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Originally Posted by ash elemental
Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Objectively the Goblins are stronger here. As I mentioned, actual rewards are not the issue or the argument I am making, simply who would make the stronger ally at first glance.
So what if the goblins are stronger than the druids? This still doesn't make them strong enough to be an interesting option to ally with, except if you play as Astarion. Because he is the only character for whom the alternative is worse. But for everyone else? The absolute cultists are blissfully unaware that they are just being used, and might end up as either food or mindflayers. As such, they don't even have valuable information on how to get rid of the tadpole before you end up same as them.

You are sort of starting to get it.

This entire exercise was predicated on looking at it from the perspective of an evil character that values strength and power over other considerations. A character that would look at the weak being destroyed as part of the natural order of things and even from their perspective as an ultimate good.

Both Lae'zel and Astarion would look at things like that.


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I think most characters' prime directive is finding a cure to the tadpole in our head, if you want to make the evil path more compelling, draw more, and more clear, lines between how they might be able to provide that. It's something you have to do especially considering goblins are typically buffoonish opponents.

Also currently aligning yourself with the goblins requires, without some metagaming anyway, turning down your first clear lead (Halsin) and taking for granted that you're loyalty to the people responsible for your plight will reward you for siding with them, this in the context of having been implanted with a mind controlling brain parasite.

None of our evil characters seem too interested in joining the goblins, Astarion is intrigued by the Priestess Gut, but he's also the only guy so far who doesn't want our tadpole removed. I guess this is a long walk to arrive at a conclusion that I can only think of Chaotic Evil characters not being interested in finding a cure. Though I'm not sure how a non-gith Lae'zel would figure the pros and cons of joining the Absolute.

I've spoken a little bit about this, how choosing to help the grove doesn't mean you're good, because it still makes sense for a self-interested characters. This whole grove/goblin conflict should only interest good characters, people interested in intervening for the sake of others, for evil characters your questions about power and strength would presumably be secondary to your own self-preservation.

Edit: I saw this mentioned somewhere, but making us able to side with the goblins in the first fight would also be a serious improvement. Is that possible?

Last edited by Sozz; 21/12/21 04:03 AM.
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Originally Posted by Sozz
I think most characters' prime directive is finding a cure to the tadpole in our head, if you want to make the evil path more compelling, draw more, and more clear, lines between how they might be able to provide that. It's something you have to do especially considering goblins are typically buffoonish opponents.

Also currently aligning yourself with the goblins requires, without some metagaming anyway, turning down your first clear lead (Halsin) and taking for granted that you're loyalty to the people responsible for your plight will reward you for siding with them, this in the context of having been implanted with a mind controlling brain parasite.

None of our evil characters seem too interested in joining the goblins, Astarion is intrigued by the Priestess Gut, but he's also the only guy so far who doesn't want our tadpole removed. I guess this is a long walk to arrive at a conclusion that I can only think of Chaotic Evil characters not being interested in finding a cure. Though I'm not sure how a non-gith Lae'zel would figure the pros and cons of joining the Absolute.

I've spoken a little bit about this, how choosing to help the grove doesn't mean you're good, because it still makes sense for a self-interested characters. This whole grove/goblin conflict should only interest good characters, people interested in intervening for the sake of others, for evil characters your questions about power and strength would presumably be secondary to your own self-preservation.

Edit: I saw this mentioned somewhere, but making us able to side with the goblins in the first fight would also be a serious improvement. Is that possible?

I would say evil is not a monoculture. There is the kind of evil that values self-preservation over everything else, but Githyanki are not like that. They are literally the type of evil that values strength and imposes those values on the multiverse. To a Githyanki, anyone who cannot impress them with their martial prowess and ability to defend themselves is just a future thrall they have to deal with. This informs their worldview and is key to their ability to survive in such an inimical environment.


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Being good or evil is not about whether you save the box of puppies or burn down the orphanage - it's about Why you saved the box of puppies and burned down the orphanage.

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If you're taking issue with the self-preservation angle, I don't think we disagree.

I see Lawful alignments as being about hierarchies that preserve larger groups above individual interest, and the difference between Lawful Good and Lawful Evil being about how those hierarchies are formed and enforced. The Gith are a highly militarized society with divinely enforced lines of authority, which is why Lae'zel isn't about to sign up with the Absolute without serious cause (and why our encounter with the kithrak is so fraught narratively)

But for any Joe Tyrant to come along what exactly does the goblin horde really have to offer? What group is Tav a part of that he's willing to sacrifice himself to preserve it. For Lae'zel sacrificing herself is on the table because she values her people's safety and strictures as paramount, but for any Lawful Evil character on their own, I would assume you're at the top of the pyramid, until you're forced to submit into the hierarchy of a stronger group. Is that something that happens in the EA, are we submitting to the tadpole and it's visions? Maybe.

In short the Lawful Evil option is siding with Kagha :p

Last edited by Sozz; 21/12/21 04:50 AM. Reason: is a joke...not a joke
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Originally Posted by Sozz
In short the Lawful Evil option is siding with Kagha :p

YES!!!

Side with Kagha, cleans/lock the grove, actually join the Shadow Druids, AND wipe out the stain of the goblin horde!

Been wanting these from day one!

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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
You are sort of starting to get it.

This entire exercise was predicated on looking at it from the perspective of an evil character that values strength and power over other considerations. A character that would look at the weak being destroyed as part of the natural order of things and even from their perspective as an ultimate good.

Both Lae'zel and Astarion would look at things like that.
You miss the point yet again. Astarion is the only one interested in the absolute cult not because he thinks the goblins strong, but because without the tadpole powers he'd be compelled to return to Cazador and be enslaved. It is about the risk vs. reward for him.

