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One of the things that has always bugged me about cRPGs is that the main villain(s) or antagonists are usually extremely powerful beings at the apex of their powers, who seemingly do nothing at all whilst the PC gains powers through doing quests, leveling up etc. until ooops... they lose at the final battle.

 

BG1: Sarevok would have overpowered the PC in BG1 had he taken more decisive action earlier. In BG2, Irenicus should have killed off the PC after his success in stealing his soul (if I remember correctly). In DAO, the Archspawn should have done more than sending one measly attack party against the PC as soon as he realized there were 2 Grey Wardens still alive.

 

Now, I don't know what's the plot Obsidian has in mind, but I'm sure since there a factions, the PC will definitely piss a couple of factions with the actions that he takes. If such, could we have a more detailed and progressive antagonist to rival the PC. The following are my ideas for some antagonist(s):

 

1. Competitive Rival(s) from the Beginning

During the tutorial or prologue, introduce a few characters that the PC has known since childhood. They don't need to be particularly cruel but just have very differing views about what sort of actions to be taken to resolve certain actions. For example, they could see a thief sneaking into the Mayor's house whilst he is not in the house.

 

Actions could include:

(a) Rushing in and overpowering the thief (Brash, direct, confrontational)

(b) Discreetly informing the local police force (or its' equivalent), whilst setting up traps to delay the thief's escape (Discreet, indirect, non-confrontational)

© Sneaking in after the thief and knocking him out. Stealing the highest value items with the lowest weight e.g. gold coins etc. that cannot be easily identified. Pawn them off a quickly as possible or hide the loot somewhere for around 2-3 years. Let the thief escape to take the blame. (Intelligent evil approach).

 

Now, each of the PC friends may have their own opinions as to what actions to take. The PC's decision would break the deadlock.

 

2. Rivals Grow Through Adversity

As the PC starts on his quest, his childhood friends will also undergo certain events that cause them to take up the adventuring cause. The PC might hear of their progress and achievements within certain factions. If he sides with the same faction as one of his childhood friend, he may receive assistance and discussions about the path their other friends have taken.

 

The PC may meet these rivals during battle or competing quests. For instance, both Faction A (PC's faction) and Faction B (rival's faction) may be searching for the same item belonging to a powerful archmage. They could meet in several manners (could be randomized):

 

(a) Brash Rival

Just before the PC enters the inner sanctum of the archmage to confront him, the brash rival could arrive and challenge the PC for the right to enter. Upon defeating this rival, depending on the degree of success (e.g. no of rounds), this rival might leave in anger or even agree to join in the battle (in return for some pointers on how to improve his battle technique or some cool loot!)

 

(b) Sneaky Rival

Let the PC exhaust his resources against the enemy archmage. Whilst PC has is fighting a grueling battle, his party will set up traps, archers will take up strategic positions, mages empower powerful spells. etc. Once the PC wins, the rival will simply step up and demand for right for the item. Unless the PC still has something left in the bag, victory should be impossible. Of course, if the PC has a skilled thief with him, he would realized he was being followed. He could have the option of secretly getting his Faction to send a backup to follow this shadow force. The backup could then act as reinforcement to circumvent the Sneaky Rival when he finally appears.

 

(c ) Intelligent Evil Rival

Upon successfully defeating the Archmage, a messenger from Faction A arrives requesting for the item immediately. He carries a legitimate letter from the Faction Leader detailing the urgent need to obtain the item for certain reasons. The PC has the option to query the messenger further. In reality the messenger is the Intelligent Rival masquerading as the messenger to obtain the item on the sly.

 

If the messenger ploy fails, the Intelligent Evil Rival will send another 3 spies acting as a civillian on the path back to Faction A's HQ. These 3 spies will pretend to be injured civillians robbed by bandits. They will request the party to escort them back to their village, which is conveniently on the way to Faction A's HQ. Whilst travelling, they will attempt to poision the PC's party with offers of refreshments and food. They will also volunteer to 'repair' the PC's equipment. Depending on the PC's party skills, they could find out this plot early or foolishly escort the 'civillians' to the said village right into an ambush. The 'poisoned' PCs should feel the effects only upon the Evil Rival using a catalyst.

 

3. Final Encounter

As the game progresses, both the PC and his Rival(s) should have great achievements under their belt. As they grow in power, they will be sent to more battles which would involve a battle of wits between the PC and his rivals. This could set up a stage for final clash. I believe this would make for a more interesting final boss, rather than some nameless antagonist which you only meet near the end ala the Archvillain from DAO.

