Larian Studios
Posted By: Eddiar New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:19 AM
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?
Posted By: fylimar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:32 AM
You find books about Shar and Selune throughout the game, but they are easy to miss, I guess. I never thought, how it would be for new players, but since you mentioned it and Shar is heavily featured in the game, they maybe should invest in a scene explaining her a bit more for new players.
It's not like Abdirak and his goddess Loviatar - I'm pretty sure you can go through the game without indepth knowledge of Loviatar, but it's different with Shar - and probably Selune, who is also heavily featured.
You can ask Shadowheart about Shar worshipping later, but that is after you have to react to her being a cleric of that goddess.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 07:03 AM
It's kind of odd that you don't get any dialogue options to comment when the character rants about how deceitful, worthless, nasty and useless Selune is - when in a world of present and active deities, and true tangible good and evil (celestials and fiends etc.), it's empirically known and established that Selune is an overwhelmingly good deity - greater deity, in fact, known the realms over for being a good deity, a champion of life and knowledge, and proven so.

But we can't say "Hey, um... you're, ah, a bit misinformed there, friend.. you've been a bit lied to, perhaps..." That option is absent, and it's weird.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 07:44 AM
Shar is evil.
Posted By: Firesong Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 08:31 AM
Shar is a typical "lawful evil" gawd, she just doesn't pretend to be "lawful good", like all the other gawds.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 11:29 AM
You are not alone in this. My wife was the same way, and I had to explain. I think they assume you'll read the books, but that's not good for those who aren't familiar with the overall story.

Also, Shadowheart SCREAMS of being a Sharriite from the beginning. Her entire armor set and headband say, "Hey everyone! Look at me, a walking Shar symbol.". The big black orbs are Shar's symbol.

So it's not done well. There needs to be a Religion roll made as soon as you meet her if they're going to continue having her in that armor. Succeed and learn who Shar is. Even if you fail, there should be someone, like Gale, who says something and teaches you about Shar. They could then have Shadowheart lie and say she stole the armor from someone or something.
At minimum a “library” with lore, descriptions, terms, meaning, etc in the main menu. A good list of all the phb gods, realms locations, etc.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 12:30 PM
Originally Posted by Niara
It's kind of odd that you don't get any dialogue options to comment when the character rants about how deceitful, worthless, nasty and useless Selune is - when in a world of present and active deities, and true tangible good and evil (celestials and fiends etc.), it's empirically known and established that Selune is an overwhelmingly good deity - greater deity, in fact, known the realms over for being a good deity, a champion of life and knowledge, and proven so.

But we can't say "Hey, um... you're, ah, a bit misinformed there, friend.. you've been a bit lied to, perhaps..." That option is absent, and it's weird.

I can't quite put my finger on what bothers me about the story/dialogue, but this is part of it. It almost feels like I have all of these options to do these crazy things, but some of the most obvious simple choices are missing, like saying "So you're a follower of shar yea?" after seeing the obvious markings all over SH's armour. Instead it involves a ridiculous amount of skill checks for my character to earn SH's trust enough to state the obvious. Even then, if you didn't know who shar was, you'd just say "oh..ok..and?" and if you do know you'll say "really? that's the big secret?".

As GM4HIM said, there absolutely needs to be a religion check when you first meet her to say "durr, she's a follower of shar".

I don't know, it's weird how BG3 has this weird limited role playing in dialogue thing going contrasted with how many different kinds of actions you can take quest wise.
Posted By: Umbra Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 01:03 PM
It's still rather jarring that Shadowheart is dressed up like a crusader for what was a black bag job to retrieve the artifact.

Sharrans are supposed to be devious, a disguise isn't too unlikely. Or did they leap into action in a "No-one expects the Sharran Inquistion!" manner?

After you've sussed her, she could have a "Now you know my secret, allow me to slip into something more comfortable" moment, and out comes the regalia.

There should be an early encounter, before you can trigger the reveal cutscene, where the goddesses and their conflict can be npc-splained. There's plenty of statues and old relics around for that.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is!

Here I actually feel the game has given many early opportunities to learn about Shar/Selune. Clues in a puzzle you put together.

It’s actually the big theme in the game: who are these various gods, especially this Absolute?

I don’t know that this constitutes a spoiler anymore but
the grove has an illustrated history of Shar and Selune
and
the owlbear cave has a book dedicated to it
&
the book in the Crypt library….


Originally Posted by Boblawblah
[quote=Niara]It's kind of odd that you don't get any dialogue options to comment…
"So you're a follower of shar yea?" after seeing the obvious markings all over SH's armour. Instead it involves a ridiculous amount of skill checks for my character to earn SH's trust enough to state the obvious. …

As GM4HIM said, there absolutely needs to be a religion check when you first meet her to say "durr, she's a follower of shar".

I agree here. It seems Gale has sorted it out right away. “A woman with Shadows for eyes…” Maybe add a dialogue option where Tav can ask him. Gale will of course decline to out her.


Or every time Shadowheart drops another Shar lore hint in your lap: “maybe you and Shar should get a room.” Shadowheart disapproves
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 01:53 PM
The problem is when I first really booted up this game here is what happened:


- Discover SH big big secret and my character is outraged.

- Now learn who Shar is through SH and the environment.

- Now see Selune in the final sections of Act 1

- Now see even more Shar in the final section of Act 1

Do you see the problem?
Maybe the big reveal should have been way way later in Act 1 when the game has ample opportunity to show me who Shar is and why SH being a worshiper is such a contentious issue.
I mean now after playing ACT 1 several times I know who and what Shar is but a new player on their first playthrough there was a lot of confusion.
And honestly why should my character care who their companions worship unless the religion in question puts me in danger.

Again compared to a vampire who can kill me or a Githyanki who will kill me if I look at her funny I think a Sharran worshipper is the least of my worries.
Posted By: Firesong Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 01:54 PM
Originally Posted by avahZ Darkwood
At minimum a “library” with lore, descriptions, terms, meaning, etc in the main menu. A good list of all the phb gods, realms locations, etc.

Like PF:WotR does. Owlcat does it as it should be imho.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 02:05 PM
Honestly, they need to do more dialogue explanations and less book reading in the game. The book reading should be kept mostly to non-essential story elements like the Spider Matriarch backstory. That's fine. But dialogues should explain things to people like who Shar is, who Selune is, who Silvanus is, who the Dead Three are.

But then, this is the third installment of the saga. I think they are assuming that most players have played BG1 and 2. In which case, if you have, you should know who a lot of the gods are. So, in one respect, I have to say that it makes sense that they don't explain everything to every potentially new player to the genre. There is a LOT of lore.

That said, I still think that there should be a lot more explanation on who Shar is right at the beginning because it should be a "Holy crap! You're a servant of an evil goddess," moment when Shadowheart reveals her secret. Therefore, she absolutely should not be in Sharrite armor and clothing at all. She should be hiding her holy symbol, and there should be moments when characters maybe catch a glimpse of her symbol and wonder why she doesn't display it on her chest.

When I was writing my fan fiction, I had Shadowheart first pop up in her armor, but the obvious symbols of Shar were missing. She had hidden them, along with her holy symbol spell focus that she needs to use to cast her spells. Instead, she had a holy symbol of a different goddess, and she lied and told everyone that she was a cleric of that goddess. As time went on, the characters discussed who Shar and Selune are, and Shadowheart began to display more and more signs that she hated Selune and loved Shar. Finally, one of the characters just comes right out and says, "Come on. You're a Sharrite. Why are you still trying to hide it? It's obvious."

Even still, she begins with hiding it and lying about her true patron deity. She doesn't brandish the armor and holy symbol, and everyone is just like, "Lalala. Oh! What?! Are you serious? You're a Sharrite?"
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 02:17 PM
Maybe its an EA thing. Have her remove the Shar symbols from her armor and have her be much more secretive until we get past the Selunite temple.
There is evidence in the under dark of some clash between the Sharrans and Selunites. Maybe there SH gets a flashback through the tadpole about some horrible sharran rituals.
Just to make it clear that these guys are no bueno even to the most dense players like me.

Her secret is honestly revealed way to quickly... maybe the skill checks should be at a minimum 20 to make only the luckiest rolls get you the answer early and even then they are half answers.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
You are not alone in this. My wife was the same way, and I had to explain. I think they assume you'll read the books, but that's not good for those who aren't familiar with the overall story.

Also, Shadowheart SCREAMS of being a Sharriite from the beginning. Her entire armor set and headband say, "Hey everyone! Look at me, a walking Shar symbol.". The big black orbs are Shar's symbol.

So it's not done well. There needs to be a Religion roll made as soon as you meet her if they're going to continue having her in that armor. Succeed and learn who Shar is. Even if you fail, there should be someone, like Gale, who says something and teaches you about Shar. They could then have Shadowheart lie and say she stole the armor from someone or something.


See I have a divergent opinion on this. We expect too little of modern gamers - where we don't give them the opportunity to research things on their own outside of the game environment.

Also there is a chance we will have an encyclopedia that discusses the Gods and their domains, goals.

But in this case, a simple google search will bring you to the Forgotten realms Wiki which explains about Shar and her history. Its one of the things I love about Larian - they don't do 'path-polishing' - that is they encourage player investment and thought instead of leading everyone by the hand.

Honestly it's a great opportunity to learn things on your own, OR ask your fellow players.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 02:56 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Originally Posted by GM4Him
You are not alone in this. My wife was the same way, and I had to explain. I think they assume you'll read the books, but that's not good for those who aren't familiar with the overall story.

Also, Shadowheart SCREAMS of being a Sharriite from the beginning. Her entire armor set and headband say, "Hey everyone! Look at me, a walking Shar symbol.". The big black orbs are Shar's symbol.

So it's not done well. There needs to be a Religion roll made as soon as you meet her if they're going to continue having her in that armor. Succeed and learn who Shar is. Even if you fail, there should be someone, like Gale, who says something and teaches you about Shar. They could then have Shadowheart lie and say she stole the armor from someone or something.


See I have a divergent opinion on this. We expect too little of modern gamers - where we don't give them the opportunity to research things on their own outside of the game environment.

Also there is a chance we will have an encyclopedia that discusses the Gods and their domains, goals.

But in this case, a simple google search will bring you to the Forgotten realms Wiki which explains about Shar and her history. Its one of the things I love about Larian - they don't do 'path-polishing' - that is they encourage player investment and thought instead of leading everyone by the hand.

Honestly it's a great opportunity to learn things on your own, OR ask your fellow players.

I am speechless at the level of dumb contained in this one post.
Yeah googling in the middle of a story because the storyteller failed to explain themselves is galaxy brain writing level.
Lore books require players to actually read them. They don't do a lot of good if the player just picks them up, and stores them somewhere, or sells them. A Glossary/Encyclopedia will be subject to the same shortcoming. If a player doesn't use it, they're going to be in the same boat the OP is in here. When I'm playing a new IP, I read all provided lore, I even go so far as to seek out any books provided, in game. If there's a glossary/encyclopedia, I'll read it, but, and there's always a but, I have to do it. Even something like providing hyperlinks in dialog is useless, if the player doesn't click it. At some point, the player is going to be expected to do some footwork, if they want to be informed.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 03:05 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Lore books require players to actually read them. They don't do a lot of good if the player just picks them up, and stores them somewhere, or sells them. A Glossary/Encyclopedia will be subject to the same shortcoming. If a player doesn't use it, they're going to be in the same boat the OP is in here. When I'm playing a new IP, I read all provided lore, I even go so far as to seek out any books provided, in game. If there's a glossary/encyclopedia, I'll read it, but, and there's always a but, I have to do it. Even something like providing hyperlinks in dialog is useless, if the player doesn't click it. At some point, the player is going to be expected to do some footwork, if they want to be informed.

If thats true then my character should have the dialogue option "Who the f is shar?" and followed by "Oh I don't care."
The game assumes I know who Shar is. Thats the problem.

If its optional for me to learn about Shar before the reveal then the game should reflect that.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Lore books require players to actually read them. They don't do a lot of good if the player just picks them up, and stores them somewhere, or sells them. A Glossary/Encyclopedia will be subject to the same shortcoming. If a player doesn't use it, they're going to be in the same boat the OP is in here. When I'm playing a new IP, I read all provided lore, I even go so far as to seek out any books provided, in game. If there's a glossary/encyclopedia, I'll read it, but, and there's always a but, I have to do it. Even something like providing hyperlinks in dialog is useless, if the player doesn't click it. At some point, the player is going to be expected to do some footwork, if they want to be informed.

If thats true then my character should have the dialogue option "Who the f is shar?" and followed by "Oh I don't care."
The game assumes I know who Shar is. Thats the problem.

If its optional for me to learn about Shar before the reveal then the game should reflect that.

Your character was born in the FRs. They have knowledge that you don't. This isn't a design flaw. It works that way in every game out there. Exploration and books don't exist to inform the character, they exist to inform the player. The impetus is on the player that wants to be informed to search up that knowledge. It's not like this information isn't provided in game, it's that you didn't find it because of how you chose to play. That's fine and all, that's the magic of non linear story telling, or limited linear, as the case may be. However, because you missed something, or didn't actually read something you found, doesn't mean there's a problem with the game. If that were the case, every game ever made would be "broken". As I said, your characters always have the more "common knowledge" things that you, as a player, don't.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 03:16 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Lore books require players to actually read them. They don't do a lot of good if the player just picks them up, and stores them somewhere, or sells them. A Glossary/Encyclopedia will be subject to the same shortcoming. If a player doesn't use it, they're going to be in the same boat the OP is in here. When I'm playing a new IP, I read all provided lore, I even go so far as to seek out any books provided, in game. If there's a glossary/encyclopedia, I'll read it, but, and there's always a but, I have to do it. Even something like providing hyperlinks in dialog is useless, if the player doesn't click it. At some point, the player is going to be expected to do some footwork, if they want to be informed.

If thats true then my character should have the dialogue option "Who the f is shar?" and followed by "Oh I don't care."
The game assumes I know who Shar is. Thats the problem.

If its optional for me to learn about Shar before the reveal then the game should reflect that.

Your character was born in the FRs. They have knowledge that you don't. This isn't a design flaw. It works that way in every game out there. Exploration and books don't exist to inform the character, they exist to inform the player. The impetus is on the player that wants to be informed to search up that knowledge. It's not like this information isn't provided in game, it's that you didn't find it because of how you chose to play. That's fine and all, that's the magic of non linear story telling, or limited linear, as the case may be. However, because you missed something, or didn't actually read something you found, doesn't mean there's a problem with the game. If that were the case, every game ever made would be "broken". As I said, your characters always have the more "common knowledge" things that you, as a player, don't.

Lol then have the narrator explain. She does exposition all the time.

"You remember Shar as an evil goddess with her cultist being horrible A holes across faerun."

It absolutely is a design flaw lol. Stop simping for Larian
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 03:27 PM
I agree with everyone here who's saying the dialog is messed up here. I've said so in other threads too. This is one of the things in BG3 thus far that really pisses me off. The PC is being seriously railroaded into either being a complete ignoramous idiot who shrugs and says whatever, or else a crazy person who screams about lying, when no lying has truly happened. And no, reading the books should not be the default for knowing things. In the context of the game, it is eminently reasonable that a character within that setting would not be spending their time picking up and reading every book they come across. Furthermore, even reading the books doesn't square with this issue because this particular dialog exchange comes quite early in Act 1, before you get to read many of those books anyway.

I know some of you disagree, but I think the greatest weakness in BG3 right now is rather poor quality of writing (across the board). Too much resources are being spent/wasted on silly gimmicks and "coolness" at the expense of the bread and butter of a good RPG: the writing.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Lol then have the narrator explain. She does exposition all the time.

"You remember Shar as an evil goddess with her cultist being horrible A holes across faerun."

It absolutely is a design flaw lol. Stop simping for Larian


It sounds like you just like to insult people. Well that is why we have ignore lists.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Lore books require players to actually read them. They don't do a lot of good if the player just picks them up, and stores them somewhere, or sells them. A Glossary/Encyclopedia will be subject to the same shortcoming. If a player doesn't use it, they're going to be in the same boat the OP is in here. When I'm playing a new IP, I read all provided lore, I even go so far as to seek out any books provided, in game. If there's a glossary/encyclopedia, I'll read it, but, and there's always a but, I have to do it. Even something like providing hyperlinks in dialog is useless, if the player doesn't click it. At some point, the player is going to be expected to do some footwork, if they want to be informed.

If thats true then my character should have the dialogue option "Who the f is shar?" and followed by "Oh I don't care."
The game assumes I know who Shar is. Thats the problem.

If its optional for me to learn about Shar before the reveal then the game should reflect that.

Your character was born in the FRs. They have knowledge that you don't. This isn't a design flaw. It works that way in every game out there. Exploration and books don't exist to inform the character, they exist to inform the player. The impetus is on the player that wants to be informed to search up that knowledge. It's not like this information isn't provided in game, it's that you didn't find it because of how you chose to play. That's fine and all, that's the magic of non linear story telling, or limited linear, as the case may be. However, because you missed something, or didn't actually read something you found, doesn't mean there's a problem with the game. If that were the case, every game ever made would be "broken". As I said, your characters always have the more "common knowledge" things that you, as a player, don't.

Lol then have the narrator explain. She does exposition all the time.

"You remember Shar as an evil goddess with her cultist being horrible A holes across faerun."

It absolutely is a design flaw lol. Stop simping for Larian

Wow, what an original way to engage in debate: "Well, he has a point, so I'm just going to resort to name calling to resolve it, because I don't have anything else"... Were you on the Witcher forums, trying to get all the lore someone may not be privy to in TW3, because they didn't play the first two games? How about the Skyrim forums? Are you old enough to have been on the forums that were discussing BG 1 and 2? How about NWNs? KotoR? What do these games have in common? The characters know more about the world than the player may know. No "simping" required, just a touch of common sense.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 03:40 PM
What are you talking about lol?
You have a scene where everyone is freaking about something (including your own character) with no description available besides as you said. Literally find and read every book availble in the off chance that that information would be critical in a coming scene.

The worst case is you have the narrator explain what is happening and who shar is when the conversation is brought up.
If you disagree then lets remove the narrator? Why do we need her? It just spoon feeds the players and insults their intelligence. The player should be able to tell what they are looking at without the narrator helping them.

Originally Posted by Blackheifer
It sounds like you just like to insult people. Well that is why we have ignore lists.
And absolutely nothing of value was lost. bye.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 03:55 PM
There's a scene on the nautiloid where the characters get to see the transition of a person from human into mind flayer. The scene is a great inclusion because it gives the players a glimpse of what they're up against. This is the consequence of failure, it says. You turn into this.

That helps to crystalize the threat and make it more powerful.

There's nothing like that with Shar right now, and I agree that it's a problem. I don't have any great advice on how to solve it right now, though.

*

A couple of small things I feel like mentioning after reading this thread.

1. because Shadowheart is in my party and I can see her stats and such, I always felt like I knew who she worshiped. So it was a bit of a shock to me that I wasn't supposed to know when she finally opened up about it. Which made me think: if I didn't know, it seems like I would've asked. She's a cleric, after all. It seems like the most natural thing in the world to ask the cleric in your party about the deity they follow.

2. her armor is not the dead giveaway most people chuckle about, saying it is. If you didn't know her religion and just saw her, you wouldn't have guessed Shar based on that design. Plenty of people use gemstones for decorations, whether it be onyx, opal, black pearl, spinel, tourmaline, you name it. Saying it's obvious she worships Shar based on that is the definition of 20/20 hindsight.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
What are you talking about lol?
You have a scene where everyone is freaking about something (including your own character) with no description available besides as you said. Literally find and read every book availble in the off chance that that information would be critical in a coming scene.

The worst case is you have the narrator explain what is happening and who shar is when the conversation is brought up.
If you disagree then lets remove the narrator? Why do we need her? It just spoon feeds the players and insults their intelligence. The player should be able to tell what they are looking at without the narrator helping them.

Originally Posted by Blackheifer
It sounds like you just like to insult people. Well that is why we have ignore lists.
And absolutely nothing of value was lost. bye.

Brilliant! Let's remove all the in game lore, it's worthless right? Except that, if you had found a couple of books lying around in places that you may actually get to before the temple, you'd at least have an idea of who Shar is, if you'd taken the time to read the book(s) when you find them/it, knowing that you are uninformed about the world's lore, right?
So every Cleric I have every played pretty much states who their god is. I am trying to remember if anyone I have every played D&D with would not tell me their god / goddess.

I expect it would be a common question when you met a Cleric. "Who do you worship?"

This is where BG3 is totally failing for me, If this was a pen and paper campaign, I would not want to adventure with any of these people.

This is the problem with the way Larian likes to do companions. There should be several of each class type available. Instead we are being railroaded. Want a Cleric, play one yourself or take Shadowheart. I been taking companions based on their class / role and ignoring their story / personality.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 04:03 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Eddiar
What are you talking about lol?
You have a scene where everyone is freaking about something (including your own character) with no description available besides as you said. Literally find and read every book availble in the off chance that that information would be critical in a coming scene.

The worst case is you have the narrator explain what is happening and who shar is when the conversation is brought up.
If you disagree then lets remove the narrator? Why do we need her? It just spoon feeds the players and insults their intelligence. The player should be able to tell what they are looking at without the narrator helping them.

Originally Posted by Blackheifer
It sounds like you just like to insult people. Well that is why we have ignore lists.
And absolutely nothing of value was lost. bye.

Brilliant! Let's remove all the in game lore, it's worthless right? Except that, if you had found a couple of books lying around in places that you may actually get to before the temple, you'd at least have an idea of who Shar is, if you'd taken the time to read the book(s) when you find them/it, knowing that you are uninformed about the world's lore, right?

YOUR argument is we don't need any exposition or other cinematic of the lore and story BECAUSE we have reading material scattered around the world with the rest of loot.
I never made any such claim. I say we can have both.
In fact in this case since Shar and SH seem to be so incredibly important to the main story maybe we should have MORE content explaining what Shar is especially very early on.

Projection is bad mmk?
On the books as only means of lore dumps, it sucks. What we should have is a nice encyclopedia system where when we find a book, it's entry is added to it. Many other games have good encyclopedia system. They can be used for other stuff too, spell entries, lore about magic items, info about monsters and npcs, etc.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 04:11 PM
Key terms (Gods, famous people, well-known locations & historical events) should be highlighted in dialogue, and allow you to hover over them for a basic explanation. Shar - "Shar, The Mistress of the Night, is a neutral evil goddess and the twin of and counterpart to the Good-aligned goddess Selune. Her followers exhibit..." This solves the issue of Tav having in-world knowledge that we players don't. It also remains optional to read these blurbs, but difficult to miss like a library/codex (do I even need to included googling in this list?) would be.

This is a necessary change, but not sufficient. I agree with others that Tav's dialogue options leave a lot to be desired.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 04:12 PM
It might help to have a play inside the druid's grove, wherein the story of Shar and her dark worshipers is told. Perhaps a telling of how the dark justiciars stole children.

I don't know. I kind of hate plays in video games because they always feel stuck in time, stagnant, like the play never changes with the passing weeks.

But since the dark justiciars have impacted the locals, it seems reasonable that there might be stories about them. Anything visceral to help the players understand.

I agree that it should be more than just lore books, although I do appreciate the books. I just think it needs to be beaten in a little more fully, with imagery and sound.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 04:27 PM
woah, this is getting spicy! Let's tone it down to make the mods jobs a bit easier. It's Friday, let's all enjoy it smile
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 04:28 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
2. her armor is not the dead giveaway most people chuckle about, saying it is. If you didn't know her religion and just saw her, you wouldn't have guessed Shar based on that design. Plenty of people use gemstones for decorations, whether it be onyx, opal, black pearl, spinel, tourmaline, you name it. Saying it's obvious she worships Shar based on that is the definition of 20/20 hindsight.

Plenty of people have leaves for decoration too but when I see Druids showing an oaken leaf front and centre on their garb I'm not going to think anything else than "hey that's the symbol of Silvanus right there"
Posted By: auriejir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 04:44 PM
it is usually the DM's job to remind players on key things that their character know but they don't. a DC 5 or 10 religion check upon seeing shadowheart's circlet or armor followed by a brief resume of shar upon success feels appropriate, the same way we can get information about intellect devourers, the descent or what a soul coin is (it's definitely not a crypto currency).

if you don't want to have a dungeon master in your dungeons and dragons video game, there are many games out there but if you do, it's a bit more difficult to find so I am glad larian choose to do it and did it well.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 05:02 PM
When I was playing the BG3 story using Tabletop, I did this very thing. Any time there was lore that needed to be made known, I had them roll either an Arcana check or a Religion check. That's what those skills are for, to see what the characters actually know about different things. If you fail the roll, you don't know, and if the player doesn't know, then the player doesn't get to know.

However, if you make the roll, the DM explains to the players what their characters know. So, when you first meet Shadowheart on the beach, whether she's wearing her armor or not, there should be a moment when you ask her who she is a cleric of. If she's wearing the armor, the DC for the Religion check should be REALLY low, like a 5. Shar is one of the most common goddesses of Forgotten Realms. Wearing her symbol should be a hugely easy thing for anyone in the world to spot. So, if they're going to have her wearing her armor right off the bat because she was on some top secret Shar mission and needed the extra custom armor for some reason, then most characters should immediately recognize her as a Sharite. Period. And the game should explain at least the very basics about Shar to the player.

And, for crying out loud, the armor is custom. It shouldn't just be some normal armor. She's a Sharite. Her armor should be customized so that it doesn't hinder stealth. Therefore, maybe she wore it on her mission to help her sneak and steal the artifact. That would give at least a reason as to why she's wearing it. If it's just regular armor some shmo in Baldur's Gate could pick up at the local flea market, then it makes no sense that she's flaunting Sharite symbols and then trying to hide that she's a Sharite, and especially that no one at all recognizes that she's a Sharite right off the bat.

And ESPECIALLY once you reach the grove and it tells you that you see a picture of Shar's symbol on the mural, and you recognize it at a Sharite symbol, characters should put two-and-two together and say, "Hey! Wait a sec! Shadowheart's wearing that same symbol all over her.

But if they put her in normal armor that doesn't scream Shar, they should have Shadowheart lie and come up with a different god or goddes of trickery so she can cast trickery spells and no one will suspect she's a Sharite right away. Then the first time you encounter anything about Shar, THEN the Religion roll should be made to see what you know.

I personally think this second path is the best. I mean, we already know she's a Sharite because we've played the game forever and we've researched it etc. However, new players would enjoy, I think, the mystery of uncovering her secret. Have her in plain armor and lie about her patron goddess. Then have the players find Sharite stuff and make Religion rolls to learn more about Shar. As the story progresses, they then begin to pick up on more and more hints from Shadowheart that she hates Selune and loves Shar. That would make the "Reveal" so much more meaningful, and the players would more likely go, "Hah! I knew it!" or "Holy crap! I did not see that coming. She's too nice to be a Sharite. Right?"

But again, the players need context for this either way. You can't just expect every player to read every book. Shoot! In BG1 and 2, I hardly ever read the books. They bored the crap out of me. Just give me the main story plot via dialogues and in-game events. Don't make me research and read crap all over the place or I miss major story elements. BG1 and 2 didn't do that. Most of the books and tomes were for lore purposes only. If the player wanted to learn more FR lore, they'd read all the books and tomes. If they didn't care, they'd play the game and still know the whole main story plot. If there was an important god or goddess in the story, the game explained them to you via someone explaining it.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 05:04 PM
Originally Posted by auriejir
it is usually the DM's job to remind players on key things that their character know but they don't. a DC 5 or 10 religion check upon seeing shadowheart's circlet or armor followed by a brief resume of shar upon success feels appropriate, the same way we can get information about intellect devourers, the descent or what a soul coin is (it's definitely not a crypto currency).

if you don't want to have a dungeon master in your dungeons and dragons video game, there are many games out there but if you do, it's a bit more difficult to find so I am glad larian choose to do it and did it well.

I like the narrator, so I don't want my comment to come off as if I don't.

It's just that I don't think the narrator is enough in this case.

In storytelling, it's a matter of show, don't tell. Show the evil and danger of Shar worshipers, don't tell about them. It's more powerful to the player to actually see their evil in some way, as opposed to reading about it in a lore book or hearing the narrator say they're evil.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 05:07 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by JandK
2. her armor is not the dead giveaway most people chuckle about, saying it is. If you didn't know her religion and just saw her, you wouldn't have guessed Shar based on that design. Plenty of people use gemstones for decorations, whether it be onyx, opal, black pearl, spinel, tourmaline, you name it. Saying it's obvious she worships Shar based on that is the definition of 20/20 hindsight.

Plenty of people have leaves for decoration too but when I see Druids showing an oaken leaf front and centre on their garb I'm not going to think anything else than "hey that's the symbol of Silvanus right there"


It's just not the same thing. A generic black circle isn't the same as the very specific looking oak leaf symbol of Silvanus. It's a generic black circle.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 05:59 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by JandK
2. her armor is not the dead giveaway most people chuckle about, saying it is. If you didn't know her religion and just saw her, you wouldn't have guessed Shar based on that design. Plenty of people use gemstones for decorations, whether it be onyx, opal, black pearl, spinel, tourmaline, you name it. Saying it's obvious she worships Shar based on that is the definition of 20/20 hindsight.

Plenty of people have leaves for decoration too but when I see Druids showing an oaken leaf front and centre on their garb I'm not going to think anything else than "hey that's the symbol of Silvanus right there"


It's just not the same thing. A generic black circle isn't the same as the very specific looking oak leaf symbol of Silvanus. It's a generic black circle.

Ah, but it isn't. Shar's symbol is supposed to be well-known in Faerun; feared and hated by most good citizens. If a character encounters another character who is wearing a big ginormous black circle on their chest and shoulder pads and on a circlet on their forehead, and they say, "I'm a cleric," I think it's pretty obvious who that person is a cleric of.

Now, if Shadowheart wasn't wearing a ginormous black circle on her chest and shoulder pads and circlet, and she was just wearing the same armor without all that stuff, no one would think she's a servant of Shar. But, come on, it's like a big freaking target on her screaming, "Hi, I'm a Sharite cleric." It'd be like someone wearing a cross on their chest, shoulder pads and forehead and then someone later going, "Holy Cow! What? You're a Christian? I had no idea. Huh? Seriously? You're a Christian Priest? Whoa!"
Posted By: auriejir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:10 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Just give me the main story plot via dialogues and in-game events. Don't make me research and read crap all over the place or I miss major story elements.
books in game are always really nice but it should never be mandatory, finding odd information on the lore that would explain part of the world is their main purpose... more than that is usually expecting a bit much from the player, at least for the main quest (notes are an exception, I guess). if there is a side quest for every book in the game, I'm in... (would need a higher level cap though)

Originally Posted by JandK
In storytelling, it's a matter of show, don't tell. Show the evil and danger of Shar worshipers, don't tell about them. It's more powerful to the player to actually see their evil in some way, as opposed to reading about it in a lore book or hearing the narrator say they're evil.
the thing is, the original material has limited "showing" capacity but astounding "telling" capacity and even if larian has madperson who actually went boldly where no other video game went before and show hands holding a gravity bound pendant for trivial reasons, we are talking about a cult about secrecy... I never played in this setting but from what I've gathered, with this setup, it will be hard to shine the light on the goddess of shadows in a really eye opening way

also, sometimes, one or two sentences well delivered as explanation can have a powerful impact

Originally Posted by GM4Him
Now, if Shadowheart wasn't wearing a ginormous black circle on her chest and shoulder pads and circlet, and she was just wearing the same armor without all that stuff, no one would think she's a servant of Shar.
I did not wanted to bring datamine or spoilers but there are unused destroyed armors and if she dies (and get looted) before the crash, she spawns on the beach with a bandit armor while lae'zel stays naked so... for now, I'm just glad I can see this armor ^.^
Posted By: Veilburner Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:11 PM
Not that I disagree with that. But people wear crosses and cross necklaces and they aren't Christian necessarily.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:13 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Ah, but it isn't. Shar's symbol is supposed to be well-known in Faerun; feared and hated by most good citizens. If a character encounters another character who is wearing a big ginormous black circle on their chest and shoulder pads and on a circlet on their forehead, and they say, "I'm a cleric," I think it's pretty obvious who that person is a cleric of.

Now, if Shadowheart wasn't wearing a ginormous black circle on her chest and shoulder pads and circlet, and she was just wearing the same armor without all that stuff, no one would think she's a servant of Shar. But, come on, it's like a big freaking target on her screaming, "Hi, I'm a Sharite cleric." It'd be like someone wearing a cross on their chest, shoulder pads and forehead and then someone later going, "Holy Cow! What? You're a Christian? I had no idea. Huh? Seriously? You're a Christian Priest? Whoa!"

I think you're underestimating how incredibly generic a black circle is, to start. It's not the same thing as a cross in a world where that's the symbol of the biggest religion in the world, consisting of over 2 billion people.

But also, there aren't any black circles on her shoulder pads. Not on the actual armor she's wearing in the game. I believe you're thinking of her artwork depiction.

And the one on her chest isn't just a black circle. It also has what looks to be a gold filigree design in the middle of it.

As for her circlet, how many pieces of jewelry do you think have black circle designs? Every piece with a black pearl. Every piece with onyx. You're just not being realistic about it, in my opinion. If you found a black onyx ring in some treasure loot, your first thought probably wouldn't be that it came from a worshiper of Shar.

Again, and this is just my opinion, but I strongly feel like this is an example of people feeling clever after the fact, saying they would've known.

It's like, if you find a chair with intricate leaf symbols carved into the armrests then you would think it was a design. You wouldn't think a druid made the chair. Until it was later revealed that a druid made the chair. And then there'd be a certain percentage of people jumping up and down assuring everyone they knew all along, 'cause of the leaf designs on the armrest, of course!

Shrug. Just my opinion. But people sure do seem to be a lot more observant in hindsight.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:16 PM
Originally Posted by Veilburner
Not that I disagree with that. But people wear crosses and cross necklaces and they aren't Christian necessarily.

True but I doubt if you see this guy you would have any reasonable doubt that he is a christian cleric rather than a muslim imam
[Linked Image from upload.wikimedia.org]
Posted By: Umbra Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:23 PM
I'm pretty sure that, in the Forgotton Realms jewellers don't just make "generic black circle" jewellery, because they'd be lynched as Sharrans by outraged citizens.

I expect that folks are really very careful not to give offense or acidentally identify with a faith they aren't part of because in the Forgoton Realms gods are real and real arseholes about things like that!
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:23 PM
She must worship all the Shars.

[img]https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0...g.960x960_q85_1200x1200.jpg?v=1624993645[/img]
Posted By: Anonymous Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:25 PM
Clerics in game are largely not hugely developed and the brief blurb which describes the various gods in character creation is insufficient and rudimentary.

Clerics perhaps have some of the most strictures on behaviors and actions that might lead them to fall out of favor with their god but there is none of that here.

Shadowheart’s revelation aren’t hugely remarkable in light of the other characters backstories, which are all pretty edgy.

It is obvious she is a cleric of a shadow deity from the get go. What is not obvious at all is when Tav is.

Absolutely no one comments on Tav being a cleric, and it rarely is brought up at all. I find this too bad, since it seems to be a interesting way to develop relationships between the various characters.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:26 PM
Originally Posted by Umbra
I'm pretty sure that, in the Forgotton Realms jewellers don't just make "generic black circle" jewellery, because they'd be lynched as Sharrans by outraged citizens.

I expect that folks are really very careful not to give offense or acidentally identify with a faith they aren't part of because in the Forgoton Realms gods are real and real arseholes about things like that!

I'm pretty sure that you don't have a source for that.

In fact, I'm also pretty sure that I can point to treasure in Forgotten Realms canon adventures that contain jewelry, things like rings and necklaces, fashioned from numerous black stones. And I'll guarantee some of them even stipulate round.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:45 PM
i can't take the "it's just a generic black circle" seriously. She has them all over her outfit. She is named SHADOWHEART. She has an obvious "deep dark secret". she gets angry about Selune. Are we just pretending that our characters are stupid? Because that is what it would take not to recognize who she really is at first glance.
Originally Posted by Niara
It's kind of odd that you don't get any dialogue options to comment when the character rants about how deceitful, worthless, nasty and useless Selune is - when in a world of present and active deities, and true tangible good and evil (celestials and fiends etc.), it's empirically known and established that Selune is an overwhelmingly good deity - greater deity, in fact, known the realms over for being a good deity, a champion of life and knowledge, and proven so.

But we can't say "Hey, um... you're, ah, a bit misinformed there, friend.. you've been a bit lied to, perhaps..." That option is absent, and it's weird.
Hope you dont mind, but i steal this to missing dialogue options threat. :P
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:54 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
i can't take the "it's just a generic black circle" seriously. She has them all over her outfit. She is named SHADOWHEART. She has an obvious "deep dark secret". she gets angry about Selune. Are we just pretending that our characters are stupid? Because that is what it would take not to recognize who she really is at first glance.

No. For starters, I think people would ask as I mentioned earlier. It seems weird to have a cleric in the party without the cleric mentioning the deity.

But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

Saying you'd recognize a warrior in the crusades from a cross on the chest is one thing. They did that sort of thing. But a cleric of Shar wearing an open symbol in public? Not the same thing. Not at all.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 06:57 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 07:05 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

I would also guess that it's *typically* out of character for a Shar worshiper to wear their symbol so publicly.

Again, I think the average person, not even knowing the Shar symbol, would see a black circle of onyx and think jewelry.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 07:21 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

I would also guess that it's *typically* out of character for a Shar worshiper to wear their symbol so publicly.

Again, I think the average person, not even knowing the Shar symbol, would see a black circle of onyx and think jewelry.
Or possibly, because Shar worshippers are supposed to be secretive and don't wear their symbols publicly, people would see SH and just think she's being edgy. "She obviously can't be a true Shar worshipper; she's way too conspicuous! She obviously worships another god and just wants you to think she's cool and worships Shar."
Posted By: Ranxerox Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 07:50 PM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?

I also was not familiar with any of the D&D God, lore etc either, but have found this "Forgotten Realms" website to be an invaluable resource in bringing me up to speed.


Forgotten Realms
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 09:28 PM
All right. You know what? I stand corrected. I'm willing to admit that I'm wrong. I read someone's comments at some point that said that she was wearing the symbol of Shar on her starter armor, and I think I just accepted that and thought, "That's dumb." Then I began to associate the starter armor with that picture on the title screens. Which, if they're trying to create a "Is she a cleric of whoever?" mystery they need to take some of those images down. It really creates spoilers.

But, anyway, upon further examining the armor at length, it occurred to me that you are absolutely right. The armor isn't displaying Shar's symbols at all. It is a black circle with golden lines that almost looks like the symbol of Lathander. It looks like a rising sun between two hills. The circlet also just has a black onyx gemstone.

But Shar's symbol specifically is that of a black disk with a deep purple border. Shadowheart is not wearing anything like that at all. Interesting.

Still, back on topic, it would be good for there to be some dialogue. "What deity do you serve?"

"I serve Lathander, the Sun God," Shadowheart replies gesturing at the symbol on her chest. "The golden lines symbolize how the sun's rays cut through the shadows of night."

Then new players would accept her as a cleric of Lathander and then be surprised when they find out she's not. Then, at some point, when Shar and Selune are being discussed, BEFORE the Shadowheart secret reveal, Shar should be explained as an evil goddess of trickery and deception and of darkness and loss. Her cult is terrible, and they have abused people for centuries on end. They are secretive and little is truly known about their ways. They are very dangerous, and so on and so forth.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 09:51 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Still, back on topic, it would be good for there to be some dialogue. "What deity do you serve?"

"I serve Lathander, the Sun God," Shadowheart replies gesturing at the symbol on her chest. "The golden lines symbolize how the sun's rays cut through the shadows of night."

Then new players would accept her as a cleric of Lathander and then be surprised when they find out she's not. Then, at some point, when Shar and Selune are being discussed, BEFORE the Shadowheart secret reveal, Shar should be explained as an evil goddess of trickery and deception and of darkness and loss. Her cult is terrible, and they have abused people for centuries on end. They are secretive and little is truly known about their ways. They are very dangerous, and so on and so forth.

Strongly agree.
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

So when we go into the crypt where the skeleton NPC is, in the room right outside him, we make a religion check to see if we spot that it's Jergal's

Why is not each companion and us not making a religion check when we meet Shadowheart to see if we can guess who her goddess is?

You can tell that whoever working on the story for BG3 is not that good. You would think with all the money they are spending on BG3, they would have hired some good writers.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 10:38 PM
The FR setting has struggled with how to handle this aspect of the lore since its invention.

The problem is that the gameworld often treats polytheism in Faerun as if this was Babylon, or Ancient Greece or pre-christian Rome. In other words, a system that is already highly polyglot with layers of compomise and synchronicity built up. For the Ancient Greeks at a later stage, the Olympians represented things like emmotional states, social roles, or certain stages of life. Sure they still had cults and priests with temples, ritual observances and stories to relay their petty jealousies, but everyone knows what is meant. "The gods" at that point are complex etiologies for explaining common emotions or mundane phenomena. They've already developed at that point way beyond the sort of singular nationalist or local dieties that expressed more common tribal identities, or local identities in competition with other outside tribes all vying for dominance. Already morphed into a big shared family of beliefs by then. To put it another way, Polytheism was already Imperial by then.

Poseidon the Earth Shaker has already arrived, to stand alongside Athena, and they both have to be dealt with and worked into the fold. Zdeus is already at the head of the Pantheon as the All Pater, cause the centaurs are already enthroned. The warlords on horseback are already running shit and we're pretty far along at that point.

But Faerun isn't like that. If it were, everyone would worship and acknowledge Shar, every time they told a secret or wished to learn one. Instead Faerun is more like that earlier conception, except with one super important exception that completely distinguishes the Realms from the real world - and that's the that gods in Faerun are actually real, and visable, and intercede in mortal affairs without having to shroud it all in etiology and metaphor. We don't have to "believe" in their reality or in their miracles here, because its on full display. With a whole repertoire of associated spells and powers granted to their followers.

Believing in the gods of Faerun doesn't make one gullible or vulgar, instead its pretty rational and sensible given the context. This is why its so odd that a developer who achieved fame for making games with the word Divinity in the titles, wouldn't lean into this stuff a bit more?

I think they should do our FR Olympus not as metaphor or etiology but as reality. Basically just like Clash of the Titans or Jason and the Argonauts. The player should see the gods! That doesn't necessarily mean that the character needs a vision or visitation, (though you'd think that might help) but the player should at least get one. We should see a god early on, so we know it's for real, and have plenty of reasons to pick a team and fret off what might happen if we don't. We should be getting all tangled up in their affairs right from the getgo.

Here's a thought, when the player calls out Shadowheart and blasphemes against Shar, she should immediately demonstrate Shar's power and hit us with a guiding bolt that throws off a divine cutscene.

Shar's story then appears to us, thrown in stark relief, with some high drama and high stakes. And if the PC doesn't have some backup from another diety they've already chosen, then Selune should get involved and throw them a lifeline. Perhaps Shar blinds them and whispers in their ear how she won't be denied! all power acrues to Shar! As the scene envelopes in pitch. But then Selune intercedes, restores the players sight with moonlight. And says something else about it. So the player isn't confused, and it's all made pretty crystal fucking clear... in this world of the Forgotten Realms, religion isn't hyperbole or metaphor, it's life and death!
It's for real!

I just think that would be a better approach and make things a lot more dynamic down the road and they would be able to make better use of the established lore. So the player is brought up to speed with where their character is supposed to be at concerning all this stuff.

The way it is now, its like those silly stories where the protagonist character is being confronted by demons or ghosts or aliens or whatever, and yet still stubornly refuses to acknowledge the situation. "But I don't believe in those!" Even though they just watched one eat their friends and family lol. Everyone finds that character annoying. Like wake up and get with the program character! The only thing more annoying is when such a character regresses after the fact. Like where the don't believe initially, but then do after an epiphany, but then don't again later, trying to convince themselves it was all in their head. When it clearly wasn't. The game should avoid that trope, since its so tired. Its ok for the narrator/audience/villainous antagonist to be two steps ahead of the protagonist character, but once the protagonist is clued in, they should move forward and not backtrack just so the audience can groan about how stubborn and stupid the protagonist is being hehe
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 10:45 PM
Originally Posted by Merry Mayhem
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

So when we go into the crypt where the skeleton NPC is, in the room right outside him, we make a religion check to see if we spot that it's Jergal's

Why is not each companion and us not making a religion check when we meet Shadowheart to see if we can guess who her goddess is?

You can tell that whoever working on the story for BG3 is not that good. You would think with all the money they are spending on BG3, they would have hired some good writers.

that's what's so contrived about it. Apparently religion checks are a thing until they aren't, because our tsundere girl needs to have a big secret and reveal
Black_Elk, nice post.

To me, the way I play it, using a Dwarven War Priest of mine who worships Clangeddin Silverbeard as an example. In the morning, when I wake up, I say prays to Clangeddin, asking him to grant me a bit of his might. When I am casting spells with verbal components, there a quick pray, like, Spiritual Weapon would be me saying "Clangeddin, lend me you Axe!" When we get to a new town, I ask if there is any Dwarven shrines or temples so I can check in. What I am saying is anyone who adventuring with me for a day or two is going to know who I am a Cleric too.

I have no issue with Shadowheart having secrets but lets put her in gray robes at the start, have her hide her armor, have her muttering her prays and verbal spell components. Have her act like she keeping a secret instead of depending on us being an unobservant idiot.
Posted By: Leucrotta Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 11:16 PM
Shadowheart really could do with being a lot more subtle, as is if I was DMing BGIII I wouldn't event require a religion check to figure out what she's a cleric of when the party meets her if the player in question was also a cleric* and would give a fairly low one for everyone else. Shar is probably *the* most well know evil god(dess) in the setting. Any cleric walking around with that regalia, with that name, and talking the way she does (particularly in regards to Selune)....you are way past foreshadowing (ha) at that point.

There was a suggestion that she change her outfit into her Sharran regalia only after being uncovered-I think that's a good start. There was IIRC a datamined hairstyle for her that replaced her hair cuff with a leather cord. Have her start with that and some more generic armor or the armor of a priest of another faith that she could be in disguise as.

*Honestly Clerics should autopass or have reduced DCs or advantage on a lot of Religion checks. Recognizing basic things like holy symbols or the trappings of major faiths should be an entry-level requirement for a lot of organized religion in the Realms.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 11:31 PM
Originally Posted by Firesong
Shar is a typical "lawful evil" gawd, she just doesn't pretend to be "lawful good", like all the other gawds.

Neutral Evil, not Lawful Evil...unless the game changed her Alignment?
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/10/21 11:48 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
that's what's so contrived about it. Apparently religion checks are a thing until they aren't, because our tsundere girl needs to have a big secret and reveal

This is a big part of the issue:

Larian love their mary-sues, and wants to let them break the rules wherever it suites them. They don't WANT the player to make the sorts of rolls or checks they normally would in any situation involving one of their Origin characters, because they're desperate for their origin characters to always have the upper hand and the last word against our PC. Nearly every situation involving an exchange between the PC and an Origin character, the PC is forced either to be incredibly dumb and say incredibly dumb things, or to be ignorant of what the Origin wants to talk about (without any knowledge checks offered), or else they have to say directly conflicting lines without any tact or sense, just for the express purpose of allowing the Origin character to springboard of the line into something more condescending. The vast majority of all PC-Origin dialogues are written this way, with it only starting to wind that in a little bit on SOME of the advanced relationship dialogues later on.

==

While Shadow's in game armour doesn't have the same Shar regalia that her splash art does, her circlet is another matter. It's a simple diadem with a flat, perfectly circular black onyx as its sole decoration, and in terms of the forgotten realms, it is very obviously a symbol of dedication, not mere ornamentation - and can only be a symbol of Shar; anyone should be given a check to recognise this upon seeing her wearing it. You can add her hair piece to that - it has a bordered black disc
icon as its central focus, as a clear symbol that matches her circlet. Between those two alone, it isn't feasible that anyone would fail to understand it as deliberate symbology, and only someone in *extenuatingly* ignorant (which our characters are not) circumstances should be denied a check to know what it is.

==

Part of a narrator's job is to fill in the gap between what the character would know, and what the player might not - theirs is a tool to inform the player without implying ignorance or stupidity on the character. A not insignificant part of DMing is doing exactly this, in fact... and it should be done here.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 12:29 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
It's a simple diadem with a flat, perfectly circular black onyx as its sole decoration, and in terms of the forgotten realms, it is very obviously a symbol of dedication, not mere ornamentation - and can only be a symbol of Shar...

lol

"My dear Watson, did you not see her jewelry? She favors onyx. Clearly, she is a priestess of the most foul!"
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 12:50 AM
Originally Posted by Merry Mayhem
Black_Elk, nice post.

To me, the way I play it, using a Dwarven War Priest of mine who worships Clangeddin Silverbeard as an example. In the morning, when I wake up, I say prays to Clangeddin, asking him to grant me a bit of his might. When I am casting spells with verbal components, they're a quick pray, like, Spiritual Weapon would be me saying "Clangeddin, lend me you Axe!" When we get to a new town, I ask if there is any Dwarven shrines or temples so I can check in. What I am saying is anyone who adventuring with me for a day or two is going to know who I am a Cleric too.

I have no issue with Shadowheart having secrets but lets put her in gray robes at the start, have her hide her armor, have her muttering her prays and verbal spell components. Have her act like she keeping a secret instead of depending on us being an unobservant idiot.

I mean right?

What's interesting to me, is that Gygax, Arneson, Greenwood etc, those guys were all pretty well read, and I'm sure they could have come up with a different way to represent religion and divine influence in their game system/world had they wanted to. Perhaps one that mirrored more the real-world or the historical reality more accurately, but they didn't. They chose a rather particular way to do it, and one that was clever too, because it simultaneously has appeal for both players who are believers and non-believers alike, but probably for completely different reasons. I'll let you guess which camp I fall into hehe, but the point is that it works for all comers (whether as a send up, or a confirmation of their real world views, or someone else's). It has that charm either way, by being built-in and taken as a given here, in D&D FR.

Not sure if you ever watched the show Rome on HBO, but I'm reminded of that scene where Titus Pullo kills a bunch of dudes in single combat to save Octavian and recover the legionary eagle... You know, where after going berserk and dispatching the enemy, he hold his blood stained gladius to his heart and recites the gift to Mars, like so...


You get the quick read, like 'damn, ok I see what's going on here.' Mars is just metaphor for bloodlust and warfare. Or similarly in that same show when Servilia is trying to curse Atia, and she cover's her face in ash calling down Hecate and the Furies for revenge, again its like "wow, damn, got it! metaphor! Human emotion." So it sets up a really nice presentation there, where the viewer understands what's going on. It's all in the family, everyone still 'worships' Jupiter and Magna Mater, and we understand what it is. We can see how the Capitoline Trinity morphs into a Catholic Trinity in the later Empire, how various gods become various saints or whatever, while still retaining their same basic function, and it's all pretty consistent. All familiar. But then compare that to what the Romans did with Baal.

I only bring it up because Baal features in the FR pantheon and in the BG games pretty prominently. From a Roman point of view, pre-Empire, Baal isn't part of the family. Baal has to be destroyed and supplanted by Juno, cause Carthage needs to get put in it's place.