As for Lae'zel, why would she be impressed by those weak enough to fall for a ghaik deception? Githyanki see that as a sign of weakness. And she isn't the only one; Nere will leave the absolute cult in disgust if you convince him it's a mind flayer plot.

It's like the evil characters you describe completely ignore that they have a tadpole in their head and what that means.

Last edited by ash elemental; 21/12/21 07:14 AM.
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Originally Posted by Sozz
I think most characters' prime directive is finding a cure to the tadpole in our head
Personaly i see this as one of main problems ...
Right now we have 5 companions of wich 3 are woting for Halsin (yes i know Shadow seems to be voting for every option Gut included ... but you can easily find out that Gut is a deadend before you join any side definietly) ... 1 for goblins ... and 1 for screwing them both and go elsewhere entirely.
That alone create conciderable pressure on both Tav and player to follow this patch. :-/

Originally Posted by Sozz
if you want to make the evil path more compelling, draw more, and more clear, lines between how they might be able to provide that.
Disagree ...
I mean the Evil path isnt and is not suppose to be "you scratch my back il scratch yours" ... its more like "i shall pretend that im scratching your back but i shall stab you there once i get opourtunity."

And that seems fitting to me. :-/

I also honestly kinda like that its not made clearer ... it seems more like a path for player who thinks "what if..."

On the other hand since all Goblin leaders are threating you like a member of their tribe from the start ... i cant imagine how to make existence of that option clearer. :-/

Originally Posted by Sozz
Also currently aligning yourself with the goblins requires, without some metagaming anyway, turning down your first clear lead (Halsin) and taking for granted that you're loyalty to the people responsible for your plight will reward you for siding with them, this in the context of having been implanted with a mind controlling brain parasite.
I dont think this must be your first nor clear lead ...
I mean if you dont talk with Zevlor about searching for healer ... OR you will talk with Wyll afterwards ... you know that your first lead is false anyway. You could then easily come to conclusion that Druids are dead end ...
Then you talk to Sazza ... and you get alternative, even Shadowheart approves ...

Then you get to the Goblin camp and you find out that this group have much more interesting options than just healing. smile

I dont think you need to believe that they will reward you ...
If there is any potential reward you simply take it once the opourtunity reveal itself.

Originally Posted by Sozz
I've spoken a little bit about this, how choosing to help the grove doesn't mean you're good, because it still makes sense for a self-interested characters. This whole grove/goblin conflict should only interest good characters, people interested in intervening for the sake of others, for evil characters your questions about power and strength would presumably be secondary to your own self-preservation.
Agreed.
Also this whole good/evil is too limiting.

Originally Posted by Sozz
Edit: I saw this mentioned somewhere, but making us able to side with the goblins in the first fight would also be a serious improvement. Is that possible?
Honestly i fail to imagine some way that would not feel forced.
Do you have anythin specific in mind?


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Wow. Sorry for the confusion. I just assumed everyone was calling it the "evil" path if you sided with Minthara.

So, yes, there are a gazillion ways to be evil. Robbing the tieflings of all their goods, murdering them just for the sake of murdering them. Manipulating people to get what you want and stepping on everyone to get where you want to go.

We could go on and on. It's true.

Honestly, I think there needs to be more dialogue options for good and evil both in most scenarios in the game. For example, why can I not save Sazza but first explain to Arca and my own companions that my motivation for doing so is to use Sazza to get into the goblin camp easier? I mean, that was my very first thought in the game when I encountered this situation on my first playthrough. I was thinking, "Yes! Trick the stupid goblin into guiding me right to Minthara, and then I'll kill Minthara in her own chambers right under the noses of all the goblins and their leaders." That's just smart strategy for the good path.

You know what also makes sense whether you're good or evil? Not fighting a horde of goblins or trying to kill their leaders in the heart of their camp with only a party of 4. It makes a whole lot more sense to lure Minthara to the grove so that you have help killing Minthara and her host of goblins and you have the advantage of a gate and walls and explosive traps. Whether "good" or "evil," that's just a smarter move than trying to kill all the baddies in the heart of their lair with a gazillion of them around and only 4 party members.

And yes, it makes absolutely no sense to really join Minthara. That part alone needs more work. It's almost like she just orders you to obey, and you just do it like a dumb thug. No promises for greater power or anything. You're just told to help her slaughter the grove for some reason, and you must either decide to simply just do it or reject her. No real motivation to help her.

It reminds me of Anakin Skywalker going from hero of the galaxy to Jedi Youngling Murder Hobo just because... um... why again? Oh, he was having a dream that Padme was going to die while giving birth to who? Oh right. His OWN CHILD(REN). So, it seemed a really far stretch to me that Anakin decided to join Palpatine, whom he just learned was THE Sith Lord and responsible for literally all the bad things happening in the universe to him and everyone he knows and loves, who he was fighting against the whole time, FOR YEARS, going from protector and savior to child murderer, just because of some dream he was having so he could what? Oh. Palpatine promised him that if he murdered all the Jedi he'd gain more power in the Dark Side, which he was fighting against the whole time.

So, in this game, we have something similar. Why are we joining Minthara? Is she promising to remove a tadpole that people are telling us is going to turn us into Mind Flayers eventually and suddenly and drastically? Is she offering to give us the power to control it and use it to become something greater? Nope. She just tells you go kill people. Thanks. Bye now. Only AFTER you kill everyone in the grove does she say something in regards to you gaining more power and becoming something truly awesome. Then she tries to kill you. ???

But, all that said, this post was really more towards how once Gale and Wyll left during the goblin celebration after the grove slaughter, it was as if the game died. Dialogues stopped. Characters weren't talking anymore.

