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Some mild spoilers for characters in Divinity Original Sin 2

Butch:

So back to the game for a bit before cooking insanity sets in. I already have cornbread in the oven. IT HAS BEGUN!

But what were we saying yesterday–single-player is one character. All by myself….no one to play rock paper scissors with…..

That having to start over if you went back to the main menu during character creation was righteously annoying.

Sebille the elf was my second choice. Good thing we were different!

So if you go custom with a character, does that mean one of the available six never shows up in the game? Or do they all pop up eventually?

I think maybe picking up the weird hotbar immediately is a remnant of my PC days. These games are, at their core, PC games for PC gamers. In some ways, direct copies of PC classics. I can hear my ex whispering “You remember when we used to do this….hotbars? Scrolling for dialog choices? And that back to main menu thing? Wouldn’t have happened if you had been playing with a keyboard and mouse…….”

Must stay strong.

Feminina:

As far as I can tell, Gannibog is just an addition to the existing characters. You know on the load screen there’s your red-haired demon-possessed lady (I was tempted! she’s so like me! but I decided to play against type), my scarred elf, a red lizard dude, a skeletal dude, a robust yelling dude who’s a dwarf (although that’s not necessarily clear from the picture) and then a big human dude front and center?

Well, there are four of us traveling together right now (elf, lizard, undead–he’s handy because he can pick locks with his bony fingers!–and the custom-created dwarf), and there are three additional people we’ve met who’ve said “yeah, I’d like to travel with you sometime when you don’t already have enough people in your party.” And that’s a human dude, a dwarf, and a demon-possessed human woman. So I think they made these 6 characters, and gave them all backstories, and they’re all going to be in the game whether or not you play one of them. (Or two of them, in our case! We could presumably have had two from-scratch characters and six potential companions!)

It will be interesting to see if it makes much difference to our experience, since I’m playing a pre-gen character with a written backstory, and he is not. Hm. I mean, I’m out here trying to get revenge on the slave master who scarred me for life, and he’s just puttering around looking for loot and adventure or whatever. I know which one of us is more likely to get a big confrontation scene with our archnemesis at some point, is all.

Butch:

Watch, it’ll be him. The big baddie will be someone who REALLY FUCKING HATES puttering dwarves.

The red head I’m playing is rather like you! Even a jester! Though her sheep joke fell flat.

Choices as to who to run with! Ah, good to be back with an RPG.

I’ll probably go with bone guy (I LOVE picking locks) and the elf cuz memories and she’s kinda BEBHBBesque and someone else. Hmm.

Hang on, cornbread’s done. Gotta make a stuffing.

Feminina:

Bone guy is pretty key. Locks gotta be picked, after all! Also handy until you find a shovel: lizard guy, who can dig up those buried things that you’ll note with the exclamation “I’ve discovered something!”

The others probably also have useful tricks, but those are the ones we’ve been running with, so that’s all I know.

Something great that they’ve kept from the first game: Magic Pockets, where if you’re moving one character and need to unlock a door, say, and another character is carrying the key, you’ll just acquire it from them, without having to switch characters or have one hand over the item or anything.

Butch:

Oh, I LOVE magic pockets! One of the best fixes for one of the biggest annoyances in RPGs.

Now if only we can get rid of all this small text…..

I do like the item descriptions: Cooking Pot: It’s a pot. For cooking.

Oh, cooking.

Feminina:

Yes! The descriptions are often great. I only just finally found a helmet, so I’ve spent the past week running around with a bucket on my head, because as a weak wizard type (I’m playing Sebille as a magic-user, not the roguish blade-expert she appears to be on the load screen) I need the armor boost. As the text says, “can hold water. Or heads.”

I’m not ashamed to wear a bucket on my head, man. Sebille is all about practicality. That’s two points of physical armor!

Butch:

Ah, right, I also forgot about the borderline absurdity of these games. Buckets on heads. Ghoul that Used to Guard the Lighthouse.

Feminina:

The absurdity is always there in the nooks and crannies–in this one, as in the last. I mean, their logo IS a stern, heroic knightly figure getting hit by a suction dart.

And who could forget the smelly underpants? Man…I actually wore those things for a while. They had a good bonus!

But definitely absurd.

Butch:

Dear God, I had forgotten.

And I’d hoped to keep it that way.

Though the absurdity often hides creepy. The first game did cute and absurd with the same trippy creepiness of Jim Henson at his best, and I see no difference in the whopping ten minutes I’ve played so far.

On that, you didn’t talk to that sheep, did you?

