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I want my character dragged into political assassinations, dethrone of legitimate kings, favors in exchange of land, nobles unwilling to accept the new regent while the true king is too young, or priests fighting over the control of the richest church around; a rich businessman that lost his horses to a local arrogant noble and has no one to appeal since the local courts are all nobles in favor of that arrogant prick...

 

The universe of possibilities is tremendous, so, please, do not reduce the plot into a "good vs. evil" shallow.

 

+ I fully agree. I liked the Dragon Age in overall, but the darkspawn / archdemon thing was so dull and uninteresting. The Demon and it's Evil Army is so overused that I don't want to see that again. There is nothing wrong if our enemy wants to "take over the world", but the plot should include scheming politics, intelligent oppoments, and other mature elements.

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A game world is more interesting when it provokes thought rather than absolves us of the need to think. 'There's big bad Sarevok who wants to kill everyone and make himself a god, go get him!' is less interesting than 'Here are a bunch of people who each genuinely have their own vision of the best society, who do you agree with and want to help, if any of them?'

 

 

Some days I want to eat chocolate. Other I prefer vanilla.

 

There is no "better way". Both approaches are equally valid.

 

Some days I want greyness and lot of dillemas, some days I just want to bash Belzebubs skull with a hammer.

 

****

 

But If you do decide to go one route - stick with it.

Don't do what BioWare /EA did with Cerberus and TIM. Don't create a great grey character and turn him all evil and incompetent.

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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Then I think all that there is to be said is that we have very different ideas about what makes for a strong storyline. I've had plenty of RPGs in which there is some cackling bad guy at the end, blatantly there to be opposed and nothing else. Just about any Bioware RPG you could name fits into this pattern, often with villains so ludicrously over-the-top in their evilness that I can never take them even half-way seriously.

 

To me, it gets old. I'm not saying that every faction should be just as nasty as every other faction, nor that some factions shouldn't be much more on the light shade of grey even as others tend towards the black, but I like to be challenged in regards to what I believe is right...or, more appropriately, what my character believes is right. I like my moral dilemmas complex, as complex as the real world, because I've already played a ton of escapist RPGs during my life where any and every problem can be solved by hitting the evil people with swords, whereas I've played only a few that actually made me think things through before I made my choices.

 

Interesting thing is that different people will have different ideas about what is right and wrong.

But for the most part - people will be really SECURE in one decision or another.

 

In practilcy any game I've played, I rarely have trouble picking a side or an option.

 

Let's take a few examples:

 

- Collector Base in ME2 - I save it every time. It's a no brainer. Yet there's plenty of people that think it's the most evil decision possible. I personally consider destroying it the most retarded move possible.

 

- Rachnii in ME1 - the only time in ME I actually paused for a second (aside from Vinmire). Killing her seems a less risky option (is there a reason to trust her at all?). I just wish there was a more painless way of killing her than acid.

 

- DA mage/templar issue - Templars. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few. Unless the templars are being a collosal d***osaurus I'll usually side with them. They are a more controlled and grounded bunch anyway.

 

 

etc...

 

 

For the most part, creating such "grey", indicisive options is difficult and very often feels FORCED.

 

It feels as tough negative traits and things are deliberately placed just to marr things and make things more "equal".

That sensible, honorable knight you want to join? He's secretly a pedofile!

That murdering mage? He generously donated to orphans and saves kittens from trees on Sundays.

 

The most "natural" decisions in Real Life usually stem from not having enough information to make a informed decision... Something to think about?

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Regarding your example of FNV vs BG1.

What I didn't like about FNV was due to the factions being flawed with their faults when I asked myself "who do you agree with and want to help, if any of them?'" I didn't want to help any of them. I haven't picked up FNV since. If there isn't a group I can say "This group is doing the right things for the right reasons" ((for story based games)) then I'm not interested in playing the game.

 

Then I think all that there is to be said is that we have very different ideas about what makes for a strong storyline. I've had plenty of RPGs in which there is some cackling bad guy at the end, blatantly there to be opposed and nothing else. Just about any Bioware RPG you could name fits into this pattern, often with villains so ludicrously over-the-top in their evilness that I can never take them even half-way seriously.

 

To me, it gets old. I'm not saying that every faction should be just as nasty as every other faction, nor that some factions shouldn't be much more on the light shade of grey even as others tend towards the black, but I like to be challenged in regards to what I believe is right...or, more appropriately, what my character believes is right. I like my moral dilemmas complex, as complex as the real world, because I've already played a ton of escapist RPGs during my life where any and every problem can be solved by hitting the evil people with swords, whereas I've played only a few that actually made me think things through before I made my choices.

 

And this doesn't have to do with "thinking" vs "not-thinking", which is a false dilemma. A good vs evil story can be very interesting and thought provoking. In, what is the specific twist of the villain/hero. What archetype do they fit into? What specific emotions or feelings is the villain/hero trying to evoke? It is a different kind of intellectual exercise from what you are describing, but it is none the less.