During a "good" playthrough, where I helped the grove, I'm talking to Glut or Spaw, can't remember which, and Astarion makes an offhanded comment about liking his style even if it is a bit genocidal. "Evil" playthrough where I killed the grove, nothing. Why? "Good" playthrough, Shadowheart's chatting about things we discover in the underdark. "Evil", nothing. Is my game just glitching, or are other people experiencing this lack of anything once you slaughter the grove? It's like everyone is just completely quiet once you start down into the Underdark. No one chats at camp anymore. No one chats on the road anymore. No one comments on your decisions or even Approves/Disapproves. It's like, what happened?

Anyway, I guess the point now is that ultimately "evil" needs a LOT more work, but good also. I'd like to be good smart and not have people disapprove. Convince Sazza to take me to the goblin lair. Trick Minthara into attacking the grove and then turning on her, giving me an advantage over her and her army by having allies to help me fight. I should be able to explain to my companions the method behind my madness instead of having them just approve/disapprove flatly based on what I do. Again, I literally saved Sazza the very first playthrough for the intent and purpose of using her to get into the goblin camp, but I had so many disapprove of my plan. I wasn't saving her because I wanted to save a goblin's life. She's a monster who'll eat me. I planned on using her to get into the camp only. So, I should be able to explain that to people like Astarion and Lae'zel and have them go, "Ah! That's smart. Good thinking. Yes. We will use this beast and toss her to the wolves in the forest afterwards." Approval rating goes up with Lae'zel.

And we definitely need more incentive to be evil besides, "I like Minthara. She's cool."

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The Neutral Evil path to me is one of selfishness. As such, my neutral Evil Tav only engages in conflict when the odds are in his favour and there is a clear benefit to him. I think the evil path will be a lot more fleshed out once we have the option to go straight to Lae'zel:s creche.

Currently, my character only fought 3 "fights". I took the easy assassination job offered by Anders after discovering that the target was already alone and injured. I freed halsin after discovering the creche was a dead end. I had no reason to return to the grove to risk myself for any party as halsin already provided me with info about moonrise towers. My final fight before grymforge was the bulette and minotaurs which was just me putting to naturalistic forces against each other to clear the way. Now I'm in grymforge at level 3 with 1 companion.

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I agree that the evil path definitely needs more work. The most baffling part is how none of your companions, the companions who are supposedly the evil ones of the game, are in favor of it. I honestly think that having a companion that's in favour of the Absolute path would make it at least a bit more reaosnable as a path to go down.

The other big problem is that we know so little about the cult. Sure, it's easy to say your character wants to join up with them and stab them in the back when they get an opportunity, but to what end? What do we actually know the cult has to offer us? We only get vague context clues that suggest the cult is meaningfully bigger than what we see in this area and maybe some forces beyond. No one else knows about the tadpoles so their usefulness as solution there is dubious. Maybe this is a path for a player that can say "what if?" but there are just so many what ifs and so little solid facts to ground ourselves in. There's vague indications of higher-ups that you could find, but again, it's all vague. Which ties into another issue I've had with the game recently; that this starting area gives you barely any context for world beyond it, and just as little reason to care about the area itself.

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Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
I agree that the evil path definitely needs more work. The most baffling part is how none of your companions, the companions who are supposedly the evil ones of the game, are in favor of it. I honestly think that having a companion that's in favour of the Absolute path would make it at least a bit more reaosnable as a path to go down.
We are still missing some tho.
Maybe this will get resolved in the future?

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Sure, it's easy to say your character wants to join up with them and stab them in the back when they get an opportunity, but to what end?
Depends on your own character ambitions ...
Since we are only talking about what would be your motivation ... the only limit is your own imagination. wink

Its the simmilar situation as Gale suggests with Raphael, he also believes that he can outsmart him in his own game. smile And that is exactly the case here aswell. wink
Play along until opourtunity emerges, and then simply GRAB IT. smile

Also i dare to say that the same question should be asked for other option (killing the Goblin leaders) ...
What end are we hoping for there?
Sure, you help few civilian refugees that you possibly not even see for the rest of your life. laugh

But unless you explore whole Goblin camp (wich kinda can require some small metagaming ... or just really strong dedication to THAT quest. laugh ) and save Halsin, you have no ensurance he is even alive, nor if he will be able to help you (funny enough, you dont have ensurance in this particular topic even if you save him, whole Grove, kill litteraly everyone in Goblin camp and redeem Kagha. laugh but ofc, you dont know that when you are deciding what to do)

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
What do we actually know the cult has to offer us?
Well ... It depends:
- If you are Drow Male, cult can offer you a new society where you will no longer be taken as something lesser, just bcs of your gender ...
Same goes for other "often enslaved" races, as Deep Gnomes ... or maybe Goblins if they will be included ...
- Protection against ceremorphosis ... after all, every True soul is tadpoled as we know, yet nobody is changing ...
- Favour of new deity, that seems to be quite powerfull (concidering our encounter with her voice in Goblin Camp) ...
- Ensured good status in this new cult ... since so far every True Soul we met had some local leader position ...
- Raids and looting (its vague reason, but can be motivation for some people) ...

And as mentioned abowe there are few things as:
Contacts between Zhentarims ...
Military power (even tho not exactly the best, but still at least some compared to civilian refugees) ...
Allready gathered loot ...
Beer ... laugh

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
No one else knows about the tadpoles so their usefulness as solution there is dubious.
That is not exactly true ...
Why exactly would they "need to know about tadpoles" ?

I dare to say they dont.
They obviously have it ... they obviously are using it ... and it obivously dont change them ...

