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Jarmo

Do you want well balanced companions?

Companion abilities poll  

140 members have voted

  1. 1. I'd like my companions to

    • Strictly adhere to the same rules as PC
    • Follow the same rules, but have unique features or feats
    • Have their own rules, but be balanced in efficiency
    • Be wildly different in their abilities
    • Something else


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I don't see why "normal humans" would be any less interesting characters.

 

Even with normal humans, I'd like to see companions that "had good rolls" when making stats, if that's appropriate for the character.

If someone rose to prominence from the gutter through her exceptional abilities, quickly became a legendary this and that,

it'd make sense she didn't get her stats through standard purchase system, but rather made that 1 in a 1000 stat roll.

Like maybe a few exceptionally good stats (charisma and dexterity) and the rest good or average, and no dump stats.

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Nordom's struggle to deal with individuality, Morte's regrets about the pillar of skills, Dakkon's history in limbo, Grace's centuries of enduring torture in the Nine Hells; all of this added layers to their characters that you just wouldn't have had with 'random group of humans who accidentally wandered into Sigil'.

 

Erm, whut? All of the oddities of those characters are only meaningful because these are human sorts of struggles, which could just as easily have been put onto human characters. The oddball aspects of those characters were hooks to help highlight the alien nature of the setting. If you're going for an alien-feeling setting, yeah, characters like this are totally appropriate. If you're going for a different feel, they aren't. Either way the depth and the conflict rely on human concepts that relate to humans.


Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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I don't see why "normal humans" would be any less interesting characters.

 

Even with normal humans, I'd like to see companions that "had good rolls" when making stats, if that's appropriate for the character.

If someone rose to prominence from the gutter through her exceptional abilities, quickly became a legendary this and that,

it'd make sense she didn't get her stats through standard purchase system, but rather made that 1 in a 1000 stat roll.

Like maybe a few exceptionally good stats (charisma and dexterity) and the rest good or average, and no dump stats.

 

Eh, I don't see any problem with this, because all the best GEAR is still going on my character. I don't really care what stats the NPC companions have, only whether they make my character more ossum or not. I don't care if you have 18/00 strength. I needs me a wizard.

 

Although a PE version of my housemate's character Alex the Stupendous would be hilarious. Maxed out his stats, and bought ONE rank in EVERY skill. Always insisted on being first the one to try anything that needed to be done. Very entertaining watching the rest of the party try to explain to him why he ought to let the person with the actual skill investment do it.

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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Although a PE version of my housemate's character Alex the Stupendous would be hilarious. Maxed out his stats, and bought ONE rank in EVERY skill. Always insisted on being first the one to try anything that needed to be done. Very entertaining watching the rest of the party try to explain to him why he ought to let the person with the actual skill investment do it.

 

That's awesome! :)

I'd love to see an NPC or companion like that, would be a fantastically frustrating experience.

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Deekin thinks that maybe the main character could be a sidekick for a dashing and handsome kobold hero.

 

If not, we could all be DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

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Even the Baldur's Gate NPCs had their own little things that 'bent or broke' the D&D rules or had special items

 

Minsc's Berserker Rage

Alora's Lucky Rabbit Foot

Edwin's Amulet

Imoen's Belt

 

etc etc

 

Something that makes them unique is a good idea, like a dash of Moroccan Spice into the pot ;)

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Personally, I've never cared for the power/effectiveness of companions in games, I've mostly took my favorite characters despite them being weak, and not suitable for some sort of situation, and I took the other companions when I felt that taking them would be appropriate.

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I voted for "follow the same rules but have an unique feature". Said unique feature shouldn't be anything super-powerful, just something that fits with the theme of the character and gives them a little quirk, makes them stand out just a little bit.

 

Also, I'm no fan of wildly exotic companions. In PS:T, exotic companions worked well because the entire place was full of exotic creatures, and a party of six totally average humans would have looked weird and out of place.

 

However, in a more down-to-earth setting I like my companions to be much less exotic. No demon lords or vampires in my party, please. That type of companion takes something that should be rare and exciting and dangerous - in this case, demons and vampires - and turns it into something common, something familiar. Because it hangs out in your party every day. "Oh look, a coven of vampires, like our old pal Edward here." Yay.


