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I vaguely recall Larian citing this bit of criticism on the dichotomy of custom vs origin characters in early interviews and vowing to improve on it, but it's not enough currently.

More than the fact that the origin characters will always have one additional tag with a large number of additional dialogue options, the main problem I see is that the main character lacks a meaningful connection to the game world. Apart from the central conflict of the story, the custom character has no important overarching goal, no real backstory, no actual point of "origin" if you will. He's just kind of... there.
The game *does* give you the Baldurian tag, but never introduces you to the city or your character's place in it. It's even worse for players who are not familiar with the older games, because dialogue choices that reference your past or locations there must be very confusing.

I understand that, at this point, Larian has kind of committed to an intro, so it is unlikely we will see something along the lines of Dragon Age: Origins, but they should introduce some kind of way to solidify our character's identity and give them an anchor to the setting. Class + Background + Race, though at least better than the two tags DOS 2 characters got, do not feel like they're nearly enough.

I do not take issue with the origin characters on a principal basis, even having zero interest in playing them myself, but I can't help but feel that they (once again) soak up resources that would have been better spent on adding meat to a custom main character.

Currently, my character feels like a bit of a non-entity. A mere blank-slate vehicle for me to interact with the game world, not unlike what I would expect from an MMO. My hope is that for the final version of the game Larian will introduce elements, be they dialogue options, character creation details or anything else, that will help me get emotionally invested in a character of my own, rather than the pre-packaged ones they provide.

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I feel you. It feels weird to not be a spawn of one of the bhaal spawn, or some other connection to the past games. It's Forgotten Realms, but it hasn't yet struck me as Baldur's Gate.

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The only problem : the concept of origin chracters.

I'll explain again what are Origin characters because it looks like many players don't really understand : Origin characters are only companions that can become the main character.
That's it. Origin characters are nothing more.

Every "classic" companions can have a very interresting story without being playable and I don't really think that the few additionnal dialogs you have while playing with an origin character is a great replay value, especially in a RP game in which most of us play... custom characters....

Just think about it without origin characters... Every "Origins background" could be OUR background.
On the other hand, companions could have very interresting goals and stories... Something a little bit more "sober", more "usual" so YOUR character is THE character...

Actually we have AGAIN the exact same problem and the exact same main story as every characters minus a consistent background and own story.
Our characters are just nothing... Not saying we'll always be but if we still aren't after 25 hours... It will come too late...

I really hope we'll find companions that are NOT origin characters, but I think it's a dream.
Don't know why they had bring this in BG3.

Pre-generated characters (for those who like) is not a synonym of origin characters.


Last edited by Maximuuus; 23/10/20 08:11 PM.
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I think Larian just leaves our own background up for ourselves to decide. The only thing set in stone is that we are baldurians. Which gives the players the freedom to make up their own backstory.

Gotta say I think its a weird thing to complain about but maybe giving us more options to set our background in stone could be helpfull. In pnp dnd your background also gives you some features that you can use. If you are a local hero people know you, if you are a sailor you can get easy acces aboard sailing ships etc. Something like that could help.

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Agree with you OP.

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Definately I think PC need far more backstory options (in character customization) than the one or two proposed by the 5th ed. PHB.

Thing is in the PnP game, each player will create their backstories, wich can be very complex and creative, wuch are obviously impossible to transcribe into BG3, but...

I reminds in PoE 1 there was specific options for choosing and refining a bit more our character's backstory, like what was your occupation before that, your origins, your temperament, was there something specific that brought you here, etc.
It was chossing from a pretty short list, but it allowed companions and you to have more dialog options about yourself and your past story.

Or like in Mass Effect 2 where you could choose the choices you made in the first game, if you were unable to start from a savegame from the first episode. It allowed the game to know about your past choices, relationships between other characters, if anybody died, and so on. This way it ensured the game to be accurate with your backstory.


