Discussion in 'The Bridge Over The River Kawaii' started by Nerys, Jan 5, 2013.
Perhaps I should have said "one of the best" rather then "the best".
a.k.a. if the description "40+-year-old Paladin on the rebound" doesn't scare you off
Maybe I just have to be in the mood for this one. I played through most of it and my PC was really in love with Keldorn. And then I reread the dialogue files to jog my memory for writing this review and I wasn't feeling Keldorn as anything more than a father figure. Maybe my non-canon shipper heart was more into the idea of a Keldorn romance than romancing Keldorn, if that makes sense. I still like the mod, though. It's well-structured, it's in-character, it's realistic, and it's kind of unexpected.
Keldorn starts out the game married. His personal quest involves him finding out his wife, Maria, is cheating on him because she feels neglected. He follows whatever advice you give for how to deal with it.
If you help Keldorn and Maria reconcile, the Keldorn romance mod has them break up for good a few days later. I like this. The other options are Maria being dead or in jail and it being Keldorn's fault (and by extension yours for giving that advice), and that's not a good foundation for a romance. Having them break up after they tried to fix things makes it feel like they've done all they could and the marriage just wasn't working, as opposed to making the player sabotage a happy marriage for the sake of getting a romance.
The romance is available to female PCs of all races of (by default) Lawful Good or Neutral Good alignment. The installer has an option to make the romance available to different alignments if you think Keldorn would romance a Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, or True Neutral protagonist. I'm not sure he would, but I appreciate the option being there. It's basically a convenience cheat.
The newly divorced Keldorn basically just mopes around for the first half the lovetalks. (There's space for that, since he has roughly twice as many lovetalks as the average romance mod.) You can flirt with him a little, but if you come on too hard the romance ends. Mainly you need to be supportive and patient. The conversations -- and Keldorn's emotions -- come across as very realistic. Keldorn needs a lot of time to get over Maria, a lot of time to let himself fall in love with you, and a lot of time to admit it. My one objection to the characterization is the repeatable "flirt" where you can bandage Keldorn's wounds; it's fine once, but beyond a certain point it makes him appear incompetent rather than just vulnerable. Aside from that, berelinde's writing is excellent. As usual, I love her attention to detail, including flirts that notice if you're playing one of the short races and make the physical aspects work accordingly.
You get a quest, a nice series of dialogues, and some interesting PID even if you're romancing someone else or otherwise don't intend to go "all the way" with the Keldorn romance, so I would recommend checking out the mod just for that. I'm "eh" on whether I'd romance him again, but I appreciate the fact that this mod exists, and that the writing made the premise work.
a.k.a. my favorite RPG romance that I have ever played
Haer'Dalis is a sexy, sexy beast and I'm amazed it took someone this long to make a romance mod for him. But I'm glad this is the romance mod we got, because it is amazing. Also my incessant fangirling elsewhere on the forum was about 75% of the reason why I made this thread in the first place. Forgive me if my thoughts are still a bit of a ramble.
Haer'Dalis' character and quest are great in the original game, but the romance puts them into a different context that I really enjoy. In short, he's an actor who's being held prisoner by a wizard, and you're recruited to rescue him. And then he gets captured by someone else and you have to rescue him again. I just like the dynamics of a relationship where the girl has to rescue the guy. (And also that one of the responses you can give when he tries to join your party is basically, "WTF, you're an actor, you'll get yourself killed." Although he turns out to be pretty badass with his short swords and not a drain on party resources, which is nice.)
The romance has no requirements other than being female. I don't think every video game romance needs to be accessible to all character types; people have standards and preferences, even if romance mod restrictions sometimes make me suspect they're more about the modder not wanting to write separate flirts for the short races. But it's nice to be able to just roll up a character and go, without having to plan a character around what romance I want to play.
And mostly, I like that this is part of his character and not just a gameplay convenience. Haer'Dalis is Chaotic Neutral and a Doomguard, part of an order that's basically devoted to Chaotic Neutrality as a philosophy. He'll not only romance you regardless of race, alignment, or stats -- he'll keep on romancing you even if you argue with him or insult his philosophy, because what's the fun in agreeing all the time? In short, his personality creates a plausible way around the "kindness points" problem of video game romance; you're free to roleplay your character to see fit, without having to worry about giving the "right" answer, and it's really hard to end the romance unless you specifically tell him to leave you alone. It also allows you to change and grow your character as the plot progresses. I find that my Good characters tend to shift towards bitterness and neutrality after Spellhold, and there's a few conversations where you can get pissed at Haer'Dalis and he just takes it. Even when I'm not in love with him, I really like having him around to roleplay off of.