When in deadly danger

When beset by doubt

Run in little circles

Wave your arms and shout.

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Bring on the unique companions. The more variety the better, in my opinion, especially if each has their own little quirks that makes them unique -- it could be a special ability, a character-specific item. A character could be a jack-of-all-trades, while another could be an amazing mage, but with a limp.

There shouldn't be any "best" companions, either.

 

Also, I couldn't be more tired of the whole "every most important character is a human" thing. I really don't want a fun, happy group of mighty whites -- or an unhappy one, for that matter. With maybe a single elf and drunken dwarf to make things look less bland.

It shouldn't be absolutely ridiculous, but is a goblinoid or orcish companion too much to ask for?

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Because it hangs out in your party every day. "Oh look, a coven of vampires, like our old pal Edward here." Yay.

 

I might be thinking more along the lines of you stumbling on a coven of vampires and if you could convince them

your mission is of superior importance, and you'd be a smooth ass talker, you might be able to convince Edward to come along.

 

... but that wouldn't work out for everybody if you also want to recruit a Billy the Paladin.

Edited by Jarmo

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2nd option for me. Since we are having pre-made companions for a party based game, I want them to generally follow the same rules as I can for making my character... but there should be a special "something" for my character that the NPCs can't have, and each companion can have something special as well.

 

I wouldn't be unhappy with option 1, but 2 is what I'm used to and like.

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Between same rules and unique feats. I think that if NPCs have it, especially if they're companions, it's probably something the PC should be able to have too. However, exceptions can make things interesting. I can see a companion with a "family sword" that can't be gained anywhere else in the game. But I'm wary to see them with unique feats, because I don't know how it's justified.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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If one Human is defined in-game as a Master Swordsman, then I want him to be a Master Swordsman, or on his way towards it at least.

If another one is defined in-game as a Great Archer, well then I want her to be a great with a bow.

 

Both of these, are in-game, called Fighters, their in-game definition is different. Heck yes I would like them to be individual, different. Even if they hail from the same "Class". This is more on the topic of "Class Kits" I feel.

 

Then again, if I get two companions that both are Fighters, wield the same weapons and armor's, I still would like to see a difference in both of them and their style/abilities which corresponds to their personality as well as statistical physique. One Fighter might be more of a "bulky" person, bigger, stronger. Hits harder with his Longsword, but attacks slower than the smaller, more mobile Fighter.

 

The Way of the Sword is vast and I suggest that Obsidian reads a Manga called "Vagabond" to understand the importance of it.

 

I feel I would rather want the Character to be creating the Class, rather than the Class creating the Character.

Edited by Osvir

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Strictly adhere to the same rules as the PC.

 

Now, that's not to say that different races can't have different rules, and companions can't be races unavailable for the PC. No, only that if the PC could be a member of that race, those same rules would apply to him.

 

Moreover, I'd like to be able to assign all of the companion's abilities, regardless of at what level the companion is encountered. Let me build that character - within the pre-assigned race and class - from the ground up when he joins the party. That way we get more freedom in party construction - if I want 3 archers, I can have three archers, even if only one of the companions was actually intended by Obsidian to be an archer.


God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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I wouldn't mind a special feat or at most two. Something that makes them unique but not overpowered, as long as they naturally follow the same rules like every other creature in the game. That goes without saying, I think.

 

On the other hand, I wouldn't miss these special feats either.

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It's a simple check:

 

On initiating dialogue with normal NPC

If Monster in party = very yes

Then NPC reaction = "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

NPC Flees.

 

You don't need to modify every NPC in the game, just have it so that the game checks before you initiate dialogue what's going on.

 

On doors for large creatures you just give it a value where it accepts a large creature or not, and, if that value is false, the game says you cannot enter since a member of your party cannot fit.

 

It doesn't have to be a horrible amount of programming if you have an efficient system to begin with.

 

...

I take it you never did scripting for BG or NWN, right?

If you did, you'd know better.

 

 

On another point is that the only reaction there will be?

(unimportant) NPC fleeing? Surely that makes the companion tottaly balanced!

