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#1 yarpen

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:10 AM

Berelinde, you're just a pure genius :) A way of "I don't care" was the most needed one. Especially when you play with chaotic neutral character.

What about other situations where player could get some alternatives. Option of not killing Rayic Gethrast is already in Quest Pack. There's interesting mod idea at SHS but you probably already know it (pacific-one). What about enhancing a bit some other, alternative-but-never-used ways? Is there a person who told Lehtinan Hendak's 'idea of esscaping'? That's one of the most stupid quest ever.
* you're breaking Lehtinan's restriction about slaves rooms
* then you meet a slave. He's all angry on Lehtinan (no way!) and wants you to get a key. So, he have extremly cunning plan of escaping! Lehtinan for sure have to eliminate him, because if there's going to be another dumb adventurer, he'll also kill all 16xp guards and agree.
* Hendak is too dangerous for business and when you've slayed all of the guards, YOU (tresspaser, guy who listened to his slave) have to eliminate him.

What about discovering some facts about discovering some facts about Lehtinan's business and blackmailing him into paying you fee per month?

Second quest which begs for alternative way is Druid's Grove one. Again, evil way of doing it (agree with little halfling guy) is far more difficult, and in comparison reward is just a weak comedy. After resolving druid's grove problem this little fella' should become new boss in Trademeet and give you a proper reward. Or just spam you with inhuman amount of gold for making it up to xp earned in 'good way'.

Also what about making a possibility of siding with Faldorn? Leading assault on Trademeet? Probably available only for druids after possibility of selecting neutral evil alignment (neutral evil persons have their obsession: money, women, alcohol... why not nature as Shadow Druids) but how to reibalance amount of stuff which can be found in stores and shops?

#2 berelinde

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 11:48 AM

If you've got a clearly worded suggestion for some new choices in old areas of the game, put them here.

Just a few things to keep in mind:
  • I work sporadically. I'll work obsessively on a project for a couple weeks, and then return to another for a while. So it's likely I won't be thinking much about adding on to Alternatives for a while.
  • Clarity matters. If you've got a great idea, but I can't see where you are going with it, it probably won't wind up in the mod.
  • Specifics are good. If you say "I'd like to be able to form an alliance with Tirdir's kidnappers and share in the profits as an Assassin's mini-stronghold, and then deflect investigation by the City Watch as part of the associated stronghold quests," I'd be more likely to do something with it than if you say "It would be fun to be able to do more with Tirdir's kidnappers." That's just an example.
  • I'd gladly consider including material written by others, so if you've got a quest already written out, dialogues and everything, say so! If you want me to code it, though, I can't make any promises.
  • I'm not including stuff that's already included in other mods. So no new "Saving Sanik in Brynnlaw" quests.
  • I've got no aversion to bypassing tedious areas of the game, but it's got to make some kind of sense. So hiring mercenaries to clear out Nalia's keep for you is a possibility (though a very unlikely one), but "game-be-gone" isn't going to happen.
  • I'm more likely to include things that I, personally, find interesting. That doesn't mean that I won't consider evil alternatives to "good" quests, it just means that I've got to see more to them than "It would be nice if we had more evil options."

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#3 Sister Vigilante

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 08:38 AM

How about the option to overthrow Desharik, the pirate king? That part of the game always seemed pretty thankless (I mean you've got pirates in the game, that could have been really cool); and you can kill him, and no one acknowledges that you've done it, he'll even show up later. This would complicate the plot potentially if you accept Saemon's offer, but if you wipe out all the pirates, you'd be able to leave without issue.
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#4 berelinde

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:04 AM

Some of these suggestions are definitely good ones. I especially like Yarpen's idea of fleshing out the Druid Grove evil path and SisterVigilante's idea about taking out Desharik.

SisterVigilante's suggestion has the added bonus of being detailed enough to give me some clue of how such a thing might be accomplished while leaving me room to get creative with the secifics. Yarpen's suggestion does pinpoint one part of the game that *is* sadly lacking, though, and it's definitely worth looking into. Some of his other suggestions might be as well, but that one struck me as particularly necessary.

Like I said, it's going to be a while before I return to Alternatives. I'm currently wrapping up the last little bit of a mod update that's been pending for over a year, and then I plan to work on Gavin until I get sick of it again, but that's the thing about the way I mod. I do work obsessively on projects, I do eventually need a short break from them, and during those intervals, I return to other projects.
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#5 Guest_John_*

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 12:16 PM

There are three subplots that, to me, just don't seem to flow easily in the game and seem like they should be fleshed out a bit.

