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I don't see why the Watcher has to be a "canon" anything.

 

The whole fun of rpgs is being able to craft your own character, with his or her own background.

 

If you want your Watcher to be aro/ace then by all means. But other players also have the right to make their character something else.

 

This is partly why I'm against romance. It's impossible to please everyone and adding Romance will just leave some players unsatisfied that their particular orientation or interests is not represented. 

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I don't get why people automatically assume that if there will be romances everyone will start screaming they want to romance everything that walks. I haven't seen any of that in most recent game that announced this - DOS2.

I'm sure most of the people who want romances will be content with 1-2 options for males and females. And as for all those LGBT\trans\asexual\whatever requests - most of them are made by very vocal minority of actually straight people wanting to try something queer, which can easily be ignored in favor of what the majority will actually want to play - straight romances.

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If you want your Watcher to be aro/ace then by all means. But other players also have the right to make their character something else.

 

This is partly why I'm against romance. It's impossible to please everyone and adding Romance will just leave some players unsatisfied that their particular orientation or interests is not represented. 

 

Well, there is a certain contradiction here:

 

If you dogmatically exclude everything about love and mutual affection you automatically make the PC an aro-ace character  for everybody.

 

Including the possibility to evolve different human relationships and emotional states (including love and mutual affection) gives the player the choice to roleplay their PC on a human level without having to play a character that seems to have no interest at all in everything romantic. You could still roleplay an aro-ace characer by just not following any possibility to deepen certain relationships.  ;)

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If you want your Watcher to be aro/ace then by all means. But other players also have the right to make their character something else.

 

This is partly why I'm against romance. It's impossible to please everyone and adding Romance will just leave some players unsatisfied that their particular orientation or interests is not represented. 

 

Well, there is a certain contradiction here:

 

If you dogmatically exclude everything about love and mutual affection you automatically make the PC an aro-ace character  for everybody.

 

Including the possibility to evolve different human relationships and emotional states (including love and mutual affection) gives the player the choice to roleplay their PC on a human level without having to play a character that seems to have no interest at all in everything romantic. You could still roleplay an aro-ace characer by just not following any possibility to deepen certain relationships.  ;)

 

 

Fair enough. I didn't really think of it that way.

 

You are still able to talk to prostitutes, flirt with the delemgan at Elm's reach and such which is why I thought about it this way.

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If you want your Watcher to be aro/ace then by all means. But other players also have the right to make their character something else.

 

This is partly why I'm against romance. It's impossible to please everyone and adding Romance will just leave some players unsatisfied that their particular orientation or interests is not represented. 

 

Well, there is a certain contradiction here:

 

If you dogmatically exclude everything about love and mutual affection you automatically make the PC an aro-ace character  for everybody.

 

Including the possibility to evolve different human relationships and emotional states (including love and mutual affection) gives the player the choice to roleplay their PC on a human level without having to play a character that seems to have no interest at all in everything romantic. You could still roleplay an aro-ace characer by just not following any possibility to deepen certain relationships.  ;)

 

 

Fair enough. I didn't really think of it that way.

 

You are still able to talk to prostitutes, flirt with the delemgan at Elm's reach and such which is why I thought about it this way.

 

 

If anything they should exclude prostitutes from the game. It's almost cynical that Obsidian included love for sale while excluding anything about real love. Just saying...

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If you dogmatically exclude everything about love and mutual affection you automatically make the PC an aro-ace character  for everybody.

 

Not really. If I go hiking with my university hiking club, and I'm not attracted to anyone on the trip and vice versa, no romances are going to happen. This doesn't make me aromantic.

 

Honestly, to make the Watcher aromantic and/or asexual (I refuse to use the term aro-ace) would, I think, actually require them to find themselves in a position where someone else is making romantic or sexual advances towards them and the Watcher then expresses their disinterest. A simple absence of romances just indicates that no one is interested in anyone (which is a pretty normal state for most people most of the time).

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If you dogmatically exclude everything about love and mutual affection you automatically make the PC an aro-ace character  for everybody.

 

Not really. If I go hiking with my university hiking club, and I'm not attracted to anyone on the trip and vice versa, no romances are going to happen. This doesn't make me aromantic.

