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Update #82: Creatures

Creatures Xaurip Vithrack Blight Backer Beta Updates Documentary

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#101
Greensleeve

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I hope you guys have more to show us than elementals, kobolds and mindflayers. I mean, visually they look great, especially the elementals, but I was hoping for more originality than variations on a theme. Please tell me there are more creatures in the world than just bipedal humanoids. It's one of those areas where you could have stunned me with your creativity but didn't. I was just hoping for some more originality.

Now, sure, you've not shown me your whole bestiary, but you did select these specific three for your presentation. Well I'm unimpressed.

 

Honestly, I feel as though a lot of the things they could've done very different, where they could have chosen to do some weird and very non-standard stuff, but didn't, they did because of their initial campaign and their backers. Many of these conservative decisions were probably made because many backers wanted a more standard fantasy game. A game with these elementals, kobolds, and mindflayers. But can you imagine the **** Obsidian would get if they went full on weird? I mean, they've been getting **** for as small things as including guns in the game and not having a super-macho, bulky, beefy male warrior companion. 


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#102
Lephys

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I'd just like to point that, at this point in time, it's rather difficult to design something that doesn't bear resemblance to something else that already exists.

Here's how I prefer to look at creature designs:

IF I had never seen a kobold or any other-such creature before in my life because they never existed and this was the first RPG ever made, do I find these little Xaurips interesting? Because, if I do, it hardly matters how many similar creatures have come before them.

That being said, I am also eager to see some of the crazier creature ideas. I'm not saying your hopes for such are bad or something.

I've just seen an awful lot of "Welp, that's pretty much a mindflayer" and other such comments in here, and it seems like some of them go a bit beyond fairness. I mean, nowadays, you put a large creature that can fly into a game, and it's just seen as copying dragons. Or, if it's a living tree creature, it's an ent. Or a golem. If it's undead, it's automatically cliche. Bandits? WAY overdone, so let's have a world without bandits.

You end up with pretty much nothing. Or a REALLY strange world, haha.

#103
Hiro Protagonist II

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No, I just like to observe possibilities that are perfectly relevant to the discussion. International shipping is an extra shipping cost, and Obsidian charged for it. Shipping a 2nd shipment just for documentaries, instead of the single shipment they were planning is an additional shipping cost.

Just because that doesn't make sense to you for some reason doesn't mean I'm going to go around being ashamed of myself and rethink my whole thought process or something.

 

 

And the fact that Obsidian doesn't charge for US domestic shipping also implies they wouldn't charge for shipping the documentary later to backers in the US. Ever thought of that? No, you immediately jump to the conclusion that they would charge all backers for postage including those backers in the US. When no one in this thread suggested it. It was you who brought it up that Obsidian would charge backers, no one else.

 

Nonsense generally doesn't make sense to me. That's why it's called nonsense. Maybe it might be wise to rethink your thought process so we wouldn't have to put up with your nonsense.

 


I don't know why you have such narrow boundaries in a discussion, and why someone presenting an idea you don't condone automatically equals "WTF/completely irrelevant" issues and gets you all worked up. It's baffling.

You're right that they don't have to charge us for that 2nd shipment. And you're right that Flow wasn't initially describing the passing of that cost on to customers. I apologize for causing confusion with my response, but I was simply observing a possibility, and have not argued against either of those points this whole time. Maybe take it down a notch, Hiro.

 

So I'm being narrow minded now? LOL. No, I like to stamp out nonsense when I see it.

 

And that possibility is nonsense when no one brought it up or suggested it. And you are arguing the point. You've been doing so for these last few posts. Defending your nonsense posts with more nonsense. Maybe take it down a notch with your nonsense Lephys.



#104
Lephys

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And the fact that Obsidian doesn't charge for US domestic shipping also implies they wouldn't charge for shipping the documentary later to backers in the US. Ever thought of that? No, you immediately jump to the conclusion that they would charge all backers for postage including those backers in the US. When no one in this thread suggested it.


*Jackie Chan meme face of frustration*

I did think of that. And what I immediately jumped to was the possibility that would charge extra for a 2nd shipment. Someone in this thread suggested it. That would be me. *points to self*

If you need a conflict, you're going to have to continue arguing with yourself, because this was my final courtesy clarification, and I'm not going to muddy up a thread with 700 responses to your imagined squabbles.

