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Spoilers for early quests in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

MAN. Been up since three. Family is nuts. Help.

So played, but mostly just magpied. Found a ghost of a strongman who I decided seemed rather reasonable and I didn’t want to fight him so I didn’t. Decided to check out some beaches to find bodies and collars and staffs and shit, but kept getting killed. Found a guy who was dead in his bed with his two zombie dogs (more on that in a second), and, lastly, found an archeologist who I agreed to escort home, so I escorted him home. He was all “Come to the Inn! Next round’s on me!” so I did expecting something and just got him talking about stuff I knew. So I called it a day.

So that guy with the dogs….you find him? Cuz I have thoughts on him…..and the dialog I had with myself after him…..

Feminina:

Weird…my youngest child woke up (and woke me up) at 3:30. Something in the air? He eventually went back to sleep around, oh, 4:30 or 5:00, so in time for me to catch an unrestful nap before the alarm went off, so at least I haven’t been awake straight since before dawn. You’re worse off than I am there.

Also, we played. Sneaked and snooped around Esmeralda’s house, found some possibly incriminating items, confronted her about them, she revealed her suspicions about Evelyn (why didn’t she mention this before? we shall never know), we went over to the clinic and she was gone, went to her house and she was gone, found her diary pointing to the beach, and that’s where we stopped.

I liked the confrontation: “perhaps you have an explanation for this bloody knife?”
“What also needs an explanation is why you were rummaging around in my cellar!”

Good point, Esmeralda. But you know, we wouldn’t have had to do it if you’d just told us this about Evelyn earlier. Not everyone thinks of Source Hunters as heroes, I guess.

And you know, if she were just refusing to say anything until she had a lawyer present, I’d say that made perfect sense and she was being smart. Never talk to the authorities without your attorney! (Uh…is what I’ve heard.) But there’s no indication that there was ever going to be a lawyer, although Septimus was certainly smitten and perhaps would eventually have helped her escape or something. So she was just refusing to share information that might have helped exonerate her, for no apparent reason. Sheer bloody-mindedness, I suppose. I can respect that.

Anyway, we got stuff done! Also, while poking around in various places, we uncovered some smelly items that we would have given to the dog, if only he weren’t dead and we could talk to him. A path that our story shall never take!

We did meet the guy with the zombie dogs!

Also, funny story about that archeologist…we met him, agreed to escort him back to the city, he ran out of the house, and–Delios was seized by a fit of contemplation, and had to pause to reflect, and I had to join in the dialogue, and we shared some thoughts, and in the background there was a shriek of “help” and when the dialogue was over, the archeologist had been killed by a skeleton.

Nice timing there, game. Because it’s not that we CHOSE to do that dialogue at that moment! It was forced on us. Precisely while that dude was running off like a fool without waiting for the people who were supposed to protect him, and getting killed while we were stuck in conversation options.

It was kind of annoying, but we hadn’t done a save in quite a while (we too often forget to save) so we didn’t dare restart and do it over. So he’s dead.

Murphy, that guy, the mayor’s guards…we’re just leaving this trail of corpses in our wake. People we didn’t specifically kill ourselves, but who we certainly were very close to a suspiciously short time before their deaths. We’re a bad omen. No wonder Esmeralda didn’t want to talk to us.

Butch:

Yes! See? Gotta go through doors you’re not supposed to go through. That’s the stuff. And it was, once we cottoned to the fact that we could and should break into places, right there. Just sitting there.

The house part was the anticlimax I mentioned the other day. I saved right before I went into the house, thinking “Ok, shit’s going DOWN. I’ll do this right when I start next time” and….well, you just saw. Great. A thing.

Though now we know (though really, we suspected) that that conduit shit is more ominous and important than has been mentioned thus far. Cuz the conduit that Evelyn mentioned is the same shit as that weirdo in the inn, right? The cult guy? In that room there by the crime scene? Plot expansion!

HA! Right. “Hey….I know where you got that….”

At least we didn’t have to mention the panties. THAT would’ve been awkward….

I also got the impression Esmeralda was slightly afraid of Evelyn. Just like I got the sense that the doctor was, if anything, charmed. I have a feeling people were saying what they were saying about her, or not saying stuff about her at all, because reasons. I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect.

So now we how how to solve the mystery without the dog. And we both got there, and now we’re at the same point. Or you’re slightly ahead of me and all’s right with the universe again.

Ok….here’s my thoughts on guy with zombie dogs.

So guy with zombie dogs died because he couldn’t bring himself to kill his “friends,” despite evidence that they had started to turn into zombies. He could have killed them and escaped, or so the dialog after this suggested, but he didn’t. He chose to die rather than hurt something he loved.