Baal is just a Phoenician Patronymic. That's why we have a Hannibal and an Ithiba'al (Jezebel/Isabella), and all the various baals, that feature among the Carthaginian and Canaanite names we still remember (usually cause they were destroyed by famous Romans). Baal is exactly like Jupiter in the Carthaginian Pantheon. A sky god, master of the thunderbolt, an all-father etc, but they're in competition. Nationalistic tribal competition. Pre-Imperial competition basically, because (in this case) Carthage hasn't been conquered yet. Hence all the stigma and derision directed at Baal. Later he even gets to become a demon and a prince of Hell, when Rome becomes Christian, but "Rome" nevertheless still remains pretty Roman lol, and so have we have that whole interplay and build up over time, with the knock-on after effects.

Now they easily could have set the up the divinities and religions in the Forgotten Realms more like that if they wanted to. They could have set it up like these were nationalistic deities vying in competition, each with factions where they are the supreme deity in their corner like proto monism, and where the whole thing is just a proxy for human competition and predation and internecine warfare. But that's not what they did.

Instead they set it up like an actual reality of the game Universe. It's not as if we're gullible Romans or Roman children who didn't actually understand the metaphorical or etiological implications, and instead were just taking it all at face value and unquestioning. Its more like, "oh wow, guess it's the real deal" cause I just saw a giant colossus descend from the clouds speak to me in plain language and then transform from a person into a bird or whatever right before my eyes. Basically a Ray Harryhausen special effects movie presentation, as if the metaphorical was the real. That's how D&D kicked it off, and that's how it should work here.

Everyone should pick a god at the outset, and the player should be introduced to what sort of fantasy is being set up here. Leave the questioning and such to the lesser deities, but not for the biggies. They need to be established right away, as real movers and shakers in-universe, not as proxies for how this stuff all works in the real-world where the player is coming from lol. This is high fantasy. The new player needs a crash course, (and not just from some dusty tome of lore!) so they can get really get into it and see what's going on for all it's worth.

I agree completely about the check rolls and such, but I think it needs something more narrative and forceful in the initial set up so it actually carries, and doesn't just feel like a watered down version of FR cultural anthropology or whatever heheh. Instead, if we're rolling around with a Cleric of Shar, and dealing with the fallout of a big Shar vs conflict, then we should be probably be meeting Shar pretty early on so we have some set up there. Just so we know who Shar is.

BG1 didn't exactly do a stellar job of this either, granted. I mean "Shar" was basically just a bark for Viconia. But it nevertheless went there with all the "Lord of Murder" and "Child of Bhaal" stuff. That stuff hit hard before we even left Candelekeep and was reinforced constantly through dreams at each chapter break along the way. This game needs to do more of that stuff. It needs to give us Shar, more as a character as opposed to an abstract belief system. A real Shar!
grin

Sorry I typed a bunch and then forgot to close with my main point, which was about the Absolute. The Absolute is presented to us as a foil for actual divinity. A kind of false deity, who is weirdly more real for us (in gameplay terms) than any of the actual deities from the FR lore. From a game narrative point of view, every character is by default like a priest of the Absolute whether they wanted to be or not. The Absolute, not Shar or Selune, or Lathandar, or Clangeddin, is the one demonstrating true power and influence over us. We also know it's tadpole, and probably not a divinity, so this all compounds to give a weird sense that Faerun is bereft of the gods, and religion has been torn down and replaced by mind flayer trickery. Is that what they want? I guess maybe, but it's a bit of an odd fit for the Forgotten Realms.
Posted By: auriejir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 01:38 AM
please, don't make level one priests summon her deity (one which is just the dark half of the goddess that created this world) on a fit of rage just because another level one asked her not too insult the other half of the goddess that created the world... even for an origin character, this is way too much edge, there is a reason why astarion is a charred corpse next to the nautiloid carcass and it is not entirely that his job interview was to dodge this sacred flame...

on a lighter note, don't hold it too much against 5e characters, since intelligence doesn't govern proficiencies anymore, it became the dump stat as could be seen at launch with astarion and shadowheart proudly at 8 intelligence...
I don't care about edgelord Mc dustpile but it seems like larian realized that their girl was not exactly credible as a jackass with those abysmal mental scores and bumped her all the way to average...

in a way, this is pretty much close to the real deal when you arrive at the table and the second most intelligent character after yours is the fighter towering at 11... ok, there might be gale too but he's cheating, he is a wizard...
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 01:49 AM
DM: After a long and hazardous journey, you finally relax, settling into the inn for a well-earned evening of good food and wine. The serving lady, Dahlia, comes to your table. You notice that she seems to be in an especially good mood tonight with her hair done nicely and a new pair of onyx earrings...

PLAYER: I kill her.

DM: Wh--?

PLAYER: I kill her.

DM: You... uh... kill her?

PLAYER: Dude, she's wearing onyx earrings. It's very obviously a symbol of dedication. I'm not going to suffer a priestess of Shar to live.

DM: Uhm. Okay, I... uh... roll to hit, I guess?

PLAYER: Ha! A twenty! Take that you onyx wearing mistress of the night!
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 01:52 AM
Originally Posted by auriejir
it is usually the DM's job to remind players on key things that their character know but they don't. a DC 5 or 10 religion check upon seeing shadowheart's circlet or armor followed by a brief resume of shar upon success feels appropriate, the same way we can get information about intellect devourers, the descent or what a soul coin is (it's definitely not a crypto currency).

I'm not halfway into reading this thread, but I wanted to not forget to +1 this really, really well-made point
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 01:54 AM
Originally Posted by auriejir
please, don't make level one priests summon her deity (one which is just the dark half of the goddess that created this world) on a fit of rage just because another level one asked her not too insult the other half of the goddess that created the world... even for an origin character, this is way too much edge, there is a reason why astarion is a charred corpse next to the nautiloid carcass and it is not entirely that his job interview was to dodge this sacred flame...


Right, and I suppose I should avoid being hyperbolic in a thread about how this stuff may be confusing to new players not particularly well versed in the lore. The point was not to have Shadowheart flatten the MC at first meeting like the ultimate edgequeen, but that the developers need to do something! Something in the narrative set up which makes this material more real and consequential as opposed to just random books on random shelves that probably never get opened.

Though honestly if the reason to avoid this stuff, is to make sure Astarion can avoid the smuldering as a pregen MC, I still think that's a big part of what's wrong with this game. If the protognist is Astarion then he should have some kind of setup where he's on the run from Kelemvor and sweating off that a lot more than the Shar vs Selune dual aspect dispute. Obviously! lol (or perhaps not? if you're new to the game and the setting) which is the point of this thread. I still dislike the origin idea eclipsing everything else, but at least that would be something.


Originally Posted by JandK
PLAYER: Dude, she's wearing onyx earrings. It's very obviously a symbol of dedication. I'm not going to suffer a priestess of Shar to live.

Heheh JandK, that DM player exchange description just made me snort-chuckle my coffee out my nostrils. Nice!
grin
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:04 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Still, back on topic, it would be good for there to be some dialogue. "What deity do you serve?"

"I serve Lathander, the Sun God," Shadowheart replies gesturing at the symbol on her chest. "The golden lines symbolize how the sun's rays cut through the shadows of night."

Then new players would accept her as a cleric of Lathander and then be surprised when they find out she's not. Then, at some point, when Shar and Selune are being discussed, BEFORE the Shadowheart secret reveal, Shar should be explained as an evil goddess of trickery and deception and of darkness and loss. Her cult is terrible, and they have abused people for centuries on end. They are secretive and little is truly known about their ways. They are very dangerous, and so on and so forth.

Strongly agree.

+1 as well, this is a really great suggestion
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:12 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
"My dear Watson, did you not see her jewelry? She favors onyx. Clearly, she is a priestess of the most foul!"

There is a difference between "Wears this stone as part of their jewellery" and "Wears this stone, in this very specific cut, setting and style, and displays it in this very specific cutting, setting and style in several places on her person."

There is a difference between "Wears pretty onxy earrings" and "Wears a diadem bearing a perfectly circular flat black disc as its central and only ornamentation, and bears an identical flat, circular, black disc on other parts of her outfit."

One of them is clearly, and deliberately, symbolic of Something.

This is especially relevant when that particular symbol is, expressly, the symbolism of a particular divine entity, in a realm where these entities are present, known and active.

Are you struggling to understand the difference between these things? If so, I can attempt to explain for you further. As always, of course, you can be dismissive or disparaging of that all you like; that's your call... but I'd personally prefer it if you remained polite, rather than launching into snarky ridicule.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:21 AM
Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Is that what they want? I guess maybe, but it's a bit of an odd fit for the Forgotten Realms.

Essentially, Larian was handed the golden goose (i.e., The Forgotten Realms) and they decided to make...pork chops.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:22 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
Are you struggling to understand the difference between these things?

lol, I don't think I need you to explain anything to me. Let's just say we disagree about the meaning of jewelry and stuff. Thank you for sharing your interpretation.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Still, back on topic, it would be good for there to be some dialogue. "What deity do you serve?"

"I serve Lathander, the Sun God," Shadowheart replies gesturing at the symbol on her chest. "The golden lines symbolize how the sun's rays cut through the shadows of night."

Then new players would accept her as a cleric of Lathander and then be surprised when they find out she's not. Then, at some point, when Shar and Selune are being discussed, BEFORE the Shadowheart secret reveal, Shar should be explained as an evil goddess of trickery and deception and of darkness and loss. Her cult is terrible, and they have abused people for centuries on end. They are secretive and little is truly known about their ways. They are very dangerous, and so on and so forth.

+1

It seems that in the forgotten realms - the second you met, or recognized someone as a Cleric this would be the first thing you would ask them.

"Hey noticed you casting a divine spell, which God do you get your powers from?"
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:41 AM
Hehe Pork chops! yeah but like even there they could at least dish up a side of applesauce or whatever.

The earrings and regalia are a nice touch, but that's not serviceable if the player isn't well versed. That's also why I was trying to bring up romans and such, cause they're familiar enough to explain the issue but not quite as on the nose as that dude in pontifical style robes sporting crosses and the belltop hat and vestments. That's familiar, a lot of this FR stuff isn't. But at the same time it draws heavily on real world mythologies and religions and uses symbols and such that might be easy to mix up. You know, where they change a letter or two around or add an aspirant, so they'd have an easy out if they ever got sued. Like hey! We can let these Satanist teach the kids about Baal! And they reply, sorry sir you must have misread, we're talking about Bhaal not Baal! lol. Whereas we know what they're doing there. There's just so much overlap though, and if the player doesn't know or have the DM to instruct them, then it's not surprising they find themselves confused.

There are plenty of opportunities, not just in the char creation menu, but in the game to kick into this stuff. But they aren't really using it that way. It's not explained at all really, just used as background. As décor

I think it needs something a lot more than that, it needs to somehow justify itself and what its doing, to make those choices in character creation or representation actually feel significant to the setting and the story.
Originally Posted by Umbra
I expect that folks are really very careful not to give offense or acidentally identify with a faith they aren't part of because in the Forgoton Realms gods are real and real arseholes about things like that!
Originally Posted by SereneNight
Absolutely no one comments on Tav being a cleric, and it rarely is brought up at all. I find this too bad, since it seems to be a interesting way to develop relationships between the various characters.

I hope that someone makes a mod with Astarion asking if the player is a cleric or something when they first meet.

Originally Posted by avahZ Darkwood
At minimum a “library” with lore, descriptions, terms, meaning, etc in the main menu. A good list of all the phb gods, realms locations, etc.
Originally Posted by Merry Mayhem
What we should have is a nice encyclopedia system where when we find a book, it's entry is added to it. Many other games have good encyclopedia system. They can be used for other stuff too, spell entries, lore about magic items, info about monsters and npcs, etc.
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Key terms (Gods, famous people, well-known locations & historical events) should be highlighted in dialogue, and allow you to hover over them for a basic explanation. Shar - "Shar, The Mistress of the Night, is a neutral evil goddess and the twin of and counterpart to the Good-aligned goddess Selune. Her followers exhibit..." This solves the issue of Tav having in-world knowledge that we players don't. It also remains optional to read these blurbs, but difficult to miss like a library/codex (do I even need to included googling in this list?) would be.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Lol then have the narrator explain. She does exposition all the time.

"You remember Shar as an evil goddess with her cultist being horrible A holes across faerun."

I think that all of these should be added.

Originally Posted by JandK
In storytelling, it's a matter of show, don't tell. Show the evil and danger of Shar worshipers, don't tell about them. It's more powerful to the player to actually see their evil in some way, as opposed to reading about it in a lore book or hearing the narrator say they're evil.

If the player's character knows a lot about Shar because of the History Skill, they probably know as much as or more than the player would know from reading books about Shar.
The narrator would just abridge what the character knows for the player, and the player could read books to learn more.

"Show, don't tell" is good, but it should be for certain flashbacks, current events and future events.

Originally Posted by robertthebard
Lore books require players to actually read them. They don't do a lot of good if the player just picks them up, and stores them somewhere, or sells them. A Glossary/Encyclopedia will be subject to the same shortcoming. If a player doesn't use it, they're going to be in the same boat the OP is in here. When I'm playing a new IP, I read all provided lore, I even go so far as to seek out any books provided, in game. If there's a glossary/encyclopedia, I'll read it, but, and there's always a but, I have to do it. Even something like providing hyperlinks in dialog is useless, if the player doesn't click it. At some point, the player is going to be expected to do some footwork, if they want to be informed.
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Your character was born in the FRs. They have knowledge that you don't. This isn't a design flaw. It works that way in every game out there. Exploration and books don't exist to inform the character, they exist to inform the player. The impetus is on the player that wants to be informed to search up that knowledge. It's not like this information isn't provided in game, it's that you didn't find it because of how you chose to play. That's fine and all, that's the magic of non linear story telling, or limited linear, as the case may be. However, because you missed something, or didn't actually read something you found, doesn't mean there's a problem with the game. If that were the case, every game ever made would be "broken". As I said, your characters always have the more "common knowledge" things that you, as a player, don't.

A problem is that it can be difficult to find the books.
In Bethesda's games, I usually read every letter, note, book, log, etc. that I found.
Though I don't remember anything from them other than some of the titles and some lore, despite quite a few of them being interesting to read.
However, when I would go to the wiki sites after a few playthroughs for each game, it usually turned out that there were still books, logs, etc. that I hadn't read in the games.

Also, I usually have problems remembering things, but I don't feel like reading the books again after I send them to storage, so having a lore section in the menu, hover boxes with abridged information in the dialogue and narration would be helpful.

As for the games not having a problem, I disagree.
Players should be able to know what their character knows about the world before dialogue options appear that don't make sense.
It's okay for players to not know what characters are talking about at the beginning of a game and to be brought up to speed as the story progresses, but only as long as they're not having to make decisions without knowledge.
If I was told on the ship at the beginning of the game, "Choose to follow Shar or Selune", I wouldn't know which to choose unless the game described them.
When you select the Cleric class, a summary is given of what each deity is like, and it wouldn't make sense for them to not do that.

Not only that, but there's a difference between reading about main information and reading about extra information.
Main information (e.g. Shar is an evil goddess, and her sister Selune and her are enemies) should be available quickly and ideally through dialogue and cutscenes since some decisions would be too difficult to make and would also lose impact without that information (what might have been a dilemma just turns into plain confusion), while extra information should be available through books, dialogue and cutscenes, since it's usually just details that might not greatly affect decisions.

Originally Posted by robertthebard
Brilliant! Let's remove all the in game lore, it's worthless right? Except that, if you had found a couple of books lying around in places that you may actually get to before the temple, you'd at least have an idea of who Shar is, if you'd taken the time to read the book(s) when you find them/it, knowing that you are uninformed about the world's lore, right?

It makes sense to have players learn about certain details through books rather than to have them sit through many hours of exposition, but I think that there's a middle ground that Baldur's Gate III doesn't quite reach.

Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Niara
It's a simple diadem with a flat, perfectly circular black onyx as its sole decoration, and in terms of the forgotten realms, it is very obviously a symbol of dedication, not mere ornamentation - and can only be a symbol of Shar...

lol

"My dear Watson, did you not see her jewelry? She favors onyx. Clearly, she is a priestess of the most foul!"

Onyx is often associated with evil deities in the Forgotten Realms.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Onyx#Rumors_and_Legends

"Unenchanted onyx was believed to cause bad luck when worn or carried. Elminster has confirmed this suspicion."
"The lesser drow deity Vhaeraun was known to occasionally send onyx to show his favour or disfavour to his followers."
"Similarly, black onyx was sacred to the Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and he valued unholy items made of it."
"It was a common tale that when Shar stepped on Toril, she left onyx stones as her tracks."
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:56 AM
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Onyx is often associated with evil deities in the Forgotten Realms.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Onyx#Rumors_and_Legends

"Unenchanted onyx was believed to cause bad luck when worn or carried. Elminster has confirmed this suspicion."
"The lesser drow deity Vhaeraun was known to occasionally send onyx to show his favour or disfavour to his followers."
"Similarly, black onyx was sacred to the Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and he valued unholy items made of it."
"It was a common tale that when Shar stepped on Toril, she left onyx stones as her tracks."

If you had to hazard a guess, how many pieces of onyx would say have been in been in DnD modules over the years, including official treasure tables? How many of those pieces do you think have been mentioned as fashioned into jewelry?
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:20 AM
IMO, in The Forgotten Realms, wearing a prominently displayed round piece of onyx should arouse a degree of suspicion. Best case scenario, you've got a symbol akin to a manji: not quite a swastika, but close enough to catch unwanted attention.

Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Hehe Pork chops! yeah but like even there they could at least dish up a side of applesauce or whatever.

The earrings and regalia are a nice touch, but that's not serviceable if the player isn't well versed. That's also why I was trying to bring up romans and such, cause they're familiar enough to explain the issue but not quite as on the nose as that dude in pontifical style robes sporting crosses and the belltop hat and vestments. That's familiar, a lot of this FR stuff isn't. But at the same time it draws heavily on real world mythologies and religions and uses symbols and such that might be easy to mix up. You know, where they change a letter or two around or add an aspirant, so they'd have an easy out if they ever got sued. Like hey! We can let these Satanist teach the kids about Baal! And they reply, sorry sir you must have misread, we're talking about Bhaal not Baal! lol. Whereas we know what they're doing there. There's just so much overlap though, and if the player doesn't know or have the DM to instruct them, then it's not surprising they find themselves confused.

There are plenty of opportunities, not just in the char creation menu, but in the game to kick into this stuff. But they aren't really using it that way. It's not explained at all really, just used as background. As décor

I think it needs something a lot more than that, it needs to somehow justify itself and what its doing, to make those choices in character creation or representation actually feel significant to the setting and the story.

That's the point, isn't it? A skillful writer can not only - with a minimum amount of detail - draw you into a fictional world, but they can also make you want to delve in even deeper to discover those richer and more nuanced details. Right not, we're witnessing a distinct dearth of much needed literary skill.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:31 AM
Well another issue, which we see on full display all the time, is that once you're in the know, you tend to enjoy a more subdued presentation. One that indulges the player's well earned pedantry and extensive pre-reading. So a player coming into it who already knows who Shar is, they see all those little things like the Diadem and the stone in the lockbox and the name, and they maybe feel pretty satisfied that things are crystal clear here, perhaps even too obvious. New player comes in, misses it completely, doesn't even know what they were supposed to be looking for, and then feels like "wait what?"

Here's another analogy, one that probably fits the current moment for a few people here hehe. Say you expect that a large part of your movie-going audience has never read Herbert, and you're worried about what might happen if you try to make a Dune film. Maybe you overcompensate like DeLaurentis and demand voice over for everything or a pregame pamphlet that sort of tanks the first impression. (I still love that flick don't get me wrong! hehe) But then once it's out there, and out of the way then it becomes a lot simpler to do something more tactful like what just dropped yesterday. The same exposition, in a much more subdued way, and which carries a little better because it rewards the person in the know, but doesn't overburden the person not in the know, while still feeling like it delivered what it needs to do. Right now, Larian is sort of caught up in both places at once, since half their audience is probably coming in fresh and the other half (well let's be honest, maybe a quarter?) have already read up and know what's what. A middle ground I think would be to do a comparatively brief expository set up, but one that is forceful and cinematic (like all the rest of their forceful cinematic material), and then to let it retreat more into the background after that. More into the realm of décor basically, but only once we're certain everyone is on the same page.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:31 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
If you had to hazard a guess, how many pieces of onyx would say have been in been in DnD modules over the years, including official treasure tables? How many of those pieces do you think have been mentioned as fashioned into jewelry?

I can field that one:

Not many, in fact. Very few instances are specifically identified as such, and the vast majority of those that are marked so are in the possession of dark characters, or characters with dark intentions or purposes. It is, indeed, a stone that can appear on random treasure tables for gemstones, certainly, but in terms of actually identified stones or jewellery in official modules? Very few that aren't in the keeping of evil or dark purposed characters.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:33 AM
Consider how every companion's secret is either immediately visible, on the box art, or unavoidable before the end of the first area, I just don't think that this is something we should expect the story to prioritize. The DM wants this part of each companions story out early so that they can play around with it as much as possible
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:35 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by JandK
If you had to hazard a guess, how many pieces of onyx would say have been in been in DnD modules over the years, including official treasure tables? How many of those pieces do you think have been mentioned as fashioned into jewelry?

I can field that one:

Not many, in fact. Very few instances are specifically identified as such, and the vast majority of those that are marked so are in the possession of dark characters, or characters with dark intentions or purposes. It is, indeed, a stone that can appear on random treasure tables for gemstones, certainly, but in terms of actually identified stones or jewellery in official modules? Very few that aren't in the keeping of evil or dark purposed characters.

You didn't field that. "Not many" is not an amount; it's a guess.

Depending on how many editions back you go, there's an enormous amount. It would take me weeks to go through all of my modules and old books.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:35 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Onyx is often associated with evil deities in the Forgotten Realms.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Onyx#Rumors_and_Legends

"Unenchanted onyx was believed to cause bad luck when worn or carried. Elminster has confirmed this suspicion."
"The lesser drow deity Vhaeraun was known to occasionally send onyx to show his favour or disfavour to his followers."
"Similarly, black onyx was sacred to the Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and he valued unholy items made of it."
"It was a common tale that when Shar stepped on Toril, she left onyx stones as her tracks."

If you had to hazard a guess, how many pieces of onyx would say have been in been in DnD modules over the years, including official treasure tables? How many of those pieces do you think have been mentioned as fashioned into jewelry?

We're dealing with a specific setting here, however, instead of Dungeons & Dragons in general.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:37 AM
IMO, in The Forgotten Realms, wearing a prominently displayed round piece of onyx should arouse a degree of suspicion. Best case scenario, you've got a symbol akin to a manji: not quite a swastika, but close enough to catch unwanted attention.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:39 AM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
We're dealing with a specific setting here, however, instead of Dungeons & Dragons in general.

I've been following Forgotten Realms for over 30 years.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:39 AM
It's not a guess, JandK, it's a well informed generality. If you'd like to show us all of the counter-examples you have available to you, I'd be happy to rescind, but the reality is you will not find many. However, given the established lore for the realms, and other sources offered here, the onus is well and truly on you, in this case, to show that the use of onxy in jewellery for everyday people was commonplace and not suspicious, contra to the indications in those lore sources.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:41 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
It's not a guess, JandK, it's a well informed generality. If you'd like to show us all of the counter-examples you have available to you, I'd be happy to rescind, but the reality is you will not find many. However, given the established lore for the realms, and other sources offered here, the onus is well and truly on you, in this case, to show that the use of onxy in jewellery for everyday people was commonplace and not suspicious, contra to the indications in those lore sources.

The onus is not on me to prove that onyx jewelry should be seen and recognized by everyone as a symbol of Shar.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:42 AM
I love that the argument is "it's just a circle..no connection at all to Sharr"...except she's a CLERIC OF SHARR. but sure, keep gaslighting everyone that said "uh, so, isn't the whole sharr thing a bit obvious?" by pretending it's a 20/20 hindsight issue.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:43 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
We're dealing with a specific setting here, however, instead of Dungeons & Dragons in general.

I've been following Forgotten Realms for over 30 years.

You did say "DnD modules". I assumed you meant modules for generic D&D as well as every official campaign setting.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:45 AM
Here's another point, just to shore up a frequent apologetic, that the game is in EA and perhaps Larian is still building up to all this. If I'm an editor and someone hands me their rough draft asking for ideas, I'd think about it one way. If they hand me a manuscript and say "I think this is ready for publication how about you?" I'd read it differently.

We're already into this EA by like a year, and the groundwork for the Pantheon hasn't really been set up. Even though our default class during character creation is "Cleric" not much has been done to support the class or the concept of clericalism or divinity in FR. That other thread where people where mentioning how Clerics don't feel differentiated enough from each other makes one sort of point, but this is even more general. Basically that they are trying to pull of the Forgotten Realms sans deities, or where the actual deities from the lore are being usurped almost entirely by their new invented one. The mind flayer god, or the Absolute, or whatever it is hehe

I think they need to do a bit more in the set up. If it's not going to happen during char creation or immediately after, not dealt with in the opening cinematics, or during the Nautiloid escape. Then it needs to happen almost as soon as we hit the beach. During our First dream. First visit to a priest/healer. Whatever. Just something. Give that one to your cinematics team as the tall order of the year. Explain the cosmogony of the Forgotten Realms! You got like 3-5 minutes to pull it off! Go!
grin
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:45 AM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
I love that the argument is "it's just a circle..no connection at all to Sharr"...except she's a CLERIC OF SHARR. but sure, keep gaslighting everyone that said "uh, so, isn't the whole sharr thing a bit obvious?" by pretending it's a 20/20 hindsight issue.

It absolutely is hindsight. In that no one who saw someone wearing that circlet would jump to the conclusion that she was a priestess of Shar.

Except people who already knew. And then they'd be like, aha, I knew it all along because of that circlet. Soooo obvious.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:47 AM
oct 2021, strawmanning, gaslighting? no. i'm done with you. You're not here to argue in good faith, that much is obvious.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:48 AM
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Onyx is often associated with evil deities in the Forgotten Realms.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Onyx#Rumors_and_Legends
Also from the same page referencing non evil uses:
" This semi-precious stone was carved for jewelry and decorative housewares and was hard enough to wear well. It was often used for sculpting figurines (including the magic onyx dog)."
"There were "nine secrets" that could be enchanted to become an ioun stone and onyx was one of them. Physical contact with onyx helped reduce complications and pain during childbirth."
"Onyx was a common stone among the drow, a gem worn by drow of average station, albeit they used only black ones."

There are positive and negative things associated with it, much like symbols and gemstones in the real world. In both the real world and in the FR there will be people who turn into raving lunatics at the sight of something they find offensive or bad, but many more will just ignore something like this because they don't know for sure why the person is wearing it.

Shadowheart's attire choices should perhaps be modified a bit so she has less of the "suspicious looking black circle thingys" but I still believe that most people would just ignore her or steer clear if they expected her to be bad rather than confront her over her choices. For our characters there should be some sort of unbiased information given about Shar when we first meet Shadowheart and more if we pass a religion check, this would help those who are unfamiliar with the lore.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:53 AM
Originally Posted by Zarna
Also from the same page referencing non evil uses:
"Onyx was a common stone among the drow, a gem worn by drow of average station, albeit they used only black ones."

They are eeeeeeeeeevil. Chaotic Evil, to be precise.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:54 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
The onus is not on me to prove that onyx jewelry should be seen and recognized by everyone as a symbol of Shar.

Still waiting for your proof. Jewellery made of onxy and cut into perfectly circular, flat, black discs and displayed in pride of place (such as the centre of and otherwise unadorned circlet) on the person is, in the context of the forgotten realms, a clearly symbolic choice. This is supported by the various lore that has been cited by a few people here.

It's been mentioned that onxy is generally thought of as a dark stone, or one of ill fortune by suspicious folks, and that jewellery that features it is similarly mistrusted. It's a stone that is known to be favoured by several dark gods, and their worshippers. As such, the prominent display of it in jewellery was very likely to draw attention and call suspicion onto you.

If you're disputing that lore, as cited and references already, then you're going to have to provide some evidence or proof if you want to be taken seriously.

You attempted to dispute that by implying that there was a lot of onxy jewellery lying around as standard in modules all over the place: this is not true. If you want to maintain that it is, you'll need to provide some evidence or proof if you want to be taken seriously. The evidence and lore contra to your claim has already been provided - it's your turn.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:55 AM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Zarna
Also from the same page referencing non evil uses:
"Onyx was a common stone among the drow, a gem worn by drow of average station, albeit they used only black ones."

They are eeeeeeeeeevil. Chaotic Evil, to be precise.
Not denying that most Drow are evil but the act of wearing the stone seems more to me that they just like the way it looks
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 03:57 AM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
oct 2021, strawmanning, gaslighting? no. i'm done with you. You're not here to argue in good faith, that much is obvious.

I'm not here to argue at all, but I assure you that I disagree with you in good faith.

As for October, I've been reading these forums on a nearly daily basis since about Patch 3, but I only joined in October because I was confused about Patch 6 not updating on Stadia, and I wanted to ask if there was an ETA.

I don't know why it's so odd that someone might disagree with you on this subject? I feel like my point of view is pretty basic, normal.

As Zarna says:

Originally Posted by Zarna
Also from the same page referencing non evil uses:
" This semi-precious stone was carved for jewelry and decorative housewares and was hard enough to wear well. It was often used for sculpting figurines (including the magic onyx dog)."
"There were "nine secrets" that could be enchanted to become an ioun stone and onyx was one of them. Physical contact with onyx helped reduce complications and pain during childbirth."
"Onyx was a common stone among the drow, a gem worn by drow of average station, albeit they used only black ones."

There are positive and negative things associated with it, much like symbols and gemstones in the real world.

...for some reason, it seems like there are people who don't want to acknowledge the positive things associated with onyx.

Shrug. I don't know. Just my opinion.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 04:02 AM
Originally Posted by Zarna
Not denying that most Drow are evil but the act of wearing the stone seems more to me that they just like the way it looks

Given the date on the source reference, the comment is more likely relating to the supposition (admittedly not a fair one these days), that they are lolth worshippers - within Drow society at least, Lolth worship is fairly absolute, and onxy is a stone that Lolth identifies with as well - you won't find many non-lolth worshipping drow openly wearing onxy, generally speaking.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 04:06 AM
Originally Posted by Zarna
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Zarna
Also from the same page referencing non evil uses:
"Onyx was a common stone among the drow, a gem worn by drow of average station, albeit they used only black ones."

They are eeeeeeeeeevil. Chaotic Evil, to be precise.
Not denying that most Drow are evil but the act of wearing the stone seems more to me that they just like the way it looks

Same deal with spiders, come to think of it: association. In and of themselves, spiders - like onyx - aren't technically evil, but between the two there's such a common association with manifest evil that you can expect most folks to at least keep others indulging in related imagery at arm's length. Overall, there's more bad than good when it comes to onyx (especially in certain contexts).
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Onyx is often associated with evil deities in the Forgotten Realms.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Onyx#Rumors_and_Legends

"Unenchanted onyx was believed to cause bad luck when worn or carried. Elminster has confirmed this suspicion."
"The lesser drow deity Vhaeraun was known to occasionally send onyx to show his favour or disfavour to his followers."
"Similarly, black onyx was sacred to the Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and he valued unholy items made of it."
"It was a common tale that when Shar stepped on Toril, she left onyx stones as her tracks."

If you had to hazard a guess, how many pieces of onyx would say have been in been in DnD modules over the years, including official treasure tables? How many of those pieces do you think have been mentioned as fashioned into jewelry?

How many breads have you eaten in your life?

Regardless of that answer, the problems are...
Onyx that isn't enchanted but is fashioned into jewelry wouldn't be worn for long because the jewelry would cause their wearers bad luck.
It's not likely that many pieces of onyx are enchanted.
That leaves:
Those who wear onyx because of their deity.
Those who wear it because it's enchanted.

Now, if I'm correct, Shadowheart is wearing onyx that isn't enchanted, and she's a cleric.
So, the most likely conclusion is that she's wearing onyx because of a deity.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 04:29 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
...it's your turn.

The idea that onyx is not presented as jewelry all throughout the history of DnD (and specifically within Forgotten Realms) is patently silly.

Associating it with evil and assuming everyone in the setting associates it with evil (despite the mention above about how it reduces the complications and pains of childbirth) is ... well, I'm happy for people to think what they will about that.

We could talk about treasure tables in Myth Drannor if we want and find onyx jewelry there. We could point to the Onyx of the Richest Wort, which was an enchanted necklace that boosted luck. But really, at this point, it feels ridiculous. Arguing that onyx isn't used commonly as jewelry is like arguing that feet don't walk. I might as well be banging my head against the wall.

So, again. Thank you for your interpretation. You think I'm wrong. I think you're wrong. I think that about says it all.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 04:31 AM
Isn't this fixating a bit on the wrong issues though? It's not a matter of whether something should be familiar or not according to the general Lore, but as Niara and others stated an issue of the Player not knowing what their Character (and pretty much everyone else in the setting) is meant to know. It's a conveyance problem, not just for the Shar stuff, but for the whole religious lore backdrop and the Pantheon writ large.

It's the DMs job to deliver the lore in a way that the player can comprehend, for the player's benefit not the characters. If the DM is talking about minerals and symbols and the player is staring at them with a blank expression, the DM might set them aside and say "hey, in this playgroup you're expected to know a couple things about the game setting before you show up!" But it's a little different if you know for sure that your player is a first time player without a clue. In that case you'd probably preamble it and do some story-time off the cuff to bring the player up to speed. That should be Larian's starting point, with no assumption there, and some definite effort put into introductions.

Sure we could throw a lore book in the new player's face, but that's not terribly endearing or exciting. I think the point is that Onyx might be Shar's without dispute, and the onyx stone in the lockbox even says that pretty clearly, even before we could free Shadowheart from the pod, but a new person who is not in the know wouldn't know what to make of that. Or at least I thought that is what the OP was trying to communicate right? That more general frustration that the game isn't setting up the setting, but just expecting us to already be familiar with it. That's fine for half of us, but not for the other half.

Someone came in here raising a pretty legitimate issue with the presentation and exposition and how the game assumes too much prior knowledge on this core part of the lore, and within a page of comments, was then basically run out of their own thread for not having enough prior knowledge about the lore here too lol.

The game can do better, and it really should. Even BG1/2 didn't do a great job of this stuff, so it's not like we can look there for the best in show. D&D has a problem with this stuff in general, which is the thing that prevents it from gaining more mass appeal I think. I'm not sure really, but I think part of the experience when it was introduced has made them a little wary of trying to provide a D&D catechism. But that's nevertheless a big part of what makes Faerun, and the Forgotten Realms did pretty it up pretty explicitly. Sure it was guarded, and a bit in response to what happened on the first outing, but it was also well received by players who like Legends and Lore and Mythology type stuff. It was a strong hook for the setting I think. One that they're kind of letting go here, by allowing the Absolute to upstage everyone else in the Pantheon, and not doing any preamble really. I can imagine ways that they might introduce this stuff, or perhaps are planning to eventually, but it's not in there yet. Hence the critique
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 04:48 AM
Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Someone came in here raising a pretty legitimate issue with the presentation and exposition and how the game assumes too much prior knowledge on this core part of the lore...

I absolutely agree with the original post. It's a real issue. Knowledge of Shar should not be taken for granted; it should be introduced in the game.

Lore books and narration are fine for what they are, and I like them.

But figuring out a way to show how evil and dangerous Shar worshipers are would be much better. It would be nice to see a scene showing the Dark Justiciars, if at all possible. We see the remnants of what they left behind in the Blighted Village, and I suppose that's something.

Still. Now that I'm thinking more about this... maybe we shouldn't see them as wholly evil. Bear with me. When we ask Shadowheart about Shar, she gives an answer that puts Shar in a more favorable light. Who's to say that we shouldn't take Shadowheart's view? Why should we jump on the cliched interpretations of Shar that we have as players, as opposed to building a view of Shar from what we find in the game? And in the game, while there are hints of evil, there are also touches of nuance and degrees to consider.

I don't like Tav's potential responses to Shadowheart's revelation, but really, when I think about it, that's probably my biggest problem. Touch up those responses somewhat, and maybe just let the development of Shar play out through the story, either in a sympathetic manner or not.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 05:19 AM
Please, no "They're not evil; they're just misunderstood." Talk about clichés! Getting into bed with Shar is leagues beyond merely favoring dark clothing and a commensurately dark attitude; you've consciously established an allegiance with a malevolent cosmic force.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 05:19 AM
Yeah I mean, sort of fell into the pitrap I guess once the door is opened.

But since its a new page, I think the game needs to give some kind of impressionistic overview of the deities and how this form of magic is different from the arcane sort suggested by the bookish books hehe. It needs a little cinema to it, if the game is going to dedicate so much else to that. I don't know what it should really look like, the only thing that makes sense to me right now is a preamble that keys off the inputs in char creation. In the prologue we hear mention of Vlaakith and Shar, and there are bits of info presented during the loadscreens, but that doesn't quite carry into a sense that as a PC the gods should really matter, anymore than they care about what people believe on that score in more mundane settings outside the high fantasy.

This was one of the first D&D tomes I ever picked up. It has some of the best art in it... That one along with the manual of the planes were my favs.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

They basically need the FR cinemascope version of that lol.

Like where the PC gets that sort of impression (the two dudes duking it out, as apotheoses) during the point in Character creation that deals with this stuff. I think it should have it's own treatment. Doesn't need to be delivered all at once, but it should start early. I know they spent all the money doing the Dragons and Nautiloid trashing the city hehe, but it would be cool if they could have done a Cosmogony story using a similar sort of sweep, which would fire up when the character selects their deity. Not just some tab in a game menu, but like something that plays it up a bit. And not for every last entry in the Pantheon but at least for the biggies and the ones supported by the game. The ones we're going to for sure butt up against while playing. With a primer, the player can read into the prologue even more, since they'll have more insight before they hit the ground running.

I think in practical terms, they could still try to do it using more of the in game cinematic tools. Like give the Deities some avatar models, and for the clerics they could be used to convey something more personalized. That way when the new player shows up, assumes they should probably be a cleric, (since they're new and that's the first option they see) the game should really use that opportunity.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 06:21 AM
Let's not get this twisted, Larian can decide if Shar's iconography is well known or not in their game. FR isn't a real place, every 'fact' about it is subject to change, if the writer finds it inconvenient. So the onus is on Larian to tell us whether Shar commandos go around wearing such, or if Onyx is somehow treyf
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 06:24 AM
Maybe a Lord of the Rings style opening cinematic that details the spellplague etc. I wouldn't mind that...but I also wouldn't mind a prologue for every character.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 06:49 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Let's not get this twisted, Larian can decide if Shar's iconography is well known or not in their game. FR isn't a real place, every 'fact' about it is subject to change, if the writer finds it inconvenient. So the onus is on Larian to tell us whether Shar commandos go around wearing such, or if Onyx is somehow treyf

"twisted?" "treyf"? In any case, the more they deviate from established setting details, the less it feels like The Forgotten Realms; this may be "their game" but it sure as hell isn't their setting.
Originally Posted by Sozz
Let's not get this twisted, Larian can decide if Shar's iconography is well known or not in their game. FR isn't a real place, every 'fact' about it is subject to change, if the writer finds it inconvenient. So the onus is on Larian to tell us whether Shar commandos go around wearing such, or if Onyx is somehow treyf

They could do that, but consistency is important in stories, fictional or not, and changing things greatly or often is likely to confuse fans and even those who are new to a series.
Retcons, reboots, etc. are tools that should be used very sparingly, and I don't think that it's a wise use of those tools to potentially erase or change huge portions of Shar's history in the setting with no in-universe justification just so that Shar's followers can go around with their signature appearance without being criticized or attacked.
Originally Posted by fylimar
You find books about Shar and Selune throughout the game, but they are easy to miss, I guess. I never thought, how it would be for new players, but since you mentioned it and Shar is heavily featured in the game, they maybe should invest in a scene explaining her a bit more for new players.
It's not like Abdirak and his goddess Loviatar - I'm pretty sure you can go through the game without indepth knowledge of Loviatar, but it's different with Shar - and probably Selune, who is also heavily featured.
You can ask Shadowheart about Shar worshipping later, but that is after you have to react to her being a cleric of that goddess.

The point is PLAYER KNOWLEDGE VS. CHARACTER KNOWLEDGE.
Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Isn't this fixating a bit on the wrong issues though? It's not a matter of whether something should be familiar or not according to the general Lore, but as Niara and others stated an issue of the Player not knowing what their Character (and pretty much everyone else in the setting) is meant to know. It's a conveyance problem, not just for the Shar stuff, but for the whole religious lore backdrop and the Pantheon writ large.

It's the DMs job to deliver the lore in a way that the player can comprehend, for the player's benefit not the characters. If the DM is talking about minerals and symbols and the player is staring at them with a blank expression, the DM might set them aside and say "hey, in this playgroup you're expected to know a couple things about the game setting before you show up!" But it's a little different if you know for sure that your player is a first time player without a clue. In that case you'd probably preamble it and do some story-time off the cuff to bring the player up to speed. That should be Larian's starting point, with no assumption there, and some definite effort put into introductions.

Sure we could throw a lore book in the new player's face, but that's not terribly endearing or exciting. I think the point is that Onyx might be Shar's without dispute, and the onyx stone in the lockbox even says that pretty clearly, even before we could free Shadowheart from the pod, but a new person who is not in the know wouldn't know what to make of that. Or at least I thought that is what the OP was trying to communicate right? That more general frustration that the game isn't setting up the setting, but just expecting us to already be familiar with it. That's fine for half of us, but not for the other half.

Someone came in here raising a pretty legitimate issue with the presentation and exposition and how the game assumes too much prior knowledge on this core part of the lore, and within a page of comments, was then basically run out of their own thread for not having enough prior knowledge about the lore here too lol.

The game can do better, and it really should. Even BG1/2 didn't do a great job of this stuff, so it's not like we can look there for the best in show. D&D has a problem with this stuff in general, which is the thing that prevents it from gaining more mass appeal I think. I'm not sure really, but I think part of the experience when it was introduced has made them a little wary of trying to provide a D&D catechism. But that's nevertheless a big part of what makes Faerun, and the Forgotten Realms did pretty it up pretty explicitly. Sure it was guarded, and a bit in response to what happened on the first outing, but it was also well received by players who like Legends and Lore and Mythology type stuff. It was a strong hook for the setting I think. One that they're kind of letting go here, by allowing the Absolute to upstage everyone else in the Pantheon, and not doing any preamble really. I can imagine ways that they might introduce this stuff, or perhaps are planning to eventually, but it's not in there yet. Hence the critique

Do they need to do an intro movie before the prologue? Because we're talking about nearly 50 years of backstory. How much of it do they need to cover, because I could see that intro movie going into hundreds of hours trying to cover all the canon possibilities over that time frame.

The other side of this is, of course, the fact that this scenario will come up in every original IP anyone plays. Someone jumping into Dragon Age with Inquisition will be every bit as confused about story beats that involve the Warden, or Hawke. What about Kieran? Does he even exist? Who is he? How did he come to be? All stuff that anyone that played Origins and DA 2 would know, but a new player won't. What about Mass Effect, what story beats are going to be confusing to someone that starts the trilogy at 3? At some point, a player that wants background information, such as who Shar is, might rightfully be expected to do some footwork. Even in a TT setting, players would have access to the books.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 02:40 PM
It's been quite a few pages now but I too must admit to conflating Shadowheart's promo/concept art that you see on the loading screens (where the the symbol of Shar is is clearly depicted on her pauldron (and also on the mask at her hip, though that one isn't ingame at all of course so that one is irrelevant)) with her actual ingame armour: the pauldron stones look much less like Shar symbols when they aren't in 2D (if you google Shadowheart screenshost to compare you'll likely only find older pictures where the pauldron stones haven't been coloured yet by the way, in case anyone thought to do that -- they're currently black and onyxy ingame).

Originally Posted by JandK
[quote=Black_Elk]Still. Now that I'm thinking more about this... maybe we shouldn't see them as wholly evil. Bear with me. When we ask Shadowheart about Shar, she gives an answer that puts Shar in a more favorable light. Who's to say that we shouldn't take Shadowheart's view? Why should we jump on the cliched interpretations of Shar that we have as players, as opposed to building a view of Shar from what we find in the game? And in the game, while there are hints of evil, there are also touches of nuance and degrees to consider.

If you ask somebody who's in a cult about the cult you're going to get it described to you in a much more favourable light compared to if you asked somebody who sees the cult for what it is.

Shar is the Lady of Loss, patron of people who seek forgetfulness and obliviousness. Part of her thing is seeking out people who are broken or wishing to lose themselves, and seducing them with promises of belonging, purpose, and love. The most enticing kind of evil is the kind that tempts you with unconditional love. You become a microscopic cog in her catastrophic plan, designed and directed by her red right hand black onyx stone headpiece :P
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 04:18 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
If you ask somebody who's in a cult about the cult you're going to get it described to you in a much more favourable light compared to if you asked somebody who sees the cult for what it is.

Shar is the Lady of Loss, patron of people who seek forgetfulness and obliviousness. Part of her thing is seeking out people who are broken or wishing to lose themselves, and seducing them with promises of belonging, purpose, and love. The most enticing kind of evil is the kind that tempts you with unconditional love. You become a microscopic cog in her catastrophic plan, designed and directed by her red right hand black onyx stone headpiece :P

Yeah, yeah, the Shar worshiper would say *you're* the one in the cult, lol.

Seriously though, I hear what you're saying, and a part of me agrees.

But it's also what I meant by cliched, as in it's sort of the obvious way to think about things, especially for those of us who already know a lot of Forgotten Realms lore. And maybe it's a good way to think for characters who have a high enough skill in Religion.

Yet there are people who don't have that knowledge, both players in real life and characters who don't have the appropriate skill level. One thing we keep saying in this thread is that the knowledge should be pounded in early, that those without the lore should have it spoon-fed to them double quick. Maybe that's the wrong approach. That's all I'm saying.

Maybe instead, these characters should get to know Shar the long way around, by first interacting with a follower and getting a more sympathetic view of her. Only as time passes and more lore is introduced, along with scenarios that begin to feel increasingly evil, does the character start to realize that Shar might be a little bit more dangerous than they initially supposed.

I think there's a benefit and strength to playing the game that way, and if that's what Larian is intending then I say, bravo.

Just my opinion.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 05:12 PM
Originally Posted by Black_Elk
It's the DMs job to deliver the lore in a way that the player can comprehend, for the player's benefit not the characters. If the DM is talking about minerals and symbols and the player is staring at them with a blank expression, the DM might set them aside and say "hey, in this playgroup you're expected to know a couple things about the game setting before you show up!" But it's a little different if you know for sure that your player is a first time player without a clue. In that case you'd probably preamble it and do some story-time off the cuff to bring the player up to speed. That should be Larian's starting point, with no assumption there, and some definite effort put into introductions.

Sure we could throw a lore book in the new player's face, but that's not terribly endearing or exciting. I think the point is that Onyx might be Shar's without dispute, and the onyx stone in the lockbox even says that pretty clearly, even before we could free Shadowheart from the pod, but a new person who is not in the know wouldn't know what to make of that. Or at least I thought that is what the OP was trying to communicate right? That more general frustration that the game isn't setting up the setting, but just expecting us to already be familiar with it. That's fine for half of us, but not for the other half.

Yes that is what I am trying to communicate.

Allow me to talk about another character in the game where I had zero knowledge about but was still able to fully appreciate.

Kagha and her shadow druid connections and the finale where I expose her.
I had no prior knowledge of shadow druids but they do sound ominous. And when I found that letter and talked to the rats I realized something is going on. And then the story happened which I wont spoil further but that was totally fine. A lot of the things were self-explanatory that I can understand. And the whole thing happened because I found a chest and read the letter in it.

But Shar is different.
First off there is SH, her mission, the artifact, the selune temple and now Grymforge.
Shar is being shoved in my face by Larian more than the Mindflayers after the intro... and all I have is some books I have to search out?

In the current format of the game I don't know how to addres that.
Maybe my character gets an Religion check when they meet SH on the ship when we see her gear...
Maybe my character has a mind melding with SH as she is stuck in the pod. It could be flashing nonsense... maybe a scene from the promo art with SH surrounded by masked individuals.
Or maybe just have the narrator explain the shar thing when the secret is exposed so we don't "spoil" the reveal on the ship... but make it really cinematic where I see images of human sacrifice, kidnapping and torture chambers as sharrans do sharran things that makes them so hated.

Honestly anything. Anything besides an easter egg hunt of game texts.
Edit: I just read that book in the chapel. If anything it makes me pity the sharrans rather than find them abhorrent. This still doesn't explain why people refuse to associate with Sharrans. They give up their own memories, they don't steal my memories...
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 06:28 PM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
This still doesn't explain why people refuse to associate with Sharrans.

That pesky "cessation of all existence" thing. Nothing big.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 06:44 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Eddiar
This still doesn't explain why people refuse to associate with Sharrans.

That pesky "cessation of all existence" thing. Nothing big.

I have been playing this game for over a hundred hours and I don't think this was ever mentioned in conversation or the book in the chapel early on.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 08:17 PM
Here's an interesting article where Greenwood lays out some of his general thinking on the subject. It's from the October 1981 issue of Dragon Magazine, so keeping in mind that it's 40 years old, it still has some choice insights from the dude who first invented the Realms. The relevant section starts on page 8

https://annarchive.com/files/Drmg054.pdf

I'd say what we need is a simple primer, at least for the Greater Gods listed, the ones who hold sway particularly in Fearun, if not the whole of Toril. Also the lesser Gods or demigods that have since been promoted to more prominent positions in the lore or who the game intends to focus on. Again that article is pretty old hehe.

Sure a complete and exhaustive treatment would be a bit much to ask for, but I still think they could do something that captures the broad sweep. Just so the new player can get a bit more situated, with a better appreciation of the scope and relevance to the setting. I don't think I can really assume that the average player will have the same interest in comparative mythology or religion that I might, but a good creation story could probably do a lot of the heavy lifting. We probably don't need a whole Theogony where highlights version would probably suffice. More detail can be explored if the PC chooses to play as a Priest, where additional insights can be gleaned along the way. I mean Silvanus gets a brief mention as being "thorny" from Zevlor, and we know the druids care about that one, but I think part of the issue with most of the other gods stems from a general lack of temples and priests among the NPCs in the EA game. We don't start in a town or a city really, so I suppose it makes sense we don't see much, but still seems like they could do a bit more in the initial presentation.

Just as an example, BG1 the treatment was relatively sparse, granted, but it did introduce Bhaal as a central focus with a fair bit of narrative support there. Basically they used the Lord of Murder as an in for the newcomer PC, even if they weren't particularly concerned with the broader divine tapestry, that part of it was unavoidable and it had some set up. In BG2 FR religion was treated a bit more like pop up mega churches with a North American slant (thinking especially of the temple district and the unseeing eye subplot). A lot of the time it felt like more of a send up of the FR religions and more comedic, but it nevertheless carried on with the Bhaalspawn thing as central. In this game, where we still don't quite know what the Absolute is meant to be (perhaps it's an extension of the same?) I think they could still do some setup for the Shar/Selune thing. Especially since FR departs a bit from more familiar treatments in real world mythology. Here it's a more Manichean dualistic take of opposing forces, as opposed to like the triple goddess take with 3 phases of life, waxing and waning, that we get from more familiar source material. Here we have the moon in opposition to itself, as opposed to being in opposition to Sol Invictus, or like a calendar conflict or compromise between the Lunar year and the Solar year. Since it's fairly different in FR, I think that'd be a good place to start.