#105
Hiro Protagonist II

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*Jackie Chan meme face of frustration*

I did think of that. And what I immediately jumped to was the possibility that would charge extra for a 2nd shipment. Someone in this thread suggested it. That would be me. *points to self*

If you need a conflict, you're going to have to continue arguing with yourself, because this was my final courtesy clarification, and I'm not going to muddy up a thread with 700 responses to your imagined squabbles.

 

 

*wtf did I just read meme*

 

The fact is you did muddy the waters on your so called 'entire' point. In fact it was number 1 of 2 points you made. A point that was totally irrelevant, made up rubbish that no one brought up. And even when Flow confirmed and even quoted me what I said with my clarification you still want to argue your nonsense point for pages.

 

Remember. Flow made a comment. You made incorrect assumptions. I clarified what Flow said. Flow even confirmed by quoting me and saying, yes to my clarification. That's where it should have ended. But no, you come in and argue from your nonsense viewpoint. It seems to me that you need a conflict with your made up 'possibilities' and want to always have the last word in 'clarifying' what you're trying to say.



#106
JFSOCC

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please, check out the monster thread in my sig. If a bunch of us forumites can come up with a diverse range of original monsters, so could obsidian. There were some really cool ideas in that thread, which at the very least could serve as inspiration. Yes, most backers backed because they wanted to have their classic RPG feels back. I don't think new and interesting enemies would stand in the way of that.
The current selection (that which is shared with us now) is just utterly uninspiring.

You know how I feel about these creatures? I feel like looking at that film and game cliché of having a scary monster shriek or shout at the camera, right before it launches its attack, that classic announcement of "I'm scary" that is just so laughably lame, and yet keeps being done by every monster in every film ever. Stop it. show us something new and unexpected.

#107
Lephys

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I'm pretty excited about the Blights, I've gotta say. Their description is pretty intriguing.

Also, I wonder if the Bîaŵacs can affect non-people (the "things" they've mentioned that sometimes have souls but aren't actually "living" entities). If there's some great tree that's known to have a soul, and a storm hits there, is that tree no longer great, so-to-speak?

And how pervasive/frequent are these storms? I think the preview articles from E3 suggested there were cult people contributing to the formation of one, but I figure maybe the storms spawn naturally as well, to some degree. Maybe they're only in certain places? Maybe some of the origins of them are known, but some is just a mystery?

Oooh! Would another benefit of being a fampyr be that you could ride out a Bîaŵac while retaining your soul? Or is the animancial binding of a soul to a vessel still too feeble to cause a Bîaŵac to do little more than laugh?

#108
Lephys

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@JFSOCC:

I guess I just feel like "utterly" uninspiring is a bit overshooting?

Well, let me ask instead of assuming: Are you suggesting that the presented enemies shouldn't even exist beause they're so "uninspiring," OR are you simply saying "yeah yeah, those are fine, but I'm really pissed that you showed only these to us and not the super-crazy unique creatures"?

Because, the what-they-showed part I get, but any kind of "there absolutely should not be populations of humanoid creatures at all resembling tribal, kobold/goblin-like things in the world at all" notion would be beyond me. I think the "uninspiring" creatures like that help anchor the fantasy world into some semblance of a believable reality, to be honest.

When everything's different from anything I've ever seen before, humans and society seem a bit out of place at that point.

#109
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I like the sound of your Blights but the graphic should look like that description.  I think there should be more horror.


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#110
Micamo

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This deserves a much longer post than I can give it here, but this is the main reason I want less derivative creatures:

Every well-written story (and by extension every well-written setting) has a set of thematic and emotional points it aims to hit. Theoretically, every aspect of the story (or setting) should work toward hitting one of these points, and ideally several of these points at once. With regards to creature design, this means that details about the creature like what they look like, where they live, what kinds of societies they have (if intelligent), where they came from, how they behave, and their role in the larger world, not only need to be (mostly) logically cohesive but should all contribute to fulfilling the thematic goals of the setting.

