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FelxK5

Casually mentioning a few of Pillars of Eternity's main problems without sophistication

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2 hours ago, algroth said:

I often see an assumption amidst some about things that fall in fantasy or science-fiction categories being "dumb" because they "aren't real", as if it's expected for more realist fiction to be better, smarter, more "serious" or "mature" fiction as a consequence.

I know that this assumption exists, but it's frankly silly. There's no point even arguing about it, except by maybe pointing out that there's not much internal consistency in calling for realism in fiction.

Also, "realist(ic) fiction" doesn't exist. Ernest Hemingway, for example, has been praised for his realism, but this is a misconception. Look at any Hemingway story and notice that nobody in the real world speaks like Hemingway characters. The reason is that Hemingway characters are meant to engage the reader, and completely realistic talk rendered into a story would nearly always be very boring.

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It's more about making the reader/player believe it is real rather than actual being real.


nowt

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the typical fantasy plot is stoopid. is no way to express truths 'bout the human condition if situations and motives is so utter beyond ordinary human experience as to render 'em inaccessible. in an attempt to be original, many a (bad) fantasy author will stretch suspension o' disbelief like some boardwalk vendor making saltwater taffy. the faceless evil, which is often the ultimate antagonist, wants power and dominion over all, or some equal implausible and unrelatable motive. "magic" inartful fills in any gap o' logic or reason the reader may face. typical reader is numb to the inanity as such is the norm as 'posed to the exception.

the thing is, it don't matter that the typical plot is stoopid. it is character and setting which need be evocative in a fantasy story. if character and setting is compelling, then other than internal coherence and a respectful nod to mystery/detective elements, plot may be eye-roll fodder w/o the story failing.  there needs be a reason for a hero to do heroic things, even if is an anti-hero. plot provides reason for the characters to be compelling, but otherwise, plot is a secondary concern... at best.

have mentioned previous that one o' the reasons we believe fantasy written for kids is usual better than fantasy geared towards adults is when writing for children, the author voluntarily and consciously strips away pretension. kids ain't gonna get the allegory in philip pullman's works. sure, pullman has such stuff in dark materials, but the plot can only be as complex and convoluted as a pre-teen is able to understand. writer needs keep the attention o' a young person and as such the author is gonna maintain focus w/o dozens o' pov characters flashing forwards and backwards as they simultaneous fight Evil and whatever is the author's metaphor dujour. 

hobbit or lotr?

if most is honest, when asked which were the more enjoyable read, they is gonna answer hobbit. hell, tolkien actual made an effort to develop an accessible prose style with the hobbit

ordinary fantasy plot is dumb. so what?

but once again, hard sci fi is deserving a different category from fantasy and star wars kinda sci fi insofar as importance o' plot. as such is unfair to make generalizations 'bout sci fi and fantasy. 

HA! Good Fun!


"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Posted (edited)

Gromnir: Fantasy is an interesting category. As I said, it's simply silly to assume that fantasy is "dumb". However, in reality, it has to be said that the overwhelming majority of fantasy is probably just very, very bad literature, not worth anyone's time. But this is not fault of the genre as such, it's just that there are so many bad writers working in it(*). I think a decent parallel would be women's romance literature: it is not a dumb genre, you can do worthwhile stuff in it, but this almost never happens -- the overwhelming majority of books written in that genre are rubbish, just like in fantasy. Too many cliches, too much formula and just too much bad writing.

I once took a concentrated effort to read R. A. Salvatore and get acquainted with what he does, and his errors were just astonishing, even on the level of the language (!) he uses. For instance, he used the word "fascist" in his Forgotten Realms setting. Apparently it didn't occur to him that making a reference to 1920s Italy is probably not a good idea if you're writing about the Forgotten Realms. His editor didn't notice or care, either.

As for LotR vs. the Hobbit, I would definitely vote for LotR. I agree that the prose style of LotR has problems (but not as many problems as the dialogue), but LotR still wins the Hobbit hands down, if you ask me. The world is much more interesting, and the psychology is much more refined. But then, the Hobbit is a children's book, and in that framework it's definitely excellent.

 

(*) Modern exceptions are very rare, but not nonexistent. For instance, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch's debut novel, is almost flawless, and it even manages to bring a couple of new(ish) things into the genre. It's unfortunate that the next two books are nowhere near as good.

Edited by xzar_monty

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I disagree completely with the o.p  , the world of pillars of eternity is better than that of forgotten realms. but its  not perfect because some elements are lacking (such as demons), thats why i always felt that it is possible for Eora to be more than what it is, which could be provided by expanding the gods through creating new gods and dimensions using engwithian machinery, than the players would take part of the creation of the world and influence the setting by their actions.