 

True, but that's the wrong angle to tackle the issue imo. What happens if you find somebody on that hiking trip pretty attractive and you'd really like to go forward, trying your luck?

 

That way of roleplaying human relationships is impossible in PoE because it's pretty impersonal in general. You simply have no chance to establish a relationship that is based on any real affection, so you have to act like you were interested in nobody. And yes, not being interested in establishing a relationship doesn't make one aromantic. Maybe all your mates are just not interesting. While not being aromantic in general, you don't act in any romantic way in this situation only. But that's the way PoE deals with the issue in general. You have to act aromantic in PoE all the time because you simply have no other choice. And that's a severe limitation to roleplay IMO.

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I don't see why the Watcher has to be a "canon" anything.

 

The whole fun of rpgs is being able to craft your own character, with his or her own background.

 

If you want your Watcher to be aro/ace then by all means. But other players also have the right to make their character something else.

 

This is partly why I'm against romance. It's impossible to please everyone and adding Romance will just leave some players unsatisfied that their particular orientation or interests is not represented. 

 

The problem with "You can be ANYTHING" is that it's not only impossible in practice, it also ignores a fundamental aspect of how non-deterministic storytelling works. Every branching path, by its mere existence, is a thematic statement on the part of the storyteller. And the paths that *don't* exist even moreso. And even if you attempt to subvert this and include as many paths as possible, the ones you exclude by necessity make statements of their own whether you want them to or not. If you don't choose the things you want your story to say, then your carelessness will shine through.

 

What do you think it says that Pillars 1 includes a mechanic where if you have Dex 19 then you're just *so good* at sex that prostitutes give you your money back, but treats Kana with contempt because he wants to date Maneha?

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You have to act aromantic in PoE all the time because you simply have no other choice.

 

See to me acting aromantically is quite different to not acting romantically. Someone who is aromantic is not simply a person who has never found someone they are romantically attracted to, they are someone for whom the very notion of romance is foreign or even off-putting. To role-play aromanticity actually requires a potential romantic encounter to occur, at least in my opinion.

 

And that's a severe limitation to roleplay IMO.

 

 

Agree, but unfortunately until something close to real AI is invented, CRPGs are always going to be severly limited in their role-playability. 

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See to me acting aromantically is quite different to not acting romantically. Someone who is aromantic is not simply a person who has never found someone they are romantically attracted to, they are someone for whom the very notion of romance is foreign or even off-putting. To role-play aromanticity actually requires a potential romantic encounter to occur, at least in my opinion.

We can argue about the very denition about aromantic but it's not relevant. I think we both know what I meant. ;)

 

Agree, but unfortunately until something close to real AI is invented, CRPGs are always going to be severly limited in their role-playability.

Of course. The question is whether it's a good idea to dogmatically exclude all aspects of a core experience of most human beings from the game while stating at the same time that you wanted to tell a deep and complex story. That's imo a contradiction. I know that options are always limited and there is no freedom to do anything you like. But if all aspects of personal love and affection are just excluded from the game there is a core aspect of human life and a core aspect of human motivation missing. Edited by LordCrash
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We can argue about the very denition about aromantic but it's not relevant. I think we both know what I meant. ;)

 

Yeah I guess. Sorry I was still focused on the suggestion of making the Watcher aromantic and asexual, and as far as I understand it those terms refer to a to people who aren't interested in romance or sex fundamentally (rather than having not yet found someone they are romantically or sexually interested in). But yeah, I get that you meant "the game forces you to not be romantic".

 

Of course. The question is whether it's a good idea to dogmatically exclude all aspects of a core experience of most human beings from the game while stating at the same time that you wanted to tell a deep and complex story. That's imo a contradiction. I know that options are always limited and there is no freedom to do anything you like. But if all aspects of personal love and affection are just excluded from the game there is a core aspect of human life and a core aspect of human motivation missing.

 

 

I still disagree. I've read a lot of novels in my life, many of which I would describe as deep and complex. Some of those had no romance or sex at all, whilst others had romance and sex at their very core. The variety of human experience is such that we can explore one small aspect of it and still tell a deep and complex story. PoE, and perhaps Deadfire, happen to be stories that focus on other aspects of human experience. They are not by definition shallow and simple simply because they don't deal with romance and sexuality.

