The remodel is going along, and I am glad to report that I am still finding time to work in the toolset at night. I forgot I wouldn't be able to use nail guns and power saws after the kids bed time so at night I have been sitting down with Risen Hero and a beer. I have been listening to a lot of Boiled in Lead while at my computer, putting their album The Gypsy on a random loop and just typing away at conversations.
While avoiding any spoilers I figured I would give a run down of the available companions. In the last post I mentioned how each companion has something unique that they bring to the party and can help shape the story. The player will be limited to a certain number that will change depending on the current task. But I figure there will be three main task type. The numbers below are approximates and all changes will focus on maintaining balance.
Exploration: 4 companions (majority of game play)
Stealth: 2 companions
Large Battle: 6+
As the game development progresses the companions continue to evolve. Back in one of the first post I hinted towards betrayal and some companions may betray the player and the party. This will happen but which companions betray the player will remain a mystery. I have spent a lot of time writing and scripting the cutscenes so hopefully even if the player sees it coming it will still be interesting or it maybe a complete surprise. I have tried to write all the companion conversations like they are going to be with the player for the duration.
For the companions I have been trying to take advantage of NPC heads from the OC and 2 expansions. Right now 5 of the eight companions have unique heads and I have been watching the vault for a male half-orc, female gnome and a female tielfing/half-fiend.
The first companion encounter will be temporarily forced on the player. This is done for balancing and at the time I was learning the toolset and it was easier with interjections and completing that first quest without having to figure with or without the companion. Once the quest is done the player can boot him if they want. He is a CG human hunter. It is a custom class I created for him, a hybrid fighter/ranger. The idea is he is a skilled woodsman who is both proficient with weapons and tracking and has the skill progression of a ranger but has no divine connection, spells or animal companions. His feat progression is similar to the fighter for lvl2, lvl4 and lvl6 he is given specific feats to improve his survival and fighting abilities then he continues to get a bonus feat every other level like a fighter.
The rogue of the party will be a NG gnome. She will also be able to level as an illusionist and with enough influence as an arcane trickster. She follows the player and often interject with little rambles and off topic comments during conversations. I have tried to keep her from being a foolish and ridiculous character while still using her to add some energy and maybe some laughs.
A LN female elven ranger joins the party as a guide. She has a task of helping the player reach a point and will often discourage the player from taking side quest that do not move towards that point. She will be impressed with any one who has skills equal to her or better but has little tolerance for any type of criticism. I have created a lot of banter between her and the hunter. He has a strong dislike for elves after numerous bad encounters with elven druids while on hunting excursions. These two were the reason that I created the inter party relationship system. So you as the player can either encourage their bickering and have them develop a mutual hatred of each other or help them see through their differences.
During the start of the game the player is in the wake of a goblinoid army that has destroyed most everything in their path. A group of refugees can be found and a LE human fighter will join the party. If the player agrees with his ideals he will also level as a black guard. He will encourage the player to give into their self serving desires. He believes in a strict pecking order were the strong and powerful rule with an iron fist and all those below them serve and those that can offer nothing are without worth.
A CN half fiend will also join the party. She is a bard and claims to follow the changing winds that blow with no reason or purpose, randomly effecting all they encounter for good or ill.
Schemes are twisted and ideas are lost when the winds blow and when they truly howl through the night the planes themselves might be up heaved and torn asunder.
She seeks adventure and thrives on the unknown and chaos and will quickly become bored and voice her displeasure when the player chooses to follow the rules and play it safe. She gains racial abilities every other level. MoTB had it easy with their half-celestial since she was already lvl20 when she joined and they didn't have to worry about having her be overly powerful with her summon and resurrect abilities at lower levels. The half-fiend won't be able to do it right away but eventually she will gain the summon Hezrou spell-like ability.
For a while avoided creating a half-orc companion in order to prevent from creating an overdone cliché. He is CE and full of hatred, only knowing prosecution and bigotry, an outcast from both of his parent's races. He sees fear as respect and will assert himself in most every situation in a show of physical dominance. He is a barbarian and thug (Kaedrin's PrC Pack), using his rage and dirty fighting tactics to win at all cost. He will not step down from a battle no matter the odds and will often drag the player into battle. A player who relies on conversation skills will most likely not get along with this character. He also has some special ability feats that are modified taunts and are gained either by being in the party at certain points or through influence.
The party's healer will be a dwarven cleric. He will duel wield magical battle axes blessed by his god. These axes will have an on equipped script and when they are both equipped he will gain two weapon bonuses that increase with his level. His conversations have not been started but he is LG and he can level as a divine champion or paladin.This character is taken from the character I used to play through Baulder's gate I and II.
The final companion is a necromancer. Currently there are no plans for additional classes but that could change. He will have several unique spells that he will gain and if the player has enough influence they will also be able to use the spells. The unfortunate thing I have discovered is that wizard spells can not require certain feats to learn, so once the player reaches the required level they will be able to add these spells to their spell book. I have required a certain apprentice feat to cast the spell so if the player doesn't have the feat the spell will fail when cast. He is still in development so his personality is still growing and changing.
I have found that when creating these companions I had an idea for each one but as their conversations were put together and the interjections added in plot and side quest conversations there was an evolution and deepening of their character. My hope is that each character is interesting and adds something to the story even if their alignment and ideals don't match that of the player.
This is a rather long post but it still could use a few screen shots. These are older taken from my last play through.
This is the cave tileset using the SOZ walls and ceiling. The floor is either the illefarn or sunken ruins, can't remember right now . For the walls I also used the dead-end placeable and pillars for the corners. The hope is it looks like an old passage crumbling away after centeries of neglect.