 

But that's not really thinking. Its more appeal to the emotions. No matter who he is, what archetype he falls under, you still aren't required to put much thought into, say, Sarevok beyond, 'Here is bad guy. Kill.'

 

My opinion comes more from being personally motivated to continue with the story and have the hero triumph. If I don't care about the different groups or people, I will not play.

 

And yet how spotless does a faction need to be before you can call it the 'heroic' side? You obviously didn't like the options presented by the NCR, Mr. House, Caesar's Legion or even the Yes Man ending. The NCR and Yes Man endings, especially, struck me as having a lot more good stuff than bad stuff. Do they need to be completely white for you to care if they win?

 

Ahh, but whatever. I suspect this is just a difference in taste which can't really be logically argued. You like clean and straight forward good vs. evil, I like grey and tough choices about who to support. Never the twain shall meet and all that.

 

What you seem to want is DA2! :p No offense, but grey choices do not always equal thought provoking and clear cut sides can have thought provoking issues presented, its the writing that matter not the style or genre. Also grey does not need to have 'evil' in eberyone: TW2 had some clearly good intentioned characters in despite being grey.

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Wow, guys, thanks a lot for the great answers! I didn't think this post would get any much attention...

 

***

 

What i meant is this: good and evil are historically and culturally defined, depending on the culture and moral grounds you take perspective from, a good thing can be a really bad one. In most religious wars are like that, like the Albigensian Crusade when catholic christian, in the name of the Lord, massacred thousands of cathars in France.

 

A Franciscan Monk finds money accumulation and usury a vile crime, while it is for many protestant schools of Christianity a form of worshiping the same God.

 

We could also take many acts of God of the Old Testament as evil from our modern perspective.

 

What I mean, any story that can be reduced to a simple good vs. evil is a shallow one, like when they ruined Matrix series reducing the great philosophical debate of the first one into a moral rubbish shallow good guys vs. bad guys.

 

As someone stated, I want decisions that make sense inside the game culture, an understandable and fisiable verisimilitude between its inner moral basis and the actions of characters, not a masked judeo-christian cliché collision of good versus evil behind every action we take. For example, from a historical perception, Paladins are fanatics defenders of their faith, capable of massacres as the cited Albigensian Crusade: "Kill them all, let God choose his own".

 

In ADD 2ed, paladins could feel bad about their acts and fall "untune" with his beliefs, losing powers, banned from their religious Order, making them to seek Attunement, or Redemption to his God. Which make great role playing scenarios.

 

In a great project as this one, a good story should have these kind of dilemmas... Even less "Important" ones, as a Druid that doesnt want to destroy The Old Hollow Tree, even if it the Treant is accused of evil deeds in some community.

 

This sort of dimension is that makes a great story.

 

***

 

A good point in favour the Devs is the story of the first BG1, the Iron Shortage and the role of Sarevok to be the new Lord of Murder after a massive war and death toll of two great armies colliding, were awesome!

 

Can we solve the Gnome Conspiracy this time? I don't want to find that the kidnapped women forced to breed a new race of half-ogres are hopeless again!

Edited by Tarrasque Cult

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Honestly, this thread seems repetitious and this topic has been discussed before. Considering that this is Obsidian we're talking about, I highly doubt that morality in the game is going to be clearly defined or black and white, and that politics won't be involved in some way. I mean, Sawyer himself is a history buff, and Avellone was the lead designer of Planescape Torment, so make of that what you will.

It's amazingly repetitious. I've already quoted Update #4 from Kickstarter where they said exactly what kind of story they plan to run, and a world-affecting crisis is nowhere in the cards.

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For example, from a historical perception, Paladins are fanatics defenders of their faith, capable of massacres as the cited Albigensian Crusade: "Kill them all, let God choose his own".

 

Nope, they are not.

Paladins are the 12 knights of Charlemagne, and AFAIK, they didn't go slaughtering innocents.

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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The term "paladin" has an interesting etymological background that was sort of backed into La Chanson de Roland. Hopefully people are aware that La Chanson de Roland is a mythical account written centuries after the events it describes.

 

The soldiers at Béziers and Carcassonne were "real" knights and ribauds. Though the quote given by Caesarius of Heisterbach ("Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet." or "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.") is almost certainly apocryphal, the massacre at Béziers was almost certainly not.

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What you seem to want is DA2! :p

 

Never played DA2. Heard too many bad things, and one of those things was that both sides were a**holes and therefore indifference set in. Not what I want at all.