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I still disagree. I've read a lot of novels in my life, many of which I would describe as deep and complex. Some of those had no romance or sex at all, whilst others had romance and sex at their very core.

You read good novels that include no aspect of love? I doubt that such a novel exists, really.

 

The variety of human experience is such that we can explore one small aspect of it and still tell a deep and complex story. PoE, and perhaps Deadfire, happen to be stories that focus on other aspects of human experience. They are not by definition shallow and simple simply because they don't deal with romance and sexuality.

Love and affection cover a much broader topic than "romance and sexuality". As a matter of fact, aspects of love are everything the human experience is all about. It's the core motivation of doing almost anything that you don't only do for yourself (and even then you could call it love for yourself). Again, I don't only mean "Bioware romance", I talk about the whole range of human emotions that are connected with the overall term of "love". And I'm still convinced that PoE is way too shallow on the topic. It missed to really connect its high-flying philosophical questions with down-to-earth personal motivation, coming from within.
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You read good novels that include no aspect of love? I doubt that such a novel exists, really.

 

By your proceeding definition of love, perhaps not, but we're discussing this in a thread about romance and I can assure you there are plenty of excellent novels that don't have any romantic or sexual elements.

 

Love and affection cover a much broader topic than "romance and sexuality". As a matter of fact, aspects of love are everything the human experience is all about. It's the core motivation of doing almost anything that you don't only do for yourself (and even then you could call it love for yourself). Again, I don't only mean "Bioware romance", I talk about the whole range of human emotions that are connected with the overall term of "love". And I'm still convinced that PoE is way too shallow on the topic. It missed to really connect its high-flying philosophical questions with down-to-earth personal motivation, coming from within.

 

 

Now who's playing with definitions :p

 

The problem with your definition is I don't think it's true that PoE lacked this sort of thing. Every time I do the quest for Calisca's sister I have to think quite deeply about what my current character would do: would they lie to her in the hope that the potion helps anyway, or do they value the truth. Similarly the relationship with Eder as he learns about his brother, and how you choose to respond to his discoveries fits this mold (similarly for Aloth and his awakening). Could it have contained more? Sure, and that would be a great thing and I hope Deadfire does, but I don't think it's fair to say it's shallow on the topic.

 

But let's be clear: this is a thread about romances and whilst I am sure most people aren't looking for Bioware style romances, I think it's pretty clear that people are looking for the addition of romantic and/or sexual relationships, not some abstract concept of love.

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By your proceeding definition of love, perhaps not, but we're discussing this in a thread about romance and I can assure you there are plenty of excellent novels that don't have any romantic or sexual elements.

It's actually no "proceeding" definition of mine. I rather guess that you didn't read my other posts in this thread in which I talked at length about my vision for emotional storytelling and the possible inclusion of aspects of love and human affection. ;)

 

The problem with your definition is I don't think it's true that PoE lacked this sort of thing. Every time I do the quest for Calisca's sister I have to think quite deeply about what my current character would do: would they lie to her in the hope that the potion helps anyway, or do they value the truth. Similarly the relationship with Eder as he learns about his brother, and how you choose to respond to his discoveries fits this mold (similarly for Aloth and his awakening). Could it have contained more? Sure, and that would be a great thing and I hope Deadfire does, but I don't think it's fair to say it's shallow on the topic.

Yes, but all that stuff happens to other characters. There is no real emotional integration of the PC into the world. What's he caring about? And more important, whom is he caring about? Whom does s/he love? It's very fundamental question to establish motivation. And I personally think that PoE was pretty thin here and that it was never able to show that the PC really cared deeply for other people. Sure, there were some quests with personal decisions that included an emotional level like you mentioned above. But I don't think that this is enough. Every deep story is about aspects of love at its very core, not about some abstract philosophical questions or obtuse motives. A hero's call without real, personal emotional affection isn't really believable. That's not how people act in reality.

 

But let's be clear: this is a thread about romances and whilst I am sure most people aren't looking for Bioware style romances, I think it's pretty clear that people are looking for the addition of romantic and/or sexual relationships, not some abstract concept of love.