The premise of the first set of lovetalks is that you're a Bhaalspawn and Haer'Dalis, being a Bard and a Doomguard, thinks that's pretty neat. He decides to write your biography, which leads to several talks about your character and backstory (and several PID talks in which he repays the favor by telling you about his history). It can be hard to make this sort of "tell me about yourself" stuff interesting, but these conversations (and the rest of the talks in the mod) feel very natural. I almost always get the sense that Haer'Dalis is reacting to the things I say, not just trying to progress the conversation.
After the first set of lovetalks, you get the opportunity to have sex. You can initiate this or wait for him to ask, which I appreciate. Or you can decide not to, and the romance continues regardless. He's not in love with you at this point, so depending on what you choose the romance can settle into a friends-with-benefits dynamic, or you friendzoning him, or you being in love with him and him just feeling lust and friendship for you. All of these play out in a way that makes sense, and that's part of what makes the romance work for all different character types. (And the sex is well-written, which is a nice bonus.)
It also allows you to multiromance with ease. Haer'Dalis will recognize several mod romances and react if you say you're with someone else. He basically says that you're your own person and he'll stop pursuing you if you say so, not because someone else thinks they have a claim to you; maybe not the best excuse for cheating, but it fits his character. Cheating also leads to a drastically different romance path in Throne of Bhaal. Unfortunately, the lack of crossmod content makes multiromancing the weakest part of the mod. To my knowledge, only one NPC mod (Adrian) will recognize if you're romancing Haer'Dalis and ask you to break it off, even if you're being really obvious about flirting and such. It only really works if you friendzone Haer'Dalis to the very end or just don't worry too much about immersion and logic.
The ToB portion of the mod has a lot more content than I expected; I guess he gets away with it because his romance commits so late. We've already established that I kind of suck at D&D spellcasting, so I find ToB kind of a painful slog, but with the Haer'Dalis romance installed I actually enjoyed it for the first time. (Part of what fills up the time is the biography he gives you, which you can keep flipping through for new content when you get bored.) Two of his talks in particular -- one about the beauty of the destruction of Saradush, and one an unexpected twist on a flower flirt -- stuck in my mind as both evocative and emblematic of Haer'Dalis' character and the romance as a whole.
I love this mod. The only thing that would make me love this mod more is more crossmod content, and now that the ToB portion is finished I hope that will arrive shortly.
I guess that's from Dragon Age? I have no context otherwise.
Holy shit, how many times have you played through BG2?
EDIT: The pic is the simple (in the head) dwarven son of the merchant who hooks up with your party and acts as an in-camp vendor. Considering all he does is enchantments I'm not sure why he's so ripped.
Ha, well, long story short, a) I was unemployed for a year and had few other games that worked on my computer, and b) I've played up until the Underdark three or four times more than I've played through the whole game. (Most romance mods are pretty much done by that point, and I read through the dialogue files anyway, so I feel safe reviewing them based on that.) I also sometimes cheat in multiromances, because a little coding knowledge is a dangerous thing. But to actually answer your question, I think I've actually finished SoA maybe four or five times, ToB three (although the one time I Ctrl+Y'd my way through it just to see how the plot ends really shouldn't count).
I'm pretty sure I played it more than that just in high school. Although now that I think about it I'm not sure I've played it at all since then.
Congratulations, I now feel old. And I hate you.
a.k.a. sorcerers should be cooler than this
Tashia is an Elven Sorcerer from Icewind Dale whom you can pick up in Trademeet. I gave her romance a good chance, I think, but eventually dropped her from my party because I was bored. A good deal of her romance seems to be about the fact that her ex is a Bhaalspawn who went evil, and how you need to show that you're different. It sounded like a cool concept, and I don't know, maybe it gets really interesting later on, but the first bunch of lovetalks felt very much like filler. It didn't help that between her banters with other party members and her lovetalks with the PC, she sometimes comes across as two very different characters.
There are a few other cool ideas here that don't really fit. For example, Tashia has dialogue on waking and occasional comments on entering a new area which appear as text strings over her head. I've never seen this before, either in the vanilla game or a mod, so it really sticks out. (As does her portrait, which is so bright you can barely make out any detail on the sidebar. The alt from Enkida's Portrait Pack is OK, though.) She likes riddles and will tell you some, but this doesn't seem to lead into actual conversations as I'd hoped, just her telling the riddle and you guessing an answer. And I like how you can flirt with her from the start instead of waiting for flirt options to appear later in the romance, but her responses when she's not interested in flirting seem more directed towards the player than the character.
If the early lovetalks had more substance, maybe this mod would have kept my interest. I just didn't have the patience to see if it got better.
Wish I had listened to this. Because I decided to try out The Darkest Day in my current install and, uh, it's not very good.
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