 

Call it rather that I would like another story like MotB. When I chose to side with the Betrayer's Crusade, I was quite enthusiastic about it...even as I was more than a little uneasy, because by a number of in-game accounts 'victory' in this crusade would basically mean disaster for everything else. Maybe true and maybe not, but it made a goal I was genuinely interested in supporting something that gave me second thoughts.

 

Choosing the opposite approach of defending against the Crusade would have the same result. Yes, you're protecting everything else, but you're also supporting a form of hell for people simply because they aren't 'believers.' Again, a cause you can both sympathize with and have second thoughts about.

 

In short, no, I don't want a world full of a**holes and I have to pick the least a**holish. Push it the other direction. I prefer a world with largely sympathetic choices, none of which are 100% sympathetic.

 

No offense, but grey choices do not always equal thought provoking and clear cut sides can have thought provoking issues presented, its the writing that matter not the style or genre. Also grey does not need to have 'evil' in eberyone: TW2 had some clearly good intentioned characters in despite being grey.

 

Of course, the devil is always in the details and both kinds of stories can be done well and done badly. But grey done well is, IMHO, always going to be more intriguing than black and white. Black and white makes things easy on the player or reader or what-have you. Grey does not.

 

That doesn't mean black and white is bad. Its just not as interesting, all other things being equal.

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The term "paladin" has an interesting etymological background that was sort of backed into La Chanson de Roland. Hopefully people are aware that La Chanson de Roland is a mythical account written centuries after the events it describes.

 

 

From what I remember in high school history, the muslims weren't as cold-hearted and "evil" as the song made it out to be and it was an example of I guess early propaganda. Of course, Muslims weren't really liked very much back then.

 

Now that I think about it, they aren't liked very much now either...

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

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I'd be fine having some rather evil or extreme narcissist/sociopath as the main antagonist for the main quest, if it's at all applicable as a basic "save the world!" plot. If we're going to have any kind of world-destroying or soul-reincarnation-destroying plot, the main villain basically has to be at least mildly nuts for his actions to make any sense.

But that doesn't mean there have to be clear-cut good guys. You could have several factions with different morals and agendas that'll try to get you to support their cause, eventually giving them all the power and resources that the villain collected that weren't destroyed. Who would you give them, if any of them? Would you rather start your own one, or just wrestle one of the existing ones more into the dircetion you want them to go? Done well, it would work nicely even in a more morally bankcrupt setting.

 

Though I'd much rather see a main quest more about what the heck happened to you (seeing as the player char got caught in some kind of disaster or something) and figure out how it affects you now, how it will affect you and if at all possible find a way to fix it if it seems detrimental. Maybe with a side dish of revenge against whatever did it to you and with a self-discovery story for a dessert.

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As long as the villains aren't just doing it for the lulz, I'm fine. It drives me nuts when people in stories are portrayed as doing evil for the sake of doing evil. Human beings do not work that way. People do terrible things to each other because they think they're *right*, not because they like the interior decoration options that the Evil Overlord Shopping Club presents.

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As long as the villains aren't just doing it for the lulz, I'm fine. It drives me nuts when people in stories are portrayed as doing evil for the sake of doing evil. Human beings do not work that way. People do terrible things to each other because they think they're *right*, not because they like the interior decoration options that the Evil Overlord Shopping Club presents.

 

You know what , I for a change would love to see such character as villain, think about name one rpg where villain do things just for the evulz, I dare you ;)

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The term "paladin" has an interesting etymological background that was sort of backed into La Chanson de Roland. Hopefully people are aware that La Chanson de Roland is a mythical account written centuries after the events it describes.

 

The soldiers at Béziers and Carcassonne were "real" knights and ribauds. Though the quote given by Caesarius of Heisterbach ("Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet." or "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.") is almost certainly apocryphal, the massacre at Béziers was almost certainly not.

 

It is not exactly apocryphal, the quote comes from Heisterbach, a writer contemporary of the massacres. Although he could have "invented" the saying, the other font, the Pope itself, wrote about the massacres: "within the space of two or three hours they crossed the ditches and the walls of Beziers was taken. Our men spared no one, irrespective of rank, sex or age, and put to the sword almost 20,000 people. After this great slaughter the whole city was despoiled and burnt, as Divine vengeance miraculously...[iN: Costen, The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade, pag 139-140].

 

***

 

yep this guy above is the right one paladins were pretty much Knights of round table of France or rather teritory that was ruffly in todays france

 

I hope people know that Knights of the Round Table is mythical, not historical. And as J Sawyer stated, the Song of Roland is a mythical writing also, about a military leader written centuries after the facts.

 

So, can we rule out that Charlemagne and his mythical 12 knights of the round table had not to do with slaughtering of saxons in Verden? The Roland account is much more myth than reality, he was a military leader that followed the practices of "christianization-by-the-sword", a popular practice by the Pope's Church.

 

 

So, i reinstate, from the historical perception, a paladin is a fanatic defender of their faith (and reign, and church), a defender of all that is good and right from his perspective (ie. slaughtering pagans is a good deed).