 

Phew, such a long post. What do you all think?

Edited by agewisdom
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I definitely like the idea of having antagonists or rivals that you know more personally. people that had similar upbringing aside from a few key events or differences that could change the values of each person.

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I don't like rivals from the beginning. That just seems too scripted in some sense, unless something is done with the backstory to really tie this in. Otherwise, why on earth would anybody really *care* about being your rival?

 

I wouldn't mind the existence of rivals developing with the story though. So, you can have an opposing person/group also having their rise to power at the same time you are, but they're just on another side. The problem is that you don't want to kill them, but you don't want the conflict to be scripted too much where kills are stolen, AND you don't want to never encounter them directly. However, I think something could be workable and I definitely like the idea of enemies that you can relate to, and who have a similar power level.

 

I don't think bad guys failing to kill the main character is a plot flaw though. It depends a lot on how it is done, but we should expect that any villainous enterprise is going to have to cut costs and take risks, and the PC is simply the person capable of overcoming those risks quite well. Sarevok wasn't just hunting your PC, he was also trying to take over the city of Baldur's Gate. He tried to hire mercenaries, but you were too effective, and he's not going to jump the gun when he's got a lot of other villainous tasks. Irenicus really didn't have a lot of allies to spare in the first place, and he didn't consider you a threat at all, so the problem is that you're a loose end that failed to resolve itself. And so on and so forth. Maybe the major villain should not be portrayed as being so omnipotent? So, instead of you being the only thing in the way of this extremely well organized plot, instead the plot has it's own problems and the villains are portrayed as having to struggle to keep it going on track. He may still win if you don't intervene, but he doesn't give off a sense of omnipotence so much as determination and cunning.

 

In any case, in many ways I actually like the plot of DA2, where there was no overarching villain to fight, but rather a host of social problems and developments over time. Maybe a lot of people like the traditional grand narrative though of "big bad evil guy", but I really wouldn't mind this being stretched or deconstructed in a host of ways. Maybe even the idea of growth that you give, like the master villain is *not* as uber-powerful in the beginning(but still more powerful than your PCs) but is rising to power over the course of the narrative, and you are doing that as well. In any case, I'm probably digressing, but there are a lot of good ways to avoid the conventional villain, and I think those should be explored. (Maybe he is as powerful in relationship to you as Sarevok and Irenicus, but on some level he really likes your PC and would rather be friends, so he's handling you with kids gloves, etc)

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If this would mesh well with the rest of whatever Obsidian is planning for the story, and if it wouldn't take too many resources, I'd support the its inclusion. I'm not sure about the childhood friend thing, though. While it could be interesting from a narrative standpoint, it would also probably require the writers to presuppose a set background for your character, and I would prefer to have a system like Arcanum where you have a ton of backgrounds to choose from. Maybe your rival could be an early companion or associate of yours that parts ways with you at the end of the first act and who ends up developing an increasingly antagonistic relationship with you over the rest of the game.

 

Anyway, neat idea, OP. Weren't they planning on doing something similar in Van Buren before it got cancelled? Anyway, at the very least we know that we will be encountering some sort of rival adventure parties in Project Eternity. We'll just have to wait and see whether we will have a dynamic rival that serves as a long term nemesis of some sort.

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Hi gglorious, ogrezilla and eimatshya. Nice to meet all of you. Good points raised. My clarification:

 

1. The rivals from the beginning is not meant to start out as a full-blown rivalry. During the tutorial, it's just supposed to establish that you have 2-3 very close friends from your village. However, even at that young age, the two or three of you have very different ideas as to how you think the world should be. This difference of opinion forms the seed, from which a full blown conflict will be born during the course of actual gameplay. If this can't be worked into the tutorial, due to too much permutations on the starting class/race, then perhaps we could meet the childhood friend/rival when the PC is just starting out to establish the relationship. Or like eimatshya suggested "Maybe your rival could be an early companion or associate of yours that parts ways with you at the end of the first act and who ends up developing an increasingly antagonistic relationship with you over the rest of the game." Great idea also!

 

2. Yes, a group of similar adventurers starting out just like you but with a different way of going about things. Perhaps they are more merciless/ruthless (the end justify the means) but have similar goals e.g. betterment of the world. During initial gameplay, when both parties are justing starting out - you might actually work together to take down more powerful enemies.