I think there are many different people here having many different ideas, visions and expectations in mind. After all, we all want to discuss ways in which the game could benefit from including romantic topics. Some want "simple" romances that lead to sexual encounters others want a deeper integration of emotional storytelling and love. I don't think there is anything wrong with discussing different aspects here. Everybody is free to ignore my comments anyway. ;) Edited by LordCrash
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Yes, but all that stuff happens to other characters. There is no real emotional integration of the PC into the world. What's he caring about? And more important, whom is he caring about? Whom does s/he love? It's very fundamental question to establish motivation. And I personally think that PoE was pretty thin here and that it was never able to show that the PC really cared deeply for other people. Sure, there were some quests with personal decisions that included an emotional level like you mentioned above. But I don't think that this is enough. Every deep story is about aspects of love at its very core, not about some abstract philosophical questions or obtuse motives. A hero's call without real, personal emotional affection isn't really believable. That's not how people act in reality.

The problem with this is if Obsidian goes too detailed in what the character wants, loves, cares about, etc...it will go too close to a "predefined" character. Since this is a Role Playing game you are expected to some extent fill in some of the blanks. Make up your own reasoning on what your Watcher cares about and why s/he acts the way s/he does. I've played through the game dozens of times and have never had an issue.

 

Now I'm not saying more choices would be bad. In fact I'd love to have more flavor text based off reputation, race, class, profession and such that would further allow you to build your character. But forcing certain traits onto a character like I said is making the Watcher too close to a predefined character. What if I want to play as a ruthless Watcher, yet the devs add some predefined text about him doing X because he cares about the world?

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It's actually no "proceeding" definition of mine. I rather guess that you didn't read my other posts in this thread in which I talked at length about my vision for emotional storytelling and the possible inclusion of aspects of love and human affection. ;)

 

I've read every post in this thread, though I can't remember the content of them all. I used the term "proceeding" because the next part of your post describes love in a particular way, that's all.

 

Yes, but all that stuff happens to other characters. There is no real emotional integration of the PC into the world. What's he caring about? And more important, whom is he caring about? Whom does s/he love? It's very fundamental question to establish motivation. And I personally think that PoE was pretty thin here and that it was never able to show that the PC really cared deeply for other people. Sure, there were some quests with personal decisions that included an emotional level like you mentioned above. But I don't think that this is enough. 

 

What options are there for making a player feel that their character is emotionally attached to the world. As far as I can tell, either the developer forces certain character motivations on the player (thus restricting role-play options) or they leave motivation up to the player and let them express this motivation in how they resolve quests and how they respond, in dialogue, to various events.

 

I'd agree that PoE was a little weak on the latter, but so long as your game is supposed to allow for freedom of role-playing this is always going to be something of a problem. I know of people who found the early part of BG2 annoying, because it assumed that they wanted to rescue Imoen whereas they actually hated Imoen's character from how she was in BG1. 

 

Every deep story is about aspects of love at its very core, not about some abstract philosophical questions or obtuse motives.

 

 

In your opinion. 

 

I think there are many different people here having many different ideas, visions and expectations in mind. After all, we all want to discuss ways in which the game could benefit from including romantic topics. Some want "simple" romances that lead to sexual encounters others want a deeper integration of emotional storytelling and love. I don't think there is anything wrong with discussing different aspects here. Everybody is free to ignore my comments anyway.  ;)

 

 

Of course there's nothing wrong with discussing different things, but I very much doubt (m)any other poster in this thread has such a broad notion of romance as you.

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I still disagree. I've read a lot of novels in my life, many of which I would describe as deep and complex. Some of those had no romance or sex at all, whilst others had romance and sex at their very core.

You read good novels that include no aspect of love? I doubt that such a novel exists, really.

 

Huh? Lots of the great sci-fi classics have little to no romantic or sexual aspects, though none of them are explicitly aro-ace either.

Love and affection cover a much broader topic than "romance and sexuality". As a matter of fact, aspects of love are everything the human experience is all about. It's the core motivation of doing almost anything that you don't only do for yourself (and even then you could call it love for yourself).

Microaggression much? Look I know what you're trying to do here but you're not helping anyone by going about it this way. Love, even metaphorical love, is far from the end-all be all of human experience and pretending that it is as a rhetorical tactic is very harmful to the people you're trying to defend.

