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whats the difference between camping (camping fire) and camping (visionary scene), I always felt like the visionary campscene meant I was going a little crazier?

 

None. It seems to just be a visual.

 

 

It could be remnant of system (although I have my doubts) that would have worked as way to limit how much time player character has to solve their problem/s, but which has dropped because time limits to finish the game was seen as bad thing by lots of backers and/or they realized that it don't work well with how they want to tell the story and/or limit the players. 

 

 

I doubt that a time limit was ever seriously considered (...unfortunately) but I definitely think that it's a remnant, too.


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Okay, so the Biawac turns you into a watcher? So why does the player survive the biawac when no one else does? Everyone you meet seems to believe that biawacs are usually pretty fatal. If biawacs sometimes result in watchers, then there should be more lore surrounding that.

First of all, biawacs only became an issue about 15 years ago, when Thaos began using those machines to cause the hollowbirths. So there can't be many Watchers created by biawacs.

As for why the wind couldn't lift your soul, I'm fine with the dwarf lady's theory that the soul was too strong and heavy, however weird it sounds. She states that some souls do not lose bits of themselves in the Wheel "through some force of defiance". The way I understand this, the unresolved question from that missionary life troubled PC's soul so greatly that it kept it from falling apart through different reincarnations.

Edited by Yria
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I think a lot of the problem here is that we've grown accustomed to games that "show", rather than "tell". Most of the criticism I'm seeing relates to not being "shown". While I would argue that there is a fair amount of "show", I don't think there is much (if any) room for debate re: whether or not we've been "told".


"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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But you see people left and right, sometimes just walking across the street, too. What you say might be true, and I'm convinced it is true to at least an extent, but you also see souls of all kinds here and there, some recently deceased (Bear-mauled guy, Kid in Ondra's Gift) and some that died at least a decade ago (Temple of Eothas).

 

But suddenly Defiance Bay appears mostly devoid of these random flashes. It's odd.

 

And I'm willing to accept the whole "over the course of the game"-thing, but I still feel it should've been conveyed to the player, and if it's intended to be gradual, that still doesn't explain why you'd jump at the chance of fixing this. If the "you're going mad" is gradual, then the push on you, your reason for investigating this issue, should also be gradual.

 

Well, you see both, apparently - the souls of the recently diseased (or of people that refused to let go) and memories of your past lifes.

It seems that they deliberately kept that memory thing vague, though, so it's probably no wonder that it's confusing at times.

 

In Defiance Bay they either forgot about it or there's simply no reason to have memories appearing to you - the city is likely too new, being founded long after the Inquisitor incarnation, where most of your memories come from had died.

 

There are several occasions of soul-reading in Defiance Bay, however.

 

First of all, biawacs only became an issue about 15 years ago, when Thaos began using those machines to cause the hollowbirths. So there can't be many Watchers created by biawacs.

As for why the wind couldn't lift your soul, I'm fine with the dwarf lady's theory that the soul was too strong and heavy, however weird it sounds. She states that some souls do not lose bits of themselves in the Wheel "through some force of defiance". The way I understand this, the unresolved question from that missionary life troubled PC's soul so greatly that it kept it from falling apart through different reincarnations.

 

 

I'm not sure if the Biawacs are always caused by the Engwithan machines and only happen since 15 years. In fact I think that they are just a minor side effect of the machines and usually happen naturally.

Edited by El Zoido

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Some of us are Icewind Dale fans who liked to create a thematic party full of custom characters. Sure, we can basically have a full party of our own characters in PoE, but the leader (MC) must be a watcher is almost inescapable in every sense. I can't even hide it! I had hoped it would somewhat plays off like in Skyrim where we aren't forced to go along with the main storyline and still able to explore almost the whole region. But, hey, Icewind Dale fans are the minorities in comparison to the BG/PST fans; I'm happy enough that I get to create a full party of custom characters even though the voice-sets are limited and character bios are non-existent.

Edited by Kenji

*throws smoke bombs in the thread and vanishes into the dark corners of the forums*

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I think the player being a Watcher is a cool concept, but they couldn't decide whether this should make the player feel like he's a dying man, or the Chosen One. The end result ended up being a weird mishmash of both - being a Watcher is described as a curse, but his abilities conveniently manifest when and where they are needed. They are unique and useful, his status as a Watcher opens many doors closed to others and lends him credibility despite his background. Through most of the game, I felt like my character was a "chosen snowflake" reveling in his unique power rather than a cursed man trying to stave off death.

 

It really doesn't help that Maerwald makes a poor example for the player's fate. Maerwald's past lives were tightly related  - for example, one of his incarnations was conceived via rape by a raider who killed the mother's family and dedicated its life to exterminating his father's clan. Considering a soul can be reborn anywhere as any living creature, or even several creatures, Maerwald being a Watcher AND his past lives interacting with each other feels like a freak accident. None of the other Watchers mentioned in the game seemed to suffer from such issues, either.