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Also,  when we compare the setting of pillars of eternity with baldurs gate, there is no comparison.  motivation is much superior in pillars than in baldurs gate.  supposing you character failed in baldurs gate 1 and 2 , what would be the consequence ?  sarevok would become a new bhaal, for example, or inenicus would become a major forgotten realms villain and antagonist. but so what ? there are dozens of epic heroes in forgotten realms who can kill gods , hundreds of adventurers who can stop sarevok or irenicus.  This is NOT the case with pillars of eternity.  if your character fails, it leads to very serious and disastrous consequences . in poe1 woedica becomes the strongest deity and all of the souls woedica took are lost forever. i poe 2 the balance of the wheel itself may be lost forever and kith may be doomed depending of what happen.  hence this op does not now anything what it is saying.  also, reincarnation makes the game more challenging and cool in a metaphysicial sense.  it kinda loses the point in death if your character can be freely resurrected like it is common in forgotten realms setting.  this post was lame and is just meaningless hate of a great game.  the problems of poe exist but they are mainly in some  design problems (and there is the need of more companion versatility, for example) , not the story , which is great and unique.

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37 minutes ago, nouser said:

this post was lame and is just meaningless hate of a great game.

No. Your comment is needless hyperbole. There was no hate in the post, there was criticism. One of the very unfortunate recent developments in discussion culture is precisely this: when someone else criticises something you happen to like, it is often called hate. It's generally unnecessary and doesn't improve discussion at all.

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Thanks for making some kind of sense of this blokes ramblings for us. 


nowt

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3 hours ago, nouser said:

Also,  when we compare the setting of pillars of eternity with baldurs gate, there is no comparison.  motivation is much superior in pillars than in baldurs gate.  supposing you character failed in baldurs gate 1 and 2 , what would be the consequence ?  sarevok would become a new bhaal, for example, or inenicus would become a major forgotten realms villain and antagonist. but so what ? there are dozens of epic heroes in forgotten realms who can kill gods , hundreds of adventurers who can stop sarevok or irenicus.  This is NOT the case with pillars of eternity.  if your character fails, it leads to very serious and disastrous consequences . in poe1 woedica becomes the strongest deity and all of the souls woedica took are lost forever. i poe 2 the balance of the wheel itself may be lost forever and kith may be doomed depending of what happen.  hence this op does not now anything what it is saying.  also, reincarnation makes the game more challenging and cool in a metaphysicial sense.  it kinda loses the point in death if your character can be freely resurrected like it is common in forgotten realms setting.  this post was lame and is just meaningless hate of a great game.  the problems of poe exist but they are mainly in some  design problems (and there is the need of more companion versatility, for example) , not the story , which is great and unique.

Whilst it's probably true that in a setting like Forgotten Realms a hero's failure could just be a springboard for another hero's journey, I don't necessarily think this affects the story much on an individual level, or necessarily make or break any one setting. In a story like Baldur's Gate, the narrative doesn't change because other heroes exist or other adventurers and even gods could potentially destroy the throne of Bhaal or whatever, because at the end of the day it is about the story of your character's journey, their personal struggle with being the offspring of a god of murder and the destiny this entails. It's about what you, or your character, does when thrust in this situation, when given this power and possibility and so on. The premise may be simple and heck, there's thousands of Bhaalspawn out there so even if you are a "chosen one" of a sort it's not like any one of those thousands couldn't have been in your place and done the things you did either, but that doesn't matter, it doesn't change that it was *you* who eventually did them. What's rich about the game is that there is a central theme and conceit that is just strong enough to give the story and games some purpose and substance, regardless of whether it goes further with its ideas the way Pillars or Eternity or Planescape: Torment would or not.

The other issue that makes a strict comparison between the settings of Baldur's Gate and Pillars of Eternity somewhat shaky is that Forgotten Realms wasn't new and developed exclusively for the former, whereas Eora was for the latter. Eora could be molded to fit whatever narrative the developers of Pillars wanted to tackle because the setting was being created alongside it and without a established canon to respond to the way Forgotten Realms already had. Baldur's Gate was no doubt as much a product and representation of a DnD campaign setting as it was its own game, and WotC would have likely insisted the canon be as faithful as possible and so on. In that regard it's actually pretty impressive how seamless the lore and story appear in Baldur's Gate, even if no doubt a lot of the lore could come across as superfluous as well. Mask of the Betrayer and Planescape: Torment are arguably even more impressive in how deep they get into the lore of their respective settings and manage to tie these into their respective narratives. What this means as well is that there's a lot of already established lore that was not even touched by the Baldur's Gate series that we as DnD fans know of since the setting had been worked on for decades before the release of the game, unlike Eora where the first Pillars became the first and up to that point only acquaintance to that world. I wonder if in the future the Eora setting might expand beyond the Pillars games and if we wouldn't feel the same way about it as we would Forgotten Realms.


