did all this work and then this ending.

 

But a few sleepless nights ago I got an idea: what if this was the whole point? To ask ourselves, what one individual, even a capable one as the Watcher, could really do to change the world?

 

We did so much throughout our journey, influenced leaders of nations and changed the course of history forever. But that was mortal stuff, things we could handle. Buttnaked Eothas was something else, a force of nature, that couldn't be stopped. He would destroy the Wheel, no matter what we did. So why keep going, if we couldn't stop him?

 

Well, my Watcher wanted to see this to the bitter end and because he believed in the potencial of Animancy. If he couldn't stop the catastrophe, at least he could help the world healing faster.

 

So, what was it for you and your Watchers? 


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#2
house2fly

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I think the story is about the endless march of history. Eothas is absolutely a force of nature, and you can help shape the way the world will adapt to him, but you can't stop him, just like you can't preserve the status quo forever in real life.  The Deadfire was in flux before you ever got there, and it's no coincidence that the in-game status quo reaches a breaking point right before Eothas breaks the Wheel.

 

As for my Watcher, she was in it to know everything. First of all to know why Eothas nearly killed her, then to know what his plan was, finally to know what breaking the Wheel even entailed. Ukaizo's a tremendous store of lost knowledge so she'd be going no matter what


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#3
Wormerine

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The first Pillars challenged the notion of who Gods are in typical fantasy setting. 

Deadfire challenged the idea of a mortal heroe's influence and power to challenge/influence/destroy those Gods. All if good an well, but I feel that Deadfire doesn't explore that subject nearly as well as 1st Pillars is. 

 

While not obvious at first, PoE1 developes those ideas from the very beginning - through locations, companions, quests.

Deadfire doesn't really bother with God stuff except the few crit path missions. The rest of the game is about Deadfire politics, which while interesting and good, doesn't really gel with what seem that should be the core of the narrative. 

That is not entirely true - playing for Deadfire for the second time I notice now that narrative is much more intricate, with factions storylines sneaking infromation and background details which tie into Eothas' storyline. But while Deadfire does a much better job in presenting lore and world, I feel it is much less focused thematically. Or maybe I am completely off - don't know much about writing. But something doesn't quite come together at the end.


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#4
uuuhhii

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witness the start of inevitable new era

great incomprehensible force that shape the world


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#5
Achilles

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Pillars 1: the Watcher discovers the true nature of the gods
Pillars 2: the Watcher meets the gods and has interactions with them
Pillars 3: the Watcher determines the fate of the gods (and Eora)
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#6
uuuhhii

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The first Pillars challenged the notion of who Gods are in typical fantasy setting. 

Deadfire challenged the idea of a mortal heroe's influence and power to challenge/influence/destroy those Gods. All if good an well, but I feel that Deadfire doesn't explore that subject nearly as well as 1st Pillars is. 

 

While not obvious at first, PoE1 developes those ideas from the very beginning - through locations, companions, quests.

Deadfire doesn't really bother with God stuff except the few crit path missions. The rest of the game is about Deadfire politics, which while interesting and good, doesn't really gel with what seem that should be the core of the narrative. 

That is not entirely true - playing for Deadfire for the second time I notice now that narrative is much more intricate, with factions storylines sneaking infromation and background details which tie into Eothas' storyline. But while Deadfire does a much better job in presenting lore and world, I feel it is much less focused thematically. Or maybe I am completely off - don't know much about writing. But something doesn't quite come together at the end.

hard to focus when player can bump into any island at any time in any order

so most island have to do its own thing


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#7
Verde

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It's about which Faction will control the Deadfire after Dr. Manhattan, oops I mean Eothos, destroys the cycle of reincarnation.

