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Fantasy novels, or any other novel, relies on the author's ability to weave a plot and mesh characters.

They don't work as games. As soon as players get involved, the plot goes to hell and the player-characters change everything. Your average FRPG campaign is fun to play but would make a dreadfully dull novel. The Hobbit would probably have started with Bilbo pickpocketing the dwarfs or trying to murder them.

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Originally Posted by Abits

The context of the post was my answer to the Gameplay Vs story discussion going on sometimes here. It doesn't even matter whether you agree with me or not. The point is, that BG "feels" quite different for different people. and you can't create anything based on it unless you try to give us something more conclusive than feelings.


I accept when people use the word "feel" in reference to the original BG the context of emotions it is very subjective and could "feel" different to pretty much everyone. But "feel" has two meanings, emotional and physical. Some people argue that BG3 doesn't "feel" in a mechanical sense anything like D&D or the original BG. How is this not a valid argument when there are megathreads giving hard evidence to each and every conflict? Literally hundreds of mechanical conflicts from D&D 5e. This is evidence based opinion NOT my feelypoos are hurting because "reasons".

If you sit on a bike it is not going to "feel" like sitting in a car.

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The very first Forgotten Realms novel Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles was a straight up Arthurian fairy tale. Complete with a a trip to Fairy itself and teaming up with a fairy dragon. Fairy was just renamed the Feywild to sound cooler.
BTW, I highly recommend that book. It is EXCELLENT.

Lol at most of these replies... smile

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
Fantasy novels, or any other novel, relies on the author's ability to weave a plot and mesh characters.

They don't work as games. As soon as players get involved, the plot goes to hell and the player-characters change everything. Your average FRPG campaign is fun to play but would make a dreadfully dull novel. The Hobbit would probably have started with Bilbo pickpocketing the dwarfs or trying to murder them.




I swear to God I am not stalking you and picking fights.

One could say you cannot write a personal biography as a Choose Your Own Adventure story, and yet that is precisely what Neil Patrick Harris, and actually quite a few others, have done. It isn't a bad idea, it is simply incredibly difficult to execute it well. When Philip K Dick wrote the Man in the High Castle, he did it by writing a scene, consulting the I Ching to determine an outcome, described it arriving at its natural conclusion, then consulted again to see what would happen next. Writing for a CRPG must be something similar. It cannot simply be one compelling narrative. . .It must be several, all interwoven, with the character determining the ensuing branch at those points where they all meet.

Think of it as several and distinctly varied alternate realities which the player navigates at points where they overlap in order to make a new and unique timeline of events from a combination of them all. It is difficult to do well. No one argues that it is not, but those efforts which have made honest and earnest efforts in that direction are quite often dearly loved by those who get to experience what they have to offer. I tend to think it is why we are all here. I love literature, it is incredibly rewarding, but the little boy who resides in my heart wants desperately to be a part of one and not simply experience them vicariously.

Last edited by DistantStranger; 09/11/20 08:50 PM.
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We can and should give feedback, even if it's just a vague "I don't like it", or "doesn't feel like a Baldur's Gate 2 expansion". Because the devs asked for it. It's all good.

Despite our best efforts, and even if we give them a very detailed list of what needs changed to make it feel more like the old Baldur's Gate games, it's too late for that. The game will look, feel and sound, more or less the same as the early access part. Some tweaks here or there, reasonable changes and extra options can be expected, but more would require starting over the whole project.

I still see that there is real passion among the old Baldur's Gate players. True feelings. 20 years have passed, and their love for those games are still alive. Any game that can achieve that, deserves respect. That is a great achievement.

I'm just playing BG2 now for the first time, and have to admit, it's a great game with a captivating story line. The only thing I would change is to add ray traced modern graphics, because deserves the best, not because needs it. These games should be updated now and then with latest tech and sold at maximum price, because they still deserve to stay at top of sales.

I can understand why BG 3 isn't like BG 2 now. While BG 3 can become a great game, will never feel like BG 2. Just like how the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO it's nothing like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, despite both being made by Bioware. The gameplay and story structure it's just vastly different. What is sad that in both these cases the old games have richer story lines, that is both complex and emotional, and a gameplay that fits in, while the new games look and sound better, but have simplified stories (the cost of adding voice and cut scenes everywhere) and their gameplay feel more grindy, clunky and slow.

I don't think it's reasonable at this point expecting BG 3 to change that much. All the work invested in these resources would be wasted, since they can't fit in a BG 2 style game. The only hope that remains, it's an advanced editor that allows a complete rework of everything: UI, fight systems, dialogues, even rewriting the story, creating companions, removing or reworking jump and pathing, and so on. Basically creating a completely new game, like other major mods did building on top of the Skyrim engine and resources.