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I hope people know that Knights of the Round Table is mythical, not historical. And as J Sawyer stated, the Song of Roland is a mythical writing also, about a military leader written centuries after the facts.

 

So, can we rule out that Charlemagne and his mythical 12 knights of the round table had not to do with slaughtering of saxons in Verden? The Roland account is much more myth than reality, he was a military leader that followed the practices of "christianization-by-the-sword", a popular practice by the Pope's Church.

 

 

So, i reinstate, from the historical perception, a paladin is a fanatic defender of their faith (and reign, and church), a defender of all that is good and right from his perspective (ie. slaughtering pagans is a good deed).

 

Arcanum did SUCH an awesome job with this! Taking an event that actually happened and mythologizing it.

 

 

The Panarii religion being a mythology behind the actual show-down between Arronax and Nasrudin. Very well done. Especially the Saint Mannox bit. That was too beautiful.

 

Edited by Hormalakh
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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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It is not exactly apocryphal, the quote comes from Heisterbach, a writer contemporary of the massacres.

Contemporary, yes, but working in Heisterbach Abbey, near Westphalia, some distance from Occitània. His work is the only known extant source of that quote.

 

Regardless of the authenticity of the quote, the crusaders made no distinction between Catholic and Cathar in Béziers.

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It is not exactly apocryphal, the quote comes from Heisterbach, a writer contemporary of the massacres.

Contemporary, yes, but working in Heisterbach Abbey, near Westphalia, some distance from Occitània. His work is the only known extant source of that quote.

 

Regardless of the authenticity of the quote, the crusaders made no distinction between Catholic and Cathar in Béziers.

 

Hey Josh,

Is this what you concentrated in during college when you were studying history?


My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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I mostly studied the history of witch-hunting, focused heavily on the Holy Roman Empire (much of contemporary Germany). There was some spillover into other heresies and hagiographies (e.g. Saint Dominic, who, prior to sainthood, unsuccessfully attempted to debate/convert Albigensian Cathars).

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yep this guy above is the right one paladins were pretty much Knights of round table of France or rather teritory that was ruffly in todays france

 

I hope people know that Knights of the Round Table is mythical, not historical. And as J Sawyer stated, the Song of Roland is a mythical writing also, about a military leader written centuries after the facts.

 

So, can we rule out that Charlemagne and his mythical 12 knights of the round table had not to do with slaughtering of saxons in Verden? The Roland account is much more myth than reality, he was a military leader that followed the practices of "christianization-by-the-sword", a popular practice by the Pope's Church.

 

 

So, i reinstate, from the historical perception, a paladin is a fanatic defender of their faith (and reign, and church), a defender of all that is good and right from his perspective (ie. slaughtering pagans is a good deed).

 

Did I implie somewhere that I belive that KotRT or Tweleve Paladins are real?

I just say that they pretty much ( in my view at least) serve the same role, as medival examples how knights should act , and a way to entertain courts of kings. I am clearlly aware that they don't exist, I just like this archetype and plays on it.

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I mostly studied the history of witch-hunting, focused heavily on the Holy Roman Empire (much of contemporary Germany). There was some spillover into other heresies and hagiographies (e.g. Saint Dominic, who, prior to sainthood, unsuccessfully attempted to debate/convert Albigensian Cathars).

 

I find that history majors (one of my friends being one) look at the world and think very differently than most other people. I wonder how much your education has influenced your game design and if anyone in the industry has ever mentioned this to you? You obviously make good games, but how often have you heard people inside the industry tell you, "That's a different way of looking at this (most often, very common problem)," and how often you ascribe that to your education/interest in history?


My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I think people are confusing "a believable villain" with "a morally grey villain". Just because he/she has motivations does not mean that you are supposed to believe he might be right. Take for example a game where you fight Nazis - it would be that much more interesting if you get to know the entire backstory, and people's individual motivations. Rommel, Goebbels and Göring all wore Nazi uniforms but their individual stories were entirely different. A story where you are just presented with "Evil guy X is rampaging through the land, stop him" tends to feel so bland compared with a game where you get to see the entire story. In short, I think the devs should always ask questions. WHY does Villain X want to do evil? WHY do people follow Villain X?

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I can't think of a single role-playing game that's considered "classic" that uses the "Super Demon" archetype.

 

And even the game where it is used, Dragon Age: Origins, it isn't bad itself but the way Bioware played it. Multiple times, they've tried to play off the darkspawn as less "faceless horde" and more "Lovecraftian horrors" but seemed to have dropped the ball on that.

 

'sides, considering Obsidian always balances their games to have villains with clear motivations (Kriea, Ceaser) and villains who just do evil "for the lulz" (the Fiends, in FO:NV) I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about an archdemon.

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