Feminina:

I didn’t, because I didn’t have Pet Pal yet. You were wise and got it in your starting setup–I meant to, but got tossed back to the main menu and had to start over too many times, so I didn’t get it until later. I KNOW I’m missing something to do with a black cat that I couldn’t talk to right away.

You’ll fill me in. I have it now, and it’s already saved us a couple of fights.

Butch:

Well….it seemed the sheep was carnivorous. Or at least omnivorous. It was all “Well well…new meat…you sure do have some meat on your bones….” Which is kind of a creepy thing for a talking sheep to lead with. So I awkwardly tried to make a joke to it, and it didn’t laugh, and told me to go away.

Not a friendly sheep, that. But leading with “New meat….” Dude.

Feminina:

Interesting…very interesting…I noticed the sheep seemed very bad tempered, but of course we didn’t understand what it was saying. Now I know!

I knew I could rely on you to fill me in.

Just make sure you don’t miss talking to that black cat.

Butch:

I will not miss out!

Gonna play. Did cooking. I’ve earned it.

[later]

OK, played! I’m on a beach! Didn’t the last game start with a shipwreck? It did, didn’t it?

And I met the other characters. I went back to save them, and tried to save the magistrar, but then the ship fell apart. I wonder if you can not go back and save them. Interesting. But I did. We’re good.

So the last thing I did was talk to a kid with a mirror, who freaked out and said I wasn’t a person, I was just wearing a person. Game does creepy well.

So thoughts!

We’ve played games where you get to pick a PC. We’ve played games with NPCs that are important and potential companions/romantic interests. It’s DAMN interesting to play a game where you can pick an NPC. Like, imagine ME if you could play as Miranda or Thane or Mordin, but, if you didn’t, they’d still be there. That would be weird, man. Non linear is hard enough when there’s only one variable for NPCs to react to, but here they have to imagine all the variables if someone plays each character and damn.

I’m very happy we’re playing different characters. I’m very curious to see how my NPC Sebellie and my PC Lohse vary from your Sebellie and Lohse.

This is a very interesting variable, and one that promises much bloggage as we go forward.

Try to run with Lohse some, so you get a taste of her as an NPC and we can compare.

Feminina:

It is a very interesting mechanic.

“The story will contain these people, you can play one if you want. Whether you do or not, they’re going to have x, y and z things in their personal story that you’re going to get to deal with.”

It’s an interesting way of giving the player the chance to have built-in story about their character–so it feels more personal–but also of not wasting that story someone wrote, if the player decides to just make up a character.

I mean, the story could still be ‘wasted’ if the player never gets around to following up with it, but at least it’s there in the game: they didn’t write a bunch of stuff that would potentially be completely irrelevant because it applied to a character who wasn’t even in the game.

Butch:

Add to that the interesting mechanic I noticed last night of having dialog choices that are specific to the character you picked. I had a couple times where it was

CHOICE
CHOICE
[MYSTIC] CHOICE
[JESTER] CHOICE
[LOHSE] CHOICE.

That’s different. Never seen that before in a game. You just assume that every choice is, well, the PC. Not THIS PC.

Digging it so far. 

Feminina:

Yeah, I do kind of like that! Conversation options specific to certain characters. It seems that some things are part of a general background (i.e. OUTLAW) and any character with an outlaw background could say it–so Mr. O’s from-scratch dwarf has some warrior options or something–but some are very specific to a particular character’s personal history, and he’s never going to have any of those.

It’s interesting and different…and does make me faintly anxious that I’m missing something if I don’t have every single character talk to every single NPC, but I’m working on dealing with that.

Butch:

At least I can fill you in on some of it.

I do admire how you seem to be weaning yourself off of question marks. I was rather scared you’d be all “Must…fill in…whole….flow chart…..”

And yeah, there’s general background stuff. Mine came prepacked with “Mystic” and “Jester,” which is a strange combo, but whatever.

Gotta go cook more. Why am I cooking all this?

Feminina:

Creepy clowns are a thing!

And probably just to make me jealous of all the desserts.

Which is all I’m thinking of even though everything you’ve mentioned so far today has been savory.

Butch:

Well, obviously. But so far it’s just been cornbread and a whole mess of stuffing base (then you just mix it day of! Efficient, me! It’s why I have so much time to game. Ha. Sob.)

And this has sausage in it, so there’s that.

But I’m doing a pie this afternoon.

We’re gonna be a food blog for a while here, aren’t we?

I’ve also figured it’s unlikely I will leave the house until Friday, so maybe I’ll play.

