Larian Studios
So when I heard Larian was doing BG3 I was mostly happy, but I did have one concern, Larian's Divinity original sin series tends to umm how to put this... confuse "special snow flake" with "intreasting". it's not. characters with "super special magical afflications" (the ENTIRE batch of NPCs we have seem to fall into this) honestly aren't all that intreasting, and represent a, TBH, bit of a failure in the subtle world building that so often was seen in the past Baulder's Gate games.

Let's compare and contrast some of the characters from BG3 with characters you encounter early in BG1, (I use BG1 because most of your first companions in BG2 are carry overs)


BG1:
Imoen - she's basicly your kid sister, turns out she's a bhaalspawn sure, although I'm convinced that wasn't the original plan in BG1, but beyond that special thing that links her to your char, she's mostly pretty ordinary. It mostly serves as kind of a world building tool as it allows you to discuss your past with her etc.

Jahira & Kalheed - their big "secret" is simply that they are members of the Harpers. this serves as more of a world building tool, as it allows you to learn a little bit about the harpers etc. it also does occasionally work as a plothook.

The two Zhents- their name escaped me, but you learned a little bit about the Zhentarium etc through this, and saw their conflict with the harpers.

Misc: him and Dynaheir actually provide some information of rashimein, people mostly remember Misc for Boo etc, but you learn a lot about a far away land outside the game from them.

Basicly most of the companions serve as something of a gateway to learning more about the realms. they root the game firmly in the realms.


Meanwhile let's look at the companions from BG3:

Shadowheart: Cleric with a special secret, I dunno it yet but it looks like she might have some magical effect on her,

Astaron: He's a Vampire. there's a potential for a bit more later as it could create a fun conflict with a BG vampire's coven or something, and expand on that but.. yeah not getting much of a feel for that.

Gale: A waterhaveian mage...... who has to eat magic items because of course he does!

Wyll: I've not yet learned much about him but I FULLY expect he's not just some guy and will have something unuseal about him.


honestly, when you overload on this, it's less intreasting















You just said "There's a vampire and a mage that consumes artifacts and i don't know anything about anyone else, but i think they're bad."

How is that even slightly a fair assessment?
Originally Posted by Deadstage
You just said "There's a vampire and a mage that consumes artifacts and i don't know anything about anyone else, but i think they're bad."

How is that even slightly a fair assessment?


How is that even a slightly fair assessment of what he said?

I generally agree, OP, that when you overdose on these unique traits that are supposed to draw interest you end up losing interest instead. If everyone is special, than no one is.
I don't mind them being special. But in the old BGs you had this sense of naive and heroic world of magic and monsters, it was more fantastic and friendly. Even the bad guys were friendly and funny. Tiax, Xzar and Montaron, and of course Edwin. When it comes to BG3 it's missing the spirit of being a BG game. To me it's more like Dragon Age than BG.

The current NPCs are very mature, dark and complicated, which cool and fun and amazing. But I feel like I play Dragon Age. Both BG and Dragon Age are amazing games, but one is not the other. And the NPCs in those games were the window to the world.
I don't mind mature dark and complicated, but I feel that a game where everyone is basicly a special snowflake, isn't, to be blunt, all that mature and complicated. It rather comes off as well... like some kids fan fiction.
If you think this is bad, you should read some of the dialogue from the half demon character in DIVOS2... or the bad fanfic sex scenes in the final act. Ugh.

Was hoping being rooted in the Realms would have them reign it in a bit but the early access stuff so far shows no sign of it.
yeah I've seen how larian tends to be that way, I was likewise hoping that it was more a stylistic choice they where going for and that they could write more...... grounded characters
Originally Posted by Zress
I don't mind them being special. But in the old BGs you had this sense of naive and heroic world of magic and monsters, it was more fantastic and friendly. Even the bad guys were friendly and funny. Tiax, Xzar and Montaron, and of course Edwin. When it comes to BG3 it's missing the spirit of being a BG game. To me it's more like Dragon Age than BG.

The current NPCs are very mature, dark and complicated, which cool and fun and amazing. But I feel like I play Dragon Age. Both BG and Dragon Age are amazing games, but one is not the other. And the NPCs in those games were the window to the world.


What i love about this post is that other people will say the exact opposite of this poster. How Baldur's gate is dark fantasy and humour has no place.

It is literally impossible for lairian to create a game that "feels" like Baldur's gate because the community can't even agree on what makes a true Baldur's gate game and what Baldur's gate I & II really had for content.

Given this is true should they really listen to fans about something as nebulas as X "feels" like Baldur's gate or Y doesn't "feel" like Baldur's gate? Because no matter what they do hundreds of "Real" Baldur's gate fans will riot over the "betrayal" of the franchise.
Originally Posted by Gothfather
Originally Posted by Zress
I don't mind them being special. But in the old BGs you had this sense of naive and heroic world of magic and monsters, it was more fantastic and friendly. Even the bad guys were friendly and funny. Tiax, Xzar and Montaron, and of course Edwin. When it comes to BG3 it's missing the spirit of being a BG game. To me it's more like Dragon Age than BG.

The current NPCs are very mature, dark and complicated, which cool and fun and amazing. But I feel like I play Dragon Age. Both BG and Dragon Age are amazing games, but one is not the other. And the NPCs in those games were the window to the world.


What i love about this post is that other people will say the exact opposite of this poster. How Baldur's gate is dark fantasy and humour has no place.

It is literally impossible for lairian to create a game that "feels" like Baldur's gate because the community can't even agree on what makes a true Baldur's gate game and what Baldur's gate I & II really had for content.

Given this is true should they really listen to fans about something as nebulas as X "feels" like Baldur's gate or Y doesn't "feel" like Baldur's gate? Because no matter what they do hundreds of "Real" Baldur's gate fans will riot over the "betrayal" of the franchise.


Very spot on smile
Originally Posted by Gothfather
Originally Posted by Zress
I don't mind them being special. But in the old BGs you had this sense of naive and heroic world of magic and monsters, it was more fantastic and friendly. Even the bad guys were friendly and funny. Tiax, Xzar and Montaron, and of course Edwin. When it comes to BG3 it's missing the spirit of being a BG game. To me it's more like Dragon Age than BG.

The current NPCs are very mature, dark and complicated, which cool and fun and amazing. But I feel like I play Dragon Age. Both BG and Dragon Age are amazing games, but one is not the other. And the NPCs in those games were the window to the world.


What i love about this post is that other people will say the exact opposite of this poster. How Baldur's gate is dark fantasy and humour has no place.

It is literally impossible for lairian to create a game that "feels" like Baldur's gate because the community can't even agree on what makes a true Baldur's gate game and what Baldur's gate I & II really had for content.

Given this is true should they really listen to fans about something as nebulas as X "feels" like Baldur's gate or Y doesn't "feel" like Baldur's gate? Because no matter what they do hundreds of "Real" Baldur's gate fans will riot over the "betrayal" of the franchise.


I think anyone who thinks BG was "all serious all the time" needs to be smacked up side the head by a miniature giant space Hamster.

Keep in mind that each of these NPCs will be playable characters with their own twists on the main plot; in that context, making them "special snowflakes" to one degree or another makes some sense. These are all potential main characters. Maybe it would be better if they weren't, but, well, Divinity 2 is what landed Larian this gig, you know?

That said, some "lesser" NPC companions' could be a great addition. comparatively simple, likable, and broad archetypes. A paladin who just likes to help people. A rogue who just likes money. A barbarian who just likes hitting things with an axe. Characters that aren't going to be driving the plot, but also aren't going to competing for the spotlight. Hell, if anything, that reflects actual D&D much better than every character having a deep, complex backstory. Some people love playing those kinds of characters; some are just there for the combat, or to try out a silly voice, or just get a sense of satisfaction from a nice, simple power fantasy.

I mean, Minsc and Boo were never destined to be the main characters of the original games, but that didn't stop them from being the most beloved ranger and hamster team in the world.
Larian has confirmed that for now they wanted to put out the more evil type companions. They said that normally people want to play the Good guys, and in most games that is the only route to satisfactory results or interesting gameplay. But in BG3 they wanted to allow more different playstyles and hence the first characters you see in EA will more likely lead you to those different playstyles to see that "hey, this works as well". Good guy companions will be coming to the game at some point.

This info is from the twitch.tv chat with Swen. Link is in his twitter.
I kinda agree... I mean, I haven't seen everything from the current companions, but you have some good hack writing in place to make such an assortment of "DM's nightmare" characters work. My go to example for somthing like working always is Planescape Torment, where it did work quite well, also because the overarching themes of the world and story did support it. Not sure if it can in this game yet.
Originally Posted by pasisti
Larian has confirmed that for now they wanted to put out the more evil type companions. They said that normally people want to play the Good guys, and in most games that is the only route to satisfactory results or interesting gameplay. But in BG3 they wanted to allow more different playstyles and hence the first characters you see in EA will more likely lead you to those different playstyles to see that "hey, this works as well". Good guy companions will be coming to the game at some point.

This info is from the twitch.tv chat with Swen. Link is in his twitter.


keep in mind, I'm not complaining about the companions being "bad" I have ZERO issues with bad guy companions, Edwin and Viconia are, just for example, absolutely BELOVED characters, but rather how heavy the special status of the NPCs seems to be, Kavode's statement makes sense and it never occured to me, and if that combined with the fact that we'll get more companions down the road who aren't quite as "special" then it could be good. (this mind you raises the concern of party size. even in BG2 with it's 6 man party size I had some companions who didn't get much attention) we'll see of course, this is early access and Larian would benifit from our imput even if it's to point out some holes in their writing.



It's very obvious that Larian is setting up characters to encourage intraparty conflict. It's far from the normal approach to rpgs, but in theory it should result in more dynamic relationships than you see in most crpgs.

Really though, I feel like this is runoff from an issue I see spreading across most forms of media. Everybody seems to want to cash in on the success of Game of Thornes, so stories become dark and edgy with untrustworthy backstabbing characters. Rather than politics Larian went with party relationships.
I also hope they include more down to earth and normal characters. The current ensemble is a bit on the weird side, and I hope we don't end up with a cadre of extremely weird adventurers. My favorite character from Pillars of Eternity for instance is Edér - by a mile! He's a lovable farmboy who got caught up in something bigger than himself and he's not quite sure what to make of it all - he's just doing his best. He's got so much personality, but is at the same time very much just a normal guy.

It's almost as if they don't believe themselves capable of writing a normal and interesting character. They need a "gimmick" to be interesting, which is just kind of sad.
OP maybe didn't manage to convey it that well but he's right in that all the NPCs available so far are pretty over the top.

Lae'zel: Stands out by being a super arrogant, vicious Gith. Also has the super secret thing that the Githyanki dragon riders are looking for, apparently.

Shadowheart: Super emo, secretive Sharran. Is very secret and has a secret and also carries around a mysterious, secret artifact. Also, secrets!

Astarion: Super edgy secret vampire guy who is so obviously an evil vampire it's kinda ridiculous. Obsessed with death, wants to drink your blood and gets real moody when you didn't let him have cursed books of Necromancy.

Gael: Haven't talked to the guy much but by all accounts he eats magical items, has a super important quest that requires him to have a resurrection contingency, and is also a bomb. Fun guy though

Wyll: Swashbuckling Warlock good guy who is obviously spying on *someone* for his infernal mistress. And that's just what I got from the initial meeting with him, my 4-man party isn't big enough for 2 warlocks
Originally Posted by Slapstick
I also hope they include more down to earth and normal characters. The current ensemble is a bit on the weird side, and I hope we don't end up with a cadre of extremely weird adventurers. My favorite character from Pillars of Eternity for instance is Edér - by a mile! He's a lovable farmboy who got caught up in something bigger than himself and he's not quite sure what to make of it all - he's just doing his best. He's got so much personality, but is at the same time very much just a normal guy.

It's almost as if they don't believe themselves capable of writing a normal and interesting character. They need a "gimmick" to be interesting, which is just kind of sad.


100% agree on this one.
I would bet it's due to the fact that they're building the origins game style and they want a special story line for those characters that you can experience.
Also, I don't think it's that bad as long as we're limiting our party size.
Originally Posted by Alon Binyamin
I would bet it's due to the fact that they're building the origins game style and they want a special story line for those characters that you can experience.
Also, I don't think it's that bad as long as we're limiting our party size.


But it sort of runs counter to the D&D experience for me. The thing that makes you special is the adventure you're on NOW. You don't START OUT super-duper special. You don't show up at adventure day 1 with a long intricate and complicated story of friends and enemies made, battles won and lost, etc. That's... that's the story you're about to set out on
In fairness mind you Baldur's gate has always made you special. I mean in BG1 &2 you where the son of a dead god.
Originally Posted by pasisti
Larian has confirmed that for now they wanted to put out the more evil type companions. They said that normally people want to play the Good guys, and in most games that is the only route to satisfactory results or interesting gameplay. But in BG3 they wanted to allow more different playstyles and hence the first characters you see in EA will more likely lead you to those different playstyles to see that "hey, this works as well". Good guy companions will be coming to the game at some point.

This info is from the twitch.tv chat with Swen. Link is in his twitter.


I was under the impression that the current NPCs we have were it for the companion/origin PCs. If that's not the case, they've managed to do the impossible in the gaming industry and kept it firmly under their hats.

Z.
Originally Posted by Slapstick
But it sort of runs counter to the D&D experience for me. The thing that makes you special is the adventure you're on NOW. You don't START OUT super-duper special. You don't show up at adventure day 1 with a long intricate and complicated story of friends and enemies made, battles won and lost, etc. That's... that's the story you're about to set out on



That's a good point. If someone is in trouble with some demon from hell chasing after him, it would be nice to see it happen and not just know it happened in the past because you were told about it in camp.
Iapparently there are more they're working on and I can't belive a game that calls itself Baldur's gate wouldn't have more
How exactly can you call any of the companions "snow flakes"? They have all survived a horrific mind flayer encounter, and have been kicking butt since, esp Astarion, the Lestat expy, who actually managed to ambush you.
Originally Posted by Dark_Ansem
How exactly can you call any of the companions "snow flakes"? They have all survived a horrific mind flayer encounter, and have been kicking butt since, esp Astarion, the Lestat expy, who actually managed to ambush you.


Wrong definition of snowflake. You're thinking of the stupid insult a certain class of people use. In this context "special snowflake" is meant to denote that the character in question is super unique and special in a way that feels contrived and over the top.
I really wonder whether people saying that Baldur's Gate didn't have "special" companions actually played it.

Granted, in Baldur's Gate 1 (not counting Beamdog's take on it), companions weren't special: they were basically blank slate henchmen with very little personality or background, other than how you got to know them and what little personal quest they had.

But Baldur's Gate 2 greatly enriched companions, and all of them, even the "good" / nice ones, had at least *something* about them that made them somewhat 'complex', and therefore interesting:

Keldorn had trouble with the family he neglected.
Nalia was a rich privileged noblewoman unable to really understand those she was claiming to help.
Anomen with his inferior complex was an insufferable prick almost the entire time.
Imoen had been traumatized by what Irenicus had done to her.
Aerie had been traumatized via her broken wings.
Valygar had an ugly family curse to deal with.

Maybe re-evaluate. BG2 was already a *lot* more complex in writing than BG1 ever was, and it made the whole experience much more rewarding. I don't find any of the current BG3 companions 'special snowflakes' based on their plot alone:
- Lae'Zel: Just a Githyanki killing Mindflayers. Maybe a little more dedicated to the job than her kin.
- Wyl: Your average Warlock. Seriously, read the PHB if you're not convinced that warlocks can enter their pact for all sorts of reasons, especially the wrong ones.
- Shadowheart: Shar Cleric, being secretive and on a secret mission. Colour me unsurprised.
- Gale: A wizard who bit off much more than he can chew. Wow! I've never heard THAT one before!!!
- Astarion's basically the only one where I would say things become slightly 'unheard of' - mixing Vampire spawn condition with what a tadpole can do to you: new ground, at least for me.