So I think there should be some options, like 4-6 more, to refine your past and give the opportunity to talk other companions about your past more accurately (I'm thinking about the party night with Shadowhearth for instance).
It would makes more sense and flesh out your character by giving him/her more personality traits, a past with stories and anecdotes to remember about, and so on.

Those would allow more dialog options, wich could be easily done most of the time since our character doesnt speak ; not too many voicing to add too, answers of other companions could be more or less generic in some way, but it may preserve well the "illusion" of the game taking into account your character backstory, at the very least.

Last edited by FenrisC; 23/10/20 10:31 PM.
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The MC needs far more background options than they have right now. I was taken by surprised when I found out that I was from Baldur's Gate. I never said I was from there. What if I want to be from the Dalelands, or the Spine of the World or Rashemen? Let me pick my own background, even if it's from a list of options. Have those options have minor impact to dialogue with different characters throughout. Pick being from Rashemen and bump in to Minsc, bond over your love of your homeland. Maybe you're on your dajemma, like he was when he got swept up in the BG series. There's so many ways they could make the MC feel more special and I'm hoping they add them before release.

Right now the MC feels like nothing compared to the origin characters, which is sad. The origin character options should feel like a fun little bonus if you choose them, not the sole thing providing the character with a history. Frankly, I don't want my NPCs to outshine my MC and that's what it feels like right now.

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I agree with the OP here, the Main character needs way more background options than what we are getting now. Needs a background like Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 if you call them a back ground, where in NWN 1 you are in a hero academy looking for a cure at first. Or NWN2 where you get attacked in a village and sent off or the backgrounds from Baldurs Gate 1 and 2. Or the backgrounds from Icewind Dale 1 and 2, do they have a background its been awhile since I played.

I like the idea and prefer playing a custom character with a background but right now the main character is like a blank slate compared to the Origin Characters.

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We had a similar discussion about this topic somewhere in the forum, and I would like to write about the thoughts I had in a more organized matter so here goes:

I agree with you that it would be better to have some sort of origin story. however, I don't think the current situation is so bad. Not because anything Larian did granted, but actually as a side effect of their design choices. I said it before and I'll say it again - the origin characters as a system suck. the idea to give the player an option the roleplay as a well-defined character is nothing new, and many games did it really well (the best example is probably the witcher games, but I can also mention Dragon age Origins that tried something much more complicated to great success). The novel thing about Larian's origin characters is the fact they are also companions. and it creates a lot of problems in the narrative, some unavoidable and some depend on the quality of writing (that is to say, a more talented writer might have been able to make them work. alas Larian's writer were not talented enough, at least not in DOS2). The biggest problem is spoilers. unless you were living under a rock, the details about all the companions were revealed to all of us months ago, and this ruins the game pacing since the game treats many of the things we knew about them since their reveal as a surprise (Astarion's diet, Shadowheart religious dispositions, Wyll's relationship with demons, etc).

the other major problem stems from the fact that although most of these characters (if not all) will play the role of companions during the game, even though they weren't written as such. If I'll write harry potter's character as is but tell the whole story from Ron's point of view, I'm doing something wrong.

However, I think that Larian unintentionally solved this problem with BG3 custom character. the fact of the matter is, that whether you like them or not, you can't deny that all of the companions are a bunch of extraordinary people with crazy backstories and a lot of baggage. each one of them has a very strong personality and goals. this creates some sort of chaos in the party. from that perspective, after playing Bg3 several times with different party compositions, I feel like it makes sense for them to follow my kinda bland character. the fact your character is bland also means you have no baggage of your own, at least not one we are aware of as of yet, and means your only goal right now is removing the tadpole. when each party member has his agenda, I feel like the custom MC serves as a straight man and a contrast to all the craziness going around at camp, and it's kinda brilliant.

