Author Topic: Haer'Dalis and the Murder Implication  (Read 10658 times)

Offline icelus

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Haer'Dalis and the Murder Implication
« on: April 09, 2004, 10:47:37 AM »
This is another quest that was briefly outlined by David Gaider in The Attic forum, and luckily it was a bit more in depth than the Viconia quests. Many of the items and characters still exist in the game files, but, sadly, the dialog has been nixed.

Here is what we know:

This is the guy whose name I got mixed-up with Rayic Gethras. Acton Balthis has an estate somewhere in the city (Bridge District comes to mind, but I may be wrong) that still exists and is labeled as such...but it isn't used for anything in the release version of BG2. Acton Balthis is an important and influential noble...and a member of the Council of Six...but I don't believe his character exists in the game, anymore.

Originally, one could go to the estate if they wished...Acton's halfling manservant (Pip? I believe the servant is still there. Might be under 'hdpip'...all the characters that were involved in this plot had the 'hd' prefix to their resref) would attempt to get rid of you unless you were of high charisma or high rep. If you were of high charisma, he would politely ask the player's reason for coming...which there really wouldn't be one, of course. Acton, himself, could be approached in his bedroom and would call on his guards to get rid of intruders unless the player had the high charisma or high rep mentioned (in which case he's polite but doesn't have much to say).

The first time the players rest in the city with Haer'Dalis in the party, a timer is set for a couple of days. Once the timer is up, Acton Balthis is immediately removed from his home and Pip and the guards switch over to their new dialogue.

The next time the players are in any area of the city but the Docks, a group of Athkatlan soldiers will appear led by a lieutenant who does the speaking ("hdlieut"). The lieutenant will say that Haer'Dalis is under arrest for the murder of Acton Balthis. The player can object, but the lieutenant will say there were witnesses to the fact. Haer'Dalis does not think a fight is a good idea, so he resigns himself to being arrested...but he tells the player that he is innocent and begs the player to free him. The lieutenant says that the player can speak to Inspector Brega if he has any questions.
If the player is evil or really low rep (the kind where the player gets hunted anyway), he can opt to kill the guards to free Haer'Dalis. Haer'Dalis thinks it's a bit of a giggle that he thought he had killed someone...but he's likely guilty of worse things in the company of the player, anyway, so whatever.

Haer'Dalis leaves with the soldiers. He is spawned into the prison in the Government District. The prison should have a couple of guards outside at night, with the prison itself being locked. These guards will not allow anyone entry, and will call reinforcements if attacked. The door can be picked and inside there are a couple of other guards who will also call for reinforcements. During the day, there is only a single guard who won't stop anyone from entering the prison. There are more guards within, and one guard near the entrance ("hdguard") who will address anyone who enters. He complains at how annoying Haer'Dalis is and wishes he would go on and be executed already. If the player doesn't already know, he will say that an execution has been planned for three days hence (a timer is set when Haer'Dalis is taken away). A player can bribe him or sweet-talk him (Charisma) into allowing him to speak to Haer'Dalis.

Speaking to Haer'Dalis: Haer'Dalis is quite morose about being imprisoned yet again and is reciting death poetry and other sobering stuff. He is glad to see the player and, if asked, will recite as much of the circumstances as he can. It seems he WAS present in the area not long night when the party slept, he was restless and walked about. He saw a beautiful bust in the window of the Balthis estate that reminded him of his beloved Raelis (this is a bust of the goddess Sune, as we will find out later) and he was entranced by it.
He went to speak to the people of the house and asked Acton Balthis if he could see the lovely bust up close and marvel at it more fully...but was turned out rather promptly. Haer'Dalis hadn't thought about the event since, and begs the player to believe that he didn't kill Acton.

He is saddened to hear of his execution, and begs the player to kill his name. If the player has not already done so, he suggests talking to whomever 'witnessed' the murder (perhaps seeking them out at the Balthis estate?) and talking to Inspector Brega, himself, at the Government building.

Speaking to Pip: At the Balthis estate, Pip is the only person who really has much to say. He is the one who witnessed the murder (as well as several guards, who are not around currently) and he is quite distraught about the whole thing. He heard a struggle in Acton's room and entered to find Haer'Dalis standing over the corpse with his blades. Haer'Dalis jumped out the window to escape, he says, referring to Haer'Dalis as 'that thief'.

