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Topic Summary

Posted by: TFoN
« on: April 09, 2008, 05:22:01 PM »


I'm very new to BGII modding, and even newer to the community.
Although in the past week or so I've read as much as all the readme material of the major mods, and a great lot of the material on lesser mods, I'm sure I've missed as much as I remember. That said, some of the things I write may have already been written, here or elsewhere, or even already implemented. It is also late night where I am, adding to potential mistakes. So, please forgive me if I post much on irrelevancies  :)

The first major issue I want to address is something which is true as of ToB with the 26498 patch installed (no mods).
As far as I can tell, donating will always increase reputation. This includes donating to the temple of Talos in the temple district! It would seem to me that donating to whatever cause this temple supports would be less than innocent. At most I would say positive effects may result from an attempt to subvert the ire of the Stormlord - but that means depriving the evil of the right to support him honestly.
An aside effect of making this increase a decrease, would be an in-game way to off-set mistakes (whether bugs or subjective writer judgment) when giving reputation increases.
And what of anonymous donations? These are meant to increase virtue, without influencing reputation.
Another donation-related problem is the willingness of good intentioned temples to profit off the same crimes that make them necessary. I noticed this after I went from my thieves guild directly to a temple of Ilmater. Sure, I objected to slavery, but I'm sure a few children and old ladies suffered, directly or indirectly, from my cutpurse activities. My character was also good intentioned - but I noted that it really didn't matter. What of a sadistic bastard who enjoys investing a portion of his "earnings" in the churches he despises, just to watch them feed from his open palm? Would the church of Lathander simply stand by and let that happen, even when the grim picture becomes quite clear after a while?

Secondly, I read most of TormentedDragon's post and agreed with it. My suggestion to rectify this problem is adding motive hints to dialog, much like Edwin makes comments meant mostly for himself. For example, if you were to help Valygar while thinking on the lines of greed and manipulation, it would be considered a negative act. However, killing Valygar while thinking [this deception won't work on me!] would make for a potentially good, if misguided, act.
This is, however, what I presume to be very, very difficult to implement, as it would require re-writing most dialog in the game. Not impossible, but a hell of a long job. Certainly, more text has been written while composing all the banter, flirt and original NPC mods.
And of course, I'd be glad to help in any way I can :)

Thirdly, I would like to stress the importance of keeping neutral characters neutral, and chaotic characters chaotic. Chaotic characters (and I'm not talking about the insane version of chaotic neutral) are constantly forced to thrash violently between good and evil. True, they're chaotic - some thrashing's appropriate. But having a character commit murder (and turn everyone hostile) just to negate a few mildly kind errands and (often payed) quests is frustrating. This differs from neutrals when trying to roleplay some of said thrashing (instead of abstaining from reputation-effecting actions too often, which is too linear for chaos). This usually results in being forced to take part in said over-thrashing just to reset a spontaneous donation. Very unpleasant.
Now, I know this is just the kind of thing Virtue strives to correct, but from the lists it still doesn't seem to me comfortable enough. There has to be a good, simple and *safe* way to reduce reputation and virtue by small amounts, be it by bad-intentioned donations or making children cry.

And last but not least, a very specific comment: doing the Trademeet quests should culminate in either no virtue changes, or an increase or decrease based solely on character intention. It pays a hell of a lot, and even though such pay isn't implied much before going off on your tour of the Grove, I'm sure any evil character with some wit about him could guess the perks of aiding a town centered around trade and commerce. Avoiding the pay in order to avoid the virtue increase is even worse as that should imply total selflessness  :)

Thank you for all the hard work on making a great game surprisingly greater - and goodnight :)
Posted by: Gorilym
« on: October 26, 2006, 06:25:42 AM »

You are correct - I must have misread the code previously. ??? Raising Kalah currently results in a virtue increase and a rep decrease.
Posted by: Bex
« on: October 25, 2006, 10:23:55 PM »

To the best of my memory, this is how it worked when I tried out all the different options: releasing the genie granted a virtue increase, and resurrecting Kalah granted a virtue increase ("everyone deserves a chance to learn from their mistakes") and a rep decrease, presumably because whatever nice things Kalah has to say about you have little impact on public perception.
Posted by: Gorilym
« on: October 23, 2006, 03:29:01 AM »