Shar is presented as a Greater Goddess in that list, with the obvious analogs being Kore/Persephone in her aspect as Praxidike (judge and ruler over the shades) blended with Hecate or something more protean and witchy, malevolent and cruel. Basically Darkness writ large. Selune by contrast is listed as a lesser goddess, with the obvious analog being Selene/Diane or Phoebe/Letona. If Lathandar is Sol Invictus, and Selune is Luna, then Shar is basically Nyx like the black night. More primeval. But the Selune vs Shar conflict has graduated (over various iterations and here too it seems in BG3) into to something a bit more central to the story. So I think they could play that up with some payoff, and maybe just cameo some of the other players? Honestly I don't know what it would look like, but I don't think it needs to be crazy long. Again like anything more than 3-5 minutes and the player is tuning out probably. Unless it's an edge of your seat 'kick this into overdrive' thing like the opening cinematic lol. But I doubt we get another one of those. I'm curious if chapter 2 or 3 might have such a mini featurette to set the stage? But I think they were probably eager to show off their best of the best in the trailer, so I don't know if they are cooking up anything more at the scale, except perhaps for a finale climax maybe?

Anyhow the big list of the FR gods on page 10-11, and the follow up breakdowns on pg 52, all seemed like they could be worth mining a bit more and use some of that to deck things out a bit in BG3. I also found his motivations for doing certain things pretty instructive. Like at least it's probably a good read for the historical curiosity even if nothing else heheh
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 23/10/21 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Eddiar
This still doesn't explain why people refuse to associate with Sharrans.

That pesky "cessation of all existence" thing. Nothing big.

I have been playing this game for over a hundred hours and I don't think this was ever mentioned in conversation or the book in the chapel early on.

Well, I don't know if that is mentioned in-game, but it is her overarching goal. The first hint of this machination lies in how she deals with loss (i.e., by taking away memory); this deal sounds great...until you form an unhealthy dependency on her and then forget altogether how to deal with suffering (suffering is never encouraged or welcomed, but discovering how to face it head-on is a part of a healthy emotional development).
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 12:23 AM
Here I just copied the descriptions for the op, even though they've been published elsewhere and added to, gives the gist. I can picture how something like this could get a cinematic presentation that conveys a fair bit without taking up too much time.

Quote
SELUNE
Revered by witches (a few may worship her) and by all who navigate or must work at night, Selune is continually either growing to full glory or dying. Selune is linked to Mystra; children born under a full moon often exhibit magical ability. Lycanthropes who enjoy their condition (rare though they may be) usually come to worship Selune, for she governs their powers. Selune has been said to aid devout worshippers of her Mystery of the Night by sending aid to those lost by trails of “moondust” (small motes of light similar to Dancing Lights or tiny will-o’-the-wisps that produce moonlight where none would otherwise be, to give sight to someone engaged in a delicate task,-guide the way through treacherous ground or back to a known trail, and the like). The “nightstalk,” or solitary moonlit walk, is the occasion and ritual of worship to, and Commune with, Selune. Clerics of Selune seek and prize “drops fallen from the moon,” the offerings of the goddess, for with this precious substance they can make many potions and unguents.

SHAR
This goddess is said to be darkly beautiful. She is often worshipped by those made bitter by the loss of a loved one; in her dark embrace all forget, and although they forever feel loss, they become used to such pain until they consider it the usual and natural state of existence. Shar battles continually with Selune, slaying her often (i.e., every new moon), and is worshipped (or paid lip service by) all surface-dwelling beings who dislike light. Those who make or take disguises worship Leira, but those who seek only to hide or bury something pay homage to Shar.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 12:28 AM
Originally Posted by Dexai
You become a microscopic cog in her catastrophic plan, designed and directed by her red right hand black onyx stone headpiece :P

Fuck, that hyped me.

Anyway, about Shadowheart's aesthetic, this is a game where white-haired, red-eyed, sharp-toothed vampires and full-blooded drows roam the land willy-nilly.

I mean, come on, one of the goblin leaders is a drow, yet the people at the grove are completely at easy with the idea of a drow MC running around the inner sanctum. I'm pretty sure not any of this is meant to make sense, it's all just meant to look dumbly cool.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 01:16 AM
Yeah, the drow thing has come up before. Being a drow in BG:1 was a kill on sight offense, but its little more than a side-eye these days. I just have to stop taking such things for granted.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:04 AM
Originally Posted by Black_Elk
Here I just copied the descriptions for the op, even though they've been published elsewhere and added to, gives the gist. I can picture how something like this could get a cinematic presentation that conveys a fair bit without taking up too much time.

Quote
SELUNE
Revered by witches (a few may worship her) and by all who navigate or must work at night, Selune is continually either growing to full glory or dying. Selune is linked to Mystra; children born under a full moon often exhibit magical ability. Lycanthropes who enjoy their condition (rare though they may be) usually come to worship Selune, for she governs their powers. Selune has been said to aid devout worshippers of her Mystery of the Night by sending aid to those lost by trails of “moondust” (small motes of light similar to Dancing Lights or tiny will-o’-the-wisps that produce moonlight where none would otherwise be, to give sight to someone engaged in a delicate task,-guide the way through treacherous ground or back to a known trail, and the like). The “nightstalk,” or solitary moonlit walk, is the occasion and ritual of worship to, and Commune with, Selune. Clerics of Selune seek and prize “drops fallen from the moon,” the offerings of the goddess, for with this precious substance they can make many potions and unguents.

SHAR
This goddess is said to be darkly beautiful. She is often worshipped by those made bitter by the loss of a loved one; in her dark embrace all forget, and although they forever feel loss, they become used to such pain until they consider it the usual and natural state of existence. Shar battles continually with Selune, slaying her often (i.e., every new moon), and is worshipped (or paid lip service by) all surface-dwelling beings who dislike light. Those who make or take disguises worship Leira, but those who seek only to hide or bury something pay homage to Shar.

So I still don't understand why her worshippers would be so detested.
Yeah ok the goddess is evil and wants to dominate/end everything... but so what?
You have gods of war, light, crime, order, debauchery, love and so on, surely just because of the primal element of the god it doesn't mean they get outlawed right?

Unless these cultists somehow caused harm to other people then I would understand.
In Halsin's notes where he talks about Shar's Dark Justiciars he is so horrified that he can't even put into words on a page.

On an unrelated note I actually quite enjoy going into a game blind and not knowing what to expect. It keeps everything surprising even more so than if I had previous knowledge.
Anyway I think the best description I can give I get that Shar is bad but I still don't understand why and the first time I got the reveal of SH's big secret I found the whole exchange either an exaggeration on everyone.

Desperate people sacrificing their memories to be happy as an evil goddess preys on them? Thats just sad rather than repulsive.
If they were stealing other peoples mind though I would totally understand.
"Don't talk to Sharrans! They will steal your mind!"
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:06 AM
Um... Sharrans torture people into worshipping Shar and butcher those who don't. Moonhaven, ya know, Blighted Village, was utterly destroyed by Sharrans. The survivors were dragged off and tortured to death.

I think that could be why people in Faerun detest them and want to kill them on the spot.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:09 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Um... Sharrans torture people into worshipping Shar and butcher those who don't. Moonhaven, ya know, Blighted Village, was utterly destroyed by Sharrans. The survivors were dragged off and tortured to death.

Oh they attack everybody?
I understood the village and the Selunite Temple ruins as this ancient battlefield between Shar and Selune worshippers rather than Sharrans being homicidal maniacs everywhere all the time.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:35 AM
I don't think Shar wants to end the universe. I'm not sure where that's coming from.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 07:03 AM
Shar herself is intrinsically opposed to light and warmth - her most prominent initial defining act was the rise of conflict between herself and Selune over whether warmth should be allowed to exist and permit life to arise in the realm-space. She would eternally blot out all light and warmth if she could, and thereby extinguish the life that she protested the creation of. This is a big part of what defines her.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 08:09 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
I don't think Shar wants to end the universe. I'm not sure where that's coming from.

The following excerpt is from Faiths & Avatars ->

Quote
Chauntea begged for warmth so that she could nurture life and living creatures upon the planets that were her body and limbs, and the two Sisters-Who-Were-One became divided, as for the first time they were of two minds. Silvery Selune contested with her dark sister over whether or not to bring further life to the worlds. During this great conflagration, the gods of war, disease, murder, and death, among others, were created from residues of the deific battle. At one point during the battle, Selune seized the advantage and reached across time and space to a land of eternal fire. Fighting the pain of the blaze, which burned her sorely, she broke off a fragment of that ever-living flame and ignited one of the heavenly bodies so that it burned in the sky and warmed Chauntea.

Incensed, Shar redoubled her attack on her injured twin and began to snuff out all light and heat throughout the crystal sphere. Again Selune gave of herself and tore the divine essence of magic from her body, flinging it desperately at her sister in defense of life in the sphere and nearly killing herself of the spiritual injury it caused her. A just-born being of raw magic tore through Shar, bonding to some of her divine magical energy and ripping it free of her, and reforming behind her as the goddess of magic, known now as Mystra, but then as Mystryl. Though Mystryl was composed of both light and dark magic, she favored her first mother Selune initially, allowing the silver goddess to win an uneasy truce with her more powerful, dark twin. Consumed by bitterness at her defeat, Shar vowed eternal revenge.

Essentially, she prefers an unending expanse of cold darkness bereft of life.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 09:01 AM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by JandK
I don't think Shar wants to end the universe. I'm not sure where that's coming from.

The following excerpt is from Faiths & Avatars ->

Quote
Chauntea begged for warmth so that she could nurture life and living creatures upon the planets that were her body and limbs, and the two Sisters-Who-Were-One became divided, as for the first time they were of two minds. Silvery Selune contested with her dark sister over whether or not to bring further life to the worlds. During this great conflagration, the gods of war, disease, murder, and death, among others, were created from residues of the deific battle. At one point during the battle, Selune seized the advantage and reached across time and space to a land of eternal fire. Fighting the pain of the blaze, which burned her sorely, she broke off a fragment of that ever-living flame and ignited one of the heavenly bodies so that it burned in the sky and warmed Chauntea.

Incensed, Shar redoubled her attack on her injured twin and began to snuff out all light and heat throughout the crystal sphere. Again Selune gave of herself and tore the divine essence of magic from her body, flinging it desperately at her sister in defense of life in the sphere and nearly killing herself of the spiritual injury it caused her. A just-born being of raw magic tore through Shar, bonding to some of her divine magical energy and ripping it free of her, and reforming behind her as the goddess of magic, known now as Mystra, but then as Mystryl. Though Mystryl was composed of both light and dark magic, she favored her first mother Selune initially, allowing the silver goddess to win an uneasy truce with her more powerful, dark twin. Consumed by bitterness at her defeat, Shar vowed eternal revenge.

Essentially, she prefers an unending expanse of cold darkness bereft of life.

Okay, I can see where you're coming from.

At one point, it mentions they were conflicted about "whether or not to bring further life to the worlds." Does that mean there was already some life that Shar was okay with?
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 10:17 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by Dexai
You become a microscopic cog in her catastrophic plan, designed and directed by her red right hand black onyx stone headpiece :P

Fuck, that hyped me.

It's from the song I linked (
), check it out if you're not already a fan wink

Edit: oh shut it turned into a video :U
Originally Posted by JandK
At one point, it mentions they were conflicted about "whether or not to bring further life to the worlds." Does that mean there was already some life that Shar was okay with?

I might be wrong, but I think that the life they were okay with was Chauntea (and possibly others).
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 11:40 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by JandK
I don't think Shar wants to end the universe. I'm not sure where that's coming from.

The following excerpt is from Faiths & Avatars ->

Quote
Chauntea begged for warmth so that she could nurture life and living creatures upon the planets that were her body and limbs, and the two Sisters-Who-Were-One became divided, as for the first time they were of two minds. Silvery Selune contested with her dark sister over whether or not to bring further life to the worlds. During this great conflagration, the gods of war, disease, murder, and death, among others, were created from residues of the deific battle. At one point during the battle, Selune seized the advantage and reached across time and space to a land of eternal fire. Fighting the pain of the blaze, which burned her sorely, she broke off a fragment of that ever-living flame and ignited one of the heavenly bodies so that it burned in the sky and warmed Chauntea.

Incensed, Shar redoubled her attack on her injured twin and began to snuff out all light and heat throughout the crystal sphere. Again Selune gave of herself and tore the divine essence of magic from her body, flinging it desperately at her sister in defense of life in the sphere and nearly killing herself of the spiritual injury it caused her. A just-born being of raw magic tore through Shar, bonding to some of her divine magical energy and ripping it free of her, and reforming behind her as the goddess of magic, known now as Mystra, but then as Mystryl. Though Mystryl was composed of both light and dark magic, she favored her first mother Selune initially, allowing the silver goddess to win an uneasy truce with her more powerful, dark twin. Consumed by bitterness at her defeat, Shar vowed eternal revenge.

Essentially, she prefers an unending expanse of cold darkness bereft of life.

Okay, I can see where you're coming from.

At one point, it mentions they were conflicted about "whether or not to bring further life to the worlds." Does that mean there was already some life that Shar was okay with?

Nice try, but...no. There was Ao (in the distance), Selune, Shar and then Chauntea (the first offspring between the sisters). Shar objected to the creation of anything after Chauntea; she was content to have their domain remain otherwise lifeless.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 11:53 AM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Nice try, but...no. There was Ao (in the distance), Selune, Shar and then Chauntea (the first offspring between between the sisters). Shar objected to the creation of anything after Chauntea; she was content to have their domain remain otherwise lifeless.

What do you mean "nice try?" I'm asking a question. Do you feel like you're winning a game and putting feathers in your cap? I'm not sure we're having the same conversation.

But since we're going down this path, I will point out that Shar not wanting all the light initially does not equate to Shar having an active and current goal to get rid of all the light now.

And if Shar does want to get rid of the stars because she prefers the dark, it doesn't mean she wants to get rid of life in other planes of existence.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 12:08 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Nice try, but...no. There was Ao (in the distance), Selune, Shar and then Chauntea (the first offspring between between the sisters). Shar objected to the creation of anything after Chauntea; she was content to have their domain remain otherwise lifeless.

What do you mean "nice try?" I'm asking a question. Do you feel like you're winning a game and putting feathers in your cap? I'm not sure we're having the same conversation.

But since we're going down this path, I will point out that Shar not wanting all the light initially does not equate to Shar having an active and current goal to get rid of all the light now.

And if Shar does want to get rid of the stars because she prefers the dark, it doesn't mean she wants to get rid of life in other planes of existence.

Unless I'm blanking on certain exceptions to the rule, pretty much all of the gods unique to the Realms are concerned with...the Realms. The fact that Shar went to war with her sibling over this disagreement demonstrated how violently opposed she was to the notion of bringing about more life. Finally, swearing eternal revenge on this matter is fairly self-explanatory; Shar may be more powerful than her sister, but Selune has a greater amount of allies on her side AND there are now additional gods that want to rule/care for Toril (and are therefore opposed to Shar's long-term goal of reducing the world to nothingness).

If Shar had the means, she would gladly seize the opportunity.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 12:14 PM
Not just her sibling, it should be noted: She went to war with herself over it wink

Edit: gotta make sense
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 12:27 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
Not just her sibling, it should be noted: She went to ear with herself over i wink

Wha question?
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 03:01 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Nice try, but...no. There was Ao (in the distance), Selune, Shar and then Chauntea (the first offspring between between the sisters). Shar objected to the creation of anything after Chauntea; she was content to have their domain remain otherwise lifeless.

What do you mean "nice try?" I'm asking a question. Do you feel like you're winning a game and putting feathers in your cap? I'm not sure we're having the same conversation.

But since we're going down this path, I will point out that Shar not wanting all the light initially does not equate to Shar having an active and current goal to get rid of all the light now.

And if Shar does want to get rid of the stars because she prefers the dark, it doesn't mean she wants to get rid of life in other planes of existence.
Yes she does. Very much so and very clearly so. The entire Twilight War trilogy in FR novels was about the war she waged against Lathander and Selune to literally extinguish the entire Multiverse.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 03:45 PM
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Yes she does. Very much so and very clearly so. The entire Twilight War trilogy in FR novels was about the war she waged against Lathander and Selune to literally extinguish the entire Multiverse.

Answer accepted. I stand 100% corrected. Thank you.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 04:11 PM
This whole thread so clearly shows the need for better presentation of lore in BG3. If players can reach (and finish) SH's reveal scene without realizing exactly what type of goddess Shar is, that's a problem. It takes away from the surprise SH shows when/if we accept her; but why should our character reject her if our current understanding of Shar is "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess."
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:06 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
This whole thread so clearly shows the need for better presentation of lore in BG3. If players can reach (and finish) SH's reveal scene without realizing exactly what type of goddess Shar is, that's a problem. It takes away from the surprise SH shows when/if we accept her; but why should our character reject her if our current understanding of Shar is "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess."

Yes. Exactly. Well said. Perfect summary of the issue. Thank you.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:19 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
If players can reach (and finish) SH's reveal scene without realizing exactly what type of goddess Shar is, that's a problem.

I don't see why. No one would ever join Shar's cult if everyone had one view of the goddess beaten into their heads.

Seems to me that the game would play out perfectly fine if a player initially thought Shar is "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess." Then, as the game continues, more scenes develop and more information is revealed, and eventually, the player learns more and gets a better understanding.

Why does that progression break the game?

*

I think there are a lot of heavy-baggage opinions being casually thrown about. "Everyone *must* know this lore! That's the only way the story can progress!" Well, okay, but what if my character doesn't know the lore? What if my character is tricked into worshiping Shar? Is that suddenly a bad story? I don't think so.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:21 PM
Evil people would join. Of course without an alignment system, "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess" could describe every deity.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:24 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Evil people would join. Of course without an alignment system, "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess" could describe every deity.

I just think there's a lot of rigid thinking going on, where people are so set in their view of Forgotten Realms that they put everything into a box and fail to see things from other angles.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 05:40 PM
I think the problem is more, nobody wanted to hammer down these questions before, because it would mean picking the one true way of interpreting it. I don't have a problem not knowing everything about the world I'm playing in, but I need my character's knowledge to be justified in the knowledge of the people around him, or by their own experience. If nobody recognizes Shar's iconography, it's not well known, if it is well known, explain why it isn't recognized. If there was a war to end the universe recently explain that (or retcon that it didn't happen), and explain why it isn't common knowledge.

There's a point when you first meet Zevlor where you hear about Elturel's Descent, you either have no idea what that means or you pass a history check to recognize it. That tells me, that crazy shit can happen and people the next town over still will not have heard of it.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 06:13 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
If players can reach (and finish) SH's reveal scene without realizing exactly what type of goddess Shar is, that's a problem.

I don't see why. No one would ever join Shar's cult if everyone had one view of the goddess beaten into their heads.

Seems to me that the game would play out perfectly fine if a player initially thought Shar is "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess." Then, as the game continues, more scenes develop and more information is revealed, and eventually, the player learns more and gets a better understanding.

Why does that progression break the game?
I'm sorry, but didn't you accept that Shar is an objectively evil goddess a few posts above? I thought we were past this point.

People don't join Shar's religion thinking "she's just misunderstood, but is actually good". She exploits people at their most vulnerable, stoking their grief and anger and desire for vengeance. Or her worshippers are those that truly belief that all life should be snuffed out. Or are just using the hierarchy of her religion for their own greed/sadism. Shar's goal is the eradication of warmth and life in the universe. And regardless of how people in her faith view her, she is widely known to be an evil goddess, so much so that her worshippers are forced to work in secret. Deities are real in D&D; it's not like it is in our world where people can easily argue about which God is the True God and what are his/her tenets.

Our characters, growing up in the Sword Coast, should know these facts. Now, maybe your Tav agrees with Sharran philosophy. Or maybe not. Either is fine! But the game should make sure to explain the general knowledge about Shar to the player, so that we can make informed choices roleplaying as Tav.

tl;dr: The game should explain the general view society has of Shar & Sharrans to us - the player - because Tav would know this.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 06:46 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
I'm sorry, but didn't you accept that Shar is an objectively evil goddess a few posts above? I thought we were past this point.

Characters in the setting don't have copies of Forgotten Realms novels and Player's Handbooks and Deity Folios to peruse. Do you see the difference? It's one thing to accept that there's an omniscient creator of the setting who can publish canon material... it's another thing to think everyone in the setting shares the knowledge of the omniscient creator.

Originally Posted by mrfuji3
People don't join Shar's religion thinking "she's just misunderstood, but is actually good".

This is exactly what I mean by rigid thinking. The fact is, you're just making this up. In all fairness, you're not the authority on who joins Shar and why. But it's like you're so set in your view that you can't imagine anything else.

It's this kind of thinking, which is really two-dimensional, that doesn't allow for different personalities and motivations in NPCs. It demands a black and white interpretation of everything. "All Shar worshipers join because blah." <-- things just don't work that way.

Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Our characters, growing up in the Sword Coast, should know these facts.

Again, this is nothing more than what *you* think everyone should know. And I'm sure some people absolutely believe Shar is evil. I'm sure some probably think it's more nuanced, and you probably have a group of people who are contrary by nature and think that Shar gets a bad rep because some people are lying haters.

The point is, groups of people don't fit into one tidy box, all sharing the same common opinion.

Originally Posted by mrfuji3
But the game should make sure to explain the general knowledge about Shar to the player, so that we can make informed choices roleplaying as Tav.

Knowledge about Shar may be sparse in this area, at least without a sufficient Religion check. It could be that Shar has been operating in the shadows so long that people don't know a lot. Certainly not more than rumor and hearsay.

I guess I just object to the clone-like setting where everyone knows blah and thinks blah.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 07:09 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Knowledge about Shar may be sparse in this area, at least without a sufficient Religion check. It could be that Shar has been operating in the shadows so long that people don't know a lot. Certainly not more than rumor and hearsay.
Sure, I'll agree with you that a religion check would be appropriate. Which is my main point: the player should have some way of being informed about Shar. If Tav should know about Shar, then the player definitely should.

And even if (your) Tav shouldn't know about Shar, the player should still be given information about Shar through journals/pop-up text/dialogue, so they can have the choice of how to roleplay Tav.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 07:11 PM
We get a pretty good explanation of why someone might view the tenets of Shar as the Truth, from Shadowheart herself when you ask her about Shar. What would be nice is if other characters had input into Shar and her worshippers, especially in an area that was the site of a battle with her Dark Justiciars.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 07:13 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Sure, I'll agree with you that a religion check would be appropriate. Which is my main point: the player should have some way of being informed about Shar. If Tav should know about Shar, then the player definitely should.

And even if (your) Tav shouldn't know about Shar, the player should still be given information about Shar through journals/pop-up text/dialogue, so they can have the choice of how to roleplay Tav.

I agree with all of this.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
If players can reach (and finish) SH's reveal scene without realizing exactly what type of goddess Shar is, that's a problem.

I don't see why. No one would ever join Shar's cult if everyone had one view of the goddess beaten into their heads.

Seems to me that the game would play out perfectly fine if a player initially thought Shar is "a goddess who some people think may be evil and who is at war with another goddess." Then, as the game continues, more scenes develop and more information is revealed, and eventually, the player learns more and gets a better understanding.

Why does that progression break the game?
I'm sorry, but didn't you accept that Shar is an objectively evil goddess a few posts above? I thought we were past this point.

People don't join Shar's religion thinking "she's just misunderstood, but is actually good". She exploits people at their most vulnerable, stoking their grief and anger and desire for vengeance. Or her worshippers are those that truly belief that all life should be snuffed out. Or are just using the hierarchy of her religion for their own greed/sadism. Shar's goal is the eradication of warmth and life in the universe. And regardless of how people in her faith view her, she is widely known to be an evil goddess, so much so that her worshippers are forced to work in secret. Deities are real in D&D; it's not like it is in our world where people can easily argue about which God is the True God and what are his/her tenets.

Our characters, growing up in the Sword Coast, should know these facts. Now, maybe your Tav agrees with Sharran philosophy. Or maybe not. Either is fine! But the game should make sure to explain the general knowledge about Shar to the player, so that we can make informed choices roleplaying as Tav.

tl;dr: The game should explain the general view society has of Shar & Sharrans to us - the player - because Tav would know this.

Thats not the description that SH gives us though. Maybe Shar is being retconned?
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 10:44 PM
Larian don't actually have the power to retcon existing lore - Video games are officially considered secondary source, and are not considered canon where they contradict or disagree with published books.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 10:49 PM
I never thought I'd see people try to downplay the quietly monstrous nature of Shar.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 11:04 PM
Originally Posted by Niara
Larian don't actually have the power to retcon existing lore - Video games are officially considered secondary source, and are not considered canon where they contradict or disagree with published books.
To be fair, that does mean Larian can use a non-canon implementation of Shar.

That said, Larian should make it explicit (again through dialogue, journals, highlight-popups) exactly how their Shar differs from canon.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Thats not the description that SH gives us though. Maybe Shar is being retconned?
SH is not a trustworthy source. She will not give us the general population's view of Shar and anything she says should be viewed with suspicion. Members of cults probably won't be objective about their cult.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 24/10/21 11:19 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I never thought I'd see people try to downplay the quietly monstrous nature of Shar.

Hardly surprising, people love the misunderstood trope these days. Quite scary when it comes to real life, quite questionable when it comes to fictioncal dieties of murder, everlasting darkness and the like.
Posted By: Seraphael Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 12:53 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
You are not alone in this. My wife was the same way, and I had to explain. I think they assume you'll read the books, but that's not good for those who aren't familiar with the overall story.

They assume too much! I really hate it when RPGs cross into text adventure territory and I oftentimes can't be bothered to read stuff that tend to be either fluff and/or boring lore. I kind of half-expect developers to voice-act or otherwise impress upon the player the importance of paying attention. In short; it would be better if the narrator read out at least vital bits.
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 01:08 AM
Originally Posted by Seraphael
Originally Posted by GM4Him
You are not alone in this. My wife was the same way, and I had to explain. I think they assume you'll read the books, but that's not good for those who aren't familiar with the overall story.

They assume too much! I really hate it when RPGs cross into text adventure territory and I oftentimes can't be bothered to read stuff that tend to be either fluff and/or boring lore. I kind of half-expect developers to voice-act or otherwise impress upon the player the importance of paying attention. In short; it would be better if the narrator read out at least vital bits.

I love good voice acting, but only want to enjoy it once. If it's important, it should be part of the narrative and not hidden in a lore book. If I want to read a book, I've got my bookshelves for that. If I want to play a video game, it's because I'd rather be doing that than reading a book. My first playthrough of anything, I'll watch all the dialog, skim all the lore books. After that, spacebar spacebar spacebar. Open the lore books only as long as needed to let the robots know I've "read" them.

Maybe I'm lazily forgiving, but as someone not versed in Forgotten Realms, when SH made her big reveal, I wasn't bothered that I didn't know why she'd assume I'd be upset. It was just a directional indicator - this is a dynamic I need to a little more attentive too. I was really grateful there was an "I'm not fussed" option, because I wasn't, and operating on the assumption that my character had as little knowledge as I did, that felt right.

Yes, 100%, it would be fantastic to get more of the lore as part of the main story, especially something so important. But I didn't feel I was missing anything without it.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 01:20 AM
Video games used to feature quite a bit of text (Baldur's Gate included). Nowadays, people expect their video games to be movies. Bleh.
Posted By: timebean Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 01:44 AM
Its all very strange. Gale was there when I got her big reveal in the blighted village, and his reaction was very lighthearted. Something like “Shar eh? You naughty little minx. My beloved Mystra doesn’t much care for Shar”.

(ahem…that’s what I heard, anyway)

Then, I went and read all about Shar on my own (as I am new to Forgotten Realms). Was admittedly confused. The tone did not really jive with the lore.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 02:22 AM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I never thought I'd see people try to downplay the quietly monstrous nature of Shar.

If the game actually made a compelling depiction of Shar being bad than you would have a point but right now it just doesn't seem like that big of a deal
The Absolute seems like a much bigger threat to us than Shar.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 03:18 AM
Originally Posted by timebean
Its all very strange. Gale was there when I got her big reveal in the blighted village, and his reaction was very lighthearted. Something like “Shar eh? You naughty little minx. My beloved Mystra doesn’t much care for Shar”.

(ahem…that’s what I heard, anyway)

Then, I went and read all about Shar on my own (as I am new to Forgotten Realms). Was admittedly confused. The tone did not really jive with the lore.

And that, right there, is what I have a problem with. Things like that.

Mustard and Shar are like arch enemies also. Gale should be like, "What? Are you serious? You're a Sharran freaking priestess? Die you deceiving piece of $#@!". And then you would have to talk him down.

The creation of the Shadow Weave made Shar the eternal enemy of the goddess of magic, Mystra. This resulted in the brewing of a terrible war between these two powerful deities. By her very nature, however, Shar was opposed to powers of light, the unsecretive Shaundakul, and her own sister, Selûne. Her only frequent ally was Talona.[6]
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 03:20 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Mustard and Shar are like arch enemies...

Shar's admittedly more of a ketchup gal.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 04:06 AM
Lol. Mystra! Haha. Auto-correct. 🤣
Posted By: Flooter Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 07:39 AM
Boy, am I glad this thread exists! I was just as puzzled by the Shadowheart reveal as the OP, but didn’t even realize how way off I was.

This was my impression after reading every book available in game : there are two goddesses which are sisters and enemies. One is the goddess of light, the other is goddess of darkness. One is called Selune, the other is called Shar.

Perhaps I should’ve been more attentive to the details, in any case this is how my brain filled in the gaps : two warring sisters in a light/darkness pair must be referring to the sun and the moon. Based on real world knowledge, Selune is probably the moon goddess, hence Shar is the goddess of the sun.

So when Shadowheart revealed her big secret, my first reaction was, “you worship the sun? Why should I care?”

Maybe I’m a moron, but warring factions based on two slightly different goddesses of night seems like too subtle a concept to convey through snippets of text alone.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 11:35 AM
It's not directly representable in the lore, but I like to think as Shar as the dark side of the moon to selune's shining face of the moon. Can't have one without the other.

Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Dexai
Not just her sibling, it should be noted: She went to war with herself over it wink

Wha question?

They were as one before this break in concord caused them to split.

Lazily copied from the wiki: "The goddesses were beautiful, identical but polar opposites, raven-haired and silver-haired, one representing the dark, the other the light in the manner of yin and yang. Yet they were so close they saw themselves as one being, known later as the Two-Faced Goddess or the Sisters-Who-Were-One. They complemented each other and brought order out of the chaos."

Apologise if it was the original state of my post you were getting at. I cleared up the autocorruptions and added the dropped letters wink
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 03:10 PM
Here's the thing about Shar's storyline. With both FR novels and FR TT modules, WotC often had a common phrase they used for the *big* storylines: an RSE (Realms Shaking Event). The Twilight War, as depicted in the FR novels trilogy by the same name, was labeled by WotC as an RSE. An RSE is definitely something people all across the Realms would know about because it has very widespread effects on people and places.

In this particular RSE, the entire country of Sembia was destroyed in a war in which Shar worked with the Shadovar archwizards of the returned ancient Netherese flying city of Shade Enclave to trigger a process by which all existence would end and the Multiverse would become literally nothing/emptiness. When the good gods learn of Shar's conspiracy, several of them led by Lathander banded together to defeat her plans. It would be impossible for anyone even remotely plugged into social life in the Realms to have not heard of these events.

Side note: If anyone here has an interest in exploring FR novels, I very strongly recommend anything written by Paul Kemp, and especially his Erevis Cale novels including of course The Twilight War trilogy.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 25/10/21 03:28 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
It's not directly representable in the lore, but I like to think as Shar as the dark side of the moon to selune's shining face of the moon. Can't have one without the other.

Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Dexai
Not just her sibling, it should be noted: She went to war with herself over it wink

Wha question?

They were as one before this break in concord caused them to split.

Lazily copied from the wiki: "The goddesses were beautiful, identical but polar opposites, raven-haired and silver-haired, one representing the dark, the other the light in the manner of yin and yang. Yet they were so close they saw themselves as one being, known later as the Two-Faced Goddess or the Sisters-Who-Were-One. They complemented each other and brought order out of the chaos."

Apologise if it was the original state of my post you were getting at. I cleared up the autocorruptions and added the dropped letters wink

Indeed! I now fully understand the meaning of your original post.

This is fitting, in a way: getting into a relationship with Shar as one's patron is arguably entering into the epitome of abusive relationships. Abusers tend to have demons of their own...and Shar is no exception.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I never thought I'd see people try to downplay the quietly monstrous nature of Shar.

Hardly surprising, people love the misunderstood trope these days. Quite scary when it comes to real life, quite questionable when it comes to fictioncal dieties of murder, everlasting darkness and the like.

Oh, no. I hope they don't introduce a retcon in the spirit of "She's not evil, just misunderstood." eek.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 26/10/21 06:16 PM
Was relooking at my fan fic, and I thought I'd share this snippet. This would make a good first introduction to Shar in the Dank Crypt.

"I found another book," said Gale. "Might be of some interest. It's about Shar."
"Shar?" asked Shadowheart. She seemed curious. "Let me see it?" She made a grab for it, but Gale withheld it from her.
“Now. Now," he said with a sly grin. "I can share it with everyone. The most interesting portion is as follows:
“In life, her service had been impeccable. Daily did she devote herself to the Lady of Loss. Daily did she free herself from the tyranny of memory. All, in time, was lost to her - her relations, her preferences, even her own name. Upon the altar of her devotion placed she the ultimate offering: her emptied mind.”
“And when she died, when she awoke in death and found herself standing in the pale and faded City of Judgment, she waited for the Lady of Loss to retrieve her. A million souls and more passed her in colorless gusts, but no hand materialized in her hand; no voice whispered instruction in her ear; no guidance proffered itself from the bleached and barren sky. Time, immaterial time, passed around her like air, coming and going. And still, the goddess did not come for her devotee.”
“Kelemvor pitied her, as much as the Lord of the Dead is able, but could not intervene. The cleric of the Lady of Loss, unclaimed despite her worthiness, might yet have one more lesson to learn: That not of forgetting, but being forgotten."
He closed the book with a snap. "How... interesting. Wouldn't you say?"
"A ridiculous bedtime story for children," Lae'zel barked. She was in a foul mood. "I didn't even want to enter this stupid crypt, and now we are wasting time reading books about Shar and how she can't even remember her own followers. Sounds like a wretched goddess to serve."
Shadowheart shot her a dirty look. "Now there's an informed opinion for you," she commented sharply. "Leave it to a gith to be totally ignorant of facts."
Lae'zel hissed in reply. She readied her spear and was prepared to run Shadowheart through. Shadowheart, in return, pulled out her mace and shield. It was clear that a fight would begin in moments.
Kaedyn, naturally, stepped in. Fortunately, he was aided by Ryth-Shan who put his hand up to Lae'zel. "Ladies! Please! Do we really want to do this?" said Kaedyn. "We're all half dead already."
"We need one another right now," Ryth-Shan added. Then he whispered to Lae'zel, "You can always save killing her for AFTER we find a cure. Yes?"
Both began to calm down, and they lowered their weapons. Shadowheart stormed away. "I can't WAIT to be rid of them." She gestured at Lae'zel and Ryth-Shan as she said it. Then she was out of the library and pacing angrily in the adjoining room to cool off.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 26/10/21 09:35 PM
Then, second explanation of Shar and Selune both, along with other lore, could occur something like this shortly after the confrontation with Kagha, Rath and Arabella. Basically, the game has one of your party suggest that you should check out the murals, as in this clip (and the discussion!!! Most of all, the party should be discussing these things as if trying to figure them out together... though maybe not necessarily with all the fan theory as if the game is going to spoon feed you the mystery. I mean, I don't want them to spoon feed me the mystery of what's going on or anything. The point and idea is that they could use this moment, which most people are going to go to Kagha at the grove, to teach people about who Shar is, with more detail than the initial encounter in the Dank Crypt as I detail above):

As the party made their way towards the exit to leave the inner sanctum, Wynari stopped them. She ran up to Ryth-Shan and pointed at a plaque and a mural beyond. "Did you notice this?" she said excitedly. "I figured you'd like it if you hadn’t seen it yet."
Ryth-Shan paused and glanced in the direction she indicated. "No," he said. "I hadn't taken the time to read it." Then he examined them more carefully. "'The forest rose with claw and tooth to tear the darkness from its roots,'" he read straight from the plaque. "Druidic orders often fight dark forces, but I do not recognize the events depicted here. The mural depicts a purge, a sacred cleansing of the land on a scale I've never seen before."
"Me either," said Wynari. "So this didn’t happen over the last hundred and thirty years? I guess if you don't know about it, though, it could have occurred at any time." She then pointed at another plaque and mural. "There's another one there, too. And two more over there."
"Can we just go?" asked Vexir, not interested in the slightest.
Ryth-Shan shook his head. "Could be important. We can't rule out anything." Then he went over to the second plaque. "'By claw and tooth, from root to thorn, The Old Oak's grove, to wildlings sworn.'"
"The druids are elders of a circle, I think," said Wynari. "This place is a divine sanctuary."
Ryth-Shan nodded. "Seems so. No wonder the druids here revere it so much. It could be why the goblins and their leaders want to destroy it so badly. It could be that they are out for revenge, if the darkness had to do with them."
“Oh? You think it’s about goblins and their leaders?” said Wynari. “Nah. I think this grove was once a place of power for someone like Shar, or maybe the Shadow Druids of Cloakwood.”
“Really?” asked Kaedyn. “How did you arrive at that conclusion?”
“‘The forest rose with claw and tooth,’” said Wynari, “‘to tear the darkness from its roots.’ Doesn’t that sound like the servants of nature had to come and defeat the darkness before they could settle here? So, I was thinking that a long time ago there was some sort of evil lurking here. Like I said, maybe it was the Shadow Druids of Cloakwood, or maybe it was just Sharites.” Then she paused for a moment to consider. “I actually assumed they were Sharites because there’s another mural over there that suggests Sharites were involved, at least.”
“But, anyway,” she continued, “I think the first druids came here and purged the grove. Then they established it as a place of power for Silvanus. Then, based on the second mural, I think that Silvanus granted the druids sanctuary here and made them the caretakers as their reward.”
“The darkness could mean anything,” said Ryth-Shan, now deep in thought. “Could be goblins, drow, Sharites, shadow druids, you name it. Either way, I think it’s connected to us.”
"Wait," said Wyll, confused. "You think that the gobbos attacking, the problems with the grove here, and the brain bugs are all a part of some grand scheme of some kind? They're all connected? Am I missing something? How does that make any sense?"
Kaedyn met his gaze. "We've found a number of potential clues. Bhaal, Bane and Myrkul might somehow be a part of this, along with Jergal, Shar, Selune... who knows? We are finding a lot of coincidences and connections.”
“Right,” said Ryth-Shan. “Coincidence? Selune was worshipped heavily in this area. She has a ruined temple in the west. The goblins have taken that temple as their camp. Those same goblins carry shields with a symbol that looks like the blending of the three symbols of Bhaal, Bane and Myrkul. We've recently discovered that the dead drow in the chamber with Nettie had a tadpole in his head, and he was leading some of those same goblins."
"And there's an old crypt of Jergal to the south of here," Gale added. "There, we found a book that is currently, magically recording which gods were dead and have now been made alive by the Second Sundering. There's even been hints of Shar's involvement in the area, and Harpers too."
"And now this," said Ryth-Shan.
"Wait!" said Wynari. "Yes! The other murals indicate Shar and Harpers too. Come on. Take a look." She led them over to the next one. "'In darkest hour, a concord made, twixt harp and wild against the shade.' Harp and wild? Do you recall the old stories of an alliance between druids and the Harpers?"
"A bit, but the details are vague," admitted Ryth-Shan.
Gale took a proud stance, for he, it seemed, knew all about this topic. "Of what alliance are you referring to?" he asked with an air of superiority. "As one really delves into the history of the Harpers, one realizes that they were, in fact, founded by rangers and druids back in the Year of Freedom's Friends, 324 DR - Dale Reckoning, that is. Myth Drannan elven military leaders joined forces with these few trusted human nature-lovers and formed the organization. At the head was Elminster Aumar, renowned mage and, frankly, a friend of mine, actually. He's like a mentor to me. He currently resides in Waterdeep, where I'm from, and he is both aiding the newly appointed Open Lord of Waterdeep, Laeral Silverhand, and he is uncovering a string of murders involving some sort of Masked Lords. I was hoping to help him, but... well... I became caught up in my own personal affairs. And then, all this happened."
He waved that aside. "Anyway, as it stands, druids have a long history with the Harpers," Gale continued. "For example, on the twenty-seventh of Flamerule of 720 DR, at a druid grove in High Dale, known as the Dancing Place, a large congregation of dryads bid the druids to make welcome the priests of many different gods who started to arrive before finally Elminster appeared to explain why they had all been called. This was the First Reformation. They were all called to help fight back against the faithful of Bane, Bhaal, Loviatar, Malar and Myrkul.”
“Again,” said Gale, pausing from his dissertation, “here we bring up the Dead Three. Yes? And, I might add, that the priests who came were priests of Corellon, Mielikki, Mystra, Oghma, Selune, Silvanus, and Tymora. They possessed their own followers during that council to speak through them so that they could make it plain they all needed to work together. That night was known as the Gathering of the Gods."
Vexir was, for once, intrigued. "I suppose you're right. Again, it does seem like we are at the heart of some sort of new God-War. Many of those same gods seem connected to what we are going through."
"So, I wonder if the mural is referring to that event; the Gathering of the Gods," said Kaedyn.
"I doubt it," said Gale. "The murals here seem to imply only an alliance between Harpers and the druids at this grove."
"Are there any other alliances that might fit better?" asked Wyll.
"Let's review the last mural first," said Gale. "It might give better clues."
They moved over to the last mural. Several druids nearby took notice of them, but they seemed totally uninterested. They were too busy arguing over Kagha's decision. Some were pleased that Kagha had released Arabella, and some seemed quite upset by it. Those upset by it expressed their frustration towards the mooching tieflings and their fears that they might not survive the winter because their supplies were being depleted.
Ryth-Shan read off the last plaque's inscription. "'The towers seized, the battle done, the moonrise broke the Darkest One.' Look!" He pointed to the mural. "Wynari’s right. The mark of the dark goddess Shar on the broken helmet. This army marched in her name."
"'Moonrise' must be a reference to Shar's divine sister, Selune," said Kaedyn. “So, once again, we have Shar and Selune involved in this area.”
"I wonder if all this has something to do with the battle of Shar and Selune over the streets of Waterdeep," said Gale as he thought aloud. "In the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, the Time of Troubles, magic went crazy. The gods were forced to walk the Realms in mortal form.”
“That’s two years after… I mean… that’s roughly when I was taken,” said Wynari.
Gale didn’t even seem to hear her. “Selune was already in mortal form as Luna. Long story short, Shar pretended to be Selune and tricked a lot of people. In the end, the truth was discovered, and Selune battled Shar over the streets of Waterdeep. Her light blasted away Shar's darkness while she reminded her of their unceasing battle and the balance they must uphold. Shar vanished, and the avatar of Selune became Luna once more."
"After this encounter, Selune was free to do as she wished. She made new alliances in her unending war against Shar. It could be that, at that time, she came to this grove and made an alliance here," Gale suggested. "That would be roughly around 1360 DR. Other than this, I can't think of anything in the history books that relates here. There's a library in Waterdeep, though, and one in Baldur's Gate as well, that might shed more light on this. I recall these libraries had a plethora of books on Selune."
"All very interesting," said Ryth-Shan. "We'll have to keep these things in mind as we proceed."

Again, it doesn't have to go exactly llke this, but something like this would be good for people who just don't know much about the backstory of who Shar and Selune are. I mean, if they are major goddesses in the story, with their followers and remnants of their followers everywhere, SOME explanation should be given to new players.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 26/10/21 10:37 PM
your fanfic is leaking out into the general topics again smile
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
your fanfic is leaking out into the general topics again smile
+1
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 26/10/21 11:07 PM
It's being used to make a point related to the topic. Easier to use it than creating a brand new scenario to illustrate what the game needs.

Plus you know I put a lot of work into it so I might want to share it with people? If you don't like it don't read it.
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 12:38 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
It's being used to make a point related to the topic. Easier to use it than creating a brand new scenario to illustrate what the game needs.

+1 to this, fwiw. I'm not super into fanfic generally, but it made the point very clearly
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 03:20 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
I never thought I'd see people try to downplay the quietly monstrous nature of Shar.

Hardly surprising, people love the misunderstood trope these days. Quite scary when it comes to real life, quite questionable when it comes to fictioncal dieties of murder, everlasting darkness and the like.
It isn't always about a misunderstood thing. In both real life and fiction, people have committed some pretty crappy acts in the name of "good" god(s) and some much nicer people can be found following the "evil" ones or none at all. Most people would not go anywhere near Shar worship, but it is very possible that someone could have turned to her because they lost everything in their lives and none of the other gods answered their prayers or whatever. Grief and desperation change a person. Also since the game needs to go into more detail about this stuff, it needs to be objective. Can't be talking about the "monstrous" nature of Shar because only good and some neutral types would see it as that. It is immersion breaking to call it that for players trying to do an evil playthrough. Call her an evil god or whatever because that is her alignment, but the game should not try to force an opinion on people.
Posted By: Caelir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 04:20 AM
But then, it can also immersion braking if your "good" character doesn't know that Shar is a goddess which wants to wipe out all life on Faerun and has actively tried to do it already not long ago. I don't think this comes across well so far. Neither from the reaction of the other companions when Shadowheart has her revelation moment, nor from the books I read in game. You get Shadowheart's side of the story, which is good, but I think like the OP, we should get more information about Shar directly right at the start. It makes no sense that someone who calls herself "Shadowheart", is very secretive and a cleric, wouldn't be asked about what god she serves. And the whole story is meant to be like this big decision for the player character, whereas for me the whole thing just came over as "ok, not sure why she was so coy about this". Then worship Shar, why should I or anyone else care.

On the other hand, if you really take the Companion backgrounds seriously, I'm not sure if you'd associate yourself with any of them. La'zael you can't trust at all. After she finds her creche, she could just kill you, and you know she doesn't have any scruples about that, or might not be able to prevent her kin doing it even if she had scruples. Gale is either delusional or a walking time bomb, then you have a vampire and a guy who has made a pact with a devil.

I personally don't care that much about all of this, I have fun playing the game, but personally, I think they could have toned it a bit down with those background stories. Not everyone needs to be evil or have big, threatening secret.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 04:43 AM
That's pretty much the misunderstood trope. Good is evil, evil has a reason to be evil, and all that.

I also don't see how whitewashing evil deities would serve anyone, or make sense. Bhaal is the god of murder, Shar is the goddess of darkness and loss, Bane is the god of tyranny. People who follow them don't believe in nicety, kittens and rainbows. They believe in murder, darkness, and tyranny, only to them those are good things.

Obviously Shadowheart should hype that shit, same for drows and Lolth, it would make no sense if they didn't, but regular people being chill with axe-murderers, ritualistic violence and all that for the sake of -- what? your character doesn't follow Asmodeus because he's nice -- makes just as much sense.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 05:30 AM
Originally Posted by Caelir
But then, it can also immersion braking if your "good" character doesn't know that Shar is a goddess which wants to wipe out all life on Faerun and has actively tried to do it already not long ago.
Stating facts and not opinions is what I am asking for. Stating general information like that would give players more information but calling it "horrible" or "monstrous" or whatever is the unneeded part.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
That's pretty much the misunderstood trope. Good is evil, evil has a reason to be evil, and all that.

I also don't see how whitewashing evil deities would serve anyone, or make sense. Bhaal is the god of murder, Shar is the goddess of darkness and loss, Bane is the god of tyranny. People who follow them don't believe in nicety, kittens and rainbows. They believe in murder, darkness, and tyranny, only to them those are good things.

Obviously Shadowheart should hype that shit, same for drows and Lolth, it would make no sense if they didn't, but regular people being chill with axe-murderers, ritualistic violence and all that for the sake of -- what? your character doesn't follow Asmodeus because he's nice -- makes just as much sense.
Misunderstood to me is more like "Shar isn't that bad, she was nice to me, so people are wrong who think she is mean" or something like that.
There is no need to whitewash anything, how you described those deities should be how they are described in game, with simple facts.
I think regular people in the FR don't freak out over this stuff so much because they can't do anything about it. Why work yourself up into a state of anxiety or rage if you don't have the power to fix something. There probably has to be somewhat of a balance between good and evil as well or neutral couldn't exist.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 06:56 AM
I just restarted the game, and I'm right back in the camp of, "As soon as I meet Shadowheart, a Religion roll should be made to determine who she serves." I don't care what you say, the armor DOES scream Shar.

Someone said that her armor has no big, black onyx gemstones on the pauldrons. Wrong. There there, as big and black as night. Huge black gemstones the size of fists on her shoulder armor. And that stone on her circlet is also pretty sizeable right smack dab in the center of her face. You can't miss it. She's got Shar written all over her look, and her name is flipping Shadowheart, like she just oh so loves the shadows. Even if the big black circle on her chestplate has a symbol that looks maybe like a sunrise between two hills painted in gold lines against a black background, it's still a black circle, and piecing it together with the huge onyx stones on her shoulders and her name and her big onyx forehead stone, I'm sorry, I just can't imagine her being any other cleric but a Sharran cleric.

And, keep in mind, people, that although BG3 doesn't focus on spell focus items, they are supposed to be a thing in D&D. Clerics and wizards and such can't cast spells without a spell focus. So, the circlet would naturally be a spell focus that she's wearing, and the spell focus for a cleric is their god or goddesses' holy symbol. What god or goddess in FR has a big black circle as their holy symbol? Shar.

And yeah, everyone would know Shar. Everyone!!! She is the primordial goddess of darkness and evil. It would be like someone in FR hearing the name Lolth and going, "Who? Is she good?" Everyone knows Lolth because everyone knows that she is the primary goddess of the majority of an entire race of people. It would also be like someone in FR asking who Tyr is. Shar is a major goddess. She's not some baby, lesser goddess, and she's as evil as sin, not misunderstood. Misunderstood is the kid who is a bit mischievous but never really hurts people. Everyone calls them bad because they do some mischievous things, but when push comes to shove, the kid does what's right. Misunderstood is the quirky woman who lives in a spooky house alone with her cats, so everyone calls her an evil witch. Misunderstood is the guy who plays video games all day and people tend to call him a sick pervert when he's really a super intelligent nice guy who helps people all the time.

Evil and bad are those who commit atrocities like murder, torture, kidnapping, child sacrifices, etc. What do Shar's followers do, and she approves of it? Murder, kidnapping, mind games and manipulations, and so forth. Yes, stupid people do bad things in the name of good gods, but that doesn't make the god bad. It makes the people who performed the acts bad. However, if the tenets of the faith promote murder and other evil things, the god is plain evil. There is no "misunderstanding" there. The tenets teach evil, then it is evil.

Therefore, a Religion roll of 10 or higher should be made, assuming that it is common knowledge but maybe not everyone cares about religions and wouldn't pay attention to the symbols of every god or goddess, and if successful, the character should immediately be told that Shar is the evil goddess of darkness and loss. She is considered a vile, evil blight upon the lands, and anyone who serves her is usually arrested or killed. Then the player should be given the option to confront her right then and there about her faith or to simply pretend like they don't know this information and carry on. Then, when she does reveal it later, the player should have the ability to say, "Yeah, I know. I've known all along," and that should have a big impact on your relationship with her.