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Yes, but all that stuff happens to other characters. There is no real emotional integration of the PC into the world. What's he caring about? And more important, whom is he caring about? Whom does s/he love? It's very fundamental question to establish motivation. And I personally think that PoE was pretty thin here and that it was never able to show that the PC really cared deeply for other people. Sure, there were some quests with personal decisions that included an emotional level like you mentioned above. But I don't think that this is enough. Every deep story is about aspects of love at its very core, not about some abstract philosophical questions or obtuse motives. A hero's call without real, personal emotional affection isn't really believable. That's not how people act in reality.

The problem with this is if Obsidian goes too detailed in what the character wants, loves, cares about, etc...it will go too close to a "predefined" character. Since this is a Role Playing game you are expected to some extent fill in some of the blanks. Make up your own reasoning on what your Watcher cares about and why s/he acts the way s/he does. I've played through the game dozens of times and have never had an issue.

 

Now I'm not saying more choices would be bad. In fact I'd love to have more flavor text based off reputation, race, class, profession and such that would further allow you to build your character. But forcing certain traits onto a character like I said is making the Watcher too close to a predefined character. What if I want to play as a ruthless Watcher, yet the devs add some predefined text about him doing X because he cares about the world?

 

I don't want to force any trait on the PC. I want situations that emotionally affect the PC on a very internal and personal level. HOW the player react to that situations is completely up to them and Obsidian should offer different way of covering with the situation.

 

Classic example for such a situation: A person the PC loves dies. Maybe his/her mother or his/her sister/brother or his wife/her spouse. That's something that would probably affect everybody. It's not a limitation of roleplaying. It's now up to the developer to offer different ways to react to that. One possibility could be the wish for revenge. Another one could be to close the world out and revel in sadness. Another one could be that the PC wanted to help other people in memory of his/her lost one.

 

That's the kind of direct, personal, emotional motivation that drives a believable character. And that's just one example, a journey/adventure should be full of events that might change how the player reacts to the world, both intellectually but also emotionally. Companions - as close brother in arms that gather around you - are a near perfect possibility to explore such personal topics that establish, change and deepen personal motivations.

 

And of course that doesn't exclude possible evil ways. It's a very flawed concept about evil characters that they were not driven by their own motivations that seem plausible and valid in their perspective. Often people do bad things while thinking they'd had no other choice or while thinking that this might be necessary for some greater good. That's the interesting kind of evil that is also deeply rooted in emotional experiences and aspects of love. Heck, very often evil characters are defined by a lack of love. This is the very reason why they exist and act in the first place. Most evil actions make absolutely no sense at all if you don't inlcude aspects of love in the narrative.

 

 

 

You read good novels that include no aspect of love? I doubt that such a novel exists, really.

Huh? Lots of the great sci-fi classics have little to no romantic or sexual aspects, though none of them are explicitly aro-ace either.

 

I speak about "aspects lo love", you speak about "romantic or sexual aspects". Yours is just a tiny part of mine, hence the difference. ;)

 

 

Microaggression much? Look I know what you're trying to do here but you're not helping anyone by going about it this way. Love, even metaphorical love, is far from the end-all be all of human experience and pretending that it is as a rhetorical tactic is very harmful to the people you're trying to defend.

What's a "microaggression"?

 

And I don't try to defend anybody nor do I have any kind of agenda, mate. I just want to discuss a certain topic with others, pointing out my point of view. You're free to disagree but I'd like to see some arguments of your own instead of just trying to assume that I had some secret tactic or agenda...

 

And I DO think that all important aspects of the human life are about various aspects of love (in a very broad meaning, for example including motherly love or even affection covering a good friend). My definition of love here goes way beyond anything that is covered by romance or sexual actions.

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What options are there for making a player feel that their character is emotionally attached to the world. As far as I can tell, either the developer forces certain character motivations on the player (thus restricting role-play options) or they leave motivation up to the player and let them express this motivation in how they resolve quests and how they respond, in dialogue, to various events.

 

I'd agree that PoE was a little weak on the latter, but so long as your game is supposed to allow for freedom of role-playing this is always going to be something of a problem. I know of people who found the early part of BG2 annoying, because it assumed that they wanted to rescue Imoen whereas they actually hated Imoen's character from how she was in BG1.