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Currently playing: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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It doesn't matter at all for the quality of a story or the writing whether the actions of the protagonist have an impact on the world or not.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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5 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

It doesn't matter at all for the quality of a story or the writing whether the actions of the protagonist have an impact on the world or not.

A case in point: Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones movie. If you remove Indy from the film, nothing changes: the Nazis still find the ark, open it, and are destroyed. Indy is a completely needless character in the story. But it's still a good film.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

Gromnir: Fantasy is an interesting category. As I said, it's simply silly to assume that fantasy is "dumb".

we don't "assume" fantasy plots is dumb. likewise, simple 'cause we like fantasy, we do not ignore dumbness o' the typical fantasy plot. motivations and conflicts beyond human experience? magic as a crutch? if steinbeck added a villain to grapes o' wrath, an omnipresent evil at the core o' the suffering the joads faced, we would call it "dumb." if tolkien's eagles repeatedly saved the joads from obstacles, we would call it "dumb." am not assuming dumb. am seeing dumb.

also, am not gonna get into the tolkien stuff further than to note how if you is recognizing complex psych in lotr, it is gonna be imagined. tolkien were creating english myth to fill a seeming void. is high concept. is catholic allegory, albeit less brutal than cs lewis' works. is tediously plot-driven. is a frequent punishing read given the absence o' dialogue and the surfeit o' tortured prose.  sure, you can jung and freud lotr to death same as you may do with prose edda or the odyssey, but the psych is not gonna be particular complex and is gonna be largely incidental. 

oh, and please note for tolkien the actual climax o' lotr occurs with the scouring o' the shire. "dumb" is being generous.

even so, we recognize the sacred quality o' lotr, so am not gonna try and change hearts and minds beyond this post. we tilt at the same windmill every couple o' years on these boards and am knowing the futility o' the effort. 

regardless, dumb is ok for fantasy. dumb is ok 'cause plot is typical not as important as is other elements.

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir

"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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4 hours ago, Gromnir said:

also, am not gonna get into the tolkien stuff further than to note how if you is recognizing complex psych in lotr, it is gonna be imagined. tolkien were creating english myth to fill a seeming void. is high concept. is catholic allegory, albeit less brutal than cs lewis' works. is tediously plot-driven. is a frequent punishing read given the absence o' dialogue and the surfeit o' tortured prose.  sure, you can jung and freud lotr to death same as you may do with prose edda or the odyssey, but the psych is not gonna be particular complex and is gonna be largely incidental. 

You are responding to something I did not write, which is neither constructive nor fair. I wrote: "the psychology [in LotR] is much more refined [than in the Hobbit]". I think this is obvious, and it would take a lot of effort to not see it. However, the psychology in LotR is, again quite obviously, not refined as such, or "complex", as you say. It is quite basic, yes, and I never claimed otherwise. But it is much more refined than in the children's-storylike the Hobbit. LotR deals with questions of mortality, duty, moral failure etc. (that is, plenty of stuff you will not find in the Hobbit), although on a fairly basic level.

Bringing up Jung and Freud in this is unnecessary, because I would personally avoid both and don't find that kind of psychologizing to be interesting at all.

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the story of pillars is great. the problems of poe are regarding design of characters like the companios. but it is still a great game.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

A case in point: Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones movie. If you remove Indy from the film, nothing changes: the Nazis still find the ark, open it, and are destroyed. Indy is a completely needless character in the story. But it's still a good film.

Well just gonna jump in on this, a common statement I have heard before, and I am not sure how you can support this when you really look at the story ... I mean he destroyed the plane yeah?  Don't want to get too much into the "what ifs" but I found this always kind of a bad example - also the ark ended up in DC yeah?

Edited by bringingyouthefuture

“How do you 'accidentally' kill a nobleman in his own mansion?"

"With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

The Final Empire, Mistborn Trilogy

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Posted (edited)

The story is about the Nazis searching for the lost ark. With or without Indiana Jones, the Nazis find the ark, open it, and die. The plane is an incidental detail. The ark did end up in DC, but Indy was supposed to deliver it to a museum to get it studied, and it ends up in a warehouse, so Indy couldn't even get that part done.

Indy is a prop in the story which folds the way it folds completely irrespective of him. But it's still a good movie.

You could hardly get a better example of a meaningless protagonist than the first Indiana Jones movie. Calling it a bad example is just, well, uninformed.

Edited by xzar_monty

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