If you fail the Religion roll, you know nothing about Shar and don't question it, and you learn nothing as a new player. However, as the game progresses, because Shar and Selune are such big deals in it, the game should give you more and more information as you go via even small cutscene dialogues. "Shar," says Gale or Shadowheart or even Lae'zel or Astarion as you pick up the Unclaimed book. "Curious. I wonder why there's a book sitting there about some devotee of hers." Then you have the option of asking, "Who is Shar? I'm not familiar with her. I don't pay attention much to religions." "Shar's the goddess of evil and shadows and loss. Most hate her and her secret sect of followers. Little is actually known about her practices because the followers are so secretive. I wonder what Shar has to do with anything around here. This place is strange. There're books and tomes about so many different deities." Then later, you learn more from someone detailing how Shar and Selune are at war with each other, and they teach you a bit about Selune as well because she's obviously an important deity to the story.

When it comes to major story elements, they should be delivered in dialogue, not books. Players should not be expected to pick up and read every book that can be found in the game in order to get the basic story, and that's the point, I thought, of the thread.

And if they don't want Shadowheart to be discovered as a Sharran cleric, they shouldn't make it so obvious right from the beginning. Frankly, the way the game art has been displayed all over the place, they've revealed who these characters are from the beginning which destroys for anyone the ability to be surprised by their big reveals. If they wanted it to be a surprise, they shouldn't have splattered things all over to make it so obvious. Regardless, if I pretend I didn't know Shadowheart was a Sharran from the beginning, I'd still know because of her equipment alone.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 07:32 AM
"Everyone would know who Shar is!"

You could say that in the U.S. everyone would know who the vice president is. First female vice president. It's historic.

Sure, you could say that everyone would know.

Now go do some street interviews. You'll find out quicker than you like what people actually know versus what you think they should know. And this is in a country with free public education for everyone.

Transition over to a society filled mostly with uneducated peasants, all split apart by assorted boundaries. In a land filled with numerous races and monsters and bandits and wizards and this symbol and that symbol. No, the average person doesn't know a tenth of what the typical Forgotten Realms fan does, especially considering the fan has probably spent years reading setting books.

It's a common mistake, the inability to see the trees for the forest.

A farmer would see that circlet and armor and think: rich. Not Shar.

Someone who made a study of religion and symbols *might* put one and one together, assuming they made an appropriate DC check. But even then, I would expect them to know she was a cleric first.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 08:23 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Therefore, a Religion roll of 10 or higher should be made, assuming that it is common knowledge but maybe not everyone cares about religions and wouldn't pay attention to the symbols of every god or goddess, and if successful, the character should immediately be told that Shar is the evil goddess of darkness and loss.
I think a DC 10 might be a bit too high for basic knowledge. A player who knows nothing about the FR and doesn't have anyone with Religion proficiency in their party is going to be confused for a while. Probably everyone should be told she is the god of darkness secrets and loss and is opposed to her sister. Depending on how important they make alignment in the game they could throw in the evil part here as well. A Religion check should give more information, maybe make the DC lower if there is already a cleric in the party, this extra information (which should remain factual) should be able to be learned later on like you mentioned if failing the roll.

And maybe they should modify her armour a bit so people can't assume things from it.

Originally Posted by JandK
Transition over to a society filled mostly with uneducated peasants, all split apart by assorted boundaries. In a land filled with numerous races and monsters and bandits and wizards and this symbol and that symbol. No, the average person doesn't know a tenth of what the typical Forgotten Realms fan does, especially considering the fan has probably spent years reading setting books.
I agree with this entirely, most people would only know of the gods pertinent to their lives. Those with higher education and perhaps in large cities where there are temples of all types, and of course adventurers would know a bit more. However this doesn't help the situation of the player being confused, so I think more knowledge should be given somehow.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 08:39 AM
Y'all talking like the druids don't have goddamn murales about fighting followers of Shar. Like, come on. No one, people of higher learning like the druids and Gale included, fail to give SH a second glance for the same reason no one gives a drow MC a second glance. Because.
Originally Posted by Zarna
Also since the game needs to go into more detail about this stuff, it needs to be objective. Can't be talking about the "monstrous" nature of Shar because only good and some neutral types would see it as that. It is immersion breaking to call it that for players trying to do an evil playthrough. Call her an evil god or whatever because that is her alignment, but the game should not try to force an opinion on people.

I'm not sure who you're saying that talking about Shar's monstrous nature would be a problem for.
I don't see it as being immersion-breaking unless Shadowheart says it.
Most characters in the setting probably see Shar that way, so Neutral or Good characters saying that wouldn't be a problem, books having that written would make sense, and even if some Evil characters said it, that would be understandable if they didn't agree with Shar's goal.

If the narrator says it, something like "Shar is well-known for her harmful actions" might work well to explain without telling the player what their character thinks of Shar.
For the player character however, I don't think that it would be immersion breaking for the player to have an option for them to say that Shar's monstrous, Evil or not, since there are a lot of Good and Evil options in the game's dialogue, despite going through an Evil or Good playthrough.

Originally Posted by JandK
"Everyone would know who Shar is!"

You could say that in the U.S. everyone would know who the vice president is. First female vice president. It's historic.

Sure, you could say that everyone would know.

Now go do some street interviews. You'll find out quicker than you like what people actually know versus what you think they should know. And this is in a country with free public education for everyone.

Transition over to a society filled mostly with uneducated peasants, all split apart by assorted boundaries. In a land filled with numerous races and monsters and bandits and wizards and this symbol and that symbol. No, the average person doesn't know a tenth of what the typical Forgotten Realms fan does, especially considering the fan has probably spent years reading setting books.

It's a common mistake, the inability to see the trees for the forest.

A farmer would see that circlet and armor and think: rich. Not Shar.

Someone who made a study of religion and symbols *might* put one and one together, assuming they made an appropriate DC check. But even then, I would expect them to know she was a cleric first.

That seems like a bad analogy.
Most people know who God and Satan are and who the righteous and the tyrants were, and even in ancient times, people usually knew about those in the past who were really good or bad.
Maybe people would forget about such people if they passed away a long time ago, but when it's an immortal being that's still active, especially a deity, they're probably not going to be forgotten so easily.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 10:47 AM
Let me put it like this:

Did you know there was a cult that exists that worships Satan? How many people in your society would you say have heard about Satan? Do they think a Satanic cult is good or bad? I'd you met some random woman, and she was wearing an upside down cross on her chest and a pentagram on her forehead and shoulders, and those pentagrams were as big as the sun, and you found out she was a priestess of some religion, do you think it would be NOT obvious who she was a priestess of?

Shar is like Satan in FR. She is well-known and feared and detested. And yes, maybe some would not know her symbols, but many would especially Gale and druids in the Grove.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 10:57 AM
Thinking about it, it's actually kinda funny how incompetent Halsin is. Dude's fought Sharites, is the archdruid, and yet never even says a word about Shadowheart. Narratively speaking having him be suspicious, recognize her apparel, would have been a neat way to tie the whole thing together, give answers to all those players who'd failed the checks on her even. But nope, he's just oblivious.

Kagha and her shadow druids likely held their voodoo rituals in my man's bedroom, he just never noticed.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 11:05 AM
People worship evil deities for the same reason why people in the Star Wars universe take up "The Dark Side": it is an easier, quicker path to power. Altruism and empathy are burdens not everyone can or wishes to bear. Also, if genuine ignorance (e.g., "Shar is not evil.") is not a factor, then the worshiper believes they can "game the system" and come out ahead when they finally die.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 01:53 PM
Originally Posted by Zarna
Originally Posted by JandK
Transition over to a society filled mostly with uneducated peasants, all split apart by assorted boundaries. In a land filled with numerous races and monsters and bandits and wizards and this symbol and that symbol. No, the average person doesn't know a tenth of what the typical Forgotten Realms fan does, especially considering the fan has probably spent years reading setting books.
I agree with this entirely, most people would only know of the gods pertinent to their lives. Those with higher education and perhaps in large cities where there are temples of all types, and of course adventurers would know a bit more. However this doesn't help the situation of the player being confused, so I think more knowledge should be given somehow.

Ineducation is not ignorance. Peasants are not dumb. They'd full well know who figures and concepts central to their religion and culture are. Travel back and ask a French 12th century peasant who Satan is and they'll tell you. Go to a 50 BC Jewish peasant and ask them about the Shaitan the Tempter and they'll answer. Head over east and ask a Zoroastran who the Adversary is, or up to the North and ask about Fimbulwinter and you'll get an answer.

Now go ask a Faerun peasant about why the moon changes every month and they'll answer "it's because Selune is locked in eternal battle with her sister Shar, who seeks to bring darkness to the world, and the moon waxes and wanes as they fight". Even the most uneducated mud-farmer would know something so foundational to the mythos of their culture and world.

Now, I'm all for the aspect of Shar that is the twisted maternal figure, the one who promises love and then envelopes you in darkness, who draws in the broken and lost of the world. But that aspect is a chimera, a facade. And it's not what the average person of the realms would know of her, aside from scholars only the handful of people which she approaches under this illusion will know of it. And don't get me wrong, I hope that's where they're going with Shadowheart's story. But it's not the knowledge that needs to be given to the player before Shadowheart's reveal in order for them to be able to make an informed choice about their in-character reaction to said reveal (unless, I suppose, they are playing a Shar worshipper). And that is the heart of the topic of this thread. People don't feel they know why they should react to Shar being Shadowheart's patron.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 02:00 PM
Well said
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 02:15 PM
I'm coming to this not previously knowing anything of FR lore, so this has been a really, really interesting discussion to follow. My first playthroughs, it didn't occur to me as a possibility I should know/care about Shadowheart's religion based on her armor. Someone waaaay upthread made an interesting comparison to the pantheons of the Classical Mediterranean, how for those folks, deities were already nearly allegorical, but in Faerun, it's different because they're tangible and one can see their actions directly. I could quibble points of that comparison, but taken as an example of how societies relate to a pantheon, the comparison raises this point:

Every single person in the Classical world was well-versed in much, if not the entirety, of their pantheon. We know this because we have their fiction, their plays, the songs sung around the fire at festivals. There is a baked-in assumption that the audience didn't require any exposition of any particular deity's role in the world beyond the occasional sentence fragment ("Oh Artemis, lady of the hunt...") probably thrown in for children (I have no citation for that, it's just my assumption). Everybody knew.

So... yes, the PC should know about Shar, hands down. I like the idea of a DC 10 religion check. You fail, you get the bare-bones Shar 101, what your mother told you as a kid. Succeed, you get some deeper lore. But better, as others have pointed out, Shar as a character should not be a walking billboard for her goddess, and that religion check should come when she makes her reveal, before you choose how to respond.
Posted By: TomReneth Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 03:19 PM
There is definitely a degree of assuming too much on the part of the player, which will hopefully be fixed by release. The problem is that the player character knows more than the player in many circumstances. I think the Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny and the Owlcat Pathfinder games had a decent solution for it with their popup lore for those interested.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 04:55 PM
All these comparisons to satan are patently inaccurate. That's a religion with one God and one bad figure in the form of satan.

It's not the same as a world with multiple religions and hundreds of different monster races; it's a wonder anyone in that setting can keep anything straight in their heads.

People are projecting what they know from reading setting books onto NPCs in the most two dimensional manner possible.

At the end of the day, if that's the way you want to look at it, fine. Unfortunately, I have zero interest in playing that game because I think the depth is shallow. (Luckily, that's not the game I'm playing.)

Originally Posted by Innateagle
...recognize her apparel...

No one recognizes it because it's not specific-to-Shar attire.

People see these design choices by artists and suddenly jump to the conclusion that, "Yeppers, that's official 100% Shar regalia right there, totally canon Shar outfit, only the dumbest of the dumb-dumbs wouldn't recognize that there Shar regalia as being official Shar church merchandise, yeppers."

Again, if that's the way people want to play things, by all means. I can't get on board, though. I think insisting that an onyx circlet is a sure fire sign that someone worships Shar is ridiculous. Even coupled with round black circles on the shoulders of the armor (which is a look that's been updated in various patches, I believe).

But whatever, sure, maybe the armor is a uniform and everyone who worships Shar gets it as a sign on bonus.
Posted By: TomReneth Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
All these comparisons to satan are patently inaccurate. That's a religion with one God and one bad figure in the form of satan.

It's not the same as a world with multiple religions and hundreds of different monster races; it's a wonder anyone in that setting can keep anything straight in their heads.

People are projecting what they know from reading setting books onto NPCs in the most two dimensional manner possible.

At the end of the day, if that's the way you want to look at it, fine. Unfortunately, I have zero interest in playing that game because I think the depth is shallow. (Luckily, that's not the game I'm playing.)

Originally Posted by Innateagle
...recognize her apparel...

No one recognizes it because it's not specific-to-Shar attire.

People see these design choices by artists and suddenly jump to the conclusion that, "Yeppers, that's official 100% Shar regalia right there, totally canon Shar outfit, only the dumbest of the dumb-dumbs wouldn't recognize that there Shar regalia as being official Shar church merchandise, yeppers."

Again, if that's the way people want to play things, by all means. I can't get on board, though. I think insisting that an onyx circlet is a sure fire sign that someone worships Shar is ridiculous. Even coupled with round black circles on the shoulders of the armor (which is a look that's been updated in various patches, I believe).

But whatever, sure, maybe the armor is a uniform and everyone who worships Shar gets it as a sign on bonus.

The problem with SHs default armor is that it has Sharran symbols at all. Which is kinda weird for someone that 1) worships a secretive goddess and 2) tries to keep it secret. When she revealed it to me the first time, my reaction was "Duuh, of course you do. What's the real secret?"
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Let me put it like this:

Did you know there was a cult that exists that worships Satan? How many people in your society would you say have heard about Satan? Do they think a Satanic cult is good or bad? I'd you met some random woman, and she was wearing an upside down cross on her chest and a pentagram on her forehead and shoulders, and those pentagrams were as big as the sun, and you found out she was a priestess of some religion, do you think it would be NOT obvious who she was a priestess of?

Shar is like Satan in FR. She is well-known and feared and detested. And yes, maybe some would not know her symbols, but many would especially Gale and druids in the Grove.

Well, this is too easy. There are populations in Africa today that are cut off from modern society, some by choice some because they're next to impossible to get to, and they wouldn't have a clue. Stepping back 200ish years, the Native Americans had no idea. Christianity ran roughshod over most of Europe and parts of Asia, but always managed to find "heathens" to convert. Was God less immortal back then? It's not hard at all to imagine that some people wouldn't have an idea about who this God or that Goddess was if they hadn't been exposed to them at some point.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 05:15 PM
Originally Posted by TomReneth
The problem with SHs default armor is that it has Sharran symbols at all. Which is kinda weird for someone that 1) worships a secretive goddess and 2) tries to keep it secret. When she revealed it to me the first time, my reaction was "Duuh, of course you do. What's the real secret?"

I definitely wish the designers had given her a normal set of armor to start with instead of trying to personalize it to her taste. The design of her armor could have been a cool, subtle thing, but no. Too many people are so certain of themselves, insisting her armor is the same thing as a priest's clerical collar or a yarmulke.

I had the same reaction to her revelation about her religion, but the reason why was because I was playing Shadowheart, leveling her up, and I'd seen her character sheet. Which clearly states: Cleric of Shar. <-- that's the real clue, not some jewelry on her head.

Without a doubt, I believe that she could've looked exactly the same, and if the game developers had her worshiping any other God instead, we wouldn't be hearing word one about how "obvious" it is that she worships Shar because of her circlet and shoulders.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 05:30 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Let me put it like this:[...]

Shar is like Satan in FR. She is well-known and feared and detested. And yes, maybe some would not know her symbols, but many would especially Gale and druids in the Grove.
Well, this is too easy. There are populations in Africa today that are cut off from modern society, some by choice some because they're next to impossible to get to, and they wouldn't have a clue. Stepping back 200ish years, the Native Americans had no idea. Christianity ran roughshod over most of Europe and parts of Asia, but always managed to find "heathens" to convert. Was God less immortal back then? It's not hard at all to imagine that some people wouldn't have an idea about who this God or that Goddess was if they hadn't been exposed to them at some point.
Okay, but the Sword Coast is a limited region in Toril, a region defined by the worship of these gods. So our analogy should be restricted to a similar Earth Area: let's say the east coast of the US where Baldur's Gate is Washington DC. Given that Tav is, by default, from Baldur's gate, the appropriate analogy would be someone living in DC not having heard of Satan. At the very worst, Tav might have spent his life in rural South Carolina or Arkansas, but should still know of Satan in those cases.

Your analogy would be someone living deep in the jungle of Chult having not heard of Shar, which sure that's fair. Although actually this analogy is too generous, because you specified "cut off from modern society" whereas Chult does have communications with the Sword Coast.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 05:34 PM
Guys. In Forgotten Realms, on Faerun, gods and goddesses are real and very active. Their symbols and statues and lore are everywhere. You are talking about Native Americans who were isolated from eastern cultures and Africans who were also isolated, and you are talking as if the general populace of the Sword Coast region is the entire world of Faerun.

Yes, there would be pockets of people in Faerun who have never heard of Shar. Yes, absolutely true, but not in the Heartlands, HEARTLANDS mind you, of the Sword Coast halfway between 2 very popular and populated major cities that all believe in the same Pantheon of Gods. Shar and Selune were and still are when the game takes place, VERY active goddesses in the entire region.

In the Time of Troubles, back around 1358-1372 DR (can't remember exact dates right now) when Moonhaven was destroyed, Shar and Selune literally came to Faerun in avatars, and they flipping battled in the streets of Waterdeep for everyone to see.

Now, in the game, it's been over a hundred and twenty-ish years since then, but these goddesses are still major figures in the entire culture of the entire region.

So, it is more like someone from Ancient Greece who lived in Ancient Greece their whole lives, not knowing who Hades or any of the major Greek gods were. Imagine someone in Ancient Greece seeing a symbol of Hades and saying, "Hmmm. Oh well. You're a cleric of who now? Nah. Never mind. I don't wanna know. I'm not interested."

I don't think that it's unreasonable to ask Larian to put in a Religion check to see if your character recognizes or just even questions her outfit, if they are going to still have her roam around in that outfit. My personal preference would be that they would not make her so stupid and that she'd at least not have big black orbs on her shoulders and a huge circle on her chest and forehead. Just tweak the armor to not scream Sharran, and have the character ask her what her religion is when they first meet her on the beach. She can lie through her teeth, and an Insight roll made by the MC could detect that she's totally lying, or if you fail, you just don't realize that she is.

She could say, "I serve Melira Taralen," who is a goddess of deception that is much lesser and much more accepted than Shar if people even know her at all because she's more unheard of who is also of the trickery domain... or someone similar. Thus, she can explain away using her trickery domain powers without making it so obvious that she's a Sharran.

I would even use the same armor, but have the black orbs missing as if the armor was damaged. She removed the stones to hide who she really serves so no one would suspect. However, once you head into the Underdark, a small cutscene shows her putting them back on along with the big black circle on her chest. "These will enhance my armor and provide Shar's blessing upon it," she says. "Now that we're not going to be roaming about on the surface, I feel safe putting these back on." Then her armor provides her with some sort of Blessing of Shar or something to make it special.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 06:05 PM
This is how I think the Shadowheart reveal should go, with other options, of course, but the option to say some of these things should be present.

But that wasn't what caught their attention. Shadowheart was fixed on a damaged old statue before them. Suddenly, pain rippled across her features and she held her left hand up before her, looking at it as if it was alive. The moment seemed to pass, and a look of terror seized her. She looked up at Vexir, her eyes were like that of a frightened child looking to her mother for help. "We... we should keep moving," was all she could say. Then she tried to harden her features.
"What just happened?' asked Vexir, concerned.
The cleric tried to smile, pretending as if she was perfectly fine. "Nothing," she obviously lied. "A trick of the light. But something tells me there might be a solution to some of our problems hiding in this wilderness."
Vexir’s expression softened. "If there's something else you want to say, I'm listening," she told her.
Shadowheart sighed. "There's signs there was a conflict around here, some time ago. Conflict needs opposing sides. Whoever they were, they must've had resources. A little investigating could turn up something of interest. Let's go."
Vexir put her hands on her hips. She made it obvious she wasn't budging until Shadowheart laid everything she had to say out in the open. "Listen," she said. "It's obvious to everyone by now that you're not a cleric of... whoever you said you were a cleric of before. All this talk of conflict and resources, that isn't what you're really getting at. Just speak plainly. We're all in this together at this point. There's more to this. What aren't you telling me?"
Shadowheart seemed both angry and relieved at the same time. "You're not going to let this go, are you? Fine. I worship Shar, the Mistress of the Night." She then pulled out her holy symbol and affixed it to a headband of metal. When she put it on her head, the symbol displayed a dark circle at the center of her forehead. Now that they knew about it, she displayed it proudly.
Astarion snickered. "Really? I never would have guessed." It was obvious that he was being sarcastic.
Shadowheart ignored him. She was finally confessing her biggest secret, and she now needed to get it off her chest completely. "The destruction of this Selune statue looks like the handiwork of my brothers and sisters. Now that you have the truth, please don't make a big fuss about it."
Posted By: SerraSerra Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 08:24 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Video games used to feature quite a bit of text (Baldur's Gate included). Nowadays, people expect their video games to be movies. Bleh.
Hehe get where you're coming from. I miss the manuals the most. Those were half the fun really... I still go back to some of those funky ASCII art guides for infinity games. I mean those video games caused a whole literature ...
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 27/10/21 10:34 PM
I don't like to read these days. But you know, I never really liked reading all those books in the first two games. Some of them I would read, if they weren't too long, but most I skimmed through and just sold. It was a lot of lore. I didn't have time for that. I just wanted to get to the game.

I do like that they have books and such in this game, and that those books and stuff are not too lengthy and are usually related some way to the game. However, all this thread is asking for is at least some basic description of who the major gods and goddesses are in this game. If the god or goddess important to the game, pepper those explanations in at various points so you don't lose those who aren't familiar with the world. That's it. Nothing huge.

The biggest thing we're asking for is that they make shadow hearts armor not so obviously from her goddess as if her goddess likes her servants parading around advertising it
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 03:56 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
No one recognizes it because it's not specific-to-Shar attire.

People see these design choices by artists and suddenly jump to the conclusion that, "Yeppers, that's official 100% Shar regalia right there, totally canon Shar outfit, only the dumbest of the dumb-dumbs wouldn't recognize that there Shar regalia as being official Shar church merchandise, yeppers."

Again, if that's the way people want to play things, by all means. I can't get on board, though. I think insisting that an onyx circlet is a sure fire sign that someone worships Shar is ridiculous. Even coupled with round black circles on the shoulders of the armor (which is a look that's been updated in various patches, I believe).

But whatever, sure, maybe the armor is a uniform and everyone who worships Shar gets it as a sign on bonus.

You just pick and choose, my man. If you ask me, this is a weird hill to die on, but whatever. If you think people who've literally immortalized their war against followers of Shar all over their walls wouldn't recognize her symbol on SH's breastplate and circlet, or indeed just throw a second glance to them, all the power to you. Makes no sense, but hey, at least we went from 'farmers wouldn't put two and two together' to 'the archdruid who fought disciples of Shar wouldn't put two and two together'.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 05:16 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
You just pick and choose, my man. If you ask me, this is a weird hill to die on, but whatever.

I'm not dying. I'm alive and well, and my argument actually makes sense. As opposed to people insisting it's obviously a Shar outfit, only gosh, nobody notices. Yeah, they don't notice because it's not a Shar outfit.

I see no reason not to provide my point of view in response to people continuously reiterating their opinions behind the mask of fact.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
If you think people who've literally immortalized their war against followers of Shar all over their walls...

Walls that are hidden in a grove where no one is allowed except for some questionable, middle-of-nowhere druids. Where no one in the mural is wearing Shadowheart's armor.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
wouldn't recognize her symbol on SH's breastplate and circlet...

It's a circle. It's not a skull with fangs. It's not sword with wings. It's not a set of upside down scales. It's a circle.

It's completely nonsensical to think everyone who sees a dark circle is going to jump to the conclusion that they're dealing with Shar. It's so ridiculous it's laughable.

God forbid someone wear polka dots in your world.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
at least we went from 'farmers wouldn't put two and two together'...

Farmers would be *far* more worried about some stranger in town wearing armor and carrying weapons.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
'the archdruid who fought disciples of Shar wouldn't put two and two together'.

It's jewelry. It's a design, and any number of people could wear it without sinister motives. There is no "two and two" conspiracy to put together.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 05:43 AM
Ah, whatever. You're arguing for the sake of arguing. Couple of posts ago you agreed that there should be a religion check, then you argued that the uncultured wouldn't know what the symbol or the onyx stand for, now you're arguing that people who are familiar with Shar and her disciples wouldn't recognize/throw a second glance to the onyx or the symbol because -- ah, right, now it's back to the symbol being laughably unrecognizable.

I'll reiterate, whatever. Weird hill to die on -- that's a saying by the way, no need to argue about the semantics of that too -- but you do you.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 06:36 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Ah, whatever. You're arguing for the sake of arguing. Couple of posts ago you agreed that there should be a religion check, then you argued that the uncultured wouldn't know what the symbol or the onyx stand for, now you're arguing that people who are familiar with Shar and her disciples wouldn't recognize/throw a second glance to the onyx or the symbol because -- ah, right, now it's back to the symbol being laughably unrecognizable.

I'll reiterate, whatever. Weird hill to die on -- that's a saying by the way, no need to argue about the semantics of that too -- but you do you.

From my point of view, you're the one dying on the hill here.

My argument has been consistent the entire time. I think it's ridiculous to say people would look at Shadowheart and jump to the conclusion that she's a follower of Shar because she's wearing an onyx circlet and has black circles on the shoulders of her armor. I think that entire suggestion lacks insight into the complexity of people. It's the product of reading setting books and then making wild assumptions about entire population groups in a decidedly narrow minded way.

I've said time and again that you're argument is an example of rigid thinking and that the world (people) don't work that way.

I expect a DM with a little age and experience to bring some nuance to the table, to understand the day to day livelihoods of the NPCs, to get that they're "real" people with "real" lives and not carbon copies of whatever meta reality the DM wants to impose.

I'm not arguing for the sake of arguing. I think you're wrong, and I'm pointing it out. There's a difference.

I never agreed there should be a religion check... if by that you mean I agreed there should be a check to accuse Shadowheart of being a follower of Shar. I said there should be a religion check to *give the PC some common knowledge about Shar* so that when it comes out that Shadowheart is a follower... then the PC has some base of information to fall back on. In my opinion, that's not necessary, but I agreed that it would be okay.

Suggesting that I said there should be a religion check to make an accusation against Shadowheart is just a comprehension issue, plain and simple. I'm glad I can clear it up because that's certainly not what I was saying.

As for the symbol being unrecognizable, yes. It's a circle. It's a design in thousands of pieces of jewelry and artwork. In fact, I literally point to evidence that it's unrecognizable: the evidence being that NO ONE IN THE GAME RECOGNIZES IT.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 07:31 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Ah, whatever. You're arguing for the sake of arguing. Couple of posts ago you agreed that there should be a religion check, then you argued that the uncultured wouldn't know what the symbol or the onyx stand for, now you're arguing that people who are familiar with Shar and her disciples wouldn't recognize/throw a second glance to the onyx or the symbol because -- ah, right, now it's back to the symbol being laughably unrecognizable.

I'll reiterate, whatever. Weird hill to die on -- that's a saying by the way, no need to argue about the semantics of that too -- but you do you.

In order to satisfy my peculiar curiosity, I searched for "onyx" in the three AD&D 2e deities book (arguably the definitive sources on the gods despite their age) in regards to evil deities. Three instances of onyx turned up in Faiths & Avatars: Mask (Neutral Evil), Myrkul (Neutral Evil and dead) and Shar (Neutral Evil). One instance of onyx turned up in Demihuman Deities: Vhaeraun (Chaotic Evil). One instance of onyx turned up in Powers and Pantheons: Velsharoon (Neutral Evil) is noted to be fond of black gemstones, Eshowdow (Chaotic Evil) and Set (Chaotic Evil) considers black gemstones sacred. Basically, a self-professed priest wearing prominent onyx jewelry should at least be given a sideways glance by anyone that hasn't been residing under a rock.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 09:58 AM
Oh man. I don't know if I never noticed before, but I started the game over again last night and saw that she has a huge onyx in her hair too. It's keeping her hair in a ponytail.

So, you have one on each shoulder, one on her forehead, and one big one in her hair that looks kinda like a crown. Then you have that big black circle on her chest.

Now, the big circle on her chest, I will say, doesn't actually scream Shar. It has a different symbol on it. So, that I can understand maybe they could get away with. It's the big black onyx stones everywhere else.

Anyway, the debate about armor is not really important. The important thing is that Larian should and easily could have various places where they can explain to the player who Shar is long before the big reveal. If a player can reach the big reveal and still know nothing about Shar, that's kinda broken.

At the very least, when you do trigger the Convo with Shadowheart, they should at that point, if they haven't already, have your character roll to see if they know who Shar is. That way, when they're having the Convo, they can say, "Oh. Ok. Shar's an evil goddess of darkness and pain and loss who is hated by the masses. Hmmm. Should I make a big deal of this?"
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 10:28 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
All these comparisons to satan are patently inaccurate. That's a religion with one God and one bad figure in the form of satan.

It's not the same as a world with multiple religions and hundreds of different monster races; it's a wonder anyone in that setting can keep anything straight in their heads.

No. Like has been told to you several times by several people, Shar is not some unknown deity from a completely different part of the world. Knowing about Shar and what she wants to do with the world is not some esoteric knowledge you only find in forgotten tomes after devoting your life to studying weird religions. It's not something you have to try hard to "keep straight in your head" -- it's something people see in the moon every day. When children ask why the moon comes and goes parents tell them the story of Selune and Shar. You can't weasel your way out of this by going "oh but the world has SO MANY religions" -- even if it does, this is how they believe in Faerun, on the Sword Coast, where we are and the game takes place.

Quite frankly, it's not us who are examples of rigid thinking and not understanding how the world or people works. It's you.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 10:36 AM
Someone who wasn't familiar with the lore would most likely not think the decorative stones are religious in nature. Someone who is stuck in a rigid colour symbolism mindset of black is evil and white is good might think she is affiliated with evil. Someone with partial knowledge of the lore might be curious and look up what that symbol on her chest is since it is in a prominent location, but would not find a deity using said symbol. Someone who knows a bit about Shar might think about the black circles but they do not have a purple circle around them that I can see so it still may not be obvious.



Originally Posted by GM4Him
At the very least, when you do trigger the Convo with Shadowheart, they should at that point, if they haven't already, have your character roll to see if they know who Shar is. That way, when they're having the Convo, they can say, "Oh. Ok. Shar's an evil goddess of darkness and pain and loss who is hated by the masses. Hmmm. Should I make a big deal of this?"
I still think the extreme basics should be given to the player without any rolls, and then more information given with a Religion check or if your character is a cleric.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 10:42 AM
I hate double posting but I just noticed the in game description of Shar if you pick her as a cleric. Perhaps we could just have that said by someone in game at the earliest mention of Shar, and also do this with the rest of the gods. Might help a lot.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 11:28 AM
Originally Posted by Dexai
No. Like has been told to you several times by several people, Shar is not some unknown deity from a completely different part of the world. Knowing about Shar and what she wants to do with the world is not some esoteric knowledge you only find in forgotten tomes after devoting your life to studying weird religions. It's not something you have to try hard to "keep straight in your head" -- it's something people see in the moon every day. When children ask why the moon comes and goes parents tell them the story of Selune and Shar. You can't weasel your way out of this by going "oh but the world has SO MANY religions" -- even if it does, this is how they believe in Faerun, on the Sword Coast, where we are and the game takes place.

Quite frankly, it's not us who are examples of rigid thinking and not understanding how the world or people works. It's you.

Nonsense.

First of all, in regards to "has been told to you several times..." none of you are final authorities. Each of the several people you mention has tried to present fiction as fact, and not even in a convincing manner. This is a discussion, and from my point of view, you have been told several times. See how that works?

Again, this is nothing but obfuscation for the tired and weak assertion that onyx equals Shar. Consider the following quote one of your several people made:

Originally Posted by Ragitsu
In order to satisfy my peculiar curiosity, I searched for "onyx" in the three AD&D 2e deities book (arguably the definitive sources on the gods despite their age) in regards to evil deities. Three instances of onyx turned up in Faiths & Avatars: Mask (Neutral Evil), Myrkul (Neutral Evil and dead) and Shar (Neutral Evil). One instance of onyx turned up in Demihuman Deities: Vhaeraun (Chaotic Evil). One instance of onyx turned up in Powers and Pantheons: Velsharoon (Neutral Evil) is noted to be fond of black gemstones, Eshowdow (Chaotic Evil) and Set (Chaotic Evil) considers black gemstones sacred. Basically, a self-professed priest wearing prominent onyx jewelry should at least be given a sideways glance by anyone that hasn't been residing under a rock.

Take two seconds to really think about this. Seriously. Actually think about what's being said here.

A player reads 2nd edition Ad&d deity books. Therein, the player finds the word "onyx" or "black gemstones" in the listings of seven different dark gods.

And then we get the absurd logic jump.

Nowhere does it say that only evil people wear onyx. Nowhere does it say that good people refuse to wear onyx. Nowhere. It literally doesn't say that people look "sideways" at other people who wear onyx. Nowhere. Not a single place does it say any of that.

In fact, in another location, it says that onyx is known to help with the pain of childbirth.

In other places, onyx is on random treasure generators, listed as onyx. As a percentile number chance to get onyx as a monetary treasure reward.

So. Nowhere does it say anything about people not wearing onyx or being suspicious of their neighbors wearing onyx...

But for some spectacular reason, we have an echo chamber here full of (maybe five, lol?) people who INSIST that this is the case, and they can't even begin to imagine otherwise.

Yes, that's rigid thinking. That's a complete inability to realize that, to the average person in the setting, a cigar is often just a cigar, and onyx is just onyx, not a dead-give-away.

Which, I add yet again, is further in evidence by the fact that no one in the setting *treats* it as a dead-give-away. Because it's not. Because the only people convinced otherwise are the ones here who have literally convinced themselves, leaning entirely on supposition and hindsight.
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 11:55 AM
Originally Posted by JandK
Is further in evidence by the fact that no one in the setting *treats* it as a dead-give-away.

In many circumstances that would be a compelling argument. Certainly if this were real life it would an ironclad argument. But what's being suggested is the behavior of the npcs in this world is an error, given the other available information.

And I think it doesn't matter what the intention is with the characters. If the players who know the lore are bewildered by her appearance and how people react to it, her appearance and/or other characters' reactions should change
Posted By: auriejir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 11:58 AM
Originally Posted by Zarna
and then more information given with a Religion check or if your character is a cleric.
I've seen this suggested in the thread before but, please, keep in mind that there is a mechanic to give some class a bonus on some checks, it is the proficiencies. it would be rather unfair not to let everyone check, especially since you can make a priest which is not proficient in religion

Originally Posted by colinl8
Originally Posted by JandK
Is further in evidence by the fact that no one in the setting *treats* it as a dead-give-away.

In many circumstances that would be a compelling argument. Certainly if this were real life it would an ironclad argument. But what's being suggested is the behavior of the npcs in this world is an error, given the other available information.

And I think it doesn't matter what the intention is with the characters. If the players who know the lore are bewildered by her appearance and how people react to it, her appearance and/or other characters' reactions should change
to be fair, I reached level 4 in the early access in duo with shadowheart both naked from start to finish, with cats familiars using disguise self to be naked too, just out of curiosity... no npc reacted at any point, only the kids came to get a closer look at my cats that looked like a naked golden dwarf, which was a bit unsettling... but nothing else. so, if at some point npc will react to our clothing, or lack thereof, this is not implemented yet.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 12:14 PM
🙄

Even in the game, it is clear, Shadowheart makes it clear herself, people don't like Sharrans. She's nervous you'll immediately boot her from the party because she's a Sharran. It's made totally clear, if you trigger the right dialogues and pick up the right books that Shar is a well known bad goddess.

And the mural. That's the biggest indicator. You don't need a roll when you look at the mural. The game just tells you, "The bad guys in the mural have the symbol of Shar.".

So you recognize it there, but for some reason, nowhere else.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 12:31 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
🙄

Even in the game, it is clear, Shadowheart makes it clear herself, people don't like Sharrans. She's nervous you'll immediately boot her from the party because she's a Sharran. It's made totally clear, if you trigger the right dialogues and pick up the right books that Shar is a well known bad goddess.

And the mural. That's the biggest indicator. You don't need a roll when you look at the mural. The game just tells you, "The bad guys in the mural have the symbol of Shar.".

So you recognize it there, but for some reason, nowhere else.

You do need a roll when you look at the mural. I've had characters fail at figuring out what the mural represents.

Anyway. You're making an argument here for how Shadowheart herself doesn't expect anyone to be able to figure out who she worships by way of her decorations. If she did expect as much, she wouldn't be outfitted that way.

Originally Posted by colinl8
If the players who know the lore are bewildered by her appearance and how people react to it, her appearance and/or other characters' reactions should change

I disagree. The sample size of "players who know the lore and etc..." isn't large. There's a handful of people here, at best. The whole topic was pretty much an echo chamber before it was challenged.

And I argue that it was an echo chamber because someone pointed out the black circles all over Shadowheart's design and made a joke about how obvious her secret is. And others agreed, not thinking through whether or not it was actually obvious outside of hindsight. Then people got committed to the notion as they became invested it, sometimes making the same joke themselves. And once committed to it, pride kicked in. It became a matter of identity. "I know so darn much about Forgotten Realms, I can't be wrong. Only evil people wear onyx in DnD!"
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 12:36 PM
Meh. I guess I just haven't triggered that mural in awhile.

But make no mistake. I think she should either just own it up front if she's gonna wear obvious armor, or her outfit needs to be tweaked.

It would be a small change. Make the stones blue, not black. There. Problem solved. Shoot! Shar is a goddess of trickery. Have it be blue or something similar in the beginning, and then have it change colors to black later, after you know the truth.
It’s EA, so she’s probably gonna wear a cloak when the game is released. But the cloak animation isn’t ready just yet…
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 12:50 PM
Originally Posted by auriejir
Originally Posted by Zarna
and then more information given with a Religion check or if your character is a cleric.
I've seen this suggested in the thread before but, please, keep in mind that there is a mechanic to give some class a bonus on some checks, it is the proficiencies. it would be rather unfair not to let everyone check, especially since you can make a priest which is not proficient in religion
I say this for the more information part, not all of it. There are already existing Religion checks in game since most characters would not know details about all the gods. I am only speculating, but I would think clerics would be taught a bit more about different gods and the DC should be lower for them even if they are not proficient.
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 12:52 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
...someone pointed out the black circles all over Shadowheart's design and made a joke about how obvious her secret is. And others agreed, not thinking through...

That's probably fair. The reason I jumped on the bandwagon was that as someone who doesn't know the lore, when the big reveal occurs, I thought the available dialog options were a kick to the head. All of a sudden the *nicest* dialog option with one of the must important party members is "I don't care"? So, when I see people who do know the lore pointing to reasons why I shouldn't have been surprised, that clicked.

So I'm (and I think everybody is) 100% with there needing to be more Shar lore offered before that scene. Whether or not she should have a different appearance or inspire different reactions is a debatable point. For me, from how others have described it, it seems like there's too much of a confluence of indications for "sometimes a circle is just a circle" to be convincing.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 12:57 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Dexai
No. Like has been told to you several times by several people, Shar is not some unknown deity from a completely different part of the world. Knowing about Shar and what she wants to do with the world is not some esoteric knowledge you only find in forgotten tomes after devoting your life to studying weird religions. It's not something you have to try hard to "keep straight in your head" -- it's something people see in the moon every day. When children ask why the moon comes and goes parents tell them the story of Selune and Shar. You can't weasel your way out of this by going "oh but the world has SO MANY religions" -- even if it does, this is how they believe in Faerun, on the Sword Coast, where we are and the game takes place.

Quite frankly, it's not us who are examples of rigid thinking and not understanding how the world or people works. It's you.

Nonsense.

First of all, in regards to "has been told to you several times..." none of you are final authorities. Each of the several people you mention has tried to present fiction as fact, and not even in a convincing manner. This is a discussion, and from my point of view, you have been told several times. See how that works?

Yes, you've said that already. That was what I was mirroring. See how that works?

You can keep claiming "from my perspective, it's the Jedi who are evil" however much you want; you're still arguing in circles and refusing to respond to other people's arguments.

Originally Posted by JandK
Again, this is nothing but obfuscation for the tired and weak assertion that onyx equals Shar. Consider the following quote one of your several people made:

This is bordering on delusional. That "obfuscation" was me responding directly to the argument you were making about religions. This thread is about the need for the player to know who Shar is before Shadowheart's reveal in order to be able to make an informed role-playing decision about how their character should react to it. You are the main reason we're still stuck going on and on about whether or not the cleric who's wearing Sharran imagery should be recognisable as -- or even just suspectable of being -- a Sharran.

And to be honest, I have to stop myself to get involved with that argument to just because of what a godawful job you are doing of arguing against it. You just literally asserted word by word that post hoc ergo propter hoc and you have the gall to throw stones about other people's jumps of logic in that glasshouse of an argument you've built. In the very same response even!
Posted By: EvilVik Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:01 PM
So a simple solution would be to have our dear narrator give us a short recap of who Shar is in the Forgotten realms at an early point in the game, as she seems to play a major role.
It could be a quick recap of Shar vs. Selune and describing their roles.

And it's for the PLAYER, not for the characters ingame.
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:06 PM
It occurred to me just now that your party's reaction to Astarion's big reveal isn't terribly different from their reaction to Shadowheart's. Basically, "Oh, is that so? Well, leave me out of it." It's more negative where the reaction to Shadowheart's is more interest/fascination, but it's pretty low key given the circumstance.

So I think either it's a consistency that supports the argument that there aren't major problems with Shadowheart wrt Shar, or represents an overall casualness to dialog which could, in the most generous terms, be called immersion-breaking.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:13 PM
Originally Posted by organichilimango
It’s EA, so she’s probably gonna wear a cloak when the game is released. But the cloak animation isn’t ready just yet…

Or, she could just start with a generic armor and retrieve her personal set at the goblin camp or some such. Could be one of those events about Shar, even, like the helmet and the statue.

Originally Posted by colinl8
It occurred to me just now that your party's reaction to Astarion's big reveal isn't terribly different from their reaction to Shadowheart's. Basically, "Oh, is that so? Well, leave me out of it." It's more negative where the reaction to Shadowheart's is more interest/fascination, but it's pretty low key given the circumstance.

So I think either it's a consistency that supports the argument that there aren't major problems with Shadowheart wrt Shar, or represents an overall casualness to dialog which could, in the most generous terms, be called immersion-breaking.

Gale's reaction, most especially, is laughable at best. I mean, i guess he wants to tap that, but you'd think a Chosen of Mystra would have more of a problem with a cleric of Shar.
Posted By: auriejir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:40 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
But make no mistake. I think she should either just own it up front if she's gonna wear obvious armor, or her outfit needs to be tweaked.

It would be a small change. Make the stones blue, not black. There. Problem solved. Shoot! Shar is a goddess of trickery. Have it be blue or something similar in the beginning, and then have it change colors to black later, after you know the truth.
as I said like 5 pages ago, there are destroyed armors in the files and if she is dead and looted before the crash, she spawns back with a bandit armor while lae'zel don't get anything new... those are loose evidence but it still points towards her not necessarily wearing her "red herring" armor.

that being said, clerics need a holy symbol to cast most of their spells so she would still have to be carrying some symbol...
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:42 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
You can keep claiming "from my perspective, it's the Jedi who are evil" however much you want;

No. In my argument, you are on the side of the Sith. I am on the side of the Jedi. See how that works?

Originally Posted by Dexai
you're still arguing in circles and refusing to respond to other people's arguments.

I have literally responded to every argument. I have been entirely consistent. I am right. The best argument your "several people" have dredged up is that people would look "sideways" at someone wearing onyx, cause. Just cause. Just cause some baddie gods like black gemstones in some deity source books. Not because any of those source books actually *say* anything about people looking sideways at someone wearing onyx.

Originally Posted by Dexai
This is bordering on delusional. That "obfuscation" was me responding directly to the argument you were making about religions.

I humored the poorly made argument about how recognizable satan was to the average person in a world where Christianity is quite literally the largest religion with well over 2 billion members.

But just because I humored the argument in one comment doesn't change the fact that the argument itself is obfuscation. The whole point of whether or not someone recognizes satan has nothing to do with whether or not wearing jewelry equates to worshiping Shar.

There's nothing delusional about that. It comes down to a simple lack of understanding about what was being said, likely because of defensiveness and an inability to escape prideful, rigid thinking.

Originally Posted by Dexai
This thread is about the need for the player to know who Shar is before Shadowheart's reveal in order to be able to make an informed role-playing decision about how their character should react to it.

And I made a point of saying that while I'm okay with more lore being shared if there's a good moment in the game to do so... I don't actually think it's necessary. I think it probably works better the way it is now, which is to say that Tav has reason to say he doesn't care, but as time goes forward and Tav learns more, then maybe Tav will have more reason to care.

Going straight into: "your character knows Shar is irredeemably evil" is dumb, in my opinion. It's weak storytelling sauce when Shadowheart is such a big part of the story right now. I think that approach isn't very good and is indicative of mediocre storytelling mindsets.

Originally Posted by Dexai
You are the main reason we're still stuck going on and on about whether or not the cleric who's wearing Sharran imagery should be recognisable as -- or even just suspectable of being -- a Sharran.

You can stop going on and on any time you want. I'm only responding to comments. If you live in a world where you think people have to agree with you, I can see how you might be frustrated.

Originally Posted by Dexai
And to be honest, I have to stop myself to get involved with that argument to just because of what a godawful job you are doing of arguing against it. You just literally asserted word by word that post hoc ergo propter hoc and you have the gall to throw stones about other people's jumps of logic in that glasshouse of an argument you've built. In the very same response even!

Okay, let's walk through this.

1. Your argument is that Larian knowingly put Shadowheart in armor that showcases her worship of Shar.
2. And because of that, people should know that Shadowheart worships Shar.
3. But if Larian knowingly put her in obvious armor...
4. Then why didn't they have people recognize her worship of Shar?

Or are you arguing that Larian accidentally put her in armor that obviously showcases her worship of Shar?

If they made the design decision on purpose... knowing that people would recognize her worship of Shar... then why do people in their setting not recognize that she worships Shar?

I'm making a simple point that should be easy to follow. This is not an argument that the sun rises because the rooster crows.
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by organichilimango
It’s EA, so she’s probably gonna wear a cloak when the game is released. But the cloak animation isn’t ready just yet…

Or, she could just start with a generic armor and retrieve her personal set at the goblin camp or some such. Could be one of those events about Shar, even, like the helmet and the statue.

Originally Posted by colinl8
It occurred to me just now that your party's reaction to Astarion's big reveal isn't terribly different from their reaction to Shadowheart's. Basically, "Oh, is that so? Well, leave me out of it." It's more negative where the reaction to Shadowheart's is more interest/fascination, but it's pretty low key given the circumstance.

So I think either it's a consistency that supports the argument that there aren't major problems with Shadowheart wrt Shar, or represents an overall casualness to dialog which could, in the most generous terms, be called immersion-breaking.

Gale's reaction, most especially, is laughable at best. I mean, i guess he wants to tap that, but you'd think a Chosen of Mystra would have more of a problem with a cleric of Shar.

I'm not sure what good that would do. I mean the thread is predicated on "the game should provide the knowledge in a way that doesn't involve me doing any reading", so swapping out the armor later wouldn't really matter, because they still wouldn't know what it meant.

In regard to Gale:
You mean "Former Chosen of Mystra", right? I'm not sure how far you've progressed his little arc, but she kicked him to the curb, so maybe he finds SH attractive, and is willing to ignore her little foibles, knowing how fickle the Deities can be.

In so far as symbolism goes, and all the "but Onyx", maybe she likes dark stones? I mean, we know that isn't the case, but our characters? I guess if we're metagaming, then yeah, but otherwise? Do all the other Gods sit their followers down and give them tutorials about all of the specifics of their opposed deities, or is it more "we hate this God/Goddess because reasons"? Is it to be assumed that, just because some decorations happen to be significant to some deity that a person can't find them attractive, or appealing to wear?
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by Zarna
Originally Posted by auriejir
Originally Posted by Zarna
and then more information given with a Religion check or if your character is a cleric.
I've seen this suggested in the thread before but, please, keep in mind that there is a mechanic to give some class a bonus on some checks, it is the proficiencies. it would be rather unfair not to let everyone check, especially since you can make a priest which is not proficient in religion
I say this for the more information part, not all of it. There are already existing Religion checks in game since most characters would not know details about all the gods. I am only speculating, but I would think clerics would be taught a bit more about different gods and the DC should be lower for them even if they are not proficient.

No. The DC shouldn't be lower. That's not how it works. The skill bonus is what determines your characters' level of knowledge. So the DM determines how difficult the roll is based on how common the knowledge is. Your Religion skill determines how much knowledge and training you've received on the subject. A cleric with no religion skill proficiency is a poorly educated cleric or one who just didn't care to learn about other religions.

The only thing a DM might do is offer advantage on a roll of the check called for it. A Sharran or Selunite cleric, for example, would receive advantage on all rolls related to Shar and Selune since they are archenemies and both religions would receive lots of training on both.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 01:56 PM
What are you guys talking about? The Cleric of Shar isn't wearing symbols of Shar, they're just black circles that happen to look exactly like a symbol of Shar. Why would you think they're symbols of Shar?
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:01 PM
Originally Posted by auriejir
Originally Posted by GM4Him
But make no mistake. I think she should either just own it up front if she's gonna wear obvious armor, or her outfit needs to be tweaked.

It would be a small change. Make the stones blue, not black. There. Problem solved. Shoot! Shar is a goddess of trickery. Have it be blue or something similar in the beginning, and then have it change colors to black later, after you know the truth.
as I said like 5 pages ago, there are destroyed armors in the files and if she is dead and looted before the crash, she spawns back with a bandit armor while lae'zel don't get anything new... those are loose evidence but it still points towards her not necessarily wearing her "red herring" armor.

that being said, clerics need a holy symbol to cast most of their spells so she would still have to be carrying some symbol...

My point is that Sharrans aren't supposed to be so obviously Sharran. They are secretive. Assuming she's a cleric of Selune and tricked to serve Shar, she might start with the armor so obvious because Shar's flaunting to Selune that she's corrupted her servant. Still, regardless, if she's wearing that armor, people ought to at least get a religion roll to see if they recognize it as obviously Sharran.

As for the holy symbol, Larian isn't requiring spell focus. Regardless, if she has one, she shouldn't be wearing it on her forehead. She should have it tucked in a secret pocket and carefully pulling it out when she casts spells. If she wears it, again, that should be pointed out as peculiar, allowing a player to ask her which God she serves and having people like Gale call it out.

And yeah, Gale should have a problem with Shadowheart. If he loves Mystra, and Mystra hates Shar...
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:05 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by organichilimango
It’s EA, so she’s probably gonna wear a cloak when the game is released. But the cloak animation isn’t ready just yet…

Or, she could just start with a generic armor and retrieve her personal set at the goblin camp or some such. Could be one of those events about Shar, even, like the helmet and the statue.

Originally Posted by colinl8
It occurred to me just now that your party's reaction to Astarion's big reveal isn't terribly different from their reaction to Shadowheart's. Basically, "Oh, is that so? Well, leave me out of it." It's more negative where the reaction to Shadowheart's is more interest/fascination, but it's pretty low key given the circumstance.