What actually makes BG3's companions 'special' is their personalities and the way they are written and performed. And I love every single one of them. It's a whole new level in the BG series obviously, but also easily on par and above compared to what Bioware had to offer back when they were making RPGs.
Lae'Zel is brainwashed by her kin so that purification mean killng and she don't know this.
Wyl a typical warlock.
Shadowheart often we got priest on "secret mission" in rpg games so nothign special.
Gale why he is eating magic items?! How he chew a magic plate armor?
Astarion probebly searching way to immortality because he is interesting in necromancy and he got wampire powers.
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Originally Posted by Dark_Ansem
How exactly can you call any of the companions "snow flakes"? They have all survived a horrific mind flayer encounter, and have been kicking butt since, esp Astarion, the Lestat expy, who actually managed to ambush you.


Wrong definition of snowflake. You're thinking of the stupid insult a certain class of people use. In this context "special snowflake" is meant to denote that the character in question is super unique and special in a way that feels contrived and over the top.


Ah, you mean an angsty Mary Sue
They don't actually have to be angsty. For instance you could have a "mighty paragon" paladin who has been personally blessed by her god to be the ultimate slayer of demons. But yes they're a Mary Sue, specifically in the sense that they're actively meant to be more awesome than anyone and the story bends around them to emphasize that awesomeness in a way that feels like the writer is trying too hard. It's not just them being super good or gifted at what they do.
I dont feel you assesment of the BG1 cast is accurate though. Basicly every single one of them is a 'snowflake' by your metrics as well; but you dont go into that if you oversimplify them.

-Imoen 'just' beeing a Bhaalspawn for example. Ah yes, because most of the people that I know are the children of literal gods. Are you kidding me?
-Khalid and Jaheira beeing Harpers is also pretty much a big thing. You dont see it ingame but the Harpers are a major political faction, and theyre quite well known Harpers at that. In BG2 that also bites Jaheira in the ass. I wont spoil why if people havent seen that yet (go play BG1 and BG2 Enhanced editions. They are still very good games and worth it!)
-Minsc is more of a joke character and not that outerworldy. If you ignore his monstrous strength and the fact that he has beserk rage, which at the dnd edition that the games were made off made him unique. Or if you ignore Boo. And you shouldnt. Boo is awesome!
-Montaron and Xzar. You think some of the characters in BG III are obviously evil? They dont come even close to these 2 unhinged maniacs.

Lets go into some more characters though for good measure:
-Viconia. A female drow. On the surface world. Yeah no special secret or whatnot but this alone makes her an rarity. And she also doesent seem to want to kill every man she meets (even though she does think them inferior) which also makes somewhat of a rarity in drow society. Yeah nothing special to see here
-Branwen. When you find her she has literally been petrified for god knows how long and she comes from some far off culture. Shes no living bomb but an oddity on the sword coast just the same. Her different tongue compared to the locals is kinda funny.
-Edwin. Powerfull red wizard of Thay. Nothing that special about him, to be fair, if you want ignore just how powerfull he can be in BG II.
-Xan. An Elf from from some politcal faction (cant recall) send to investigate the Nashkel mines. Has a Moonblade. A fricking Moonblade. When you find him hes like lvl 2 or lvl 3. Sure, mages dont WANT to be in melee but how many people do you find who have literal legendary magical weapons just on their person?


While I agree that Laian makes their characters.... Unique in some other manners its not like the cast of BG1 and BG2 were the avarage folk either. Some were major parties in local political factions, had ungodly high stats (like minsc, if you take into consideration that a S of 10 is avarage he has a nasty punch!), were offspring of gods or otherwise had powerfull connections/artifacts that mark them as very exceptional individuals.

I could go over BG II companions as well if you wish by OP only mentioned BG I for comparison.

TLDR: BG1's companions most defenitly were not bland and stale. Alot had backstories or remarkable gear that set them apart from normal indivuals. Sure, not all of them were living bombs or whatnot but by BG 1's metrics they arent that remarkable imo. Your (likely) party in BG 1's early game was made of 2 god spawns. 2 harpers and 1 or 2 other individuals who were quite remarkable in their own way.
Coming off of a CRPG where you have a Depressed Dwarf Cleric of an Unmaker god finding out he has magic fists to end masterpieces and artefacts, an Actually Immortal Chosen by the Goddess of the Undead Elf, an Ex-Paladin who’s made it onto the personal shit list of her former god, the Greatest Explorer the World has ever known and won’t let you forget it, an Actual Fallen Deva who’s working for your enemy, A Barbarian with a sword bigger than she is, Two Former Slaves who are the Chosen of the God of Magic AND the Goddess of Vengeance, and A pair of Twins with Asmodeus’ Right Hand Man for a Dad who’re the practical joke of A DIFFERENT GOD OF MAGIC on said father:

The companions in this game are a refreshing breath of air. Also, those companions above are really well written and interesting part of a 120 hour campaign, so uh, you can boil any character concept down to the point of bad taste if you navel gaze hard enough.

TL:DR: I’ve enjoyed characters with a lot more snow than these 5.
Originally Posted by Demoulius

-Viconia. A female drow. On the surface world. Yeah no special secret or whatnot but this alone makes her an rarity. And she also doesent seem to want to kill every man she meets (even though she does think them inferior) which also makes somewhat of a rarity in drow society. Yeah nothing special to see here.


You skip her story?
She was exiled from Underdark so she run to surface world where she meet Flamign Fist members who want kill her, and you rescure her in Baldur's Gate 1. She have every one because that is drow nature they have this because they was teach to live in that way.
In Baldur's Gate 2 she is even mroe interesting. You again rescure her from beeing burned by viligers and paladins. She told you story what how she start living in house after leaving your party and how she wasa buried alive and raped. She is very tragic character and have lots of wounds make by her own kind and humans.
I think what has happened is what happens to a lot of us when we create our own characters.. We tend to fall in love with them and want them to be cool and special.

It feels like the developers have created some characters they really enjoy and want them all to be the main player in the story and this is bad for us..
It's like going to a table top game and the DM is controlling all of the other characters in the party and worse, they'd rather have you play one of their pre-made characters
rather than you creating your own character. That's a major control freak right there and they are not fun to game with.

In BG1 and 2 you could easily go through the game with your own pre-created full party and not feel like you missed out on much of anything. (bg1 more than 2)
The companions add flavor but aren't necessary. Even Imoen can be easily left behind and she's a part of the plot in 2. In BG1 and 2 this was our characters story.. BG3 feels too much like they are trying to make it their characters story.






I agree with the point made about 'over the top' character design. But you're arguing against yourself by applying it to the BG3 companions. They literally have 1 thing to them that sets them apart from a generic NPC.

If you want the companions to have side quests then you have to lay the foundations for it somehow.
Originally Posted by Demoulius
BG1's companions most defenitly were not bland and stale. Alot had backstories or remarkable gear that set them apart from normal indivuals. Sure, not all of them were living bombs or whatnot but by BG 1's metrics they arent that remarkable imo. Your (likely) party in BG 1's early game was made of 2 god spawns. 2 harpers and 1 or 2 other individuals who were quite remarkable in their own way.

More grounded characters don't have to be "bland and stale", though... and as far as the most commonly picked party members in BG1 go: Neither do you find out that Imoen is a good spawn until the next game, it also has no bearing on the story that Kalid and Jahira are Harpers, or that Minsc and Daenahir are a Rashemi berserker and witch, respectively. As far as BG1's story is concearned, they are just your normal, low level adventuring party. The characters in BG3? Not so much... they are so frontloaded with special, game influencing traits, that the party most likely would implode in the first few evenings of any tabletop campaign.
I don't see these people are special snowflakes.
We have a charming rogue who is suave and sophisticated, also it turns out he happens to be a vampire. Being a vampire is kind of a big deal, but he doesn't want it to define him.
We have a world weary wizard full of knowledge and weird stories, does he has unusual dietary requirements? So what.
There is a cranky cleric with a secret, and a strange name, I haven't been partying with her.
The Githyanki is a Githyanki, it defines her because she's Githyanki, what do you want here?

They have a thing, having a thing isn't bad. Being a vampire isn't actually much different than "from a place you can't go."

The people comparing it to DAO, though, is funny. What are the aspects of those characters? Leliana and Zevron are from a place. Wynn is old. Oghran is a Dwarf. Alistair is royalty, which is a major plot point more than a character aspect, otherwise he's part of the same order as you. Morigan is an Apostate. These are not terribly deep quirks.

I think what this is missing is the relatable one. Imoen was the one you grew up with. Alistair was the most recent Grey Warden before you. You share something and can talk about it without having to work on it. You share something with everyone in BG3 but the link is more of a goal than something to chat about light heartedly.
Quote
I really wonder whether people saying that Baldur's Gate didn't have "special" companions actually played it.

Granted, in Baldur's Gate 1 (not counting Beamdog's take on it), companions weren't special:


Lol.

Originally Posted by jonn
I agree with the point made about 'over the top' character design. But you're arguing against yourself by applying it to the BG3 companions. They literally have 1 thing to them that sets them apart from a generic NPC.

If you want the companions to have side quests then you have to lay the foundations for it somehow.


Not really, you could have voice sets that have plot dialogue and side quests attached to them and then create your own character and attach the voice set to it and come away with a companion character that feels tied to the plot but that you created.

It really doesn't take much fleshing out for folks to fall in love with companions. Think about MInsc in BG1. He has like 24 spoken lines and a hamster that says "squeak" if you touch it.. and after you rescue Dynaheir his little side quest is over. You can completely dump them after that if you want but for some reason you've already fallen in love with him and want to keep him around for the rest of the journey. Doesn't take much at all. .You don't need extremely fleshed out characters because your imagination fills in the blanks. They aren't giving us any blanks to fill because all these characters are designed to use as the main character. Origin characters might have been great for DOS but this is D&D which is built on creativity and using your imagination to build your own characters story.
Originally Posted by vyvexthorne
Not really, you could have voice sets that have plot dialogue and side quests attached to them and then create your own character and attach the voice set to it and come away with a companion character that feels tied to the plot but that you created.

It really doesn't take much fleshing out for folks to fall in love with companions. Think about MInsc in BG1. He has like 24 spoken lines and a hamster that says "squeak" if you touch it.. and after you rescue Dynaheir his little side quest is over. You can completely dump them after that if you want but for some reason you've already fallen in love with him and want to keep him around for the rest of the journey. Doesn't take much at all. .You don't need extremely fleshed out characters because your imagination fills in the blanks. They aren't giving us any blanks to fill because all these characters are designed to use as the main character. Origin characters might have been great for DOS but this is D&D which is built on creativity and using your imagination to build your own characters story.


Exactly... you want to have those super flashed out origin characters in your game? Fine. Then at least give us the option to maybe recruit a couple of other characters that aren't like that, or let us create hirelings or sidekicks like in POT.
If everyone is special, no one is. The companions I have met so far already make me yearn for someone normal.
Originally Posted by Kavonde


That said, some "lesser" NPC companions' could be a great addition. comparatively simple, likable, and broad archetypes. A paladin who just likes to help people. A rogue who just likes money. A barbarian who just likes hitting things with an axe. Characters that aren't going to be driving the plot, but also aren't going to competing for the spotlight. Hell, if anything, that reflects actual D&D much better than every character having a deep, complex backstory. Some people love playing those kinds of characters; some are just there for the combat, or to try out a silly voice, or just get a sense of satisfaction from a nice, simple power fantasy.

I mean, Minsc and Boo were never destined to be the main characters of the original games, but that didn't stop them from being the most beloved ranger and hamster team in the world.


This is exactly what I want. Companions who don't really have a backstory, but are there to help ground the world a bit. Especially a barbarian who just likes to punch things. I will happily take that.
I understand what you're talking about regarding the companions, and I certainly feel the total lack of "good alignment" NPCs (I know it's early access and they have more companions planned). However, I think the EA companions fit the whole "escape from an Illithid dungeon" scenario, but that scenario seems quite ridiculous for level 1 characters.

The game has essentially recreated the exact same scenario that opened BG2, the Irenicus dungeon escape, except it's designed for level 1 characters(the opening of BG2 was designed for about level 7 to 10), but that scenario makes no sense for level 1, and the same feeling of power disconnect exists between the characters and their backstories (with the exception for Shadowheart and *possibly* Wyll- I haven't learned too much about him yet).

Lae'zel- She is a Githyanki which are generally involved in planar travel campaigns , though it's certainly possible to have a low level adventuring Githyanki character, it seems like she has experience fighting Illithid which are level 10ish(I'm not 100% clear on whether she's fought Illithid before, but the game makes it seems like she's a veteran warrior of the Githyanki military).

Astarion- generally speaking, a vampire is high level threat, even a vampire spawn should be more powerful than a level 1 character. Again, it's certainly possible for a sufficient explanation, but it's kind of defying general D&D logic to make a level 1 character a vampire or even a vampire spawn.

Gale- A level 2 wizard hardly seems powerful or noteworthy enough to be the center of a magical realm-destroying catastrophe plot. Many villages in the realms have wizards that are equally or slightly more powerful than he is, and basically every major city has a guild of wizards that are leagues above level 2.

All of these characters and their backgrounds would have made perfect sense as companions in Irenicus' dungeon when the game begins at level 7 -10, but there is a strong disconnect with their stories for first level characters. Shadowheart's story is the one that fits most cleanly with a level 1 character, though it could fit a mid level character just as well. She seems like a believable acolyte (even though she is hiding something).

BG1 and NWN2 both had openings that seemed much more appropriate for level 1 characters: Your childhood home was attacked, and you were given a concrete reason to adventure in search of answers but are just a small player in large world. BG3's is so much more in line with BG2: You're captured by a powerful evil force who is trying to take your life, but manage to escape only to find yourself in a distant part of the world you are utterly unfamiliar with and have a strict time limit to prevent total catastrophe.
Originally Posted by Gothfather
Originally Posted by Zress
I don't mind them being special. But in the old BGs you had this sense of naive and heroic world of magic and monsters, it was more fantastic and friendly. Even the bad guys were friendly and funny. Tiax, Xzar and Montaron, and of course Edwin. When it comes to BG3 it's missing the spirit of being a BG game. To me it's more like Dragon Age than BG.

The current NPCs are very mature, dark and complicated, which cool and fun and amazing. But I feel like I play Dragon Age. Both BG and Dragon Age are amazing games, but one is not the other. And the NPCs in those games were the window to the world.


What i love about this post is that other people will say the exact opposite of this poster. How Baldur's gate is dark fantasy and humour has no place.


If anyone said humour has no place in a Baldur's Gate game, I question whether they have actually played any. The humour was one of the best and most memorable aspects of the games:

BG 1:
Minsc and Boo
Melicamp the chicken
Noober
The old mountaintop prophet who talks about your aura

BG 2
Minsc again
Jan Jansen
Garricks' courtship
Party banter
Edwin

There is tons more in both games.
I like that the companions have their own hook and storyline. Sorry you want "generic grunt #2". In D&D adventurers are a rare lot and few people even have classes, so them having a story isnt an issue. Maybe they can have let you design your own mute henchmen like in the Pillars of Eternity games?

I swear D&D nerds are allergic to fun.
Originally Posted by Sarevok
If anyone said humour has no place in a Baldur's Gate game, I question whether they have actually played any. The humour was one of the best and most memorable aspects of the games:

BG 1:
Minsc and Boo
Melicamp the chicken
Noober
The old mountaintop prophet who talks about your aura

BG 2
Minsc again
Jan Jansen
Garricks' courtship
Party banter
Edwin

There is tons more in both games.


There is humor and there is humor... and the brand of Larian's wacky, nordic insanity is not as fitting to the setting, as Bioware's more toned down goofiness was.
Originally Posted by Bossk_Hogg
I like that the companions have their own hook and storyline. Sorry you want "generic grunt #2". In D&D adventurers are a rare lot and few people even have classes, so them having a story isn't an issue. Maybe they can have let you design your own mute henchmen like in the Pillars of Eternity games?

I swear D&D nerds are allergic to fun.