Valygar - perhaps I'm not seeing all the clues in the game, but it seems very haphazard finding out about him in Athkatla if you're a good-aligned pc. The rumors give some background, but the historian in the Slums would be an ideal person to provide the clue that identifies Valygar as the descendant of Lavok. That explanation could provide justification for a good-aligned pc to enter Valygar's house uninvited. That is more aesthetically appealing than barging into his house either to loot it or saying to one's self that you want to meet the neighbors :)

first two meetings with Bayle - I realize it drives everything, but I always feel like I'm shanghaied by the game, that the game would make more sense for roleplaying if the pc could postpone going to Bayle's house until at least checking with cops and government about what can be done and realizing that what Bayle offers is the only viable option, all things considered.

first Bodhi encounter - I get so annoyed with her conversation when she approaches you because it makes a false assumption that the pc knows that the Shadow Thieves are involved. AFAICT, there are only two cases your pc discovers their involvement - successfuly complete Bloodscalp's mission or pay the fee. And if you pay the fee before meeting Bodhi, IIRC, the meeting with Bodhi will not take place.

It would be nice for a dialogue option that made more sense in light of what the pc actually knows at the time of the meeting (complete Bloodscalp's mission). Perhaps there's a variable that could be checked to see if the pc has successfully completed Bloodscalp's mission, and provide an alternative dialogue if the pc would not know about the Shadow Thieves. And for an evil or chaotic neutral pc, I could see allowing the meeting to occur even after paying the fee to give the pc a chance to change his mind and double-cross the theives guild. To be honest, I've not played this route to know if a double-cross plot is an option or not, although it seems possible in light of the ST knowing of other members of their guild wanting to get switch sides.

Just my 2 cents :D

John

#6 berelinde

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:07 PM

View PostJohn, on Jan 24 2010, 03:16 PM, said:

Valygar - perhaps I'm not seeing all the clues in the game, but it seems very haphazard finding out about him in Athkatla if you're a good-aligned pc. The rumors give some background, but the historian in the Slums would be an ideal person to provide the clue that identifies Valygar as the descendant of Lavok. That explanation could provide justification for a good-aligned pc to enter Valygar's house uninvited. That is more aesthetically appealing than barging into his house either to loot it or saying to one's self that you want to meet the neighbors :)
I don't know if I'd go so far as to have the Historian say that Valygar is a descendant of Lavok, but it might be possible to have him state that the family survived and that it is possible that there are descendants still living. A check with one of the many civil servants in the Council of Six building might reveal that Lavok was an ancestor in the Corthala family tree, and that the Corthala family had a residence in the Docks. Of course, by the time the PC has already met that guy whose name begins with an M (Madeen?) outside the Council of Six building, and possibly even Tolgieras, so he might not need to go talk to the clerk, but having the clerk provide a few details might be kind of fun.

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first two meetings with Bayle - I realize it drives everything, but I always feel like I'm shanghaied by the game, that the game would make more sense for roleplaying if the pc could postpone going to Bayle's house until at least checking with cops and government about what can be done and realizing that what Bayle offers is the only viable option, all things considered.
Considering that the dialogue with Gaelan Bayle unlocks the rest of the city, this might be tough to implement. It would definitely be one of the top 3 things I could do to break the game. I'd have to check every possible quest in the game to make sure it wouldn't break and leave the player trapped in chapter 1 with no way out. I would definitely, definitely need a small army of testers to make sure nothing broke, and I don't really see that happening. So while I see your point, from a technical perspective, the effort involved might not be worth the payoff. It isn't that the idea doesn't have merit, because it definitely does, but it would be a monumental undertaking. I'm not saying that I'd never consider doing it. I'm just saying that if I do, it would be one of the last things I'd tackle.

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first Bodhi encounter - I get so annoyed with her conversation when she approaches you because it makes a false assumption that the pc knows that the Shadow Thieves are involved. AFAICT, there are only two cases your pc discovers their involvement - successfuly complete Bloodscalp's mission or pay the fee. And if you pay the fee before meeting Bodhi, IIRC, the meeting with Bodhi will not take place.
Ah, yes, one of the many instances where it's just assumed that the player has been wandering around at night, witnessing the gang wars between the vampires and the Shadow Thieves. Or that the player will talk to one of the many unnamed peasants, beggars, commoners, and even nobility throughout Athkatla that metion the gang war/Shadow Thieves/vampires. Or that the player will encounter the good-intentioned priest of Talos that will tell the party about the whole ST/vampire thing. Or that the player will make the connection between the ST presnce in the opening dungeon and in the cutscene in Waukeen's Promenade that the Shadow Thieves were involved. There are so many ways that the player can find out about the Shadow Thieves/vampires, even after the party has already been to Spellhold that it might be more interesting to include a component that makes the various clue-givers stop talking about the gang war in chapter 6. I could always make the priest of Talos more prominent, since he's the one that gives the best summary of the situation, and he is really easy to miss. In fact, doing so would make one component of another of my mods a little easier to implement. Maybe I could put him in the slums, and force him to encounter the party before they get to Gaelan? That wouldn't be too tough, and it would allow the party to have a clearer understanding of what they're up against before the whole Bodhi encounter ever takes place.