So I think either it's a consistency that supports the argument that there aren't major problems with Shadowheart wrt Shar, or represents an overall casualness to dialog which could, in the most generous terms, be called immersion-breaking.

Gale's reaction, most especially, is laughable at best. I mean, i guess he wants to tap that, but you'd think a Chosen of Mystra would have more of a problem with a cleric of Shar.

I'm not sure what good that would do. I mean the thread is predicated on "the game should provide the knowledge in a way that doesn't involve me doing any reading", so swapping out the armor later wouldn't really matter, because they still wouldn't know what it meant.

In regard to Gale:
You mean "Former Chosen of Mystra", right? I'm not sure how far you've progressed his little arc, but she kicked him to the curb, so maybe he finds SH attractive, and is willing to ignore her little foibles, knowing how fickle the Deities can be.

In so far as symbolism goes, and all the "but Onyx", maybe she likes dark stones? I mean, we know that isn't the case, but our characters? I guess if we're metagaming, then yeah, but otherwise? Do all the other Gods sit their followers down and give them tutorials about all of the specifics of their opposed deities, or is it more "we hate this God/Goddess because reasons"? Is it to be assumed that, just because some decorations happen to be significant to some deity that a person can't find them attractive, or appealing to wear?

Gale's obviously still pretty high on Mystra, and nothing suggests that he suspected SH of being a cleric of Shar prior to the reveal. So no, he's not ignoring her allegiance because he's playing 5d chess.

As for the rest of your post, i really don't know what you're talking about.
One of the many things I appreciate about Larian is that they don't do a lot of hand holding, but they greatly reward the curious-minded and they leave the information you need lying around. They leave books all around that explain various concepts - including Shar - you just have to take a moment to read them.

I reject the laziness of modern gamers that seem to require an endless amount of exposition. The standard of truly good writing is to show, rather than tell. In a twist of irony the books that litter the game would qualify as showing, as they are not delivered as dialogue per se but are part of the background history of this world.

If you do not have the patience for this game, designed as an intricately detailed RPG with a world full of clues, signs, stories, hints, and visual cues that tell you everything you need to know then I would invite you to go play retail WoW - Blizzard/Activision is more than happy - these days - to cater to the lowest common denominator of brain-dead player that wants an easy to walk, path polished, boring 'interactive experience'.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by auriejir
Originally Posted by GM4Him
But make no mistake. I think she should either just own it up front if she's gonna wear obvious armor, or her outfit needs to be tweaked.

It would be a small change. Make the stones blue, not black. There. Problem solved. Shoot! Shar is a goddess of trickery. Have it be blue or something similar in the beginning, and then have it change colors to black later, after you know the truth.
as I said like 5 pages ago, there are destroyed armors in the files and if she is dead and looted before the crash, she spawns back with a bandit armor while lae'zel don't get anything new... those are loose evidence but it still points towards her not necessarily wearing her "red herring" armor.

that being said, clerics need a holy symbol to cast most of their spells so she would still have to be carrying some symbol...

My point is that Sharrans aren't supposed to be so obviously Sharran. They are secretive. Assuming she's a cleric of Selune and tricked to serve Shar, she might start with the armor so obvious because Shar's flaunting to Selune that she's corrupted her servant. Still, regardless, if she's wearing that armor, people ought to at least get a religion roll to see if they recognize it as obviously Sharran.

As for the holy symbol, Larian isn't requiring spell focus. Regardless, if she has one, she shouldn't be wearing it on her forehead. She should have it tucked in a secret pocket and carefully pulling it out when she casts spells. If she wears it, again, that should be pointed out as peculiar, allowing a player to ask her which God she serves and having people like Gale call it out.

And yeah, Gale should have a problem with Shadowheart. If he loves Mystra, and Mystra hates Shar...

Do you have X-ray vision? She could very easily be wearing it as a necklace, and it's under her armor. We know she doesn't have one, but that could easily be the case.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:13 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
What are you guys talking about? The Cleric of Shar isn't wearing symbols of Shar, they're just black circles that happen to look exactly like a symbol of Shar. Why would you think they're symbols of Shar?

Which oddly enough aren't bordered in purple. But details, whatever.

Regardless, the argument isn't that they don't symbolize Shar to Shadowheart.

The argument is that people are more clever in hindsight than they are before.

The argument is that, if you don't know she's a cleric of Shar, then they look decorative, not suspect.

The argument is that people wear onyx jewelry, and that no one would accuse anyone of being devoted to Shar simply because they're wearing onyx.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:36 PM
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
One of the many things I appreciate about Larian is that they don't do a lot of hand holding, but they greatly reward the curious-minded and they leave the information you need lying around. They leave books all around that explain various concepts - including Shar - you just have to take a moment to read them.

I reject the laziness of modern gamers that seem to require an endless amount of exposition. The standard of truly good writing is to show, rather than tell. In a twist of irony the books that litter the game would qualify as showing, as they are not delivered as dialogue per se but are part of the background history of this world.

If you do not have the patience for this game, designed as an intricately detailed RPG with a world full of clues, signs, stories, hints, and visual cues that tell you everything you need to know then I would invite you to go play retail WoW - Blizzard/Activision is more than happy - these days - to cater to the lowest common denominator of brain-dead player that wants an easy to walk, path polished, boring 'interactive experience'.

I stole a note from Kagha, discovered she was shadow druid and exposed her.
There was zero hand holding for this and I clearly accomplished it and DID NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT WAS GOOD.

Shar and SH is different.
If I had to discover who shar is and expose Shadowheart? NOOOOO PROBLEEEEEEEEM.


Instead the game ASSUMES I know shar and ASSUMES my character will be outraged by Shar.
I have a literaly bug elf trying to murder me and a vampire that is trying to murder me.
Shar worshippers? Who cares!

The only reference early in the game is about Shar being a memory stealing goddess. Big whoop.
In 12 pages of conversation not one person has explained why Shar worshipping is worse than Vampires, Mindflayers or Githyanki assassins.
This is a failure on a narrative level.

If you don't think so then go play Fallout 76. I hear its a narrative marvel with all those audio files laying around the map. /s
Posted By: auriejir Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:42 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Do you have X-ray vision? She could very easily be wearing it as a necklace, and it's under her armor. We know she doesn't have one, but that could easily be the case.
you can see her holy symbol in her hand on this website banner.
also, not that it would be relevant or anything but x-ray vision would be pretty much useless since you need a source of x-rays to be able to see anything and an armor would block it anyway. nowadays, wi-fi vision would allow you to see through walls and clothes. still, not through a chainshirt...
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:47 PM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Instead the game ASSUMES I know shar and ASSUMES my character will be outraged by Shar.
I have a literaly bug elf trying to murder me and a vampire that is trying to murder me.
Shar worshippers? Who cares!

The only reference early in the game is about Shar being a memory stealing goddess. Big whoop.
This. What is the totality of information can we acquire about Shar BEFORE you're expected to have the conversation with SH? Is there anything other than that Owlbear-cave-shrine?

If there are books and religion checks and dialogue that accurately explain who Shar is, then okay that's one thing (though I'd still argue for a religion check, asking SH who she worships upon meeting her, and/or basic pop-up text describing the commonly known facts about Shar and other key-terms in the world). But if it's truly as Eddiar says, and the party is only given like one line about Shar, then even the folks who are arguing for "Larian not hand-holding us" should want more available information.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:52 PM
Originally Posted by EvilVik
So a simple solution would be to have our dear narrator give us a short recap of who Shar is in the Forgotten realms at an early point in the game, as she seems to play a major role.
It could be a quick recap of Shar vs. Selune and describing their roles.

And it's for the PLAYER, not for the characters ingame.

This is a recurring problem with BG3: oversights that can be easily fixed with a sentence of in-game text or just a bit of spoken dialogue.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
One of the many things I appreciate about Larian is that they don't do a lot of hand holding, but they greatly reward the curious-minded and they leave the information you need lying around. They leave books all around that explain various concepts - including Shar - you just have to take a moment to read them.

I reject the laziness of modern gamers that seem to require an endless amount of exposition. The standard of truly good writing is to show, rather than tell. In a twist of irony the books that litter the game would qualify as showing, as they are not delivered as dialogue per se but are part of the background history of this world.

If you do not have the patience for this game, designed as an intricately detailed RPG with a world full of clues, signs, stories, hints, and visual cues that tell you everything you need to know then I would invite you to go play retail WoW - Blizzard/Activision is more than happy - these days - to cater to the lowest common denominator of brain-dead player that wants an easy to walk, path polished, boring 'interactive experience'.

I stole a note from Kagha, discovered she was shadow druid and exposed her.
There was zero hand holding for this and I clearly accomplished it and DID NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT WAS GOOD.

Shar and SH is different.
If I had to discover who shar is and expose Shadowheart? NOOOOO PROBLEEEEEEEEM.


Instead the game ASSUMES I know shar and ASSUMES my character will be outraged by Shar.
I have a literaly bug elf trying to murder me and a vampire that is trying to murder me.
Shar worshippers? Who cares!

The only reference early in the game is about Shar being a memory stealing goddess. Big whoop.
In 12 pages of conversation not one person has explained why Shar worshipping is worse than Vampires, Mindflayers or Githyanki assassins.
This is a failure on a narrative level.

If you don't think so then go play Fallout 76. I hear its a narrative marvel with all those audio files laying around the map. /s

So if there was an in game glossary of people and deities of the sword coast, would you take the time to actually read it, or be outraged that they didn't have the narrator read it for you? Is being outraged the only option you have in dialog? No, but it's existence is driving you up a wall, right? Some of us actually understand who she is, and why this could be a bad thing, so we shouldn't have a dialog option to reflect that, because it's confusing for you? You know, when I see a dialog option that doesn't fit with my reaction, instead of running to a message board complaining, I take an option that makes sense/more sense to me. I love how I'm reading what I have in the quote window, and what's still in the actual post, and for some reason you decided that "Dont simp for larian. its bad mmk?" had to be removed, and replaced with your Fallout 76 reference, which is addressed below.

Hey, I'd love it if we had a Pipboy to play audio files, but I'm pretty sure that those haven't been invented in this universe. Either Pipboys or audio logs to play on them. If being a Goddess that mindwipes followers isn't a clue that she's bad news, I'm not sure there's any narrative around that could help you. When I read that, I wonder what it is She has to hide that makes her have to do that. Finding out that a worshipper is in my party, I wonder if she's planning to wipe my mind, and can perfectly understand why I may be, at the very least, a bit suspicious, or even outright concerned. It's amazing that you're here complaining about narrative inconsistency, with no grasp of subtext whatsoever. How simple do you need the explanations to be?
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 02:56 PM
Originally Posted by EvilVik
So a simple solution would be to have our dear narrator give us a short recap of who Shar is in the Forgotten realms at an early point in the game, as she seems to play a major role.
It could be a quick recap of Shar vs. Selune and describing their roles.

And it's for the PLAYER, not for the characters ingame.

This is a recurring problem with BG3: oversights that can be easily fixed with a sentence of in-game text or just a bit of spoken dialogue.
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by organichilimango
It’s EA, so she’s probably gonna wear a cloak when the game is released. But the cloak animation isn’t ready just yet…

Or, she could just start with a generic armor and retrieve her personal set at the goblin camp or some such. Could be one of those events about Shar, even, like the helmet and the statue.

Originally Posted by colinl8
It occurred to me just now that your party's reaction to Astarion's big reveal isn't terribly different from their reaction to Shadowheart's. Basically, "Oh, is that so? Well, leave me out of it." It's more negative where the reaction to Shadowheart's is more interest/fascination, but it's pretty low key given the circumstance.

So I think either it's a consistency that supports the argument that there aren't major problems with Shadowheart wrt Shar, or represents an overall casualness to dialog which could, in the most generous terms, be called immersion-breaking.

Gale's reaction, most especially, is laughable at best. I mean, i guess he wants to tap that, but you'd think a Chosen of Mystra would have more of a problem with a cleric of Shar.

Their reaction wouldn't be quite as acute as those devoted to Selune or Lathander, but, yes...you can bet they would at the very least be solidly suspicious.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
So if there was an in game glossary of people and deities of the sword coast, would you take the time to actually read it, or be outraged that they didn't have the narrator read it for you? Is being outraged the only option you have in dialog? No, but it's existence is driving you up a wall, right? Some of us actually understand who she is, and why this could be a bad thing, so we shouldn't have a dialog option to reflect that, because it's confusing for you? You know, when I see a dialog option that doesn't fit with my reaction, instead of running to a message board complaining, I take an option that makes sense/more sense to me. I love how I'm reading what I have in the quote window, and what's still in the actual post, and for some reason you decided that "Dont simp for larian. its bad mmk?" had to be removed, and replaced with your Fallout 76 reference, which is addressed below.

Hey, I'd love it if we had a Pipboy to play audio files, but I'm pretty sure that those haven't been invented in this universe. Either Pipboys or audio logs to play on them. If being a Goddess that mindwipes followers isn't a clue that she's bad news, I'm not sure there's any narrative around that could help you. When I read that, I wonder what it is She has to hide that makes her have to do that. Finding out that a worshipper is in my party, I wonder if she's planning to wipe my mind, and can perfectly understand why I may be, at the very least, a bit suspicious, or even outright concerned. It's amazing that you're here complaining about narrative inconsistency, with no grasp of subtext whatsoever. How simple do you need the explanations to be?

I already answered your question twice.
For someone who loves reading, you sure have a hard time comprehending the written word.
Go back and read it again.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 03:17 PM
[Linked Image from c.tenor.com]
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
So if there was an in game glossary of people and deities of the sword coast, would you take the time to actually read it, or be outraged that they didn't have the narrator read it for you? Is being outraged the only option you have in dialog? No, but it's existence is driving you up a wall, right? Some of us actually understand who she is, and why this could be a bad thing, so we shouldn't have a dialog option to reflect that, because it's confusing for you? You know, when I see a dialog option that doesn't fit with my reaction, instead of running to a message board complaining, I take an option that makes sense/more sense to me. I love how I'm reading what I have in the quote window, and what's still in the actual post, and for some reason you decided that "Dont simp for larian. its bad mmk?" had to be removed, and replaced with your Fallout 76 reference, which is addressed below.

Hey, I'd love it if we had a Pipboy to play audio files, but I'm pretty sure that those haven't been invented in this universe. Either Pipboys or audio logs to play on them. If being a Goddess that mindwipes followers isn't a clue that she's bad news, I'm not sure there's any narrative around that could help you. When I read that, I wonder what it is She has to hide that makes her have to do that. Finding out that a worshipper is in my party, I wonder if she's planning to wipe my mind, and can perfectly understand why I may be, at the very least, a bit suspicious, or even outright concerned. It's amazing that you're here complaining about narrative inconsistency, with no grasp of subtext whatsoever. How simple do you need the explanations to be?

I already answered your question twice.
For someone who loves reading, you sure have a hard time comprehending the written word.
Go back and read it again.

The problem is that I do love reading, and have addressed a concern from a recent post you made. The very one I quoted as a matter of fact. So, I'll ask again, because apparently you missed it, or a narrator didn't read it for you:

What part of "Shar wipes people's memories" doesn't give you a reason to, at the very least, be concerned about having a devoted follower in your party camp, where you may be sleeping within close proximity of someone that believes that this is an acceptable practice?
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 03:34 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
What part of "Shar wipes people's memories" doesn't give you a reason to, at the very least, be concerned about having a devoted follower in your party camp, where you may be sleeping within close proximity of someone that believes that this is an acceptable practice?

And I have answered this several times and your points do not address the multiple problems I have mentioned.
All you're doing is coming into a thread about people who don't know the lore asking for more clarification.

The book you mentioned? I already said what I think about it.
The reactions? I already they are inexplicable with with available information before the reveal

Seriously I am not going to type out hundreds of words again just because you are too lazy to read them again. Go back. And frigging read what I said.
Jesus christ.
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
What part of "Shar wipes people's memories" doesn't give you a reason to, at the very least, be concerned about having a devoted follower in your party camp, where you may be sleeping within close proximity of someone that believes that this is an acceptable practice?

And I have answered this several times and your points do not address the multiple problems I have mentioned.
All you're doing is coming into a thread about people who don't know the lore asking for more clarification.

The book you mentioned? I already said what I think about it.
The reactions? I already they are inexplicable with with available information before the reveal

Seriously I am not going to type out hundreds of words again just because you are too lazy to read them again. Go back. And frigging read what I said.
Jesus christ.

I've got no need. Nowhere have you explained why the option existing is bad, only that it's bad for you because you didn't grasp the subtext of "wiping people's minds".
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 04:52 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
The argument is that, if you don't know she's a cleric of Shar, then they look decorative, not suspect.
The counterargument is that if you are from any socially connected part of the Realms, say Baldur's Gate, the black circles don't say "decorative" but rather SCREAM "symbol of Shar."
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 05:12 PM
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by JandK
The argument is that, if you don't know she's a cleric of Shar, then they look decorative, not suspect.
The counterargument is that if you are from any socially connected part of the Realms, say Baldur's Gate, the black circles don't say "decorative" but rather SCREAM "symbol of Shar."

I say it looks like jewelry and decorations which I might add are clearly worn in "socially connected parts of the Realms.

But you say otherwise. So. Prove it. Prove that people in the Realms don't suffer other people to wear onyx. With or without a purple border, apparently.

I guess they don't use onyx in Baldur's Gate to relieve the pain of childbirth?

I guess the random treasure tables get changed in Baldur's Gate to make sure they don't give out any onyx?
Posted By: EvilVik Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 05:17 PM
The memory wiping is presented in-game as a way to guarantee safety for the mission, not a "we mindwipe all followers".

Even with my knowledge of Shar, the way she is presented in the interactions with Shadowheart is not very evil. Just a secretive goddess that's being very paranoid.

So for someone new to the Forgotten Realms, Shar's backstory isn't really layed out. It requires meta knowledge.

As I assume Larian wants more people than d&d fans to fall in love with bg3, some basic background of Shar would benefit the player base before Shadowhearts reveal.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 06:06 PM
Okay, some of you will probably be happy to hear this. I was mostly waiting around on the forums for Patch 6 to drop on Stadia, and it looks like it just did. Which means I'll be gone for a while. I might come back to leave my thoughts about the new Patch later, but at least for now you won't have JandK to push around any more! lol

See ya later, crocodiles.

PS... I'm completely right about Shadowheart, and you all know it! wink
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 06:14 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
PS... I'm completely right about Shadowheart, and you all know it! wink

What's got two thumbs and is totally right about Shadowheart?

*finger guns* This guy right here!

laugh
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 06:30 PM
Originally Posted by EvilVik
some basic background of Shar would benefit the player base before Shadowhearts reveal.

Bingo.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 07:47 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by EvilVik
some basic background of Shar would benefit the player base before Shadowhearts reveal.

Bingo.
This is the problem when Larian throws in too many ingredients right from the start.

Selûne vs Shar, Mind Flayers vs. Githyanki and Red Dragons, Nautiloids, tadpoles, the Nine Hells and Devils, vampires with Astarion and Cazador, the mysterious Cult and the Absolute, Jergal and Withers.....

They can't possibly set the stage so that the player has basic knowledge of all that. But Larian threw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

BG1 was much more focused on the Lord of Murder when it started slowly unveiling the mystery bit by bit. In BG3 you're in a huge theme park and all of the above is just poured on you.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 09:33 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by EvilVik
some basic background of Shar would benefit the player base before Shadowhearts reveal.

Bingo.
This is the problem when Larian throws in too many ingredients right from the start.

Selûne vs Shar, Mind Flayers vs. Githyanki and Red Dragons, Nautiloids, tadpoles, the Nine Hells and Devils, vampires with Astarion and Cazador, the mysterious Cult and the Absolute, Jergal and Withers.....

They can't possibly set the stage so that the player has basic knowledge of all that. But Larian threw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

It is something of a shame that storytelling has evolved in this direction. The beginning of BG3 smacks a bit of the Michael Bay school of directing.

Originally Posted by 1varangian
BG1 was much more focused on the Lord of Murder when it started slowly unveiling the mystery bit by bit. In BG3 you're in a huge theme park and all of the above is just poured on you.

Remember in BG2 how you discovered elements of the world not tied to your Bhaalspawn heritage? You had to stumble across those side quests. While that game had a ton of depth, you didn't get overwhelmed unless you took it upon yourself to willingly dive into the deep end.
Posted By: Black_Elk Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 10:51 PM
Shar!

13 pages in half as many days, and it does seem that Shar could use some more love to quietly devour in the dark hehe

I think her order of justiciars is a good angle. Shift the crit dialog or Shadowheart reveals until after the player has seen them torch and blight the village in flashback scene. It could be recounted by just about any npc really, but instead of dialog make it cinematic like the other big ins. Where we see a few peeps dressed like Shadowheart roll into town, like Thulsa Doom, and just trash the place while bellicose music plays in the foreground.

Some villagers scream and get torched or kidnapped, while Shar's favored do their thing. And then after that part get's done, it's like you can turn to Shadowheart and give her the side eyed reaction at that point, just have it dished up that way maybe?

Gale does some pretty good exposition at various points, I'd lean on him for the Mystra, but again they could punch it up with some visual montage.

I think first dream could also work well for setting up a brief cosmogony, have the camera pull up to the stars (everyone just want's to look up right in this game right? lol) and then they get some cosmic allegory debrief that highlights the major players.

If the PC goes a bit more off brand, and is playing as Dwarf or a Gith or a Drow say, maybe take that opportunity to highlight in a different direction. So it keys off player input on some level, while still giving the main thrust. PCs choice of race or religion could determine the order in which the information is presented, while still eventually covering all based throughout the course of play.

This thread is about Shar, but in keeping with the Viconia theme, the Spider Queen's Vengeance is also something the PC should be clued into if they elect to play a Lolth sworn or if Seldarine then cover the bit with Eilistraee in the same sequence. That sort of stuff.

I think they could do it more character driven, with the Priests as avatars rather than the Gods in Olympus style form. Even though I dig the Harryhausen, its clearly going to be simpler to convey using some of the tools and models we have. Unless they do a fully legit production like they did for the opener/trailer with the music and all the flourishes, I'd think it would be hard to really do the gods in full form. More likely they'd have to use more of what we see on display as cut scenes in game for narrative delivery. Still I think they could probably pull off something. I really think a better fit though would be to deliver the material somehow in relation to the PC's inputs, to the custom character and whatever they selected during Char creation. That's more complicated than just a quick overall primer, but I think it would feel cooler if the game could somehow take that tact, and deliver it more paced out to spec.
Posted By: Zarna Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 28/10/21 11:10 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
No. The DC shouldn't be lower. That's not how it works. The skill bonus is what determines your characters' level of knowledge. So the DM determines how difficult the roll is based on how common the knowledge is. Your Religion skill determines how much knowledge and training you've received on the subject. A cleric with no religion skill proficiency is a poorly educated cleric or one who just didn't care to learn about other religions.

The only thing a DM might do is offer advantage on a roll of the check called for it. A Sharran or Selunite cleric, for example, would receive advantage on all rolls related to Shar and Selune since they are archenemies and both religions would receive lots of training on both.
Ok, advantage works in that instance. It would make sense that clerics are not taught about other religions that don't have much influence on their own since the common person also would not be taught about this stuff either. I was just trying to get a bit more knowledge out to the player more easily.

Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by EvilVik
So a simple solution would be to have our dear narrator give us a short recap of who Shar is in the Forgotten realms at an early point in the game, as she seems to play a major role.
It could be a quick recap of Shar vs. Selune and describing their roles.

And it's for the PLAYER, not for the characters ingame.

This is a recurring problem with BG3: oversights that can be easily fixed with a sentence of in-game text or just a bit of spoken dialogue.
At the earliest opportunity in the game, the game should probably use the short description that we get if selecting a cleric in character creation. Perhaps the narrator says it when we see the first book referring to Shar. "As the greater deity of darkness, Shar is feared for her power over the night, secrets, and loss. She is locked in eternal conflict with her twin sister Selune, goddess of the moon." Then do the one for Selune as well "The Lady of Silver presides over the moon, stars, and navigation. Her power over the heavens is constantly challenged by her sister Shar, who seeks to plunge the world into eternal shadow." This should be done with mentions of all the other deities as well. Should be enough for people new to the lore.

Originally Posted by kanisatha
The counterargument is that if you are from any socially connected part of the Realms, say Baldur's Gate, the black circles don't say "decorative" but rather SCREAM "symbol of Shar."
Not sure how. Her symbol is a black circle with a purple outline. The armour doesn't have this purple, it is simply round cut black stones. That is about like saying in our world that someone wearing black clothing, or having dyed black hair or red hair, or wearing crystals, etc, is a devil worshipper. Perhaps someone who thinks white is good and black is bad would be cautious of her but it still doesn't "scream Shar."
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 01:04 AM
This might come across as snarky, but this is an honest question in good faith - I couldn't find my kid's 5e rule books, so I got new copies of PHB, DMG, and Monsters Manual. Neither Shar nor Selune make the index of any of them. The only mention I could find is single rows in the deities table in the PHB appendices. So, where does the lore about them that the character is expected to know come from?

Also, that table notes Shar's symbol as "a black disk encircled with a border". If onyx is part of the lore, it's definitely coming from somewhere else. Also, the border isn't specified (here) as being purple. Also, a disc is 2d, so an onyx decoration is very different from a disk.

Based on the information available without other materials, I'm finding myself more inclined to JandK's position.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 01:18 AM
Originally Posted by colinl8
This might come across as snarky, but this is an honest question in good faith - I couldn't find my kid's 5e rule books, so I got new copies of PHB, DMG, and Monsters Manual. Neither Shar nor Selune make the index of any of them. The only mention I could find is single rows in the deities table in the PHB appendices. So, where does the lore about them that the character is expected to know come from?

Also, that table notes Shar's symbol as "a black disk encircled with a border". If onyx is part of the lore, it's definitely coming from somewhere else. Also, the border isn't specified (here) as being purple. Also, a disc is 2d, so an onyx decoration is very different from a disk.

Based on the information available without other materials, I'm finding myself more inclined to JandK's position.

Both gods are unique to the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Good luck getting rich FR lore from 5e.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 01:28 AM
Originally Posted by colinl8
This might come across as snarky, but this is an honest question in good faith - I couldn't find my kid's 5e rule books, so I got new copies of PHB, DMG, and Monsters Manual. Neither Shar nor Selune make the index of any of them. The only mention I could find is single rows in the deities table in the PHB appendices. So, where does the lore about them that the character is expected to know come from?

Also, that table notes Shar's symbol as "a black disk encircled with a border". If onyx is part of the lore, it's definitely coming from somewhere else. Also, the border isn't specified (here) as being purple. Also, a disc is 2d, so an onyx decoration is very different from a disk.

Based on the information available without other materials, I'm finding myself more inclined to JandK's position.

so you're telling me that "a black disk encircled with a border", a lot of black discs all over Shadowheart, Shadowheart SAYING "I'm a cleric of Shar", but no, everyone is just making up shit when they said that it's pretty obvious that Shadowheart is a cleric of shar?
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 03:00 AM
Just look at Larian's own imagery on the BG3 loading screens. They KNOW the black onyx gemstones symbolize Shar. That's why Shadowheart has a million of them while surrounded by a ton of Sharran cultists.

If I remember correctly, the brief image of the mural also shows a black circle when the narrator tells you it's Shar's symbol
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 03:09 AM
Originally Posted by colinl8
Also, that table notes Shar's symbol as "a black disk encircled with a border". If onyx is part of the lore, it's definitely coming from somewhere else. Also, the border isn't specified (here) as being purple. Also, a disc is 2d, so an onyx decoration is very different from a disk.

It's more that she is wearing a flat, perfectly circular, back bordered disc, in pride of place in the centre of her forehead - it's not part of a greater decoration, or just a coincidental fashion choice - it's a symbol, and it's really very difficult to honestly make any argument that it is not a deliberate symbol, when worn and displayed in that manner.
Posted By: colinl8 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 04:02 AM
Originally Posted by niara
It's more that she is wearing a flat, perfectly circular, back bordered disc, in pride of place in the centre of her forehead - it's not part of a greater decoration, or just a coincidental fashion choice - it's a symbol, and it's really very difficult to honestly make any argument that it is not a deliberate symbol, when worn and displayed in that manner.

I big time want to agree with that, it's just where would one look to understand that as indisputable? The way my brain wants to think of a pantheon, every argument that SH is a hot mess makes total sense. I went to the source material I'm aware of and am at a loss for the position I want to support

I want that situation on her forehead to be conclusive, because "that it's obvious" is the position I want to have. But with the materials I'm aware to look at, the idea that it could be mistaken as benign seems much more plausible
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 04:22 AM
How about this: She makes it clear that she's a cleric, and is wearing a diadem with a single symbolic decoration in the centre of her forehead - it's not reasonable to argue that it could be dismissed as not symbolic, which means that literally anyone contemplating it (short of folks with int and wis of 6 apiece) will identify it as a deliberate symbol that this cleric is wearing. Then we're at the question of 'what is it a symbol of, and who would recognise that', and once again, we're at the truth that Selune and Shar are known as facts of the world in this region - this exact region of the world has been their traditional stomping ground since Toril came into existence, and not long ago their literal divine avatars had a war in a nearby city and the surrounding lands.

As others mentioned, that war was classified as a realms-shaking event, which in the lore as written is intended to mean that it's an established and known event that literally everyone knows about, to some extent - I.e. Even people who live in Shou know this war between selune and shar occurred on the sword coast in faerun.

The idea that someone who lives on the sword coast would not look at her forehead, and see a symbol of shar, is quite legitimately a ludicrous non-starter in this context; supposing anything else is bringing our own real-world sensibilities into the matter. In This setting, here and now, there is a near-zero percent chance that an average muggins who lives in this region of the world wouldn't see it for what it is. At best, they might assume that she's posing with the intent of being edgy or scaring people off... but they'd recommend she pick a less objectionable symbol, since this one will get her lynched at worst and chased out of town at best.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 04:47 AM
Yes, but you're talking in hindsight. And it's just a black circle. Could be anything.

Sorry, just resetting the whole thing so it can get explained for the 10th time in 4 pages.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 06:46 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
And it's just a black circle. Could be anything.

We are discussing The Forgotten Realms; you are applying your real-world experience/knowledge to a specific fictional world - full of magic and various supernatural entities - that developed differently compared to our own.
Posted By: EvilVik Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 06:53 AM
I don't think anyone disputes the fact that Shadowheart is dressed in a very Sharran way. For a "secret mission" she's very poor at secrecy.

The point and where the focus should be: How do we get the PLAYER up to date on who Shar is (the big bad evil goddess of the night) as well as Selune. The average Joe-player with no knowledge about the Forgotten Realms, D&D gods etc, would be pretty clueless as to why being a Sharran is a bad thing.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 06:57 AM
(I think innateagle was making a tongue in cheek comment/joke, Ragitsu ^.^)
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 02:21 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by JandK
The argument is that, if you don't know she's a cleric of Shar, then they look decorative, not suspect.
The counterargument is that if you are from any socially connected part of the Realms, say Baldur's Gate, the black circles don't say "decorative" but rather SCREAM "symbol of Shar."

I say it looks like jewelry and decorations which I might add are clearly worn in "socially connected parts of the Realms.

But you say otherwise. So. Prove it. Prove that people in the Realms don't suffer other people to wear onyx. With or without a purple border, apparently.

I guess they don't use onyx in Baldur's Gate to relieve the pain of childbirth?

I guess the random treasure tables get changed in Baldur's Gate to make sure they don't give out any onyx?
The onyx part is irrelevant. It's the black circles that are a dead giveaway.
Originally Posted by EvilVik
I don't think anyone disputes the fact that Shadowheart is dressed in a very Sharran way. For a "secret mission" she's very poor at secrecy.

The point and where the focus should be: How do we get the PLAYER up to date on who Shar is (the big bad evil goddess of the night) as well as Selune. The average Joe-player with no knowledge about the Forgotten Realms, D&D gods etc, would be pretty clueless as to why being a Sharran is a bad thing.

Which would apply to any new IP a player joins. I used Dragon Age Inquisition and Mass Effect 3 as some examples. New players wouldn't understand the bonds between these characters in Mass Effect, and context on the OGB and the Warden, and Hawke would be missing. To the point of "What's OGB mean" missing. New players would need a breakdown of "the story so far", and in those franchises, it wouldn't be too hard, there are comics for 2 and 3 in Mass Effect, to build towards a desired outcome in 3, and Dragon Age Keep, which is great for long time players, but doesn't give a newbie much context, just lets them pick a path. Here? There are 50 years of real time lore. At what point do they start writing that "the story so far" to catch new players up? An intro movie could be longer than some games, just brushing up on the basics, let alone getting into the specifics. Not to mention that, for players that are truly curious about what they're missing out on, there's 50 years of literature that they can look up online, up to and including a simple search for "who is Shar". Yes, it is reasonable to expect players to do some footwork, especially if there is in game literature that they either missed, or missed the significance of.

Then there's the obvious stuff: Maybe they don't want all that reveal initially. If someone sincerely believes that Shar is evil, and that is correct, why would they take the only cleric, so far, in the game with them? Some players wouldn't, and would be lighting the forums on fire for not providing an alternative "healer". For all I know, that's already happened. Would anyone want to travel with a Gith? What about Gale? Aside from the "gotta feed him magical items" issue, what about the level of obsession required to get where he got? Wyll? Too much information could taint the pool every bit as much as not providing any. Fortunately, some lore is available, in game. It just requires the player that's curious about the lore to find it. It's not like new players are coming in at the beginning of the story, where all that exposition is needed, sometimes. Horizon Zero Dawn did a great job of "you know nothing of what came before", and then expanding on what you knew as you went. Players have the opportunity, in game, to get some basic knowledge. If the knowledge they garner doesn't justify an outraged response in their minds, they're not obligated to take that response. It's existence isn't bad, just because it's there. Their confusion about it's existence is irrelevant, on their first playthrough. It isn't intended for them, but can't be excluded because "a new player won't understand".

Edit: Spelling is hard w/out enough coffee.
Posted By: Umbra Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 03:27 PM
Shar hasn't been mentioned yet, but there is a prelude comic-book series begun. Dungeons and Dragons: Mindbreaker, featuring Minsc and his band encountering strange cult activities in Baulder's Gate. So perhaps we'll be bought up to speed there.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 04:14 PM
Originally Posted by Umbra
Shar hasn't been mentioned yet, but there is a prelude comic-book series begun. Dungeons and Dragons: Mindbreaker, featuring Minsc and his band encountering strange cult activities in Baulder's Gate. So perhaps we'll be bought up to speed there.

No.

I hated when this defense was brought up with the Star Wars sequel trilogy and I hate it now. You should not have to consume supplementary material (if this even meets the criteria, by the way) to be informed/educated about a key development in another product.
Posted By: Umbra Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 04:52 PM
Well, Robertthebard mentioned Mass Effect comics, so I mentioned the DnD comics. It wasn't meant to be a defense of consumerism. Besides I agree anyway.
The information is there to found if someone bothers to look. Everything you need to know is on the internet. If you don't have internet you aren't reading this and didn't buy the game anyway, but your DnD playing friends can still fill you in.
Originally Posted by Umbra
Well, Robertthebard mentioned Mass Effect comics, so I mentioned the DnD comics. It wasn't meant to be a defense of consumerism. Besides I agree anyway.
The information is there to found if someone bothers to look. Everything you need to know is on the internet. If you don't have internet you aren't reading this and didn't buy the game anyway, but your DnD playing friends can still fill you in.

+1
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 29/10/21 05:15 PM
Originally Posted by Umbra
The information is there to found if someone bothers to look. Everything you need to know is on the internet. If you don't have internet you aren't reading this and didn't buy the game anyway, but your DnD playing friends can still fill you in.

Hold on for one second...what information in particular? Let us ensure that we are both on the same page.
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Umbra
Shar hasn't been mentioned yet, but there is a prelude comic-book series begun. Dungeons and Dragons: Mindbreaker, featuring Minsc and his band encountering strange cult activities in Baulder's Gate. So perhaps we'll be bought up to speed there.

No.

I hated when this defense was brought up with the Star Wars sequel trilogy and I hate it now. You should not have to consume supplementary material (if this even meets the criteria, by the way) to be informed/educated about a key development in another product.

it's not the same situation.

Disney was putting details in their movie, that you could, and still can only get, if you bought and read their book. Anything you want to know about D&D lore, you can find information about on the internet. Swen himself used the forgotten realms wiki, when he talked about a golden dragon in the last panel from hell. If it's that big of a deal for a person to just look somethings up, they don't really care.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 04:00 AM
Dude. If I played D&D tabletop with a new player, I, the DM, would explain who Shar is to my player. I would not say, "Look Shar up on the internet.".

As soon as Shar or anything Sharran related popped into the story, I'd make the player roll a Religion roll.

If they got a 5 or higher, I'd say, "You think you heard about this before, but the details are sketchy. She's a cleric, and her spell focus is an onyx stone. You think it might be to an evil goddess."

If they got a 10 or higher, I'd say, "You're not sure, but that could be the symbol of the evil goddess Shar, goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is known for violent, wicked acts."

A 15 would be, "That is a symbol of Shar, most definitely. She is the goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is violent and evil and it is very secretive. She is one of the primordial deities of Faerun, and she has a twin sister named Selune, goddess of the moon and light. They have been at war for countless centuries."

A 20 or more and I would tell the player all the above and say, "You know a LOT about Shar. If you run into anything additional that is Shar related, I'll just tell you about it and point it out. In fact, if you want to know more, look it up online. Your character knows all that you can find about Shar online."

I would most certainly NOT make my player look it up online. My players would lynch me. Why should it be any different for a video game? They can literally tell you in a few lines who Shar is and make it a part of the game that you, if you don't want to hear it, can literally hit the space bar and skip and players who know nothing about Shar would not be so totally lost.

This is apart of D&D people. It's a HUGE part of it. Players are not supposed to be expected to just magically know all the lore themselves. That's the DM's job.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 04:29 AM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Dude. If I played D&D tabletop with a new player, I, the DM, would explain who Shar is to my player. I would not say, "Look Shar up on the internet.".

...

I would most certainly NOT make my player look it up online. My players would lynch me. Why should it be any different for a video game? They can literally tell you in a few lines who Shar is and make it a part of the game that you, if you don't want to hear it, can literally hit the space bar and skip and players who know nothing about Shar would not be so totally lost.

This is basic stuff; how sad that you have to spell it out.

Originally Posted by GM4Him
This is apart of D&D people. It's a HUGE part of it. Players are not supposed to be expected to just magically know all the lore themselves. That's the DM's job.

"apart" =/= "a part" wink.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 07:39 AM
If I played tabletop D&D would change everything to make it better...

Am I the only one who isn't coming to Baldur's Gate for the 'deep' FR lore? The reason they don't go into it in PHB, is because it's the generic placeholder for a setting, good for anecdotes that explain a game but not for close scrutiny
Posted By: 1varangian Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 10:01 AM
"The internet" doesn't apply here for player background knowledge. "It's in the comics" is an even weaker argument.

When I'm watching a LotR movie I won't be pausing it to do extensive online research because the script fails to set the stage properly and explain what I need to know. And the LotR trilogy does explain everything you need to know even if you're never read the books because the filmmakers are professionals. You should expect Larian to be equally proficient in telling a story through an RPG. I'm not going to exit the game and start doing research, I just want to enjoy the game. For the writers, that means focusing and introducing content slowly enough and they are struggling at that because they tend to think grandiose and amazing rather than personal and emotional (how BG1 started).
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 10:13 AM
Deep lore is necessary for a good story, though. And while FR's may not be the best of the best, it can certainly holds its own if implemented properly. That it doesn't, and it fails to hold up to scrutiny, is all on Larian.

Why have Shadowheart wear what she does if no one's gonna notice, neither the druids who've got history with Shar nor the Chosen of Mystra? Why have her reveal feel like such a contentious moment, when they skipped any kind of build-up to it (would have just needed the aforementioned people giving a brief history lesson after questioning)?

Frankly, like someone else said, i think they're just throwing everything at the wall and see what sticks. The story they decided to go with exposes the player to mindflayers, vampires, fiends, cambions, Shar, playable and non-playable drows and gith. All that within the first few hours of play. I'd honestly be more shocked if the whole thing didn't feel halfbaked at large.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 10:55 AM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
"The internet" doesn't apply here for player background knowledge. "It's in the comics" is an even weaker argument.

When I'm watching a LotR movie I won't be pausing it to do extensive online research because the script fails to set the stage properly and explain what I need to know. And the LotR trilogy does explain everything you need to know even if you're never read the books because the filmmakers are professionals. You should expect Larian to be equally proficient in telling a story through an RPG. I'm not going to exit the game and start doing research, I just want to enjoy the game. For the writers, that means focusing and introducing content slowly enough and they are struggling at that because they tend to think grandiose and amazing rather than personal and emotional (how BG1 started).

Originally Posted by Innateagle
Deep lore is necessary for a good story, though. And while FR's may not be the best of the best, it can certainly holds its own if implemented properly. That it doesn't, and it fails to hold up to scrutiny, is all on Larian.

Why have Shadowheart wear what she does if no one's gonna notice, neither the druids who've got history with Shar nor the Chosen of Mystra? Why have her reveal feel like such a contentious moment, when they skipped any kind of build-up to it (would have just needed the aforementioned people giving a brief history lesson after questioning)?

Frankly, like someone else said, i think they're just throwing everything at the wall and see what sticks. The story they decided to go with exposes the player to mindflayers, vampires, fiends, cambions, Shar, playable and non-playable drows and gith. All that within the first few hours of play. I'd honestly be more shocked if the whole thing didn't feel halfbaked at large.

[Linked Image from c.tenor.com]
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Dude. If I played D&D tabletop with a new player, I, the DM, would explain who Shar is to my player. I would not say, "Look Shar up on the internet.".

As soon as Shar or anything Sharran related popped into the story, I'd make the player roll a Religion roll.

If they got a 5 or higher, I'd say, "You think you heard about this before, but the details are sketchy. She's a cleric, and her spell focus is an onyx stone. You think it might be to an evil goddess."

If they got a 10 or higher, I'd say, "You're not sure, but that could be the symbol of the evil goddess Shar, goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is known for violent, wicked acts."

A 15 would be, "That is a symbol of Shar, most definitely. She is the goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is violent and evil and it is very secretive. She is one of the primordial deities of Faerun, and she has a twin sister named Selune, goddess of the moon and light. They have been at war for countless centuries."

A 20 or more and I would tell the player all the above and say, "You know a LOT about Shar. If you run into anything additional that is Shar related, I'll just tell you about it and point it out. In fact, if you want to know more, look it up online. Your character knows all that you can find about Shar online."

I would most certainly NOT make my player look it up online. My players would lynch me. Why should it be any different for a video game? They can literally tell you in a few lines who Shar is and make it a part of the game that you, if you don't want to hear it, can literally hit the space bar and skip and players who know nothing about Shar would not be so totally lost.

This is apart of D&D people. It's a HUGE part of it. Players are not supposed to be expected to just magically know all the lore themselves. That's the DM's job.

Yes, because no TT session ever had players with a Player Handbook, or any of the other myriad of books aimed specifically at the players, right? You must have to spend a few sessions in a row, just explaining things, since you don't require your players to have resources created specifically to prevent that. You see, the problem with trying to translate your TT experience into a video game is that someone around the table is going to have these reference books. That is specifically what they are for. I wonder, how many interruptions of gameplay does it take before your players are suggesting the new player get X, Y and/or Z books? I've played at tables where you weren't allowed to sit down if you didn't have at least a Player's Handbook.

I should note here that the comics I'm referencing are interactive comics that come with the game, and allow you to make choices from the previous game(s), I'm not sure how the ME 3 comic functions, if it gives choices from just 2, or from 1 and 2. It is included specifically to give new players some of the critical choices in 1, for the ME 2 comic.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 01:37 PM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Deep lore is necessary for a good story, though. And while FR's may not be the best of the best, it can certainly holds its own if implemented properly. That it doesn't, and it fails to hold up to scrutiny, is all on Larian.

Why have Shadowheart wear what she does if no one's gonna notice, neither the druids who've got history with Shar nor the Chosen of Mystra? Why have her reveal feel like such a contentious moment, when they skipped any kind of build-up to it (would have just needed the aforementioned people giving a brief history lesson after questioning)?

Frankly, like someone else said, i think they're just throwing everything at the wall and see what sticks. The story they decided to go with exposes the player to mindflayers, vampires, fiends, cambions, Shar, playable and non-playable drows and gith. All that within the first few hours of play. I'd honestly be more shocked if the whole thing didn't feel halfbaked at large.
Well said! +1
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 02:05 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Dude. If I played D&D tabletop with a new player, I, the DM, would explain who Shar is to my player. I would not say, "Look Shar up on the internet.".

As soon as Shar or anything Sharran related popped into the story, I'd make the player roll a Religion roll.

If they got a 5 or higher, I'd say, "You think you heard about this before, but the details are sketchy. She's a cleric, and her spell focus is an onyx stone. You think it might be to an evil goddess."

If they got a 10 or higher, I'd say, "You're not sure, but that could be the symbol of the evil goddess Shar, goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is known for violent, wicked acts."

A 15 would be, "That is a symbol of Shar, most definitely. She is the goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is violent and evil and it is very secretive. She is one of the primordial deities of Faerun, and she has a twin sister named Selune, goddess of the moon and light. They have been at war for countless centuries."

A 20 or more and I would tell the player all the above and say, "You know a LOT about Shar. If you run into anything additional that is Shar related, I'll just tell you about it and point it out. In fact, if you want to know more, look it up online. Your character knows all that you can find about Shar online."

I would most certainly NOT make my player look it up online. My players would lynch me. Why should it be any different for a video game? They can literally tell you in a few lines who Shar is and make it a part of the game that you, if you don't want to hear it, can literally hit the space bar and skip and players who know nothing about Shar would not be so totally lost.

This is apart of D&D people. It's a HUGE part of it. Players are not supposed to be expected to just magically know all the lore themselves. That's the DM's job.

Yes, because no TT session ever had players with a Player Handbook, or any of the other myriad of books aimed specifically at the players, right? You must have to spend a few sessions in a row, just explaining things, since you don't require your players to have resources created specifically to prevent that. You see, the problem with trying to translate your TT experience into a video game is that someone around the table is going to have these reference books. That is specifically what they are for. I wonder, how many interruptions of gameplay does it take before your players are suggesting the new player get X, Y and/or Z books? I've played at tables where you weren't allowed to sit down if you didn't have at least a Player's Handbook.

I should note here that the comics I'm referencing are interactive comics that come with the game, and allow you to make choices from the previous game(s), I'm not sure how the ME 3 comic functions, if it gives choices from just 2, or from 1 and 2. It is included specifically to give new players some of the critical choices in 1, for the ME 2 comic.

Dude. It doesn't take much to say, "Shar is an evil goddess of darkness and loss.". Much quicker for me to inform my players of this than to have them look everything up. The DMs job is storyteller. As the story progresses, he/she informs players of things like who Shar is AS they encounter stuff. What is the point of a Religion skill if players never use it to learn stuff about deities that their characters know?
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 02:20 PM
Do DMs not keep pertinent notes on hand anymore? If the players' characters are going to be encountering a significant NPC tied to a religion, it would behoove the DM to write down details on said religion in the event someone attempts to have their character recall knowledge they themselves (i.e., the player) weren't already acquainted with.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Dude. If I played D&D tabletop with a new player, I, the DM, would explain who Shar is to my player. I would not say, "Look Shar up on the internet.".

As soon as Shar or anything Sharran related popped into the story, I'd make the player roll a Religion roll.

If they got a 5 or higher, I'd say, "You think you heard about this before, but the details are sketchy. She's a cleric, and her spell focus is an onyx stone. You think it might be to an evil goddess."

If they got a 10 or higher, I'd say, "You're not sure, but that could be the symbol of the evil goddess Shar, goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is known for violent, wicked acts."

A 15 would be, "That is a symbol of Shar, most definitely. She is the goddess of darkness and loss. Her cult is violent and evil and it is very secretive. She is one of the primordial deities of Faerun, and she has a twin sister named Selune, goddess of the moon and light. They have been at war for countless centuries."

A 20 or more and I would tell the player all the above and say, "You know a LOT about Shar. If you run into anything additional that is Shar related, I'll just tell you about it and point it out. In fact, if you want to know more, look it up online. Your character knows all that you can find about Shar online."

I would most certainly NOT make my player look it up online. My players would lynch me. Why should it be any different for a video game? They can literally tell you in a few lines who Shar is and make it a part of the game that you, if you don't want to hear it, can literally hit the space bar and skip and players who know nothing about Shar would not be so totally lost.

This is apart of D&D people. It's a HUGE part of it. Players are not supposed to be expected to just magically know all the lore themselves. That's the DM's job.

Yes, because no TT session ever had players with a Player Handbook, or any of the other myriad of books aimed specifically at the players, right? You must have to spend a few sessions in a row, just explaining things, since you don't require your players to have resources created specifically to prevent that. You see, the problem with trying to translate your TT experience into a video game is that someone around the table is going to have these reference books. That is specifically what they are for. I wonder, how many interruptions of gameplay does it take before your players are suggesting the new player get X, Y and/or Z books? I've played at tables where you weren't allowed to sit down if you didn't have at least a Player's Handbook.

I should note here that the comics I'm referencing are interactive comics that come with the game, and allow you to make choices from the previous game(s), I'm not sure how the ME 3 comic functions, if it gives choices from just 2, or from 1 and 2. It is included specifically to give new players some of the critical choices in 1, for the ME 2 comic.

Dude. It doesn't take much to say, "Shar is an evil goddess of darkness and loss.". Much quicker for me to inform my players of this than to have them look everything up. The DMs job is storyteller. As the story progresses, he/she informs players of things like who Shar is AS they encounter stuff. What is the point of a Religion skill if players never use it to learn stuff about deities that their characters know?

Actually, it's to provide a template for the players to tell a story, within the confines of what's provided. A story teller tells the story. In DnD, the players create the story. This is done through choices they make, dice rolls they make, or fail, and how they choose to go about combat. As a DM, you should have an outline, not a play by play, of what's expected to happen. There are around 50 years of lore to this setting, how much are you going to explain, for how long, before other players in your session get frustrated because resources are available. To your "Shar is...", there are books that cover that in game already. At some point, it's up to a player to find/read them. How many dialog wheel style choices do you provide for your players, instead of them organically asking questions? How are you going to code every possible outcome into a cRPG? The OP's issue is that there's a response that is overtly hostile, and they don't understand why. The problem is, it's not the only response available, but for some reason, it's mere existence is bad because they don't understand why it's an option. It's an option because some of us know what it means, and shouldn't be locked out of that response because a new player doesn't understand it. This is the equivalent of you sitting behind your screen saying "You can't say that because Josephine is new, and won't understand why you feel that way".
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 03:38 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Actually, it's to provide a template for the players to tell a story, within the confines of what's provided. A story teller tells the story. In DnD, the players create the story. This is done through choices they make, dice rolls they make, or fail, and how they choose to go about combat. As a DM, you should have an outline, not a play by play, of what's expected to happen. There are around 50 years of lore to this setting, how much are you going to explain, for how long, before other players in your session get frustrated because resources are available. To your "Shar is...", there are books that cover that in game already. At some point, it's up to a player to find/read them. How many dialog wheel style choices do you provide for your players, instead of them organically asking questions? How are you going to code every possible outcome into a cRPG?
Are you seriously arguing that players should have to read D&D lore books if they want to know things in-game? Players are essential parts to a D&D story, yes, but they don't create the world in most cases. The DM does (either making it up himself or using others' worlds) and it's the DM's responsibility to give out that information to the players when appropriate. There are some cooperative game styles where players can make up information/lore/mechanics to incorporate into the world (obviously I'm not talking about backstories here), but that's certainly not BG3.