I say kinda, because I doubt it's intentional. If Larian wants to change things and add the custom MC more backstory it's fine, but if I were in their shoes, I would try to figure out how to make the custom MC role in the party more noticeable. maybe create more scenarios of arguments between party members (it's not so hard, shadowheart and laezel already hate each other for instance), similar to the scenarios in Mass Effect 2. Perhaps it was by a mistake, but If Larian will realize what they did it and will embrace it, and make something with it, it has a lot of potential. If not, then I suppose creating origins for the custom MC is fine. but please dear Larian, DO SOMETHING. I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW COME I NEED TO DO THE THINKING FOR YOU. YOU PAY PEOPLE TO WRITE YOUR GAME. Gods above.


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Adding simple options from creation wich lead to optional lines of dialog will surely demands far less work than having each character starting a "tutorial" from their last known location/activity before being abducted. It works with a single special MC, but in our case there is sadly no way of doing that (it would require far more ressources to accomodate all available options).

Or you make all MC originated from an existing city where you can go in the game (during the main story to do something here, like recovering a thing or save a person/family in your hometown), and with a smart reuse of existing assets they could allow each player to play their "prequel" in said city.
But it will mean considerably reducing available options wich could be not great either.

So better stick with simple text/dialog options to refer to your backstory, I guess...

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Originally Posted by Abits
The other major problem stems from the fact that although most of these characters (if not all) will play the role of companions during the game, even though they weren't written as such. If I'll write harry potter's character as is but tell the whole story from Ron's point of view, I'm doing something wrong.


This right here. Right now I feel like the MC 'is' the side-kick, as least as a custom character. Don't get me wrong, I like my party members to have history in the world and quests, etc. What I don't want, personal opinion, is for them to be the main character that my customer character is tagging along with. If someone you pick up along the way made some bad bets in his past and you run in to his bookie and suddenly you're trying to sort out that problem, fine. I don't need my companion to be a literal bomb that TPKs me when I get stuck in a post battle conversation with his spectral image. Not sure where they are going with that but it feels like the kind of one in a million 'Main Character' type of situation.

I think I'd be happier with the story if you were the only one with a tadpole. Give the MC something special.

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Originally Posted by FenrisC
Adding simple options from creation wich lead to optional lines of dialog will surely demands far less work than having each character starting a "tutorial" from their last known location/activity before being abducted. It works with a single special MC, but in our case there is sadly no way of doing that (it would require far more ressources to accomodate all available options).


A few lines of dialogue with different NPC is really all that would be needed to make it feel like the MC has an attachment in the world. The main story as a whole should be relatively centered around the MC in some way. That's your epic story. They could also add side quests dependent on your chosen background or birthplace. For instance if you are from Amn have an NPC that reacts to you different and gives you some quest that you would otherwise not get no matter what. This also adds to long term replay. Doesn't need to be a huge quest, just something small that again makes you feel like your character has history in the world and a connection to it. Being a blank slate is boring.

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I totally agree.

Our MC needs to feel unique, both in her answers as well as the way npcs address her.

I won't accuse paradox of being the best publisher around, but have anyone played Tyranny? The game is by obsidian though, whom have a pretty good background.

In Tyranny, after creating our character, we are given the layout of the land and a mission by our master.

In a few quick steps we go through scenes that allow us to solve conflicts with choices.

I remember being faced with the queen of this region we were in the process of enforcing the empire's will, and tricking her into a duel and killing her.

Later in the game I felt really good when people called me the Queen's killer.

I'm not sure this would be the "best" approach to a background, but it certainly does give significance to our character, as well as places us in the world with an already established "history" of sorts.

If something like this would be added though, perhaps it could center around the backgrounds and the choices one would make to achieve the "become an adventurer" goal through them. No idea how they'd pull that one off with Guild Artisan while giving us choices that wouldn't be something like "spent the rest of my days honing my craft and becoming a master smith".