#8
Tarlonniel

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Well, my first Watcher wanted justice for Eothas's victims and to stop the breaking of the Wheel. Then I had to adjust the expectations of my Watchers on subsequent playthroughs, because disappointment and failure aren't much fun. Now my characters' goals are along the lines of "stay alive" and "maybe help some folks." :p


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#9
Taevyr

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I'd say the story is about how even a single person can only solve so many problems alone, and about the limits of agency when confronted with a god. You can only do so much for the deadfire, yet doing nothing plunges the entire region into an even deeper chaos; likewise, it is impossible to stop Eothas, and it is only because of his aid and the directive of the other gods that you manage to reach him in the end. At the same time, the gods and factions constantly try to manipulate you, and there's often no way of knowing the right choice if there even is one. The gods often try to push their agenda through intimidation and force; The factions are more subtle, involving you in plots or political manouver without letting you know the full picture unless you go looking for it yourself. However, you have little choice in your hunt for Eothas, and the only way to stabilize the region is to follow through with one of the faction plots.

 

However, it also subverts that idea: for all the power of the gods, it takes mortal Kith to confront and overcome the obstacles in the way of "stopping" Eothas. It's Kith who find a way to sail through Ondra's Mortar without divine aid, Kith who deal with a dragon-lich Rymrgand never managed to destroy on his own, and Kith who end up deciding Eothas' last gift to Eora. Kith who use engineering feats, animancy tech, inherited knowledge and daring, ridiculous plots to do what none of the gods managed to do: influence Eothas plans, even if it is only in the slightest degree. In the same way, the factions don't have all power over you: They may hold back knowledge from you, but there's nothing Furrante can do once you freed every slave on Crookspur, or Director Castol once you destroy the adra at Poko Kohara. Rauatai may oppose you when you betray Sakuya, and Onekaza may banish you from her service when you kill Scyorielaphas, but those choices always lead to their doom by losing a key agent in the deadfire.

 

So to summarize it all: It's about the limited agency a person has when confronted with powers greater than any individual, but also about how that limited agency can be far more important than you'd initially think. Somewhat similar to the Kingmaker Scenario in Game Theory: when two greater forces oppose a smaller force as well as each other, that third is in a unique position to determine the outcome, no matter how small. His options are limited, certainly, but the other forces depend on it to break the stalemate.


Edited by Taevyr, 04 September 2018 - 04:57 PM.

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#10
house2fly

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Well, my first Watcher wanted justice for Eothas's victims and to stop the breaking of the Wheel. Then I had to adjust the expectations of my Watchers on subsequent playthroughs, because disappointment and failure aren't much fun. Now my characters' goals are along the lines of "stay alive" and "maybe help some folks." :p

I had a PoE1 character who was very heroic and I was going to play as him, but the save import bugs made me go with a different character.
I think a decent arc for a hero in this game would be realising that you can't do everythingn so what can you do? Is it more heroic to let the Vailians' capitalist-but-advanced science have exclusive access to Ukaizo, or to help the downtrodden Huana reclaim their ancestral homeland? Would a hero make sure that in the times to come the balance of power favours gods or mortals? Or would the most heroic thing to look out for the innocent victims of what Eothas does and make him take care of the souls in the In-Between?

When I do import that character he's probably going to side with Furrante, though damned if I know why. I just want him to, heh

#11
Sherab

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Hmmm... I personaly think that Deadfire was intended to be less (main-) story driven in the first place. I mean - in terms of actual gameplay. The story itself is rather short. But I think this is because the game is simply about side-questing and exploration. And (pehaps) this can be somewhat surpriesing to us, in the era of strongly story driven games - even those open-world, like Skyrim for example. Despite you have plenty of options what to do, the main-story gives you such  feel of urgency and "must", that if you are actualy role-playi just a little bit, you don't really have a choice. :p

 

And I think that "construction" of the Deadfire resembles more the Icewind Dale (from what I've read - because I haven't play it yet) - in that way, that yes, there is some main-story to follow, but in general this is all about "adventuring" - exploring new locations, finding interesting (or not interesting) loot, and in case of Deadfire, also about doing side-quests (after all quests remains main source of XP). And, as noted, most signifficant side-quests are related to big "factions" and their political/economic/cultural conflicts.

 

Said all this, what do I think about main story?