I like BG3 as it is (can still become great and sell well), but now that I played half of BG2 (so far) I already know that is not something I would call BG3 either. It's just not fair. Everything is different. How would Star Wars movie fans feel if the next episode would use hip-hop music instead John Williams classics? And on top of that, everything will look and feel different, except the lore references? There is nothing wrong creating different movies and games, but changes have to be gradual. I would hate if the pizza I ordered tastes like a chocolate cake, even if I like both.

Last edited by LoneSky; 09/11/20 09:06 PM.
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The great Radagast "spoke the many tongues of birds" So there is precedent. I do feel for the people who feel let down by the games EA direction and writing though. Pleasing everyone was never going to be easy. I'm still happy to see how it develops though......It could be awesome.

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Originally Posted by Sordak
man so many people have no idea.

But i suppose thats a given. Most fantasy novels are trash afterall, so no wonder that people who are into that also enjoy trash and cannot enjoy some whimsy every now and then.

maybe as a science fiction man myself i just cannot get into the cringey kind of fantasy that takes itself too seriously in the vein of Dragon Age.



I'm interested in reading the novels you've written, sir and/or madam. Since you state (as an objective fact, apparently) that most fantasy novels are trash, I can only assume that you are, yourself, a novelist with some considerable expertise on what makes a novel NOT "trash". Where can I find your works?

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
Fantasy novels, or any other novel, relies on the author's ability to weave a plot and mesh characters.

They don't work as games. As soon as players get involved, the plot goes to hell and the player-characters change everything. Your average FRPG campaign is fun to play but would make a dreadfully dull novel. The Hobbit would probably have started with Bilbo pickpocketing the dwarfs or trying to murder them.


narrative structure is narrative structure.

the level of agency given to the audience impacts the ability for the narrative to effect catharsis in a purely narrative form.

videogames are an ergodic mediated experience, and as such, the effect of catharsis is produced via the interactive processes at play.

one of the biggest issues with BG3 is precisely that the player character is not the agent of the story. at all. in any way - particularly because of the emphasis on the origin characters.

your game robs the player of affecting narrative outcome - BY DESIGN.

Last edited by tsundokugames; 09/11/20 11:02 PM.
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Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape Torment were masterpieces regarding the story and character/world building.

Larian has its own atmosphere which is quite different. For some reason they reused the "main" story of DOS2 act 1 for BG3 act 1.
Motivation is "survival" without time pressure or other motivations. It is just making the story weaker.

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Originally Posted by Minsc1122
Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape Torment were masterpieces regarding the story and character/world building.


BG2 wasn't ANYWHERE near the same league of Planescape: Torment when it comes to narrative and writing.
It was probably a better game overall, when you pile all its system to the comparison, but when it comes to dialogues, character writing, narrative and what else they are barely even competing in the same discipline.

Torment was arguably among the top two-three examples of writing ever seen in a videogame, regardless of the genre.
BG1 and 2 make for a barely serviceable fantasy romp with cartoony characters, cheap tropes at every turn and silly humor all over the place.


Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
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Originally Posted by Tuco
Originally Posted by Minsc1122
Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape Torment were masterpieces regarding the story and character/world building.


BG2 wasn't ANYWHERE near the same league of Planescape: Torment when it comes to narrative and writing.
It was probably a better game overall, when you pile all its system to the comparison, but when it comes to dialogues, character writing, narrative and what else they are barely even competing in the same discipline.

Torment was arguably among the top two-three examples of writing ever seen in a videogame, regardless of the genre.
BG1 and 2 make for a barely serviceable fantasy romp with cartoony characters, cheap tropes at every turn and silly humor all over the place.





I was just about to say this. Torment is a timeless masterpiece. BG2 is pretty good, for its time.

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Ah yes the old argument of "you need to write a novel to cirtize it"
well then. You better play FATAL then unless youve developed your own TTRPG system.

WRiting a novel takes tons of time, writing one also doesnt make you a better critic. The majority of fantasy out there is either derivative trash, romance schlock or historical fiction written by people who dont want to do research.

In my opinion good fantasy fiction comes not from fantasy novels but from other media, such as games. The fantasy genre lends itself ot visual or interactive media. I cannot say why Science Fiction still produces good new books and fantasy doesnt, perhaps the barrier to entry, at least for semi hard sci fi, is much higher than for fantasy. Perhaps fantasy got a boom and thus its got more trash. I cannot say why it is, but i know what im observing. Even fantasy books that get hailed as amazing turn out to be pretty bad when you compare em to other kind of literature.
and i say that as someone whose not a ltierature snob. I always loathed the ghettoization of fantasy, science fiction and recently crime novels.
None of this is an excuse to be terrible writers.