And your characters had their chance to say whether that was the right thing to do or not. More on THAT in a minute.

So the guy died for what, in most stories, are heroic, “right” reasons. We see dudes refusing to raise a hand to those they care about all the time, even when it costs them. We’re supposed to admire that in characters.

But here, we have someone who HAD to do the “wrong” thing to live. To succeed. To keep playing the game of life. (See where I’m going here?) He had to click on the red door, as it were. He had to “sin,” at least according to narratives as old as Sophocles. He didn’t, and game over.

Now….speculation…..

The times I remember this theme of “needing to sin” came up, your characters talked about it to someone and had to take a stand. Wolgraff being all “You steal?” Talking to each other after this. You have to make your willingness to “sin” part of your character’s personality. I have a feeling this will matter.

Your characters also have been having to forge a friendship/romantic bond or not.

And you see what the “sin” was that could have saved the dude? Hurting/killing someone he loved.

I have a feeling this will come up later.

Let’s file this to themes, shall we?

HA! Poor archeologist. Well, as far as I know, he doesn’t have much to say. I did get a quest called “expedition: burial mound” after talking to him, but I think that triggered before you said you escort him, so you probably still have that. All he really told me was stuff I already knew about zombies and skeletons.

Don’t use swords on skeletons.

And if you and your fatal presence ever meet an NPC named Kevin, he won’t last three seconds.

Feminina:

Dude, NPC Kevin was dead when we got there. Just us signing into the game was enough to wipe him out.

Good notes on themes. I like it. Sin. Must be a sinner to survive. Hm. Because it’s true, the dude sacrificed himself rather than kill creatures he loved, which is usually presented as heroic. Maybe it’s still heroic! He refused to break the moral rules which, as we learned, most of us must break in order to…well, at least in order to discover the solution to mysteries. (Mr. O’ was kind of annoyed about that, too. He said a role playing game shouldn’t make you violate your alignment.)

In the dialogue about the guy and the dogs, Mr. O’ picked the sympathetic line, and I chose the sarcastic, “well, that was pretty stupid” one. No sympathy for heroic love here!

Although personally, my practical side is arguing “OK, fine, you can’t stand to kill them when they aren’t yet zombies (which kind of goes to our recurring discussion of the morality of stealth-murdering Kevin, when you KNOW he’s going to try to kill you if he sees you but he hasn’t actually done it yet), but if you know or suspect that they’re going to become zombies, couldn’t you TIE THEM UP until you’re sure? And once they’re definitely slavering undead beasts that are trying to eat you, maybe you can bear to kill them then?”

There’s a middle ground here, surely. I mean, yeah: if it were, say, my children who had been infected and were going to become zombies, but were still gazing at me with their big eyes saying “mama, why do you have that giant knife?”, could I kill them? No. I could not. I will say that right now. But I COULD try very hard to find some way of securing them, so that if/when they did become zombies, they wouldn’t be able to get to me.

TIE UP your damn dogs. That’s all I’m saying. Although maybe he didn’t have any rope, I don’t know. Maybe the true tragedy is not having 50 feet of silk rope on hand.

Butch:

I see the annoyance, but the thing is, no video game is ever going to be a true RPG in the sense that real tabletop D&D is. A) There’s no DM to constantly adjust to the players, and B) in tabletop games, no matter how draconian the DM, the players are an integral part of shaping the story. That simply can’t happen in a video game, because there’s no way to program the game that way.

That said, I’m not sure video game developers want to make games like that even if they could. Even in a non-linear video game with a lot of choice, there’s still a story being told, metaphor all over the place, and themes being themed. Sure, this game might look like D&D more than, say, Horizon, and it may PLAY like D&D more than other games we’ve played, but, in terms of how it tells a story and makes you think on themes, it has far more in common with The Witcher and even Horizon than it ever will with tabletop games. Video RPGs are, and always will be, the same narrative based things we love, just with a tabletop coat of paint. So of course they’re gonna make you break alignment when they feel the need to make a point, even if you don’t want to.

Hmm. I wonder what’ll happen if your characters don’t like each other….

I have thoughts on that, too. But it can wait. And not the thoughts you think.

But dude, the dogs are metaphor. 

And I’m kinda scared you’ve thought about practical solutions to zombie flu to this extent.

Feminina:

And I’m kind of scared you HAVEN’T considered the practical implications of zombie flu! The outbreak is going to catch you completely off guard.

Although I admit that I’m not sure where my 50 feet of silk rope got to during the move, so probably having thought about it won’t help me in the crunch.

Butch:

Look behind the rags. And spiders.

Feminina:

Damn spiders always getting into my rags on top of my rope mumble mumble…