 

3. In terms of scripting, I believe you are referring to scripting such as DA Origins or DA2 ones where.... haha, just walk into my trap without any formations, scouting ahead and get attacked. The examples that I gave above gives alternatives to prevent being trapped in such a manner. For example, your trophy from the Archmage would NOT be stolen if you had high awareness or had a thief, since you would be aware you were shadowed. So long as you are given a chance to overcome the ploy so to speak, I feel it should be ok. Why wouldn't an antagonist take advantage of the fact that it would be best to come into the picture when your party and the archmage are both at a weakened state? But, if you're smart enough to take precautions, then you would be safe. If it's too hard, there could be foreshadowing as to these are the types of tactics that the antagonist typically employs. Of course, this type of scripting should sparingly used to avoid the feeling of being forced into certain situations.

 

4. As to the main villain, your points on BG1 are correct. I concede that, have forgotten quite a bit since I played. Still, if you see the plot on DA: Origins, the actions of the Archdemon was really nonsensical, don't you agree? I see Loghain as a more interesting antagonist. Even he didn't take any major action even whilst the PC was travelling all over Ferelden undoing his work. Your points are about the villain having his own struggles and problems are great! If this was telegraphed to the player at some points, things would make more sense.

 

5. The DA2 no big-bad villain is an alternative way of going about it. This would depend on the plot Obsidian has in mind. Still, I would prefer an semi-rival/antagonist. Heck, the final fight with the rival could even be in a court room ala NWN2 where there's a debate and a battle of philosophies, rather than a brawl.

Edited by agewisdom

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The examples that I gave above gives alternatives to prevent being trapped in such a manner. For example, your trophy from the Archmage would NOT be stolen if you had high awareness or had a thief, since you would be aware you were shadowed. So long as you are given a chance to overcome the ploy so to speak, I feel it should be ok.

This was a point I liked a lot about your suggestion. Normally I hate it when an antagonist suddenly shows up in a scripted plot event and foils whatever you were doing, regardless of how well you are doing in the game. In your idea, however, said scripted event would be avoidable, or even turn out in your favor, depending on your actions. This to me is the key element of the proposal since otherwise the events would just be the writers messing with you, which would be aggravating, rather than fun (think the Kai Leng sequences in Mass Effect 3).

 

The final fight with the rival could even be in a court room ala NWN2 where there's a debate and a battle of philosophies, rather than a brawl.

 

Having the final confrontation being a debate, instead of a fight, would be awesome (although there should be the option for the final confrontation to be resolved through violence, rather than diplomacy, depending on your play style). The fact that with high wisdom you could literally talk your nemesis to death was one of the most memorable aspects of PS:T.

Edited by eimatshya

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I don't like the idea of them being from the same village or whatever, as that implies too many boring fantasy clichés, but I love the idea of a rival adventuring party. We know the guys wanted to do this in Van Buren, and they did something semi-related with the New Vegas DLC.

 

So yes, give us a rivaling party of adventurers!

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Hi Continuity,

 

IMHO, the rival adventurers should not be a one-off encounters. Rather each group should have their own philosophies and be faction aligned. In general:

 

1. You should read or have conversations with NPCs about their exploits and the fame/infamy of their actions...

 

2. First encounter should not end in battle, rather more about sharing of experiences and discussions. It might end pleasantly with both parties deciding to co-operate to take down a major villain. Or it might end badly, with both parties leaving in a huff...

 

3. Mid-encounters

The parties could meet and clash and/or co-operate from time to time whilst each grows in powers.

 

4. Final encounter/Debate

If the competing philosophies of the two rivalling parties are so diametrically different, it could reach a boiling point where they feel the need to settle these difference once and for all. Either by a battle with weapons or a battle of wits via a debate....

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I think that the more characters that you have relationships (for lack of a better word) with the better.

 

I love the idea of having rivals and enemies that you know.

 

And when I say that I mean more than a cursory meeting during the prologue like: "this is your childhood rival, he has always been better at drink and sword than you, he is all the tough, predictably, you will meet him near the end of the game and then beat him"

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The call of the deep.

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I like the whole rival thing but I just don't want it come out like Pokemon where you two are instantly regarded as childhood rivals and he's a giant ****. The more like able are the more the player can relate to them which would make the conflicts much more grave when violence is involved. The rivals don't even need to be friends with you per-say, I just want them to have good reasons for what they do.

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The reason I suggested a childhood friend as a rival is to give some background and to flesh him out in the first place. I understand everyone's concerns here. We all don't want "Here, this is X, your childhood rival because of blah blah blah.... Now Street Fighter style 'Fight!'"