This is simply a matter of perception, I suppose. IMHO the crucial point is that Kalah was a killer, and raising a known killer is an unvirtuous act to me - despite the aspect of forgiveness. Whether virtue should actually be decreased is unimportant to me, but I have a problem with such an act resulting in a virtue boost.
Posted by: rreinier
« on: October 22, 2006, 03:46:32 PM »

A Virtue decrease for raising Kalah seems odd. You're showing forgiveness and compassion, after all. You can go either way with Reputation, though I'm more drawn towards decreasing it, since the public will see Kalah as a ruthless killer, so being credited with bringing him back from the dead probably won't make you very popular.
Posted by: Gorilym
« on: October 22, 2006, 04:33:52 AM »

I was primarily setting the record straight on the current effects of those choices. I've never raised Kalah and probably never will - it's not the sort of thing one of my PCs would do. Doing so resulting in both rep and virtue hits is a good idea in theory, but I think it would unbalance the other lamp options - to me the "worst" option (in terms of effects) should still be to imprison Kalah's soul. Either only a rep boost (it could be construed as an act of kindness, and Kalah is likely to praise you for it), or a rep boost and decrease in virtue would suffice as effects of resurrection IMO.

As an aside, there are some indicators that Kalah was basically a good person - statements by Aerie and what's-her-name that gives you Jafir's lamp come to mind.
Posted by: SixOfSpades
« on: October 21, 2006, 11:55:46 PM »

You get a reputation AND a virtue boost for raising Kalah . . . which in turn makes freeing the Djinn even more of a selfless and virtuous act.
. . . Okay, in a sense, except that you can't know in advance what the material benefits of raising Kalah will be, and let that influence your decision.

In my book, Raising Kalah should actually get you a hit to your Rep, and maybe even your Virtue, because you're setting a known killer on the loose once again. Just because he might have been tempted or corrupted by Jafir, your character has no way of knowing that he won't just go right back into his pattern of trying to achieve great power through any means necessary. All that the character knows for sure about Kalah's personality is what he said in his dying breaths, and there certainly wasn't any hint of remorse in there.
Posted by: Gorilym
« on: October 19, 2006, 02:53:46 PM »

You get a reputation AND a virtue boost for raising Kalah, but only a virtue increase for freeing the djinni in the Kalah quest. (I just checked the Virtue files, I've never raised Kalah as I don't think he deserves it) Presumably this is because it is much more likely that Kalah will praise you in public, ;) which in turn makes freeing the Djinn even more of a selfless and virtuous act.
Posted by: Shaitan
« on: October 19, 2006, 01:57:25 PM »

Yes, that sounds right. I also may have to correct myself: it's a rep. point you get not virtue by freeing Kalah.
Posted by: Gorilym
« on: October 17, 2006, 09:18:54 AM »

Releasing the djiin in Irenicus' dungeon should equal releasing Kalahs Djiin, am I right?

I totally disagree. Freeing the djinn in the Kalah quest is basically a selfless act, whereas freeing the djinn in Chateau Irenicus is not - you don't free the latter out of the "goodness of your heart", but in order to get the Chaos sword. Neither virtuous nor unvirtuous IMHO.
Posted by: Shaitan
« on: October 17, 2006, 05:21:53 AM »


Releasing the djiin in Irenicus' dungeon should equal releasing Kalahs Djiin, am I right?

Posted by: Evilyn
« on: August 29, 2006, 09:01:42 PM »

Of course, given what we know of Lehtinan, and since the prostitute actually tells you that the whores are being kept like slaves, this argument has little bearing on the game, but if there were a more "worker-friendly" establishment, it should be free of damage to one's Virtue....but probably not one's Reputation.

I disagree with the Reputation drop, as this is yet another example of a cultural viewpoint. Compare the Canaanites (Phoenicians, etc) and their temple prostitutes - what would they think of a visit to a brothel? They certainly wouldn't see the man as being of "low repute."

I know hardly anything of the Forgotten Realms apart from what I've found in the games, and so I've often wondered if slavery is (there) really as repugnant as it appears - it was a staple in most ancient cultures, for example.