As has been said, there is a reason that Religion skill checks exist in D&D. It's so that players can make those checks to gain character&player knowledge about the world.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 03:43 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
...To your "Shar is...", there are books that cover that in game already. At some point, it's up to a player to find/read them. How many dialog wheel style choices do you provide for your players, instead of them organically asking questions?...
And it's not just books, but Shadowheart herself who comments on Selune at every opportunity, and will speak at length about Shar, and the Justiciars.

I don't think the game does enough to set up how our characters would react in this world ( for us to roleplay) but I don't think the lore around Shar is as much of a problem as it seems.

There's another angle too, our current companions aren't good aligned, so maybe the outrage we're looking from the world would be present from the others.

rpg dialogue choices are interesting when it allows for scenarios where your character can have more knowledge than the player, it also sometimes allow for us to shape our characters backstory a little by choosing dialogue that implicitly creates one. I personally would like to have more dialogue with your character talking to themselves, not only because it creates opportunities for exposition, but also because it would be a good way of establishing what kind of character you are without it being something your just telling someone else, making it unreliable.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 03:54 PM
Shar is an infamous god and Faerun itself is much smaller than Earth; most folks of the Realms are aware of the Mistress of the Night and her malevolent nature. If a DM or video game doesn't make such knowledge freely available up front, then a trivial Attribute or Skill roll should be adequate to address any momentary player ignorance. There are many topics that merit protracted discussion...this isn't one of them.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 30/10/21 04:34 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Yes, because no TT session ever had players with a Player Handbook, or any of the other myriad of books aimed specifically at the players, right? You must have to spend a few sessions in a row, just explaining things, since you don't require your players to have resources created specifically to prevent that. You see, the problem with trying to translate your TT experience into a video game is that someone around the table is going to have these reference books. That is specifically what they are for. I wonder, how many interruptions of gameplay does it take before your players are suggesting the new player get X, Y and/or Z books? I've played at tables where you weren't allowed to sit down if you didn't have at least a Player's Handbook.

For rules and rulings, yes, players often have books. For lore and history, no, not so much... in fact, never in the years I've been playing have I ever sat at a table where players have cracked lore books mid session, or paused to read up about a fact of the world they're in that they didn't know - not once.

The DM has done so, certainly... but never the players, and that's an important difference to remain aware of when discussion the transition from table top to video game.

If there is pertinent lore about the world, the figures in it, or the situation that it behoves players to know, and they don't, or that it is meaningful for their characters to know, and they would, then smoothly making sure that that information is understood by the people that it ought to be understood by is the role of the DM; it's a very large part of their job running the game, in fact. A DM that runs an adventure in a setting, but gives the players no information about that setting, and expects them to know about it, or else to read up about it in their own time, without being prepared to weave the sharing of the relevant information into the game space during the session is, I am terribly sorry to say, a very shitty DM.

At the table, a situation might look like this:

Quote
(DM) The rune fits, and even though you can't really make heads or tentacles about the oddly squishy console, you're pretty sure you've done something right. A moment, later, you see lines of power pulse between the console, and the pod next to it, and the warding runes dim, then go out. The emergency release gives way with a hiss, and the pod begins to open, ejecting an exhausted-looking figure onto the deck of the ship in front of you... (Jane, if you'd like to describe your character..?)

(Shadowheart's Player) So, um, you see... [player-given description follows] ... and I try to catch myself as I climb out, but it totally doesn't work, and I just tumble out and sprawl completely in a heap. You probably hear a very unlady-like curse from the ground.

(Gale's Player, amidst group chuckles) I'm going to help her up... "Easy there. You're safe, well, as safe as one can be, at least, while one is escaping from an Illithid nautiloid as it plunges out of control through the hells while being beset by Githyanki dragons, of course. I take it you would like to escape, yes? I'm Gale. A pleasure to make your rescue."

(Shadow's Player) I wave him off and get up. "I... I thought I was going to die there. Thank you... and I really hope that if you've got the time to flirt, then you've also got a plan for getting us out of here? I'm fine... Call me Shadowheart, but we should move and talk, we don't have any time to waste."

(Gale's Player) (Was I flirting?)
(Shadow's Player) (That was totally flirting)

(Dm, clearing their throat through the giggles) Gale, as you attempt to help Shadowheart to her feet, you eye catches on the circlet she's wearing; it's a diadem of a slender, graceful design, clearly made to display its centrepiece prominently, which looks like-

(Shadowheart's player, quickly) Oh! I wouldn't still be wearing it, would I?

(Dm) Were you wearing it when you were taken?

(Shadow's Player) ....Yeah. Um, could I have tried to snatch it off and hide it when I was climbing out?

(Dm) Hmm... a little late, but okay I'll give you that this time... Give me a slight of hand check; your character's pretty out of it, and if you only thought of that now, then Shadowheart might not have the wherewithal either.

(Shadow's Player) Okay... I'm decent at that... Awww!"
(Dm) hmm?
(Shadow's Player) ... seven.

(DM, double checking Gale's passive perception) Okay, So. Gale, as you're helping her up, you do in fact notice her hurriedly trying to remove and hide the diadem I described before - it's partially because she tries to do so, with a sudden urgency, that you notice it, really.

(Gale's Player) You were about to describe the setting?

(DM) Right. She does whisk the piece of jewellery off and tucks it away before you get a really good look, but in the glimpse that you do get, you're fairly sure that the central focus of the piece was a smooth, flat black disc, devoid of other details.

(Gale's Player) Anything significant about that that I'd know of?

(DM) Sure, give me a religion check.
(Gale's Player) ... seventeen

(DM) So, you do recognise it, or at least, you recognise what it might be. It could just be an innocent piece of jewellery, but a flat black circle like that, as the main feature on a head piece like that? Yeah, that's probably an icon for a deity, and you know which one. Now, Gale, you grew up in Waterdeep, but you've been all over as well and you've learned a lot, especially about the histories of the deities that have anything to do with the weave, so, your mind jumps directly to Shar. A plain black circle, usually bordered in purple but often not, is Shar's symbol, and you know a fair amount about Lady of Loss. You would know that Shar is regarded as the twin sister and opposing force to Selune, the moon-maiden, and that they are both greater deities, and some of the very oldest deities that exist in the realms. Your knowledge begins with the fact that it was the conflict between Selune, who wished to bring light and warmth into the world and to allow Chauntea to coax life as we know it into the world, and Shar, who felt betrayed by what she saw as her sister's attack on the cold and dark - her very essence - which led to the creation of Mystral, and the birth of the weave. Your particular research suggests that particularly favoured followers of Shar are suspected of being able to tapping the shadow weave for their magic instead. Shar and Selune have been in conflict ever since this first schism, all throughout the history of the realms, and for her part, Shar wishes to extinguish all light and warmth, and bring about an end to life as we know it in the multiverse. She's a pretty nasty, dark deity.

(Shadow's player, in good humour) (That's slander!)

(DM, continuing) You know that worship of the evil goddess is viewed in much the same way as worship of any truly evil deity, and worse than many - her followers often resort violent and dark means to forcefully compel others to convert to her following, or break their spirits to the point that they accept her. Few would admit to following or worshipping her openly, unless they intended that you not be able to tell anyone else... Shar herself is known to come to people who are at their lowest and most vulnerable, offering the solace of oblivion when it seems the most appealing, and binding them to her through the forgetting of all else. She's also known as the Dark Lady, the Mistress of Pain and the Goddess of Loss, or sometimes by those speaking more favourably of her, as the Nightsinger.

So, that's what you would know. What you see is just a very nicely made circlet. Your mind immediately jumps to Shar's symbol, and it very well could be that, but you only caught a glimpse, and it could potentially just be an innocuous and unfortunate similarity. You can't be certain.

(Gale's Player) But she did try to hide it suddenly...

(Shadow's Player, rueful giggles, face on desk) (This is off to a good start... gods I'm so bad at this...)
(Gale's Player) (It's fine, I'm sure your creepy goddess will just wipe my memory or something)
(Shadow's Player) (Shut up...)

(Dm) Anyway... Gale, that's what you see. Shadowheart, you manage to hide your circlet, but you're not sure if you got away with it.

(Gale's Player) An interesting piece, don't want to get it dirty, I imagine? Some personal significance, perhaps?
(Shadow's Player, game face back on) I know you rescued me, but that's really none of your business. We have more important things to deal with right now, don't you think? (I grab my pack and other things and start walking... you said there was a... sphincter... north of the console, right?)
(Gale's Players) We shall have to have talk about that later, 'Shadowheart'. For now... If my knowledge of Illithid nautilods serves me correctly, and I'm sure you'll find it does... then we actually need to head this way. The control helms on these are supposedly located above and forward of the central spiral, which unless I miss my guess, we are in the heart of right now...

(DM) As you're saying this, you hear the scamper of small clawed feet in the tunnel you came from before. Another one of those creatures, the walking brains, scuttles into the room - Shadowheart, you've seen one of them moving through the chamber before, but it's worse now that there's not a layer of glass between you and it. Gale, this one is like the rest - it seems to ignore you, and instead runs up to the central console, near the strangely pulsating column in the middle of the room. One tendril whips up and depresses a button, but as it does, the brain flinches back suddenly, shrinking down, and runs in a small circle, seemingly... panicked? A hum of energy flows through the column, but then crackles and seems to burst wild. The figures on the slabs all around you lurch up, moving, though still clearly not properly aware. Each of them begins to scream, and turn milky, unseeing eyes towards you both. You hear a thin series of discordant voices in your minds - yes, you hear it too, Shadowheart. "They are damaged! Broken, not working! They're Wrong! please Stop them..." The little brain backs away a step as these five figures, now on their feet, lurch and flail towards you, still screaming. I'd like you both to roll initiative."

The game is our DM: it is responsible for making sure we have the information we need to understand and enjoy the content that it is presenting; it cannot ask or expect us to go do side research just to understand the story it's letting us explore - if it foists that work onto the player, then it's being a very shitty DM.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 12:32 AM
They have many instances in the game already where Arcana and History rolls are made to tell you things your character knows; things that aren't even that important to the overall story. That's why those skills are there. Why are some making such a big deal out of people wanting the same thing for information on Shar, a MAJOR goddess in the EA story who is THE goddess for one of the origin characters? We're not even talking a dissertation. Just a roll and a few dialogue lines. 1 or 2 sentences.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 01:22 AM
Since when has Shar been a major goddess? Since Baldur's Gate II? Since some licensed novel series? I've only known Shar as a minor deity, and while my FR knowledge is unsought for, and an edition or two out of step, none of that changes the fact that the story the game is telling trumps it. If Shar is a minor deity, or a forgotten deity or if nobody recognizes her iconography on sight, so be it.

I think the truth of the matter is , the DM considers this issue to be resolved so early on that it isn't a big issue for them.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 02:19 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Since when has Shar been a major goddess? Since Baldur's Gate II? Since some licensed novel series? I've only known Shar as a minor deity, and while my FR knowledge is unsought for, and an edition or two out of step, none of that changes the fact that the story the game is telling trumps it. If Shar is a minor deity, or a forgotten deity or if nobody recognizes her iconography on sight, so be it.

...what? Shar has been a Greater Power/Deity since the days of AD&D 2e (circa 1996).
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 02:24 AM
Not in my Deities & Demigods, but I haven't looked at it in a while

...what?
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 02:27 AM
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Shar
Quote
Shar, the Mistress of the Night, was the goddess of darkness and the caverns of Faerûn, as well as a neutral evil greater deity.
I assume became a major deity around/after the Time of Troubles (1358 DR) and when she "absorbed most of the divinity of her son Mask (a god)" in 1374 DR, created the Shadow Weave (sometime), helped kill Mystra to cause the Spellplague and created an entire plane of existence - Shadowfell - in/around 1385 DR. Those were some majorly impactful events and growth of personal power. (BGII took place in 1369 DR.)
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 02:40 AM
That's all interesting, but without any context for how the world views these events I don't know how to treat them in-character. I know there was a reboot (or two?) the board was wiped, gods died, dead gods lived, and gods who where killed lived again but different etc. etc. because I know how reboots work these days I know that all the information, while probably in a book at HQ somewhere, isn't given wholesale to us.

Now what this means as far as BG:3, I don't know if people are gnashing there teeth and tearing out there hair about the mutability of reality or if there's a Cthulhu-esque veil between the nonsense and them, how much does the mundane "man on the street" know about such things?

Let's use Baldur's Gate as an example, the entire plot revolves around the death of the god of murder. Here's what I knew about Bhaal at the beginning of Baldur's Gate: He's the dead god of murder; here's what I knew about Bhaal at the end of Shadow of Amn: He's the dead god of murder who "got around" in an attempt to escape death. something something Cyric.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 02:47 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Not in my Deities & Demigods, but I haven't looked at it in a while

...what?

Shar is not in Deities & Demigods.

Originally Posted by Sozz
That's all interesting, but without any context for how the world views these events I don't know how to treat them in-character. I know there was a reboot (or two?) the board was wiped, gods died, dead gods lived, and gods who where killed lived again but different etc. etc. because I know how reboots work these days I know that all the information, while probably in a book at HQ somewhere, isn't given wholesale to us.

Now what this means as far as BG:3, I don't know if people are gnashing there teeth and tearing out there hair about the mutability of reality or if there's a Cthulhu-esque veil between the nonsense and them, how much does the mundane "man on the street" know about such things?

She has always been a Greater Deity. People know her, even if they aren't aware of each and every deed of hers; ergo, the Player Character should be aware of her. Please stop.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 02:56 AM
I guess my specific issue with this is the gamey term "Greater Deity" I also don't really know how that translates into common awareness. I'll go with you that most people will have heard of Shar, especially if she ended reality at one point, but from there what does that entail, especially for evil deities

I would like to add that this wasn't the main point of my earlier post
Originally Posted by Sozz
...the story the game is telling trumps it. If Shar is a minor deity, or a forgotten deity or if nobody recognizes her iconography on sight, so be it.

I think the truth of the matter is , the DM considers this issue to be resolved so early on that it isn't a big issue for them.

this was
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 03:42 AM
I'm just going to repeat this question: "Why are some making such a big deal out of people wanting a Religion dice roll that would potentially provide basic information on Shar, a MAJOR goddess in the EA story who is THE goddess for one of the origin characters? We're not even talking a dissertation. Just a roll and a few dialogue lines. 1 or 2 sentences."

You find a book called, "The Unclaimed." Gale says, "This appears to be a book on Shar. She's an evil goddess of darkness and loss who likes to torture people and such. Very nasty group of zealots; a secret society of evil. Well, that is, that's what some believe."

"And what do you believe?" Shadowheart asks him.

Gale shrugs. "Hmmm. I believe that people have many perceptions about many things that aren't necessarily true."

Insight roll is made for the MC. Success means that you spot that he gives her a strange smile as if he is sharing secret with her.

Or maybe this scene happens when you find the Selune statue in the owlbear cave, and it's played out between Shadowheart and Lae'zel. Or maybe Shadowheart's not there, and it's played out between Lae'zel and Wyll, and there is no insight roll made.

Or maybe the scene doesn't happen at all and it's just the Narrator saying, "This appears to be related to Selune (or Shar depending on the item found)." Game rolls a religion roll for you, like it does Arcana and such at various times during the game. You succeed. Narrator says, "Selune is the goddess of the moon; a good goddess who is adored by many. She has an evil twin sister named Shar that is feared and hated; goddess of darkness and loss."

Just SOMEthing simple to give the player some sort of idea who these characters are so they don't have to stop playing, pull up the internet on their phone, pull up some details about Shar or Selune amidst the sea of information out there, etc.

It's ALL we're asking. So why are people so opposed to something so small that won't take but maybe 10 seconds of gameplay and it would be totally skippable if you don't want it there?
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:08 AM
I love the sound of companion characters having independent skill checks, I also think that it's absurd for a cleric of Selune or Shar to be blindsided by this, clerics of Shar especially should float some kind of secret handshake immediately anyway.

As for a religion skill checks, sure, if it makes sense for Larian's world. Or better yet some kind of prologue to acclimate you to the world, but that's a dead horse by now.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:15 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
As for a religion skill checks, sure, if it makes sense for Larian's world. Or better yet some kind of prologue to acclimate you to the world, but that's a dead horse by now.

This is not "Larian's world".
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:23 AM
I guess I should have said Larian's story, would that have been better?
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:28 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
I guess I should have said Larian's story, would that have been better?

It is more accurate, yes. Still, that decision (i.e., making Shar a relatively unknown quantity "just because") is jarring when placed alongside three plus decades worth of lore.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:34 AM
Maybe or it can be a recontextualizing of what that notoriety really means.

Have you ever heard of the Cult of Isis? It was one of the largest and most successful mystery cults of the Roman Empire, a mystery cult is how I view a lot of the evil deities "churches" . The cult of Isis had front facing iconography to be sure, but on the inside it becomes progressively more obscure, how much you know about Isis is commensurate to how far you've been inducted into the mysteries, so a cult could have a High visibility but seriously low information footprint.

I guess the Freemasons would've been a good example too
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:50 AM
Play through Grymforge.

Roll made. "These guys on the ground look like Sharran. Their wearing armor of Shar.". These crossbows look like Sharran crossbows."

Why have these rolls in Grymforge but it's not okay to have something in the beginning?

BTW.
Big black circles just like Shadowheart's armor on those Dark Justiciars of Ketheric.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:50 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
I guess I should have said Larian's story, would that have been better?

Not really - If Larian defines all metallic dragons as scions of evil illithid experiments and treats that as a 'fact', people will baulk. This is not their setting or their world, and they have a duty to show respect and awareness of the setting in which they are telling their story. The more elements of that they disregard or diverge from well established cores, the less appealing, less satisfying and more ridiculous their game will look, and the less likely that anyone will be happy to call it a D&D game.

In this case, as the conversation has discussed realms-shaking events, and the deity's status (Greater Deity, which Shar HAS been since her conception, even back as far as fist edition, in fact, is not a 'gamey' term - it's an actual in-universe definition that has a tangible meaning, part of which includes facets not just of the diety's strength but also of their presence in the realm, their spread of influence and followers, and the pervasiveness of common knowledge related to them)... it's not really a question that's open for debate about whether your average joe-farmer knows at least a little something about who this deity is: They Do. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances, that's just a fact of the realms lore that Larian should be respecting.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:04 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
it's not really a question that's open for debate about whether your average joe-farmer knows at least a little something about who this deity is: They Do.

Parents probably tell their children to not play outside after dark because "Shar will take them".
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:06 AM
@Niara In regard to the first point I guess I'm not so married to continuity, especially in universes with so many hands in the cookie jar.

As per my previous comment, what exactly is entailed in the term "Greater Deity" is open for debate, it's mechanical meaning on our end as interpreted into in-universe information.

@GM4Him I haven't made it to the new area yet (I've been dragging my feet) but I did see a video of this scene, it's very interesting with regards to everything we've been talking about, but what I haven't seen is what happens if you reach this point without having revealed that Shadowheart is a Sharran, is that possible?

For instance, the events of Descent into Avernus appear to play an not inconsequential role in BG:3's story, how would you take it if Larian rejiggers the story, say Zariel's fall is again retold, or the events took place at a different time, or Duke Raven---whatever died, or was never taken etc. How far does the continuity matter to you, I know you have a limit, it's just a matter of where, and if the retcon is good enough for you.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:14 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
I think the truth of the matter is , the DM considers this issue to be resolved so early on that it isn't a big issue for them.

Larian writing style 101. Shar is no biggy, tadpoles threatening to turn you any moment are whatever, cambions appearing out of the blue are monday, vampires trying to feed on you -- tuesday.

Too much shit all at once is the problem. They physically don't have the means to give any of it the proper build-up, and everything ends up feeling average. Even worse when they try to play up the moment, and only the moment, like in this case, since it only ends up breaking immersion and/or soliciting confusion.

Having not played DoS2 in its entirety, i gotta wonder if it's just how Larian does things or if it's a byproduct of trying to make this game feel as big as its franchise, quote unquote fill the shoes (which is ironic, considering the biggest takeaway from any astounding Bioware game is that the first enemy should always be rats or the like, so that what comes later on can truly awe you).
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:19 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
@Niara In regard to the first point I guess I'm not so married to continuity, especially in universes with so many hands in the cookie jar.

As per my previous comment, what exactly is entailed in the term "Greater Deity" is open for debate, it's mechanical meaning on our end as interpreted into in-universe information.

@GM4Him I haven't made it to the new area yet (I've been dragging my feet) but I did see a video of this scene, it's very interesting with regards to everything we've been talking about, but what I haven't seen is what happens if you reach this point without having revealed that Shadowheart is a Sharran, is that possible?

For instance, the events of Descent into Avernus appear to play an not inconsequential role in BG:3's story, how would you take it if Larian rejiggers the story, say Zariel's fall is again retold, or the events took place at a different time, or Duke Raven---whatever died, or was never taken etc. How far does the continuity matter to you, I know you have a limit, it's just a matter of where, and if the retcon is good enough for you.

Doesn't matter. The point is, your characters are making Religion rolls up the wazzoo to see if they know stuff, and if successful, the game tells you. All people on this thread were asking for was this very same thing in the beginning so especially new players aren't asking who in the Hells is Shar and why should they care.

Interestingly, the armor looks like it has a symbol on the chest very similar to Shadowheart's with onyx stones on the shoulders, I think, hard to fully make out, and onyx stones on each side. Very similar style.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:25 AM
I haven't been against this I hope you've noticed, but I do quibble with some of the particulars behind your premise. New players presumably will know to roll with it until it does make sense, I actually enjoy this kind of tension because it's between me and the game, and it can't be replicated after the first playthrough.

Of course I just re-read Dune so maybe I'm not in the right headspace for this argument :p
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:30 AM
Yeah, there've been a few threads on this already, the one titled "BG:3 is an amusement park" being particular in line with how I've received the EA, but I think it's something you find equally in the current D&D meta
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 07:53 AM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by Sozz
I think the truth of the matter is , the DM considers this issue to be resolved so early on that it isn't a big issue for them.

Larian writing style 101. Shar is no biggy, tadpoles threatening to turn you any moment are whatever, cambions appearing out of the blue are monday, vampires trying to feed on you -- tuesday.

Too much shit all at once is the problem. They physically don't have the means to give any of it the proper build-up, and everything ends up feeling average. Even worse when they try to play up the moment, and only the moment, like in this case, since it only ends up breaking immersion and/or soliciting confusion.

Having not played DoS2 in its entirety, i gotta wonder if it's just how Larian does things or if it's a byproduct of trying to make this game feel as big as its franchise, quote unquote fill the shoes (which is ironic, considering the biggest takeaway from any astounding Bioware game is that the first enemy should always be rats or the like, so that what comes later on can truly awe you).

It's as if someone read a bunch of FR books and picked what sounded cool without any consideration given to scope and pacing.
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
It's as if someone read a bunch of FR books and picked what sounded cool without any consideration given to scope and pacing.
Pretty sure it has been pointed out before. Larian's style is precisely "picking what seems 'cool' then trying to push it as hard as they can". Someone from Larian said that in a past interview. Maybe he was talking about something else, but still. It really fits their style.

Originally Posted by Innateagle
Having not played DoS2 in its entirety, i gotta wonder if it's just how Larian does things or if it's a byproduct of trying to make this game feel as big as its franchise, quote unquote fill the shoes (which is ironic, considering the biggest takeaway from any astounding Bioware game is that the first enemy should always be rats or the like, so that what comes later on can truly awe you).
Very much the same thing in DOS2. Essentially, if you don't get to converse with gods or some similar "greater power beings" on a daily basis by the end of the first third of the game, then the game is not worth playing.

It's the same issue with Pathfinder WotR, tbh. The game tries too hard to be... grandiose. Tries too hard to impress the player. Tries too hard to shower the player with as much "cool and awesomeness" as they can. A goddess just pops out of thin air and starts talking to you without any prior indication, then next moment a demon lord also shows up and joins the convo, and there you are chatting casually with a goddess and a demon lord at the same time. You can say "but they do have a reason to talk to you" - sure, that may not be wrong, but I simply don't find it convincing at all. It just makes me think wow this game is trying too hard to make me feel important.

Also, admittedly, I got the same feeling playing PoE: Deadfire. All the conventions with gods, and all the dialogue options that make you sound like a cheeky rebellious upstart so you may feel "wow look at me I'm talking to these gods like an equal". Ngl they made me wince.

I guess in this day and age everything just gotta go fast.
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Actually, it's to provide a template for the players to tell a story, within the confines of what's provided. A story teller tells the story. In DnD, the players create the story. This is done through choices they make, dice rolls they make, or fail, and how they choose to go about combat. As a DM, you should have an outline, not a play by play, of what's expected to happen. There are around 50 years of lore to this setting, how much are you going to explain, for how long, before other players in your session get frustrated because resources are available. To your "Shar is...", there are books that cover that in game already. At some point, it's up to a player to find/read them. How many dialog wheel style choices do you provide for your players, instead of them organically asking questions? How are you going to code every possible outcome into a cRPG?
Are you seriously arguing that players should have to read D&D lore books if they want to know things in-game? Players are essential parts to a D&D story, yes, but they don't create the world in most cases. The DM does (either making it up himself or using others' worlds) and it's the DM's responsibility to give out that information to the players when appropriate. There are some cooperative game styles where players can make up information/lore/mechanics to incorporate into the world (obviously I'm not talking about backstories here), but that's certainly not BG3.

As has been said, there is a reason that Religion skill checks exist in D&D. It's so that players can make those checks to gain character&player knowledge about the world.

Yes, I am. That's why the resources exist. The resources would be limited to GMs only otherwise. Some of them actually are, the rest are intended for the players to use to facilitate gameplay.

Religion skill checks exist to test character knowledge. A player that knows everything they need to know about a deity can still fail that roll.

Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Yes, because no TT session ever had players with a Player Handbook, or any of the other myriad of books aimed specifically at the players, right? You must have to spend a few sessions in a row, just explaining things, since you don't require your players to have resources created specifically to prevent that. You see, the problem with trying to translate your TT experience into a video game is that someone around the table is going to have these reference books. That is specifically what they are for. I wonder, how many interruptions of gameplay does it take before your players are suggesting the new player get X, Y and/or Z books? I've played at tables where you weren't allowed to sit down if you didn't have at least a Player's Handbook.

For rules and rulings, yes, players often have books. For lore and history, no, not so much... in fact, never in the years I've been playing have I ever sat at a table where players have cracked lore books mid session, or paused to read up about a fact of the world they're in that they didn't know - not once.

Do you suppose that some of those players have read the resources outside of the game, especially the ones that want to be up on the lore? Time is a finite resource, every TT game I've ever sat at wanted to spend as much time as possible actually advancing the story, instead of sitting in a class room, getting lore that maybe we already know, but Joe doesn't. The DM probably isn't leaving books laying around for the players to actually read either, you know, those books that "break immersion" because a player actually has to read them to gain knowledge that their character may glean from just picking it up. I know I have enough basic lore knowledge that I don't actually read a lot of them, but there are some that I do.

Then there's the irony of the Religion roll, where if a player fails it, they'll be left in the exact same boat as the OP here, totally in the dark about who a deity is, or what having a worshipper in the party might/could mean.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 12:15 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Then there's the irony of the Religion roll, where if a player fails it, they'll be left in the exact same boat as the OP here, totally in the dark about who a deity is, or what having a worshipper in the party might/could mean.

If you read the discussion with a keen eye, you'd see that that is not what is being suggested. It's probably how Larian would do it, but it's not what's being asked after.

Quote
Do you suppose that some of those players have read the resources outside of the game, especially the ones that want to be up on the lore?

A couple, yes, but frankly, myself and my partners are the most lore-knowledgable people that we play with. Pretty much everyone else at our various game tables knows just what they've learned actively playing the game and immersing in the world as the adventure unfolds - they all came in knowing nothing about the game space or the realms, with only.... three exceptions, I think.

It would be a ridiculous dick move of our DMs to insist that these players "Go and do their research". I'd probably refuse to play at a table with a DM who did that, because I know that I'm not going to be getting an immersive game experience from someone like that. Someone that isn't prepared to spin a world around their players, and paint in the details organically, is not going to really deliver a satisfying game experience unless all you're after is the mechanical side of the game.

Quote
every TT game I've ever sat at wanted to spend as much time as possible actually advancing the story,

Then you have my pity and my condolences... if that's your fun then you're welcome to it, of course, but if you've only ever played with players who wilfully cut out one of the broadest and deepest part of the game, because there's no time for immersion and organic roleplay in their roleplaying game... Well, you're missing out.
Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Then there's the irony of the Religion roll, where if a player fails it, they'll be left in the exact same boat as the OP here, totally in the dark about who a deity is, or what having a worshipper in the party might/could mean.

If you read the discussion with a keen eye, you'd see that that is not what is being suggested. It's probably how Larian would do it, but it's not what's being asked after.

Quote
Do you suppose that some of those players have read the resources outside of the game, especially the ones that want to be up on the lore?

A couple, yes, but frankly, myself and my partners are the most lore-knowledgable people that we play with. Pretty much everyone else at our various game tables knows just what they've learned actively playing the game and immersing in the world as the adventure unfolds - they all came in knowing nothing about the game space or the realms, with only.... three exceptions, I think.

It would be a ridiculous dick move of our DMs to insist that these players "Go and do their research". I'd probably refuse to play at a table with a DM who did that, because I know that I'm not going to be getting an immersive game experience from someone like that. Someone that isn't prepared to spin a world around their players, and paint in the details organically, is not going to really deliver a satisfying game experience unless all you're after is the mechanical side of the game.

Quote
every TT game I've ever sat at wanted to spend as much time as possible actually advancing the story,

Then you have my pity and my condolences... if that's your fun then you're welcome to it, of course, but if you've only ever played with players who wilfully cut out one of the broadest and deepest part of the game, because there's no time for immersion and organic roleplay in their roleplaying game... Well, you're missing out.

You're right, it's not. It's about how a reaction that some players will find perfectly logical being in a dialog, where the OP is acting like it's the only option available. As I said, if they don't have knowledge for a choice to make sense, they should choose a different option. There is information provided that a player can get before they ever have the discussion, that should be enough to let them know if that's appropriate or not. If it's given any other way that's not the narrator spoon feeding it, it won't be adequate, because if they couldn't read the book, and draw an inference of "Good" or "Bad", they won't understand something else they have to read, even if a hyperlink is added to "Shar" in the dialog. It's going to be another case of "Why should I have to have any baseline knowledge, that's the DM's job"...

You can save your pity too. While we were pushing the story forward, context being that we're not spending 2 hours of a 4 hour session explaining basic stuff, like "Evil is bad", we had plenty of tomfoolery fun.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 01:17 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
@Niara In regard to the first point I guess I'm not so married to continuity, especially in universes with so many hands in the cookie jar.

As per my previous comment, what exactly is entailed in the term "Greater Deity" is open for debate, it's mechanical meaning on our end as interpreted into in-universe information.

She is very a much a "Greater Deity" both in the sense of mechanicalisms and setting presence. People of Faerun see her when they look at the changing moon the same way they'd look at the the stormy seas and think Umberlee, or look at thunderous lightning and see Talos. She is central to their mythology to the point of being the Adversary in one of the main creation/apocalypse conflicts of their faith. People see her see her personified in the dark of every night and night sky. Shar has much the same place in the minds of the common Faerunian that the wolf chasing the sun (who will usher in Ragnarok when he finally catches up to and swallow it) had to the ancient Norse -- except while the "sun wolf" is visible only as a rare light phenomena, the battle between Shar and Selune is visibly playing out on an every night basis as the moon waxes and wanes (and that's completely disregarding that time just around a 100 years ago when the two deities became literal flesh and blood and did literal battle in the streets of Waterderp!).

If we put the mechanicalisms of what "Greater Deity" to the side and focus only on how people in the setting think of and experience her: Shar is still a very big deal.


Originally Posted by robertthebard
You're right, it's not. It's about how a reaction that some players will find perfectly logical being in a dialog, where the OP is acting like it's the only option available.

No, OP is saying that none of the responses made sense to them, because the gravity of the situation -- that the narrative clearly expects you to feel in how it presents it -- had not been established. They don't understand why they wouldn't want a Sharite in their party. They don't understand why simply not mentioning who their deity is should feel like they've been lied to. The narrative of the game clearly expects a reaction to this reveal, but the narrative of the game has not previously made the ground work for any kind of reaction.

And the rest of us is saying that this is unfortunate, because because of this lack of establishment of who Shar is pre-emptively to the reveal means that the player is not empowered to make an informed role-playing choice about their character reaction to Shadowheart's reveal (unless they are already familiar with the setting through outside means -- which is, in turn, bad storytelling, because stories should be self-contained enough not to rely on outside knowledge for important character moments). This causes a big clash between what the narrative have presented to you so far and what the narrative suddenly expects you to know about Shar.
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by Sozz
@Niara In regard to the first point I guess I'm not so married to continuity, especially in universes with so many hands in the cookie jar.

As per my previous comment, what exactly is entailed in the term "Greater Deity" is open for debate, it's mechanical meaning on our end as interpreted into in-universe information.

She is very a much a "Greater Deity" both in the sense of mechanicalisms and setting presence. People of Faerun see her when they look at the changing moon the same way they'd look at the the stormy seas and think Umberlee, or look at thunderous lightning and see Talos. She is central to their mythology to the point of being the Adversary in one of the main creation/apocalypse conflicts of their faith. People see her see her personified in the dark of every night and night sky. Shar has much the same place in the minds of the common Faerunian that the wolf chasing the sun (who will usher in Ragnarok when he finally catches up to and swallow it) had to the ancient Norse -- except while the "sun wolf" is visible only as a rare light phenomena, the battle between Shar and Selune is visibly playing out on an every night basis as the moon waxes and wanes (and that's completely disregarding that time just around a 100 years ago when the two deities became literal flesh and blood and did literal battle in the streets of Waterderp!).

If we put the mechanicalisms of what "Greater Deity" to the side and focus only on how people in the setting think of and experience her: Shar is still a very big deal.


Originally Posted by robertthebard
You're right, it's not. It's about how a reaction that some players will find perfectly logical being in a dialog, where the OP is acting like it's the only option available.

No, OP is saying that none of the responses made sense to them, because the gravity of the situation -- that the narrative clearly expects you to feel in how it presents it -- had not been established. They don't understand why they wouldn't want a Sharite in their party. They don't understand why simply not mentioning who their deity is should feel like they've been lied to. The narrative of the game clearly expects a reaction to this reveal, but the narrative of the game has not previously made the ground work for any kind of reaction.

And the rest of us is saying that this is unfortunate, because because of this lack of establishment of who Shar is pre-emptively to the reveal means that the player is not empowered to make an informed role-playing choice about their character reaction to Shadowheart's reveal (unless they are already familiar with the setting through outside means -- which is, in turn, bad storytelling, because stories should be self-contained enough not to rely on outside knowledge for important character moments). This causes a big clash between what the narrative have presented to you so far and what the narrative suddenly expects you to know about Shar.

I'd be down for that, if one of the responses didn't say "I don't care". Information is provided, it was just inconvenient, I guess? That's the problem with cherry picking part of a post to reply to, you leave out context that may well flesh out an idea in a particular sentence. I've asked this before, but just how much information do we need at the start of the game, in a new IP, and the OP is stating that DnD is a new IP for them? A "the story so far" tutorial could be longer than some games, we're talking about 50 years of lore. There are at least two books that can be picked up/read in game, possibly before you get to where you have the discussion in question. One of them is at the temple just after you can recruit Gale. Even one of those books will highlight "evil Goddess". If that's not enough information to make one pause, then we're looking at needing some really in depth explanation, and that can be really long. If reading books that are provided as contextual lore to a game is inconvenient or immersion breaking, what is a hyperlink, or even narration going to be? It's not like there's a thread to get rid of the narrator, or reduce the narration. Wait, there is one. So some people think it's an overused mechanic already, but you want to add to it, because someone didn't read, or understand, a lore book?

Again: At some point it's up to the player to fill in gaps in lore, especially if they're new to a franchise that's been around for a long time. In this case, it's about 50 years. Providing basic knowledge is met, with books that can be picked up in game. This isn't a TT session where the player can ask the DM what something means, but even that requires that the player do just that, actually do some footwork to become better informed, if they're interested in being better informed. I love all the "do you really expect players at TT sessions to actually use all the materials that were created for players at a TT session to use" questions. It's hilarious to think that people actually believe that the only resource should be the DM. Why even spend the money creating all of those player specific resources then?
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 03:33 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Are you seriously arguing that players should have to read D&D lore books if they want to know things in-game? [...]
Yes, I am. [...]
Alright, well I think that pretty much sums up the conversation that's been happening over the past few threads and is an irreconcilable difference between us. The only relevant posts left are simply stating opinions so (if) Larian can judge popularity. -1 to this.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 03:35 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Sozz
I guess I should have said Larian's story, would that have been better?

It is more accurate, yes. Still, that decision (i.e., making Shar a relatively unknown quantity "just because") is jarring when placed alongside three plus decades worth of lore.
Not to mention that Larian devs themselves, and including Swen Vincke, have repeatedly promised that the game will respect and reflect existing FR lore.

And for me, the main reason by far to even be interested in this game is because it is a game set in the Forgotten Realms.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 03:35 PM
If they let me say "Who?" or "Yea, that was obvious from the circles" then i'd be fine with how it is currently.
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Are you seriously arguing that players should have to read D&D lore books if they want to know things in-game? [...]
Yes, I am. [...]
Alright, well I think that pretty much sums up the conversation that's been happening over the past few threads and is an irreconcilable difference between us. The only relevant posts left are simply stating opinions so (if) Larian can judge popularity. -1 to this.

You're absolutely right. Expecting players in a TT session, what was postulated, and responded to, shouldn't be controversial. That's why there are resources, published by TSR, WotC and now Hasbro, since the beginning of DnD, aimed specifically at players, including, but not limited to, the Player's Handbook. IF these resources had been aimed specifically at DMs, you'd have a point. They're not. There are materials aimed exclusively at DMs, and materials for everyone else, including DMs. I'm not sure what's so controversial about expecting players to read some of these materials, or all of them in cases of people that want to consider themselves lore hounds. Again, they are provided for exactly that purpose. It's not like they spent all the money that went into producing them for something to do between versions.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 03:52 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I'd be down for that, if one of the responses didn't say "I don't care".

Well I'm sorry to have to cut out a line again but I'm going to need you to explain why that option changes anything. That's not the player saying "I don't care" or an option for players who do not care about the lore. That's the character saying "I don't care". In the scenario of the OP, it doesn't change a single thing because OP still doesn't have the understanding to know whether his character cares about it or not. Choosing the "I don't care" option is just an as uninformed choice at that point as choosing any of the other options because they're all dependant on the same context -- knowing about Shar -- and that context has not been given to you.

And no, narration is not going to be considered worse than the status quo, and that thread existing (that despite it's name is not about the removal of the narrator but bringing back the ability to silence the narrator's voice) isn't an argument against the lack of set up being provided for this scene. I'm not even sure why you bothered to bring that thread up, do you think everyone on the internet except you is a single person? I'm not against narration -- in fact I consider the feature of a narrator to be one of the main pros of modern games like BG3 and the Pathfinder games over, say, the old BG games specifically because it enables a greater ability to deliver information and contextual clues to the player.

And again, the information existing in some book or other somewhere within the game is not enough setup for this scene. Even a player that reads every books they pick up might overlook those few, and this isn't some random fact about the setting that you don't need to know -- this is central to Shadowheart's plot, this scene is presented as a big act one moment, in fact the scene is, very much in contrast to how easily said book could be overlooked, decidedly hard to miss out on -- there are dozen of paths set up to lead to that reveal. And in order for the player to be able to react to that reveal, they need knowledge of who Shar is. Therefore, it is to me obvious that the establishment of who Shar is should be just as hard to miss out on as that scene itself -- the context of a story should be delivered inside that story's narrative and not be dependant on the player having happened to have opened an ingame book or not (especially a book in a sidequest location!). It's just storytelling 101 to me -- that moment is presented as far too momentous for what we have now to be adequate.

Compare for example with how well the game establishes the Mindflayers and the tadpole as evil. First you have the intro cinematic with the tadpoling and the abducting of people and the obvious evilousity of the design of it all, then you have the ship you start the actual game on and all the obvious evilousities on it establishing the transformations and also the mind control and, then you have all the other characters from party members to NPCs going on about it and being ready to kill you over it, and so on. The game really, really wants to make sure that you understand this. And of course, this is the central plot of the game. It deserves more set up than the central element to a single companion's plot, I'm not saying anything else. But the lack of establishing who Shar is very similar to if we had gotten no establishment as Mindflayers and tadpoles as being bad, and then were expected by the game to somehow already have this information in a later scene. And "but there is a book about that ingame" wouldn't have satisfied me then either because the game has to actively provide you with what it wants you to know. And it absolutely does expect you to already know who Shar is, that's why the "narrative dissonance" that the OP is describing comes to the forefront in that scene.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 03:54 PM
To misquote Samuel L Jackson: "It's an evil f******g goddess."
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:08 PM
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

She's the keeper of secrets and the mistress of lies.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:18 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Expecting players in a TT session, what was postulated, and responded to, shouldn't be controversial. That's why there are resources, published by TSR, WotC and now Hasbro, since the beginning of DnD, aimed specifically at players, including, but not limited to, the Player's Handbook. IF these resources had been aimed specifically at DMs, you'd have a point. They're not. There are materials aimed exclusively at DMs, and materials for everyone else, including DMs. I'm not sure what's so controversial about expecting players to read some of these materials, or all of them in cases of people that want to consider themselves lore hounds. Again, they are provided for exactly that purpose. It's not like they spent all the money that went into producing them for something to do between versions.
This is still just your opinion of how you want your games to be played and what the purpose of those books are.

The PHB doesn't go into much detail about Shar. There are all of two lines about her:
Originally Posted by PHB
"the [monastic] order of the Dark Moon is made up of monks dedicated to Shar (goddess of loss)" and "Shar, goddess of darkness and loss | NE, Death, Trickery | Black disk encircled with a border"
Aside from the lack of information, particularly about lore & history regarding Shar, it's unreasonable to expect all players in all games to completely memorize every single line in the PHB. It's even more unreasonable to expect players to have read and memorized every single D&D book on the off chance lore topic X is relevant to the game.

If you DM a game, it's ~fine for you to assign specific books as homework for your players to read, but it's wrong to generalize your preferred DM & gaming style to everyone and treat it like the only correct way to play.
Originally Posted by robertthebard
You're right, it's not. It's about how a reaction that some players will find perfectly logical being in a dialog, where the OP is acting like it's the only option available. As I said, if they don't have knowledge for a choice to make sense, they should choose a different option. There is information provided that a player can get before they ever have the discussion, that should be enough to let them know if that's appropriate or not. If it's given any other way that's not the narrator spoon feeding it, it won't be adequate, because if they couldn't read the book, and draw an inference of "Good" or "Bad", they won't understand something else they have to read, even if a hyperlink is added to "Shar" in the dialog. It's going to be another case of "Why should I have to have any baseline knowledge, that's the DM's job"...

The only option that would really make sense for someone who doesn't know about Shar doesn't exist.
"I don't even know who Shar is" maybe with an option to ask "What's so bad about her?" would probably solve the problem.

Now, if Larian decides that it doesn't make sense for a character to not know about Shar, and that it's out of character for Shadowheart to preach about her, that's fine, but there should be a good way for the player to learn more without having to look through every bookshelf and book pile hoping to find the book they need (if I'm correct, none of the books in the ruins are about Selune and Shar, and instead, the only books mentioning Shar there are about a Cleric of Shar).
Not only that, but most players likely won't even know that they should find a book before getting Shadowheart to say that she follows Shar.

Whether the Narrator mentions why Shar isn't liked, or a link in the dialogue explains, the game should try to get players up to speed before the player chooses an option regarding Shadowheart and Shar.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:40 PM
I mean. If a GM were to assemble a handout of important setting knowledge for the player to read, then it's expected that the player read that out of game. That's entirely true.

But this is still because it is the GM's responsibility to present the setting to players who is not familiar with it, whether through hand outs or descriptions or both. But BG3 does not have handouts. It has only what it presents in-game. Much like how movies need to establish their setting through their own narrative and can't rely on sources outside of themself if they want to tell a cohesive story, BG3 also have to rely on the game itself to convey what it wants conveyed.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:43 PM
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Originally Posted by robertthebard
You're right, it's not. It's about how a reaction that some players will find perfectly logical being in a dialog, where the OP is acting like it's the only option available. As I said, if they don't have knowledge for a choice to make sense, they should choose a different option. There is information provided that a player can get before they ever have the discussion, that should be enough to let them know if that's appropriate or not. If it's given any other way that's not the narrator spoon feeding it, it won't be adequate, because if they couldn't read the book, and draw an inference of "Good" or "Bad", they won't understand something else they have to read, even if a hyperlink is added to "Shar" in the dialog. It's going to be another case of "Why should I have to have any baseline knowledge, that's the DM's job"...

The only option that would really make sense for someone who doesn't know about Shar is, "I don't even know who Shar is" maybe with an option to ask "What's so bad about her?".
However, those options don't exist.

Now, if Larian decides that it doesn't make sense for a character to not know about Shar, and that it's out of character for Shadowheart to preach about her, that's fine, but there should be a good way for the player to learn more without having to look through every bookshelf and book pile hoping to find the book they need (if I'm correct, none of the books in the ruins are about Selune and Shar, and instead, there's only books about a Cleric of Shar).
Not only that, but most players likely won't even know that they should find a book before getting Shadowheart to say that she follows Shar.

Whether the Narrator mentions why Shar isn't liked, or a link in the dialogue explains, the game should try to get players up to speed before the event with Shadowheart.

this would help at lot. Instead, you can tell that we're supposed to know who Shar is from the "that's okay, i don't judge people on their religions" line. Does anyone remember what all the options for dialogue are from the player character when SH reveals her secret? I'd be interested to see if most of them seem to have insider knowledge on who Shar is or not.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:51 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
the "that's okay, i don't judge people on their religions" line.

Assuming the PC is aware of that specific god, this must be the "non-Good" response.
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
this would help at lot. Instead, you can tell that we're supposed to know who Shar is from the "that's okay, i don't judge people on their religions" line. Does anyone remember what all the options for dialogue are from the player character when SH reveals her secret? I'd be interested to see if most of them seem to have insider knowledge on who Shar is or not.

The options all seem to imply that the player's character knows about Shar, since they would be overreactions otherwise.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 04:59 PM
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
this would help at lot. Instead, you can tell that we're supposed to know who Shar is from the "that's okay, i don't judge people on their religions" line. Does anyone remember what all the options for dialogue are from the player character when SH reveals her secret? I'd be interested to see if most of them seem to have insider knowledge on who Shar is or not.

The options all seem to imply that the player's character knows about Shar, since they would be overreactions otherwise.

yea, there's no doubt with that. Every one of them assume knowledge of Shar. Side note, i had to laugh when SH says "this type of headpiece is worn by my brothers and sisters". Kind of blows the whole "it's just a circle" out of the water lol
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:30 PM
NARRATOR: You've freed her from the pod, and now you notice that she wears onyx jewelry. There are also black circles on the shoulders of her armor. This can only mean one thing. She is a cleric of evil incarnate, a follower of Shar, the terrible goddess who is bent on destroying all things throughout the multiverse. This person is worse than the mind flayers who abducted you.

1. [Attack]
2. I also think all things should be destroyed. Hi, I'm Tav.

*

There you go, Larian, fixed it for you. It's sure to be a great game now.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 05:35 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Side note, i had to laugh when SH says "this type of headpiece is worn by my brothers and sisters". Kind of blows the whole "it's just a circle" out of the water lol

No one disputed that she wore it in honor of Shar. The argument was that the rest of the world wouldn't know that, and further, that there's plausible deniability in the fact that everyone wears jewelry, and black circles are entirely common in decoration.

It's like people don't even understand the point they're trying to laugh at. Weird.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 06:05 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
NARRATOR: You've freed her from the pod, and now you notice that she wears onyx jewelry. There are also black circles on the shoulders of her armor. This can only mean one thing. She is a cleric of evil incarnate, a follower of Shar, the terrible goddess who is bent on destroying all things throughout the multiverse. This person is worse than the mind flayers who abducted you.

1. [Attack]
2. I also think all things should be destroyed. Hi, I'm Tav.

*

There you go, Larian, fixed it for you. It's sure to be a great game now.

Yeah, sure. The only way to do anything is in the worst way possible. Tell me, did you take a class in arguing in bad faith or does it just come naturally to you?
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 06:11 PM
And the troll is back. I'd advise everyone, on both sides of this arguments, to simply not engage him. Truth be told i'm not sure how much is left to discuss, but i'd like to think that most of us are here would rather not read another 5 pages of arguing about onyx, non-sense and what have you.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 06:32 PM
Troll? Ah, that's what those two posts i can't see are smile Agreed about not engaging posters that don't seem to be interested in good faith discussions.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 07:01 PM
Not agreeing with you and offering feedback to Larian that is contrary to your feedback does not make a person a troll.

My position is sound. It makes sense. I've brought up points that no one has even tried to refute. Like the way onyx is used to relieve the pain of childbirth. Like the way onyx is on numerous treasure charts. Heck, like the way onyx is a gemstone treasure that your characters pick up several times throughout BG3.

The only thing I'm hearing in return is: it's obvious. No real, tangible arguments. Just, it's obvious. And oddly enough, everyone saying that is saying it in hindsight. I'd love to see one person, just one, who predicted it *before* they knew she was a cleric of Shar.

More than one person in this thread has agreed with me.

In other words, my position is valid. My opinion is valid. I purchased the game also (more than once, I might add), which makes my feedback just as valid as anyone else's.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 07:14 PM
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by JandK
NARRATOR: You've freed her from the pod, and now you notice that she wears onyx jewelry. There are also black circles on the shoulders of her armor. This can only mean one thing. She is a cleric of evil incarnate, a follower of Shar, the terrible goddess who is bent on destroying all things throughout the multiverse. This person is worse than the mind flayers who abducted you.

1. [Attack]
2. I also think all things should be destroyed. Hi, I'm Tav.

*

There you go, Larian, fixed it for you. It's sure to be a great game now.

Yeah, sure. The only way to do anything is in the worst way possible. Tell me, did you take a class in arguing in bad faith or does it just come naturally to you?


I'm listening. I'm trying to understand where you're coming from. But I don't.

What you call the worst way possible... is my response to what I consider to be some of the worst ideas I've heard. And I mean that in all good faith, 100%. I truly think the suggestions I've heard so far have been really bad, and I'm hoping Larian doesn't go down that road. It's like a lot of people here are big on rigid archetypes and world-building, but fall flat when it comes to fundamental storytelling.

I mean, these are games I would never want to play in.

I love the game that Larian has designed thus far. We have a reason to travel with Shadowheart, and we're learning more about Shar as we go along. Doing it this way will allow us to organically develop our opinions about the goddess without coming into the game with a bunch of preset conclusions.
Posted By: timebean Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 07:19 PM
As one new to forgotten realms, I actually found the bg3 resources to be pretty useful. Quick reads, tells you what you need to know to understand the major players (including Shar), and keeps you from having to digest 50 tears of convoluted lore. Perfect for newbs like me.