SPOILERS


One extreme is as distasteful as the other. It isn't that being exceptional is inherently problematic, it is that exceptional exists in relation to a norm, and both have to be representing for either to have any significant impact or meaning. Having a survivor of a goblin sacked town bent on revenge would make an understandable and relatable companion without stretching anything. Personal quests could involve gathering enough coin/resources/territory to establish a militia/memorial/hire-foreign-mercenaries, or simply making peace with what happened and moving on (like after the upteenth time the player has committed their own private genocide and they are forced to reckon with what they have become). Interesting is a matter of depth, not breadth. So much happens even in the little covered in the early release there are dozens of motivations to be found. When you meet the dying Strong Soul and the two apprentices, one could choose to accompany you, their personal struggle being between their confidence and trust in the player and their belief in the Absolute. Or maybe both could, and then they are at not only at odds internally but also with one another which could prove very interesting. At the gates of the Druid enclave, one of the three individuals you save (assuming you saved them all, I did) may elect to join you as a debt of honor, knowing they could never have survived without your intercession and their personal quests could involve tempering their sense of duty and obligation with graciousness and generosity. NPCs can be compelling and sympathetic without being unicorns, in fact, many here (and in other threads) seem to agree that unicorns aren't really all that interesting when they are everywhere.
The tadpole seems the least of their troubles for sure.
Originally Posted by Rouoko
Originally Posted by Demoulius

-Viconia. A female drow. On the surface world. Yeah no special secret or whatnot but this alone makes her an rarity. And she also doesent seem to want to kill every man she meets (even though she does think them inferior) which also makes somewhat of a rarity in drow society. Yeah nothing special to see here.


You skip her story?
She was exiled from Underdark so she run to surface world where she meet Flamign Fist members who want kill her, and you rescure her in Baldur's Gate 1. She have every one because that is drow nature they have this because they was teach to live in that way.
In Baldur's Gate 2 she is even mroe interesting. You again rescure her from beeing burned by viligers and paladins. She told you story what how she start living in house after leaving your party and how she wasa buried alive and raped. She is very tragic character and have lots of wounds make by her own kind and humans.

Uh no I did infact not skip her story. I was giving short descriptions showing that theyre not infact uninteresting boring nobodies. I could write entire paragraphs about each character but nobody has time for that....

@warbaby2:
You say that the npc's backstories dident play a role yet at the same time say that in bg3 it will play a role? How can you tell? The game is still in EA. Aside from 1 of the npc's going nuclear and killing alot of people their backgrounds in no way shape or form will be effecting the main story line as far as we can tell so far. One is a vampire but hes no where near as powerfull as a normal spawn is. Seems more like flavour then an big game breaking side effect.

The game isent finished yet but other then fleshing out the character a bit I dont really see it influencing gameplay either tbh. Where as the npc's in bg1 had unique special abilities. Nothing game breaking but enough to give them something special like Minsc's rage or Branwen spectral hammers.

What im trying to say is, it marks them as special in the setting. Maybe not so much to the player. Other then having quirky backgrounds thr npcs in bg3 dont really stand out either...
Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by Bossk_Hogg
I like that the companions have their own hook and storyline. Sorry you want "generic grunt #2". In D&D adventurers are a rare lot and few people even have classes, so them having a story isn't an issue. Maybe they can have let you design your own mute henchmen like in the Pillars of Eternity games?

I swear D&D nerds are allergic to fun.


SPOILERS


One extreme is as distasteful as the other. It isn't that being exceptional is inherently problematic, it is that exceptional exists in relation to a norm, and both have to be representing for either to have any significant impact or meaning. Having a survivor of a goblin sacked town bent on revenge would make an understandable and relatable companion without stretching anything. Personal quests could involve gathering enough coin/resources/territory to establish a militia/memorial/hire-foreign-mercenaries, or simply making peace with what happened and moving on (like after the upteenth time the player has committed their own private genocide and they are forced to reckon with what they have become). Interesting is a matter of depth, not breadth. So much happens even in the little covered in the early release there are dozens of motivations to be found. When you meet the dying Strong Soul and the two apprentices, one could choose to accompany you, their personal struggle being between their confidence and trust in the player and their belief in the Absolute. Or maybe both could, and then they are at not only at odds internally but also with one another which could prove very interesting. At the gates of the Druid enclave, one of the three individuals you save (assuming you saved them all, I did) may elect to join you as a debt of honor, knowing they could never have survived without your intercession and their personal quests could involve tempering their sense of duty and obligation with graciousness and generosity. NPCs can be compelling and sympathetic without being unicorns, in fact, many here (and in other threads) seem to agree that unicorns aren't really all that interesting when they are everywhere.


This^ Thanks for enunciating what I've been feeling during my playthroughs.
Originally Posted by HYPERBOLOCO
Originally Posted by DistantStranger
Originally Posted by Bossk_Hogg
I like that the companions have their own hook and storyline. Sorry you want "generic grunt #2". In D&D adventurers are a rare lot and few people even have classes, so them having a story isn't an issue. Maybe they can have let you design your own mute henchmen like in the Pillars of Eternity games?

I swear D&D nerds are allergic to fun.


SPOILERS


One extreme is as distasteful as the other. It isn't that being exceptional is inherently problematic, it is that exceptional exists in relation to a norm, and both have to be representing for either to have any significant impact or meaning. Having a survivor of a goblin sacked town bent on revenge would make an understandable and relatable companion without stretching anything. Personal quests could involve gathering enough coin/resources/territory to establish a militia/memorial/hire-foreign-mercenaries, or simply making peace with what happened and moving on (like after the upteenth time the player has committed their own private genocide and they are forced to reckon with what they have become). Interesting is a matter of depth, not breadth. So much happens even in the little covered in the early release there are dozens of motivations to be found. When you meet the dying Strong Soul and the two apprentices, one could choose to accompany you, their personal struggle being between their confidence and trust in the player and their belief in the Absolute. Or maybe both could, and then they are at not only at odds internally but also with one another which could prove very interesting. At the gates of the Druid enclave, one of the three individuals you save (assuming you saved them all, I did) may elect to join you as a debt of honor, knowing they could never have survived without your intercession and their personal quests could involve tempering their sense of duty and obligation with graciousness and generosity. NPCs can be compelling and sympathetic without being unicorns, in fact, many here (and in other threads) seem to agree that unicorns aren't really all that interesting when they are everywhere.


This^ Thanks for enunciating what I've been feeling during my playthroughs.


+2

This really just goes back to the companions all being over stylized. They could honestly have pretty similar backgrounds and it wouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t just so blatant.

Boone from New Vegas was a great companion. He was a sniper, he had a little hat that alluded to this. His motivation was to kill legionnaires who killed his wife. None of this was a secret. But if he was in this game he’d be wearing a shirt that said ‘#1 Sniper,” be totally decked out in kit instead of a clothes and yell “YOU MADE ME KILL MY WIFE” when entering battle.

The whole time you’re just like *eye roll* I get it Gayle there’s a bomb in you. Like by the time these characters actually talk about their backstory it’s like Rick and Beth finding King Tommy “yeah way ahead of the reveal here”
Originally Posted by Sarevok
I understand what you're talking about regarding the companions, and I certainly feel the total lack of "good alignment" NPCs (I know it's early access and they have more companions planned). However, I think the EA companions fit the whole "escape from an Illithid dungeon" scenario, but that scenario seems quite ridiculous for level 1 characters.

The game has essentially recreated the exact same scenario that opened BG2, the Irenicus dungeon escape, except it's designed for level 1 characters(the opening of BG2 was designed for about level 7 to 10), but that scenario makes no sense for level 1, and the same feeling of power disconnect exists between the characters and their backstories (with the exception for Shadowheart and *possibly* Wyll- I haven't learned too much about him yet).

Lae'zel- She is a Githyanki which are generally involved in planar travel campaigns , though it's certainly possible to have a low level adventuring Githyanki character, it seems like she has experience fighting Illithid which are level 10ish(I'm not 100% clear on whether she's fought Illithid before, but the game makes it seems like she's a veteran warrior of the Githyanki military).

Astarion- generally speaking, a vampire is high level threat, even a vampire spawn should be more powerful than a level 1 character. Again, it's certainly possible for a sufficient explanation, but it's kind of defying general D&D logic to make a level 1 character a vampire or even a vampire spawn.

Gale- A level 2 wizard hardly seems powerful or noteworthy enough to be the center of a magical realm-destroying catastrophe plot. Many villages in the realms have wizards that are equally or slightly more powerful than he is, and basically every major city has a guild of wizards that are leagues above level 2.

All of these characters and their backgrounds would have made perfect sense as companions in Irenicus' dungeon when the game begins at level 7 -10, but there is a strong disconnect with their stories for first level characters. Shadowheart's story is the one that fits most cleanly with a level 1 character, though it could fit a mid level character just as well. She seems like a believable acolyte (even though she is hiding something).

BG1 and NWN2 both had openings that seemed much more appropriate for level 1 characters: Your childhood home was attacked, and you were given a concrete reason to adventure in search of answers but are just a small player in large world. BG3's is so much more in line with BG2: You're captured by a powerful evil force who is trying to take your life, but manage to escape only to find yourself in a distant part of the world you are utterly unfamiliar with and have a strict time limit to prevent total catastrophe.


Yeah, this is probably the main issue I have with the companions. None of them come off as level 1 characters. However, they could have explained that away by using the Mind Flayer abduction as an excuse as to why our characters don't possess their full abilities. Basically, they are all in a recovery process from having a tadpole inserted into their brains. Pretty cliche stuff, but there is no freaking way these characters are all level 1 nobodies.

Personally, I would just rather have all these characters more spread apart throughout the game. I find it kind of stupid that you find them all in the very first area of the game. But I guess it has something to do with Larian's Origin Character approach. Everyone has to be available right from the start.
Lv 1 doesn't necessarily mean "clueless nobody who just started adventuring".

DnD allows you to create a character with an already rich backstory, full of a prior life, and that doesn't have to translate into "high level".

For the purpose of "ludonarrative cohesion", it is easily reconciled: Your character simply decides to employ abilities of increasing power just as the threats increase that require them (and as their "XP", as a representation of that, increases as well).
Originally Posted by endolex
Lv 1 doesn't necessarily mean "clueless nobody who just started adventuring".

DnD allows you to create a character with an already rich backstory, full of a prior life, and that doesn't have to translate into "high level".

For the purpose of "ludonarrative cohesion", it is easily reconciled: Your character simply decides to employ abilities of increasing power just as the threats increase that require them (and as their "XP", as a representation of that, increases as well).

I'm going to quote you every time some dnd guy whines about it. However, I do think that the reason people complain about it is because the story is just not good enough for them to suspend their disbelief. This means the solution shouldn't be to create a 7 level characters but to improve the lacking elements of the story.

About snowflakes - the issue here is once again with Larian's insistence on origin characters that are also potential companions. This creates so many narrative problems that Larian doesn't seem interested in solving
Originally Posted by endolex
Lv 1 doesn't necessarily mean "clueless nobody who just started adventuring".

DnD allows you to create a character with an already rich backstory, full of a prior life, and that doesn't have to translate into "high level".

For the purpose of "ludonarrative cohesion", it is easily reconciled: Your character simply decides to employ abilities of increasing power just as the threats increase that require them (and as their "XP", as a representation of that, increases as well).


Correct me if I am wrong. But, you are saying that my wizard posses the ability to cast fireball and time stop, they just choose not to because the threat is not high enough? why would they risk their friends, using some minor spells when they fight 30 goblins, when they can end it fast with a single spell?
I agree that the writing behind the companions is sub par at best and many people have brought up the incredible amount of plot armor and suspension of disbelief that is required for any of them to get their foot in the door. I have seen people also make the claim that older BG games where whacky humorous because humorous things can happen and this makes no sense to me. I'm sure you've seen a picture of soldiers laughing or playing a game during an extremely graphic war(such as WW1/WW2) but you would never propose that these times where humorous or whacky. Please consider the actual tone of BG1/2 and respect that despite this the developers had the clarity to still allow space for humor and entertainment.

That being said all the problems with the companions stems from the "origin character" gimmick that has made a return from DivOS2 and I personally believe was an extremely thoughtless decision on Larians part. Of course all the characters will feel like Mary sue snowflakes while also feeling underdeveloped because they need to be main characters while also allowing for you to take control of them and affect their personality according to your desires. This is ineffective at best and schizophrenic at worst and something I believe they genuinely need to rethink while there is time. If they don't then for me the immediate choice will be to mod these characters out of the game.

Originally Posted by endolex
Lv 1 doesn't necessarily mean "clueless nobody who just started adventuring".

DnD allows you to create a character with an already rich backstory, full of a prior life, and that doesn't have to translate into "high level".

For the purpose of "ludonarrative cohesion", it is easily reconciled: Your character simply decides to employ abilities of increasing power just as the threats increase that require them (and as their "XP", as a representation of that, increases as well).

Level 1 means you are extremely week, completely inexperienced and barely skilled. DnD allows you to create a rich backstory yes but why do you ignore the fact that there is control for this and a GM will veto backstories that break cohesion by allowing you to write in a power fantasy? The last part is comical and is the definition of ludonarrative dissonance as well as being poor reasoning and unrealistic even in a high fantasy setting.
I actually like these companions better than BG1 & 2 except for Minsc and Boo. Also contrary to OP, I find them all interesting.
Originally Posted by Godforsaken
Originally Posted by endolex
Lv 1 doesn't necessarily mean "clueless nobody who just started adventuring".

DnD allows you to create a character with an already rich backstory, full of a prior life, and that doesn't have to translate into "high level".

For the purpose of "ludonarrative cohesion", it is easily reconciled: Your character simply decides to employ abilities of increasing power just as the threats increase that require them (and as their "XP", as a representation of that, increases as well).


Correct me if I am wrong. But, you are saying that my wizard posses the ability to cast fireball and time stop, they just choose not to because the threat is not high enough? why would they risk their friends, using some minor spells when they fight 30 goblins, when they can end it fast with a single spell?


Well for instance, experienced Wizards (and other powerful adventurers) know that the moment they make things too easily resolved, everyone will come to rely on them alone, instead of growing more resourceful themselves ...;)
But the truth is: as long as the ability to cast fireball is not mentioned in-dialogue, there's no reason to point out that a character should be able to do that if they are that experienced already. There's no need to marry "power level" in game terms with "backstory" in a way that forbids Lv 1 chars from having interesting backgrounds, to have "lived a little" already before getting into this adventuring business.
I'm glad to not be adventuring with entirely clueless teenagers in every RPG. Take games like Dragon Age or Mass Effect: Your companions start as "low" as you do in game mechanical terms, but they had all sorts of lives before meeting you, and lived through some serious shit. The same method can be easily applied to DnD-based games.
Originally Posted by Marshmallow
Coming off of a CRPG where you have a Depressed Dwarf Cleric of an Unmaker god finding out he has magic fists to end masterpieces and artefacts, an Actually Immortal Chosen by the Goddess of the Undead Elf, an Ex-Paladin who’s made it onto the personal shit list of her former god, the Greatest Explorer the World has ever known and won’t let you forget it, an Actual Fallen Deva who’s working for your enemy, A Barbarian with a sword bigger than she is, Two Former Slaves who are the Chosen of the God of Magic AND the Goddess of Vengeance, and A pair of Twins with Asmodeus’ Right Hand Man for a Dad who’re the practical joke of A DIFFERENT GOD OF MAGIC on said father:

The companions in this game are a refreshing breath of air. Also, those companions above are really well written and interesting part of a 120 hour campaign, so uh, you can boil any character concept down to the point of bad taste if you navel gaze hard enough.

TL:DR: I’ve enjoyed characters with a lot more snow than these 5.


What game was that, not recognizing it from your summery.
Originally Posted by Argonaut

Level 1 means you are extremely week, completely inexperienced and barely skilled. DnD allows you to create a rich backstory yes but why do you ignore the fact that there is control for this and a GM will veto backstories that break cohesion by allowing you to write in a power fantasy? The last part is comical and is the definition of ludonarrative dissonance as well as being poor reasoning and unrealistic even in a high fantasy setting.