But now we're returning to the whole cultural mess again, and I'm too tired to make a meaningful contribution.
Posted by: TormentedDragon
« on: July 18, 2006, 12:28:58 PM »

Hmm... I have some thoughts here, and I feel like sharing them.

I have noticed that, in some cases, the Virtue mod and some of the arguments for what should and should not consitute a virtue hit don't truly take into account the complexities of Alignment.

Alignment has two separate factors: lawful-neutral-chaotic, and good-neutral-evil. To truly roleplay your alignment, you have to take into account not just one factor, but both factors, and the way they interact. When presented with the same options, two people of even very different alignments may take the same path.

Take, for example, the Valygar situation. With careful thought, you can easily see how each alignment might choose to handle the situation. To drive home the point, I'm going to consider the situation as if it were to happen in real life, without the restrictions of the game engine.

Lawful Good: this will depend highly upon the individual. If you believe Valygar, then the Cowled Wizards have acted in an unlawful, selfish, and patently evil manner. *They* attacked *him* first, for the purpose of personal gain, and he acted, and killed, in self-defense. Therefore, you must now consider whether your promise to the cowled wizards to retrieve must be kept. You may decide that due to the manipulations of the cowled wizards, you are no longer under any obligation to aid them. Given the very real potential threat of the planar sphere, you may then decide to aid Valygar in accomplishing *his* vow. (If you've played the Saerileth mod, she advocates this path. After all, that would be true justice.) On the other hand, you may decide that your word must be kept, and that you must bring him to the cowled wizards. You therefore subdue him, but do not kill him. Perhaps you then go to the Order and report the situation, or the magistrate, citing the unlawful actions of the Cowled Wizards.

Of course if you don't believe Valygar, then your personal convictions would not get in the way of you killing him. The way I play a lawful good person, they serve the law, insofar as it is good. Of course, it is entirely possible to play the other way around, but I've had a paladin lead a military coup d'etat, staying well within the bounds of her alignment and virtue.

Lawful Neutral: this alignment, by its description, serves the law over all. Whether this is the law of government or the obligation to carry out his or her word in all things is the major question here. You see, by law, Valygar is innocent. He killed in self-defense. Therefore, a lawful neutral person might very well let Valygar alone, or might possibly attempt to see to it that the true criminals be forced to pay the price. On the other hand, a lawful neutral person may kill Valygar and take him to the Wizards, as he did, in fact, swear to do so, and would not, technically, be breaking any laws.

Lawful Evil: You're evil. You look out for number one, so long as you can avoid trouble with the authorities. You probably don't care about Valygar's "sob story," and you're presented with a relatively easy way to make some money and get a little bit more power, as well as curry favor with a rather powerful organization (especially since they have something you're rather interested in getting). Kill him, take his body to the Wizards, get their reward. Might try to get a little more out of them with some blackmail options... maybe. Assuming you don't mind the idea of them taking violent action towards you. Could prove messy, that.

Neutral Good: What is law to you? You're neutral towards it: law is only valid so long as it is good. If the action that is right is also unlawful, then the law need not be considered. If you promised to do an evil action, then it is better to compromise your word than to commit an evil act. Better to help the man then take him to the cowls, whom you may have suspected were up to no good anyways. To kill him, when he has not truly done anything wrong... would be wrong.

True Neutral: This alignment is always hard to really figure out, especially since most people tend to lean one way or the other. The majority will have little, if any, use for the law, and probably have one of two primary motivations: what's best for me and mine, or what's best for all concerned. If you're looking out for yourself, you may decide that this whole issue is not worht the time and effort, leave Valygar in his cabin, and let the cowls alone. Or you might decide that exploring the sphere could yield some very useful and valuable things, which could only help you. There would just be a little danger along the way, and it's not like you haven't dealt with problematic situations in the past.

What's best for all concerned? Well, if what Valygar says is true, then that Sphere is a ticking time-bomb, and it's going to cause trouble for the city, and by correlation, you. The Cowls certainly can't be trusted to handle the situation properly, and they would probably make Valygar disappear once they had access. Take him along, clear out the sphere... the Cowls stick their noses in, well, that's just further proof that they would have botched it in the first place. Plus, the Cowls are a little too powerful as it is, and could stand to be knocked down a notch or three.