Therefore all we need to learn from them is (quoting Astarion) "how to control it". wink
And since they do that allready, we should be able to learn that from them. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Maybe this is a path for a player that can say "what if?" but there are just so many what ifs and so little solid facts to ground ourselves in. There's vague indications of higher-ups that you could find, but again, it's all vague.
It have to be vague, once you are choosing between two crystal clear options its no longer "what if" ... then its set if A then 1, and if B then 2. laugh

I believe siding with Goblins is suppose to give you potential, not promise of anything specific ...
You either are willing to risk it, or not. No other option is acceptable. wink

Last edited by RagnarokCzD; 22/12/21 05:22 PM.

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You make a lot of good points. Maybe the lack of companions pulling for the cult path will change when more are introduced, I just find that odd since these are supposedly the evil companions that we have (or just evilest, since I don't think Gale and Wyll are all that evil, and to my mind, the jury is still out on Shadowheart being all that evil).

As for your comment on character ambitions, my problem there isn't your character thinking you can outplay the cult, it's that what you stand to gain by outplaying them isn't at all clear. It doesn't entirely feel like you get to learn much about them until you're already there in their base doing stuff, and I'm not entirely sure how you could reasonably get there unless you'd already agreed to go find Halsin. Otherwise it seems more like a place you'd just steer clear of. Maybe if they tweaked that meeting with the True Soul and his followers from early on so that when you and he meld minds, you get a better sense of the cult, that would make more sense to me. I wouldn't want that mind meld to give you all the information, but having that be when you learn that True souls are respected in the cult, maybe get a vague sense of how far-reaching it is, and where their base is, that would give clearer impetus to go there. As it stands, you don't actually learn much from that encounter beyond the fact that the cult exists in some form. Based on what you see, you don't have much reason to believe the group is meaningfully organized or powerful or a thing you can join. Basically you don't have much reason to seek them out and try to join them until you're already there, no reason to think that infiltrating and trying to take them over would be an excercise worth your time. It's all well and good to leave room for the player's imagination, but if you leave too much to the player's imagination then it's not going to be a coherent, cohesive story anymore.

This also makes your comparison to the lack of guarantee with the Halsin quest weaker, because it's not as though you ever reach a moment where you have to stop and think "do I try and find Halsin or go with the cult?" It's more like "I could try and find Halsin. Also th goblins that took him turn out to be part of a weird cult I don't get any opportunity to learn much about."

You make some good points about why some characters would join the cult, but most of your points hinge on the assumption that the cult can actually do something about the tadpoles. My problem with that assumption is that no one in the cult knows they've got tadpoles. So there's no way to know if they can actually control it, if they're being actively used by Mindflayers or the Absolute, or if, like us, their tadpoles have just been postponed somehow and will still transform them eventually. I don't really think that it makes sense for most characters to fully disregard the threat of the tadpoles until they have some concrete answers as to what's going on with it. And the cult very specifically lack those answers. We do know that their mark allows access to extra powers, but we don't know why and we get no opportunities to try and figure it out beyond "it's the goddess." What makes it worse for me is that the circumstances of our infiltration make it to where we can't actually ask questions that would give us all this information. There should at least be journals and bits of text we can find that give us more insight. The fact that they're in the dark about being tadpoled means that it's even more likely they're being manipulated by some mysterious entity you know nothing about. If they did know they were tadpoled then that at least puts them in a position of potentially having more information than you, thus making them a somewhat reliable source of information. But as it is now, the information they actually have is shrouded behind superstition you have to work to uncover alongside all the other work you need to do. Infiltrating a cult is long term work, probably a project involving months spent ingratiating yourself, figuring out who you can manipulate and how.

Ultimately my issue with the Cult path is that it doesn't feel like a path written in a way that I don't find appealing, as someone who's encountered plenty of evil paths in games which didn't appeal to them, I can understand that. This feels like a badly written path.

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First of all being evil doesn't need to mean being interested in joining the bad guys, much like not being given an option to join Sarevok or Irenicus isn't a shortcoming for those games. But in BG:3 we are given a thin 'in' into the cult, siding with Minthara doesn't even directly lead to it, you have to side with her, then suborn her into your scheme. The problem there is that, I have very little idea what our motivations for going through all of that is, are we on board with the Absolute or is it just a long con to get us into a position to remove the tadpole. Either option might be interesting but it's also not very supported by the game, of course my experience siding with Minthara is very minimal so people should chime in with how that route has developed.

I think there is one thing that the game has gotten across pretty well. Everything leads back to Moonrise Towers, you'll probably learn that everyone with a tadpole was taken there first, that you were en route there before the gith attack and that some spooky shit happened there that cursed the land. But connecting that with your motivations for either helping the grove or the goblins (but really the goblins) might make it work better, otherwise the most obvious choice will be just to head there post-haste.

As for moving things around to make siding with the goblins more natural:

Instead of having our first encounter with the mercenaries be a cutscene of them hammering on the gate followed by unavoidable combat, move it back so that we run into them still trying to get to the grove, how this encounter goes down could be very depended on how you're roleplaying your character and their alignment

Aradin: quick! we have to make it to the hidden grove goblins are on our tail!(sic)
*G: Of course lets go/fight/hide
LG: Whatever happens we can't lead them to your grove, we'll fight them here -->persuade?
NE: Good luck with that...(Odd, goblins don't usually tussle with druid groves)
LE: You'd be willing to draw those things to your people, turn around and face them or I'll kill you myself ->intimidate?
CE: Things look pretty bad for you guys, I think I'll just put you out of your misery now.

Now you've got a scenario where you might be the ones who kill the mercenaries followed by an encounter with the goblins who were chasing them...in fact in this scenario finding the grove actually becomes you're main objective similar to how killing the goblin leaders is your main objective now...it could work.