And here’s a fitness rant:

I’ve been cooking non stop for two and a half hours. I still haven’t showered, or finished my coffee. My fitbit says I have no active minutes at all.

Fuck you, fitbit. See if you can cook like this.

Feminina:

Fitbit is REALLY jealous of the pie.

Get control of your issues, fitbit. You can’t just take it on on innocent, hard-working pie-makers!

Butch:

It’s being spiteful.

“I’m not giving you credit for calories burned when you’re browning butter and whisking in rum!”

Fine, OK, it has a point. But I should get active minutes for cutting up celery! Only fair.

I’m already tired. I’m getting too old for this.

But hey! At least I haven’t spent any money yet today!

Oh, and you know what else?

It’s…….

HALF DAY TUESDAY!

And tomorrow, just for shits and giggles, cuz NO ONE has anything to do….they made it HALF DAY WEDNESDAY!

Mrs. McP will be glad I got all that alcohol.

Feminina:

Nooooooo!!!!!!!! Don’t say it!

We have half-day Wednesday tomorrow too, but at least today is normal.

You may need to get more booze.

Butch:

More booze…..yes……

It’s always rather tempting to sample. Just put some rum in this pie. Had that “Maybe just a little…” thought, but then remembered it’s not even noon.

I have so much in common with my characters.

Wow……important tip……

When you’re making something like, oh, I dunno, speaking hypothetically…a pumpkin cheesecake with a bourbon sour cream topping, read the WHOLE recipe first. Not just the ingredients. The ingredients may well be easy ingredients in theory, but what you do with them……

Wow. Uh……

Wow.

You home tomorrow? Cuz we’re going to have to blog the very end of Butch’s sanity either way.

Feminina:

Ooh…complicated recipe, eh? Good thing you love a culinary challenge.

I will be home tomorrow morning to pick up O’Jr. when he gets out of school at 11, and then at work after Mr. O’ (who also gets out at 11) gets home. So it’s a half day for me, too, but not in the fun getting-out-early way.

Half the office is out tomorrow, or I’d just stay home. My sense of responsibility is probably overdeveloped.

Butch:

Responsibility. Yes. Because if I had the chance to go to a nice, quiet office to surf the net and blog all day in peace and quiet, I, too, would be overcome with a sense of responsibility.

Feminina:

Damn it, he’s onto me!

The thing that slightly tips the balance in favor of staying home with the child-chaos is having to spend two hours commuting for the sake of that half day of peace and quiet…but the train will probably be mostly empty, so even that’s almost like a vacation.

Certainly compared to a half-day Wednesday of trying to bake a complex cake while preventing kids from injuring themselves and/or each other.

Butch:

Yes….that train where you do all these exotic things like “read books” that I used to do way back when I had dark hair. I pity you so.

A complex cake with the kids and Mrs. McP home asking me to do all sorts of stuff I mean helping.

Gotta start the next stuffing. Yes, two. TWO I SAY!

Though as this one will not be stuffed into anything, I guess it’s a dressing.

Feminina:

Right. Dressing. Accurate terminology is so important! [Meanwhile in the back of my head: tell me more about the dessert!]

I do read on the train. Sometimes I also play Pokemon Go. It’s a special time either way.

Butch:

You are failing to win my sympathy.

I shall taunt you with pictures.

pie

Feminina:

It is no more than I deserve.

Siiiigh…gazing longingly at pie I cannot eat…

Butch:

If it makes you feel any better, now I’m frying two pounds of bacon which you wouldn’t appreciate.

Feminina:

It does…a little. That pecan pie is hard to recover from, though.

Butch:

It has brown butter….espresso….rum….

I’ll teach you to taunt me with peace and quiet.

Feminina:

It’s a harsh punishment, but fitting. Now the whole time I sit here in the peace and quiet, I’ll be thinking wistfully about pie.

It will be easy to do, on account of the lack of distractions.

Butch:

Tomorrow morning I’m making the pumpkin cheesecake. What time are you going to get to your desk? I want to make sure there’s a lovely picture of it waiting for you.

Feminina:

Probably about 1 o’clock. Maybe a little later if I stop to pick up some booze to fortify myself in preparation for the picture.

Butch:

Now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t have used that as a taunt. That cheesecake recipe is the beast I was referencing earlier. It may be doomed to failure, which would be a supreme irony, which we are known for.

Shit.

Feminina:

Ah…that WOULD be an appropriate irony!

We will await the dramatic conclusion of this saga.