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I'm not sure if the Biawacs are always caused by the Engwithan machines and only happen since 15 years. In fact I think that they are just a minor side effect of the machines and usually happen naturally.

This is entirely possible, but if biawacs can happen all on their on, then it's a bit strange they only happen in Eir Glanfath. 

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It feels like that Obsidian was trying to mimic the Bhaal-Spawn from Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, but rolled a critical failure.  For POE, The Watcher would inevitably go mad - while in BG, many people wanted to kill the player on account of being a Bhaal-Spawn.  The threat of Bhaal is much more concrete, while the "madness" of the Watcher is...well...hm.  I dunno.

 

To say the least, Obsidian really needs to hammer home the Watcher's madness if they want to make it a worthwhile gimmick.

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This is entirely possible, but if biawacs can happen all on their on, then it's a bit strange they only happen in Eir Glanfath. 

 

 

Adra too only seems to exist in Eir Glanfath. So it might be a property of the land. Or it's indeed linked to the Engwithans in some other way. Who knows, the game seems pretty vague on this.

 

It feels like that Obsidian was trying to mimic the Bhaal-Spawn from Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, but rolled a critical failure.  For POE, The Watcher would inevitably go mad - while in BG, many people wanted to kill the player on account of being a Bhaal-Spawn.  The threat of Bhaal is much more concrete, while the "madness" of the Watcher is...well...hm.  I dunno.

 

To say the least, Obsidian really needs to hammer home the Watcher's madness if they want to make it a worthwhile gimmick.

 

The possible madness is caused by your awakening creating an internal conflict for your soul due to something from your past life troubling you, not by being a watcher. It's indeed kept very much in the background, though, so I found it hard to judge what Obsidian intended with it.

The question is how could they convey effects of a potential madness to the player without running into further problems?

They could add some more flavour text and visual effects once in a while, but that won't satisfy many players, since it will still be inconsequential. Probably still better than nothing, though.

If they e.g. create some effect that will negatively impact the player character, they could only use it for a very limited amount of time, otherwise it will be detrimental to the enjoyment of most people (because who wants to play a permanently gimped character). In effect you would have some impact and receive a quest to get rid of it again asap.

Then of course they could give some beneficial effects, but then again many people will complain that the madness thing doesn't feel like a problem, after all it makes you stronger.

Edited by El Zoido

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I find these paragraphs from the lore book:

"There also exist certain unique individuals, typically referred to as “Watchers,” who, either through freak accidents or the proddings of animancy, are able to remember the way they perceived the world, just before passing beyond the Shroud—they can see and detect wayward souls in the world, and in some cases commune with them. Watchers possess the mental fortitude to access the soul-memory of others—extending sometimes several lives into the past—and often either lend assistance in crises of the self or use such crises to their own advantage. They can also unlock latent personalities, and interpret the seemingly indecipherable meaning of visions glimpsed from Beyond. Lost souls, who otherwise navigate the world in blindness, see Watchers as beacons of light and hope. Among Watchers, it is common for souls to trail in their wake like an ethereal caravan. 

Awakening is a frequent hazard among Watchers. Because of their attunement to the ethereal realm, deep and vivid consciousness of their own souls is often inadvertently triggered, and it is not uncommon for the Watcher to project such powerful visions into the real world as visible manifestations. As a consequence, elaborate delusions have been known to coalesce and drive Watchers to madhouses or even early graves."

 

From which we can see that being watcher is not bad thing, but being watcher that has been awakened is hazardous and as freak accident that make PC watcher and event that awakened PC happened same time is the root of PCs problems. As people have already said in this thread. 

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I find these paragraphs from the lore book:

"There also exist certain unique individuals, typically referred to as “Watchers,” who, either through freak accidents or the proddings of animancy, are able to remember the way they perceived the world, just before passing beyond the Shroud—they can see and detect wayward souls in the world, and in some cases commune with them. Watchers possess the mental fortitude to access the soul-memory of others—extending sometimes several lives into the past—and often either lend assistance in crises of the self or use such crises to their own advantage. They can also unlock latent personalities, and interpret the seemingly indecipherable meaning of visions glimpsed from Beyond. Lost souls, who otherwise navigate the world in blindness, see Watchers as beacons of light and hope. Among Watchers, it is common for souls to trail in their wake like an ethereal caravan. 

Awakening is a frequent hazard among Watchers. Because of their attunement to the ethereal realm, deep and vivid consciousness of their own souls is often inadvertently triggered, and it is not uncommon for the Watcher to project such powerful visions into the real world as visible manifestations. As a consequence, elaborate delusions have been known to coalesce and drive Watchers to madhouses or even early graves."