Well, PoE is still a story-driven game. It's not a "make-your-own-story" open world game like Skyrim. I don't see why the story in Pillars must be pretty impersonal and unemotional by definition. I mean, it's already there and it won't go. I just don't think that the story in PoE provided a good peronal motivation for the PC in many aspects, especially when we look at the main story.

 

 

Every deep story is about aspects of love at its very core, not about some abstract philosophical questions or obtuse motives.

 

In your opinion.

 

Naturally. Everything I post is first and foremost just my opinion. ;)
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What options are there for making a player feel that their character is emotionally attached to the world. As far as I can tell, either the developer forces certain character motivations on the player (thus restricting role-play options) or they leave motivation up to the player and let them express this motivation in how they resolve quests and how they respond, in dialogue, to various events.

 

I'd agree that PoE was a little weak on the latter, but so long as your game is supposed to allow for freedom of role-playing this is always going to be something of a problem. I know of people who found the early part of BG2 annoying, because it assumed that they wanted to rescue Imoen whereas they actually hated Imoen's character from how she was in BG1.

Well, PoE is still a story-driven game. It's not a "make-your-own-story" open world game like Skyrim. I don't see why the story in Pillars must be pretty impersonal and unemotional by definition. I mean, it's already there and it won't go. I just don't think that the story in PoE provided a good peronal motivation for the PC in many aspects, especially when we look at the main story.

 

 

Every deep story is about aspects of love at its very core, not about some abstract philosophical questions or obtuse motives.

 

In your opinion.

 

Naturally. Everything I post is first and foremost just my opinion. ;)

 

 

I mean being Awakened sounds like it sucks :p and many of these things can be filled in with your own imagination.

 

Though they could certainly improve on certain aspects of it. Like White March did it pretty well.

 

It gave you a very nice selection of motivations for opening Durgan's Battery and such.

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I mean being Awakened sounds like it sucks :p

To me it sounds like a completely obtuse concept that has no foundation in reality. It's a philosophical concept that sounds interesting, yes, but at the same time it's something nobody can really relate to. No empathy possible for "soul ripping" or "being awakened". It's not an emotional motivation that normal people can understand and therefore feel, it's the typical stuff (over-)ambitious writers mistake for good storytelling while completely missing psychology. Edited by LordCrash
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Feargus

 

DEVELOPER

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'll have a new update with a new stretch goal soon. We'll also have another update later (but not too much later) with Josh talking about romances.

 

 

 

 

Feb 2, 2017 | 08:04 PM

https://www.fig.co/campaigns/deadfire?update=247#forum Edited by Gairnulf
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A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
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@LordCrash: I completely agree about (paraphrasing) how nice it would be for video games to include deeper emotional connections than just marauding around the countryside, killing random people, looting their trousers, and recruiting other combatants to help you. It doesn't have to be Harlequin Romance-esque sex scenes, but the very detached and impersonal nature of many video game character interactions does wear on me.

 

I gush about Aloth a lot, but one of the reasons he's my favorite character is because... well, his friendship with the Watcher is one of the few relationships in the game that feels close and personal. Everyone is mainly just traveling with you out of convenience. While dialogue options allow you to be polite and supportive or cruel and dismissive, none of them allow the Watcher to convey, "I really care about you. You feel like family to me." Even if you're as nice as can possibly be (as I was with everyone but Durance), they still treat you like a detached acquaintance. I know that's what you are, but it's also too bad there's no option to forge stronger friendships or relationships or interactions.

 

Aloth's personal quest in Act 2, where the Watcher helps him open up about his traumatic childhood, still gives me the warm fuzzies. This sounds so freaking juvenile, but the scene where he's overwhelmed by trauma and the Watcher can sooth him by holding his hand, still melts my heart. And not in a "romantic" way, but in a "one person reaches out and connects with another" way. That's the closest thing to the sort of close personal connections I wanted for this game. Many of the other companions' personal quests (Eder, Sagani, Kana, Hiravias, etc) come close and are nice, but none of them hold a candle to Aloth's personal quest or character development; which I think is thanks, in part, to his friendship with and esteem for the Watcher. (You wouldn't be able to affect his character development so much--suppress Iselmyr or embrace her, lead or take down t he Leaden Key--if he didn't respect you and value your opinion the way he simply doesn't for, say, Durance or Sagani.)