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It would be nice for a dialogue option that made more sense in light of what the pc actually knows at the time of the meeting (complete Bloodscalp's mission). Perhaps there's a variable that could be checked to see if the pc has successfully completed Bloodscalp's mission, and provide an alternative dialogue if the pc would not know about the Shadow Thieves. And for an evil or chaotic neutral pc, I could see allowing the meeting to occur even after paying the fee to give the pc a chance to change his mind and double-cross the theives guild. To be honest, I've not played this route to know if a double-cross plot is an option or not, although it seems possible in light of the ST knowing of other members of their guild wanting to get switch sides.
I'll look into it. Allowing the player the option of double-crossing either guild has its appeal.
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#7 yarpen

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:08 PM

Personal thought about improving Hendak's plot:
- when Hendak's begging you for the key to prison, you obviously say no.
- come back to Lehtinan and tell him about everything. He will tell you that at first you've commited tresspasing, but still you've managed to kill all his guards and he's quite impressed. Also you've told him about Hendak - that's why he'll not give you any sort of punishment. Hendak is going to fight against 4 ogres instead of wolf, just for attraction - and in cut-scene you have to watch it.
- Lehtinan greets you as his friend, you're getting access to additional items in shop and experience.
- If you're strong or charismatic enough you can scare Lehtinan that you'll kill him or tell everything to city guards. He'll give you additional reward of magic item and few scrolls.

Druid's Grove
Evil path solution would be quite fine if it'd be easier. Instead of coming trough whole grove, give a possibility to poison it earlier - there are few pools. :thumbsup: Then, XP reward (and some additional cash) would be appropriate.

And solution of being Faldorn's follower is very exciting but needs a lot of work. Most of lawful NPC will opposite (maybe Minsc not, But Mazzy/Anomen/Keldorn/Aerie?). Duh.

#8 berelinde

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:02 PM

View Postyarpen, on Jan 24 2010, 06:08 PM, said:

Personal thought about improving Hendak's plot:
- when Hendak's begging you for the key to prison, you obviously say no.
- come back to Lehtinan and tell him about everything. He will tell you that at first you've commited tresspasing, but still you've managed to kill all his guards and he's quite impressed. Also you've told him about Hendak - that's why he'll not give you any sort of punishment. Hendak is going to fight against 4 ogres instead of wolf, just for attraction - and in cut-scene you have to watch it.
- Lehtinan greets you as his friend, you're getting access to additional items in shop and experience.
- If you're strong or charismatic enough you can scare Lehtinan that you'll kill him or tell everything to city guards. He'll give you additional reward of magic item and few scrolls.
There's already an option to betray Hendak in the original game. I could see fleshing it out a bit, but the dialogue files of Hendak and Lehtinan are some of the most confusing in the game. I'd need to really go over this one to see if there's some way it could be expanded without breaking anything.

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Druid's Grove
Evil path solution would be quite fine if it'd be easier. Instead of coming trough whole grove, give a possibility to poison it earlier - there are few pools. :thumbsup: Then, XP reward (and some additional cash) would be appropriate.
I'd need to look at existing quests and rewards and see how well they balance. It's possible that if the reward were increased, and if it were even easier to find out about the evil option in the first place, it might be necessary to balance the challenge presented. I'll look into it, if I ever decide to expand the mod beyond its current scope.

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And solution of being Faldorn's follower is very exciting but needs a lot of work. Most of lawful NPC will opposite (maybe Minsc not, But Mazzy/Anomen/Keldorn/Aerie?). Duh.
A shadow druid stronghold? Maybe. Need to think about it.
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#9 yarpen

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:57 PM

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There's already an option to betray Hendak in the original game. I could see fleshing it out a bit, but the dialogue files of Hendak and Lehtinan are some of the most confusing in the game. I'd need to really go over this one to see if there's some way it could be expanded without breaking anything.
I know, and it grants a lot of rewards! But it sucks as hell on role-playing field. No word of explanation why Lehtinan allows you to tresspas his goods and he even rewards you after killing stupid barbarian. Who wouldn't be a problem for his guards. I've proposed a way to slightly improve this quest. Maybe too slightly.