BG3 Lore Page

Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely devour fantasy/sci-fi lore in other settings. GOT, Simarillion, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Dune, Star Trek, etc. But Forgotten Realms, much like the Simpsons, just passed me by, and is too damned big and scattered to catch all the way up on. Thus, I am only interested in what I need to know to get a good game experience. This wiki is sufficient (in addition to things I learn in the forums).

Having said that, starting the game cold with zero lore background—- I took my cue to respond to Shadowheart from 1) Gale, who seemed to think it was cute, and 2) the book about the Lady of Loss I found. These two in game cues led me to see Shar worshippers as emo wiccans that cry alot, do sneaky stuff, and dislike Selune. Note…for some reason in game, I did not link Dark Justicars and the blighted village to Shar worshippers. Might have skimmed a book too quickly something. But I somehow mussed that link my first playthru, and did not get that link until after I had my Shadowheart reveal convo.

Now…my question is this. Is it poor in game writing that made me come to this initial conclusion? Is Gale’s reaction, a literal chosen of Mystra, appropriate for Shadowheart’s reveal? I am curious what u guys think. Now that I know more about Shar, his reaction surprises me and seems a bit off the mark. Of course, it could just be his cool and calm demeanor too. Maybe other origin chars have stronger responses?

In any event…why have Religion be a skill if we rarely have a skill check for it? The Shar convo seems a good time for a Reigion check to come up (or a history one). As it did in druid grove reading those murals, etc. That would be an efficient and easy to implement solution for newbs imho.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 07:37 PM
Originally Posted by timebean
thoughtful post

You make a good point. In particular, it's interesting to see that religion checks are definitely in-game as i've had numerous times where my main character or one of my party noticed something and talk about it, and yet with our own party, everyone seems to suddenly be stupid and checks don't seem to matter. There's a disconnect for me between the party interactions and the world building.

I know we're all just repeating what has been said a hundred times at this point, but a simple religion check to whether or not we notice anything odd about Shadowheart and hell, if the devs want to continue to make her reveal a big part of earning her trust, she could deny it and give some support to our "it's just a circle!!!" friends on the forums. That said, if she did that and then we found out that she was a follower of Shar, it would make her seem really childish and petty.

I still think GM4him had a good idea, hide the circles/head piece, have a simple line of "Shar has a reputation for being evil because of blah blah blah" when told she's a follower of Shar, and that would solve all of the oddness with the situation. If there are players who don't care about the lore and just want the sexy sexy party, that's fine, they can still just ignore it anyways. It gives the lore fans a better connection to the world and party members.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 31/10/21 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
And the troll is back. I'd advise everyone, on both sides of this arguments, to simply not engage him.

Hopefully they are paid; it would be unfortunate if they were doggedly defending mistakes for free.
Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I'd be down for that, if one of the responses didn't say "I don't care".

Well I'm sorry to have to cut out a line again but I'm going to need you to explain why that option changes anything. That's not the player saying "I don't care" or an option for players who do not care about the lore. That's the character saying "I don't care". In the scenario of the OP, it doesn't change a single thing because OP still doesn't have the understanding to know whether his character cares about it or not. Choosing the "I don't care" option is just an as uninformed choice at that point as choosing any of the other options because they're all dependant on the same context -- knowing about Shar -- and that context has not been given to you.

And no, narration is not going to be considered worse than the status quo, and that thread existing (that despite it's name is not about the removal of the narrator but bringing back the ability to silence the narrator's voice) isn't an argument against the lack of set up being provided for this scene. I'm not even sure why you bothered to bring that thread up, do you think everyone on the internet except you is a single person? I'm not against narration -- in fact I consider the feature of a narrator to be one of the main pros of modern games like BG3 and the Pathfinder games over, say, the old BG games specifically because it enables a greater ability to deliver information and contextual clues to the player.

And again, the information existing in some book or other somewhere within the game is not enough setup for this scene. Even a player that reads every books they pick up might overlook those few, and this isn't some random fact about the setting that you don't need to know -- this is central to Shadowheart's plot, this scene is presented as a big act one moment, in fact the scene is, very much in contrast to how easily said book could be overlooked, decidedly hard to miss out on -- there are dozen of paths set up to lead to that reveal. And in order for the player to be able to react to that reveal, they need knowledge of who Shar is. Therefore, it is to me obvious that the establishment of who Shar is should be just as hard to miss out on as that scene itself -- the context of a story should be delivered inside that story's narrative and not be dependant on the player having happened to have opened an ingame book or not (especially a book in a sidequest location!). It's just storytelling 101 to me -- that moment is presented as far too momentous for what we have now to be adequate.

Compare for example with how well the game establishes the Mindflayers and the tadpole as evil. First you have the intro cinematic with the tadpoling and the abducting of people and the obvious evilousity of the design of it all, then you have the ship you start the actual game on and all the obvious evilousities on it establishing the transformations and also the mind control and, then you have all the other characters from party members to NPCs going on about it and being ready to kill you over it, and so on. The game really, really wants to make sure that you understand this. And of course, this is the central plot of the game. It deserves more set up than the central element to a single companion's plot, I'm not saying anything else. But the lack of establishing who Shar is very similar to if we had gotten no establishment as Mindflayers and tadpoles as being bad, and then were expected by the game to somehow already have this information in a later scene. And "but there is a book about that ingame" wouldn't have satisfied me then either because the game has to actively provide you with what it wants you to know. And it absolutely does expect you to already know who Shar is, that's why the "narrative dissonance" that the OP is describing comes to the forefront in that scene.

That's the point. Now maybe my perception is colored, because while I'm not a lore hound, I do understand that a cleric of an evil Goddess could be bad news. However, "I'm a cleric of Shar, the Goddess of Darkness and Loss, she's Neutral Evil, and has Death and Trickery as her Domains" would be worse than what we have.

Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Expecting players in a TT session, what was postulated, and responded to, shouldn't be controversial. That's why there are resources, published by TSR, WotC and now Hasbro, since the beginning of DnD, aimed specifically at players, including, but not limited to, the Player's Handbook. IF these resources had been aimed specifically at DMs, you'd have a point. They're not. There are materials aimed exclusively at DMs, and materials for everyone else, including DMs. I'm not sure what's so controversial about expecting players to read some of these materials, or all of them in cases of people that want to consider themselves lore hounds. Again, they are provided for exactly that purpose. It's not like they spent all the money that went into producing them for something to do between versions.
This is still just your opinion of how you want your games to be played and what the purpose of those books are.

The PHB doesn't go into much detail about Shar. There are all of two lines about her:
Originally Posted by PHB
"the [monastic] order of the Dark Moon is made up of monks dedicated to Shar (goddess of loss)" and "Shar, goddess of darkness and loss | NE, Death, Trickery | Black disk encircled with a border"
Aside from the lack of information, particularly about lore & history regarding Shar, it's unreasonable to expect all players in all games to completely memorize every single line in the PHB. It's even more unreasonable to expect players to have read and memorized every single D&D book on the off chance lore topic X is relevant to the game.

If you DM a game, it's ~fine for you to assign specific books as homework for your players to read, but it's wrong to generalize your preferred DM & gaming style to everyone and treat it like the only correct way to play.

Yet that's exactly what's being asked for here, except that it's someone else's preferred style. So you've just escaped from a Mindflayer ship, you have a tadpole that's going to turn you into one, and you find out that a party member worships an evil Goddess, with Death and Trickery domains, using just the information from the PHB, what is your reaction? You see, that's the basic information that a player should have going into a campaign, and is exactly why that book was printed.

As it applies to this topic, however, if one is truly interested in the lore, one reads the lore books that are scattered about the maps. In games with a codex, it's assumed that the character actually does this, as it's added to the codex, and the player can read it at their leisure, aka Player's Handbook. However, that codex is useless, unless the player actually uses it. The same is true for the lore books, but at what point is a player that's new to an IP expected to do some basic "homework"? I prefer the term "footwork" here, because it's about exploring, and finding stuff. Since, in a new IP, it behooves one to at least give the books a cursory read, especially if they're concerned about lore. If you think it's bad now, what if Jaheira shows up, or Minsc and Boo? There's two games worth of explanation that is going to be required, since someone coming in new to BG 3 won't have a clue about what came before. There's a lot that's going to have to be "taken on faith" there, or it's going to take a long time to get "caught up". I would not suggest that players need to play those games, but I will also not be insisting that Larian provide a 10,000 foot overview. I'm sure there'd be some background dialog going on, some of it may even be tied to how the Act(s) before their introduction is handled, Jahiera may not be very happy if you sided with the Shadow Druids, for example, or the Goblins. Will "well duh, she's a druid" be insufficient? Being an evil Goddess is, according to this thread.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 03:51 PM
Am I missing something? Who's asking for a dissertation on Shar?

From what I'm seeing, all anyone's asking for on this thread is a simple dice roll and a brief explanation of who she is. At some point prior to Shadowheart's reveal, when you encounter something related to Shar for the first time, a Religion roll is made. If you succeed, you learn, "Shar is an evil goddess of darkness and loss. Her followers often torture and kill those who oppose them."

I think the Shadowheart first meet on the beach should go something like this:

You meet Shadowheart in armor similar to what she has now but without the black onyx stones (note: play Grymforge and note the Sharran armor you see there. Notice the giant onyx stones in the pauldrons and on many of their chests and abdomens and such).
You ask her who her god/goddess is, AS AN OPTION IF YOU DESIRE TO KNOW. If you ask, she lies to you and says, "My goddess is," just throwing a bogus one out there, "Melira Taralen."

Religion roll is made. If you fail, you don't know the goddess she mentions. If you succeed, you learn, "Melira Taralen is a minor elven goddess of bards and minstrels. She's a Chaotic Good goddess of knowledge, life and trickery."

Insight roll is made. If you fail, the matter drops. If you succeed, you have the OPTION to ask her if she's lying because you think she is. If you call her on it, she can either get hostile towards you and say she'll leave if you don't drop the matter, or whatever.

Then, the first time you encounter something with Shar or Selune, another Religion roll is made and you get the brief description I mentioned above about Shar and a similar brief description about Selune.

We're not talking huge, in depth, lengthy Wiki-posts with giant personality trait sections and histories and so forth. Just something basic and simple to let players know something about who these two goddess are and a very basic understanding of what people think of them.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Am I missing something? Who's asking for a dissertation on Shar?

From what I'm seeing, all anyone's asking for on this thread is a simple dice roll and a brief explanation of who she is. At some point prior to Shadowheart's reveal, when you encounter something related to Shar for the first time, a Religion roll is made. If you succeed, you learn, "Shar is an evil goddess of darkness and loss. Her followers often torture and kill those who oppose them."

I think the Shadowheart first meet on the beach should go something like this:

You meet Shadowheart in armor similar to what she has now but without the black onyx stones (note: play Grymforge and note the Sharran armor you see there. Notice the giant onyx stones in the pauldrons and on many of their chests and abdomens and such).
You ask her who her god/goddess is, AS AN OPTION IF YOU DESIRE TO KNOW. If you ask, she lies to you and says, "My goddess is," just throwing a bogus one out there, "Melira Taralen."

Religion roll is made. If you fail, you don't know the goddess she mentions. If you succeed, you learn, "Melira Taralen is a minor elven goddess of bards and minstrels. She's a Chaotic Good goddess of knowledge, life and trickery."

Insight roll is made. If you fail, the matter drops. If you succeed, you have the OPTION to ask her if she's lying because you think she is. If you call her on it, she can either get hostile towards you and say she'll leave if you don't drop the matter, or whatever.

Then, the first time you encounter something with Shar or Selune, another Religion roll is made and you get the brief description I mentioned above about Shar and a similar brief description about Selune.

We're not talking huge, in depth, lengthy Wiki-posts with giant personality trait sections and histories and so forth. Just something basic and simple to let players know something about who these two goddess are and a very basic understanding of what people think of them.

...and if the player fails all of those rolls, and still comes here outraged at the choices? Because if you think that's not going to happen, you're fooling yourself. I've seen similar happen in TT sessions, where the player had read all of the books, and they figured there's no way their character could fail them. Lore to "evil Goddess" is provided in game. The dialog choices aren't offered in a vacuum, there's a full cutscene that plays out, and is ignored. I've seen that happen before too. My favorite example is swtor, on Ziost. The Sith Emperor devours all life on the planet. There's a cutscene that shows this happening in detail. Yet, on the surface of the planet, after the fact, players were complaining about Ziost being largely lifeless. The full explanation of how that happened was provided, but they hit their spacebar to get through the cutscene, and were left confused about why there wasn't a lot of life on the planet.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 04:36 PM
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
Originally Posted by Sozz
I guess I should have said Larian's story, would that have been better?

It is more accurate, yes. Still, that decision (i.e., making Shar a relatively unknown quantity "just because") is jarring when placed alongside three plus decades worth of lore.
Not to mention that Larian devs themselves, and including Swen Vincke, have repeatedly promised that the game will respect and reflect existing FR lore.

And for me, the main reason by far to even be interested in this game is because it is a game set in the Forgotten Realms.

It remains to be seen just how "Forgotten Realms" this attempt of theirs ends up being.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 04:44 PM
Look. It's like this. In D&D, your Religion, History, Arcana, and such skills like them are a measure of how much knowledge your character has on a particular topic. So, if you are proficient in Religion, that means you have some basic knowledge on the religions in Faerun.

Therefore, the entire point of having such skill proficiencies is so that when you, the player need to know something about a particular piece of lore in the world your character lives in, the DM calls for a dice roll. If you fail, you don't know about that thing and the DM describes nothing to you about it. If you succeed, you gain the knowledge from the DM. Usually, the higher you roll, the more the DM will tell you if you want to know more details.

So, if you fail your dice rolls in BG3 and therefore your character knows nothing about Shar and Selune, then that's the way things go. If your character is totally clueless by the time of Shadowheart's big reveal because you failed your Religion dice rolls when you first encountered items from Shar and/or Selune, then your character's dialogue choices during the big reveal should be more like, "Okay. Is this supposed to be a big deal? Who's Shar anyway?" as opposed to (if you made the Religion rolls successfully), "Whoa! You're a cleric of Shar? That's unacceptable. You MONSTER!" or "Hah! I knew it. You were throwing Shar flags all over the place," or "Hmmm. I kinda had a feeling, but I wasn't sure. Either way, it doesn't matter to me. You are one of us. I don't care who you serve." Or something similar.

Some ownership DOES have to be put on the player. If you're going to skip cutscenes that explain things, that's on you. That's like a player during TT having the DM explain something to them but they were zoning out and then wondering why they didn't know something later in the game. You zoned out. That's on you.

Whether you look up Shar information on the web or not, that shouldn't matter in regards to the game itself. Your character should only have dialogue options based on your character's knowledge of Shar. If you succeeded in the roll, you should know who Shar is and have appropriate responses based on your character knowing who Shar is. There should be options for outrage and dismissal because you simply won't accept a Sharran Cleric in your party and options for saying that you knew but didn't care. If you failed, and your character knows nothing about Shar, you should have options that are more based on trying to learn more about Shar and who she is and then trying to figure out what you are going to do about it.

But regardless, I would expect more responses from origin characters like Gale who loves Mystra who hates Shar. Gale shouldn't be flirting with Shadowheart when he first meets her but should be more distrusting her IF he knows she's a Sharran. I could see him hitting on her if he was clueless about her patron deity, but not flirting with her... unless he's totally lying about being a lover of Mystra. Wyll shouldn't like having a Sharran in the party, unless, of course, he's not really the hero wannabe he claims to be.

And overall, that armor shouldn't scream Shar. It should not look like the Justiciar armor found in Grymforge in any way. Shar's followers would NOT roam around Faerun in armor that screamed who they served. They are a secret society. The only time they'd wear armor like that is maybe if marching into some major battle, and then only if the need was there. Shadowheart is supposed to be on some covert mission. She would not be parading around in Shar armor.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 05:04 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
Shar armor

Sharmor.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 05:16 PM
In addition to skill checks to make sure the player has the relevant information, they can just put books on the hundreds of bookshelves in this game to explain anything they need. If they haven't already. I'm saving the reading for the full game. Or they can use NPC's to explain relevant lore. And then there's the DM voice that can narrate where that works. It's not like there's a shortage of means.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 05:48 PM
The problem isn't the means, it's the execution. They already do have plenty of books in circulation. Some out here are arguing that the books should be enough or that the players should research who Shar is on their own.

The other side of it is that some think that there should be some cutscene or something that explains who Shar is, at least giving some basic knowledge and information to the player so when Shadowheart does her "big reveal" the player isn't wondering, "Shar who?"
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 05:50 PM
It's important to note that a "failed" roll does not necessarily have to mean no information. It might just mean that the information you get is more general or basic, or perhaps from the perspective of how the common man views and fears Shar while rolling high nets you more context.
Posted By: Wormerine Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 06:16 PM
Or you know, instead of focusing on how many memes they can generate, Larian could do some worldbuilding, like a normal RPG - you know the stuff: minor quests that flesh out the world, highlights larger conflicts, important concepts and characters.

Namedropping stuff and having easter eggs "for fans" is fine. Relying on outside sources to create a connection with their characters is not.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 07:16 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by EliasIncarnation
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
this would help at lot. Instead, you can tell that we're supposed to know who Shar is from the "that's okay, i don't judge people on their religions" line. Does anyone remember what all the options for dialogue are from the player character when SH reveals her secret? I'd be interested to see if most of them seem to have insider knowledge on who Shar is or not.

The options all seem to imply that the player's character knows about Shar, since they would be overreactions otherwise.

yea, there's no doubt with that. Every one of them assume knowledge of Shar. Side note, i had to laugh when SH says "this type of headpiece is worn by my brothers and sisters". Kind of blows the whole "it's just a circle" out of the water lol

Not to throw water on the burning oil but that quote could be interpreted to support either side of that point.
Posted By: Ixal Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 07:46 PM
This "its just a circle" excuse is pure nonsense.
In the FR that is not just a circle. Its like meeting Charles Manson and not noticing anything suspicious about him just because he has a "stylised star" tattooed on his head.
Posted By: 1varangian Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 07:52 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
The problem isn't the means, it's the execution. They already do have plenty of books in circulation. Some out here are arguing that the books should be enough or that the players should research who Shar is on their own.

The other side of it is that some think that there should be some cutscene or something that explains who Shar is, at least giving some basic knowledge and information to the player so when Shadowheart does her "big reveal" the player isn't wondering, "Shar who?"
Sometimes I wish the plot would be more focused. They could have created a fine story, or the beginning of a larger story, on the Shar vs Selûne premise. The goddesses of Light and Darkness and their Clergy battling it out hundreds of years ago would have made for an amazing opening cinematic without spoiling any of the plot. It would have also set the stage for Shadowhearts big reveal.

There's just so many ingredients and factions in the BG3 plot right from the start it's really difficult to focus.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 09:31 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
The goddesses of Light and Darkness and their Clergy battling it out hundreds of years ago

Lathander: "Ey, what am I, chopped livah?"
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 01/11/21 10:05 PM
Originally Posted by 1varangian
Originally Posted by GM4Him
The problem isn't the means, it's the execution. They already do have plenty of books in circulation. Some out here are arguing that the books should be enough or that the players should research who Shar is on their own.

The other side of it is that some think that there should be some cutscene or something that explains who Shar is, at least giving some basic knowledge and information to the player so when Shadowheart does her "big reveal" the player isn't wondering, "Shar who?"
Sometimes I wish the plot would be more focused. They could have created a fine story, or the beginning of a larger story, on the Shar vs Selûne premise. The goddesses of Light and Darkness and their Clergy battling it out hundreds of years ago would have made for an amazing opening cinematic without spoiling any of the plot. It would have also set the stage for Shadowhearts big reveal.

There's just so many ingredients and factions in the BG3 plot right from the start it's really difficult to focus.

Right now, it still feels so unfinished. I'm playing through Grymforge and wondering why Shadowheart is dead silent. I would think she'd be more vocal about... Everything! Even in the Underdark, she's eerily silent, unlike through most of the EA up to that point. Shouldn't she be fangirling?
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 11:05 AM
I think the problem with leaving most of the Shar information to in-game books and such is that it's pretty likely that the player just...won't retain the information even if they did read it. There's a bunch of books around the game, all with all kinds of info, most of it unrelated to the main story. Why should the players do more than think "oh, this story is neat" and just file it away in the back of their minds never to be touched again? I'm all for expecting more of players, but for new players, context needs to be given. Regardless of Larian's intepretation of Shar, they should give us a concrete sense of who Shar is in the setting so that we can properly roleplay our characters. It's as simple as this; we should know what our characters know. If our character is expected to know who Shar is, and the dialogue options for the reveal imply that they do know, then we should know as players. ESPECIALLY because this is tied to the story of a major character. Larian is still telling a story, and if they want this reveal to land, then they should make sure we have the information needed to give this reveal an emotional context. This is a story, you do actually have to give players clear information sometimes so they know what's important and what to care about.

And just to touch on whether or not Shadowheart's armor is too obvious, I think the problem is that we know explicitly she's a cleric, it's something anyone can see. Sure, maybe if she were a fighter or a rogue or an average person, people coudl brush off the disks as jewellry. But Shadowheart is a cleric, it's observable that she's a cleric, someone who is, by definition, deeply devoted to a deity. So we take that given information, add that to the fact she's decked out in a particular symbol, then it's only logical to assume, even if you don't know about Shar, that the black disk is related to the deity she serves. If I saw someone who prominently wore a bunch of red squares as jewerly, I would assume they just liked the look. But if that same person told me that they're deeply religious, I might start to assume that those squares are related to their religion somehow. And the fact we can't ask Shadowheart what deity she worships is weird in that regard. Even if she lied, that'd make sense and be fine. But the story as it is gives us no choice but to not be interested.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 01:18 PM
Originally Posted by Wormerine
Or you know, instead of focusing on how many memes they can generate, Larian could do some worldbuilding, like a normal RPG - you know the stuff: minor quests that flesh out the world, highlights larger conflicts, important concepts and characters.

Namedropping stuff and having easter eggs "for fans" is fine. Relying on outside sources to create a connection with their characters is not.
Agreed.
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
I think the problem with leaving most of the Shar information to in-game books and such is that it's pretty likely that the player just...won't retain the information even if they did read it. There's a bunch of books around the game, all with all kinds of info, most of it unrelated to the main story. Why should the players do more than think "oh, this story is neat" and just file it away in the back of their minds never to be touched again? I'm all for expecting more of players, but for new players, context needs to be given. Regardless of Larian's intepretation of Shar, they should give us a concrete sense of who Shar is in the setting so that we can properly roleplay our characters. It's as simple as this; we should know what our characters know. If our character is expected to know who Shar is, and the dialogue options for the reveal imply that they do know, then we should know as players. ESPECIALLY because this is tied to the story of a major character. Larian is still telling a story, and if they want this reveal to land, then they should make sure we have the information needed to give this reveal an emotional context. This is a story, you do actually have to give players clear information sometimes so they know what's important and what to care about.

Here's the problem, your first sentence, and then your last sentence here. They do provide cursory information. The problem is that the player can, and in this case likely did, fail to make the connection between "evil Goddess that wipes her followers minds" and "that can be problematic". How deep do they have to dive into any specific lore topic to make it clear? Retention of information, and actually using what is provided, aren't the developers mess up. If nothing was provided, sure, but some information is provided. If someone is "speed running" it, and misses out on key things, that's on them. Note here that I'm not talking about an actual "world's fastest clear" here, but as with my example from swtor above, where players skipped the cutscene that explains what's happened on the planet, and didn't understand why the planet was essentially dead. So for this, things like "I don't have the time, or desire, to read the books provided in game, if I wanted to read, I'd hit Google", or similar. I'm left with the impression that we're going to need little signs at the "entrance" to various areas, explaining everything that the area is about, and some players would be complaining about all the exposition.

Again, at some point, yes, a player is going to have to do some footwork. Whether that's searching for lore books in game, or outside of the game on their own. This may come as a shock to some of us here, but that's why Wikis for these kinds of games exist. When I started in the TES series, with Oblivion, I had no idea about the lore. After over 1000 hours in Skyrim, and something close to that in ESO, I still don't. But I learned enough from the books that I've read in Oblivion, Skyrim and ESO that I have a handle on what's going on, and if anything comes up that I just don't understand, there are resources where I can look it up. Ironically, those resources are based on what other players found, in game(s) that I either didn't play, or that I missed in one of the games I did play. They dug a lot deeper into the provided lore than I did. The problem with doing something like this here is that there is 50 years of lore behind this game. If this is confusing a new player to the franchise, not just Baldur's Gate, but DnD in general, they're in for a really bumpy ride.

Quote
And just to touch on whether or not Shadowheart's armor is too obvious, I think the problem is that we know explicitly she's a cleric, it's something anyone can see. Sure, maybe if she were a fighter or a rogue or an average person, people coudl brush off the disks as jewellry. But Shadowheart is a cleric, it's observable that she's a cleric, someone who is, by definition, deeply devoted to a deity. So we take that given information, add that to the fact she's decked out in a particular symbol, then it's only logical to assume, even if you don't know about Shar, that the black disk is related to the deity she serves. If I saw someone who prominently wore a bunch of red squares as jewerly, I would assume they just liked the look. But if that same person told me that they're deeply religious, I might start to assume that those squares are related to their religion somehow. And the fact we can't ask Shadowheart what deity she worships is weird in that regard. Even if she lied, that'd make sense and be fine. But the story as it is gives us no choice but to not be interested.
Obviously, her armor circle is a lid trapdoor spider. Haha

[img] https://twitter.com/j_motoki/status/1455286671101005826?s=21 [/img]
Originally Posted by organichilimango
Obviously, her armor circle is a lid trapdoor spider. Haha

[img] https://twitter.com/j_motoki/status/1455286671101005826?s=21 [/img]

I hope you don't get in trouble with the arachnophobes... aargh
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 02:28 PM
Here's the thing, the comparison you made to your own experience in Oblivion is completely off-mark. This thread isn't about wether or not the game should give you extensive exposition on background that, if known, would enrich a player's experience. This thread is about the game failing to convey information about something it, itself, is trying to treat, namely Shar.

In other words, this is not A New Hope not telling you the code of the Jedi, or of the Sith, or about the events of the Prequels. That stuff doesn't matter as far as the story a New Hope tries to tell goes. This is a New Hope completely neglicting to sell you on the Force -- what it is, what it means and what it does -- because whatever, they'll figure it out. And if not give 'em postcards, it's all the same.

Like, staying with this example, if George Luca had done that, and hadn't he hired Sir Alec Guinness to do precisely just that -- sell the audience on space magic -- i'm pretty positive Star Wars would be remembered as A New Hope, some wonky sci-fi movie from the 70s.

Good writing, really, is what it comes down to, and giving the viewer/reader/player every tool they need to comprehend and appreciate in full the story you set out to tell them.
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
I think the problem with leaving most of the Shar information to in-game books and such is that it's pretty likely that the player just...won't retain the information even if they did read it. There's a bunch of books around the game, all with all kinds of info, most of it unrelated to the main story. Why should the players do more than think "oh, this story is neat" and just file it away in the back of their minds never to be touched again? I'm all for expecting more of players, but for new players, context needs to be given. Regardless of Larian's intepretation of Shar, they should give us a concrete sense of who Shar is in the setting so that we can properly roleplay our characters. It's as simple as this; we should know what our characters know. If our character is expected to know who Shar is, and the dialogue options for the reveal imply that they do know, then we should know as players. ESPECIALLY because this is tied to the story of a major character. Larian is still telling a story, and if they want this reveal to land, then they should make sure we have the information needed to give this reveal an emotional context. This is a story, you do actually have to give players clear information sometimes so they know what's important and what to care about.

Here's the problem, your first sentence, and then your last sentence here. They do provide cursory information. The problem is that the player can, and in this case likely did, fail to make the connection between "evil Goddess that wipes her followers minds" and "that can be problematic". How deep do they have to dive into any specific lore topic to make it clear? Retention of information, and actually using what is provided, aren't the developers mess up. If nothing was provided, sure, but some information is provided. If someone is "speed running" it, and misses out on key things, that's on them. Note here that I'm not talking about an actual "world's fastest clear" here, but as with my example from swtor above, where players skipped the cutscene that explains what's happened on the planet, and didn't understand why the planet was essentially dead. So for this, things like "I don't have the time, or desire, to read the books provided in game, if I wanted to read, I'd hit Google", or similar. I'm left with the impression that we're going to need little signs at the "entrance" to various areas, explaining everything that the area is about, and some players would be complaining about all the exposition.

Again, at some point, yes, a player is going to have to do some footwork. Whether that's searching for lore books in game, or outside of the game on their own. This may come as a shock to some of us here, but that's why Wikis for these kinds of games exist. When I started in the TES series, with Oblivion, I had no idea about the lore. After over 1000 hours in Skyrim, and something close to that in ESO, I still don't. But I learned enough from the books that I've read in Oblivion, Skyrim and ESO that I have a handle on what's going on, and if anything comes up that I just don't understand, there are resources where I can look it up. Ironically, those resources are based on what other players found, in game(s) that I either didn't play, or that I missed in one of the games I did play. They dug a lot deeper into the provided lore than I did. The problem with doing something like this here is that there is 50 years of lore behind this game. If this is confusing a new player to the franchise, not just Baldur's Gate, but DnD in general, they're in for a really bumpy ride.

I'm someone who generally likes to read lore books in rpgs, I don't mind doing reading in RPGs at all, but this is a major part of the story we're talking about. This is different from skipping a cutscene. A cutscene specifically is meant to convey information that's probably going to be relevant to the plot. What other way do devs have to reliably convey information? But I as someone who LOVES crpgs, have been trained to think that ingame books aren't going to include things that will be necessary to appreciating major plot points. You're right that at some point the player has to take responsibiilty, but where do you think that point should be? I think that conveying information that's important to allow a major character twist to be impactful through a medium that in general conveys only extra information that doesn't impact the body of the story otherwise isn't where that line should be drawn. To give another example, it would be like in Mass Effect 2, when you find out that Mordin was part of the team that created the Genophage, but until that point the only way to know anything about the genophage would be if you'd read letters and popups around the game. Not only might you miss them, but just reading that information won't get across the emotional and narrative weight you should be feeling.
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Here's the thing, the comparison you made to your own experience in Oblivion is completely off-mark. This thread isn't about wether or not the game should give you extensive exposition on background that, if known, would enrich a player's experience. This thread is about the game failing to convey information about something it, itself, is trying to treat, namely Shar.

In other words, this is not A New Hope not telling you the code of the Jedi, or of the Sith, or about the events of the Prequels. That stuff doesn't matter as far as the story a New Hope tries to tell goes. This is a New Hope completely neglicting to sell you on the Force -- what it is, what it means and what it does -- because whatever, they'll figure it out. And if not give 'em postcards, it's all the same.

Like, staying with this example, if George Luca had done that, and hadn't he hired Sir Alec Guinness to do precisely just that -- sell the audience on space magic -- i'm pretty positive Star Wars would be remembered as A New Hope, some wonky sci-fi movie from the 70s.

Good writing, really, is what it comes down to, and giving the viewer/reader/player every tool they need to comprehend and appreciate in full the story you set out to tell them.

Actually, I see it as being right on the mark. A new player, in a new (to me) franchise. Thread is about a new player being confused about some dialog concerning a deity that they don't understand. What was Oblivion about? Oh yeah, a deity that I know absolutely nothing about, trying to take over the world. TES general trope: I am a prisoner, thrust into the middle of a world shattering event, from the very beginning of the game, and if Oblivion is my first game in the series, which for me it was, then I'm completely in the dark about what any of that means, unless I pay attention to the lore when it's presented, even if it's presented in books, which a lot of it is.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 05:05 PM
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 05:46 PM
This might not be related, but how did you guys rationalize having Viconia in your party. We're not told much about Shar in that game except from Viconia herself, and while that game had little to do with Shar or Selune it is a similar dynamic to Shadowheart. Of course Vic was pretty different in BG:I to II

Also maybe the threads just gotten so long that the original point has already been dealt with but I thought that the issue was that currently the only way to get to the Shar reveal was through insight checks involving Shadowheart, when a valid way of doing it would be through a (currently absent) History or Religion check. But it seems the conversation now is more about how the game is rolling out it's world's exposition. With a bunch of straw-'new players' involved, a lot of the arguments about it seem to revolve around assumptions around what is and isn't common knowledge in the Baldur's Gate area about Shar and her followers trappings. We currently do get quite a bit of exposition around primarily the Dark Justiciar with seemly a great deal more to come from Moonrise Towers, considering the importance of the Weapon and it's interest to all parties, Shar included, I think it's reasonable to assume that a great deal of exposition will be given to us around her and Selune as the game progresses.

I guess what I'm saying is, complaining about how the exposition is rolled out isn't totally warranted. I would have liked a prologue for better insight into our character, but I think expecting a game to stop, bring everyone up to speed on hundreds of years of FR lore, when they could and should 'show' us instead is fine.

Also consider that we're still getting more scenes and dialogues added to the EA, some of this might be premature too.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 05:55 PM
OK. Fan theory time.

The Absolute IS Shar. By receiving the tadpole, all your memories of who you really were have been wiped from you. Same with the others, the origin characters. That's why you are all starting over as Level 1 and why there is literally no back story for the MC. Everything you and the origin characters think you know is lies. Just as Shadowheart THINKS she's actually a cleric of Shar, so Gale THINKS he was a lover of Mystra and so Lae'zel THINKS she was some super awesome githyanki warrior chick who should deserve a dragon of her own and a silver sword, and so Astarion THINKS he's a vampire spawn when really he's not, he's Cazador himself, and Wyll THINKS he's the Blade of Frontiers when the Blade of Frontiers is actually some other guy that is in some snippet of Wyll's memory.

Yes... everyone has lost their memories, and they have all had them rewritten. THAT is why no one questions Shadowheart. It's because deep down inside, somewhere deep in their psyche, the Absolute, Shar, doesn't want them to ask her. It is suppressed. This is also why no Religion rolls are made or information given about Shar to the PCs. It is because Shar is suppressing this knowledge as much as possible so that the MC and company will not divert from her intended course. All of it is Shar's doing, and so when you learn about Shadowheart's secret, whether you know anything about Shar or not as a player, it doesn't matter. It is unspecial to you because it is unspecial to your character because Shar WANTS it to be unspecial.

Mind blown!

And now, to break the fourth wall, ALL of us are in this same boat. We, the players, have had our memories erased by Shar. We once came from Faerun, but WE were captured by mind flayers and had our lives reset here in this world. Shar has taken our memories from us and rewritten our lives. We all THINK we are who we think we are, but the truth is, we're not. We ALL have mind flayer parasites in our heads consuming our true personalities and turning us into mind flayers. WE are all True Souls.

👹
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 06:04 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
This might not be related, but how did you guys rationalize having Viconia in your party. We're not told much about Shar in that game except from Viconia herself, and while that game had little to do with Shar or Selune it is a similar dynamic to Shadowheart. Of course Vic was pretty different in BG:I to II

Also maybe the threads just gotten so long that the original point has already been dealt with but I thought that the issue was that currently the only way to get to the Shar reveal was through insight checks involving Shadowheart, when a valid way of doing it would be through a (currently absent) History or Religion check. But it seems the conversation now is more about how the game is rolling out it's world's exposition. With a bunch of straw-'new players' involved, a lot of the arguments about it seem to revolve around assumptions around what is and isn't common knowledge in the Baldur's Gate area about Shar and her followers trappings. We currently do get quite a bit of exposition around primarily the Dark Justiciar with seemly a great deal more to come from Moonrise Towers, considering the importance of the Weapon and it's interest to all parties, Shar included, I think it's reasonable to assume that a great deal of exposition will be given to us around her and Selune as the game progresses.

I guess what I'm saying is, complaining about how the exposition is rolled out isn't totally warranted. I would have liked a prologue for better insight into our character, but I think expecting a game to stop, bring everyone up to speed on hundreds of years of FR lore, when they could and should 'show' us instead is fine.

Also consider that we're still getting more scenes and dialogues added to the EA, some of this might be premature too.

Nah. See. That's where the misunderstanding has come in. The original poster is a new player to Forgotten Realms, and he/she was just saying that they were totally confused when Shadowheart revealed that she was a Sharran cleric. They didn't know how to respond because there was no basic background given at all as to who Shar was and why he/she should even care.

So the suggestion was that Larian should provide at least some basic knowledge of who Shar is so that new players who don't know FR lore aren't totally like, "Shar who?" when Shadowheart reveals to them that she's a cleric of Shar.

Some argued, "It's in the books. Read the books, Fool!"

But the reply was, "I'm not going to read all those dang books just to learn basic story plot information. Books are for lore junkies. They shouldn't house major plot points and such."

And it escalated from there into all sorts of crazy things.

The bottom line is, there are plenty of places along the way that Larian could throw in a sentence or two for new players to let them know who Shar is and why they should care. We're not asking for any expositions or huge cutscenes going over the history of Shar and Selune (though I think someone brought up that suggestion somewhere in the thread). Most are simply looking for a Religion check somewhere along the way, even if it's during the BIG REVEAL, and if you pass you, the player, get to learn stuff about Shar but if you fail you are in the dark; and your character dialogue options should reflect your character's success or fail roll. If they don't know Shar, they might say, "Yeah. And? Who's Shar anyway?" If they succeed, they might say, "You are a cleric of Shar? Witch!" or "Yeah, and? I could care less" or even, "I've known the whole time, Shadowheart. I could care less who you serve. You're one of us regardless." And then maybe even gain some relationship points for it.

Either way, the main point of the entire thread is literally that a new player wanted more information given to them by Larian through dialogue or something just to give them some idea who Shar is. That's it. That's all they, the OP, originally asked for. He/she didn't even ask for the dice roll thing.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 06:49 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
I guess what I'm saying is, complaining about how the exposition is rolled out isn't totally warranted. I would have liked a prologue for better insight into our character, but I think expecting a game to stop, bring everyone up to speed on hundreds of years of FR lore, when they could and should 'show' us instead is fine.

One sentence (two, at most).
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 07:01 PM
I like some of this theory, I think there is a good argument to be made that Shar or Selune is the Absolute in collusion with the Illithids, but then you get to Wyl who has a number of people to corroborate his backstory (including a Baldurian player). It'd be very interesting if select memories were being suppressed by dream-entity in order to make our investigation harder, or better yet to lead our investigation towards being captured again.

I think there is ample material in the game to tell you who Shar is, mostly from Shadowheart, and I also think there is going to be much more on the way.
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.

Except that that's not exactly true, right? We not only know the King got whacked, we see who did it, and they're trying to whack us too. Subtext: We are drawn into a world shattering event, from people that we know nothing about. Nowhere did Oblivion pause the game and explain who the Mythic Dawn worships. I may be misremembering the name of the cult. What I am not misremembering is that they were worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, and, as you point out, a new player would have no idea what that means, or who it is, and we don't get that information until much later.

So if a new player starting in Oblivion had gone to the forums complaining that they didn't understand why this cult they know nothing about was trying to kill them, what would the response be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be a lot different than what we're getting here, right?
Posted By: Gray Ghost Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 08:12 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.

Except that that's not exactly true, right? We not only know the King got whacked, we see who did it, and they're trying to whack us too. Subtext: We are drawn into a world shattering event, from people that we know nothing about. Nowhere did Oblivion pause the game and explain who the Mythic Dawn worships. I may be misremembering the name of the cult. What I am not misremembering is that they were worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, and, as you point out, a new player would have no idea what that means, or who it is, and we don't get that information until much later.

So if a new player starting in Oblivion had gone to the forums complaining that they didn't understand why this cult they know nothing about was trying to kill them, what would the response be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be a lot different than what we're getting here, right?

The trick here is that you as the player aren't *supposed* to know who they are at that point, and we don't need to know either. Like you said, we do get that information, just later on. I can't completely remember the context of when you learn about him, but I don't think that learning specifically who they worship is meant to be a big twist. If I recall correctly, it doesn't strictly matter who exactly they worship. All the player needs to know is that he's a world-ending threat. All the other detail about who he is in the context of the world we exist in. The why of it doesn't really matter because, knowing he wants to destroy the world is enough of a reason to oppose him. But in the case of BG3, it really does matter that we know who Shar is in the context of the world because otherwise we don't have any reason to care about what Shadowheart, our companion and a major secondary character, is telling us. If the new Oblivion player went to the forums, the answer to their complaint would be "wait, you'll get that info later." Maybe they could read books and figure it out earlier based on hints and context, but that's not going to fundamentally change their experience of the story. In this case however, the difference between an emotionally sattisfying moment and a confusing one is whether or not you read and noted the importance of a couple random books that might well have just been flavor, like most other books in the game are.
Posted By: Innateagle Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 08:23 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.

Except that that's not exactly true, right? We not only know the King got whacked, we see who did it, and they're trying to whack us too. Subtext: We are drawn into a world shattering event, from people that we know nothing about. Nowhere did Oblivion pause the game and explain who the Mythic Dawn worships. I may be misremembering the name of the cult. What I am not misremembering is that they were worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, and, as you point out, a new player would have no idea what that means, or who it is, and we don't get that information until much later.

So if a new player starting in Oblivion had gone to the forums complaining that they didn't understand why this cult they know nothing about was trying to kill them, what would the response be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be a lot different than what we're getting here, right?

That they're trying to kill them because they killed the Emperor, and the Emperor gave them 'the amulet of Kings'? think That's the hook, my dude, and by that point you need no more than that information for the story to make sense and move forward. The Emperor died infront of you to mysterious assassins serving a Prince of Darkness, and if you wanna learn more/avenge him/whatever you gotta bring the thingy to the place. Because he told you to do so, kingly as fuck, before dying.

Like, that's how any decent narrative works. Tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. And in this here case, the game needs to tell you about Shar before it asks you what's your opinion of her. It's pretty clear cut.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 10:29 PM
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.

Except that that's not exactly true, right? We not only know the King got whacked, we see who did it, and they're trying to whack us too. Subtext: We are drawn into a world shattering event, from people that we know nothing about. Nowhere did Oblivion pause the game and explain who the Mythic Dawn worships. I may be misremembering the name of the cult. What I am not misremembering is that they were worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, and, as you point out, a new player would have no idea what that means, or who it is, and we don't get that information until much later.

So if a new player starting in Oblivion had gone to the forums complaining that they didn't understand why this cult they know nothing about was trying to kill them, what would the response be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be a lot different than what we're getting here, right?

That they're trying to kill them because they killed the Emperor, and the Emperor gave them 'the amulet of Kings'? think That's the hook, my dude, and by that point you need no more than that information for the story to make sense and move forward. The Emperor died infront of you to mysterious assassins serving a Prince of Darkness, and if you wanna learn more/avenge him/whatever you gotta bring the thingy to the place. Because he told you to do so, kingly as fuck, before dying.

Like, that's how any decent narrative works. Tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. And in this here case, the game needs to tell you about Shar before it asks you what's your opinion of her. It's pretty clear cut.

I think Robert's brain is incapable of differentiating between information you need for the story to function for an audience versus information that isn't necessary for the audience to follow the story.

Did we need to know all oblivion gods to understand oblivion's intro? Nope. Who the assassins are? Nope. Where Cyrodil is or what is so special about the emperor? Nope.
It was pretty clear cut for what the player needed to do.
Survive and follow through the emperor's request. The story doesn't require the player to know everything.

The same is true about the Witcher 3.
Do I need to know what happened in the previous 2 games? No.
Do I need to know what happened in the books? No.
Do I need to know all the geopolitics? No.

I am a white haired cat eyed man who kills monsters. Is searching for his love interest and finds clues in the local village.
There is a war happening with southern black and gold clad germans-like people kicking red and white clad eastern european like country in some nearby village.
It just isn't necessary for me to know more and as the game progresses everyhing will be explained as it was necessary for me and other viewers to get context.

The problem with Shar is there is no context.
if the game and story setting was simpler with angels vs demons and Shadowheart being a demon worshipper that would make require less explanation because presumebly for the first 30 minutes I saw demons being evil and whoever that associates with them is not a cool person to hang out with.
But obviously that isn't the case here.

What is interesting is that this game is CONSTANTLY narrating things a denizen of Fearun would know anyway. So why not give a narration about Shar? It just doesn't make sense especially considering how integral Shar seems to be in the story.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 10:39 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
OK. Fan theory time.

The Absolute IS Shar.

Interesting theory, though I think the Absolute is more likely to be the Chained Oblivion - pretending to be something else enticing is its primary MO.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 10:50 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
I like some of this theory, I think there is a good argument to be made that Shar or Selune is the Absolute in collusion with the Illithids, but then you get to Wyl who has a number of people to corroborate his backstory (including a Baldurian player). It'd be very interesting if select memories were being suppressed by dream-entity in order to make our investigation harder, or better yet to lead our investigation towards being captured again.

I think there is ample material in the game to tell you who Shar is, mostly from Shadowheart, and I also think there is going to be much more on the way.

Yes. I think there will be plenty of material to tell us who she is in the game. The point of this post, however, is that the game needs a very basic description of who these goddesses are prior to Shadow hearts reveal. It's not about whether they're actually going to tell you who these goddesses are at some point. It is simply about the player being able to learn that information via a dice roll or a cutscene before Shadow heart tells them her Secret. That way, they can respond in the more intelligent manner to her reveal.

By the way, I was only joking about the fan theory. My real fan theory is that the absolute is it actually the main villain in throne of bhaal. 😮. Raised back to life after the second sundering.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 02/11/21 11:28 PM
When given two ridiculous choices, choose the most ridiculous. What was the name of the monk Bhaalspawn, Balthazar? Or do you mean Melisandre or whatever her name was. I guess that makes some sense, it might also help work in the Hell angle. Throne of Bhaal was a bit forgettable for me.

As for Shar and her reveal, I think her reveal can be the SH reveal. It could be better done, everything can (especially in an EA), but in a game where every scene has to go through a rubric of what kind of character you've decided to roll, you have to make a game that works well with both characters who have expertise in the religious realm and ones who were medieval peasants before being abducted by Mind-Flayers.

Not knowing things about the world your in isn't a handicap, being forced to make decisions based upon a presupposed information is, and I don't think we've reached that point.
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.

Except that that's not exactly true, right? We not only know the King got whacked, we see who did it, and they're trying to whack us too. Subtext: We are drawn into a world shattering event, from people that we know nothing about. Nowhere did Oblivion pause the game and explain who the Mythic Dawn worships. I may be misremembering the name of the cult. What I am not misremembering is that they were worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, and, as you point out, a new player would have no idea what that means, or who it is, and we don't get that information until much later.

So if a new player starting in Oblivion had gone to the forums complaining that they didn't understand why this cult they know nothing about was trying to kill them, what would the response be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be a lot different than what we're getting here, right?

Mystery is good, but asking players to make important decisions before they know more isn't really good.
It's as bad as games where the player chooses a dialogue option that seems peaceful only to have their character start yelling at someone (was it Mass Effect that did that?).

As for Oblivion, the player isn't given a companion who is part of the Mythic Dawn, and it's pretty obvious that the Mythic Dawn is evil, since they're the ones who are opening gates to the Deadlands everywhere.

In Baldur's Gate III, the player doesn't know any followers of Shar besides Shadowheart, and there's nothing that would point to Shar being evil, even though the player's character seems to know that, considering the dialogue options.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 12:42 AM
i find it hard to grasp how we're comparing Oblivion and Shadow Heart's big reveal that she's a worshipper of Shar. Of course you didn't know anything about what was going on in Oblivion, that was the whole mystery. You slowly go things revealed as you went along. All you knew at the beginning was that you were special somehow. With SH's reveal, you work and work for this big secret and then "i follow Shar". Oh. No really SH, what's the actual big secret?
Posted By: timebean Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 12:59 AM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
I think Robert's brain is incapable of differentiating between information you need for the story to function for an audience versus information that isn't necessary for the audience to follow the story.

Did we need to know all oblivion gods to understand oblivion's intro? Nope. Who the assassins are? Nope. Where Cyrodil is or what is so special about the emperor? Nope.
It was pretty clear cut for what the player needed to do.
Survive and follow through the emperor's request. The story doesn't require the player to know everything.

The same is true about the Witcher 3.
Do I need to know what happened in the previous 2 games? No.
Do I need to know what happened in the books? No.
Do I need to know all the geopolitics? No.

I am a white haired cat eyed man who kills monsters. Is searching for his love interest and finds clues in the local village.
There is a war happening with southern black and gold clad germans-like people kicking red and white clad eastern european like country in some nearby village.
It just isn't necessary for me to know more and as the game progresses everyhing will be explained as it was necessary for me and other viewers to get context.

The problem with Shar is there is no context.
if the game and story setting was simpler with angels vs demons and Shadowheart being a demon worshipper that would make require less explanation because presumebly for the first 30 minutes I saw demons being evil and whoever that associates with them is not a cool person to hang out with.
But obviously that isn't the case here.

What is interesting is that this game is CONSTANTLY narrating things a denizen of Fearun would know anyway. So why not give a narration about Shar? It just doesn't make sense especially considering how integral Shar seems to be in the story.

This is a very good post. Well stated.

Also…I read every book I find in game (I enjoy doing so) and have a decent memory. I also dislike long exposition dumps, and do not want that in the game at all. It just so happens that I did not read any books before the Shadowheart reveal that told me more than this: Shar was the Lady of Loss (and is mean to her loyal followers to teach them), and is the sister of Selune, and a dark deity.I kinda saw her as the Yin to the Yang type goddess. I did not know anything about her followers being murderers and consorting with terrible creatures to do bad things (as I learned from googling). I had no idea about how others in the world felt about her or her followers either…ie, the people of Faerun. My companions thought it no big deal.

Could it be that maybe…just maybe…folks on here that have known Forgotten Realms lore for years and years just *might*, a teensy bit, fail to notice how some things are really poorly explained in this game? Is it possible that the game lore seems easy to digest to some because those folks already know alot of it? And is it possible that people who happen *not* to know it might indeed be reading all those books and exploring every nook and cranny just like you, but are still missing vital context because it is just not there?

I know about Avernus and tiefling distrust. Why? A history skill role and a stroll thru the druid grove. I also know a bunch about harpers and druids. I know about vampires and githtankyi from convos with Asterion and Lazeal. I know about all kinds of other things about the world cause I explored it and paid attention. Hell..I know more about some random pain goddess than Shar in game. I even know about goblins and their god Maglubiyat.

Still had no idea how to respond to Shadowhearts reveal when it happened. It is fair feedback.

I don’t know why the newbs are getting accused of being too lazy to read. It may not be the case. And it is a small thing that is being asked for. (Go to the RtWP topic to see demands for substantial game changes)
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Um, what? All you know, and all anyone knows, at the beginning of Oblivion is that the Emperor got axed. The Emperor, voice acted by Patrick Stewart, whom you met and talked to as to give weight and meaning to the world shattering event that by itself would have meant nothing to any new player. You learn about Mehrunes Dagon way later on, and the game eases you into that too. You're not just dropped into some random inn, given a quest and asked to read on some random book about some God you know nothing about, because that would suck.

Except that that's not exactly true, right? We not only know the King got whacked, we see who did it, and they're trying to whack us too. Subtext: We are drawn into a world shattering event, from people that we know nothing about. Nowhere did Oblivion pause the game and explain who the Mythic Dawn worships. I may be misremembering the name of the cult. What I am not misremembering is that they were worshippers of Mehrunes Dagon, and, as you point out, a new player would have no idea what that means, or who it is, and we don't get that information until much later.

So if a new player starting in Oblivion had gone to the forums complaining that they didn't understand why this cult they know nothing about was trying to kill them, what would the response be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be a lot different than what we're getting here, right?