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Now, I still think the game has not done a bad job: the options and the logic behind them are there. But the dice is a bit weighted to go in a certain direction. Perhaps the choice might be made a little bit more random and/or more difficult. Especially for characters with not highly operational moral compass.

I can only talk from limited (personal) experience.

I was running a male drow character with dubious morality.

One of the things that have influenced him not to join Minthara:

1. he hates being controlled and fears the transformation (he clashed with both as a result of camp talks and what he saw on the nautiloid)

2. Halsin is a big promise; he is rumored to be an able healer and one that can help him with the affliction

3. Minthara contributed to that herself as she did what most female drows do: treat the males like garbage. My drow has been a plaything and a guinea pig of the Lolth priesthood, that was a big no-no.

4. goblins are pathetic, simple and petty (that one is fine with the lore, though and was the least important for my character's decision; it can also be a plus for a character who searches for servile servants; this was not the case with my drow who was mostly about survival).

On the other hand the promise of power is not formulated that well, it can be assumed but is not very obvious. Astarion is simply curious about the cult of the Absolute (but has reservations). Shadowheart and Gale favor finding the druid and Wyll is bound to the tiefling's cause. Lae'zel does not care about this conflict (I think). She relies on a different method of cleansing.


That's more or less what determined the choice to go against Minthara. But that's not all.

You also have the choice to go tieflings only or druids only.

In my case, the dialogue with Nettie was very important how the future relations with the druids would go. As of patch 6, she did not try to poison my character (which likely would have triggered a fight and led to her death). In turn, her death might have led to the realization that the alliance with Halsin is not quite feasible (to his knowledge we simply killed his student, my character is a drow and the druids does not seem very benevolent). That in my case might have led to the theft of the Sylvan idol and likely massacring the druids. None of this happened as Nettie was very helpful. No complaints, just stating facts (it might have been a lucky turn of affairs). From that moment on, my character despite the fact he would not hesitate to lie and steal, and sometimes even kill, was very cautious not to cross the druids. Because of Halsin.

The decision to support the tieflings was almost predetermined. My drow has been a sort of refugee, even a slave for some time, he knows what it means to be an outcast with no home. Tieflings are also discriminated like the drows on the surface (less feared, though). I do not think he considers the children as innocent as we do but it will take quite a bit for him to attack (and slaughter) the whole tiefling congregation with their children. What might have possibly thrown him onto a different direction would be facing extreme hostility (a lot of offensive or belittling behaviour or being attacked). For some characters the promise of loot and the mercy of the Absolute (see the beginning) or even Kagha, might be strong motivations.

Once again, I am not unhappy my drow took the turn he took in supporting both the tieflings and the druids. I am satisfied with the game overall. But if the goal is really to put dilemmas and a chance that a certain character will end at a completely different path based on luck and nuances in morality (esp. valid for neutral or evil characters), then the developers might play a little bit more with the plot.

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(spoilers)

The game right now does some things in regards to 'evil' quite well. The evil characters are pretty charismatic and likeable IMO, and the game is occasionally quite creative and extensive in regards to how nasty you can be resolving quests and dialogues. (they put a *lot* of work into things that can happen to Alfiria's lute, for instance). It's great at 'petty evil' sort of stuff. There are lots of great ways to play evil on the small-scale level. It's when it gets scaled up to the main story questlines that it really falls apart, IMO.

The underwhelming and uneven distribution of rewards is something that comes up a lot in critiques of how Larian has handled evil playthroughs. I don't think this is even disputable at this point after the Grymforge patch-the disparity holds true across the board.

You get locked out of three romances by helping the goblins, while only Minthara(more on her later)-by far the least developed romance so far-is exclusive to helping the goblins. This is even without the three remaining origin characters we know are going to be added, and we know are going to be good-aligned. It seems like Larian is fine with making evil players lose half their party members in at one if they resolve the earliest main story event in an evil way, but doesn't feel like good playthroughs should have consequences for their choices.

Then there's how Larian handled the idea of the player siding with the Shadow druids-or rather didn't. Despite the patch that added druids giving unique content to druid characters and giving new quest rewards for helping the refugees and druids, you still can't actually side with them, even if you are playing a druid yourself. It even has dialogue options where you can sympathize with them and another where you can ask to join them, but you get shut down by the shadow druids abruptly and then have to awkwardly shift gears mid-conversation to morally browbeating Kahga into doign the right thing seconds after you were willing to turn on everyone. The process of throwing the tieflings out of the grove is still very lacking (Zevlor tries to kill you, you tell Kahga he's dead, she asks you to finish the job, but nobody else even notices Zevlor's death, you get no rewards for doing it, no closer to your goal of the cure, and lock yourself out of both the evil and good paths, and the romance scenes) It feels like janky unfinished or cut content right now.

And of course the narrative flow of the major good vs evil narrative choices we have so far just isn't as natural or satisfying as it could be- Every patch so far seems to add more reasons to avoid helping the goblins. The new scene with Shadowheart's box, the dialogue options in the temple of Selune where companions point out that the True Souls are brainwashed and that your fate was likely to be the same, and really drawing connection to the mindflayer-cult connection that was already the big obvious reason to avoid the cult. There just aren't many good reasons to join, and your companions aren't exactly lining up to offer support for helping them. Even Asterion, who is the closest the game comes to an advocate for helping the goblins, really doesn't care who you side with.

As an extension of the narrative reasons not to play evil, non-item rewards are also very skewed in favor of those who complete quests in a good manner as well. Right now you can collect several titles and allies-some of whom will continue to journey with you as 'camp followers', but outside of the owlbear & dog pets, these are tied to good choices in the main quests-and even the pets will be upset with you if you help the goblins and use magic to speak with them.