 

Large creture cannot enter? How do you do quests taking palce indoors then? You'd have to switch companions constatnly. And I'm willing to bet that would case a lot of player rage.

 

No, I didn't do scripting for BG or NWN, but it is possible to make the effects occur in a simple manner without having to edit every NPC's files. If NPCs turn and watch you, getting ready for you to talk to them, then there's clearly somewhere you could shove in a party check before dialogue actually initiates. Or you just have it be a line of sight thing with most NPCs, and only have disciplined/important NPCs be willing to stand their ground as the giant walks down the street.

 

And really, that should likely be the response for any "normal" NPC, with guards likely having a different response, etc. Before initiating the dialogue, check if the NPC is unique or just your average peasant, if they're unique, they likely have their own response to the fact the monster is in the party, be that turning hostile, having a moment where they stutter in fear, or whatever you have.

 

And large creatures not fitting through a door could be helped with a minimize spell (something useful for getting into tiny places for cool loot, and also makes you harder to hit and you more likely to hit) They'd obviously lose some of their awesomeness for a while, but you'd get to at least have them there... and if it wasn't worth your time to get or prepare said minimize spell then you can just tell them to wait for you until you get back. Or you can decide it's not worth your time to try and keep them and just let them go for another, less powerful/interesting NPC. The point is you're making the trade off - if they're worth the effort, you gain the benefit, but if they're not to you then it's at your discretion to do away with them in whatever manner your PC would see fit.

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In the old IE games dialogue were not 'scripted'.

They were organized in a 'giant' file the dialog.tlk and they were conceptualized like a huge tree with various flags check at every branch of the discussion.

 

If my mind still assists me. My times of dabbling with Infinity Explorer are long gone.

Edited by DocDoomII

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I've meddled enough to know about the dialog.tlk - you'd need to have some new entries where the giant being the party would change the reference to them instead.

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Well.. dammit.

 

Ok, so the <100 votes is not everybody in the world, but I'm obviously in the minority. Again.

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I was just thinking what an interesting companion a ghost character like Deionarra would make. Or how about a vampiric mist? Maybe an Owlbear or some kind of birdman. Human companions are boring.


JoshSawyer: Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games. For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people don’t like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

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To each his own. I presonally do not like such extreeme/unique companions, and prefer to have more "normal" parties.

I hae a tendance to ditch companions that stand out like a sour tumb because they are a giant golem, or demon or whatever-super-special-snowflake they are.

 

 

And while I guess you could balance them in some creative ways - it would require building the whole game around it - adding more programing and mechanics just for them.

 

IMHO, waste of limited resources.

Kinda depends on the game's general atmosphere, imo.

 

Demons and golems would've indeed been a bit out of place in the low-level game that was BG1.

In contrast, in MotB these sort of characters added much to the epic vibe.

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Companion characters should have lots of interesting features besides combat abilities; your companions should affect a lot of things you can do in the game. Maybe that old wizard isn't that great in combat, but he might know a lot of secrets he's willing to teach you, help you summon extraplanar entities to make deals with, open up questlines, maybe he'll use those insane divination spells of his to grant you information which might give you a unique approach to some story situation. He might be able to detect magical traps, identify your items, craft you wands, write scrolls and brew potions as more directly useful abilities.

 

My point is that there are other ways to make a companion useful and balanced besides balancing their combat efficiency. The main problem with crpgs these days is their heavy focus on combat; everything is shaped and defined around combat. Even though I might be repeating myself by saying this, I think that combat should only be one part of an rpg. I feel that one part dialogue and character interaction, one part exploration and one part combat is a rather good mix. If the game content is versatile enough, then combat balance becomes a moot point when it comes to companions and character classes.

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The most important step you take in your life is the next one.

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NPCs should follow the actual rules barring possible story/character based exceptions. That means, if the npc is of a playable race they should follow the basic rules. if the companion happens to be a golem, demon, or some other fantastical creature beyond NPC character rules than so be it - they should get all the benefits and setbacks of their race. Of course, a demon should not be joining a low level party as to not make the power base out of whack. ie. By the time you get a demon to join, it should be around the same power level.

 

This.

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