Neutral Evil: you, you, you. It's all about you. You have no reason to care about Valygar, or the Cowls. So maybe you just want what the Cowls have to offer, and the goods are easier to deliver when they aren't trying to run away. Or you might keep him under constant charm or dominate, so you don't have to carry the deadweight. On the other hand, that sphere is rather tempting. Who knows what kind of treasures are inside? The Cowls certainly don't have *your* best interests at heart. Kill him, take his body to the sphere, plunder it. Or maybe you don't want to have to carry the body, and it's easier to just take him along with you. He seems eager enough, and could be useful once inside. You don't really *care* about Lavok, you just want what the sphere has to offer. (Note how NE and LG could end up doing the same thing.)

Chaotic Good: You have no use for laws. You follow your own heart and conscience, and it doesn't really matter what others think so long as you are fine with it. Valygar certainly seems to have gotten the short end of the stick here, and could use some help. Maybe you don't want to help him right now, after all... the Cowls have quite a bit of power, and you do have other, more important responsibilities. But, of course, that Sphere can't be a good thing, and from the way things are looking to be, if you don't do something about it, nobody will. Might as well help the guy.

Chaotic Neutral: hmmm... depends on what the character is like. Insane, perhaps? Or maybe does things because they sound fun? You can't really say that an action is outside of character for this alignment. The Cowls did promise some very shiny things, and Valygar can't really offer the same. And he might be lying. Or maybe you're really, really curious about what's inside the sphere. Could be fun, go explore a big machine made for travel between the planes (which, you've heard, are really quite interesting). And it probably has some neato stuff inside. You may not feel quite right about killing Valygar, but you know, he does make things difficult. And you might change your mind halfway back to Athkatla, decide you want to see what the sphere is all about, and go there yourself.

Chaotic Evil: Laws are nothing to you. If they are good for anything, it's as a tool for you to use and exploit. You have no reason to fulfill any kind of promise to the Cowls, who, of course, tried to manipulate you. And Valygar did manage to kill two of them. By himself. Not bad. Might prove useful. Or he might annoy you, and you bash his skull in, then decide which is worth more to you: plundering the sphere, or whatever reward the Cowls have for you. Or you might be annoyed with the whole fiasco and decide it's not worth your time. Valygar hasn't actually insulted you yet, though it might be fun to see what his brains look like.

Of course, this is by no means a fully comprehensive analysis of all the possible reactions, motivations behind actions taken, etc. The problem when coding for virtue, of course, comes into the limitations of the Engine: it can't determine the motivations behind your Paladin killing Valygar, or betraying his word. Trying to code something resembling that into the engine would be a nightmare: you'd have to have virtue drops based on actual dialogue choices, perhaps even add a few possible dialogue for various actions. This is probably why the original game designers left alignment changes alone, save for between Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal.

Of course, the whole reputation deal is intrinsically flawed as well: there's no reason why a smart, charismatic person of evil nature couldn't have a heroic reputation. He or she just managed to keep all the questionable stuff rather well hidden. A king, who makes his people love him even as he exploits them for his own gain.

Now, I'm not suggesting major changes to the Virtue mod. It's fine as it is, in my opinion, though it makes it difficult for me to play a paladin the way I'd really want to. I just noticed that there were arguments being made that made assumptions that were not strictly true. Assumptions such as paladins being unable to go against the law, ever. Where the law is flawed, even the lawful can disobey.
Posted by: SixOfSpades
« on: April 20, 2006, 04:48:46 PM »

One more thing - patronising the whores should probably be unvirtuous too.
I would agree with this only if there is sufficient cause to believe that the whores were being forced to serve in the sex trade, or hand over an overly large percentage of their take to their pimp/madam. Of course, given what we know of Lehtinan, and since the prostitute actually tells you that the whores are being kept like slaves, this argument has little bearing on the game, but if there were a more "worker-friendly" establishment, it should be free of damage to one's Virtue....but probably not one's Reputation.
Posted by: Keldaryth
« on: April 20, 2006, 08:55:55 AM »

One more unvirtuous act:

Killing Drizzt