The most recent patch added Grymforge, and unfortunately only seems to have added to these trends. You get several magic items for killing Nere, and nothing for helping him. You gain the Myconids and Gnomes as allies for killing him, and Barcus as a camp follower, while if you are evil you can get the Order of Soul Spiders as potential allies against the absolute, but only as a drow and only if you sided *against* the goblins and killed Minthara prior to meeting him-and only if you mention that you killed her after helping Nere (what?!?)

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Am I the only one who thought that the evil options in Pillars of Eternity looked really tempted and well made?

I for one was really overwhelmed how tempting it was to take "the easy way" to power.

I mean, I have no idea how it would turn out if one actually played the evil path among companions and such (as I only saw the options, I never took them) - but I could imagine that *most* of our companions seemed slightly too good-aligned to make for good evil-run companions.

...

Also, regarding Pathfinder. I agree that murder-hobo options are ... Well, murder-hobo options. But while I mostly agree with RagnarokCzD on the matter (basically, you're in charge of your motivation and own creativity), I would also comment that I believe it is the correct choice to include these options just cause "murder hobo", as long as there are other options available as well that come off as... Slightly less obviously evil. I have not made it that far on my evil playthrough so cannot comment too much, but I do know that most of my options have been neutral.

Meanwhile, while this is most subjective, I definitely would say that Owlcat knows how to write evil *characters* well. I mean, most of our evil companions are not murder hobos, (*glances suspiciously at those-who-know-they-know*) but more like charismatic villains.

Anyways, I do hope that Larian manage to balance out the evil playthrough! There's a lot that does not seem quite right about it. :[


Hoot hoot, stranger! Fairly new to CRPGs, but I tried my best to provide some feedback regardless! <3 Read it here: My Open Letter to Larian
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Originally Posted by Leucrotta
[...]

The underwhelming and uneven distribution of rewards is something that comes up a lot in critiques of how Larian has handled evil playthroughs. I don't think this is even disputable at this point after the Grymforge patch-the disparity holds true across the board.

[...]

Excellent post, and mirrors a lot of my thoughts exactly, especially with regards to the lack of consequences for the good characters. In comparison to how much you lose by siding with the goblins, the evil companions are very tolerant of our good deeds. grin Having finished my latest playthrough of Patch 6 on the so-called "evil path", I felt compelled to share my issues with the direction of narrative and quest design in BG3, and it's gratifying to see other people echoing similar sentiments.

So to add onto what has already been said regarding item, companion, and narrative rewards and punishments, the variety of quests currently available is quite bad for an evil (or even a non-evil non-heroic) playthrough as well.

Quest-wise, there just isn't enough to do if you're playing something as simple as a cookie-cutter self-interested NE character. Why should he care about what happens to Mayrina, or risk himself entering a burning building, or waste his money buying some artist’s freedom? He shouldn’t and he doesn’t. The logical course of action, then, is to skip those quests altogether. That’s fine by me, I don’t mind locking myself out of content based on my character, it’s a part of roleplaying after all. The problem is, there is no balance. If I skip everything that an overall evil character would have no interest in, I’m skipping most of what is currently in the game. In contrast, there are almost no such considerations for overall good characters. The only things that would give a good character pause are helping the Zhents and Glut. Those are the only significant quests a good character may want to skip to keep to their alignment. Even then, you can do most of the Zhent questline without knowing about the hideout, and if you turn down Glut you can continue Spaw's quest uninterrupted. For evil characters however, entire questlines and all rewards are skipped because there is little reason to engage in the first place. How is that fair?

It’s true that this can be less of a problem if you use your imagination. It’s possible to justify some things to yourself, I certainly do. We’re not here to save Mayrina, we’re just raiding the hag’s basement for magical artifacts to feed to Gale – even though the game still treats us as if we’re here for Mayrina, never mind that we killed her brothers and never expressed any interest in her situation to Ethel. My Baldurian character is buying the artist because he happens to know who Oskar and his patroness are, and thinks this may be a useful connection to make – even though he shows no sign of recognition until Oskar actually names himself, and furthermore it makes no sense to let him travel alone on the roads infested with goblins and gnolls if my character plans to use him for favors. Still, some things are harder to justify – Waukeen’s Rest stands perpetually burning because I can’t find the reason to even talk to the Flaming Fist storming the front door, lest they try to rope the party into helping. And why should I have to do any of this in the first place? Why should I have to twist my reasoning into pretzels and ignore how the game reacts to me just to properly roleplay my character without skipping most of what’s available, when good characters get the majority of the game's content, most of which feels natural to pursue without resorting to mental gymnastics?

Ideally, in an RPG that gives you alignment options, being overall good and overall evil should balance out. Otherwise, there is no reason to play one over the other, as one will always be a strictly better experience. Some quests make sense to pursue only to good, some only to evil; same for earning allies, rewards, suffering positive and negative short-term and long-term consequences. On practice, that is rarely the case. In any RPG, when was the last time picking the “evil” option to resolve a quest ended up giving the player the best outcome? How about picking the “good” option resulting in the worst outcome, or cutting a questline short, as is often the case with evil options? This almost never happens. Most of the time, the evil path is both mechanically and narratively inferior. From the looks of it, BG3 is not going to be any different, and that's very disappointing.

Larian, of all things, this is not what you should have taken from BG1 and 2. eek


As for the OP, I think there may be some bugs at play. While the Underdark is generally quieter due to lack of content (made worse by the diminished party on an evil playthrough), your companions shouldn't be complete voiceless dummies regardless of which side you picked. At the very least, this hasn't been my experience.