The player can ask further questions, but will only be answered if he has a good Charisma or threatens the halflings. If asked if anything was missing, he will say only the invaluable 'Bust of Sune' that was a prize of Acton's...and that was how he remembered the thief, as he had come asking about it only days before. If the player has a decent Intelligence (Yoshimo, Nalia or Jan could also inteject this), a dialogue will open up suggesting that this would be a rather obvious thing for a thief to do...Pip does comment that he hadn't thought of that before...but he saw what he saw. This will allow another question: has anyone else ever asked about the bust? Pip will say no...but he will say that Qataris the art dealer was quite jealous that Acton out-bid him to acquire the bust. Qataris is an art dealer and collector who operates out of the Promenade ("hdqatar"...he has one of the stalls in the Promenade, along with several guards...optionally, one could open up one of the many stores in the Promenade area. Prior to this plot, Qataris has limited dialogue with the player...he buys and sells art, after all, which is something the player neither has to sell nor needs to buy.) Acton has other enemies, being a political player, but nobody comes to mind considering the circumstances.

Talking to Inspector Brega: Brega can explain some of the details of what has occurred, if approached. He will say that Haer'Dalis was witnessed killing Acton Balthis, but won't say by who. The inspectors use magic to ascertain the truth, however, so they know the witnesses aren't lying (he will be a bit embarassed to admit, if pressed, that his magic doesn't work on Haer'Dalis due to his unique heritage...but he will say that Haer'Dalis made certain admissions regarding the missing object that made the connection obvious). Brega will say that the intent of the murderer was originally robbery, and that an item was taken from the estate...but he won't say what, exactly. He will tell the player that Haer'Dalis is due to be executed in three ifs, ands or buts.

If the player already knows about the bust of Sune through Pip or Haer'Dalis, they can ask him about that specifically. He will say that it hasn't been recovered...but that Haer'Dalis likely would have sold it to one of two places: Qataris the art-dealer or the Shadow Thieves. They already questioned Qataris and he doesn't have it...and if the Shadow Thieves have it, then there's no hope in recovering it.

Haer'Dalis can be told about the evidence against him. He will be indignant but thoughtful. The only people who would even know that he asked about the statue would be Acton's servants...and, of course, that fat man with whom he discussed the statue outside. (Oh, yes, didn't I mention that?) He doesn't know who the man was, but they marveled at the wonderful artwork together. This was Qataris, obviously, but Haer'Dalis doesn't know'd have to get the name from Pip or Brega.

Finding and talking to Qataris is the key, here. One can question him about the murder of Acton Balthis, at which he'll simply say that it's good that that 'fiendish thief' was brought to justice. He will act rather indignant towards any questions, and will (rather obviously) laud Acton Balthis as a 'fine man and a great loss to the art community'.

The key, here, is knowing about the bust of Sune. If the players ask about it, Qataris will get rather fidgety and say that he's already been asked all about that by Inspector Brega, and since there's no way to counter their magic, he's obviously innocent. A high INT PC (or an NPC mage) could point at that there are several ways to counter that kind of magic, if one prepares in advance. This will cause Qataris to flip out and demand the player be removed...the guards will go hostile while he cowers in the corner.

Even if the player doesn't point that out, he can always say that Haer'Dalis already said that Qataris is the one who spoke to him (a lie...or a leap of faith at the very least) if Haer'Dalis mentioned the man that he spoke to...and this makes Qataris a suspect. Qataris will likewise flip out as before.

If the player kills Qataris along with everyone else...or kills everyone before getting Qataris to flip out (in which case Qataris goes hostile to and attacks feebly)...all they can do is find the bust of Sune in a chest in the back of the store. This can be presented to Brega...and while it doesn't proove Haer'Dalis's innocense (and, indeed, Qataris can no longer be questioned about it)...Brega is a fair man and admits it does shed doubt on the matter. They will hold off the execution until and unless the real killer can be found (more on that below). If Qataris didn't confess, there will also be a note in the chest that is a short demand for payment now that services are done...signed by 'K'.