 

Honestly, I don't really have a clear idea. Why we actualy follow the collossus? Two possible reasons (initialy) - we don't really have a choice if we want to stay among the living - Berath is quite clear about this. And I would risk to say this is main reason. And second one - we propably want to regain part of our soul stolen by Eothas, and perhaps we seek of revenge too (but this last part quickly starts to be rather un-reallistic - Eothas seems to be in-destructible).

 

 

So this is our initial background. After all, we find Eothas to be a fanatic - with propably good intentions, but still fanatic. It seems that he think that only way to expose gods' true nature to the Kith, and perhaps also to remind gods what their job really should be, is destruction of the world as we know it. And it seems, the same way, as he did during Saint's War, he don't care much about death and destruction he brings to the world meanwhile. And only thing  our character can do is to almost fully passively observe Eothas' work. Yeah, we can try to convince him, but still... We don't really have any tools to stop him.

 

So what should I think about such a story? From one hand, I suppose it is about further exposition of gods' secrets - we learn more about their lore. From other hand - I think this is also about making the player to think about Eothas' agenda. Well... method itself - I guess we can wonder about it too. But I think more about such things like "gods' true nature", "the role of the gods in people lifes", "do the Kith really need the gods?" "What is the potential of mortal races?". Of course we do not recive answers to those questions. But I think asking them may be the main goal of conversations with Eothas. Hence, whole main story is a kind of pseudo-philosophical debate. :p But it don't really have any "practical" goal.

 

 

 

 

EDIT:

 

Oh, and aside of what I have wrote, I largely agree with Wormerine.  :)


Edited by Sherab, 05 September 2018 - 01:53 AM.

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#12
Aron Times

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Icewind Dale series was very linear, though. This game is way closer to Baldur's Gate 1 and it's open world gameplay. The main path in BG1 was actually very short, but there were a lot of places to explore to make up for it. Also, a lot of stuff in the main path was optional and there were multiple ways to go about it.

 

Also, BG1 actually had very little to do with the overall plot of the Baldur's Gate series.

 

BG1: Open world game where you eventually run into the main plot.

 

TotSC: Not a full game, the equivalent of a DLC that adds several quests to the base game.

 

BG2: Not-so-open world game which is actually a huge side quest with little to do with the plot.

 

ToB: An actual full game. The most linear one in the series and the only one which is fully involved in the main plot.


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#13
Sherab

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My refference was based solely on one rewiev of the Icewind Dale, since, as I wrote, I 've not played it yet. And in all honesty, I haven't played most of the Infinity Engine games (or similar), hence I'm not very familiar with abbrevations.

 

 

 

ToB: An actual full game. The most linear one in the series and the only one which is fully involved in the main plot.

 

 

From my standpoint a game don't need to be linear to be "fully" involved in the main plot. As I wrote few times by now (maybe even in this thread, I don't remember now :p ), despite generaly bad writing of Bethesda's games, I really like it how main plot was handled in TES III - Morrowind. Near the begining of the game, following main plot, we were instructed to get more experience in any way we like, and only after that to return. We could of course proceed immediately with the main plot. But by this single sentence, from the role-playing perspective, we had all the excuse we needed to do everything we wanted. And when we finaly get involved into the main story, it was quite interesting (at least for me) and keep to "drive" the rest of my first playthrough. Both subsequent titles of the Elder Scrolls abandoned this solution, and main plot is very "intrusive", so to speak - however, there it is not as a big problem, because the game do not end after finishing the main questline - in oposition to PoE.



#14
Verde

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Deadfire could have used a lot more linearity.

#15
Sherab

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And what do you mean by this? I would say this story is quite linear - you are about to chase Adra collossus through Archipelago to find-out his plans, and meanwhile raport to gods about what you have findout. Quite linear to me. ;)

 

 

Actualy, personaly, I do like when there is properly long, deep, and interesting main story. And for me, the story in Deadfire is not so deep (however it "pretends" to be) somewhat interesting (discovering new "lore"), and rather short.