You're extremely weak in *game terms*. Doesn't mean completely inexperienced or barely skilled as a character in the narrative sense.
"Rich backstory" does nowhere have to mean "power fantasy", just that you don't have to be fresh from the dirt farm knowing nothing except dirt farming. That's what I find needlessly constraining. If your background is "Soldier" it's logical that you were in the military, you have killed a few people maybe, did they not give you XP, should you not be higher level then? If you approach backstory + character power in game terms like that and try to absolutely synchronize the two, you can only ever play teenage dirt farmers, period. And I'd really find that unfortunate. smile
Originally Posted by endolex
Originally Posted by Argonaut

Level 1 means you are extremely week, completely inexperienced and barely skilled. DnD allows you to create a rich backstory yes but why do you ignore the fact that there is control for this and a GM will veto backstories that break cohesion by allowing you to write in a power fantasy? The last part is comical and is the definition of ludonarrative dissonance as well as being poor reasoning and unrealistic even in a high fantasy setting.


You're extremely weak in *game terms*. Doesn't mean completely inexperienced or barely skilled as a character in the narrative sense.
"Rich backstory" does nowhere have to mean "power fantasy", just that you don't have to be fresh from the dirt farm knowing nothing except dirt farming. That's what I find needlessly constraining. If your background is "Soldier" it's logical that you were in the military, you have killed a few people maybe, did they not give you XP, should you not be higher level then? If you approach backstory + character power in game terms like that and try to absolutely synchronize the two, you can only ever play teenage dirt farmers, period. And I'd really find that unfortunate. smile

I am sorry but you are demonstrably wrong. Even with the greatest degree of min maxing your skills will pale compared to someone five or six levels ahead of you and you wouldn't be able to come close to DC checks for skilled crafting even with a 19 roll. In regard to the backstory you are asking for a feature that already exists, your level. If you are level 1 and have a soldier backstory you didn't fight in many engagements and are not experienced. If you start at level 5 with a soldier backstory you've obviously seen more combat. Please stop holding on to something that is categorically false.
Quote
I am sorry but you are demonstrably wrong. Even with the greatest degree of min maxing your skills will pale compared to someone five or six levels ahead of you and you wouldn't be able to come close to DC checks for skilled crafting even with a 19 roll. In regard to the backstory you are asking for a feature that already exists, your level. If you are level 1 and have a soldier backstory you didn't fight in many engagements and are not experienced. If you start at level 5 with a soldier backstory you've obviously seen more combat. Please stop holding on to something that is categorically false.


You're making comparisons inside the "game terms" logic, comparing a Lv1 character with a Lv6 character.
There's no "demonstrably wrong" here. The PHB doesn't state anywhere that a Lv1 character can only be a barely adolescent of your given race, with no prior life that would translate into XP. The PHB *does* let you chose backgrounds for your character. Said backgrounds usually involve past deeds and experience that, when done in a campaign, would already qualify as adventuring. How do you renconcile that with your strict interpretation of "character power in game terms" absolutely HAS TO EQUAL "character background in narrative"? There's no easy formula to this, and I believe campaigns and new characters at the beginning of campaign get much more interesting if they don't have to be "just starting out" all the time.

You seem to be approaching DnD from a strict game terms point of view and probably believe that narrative has to absolutely follow game terms to the letter. I happen to disagree, I find that approach impractical even, and needlessly restricting, and I've played enough campaigns where you start at Lv 1 without having to be a noob in both personality and accomplishments. I don't think there's some "truth" to be found here, it's, like many things in DnD, a matter of preference.
Originally Posted by endolex
Quote
I am sorry but you are demonstrably wrong. Even with the greatest degree of min maxing your skills will pale compared to someone five or six levels ahead of you and you wouldn't be able to come close to DC checks for skilled crafting even with a 19 roll. In regard to the backstory you are asking for a feature that already exists, your level. If you are level 1 and have a soldier backstory you didn't fight in many engagements and are not experienced. If you start at level 5 with a soldier backstory you've obviously seen more combat. Please stop holding on to something that is categorically false.


You're making comparisons inside the "game terms" logic, comparing a Lv1 character with a Lv6 character.

No, I am explaining to you how the system works and how it is used to simulate reality with it's own rules.

Originally Posted by endolex
There's no "demonstrably wrong" here.

Curious, I have already demonstrated how your assertion is incorrect. This is what it means to be demonstrably wrong her regardless of wherever you find it appropriate or not.

Originally Posted by endolex
The PHB doesn't state anywhere that a Lv1 character can only be a barely adolescent of your given race, with no prior life that would translate into XP. The PHB *does* let you chose backgrounds for your character. Said backgrounds usually involve past deeds and experience that, when done in a campaign, would already qualify as adventuring. How do you renconcile that with your strict interpretation of "character power in game terms" absolutely HAS TO EQUAL "character background in narrative"? There's no easy formula to this, and I believe campaigns and new characters at the beginning of campaign get much more interesting if they don't have to be "just starting out" all the time.

No one said anything about adolescence but you. I think this is something that exists in your mind alone. I have already explained to you that your backstory and whatever life experience you have gained from it is tied and limited to your character level in order to simulate a believable reality. If this was not the case you could start a level 1 character with ridiculous stats and just breeze through everything and the game now doesn't matter. In fact nothing matters, because you can just write into your backstory that in the one battle you fought you discovered the legendary artifact dawnbreaker and where made champion of the god of justice and such and so on. If you consider these low level limitations to not be interesting the solution already exists. Start at a higher level. This is the very nature of the mechanics in game and these limitations exist for a reason. Not liking them is one thing, not agreeing with them is one thing, but trying to present them as something they are not and use arbitrary reasoning that does not take reality into account is false. This is mirrored throughout the game with things such as CR, diminished returns and crafting classes like artificers being locked out of crafting items by level.

Originally Posted by endolex
You seem to be approaching DnD from a strict game terms point of view and probably believe that narrative has to absolutely follow game terms to the letter. I happen to disagree, I find that approach impractical even, and needlessly restricting, and I've played enough campaigns where you start at Lv 1 without having to be a noob in both personality and accomplishments. I don't think there's some "truth" to be found here, it's, like many things in DnD, a matter of preference.

Where did you get that conclusion from? It is not a matter of perspective no matter how you slice it and I have already shown you how that works. IF you would like to actually disprove me then explain how a level 1 fighter and lvl 5 fighter with the same backstory can lead to the level 1 fighter having superior tangible skills. experience and proficiency without the inclusion of metagaming(i.e is a tactical genius with 10 int 10 wisdom and no training or education). You are categorically and demonstrably false. Even in looser setting like GURPS or other OSR low level characters are low level characters and what this means is that they are inexperienced and barely proficiently skilled as is reflected in their mechanics. As I have already said this is done to prevent you from creating a level 1 character that can forge artifacts. Do you simply not understand that the experiences you have are reflected by your level directly? If you write your backstory as having these experiences then your level would have to be adjusted. When you agree to start at a certain level in pen and paper you are making a silent agreement about accepting these limitations.
Please genuinely stop and think about what you are saying. The rule system is there to help you simulate a fair and balanced reality for all people involved with clear cut definitions and restrictions so that even at a cursory glance you can tell what something or someone will be capable of.

Honestly a lot of the NPCs from BG1 had really unique drives and were goofy and precious. I feel like people are being willfully ignorant with these takes.

>Viconia was a renegade shar worshipping Drow. The only reason she even mentions Shar is because it makes her more trustworthy than the assumption of her beliefs.

>Shar'Teel is a ridiculous man hating female fighter

>Xan is a nihilist elf with a special magic sword.

>Tiax RULES

>Minsc is totally a cornball precious character and Edwin too.

I mean what NPCs in BG1 were even written straight? Ajantis, Kivan, and uh Yeslick I guess?

BG2 has even MORE special characters who come with even unique armors and weapons, unique stories, and absolutely huge personalities.

I think alternatively Shadowheart not wanting to be open about her Shar worship honestly isn't that bad and Astarion hiding being a vampire is also entirely understandable. Gale maybe is a little too "larger than life" but that's it. Also the whole thing of Wyll hiding that he made a deal with a demon, like buddy I've seen you catch Eldritch blast! I think people saying "these characters are a little too cornball for Baldur's Gate" maybe spent too much time with custom parties. I feel like they really fit in.
AD&D/D&D has always promoted PCs as being slightly special, better than the ordinary people around them. There used to be the classic 'Level 0 commoner' who made up the bulk of the world's population. That is what you would be if you were a farm-boy just deciding to leave the fields and become an adventurer. Just like a Level 1 Wizard is not an apprentice but a fully-fledged mage, a Level 1 Fighter is presumed to have some experience of combat. That's why D&D5 uses Proficiencies - they represent your training or past experience. Older editions had class abilities which reflected a similar previous experience.

Improving Stats by level is a recent thing, brought in from 3e. Whilst there were magical ways to improve your stats in previous editions (and optional rules on training them up), you were generally stuck with whatever you rolled at the start of character creation. This led to odd situations where a Level 1 Fighter could be a better warrior than a Level 3 Fighter thanks to the bonuses from very high stats..
My own take on the NPC companions is that I would prefer them to have interesting backstories and personalities rather than the magically- and demon-led strangeness that they current have.

There is no reason for one, maybe two, NPCs to be under a magical curse or the unwitting pawn of a Big Bad Beastie, but when they are in the majority it all loses its sparkle and becomes, "meh, you think you have problems, you should talk to X". Have an NPC companion who is dangerous curious, or one who cannot resist gambling. Maybe one who is a runaway child of a great noble house or a wanted criminal. Light touches. 'Interesting' doesn't need to be applied with a trowel.
Originally Posted by Worm
Honestly a lot of the NPCs from BG1 had really unique drives and were goofy and precious. I feel like people are being willfully ignorant with these takes.
,
Viconia was a renegade shar worshipping Drow.

Viconia was someone that, upon discovering her upbringing was not the norm, immediately fought against it for ethical reasons. She did what she could to fight against her nature and prejudice against her but quickly discovered that the people she was attempting to appease where not perfect when she showed them trust and ended up being
gang raped and buried alive
. In this moment of fury she defaulted to the ways she considered to be degenerate and had an existential crisis while suffering from extreme PTSD while continuing to strive to be better while pushing people away and acting the part of evil drow so people would not attempt to repeat that experience on her. What is goofy or precious about this?

Originally Posted by Worm
Shar'Teel is a ridiculous man hating female fighter

Shar'Teel is implied to have been subject to extreme physical and sexual abuse growing up and that is why she has developed a hatred for men as well as a passion for fighting and a need to prove herself. She is actively trying to gain back the power that was taken away from her as a child. What is goofy of precious about this?

Originally Posted by Worm
Xan is a nihilist elf with a special magic sword.

Xan puts on a pessimistic persona to hide his snide and derogatory viewpoints of people, but fails to keep it completely under control. He makes it apparent that he is anti social and thinks less of everyone around him. How is this goofy or precious?

Originally Posted by Worm
Tiax RULES

Tiax is an insane person with power. I don't remember if it is ever made clear to you why he has become so unhinged but he believes he is chosen by the Evil God cyric and seeks world domination in order to enslave people and subject them to his whims. How is this goofy or precious? This person would be terrifying in real life akin to a psychopath at the top levels of government.

Originally Posted by Worm
Minsc is totally a cornball precious character and Edwin too.

I guess we are just going to ignore Dynaheir and what happens to Minsc with her. I suppose we are also going to ignore the fact that Edwin is a genuine prodigy that believes everyone around him to be inferior but is constantly getting himself into sticky situations because of his arrogance as the reality is that there are people much stronger than him. He is trapped in delusions of grandeur and whenever something doesn't go away he considers it to be bad luck or a conspiracy. How is this goofy or precious?

Originally Posted by Worm
I mean what NPCs in BG1 were even written straight? Ajantis, Kivan, and uh Yeslick I guess?

BG2 has even MORE special characters who come with even unique armors and weapons, unique stories, and absolutely huge personalities.

I think alternatively Shadowheart not wanting to be open about her Shar worship honestly isn't that bad and Astarion hiding being a vampire is also entirely understandable. Gale maybe is a little too "larger than life" but that's it. Also the whole thing of Wyll hiding that he made a deal with a demon, like buddy I've seen you catch Eldritch blast!

Dynaheir, Minsc, Garrick, Imoen, Viconia, Xan, Xar, Montaron. Why only BG1? Why not include BG2 and ToB where most characters do not have same sex romance options?
Please stop cherrypicking what you remember to fit your narrative. Present the evidence in earnest and make your case.
I can't stand Shadowheart, while at the same time having a strong urge to put it in her at the tiefling party. She cock-blocked me hard and now I just don't have the patience to deal with her resting b-face and layers of bulsh.

As far as the OP, it's Minsc not Misc, but yeah I hope we get someone memorable like that in BG3. Right now the other NPCs don't really bother me. Astarion does tend to make me uncomfortable from time to time; questioning my sexuality - at least in game haha. It's just Shadowheart. They made her super hot and so I have to put up with her pretty face for now inspire of her annoying qualities.
The developers have stated/strongly hinted that Minsc is going to appear in BG3.
Originally Posted by Argonaut

No, I am explaining to you how the system works and how it is used to simulate reality with it's own rules.

It's your interpretation of how the system works, not some objective truth. You call the DnD ruleset a 'reality simulator', which is not how I view it at all. It's a game system, designed to govern + resolve uncertainty in an interactive narrative, and by no means intended as a physically + mathematically accurate modeling of an entire fictional world. If you go at it that way, you should just as well start asking why NPCs don't have full character sheets and are not subject to the same rules regarding actions, spells, etc. - what's the (meta)physical in-world explanation that distinguishes player characters from monsters and NPCs, what makes them essentially different?

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IF you would like to actually disprove me then explain how a level 1 fighter and lvl 5 fighter with the same backstory can lead to the level 1 fighter having superior tangible skills. experience and proficiency


You keep comparing character levels, missing my point entirely that it's easily possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view, without having to restrict the character's background based on that. Yes, of course that requires somewhat mature players that don't impulsively need to invent "chosen one" backstories with countless great and universe-saving deeds in their pocket (although even that could be managed, provided player, party and DM can agree on how to approach it).
Backstories are *always* subject to DM scrutiny, so I don't even see the risk here that you seem to be seeing. And countless games do this: you start out "weak" in game terms, but your background says otherwise, it's just more fun to progress and 'earn' abilities by what you did in-game, which should however not restrict who your character is as a person entering the adventure, previous life and possible trauma all included without boosting them all the way to Lv 8-12 because of it.

There's simply no reason, neither in the PHB nor in any other objective fashion to decide "we're playing Lv1 characters, so your characters can't be older than xyz years". And yes, bringing adolescence into it logically follows that, because if you're arguing a character that is Lv1 can't have experienced anything useful from a narrative point of view, they have to be very young (or very sheltered) in most cases.

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Do you simply not understand that the experiences you have are reflected by your level directly?

I understand your sentiment, but I don't agree that this reflection can ever be as accurate as you obviouly would like it to be, nor that such accuracy should even be attempted. Because again, it's not a simulator (to me). Around a game table, yes, there needs to be consensus about what is believable - fortunately I've been in enough rounds with what obviously would be anathema to you: a party with characters ranging from 16-year-old "just starting out" noobs to grizzled 40-ish mercenary veterans, with quite different ages and experiences, but decidedly not reflected in-game by vastly different character levels - because that would feel much more "wrong" to us (not to mention terribly difficult to balance encounters against). It's perfectly manageable when you're playing with somewhat mature players, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
My latest D&D 5e character is a wizened old crone. Yep, she was a wizened old crone at Level 1 as well. The party includes a teenage halfling urchin who is the same level as me, as well as several PCs whose ages are not given or remarked upon. We all have different backstories; I like creating backstories so mine are usually quite detailed and interesting (at least, to me).
Originally Posted by endolex
Originally Posted by Argonaut

No, I am explaining to you how the system works and how it is used to simulate reality with it's own rules.


It's your interpretation of how the system works, not some objective truth. You call the DnD ruleset a 'reality simulator', which is not how I view it at all. It's a game system, designed to govern + resolve uncertainty in an interactive narrative, and by no means intended as a physically + mathematically accurate modeling of an entire fictional world. If you go at it that way, you should just as well start asking why NPCs don't have full character sheets and are not subject to the same rules regarding actions, spells, etc. - what's the (meta)physical in-world explanation that distinguishes player characters from monsters and NPCs, what makes them essentially different?