That they're trying to kill them because they killed the Emperor, and the Emperor gave them 'the amulet of Kings'? think That's the hook, my dude, and by that point you need no more than that information for the story to make sense and move forward. The Emperor died infront of you to mysterious assassins serving a Prince of Darkness, and if you wanna learn more/avenge him/whatever you gotta bring the thingy to the place. Because he told you to do so, kingly as fuck, before dying.

Like, that's how any decent narrative works. Tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. And in this here case, the game needs to tell you about Shar before it asks you what's your opinion of her. It's pretty clear cut.

I think Robert's brain is incapable of differentiating between information you need for the story to function for an audience versus information that isn't necessary for the audience to follow the story.

Did we need to know all oblivion gods to understand oblivion's intro? Nope. Who the assassins are? Nope. Where Cyrodil is or what is so special about the emperor? Nope.
It was pretty clear cut for what the player needed to do.
Survive and follow through the emperor's request. The story doesn't require the player to know everything.

The same is true about the Witcher 3.
Do I need to know what happened in the previous 2 games? No.
Do I need to know what happened in the books? No.
Do I need to know all the geopolitics? No.

I am a white haired cat eyed man who kills monsters. Is searching for his love interest and finds clues in the local village.
There is a war happening with southern black and gold clad germans-like people kicking red and white clad eastern european like country in some nearby village.
It just isn't necessary for me to know more and as the game progresses everyhing will be explained as it was necessary for me and other viewers to get context.

The problem with Shar is there is no context.
if the game and story setting was simpler with angels vs demons and Shadowheart being a demon worshipper that would make require less explanation because presumebly for the first 30 minutes I saw demons being evil and whoever that associates with them is not a cool person to hang out with.
But obviously that isn't the case here.

What is interesting is that this game is CONSTANTLY narrating things a denizen of Fearun would know anyway. So why not give a narration about Shar? It just doesn't make sense especially considering how integral Shar seems to be in the story.

I really hope this is you trying to be ironic. "I found some information that said she wipes her followers minds, but I didn't understand that that could be a bad thing". I mean, that's the whole reason this thread exists, right?
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 03:24 AM
I believe the point was

Quote
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 04:41 AM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
I believe the point was

Quote
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?

we already established the guy has a tough time understanding the written word.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 05:04 AM
Please try to keep it civil folks... if your comment is solely directed at mocking someone else, consider how valuable it is to the conversation, and maybe don't post it.
Posted By: Dez Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 05:25 AM
Originally Posted by Try2Handing
Originally Posted by Innateagle
Having not played DoS2 in its entirety, i gotta wonder if it's just how Larian does things or if it's a byproduct of trying to make this game feel as big as its franchise, quote unquote fill the shoes (which is ironic, considering the biggest takeaway from any astounding Bioware game is that the first enemy should always be rats or the like, so that what comes later on can truly awe you).
Very much the same thing in DOS2. Essentially, if you don't get to converse with gods or some similar "greater power beings" on a daily basis by the end of the first third of the game, then the game is not worth playing.

It's the same issue with Pathfinder WotR, tbh. The game tries too hard to be... grandiose. Tries too hard to impress the player. Tries too hard to shower the player with as much "cool and awesomeness" as they can. A goddess just pops out of thin air and starts talking to you without any prior indication, then next moment a demon lord also shows up and joins the convo, and there you are chatting casually with a goddess and a demon lord at the same time. You can say "but they do have a reason to talk to you" - sure, that may not be wrong, but I simply don't find it convincing at all. It just makes me think wow this game is trying too hard to make me feel important.

Also, admittedly, I got the same feeling playing PoE: Deadfire. All the conventions with gods, and all the dialogue options that make you sound like a cheeky rebellious upstart so you may feel "wow look at me I'm talking to these gods like an equal". Ngl they made me wince.

I guess in this day and age everything just gotta go fast.

I agree with this soooooo much.

I adore the PoE-games to death, but I really wouldnt't argue how PoE:D really tries to make your character so next-level-special that it feels completely off at times. Same with DoS2 - I am seriously very fond of the setting and the game in general, but the entire "talking to your god-thing" on such occasions really makes me frown a bit. I personally do not play these kinds of games to have a character that wants to achieve godhood - I play it as a type of epic DnD session for one player. Being just a regular exploration story - or at least something more subtle like PoE1 - is more my cup of tea. I don't want to roleplay as an exploring searching for godlike powers - I want to roleplay as a regular explorer. (:

Anyways! That is an discussion for another topic - back to the issue at hand!

I do not believe (like many others) that the solution of "Who is Shar and why do I care?" lies in books. Books should be flavor, hints, Easter eggs and some advanced story for those who enjoy it - but not the very core lore with necessary game knowledge. It is much to unreliable in case a player completely misses the book (as many players are not the "I read everything I find!"-types).

Like many stated before me - who Shar is, is something a DM would explain to you if asked them - preferably BEFORE dramatic reveal moments. Larian has stated several times that they want to be the DM of our journey in BG3 and that they want to copy the PnP/TT feeling as far as possible in BG3.

Like Ragitsu said, we don't even need a "book" to understand the basics of Shar. A decent description of Shar that would be enough to cover the basic knowledge that most residents of Faêrun possess could easily be done in one sentence, or two (and so many people here have already made really good examples of such sentences). Personally I am in favor for having the narrator announce the basics whenever Shar is brought up for the first time - as the narrator is supposed to back the player with information that they should possess ingame, yet might not do so irl. Like a DM!
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
I believe the point was

Quote
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?

we already established the guy has a tough time understanding the written word.

Can't. Stop. Laughing.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 12:06 PM
Didn't you folks learn anything from your encounter with the Empathic Manifestation?
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 06:26 PM
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
I believe the point was

Quote
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?

we already established the guy has a tough time understanding the written word.

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

What's more hilarious is the majority if not all the people here disagree with you.
It has been 19 pages of people that are trying to communicate to you what the problem is and what the point of the first post of this thread was and you still don't get it.

Actually its probably not hilarious. It's sad really.
Imagine debating for 19 pages against the idea that new players could benefit from the narrator explaining who and what shar is to give context to the reactions of SH's reveal.
Instead of you know... pausing the game and opening an encyclopedia, google or whatever third party lore dump to get an explanation.
And this is all in the context of the game is already doing TONS of world building exposition through the narrator and skills checks.

wow... Just... wow...
Go outside. Touch some grass.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 06:30 PM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Go outside. Touch some grass.

"'Grass'? What is 'grass"?"
"Here's a book. Knock yourself out."
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 06:58 PM
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Can't. Stop. Laughing.

What's more hilarious is the majority if not all the people here disagree with you.
It has been 19 pages of people that are trying to communicate to you what the problem is and what the point of the first post of this thread was and you still don't get it.

Actually its probably not hilarious. It's sad really.
Imagine debating for 19 pages against the idea that new players could benefit from the narrator explaining who and what shar is to give context to the reactions of SH's reveal.
Instead of you know... pausing the game and opening an encyclopedia, google or whatever third party lore dump to get an explanation.
And this is all in the context of the game is already doing TONS of world building exposition through the narrator and skills checks.

wow... Just... wow...
Go outside. Touch some grass.

Don't engage with him, all it's going to do is bring the mods down and he'll convince himself he "won" either way.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 07:46 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by Eddiar
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Can't. Stop. Laughing.

What's more hilarious is the majority if not all the people here disagree with you.
It has been 19 pages of people that are trying to communicate to you what the problem is and what the point of the first post of this thread was and you still don't get it.

Actually its probably not hilarious. It's sad really.
Imagine debating for 19 pages against the idea that new players could benefit from the narrator explaining who and what shar is to give context to the reactions of SH's reveal.
Instead of you know... pausing the game and opening an encyclopedia, google or whatever third party lore dump to get an explanation.
And this is all in the context of the game is already doing TONS of world building exposition through the narrator and skills checks.

wow... Just... wow...
Go outside. Touch some grass.

Don't engage with him, all it's going to do is bring the mods down and he'll convince himself he "won" either way.


Yeah... you are right.
Sorry mods. I am done.
^-^

A bit of exposition on repeat themes and elements wouldn't hurt indeed.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 08:16 PM
Aaand we're back...how about seeing more of the Sharran raid on the Nautiloid, it might give us a primer on what exactly Shar stands for and set the tone for what her worshippers are like.

I'm thinking we have two good sources of information on Shar in the game, Shadowheart, and Halsin, Halsin because he fought with the Justiciars personally, but we're not liable to meet him, if ever, until well into the game. Considering where all the Shadowheart scenes are, the game probably expects us to have the reveal before then also.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 08:30 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
good sources of information on Shar

...

Shadowheart

Consider the source.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 08:41 PM
What about the chapel? There is an enchanted book there that we get inspiration from and it is about old dead forgotten gods... why not have that book be about Shar left by some ancient scribe?
Maybe have shar exposed to the player there and maybe have some visual display about what horrible things the dark justiciar do that makes shar worshippers so hated...

Maybe have SH lie to us right there about who she worships?
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 08:55 PM
Based on what she says I don't think there's any misinformation going on about Shar from Shadowheart.

The thing about the chapel, I'm not sure when it was constructed, is there an implication it was made before the reboot? All the old Jergal priests kept it there for when...things happen. This might be datamined stuff I'm not privy too.

And I don't think having Shadowheart lie to us about who she worships, isn't very different from what we get now, where it's a non-issue. I think because they want this Shar reveal to happen pretty early it would get in the way of that too. They want us to have a sympathetic voice for Shar in the party, and they want it there for us to deal with early.

As soon as we get more of the less morally compromised companions, I think her reveal might become a bigger deal for the player and the party, maybe
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 11:08 PM
Originally Posted by Dez
Like Ragitsu said, we don't even need a "book" to understand the basics of Shar. A decent description of Shar that would be enough to cover the basic knowledge that most residents of Faêrun possess could easily be done in one sentence, or two (and so many people here have already made really good examples of such sentences). Personally I am in favor for having the narrator announce the basics whenever Shar is brought up for the first time - as the narrator is supposed to back the player with information that they should possess ingame, yet might not do so irl. Like a DM!

"Be inside when the night shows its face,
Shar takes boys and girls that run into her embrace."
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 11:10 PM
You also have another potential good source of knowledge in the game. And that's my point. Your character may know who these goddesses are. Why is it only reserved to two potential experts? Lots of characters in the game might know who they are and could give players at least a brief explanation.

Here's the thing. You get to SH big reveal. She says, "I worship Shar."

Immediately, you have dialogue options. You, the player, are expected to know right then and there who they are with potentially 0 exposure to them.

My wife was one such person. She gets bored of lore books and such. We got to the big SH reveal, and she was like, "Is Shar bad or something? Should we kick her out?". I had to explain to her why Shar was a big deal. It was 100 % lost on her.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 11:31 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Based on what she says I don't think there's any misinformation going on about Shar from Shadowheart.

The thing about the chapel, I'm not sure when it was constructed, is there an implication it was made before the reboot? All the old Jergal priests kept it there for when...things happen. This might be datamined stuff I'm not privy too.

And I don't think having Shadowheart lie to us about who she worships, isn't very different from what we get now, where it's a non-issue. I think because they want this Shar reveal to happen pretty early it would get in the way of that too. They want us to have a sympathetic voice for Shar in the party, and they want it there for us to deal with early.

As soon as we get more of the less morally compromised companions, I think her reveal might become a bigger deal for the player and the party, maybe

Yeah I was trying to find a point in time to get the shar intro and have a chance for Shadowheart to lie to us to justify the dialogue line we get later "You lied to me!" when she never did.
Posted By: Big_hat Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 03/11/21 11:46 PM
I had/have no idea who Shar was/is. When the big reveal came, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "So? Is this God really that bad? Are they like a Bane, Bhaal, Lolth type of God?" So I just went with the most neutral response. The game does need a better job of explaining who Shar is. All I knew was that Shar and Selune hated each other... And I have no idea who Selune is either, other than she's good? Because she opposes Shar?
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 04/11/21 01:17 PM
Originally Posted by Big_hat
I had/have no idea who Shar was/is. When the big reveal came, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "So? Is this God really that bad? Are they like a Bane, Bhaal, Lolth type of God?" So I just went with the most neutral response. The game does need a better job of explaining who Shar is. All I knew was that Shar and Selune hated each other... And I have no idea who Selune is either, other than she's good? Because she opposes Shar?
Indeed. It is perfectly reasonable that not every person playing this game will be an FR lore-loving person like me. The problem here is very much how the Larian writers have written the game. And I can't help but wonder if it is because the writers themselves are completely clueless about all of this FR lore. Maybe they're sincerely big D&D fans, but that doesn't mean they're FR fans and very knowledgeable about FR lore. So their focus maybe on making a "good D&D game," which is not the same as making a "good FR game," which is what I am looking for and expecting in a BG game.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 04/11/21 01:31 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Based on what she says I don't think there's any misinformation going on about Shar from Shadowheart.

Shadowheart isn't misinformative but biased, and she should be kept as such because she is a Sharite and that perspective is part of her character (and likely, her character ark). The "standard" (I can't think of a better way to put it in English right now) view on her is that I feel needs to be conveyed would be Shar as an Adversary deity. Shadowheart's perspective should be something that contrast with and add nuance to this "standard" view most people would have.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 04/11/21 02:48 PM
I don't think they're clueless. There is too much lore written in the books and tomes with too many details for them to be clueless.

I'm guessing it's more of something like them not thinking how certain things might seem to the player.

Assuming you played the first two games, you should probably at least have some idea of who Shar is because of Viconia.

But not everyone who is playing BG3 has played 1 and 2. They're coming in fresh. It is these players who will be lost if they don't do something to explain who these goddesses are.

And who knows, maybe SH's entire look IS intentional. Maybe she's Selune's avatar, and Shar is totally messing with her. Who knows?

Regardless. Your character should roll to see if they know or recognize her for what she is. If they don't want to do that, they shouldn't have her wear that armor.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 04/11/21 05:08 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
...They want us to have a sympathetic voice for Shar in the party, and they want it there for us to deal with early.

As soon as we get more of the less morally compromised companions, I think her reveal might become a bigger deal for the player and the party, maybe

"Great minds" friend.

Yes considering what a large role it appears Shar will be playing in the narrative I have to assume they'll be making it pretty clear, but I think it needs to be told from the perspective of someone in the world, not from pseudo-scholarly perspective like from a historical book or cleric, or from an omniscient perspective like a lore dump cinematic, not to say we shouldn't have those. I think there's a way that we talk about Shar, that isn't how people in-universe would talk about her, most people in FR don't have access to the kind of material we do.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 04/11/21 05:10 PM
Nearly all of my Shar knowledge is from BG I and II and I'm still in the dark...about most of what's happened pertinent to BG:III.

You might say I'm the perfect test subject for this.
Posted By: Big_hat Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 04/11/21 10:00 PM
Originally Posted by GM4Him
I don't think they're clueless. There is too much lore written in the books and tomes with too many details for them to be clueless.

I'm guessing it's more of something like them not thinking how certain things might seem to the player.

Assuming you played the first two games, you should probably at least have some idea of who Shar is because of Viconia.

But not everyone who is playing BG3 has played 1 and 2. They're coming in fresh. It is these players who will be lost if they don't do something to explain who these goddesses are.

And who knows, maybe SH's entire look IS intentional. Maybe she's Selune's avatar, and Shar is totally messing with her. Who knows?

Regardless. Your character should roll to see if they know or recognize her for what she is. If they don't want to do that, they shouldn't have her wear that armor.

Yup, you're right. I didnt play BG1 or 2. I have BG1 in my steam library, but didn't get past the first town. It's just a different game to what I have become accustomed to in the 00s
Posted By: dza101 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 08/11/21 11:20 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Nearly all of my Shar knowledge is from BG I and II and I'm still in the dark...about most of what's happened pertinent to BG:III.

You might say I'm the perfect test subject for this.


I think the big issue is that Shar caused the spellplague by getting cyric to murder Mystra about 100 years before the game is set. The spellplague was a cataclysmic event that killed millions of people, destroyed cities, etc. Baldur's Gate wasn't effected much, but most of the rest of the world was.

Maybe there should be a text during the loading screen about this. Maybe your character can make a Religion check after she mentions Shar, and it fills your character in a bit.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 10/11/21 02:47 PM
Originally Posted by dza101
Originally Posted by Sozz
Nearly all of my Shar knowledge is from BG I and II and I'm still in the dark...about most of what's happened pertinent to BG:III.

You might say I'm the perfect test subject for this.


I think the big issue is that Shar caused the spellplague by getting cyric to murder Mystra about 100 years before the game is set. The spellplague was a cataclysmic event that killed millions of people, destroyed cities, etc. Baldur's Gate wasn't effected much, but most of the rest of the world was.

Maybe there should be a text during the loading screen about this. Maybe your character can make a Religion check after she mentions Shar, and it fills your character in a bit.

She did what? Oh I guess that explains the Mystra thing.
Yeah they should really explain all this... especially since Shar seems to be a constant presence in the game.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 10/11/21 05:24 PM
Shar: the gestalt of abject spitefulness and nihilism.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 11/11/21 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by dza101
Originally Posted by Sozz
Nearly all of my Shar knowledge is from BG I and II and I'm still in the dark...about most of what's happened pertinent to BG:III.

You might say I'm the perfect test subject for this.


I think the big issue is that Shar caused the spellplague by getting cyric to murder Mystra about 100 years before the game is set. The spellplague was a cataclysmic event that killed millions of people, destroyed cities, etc. Baldur's Gate wasn't effected much, but most of the rest of the world was.
Yup. This was Shar's machinations too, her attempt to destroy the Weave and replace it with her "Dark Weave."
Posted By: panacean Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 11/11/21 06:23 PM
Agree, there should be more lore exposition to inform dialogue choices. Better to "show, don't tell" with story cut scenes rather than direct explanations.

Or, dialogue choices should assume the player knows little about the lore. Choices could be effectively "who's Shar" or "why does this matter," except disguised as a question that makes more sense in-universe.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 06:04 AM
Dude! Dark Justiciar armor in Grymforge confirms. Shadowheart armor is 100% Sharran. Symbol on chest and all. Her starter armor is almost identical to armor you can find on a dead Dark Justiciar, and it labeled as such.

Yeah. They need to start her with different armor and have her pick up the Dark Justiciar armor in Grymforge or something.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
or something.
Something like force her zo use Discuise Self spell she have allways prepared? smile
Posted By: Soul-Scar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 11:15 AM
Yeah it is a bit like someone walking into a room with a MAGA hat and "lets go Brandon" t-shirt and someone someone asking "What god are you a cleric of exactly?".

Aside from the fact Shadowheart is a total douchbag everytime you ask a simple question and the "I AM A SHAR WORSHIPPER!" armor she is wearing. The big secret being .....drum roll.....she is a shar worshipper. Phew! glad you cleared that up, I had my suspicions because of the blue hair and social studies degree sticking out of your pocket and nothing to do with the 0.5 meter squared sign on your chest plate.

Subtle, the goddess of secrets indeed. On a side note shadowheart would have used her disguise spell automatically as a shar worshipper. shadowheart as a follower of Shar would tell people a pack of lies rather than attract attention with agressive denial imo.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 11:38 AM
Originally Posted by Soul-Scar
Yeah it is a bit like someone walking into a room with a MAGA hat and "lets go Brandon" t-shirt and someone someone asking "What god are you a cleric of exactly?".

Aside from the fact Shadowheart is a total douchbag everytime you ask a simple question and the "I AM A SHAR WORSHIPPER!" armor she is wearing. The big secret being .....drum roll.....she is a shar worshipper. Phew! glad you cleared that up, I had my suspicions because of the blue hair and social studies degree sticking out of your pocket and nothing to do with the 0.5 meter squared sign on your chest plate.

Subtle, the goddess of secrets indeed. On a side note shadowheart would have used her disguise spell automatically as a shar worshipper. shadowheart as a follower of Shar would tell people a pack of lies rather than attract attention with agressive denial imo.

...wha?
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 02:45 PM
It seemed clear to me but i'll try to simplify it.

Quote
It's like someone with a MAGA hat saying "my secret is I voted for Trump".

That's not a secret, it's obvious.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 03:27 PM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
It seemed clear to me but i'll try to simplify it.

Quote
It's like someone with a MAGA hat saying "my secret is I voted for Trump".

That's not a secret, it's obvious.

Nah. It's more like someone wearing red. Then you find out they voted Republican. Then you proclaim how obvious it was all along. Because red states is how they show Republican states on tv.

1. She has black decorative jewels on the shoulders of her armor.
2. She wears a circlet with a black jewel.
3. I don't doubt this decoration is in honor of Shar.
4. Other people wear similar things that aren't in honor of Shar.
5. This is, at the very least, plausible deniability.
6. If you didn't know she worshipped Shar, you wouldn't have guessed.
7. Everyone is Sherlock Holmes in hindsight.

And yes, it's reasonable to expect that someone skilled in actual subterfuge--a real spy for example--would weave a more convincing set of lies. This isn't what we get with Shadowheart. She makes emotional appeals, gives emotional denials, and finally offers an emotional confession. When talking about Raphael, she brags about her knowledge of dark, underhanded psychological tactics, even admitting to a certain admiration. Later, she's on edge when Lae'zel makes a tiefling bow.

The thing is, I don't think we're supposed to see Shadowheart as an effective and devious spy. We're supposed to see her as a character we build sympathy with, as a character we grow to care about, which includes the showing of vulnerability and some amount of "goodness" underneath the mask.

She likes it when we're nice to animals. She's surprised that she grew to care about the tieflings. She's had her memories taken, but she knows she likes night orchids.

When she talks about Shar, she doesn't talk about evil and ransacking villages. She talks about pain, about a pain so great that one can no longer endure, but must rather turn to the darkness, to find peace within.

This is not an evil cleric seeking power from foul gods. This is not even a sophisticated and emotionally mature person. This is a tragedy of a being who we can hope might someday be well again.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 04:38 PM
Please leave your personal politics out of these discussions.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 04:42 PM
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Please leave your personal politics out of these discussions.

sorry, i meant to clarify the other post, didn't mean to make it political
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 05:09 PM
JandK.

The symbol on the Dark Justiciar armor is identical to Shadowheart's armor symbol. Identical!

It's not just color. It's the entire design. Our point is that her armor screams Shar in every way. Play out Grymforge. The whole place is full of symbols of Shar, and SH has those same symbols ALL over her. She has one on her chest as big as life, and it is EXACTLY the same as the Dark Justiciar armor I found last night in Grymforge. All the armor for Sharran soldiers has the same black onyx stones on the shoulders and on foreheads and so forth.

It is ridiculous for a cleric of a Goddess of Secrets to wear such blatant in your face armor. To use a different analogy, it's like a Star Wars fan at a Star Trek convention wearing a I ❤️ Star Wars T-shirt, and hat with the pic of Vader on it, and then having them say, "I'm actually a Star Wars fan."

Shock of shocks! You're a Star Wars fan? Mind blown.

By the way, I used to think Star Wars was way better than Star Trek. Now... sigh... after the prequels and then the sequels...

Sigh... Disney ruined it for me especially with Episodes 8 and 9.

So now I can't even fight with Trekkies anymore and say Star Wars is way more awesome than Star Trek and then have a Wars/Trek debate and war anymore. It truly saddens me. Ah, the good old days when we'd battle with one another about who would win, the Enterprise or Vader's Executor Class Star Destroyer.

Oh wait! Someone said we shouldn't talk politics. The debate about which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek, is just as bad. Sorry.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 05:37 PM
GM4Him:

I've played through Grymforge. I saw the armor you're referencing a while back. It's similar, sure. Noticeably, it doesn't have any black gems, though you could argue it has spots for them.

That said. It's doesn't have black gemstones.

Which means the comparison comes down to the design of the armor otherwise, the shoulders, the chest. And because of this similarity (not because of the aforementioned onyx, no, but because of this similarity) that people should notice and immediately recognize the trappings of Shar.

Why?

How common was this suit of armor? Did hundreds or thousands of Shar worshippers wear this exact armor, like a uniform? If so, why do we only find one set? Notice how the Shar helmet looks entirely different from the other Shar helmet.

How long ago was the trouble with Shar in the area? How many people remember the various sets of armor worn by them? How many of those sets of armor fell in battle and got reconditioned for later use by someone else who didn't worship Shar?

The point I'm making is simple:

1. I accept that it's in homage of Shar. I've always agreed to that. Heck, read the descriptions of her starting gear. Clearly, in honor of Shar.
2. But it's not obvious to everyone. It's just not, and it's only provincial presumption that would insist otherwise.
3. And finally, we can't point to a single person who saw Shadowheart in game before knowing she was a worshipper of Shar who said, "She's obviously a worshipper of Shar." Because everyone is so much more infuriatingly deductive *after* the fact.

Yet here poor gamer for all my Forgotten Realms lore, I stand no more Sherlock than before.

ETA: I thought Picard was a better admiral than Tarkin.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 05:51 PM
You might be surprised how little the average person knows about Star Wars or Star Trek. Her armor could be something like wearing the STAR WARS logo or it could be like like wearing the, never shown in the movies, Jedi logo, or even more cryptic, like a shirt that just says "McClunky" people who know, know, but more people don't.

Or for the Trekkers, a shirt with the IDIC symbol.
Originally Posted by GM4Him
The symbol on the Dark Justiciar armor is identical to Shadowheart's armor symbol. Identical!

It's not just color. It's the entire design. Our point is that her armor screams Shar in every way. Play out Grymforge. The whole place is full of symbols of Shar, and SH has those same symbols ALL over her.
Yes, there certainly is some similarity ...
But you seem to forget that those armors we have found in Grymforge are at least 100y old.

Maybe noone realy remembers that Sharites used to wear this kind of armor as a uniform? O_o

I mean if we get to Baldur's Gate and before Shar Temple will stand guards with exactly same armor then yes ... that is totally fail. laugh
But as far as i know, nobody (except Duergars that have occupied it) even really knows not just where, but even if any Grymforge exists. laugh
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 10:53 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
You might be surprised how little the average person knows about Star Wars or Star Trek. Her armor could be something like wearing the STAR WARS logo or it could be like like wearing the, never shown in the movies, Jedi logo, or even more cryptic, like a shirt that just says "McClunky" people who know, know, but more people don't.

Or for the Trekkers, a shirt with the IDIC symbol.

The point was that in a Star Trek convention, everyone would immediately spot and recognize a Star Wars shirt and hat. Oh yeah! Some would even consider it blasphemous.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 11:01 PM
The FR is not an FR convention, it's people have lives that don't involve being immersed in this lore. I feel a lot of this is coming from a perspective drenched in media, this is something fairly recent in human history, there was a time most people couldn't read, and weren't bombarded by iconography.

Library's used to refer to things kept under lock and key in manors, and museums were open by appointment, the dissemination of information in a pre-industrial society is a completely different animal.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 11:45 PM
What? I'm sorry. I think I'm missing the point you're trying to make here.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 11:50 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
Library's used to refer to things kept under lock and key in manors, and museums were open by appointment, the dissemination of information in a pre-industrial society is a completely different animal.

Sozz, one thing they (i.e., people of the Realms) have that we don't is magic; The Forgotten Realms is by no means a low magic setting.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 12/11/21 11:58 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
The FR is not an FR convention, it's people have lives that don't involve being immersed in this lore. I feel a lot of this is coming from a perspective drenched in media, this is something fairly recent in human history, there was a time most people couldn't read, and weren't bombarded by iconography.

Library's used to refer to things kept under lock and key in manors, and museums were open by appointment, the dissemination of information in a pre-industrial society is a completely different animal.

+1

All the magic in the world doesn't change that people living in the setting don't have setting books and FR novels tucked under their pillows. It's something I've been trying to get across, but it's a point that's surprisingly difficult to make here.

I feel like there's a major divorce between understanding the viewpoint of an individual in the setting versus an armchair viewpoint that sees the setting top-down from a source book.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 12:12 AM
Okay. Let's put this in a different perspective. The crusades. European Christians versus Islamic Muslims. Big war. These two forces were arch enemies. Do you think that the common person in Europe didn't know what Muslim symbols were? Do you think that Muslims didn't know the Christian symbol? Do you think that the common person wouldn't be able to tell the armor of a Muslim versus the armor of a Christian?

If a Muslim soldier during that time period showed up in a small town in one of the European Christian lands, don't you think someone, maybe not everyone, but someone would recognize that armor and the symbols worn by the soldier? Wouldn't a Christian priest especially have such knowledge or local town militia? And then, on top of it all, wouldn't somebody who fought in the crusades against the Muslims recognize the armor? Or what about someone who knew somebody who fought in the crusades who told them all about it and even had murals painted with images of Muslim soldiers with their symbols and armor on their walls? Shouldn't they at least recognize the armor?

And wouldn't it make more sense that the Muslim would wear Christian armor or just some sort of mercenary ragtag armor in order to hide who they are amidst an entire land of Christians?

Likewise, Shar is a major goddess, an enemy of many peoples throughout the Sword Coast. Her society is a secretive one. So why would any of her servants try to ever infiltrate any other land wearing armor that would possibly identify them as being her servants? And even if Shadowheart wasn't planning on crashing in some sort of wilderness outside of Baldur's Gate, she was still planning on returning to Baldur's Gate. So she was planning on returning to a place that is a big city in a land that knows about and is hostile towards her people.
Posted By: Niara Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 12:19 AM
You can give people the information as much as you like; if they don't want to read it, don't want to listen to, or don't wish to accept it, then there is nothing else you can really do to further the conversation.

The common people know about Shar; they know what her iconography looks like; they can recognise it on sight, at least to a basic degree, even if they are a common farmer who has lived their entire life in the dessarin valley.

This is factual; it was part of a realms-shaking event, and Shar was a big figure in it. The definitions of those events include a basic level of wide-spread awareness of them - everyone, even po-dunk farmers, has a basic level of this understanding at minimum - trying to argue or claim that they might not, or that it is not obvious at a certain basic level just makes a person look ignorant of the source material.

This has been pointed out multiple times - the folks who wish to argue against it are simply ignoring it, waiting for a page or two to pass, and then asserting the contrary again. This conversation is likely not a productive use of anyone's time any more, at this point.
Posted By: timebean Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 12:29 AM
Great discussion!

A cross is a cross, whether made of wood, obsidian, purple jewels, or macaroni. It is a symbol most of people on earth know. The Crusades is a great example of iconography.

Thus, I agree that people in Faurun would probably recognize Shar’s symbol, with or without purple, etc. Scratch that sucker in the mud, the wee ones would gasp.

However, JandK’s synopsis of Shadowheart as a character (from a few posts back) is spot on imho.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 12:51 AM
Don't feed the contrarians, guys: let them have their victory.
Posted By: Boblawblah Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 01:28 AM
Originally Posted by Niara
You can give people the information as much as you like; if they don't want to read it, don't want to listen to, or don't wish to accept it, then there is nothing else you can really do to further the conversation.

The common people know about Shar; they know what her iconography looks like; they can recognise it on sight, at least to a basic degree, even if they are a common farmer who has lived their entire life in the dessarin valley.

This is factual; it was part of a realms-shaking event, and Shar was a big figure in it. The definitions of those events include a basic level of wide-spread awareness of them - everyone, even po-dunk farmers, has a basic level of this understanding at minimum - trying to argue or claim that they might not, or that it is not obvious at a certain basic level just makes a person look ignorant of the source material.

This has been pointed out multiple times - the folks who wish to argue against it are simply ignoring it, waiting for a page or two to pass, and then asserting the contrary again. This conversation is likely not a productive use of anyone's time any more, at this point.

this. There is no discussion happening here.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 01:39 AM
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
this. There is no discussion happening here.

What's weird is how some folks seem to think they're the final authority of what fictional people in a fictional setting they didn't create think. It's to the point where I feel like some of the folks here are appalled at the idea that someone might disagree and find their FR opinion less than impressive.

No one listen to the "contrarians"? Seriously? Basically: don't listen to people who disagree with me, folks, move along, move along.

This is a place of discussion. We're talking about how Shar is perceived in the game, by new players and by characters within the game setting. It's an open discussion. Different people have different opinions. The one thing that's certain though is that no one commenting in this thread is a final authority, proclaiming canon about what everyone in the setting thinks and feels and sees when they come across a circle.

*

Speaking of circles, there are numerous circles in FR symbols. Something else that's common: hands. There's going to be a repeat of symbol shapes and such when you're looking at a kitchen sink setting like Forgotten Realms.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 02:00 AM
Firstly I'm not trying to be a contrarian, I do think a Religion check to recognize her 'uniform' as significant is called for, what I'm trying to convey here is that, firstly taking things for granted based on so called 'continuity' shouldn't be the basis for storytelling here, none of the continuity is 'real' nor is it above revision.

Secondly being aware of Shar is not the same as being familiar with her iconography, to continue the Crusades as analogy, knowing the iconography to the Western and Eastern Churches, there's a clear front facing iconography there that is clear to anyone outside and inside, but ask a Muslim to recognize a fish symbol? Or a rosary?
[Linked Image from upload.wikimedia.org]
Notice anything about Mary's shawl, roll for Religion.

This is a Saint
[Linked Image from 4.bp.blogspot.com]

Using Islam isn't the best because of its inherit iconoclasm, but more apt analogy would be how much you'd be able to recognize the iconography of a sect within Islam, an infamous one, the Assassins, a Shia cult that had to go under the radar because of it's own success.

This is similar to what I was getting at with my Cult of Isis example. Being well known is not the same as being recognizable.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 02:49 AM
Look. When the creators of a fictional setting establish something, it may be fictional, but it is no less established.

Take a different piece of FR lore brought to my attention today. Red Wizards of Thay. They are strictly humans of Mulan descent. It is illegal to take a non-human apprentice.

So, a high elf apprentice of Thay breaches established lore.

So, FR lore has been established. Shar has been a major goddess hated by many for centuries. Her symbol is a big black circle. Then to top it off, Larian establishes in the game what their armor looks like and even says in the mural scene that you recognize Shar's symbol on the armor.

So, her armor and symbol are at the very least common enough in the established lore of the game that no cleric of secrecy should be strolling around in it unless she's really not trying to keep it a secret. I can totally understand if SH was just like, "Hi. I serve Shar.". But she wears the armor and then everyone is like, "What? You serve Shar?". And she acts like it's some huge secret.

Again, if you're trying to hide your religion, you don't wear your religious symbol on your chest and forehead just in case someone recognizes it. Period. It's just stupidity to do so especially if your religion is hated by many.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 03:01 AM
Yes, and Elves can't become vampires, and the hero of BG I and II got rid of all the Bhaal-essence from the world, and Tieflings are made up of many races, what's established is merely prelude to whatever change they want to make.

What really irks me about this particular issue, I don't know if it's just an oversight on Larian's part, or if we're supposed to infer things about the world and Shar from this.

But you can take solace that, whatever the case, Larian seems game to retcon their work to make things more clear for us. So fingers crossed.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 03:51 AM
Originally Posted by Sozz
What really irks me about this particular issue, I don't know if it's just an oversight on Larian's part, or if we're supposed to infer things about the world and Shar from this.

We can infer that Larian wanted this reveal (association?) to be a mystery and so they rewrote/ignored a significant part of Forgotten Realms history in order to...uh..."make it work"? It's kind of like expecting the average resident of Europe plus a good chunk of western Russia (I'd say "Earth", but Faerun is much smaller than the surface area of this planet) to not at least get the gist of Satan/The Devil/Beelzebub when they're asked about that mythological/religious figure. The difference here is worse, though, because priests of the Realms truly can raise the (un)dead, conjure demons, curse/sicken/slay with but a touch, et cetera. Finally, gods manifest themselves in ways across the spectrum from subtle to overt: from ephemeral baleful eyes in the darkness to full-fledged avatars walking the soil.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 04:39 AM
I'd like to think I've made a case for how you can have it both ways, but if this is just about deference to Wizards of the Coast continuity, their tie-in books, comics, and adventure modules then there are a lot of things indefensible BG:3. And so with most of those books and tie-ins, if you want to see how they all hold up against each other go check out BladeDancer's threads.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 02:47 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Sozz
The FR is not an FR convention, it's people have lives that don't involve being immersed in this lore. I feel a lot of this is coming from a perspective drenched in media, this is something fairly recent in human history, there was a time most people couldn't read, and weren't bombarded by iconography.

Library's used to refer to things kept under lock and key in manors, and museums were open by appointment, the dissemination of information in a pre-industrial society is a completely different animal.

+1

All the magic in the world doesn't change that people living in the setting don't have setting books and FR novels tucked under their pillows. It's something I've been trying to get across, but it's a point that's surprisingly difficult to make here.

I feel like there's a major divorce between understanding the viewpoint of an individual in the setting versus an armchair viewpoint that sees the setting top-down from a source book.
Not so. It doesn't matter if you're an illiterate peasant. When a Realms Shaking Event happens, such as the Spellplague or the Twilight War, where hundreds of thousands of people die and cities and even entire countries are destroyed, you hear about it and know about it. Furthermore, it is precisely events involving the gods that the peasants will especially know about, because they all live in fear and awe of the gods. And last but not least, we are not talking about people living in some location that is a very remote corner of the Realms. We are talking about Baldur's Gate and the Sword Coast. People know. *You" may not know. But people inside this game absolutely should know.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 04:04 PM
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Not so. It doesn't matter if you're an illiterate peasant. When a Realms Shaking Event happens, such as the Spellplague or the Twilight War, where hundreds of thousands of people die and cities and even entire countries are destroyed, you hear about it and know about it. Furthermore, it is precisely events involving the gods that the peasants will especially know about, because they all live in fear and awe of the gods. And last but not least, we are not talking about people living in some location that is a very remote corner of the Realms. We are talking about Baldur's Gate and the Sword Coast. People know. *You" may not know. But people inside this game absolutely should know.

You seem to be conflating whether or not someone knows about a tragedy with whether or not decorative circles are immediately seen by everyone, literally everyone, as a sign of the devil.

Let's say you lived in the middle ages and eventually heard news that some great faraway land named China had blown up. Well, you'd probably hear a lot of things about it, some things with elements of the truth, other things stretched by fiction, fear, myth, and tall tales.

But that doesn't mean you suddenly know the secret handshake of a secret society.

And it doesn't mean that everyone for miles around thinks and knows exactly the same stuff and feels pretty much the exact same way about said stuff.

Basically, I keep hearing these one dimensional, uninsightful interpretations of how human beings and societies function. It sounds like a game setting I don't want to play in, with all the dynamic, subtlety, nuance, and life of a flat, dull rock. That's why I'm specifically providing the feedback I am, in an effort to say to Larian: "hey, some of us appreciate a more complicated and realistic setting, with human beings that aren't all carbon copies of one another who go frothing mad every time they see a piece of jewelry fashioned into a circle."
Posted By: timebean Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 04:25 PM
You know…this is a fair point.

For example, we have you pass a wisdom (history?) check to know about The descent into Avernus when u talk to Zevlor. That was a huge event, but apparently if you are not a history buff, you are oblivious. If we are imagining that everyone we encounter is constantly making these rolls, then it is totally plausible that some portion of them would be oblivious to the Shar symbol, as it is not something they gave encountered or can recall if they had.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 04:25 PM
Where you err is that you keep relating it to distant lands.

Same scenario but instead of China, it's France. You live in Medieval France and suddenly a major city has this huge incident occur where Satanic cultists just blew up the Eiffel Tower and slaughtered thousands of people.

Now, if you're a Satan Cultist, are you going to roam around in Satan Cult robes? And wouldn't the common person be immediately taught what signs to watch put for to ensure that secret Satanic cult doesn't rise again through the ranks of the common class?

Incidences occurred in and around Baldur's Gate involving Shar. She walked in the flesh and fought with Selune in Waterdeep and in the surrounding countryside all throughout the region. She created the Shadow Weave and was directly involved in world changing events.

Imagine Satan came to Earth in the flesh in the land you lived. He started killing and enslaving lots of people. Then God came in the flesh and fought with him in a city not far from where you live, maybe 100 miles away.

The people don't want that again. They would teach everyone what to watch for.
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 04:45 PM
Originally Posted by JandK
You seem to be conflating whether or not someone knows about a tragedy with whether or not decorative circles are immediately seen by everyone, literally everyone, as a sign of the devil.

Let's say you lived in the middle ages and eventually heard news that some great faraway land named China had blown up. Well, you'd probably hear a lot of things about it, some things with elements of the truth, other things stretched by fiction, fear, myth, and tall tales.

But that doesn't mean you suddenly know the secret handshake of a secret society.
And we're back to "there should be a Religion check to recognize SH's symbols, but since Tav should at least know about Shar (stop thinking in small-terms, the Spellplague is more like if Shar took out electricity for years in our real world), we the player should be informed prior to SH's reveal."

Or even more at least, if we the player aren't told about Shar, then Tav's dialogue options should include an option: "Who's Shar? I lived under a rock for my whole life."
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 04:51 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by JandK
You seem to be conflating whether or not someone knows about a tragedy with whether or not decorative circles are immediately seen by everyone, literally everyone, as a sign of the devil.

Let's say you lived in the middle ages and eventually heard news that some great faraway land named China had blown up. Well, you'd probably hear a lot of things about it, some things with elements of the truth, other things stretched by fiction, fear, myth, and tall tales.

But that doesn't mean you suddenly know the secret handshake of a secret society.
And we're back to "there should be a Religion check to recognize SH's symbols, but since Tav should at least know about Shar (stop thinking in small-terms, the Spellplague is more like if Shar took out electricity for years in our real world), we the player should be informed prior to SH's reveal."

Or even more at least, if we the player aren't told about Shar, then Tav's dialogue options should include an option: "Who's Shar? I lived under a rock for my whole life."

And thank you. Yes, exactly.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:08 PM
First of all, I forgot this before too, but this thread is about informing the player about who Shar is, not Tav. Secondly your point is about how Tav should know who Shar is, but our point is about how even if Tav knows who Shar is, that isn't the same as recognizing the trappings of a Sharist.

I live in Baldur's Gate, like most people I know that the great upheaval that took place a century ago was the work of Shar, magic ended for a while, times were hard, not so hard for my grandparents as they were for the wizards, but still. I personally have never seen a temple of Shar, nor have I ever met a follower of Shar (that I know of) I understand she is about darkness and hates the Moon (I know a lot more about Selune and her nice followers) but if you were to ask me, "What is Shar's Symbol", I might have to make a religion roll.
Posted By: Ragitsu Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:10 PM
This conversation will reset in 3...2...1...
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:10 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
And we're back to "there should be a Religion check to recognize SH's symbols, but since Tav should at least know about Shar (stop thinking in small-terms, the Spellplague is more like if Shar took out electricity for years in our real world), we the player should be informed prior to SH's reveal."

Or even more at least, if we the player aren't told about Shar, then Tav's dialogue options should include an option: "Who's Shar? I lived under a rock for my whole life."

First, the spellplague happened over a hundred years ago. That's a lot of years for folks to get things twisted about in stories, especially when those folks live in a world where something crazy is happening all the time, like the recent decent of Elturel into literal hell.

Second, I'm not even convinced people know what's being argued here. The point under current discussion isn't whether or not someone knows who Shar is or that she's a goddess. The point being discussed is whether or not they would recognize her armor immediately. Or associate her circlet jewelry for worship most foul.

Third, if we want to discuss what people know about Shar, then fine.
A. if everyone thought the same about Shar, then there wouldn't be people like Shadowheart. People who worship Shar and see her as a positive in the world.
B. yes, knowledge rolls are typically required for knowledge.
C. that said, there's nothing wrong with a reveal that's paced by storytelling, where the character learns to trust Shadowheart before learning more and more about Shar through the unfolding of the story. I dare say that information about Shar is getting revealed as the story progresses, most certainly after having played through Grymforge.

Basically, I go back to a post I made in this thread several several pages back. Imagine that the game treats Shar the way so many of you seem to want. You go to Shadowheart's pod. You open the pod. You make a religion roll after seeing Shadowheart's armor. You learn that she worships Shar based on her armor and circlet. You learn right then that Shar is the worst. Literally. The worst. Shar wants to destroy the entire universe, and has tried to do so, resulting in, as someone else put it, millions of deaths. Not even the mind flayers want to destroy everything. What do you do then? Join up with Shadowheart? Or remove her as a threat? Great game so far, right? Like I said, I don't mean this in a rude way, but I'm really glad Larian isn't taking this advice because it's not good and it doesn't go anywhere good.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:14 PM
Originally Posted by Sozz
First of all, I forgot this before too, but this thread is about informing the player about who Shar is, not Tav. Secondly your point is about how Tav should know who Shar is, but our point is about how even if Tav knows who Shar is, that isn't the same as recognizing the trappings of a Sharist.

I live in Baldur's Gate, like most people I know that the great upheaval that took place a century ago was the work of Shar, magic ended for a while, times were hard, not so hard for my grandparents as they were for the wizards, but still. I personally have never seen a temple of Shar, nor have I ever met a follower of Shar (that I know of) I understand she is about darkness and hates the Moon (I know a lot more about Selune and her nice followers) but if you were to ask me, "What is the Shar's Symbol", I might have to make a religion roll.

Much more nuanced. Much more understanding. I would absolutely play in a game like this.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:15 PM
Go bump the Elves aren't Elven thread again, hypocrite! (joke)
Posted By: mrfuji3 Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:20 PM
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
This conversation will reset in 3...2...1...
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Originally Posted by JandK
Basically, I go back to a post I made in this thread several several pages back. Imagine that the game treats Shar the way so many of you seem to want. You go to Shadowheart's pod. You open the pod. You make a religion roll after seeing Shadowheart's armor. You learn that she worships Shar based on her armor and circlet. You learn right then that Shar is the worst. Literally. The worst. Shar wants to destroy the entire universe, and has tried to do so, resulting in, as someone else put it, millions of deaths. Not even the mind flayers want to destroy everything. What do you do then? Join up with Shadowheart? Or remove her as a threat? Great game so far, right? Like I said, I don't mean this in a rude way, but I'm really glad Larian isn't taking this advice because it's not good and it doesn't go anywhere good.
You can also take her with you, resolving to keep an eye on her. You are trying to escape from near-certain death after all which makes for strange bedfellows. You also have a Gith ally who's entire species basically thinks of all other races as lesser; a cultist on her own isn't that bad in comparison even if she worships Shar.

You can also ask SH directly: "listen, before we go any further, I recognized the symbols on your armor as those of Shar....care to explain?" which could make for an interesting dynamic between Tav and Shar earlier in the game where she trusts you earlier. Or perhaps she'd leave in a huff, but then try join the party later (as she already does if you don't recruit her) once she realizes she needs help. But this time would be a bit less standoffish and more willing to answer questions.

There are plenty more options than "join up with her" or "remove her as a threat," some of which could be very interesting.

Edit: I suppose also Larian could also make her armor dirty/covered-in-pod-goo after coming out of the pod, so you can't really get a good look at her armor until after you land on the beach. At which point you possibly already had a good (or at least not terrible) interaction with her.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:29 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
I suppose also Larian could also make her armor dirty/covered-in-pod-good after coming out of the pod, so you can't really get a good look at her armor until after you land on the beach. At which point you possibly already had a good (or at least not terrible) interaction with her.

Looking at the 'thumbnail' of her armor and the Justiciar armor I noticed the areas with the symbols are blank. I'm wondering if that's what it'll be like when it's final.
Posted By: Dexai Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:37 PM
It's more like that is how it used to be, before they made them black. In previous patches they (the shoulder gems st least) were metallic.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 05:57 PM
Really? That completely escaped my notice.
I've noticed at this point, I've played the first part of the game so many times, I have trouble distinguishing what was when an how about a lot of things.
Posted By: JandK Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 13/11/21 06:39 PM
A little off topic, but you know what I miss? The Bracing Ring. It used to be in the chest by the harpies in Patch 5, but it's not there anymore. frown
Posted By: kanisatha Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 14/11/21 02:27 PM
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by Ragitsu
This conversation will reset in 3...2...1...
23 more pages let's go!

Originally Posted by JandK
Basically, I go back to a post I made in this thread several several pages back. Imagine that the game treats Shar the way so many of you seem to want. You go to Shadowheart's pod. You open the pod. You make a religion roll after seeing Shadowheart's armor. You learn that she worships Shar based on her armor and circlet. You learn right then that Shar is the worst. Literally. The worst. Shar wants to destroy the entire universe, and has tried to do so, resulting in, as someone else put it, millions of deaths. Not even the mind flayers want to destroy everything. What do you do then? Join up with Shadowheart? Or remove her as a threat? Great game so far, right? Like I said, I don't mean this in a rude way, but I'm really glad Larian isn't taking this advice because it's not good and it doesn't go anywhere good.
You can also take her with you, resolving to keep an eye on her. You are trying to escape from near-certain death after all which makes for strange bedfellows. You also have a Gith ally who's entire species basically thinks of all other races as lesser; a cultist on her own isn't that bad in comparison even if she worships Shar.

You can also ask SH directly: "listen, before we go any further, I recognized the symbols on your armor as those of Shar....care to explain?" which could make for an interesting dynamic between Tav and Shar earlier in the game where she trusts you earlier. Or perhaps she'd leave in a huff, but then try join the party later (as she already does if you don't recruit her) once she realizes she needs help. But this time would be a bit less standoffish and more willing to answer questions.

There are plenty more options than "join up with her" or "remove her as a threat," some of which could be very interesting.

Edit: I suppose also Larian could also make her armor dirty/covered-in-pod-goo after coming out of the pod, so you can't really get a good look at her armor until after you land on the beach. At which point you possibly already had a good (or at least not terrible) interaction with her.
Exactly. This is a nuanced way to set up a game. What @JandK is talking about is not nuance or sophistication at all. What the game does right now is railroading, forcing us into reacting to/behaving towards SH a certain way all to preserve a special place in the game for Larian's precious SH character.
Posted By: GM4Him Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 14/11/21 02:54 PM
Whatever.

Guys, we're just looking for some basic setup.

I agree that the nautiloid is not the best place for a Religion check. In the heat of the moment, it makes sense that your character may not be focusing on the armor or whatever.

But we're talking that at NO time does ANYONE notice the armor or question it or anything and NO ONE gives you ANY background on Shar at any point. You have to read books and tomes to get basic information on one of the most important goddesses in the world and game.

In BG 1 and 2, nobody cared about this. Why? Because Shar was not important to the story in those games. In BG3, she is one of the MOST important since here is SH, a major character who is her cleric dressed in armor of a Dark Justiciar.

A roll should be made when you first meet her on the beach, and there should be more explanation, at least basic explanation, on who Shar is. And if they're going for an "Oh my gosh, you're a Sharran cleric of evil?" Moment, they need to put different armor on her and hide her background a bit more. Bottom line, either they need to hide her background and have the Aha moment, or they need to have a Religion check and people make some sort of big deal out of her armor.
Posted By: Eddiar Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 14/11/21 03:08 PM
Just do it in the chapel, its impossible to miss and already has something about Shar. Just make it more cinematic and in your face.
And have Shadowheart lie to us there to justify some of the later dialogue lines.
Posted By: Sozz Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 22/02/22 08:59 PM
I've noticed my last playthrough that a few of the Shar prompts have been removed. Making it a little easier to avoid finding out Shadowheart is a Sharran, my dim witted barbarian only would have easily found out if pressing her about the artifact after the Absolute scene.

Other than that I don't think anything else has been changed regarding talking about Shar that I've seen yet.
Posted By: CleverGuy Re: New players and the problem with Shar - 26/05/22 08:36 PM
Haven't read most of the thread. But welcome to the rabbit hole of DnD lore! One life is not enough to understand it all, but that's also the draw imo.
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