To get me back to my original point. Whimsy is good. Theres nothing wrogn with it. Tolkien did it deliberatley. It makes somehting feel more like a story, a myth. Fantasy will never be history, it ought not to be, it is better told as myth and legend.

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Actually, playing BG3 should feel like you're wearing Mukluk slipper socks on a hot summer afternoon. Sure they're too warm, but the floors are sticky and all your regular socks have holes in them.

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Originally Posted by Patient
Originally Posted by merkmerk73
I'm pretty sick of every single criticism of this game having a legion of obnoxious trolls pouncing on it with stuff like "TROLL!" or "can't tell if serious" etc

There are a lot of legitimate gripes about this game

The awful characters, whimsical writing, lack of BG-esque anything, are all serious concerns that longtime fans of the series have

A bunch of late teens / early 20s diehard DOS fans don't change that.


"LoNg TiMe FaNs Of ThE sErIeS" dude it's a 22 year old game that had a single sequel nearly 20 years ago. If you want YET ANOTHER Infinity Engine clone, there's a shit ton available, go play one of those. That's not what this developer is doing, and you probably wasted your money hoping for one. For every one of you people who want an updated Icewind Dale, there's probably another 10 who like the direction this game is going.


+1 from a cranky old xenial who played the damn games when they were fresh. This game is fine.

There's enough Get Of My Lawn flavoured nostalgia being thrown around this week to drown in ten times over. It's never going to be a BG2 clone because we *spoiler alert* Don't play games of floppy disks and use dial up anymore. We're playing PC games in the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY! Almost the end of the first quarter of the century. Why would any company worth their salt go back to counting individual pixels and out of date D&D rule systems?

And if people are using "talking to animals is for fairytales" as an argument.... take it up with Arwen, there was plenty of communing with bunnies and horses in LOTR and no one had issues with her doing it.

I swear, this is why the human race can't have nice things. suspicion

*** Edit: Yes yes, metaphorical bunnies, I know Arwen didn't actually commune with thumper or whatever...

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Hmm, I do not agree that a computer game - which is an interactive medium - should feel like a book, which is not one. I do think games can learn a lot from both movies and books, the writing quality in games is generally not very good and can be markedly improved, but I don't think that games should feel like books, they should feel like games. With that being said however, the complaint raised in the OP seems to be pretty reductionist and gives a flawed representation of fantasy writing. Terry Pratchett is a fantasy author and a pretty damn good one, I would say when it comes to storytelling, his books are the ones which Larian games remind me the most of. Just because a fantasy novel does not have the tone of say a book written by Brent Weeks or Sanderson, does not mean it isn't a fantasy novel. Not every book or game needs to have the same tone and you can tell an excellent story with a satirical and whimsical tone, which Pratchett illustrates very well.

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My biggest take away from what I think OP is trying to say and how I feel as well. Is that yes there are times the game feels like a fairy tale story instead of a gritty dark fantasy story. It doesn't bother me as much, as the story still remains as the story and the action of the game is totally separated by the music score and its own elements. I'd have to say...its sometimes the female narrator that makes the game feel...like a bedtime fairy tale story. Mixed with the funny and silly quirky things you can do, some narrations are very sleep inducing. Not in a bad way, but in a nice cozy fantasy bed time story way.

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Originally Posted by YT-Yangbang
My biggest take away from what I think OP is trying to say and how I feel as well. Is that yes there are times the game feels like a fairy tale story instead of a gritty dark fantasy story. It doesn't bother me as much, as the story still remains as the story and the action of the game is totally separated by the music score and its own elements. I'd have to say...its sometimes the female narrator that makes the game feel...like a bedtime fairy tale story. Mixed with the funny and silly quirky things you can do, some narrations are very sleep inducing. Not in a bad way, but in a nice cozy fantasy bed time story way.

Well I checked what Terry Pratchet wrote, but I classify him as short parody writer or if not parody then SCIFI writer.

Baldurs Gate 3 is medieval fantasy and not SCIFI.

I think it is a shame that Dungeons Dragons writing has gone down...

Yes there are some writers like R.A Salvatore used to be a fan of his older books and then lost interest in his work at least a bit. Yes there are other good Dungeons Dragons books but few can match the original Drow story of Drizzt Do Urden the first 3 book and the 3 books after that Icewind Dale...
I enjoyed the 9 first books with Drizzt Do Urden but in time it gets boring he is invincible and never dies.
Cleric quintlet 5 books is also good story with a Cleric Cadderly as main character.