Congratulations you took an incredibly roundabout word salad way of describing a reality simulator. Reality simulator doesn't mean our reality FYI. NPCs do not have full character sheet because they are negligible and the ones that aren't do have full character sheets. What makes them different are their races, culture and biology. I don't think you understand how pen and paper systems work.

Originally Posted by endolex
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IF you would like to actually disprove me then explain how a level 1 fighter and lvl 5 fighter with the same backstory can lead to the level 1 fighter having superior tangible skills. experience and proficiency


You keep comparing character levels, missing my point entirely that it's easily possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view, without having to restrict the character's background based on that. Yes, of course that requires somewhat mature players that don't impulsively need to invent "chosen one" backstories with countless great and universe-saving deeds in their pocket (although even that could be managed, provided player, party and DM can agree on how to approach it).
Backstories are *always* subject to DM scrutiny, so I don't even see the risk here that you seem to be seeing. And countless games do this: you start out "weak" in game terms, but your background says otherwise, it's just more fun to progress and 'earn' abilities by what you did in-game, which should however not restrict who your character is as a person entering the adventure, previous life and possible trauma all included without boosting them all the way to Lv 8-12 because of it.

Again you are taking a very roundabout way to tell me I am wrong while then describing exactly what I said. You also fail to demonstrate your point with tangible evidence or a concrete example. It's entirely possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view? Yes. Levels are part of gameplay. Experience is a part of gameplay.

Originally Posted by endolex
[There's simply no reason, neither in the PHB nor in any other objective fashion to decide "we're playing Lv1 characters, so your characters can't be older than xyz years". And yes, bringing adolescence into it logically follows that, because if you're arguing a character that is Lv1 can't have experienced anything useful from a narrative point of view, they have to be very young (or very sheltered) in most cases.

This is a point that exists in your head and a leap you are making on your own. I didn't say you don't have skills I said that your skills are not noteworthy if you are low level and you cannot write this into your backstory as this would be metagaming and not fun. I am 30 years old and a father of two children and work in a highly demanding field. Do not try to diminish my person because your argument is falling flat.

Think of it this way. Have you never met someone in middle age that works a run of the mill job and has no noteworthy skills despite many years of life experience, a veritable "average-joe".

Originally Posted by endolex
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Do you simply not understand that the experiences you have are reflected by your level directly?

I understand your sentiment, but I don't agree that this reflection can ever be as accurate as you obviouly would like it to be, nor that such accuracy should even be attempted. Because again, it's not a simulator (to me). Around a game table, yes, there needs to be consensus about what is believable - fortunately I've been in enough rounds with what obviously would be anathema to you: a party with characters ranging from 16-year-old "just starting out" noobs to grizzled 40-ish mercenary veterans, with quite different ages and experiences, but decidedly not reflected in-game by vastly different character levels - because that would feel much more "wrong" to us (not to mention terribly difficult to balance encounters against). It's perfectly manageable when you're playing with somewhat mature players, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

simulation
/sɪmjuːˈleɪʃ(ə)n/
Learn to pronounce
noun
imitation of a situation or process.
"simulation of blood flowing through arteries and veins"
the action of pretending; deception.
"clever simulation that's good enough to trick you"
the production of a computer model of something, especially for the purpose of study.
"the method was tested by computer simulation"

Please. You agreeing with something or not does not alter reality. I don't consider that anathema at all as long as they didn't try to pass their low level characters off as having artisan level combat, crafting or social skills. Again, you are creating a problem in your own head and arguing against it as if it was my point. I am going to spell it out for you.

Low level + Backstory = Used to scale your actual tangible power and skillset. It does not prevent you from having diverse skills or experiences but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer. This is not a matter of your perception or opinion it is an objective fact and how the system balance was created. This does not affect your age either. It directly affects the numerical values of your skills.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
My latest D&D 5e character is a wizened old crone. Yep, she was a wizened old crone at Level 1 as well. The party includes a teenage halfling urchin who is the same level as me, as well as several PCs whose ages are not given or remarked upon. We all have different backstories; I like creating backstories so mine are usually quite detailed and interesting (at least, to me).

And does your lvl 1 wizened old crone have access to level 5 spells? Can your teenage halfling urchin bypass a DC35 stealth or lockpicking check on anything but a natural 20? Does the teenage halfing urchin have vast underworld connections and a mountain of favors owed to him by criminal barons? How high is your wizened old hags DC checks? Tell me what is your Wisdom value and the urchins Dexterity value?

These characters still fall under the exact rules and guidelines I am talking about. A wizened old crone is not the same as starting a level 1 character and in your backstory you have read thousands of spelltomes and incribed thousands of scrolls or you are the headmaster of the academy of magic.
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Low level + Backstory = Used to scale your actual tangible power and skillset. It does not prevent you from having diverse skills or experiences but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer. This is not a matter of your perception or opinion it is an objective fact and how the system balance was created. This does not affect your age either. It directly affects the numerical values of your skills.

Not true. Your backstory can be anything you like. Of course you can be a veteran warrior, many characters start their Fighters off in just such a way.

You are confusing XP and game experience with the character backstory. One is a mechanism used within the game, the other is story-telling technique to explaining why your character is where he or she is now. Just because a PC is not high level, does not mean that the campaign, group, rules and GM cannot recognise that they are highly experienced.

To quote about age:
AGE
The age entry notes the age when a member of the race is considered an adult, as well as the race’s expected lifespan. This information can help you decide how old your character is at the start of the game. You can choose any age for your character, which could provide an explanation for some of your ability scores. For example, if you play a young or very old character, your age could explain a particularly low Strength or Constitution score, while advanced age could account for a high Intelligence or Wisdom.

To quote from the section on Backgrounds:
Your character’s background reveals where you came from, how you became an adventurer, and your place in the world. Your fighter might have been a courageous knight or a grizzled soldier. Your wizard could have been a sage or an artisan. Your rogue might have gotten by as a guild thief or commanded audiences as a jester.

Those pieces of advice on creating your character strongly suggest that you can start a character as someone who has seen a bit of life before becoming an adventurer. A 'grizzled fighter' is not some fresh-faced newcomer, and neither is a sage a newly apprenticed wizard.
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Low level + Backstory = Used to scale your actual tangible power and skillset. It does not prevent you from having diverse skills or experiences but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer. This is not a matter of your perception or opinion it is an objective fact and how the system balance was created. This does not affect your age either. It directly affects the numerical values of your skills.

Not true. Your backstory can be anything you like. Of course you can be a veteran warrior, many characters start their Fighters off in just such a way.

You are confusing XP and game experience with the character backstory. One is a mechanism used within the game, the other is story-telling technique to explaining why your character is where he or she is now. Just because a PC is not high level, does not mean that the campaign, group, rules and GM cannot recognise that they are highly experienced.

You can be a veteran warrior but why did you ignore the rest of what I said? You cannot be the champion of the army in your backstory as a level 1. Include the whole thing, do not cherry pick to suit your argument.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
To quote about age:
AGE
The age entry notes the age when a member of the race is considered an adult, as well as the race’s expected lifespan. This information can help you decide how old your character is at the start of the game. You can choose any age for your character, which could provide an explanation for some of your ability scores. For example, if you play a young or very old character, your age could explain a particularly low Strength or Constitution score, while advanced age could account for a high Intelligence or Wisdom.

Please point me to where I said otherwise.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
To quote from the section on Backgrounds:
Your character’s background reveals where you came from, how you became an adventurer, and your place in the world. Your fighter might have been a courageous knight or a grizzled soldier. Your wizard could have been a sage or an artisan. Your rogue might have gotten by as a guild thief or commanded audiences as a jester.

Still cannot be a champion. Still cannot be the headmaster of the academy of magic. Please note that the section of backgrounds is written to include starting at any level, not just level one. Moot point.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Those pieces of advice on creating your character strongly suggest that you can start a character as someone who has seen a bit of life before becoming an adventurer. A 'grizzled fighter' is not some fresh-faced newcomer, and neither is a sage a newly apprenticed wizard.

Again, please direct me to where I said otherwise. Please point me to the point in the PHB where the background description states it is not talking about starting a character at any level
Originally Posted by Argonaut
And does your lvl 1 wizened old crone have access to level 5 spells? Can your teenage halfling urchin bypass a DC35 stealth or lockpicking check on anything but a natural 20? Does the teenage halfing urchin have vast underworld connections and a mountain of favors owed to him by criminal barons? How high is your wizened old hags DC checks? Tell me what is your Wisdom value and the urchins Dexterity value?

These characters still fall under the exact rules and guidelines I am talking about. A wizened old crone is not the same as starting a level 1 character and in your backstory you have read thousands of spelltomes and incribed thousands of scrolls or you are the headmaster of the academy of magic.

I'm not even sure that you know where you are going with this now.

Those examples you use do not, in any way shape or form, restrict a backstory. You could be the head of a wizard cabal and still be Level 1. That doesn't mean you have to be able to cast Wish. Being an experience rogue does not mean that you can open locks of a certain DC. Mechanics do not equal backstory.
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Again, please direct me to where I said otherwise.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
I have already explained to you that your backstory and whatever life experience you have gained from it is tied and limited to your character level in order to simulate a believable reality.


And others.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
Please point me to the point in the PHB where the background description states it is not talking about starting a character at any level

The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
And does your lvl 1 wizened old crone have access to level 5 spells? Can your teenage halfling urchin bypass a DC35 stealth or lockpicking check on anything but a natural 20? Does the teenage halfing urchin have vast underworld connections and a mountain of favors owed to him by criminal barons? How high is your wizened old hags DC checks? Tell me what is your Wisdom value and the urchins Dexterity value?

These characters still fall under the exact rules and guidelines I am talking about. A wizened old crone is not the same as starting a level 1 character and in your backstory you have read thousands of spelltomes and incribed thousands of scrolls or you are the headmaster of the academy of magic.

I'm not even sure that you know where you are going with this now.

Those examples you use do not, in any way shape or form, restrict a backstory. You could be the head of a wizard cabal and still be Level 1. That doesn't mean you have to be able to cast Wish. Being an experience rogue does not mean that you can open locks of a certain DC. Mechanics do not equal backstory.

You are ignoring the obvious dissonance this causes. I didn't say a cabal of wizards I said the academy of magic. The headmaster is a level 1 character with level one powers? Are the teachers as well? This system exists to prevent situations like this and increase the efficacy of the simulation.


Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Again, please direct me to where I said otherwise.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
I have already explained to you that your backstory and whatever life experience you have gained from it is tied and limited to your character level in order to simulate a believable reality.


And others.

I said nothing about age, only life experiences. You cannot have experienced being a master magician as a wizened old hag starting at level 1. You cannot have the life experience of being the champion of an army as a level 1 grizzled veteran. See the example above as to why even ignoring the mechanical limitations.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Please point me to the point in the PHB where the background description states it is not talking about starting a character at any level

The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.

Please point me to the section in the PHB where this is stated. I know you cannot because there is no such thing as this description is there to include starting at various points. Starting at level 1 is not even a common practice in tabletop DnD and 5 minutes with google will provide you with countless discussions on the subject.
Here are a few examples.
https://www.dungeonsolvers.com/2019/08/19/what-level-should-you-start-your-dd-5e-campaign-at/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/6a4mn4/whats_level_should_i_start_my_players_at/
Originally Posted by Argonaut

Congratulations you took an incredibly roundabout word salad way of describing a reality simulator. Reality simulator doesn't mean our reality FYI. NPCs do not have full character sheet because they are negligible and the ones that aren't do have full character sheets. What makes them different are their races, culture and biology. I don't think you understand how pen and paper systems work.


It's you who keeps bringing up Pen&Paper as a "reality simulator" (don't worry, I'm fully aware of the world being fictional) - but any serious simulation (and you take this one *very* serious, it seems) should be consistent and make sense as a whole. "NPCs are negligible" doesn't make sense as an agrument without the world the simulation is supposed to portray making that distinction as well, and therefore having an in-world explanation for the lack of complexity of most NPCs.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
It's entirely possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view? Yes. Levels are part of gameplay. Experience is a part of gameplay.


And yet, background doesn't 100% figure into experience, there's no defined system for that, otherwise you'd have every player list what their character did before the campaign started, and that would have to be translated by an exact formula into XP or milestones, resulting in their appropriate character level (or the other way around: take character level and limit by some exact formula to what is possible for a character of that level to have accomplished before the campaign started - again, heavily subjective (and therefore subject to DM decision) anyway.

Originally Posted by Argonaut

I didn't say you don't have skills I said that your skills are not noteworthy if you are low level

Yes, and your only interpretation of 'noteworthy' seems to be by game terms metric. Something that is quantifiable on the character sheet. But guess what, someone with a Persuasion bonus of +6 at Lv1 is deemed *very* persuasive, while someone with that bonus at Lv 20 would be mediocre at best. It's all relative, and doesn't serve to describe strength + weaknesses of a character in general, narrative terms. Trying to translate char sheet progression into narrative and vice versa in a 100% way is what you apparently like to do, and that's fine - just don't expect everyone else to follow your dogma on this.

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I am 30 years old and a father of two children and work in a highly demanding field. Do not try to diminish my person because your argument is falling flat.

Oh, are we really going there? laugh Also, accusing me of something you yourself brought into it, and all in the same sentence? Should I maybe quote your own signature to yourself now?

Quote

simulation
/sɪmjuːˈleɪʃ(ə)n/
Learn to pronounce
noun
imitation of a situation or process.
"simulation of blood flowing through arteries and veins"
the action of pretending; deception.
"clever simulation that's good enough to trick you"
the production of a computer model of something, especially for the purpose of study.
"the method was tested by computer simulation"


I don't know about you, but DnD never managed to trick me into believing it was real, nor that it was a particularly well-crafted representation or computer model that could deliver accurate predictions of how things could work in a fantasy setting. None of those definitions work for me here, so: Nope, DnD ain't a simulation for me. It's a game system designed especially for player convenience - well, let's say with the *goal* of player convenience.

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Please. You agreeing with something or not does not alter reality. I don't consider that anathema at all as long as they didn't try to pass their low level characters off as having artisan level combat, crafting or social skills. Again, you are creating a problem in your own head and arguing against it as if it was my point. I am going to spell it out for you.

I don't debate the existence of objective reality, it's just you who takes a lot of your own convictions and misrepresent them as objective reality to which everyone else has to subscribe - or be "wrong". If this works well for you, by all means, stick to it. Just maybe accept that other people can easily seem to ignore said objective reality and have fun doing that. Take the example of the poster above me - wizened old crone at Lv1. I don't see a problem with that, not even with said crone saying she knows a lot about herbs, nature, remedies etc. - in game terms, level-adjusted via proficiency bonus to what a Lv1 character can do obviously, but in narrative, still damn knowledgeable about this stuff. It doesn't bother me, and I find it more enriching than any notion of narrative-gameterm-consistency.

Quote
but you cannot be a level 1 character that is a veteran of many wars and a champion of the army as a level one because that is not how the system works. / In your backstory you are this great epic warrior but in actual combat you are barely more competent than a farmer.

You can make even that extreme example work if you really want to, and quite easily: said champion was betrayed, severely wounded / cursed or otherwise incapacitated, and now is barely back in action, having to basically re-learn a lot while in constant pain that limits what he can do (represented by character level, comparable to a level drain of older editions. Also due to the betrayal and general shunning of his person, his renown is now barely worth more than the normal soldier background, he can pull a few strings, call in some remaining favours, but that's it.
You use of a lot of 'you cannot'. This may be the case in game that you are running, but you should understand that not everyone thinks the same as you do.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.

Please point me to the section in the PHB where this is stated, otherwise it is just your opinion. This is the 5th edition of a system that has existed for decades, it should not be so difficult to find evidence if this is the case

Seriously? You want absolute proof that the introductory section of the book where it guides you through creating you first character, explaining what a character sheet is and what the various heading are, is aimed at starting players? Or that the default assumption is that they start at level 1? You have gone beyond any kind of reasoned argument here.