If Qataris flipped out, he will initiate dialogue after his guards are killed and beg to be spared. He will pen and sign a confession (this item is still in the game) and return the bust of Sune if the player will only let him go. They can agree to this or kill him (results as above). If asked about how Acton was killed, he will name an illusionist/thief by the name of Krell ("hdkrell") who is independant of the Shadow Thieves...but that he doesn't know any more about him.

If the confession is brought to Brega, he will apologize for the mistake and have Haer'Dalis released (the players can go to the Prison to pick him up). XP reward at this point. He will thank the player for his resourcefulness and say that there will be a decent reward should the real culprit be found.

If the player is on good terms with Renal Bloodscalp (they have done the Mae'Var plot and haven't sided with Bodhi), they can talk to Renal about the murder. If they haven't done the Mae'Var plot, he will say that he will tell what he knows...if they do the plot, fist. Otherwise, he will be pretty free with his info. He's pretty perturbed because he knows an independent was hired to do the assassination, and that doesn't sit well with him. This isn't evidence, of course, that Brega would accept. If he knew exactly which independent it was, he could be of more help.

He doesn't know that Qataris is involved. He does know that whomever was contacted was hired to steal something, not kill Acton Balthis, and suggests that the player 'follow the money'.

Giving Renal the note signed by 'K' or naming Krell will interest Renal greatly. He will say that if the player wishes to deal with the situation, the Shadow Thieves will put out the rumor that evidence was left behind at the estate putting question to the idea that Haer'Dalis was the actual murderer. He suspects Krell will show up at the evening at his first opportunity. If the player doesn't want to deal with it, then the Shadow Thieves will (no chance to get Krell, then, as below).


Haer'Dalis can be forcibly rescued. If one tells Haer'Dalis that this is going to happen, Haer'Dalis will find it quite funny (seeing as the PC is always freeing him) but will suggest that an easier way might be approaching the guard ("hdguard") and bribing him. If this has been mentioned, the original guard at the door can be talked into leaving the cell open and the guards temporarily 'absent' at night...but this will cost money (1,000 gp) and Haer'Dalis will still be a wanted felon.
Whether by force or guile, if the player frees Haer'Dalis, then the party will be hunted (of course, a low enough rep party might already be), and have their rep lowered. Speaking to Brega while hunted will cause him to immediately shout for troops and attack...UNLESS the player happens to have Qataris's signed confession when he speaks to Brega. Then Brega will be angry but will admit that Haer'Dalis is innocent. This doesn't excuse the player's actions, however, and he will place a 5,000 gp fine on the player. Paying it will stop the hunting.

Whether the player needs to find Krell to prove Haer'Dalis's innocence...or whether they are doing it for the reward, revenge or whatever...there are two ways of doing so.
The first, as mentioned above, is to bring Krell's name or the note to Renal Bloodscalp. Technically, I suppose Bodhi would do, as well, although we never implemented this. When you go to the Balthis estate and wait until evening, Krell would appear and act surprised at the PC's presence. He will attack...and as soon as he gets low enough HP he will beg to surrender. The PC can instruct him to turn himself in or kill him. Killing him does nothing for Brega...they didn't want him dead. Getting Krell to turn himself in will make Brega very happy...rep bonus plus XP and gold reward.
The second way is quite by accident. Until Krell appears in the Balthis estate as above, once the note has been possessed or Qataris has named him, Krell will be spawned into the Copper Coronet. If the player enters the Copper Coronet with Haer'Dalis, Krell will be disbelieving and shocked by will immediately attack as above. If Haer'Dalis isn't with the party, the party might know Krell's name is Qataris said it...they can approach and confront him with the same results.

And that's that for the plot. I think we had major problems with implementing some of the well as some logical problems with the player being actively wanted by the authorities yet still able to speak to people the plot was dropped as being too complex and buggy. With work, though, it would have turned out. "

Haer'Dalis is certainly not an easy character for which to write dialog, so we really need help with his quests...

Questions? Comments? Ideas?

(The original thread can be obtained in .mht format here).
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Offline JPS

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Re: Haer'Dalis and the Murder Implication
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2004, 03:25:18 PM »
Well, as you know, I'm "working" on it. As soon as I stop "working" and start working, I'll let you know...
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Offline jester

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Re: Haer'Dalis and the Murder Implication
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2004, 05:29:46 PM »
Well get your lazy @** back to the HD romance then. You might as well be working on the whole Harley-Davidson lot. :P
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