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Sory i was going to respond to you, but them i simply forget somehow. :-/

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Maybe the lack of companions pulling for the cult path will change when more are introduced, I just find that odd since these are supposedly the evil companions that we have (or just evilest, since I don't think Gale and Wyll are all that evil, and to my mind, the jury is still out on Shadowheart being all that evil).
I dare to presume that sentence was suppose to continue and say something like "evil companions that we have ... dont encourage us to follow this path."

And i agree, as i said earlier there is lot of pressure on both Tav and Player to follow certain path (help the Tieflings) ... wich also come with zero consequences for us (i think both Lae'zel and Astarion should at least concider leaving us, i mean i would not mind if there would be persuation option to keep them, but they should be pissed off at least ... Lae'zel bcs we are wasting our time instead of pushing for Creche, wich is our only vital option in her eyes ... and Astarion bcs he hates the idea that we would be helping everyone and anyone on our future path).

The problem here is that i cant quite imagine any reasonable NPC that would encourage us. :-/
I mean i can ... but they are either Drow Male, or Goblinoid, or something simmilar ...
Most reasons i usualy use as an argument for following this path and join Goblins works only for main character and when used on NPC, they would imediatly give him "potential traitor" mark on his forehead. laugh

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
As for your comment on character ambitions, my problem there isn't your character thinking you can outplay the cult, it's that what you stand to gain by outplaying them isn't at all clear. It doesn't entirely feel like you get to learn much about them until you're already there in their base doing stuff, and I'm not entirely sure how you could reasonably get there unless you'd already agreed to go find Halsin.
Well, yes ... you do get your informations when you get to the camp.
That a problem?
I mean you were quite oblivious, when you accepted this contract ... only when you enter the camp, and pray around a little you can fully understand how high stakes are here.

And about timeline, it fits to either after you either help Sazza or after you allready agreed to go find Halsin ...

Wich dont seem like and issue to me, since for powerhungry evil traitorous character, such agreement means as much as personal higiene for those Goblins. laugh
After all, this is what being evil is (or rather can be) in my eyes ... see and opourtunity and use it. wink

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Maybe if they tweaked that meeting with the True Soul and his followers from early on so that when you and he meld minds, you get a better sense of the cult, that would make more sense to me. I wouldn't want that mind meld to give you all the information, but having that be when you learn that True souls are respected in the cult, maybe get a vague sense of how far-reaching it is, and where their base is, that would give clearer impetus to go there. As it stands, you don't actually learn much from that encounter beyond the fact that the cult exists in some form.
Well, no, just no ... this asumption is wrong:

Its not explicitly said, that is true ... but once you are marked as "True Soul" the two followers are imediatly concider themself as your subordinate ... therefore you logicaly should presume that True Souls are supperior in this cult.
Also every single goblin starts to grovel, once your reveal your tadpole power to them.
Once you reach the camp, you find out there are 3 more True Souls, and they all are leaders.
Also if you listen to Gut, as she marks the followers, she litteraly tells them that they will not "hear the Absolute, since that would be too much for their weak brain ... only a True Souls are strong enough" or something like that, im only paraphrasing.

I dare to say that all informations you need are there, you just need to read the contexts. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Based on what you see, you don't have much reason to believe the group is meaningfully organized or powerful or a thing you can join.
Except they allready control Selune temple, Blighted Willage, and half of Underdark, they succesfully raided Waukeen's Rest and Tollhouse, and are threatening Druid Grove. O_o
Seems powerfull enough to me. laugh

Especialy if you compare that to group of Tieflings and Druids that for one are trying to rip each other throat out ... and for two are hidint in their home hoping nobody will notice them. laugh

About organisation ...
Im not sure why would you even care, what True Soul comand, they obey ... that is all organisation you need. laugh

And about joining ...
I mean when you speak with Gut, Ragzlin and Minthara, they all presume you joined them allready ... i think this option cannot be clearer. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Basically you don't have much reason to seek them out and try to join them until you're already there, no reason to think that infiltrating and trying to take them over would be an excercise worth your time. It's all well and good to leave room for the player's imagination, but if you leave too much to the player's imagination then it's not going to be a coherent, cohesive story anymore.
Yes, i agree ... and that is what i like about it. smile
Its not like the world is full of signs "Uncle Dror wants YOU to join the Absolute cult." laugh

So you indeed dont seek them out (unless you are metagaming) but once you get there, no matter why ... you can be searching for Halsin, you can be brought there by Sazza, you can just search for the Nightsong (aka entrance to the Underdark for the Nightsong), or you could simply take wrong turn when you were searching for Auntie Ethel, who promised to help you. laugh
Possibilities are endless. smile

Also, speaking about Sazza ...
I believe she were advertising the cult quite well. laugh

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
This also makes your comparison to the lack of guarantee with the Halsin quest weaker, because it's not as though you ever reach a moment where you have to stop and think "do I try and find Halsin or go with the cult?" It's more like "I could try and find Halsin. Also th goblins that took him turn out to be part of a weird cult I don't get any opportunity to learn much about."
Not sure what do you mean ...
But i believe i have seen both cases ... it all depends on how do you play. smile

You can either rush for Halsin and ignore others, or you can just mess around and gather intel first ... you also can totally free Halsin first and find out that he is certainly not willing to help you right now, actualy he is acting quite avoidable to be honest, take it to context with Lae'zel claiming that no druid great talent or healing skills would be able to help you ...
And voila. laugh Yet another reason for you to try this other option is there. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
You make some good points about why some characters would join the cult, but most of your points hinge on the assumption that the cult can actually do something about the tadpoles.
Thanks. smile
Yup it is just assumption, even tho i would say its quite strong one supported by many unspoken but present facts ... but my point is that it should be just assumption, that is one of things i like about this most ... your character should be willing to risk it, when s/he will follow this path ... this isnt and never was ment to be path for people who want to see clear goal before they even start. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
My problem with that assumption is that no one in the cult knows they've got tadpoles.
Yup, that is your advantage. smile
Just as Gale points out. wink

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
So there's no way to know if they can actually control it, if they're being actively used by Mindflayers or the Absolute, or if, like us, their tadpoles have just been postponed somehow and will still transform them eventually.
That is the risk of bussines. smile
As bodybuilders often say: No pain, no gain. laugh

I mean we know they are controling it, since just as we do, they get special powers unrelated to their classes ... i mean, i believe that our characters should be able to figure out that some powers they are using are not standard. smile
So there certainly IS some power for us to take in game.