No, there is not large-type heading stating that Chapter 1 of the Player's Basic Rules is designed to help new players create a character. There is, however, a very strong suggestion backed up by the language used, the way that everything is carefully explained, the fact that it is introducing readers to the game, and the fact that it is standard practice. Yes, D&D5e is the 5th edition. I have played all the others and all the other editions had similar introductory chapters which spoon-fed you through character creation. All were aimed at new players. All assumed starting a character at Level 1 for new players.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
Starting at level 1 is not even a common practice in tabletop DnD and 5 minutes with google will provide you with countless discussions on the subject.
Here are a few examples.
https://www.dungeonsolvers.com/2019/08/19/what-level-should-you-start-your-dd-5e-campaign-at/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/6a4mn4/whats_level_should_i_start_my_players_at/

Yeah, that's not going to cut the mustard.

Discussions on optionally starting campaigns at higher level do not mean either that starting at Level 1 is not common practice, nor that the Introductory chapter of the Player's Guide is not aimed at starting players. I have seen plenty of discussion about doing away with alignment, that doesn't mean that Alignment-less games are common or that the basic rules don't assume that Alignment is used.
(gonna leave it to Sardurian now, 2vs1 and all that, and I gtg anyway smile Have fun!)
Originally Posted by endolex
(gonna leave it to Sardurian now, 2vs1 and all that, and I gtg anyway smile Have fun!)

I'm out anyway. It's become a manure heap.
Originally Posted by endolex

It's you who keeps bringing up Pen&Paper as a "reality simulator" (don't worry, I'm fully aware of the world being fictional) - but any serious simulation (and you take this one *very* serious, it seems) should be consistent and make sense as a whole. "NPCs are negligible" doesn't make sense as an agrument without the world the simulation is supposed to portray making that distinction as well, and therefore having an in-world explanation for the lack of complexity of most NPCs.

Of course it doesn't make sense, this is why we have suspension of disbelief. It takes a lot of work to create a character sheet for every single individual and the simple reality of it is that if they are not important to the story it is not worth stating them and you can use several basic guidelines that exist in the DM manual in order to give them the appropriate stats if necessary without creating a sheet. I also don't understand where you connect numerical values and if you would like I can describe several NPCs with no character sheets from my campaign that are wildly varied and extremely complex while adhering to these principles.

Originally Posted by endolex
Originally Posted by Argonaut
It's entirely possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view? Yes. Levels are part of gameplay. Experience is a part of gameplay.


And yet, background doesn't 100% figure into experience, there's no defined system for that, otherwise you'd have every player list what their character did before the campaign started, and that would have to be translated by an exact formula into XP or milestones, resulting in their appropriate character level (or the other way around: take character level and limit by some exact formula to what is possible for a character of that level to have accomplished before the campaign started - again, heavily subjective (and therefore subject to DM decision) anyway.

Yes the metric we use for this is called common sense. As I have already pointed out you cannot start a level one character as being the headmaster of the academy of magic because you simply do not have the skills and it raises several questions to which there is no answer. I never said background figures 100% into experience I said that background is used in conjunction and consideration of your level to determine what it realistic for you to have accomplished and what is not. Again. A level one character being the headmaster of the academy of magic does not make sense. It is not realistic. It is not believable. It creates cognitive dissonance and internal inconsistency.


Originally Posted by endolex
Yes, and your only interpretation of 'noteworthy' seems to be by game terms metric. Something that is quantifiable on the character sheet. But guess what, someone with a Persuasion bonus of +6 at Lv1 is deemed *very* persuasive, while someone with that bonus at Lv 20 would be mediocre at best. It's all relative, and doesn't serve to describe strength + weaknesses of a character in general, narrative terms. Trying to translate char sheet progression into narrative and vice versa in a 100% way is what you apparently like to do, and that's fine - just don't expect everyone else to follow your dogma on this.

A +6 bonus to persuasion is not considered very persuasive and you can fail to persuade someone with a DC check of 10 which is beyond easy. I may be misremembering but I'm quite sure there is a section in the PHB that even explains this as well as explaining how having, for example, a 9 in intelligence doesn't mean you are a blithering idiot but could just mean you lack education.

Originally Posted by endolex

Oh, are we really going there? laugh Also, accusing me of something you yourself brought into it, and all in the same sentence? Should I maybe quote your own signature to yourself now?

Please point me to a statement where I attacked your person.

Originally Posted by endolex
I don't know about you, but DnD never managed to trick me into believing it was real, nor that it was a particularly well-crafted representation or computer model that could deliver accurate predictions of how things could work in a fantasy setting. None of those definitions work for me here, so: Nope, DnD ain't a simulation for me. It's a game system designed especially for player convenience - well, let's say with the *goal* of player convenience.

It means nothing if a definition does not work for you. If you are pretending to do something you are participating in a simulation by definition. If you are going to ignore reality to suit your arguments then I congratulate you on deceiving me into wasting my time and we can call this quits.

Originally Posted by endolex

I don't debate the existence of objective reality, it's just you who takes a lot of your own convictions and misrepresent them as objective reality to which everyone else has to subscribe - or be "wrong". If this works well for you, by all means, stick to it. Just maybe accept that other people can easily seem to ignore said objective reality and have fun doing that. Take the example of the poster above me - wizened old crone at Lv1. I don't see a problem with that, not even with said crone saying she knows a lot about herbs, nature, remedies etc. - in game terms, level-adjusted via proficiency bonus to what a Lv1 character can do obviously, but in narrative, still damn knowledgeable about this stuff. It doesn't bother me, and I find it more enriching than any notion of narrative-gameterm-consistency.

My own convictions? I have included definitions and examples and have pointed out your lack of evidence, reasoning or willingness to even address the simple examples I have provided for you. You may notice how I said starting as a level 1 wizened old crone is 100% okay and I have no problem with it but that it doesn't mean you get to start with level 5 spells. She can have this knowledge you describe at level but her proficiency and capability to use it to brew potions, harvest ingredients etc will be limited by the numerical value that scales with level. I.e her proficiency in crafting is directly tied to her level which is exactly what I said.

Originally Posted by endolex

You can make even that extreme example work if you really want to, and quite easily: said champion was betrayed, severely wounded / cursed or otherwise incapacitated, and now is barely back in action, having to basically re-learn a lot while in constant pain that limits what he can do (represented by character level, comparable to a level drain of older editions. Also due to the betrayal and general shunning of his person, his renown is now barely worth more than the normal soldier background, he can pull a few strings, call in some remaining favours, but that's it.

Yes you just proved my point. You cannot have the champion without including many reasons to limit his effectiveness and power because it does not make sense, it is dissonant and it is unfun for everyone else involved. You quite literally just demonstrated the exact principle you are arguing against. /applause
Originally Posted by Sadurian
You use of a lot of 'you cannot'. This may be the case in game that you are running, but you should understand that not everyone thinks the same as you do.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
The assumption of the starting section is that the character starts at Level 1. Only later does the game talk about starting at higher levels. No, it does not explicitly state that the piece on choosing a background is only to be used for characters of a particular starting level, but then it doesn't need to. It is pretty obvious that the advice is there for starting players and starting characters, and the default assumption is starting at Level 1.

Please point me to the section in the PHB where this is stated, otherwise it is just your opinion. This is the 5th edition of a system that has existed for decades, it should not be so difficult to find evidence if this is the case

Seriously? You want absolute proof that the introductory section of the book where it guides you through creating you first character, explaining what a character sheet is and what the various heading are, is aimed at starting players? Or that the default assumption is that they start at level 1? You have gone beyond any kind of reasoned argument here.

No, there is not large-type heading stating that Chapter 1 of the Player's Basic Rules is designed to help new players create a character. There is, however, a very strong suggestion backed up by the language used, the way that everything is carefully explained, the fact that it is introducing readers to the game, and the fact that it is standard practice. Yes, D&D5e is the 5th edition. I have played all the others and all the other editions had similar introductory chapters which spoon-fed you through character creation. All were aimed at new players. All assumed starting a character at Level 1 for new players.


Then please provide the evidence, otherwise it is nothing more than your opinion and a moot point. You think the fifth edition of a system that has existed for longer than you have been alive is being written with the automatic assumption that everyone is going to play the same way? That everyone is going to start at level one? Despite decades of community feedback proving otherwise? Despite their being caveats all over the PHB that affirm that you may choose to do things your own way and no one campaign starts or plays out the same?

Provide. Evidence. Anything, something to support this opinion that you are presenting as fact.

Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Starting at level 1 is not even a common practice in tabletop DnD and 5 minutes with google will provide you with countless discussions on the subject.
Here are a few examples.
https://www.dungeonsolvers.com/2019/08/19/what-level-should-you-start-your-dd-5e-campaign-at/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/6a4mn4/whats_level_should_i_start_my_players_at/

Yeah, that's not going to cut the mustard.

Discussions on optionally starting campaigns at higher level do not mean either that starting at Level 1 is not common practice, nor that the Introductory chapter of the Player's Guide is not aimed at starting players. I have seen plenty of discussion about doing away with alignment, that doesn't mean that Alignment-less games are common or that the basic rules don't assume that Alignment is used.

You have not provided this evidence. This means it is your opinion. This means other peoples opinions are just as good as yours wherever you like it or not. I have at provided supporting evidence for my opinion, would you like to do so? I provided you with two source of people proclaiming that that game does not always start at level one and that their preference is to not start it at level one which means that factuall and statistically there is proof that games do not commonly start at level one. Please provide evidence to support your conclusion.

D&D 5e PHB Pg4 "Introduction"
"Unlike a game of make believe, D&D gives structure to the stories, a way of giving consequence to the adventurers actions."
"This increase in power is reflected by an adventurers level"
D&D 5e PHB Pg6 "Adventures"
"Each character brings particular capabilities to the adventure in the form of ability scores and skills, class features, racial traits, equipment and magic items."
D&D 5e PHB Pg8 "Step-by-step characters"
"Your character is a combination of game statistics, roleplaying hooks, and your imagination."
D&D 5e PHB Pg 8 "2. Choose a Class"
"Typically, a character starts at 1st level and advances in level by adventuring and gaining experience points(XP). A 1st level character is inexperienced in the adventuring world, althought he or she might have been a soldier of pirate and done dangerous things before. Starting off at 1st level marks your characters entry into the adventuring life. If you're already familiar with the game, or if you are joining an existing D&D campaign, your GM might decide to have you begin at a higher level, on the assumption that your character has already survived a few harrowing adventures"
D&D 5e PHB Pg12 "Tiers of play"
"In the first tier(level 1-4), characters are effectively apprentice adventurers. They are learning the features that define them as members of particular classes, including the major choices that flavor their class."
"In the third tier(level 11-16), characters have reached a level of power that sets them high above the orginary populace and makes them special even among adventurers"

I can go on if you are not yet convinced.
Back to the OP's point:

DA had some interesting companions that managed to be 'normal', and the D:OS games likewise had companions that managed to be interesting and have their own motivations without being weird caricatures.

Given that Larian wrote the D:OS companions, I'm disappointed that the BG3 ones are so grotesquely odd. Aside from anything lese, it is usually the case that twe empathise more with those we can relate to. Having <wow> <zap> magical alien character backstories is less interesting for me in the long run than a slow and measured character development for someone I can genuinely relate to somehow. The fighter who wants to return to his homeland because his wife is pregnant and is constantly fighting between the desire to chop things up and the desire to preserve his life for the sake of his unborn child; the rogue who is wanted for a crime and seeks to clear his name and become an honest citizen, but can't help pickpocketing or filching things. Or how about the young wizard who is wanting to make a name for herself in the world but has no self-confidence or belief?

Many of us are RPG players, some of us are GMs, and some have even built their own game-worlds. A few have decades of experience. I'm sure that Larian could have gathered thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of interesting companion ideas if they had asked for contributions from the fan-base. Some of them might even have been suitable to include in a game.
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Back to the OP's point:

DA had some interesting companions that managed to be 'normal', and the D:OS games likewise had companions that managed to be interesting and have their own motivations without being weird caricatures.

Given that Larian wrote the D:OS companions, I'm disappointed that the BG3 ones are so grotesquely odd. Aside from anything lese, it is usually the case that twe empathise more with those we can relate to. Having <wow> <zap> magical alien character backstories is less interesting for me in the long run than a slow and measured character development for someone I can genuinely relate to somehow. The fighter who wants to return ito his homeland because his wife is pregnant and is constantly fighting between the desire to chop things up and the desire to preserve his life for the sake of his unborn child; the rogue who is wanted for a crime and seeks to clear his name and become an honest citizen, but can't help pickpocketing or filching things. Or how about the young wizard who is wanting to make a name for herself in the world but has no self-confidence or belief?

Many of us are RPG players, some of us are GMs, and some have even built their own game-worlds. A few have decades of experience. I'm sure that Larian could have gathered thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of interesting companion ideas if they had asked for contributions from the fan-base. Some of them might even have been suitable to include in a game.


+1

And to be fair, I don’t know that it’s the backgrounds themselves that make them unrelatable as much as how they’re just not believable as people at all. Their uniqueness is just ham fisted as all hell. Everything they wear, everything they say, their whole aesthetic is screaming their backstory. Seeing a kid at the mall wearing all black baggy clothes, chains and eye liner, you don’t think to yourself ‘this is someone who’s clearly depressed’ Instead you think ‘this is someone trying to look depressed, and who’s naive’. You see it when you bring up the wrong subject with a housewife who’s trying to be cheery and she starts to tear up then pretends nothing is wrong.

Queue a bunch of people jumping in to say ‘hum well *actually*... in Baldurian culture people often use color to...”
To me it seems mostly: We don't know enough about their motivations yet.

And I suspect there's a link between "Snowflakes" as you put it, and True Souls
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Originally Posted by endolex

It's you who keeps bringing up Pen&Paper as a "reality simulator" (don't worry, I'm fully aware of the world being fictional) - but any serious simulation (and you take this one *very* serious, it seems) should be consistent and make sense as a whole. "NPCs are negligible" doesn't make sense as an agrument without the world the simulation is supposed to portray making that distinction as well, and therefore having an in-world explanation for the lack of complexity of most NPCs.

Of course it doesn't make sense, this is why we have suspension of disbelief. It takes a lot of work to create a character sheet for every single individual and the simple reality of it is that if they are not important to the story it is not worth stating them and you can use several basic guidelines that exist in the DM manual in order to give them the appropriate stats if necessary without creating a sheet. I also don't understand where you connect numerical values and if you would like I can describe several NPCs with no character sheets from my campaign that are wildly varied and extremely complex while adhering to these principles.

Originally Posted by endolex
Originally Posted by Argonaut
It's entirely possible to restrict actions from a gameplay point of view? Yes. Levels are part of gameplay. Experience is a part of gameplay.


And yet, background doesn't 100% figure into experience, there's no defined system for that, otherwise you'd have every player list what their character did before the campaign started, and that would have to be translated by an exact formula into XP or milestones, resulting in their appropriate character level (or the other way around: take character level and limit by some exact formula to what is possible for a character of that level to have accomplished before the campaign started - again, heavily subjective (and therefore subject to DM decision) anyway.

Yes the metric we use for this is called common sense. As I have already pointed out you cannot start a level one character as being the headmaster of the academy of magic because you simply do not have the skills and it raises several questions to which there is no answer. I never said background figures 100% into experience I said that background is used in conjunction and consideration of your level to determine what it realistic for you to have accomplished and what is not. Again. A level one character being the headmaster of the academy of magic does not make sense. It is not realistic. It is not believable. It creates cognitive dissonance and internal inconsistency.


Originally Posted by endolex
Yes, and your only interpretation of 'noteworthy' seems to be by game terms metric. Something that is quantifiable on the character sheet. But guess what, someone with a Persuasion bonus of +6 at Lv1 is deemed *very* persuasive, while someone with that bonus at Lv 20 would be mediocre at best. It's all relative, and doesn't serve to describe strength + weaknesses of a character in general, narrative terms. Trying to translate char sheet progression into narrative and vice versa in a 100% way is what you apparently like to do, and that's fine - just don't expect everyone else to follow your dogma on this.