There exists separately a series of Harper books with many different authors they are separate stories each book and I have read all of them 16 books.
The Harpers series
The Parched Sea (July 1991) – Troy Denning
Elfshadow (September 1991) – Elaine Cunningham
Red Magic (December 1991) – Jean Rabe
The Night Parade (June 1992) – Scott Ciencin
The Ring of Winter (November 1992) – James Lowder
Crypt of the Shadowking (April 1993) – Mark Anthony
Soldiers of Ice (December 1993) – David Cook
Elfsong (January 1994) – Elaine Cunningham
Crown of Fire (April 1994) – Ed Greenwood
Masquerades (July 1995) – Jeff Grubb & Kate Novak
Curse of the Shadowmage (November 1995) – Mark Anthony
The Veiled Dragon (June 1996) – Troy Denning
Silver Shadows (June 1996) – Elaine Cunningham
Stormlight (October 1996) – Ed Greenwood
Finder's Bane (July 1997) – Jeff Grubb & Kate Novak
Thornhold (August 1998) – Elaine Cunningham


I really also tried the 90 ies released The Daughter of The Drow and found first book to very interesting, but already on second book in that triology have hard time to finish that book.

Last edited by Terminator2020; 11/12/20 12:58 PM.
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I'm a big fan of Drizzt, I've read most of the dark elf books but got overwhelmed after like the 9th one haha but they were all really good. On the point of the game's story tho, the meat and back bone of this thing, I think its really compelling already. I know the EA game has several push along narratives so we can finish what they've given to us so far. But nothing feels out of place for a medieval fantasy. The hag seemed like a beautiful twist, the devil has me intrigued, and the sheer amount of voice acted and individualized goblins blew my mind.

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Originally Posted by Terminator2020

Well I checked what Terry Pratchet wrote, but I classify him as short parody writer or if not parody then SCIFI writer.

Baldurs Gate 3 is medieval fantasy and not SCIFI.

I think it is a shame that Dungeons Dragons writing has gone down...

Yes there are some writers like R.A Salvatore used to be a fan of his older books and then lost interest in his work at least a bit. Yes there are other good Dungeons Dragons books but few can match the original Drow story of Drizzt Do Urden the first 3 book and the 3 books after that Icewind Dale...
I enjoyed the 9 first books with Drizzt Do Urden but in time it gets boring he is invincible and never dies.
Cleric quintlet 5 books is also good story with a Cleric Cadderly as main character.

There exists separately a series of Harper books with many different authors they are separate stories each book and I have read all of them 16 books.
The Harpers series
The Parched Sea (July 1991) – Troy Denning
Elfshadow (September 1991) – Elaine Cunningham
Red Magic (December 1991) – Jean Rabe
The Night Parade (June 1992) – Scott Ciencin
The Ring of Winter (November 1992) – James Lowder
Crypt of the Shadowking (April 1993) – Mark Anthony
Soldiers of Ice (December 1993) – David Cook
Elfsong (January 1994) – Elaine Cunningham
Crown of Fire (April 1994) – Ed Greenwood
Masquerades (July 1995) – Jeff Grubb & Kate Novak
Curse of the Shadowmage (November 1995) – Mark Anthony
The Veiled Dragon (June 1996) – Troy Denning
Silver Shadows (June 1996) – Elaine Cunningham
Stormlight (October 1996) – Ed Greenwood
Finder's Bane (July 1997) – Jeff Grubb & Kate Novak
Thornhold (August 1998) – Elaine Cunningham


I really also tried the 90 ies released The Daughter of The Drow and found first book to very interesting, but already on second book in that triology have hard time to finish that book.


Terry Pratchett is not what I would call a Sci Fi author although he sometimes employs elements of Sci Fi. What he wrote is probably best described as Satirical Fantasy. The point of mentioning him was to illustrate that not all fantasy is written with the same tone, there are many different ways to depict fantasy. You could go with a really dark, gritty world like Brent Weeks, or you could go with a world that takes itself less seriously like Pratchett. You could have a black and white world where good and evil is clearly delineated like the Lord of the Rings or the Wheel of Time, or worlds with more shades of grey like the world created by GRRM. Quite frankly its almost insulting to these authors to compare their writing to the writing in the forgotten realms however, since these people, unlike Greenwood etc, can actually write good books.

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I like fairy tales ... the original ones written by the Brothers Grimm. Not like Disney versions at all ... lots of heads get chopped off, vague moral values, and not always a happy ending. Not for kids!

As far as writing for a computer role playing game (CRPG), one example I can think of is "Pillars of Pentagarn" by Rose Estes. It's a quick read which allows the reader to choose a course of action at various points in the story, such as "turn to page 33 if you decide to climb down the shaft" and stuff like that. It's very clever. This one is OK for kids, though I warn you not all the endings are happy, either. (* laughs like Vincent Price *)

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