 

I'd like to see these sorts of things explored more in video games (since, to me, video games are interact-able stories, and stories help explore the human condition), but while most video games have combat and violence down to a science, personal relationships and interactions beyond "let's travel and kill things together" still has a way to go. For now, like you said, I feel like Romance is one of the few avenues we have to explore them.

 

 

 

I mean being Awakened sounds like it sucks :p

To me it sounds like a completely obtuse concept that has no foundation in reality. It's a philosophical concept that sounds interesting, yes, but at the same time it's something nobody can really relate to. No empathy possible for "soul ripping" or "being awakened". It's not an emotional motivation that normal people can understand and therefore feel, it's the typical stuff (over-)ambitious writers mistake for good storytelling while completely missing psychology.

 

 

I wouldn't say that.

 

I recently learned what the actual symptoms are to Schizophrenia and Dissociative Disorders, and I think an Awakened Soul sounds like that. Visual and auditory hallucinations, erratic and unpredictable thought and behavioral patterns, a "break from reality" where your mind can't tell what's real and what's not, etc. There's a reason that, in Eora, most people with damaged and Awakened souls wind up shunned, abused, or locked up in asylums, since many of them display symptoms similar to many real-world mental illnesses (from mild to severe). Just look at poor Maerwald.

 

Admittedly, some people have more experience with mental illnesses than others. I personally have a good amount of experience with the more severe and damaging ones with loved ones (from severe bipolar to borderline), and severe mental illness runs in part of my family, so the Awakened personality thing hits pretty close to home for me.

 

To me, imagining your Watcher slowly succumbing to their Awakened memories and personalities sounds like the real-world equivalent of succumbing to schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder (which occur in most adults around their late twenties--let that sink in). Slowly losing your sanity and having to find a treatment or cure before it's too late sounds terrifying to me. (Especially since I'm approaching my late twenties and there's a small chance I could develop... well...)

 

Tying this back to the discussion of romance and/or interpersonal relationships, I think the "human" part of the fear of losing one's mind would have carried more weight if you could develop close relationships with your companions. In the game they usually express mild concern (or amusement) at you since you tend to moan, twitch, and talk in your sleep, and stare slack-jawed at thin air a lot, but if you succumb to madness it's ultimately not THAT huge a deal for them. At worst, they lose someone who was going to help them with a personal quest (finding out what happened to his brother for Eder, finding out what happened to her elder for Sagani, etc), but ultimately if you wind up a raving lunatic like Maerwald they move on with their lives. Nothing gained, nothing lost. Your Watcher is also far from home and has no close friends or family members around; you're a stranger in a foreign land. And while that sounds like a sucky place to lose one's mind, it's not like we see the anguish of our family or childhood friends watching us devolve from the person they care about to a crazed beggar on the street.

 

But if you and your companions came to care about each other like family, or you developed a close romantic relationship with one of them... suddenly the dynamic is completely different. They're invested in keeping you sane because they're invested in the person they've come to care for, and/or your character has a possible added motivation of staying sane for your friends and/or bae.

 

It adds a new dynamic if you wake up one morning to see--not Eder joking about having to throw a bucket of water over you one of these days, but your love interest looking over you looking pale and haunted, with bags under their eyes, because your chronic thrashing and moaning in your sleep woke them up and they were forced to sit staring at you helplessly for hours, unable to wake you up; and these episodes are getting worse, getting longer, and it's getting harder to wake you. You don't see the worry in their eyes when you briefly zone out during a conversation with them and find out that, during that brief moment of zoning out for you, another personality started talking to them and addressing them as someone you don't remember for several minutes; nor the mounting worry on their faces as this happens more and more frequently, and for longer periods of time.

 

I think there is a way to "humanize" an Awakened soul and how it impacts the Watcher's friendships and interpersonal connections, but Obsidian steered clear of that, and left it all up to player headcanon, or just saving our sanity for sanity's sake.

Edited by Faerunner
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"Not I, though. Not I," said the hanging dwarf.

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