The danger of deriving aspects of your setting from other works without thinking about how these aspects fit together (both logically and thematically) is that you wind up with an incoherent setting where things disjointed and incohesive, or even worse, they undermine the very thematic points you were trying to make.

A good example of how this can go horribly, horribly wrong: In the Mass Effect 3 ending it's revealed that the Reapers destroy organic civilizations to prevent them from inventing synthetic life and AI, which, the star child asserts, always rise up and destroy their creators. Except this point is completely contradicted by your interactions with Legion and the Geth and with ED-I. I suspect the reason why they went with this ending is because they wanted to blindly imitate the themes of many other science fiction stories, and did so without considering what the rest of what they had built had implied.


Now, I don't mind the Xaurips being Klone-bolds if the writers believe that three-foot-tall lizard people who worship dragons have something serious to contribute to the thematic goals of the setting. It's difficult to judge because we don't know much about what these goals are: The only one that's really apparent from the material we've seen so far is "Souls, and our attempts to understand them, are important" and it's not clear how xaurips relate to that. Maybe they have something to say about the cruel, uncaring dragon being an allegory for how the human/elf gods treat their worshippers by hiding the secrets of souls from them. However, when I see something that looks like a lazy copy/paste of conventional D&D tropes, I'm going to assume it is until proven otherwise.
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#111
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Does anyone know how many creatures will be in total?



#112
Tuckey

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I have a question regarding Vithrack:

 

"Like spiders, they are capable of spinning silk, though they use it to make their own very intricate and fine robes."

 

Do they also use silk to fly into combat dangling from a silk thread?

 

Maybe that's why the Vithrack look like they're falling from a height. There battle strategy must be to ambush given there small numbers. I'm going to need a cipher for early warning methinks.


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#113
PrimeJunta

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Man, Obsidian just can't win. Change something from the D&D formula, like add firearms, howls. Make something obviously derivative from the D&D formula, like klonebolds or spiderflayers, howls. Although it's probably not the same people howling.
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#114
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18th of August? OK. *Goes stomping any workload into the ground.* I'll be there. Overall, great work, as always! :)

 

Artistically, I think the Vithracks win hands down. Cool name and story, too. Xaurips aren't doing much for me atm, but perhaps they are super-cool in-game. Also, like others have said, the Blights look more like elementals/spell/ward-effects, and less like souls trapped in their elemental calamaties. For instance, think of the souls trapped inside those uber-Death Maiden-thingies in D3 Reaper of Souls, as a bizarre example. It should look and of course sound more creepy.


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 10 July 2014 - 11:14 PM.


#115
aluminiumtrioxid

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Every well-written story (and by extension every well-written setting) has a set of thematic and emotional points it aims to hit. Theoretically, every aspect of the story (or setting) should work toward hitting one of these points, and ideally several of these points at once. With regards to creature design, this means that details about the creature like what they look like, where they live, what kinds of societies they have (if intelligent), where they came from, how they behave, and their role in the larger world, not only need to be (mostly) logically cohesive but should all contribute to fulfilling the thematic goals of the setting.
 

 

So much this.

 

Addendum, though: tentacle monsters are always welcome, no matter the context.



#116
anameforobsidian

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The xaurips are obviously kobolds, but kobolds are fun.  

 

The vithrack mindflayer connection is a lot more tenuous.  So they're psychic and the live in hives; why aren't they compared to thri-kreen instead of mindflayers?  Or the buggers from Ender's Game?  As far as I know, the Vithrack don't take slaves, don't have subservient semi-intelligent species like Umber Hulks, don't have an elder brain or dark and evil gods that give them psionic powers from the future.  We don't know why they're xenophobic, if they're bellicose, or what they really want or value.  That's more important than some basic similarities.

 

Also, I disagree with the idea that everything has to fit the thematic goals of the setting.  I think it's more important that you have believable characters within the setting than characters within the themes.  The best example of this is Kotor 2; Kreia was an authorial rejection of the themes of the setting.  Many of the characters were deconstructions of the themes of the setting, and the game has far better writing than the first because of that.


Edited by anameforobsidian, 11 July 2014 - 05:17 AM.