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I'd need to look at existing quests and rewards and see how well they balance. It's possible that if the reward were increased, and if it were even easier to find out about the evil option in the first place, it might be necessary to balance the challenge presented. I'll look into it, if I ever decide to expand the mod beyond its current scope.
As far as I remember:
- killing all of the druids in Druid's Grove sancutary (where you can find Faldorn) isn't so easy as to defeat her in the duel. You're fighting something like 3-4 high-leveled druids at once. The only effect of posioning grove is that Faldorn is killable. Maybe they should get damage/slowed/something very very bad?
- many NPCs are against you because of that. Misc, Valygar, Cernd, Jaheira... as I remember even Keldorn was angry.
- the only reward is not too big amount of gold and 1/2 xp from original mission (and you don't become a hero.)

My suggestion is to make PC become a hero with new city guild master - this little treacherous guy who will offer you same thing as Coprith. Coprith will attack you in tavern, semi-drunk and of course die.

Evil solutions aren't bad at all. They should be easier, funnier and give more gold/less xp. In BG2 they're really crappy.

#10 Guest_John_*

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:12 AM

Re: the first Bayle meeting, yep, I figured trying to make an option to visit the cops and the government people would probably cause too many problems, but it was a fun thought :thumbsup:

Re: the first Bodhi dialogue when she makes her pitch
True, there are all those rumors, the whisperings and the incidents about the war, but, again, you don't know for sure that the S.T. guild is who you will be hiring until after you pay the fee. When Valen approaches you, she only says that her mistress has a business proposal that she wants to discuss with you. On the face of it, there's no reason to conclude that Valen, and therefore her mistress are vamps (mine usually occur during the day, BTW). Certainly the time and location of the meeting are suspicious, but one should always allow for the eccentric and/or slow of wit :hm:

As others have pointed out before, Athkatla is the City of Coin, and there are many ways to gather gold quickly and in quantity that don't require dealing with the S.T. The only things that the pc would/should probably know by the time he goes to meet Bodhi are that there is fighting/war going on between the S.T. and a sinister force, that night is a very dangerous time to walk around, that gangs roam the streets at all times of day, that he has a deal in place with an unknown group to buy their help, that his activities are being watched because he gets approached by Valen and immediately afterward by Brus and that there are at least four groups active in Athkatla's politics, any of which could probably help him accomplish his desire re: Imoen and/or Irenicus.

So, all in all, I just find the initial Bodhi conversation perplexing and frustrating because in many cases my pc does not definitively know that Bayle is an agent of the Shadow Thieves nor that the organization is the Shadow Thieves. Therefore, because the pc could just as easily not know that (never worked for Bloodscalp), portions of the Bodhi/pc dialogue would be an ideal spot to add alternative dialogue based on the assumption that the pc did not know. I can imagine Bodhi being even more scornful and contemptous of the pc and having fun tormenting him. Almost a prelude to Spellhold.

John

#11 berelinde

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 02:28 AM

Just letting folks know that it's going to be a while before I address any of these ideas. Some of them are good, but I'm on other projects, at the moment, and if I don't make some headway on them soon, there are a few people who are going to be out for my blood, and I'm pretty sure they aren't affiliated with Bodhi. :thumbsup:

I do return to previously released projects periodically, and I do make updates. As a case in point, I'm putting the finishing touches on Homeward Bound v4. I'm not joking when I say that I'll be releasing it within the week. I released the mod a year or so ago, but I'm finally getting around to updating it.

HBv3 sent BioWare NPCs home from the Pocket Plane to spare the consciences of players who aren't comfortable with leaving friends lingering in what could only be a boring place, and then brought them back again when summoned by the fate spirit. It also allowed players to see the epilogues of NPCs that they sent home. Version 4 will allow players to send NPCs home from Brynnlaw, openening up room in the party for Imoen and for mod NPCs that are only recruitable in the Underdark. A ship captain will take the NPCs back to Athkatla, and they'll be recruitable at their usual spots. There's an optional component that lets you send romanceables home without killing the romance. The captain's first mate sells a variety of useful (or useless, but entertaining) items, as well.

So yes, I do come back to projects eventually, but sometimes it takes a while.
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