A +6 bonus to persuasion is not considered very persuasive and you can fail to persuade someone with a DC check of 10 which is beyond easy. I may be misremembering but I'm quite sure there is a section in the PHB that even explains this as well as explaining how having, for example, a 9 in intelligence doesn't mean you are a blithering idiot but could just mean you lack education.

Originally Posted by endolex

Oh, are we really going there? laugh Also, accusing me of something you yourself brought into it, and all in the same sentence? Should I maybe quote your own signature to yourself now?

Please point me to a statement where I attacked your person.

Originally Posted by endolex
I don't know about you, but DnD never managed to trick me into believing it was real, nor that it was a particularly well-crafted representation or computer model that could deliver accurate predictions of how things could work in a fantasy setting. None of those definitions work for me here, so: Nope, DnD ain't a simulation for me. It's a game system designed especially for player convenience - well, let's say with the *goal* of player convenience.

It means nothing if a definition does not work for you. If you are pretending to do something you are participating in a simulation by definition. If you are going to ignore reality to suit your arguments then I congratulate you on deceiving me into wasting my time and we can call this quits.

Originally Posted by endolex

I don't debate the existence of objective reality, it's just you who takes a lot of your own convictions and misrepresent them as objective reality to which everyone else has to subscribe - or be "wrong". If this works well for you, by all means, stick to it. Just maybe accept that other people can easily seem to ignore said objective reality and have fun doing that. Take the example of the poster above me - wizened old crone at Lv1. I don't see a problem with that, not even with said crone saying she knows a lot about herbs, nature, remedies etc. - in game terms, level-adjusted via proficiency bonus to what a Lv1 character can do obviously, but in narrative, still damn knowledgeable about this stuff. It doesn't bother me, and I find it more enriching than any notion of narrative-gameterm-consistency.

My own convictions? I have included definitions and examples and have pointed out your lack of evidence, reasoning or willingness to even address the simple examples I have provided for you. You may notice how I said starting as a level 1 wizened old crone is 100% okay and I have no problem with it but that it doesn't mean you get to start with level 5 spells. She can have this knowledge you describe at level but her proficiency and capability to use it to brew potions, harvest ingredients etc will be limited by the numerical value that scales with level. I.e her proficiency in crafting is directly tied to her level which is exactly what I said.

Originally Posted by endolex

You can make even that extreme example work if you really want to, and quite easily: said champion was betrayed, severely wounded / cursed or otherwise incapacitated, and now is barely back in action, having to basically re-learn a lot while in constant pain that limits what he can do (represented by character level, comparable to a level drain of older editions. Also due to the betrayal and general shunning of his person, his renown is now barely worth more than the normal soldier background, he can pull a few strings, call in some remaining favours, but that's it.

Yes you just proved my point. You cannot have the champion without including many reasons to limit his effectiveness and power because it does not make sense, it is dissonant and it is unfun for everyone else involved. You quite literally just demonstrated the exact principle you are arguing against. /applause



I agree with all the points you have made in this thread thus far. Levels, experience, etc all these game rules reflect what the character is capable of. You cannot have a character who has accomplished things that only high levels would be able to in the backstory of a level 1 character unless realistic restrictions that do not shatter the suspension of disbelief are introduced to explain why this great champion is now on par with a fresh adventurer.
Originally Posted by Argonaut
*snip*

Oh give me a break. Sorry I shared my opinion about NPCs in a game I don't have an eidetic memory of. Though, remember no matter HOW HARD you go on this forum those characters aren't getting full rewrites.

I'm talking generally, renegade drow like half-dragons are a kind of precious unique thing. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying the characters *bad* but this attitude that Tiax or Minsc were some masterful creation that goes down in the history of CRPGs as one of the all time greats and Shadowheart is some trite character is just really off base. The characters were tropey and fun. Shar-Teel is basically Xena. Montaron and Tiax are insane but it's really in a fun goofball way. Minsc is completely hammy and overacted and fun and so is Edwin. I'm not trying to tell you these are Invader Zim characters her but certainly part of why you like them is because they were presented in a fun way. I mean even Jaheria and Khalid have a really ridiculous tropey dynamic of her being this ball buster and him being the meek stuttering husband.

I could get behind the argument that BG3 NPCs aren't as fun as BG1 or BG2 NPCs and are maybe too broody, but the opposite? No.

Originally Posted by Argonaut
Dynaheir, Minsc, Garrick, Imoen, Viconia, Xan, Xar, Montaron.

Oh man, I'm using "straight" as in "played straight" not to refer to sexuality but to refer to the characters being hammy/tropey.
Originally Posted by Aurgelmir
To me it seems mostly: We don't know enough about their motivations yet.

And I suspect there's a link between "Snowflakes" as you put it, and True Souls



You think so? I really wondered about this. Everyone has this super elaborate back story but then the PC is kind of the odd man out. The PC not being the ‘chosen one’ is fine, but when everyone else is so ostentatious it kind of throws up some flags.

Like in Predators how they realize that everyone there is really dangerous, but then Topher Grace (initially) dispels that theory because he claims to be a normie.

Oh no.... is this like a Revan thing. Did we lose our memories and were actually the chosen one
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Back to the OP's point:

DA had some interesting companions that managed to be 'normal', and the D:OS games likewise had companions that managed to be interesting and have their own motivations without being weird caricatures.

Given that Larian wrote the D:OS companions, I'm disappointed that the BG3 ones are so grotesquely odd. Aside from anything lese, it is usually the case that twe empathise more with those we can relate to. Having <wow> <zap> magical alien character backstories is less interesting for me in the long run than a slow and measured character development for someone I can genuinely relate to somehow. The fighter who wants to return to his homeland because his wife is pregnant and is constantly fighting between the desire to chop things up and the desire to preserve his life for the sake of his unborn child; the rogue who is wanted for a crime and seeks to clear his name and become an honest citizen, but can't help pickpocketing or filching things. Or how about the young wizard who is wanting to make a name for herself in the world but has no self-confidence or belief?

Many of us are RPG players, some of us are GMs, and some have even built their own game-worlds. A few have decades of experience. I'm sure that Larian could have gathered thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of interesting companion ideas if they had asked for contributions from the fan-base. Some of them might even have been suitable to include in a game.


I confess I find myself missing some down to earth, relatable companion. I'm a roleplayer too, and in my personal experience I've discovered that when it comes to creating successful and beloved characters, less is more. Like makeup!

Even those supposedly leaked companions continue to be very extra, apparently there's even a werewolf to have a twilight stand off with Astarion. But, we shall see, wherever all of this goes.
I have, admittedly just skimmed a lot of this, so I may have missed where someone may have actually pointed this out, but we are having this discussion with the full knowledge that the current batch of Origin characters can be the Player Character, right?
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I have, admittedly just skimmed a lot of this, so I may have missed where someone may have actually pointed this out, but we are having this discussion with the full knowledge that the current batch of Origin characters can be the Player Character, right?


Yes. But it seems the vast majority of people prefer custom characters and rather dislike Larian's Origin mechanic since DOS2. It'd be nice to see a poll to get an idea of numbers though, I can only speak from what I read around this forums.
Originally Posted by Goldberry
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I have, admittedly just skimmed a lot of this, so I may have missed where someone may have actually pointed this out, but we are having this discussion with the full knowledge that the current batch of Origin characters can be the Player Character, right?


Yes. But it seems the vast majority of people prefer custom characters and rather dislike Larian's Origin mechanic since DOS2. It'd be nice to see a poll to get an idea of numbers though, I can only speak from what I read around this forums.

Yeah, like or dislike really isn't the issue here. The issue is that of course they're all "special snowflakes" because they can be the main protagonist. Since this is the case, and even just running with BG, Bhaalspawn would equate to "special snowflake", the whole argument is moot. They are special because they have to be.
Originally Posted by Worm

Oh give me a break. Sorry I shared my opinion about NPCs in a game I don't have an eidetic memory of. Though, remember no matter HOW HARD you go on this forum those characters aren't getting full rewrites.


Your apology would be accepted except you seem to believe than an outburst is warranted in any way. You chose to make an argument based on cherrypicked memories and not the full picture.

Originally Posted by Worm
I'm talking generally, renegade drow like half-dragons are a kind of precious unique thing. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying the characters *bad* but this attitude that Tiax or Minsc were some masterful creation that goes down in the history of CRPGs as one of the all time greats and Shadowheart is some trite character is just really off base. The characters were tropey and fun. Shar-Teel is basically Xena. Montaron and Tiax are insane but it's really in a fun goofball way. Minsc is completely hammy and overacted and fun and so is Edwin. I'm not trying to tell you these are Invader Zim characters her but certainly part of why you like them is because they were presented in a fun way. I mean even Jaheria and Khalid have a really ridiculous tropey dynamic of her being this ball buster and him being the meek stuttering husband.

I didn't find Tiax or Montaron to be goofballs. Xena is not a goofball character so I don't understand what that comparison elicits. Minsc confides in you several times throughout BG2 about how his cheery attitude and hijinks are the coping mechanism he uses to deal with the fact that he believes he is a failure. Even in BG1. He knows he is an idiot.

Originally Posted by Worm
I could get behind the argument that BG3 NPCs aren't as fun as BG1 or BG2 NPCs and are maybe too broody, but the opposite? No.

It is not a black and white choice. BG NPC's are not broody they are complex, full of depth and personality and they are very real and flawed people. Just like in real life very few people are not dealing with problems and trying their very best at it. There is no guidebook to life. These characters reflected it. They could be goofy, or funny, and funny things can happen to them but ignoring the reasons why these things happen detracts from the writing on a fractal level. Missing one detail makes your impression of it completely incorrect. For example many people talk about Edwin and the belt of gender but seem to forget that it is a genuinely cursed item and the only reason he is in that situation is because he is arrogant and impatient because he believes himself to be better than anyone else while also knowing that there are people stronger than him. He isn't simply power hungry. Comedy comes from that situation but there is so much more depth to it than "lol genderswap hijinks".

Originally Posted by Worm
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Dynaheir, Minsc, Garrick, Imoen, Viconia, Xan, Xar, Montaron.

Oh man, I'm using "straight" as in "played straight" not to refer to sexuality but to refer to the characters being hammy/tropey.

My bad, it's hard to tell sometimes and I erred on the side of caution. These characters still stand. They ARE played straight while continuing to be as realistic and multi dimensional as possible. There are some obvious inspirations in the characters but I don't think they can fall under tropey the way that BG3 characters do. The thing about calling something a trope is that there is usually no explanation for their behavior or it is incredibly one dimensional. I can explain those characters in great depth years after I've played the game because they made such a strong impression on me during a time where my only other pass time was reading. I can go on and on and on about this subject but my point is that people always describe the older characters as funny or goofy or whatever because they are trying to prove that BG3 characters are brooding teenage edgelords but the reality is that you can be troubled, haunted, struggling, vulnerable, insecure and many other things while not acting this way. These characters can still be humorous and funny and constantly pulling pranks and hijinks and still be incredibly deep and complex.

BG3 characters are not bad because they are tropey. They are bad because they are poorly written and extremely underdeveloped.
I quite like the companions of BG3 though right now I'm leaning towards Shadowheart being my favorite. Just like how in Baldurs Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal Jaheira is my favorite out of all of them in that game.
Argonaut, if you think Xena is a completely serious piece of fiction I'm afraid we are so far apart that there's no point in further conversation.
Originally Posted by Iszaryn
I quite like the companions of BG3 though right now I'm leaning towards Shadowheart being my favorite. Just like how in Baldurs Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal Jaheira is my favorite out of all of them in that game.

Yeah, Jaheira was good. A similar character would work nicely in BG3. I rather liked most of of the BG and BG2 companions, although some of them were a little bit over the top in their dialogue. Nonetheless, I prefer their more down-to-earth style to the BG3 companions so far.
Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by Iszaryn
I quite like the companions of BG3 though right now I'm leaning towards Shadowheart being my favorite. Just like how in Baldurs Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal Jaheira is my favorite out of all of them in that game.

Yeah, Jaheira was good. A similar character would work nicely in BG3. I rather liked most of of the BG and BG2 companions, although some of them were a little bit over the top in their dialogue. Nonetheless, I prefer their more down-to-earth style to the BG3 companions so far.

They had the definite advantage of always going to be nothing more than support characters, that could permanently die and not affect the main story. Here, where they can be the protagonist, not so much of an advantage any more.
That assumes that the PCs have to be outlandish. Mine are certainly not; they are special in that I am creating them and imbuing them with a personality of my own choosing, but this would not hold true of the current (pre-gen) companions anyhow. In a PnP game I will give my characters some interesting backstory, but this is not something that can really be done when playing a CRPG. I mean, I suppose it could be, but who is going to read your bio.? Maybe if you are multiplaying? For the pre-gen companions you don't even get to write your own backstory.

No, would prefer to make my own PC every time, but if forced to play a pre-gen then I'd more happily play one of the old BG/BG2 NPCs than any of the current BG3 crop.
Originally Posted by Aurgelmir
To me it seems mostly: We don't know enough about their motivations yet.

And I suspect there's a link between "Snowflakes" as you put it, and True Souls


There is a goblin reading Volo's book at their camp outside the temple at the top of a "tower". He says a few interesting thing about being chosen to be a True Souls,
including that only people with lots of "magical power" are chosen by the Absolute to become True Souls.
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Goldberry
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I have, admittedly just skimmed a lot of this, so I may have missed where someone may have actually pointed this out, but we are having this discussion with the full knowledge that the current batch of Origin characters can be the Player Character, right?


Yes. But it seems the vast majority of people prefer custom characters and rather dislike Larian's Origin mechanic since DOS2. It'd be nice to see a poll to get an idea of numbers though, I can only speak from what I read around this forums.

Yeah, like or dislike really isn't the issue here. The issue is that of course they're all "special snowflakes" because they can be the main protagonist. Since this is the case, and even just running with BG, Bhaalspawn would equate to "special snowflake", the whole argument is moot. They are special because they have to be.



And that is an issue by it self.

Because everyone is special, no one is. Especially your custom character which is what I and many others (From what i've read) want to play in a DnD game. Custom characters have no story. I'll copy what I said from another thread about this.

"Because compared to Origin characters, Custom characters fall flat, and are just cardboard cutouts with zero personality or history. That was a major criticism of OS2 and it remains here. Too many resources go into making all these Origin characters playable and making it so you can see their story in "first person view", and Custom characters are left blank. It leaves a sour taste just calling the main character "custom". In every RPG it's just "main character" or a name, in this one its "oh custom". That to me just comes off weird and terrible. Because every Origin character can be played, they allll have to be special in some way, which means no one is special, and ofc...same goes for Custom even more. Custom is nothing.

Before you are on the ship, your character has zero history. Yes you get your "race" dialogues, but that's not unique. That's race dialogue, that's not YOUR character dialogue. They have no history and just "appear" out of nowhere when the game starts it looks like. Every CRPG does something to make the main character have some sort of background, a link to the world. Even pillars 1 (where u are a blank slate), has the character traveling to a new place and a mandatory NPC asks you for your reasoning, which gives your character a place in the world. An actual place, not some headcanon stuff and some elaborate history players can make. All CRPGS/RPGS do it. Even fallout NV (which is considered a damn good rpg by majority) has some backstory, like you being a courier, outside of that it's a clean slate."
Your character also get the [Baldurian] dialog options and makes comments about being from Baldur's Gate, including details about estaishments and people.

There's also the fact that if you add too much background to a custom then they are no longer a custom character, they're just another Origin character.

In BG1/2, CHARNAME had the exact same background as Imoen (Gorion's ward, raised Candlekeep, spoilers, etc.) and had zero personality. This was so that the player could do whatever they wanted and use their imagination. Good or Evil, any race, class, either gender, etc.
Originally Posted by gish
Your character also get the [Baldurian] dialog options and makes comments about being from Baldur's Gate, including details about estaishments and people.

There's also the fact that if you add too much background to a custom then they are no longer a custom character, they're just another Origin character.

In BG1/2, CHARNAME had the exact same background as Imoen (Gorion's ward, raised Candlekeep, spoilers, etc.) and had zero personality. This was so that the player could do whatever they wanted and use their imagination. Good or Evil, any race, class, either gender, etc.