 

From which we can see that being watcher is not bad thing, but being watcher that has been awakened is hazardous and as freak accident that make PC watcher and event that awakened PC happened same time is the root of PCs problems. As people have already said in this thread. 

 

You know what? That excerpt alone conveyed the whole "Awakened and Watcher are completely separate things and it's a problem that you are both" better than the entire game does. The game should've done a much better job of driving that point home, maybe even not have had you Awaken at the same time you became a Watcher.


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I think they wanted to keep it vague in a "WTF is happening with me" kind of way - after all there's no reason for most of the character backgrounds to know what's going on and the setting is new for the player as well.

In a way I liked that, but they probably stayed a bit too ambigous.

It really only became clear what's going on with that madness thing once you came to Twin Elms and talked to the two tree-women, and then many players probably missed it.

There have been hints and such before - one could figure as much from the chat with Maerwald, but that was never very obvious.

Edited by El Zoido

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Well it was pretty clear that Maerwald was insane, but the conclusion that you would end up like Maerwald because you were Awakened/a Watcher (the ambiguity with these two things happening at once doesn't help) is a logical leap.

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I think they wanted to keep it vague in a "WTF is happening with me" kind of way - after all there's no reason for most of the character backgrounds to know what's going on and the setting is new for the player as well.

In a way I liked that, but they probably stayed a bit too ambigous.

It really only became clear what's going on with that madness thing once you came to Twin Elms and talked to the two tree-women, and only then many players probably missed it.

There have been hints and such before - one could figure as much from the chat with Maerwald, but that was never very obvious.

 

It's fine to be ambiguous, but if you are, you shouldn't have other key characteristics of the plot hinge on the player understanding the specifics. Based on Elerond's excerpt, being Awakened isn't great, but it can be OK, and being a Watcher is sorta awesome, and being both is devastating. No-where in the game do I feel that this point is driven home or explained, yet it is kept as a key rationale for the main plot, and the player is expected to care.

 

At the very start of the game, it's not very clear whether you're Awakened or a Watcher, or if they're just different words for the same thing, or if you awakened and became a Watcher. I think it's exactly like you say, though - they wanted to keep it a bit mysterious, a bit unclear, but I think that in doing so, they made a mistake in storytelling, and failed to convey the distinctions, which really affects the motivations of the player, since you can actually do a pretty good job of arguing in-character that what happened to Maerwald won't happen to you.

 

All it would've taken was someone saying "No way, bub. Had you been Awakened, you'd have a clouded noggin', but the animancers could probably clear that up. And had you just been a Watcher, you could've gone for decades with no problem. But you're both. You dun' screwed now."

 

Or simply split up the event at which time you became a Watcher and not have you become Awakened until another Act entirely, at which point "the real" story would start. The entire first act could be about you trying to figure out what you are, and what Watchers are, and then when you have, wooosh, s**t you're awakened, welcome to crazytown.


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I think that Obsidian should add mechanics to make the Awakening leave an impact on the player.  For example, say you come across a group of standard monsters.  No big deal...then the Watcher "Awakens".  This alters the party, world, and monsters in a way that makes the battle become much more difficult - the monsters changing into different beings, the terrain bearing dangerous spirit-plants that grasp for the living, the true nature of the companions being unveiled.  Events that are meant to disturb the player and to endanger the protagonist.

 

The lore that Luckmann posted supports the concept:

 

 

Awakening is a frequent hazard among Watchers. Because of their attunement to the ethereal realm, deep and vivid consciousness of their own souls is often inadvertently triggered, and it is not uncommon for the Watcher to project such powerful visions into the real world as visible manifestations.

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Hm, as long as they don't overuse it, some manifestations would have been interesting. Not in a way that totally altered existing monsters maybe (I don't think that would make too much sense), but in the form of enemies appearing at certain points in the game, where some memory got triggered.

 

 

At the very start of the game, it's not very clear whether you're Awakened or a Watcher, or if they're just different words for the same thing, or if you awakened and became a Watcher. I think it's exactly like you say, though - they wanted to keep it a bit mysterious, a bit unclear, but I think that in doing so, they made a mistake in storytelling, and failed to convey the distinctions, which really affects the motivations of the player, since you can actually do a pretty good job of arguing in-character that what happened to Maerwald won't happen to you.

 

I think at the start you initially don't know anything anyway and only once you reach Gilded Vale and talk to the dead dwarf women you find out about being a watcher. The whole awakened thing, though? I don't really remember when that was first brought up...

Edited by El Zoido

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Maerwald


"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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Yep. Two major "boss dialogs" in Act 1: the first discusses being a Watcher, the second discusses being Awakened.


"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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