 

From other hand, if we "invest" highly into main story, we have to answer a question - do we want the game to be fully driven by main story (somewhat limiting other content of the game as "less important", like in Dragon Age: Origin, to give an example), or we want to make it in such a way, that it leave open possibilities (from role-playing perspective) for exploration and side-questing (Morrowind-like, but with better writing, perhaps)?

 

I preffer the last one option. :) But both options works fine to me. :) I've enjoyed DA:O very much too. ;)

 

 

 

By the Dedfire's story, I'm not really convinced. As I wrote, for me, the story is rather short, and our hero is somewhat too "minor" in it, so to speak. Yeah, it is somewhat interesting, when it comes to filling the "lore" gaps, but I haven't that feeling of being a part of great adventure or heroic tale. With one exception maybe - Magran's Teeth. Final part mostly, but whole location was quite fun.

 

Oh, and after maybe first two "trips" to Berath's realm, those "over-written" descriptions of said "trips" started to be a little bit annoying, to be honest. :p

 

At the same time, while not so "invasive" like in Oblivion, or Skyrim, the main story "wants to be followed", so to speak. ;)

 

 

But this are only my private opinions, of course.



#16
Manveru123

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I don't like feeling powerless. I get to the end, talk to Eothas, and I can't even kick his butt. I'm having trouble RPing a character who is anti-Eothas and disagrees with him because that's just suicidal.

 

Let me kill a "god" please.



#17
Hawke64

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At the beginning I wanted to slay the god, who stole my adra statue, destroyed my castle and murdered the people under my protection. On the first run I didn't believe that I would be unable to stop Eothas, even if I wanted to (I did not). But, quoting one of the dialogue options, "we do what we can with the resources we have". It was true for me (making Deadfire a better place to live; assisting the companions in their missions) and Eothas (letting the kith more control over their lives), which is quite ironic.

 

Answering the question in the title, I think, the story, including side quests, is about personal responsibility.


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#18
DozingDragon

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From a thematic level, I got the impression that the narrative of Deadfire was structured around the clash of cultures in the region, and how that conflict connected to the aftereffects of Engwithan society, chiefly the creation of the gods and the concealment of Ukaizo.  Each faction in the game has its own value system, and the player may tacitly approve one of the faction's value systems, or the player may refuse to engage in any form of moral compromise and seek out Ukaizo by themselves. 

 

Meanwhile, Eothas's narrative arc is running in parallel to the player's, especially if the player decides to do an "independent" ending.  Rather than take some action to ensure the destruction of the gods, or to ensure the mystery of the gods is preserved forever, Eothas decides to break the Wheel, which will reveal the artificial nature of the gods, while at the same creating a scenario where complete inaction will result in the destruction of all life on Eora.  Eothas, who has apparently been playing Hamlet about the role of the gods since their creation, ultimately refuses to pick a side and instead creates a scenario which demands some change in the status quo.  Eothas's and the player's respective arcs then meet where the player can convince Eothas to give an advantage to mortals, the gods, or to destroy all life on Eora, which allows the player once again to make another judgment regarding respective value systems and societal structures.  

While all that sounds well and good when we're just talking about themes, I feel like the story for Deadfire still fell short of what Obsidian accomplished with Fallout: New Vegas, which has a comparable story structure.  Throughout the course of the game, we learn relatively little about the major NPCs for each faction, and there is only minor exploration of the tensions and conflicts that exist within each faction.  That's not to say there aren't some moments of great characterization, such as the conversations with Atsura, but the game is spread too thin trying to differentiate between four major factions, the characters in those factions, and 11 different deities who keep deigning to appear to converse with the player.  The game's characters needed more time to breathe, and highlight their relationships and vendettas with one another.  

Moreover, the entirety of the Eothas plot line could have taken place in an introductory cutscene or an introductory chapter to the game rather than take up valuable narrative space during the game.  The player has largely no influence on Eothas's actions, so why make following Eothas such a big deal?  The whole narrative setup speaks to setting the stage for a plot that relates to a massive change on Eora, but if that plot is inevitable, then why bother centering the game's plot around an event that has nothing to do with the player or their agency within the story?  


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