Just wanted to share the idea, think it worked well in Tyranny, even with the flaws the game has (too many dlcs)

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I actually like the way that it's set up. I don't need some well-detailed backstory set in stone.
I typically come up with a concept at character creation without deep-diving into it so that I have some direction and purpose for each playthrough.
I love the idea of being the "everyman" person. We're not the only special snowflakes with tadpoles. We just happened to run into some others who have interesting stories.
I like to think that I'm not "the chosen one" as much as I am just a person trying to do their best in extraordinary circumstances.
I also like to think that there are other small bands of people coming together to try to survive, just like my party is, that we never even come across.
Because of this, it feels more personal to me. It's my story and my adventure, and even if it's not entirely unique, it's unique to me and that's what matters.


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Originally Posted by Tzelanit
I actually like the way that it's set up. I don't need some well-detailed backstory set in stone.
I typically come up with a concept at character creation without deep-diving into it so that I have some direction and purpose for each playthrough.
I love the idea of being the "everyman" person. We're not the only special snowflakes with tadpoles. We just happened to run into some others who have interesting stories.
I like to think that I'm not "the chosen one" as much as I am just a person trying to do their best in extraordinary circumstances.
I also like to think that there are other small bands of people coming together to try to survive, just like my party is, that we never even come across.
Because of this, it feels more personal to me. It's my story and my adventure, and even if it's not entirely unique, it's unique to me and that's what matters.

I think in general most are on board with what you are saying regarding customs. That however is not I feel the crux of the “issue”.

Of course Larian can’t provide infinite options to cater for our imaginative backstories, nor should they even try, nor do any of us need to start off as being “the one”.

However I believe the consensus is that the Origin characters all have a rather overt backstory and by comparison we have virtually zero. We want to add a few tags (however that may be handled, dialogue, simply in character creation, etc...) and have the world be interested in us or reference us at given moments.

The one time anyone asked it was Shadowheart after the Tiefling party, she asks me about my past and I say something about being from Baldur’s Gate, when I could have sworn my Ranger was either Hermit or something of the ilk. Now I could be wrong, maybe I had selected a past which suggests BG, the fact remains it’s one line, in the whole game up to that point.

In friendly or even intimate moments, interest or jokes regarding heritage, age etc... can levitate the moment and add depth. So even little things like giving us place of birth, age, religion etc can all give the game handy tags for discourse about us. I mean I like being a good listener, but sheesh! ;-)

Maybe the game can even tag if you’ve selected non standard colorings for hair or skin and have NPC’s comment on it with interest or in disgust. Certainly if you’re Drow you get the odd comment I’ve noticed, though my big standard white half elf ranger doesn’t even get a comment from the druids!

But if you really want to give something to customs then maybe allow for a form of secret, an event from your past that could catch up with you. Doesn’t have to be major, but scorned lover stalking you, false murder charge hanging over you? Might be too much, but hey, it’s fun to share some thoughts amongst ourselves right?

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Originally Posted by Leuenherz
I vaguely recall Larian citing this bit of criticism on the dichotomy of custom vs origin characters in early interviews and vowing to improve on it, but it's not enough currently.

More than the fact that the origin characters will always have one additional tag with a large number of additional dialogue options, the main problem I see is that the main character lacks a meaningful connection to the game world. Apart from the central conflict of the story, the custom character has no important overarching goal, no real backstory, no actual point of "origin" if you will. He's just kind of... there.
The game *does* give you the Baldurian tag, but never introduces you to the city or your character's place in it. It's even worse for players who are not familiar with the older games, because dialogue choices that reference your past or locations there must be very confusing.

I understand that, at this point, Larian has kind of committed to an intro, so it is unlikely we will see something along the lines of Dragon Age: Origins, but they should introduce some kind of way to solidify our character's identity and give them an anchor to the setting. Class + Background + Race, though at least better than the two tags DOS 2 characters got, do not feel like they're nearly enough.

I do not take issue with the origin characters on a principal basis, even having zero interest in playing them myself, but I can't help but feel that they (once again) soak up resources that would have been better spent on adding meat to a custom main character.

Currently, my character feels like a bit of a non-entity. A mere blank-slate vehicle for me to interact with the game world, not unlike what I would expect from an MMO. My hope is that for the final version of the game Larian will introduce elements, be they dialogue options, character creation details or anything else, that will help me get emotionally invested in a character of my own, rather than the pre-packaged ones they provide.