The risk of them being used by someone, or something ... yes that is certainly there, and its essential part in "outsmart someone in his own game". smile
You need some power character who thinks that s/he is controlling things ... otherwise there is nobody to outsmart. laugh
So i dare to say that our characters should be counting with this option, but concidering it as "acceptable risk" (or be ready to faint away once it become unacceptable risk laugh ).

Last point is little slipery ...
We dont even know if we will transform eventually after all ... i mean everyone presumes it (except Omeluum) but only bcs that is "standard progression" of our curent condition.
And they all admits (except Ethel, she just states she dont want to have any business with us) that our case is allready atypical, so its quite possible that same rules dont aply on us ... sometimes they even admits that they dont allready. smile
That is why my characters use other True Souls as "transformation indicator" ... i mean, they clearly have this tadpole longer than i do ... since i never seen them on the ship, and i dont quite believe that they would be able to create such powerbase in few days. Therefore ... while Ragzlin, Minthara, Gut and Nere are not turning, presuming that our transformation was only delayed, i should be fine. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
I don't really think that it makes sense for most characters to fully disregard the threat of the tadpoles until they have some concrete answers as to what's going on with it.
I dont think they do ...
Its just different approach.

Like having a Tiger if your house ... you can either shoot him, or try to make a friend out of him.
One path is clearly much easier, and certainly safer.
But the other provides potential benefits the first one dont, but it certainly include some risks. smile
(Dont take it litteraly, its just example ...)

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
And the cult very specifically lack those answers.
And i think that is intentional. smile
And certainly hope it will never change, since it would ruin the whole scene. frown

I hate to bring real religion to this topic, but there is some example i think could be used here:
My favourite religion paradox:
Do you know what is the only thing that would completely destroy religion? Proof of Gods existence. smile
It might seem like a nonsence, but hear me out:

Base definition of believe is that you need to have option to doubt. You dont need to doubt actively, but the option needs to be present ... if you cant doubt, you dont believe, you know.
(This concept was greatly used in Constantine)

Therefore if anyone would give you undeniable proof that God never existed ... you can easily refuse it, claiming that they probably forget, or didnt concidered something (you dont even need to specify).
BUT! (And this is a big butt!)
Once that person would give you undeniable proof of existence of God ... you can no longer believe ... and you cant even deny it, since that would be the mentioned paradox. Denying proof of existence of entity in wich existence you believe. smile

(yes im aware that there is multiple religions in the world, but that is irellevant, this example logicaly presume that every person would be offered proof that HIS god is or was real)

---

And the same would happen here.
Once we would have those answers present and undeniable, we would no longer "try to outsmart someone in his own shady game" ... we would instead "follow different clearly marked road to certain goal" and that would be shame. frown

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
We do know that their mark allows access to extra powers, but we don't know why and we get no opportunities to try and figure it out beyond "it's the goddess."
We dont know that even in our own powers. smile
Same story as abowe. laugh

Also i believe we will find out later in game, the question is whether it will not be too late to change your mind.

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
What makes it worse for me is that the circumstances of our infiltration make it to where we can't actually ask questions that would give us all this information. There should at least be journals and bits of text we can find that give us more insight.
Nah.
I mean if you want clear path, you have it ... just help Halsin and Tieflings for your own selfish benefits and evilness of your character should be satisfied. laugh

This path is not for "just evil" characters ...
Its more like for "intriguing, treacherous, backstabbing evil characters ... willing to risk everything, for option of their personal gain". smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
The fact that they're in the dark about being tadpoled means that it's even more likely they're being manipulated by some mysterious entity you know nothing about. If they did know they were tadpoled then that at least puts them in a position of potentially having more information than you, thus making them a somewhat reliable source of information. But as it is now, the information they actually have is shrouded behind superstition you have to work to uncover alongside all the other work you need to do.
I disagree here.
They do have more information mo matter how much you potentialy dislike it, the only difference there is that they are not telling your straight if you ask.

Minthara say: "Godess will reward us."
Tav hear: "My tadpole will become stronger."

And that is the cool part. smile
Of course Tav can missinterpreting, im really looking forward to if Larian will have guts to let some of us cross point of no return. smile

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Infiltrating a cult is long term work, probably a project involving months spent ingratiating yourself, figuring out who you can manipulate and how.
Usualy yes.
But since you are concidered True Soul, you are litteraly starting in at least upper middle of food chain here. wink

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost
Ultimately my issue with the Cult path is that it doesn't feel like a path written in a way that I don't find appealing, as someone who's encountered plenty of evil paths in games which didn't appeal to them, I can understand that. This feels like a badly written path.
Honestly, this is probably what i like most about it.
Not sure if that is bad writing, or brilliant one ... but it feels realistic and right to me that the path isnt actively appealing on us. smile

I mean in real cult they would also not offering themselves to us, we would either play along or being destroyed. laugh


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