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#117
Micamo

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Honestly, I feel as though a lot of the things they could've done very different, where they could have chosen to do some weird and very non-standard stuff, but didn't, they did because of their initial campaign and their backers. Many of these conservative decisions were probably made because many backers wanted a more standard fantasy game. A game with these elementals, kobolds, and mindflayers. But can you imagine the **** Obsidian would get if they went full on weird? I mean, they've been getting **** for as small things as including guns in the game and not having a super-macho, bulky, beefy male warrior companion.


It's disappointing to me because, judging by this team's work in the past, they really shine the brightest when making really subversive stuff that takes your expectations and chucks them straight off a cliff. Giving Obsidian a Forgotten Realms-esque setting to work with and asking them to play it straight has... not worked well in the past.
 

Also, I disagree with the idea that everything has to fit the thematic goals of the setting. I think it's more important that you have believable characters within the setting than characters within the themes. The best example of this is Kotor 2; Kreia was an authorial rejection of the themes of the setting. Many of the characters were deconstructions of the themes of the setting, and the game has far better writing than the first because of that.


Actually I think that KOTOR 2 kinda falls apart *because* of its incoherence. If KOTOR 2 was just the really good parts with Kreia and Darth Sion and the Jedi Masters I'd agree with you, but it also has a lot of silly, pulpy space-schlock that doesn't work at all like the Onderon Civil War, the Mercenaries who want to take over Khoonda because reasons, and that entire madness with the Exchange on Nar Shadaa.

You do bring up a good point though, but I think there's a bit of a difference between "Let's create a thematic clash purposefully in a very controlled way in order to make a point" and "Let's throw this in and not consider the consequences." If Xaurips were clearly meant to be a deconstruction of Kobolds that'd be one thing, but they're not, at least not given what we've seen of them so far.

Edited by Micamo, 11 July 2014 - 06:12 AM.

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#118
Valmy

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I don't have a problem with people replying and voicing their opinions. What I have a problem with is the white-knighting and jumping at peoples throats.

 

 

It sure sounds like you do.  If somebody sees Obsidian's actions differently than their most outspoken critics you think they are wrong to speak out.  I fundamentally agree with you that Obsidian better have a good explanation on backing out of their promise here.



#119
Valmy

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please, check out the monster thread in my sig. If a bunch of us forumites can come up with a diverse range of original monsters, so could obsidian. There were some really cool ideas in that thread, which at the very least could serve as inspiration. Yes, most backers backed because they wanted to have their classic RPG feels back. I don't think new and interesting enemies would stand in the way of that.
 

 

I guess my thinking is there will be a wide variety of enemies, like a classic RPG.  They have some stock monsters that are being done in interesting ways here and to me that bodes well.  Now if they do NOT have a wide variety of interesting enemies with interesting abilities I will be pretty annoyed no matter how innovative they may or may not be.  Man in so many RPGs today no only are the enemies sort of samey but they often literally ARE the same thing over and over again.  Like the Darkspawn in DA:O.



#120
rjshae

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I hope you guys have more to show us than elementals, kobolds and mindflayers. I mean, visually they look great, especially the elementals, but I was hoping for more originality than variations on a theme. Please tell me there are more creatures in the world than just bipedal humanoids. It's one of those areas where you could have stunned me with your creativity but didn't. I was just hoping for some more originality.

Now, sure, you've not shown me your whole bestiary, but you did select these specific three for your presentation. Well I'm unimpressed.

 

Honestly, I feel as though a lot of the things they could've done very different, where they could have chosen to do some weird and very non-standard stuff, but didn't, they did because of their initial campaign and their backers. Many of these conservative decisions were probably made because many backers wanted a more standard fantasy game. A game with these elementals, kobolds, and mindflayers. But can you imagine the **** Obsidian would get if they went full on weird? I mean, they've been getting **** for as small things as including guns in the game and not having a super-macho, bulky, beefy male warrior companion. 

 

Yes, the reasoning goes something like this:

  • We want to fund you to create a game that's just like the old school IE series.
  • We want to fund you to create a game that is completely unlike anything else.

Why can't you be original, creative, derivative, and grant us our total nostalgia fix, Obsidian? :huh:


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