+1, a personal prologue, before the tadpole, could help introducing the character. A personal quest for only custom could help too. Gorion ward had Candlekeep before the adventure started.


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To recap. In BG1 and BG2 you have a story and quest of your own. You were a Baalspawn.

In DOS1 and DOS2, the origings stories have a story and quest of their own + main plot. Custom characters only have the main plot.

In BG3 we follow the same pattern as DOS1 and DOS2. Origin characters have one more tag that provides a story and a quest. So, why won't they create tags and stories that can only be selected by custom chacters that provide an story arc + quest on their own. That is basically what Dragon Age 1 did. You don't need that many stories to choose from. At least if you do relatively generic ones. I mean, a red wizard story would be really specific and only available to human wizards. But someone who lost their family to goblins, might work. Or if you want to be have more conflict, to undead or githyanki (that would cause lots of drama XD). Then you have other classicals, like stole/find something quite valuable that many people are seeking. Like a netherese artifact that you can't get rid of. The trick is to use elements that are already there so it is easier to integrate in the main plot.

So, basically, what do we have on the first chapter?

Githyanki, vampires, goblings, drow, illithids, zentarim, harpers, svirneflins, the light society and netheresse. Well, they could work out stories linked to that. If I had to write some stories, I would probably choose:

Harper
Zentarim
Light society (the one with the bugbear and the illitid), this could be linked to the netherese investigation.
Undead hunter (Even if I like Astarion)
Blood money (stole a powerful netherese object that you don't know how to use. Although I suspect that this is shadowheart thing XD).

My point is, they have already done that for the original characters, but haven't even created one for the customs. Being able to play the quest for the origins characters doesn't make up for not having at least one that is exclusive to the custom character. And no, "baldurian" doesn't cut it, because it is not a personal quest. Neither is the tadpole.

They said that custom characters won't feel lacking. So it would be nice to provide a personal quest and a little more dialoge for the custom character.

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It'd be cool if the 'backstory' held more weight, and got the same treatment class and race do. It'd be really cool if we could decide where our characters come from. Don't know much about mindflayers, but it seems like we got kidnapped by teleporting squids, why restrict the city/place we come from based on race

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I've already put in a feedback form about this, but we also need a way of determining if your character follows a god that isn't tied down to being a cleric or a drow. Plenty of people are pious in the realms, gods are a lot more tangible there after all.

It would generally be nice if we had a couple of backstory/origin selectable options in addition to our background (cough* sort of like how pathfinder has origin traits) to add a bit more detail in. ATM, if your character is from the material/surface, they are a Baldurian, and that can't be changed, despite the fact that you could have been picked up anywhere in the nautiloid's journey. But, that said, it's clear larian want this to be a way of tying you to baldur's gate.

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Originally Posted by malks
I totally agree.

Our MC needs to feel unique, both in her answers as well as the way npcs address her.

I won't accuse paradox of being the best publisher around, but have anyone played Tyranny? The game is by obsidian though, whom have a pretty good background.

In Tyranny, after creating our character, we are given the layout of the land and a mission by our master.

In a few quick steps we go through scenes that allow us to solve conflicts with choices.

I remember being faced with the queen of this region we were in the process of enforcing the empire's will, and tricking her into a duel and killing her.

Later in the game I felt really good when people called me the Queen's killer.

I'm not sure this would be the "best" approach to a background, but it certainly does give significance to our character, as well as places us in the world with an already established "history" of sorts.

If something like this would be added though, perhaps it could center around the backgrounds and the choices one would make to achieve the "become an adventurer" goal through them. No idea how they'd pull that one off with Guild Artisan while giving us choices that wouldn't be something like "spent the rest of my days honing my craft and becoming a master smith".

Just wanted to share the idea, think it worked well in Tyranny, even with the flaws the game has (too many dlcs)


Or character creation in Torment Tides of Numenera.

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