 

I am envisaging that we either:

 

1. Have a tutorial stage where the PC's and companions (perhaps, possible rival) start out as children in their village etc. During this stage, they might face some mini-quests that children typically face e.g. seeing thieves enter a neighbor's house or facing off against some bullies. During this period, they may have discussions as to what's the best course of actions. The PC's decisions may directly antagonize some of his companions... This seed of discontent will then be explored further during actual gameplay when the PC meets this companion as an adult.

 

2. Alternatively, we could have flashbacks during the actual course of gameplay, where the PC and companions were kids....

 

My main idea is that I want rivals that I have a love-hate relationship... someone I actually care about but has taken a very different path. We both want the same things but right now, we're standing in each others way... So, now what? It's not just about fighting and killing him ... but should I actually do so? Am I right or is he? Get what I mean?

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I'm not sure about requiring that the PC has grown up with them, though it would be interesting to see NPCs change over the course of the game.

 

But I think it would be interesting to have a group or enemy that you ran into more than once and wasn't necessarily the main villain, always getting in each others way.

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As long as there's sufficient and proper interaction with the rival groups/enemies, it would be fine. I just want rivals/enemies that are alive and have their own opinions as to how about going on things. I want to feel that hey, these are fellow adventurers just like me. Just because they go about a different way of doing things, is it really alright for me to kill them just because they're standing in my way?

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I think the best way of handling it would be to first let it be a part of the main quest, but then let it trickle off into a (major) side quest. Otherwise it's probably going to be a bit predictable, as in pokemon.

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I have an idea for an end game antagonist. He/she/it is someone so old, so powerful, and so wise, that he has decided to undertake one final, great challenge. The greatest challenge of them all.

 

He is going to carefully engineer a party of adventurers with the strength, cunning, and skill to finally kill him. Or her. Or it. What-have-you.

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Do you like hardcore realistic survival simulations? Take a gander at this.

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Few things that I would like was that we met the vilianne before we learn that he is big bad and not in the way of meeting king advisor who will laugh evilly and plot outload while king is deaf. Also if enemy will be a mortal guy than make him in vein of vilians from IWD2 by which I mean that from perespective of their followers( not only from their own perspective mind you) they have noble goal and they are right

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I like your idea in general. Someone familiar. Someone who was in same position as you. Someone who was always worse (or better) than you.

"Anyone but you!" This is the only phrase I remember from JE. It's pretty simple, but it has it's own depth.

Oh, and strong No for reoccurring bait, which you beat again and again during whole game.

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Yep, no beating him again and again like a Saturday morning cartoon. More like:

 

1. Meet up during certain quests where you can either co-operate or compete. Competing is more of a friendly sort, with some discussion and debate thrown in.

 

2. If things turn ugly, it's more like a battle of wits where he tries to foils you and your faction. If he succeeds, e.g. influencing a powerful leader to support his faction, then you and your faction lose influence and/or fame.

 

3. There is no necessity for a big, bad fight unless the PC wants things to turn ugly. The NPC is an arch-rival, but not an unreasonable mad-men. If he knows it's not certain he can win in an out-right fight, then let's have an out-right debate in front of the Council or leading Rulers of the day... :)

 

Something along these lines would be more realistic..., I believe.

Edited by agewisdom

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If there is a rival in the game, I hope for someone with a Saemon Havarian feel. Someone who goes along with your plans as long as it fits him/her self. But at the same time, someone who uses you(Saemon dumping the piece of the sword to you, knowing who are after it), and when trouble arises, s/he better his/her own position at the players expense. Someone who you could thank for the thing s/he is willing to do for you, or who you could also curse after a "backstab".

 

So someone who the player can side with easily, but also who can earn the hatred of the player just as easily.


Dude, I can see my own soul.....

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Idea of having a competitive only rival is a cool idea and I haven't seen it before. It would make a great addition to the game, but I don't want only that kind of rivalry. I'm sure that any evil or possibly even neutral chaotic rival would not have a second thought about fighting you if he had the advantage. I think that there is a place for both in the world, as well as several different types of rivals in between. And speaking of which, judging from some of the recent updates it looks like there will be quite a bit of rival adventurers

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Yes, since there will be several rival adventuring parties, I think PE will be able to accomodate different flavors of rivals. This should make for a fun time. However, there should be some build up and the rivals should cross swords with the PC a few times. I would hate if they just make an appearance ONCE and lose/die and that's the last we ever see of them.

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