I already countered that up top. That's not unique to the player. That's not a YOUR thing. That's a race thing.

In Pillars 1, your companions would note not just your background/history, but they would actively ASK about you and your plans, your past. It made your character feel like they were part of this world. In bg3, I have yet to have any companions ask anything about me. Either I missed that dialogue, which in of itself is a design flaw, or it just doesn't happen which is an issue too. I mentioned pillars 1 because it did a blank slate character really well and it is the most recent game. I don't remember too much about Pathfinder since it has been awhile.
Originally Posted by UnderworldHades
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Goldberry
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I have, admittedly just skimmed a lot of this, so I may have missed where someone may have actually pointed this out, but we are having this discussion with the full knowledge that the current batch of Origin characters can be the Player Character, right?


Yes. But it seems the vast majority of people prefer custom characters and rather dislike Larian's Origin mechanic since DOS2. It'd be nice to see a poll to get an idea of numbers though, I can only speak from what I read around this forums.

Yeah, like or dislike really isn't the issue here. The issue is that of course they're all "special snowflakes" because they can be the main protagonist. Since this is the case, and even just running with BG, Bhaalspawn would equate to "special snowflake", the whole argument is moot. They are special because they have to be.



And that is an issue by it self.

Because everyone is special, no one is. Especially your custom character which is what I and many others (From what i've read) want to play in a DnD game. Custom characters have no story. I'll copy what I said from another thread about this.

"Because compared to Origin characters, Custom characters fall flat, and are just cardboard cutouts with zero personality or history. That was a major criticism of OS2 and it remains here. Too many resources go into making all these Origin characters playable and making it so you can see their story in "first person view", and Custom characters are left blank. It leaves a sour taste just calling the main character "custom". In every RPG it's just "main character" or a name, in this one its "oh custom". That to me just comes off weird and terrible. Because every Origin character can be played, they allll have to be special in some way, which means no one is special, and ofc...same goes for Custom even more. Custom is nothing.

Before you are on the ship, your character has zero history. Yes you get your "race" dialogues, but that's not unique. That's race dialogue, that's not YOUR character dialogue. They have no history and just "appear" out of nowhere when the game starts it looks like. Every CRPG does something to make the main character have some sort of background, a link to the world. Even pillars 1 (where u are a blank slate), has the character traveling to a new place and a mandatory NPC asks you for your reasoning, which gives your character a place in the world. An actual place, not some headcanon stuff and some elaborate history players can make. All CRPGS/RPGS do it. Even fallout NV (which is considered a damn good rpg by majority) has some backstory, like you being a courier, outside of that it's a clean slate."


They give you the option of that in the origin characters. El Generico is the 6th choice without a fixed backstory other than race, class, background and whatever traits you decide in their responses (kind, greedy, etc). They cant make a game that takes your background of a polymorphed awakened shrub or whatever random thing you decided was your backstory.

Would 10 seconds of a random innkeeper asking you to kill a pesky giant rat in the pre-prologue satisfy you? Que the next person to gripe that THEIR character is a beekeeper from Chult who has never even been to Baldurs Gate...
Originally Posted by UnderworldHades
Originally Posted by gish
Your character also get the [Baldurian] dialog options and makes comments about being from Baldur's Gate, including details about estaishments and people.

There's also the fact that if you add too much background to a custom then they are no longer a custom character, they're just another Origin character.

In BG1/2, CHARNAME had the exact same background as Imoen (Gorion's ward, raised Candlekeep, spoilers, etc.) and had zero personality. This was so that the player could do whatever they wanted and use their imagination. Good or Evil, any race, class, either gender, etc.



I already countered that up top. That's not unique to the player. That's not a YOUR thing. That's a race thing.

In Pillars 1, your companions would note not just your background/history, but they would actively ASK about you and your plans, your past. It made your character feel like they were part of this world. In bg3, I have yet to have any companions ask anything about me. Either I missed that dialogue, which in of itself is a design flaw, or it just doesn't happen which is an issue too. I mentioned pillars 1 because it did a blank slate character really well and it is the most recent game. I don't remember too much about Pathfinder since it has been awhile.


There's never really going to be a "your" thing outside of tabletop and an interactive DM. In Pillars you could only pick from pre-fab responses, because they cant account for every possibility. Where's the response that you're an Orlan hot dog eating champion on a quest to repay his libary fines?
Originally Posted by Bossk_Hogg


They give you the option of that in the origin characters. El Generico is the 6th choice without a fixed backstory other than race, class, background and whatever traits you decide in their responses (kind, greedy, etc). They cant make a game that takes your background of a polymorphed awakened shrub or whatever random thing you decided was your backstory.

Would 10 seconds of a random innkeeper asking you to kill a pesky giant rat in the pre-prologue satisfy you? Que the next person to gripe that THEIR character is a beekeeper from Chult who has never even been to Baldurs Gate...


No one is talking about you coming up with your headcanon backstory and having it acknowledged in game. Pre-fab responses as you said in another response is 10x better then what we have currently.
Originally Posted by Worm
Argonaut, if you think Xena is a completely serious piece of fiction I'm afraid we are so far apart that there's no point in further conversation.

No but I grew up watching Xena and the show took itself 100% seriously. It wasn't intended for adults. Shar'Teel is not xena but I'd already described why so I wasn't fond to do it again.
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Originally Posted by Worm
Argonaut, if you think Xena is a completely serious piece of fiction I'm afraid we are so far apart that there's no point in further conversation.

No but I grew up watching Xena and the show took itself 100% seriously. It wasn't intended for adults. Shar'Teel is not xena but I'd already described why so I wasn't fond to do it again.



lol... I'm curious to know what Xena you watched, because it isnt the one from this reality.
Originally Posted by UnderworldHades
Originally Posted by Bossk_Hogg


They give you the option of that in the origin characters. El Generico is the 6th choice without a fixed backstory other than race, class, background and whatever traits you decide in their responses (kind, greedy, etc). They cant make a game that takes your background of a polymorphed awakened shrub or whatever random thing you decided was your backstory.

Would 10 seconds of a random innkeeper asking you to kill a pesky giant rat in the pre-prologue satisfy you? Que the next person to gripe that THEIR character is a beekeeper from Chult who has never even been to Baldurs Gate...


No one is talking about you coming up with your headcanon backstory and having it acknowledged in game. Pre-fab responses as you said in another response is 10x better then what we have currently.


They do have a few options like that. You get "tell him your story" and the NPC's shrug and carry on, because its impossible to account for that many variables. If you add more, people will just whine that THEIR option isnt accounted for.



Originally Posted by Bossk_Hogg
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Originally Posted by Worm
Argonaut, if you think Xena is a completely serious piece of fiction I'm afraid we are so far apart that there's no point in further conversation.

No but I grew up watching Xena and the show took itself 100% seriously. It wasn't intended for adults. Shar'Teel is not xena but I'd already described why so I wasn't fond to do it again.



lol... I'm curious to know what Xena you watched, because it isnt the one from this reality.

Don't get me wrong, but there is a difference between a show being made to be goofy and it taking itself 100% seriously and still being goofy and it takes two completely different levels of incompetence.
Originally Posted by UnderworldHades
Originally Posted by robertthebard
Originally Posted by Goldberry
Originally Posted by robertthebard
I have, admittedly just skimmed a lot of this, so I may have missed where someone may have actually pointed this out, but we are having this discussion with the full knowledge that the current batch of Origin characters can be the Player Character, right?


Yes. But it seems the vast majority of people prefer custom characters and rather dislike Larian's Origin mechanic since DOS2. It'd be nice to see a poll to get an idea of numbers though, I can only speak from what I read around this forums.

Yeah, like or dislike really isn't the issue here. The issue is that of course they're all "special snowflakes" because they can be the main protagonist. Since this is the case, and even just running with BG, Bhaalspawn would equate to "special snowflake", the whole argument is moot. They are special because they have to be.



And that is an issue by it self.

Because everyone is special, no one is. Especially your custom character which is what I and many others (From what i've read) want to play in a DnD game. Custom characters have no story. I'll copy what I said from another thread about this.

"Because compared to Origin characters, Custom characters fall flat, and are just cardboard cutouts with zero personality or history. That was a major criticism of OS2 and it remains here. Too many resources go into making all these Origin characters playable and making it so you can see their story in "first person view", and Custom characters are left blank. It leaves a sour taste just calling the main character "custom". In every RPG it's just "main character" or a name, in this one its "oh custom". That to me just comes off weird and terrible. Because every Origin character can be played, they allll have to be special in some way, which means no one is special, and ofc...same goes for Custom even more. Custom is nothing.

Before you are on the ship, your character has zero history. Yes you get your "race" dialogues, but that's not unique. That's race dialogue, that's not YOUR character dialogue. They have no history and just "appear" out of nowhere when the game starts it looks like. Every CRPG does something to make the main character have some sort of background, a link to the world. Even pillars 1 (where u are a blank slate), has the character traveling to a new place and a mandatory NPC asks you for your reasoning, which gives your character a place in the world. An actual place, not some headcanon stuff and some elaborate history players can make. All CRPGS/RPGS do it. Even fallout NV (which is considered a damn good rpg by majority) has some backstory, like you being a courier, outside of that it's a clean slate."

There's a really simple explanation for this: Custom Character. What happens if Larian, or any developer, defines your custom character's backstory for you? I'll give you a hint: Head to the store, and buy tons of popcorn, because you're going to need it. You're going to need it because the forums will catch fire from the outrage of having to play Larian's character, instead of a custom character. How do I know? Because I've seen it happen. A good off the cuff example would be Hawke in DA 2. I would point to Shepard, in ME, but they gave you some options to choose from, from the very beginning. The thing about the FO series, from 3 on, is that yes, the main character is a clean slate, but all of the others are predefined. You have just about as much as we have here, maybe a bit more for FO 4, since spouse and child, and what little background you can get if you explore the house before you answer the door. The difference between FO and here is that none of those NPCs can be the main character.
Whats makes all of this discussion a bit more troublesome/annoying is the high likely ness we with have NO extra NPC mods...do to of course engine design limitations (cinematic dialogues and such, same is true for DOS2...cant remember any extra playable npc mods...) like all the incredible extra NPC we have for BG2 that have quests, voices, interacts with the main game story, romancable, banter interaction with the main character and other modded NPCs etc...examples of these great extra NPCS :

KELSEY: Kelsey is a neutral good human sorcerer NPC, and is romancable if you are a female human, elf, half-elf or halfling.
Kelsey is hunted by a mage that is in need of a sorcerer for her research project. While it is not explicitly stated as such, she makes it quite clear that Kelsey will likely not survive the research she wishes to perform on him. Despite the obviously strange nature of this request, it appears that this rogue mage has a romantic interest in Kelsey as well, although she may have simply been trying to seduce him so that he would agree to help her. The hunt culminates in two encounters, spaced about one week after Kelsey joins the party, and one week after the first encounter....

FADE : CN Female Fey'ri (Elven Tiefling) Thief
Fade has led a bit of a rough existence, but has wound up working with the Shadow Thieves. She wants to help you rescue Imoen & offers to join your party when you talk to Aran Linvail. She has a bit of a mean-streak in her, but overcoming her heritage (the Fey'ri are NOT a nice group of people) is central to her story.

VALEN: CE Female Vampire Fighter/Thief
Your contact with the rival guild, a possible party member. She forces you to play Evil, choosing the Evil path for you in many instances. She comments often & keeps in character as a bloodthirsty Vampire who'd rather slaughter anything that gets in her way (or even annoys her) than talk her way out of a situation. Her custom script is very impressive. She has ridiculously high stats and advantages, but at the cost of some serious disadvantages (sunlight). Rather than emphasize the NPC’s character through parentheticals, or even dialogue, her character is displayed more through her actions (and not just quest-related actions).

ADRIAN: Half-elf Sorcerer
After several recent catastrophes, managed to land a brief but involuntary stint as Irenicus' pet wandmaker. Kill the duergar who guard him, and he'll be quite happy to lend his magic to your cause. To repay the debt, to exact vengeance... Adrian has lived an interesting life, for lack of a better term, though he's hoping to finally put his past behind him. Aside from his magic, he has a background in espionage and a decadent -- some might say romantic -- streak that has gotten him into trouble in the past. He once pursued (and ultimately wrecked) a political career with one of the most notorious organizations in the Realms, and may very much enjoy the opportunities for intrigue the Shadow Thieves have to offer...

ANGELO: Human Fighter dual-classed to Mage
Angelo is a 49 year old fighter-turned-mage who served as Sarevok’s henchman in Baldur’s Gate. A minor character who sentenced you to hang and then later fought at Sarevok’s side in the Undercity, he has evaded death and now tracks you down to Athkatla with a proposition. During Shadows of Amn, Angelo’s past comes back to haunt him in the form of two quests, one of which may extend into Throne of Bhaal depending on how you play it. Incredible romance content for Female characters with Charisma of 12+

YVETTE
Have you ever seen a magical parchment that held something more than few words or numbers? Would you like to know better a girl, who hardly remember her own name or past? Yvette's completly new to the place she opened her eyes in. All those new faces, new streets and building... Can you help her to face her own past, images of the days that were to brutally erased? This NPC will join male PC and stay with him as long as love would allow....
Everything starts with a strange parchment you may buy on the Promenade. It's a portrait of young lady. That's how Yvette appears in the game. Help her to remember who she really is, let her experience adventures, let her stay by your side -

ARATH: Human druid
Arath is a complex, self-assured, humorous and somewhat hedonistic druid who, on the surface, cares for little else beyond himself and his love for nature. He loves the human form, both male and female, and isn't afraid to be direct about what he wants -- though he's not always successful in getting it, much to his chagrin. He has a passionate hate for aberrations, the undead and anything else that falls beyond the natural scheme of things, and he has some rather complex and occasionally contradictory beliefs.

And many more...
Sarah, Xulaye, Isra, Varshoon( the Illithid! He has his own kit of Psionic Forcer) Darian....
@mr_planescapist
No companion mod has ever been good.
One of the least helpful feedback posts so far.. ALL of these characters are surviving the brain eater bug, BECAUSE they are special. That's the entire point of it. Their uniqueness is what makes them who they are. Avg Joe Schmo didnt survive the transition why? Because they were normal people and not 'snowflakes' and it is for ME what makes them "Interesting".
The only problem I have with these characters is that there is a history in D&D games of making characters with interesting unique backstories that next to impossible to create in the table-top game without homebrewing or kludging stuff. I like all the stories they've come up with here, but they have stories that aren't easy to model in the TTRPG. To be fair though, a lot of the novel characters are the same.
Originally Posted by Argonaut
Don't get me wrong, but there is a difference between a show being made to be goofy and it taking itself 100% seriously and still being goofy and it takes two completely different levels of incompetence.

Maybe the problem here isn't Xena, but your interpretation of it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDb6coiFUWk

Come on!
Character backgrounds have varied from game to game. In BG/2 you start with very minimal information about your past, learn more as you go along, and determine who you will become. But you don't CHOOSE elements of your background.

In the Witcher series, again due to memory issues, you only know part of your background to start, learn more as you progress, and again decide over time what kind of person you will become.

Torment started you off as a blank slate, and again you learned your history as you progressed.

On the other hand, newer games such as PoE1 and Tyranny allowed you to select some aspects of your history and let you more fully develop as you go along.

I think BG3 could offer some "general" background options (family alive? dead?, religious choice?, goals - money, power, romance-) and perhaps offer you some opportunities to advance and develop these traits through additional conversation or quest options, but that admittedly would take quite a bit of work to do in any meaningful way, and would STILL have to be limited to a handful of background options - more than that and you start hitting the level of oprions in a game like Disco Elysium, and that would require building an entire sub-game within the game.

And it would only work in custom characters you 'roll up'. Origin characters should be limited to the prescribed background and motivations they were specifically built for. You should NOT expect to be able to play Asterion as a misunderstood, bard wanna be, or Shadow as a spy for Selune, attempting to learn what Shar us up to, just because you feel like it, with different backgrounds selected at start up.




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